January 2010

See Saturday in NorCal, here.

By the time I woke up, showered and went downstairs at Diana’s house on Sunday morning, everyone else was already watching the Cowboys-Vikings football game. Dardy and I had talked tentatively about where to watch the game (he was watching at his place and invited us over), but since Diana had Tivo’ed it, everyone (Eric, Diana, Mr. W) settled down in her living room to watch on delay so they could skip the commericals. We made plans to meet up with Dardy at Pizz’a Chicago after the game. He texted grimly that we’re not missing much; the first half had sucked. Mr. W discovered the “skip ahead 7 minutes” button on the Tivo remote, and watched the rest of the game that way. We braced ourselves for a very bummed-out Dardy (huge Cowboys fan) at lunch. He met us there and seemed fine, although disappointed. We ordered a couple of pizzas and watched the Chargers-Jets game there. Eric had money on the Chargers and they started out strong, but waned…and never recovered…and lost. So nobody’s teams won that day. I found out that Dardy didn’t eat cilantro, as we ordered a Great Chicago Fire pizza half regular (Italian sausage, sport peppers, fresh garlic & cilantro) and half no cilantro at Dardy’s request. He’s only the 2nd ever person I’ve met who doesn’t like cilantro!

After lunch Dardy went to his friend’s house to finish watching football, and the rest of us went back to Diana’s. Diana and Eric cozied up on the couch (where she ended up taking a nap to sleep off the carb coma) and Mr. W and I went to explore the new shopping areas of her neighborhood, which was under construction but had really interesting stuff. Late afternoon, Mr. W and I went to Mike and Christi’s house to meet Kyden and Koda for the first time. They made a fresh sushi dinner for us and I got to play with the first baby boy to come in my immediate friends group.
Here’s Kyden with mommy.

And here’s Kyden with daddy.

I thought it’d be weird that some of us actually HAVE one of these, but the two parents are complete naturals. It was weird how UNweird it was. I’m happy to have been a fan and admiring spectator of their relationship from the beginning, to their wedding (you can see my collection of posts surrounding their Hawaii destination wedding, which we made into one of our vacation trips, here), to the development of their family thus far.
Mike and Christi knew me well, and busted out what they knew I’d been dying to try…DJ HERO!!!

It was harder than I’d expected, less intuitive than Guitar Hero or Rock Band, although my cousin Mark disagrees. Then again, he DID use to DJ with a turntable.

Monday was time to leave. Diana stayed home from work that day, and the three of us went to a local restaurant in Sunnyvale for breakfast. Eric ditched out on a morning meeting and met us there. We said our goodbyes, and Mr. W and I started the long drive back to SoCal. We avoided the inland freeways and did the coastal route, which was a good thing, because due to the rainfall, the Grapevine would have likely been snowed out and closed. We stopped at the famous Cannery Row in Monterey for lunch at The Fish Hopper. The portion sizes are unbelievable.


The restaurant had a gorgeous view of the water, and there were sea otters frolicking and rolling around the sea kelp on the waves, but when I went out to get a closer look, I FROZE to death.

I couldn’t even pretend to be a character from John Steinbeck’s novel “Cannery Row” cuz I was too busy trying to thaw out my fingers. Some hot crepes with Nutella on our way back to the car helped, though.

I don’t remember much about the drive back. I waited too long to blog this trip from mid-January.

Today, Mr. W and I went to have lunch with my parents and grandma to celebrate my dad’s and grandmother’s birthdays. My dad had always gone by his Chinese birthdate (on the lunar calendar), which falls on a different day every year on our regular calendar, and this year my mom decided she was tired of looking up what day it’d fall on and emailing me as she’d done the years prior. So she researched all the way back to my dad’s birthyear in the 1940s to figure out exactly what regular calendar day it was that he was born on. Turned out it was January 30, so she announced that we are all gonna base our celebrations of his birthday on that date from now on. He protested, and she waved him off. He accused her of having too many birthdates of her own to remember (her lunar birthdate, her regular calendar birthdate, the erroneous birthdate someone in immigration had put on her information that she’d just lived with rather than correct, and some other date that falls on a leap year so that she actually only gets that date once every 4 years), but she said that’s different and refused to budge. I also found out that my dad’s office coworkers celebrate his birthday every year on December 20. Why? I got no explanation, but I think I did receive a shrug and a “they just do.” I complained that I only have one birthday, and that I feel unspecial. They offered to look up my lunar calendar birthdate for me, and thinking about how my dad’s birthday celebrations had ranged from December to February, I passed.

My grandmother’s birthday was a few days ago, and she turned 80. My mother had wanted to do a dinner banquet for her, inviting family and friends to a Chinese restaurant, but grandma passed on the idea. I had wondered whether she refused it to be polite while in secret hoping for a big to-do, but my mom answered that her mother really wanted to pass. Apparently grandma was afraid that if a big celebration in honor of her birthday occurred, that it would draw the gods’ attention to the fact that she’s still here and aging, and they’d go, “Oh! We’d forgotten about you! Thanks for the reminder, old lady!” and take her away from this mortal coil. For obvious reasons, then, she’d KILL me if she found out I just broadcasted her birthday on the internet. Gotta love Chinese superstition.

Grandma got me back, though. Throughout lunch, she kept staring at me from across the table and saying to my mom in Mandarin as if I weren’t there or as if I didn’t understand the language (which is a very Asian parent thing to do, cuz kids don’t “count”), “Eh? I think maybe Cindy’s gotten pretty. How did that happen? That’s so strange.” I did what I’d always done; pretended not to hear the grownups talking, because that’s how they treated us and expected us to behave in return.
But she kept going on and on about it that my mom got offended and snapped, “What are you TALKING about? What’s so weird about that?!”
Later in the privacy of Mr. W’s car (where I was sole passenger), I translated that for him. He laughed about it, thinking it absurd. “You were already pretty when I met you,” he claimed.
“I think I got pretty after I met you,” I said thoughtfully.
“No, if you weren’t already pretty, I wouldn’t have asked you out,” he said in typical tactless guy fashion.
I pretended to balk. “YOU’d told me that what attracted you to me was my ASS!” I said accusingly (which was true, he did say that). Now, he backpedaled a bit.
“It’s the PACKAGE,” he said. “Your ass is a PART of the PACKAGE.” Right.

After lunch we all went to my grandma’s so Mr. W could set up my gift for her, a large digital photo frame in which I’d already preloaded photos and Mr. W had programmed to play slideshows with Jim Brickman’s “Angel Eyes” as background music. My dad also got to play with his presents: 3 nice Cubavera style shirts and a wooden 3-D puzzle (which he solved in like 10 minutes). Then Mr. W and I regrouped my parents’ house and caught some movies. We watched “Management,” which is a Jennifer Aniston movie that I’d never heard of. (I give it **1/2 out of ****) We also saw “The Blind Side,” the Michael Oher movie starring Sandra Bullock. (****!) It was SO good that I want to watch it again right now! The acting was superb, and comedy was conveyed impeccably by things such as simple timing and a look. I didn’t think I’d like a football movie as much as I’d enjoyed “The Longest Yard” (remake), but this movie is so much more. Maybe I should give “Rudy” a shot next.

… I got a great reminder of just why yesterday.

Anny had made plans to see the 7:15p Imax 3-D screening of “Avatar” yesterday at the Irvine Spectrum, and it was an enjoyable movie the first time (regular screen, 3-D), so I tagged along, bringing Mr. W and his daughter. Mr. W and I got there first and bought advance tickets, then we had delicious crepes and coffee as we passed the time. Ann then arrived and we got to hang out for the first time in awhile, and we walked around poking into random stores as we chatted, waiting for the movie to start. (Mr. W was generously holding our place in line as he waited for his daughter to arrive.) There was a great sale at Hollister, I was happy to see that the maternity clothing look in women’s fashion appears to be on its way out, but the tops are still super-long. All the shirts would look like dresses on me. Daughter showed up as we returned to the theatre, and we all started the movie in a great mood, marveling at the gigantic screen. The movie was ridiculously crowded. We had one empty seat to our left, and before the show started, that seat was filled. Since the screen is so large, the state-of-the-art theatre had seatbacks that reclined slightly so people can see the whole screen without having to crane their necks to look up.

Halfway through the movie I was ripped out of my Pandora-flying reverie by a pulling against the back of my seat. I waited for whomever was behind me to settle down, except it never really happened. Throughout the rest of the movie, my seatback was pushed, kicked, bumped, moved. And then when I tried to get myself back into my original position of a slight recline, I realized the person behind me had locked up against the back of my seat to where the back absolutely was forced upright and unable to budge whatsoever. I was PISSED. This reminded me of the whole airplane fiasco with childhood friend Sandy, when we flew to New York on a red-eye and two Cheetos munching middle-eastern men behind us refused to let her recline her seat and kept pushing her back up, the one behind her finally locking her seat up with his knees. I pushed back against the seat, it gave a little, and then the jerk locked up tighter and prevented the seat from moving again. And then there were the bumps. Mr. W is over 6′ tall and he said there is no way his knees even came close to touching the back of the seat in front of him, so he didn’t understand how it was possible that someone had to be totally up against the back of my seat and headrest. I pushed back consistently and hard, using my legs on the ground to brace me. So there was this stupid battle going on through the entire second half of the movie. Seeing my body move here and there from being bumped and watching me struggle back, Mr. W turned around a few times but it didn’t stop. After the movie, I told Ann what had been happening, and she turned and said that there it was some chick behind me. WTF! There’s no way she could’ve needed the extra legroom unless she were 7 feet tall, so she must’ve put her feet up against the back of my chair and used it as legrest. What a BITCH. I think people have no business being in public these days with their absolute lack of boundaries and manners. This is why I hate going to the movies.

Mr. W and I went to Northern California to visit friends over the long weekend. It was a nice 5.5 hr drive during most of which Mr. W listened to an audiobook with headphones attached to his iPhone, and I texted friends for entertainment. Time passed swiftly. We stopped at our usual Marie Callender’s at Magic Mountain for lunch, which meal was nothing compared to the sake-marinated Chilean seabass college roommie prepared for dinner that night! The four of us (including Diana’s boyfriend Eric) had a leisurely dinner with lots of wine and a specialty cupcake dessert. Good thing we were staying there! I really like Sunnyvale.

Saturday, Diana had planned for us a visit to San Francisco to see the King Tut exhibit at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. I bought us audiotours and Diana treated us to the admission, which tickets are sold and scheduled in half-hour increments, and we got a late enough entry time so that we could have lunch at a nearby pho restaurant. Mr. W and I had seen the exhibit before, but can’t remember where. We’re thinking it was probably in Fort Lauderdale in ’05, during the same vacation where I met Jordan. (Speaking of Jordan, she decided yesterday to come visit the same weekend Bat is coming to visit, so YAY, par-TAY! Did I mention it’s also her birthday weekend? I’m so excited!) Despite the museum’s best efforts to stagger visitors, it was very crowded and as usual because of my lack of vertical prowess, I saw lots of lower backs and asses. Live ones, not even exciting wrapped mummified ones. After the museum, we took a stroll in Golden Gate Park and visited various gardens on the grounds.

This garden had a few rules.

After leaving Golden Gate Park, we were off to the second activity Diana had planned for the day. She had suggested we bike ride across Golden Gate Bridge, but given all the rain predicted for the weekend, we didn’t set it in stone. Since Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day, we decided to just walk it. Eric would drive the car across and meet us at the other side.

Diana was a little pensive and Eric reassured her he won’t drive off without hearing from her first, but I didn’t think anything of it. Here we are about to start.

The Bridge was a wide paved 6+ lane highway with a separately fenced off pedestrian walkway along the outskirt. We started walking, and just as we were ALMOST over water, a large truck drove by and its weight vibrated along the bridge where we stood. Diana had already been slowing down, and now she froze. “I’m sweating,” she announced. And then, “I can’t do it.” She whipped out her cell phone and called Eric, who luckily had not left to drive over to the other side yet. She instructed us where to meet them on the other side and practically ran off back to the parking lot where Eric was with the car. I had no idea she was THAT serious about her acrophobia until then. I mean, the girl climbed the pyramid at Chichen Itza with me! She voluntarily leaps off tall mountains on her snowboard! I did learn later on in the weekend from Mike that Diana had attempted that same pedestrian crossing before, and also aborted that mission before making it very far.

Mr. W and I made the walk across, taking photos along the way — he with his camera which yielded the weekend’s photos that you see here, and I with my cameraphone since I forgot my camera. Halfway across, Diana and Eric overtook us on the bridge, honking and waving at us. They joined us on the other side as light sprinkling started. Perfect timing!

One of the cool things about hanging with locals is they know the best spots for photos.

Eric drove us up a mountain road to this great spot overlooking everything, and up there, Eric smacked Diana’s arm, Diana punched him in the face, it rained on Mr. W’s camera, and we got thrown out by a cop. Good times.
Next, we drove deeper into the City (San Francisco) to meet up with people for dinner. We had some time before our reservations, so we stopped for drinks and appetizers at Yoshi’s Jazz Bar a few doors down from the restaurant. We had to park a ways, and got rained on walking there, but it went with the atmosphere of San Francisco.

Soon, we were joined by Dardy, Jimmy and Sabrina.

And then Andrae, Dwaine’s twin brother, showed up. I was happy he put all his crazy plans on hold so that he could come spend some time at dinner with us. I hadn’t seen him since the wedding!

We walked down the street for dinner at 1300 at Fillmore (the address AND the name of the restaurant! What a koinkidink!), which served Southern food done up fancy. There, we met up with Jen and Caroline. Yes, I’m texting. Mr. W thought it would be funny to take a picture of me with Andrae on my cell and send it to Dwaine with the message, “Remember when we met up in San Francisco?” I don’t think Dwaine found it that amusing, cuz I never got a response. =P

One of the most noticeable differences in hanging with these people now, is that after dinner, we all hugged and waved our goodbyes, and went home to bed. If we were in our 20s, this meeting would’ve no doubt moved on to bar/club hopping as it had before. Aww, we’re all grown up now.

It’s been raining off and on since last weekend. The weather forecasted several consecutive El Nino storm patterns to hit the entirety of California. Luckily it wasn’t too bad on our drive to NorCal (photos forthcoming) and it didn’t rain out much of our activity while we were there, and although rain fell off and on during our drive back home on Monday, it wasn’t debilitating rain. This week, however, California had decided it’d reached full capacity on all the rain it wants to endure and things got a little freaky. There were flash flood warnings over areas that had been burned earlier last year, and on Tuesday, while Claudio and I were enjoying a nice long workout at the gym followed by all-you-can-eat sushi at Minato Sushi (the sushi chef/restaurant owner James remembered me and gave us total special treatment with lots of expensive freebies), he got notice that nearby Santa Ana was issued a tornado watch warning with orders to stay indoors, and when we were driving out of the restaurant, we saw that a part of the street was closed off as it was severely flooded and a car was trapped in water nearly halfway up its windshield.

The next day, Wednesday, as the skies remained open for buckets of water to fall on us, I drove to Pasadena for my dental appointment with Andy. I gave myself about 2 hours to make the hour drive, and due to zero traffic, was there an hour early. After I parked, I pulled back the internal covering of the sunroof to admire the water hitting the glass moonroof. I was first inspired to take a photo, and then inspired to write a poem. So I sent this out via MMS to a few friends:

playful percussion
of rain dance on my moonroof
in pasadena
(impromptu haiku)

So typically Californian…you can still see palm trees behind the wintery leafless tree. Dentist Andy was among the people I sent the above picture message to, and I’d expected him to text me back with “Stop goofing off and get in here,” but he didn’t. When I saw him he only chuckled about it. It was beautiful out there and I enjoyed the drive. Mr. W is working 11-hour shifts this week, so I didn’t carpool with him. On the drive in to work this morning, I heard on the radio that the cold front following the most recent storm coming from the coast this afternoon will create hail. I’m a little concerned about hail denting my car on the drive home… =/

Last weekend was a long weekend, so Mr. W and I drove up to Northern California to visit some friends. I finally met Mike & Christi’s little 3.5 month old boy, Kyden! I’d always thought the photos of Kyden’s little face looked uniquely intelligent. I felt like I ought to ask him for advice or something. So I was surprised the first time I saw him, gurgling happily to himself laying on his back swatting at his colorful dangly toys, how tiny he really is. Soon, I was again surprised at how ADVANCED his development is. When he’s sitting up (of course he needs to be assisted), he holds his own head up. He likes to stand and make walking motions with his kicky little (but strong!) legs. AND…his bottom front teeth broke through his gums already! Whoa. I know my niece Lydia has just started teething, but she’s 8 months. What’s Kyden’s big hurry to grow up?

I told Mike and Christi that if anyone would have a super-advanced baby, it’d be the two of them. I’m always one for introducing and welcome new bloggers, but this has GOT to be the youngest one of ’em all… Say hello to Kyden’s Korner!

After I had my crazy nauseating vertigo on Saturday, I’d expected it to be gone on Sunday, but it wasn’t. I had occasional 1-minute dizzy spells through the day. Monday, same thing, even tho I made sure to stay hydrated. Tuesday, same thing, with very little hydration. I’d noticed that the bouts of spinning would be preceded by a buzzing sensation in my brain. It got REALLY bad on Wednesday despite my drinking a ton of fluids and eating a small lunch; instead of the occasional spinning, I’d be consistently loopy with regular bouts of significant spinning lasting up to 10 minutes or more, the more significant of the bouts would make me nauseated (altho still not to the extreme of Saturday’s onset). I described the sensation as a buzzing that felt like my brain was trying to peel itself away from my skull and crawl down my spine, and then everything would spin as gravity pulled me from the side (usually right side). An attorney in my courtroom with a medical background suggested I get a ear-nose-throat specialist to examine me, and that he doesn’t buy that it’s dehydration-related. He said they’ll likely give me a pack of steroid pills that I’m to take over the course of about 5 days that specifically addresses this vertigo symptom. So I called and made an evening appointment with my primary care doc (who’d [mis?]diagnosed me with GERD) for tonight, to request a referral to an ENT specialist.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to isolate the vertigo trigger myself. This morning, I drank a cup of water (in case it’s dehydration), a protein shake (in case it’s malnutrition), and am wearing glasses instead of contacts (in case Jordan’s right and something’s suddenly wrong with my contact prescription, since the disorientation was first noticed immediately after I put in my contacts on Saturday morning). So far, I’ve gotten the brain buzzing once in the car on the drive to work, I feel a TINY bit detached/medicine-head-y, but that’s it. So either I’ve mitigated the problem, or it’s getting better on its own.

In email, I received something called “Home Remedies” and I was hoping there’d be something in there to address vertigo, but no such luck, cuz here’s what the email said:
~ * ~

~ * ~

I spent much of Saturday afternoon in Urgent Care due to severe vertigo. It had only happened to me once before a couple of years ago when I was in NorCal visiting college roommie Diana, but I didn’t care to ever go thru that again. Like that makes a difference. I stumbled a bit Saturday morning after putting in my contacts, but I figured my eyes just needed to adjust to the contacts for whatever reason. I then proceeded to drive to WalMart to buy a laundry hamper. The road was spinning around my head and I felt off-kilter. I suddenly recognized this as a mild version of the first time. I managed to get thru WalMart fairly normally and drive home (altho upon exiting the car and walking, I did fall left back into it), taking good care to leave space cushions around me on the road. Mr. W thought it may be dizziness due to sugar low, so I had a bowl of cereal and felt a little better. We then plopped on the couch to watch some Ally McBeal. Some time went by and when I sat up again, the spinning was back, and worse. He tried to convince me I needed medical attention as I tried to convince him I was fine. To prove my point, I got up to continue my laundry chores, but in transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer, everything spun so severely I had to brace myself against the washer and try hard to focus on one point, and even then the dizziness got me so nauseated I wobbled upstairs to the bathroom and hugged the toilet, breathing erratically, waiting for the cereal to make its way back up. As soon as I sat still, leaning my head sideways against the tub, I felt better. Things were still moving on their own, but at least the nausea was gone. I pulled myself up to look in the mirror. The motion alone brought the spinning sickness back and I observed I’d never seen my face and lips so colorless. I slumped back down. Mr. W found me in the bathroom like that a few minutes later and this time when he insisted I needed to go to Urgent Care, I was too weak to deny it.

At the hospital, the nurse weighed me (I apparently lost weight since being flakey on the gym the past few months, which could only mean I lost muscle mass, damn it — at least I returned to the gym on Friday), took my blood pressure (108/69, pulse 64), checked my oxygen saturation (98%). All vital signs looked normal, healthy even, as usual. I was sent back to wait in the lobby for the doctor. Hours went by and the spinning lessened until I was comfortable walking steadily to the restroom on my own. When the doctor finally saw me, though, he gave me a lot of time and very thorough testing. Mr. W saw that as an opportunity to rat on me to the emergency doctor. “She doesn’t eat breakfast, doesn’t eat lunch, and works out at the gym at lunchtime. She only eats once a day. She won’t listen to me!” I gave him a flat look. The doctor (as other doctors before him) didn’t seem concerned with my level of nutrition, especially after I told him I start every weekday morning with a hot mug of chia seeds in water. He checked my reflexes, walking, balance, took blood pressure laying down, sitting, and standing (pretty minimal changes), checked in my ears (no inner ear infection) and nose (passed the booger test). Then he had this tuning fork thing he put on various parts of my body to ask if I could feel and/or hear it. And then, Mr. W thought he’d pipe in and tattle on me about my recent omnipresent breathing difficulties and tried to relate it to malnutrition. The doctor looked over my past medical records on the computer, going back 6 years. Then he took an ECG (my heart’s normal, too) and listened to my lungs. So here’s his bottom line:

Looking at the progression of data from past blood tests to present, I apparently am dehydrated. This is why in such an otherwise normal healthy person, my sodium and potassium are in the high-normal range. Concentrated blood. He said this is also the reason why my pulse and blood pressure are so low (and I thought it was just cuz I’m athletic). He also noted that in more recent blood tests compared to before, my kidney function has gone down gradually, and he attributes their not doing as much filtering to that I’m not supplying them the tool with which they filter things — water. He asked what color my urine usually is. I couldn’t tell him, considering I pee probably twice or three times a day so I don’t notice. He balked. Now I’m QUITE dehydrated. Having ruled out everything else, he diagnosed the dizziness as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (calcium stones that detect balance float on fluid in the inner ear, and when one’s dehydrated, the fluid level drops), and gave me a printout of Care Instructions for the next time this happens. Apparently you just do Brandt-Daroff exercises, really easy stuff. You sit on the edge of a bed or something, and lay down quickly to the side that causes vertigo (for me, this time I fell left). Stay there with that ear flat on the bed at least 30 seconds as the vertigo subsides, then sit up. If vertigo is still there, go quickly down on the opposite side. If things spin then, wait for it to stop, then flop back to the 1st side. You just do this like 10 times. I guess it dislodges the little calcium stones that perceive balance in your inner ear or something. For the nausea, he recommends over-the-counter anti-motion-sickness medication meclizine, which we already have at home as Mr. W’s Disneyland roller coaster rides excuse-eliminator.

Now here’s the interesting part. As for my breathing difficulties, which I described to him as feeling like my lungs won’t expand when I breathe so I respond by taking deeper and deeper breaths until I’m lightheaded, he could find no organic cause. So he thinks it’s psychological. I said the other doctor there had diagnosed it as GERD. He doesn’t think it’s GERD. He said being full may put some pressure upward but that it shouldn’t impact my diaphragm to where I feel like it won’t expand outward. He thinks I’m having unconscious anxiety attacks. But I’m not stressed or anxious, I tell him, and even Mr. W agreed. He said to start writing down what I was doing when I find myself gasping for air, and note what I was thinking right before. I tell him it’s usually immediately after I’ve eaten that I have symptoms, sometimes I’m just sitting there after eating, watching TV, when I start the breathing struggle, hence GERD, right? He still didn’t think so. He said it’s likely a more deeply rooted issue than a conscious awareness of something that causes me stress or anxiety, or I’d have stopped the trigger myself by now. So a new theory was born.
Maybe the anorexia has come back, but only subconsciously. I’m so (subconsciously) freaked out that I’d overeat and get fat, that I don’t eat often, and when I do, the feeling of fullness triggers guilt, and that guilt triggers an anxiety attack that gives me the only consciously noticeable symptom: difficulty breathing. Hmm.

Today, Sunday, I was involved in a major furniture exchange. My parents gave me their current newish dining room set, I gave our too-large dining set to my aunt’s family, gave my parents our credenza, matching coffee table, bookshelf, and gave Kevin and his U$C roommates our leather living room couches (I visited enemy territory on Trojan turf for the first time today — can the place USE any more bricks?! It looks like the 3rd little pig put the campus together.). Our new couches will be delivered on Tuesday (yay!). I was talking to my mom about my recent hospital visit, and it turns out she’s had acid reflux and vertigo for most of her life! “So it’s a genetic thing! So this is all YOUR fault!” I joked, pointing a finger at her. As a matter of fact, she’d even had a random attack of vertigo Saturday night right after I’d recovered from mine. “You passed it on to me! So this is YOUR fault!” she accused, pointing back at me. The last stop was my aunt’s house to deliver the dining table, and she had us all sit around it and kept feeding us tea and junk food. After all the furniture was delivered and exchanged, I drove home and found myself again gasping for breath in the car. It suddenly occurred to me to relax my diaphragm and stomach. My full tummy extended. And breathing got easier.
Oh.my.God. I didn’t even realize I was sucking in my stomach. Thinking about it, when do I most tend to suck in? When I’m full, cuz that’s when I feel fat with my protruding tummy. I also suck in when I’m sitting, because that’s when fat folds over (blech) and is the most obvious. So if I’m wearing fitted clothes, feeling fat, sitting at work, my diaphragm is constantly being restricted from expansion — by ME! I’m gonna test out this theory. So far I’ve ended two bouts of breathing issues tonight by forcing myself to relax my stomach. It’s not the most attractive thing in the world, but at least I can stop gasping. I’m not subconsciously anorexic; just subconsciously vain.

Here’s what I did to ring in the new year:

I changed my first two diapers! My niece (Mr. W’s Gamer Bro’s daughter) Jenni drove to SoCal from Vegas to visit us for the long New Years weekend, and brought the newest member of the family with her! Don’t they grow up so fast? Here’s Lydia only last summer.
Oh, speaking of babies, here’s the newest one in my half of the family.
This is little Elizabeth Lynn (“Elle”) wearing the Anne Geddes ladybug jacket we got her.

…and here is the back of li’l lady Elle in her new ladybug jacket.

So coming up next month, Bat is going to swing by from Tennessee on his way to New York (I know it’s not on the way, but he scored some amazing flight fares!) for a weekend visit since he’s never been to SoCal, and I’m getting some activities together. So far I’ve booked Claudio and Dwaine for kayaking and sushi that weekend for some male bonding. I’d been craving ikari sushi and finally got some at Minato Sushi tonight. I raved so much about the $25 all-you-can-eat sushi that Claudio wants to go there when they come for kayaking. Here was our online conversation:
Claudio: Can’t wait!
Me: me, neither! do you eat uni?
Claudio: Never tried it. I generally will try anything but this is sea urchin gonads. Um… should I try it?
Me: I usually will try something I dislike every few years just to make sure I still dislike it. Taste changes, and this is how I rediscovered Indian food, bittermelon, brussels sprouts, eggplant. I love that stuff now! But uni…I just hit my 4th try last spring, and after getting that in my mouth I thought, for the 4th time, “WHY am I doing this to myself?!” I have a lot of friends who love it, and my dad loves it. “It’s like a mouthful of ocean,” he says blissfully. And you know what? I totally agree with his description. =6
Claudio: Unless someone I trust tells me I need to eat sea urchin gonads… I ain’t eating sea urchin gonads.
Me: it’s not so much gonads as just the entire innards, isn’t it?
Claudio: I read this on sushifaq.com
While colloquially referred to as the roe (eggs), uni is actually the animal’s gonads (which produce the milt or roe).
Me: omg, “gonads” is an actual non-slang term?
Claudio: Gonad definition according to wiki:
The gonad is the organ that makes gametes. The gonads in males are the testes and the gonads in females are the ovaries.
Me: sea urchin reproductive organs according to wiki:
Sea urchins are dioecious, having separate male and female sexes, although there is generally no easy way to distinguish the two. Regular sea urchins have five gonads, lying underneath the interambulacral regions of the test, while the irregular forms have only four, with the hindmost gonad being absent. Each gonad has a single duct, rising from the upper pole to open at a gonopore lying in one of the genital plates surrounding the anus. The gonads are lined with muscles underneath the peritoneum, and these allow the animal to squeeze its gametes through the duct and into the surrounding sea water, where fertilisation takes place.
Claudio: This makes me want to eat Uni even less… a lot less.
Me: ditto…DIT-TOE.
Claudio: 🙂
Me: maybe we can convince Dwaine to eat it as his first sushi experience.
Claudio: I think we’d have to bribe him with a bionic knee or something. ***
Me: maybe we ought to first wiki what a bionic knee costs these days before making promises like that.
Claudio: It’s Dwaine. He’ll forget all about it in 3 days…
2 if he’s been drinking
Claudio: *blush*
Me: nice.

*** This has reference to another conversation that actually involved Dwaine, which went a little something like this:
Dwaine: Heart pounding, lungs burning, just puked a little. On the plus side, I ran for the first time in over a month and my time was much better than I tought it would be. 😀 …pardon me, I gotta puk…
Claudio: It looks like Ima haf to bust ur kneecap. Any preference?
Dwaine: The left one. It’s been acting up anyway. Plus I wanna replace it with something bionic. I’ll be faster than EVER!!!! …on that side at least. …better make it both.
Claudio: Good luck with all that. Do u know why they also called the “Bionic Man” the “Six Million Dollar Man”? Becuz that shit costs money!
Me: I say Claudio goes with Dwaine’s 1st inclination and just bust the left kneecap. I’d love to see Dwaine spinning in clockwise circles after his bionic knee replacement surgery every time he tries to run.
Dwaine: I’d STILL win!
…it would just take me a little longer…

Those two are so competitive. But now I get to sit back and see how long it takes Dwaine to discover this post. Lord knows Jordan hasn’t discovered HERS yet.