3.31.2009

What to do with my life

After reading this, I suddenly felt as though there is, in fact, hope for me to do something else with my life. Instead of feeling afraid as I have been, I now feel optimistic that a world of possibilities is opening up before me.

You see, my job, although easy, sometimes fun, recently complete with business cards, and definitely cushy, does not fulfill me. So much of my self-identity is bound up in my job that when I'm wasting time (as I often am at work), I really feel I'm wasting myself. It's not necessarily that I don't even like the kind of work in which I'm trained; the fact is that I am pursuing employment in a dying industry. Newspapers left and right are folding, and magazines are surely next. I don't like sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day, either.

Steve Pavlina got me thinking about my purpose in life. He says to spend some time jotting down potential purposes in life until you hit on one that brings tears to your eyes. He says it takes on average about half an hour.
I spent hours thinking about this. The closest I've come is: My purpose in life is to show love to beings who feel unloved. Now, what does this mean? Work in nursing homes? Animal shelters? Escort services? (Kidding.) None of these line up with what I have below, however...

I decided to brainstorm professions, activities, or potential income streams that I think or know I might like, regardless of ease, availability, location, or extra training or schooling involved:

playing piano (or organ) in churches, department stores, etc.
renting my piano skills out for bands, events, whatever
writing cookbooks
freelance editing
personal training
veterinary care
being a dietitian/nutritionist
cosmetology
owning/managing a restaurant
cooking/preparing food in a restaurant
waiting tables in a restaurant
being a pastry chef
being a personal chef
catering
colon hydrotherapy
massage therapy
acupuncture
tutoring for English
detective work

...and that's all for now. What I need from you, please: more ideas, positive reinforcement, and constructive criticism. I really appreciate any direction in which you can steer me. Where would I excel? At what would I fail miserably? How do I reconcile my so-called purpose in life with a profession I can enjoy?

3.28.2009

My brief yet intense love affair with Austin.


Austin, Texas. The capital of the state where everything is larger. Go big, or go home (if your home is not in Texas).

Austin is not like the rest of Texas. Yes, it is flat and still has its share of hicks. But the weather is gorgeous. Stuff is cheap. They have American Apparel AND Urban Outfitters AND Buffalo Exchange. It is veggie-friendly, gay-friendly, and WARM! Apparently they are also still experiencing job growth - growth in general. The city is clean, friendly, and rather well-organized. There is no rail system, which is unfortunate.
If something happened where I could not stay in the Bay Area, I would move here. For sure.

Day one:
We drove around to see the city. We went to an insane toy store:



and Buffalo Exchange, which I have decided I LOVE.We tried to go to an Italian place, but it was not what we expected. It had a long line. Instead we went to a "French" place, which was basically a standard cafe. I had salad.

We went to my first gay bar with AC and her friends. RuPaul was there at the opening:


It was crazy. The bathroom especially was weird.
We went to other bars, too:


-

Day two:
We went to eat at Veggie Heaven. It was an Asian food place where everything was vegetarian. It was really, really good, but it was not what we were expecting. We thought it would be more like a cafe where you could get salad. But it was still so delicious; I had some kind of yam concoction with a coconut boba tea.

We went to Town Lake and canoed:




We weren't exactly dressed for it, so we were terrified that the canoe would tip whenever the wind blew. But it didn't, so I could still import these pictures. It was a great arm workout.

We had sangria margaritas and Mexican food at Trudy's for dinner. We had to wait a long time; it was crowded and fratty. I had a yummy vegetable plate.

Then we went to a bar/cafe with AC and her roomate H's friends to see another friend of theirs who was DJing. I requested "Flash Light" by Parliament, and he played it! Then we went to another bar, where some guys bought us a bunch of shots (I had not budgeted for this).

-

Day three:
We walked to Central Market for food. I had an enormous salad with a ton of fruit - strawberries, pineapples - and mango kombucha.

AC had to work, so AW's sister-in-law, MTW, came to entertain me. She was awesome. We went to Daily Juice, the only raw food cafe in Austin, where she had enchiladas and I had a barbecued coconut sandwich and watermelon juice. We got some orange cream cheesecake made with durian (?!) and some pecan-butter cups for dessert. Turns out that H is really good friends with MTW, so small world, eh?

We spent the night in watching Role Models. Funny even the second time.

-

Day four:
We biked to Daily Juice for breakfast/lunch. It was once again yummy. I had a crepe and blueberry lemonade. AC had an "egg salad" sandwich and a horchata. I need to find these recipes. Their bread is really amazing.

Biking is waaaaay easier here. It's so flat. I love it! We biked around town and went to Urban Outfitters and American Apparel. This place is dangerous for me.


I understand Austin is, like, the live music capital of the nation. Unfortunately, it seems everyone was all showed out after South by Southwest, so there weren't any shows while I was there. Maybe next time.

The flight back was bumpy. Then I had to go to M's birthday party. It was karaoke, so naturally I lost track of time and stayed up too late. So tonight will be a night of unpacking and decompression.

3.25.2009

A top 25.

I made lists today. This is nothing new; I love making lists for anything and everything: to-do lists, shopping lists, lists of new music to check out. But these lists were different because they defined exactly what I wanted. I made one for the next apartment and a few others I wish to keep private. The idea is that once you really, truly define what you want in something, the universe will hear your intention and bring it to you. That or you just become more aware of what you want and subconsciously become better at getting it. So we'll see if it works. My friend M did it, and it worked to bring her soul mate to her (he fit every item on the bill), so it should work for helping find a new apartment. Perhaps my expectations are too high, but hey, it can't hurt, right?

I've been having especially weird and vivid dreams this week. Today I took two naps and had nutso dreams in both of them. One had to do with C and getting lost and a pickup baseball game (do these even exist?). One had a bunch of friends from aikido in them. Some people (Z) were normal during the day and went crazy at night, like super ninja zombies. It was weird. I went to the beach with F and L and CH, and I had way more tattoos than I do now. Then we went to a Safeway for whiskey. I think other stuff happened, but it's all hard to delineate.

C left this morning for his last spring break ever. He went home to Missouri. He will return next Wednesday.
I need to finish getting ready for Austin (leaving tomorrow). I am excited! It is supposed to be generally warm and sunny. I hope we get to go swimming.

I had my first therapy appointment in forever today. We finally identified the root cause of my problems, so that's a big step. Now the only thing is to stop thinking disparaging things about myself and to stop certain people from saying, implying, or doing things that reinforce them. Easier said than done!

I've been seeing a lot of things on Facebook about albums that shaped you/changed your life, and it made me think a lot about mine:

1. Look What I Almost Stepped in - The Vandals
2. Fevers and Mirrors - Bright Eyes
3. Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie
4. Midnite Vultures - Beck
5. Good Mourning - Alkaline Trio
6. The Process of Belief - Bad Religion
7. Holding the Moment - Bane
8. Second Stage Turbine Blade - Coheed and Cambria
9. Ugly Organ - Cursive
10. Wet from Birth - The Faint
11. DUH - Lagwagon
12. The Gutter and the Garden - The Lovers
13. Absolution - Muse
14. Pretty Hate Machine - Nine Inch Nails
15. Purple Rain - Prince
16. The Shape of Punk to Come - Refused (Is this on everyone's list? It should be.)
17. The Unraveling - Rise Against
18. Heart - The Stars
19. Rituals of Life - Stretch Arm Strong
20. So Jealous - Tegan and Sara
21. Artist in the Ambulance - Thrice
22. Full Collapse - Thursday
23. Post-War - M. Ward
24. Fever to Tell - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
25. Sam's Town - The Killers

These all shaped and changed me, and not all in a good way. Look What I Almost Stepped in, for example, ironically corresponds to one of the saddest times in my life, and I have not been able to listen to it since.
These all come from my teenage years. I think it's because I was especially prone to being molded by outside forces then and not because significant albums are no longer coming out.
I would like to know yours. Here, I don't have to choose people to tag. :)

3.22.2009

Why I'm not in jail.


Friday was Dojo Movie Night! We watched The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I understand the soundtrack to this movie was the basis for all music in Western movies from then on. It was also the basis for a Vandals song, "Urban Struggle."


Young Clint Eastwood was a hottie. Too bad he only plays one character ever.

On Saturday, I slept until afternoon. Then we went to Trader Joe's.
Saturday night, we walked to Cato's Ale House in Piedmont, where I had the best tofu burger EVER! Usually, burgers marketed on menus as tofu burgers are nothing more than a Boca burger or Gardenburger or something. NOT THE SAME, people. This was actually a burger made of tofu, and it was SO GOOD. They didn't have any mustard (?), but I ate an enormous amount of salad beforehand and while there to make up for the damage something so delicious would cost me. They have a huge selection of draft beer, too. The only downside was the service: You basically have to jockey for the next open table and then go to the counter to order food and the bar to order drink. So there's no hosting or waiting service, but the food certainly makes up for it. One caveat: There is live music Sunday and Wednesday. I don't like to go to places having live music unless I am going specifically to hear said music. It just makes it too loud.

Today I made...

Cashew cheese and flax crackers:


I forgot to add the coconut oil, but what this cheese lacked in texture (it was only lacking some firmness), it totally made up for in cheeselike taste! Next time I might add a "rind" of herbs or spices or something. The recipe in I Am Grateful makes this a pepperjack cheese, but I didn't have any jalapenos and instead substituted a half-teaspoon of black pepper. Mmm. I am so happy. Nomnomnom.

Pizza:


Much more attractive the second time around. Thank you, Trader Joe's, for giving me easy access to whole-wheat pizza crust that I don't have to spend hours making! C and I both give this pie an A+. F's stuff was delicious for crust-dipping! It was so good, in fact, that I think I'm going to use it as salad dressing.

And this granola is a work in progress:


It looked simply gorgeous outside, so I walked down to Lake Merritt to read some of Blink and to spend some quality time with myself. But appearances can be deceiving as we all know, and it was windy like a hurricane out there. I should have known, judging by all the cirrus clouds in the sky. It was nice, though, on those rare moments when the wind was not blowing. I can't tell yet if I got any sun. Oh, to be tanned and golden instead of pasty and emo! Maybe the sun in Austin this weekend will do the trick.

Today, I talked to AW and my parents on the phone. I'm surprised nobody asked me about the recent OPD tragedy. Maybe they didn't see anything on it till later when they watched 60 Minutes. I cannot wrap my brain around how human beings want to shoot, torture, rape, molest, and otherwise seriously injure each other. I can't judge and act like I know their motivations, though, because I don't and will never will. I guess that is partly why I am not in jail, hm?

I like posting in this blog more often than I used to. Not only do I gain clarification and perspective on my daily happenings by rereading past entries, but I also get advice from you people! So thanks for reading and for telling me what you think.

3.19.2009

Piedmont: where the clubs are hoppin'


Here's Sadie on her scratcher/chair.

I love getting my nails done. Kelly over at Mizu Spa really works magic with my cuticles:


...in case you wondered what my feet look like now.

It's so relaxing. They put this warm compress thing around your neck that smells really good. They give you water or tea. They sit you in these comfy armchairs with all these pillows. After soaking your appendages and doing your nails, they massage your feet and hands with delicious-smelling lotion.
Nail polish is stinky, toxic, and chips easily. So I just get a buff, which is awesome and makes it look like I'm wearing amazing, unchippable clear polish. It's been a long time since I had one and will likely be a while before I get one again. I can maintain it pretty well for a while, though, especially because they'll give you the buffing block afterward if you ask.

I have serious posture problems. Apparently you can buy a back brace on Amazon. It seems my will and muscle alone can't manage to align my spine properly for longer than 60 seconds.


"Wear under or over your clothes!" Why would I ever want to wear it over my clothes? This might help me. I think I will lay off the spending for a month or so, though, as I incurred major credit card debt this month due to computer, blender, etc.

These new things couldn't be nicer! LOVE the Vita-Mix. I really noticed the difference in smoothie consistency this morning. If you let it run for too long, though, it'll start cooking your stuff. Ew, hot smoothie. I can't wait to use it in my nut-cheese-making foray this weekend.
I'm using my new computer as we speak.

This is IT. NO MORE STAYING UP LATE. I can't even get all of the minuscule amount of work I have to do at my job done because I keep nodding off. Seven hours doesn't do it for me. Even eight hours doesn't seem to do it for me. I think I need nine nowadays. So, bedtime at 10 except for Mondays, when CSI: Miami is on, in which case I'll push it back to 11, and for weekends, because I rarely have to get up for anything and so can sleep in. I'm laying down the law. I have to. I really do want to be healthy, so I need to make things like that a priority.
I scheduled my colonic series. It'll start while C is away on spring break and last six days. I am going to juice fast for real this time starting that Sunday night. Since C will be gone, I will not have any food around that could tempt me off the fast and hopefully will be able to make it three days. I fail every time I try this, but I read that springtime is more conducive to such cleanses, so maybe this time it will be easier. My colon hydrotherapist told me that some guy came to her while suicidal but had 21 sessions in a row, and this apparently fixed it. My first colonic was incredible; my second, not so much, but I think I was unconsciously not letting myself release things, if you catch my drift. After that week, I'll be light as a feather!

We walked to Piedmont instead of the lake for once. It was a nice change. There's a lot going on in that neighborhood! It's too bad there isn't a BART station there; otherwise we might consider moving there.

3.18.2009

Stuff

St. Patrick's Day was a really bad day for me. It started OK - I mean, I was kind of tired from restless sleep the night before, but nothing new. I went to work, but I had to deal with a bunch of writers' tax stuff again. I don't mind working with writers, but I have not been trained to know anything about how to handle 1099s, levies, etc., so naturally I make mistakes when I am forced to handle it. But I'm pretty sure even doing that is not in my job description. At least I'm finally getting business cards! I hope mine come back with pink writing.
Then I had an extra-long BART ride home and rushed to aikido. Here's where things start getting really bad. My mind was simply not functioning. I couldn't even roll right. I couldn't process what anyone was saying, I was a giggle machine, and toward the end I almost cried because I just couldn't do what we were doing with the bokken. I just could not make my body do it. I tried very hard and was frustrated. I spent time after class yesterday working on the seven bokken suburi, and I'm going to keep working on it until I notice improvement.

My new computer came!


Ain't she a beaut? It has taken an ENTIRE DAY to transfer all my documents from the old Mac to the new one. It must have been a) because I didn't have a Firewire cable and had to use the internet connection to transfer stuff and b) because I have a lot of music and pictures.

I wish all fruit were in season all the time. I like strawberries and apples and kiwis and clementines, but come on, I also want some blueberries, cherries, mangos, grapes, and pineapples RIGHT NOW!


I think I need to move to the tropics. I might give 80-10-10 another shot this summer when there is more fruit around. I just feel like I haven't quite hit on the right eating solution yet.

I go to Austin soon! I am excited. I can't wait to get some sun on this white, veiny body!
The weather here right now is just gorgeous, but it's not swimsuit weather. After a series of naps, I got out to the post office today to take care of my passport and mail AW a book. I think I'm going to revise all my posts to abbreviate names because I've given myself relative anonymity with the initial "S," and everyone in my life deserves that same courtesy.

Speaking of friends, F had a very thought-provoking explanation for my near-constant laughter. "It must be how you release energy," he said. I wonder why everyone doesn't do it that way. It's kind of fun. F was generous enough to bring jars of his mother's stuff - I think he said olive oil, basil, garlic, and maybe some other stuff - for dipping or smothering purposes. I need to figure out how I'm going to use it. I could go with a big loaf of crusty bread or some zucchini pasta or... what else does one do with this stuff?
I used the word "stuff" far too many times in that paragraph.

M's birthday celebration is next Sunday. It's karaoke! Yeah! I'll be fresh off the flight from Austin, but I need to think of something to get or make her. She's way craftier than I, so doing something impressive will be hard. Hmm...

3.15.2009

ROACH WARS: vol. II


C said he spent half an hour going after this sucker. They got into the pantry now, though, so we had to empty a cupboard and caulk up the cracks. I took this opportunity to organize my myriad spices, extracts, and dried herbs. It made me want to organize the whole kitchen, but our TV shows came on.

I already got out of my routine this week. It was supposed to rain today, so I decided not to bike to aikido and instead go to the gym. Plus C and I have a date Friday to celebrate the end of his capstone class. So instead of going Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I guess I'll try to go Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The gym was blasting the pop-punk tonight, and it looks like they were rearranging the machines or something. I watched some girl work out with a personal trainer. If I hired a personal trainer, I would choose someone who had the kind of body I wanted. It seems like a job I would enjoy if I also got to work with the dietary aspect of it. If editing doesn't work out, I might go for a certification in personal training. I think I might have to get my biceps a little bigger, though.

Every time it rains, C's car fills up with water. It takes forever to drain, maybe three or four dry days. So naturally, his car has been full of water for a few months now - you can hear it in the doors and see it in the trunk. Today, he took everything out of the trunk to try to fix the problem. Turns out that those crazy Japanese folks over at Toyota decided to install rubber plugs - yes, PLUGS - throughout the car to prevent it from draining. This makes no sense to me, but now we won't have this problem again. The trunk will likely still get wet inside when it rains, but there won't be any standing water sloshing about and breeding mold.

We made pizza, but it looked hideous because I screwed up with the assembly. Maybe next time I'll get it right. And I made the lemon cashew cheesecake from I Am Grateful. I'd take a picture, but there's nothing spectacular about it.

I need a mani-pedi. Like, yesterday. I've let my nails get dull and my cuticles raggedy. I'll try to make an appointment for tomorrow or Thursday.

I am working on acceptance. That doesn't mean that I'll just resign and let life happen to me; rather, it means that I'll keep doing what I'm doing but without trying to control the people around me, myself, or the outcome of anything. I want just to be OK with anything that happens. I think I'm getting better at it. I'm having fewer woulda-coulda-shoulda moments. I rarely think, "I wish this wasn't the way things are." I need to accept circumstances and react to them the way they are instead of the way I wanted them to be. I need to accept other people and meet them on their own terms, revising my expectations for who they are and how I want them to behave. I need to accept myself and my shortcomings.
I would love for something just crazy to happen to me: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or something, anything to shake up my life and make me think. But I can't rely on outside forces for that stimulation. I need to make my own luck, as the cliche (sorry) goes. Yet I am afraid of losing the stability and security I have now. What can I do to break out of routine but still not lose what is dearest to me?

Dear friends, I love you.

Yesterday, I went to breakfast at Cafe 'Tude with M. I ate their "porridge," and it was the first time I've ever eaten something there that wasn't spectacular in every way. Actually, that's not true; I had a chocolate-goji berry cheesecake once that was not very good, but I kind of knew it wouldn't be.

Anyway, then I went to the farmer's market, where I bought a whole bunch of the Afghan bolani and pesto that we love. Dates, though, are way cheaper at Trader Joe's, so I don't think I'll buy them at the market anymore. I also got salad with purple "edible flowers" instead of the yellow ones.

I ate some starfruit!


It took me back to my childhood. It's so beautiful, but I definitely remember it tasting better.

Last night, SM had a housewarming/Pi(e) Day party! It was a beautiful new place in the buildings that we have long admired from afar. It's like a hotel inside! I forgot to take any pictures except of my pie:


Notice the subtle "pi" pattern in the center.
The crust was pecans and dates. The filling was strawberries, dates, and lemon juice. The topping was cacao nibs. In addition to the sliced strawberries, the pureed filling did not make enough. I should have doubled that to help with the cohesion issue this pie/tart had. It came together really fast because I didn't have to bake it!
I didn't have more than a bite of this and didn't eat any of the other pies at the party, so I am very proud of myself. I did, however, perhaps imbibe a bit more wine than I should have. You know it's been a good night when you fall asleep in your eye makeup.

I love my friends because they put up with me talking a lot. When I'm with someone I know really, really well one-on-one, I don't talk half as much as I do when I'm in a larger group. I get social anxiety really bad and overcompensate by constantly running my mouth.

Our roaches are still there! GROSS! C took out all the drawers in the kitchen and found possibly pregnant ones walking around! EWWW!!!!!!!!111!!!!1!
So the drawers are just hanging out on our counter until we can get some "large roach" traps and some chemical-laden spray. We're not sure whether this is the landlord's problem or ours, but why wait? And we don't really want anyone bombing the apartment. Does anyone know a less-toxic solution?
We cleaned everything today. It's so hard to keep the place clean. We both feel like we're always wiping stuff down, doing dishes, picking stuff up, etc., but it's still a mess. The space issue only makes it worse! I'm looking forward to a bigger place and getting rid of this couch.

Yesterday was also ES's 15th birthday. I sent her some money. She said she didn't get to choose the restaurant where my family went to dinner last night. I think that's lame.

Today will be a day of weekly food preparation and a trip to the gym, I hope. I also need to write my thank-you notes. I'm really slacking here!

3.13.2009

Pie and other musings.

I got my tax refund! Now it's time for a new computer, a new blender (Vita-Mix 4500), and a student loan payment! Yippee! If I have any extra money, I might buy a top or two.


I kind of miss shopping at Goodwill. But I don't miss the ill-fitting clothes I wore during those days. I used to buy T-shirts in the little boys' section and tapered-leg corduroys for $3.99. Lucky for my public image but unlucky for my bank account, I am more tuned in to fashion now.

It was another beautiful day despite beginning and ending overcast and chilly.

Last night was another disrupted-sleep night. I accidentally nodded off during what was apparently the funniest part of the whole team meeting at work today, so I'm sorry I missed it, but I truly couldn't help it. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and cuddle with Sadie, and that will likely be achieved in actuality very soon.

I had a dream last night that AW came to visit me at my parents' house, where we ate lots of spaghetti. We drove in my old car to my grade school, and we went to the cafeteria and walked around. I was dating P. Diddy, and he was just shooting me and shooting me with a gun, although apparently not in any vital organs. And I was crying and screaming and begging him to stop, but he never did, nor did anyone take me to the hospital. My parents didn't care that he was shooting me repeatedly. When I finally made it to the hospital, it turned out that he wasn't shooting me with bullets but with memory cards (like the kind you'd put in a camera) that held romantic songs. And then I was like, "Aw, how sweet."

Another weird dream I had was about zombies! Eating a certain boxed chocolate flavor (I think it was one of those "fruit cream" chocolates that are never very good) made this one guy a zombie. But simply touching a zombie with your bare hands made you a zombie; you didn't have to get bitten to become one. The only thing was that the zombies were pretty good at hiding the fact that they were zombies, and you didn't find out until it was too late. So a few friends and I (sorry, I can't remember who you were) locked ourselves in an apartment and prepared to do battle. We wore latex gloves and ski masks to minimize risk of touching the zombie directly. The backyard resembled my parents' backyard, and the head zombie was hanging out by the swingset. We knew that if we took care of him, somehow, the other zombies would die, too. So we tasered him until he died, and then we celebrated because we saved the world (except for the people who were also zombies; they died, too).

WTF, right?

We've been watching Flight of the Conchords on Netflix. It's hilarious. I remember when AP (a somewhat-native New Zealander) first showed me a video of one of their live performances way back before they were big in the States. I loved it then and now.

I am so happy it's Friday. I am going to sleep in like crazy tomorrow. Or at least take a nap that is as long as I want without feeling guilty.

I went to aikido, and then we all went out for Indian food at Currylicious. Training was really hard and funny. A glorious time was had by all. I really like my friends there. Everyone is so nice.

It looks like I shall be attending a Pi Day/housewarming party, so I need to make a pie. It turns out that I don't have that many pie recipes, even though I love pie. I guess there are limited things you can do within a pie crust. I could go with chocolate bourbon pecan or (raw) chocolate strawberry. I'll see how I feel morning of.

3.12.2009

But how will this make me FEEL?

I found a recipe for raw vegan Girl Scout cookies today, specifically Samoas. When the boxes I already bought disappear, I'll likely transition to those and never look back! Full of fat, but low on sugar, which is how I think I do best, really. Even though I love sugar.
Those cookies are the reason my sleep was so disturbed last night: I ate too many. My digestive system doesn't deal well with the myriad dietary sins committed in each cookie. I think I slept maybe four hours, so I called in late to work and slept maybe another hour and a half. So I have to stay late today. I didn't have enough energy to get to the gym.

For some reason, the consequences of anything I do aren't considered immediately before or during each action I take. I know eating crap keeps me awake and makes me feel guilty, yet those thoughts are far from my mind when I just can't resist those cookies any longer. I know that staying up late reduces the amount and quality of my sleep, yet I can't seem to get to bed any earlier because I'm doing "important" things... like watching Letterman. I should make asking "How will this make me feel later?" a routine before everything I do.

My new favorite salad dressing: lemon juice, garlic, and salt.


I eat a lot of salad.
Here we have salad, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and lentil sprouts. Plus dressing! Yeah!

My rash came back. Sad. And itchy. What on earth could it be? I put coconut oil, lotion, cortisone, even anti-itch cream on it, and no luck. It's weird because it's only under my tattoo, so you can't really see it, but you can certainly feel the bumps and I the itch!

I need to write thank-you notes for my birthday gifts, go to the bank, and purchase some items sometime soon. I ordered my bikini today. Backordered - of course!

It was so lovely outside today. Sunny and actually kind of warm. Too bad I had to stay indoors all day because I came in late.

I'm not usually watching TV at this hour. Often I am at aikido, at the gym, eating dinner, or something. But right now, I am watching TV, and the best thing on is Dr. Phil. I can hardly believe this is a show.

I am so sore and so tired. I am going to stretch, make my lunch for tomorrow, shower, and go to bed early. For real this time.

3.11.2009

When inspiration struck

Today we went to get that CD out of my computer. The Apple Store is such a pain. They got it out but weren't able to do anything about the CD drive, which is apparently super-broken. Now it constantly thinks there's a CD going in and out of the drive, so it's always making noise. I even tried to put a CD I didn't want in there so it would shut up, but now there's even something blocking the insertion place! So now I've got this old CD stuck halfway in my computer, and it's STILL making noise. I can't wait for a new one. I will take especially good care of it. I think the reason this one has so many problems is because I was really hard on it in the early years.
I also can't wait for an iPhone! Man, I really spoil myself. Apple is lucky to have me as a customer.

I took a two-hour nap today on accident. I wanted to do some other things but didn't because I was dreaming about being a secret agent at a dojo party. My assigned task was to kill some guy with heroin-laced chewing gum; he was supposed to OD and die (by the way, it was some dude I'd never seen before, not anyone who actually attends the dojo). I screwed up and gave everyone at the party the chewing gum, which was hidden under a pile of laundry (?), so everyone got sick. K Sensei suspected it was me, so I had to run. I apparently wasn't very good at hiding, though, because L had to run with me and show me how to hide. He seems like he'd be good at hiding in real life. We hid under beds, in forests, and from CIA and FBI agents. Turns out, though, that the CIA agents were actually on my side and knew about my mission. Anyway, so we ran and hid and ran and hid all over the country, and finally, by lying and maneuvering very carefully, I was able to convince everyone it wasn't me. But then the people who knew it was me turned on me! Before I could shoot everyone Jack Bauer-style, I woke up.
I dream about aikido people all the time. My dreams are always bizarre, rarely sexual, and impossible to confuse with real life. You know how people have the same kind of dream often, like they're being chased or missing an exam in college or falling or flying? Yeah, I never have dream reruns. Ever. Not even close.

I went to Tip Top Bike Shop today. It was awesome! I went in for a new headlight since the one I had before was bulky and cheap and just recently shattered into a million pieces. The people there were nice and knowledgable and showed me the best lights instead of letting me fall for a more expensive one that I didn't need.

Tonight at aikido was my first thing where a bunch of people attack you at once. In my case, it was only two. EDIT: I thought it was called yokomen, but I could be very, very wrong. It was not very good, but it was my first. I have a kyu test at the end of this month or beginning of next. I also took the next step toward high falls: "the dog." So now my butt hurts real bad. It hurt already from doing lunges and squats yesterday.

I used to write. Lots of stories and even started what I thought would be a novel. Then as I had less spare time in high school, I stuck with poetry as it could be as short as I wanted. Then in college, I had all my love for writing beaten or sucked out of me; to hear people who know better criticize every word you scribble with nothing positive to say or even any desire to just leave it alone for once really decreases one's motivation to write. The professors did this to everyone I knew except the people who wrote exactly like they would, so I have no idea how some are still sticking with it.
Anyway, I miss it, but I wrote a lot of interesting yet nonsensical things while I was sick. Here's one:

-

urgency
colors everything i do.
i know that i’m running out of time.

when i’m lonely,
i reach out to whoever will listen,
selling my soul for their love
regardless of its quality.
it’s because i want to live everything
and be everything
and feel everything,
no matter how much it hurts.

i don’t want to die,
and i fear it every moment.
i want to have the full experience
of being alive
and knowing i couldn’t have done any better.

but i’m also afraid
of living as i please
and being what i dream
and feeling how i want
and giving myself to you.

-

I used to consider myself very good at this. And the piano. Sigh. I need to practice all my skills more.

I like this freelance editing I'm doing. It's much more challenging and varied so far.

3.10.2009

hongry

Today there was a guy walking down 3rd Street when a pop can fell (or possibly was tossed) out a third-story window and landed square on his head. I was right behind him and only saw it coming a fraction of a second before it hit. He looked around like "WTF?!" and then went on his way. I had to laugh. I wish I had a picture of the scene right before the can landed, with the can about a foot above his head.

I went to the Whole Foods at Harrison and 4th because it was on my way home and I had to get some salad. I also got some starfruit, which I haven't had in forever and will likely dig into tomorrow. I wish I had also gotten some avocados because I just cut open my last good one.

So I'm doing freelance editing for neo-factory.com. I've only started on the Web site, but I do hope they send me more documents to edit. I like where this is going so far. It's challenging work.

Starting Monday 3/2 was the Intro to Aikido for Adults class. It's four Mondays in a row. I missed last week's, but I went yesterday and was happy to see it was very crowded! You never realize how much you know until you try to teach it to someone, and last night, I realized I was very good at taino henko. Hey, it's a start. It was very cold on the mat, though, and my toenails turned blue and my feet numb.

I've been really self-conscious about my stretch marks lately because I'm looking at getting a new bikini. Now that I'm officially an adult, I'm not sure a pink plaid or Hello Kitty two-piece really works anymore. I read that self-tanner hides stretch marks, but then there's the upkeep of using self-tanner. Do you think a regular suntan would make them less noticeable? They're not colored; they're just kind of like dents. I wanted to get a Brazilian bikini bottom, which is skimpier than usual, but not if tanning that part of my body won't do me a bit of good.


It looks kind of like that, with less back coverage than your standard bikini. I want it in black.


And I want this top in white. I am not at all a fan of the matching bottom here, though.

I ate lunch at my desk today and used my lunchtime to lie on a park bench and attempt a short nap. I wasn't too successful because the bench was hard and flat and there were bums having loud conversation nearby, but I did snooze a little. Maybe I'll bring a pillow and blanket to work and lie in the grass next time.
I am definitely not bringing enough food to work. I cram my lunchbox full of food and also bring a thermos full of green smoothie, yet I am always starving and out of food by the time 3 p.m. rolls around. Today I brought my enchilada, kiwi, dates, brazil nuts, lentil sprouts, tomatoes, and smoothie, adding up to nearly 1,000 calories. Is that not enough? What else could I bring?

3.09.2009

daylight savings time

AC came to San Francisco! Unfortunately, it was a weekend relatively devoid of pictures. Friday, we walked through Hayes Valley all the way past the Fillmore and into Japantown. The next day, she and her study-abroad friends (Japan) hit all the tourist destinations while I attended an aikido workshop.

...which was so much fun! So many people were crammed into the tiny dojo. The best (and worst) part was practicing the bokken, or the sword (don't freak out; it's all wooden). I'm not very good at it yet, so my arms are still really sore. But it was awesome to watch the people who were good at it. You know that if they had to, they would most certainly kill someone. After that was a party with hardly any food I could eat. Luckily I brought a little something called cookie pie. It was so delicious, and I plan on making it again this weekend. MMM.

Sunday, AC came over to Oakland and stayed with us. We went to Lake Merritt (where I finally got a little sun) as well as Trader Joe's. Get this: I bought almost all our groceries there (except salad because they didn't have huge containers and I would have needed to buy 18 bags of salad to equal what I usually get) for less than I would usually spend on a combo Whole Foods-Discount Grocery trip. Trader Joe's is so exciting! They're really keen in the snack department, too.

We went out for Ethiopian for dinner, and it was so yummy. I love the way they cook collard greens. Then we went back, hung out, watched TV, and chatted, and I made my food for the week, which was sun-dried tomato/chile/pumpkin seed enchiladas in dehydrated spinach tortillas:


This isn't my picture, but they look kind of like that green tube with white zigzags on it. Finally, the tortillas kind of came out right. I let them dry overnight and then dipped them in a little water to make them pliable again. I also made a cashew sour cream.

I used my juicer to make almond butter. I think I'll stick with the food processor method from now on, though.

I don't want to jinx it, but I think the skin on my face is starting to clear up. I'm trying SO HARD not to pick at it. I still have that itchy rash on my lower back, though. The color is really falling out of my tattoo there. When the rash goes away, I might have it touched up.

In other appetizing news, we got some roaches. We put out traps for them, but I still saw one crawling around this morning.
I've tried, but I simply cannot view bugs on the same level as the rest of life. They're too creepy, too crawly, too fast, and really quite unintelligent. If they weren't so fundamentally icky, I would have no problem eating them for protein and B12.

I had breakfast Sunday morning with M and V at the new Cafe Gratitude in the Oakland Whole Foods. It was so yummy. I just had orange juice and granola with almond milk. I should buy some of their granola next time I am there. Or I guess I have the recipe, so maybe I should just make it myself so it's cheaper.

It's getting colder. At least it is very sunny and we have one more hour of daylight!

3.05.2009

It's my birthday!

A special holiday only for me, so do what I say!


I like to make a huge deal out of my birthday.

Shopping:


Dinner:


Burmese cuisine is rather nondescript, spicy, soupy stuff over rice. The best part was the soup. It certainly was not worth the hour and a half wait, but it was still good. I had wanted to go there for quite some time because we tried to go there before and didn't wait and I had heard it was soooooo good. C had a parking spot right on the corner!

Fun:
I got lots of phone calls and stuff from my family and friends, so thanks for that:


Cupcakes from Mom, Dad, & co.


Homemade card from AW.



Card, socks, and flowers from C.
Facebook notes, text messages, and Twitter replies in abundance.

See? I'm using capital letters appropriately now. It's hard not to slide back into bad lowercasing habits, though.

I got a bruise on my foot. I think somebody stepped on it last night in aikido. Sensei described me as "very sensitive," i.e., inexperienced and not very tough. This, however, is not entirely true. I don't feel pain. Physically, that is.

AC is coming to SF tomorrow! I don't know what she has planned, but I hope we get to meet up. Today is her birthday, too!

What does it mean to be 23? I think it means I can no longer pass for college-aged because of the four-year bachelor's degree stereotype. I guess this means I'm a real grown-up now. Last year was just practice.

I was planning to make a huge payment on my student loans with my tax refund. However, with a five-year-old computer that is missing some keys, retaining several major dents, constantly needing to be plugged in, and has a CD currently stuck inside it, I've decided to buy a new computer with some of the money. I think five years is a really good run for a computer, don't you? I would like to get a new one before this one totally craps out so much that I can't transfer my music and data and such. So next week when I get my money, I'll go to the Apple store, get this CD out of my computer, and purchase a new one. Then and only then will I thereafter buy a new blender and put the rest on my student loans.

3.04.2009

national grammar day

check out the sushi i made:


it was so nice, i photographed it twice:


and no, i didn't use all that wasabi.

it's that time of year again: happy national grammar day! is it coincidence that it occurs the day before my birthday? i think not. celebrate by having a grammartini!

the new cafe gratitude opened in the oakland whole foods!!! now i only have to walk a couple blocks instead of going all the way to berkeley. i am so excited! i went there today to buy myself a slice of birthday cake:


i didn't ask, but i think the flavor is lemon poppyseed. for some reason, with the poppyseeds looking like a kind of "crust" and the lemon on top, it looks a bit like a salmon fillet to me. weird.

speaking of cake, i wanted to take cupcakes to my friends at aikido. yeah, maybe i just wanted to call attention to myself and the fact that tomorrow is my birthday, but so what?


i know; they look like boobs. i realized this about halfway through applying the chocolate chips. i just decided to roll with it.


i lost a bunch of weight but then put it back on again. by "a bunch of weight," i mean five pounds. but still, it seems like a lot on a person like me. i think i've been eating more food because of aikido, which apparently doesn't burn as many calories as i was assuming. oh well. after my birthday, it'll be back into diet mode again.

3.02.2009

my raw cheese experience



in two words: not good.
i tried some at the farmer's market.
the taste sensation was incredible, magnificent. but still it was not as good as i had hoped.
it gave me gas, bloating, constipation, addiction (all told, i probably ate four ounces of cheese in the span of fifteen minutes, going back again and again for another piece), and cravings for things i usually don't want.
i had heard that cheese made with unpasteurized milk can have a different effect on the body than regular old cheese can. this did not apply to me. never again.

i did my taxes this weekend. turbotax says my refund is going to be enormous! i can buy a new blender and make a huge dent in my student loans!

also, a future freelance opportunity was presented to me today. the extra cash will be good.

i've ordered new hiking shoes for hawaii:



and new rain boots because my old ones now have holes in them:

3.01.2009

trader joe's!!!

c is a genius. he suggested we go to trader joe's rather than whole foods. he estimates we'll save over $125,000 per year shopping at trader joe's instead of whole foods. i agree - that's more than $2,000 a week! haha.

GUESS WHAT I FOUND???!!!?


BRAZIL NUTS!
and valencia almonds. and pumpkin seeds. and other delicious things. we spent half of what the same amount of stuff would have cost at whole foods. the only bummer is you can't get EVERYTHING at tj's; they didn't have parsnips, for example. but now maybe i can menu plan to only hit up tj's for the most part. their selection of raw nuts and seeds was incredible!

we watched body of lies and burn after reading. on a scale of 1 to 10, i would rate the first at an 8 or so due to action, suspense, and likable characters. i would rate the second at 2 because it sucked. i didn't like anyone in the movie except the gym manager, and he (along with everyone else) got killed. the story was kind of clever, but it was mostly a waste of time.

SLUGG-E


he's like wall-e, but a slug. we found him on a hike in pacifica yesterday:


and his brother:


and his friend the groundhog:


we had lots of great views:




it was a little cloudy, but the sun poked through a few times. check out the light on the water:


and then we went down to the beach to drink diabolique merlot and watch the sun set on the surfers:



this is my favorite part of living here, i think.

yesterday i went to the farmer's market. i waited until about an hour before it closed. that's the thing to do so you can get the deals from everyone trying to unload their stuff. i got a pound of greens free (that's $5 saved) and a box of dates free because the date guy said he didn't like them when they got all mushy (that's $7 saved). sadly, they did not have any brazil nuts. it seems that no matter where i go around here, nobody has them! but they turn up in planter's mixed nuts all the time! so i guess i'll have to order them. or maybe rainbow grocery in the city has them. they also have dr. cow "cheese" that i've been dying to try, so i hope to get there at some point next week. if all else fails, there's always the internet.

ac is coming this weekend! it's both of our birthdays, so things might get a little crazy.

i have to go to the grocery and the library today. tonight i am making some quinoa. later this week, i need to make cupcakes to take to aikido to celebrate my birthday and something for saturday's dojo workshop. i don't think i'll ever stop baking occasionally. i love to bake things and share them with my friends. to me, it is the ultimate expression of platonic love!