March 2009

Today is Cesar Chavez holiday. Yeah, yeah, what the hell is that? That’s not a real holiday. Blah blah. Haters. I spent a large part of the day watching a new favorite sit-com from the beginning: “How I Met Your Mother.” It’s quirky, smart, and hilarious! I *think* I may relate to this show better than I Did “Friends”! I mean, “Friends” was the love of my life for years, but it is a little removed from my personal reality. The cast of “How I Met Your Mother” reminds me of myself and my friends. Except for the daily bar hangout thing. I find myself constantly laughing aloud watching the show.

I also baked chocolate chip cookies, drank a ton of peppermint and ginger tea, and ate raw cookie dough. I love soft cookies. Crunchy cookies and their flying crumbs — don’t get the appeal. Random thought: I don’t remember what brought on this conversation in college, but part of it went something like this…
Me: Why not?!
Johnny: Because! It came out of a chicken’s BUTT!
Me: But athletes drink it raw ALL THE TIME.
Johnny: No. Just…PROMISE me you’re not gonna ingest any more raw eggs.
Me: Okay, okay.

Excuse me while I run into the kitchen again to eat more raw cookie dough straight out of the Tollhouse bucket. Yom, yom. (< -- is that an Asian thing?) I have to admit I'm not very concerned about salmonella poisoning. If it hits and I get diarrhea for a couple of days, I'll make sure to drink water so I don't dehydrate. I'm sure I'll survive it, and probably lose a few pounds in the process. Another large part of the day was spent reconnecting with a high school teacher via online chat. THAT was fun. "I've always thought you were rather pragmatic," he told me. "I'm glad to see that you still are." *I'm* just glad he's still complimentary after I gave him hell for writing the ONLY mean comment I've ever received on an essay. "This is such BS I can't believe an honor student wrote it!" Well, what the hell answer WERE you looking for when you had us write an essay answering the question of what the sound of one hand clapping is?! Stupid koans. But at least he admitted I should've gotten a higher grade than what I received, and offered to change my grade retroactively. Of course this new grading opinion is based on what *I* told him I wrote on my essay, since I have a better memory. *smacking my mouth* Hmm. I think this particular brand of raw cookie dough tastes slightly alcoholy. PMS is a bitch. Speaking of PMS cravings, my body's been demanding seafood recently. The healthiest way I know to eat it is raw, so here's a picture from my & Dwaine's outing Friday evening at Taps Fish House & Brewery:
Dwaine thought my raw oysters were gross. He wondered how anyone could possibly find them aphrodiastic (I may have made up a word). He asked if I’ve ever felt “something” while I was consuming them. With my mouth full of oyster, I answered him honestly. No. I just wanted them because PMS says I need raw seafood. “See, now you’re mistaking me for one of your girl friends again,” he protested. As I took more photos of the food, he suddenly started laughing. “Nice restaurant for dinner, candlelight, raw oysters…this totally looks like the setup for something else, but instead it’s YOU.” It was pretty funny because of the company.

Here’s a random photo I took last week when I was by myself in a local mall. I want him.

Siberian husky puppy therapy, I call it. He’d probably eat Dodo, though.

I’d written about Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You” before, here. When I was the most lost and forlorn, and I’m thinking of specific days, weeks, between 2003 and 2006, this song always seemed to be playing. It played in my head, on the radio, or the CD would just randomly land on that track. I never understood the chorus, which goes:
Isn’t anyone tryin’ to find me?
Won’t somebody come take me home?
It’s a damn cold night
Trying to figure out this life
Won’t you take me by the hand
Take me somewhere new
I don’t know who you are
But I… I’m with you
I’m with you

The rest of the song sets up the scenario, which is the speaker, alone, standing on a bridge in the rain, saying “I thought that you’d be here by now.” So if she’s alone, who the hell is the “you” she’s talking to? Who’s she asking to take her home? Did some random dude pass by whom she’s now hanging onto, just so she’d have SOMEBODY?

Driving to work this morning, the song came up again. This time, due to more recent experiences and perspectives in my life, I saw the song and lyrics completely differently. I saw “her,” emotionally lost and desperate, mid-air on a cold metal bridge in the rain, telling “the one” she needs him and she’s been waiting and searching her entire life. Where is he? What’s taking him so long? Even though the “you” never appears through the entirety of this song, she’s crying out to him. She wants to be “home,” and that’s not her house necessarily, that’s home with him, in his arms, in his life, where she belongs.

It’s been a joke between myself and my girlfriends from way back when that when I finally find “the one,” I was going to kick him in the shin and say, “What the hell took you so long?! Do you know what I’ve BEEN through waiting for you?!” But for years now, I’ve stopped believing that there is just one “one,” at least not in this existence, who is perfect for you/me in every enduring way from now until the end of this lifetime. I do believe in lots of “the one for now,” though. How dreary of me.

But I do hope that every girl gets to have this conversation at some point in her life…
Her: Where have you BEEN my whole life?
Him: Looking for you. And now you’re found.

I never said I wasn’t a daydreamer.

These two photos are for James. Cuz he’s a nag like that. Click “more” unless you don’t want TMI.

Wow, looking back at those two photos in the post immediately before, I am in need of some color. Good thing I have a sunny vacation coming up soon. On Friday, I swimsuit-shopped online, didn’t really find much I liked, so I decided to go upstairs and try on all my existing swimsuits. I dug out a bunch I’d totally forgotten about, and decided to forego a new suit. Really, I just wanted something that’s watersports-friendly. I think this Ralph Lauren would do:

(I’m posting the above photo with Dwaine’s approval. He says the photos of the ones in string bikinis are too racy. Haha!)

I think Saturday was spent mainly laying around the house, but the recovering heart patient and I did take a mile-long walk down to the Lake and have sushi on the lake. Turns out our sushi lakeside restaurant’s sushi chefs will do an omakase sitting for us if we’re there when they’re not busy. I was thrilled. We had fresh scallops and hamachi imported from Japan, and other stuff served traditional Japan-style, all of which weren’t the menu. It cost me close to $100, but it was so worth it.

Sunday was so much fun, it made me realize how much I miss group interactions with my friends. (MOH) Vicky and her sister Karen had plans for a yoga session near Vicky’s house, and invited me along. Karen does yoga regularly, I used to for years but hadn’t in about a year, and this is Vicky’s first time. The class went well, although I got a bit nauseated. I made sure to eat very little before yoga, as food in my stomach always leads to nausea mid-yoga-sesh. Of course visiting Asian parents (mine) beforehand would guarantee that I had at least SOME food in my system, so I ended up modifying a couple of moves down when I felt sick. I have a tendency to push myself so I did most things in the advanced modifications. For Vicky’s first, she did pretty well following the class. AND, didn’t fall over once. =) I realized I’m more flexible than I thought, although my balance has suffered just a little bit since I’d last tested it in a class like that.

After class we went back to Vicky’s house, changed, grabbed Vicky’s boyfriend Glenn, and went to nearby carnivorous restaurant Wood Fire BBQ & Grill. Vicky says she normally orders a rack of BBQ pork ribs there. Haha, that’s so anti-yoga. I tried to be good and had a house salad with dressing on the side (croutons removed), and a platter of seared ahi tuna, maybe about 8 slices, with a ginger-ponzu sauce for dipping. I was unaffected by Glenn’s steak and potato, Karen’s 11-oz prime rib, and Vicky’s BBQ chicken, ribs, and something-or-other combo. THEN Karen ordered TWO desserts. I’m normally pretty immune to vanilla ice cream, even coated in Oreo cookie crumbles and dunked in fudge, and sitting atop a hot brownie underneath whipped cream. What I’m NOT immune to, is food going to waste. Dwaine had popped in to join us by this time (I was SO excited to see him that I surprised myself!), and three of “us” were so busy gabbing about hiking and planning future Mt. Baldy treks that Karen and I ate the two desserts alone, lest they go to waste. When Karen stopped, I kept going, resenting everyone else for not pulling their weight, resenting my Asian can’t-waste-food gene. I still feel guilty about those desserts and I’m pretty sure I’m bloated from it, too. Ugh. On the brighter side of things, though, after 20 years of friendship Dwaine and I finally have our first Dwaine-and-Cindy photo, taken on my cameraphone!

I know, it’s a crappy photo of both of us. It’s probably the worst one of myself I’d seen in a long time. Oh, well.

Dwaine and I chatted all the drive home (an hour for me), and made plans to hook up for a workout Friday, and maybe another one next Tuesday, which is a holiday for me. Cesar Chavez Day! Woohoo!

***ADDENDUM, 3-24-09****
Mike (“Wilco”) emailed me that “it’s almost embarrassing to see that bad of a picture posted,” and doctored up the image a bit and attached his new improved version to his email. So I’ve substituted my dark “bad” image for Mike’s. I still think I look pretty crappy, but Dwaine looks significantly better. My excuse: I was just at yoga! I didn’t wear much makeup and didn’t “freshen” afterwards. Thanks, Mike!

After the hardcore gym sesh on Wednesday night and a decent lunchtime gym sesh less than 12 hours later on Thursday’s lunch hour, I skipped gymming on Friday because, well, I took the day off work (my judge wasn’t going to be there and I didn’t feel like floating). Plus I was so sore my armpits hurt. Did you guys know there’s a muscle in there?! Showering on Friday morning, I noticed this on my shoulders:

Was I the victim of a wolverine attack?

Really. These photos don’t even do the lines justice. They’re deep maroon under my skin. I’d forgotten that the Standing Calf Raise, putting heavy pressure on my shoulders, causes the seams of my shirt and sports bra strap to burst capillaries. Maybe I should lighten up the weight and just do more reps. Nah. Waste of time.

I tried on a bunch of my old swimsuits Friday afternoon to check for fit, to see if I need to buy new ones for an upcoming watery vacation. I took documentary photos, which actually do further show the results of the gymming on my body overall, but I’m not sure I have the nerve to post them. I’ll think about it.

On March 12, 2003, in a flash of clarity and determination, I’d written the following:

The “It’s Never Too Late for New Year’s Resolutions” Resolutions

Your life is in a downward spiral. It’s been just over 2 weeks. 5 pounds. This week you think, “I wish I would’ve stopped it last week.” It’s too late for that. Next week, do you want to again think, “I wish I had stopped it last week”? Now is the time. Stop NOW. Before you lose all progress you’d gained.
1) REPLACE the guy drama in your life with the gym. In a month, you can have more drama if you wish to let them in. Now, leave it, you’re too good to be a part of someone’s harem.
2) YOU come first. Run to relieve stress. Work out to get back at them.
3) IF you feel generous, work them into your schedule. They do not REPLACE your schedule.
4) DO NOT give what they don’t return. Learn vicariously through observation.

I’d printed this out on bright pink paper and put copies everywhere; in my car, magnetically held to my refrigerator, in my desk blotter at work. (Did you ever get the MMS photo of my desk blotter I sent to your over-featurized iPhone, Mike?)

I’m in the progress of reclaiming the spirit of those resolutions. I actually reached my goal set some weeks ago, before this crazy trial took away my lunches and evenings, and my regular dates with Mr. Gym. Reaching the goal shocked me, because I dropped below 22% body fat last week without having hit the gym for 2 weeks, AND all other factors stayed constant: bone weight, muscle weight, hydration were the same as before, the only things that’d changed were scale weight and fat percentage. Skipping so many meals, I was surprised my body didn’t kick into starvation mode and start storing fat while burning muscle. I attribute my muscle retention to the “lite” protein shakes I’d have each morning. Guess the stuff really does work.

This is the perfect time to really, REALLY hit the gym. Anything I do now should show up very nicely. Last night, for the first time in weeks, I reclaimed my gym time. It wasn’t easy — my body struggled a bit, didn’t sweat for awhile, so I know the metabolism isn’t the most lethal it’s ever been. I also normally hate the gym after work because it’s overcrowded, and it was, so I didn’t get to do everything I wanted. The only advantage to its overcrowdedness last night was that I was on the assisted pull-up machine supersetting pull-ups and tricep dips, and saw out of the corner of my eye in front of me a guy in really great shape on the standing leg press machine; I didn’t look at him directly, but soon as I was resting between sets, he walked up to me from the side and waved. It turned out to be a district attorney that I’ve worked with recently. Great guy, the only DA to come to trial having done my verdict forms for me (I was floored), and I was happy to see him. We chatted a bit before both going on with our workouts. For me, it was:
Assisted pull-ups (works back broadly, some biceps) supersetted with assisted tricep dips (works triceps and chest);
Single-legged squats (legs overall plus glutes) supersetted with supine bench press (center chest & triceps) supersetted with bent-over barbell rows (mid-back, biceps);
Prone hamstring curls (hamstrings, some calves).
An hour spent doing the above, 3 sets each, 15 reps per set or until failure.
And then I did 60 minutes of cardio on the elliptical trainer.

Keeping an eye on the time, I decided I’d shower and wash my hair at the gym and that way my hair would dry before I got home, and I could just relax at home. I normally don’t like doing that at the gym, though, because it’s just gross. This time, it wasn’t just a bit gross, but also odd. While I was toweling off my hair in the shower stall, I heard a woman in the shower area moan. Not a pained moan, more like a relaxed, happy moan. And then she sighed happily. And then moaned again. And sighed happily. “Great,” I thought, “I’d better not hear any pleasure more intense than that.” I walked out of the shower stall and passed a very heavy-set older woman sitting in the handicapped shower stall bench, curtain open, in a swimsuit. Soon, I was at the locker and was drying off some more and changing, when this woman came and sat at the bench next to where I was standing, carrying on a conversation with another woman. I recognized the voice as the moaner.

The other woman soon finished dressing and left, and I was left with the moaner on the bench, her swimsuit peeled down so that the top hung folded down over her abdominal fat rolls. I don’t know what she was doing as I was changing, because I did so with my back to her. But as soon as I reached up to take down my heels, she said to me, “Oh, you must’ve come from work.” I turned and smiled, and said yes, I did come straight from work. There was some small talk about that, how it’s a great idea to not go home first and get lazy, etc. And then the conversation made its natural end. I swung my workout bag’s strap over my shoulder. Now in a shirt but still in her swimsuit bottom, she said to me, “All I have left to do is put on my underwear.”
Eh? I didn’t know what I was expected to respond to that, so I didn’t.
“I think I’ll just not wear underwear under this,” she said to me.
“I think more people do that than you’d know,” I said to her friendly-like, thinking of myself.
“I’m just going home after this. Sometimes when I’m at home, I vacuum in just my shirt without a bra on.” She giggled hedonistically.
I shrugged at her, smiled, and said, “Hey, in the privacy of your own home, do whatever you want. If you want to vacuum naked, go ahead, it’s nobody’s business.” Thinking of myself.
Her eyes widened a bit. “Oh, no, I couldn’t do THAT.” She paused. “Well, maybe I could, with the drapes drawn,” she decided thoughtfully.
“Sure!” I said with open acceptance to her up-and-coming nudist lifestyle. “Have a nice evening!”
As I left, she said after me, “One thing you CAN’T do naked, though, is fry stuff.”
I laughed and agreed with her.

At my parents’ house yesterday, I sat at the baby grand and tried to compose a piano accompaniment to one of Daughter’s songs, but soon found that I can’t hear her song in my head when I’m playing; the piano drowns her out. It’d be easier if I had sheet music for her song to follow, but she doesn’t write things down. I’m not even sure that she knows how. So I put that project aside and picked up some old music written by the boys who really knew how. The classical composer Muzio Clementi flowed the most naturally through me that day, and I fell in love with his Sonatinas again, re-exploring them one by one. I mostly sight-read but would love to really familiarize myself with them again, play them as I used to. As I used to — when was that? I looked closely at old notations and dates. 1986. Good lord, I aced exams, recitals and competitions playing this stuff when I was ten and am now struggling through the trills and turns and hitting the right key without looking down?! =P

I need to get a piano. But first I’d need a bigger house.

I skipped four straight meals and broke the streak today, when I was talked into eating a salami sandwich for lunch. I skipped the gym for even longer — today would be the 10th weekday in a row. Not coincidentally, that’s about as long as our current civil trial has lasted. Today the judge forgot to take a morning break and went straight through, and into lunch (again). If one of the attorneys hadn’t said something, we might’ve been on the record all through lunch. I thought my poor reporter was going to pass out. If I wanted to count other dry spells, there are plenty to count. Days since I’ve been home before 8pm, weeks since I was truly comfortable, days since I’d seen daylight, days since I’d had something to blog.

I am looking forward to the sun, though. I’ll be counting down the days until getting away — to Florida.

Mr. W’s daughter is a competitor in her city pageant. The winner is crowned Miss [City] 2009 and moves on to compete for the title of Miss California, and from there Miss America. This city pageant dubs itself a Scholarship Pageant, as the “Queen” and her “Court” (runners up) get scholarship money toward college. The pageant was this past Saturday. Mr. W’s Gamer Bro + Wife came down from Vegas and joined the festivities. James came along also, in support of Daughter. We met up with James at dinner, where the three men at the table, all techies, threw a bunch of specs and numbers out in discussing Gamer Bro’s new desktop computer. It’s apparently an impressive concoction of metal, plastic and water (cooling system), and Gamer Bro showed James photos of his system on his iPhone. (Gamer Bro always has the latest and best gadgets.) In drawing back his arm, Gamer Bro accidentally knocked his hand against something on the table and dropped his iPhone directly into the pitcher of sangria. The phone sat half-immersed in the pitcher precariously balanced on ice and chopped fruit, and after a collective gasp, Gamer Bro gingerly tried to fish the phone out with his fingertips. In so doing, he succeeded in sliding the phone completely underwater. I imagine that all of Gamer Bro’s past gadgets flashed before his eyes, and he hesitated only a moment before dunking his entire hand into the pitcher to retrieve his phone. After blowing into and rubbing the phone vigorously with his napkin, turns out the phone had zero water damage. Hey, did you guys know the iPhone is waterproof? Good thing, because I would’ve felt really bad drinking a $600 pitcher of sangria. Although as it turned out, only Gamer Bro’s family members had additional refills anyway. Hope he’d washed his hands. Haha.

The pageant began with an introduction of all the competitors with a dance number to Abba’s “Mama Mia.” The crowned girl in the center is the title holder 2008. Daughter is the spunky curly-haired brunette to the left, between the two blue-dressed blondes.

(as usual, rest mouse pointer over photos for captions.)
Next was a public question, drawn by lot by the contestant after she walks up to the former titleholder. Most of the girls either did not answer the question because they meandered off on a tangent, or gave some totally lame response that I can say is even constitutionally violative. Daughter drew the question, “If you hosted your own talk show, who would you have as your first guest, and what would you ask him/her?” She answered without hesitation that her first guest would be Barack Obama, and she would ask him what inspiration maintained his perseverance when he was running for the presidency. (Generally. She also went on a bit about his being African American, but we won’t get into that because if you’re regular readers you already know how I feel about that.)

What’s a scholarship pageant without a swimsuit segment, right? The requirement is a one-piece, and some of the girls really pushed that definition, but I thought Daughter’s choice was very tasteful.

And then my favorite segment: talent. Daughter was last, and there were a lot of singers and dancers before her. The most original talent was a dramatic monologue performed by one of Daughter’s friends. But the absolute BEST performance, the best display of talent by FAR (and I’m not saying this because I’m biased, because I really am not), was Daughter performing a shortened version of a song she composed and wrote the lyrics for, “Rescue Me.” It is one of my favorites of hers, although I love her original long version better than this one that she had to shorten to fit in the alloted time slot. The crowd exploded when she was done, and she made just about every singer before her look and sound horrible. OH, her songs are finally registered as of this morning with the United States Copyright office, so I can show her off now.

And finally…eveningwear. I don’t need to say anything about this — a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

The first award given was Miss Congeniality. The girls voted for whom they felt exemplified the spirit of kindness, giving, support, etc. And the winner…DAUGHTER!

Daughter didn’t win the title crown, but she did win first runner-up. If Miss [City] is unable to fulfill her obligations, Daughter will step up and take over. She also gets a hefty scholarship prize. (She was frankly relieved she didn’t win, because she would have to carve out a lot of time to the causes and to represent the city, as well as move on to compete for Miss California, which she isn’t sure she wants to do. Her passion is her music, not beauty pageants, and this is her first.)

Later at the reception which we didn’t attend, Daughter received an additional award: Best Talent. Well no kidding! Check her performance out:

Photo SharingVideo SharingPhoto Printing

Can you believe she picked up her first guitar 4.5 months ago?! And has never had a professional lesson? Thanks, James, for the still photos. And the video is courtesy Mr. W (on a regular digital camera, so the sound and video quality is a bit lacking…plus we were pretty far back).

Congrats to Daughter, we are SO proud of her!

On Sunday morning, while I was getting ready to meet Anny for brunch, on my way to the closet I happened by my Dodo boy curled up irresistably on the bed. “HI, my fuzzy baby, hi!” I said to him, circling my arms around his soft furriness and rubbing my cheek on his shoulder, as his head, tail and purrs rose in greeting. We’re so close, my boy and I, I thought. But there are no photos to document this. I’ve lamented this before. This time I decided to do something about it, and pulled out the cameraphone. I call the following series of photos, “The patience of a cat.”

First, you see my boy giving me a little nuzzle on my cheek.

My attempts to turn his fuzzy feline head toward the camera was unsuccessful, considering every time I said, “Dodo, look at that! What’s that?” meaning the cell phone, he’d turn to the sound of my voice and look at ME.

I changed my positioning relative to the cat, and changed the camera angle a few times, but still kept catching the back of Dodo’s head. I won’t bore you with those. Not even the one that looks like Dodo’s sitting on TOP of my head. I finally gave up trying to turn his head.

And then I realized I got his face!! Apparently Dodo will turn AWAY from me when he thinks I’m about to lick him. But look at the annoyed look on his face.

I called Mr. W after work yesterday (he’s been at home on doctor’s orders since his heart attack). This was the conversation.

Me: Hey. The jurors left a bunch of donuts behind. Want me to bring them home?
Mr. W: What kind of donuts?
(Strike one.)
Me: All kinds. There’s an apple fritter in there. And a bunch of assorted stuff.
Mr. W: Well, at long as they’re not Krispy Kremes.
(Strike two.)
Me: So you want me to bring the box home?
Mr. W: Okay.
(Strike three. And I even gave him a moment to correct himself. He did not.)
Me: You can’t eat DONUTS!! You just had a HEART ATTACK!@#$
Mr. W: But I’m on Lipitor now, and the doctor said I don’t have to eat as strict as I did before.
Me: But you’re not working out, so even if your arteries are better, do you want to get FAT?!
Mr. W: Oh. Okay, then no.
Me: You can’t say no NOW, I already know what your REAL answer is!!!

And that’s failing the Donut Test.

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