June 2010

Yesterday on my birthday, Ann took me out to dinner at Gulfstream in Corona Del Mar. As we placed our drink order (dirty martini for Ann, chocolate cake shot for me), the waitress, instead of carding us, simply asked obligatorily, “You’re both over 21, right?”
As Ann nodded, I said, “I’m well over. Actually, 34 today.”
The young blonde waitress said, “Oh, today is THE day? Happy birthday! *eyes widening* Wow, 34? You REALLY don’t look it. Wow.” I smiled at her and thanked her for the compliment. As soon as we placed our dinner order, I went to the restroom. Looking at my reflection in the mirror, it kinda hit me. The waitress was SO impressed that I don’t look 34 that really, what it means is that 34 is a very, very large number to her. *sigh*
~ * ~
Mr. W told me earlier that he was chatting with some coworkers yesterday about it being my birthday. They asked how old I was turning. He told them 34, and added, “Yeah, she’s getting kinda old. I may have to trade her in for a younger model soon.” (Note that Mr. W is almost a decade and a half older than me.) His coworkers laughed at him and said something to the effect of, Oh please, she’s gotten better-looking every year since she met you. He took that as a compliment for himself and happily told me the story after work, practically glowing as he did so. I wasn’t totally sure how to take that…but I did happen to have a very recent experience wherein I was digging through early digital photos of us dating back to 2005 when we first started going out, and I was shocked at how unpresentable we both looked. His family members joke about how he gets younger every year that we’re together, and I have to say that based on photographic comparisons, they’re not wrong. I don’t know what we saw in each other back then. Lower standards maybe? haha.
This is a recent photo from our Tahiti cruise.

For comparison, here’s a similar pose from 2005.

Mr. W surprised me this year… he bought Sylvia Brown’s autobiography “Psychic” and it was wrapped and waiting for me with a card next to the alarm clock when I woke up. I woke up so late that I overlooked it. =P It sucks getting old. And then at work, flowers came for me, yellow roses with accents of irises and some purple flowers. Also from Mr. W. People passing by the courtroom have been admiring them all day.

I also got a Prince tennis raquet from my judge along with a sporting good giftcard (Ann and I thought we’d brush the tennis rust off ourselves and start playing tennis together), a big bottle of Patron tequila and two gourmet mini cakes from my reporter…

…an efficient plug-in water boiling kettle from my courtroom assistant, and a surprise floral basket delivery from a mystery person. I figured out pretty quickly, as the card was written to “Cindy Lou,” that it was from Jordan, and I was right.

I had wanted a quiet birthday at work, mostly unnoticed, but you can’t be invisible very effectively when you walk out of a building with this stuff in your arms. I did feel very loved and appreciative. =)

Another thing I had asked Rebecca last Thursday was about Dodo’s health. I said I had concerns because he appeared to have lost weight. I didn’t give Rebecca any more information than that, but what’s been happening was that starting from a year back, he started to sleep all day. I barely saw him. He’d come by on his way to eat or drink or use the litterbox, meow a greeting, ask for ice, and then he’d disappear again. Sometimes he’d sleep on our bed and I’d go up and snuggle with him. I was always welcome; he’d purr, push himself against me as I petted him. I was just happy that the cone’s still off and there hadn’t been a recurrence of the compulsive eye-scratching. Then I started noticing he appeared to be smaller. I wasn’t concerned cuz he was a 10-lb cat. His vet says he’s the perfect weight for his breed (Scottish Fold), altho I remember back when we lived at the other place he was up to 12 lbs. A second vet visit about 8 months later, he’d dropped a little to where he was under 10 lbs. The vet asked if anything had changed with his diet, and I said I’d switched food (which I do periodically) to an indoor cat weight-loss formula. The vet said that’s good, cuz if Dodo just dropped a pound arbitrarily, they’d be looking into what’s wrong, as that’s 10% of his body weight! He then reminded me that Dodo’s not fat. And then in the past couple of months, I switch Dodo to a Purina wellness formula, i.e. Purina One: Vibrant Maturity 7+ Senior Formula. The packaging says this formula is “designed to promote your senior cat’s body condition and healthy energy level while helping maintain lean muscle mass.” The commercials always talk about how it’s like their pets’ biological clocks got turned back and they were youthful, playful, active again. Well, it WORKED. Dodo suddenly started hanging out with us again, he was awake most of the day, he would go outside and explore flowers, sing along when I played piano (he’s a little off-key, tho), visit with friends who came over, climb on the cat tree that he’d never used before, jump on the bathroom counters to sniff the faucet and taste the leftover drops in the sink after we’d run the water.

My parents came over recently and my dad noted, when petting Dodo, how every vertebrae on his back can be felt through his fur. I’d noticed it, too, and felt how prominent his hip bones have become on his lower back, but just figured hey, Dodo’s more active now. But my dad seemed a little concerned. So I thought I’d ask.

Rebecca came back with that Dodo’s kidneys are a little problematic. She said it wasn’t a big deal, it’s not terminal, but to get him to the vet so he could get his kidneys checked out for a possible bladder infection. I suddenly remembered how much water he’d drunk and how much pee clumps I’d found in the litterbox after returning from Napa a couple of weekends ago. “Is that why he’s sucking up all that water and going to the bathroom so much?” I asked. Rebecca affirmed. She again comforted me that it’s not a big thing, it’s an easy fix. Then she asked, “Is Dodo black?” I told her yes, he’s black and white. He’s black if you look from top-down, and he’s white on the underside.

Friday morning (the next day after talking with Rebecca), I looked at the litterbox again. Wow, there were a lot of pee clumps there from overnight. I mentioned to Mr. W that I need to take Dodo to the vet. He asked why. I told him what Rebecca said. He scoffed, “So you’re gonna spend all this money taking him to the doctor because some PSYCHIC told you to?! If you tell someone oh my cat’s been drinking all this water, frequent urination, of COURSE she’s gonna say bladder infection.” I said, “I didn’t TELL her anything before she said that!” I was annoyed that whole drive to work.

I made an appointment for Monday evening and took Dodo in. This is a new vet I hadn’t met before at the same clinic. She asked what my concerns were, as Dodo hid meekly behind my chair under a table. I gave her general info, and she checked his organs with her hands, checked his ears, eyes, joints, and weight. Everything looked all right, except for a little congestion around his sinuses from his allergies (which I knew about cuz he’d been sneezing and rubbing his eyes). And then she said, feeling Dodo’s abdomen as he struggled, “Hmm. He has slightly enlarged kidneys.” Eep! I asked about a possible bladder or kidney infection, and she said it’s possible. It’s also possible, with symptoms of weight loss, increased thirst/urination, more activeness, that it’s hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or kidney disease. WAAAAAAH!! She took Dodo to the back to check his weight. He’d dropped almost 2 pounds since his last visit, coming in at just over 8 lbs. That’s 20% of his bodyweight! Hyperthyroidism was starting to look realistic to her. We decided to get a full blood panel done to check organ functions and other potential problems. She tried to get a urine sample but couldn’t because Dodo had apparently just peed before we got home to pick him up. I comforted myself by thinking that Rebecca had said it wasn’t a big concern, just a kidney thing with bladder infection, she didn’t say it was something serious like kidney disease, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism.

As I was writing this post, I received a phone call from the vet with Dodo’s blood test results. “His bloodwork actually came back really clean! His kidney enzymes are normal, everything looks very good. He’s healthy, but we still don’t know what’s making him lose weight and what’s giving him the increased thirst and urination. I think he may have a bladder infection, so just bring him back in the next few days so we can get a urine test done.” WOW!! Just like Rebecca said! The vet ruled out everything else and it looks like a slight kidney thing with just a bladder infection! We can confirm this later, but meanwhile the vet already had me start Dodo on oral Amoxicillin drops twice a day.

My kid’s gonna be smart!!

I’m still up because I’ve been playing heartfelt lullabies to my unborn child for the past 2 hours. Ann had wanted to visit Rebecca with me since my first (and only prior) experience with her. I didn’t get consistent notices of when she was coming back to do another workshop at the coffee shop, so it had been a full year before I learned an exact date that I could attend (I was getting notices of her appearance days after it was already over, or I’d hear about my coworkers having attended earlier that week). Tonight (well, technically last nite now), Ann and I made it to her intimate group setting. She hit Ann’s life and her relationships dead-on with little to no cues from Ann, but that’s Ann’s business. Toward the end of the evening, it turned out that Ann, another coworker Frances, and I all had a question about my potential future pregnancy. It was Frances who raised her hand and said, “I wanna know if my coworker Cindy [pointing at me] is going to have children.” Rebecca smiled at me and closed her eyes to receive information. Her expression changed and I felt an immediate reaction in my own face and ears. I guess crestfallen is how I would best describe that moment, seeing her smile fade and a serious look cross her face. She opened her eyes and asked me solemnly, “Do you want to have children?” I was thrown.
“Well…yeah, but…” I thought about the timing and how we don’t want to get pregnant until November, and about my past of indecisiveness on the issue.
“Because I see one or two there ready, just waiting…” I don’t remember her exact wording, but as she went on I soon realized the confusion came from her SEEING that the souls of my “one or two” kids were present and unobstructed, so the only reason they didn’t yet exist is because there is something, perhaps a lack of desire, blocking them from incarnating. She also said there appeared to be some difficulty with conception.
Relieved, I explained that my husband had a vasectomy so there is no getting pregnant easily. She also seemed relieved as understanding eased her brow. She closed her eyes and looked to receive more information. I thought of how a lack of desire for these kids’ existence has certainly been the primary reason they weren’t yet on this plane; it’s what Mr. W had decided when he went for his vasectomy all those years ago. It’s the reason I wasn’t careless enough to get knocked up before Mr. W. Rebecca opened her eyes again, warned me that she’s just going to say it straight out. I got scared again. She continued, “I only see one side working.” What did that mean? She went on and described something about ducts connecting and not taking. “If he gets a reversal, only one side is going to function. I see the other side not ‘taking.’ You’d have to do more procedures, go the whole way, do other things — And he’s got a low sperm count.” She went on to describe what would happen and how slim the chances of conception are if Mr. W went in for a reversal operation.
I was relieved again. “Oh, we already looked into that, and we’re not going to do a reversal. We’re doing the whole extraction from both of us, inject in a petri dish and implantation.” She was nodding, looking again relieved herself that she was not delivering me bad news that would devastate me. She talked along with me, finishing my sentences, describing that all fertility procedures would have to be used. We know he has a low sperm count, that’s what vasectomy does, especially after a decade-plus of it. The urologist who examined Mr. W last month said as much, cuz I was hoping that we could just artifically inseminate (turkey baster) with the extracted sperm and he said they’d have to collect every day for a month to get enough sperm for that. The extraction and direct injection fertilization (ICSI) would resolve the low sperm count problem.
And then she said that I would have a boy. I couldn’t help it, I turned toward Ann and had a strong disappointing “Darn it!” reaction. I just always thought about my little girl. Maybe it was projection of myself as a little girl. But since I was in college, I’d decided (or saw) that I would have 2 kids, a boy and then a couple of years later, a girl. I guess since Mr. W and I figured we’d only have one, I’d “chosen” it to be the girl. My little Isabella. Rebecca laughed at my reaction and said, for the second or third time that night, that although her general accuracy is about 85%, she’s only about 50% accurate in reading the genders of unborn children. She said the baby just seemed to her to have a masculine energy, so maybe that’s a strong girl or a boy, she’s not guaranteeing anything. But since she said that, we started referring to this future child as “he.” I kept thinking how happy Mr. W would be to have another boy, and how disappointed Stepdaughter (and I) would be.
I took the plunge and asked about how difficult the labor and pregnancy would be. The group around me (all of whom happened to be women this evening) jumped in animatedly and joked about how of course it would be painful, but so worth it, motherhood is so rewarding, get a C-section, get drugs, get epidurals, etc. Rebecca’s eyes snapped open and she told me immediately, do NOT do a C-section unless it was absolutely a critical necessity. I said I was totally with her, I wouldn’t get unnecessary surgery. (Heh, I guess that means cosmetic surgery is out.) I wasn’t even one for drugs and I want to do this as naturally as possible. She nodded her approval and said I can get whatever pregnacy and labor counseling or training that I was comfortable with, naming a few terms I was totally unfamiliar with. The only terms I recognized were “lamaze” and “accupuncture.” I told her I’m determined to have the happiest pregnancy ever and that I wanted to abstain from epidurals during labor. She said that actually will be the case if I will it to be. She doesn’t see any issues with my pregnancy, she in fact sees the fertility procedures “taking” on the first try, and aside from a little nausea in the beginning which she assures me is common and normal, she doesn’t see any other problems. As for labor, she laughed a little and said she can SEE me in labor (in her head) and it’s not bad. I said, “Oh, so I’m not passed out or screaming or anything?”
“No, well, there’s a LITTLE screaming, but you’re fine. You can do this without the epidural. It’s bad at the transition, about 15 minutes, but leading up to it and afterwards you’re fine.” I can handle 15 minutes of “bad.” AND…I called it. See it here. I just read it earlier today. “This will be a normal healthy pregnancy, as your child will be. Healthy and normal.” I was SO happy to hear this. “And he’s smart.” She looked into some picture only she could tap into, and chuckled in amusement. “He’s REALLY smart.”
“Smart-ASS? I can totally see that.”
She laughed again and said, “You will definitely have your hands full. He’s one of those kids — like, he’s quiet and doesn’t say anything and then when he finally speaks it’s something like, ‘Can you take me to the bus cuz there’s something I need..’ ” I didn’t understand at first and then I realized she was talking about his first words. My godson’s first words also weren’t “mama” or “dada,” they came out in an argument with his mother, something about her telling him to pick up his toys or something, wherein she said to him, “Did you hear what I said?” and he responded indignantly, “Did YOU hear what I said?!” Before that, all baby babble. Rebecca looked into the ethers again, and let out another chuckle. “I can see [Mr. W] going, ‘I don’t know what to do with this kid!'” Awesome.
And then she said that it looks like we’ll have this kid, and then it’ll be 2-3 years before we decide whether to have a second kid. Interesting. I wonder if this is my girl. I know Mr. W does not want to have a fourth kid, at least not at this point. But then, a couple of years ago he didn’t want to have a third kid, and now we’re spending money to make sure we do.

When I got home, I was wired and Ann and I texted for a bit, neither of us able to sleep, excited about the stuff Rebecca told us about each of our lives. (Ann got some goooood news about hers.) And then I was inspired to hit the piano. I’m glad I have that release, because by this time I was so shockingly in love with my boy that the only way I was able to express it was by playing my heart on the piano, swaying under the enormity of the force of the energy pouring out of me. Mr. W was asleep when I came home and did not want to discuss my evening, and I was grateful for the digital piano and its plug-in headphones so that I could play as long and loud as I wanted and not have it heard anywhere but in my own head. Somehow, I felt that the music was being communicated to or from my future child(ren), somewhere up and out there. I felt very close to them tonight, like I could talk to them, reach out with my heart and touch their own.

I think that now, the excitement has worn down enough that I can finally hit the hay for a few hours before going to work tomorrow. I had started thinking about potential boy names a couple of weeks ago, caught myself, and wondered why I was bothering cuz wasn’t I going to have a girl? I guess I’m glad Rebecca’s only 50% accurate on baby gender because that’ll at least still be a surprise, then.

Oh, P.S…2012? Not the end of the physical world. The planets will all line up, which is a very unusual occurrence that hasn’t happened for thousands of years. This changes magnetic influences, so things are gonna feel or be a little weird, but it’s not apocalypse. To me, it sounds more like a “reset,” when the counters all reach 00000, to use a tracking dial metaphor. That makes sense that the Mayan calendar would end there, because everything has reached a full cycle. We don’t flip through our calendars and freak out that it ends in December; we know the year has cycled out and we get a new calendar for the next year. So it sounds like I’m getting what I was hoping for. I sort of called this one, too.

O.M.G. You guys have to watch this little 40-second clip with your sound on. I’m rolling!

I had an eventful weekend roadtripping up to NorCal, stopping by Sunnyvale to visit college roommie Diana and spending a few days in Napa for a meal and wine tasting, and Calistoga for Eddie & Michelle’s small private wedding ceremony. I’ll write about that when I’m able to get my photos together.

An odd memory played itself in my head this morning on the drive to work. I was 19, with my first boyfriend in the passenger seat of his mom’s Mercedes, which he was driving. We were on a main street in the Monterey Park area. We stopped at a red light. I looked left at opposing traffic, which was also stopped at their own light. I noticed a guy driving a pickup truck and stared at him because he looked exactly like an older grownup version of my then-boyfriend (whom we’ll call Jerome). This is unusual because Jerome is very unusual-looking, to put it euphemistically. I was just blown away that they looked this similar. That pickup driver, within the first seconds of my stare, looked up and weirdly turned to his left, looked across multiple lanes of stopped cars between us, and made direct solemn eye contact with me. That lasted 4-5 more seconds as I gawked at who appeared to be Jerome in the future. It took this long for Jerome to turn to his left. He didn’t see me staring, but he sure noticed that pickup guy staring, because he said irritably, “What the hell is THAT guy staring at?!” as the light turned and we started to move forward again. I didn’t say anything, and he thankfully didn’t turn to look at me. It seemed odd and ironic that he didn’t realize he was staring at himself. How many people in the world looked like that?! I was lost in thought for a few minutes after that. What is this, a wrinkle in time? I thought. Did the space-time continuum fold back on itself and give us a glimpse of the two juxtaposed realities? And if that’s the future, I thought with horror, Where was I? And what’s with the beat-up pickup truck? I also wondered whether the future Jerome, when enough time passed and he became the guy in the pickup staring at the younger version of himself with the girlfriend in the front seat, would remember that he was on the other side of the stare back decades ago. The stunned look of the pickup driver certainly suggested he made such a connection.

This morning, I thought with amusement about young love. We really thought we’d be together forever in our early relationships. I never told Jerome about this because it was creepy to me at the time and he scared easy anyway, so I didn’t want him to freak out that I was missing from his future AND he did not appear to be as affluent in his adulthood as his parents made him in his youth (something very important to him). I wondered if now is the time of the pickup driver’s present. Of course, knowing now what I didn’t know then, it makes more sense. Where was I, why wasn’t I in the pickup next to him? I was (am) having the time of my life with my handsome husband taking trips and goofing off at home and having fun with friends both in traveling and in home get-togethers. I happen to know that Jerome, after we broke up, rebounded to his best friend’s big sister and ended up knocking her up. I heard something about her telling him that precautions weren’t necessary because it was “medically impossible” for her to get pregnant. She explained the pregnancy by telling him that he must have some seriously lethal sperm so he walked around proudly saying, “Yeah, I’m the man! I’m the man!” (Typical him.) They got married in a small ceremony in his parents’ church when their daughter was very young, and then lightning struck in the same place twice as she once again got pregnant. The lie must’ve been apparent THEN, cuz she got her tubes tied after the second one. His parents didn’t like the union, didn’t like the age difference (she is older), didn’t like the racial difference (he’s Chinese; she’s Honduran), didn’t like the fact that they clearly had premarital sex (the parents are very religious and always preached to him about keeping his hands to himself), didn’t like that she was big, wasn’t college-educated, didn’t have a lucrative or prestigious career, didn’t come from a well-off family. They also didn’t like ME cuz I wasn’t good enough for their son, despite the fact that I straightened him out, got him to stop smoking and drinking (he was underage) and helped get him transferred into UCLA, where I was a student at the time. I reviewed his admission essay, application, hooked him up with the right people for recommendation letters, etc. But as soon as he got with the big sister, they partied together, drank, he picked up smoking again, because she made it a point that she was going to be exactly the opposite type of girlfriend that I was. And of course, she got pregnant (whereas I left him a virgin). She also made up a bunch of lies about me and talked crap about me with Jerome, wanting him to hate me, because in their early dating stage he’d broken things off with her and tried to get back with me (I’d ignored his attempts, which you’d think she’d be grateful for, but it apparently gave her a complex). His mom also treated me like crap. I remember, toward the end of our relationship, my driving Jerome back to their home after a day of my showing him around UCLA so he could buy the proper books and things to begin school there, and seeing his mother on the porch. I walked up and greeted her VERY politely in Mandarin. She completely ignored me, looked the other way, and called out to someone on the other side of her, thereby dismissing me. I left very quickly after that despite Jerome’s begging me to stay awhile. She had a large part of why I ultimately broke up with him; I didn’t think their own parenting failures should’ve been my problem, especially when I was not being appreciated for all the efforts I had put into their son. And he had serious issues.

So yeah, karma did her thing. I know about his lifestyle from mutual friends, and I’m happy I’m not still there. But I kinda wish I could be there when future Jerome drives his pickup one day and stares across a crowded street at past Jerome, makes eye contact with past Cindy, and realizes that she knew then who he was.

One of the most annoying things I can’t figure out right now with this phone is how to get the photos out of it so that I could post stuff. I’ve sent numerous emails with the photos as attachments to myself, and none of the emails ever make it. I only have these because I stole them off my social networking site (the phone seems to post there just fine).

So anyway, here was my Friday. We went here…

…to support and watch this…

We also invited a friend, which I tried to document with a picture…

…but as you can see the flash went off WAY before the photo was taken. So we tried again and got this…

…through which process I learned that my phone’s “night” function creates a flash so blinding that neither of us could see for 10 minutes after that photo was taken. (I also learned I hate flash that close to me. I look so gross.)

After the show Mr. W and I went to see the new Karate Kid movie, starring 11 year old Jaden Smith and produced by his parents, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. I think this is my favorite movie so far this year!! Jaden is AWESOME. Jackie Chan is hilarious. I heard Jaden actually trained in Kung Fu in China before he took on the role of Dre Parker in this movie. If you’ve seen the original Karate Kid movie from the 80s, you’d enjoy the inside jokes of this new movie running a parallel plotline with the original, but taking liberal departures to update the tone whenever it felt like it. The fly-catching scene and the waxing scene are two that come to mind. Watching Jaden is like watching a little Will Smith. All the same charm, humor and charisma. Plus some kick-ass martial arts moves. I’m happy the cheesy crane-kick has been replaced by a much more exciting single-legged back flip cobra kick. Read the synopsis here by Reuters, with interviews with Jaden Smith (big big personality! I look forward to great things from him in the future) and Jackie Chan (a personal friend of my deceased actor uncle in Taiwan). Does anyone wanna see this? I’ll go again!!

(Watch the above for Jaden’s musical performance and clips of the movie! I got a nice laugh in the end.)

So I may have inadvertently ruined the battery from the new LG Ally cell phone. Since all cell phone batteries have become universal and my old LG EnV2’s charger plugs into the new phone, I’ve been using that charger. The first day I had the phone, the battery drained in 8 hours. The second day, it lasted about that long with little to no use, and I tried using the USB charger that came with the new phone. After plugging it into my CPU, I checked it in 45 minutes to find that it had DRAINED 3%. I left it in all day and in almost 8 hours, it had charged 60%. This means that the phone drains at a faster rate than it charges on USB, and this is even with my Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi, and Syncing turned off. I was so irritated I took the phone back to Verizon. They tested the phone and gave me a new battery. One of the salesguys says that these new batteries take about 2 weeks to “season,” so with regular use in about 2 weeks, I should see a noticeable improvement in battery capacity. I happened to ask about using the old charger with this phone, and one guy said that’s not recommended because the old phone and this smartphone are so different, even tho the charger fits, it may be the wrong input capacity or whatever and having the wrong amount of voltage (I’m probably using all the wrong terms here) would ruin the new battery. Oopsie. When I got home I put away the old charger and pulled out the new one. It charged the phone MUCH quicker than the old one, and now that I’ve had the battery a few days, even with heavy usage playing online and downloading apps, the amount of usage time has at least doubled. Whew.

Now I can be properly excited about a new phone.

My LG EnV2 (which I LOVE) has been giving me weird problems in the last couple months. It’d shut off by itself and I wouldn’t be aware of it until I come back to my phone and see that it’s been off for who knows how long. Sometimes it’d shut off when I’m in mid-text-message. This happens even when the battery’s fully charged. It was driving me nuts so I looked it up online and found numerous complaints from others with the identical problem on this phone. Turns out the culprit is the battery not making perfect contact with the phone. I had a case on the phone until fairly recently, and when I took the case off, this started happening, so the case must’ve kept the battery in place. The solution is to remove the battery, clean off the metal points of contact carefully and gently with a pencil eraser, then put the battery back in. Some problems are more severe in that the battery is too short to fit the phone so when the battery slides up the millimeter, the contact is broken and the phone shuts off. People have resolved this by putting a sliver of cardstock (such as piece of a business card) between the top of the battery and the case to push the battery downward toward the base of the phone, maintaining contact between the metal parts. Altho my problem seemed to have gone away with just my eraser-cleaning, I started looking into the new-every-two program just in case, and discovered I’ve been eligible for a new phone for about 2 weeks now.

What to get? I definitely was not gonna cave despite the pressure from coworkers and people at home to buy into Apple for the iPhone. Besides, I was happy with my LG enV2’s capabilities (especially Vcast and the VZNavigator system), and wanted to stay in a similar realm. I didn’t want to pay a bunch of money for crazy access to apps and data downloads and supernatural capabilities of a phone which I mainly used for phone calls, texting, and emailing. If the iPhone could come up with an app where a little chauffeur pops out and drives me around so I can nap in my morning work commutes, I’ll buy in. But I probably couldn’t afford that app. So I researched what phones would be free for my new-every-2, that had a qwerty keypad, and that worked without changing my current data and phone package. After reading many positive reviews from people exactly like me and even going from the same phone, I decided on the Samsung Reality. Another perk that I read from the reviews is that this phone uses the same charger as my enV2, so I don’t have to buy new accessories! Yay.

So hubby and I went to Verizon after work yesterday. Somehow, somewhere between the door and the cash register, I ended up with a purchased LG Ally, which is an Android phone. It’s larger, heavier and bulkier than my last phone so it no longer fits in a specific pocket on my purse, but oh well, that just means I need to get a new purse. =D I was warned of a few drawbacks of this phone (sort of a hybrid between a feature phone like my last one, and a smartphone like the Blackberry or Droid), things that aren’t as great compared to the Droid, but I have friends who aren’t entirely happy with their Droids AND its price tag and 4-month waiting list crossed it off as a possibility for me. Plus, I didn’t like the smoothness of the qwerty keyboard on the Droid; I need tactile feedback to know where the keys are. (This is also a problem on the Samsung Reality, I found when I finally touched one.) I also wasn’t sure I wanted such an extreme phone. Hubby pushed for the Droid Incredible (most similar thing Verizon has to the iPhone) but I was clearly reluctant. Somewhere in there I was talked into compromising with the LG Ally, and I’ve been playing with it off and on since I got it. It does require the costlier separate data access plan, but the difference between my old plan and this one ended up being about $8/month, and the phone was free with the new-every-2. Additional perk: turns out that all phone chargers have been standardized! So I still don’t have to get a new wall or car charger for the new phone.

The new phone has a learning curve for someone who isn’t used the Android OS or smartphones, and I also think it’s much more phone than I need. Having 1/4 of the battery life I’m used to is gonna suck. Not having a detailed phone user’s manual was uncomfortable (I’m actually one to spend a couple of hours going over the manual with my new phones), but the box does include a Tips, Hints and Shortcuts booklet that I’m gonna read. I was advised to check out the video tutorials online to learn the phone features. So far I’m still pretty confused because I don’t know what a lot of the symbols on the phone displays mean. I plan to take advantage of the 30-day return policy to see if this is something I could love. Oddly, Mr. W is almost giddily happy that I got this. He keeps talking about switching to Verizon for an Android phone if he finds out through mine that it’s better than his iPhone. I think he just sees this as free opportunity for him to play with a new tech toy that he wasn’t able to get for himself.

Here’s a Friday ha-ha for you guys, altho it wasn’t funny at the time…

Yesterday morning, I posted this status message:
Cindy does not like dreams wherein Dodo’s tail falls off. =(
Claudio: It was a dream. Just put it back on!
Me: I thought it was going to grow back on its own! So I wasn’t TOO worried…until his intestines started coming out, too! Then I ran around trying to find a phone book in English so that I could find a 24-hr emergency pet hospital to take him to, but I couldn’t find any medical help! *cry*
Claudio: That happens when u only feed them chia seeds!
Me: cats aren’t vegetarian!

Earlier as I was sitting in my courtroom, I heard peals of laughter and giggles coming from the hall behind me. I poked my head out the door and saw two judges and a court reporter laughing. I said to one of my favorite judges, who apparently was the one entertaining the others, “I came to see what you’re drinking this early in the morning, and to ask if I could have some.”
As the other two waved their goodbyes and left, this judge said, “I’ll tell you the story, since I’m telling everybody…yesterday I was picking a jury on a double-murder trial, and one of the attorneys asked the [prospective] jurors, ‘Are any of you going to be squeamish looking at photos of dead people?’ One little blonde raised her hand. The attorney asked, ‘You’d feel squeamish?’ She nodded shyly. He asked, ‘Why?’ She said earnestly, ‘…Because I’m a vegetarian.’ ”
He laughed so hard he took out his handkerchief and dabbed at his eyes.

Now that I’ve FINALLY finished posting about our early-May trip to French Polynesia, I can write about current life again! Yay! So a couple of weekends ago on May 23, we invited Eddie & Michelle to our lake for a South Coast Symphony concert. They brought Michelle’s aunt, visiting from Taiwan, and I invited my parents, who had immigrated here from Taiwan. The “grownups” somehow made it into a Chinese food potluck. My mom made beef stew & tendon noodle soup, brought some vegetarian chicken, and Michelle’s aunt made some buns which she tucked cheese inside of. I was glad for the meeting, so my mom could stop asking me, “Who’s Eddie?” every time I tell her about attending their upcoming Napa wedding events, and it turned out my mom and Michelle’s aunt came from the same town in Taiwan. Unfortunately for Mr. W, since everyone got along capitally, he was left out of a lot of Mandarin conversations. 🙂 I TOLD him to learn Mandarin. We found out that Michelle’s aunt is a musician, and my dad loves the symphony, and the rest of us liked company, the Lake, and wine, so it worked out really well. The ONLY thing contrary was that Eddie had to wear and bring Trojan gear (as he always does), so I made sure to wear my Bruin wear. We probably looked funny in public together.
Mr. W and I had prepared cheese and crackers, cut up a variety of fruit, and Eddie and Michelle are wine connoisseurs, so they brought some great rieslings and bubblies. Here Eddie’s serving alcohol to us waiting folk at our spot on the lake lawn.

This is how close our 3 blanketed areas are to the stage. Mr. W and I had gone to the lake early to snag the spots and set up.

My vantage point behind Eddie.

The symphony played a variety of show tunes, and there were 3 opera singers performing. I just remember that one of them, a woman who seemed to be hosting the event, used to be the female lead in “Evita.”

Mom and dad had fun.

Look at all that ‘SC crap! blankets, scarves…

…and portable cooler bags. But WAIT…why does a Bruin have it in hand?

That didn’t last long.

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