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Random thoughts

Monday, February 28, 2005

Looking Back

I wrote this post a year ago, and now, a year later, I have to revisit the thought. Now this passage means so much more to me.

I find myself clinging to the past, and yet being pushed forward inevitably by the mere passage of time. There's always guilty thoughts in my head, but when I try to think of ways to make things better, I discover that it might ask more of me than I may be able to give. I know I probably don't make much sense - and certain people may actually misinterpret this - so just for clarity's sake (as much clarity as I can provide without giving away the whole story), this isn't about romance or relationships or commitment or career. That's all I can say.

But once again, I have to wonder: Is it because I've become a completely different person? Or have I just really discovered what's important to me and what I want my life to be like?

My Helpless Hands

There's always at least one person in your life that you care about so much that you can't help but want to do things for him/her, and today I am reminded of this. But I feel like I'm going where I'm not wanted, that I'm pushing myself too much on someone, and it's painful and frustrating and heartbreaking. I know this person has always been there for me, has talked me through some tough times, has shed tears when I had shed tears, and yet I have no way of giving this person back the same support that was given to me. There's so much I want to do but I can't, without being asked, because I'm afraid of overstepping my boundaries. How else can I help?

Food for Thought

It seems that lately people around me, myself included, are going through tough times. I thought I'd share something that might be of help.

Living according to your ego is like seeing the world through the glass of a fishbowl with dirty water. Seeing life through the lens of the soul is like looking at the clear view from the top of a mountain, with a telescope available whenever you need it.

The ego is driven by all things external. All the complexes that land you in a therapist's office come from ego thinking -- fear of failure, fear of rejection, identity crisis, etc. All these fears are expressions of the ego as it tries to trick you into believing that you are defined by something outside yourself.

Pay attention to the thoughts your ego feeds you and you'll probably hear something like this:

"You are what you make."
"If I fail I am less than worthless."
"The guy with the most toys wins."
"I'm fat and everybody knows it."
"S/he forgot to call, and it means s/he doesn't love me."

If you think this is bad, wait till you hear this. The ego also does something that is more subversive, more sinister, more corrupting, and ultimately, more painful: It tries to convince you that your well-being and happiness are completely dependent on your surroundings. It tells you things like: "He made me angry!'" or "My job is getting me depressed." These statements make it seem as though your circumstances are in complete control of how you feel, and results in your being constantly bounced from feeling to feeling -- from stressed to relaxed to depressed to happy -- depending on what is happening around you.

The next time you lose a sale, blow an exam, or miss an opportunity, and you start to entertain thoughts of depression and failure, ask yourself, "Are my circumstances causing me to feel this way, or is it how I am thinking about my circumstances?"

If you think your circumstances are causing you to feel depressed, ask yourself why it is that other people who are in the same boat as you are, seem to shrug off failures like water off a duck's back. How is it that some people -- no matter what misfortune comes their way or no matter what negative comments others make to them -- always keep their well-being and happiness intact?

If, God forbid, you became a paraplegic, it would be reasonable to suppose that you would become seriously depressed. It seems that such an experience is objectively depressing. Yet, there are paraplegics who go through life happy. Although they cannot walk or perform the simplest physical functions on their own -- eating, getting dressed, washing, or sometimes even breathing -- they are truly happy.

Can you really say then that your happiness depends on your circumstances? Your ego would have you think so.

THE SOUL DISAGREES

The soul understands that the only thing that determines your happiness is what goes on inside your head. If you fail a test, the soul tells you there will be many more tests to pass and many more opportunities. When you fall, the soul softly whispers that if you dust yourself off, and get right back up you will grow nothing but stronger.

(We learn this from King Solomon in the Proverbs (24:16): "A righteous person can fall seven times and rise..." A righteous person is actually defined by the fact that he keeps getting up.)

If your ego is constantly looking outside for confirmation that you are good enough or successful enough, the soul sees through this illusion and understands that the way you think about your circumstances determines your well being.

Anyone who spends time with toddlers and small children knows that they have the ability to be happy no matter where they are. What is the secret of their self-esteem? They are more often than not living their natural essence -- living via the soul.

Small children don't go around asking questions like: "Gee, I wonder if I'm tall enough?" or "If I can't figure out how to use this potty, I'll never be successful." Children walk around happy and buoyant simply because that is their natural state of being.

Remember: you yourself were once a small child and you walked around in this natural state. You still have the ability to walk around smiling and you can even do it without drooling. Focus on becoming aware of the ego's attempts to define you according to your circumstances.

You might be asking the question, "Wait a minute, are you telling me that all circumstances are neutral and it's only how we think about it? What about a person who gets cancer, or a person that loses a loved one? What kind of feel-good, fluffy garbage is this?"

Of course there are circumstances that are objectively difficult, but when you allow your soul's wisdom to deal with the issue, you go through the experience with understanding and perspective.

For example, with the loss of a loved one, instead of feeling guilt, anger and blame, the pain of loss can be accompanied with deep feelings of gratitude and understanding of the cycle of life.

The Jewish custom of "sitting shiva" (a seven day period of mourning observed after the burial) is designed to help one go through the mourning process from the perspective of the soul. For seven days people dissasociate themselves from the material and focus on appreciating the gifts the person they lost gave to those around them.

Understanding that the ego's skewed view of the world will only leave us as happy as our last success or as depressed as our last failure will leave us sitting on top of a mountain.


from Aish.com's book Heaven on Earth

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Conversations That Make Me Smile

The best conversations are the ones that are filled with humor and laughter, and my weekend was peppered with these. I really have nothing in particular to write about these conversations - I certainly have no desire to document what was said - but I'm smiling right now and I just have to write something.

Weekend Recap - Oscars Weekend

The weekend is winding down, and I have John Mayer singing to me in the background to "come back to bed". One second, John, I'm writing.

My mom and I drove down to Orange County on Saturday for my dental appointment (a one-hour drive just to try something on, and then I still have to come back to actually pick up the thing. Sigh.) and then since we were in the area, we decided to swing by my mom's cousin's house to visit her aunt who lives there, who had just come home from the hospital two weeks ago. We stayed there for awhile; I rested upstairs while my mom caught up with her. After lunch, my mom and I headed out to visit the stores in the area. We went to Target first, because there really is no Target that's near our place in Brentwood. Then we visited the bargain shops around there as well. And yup, I came home with a couple of things myself.

Sunday, my mom and I ended up by ourselves at a brunch that Johanna and Marc were supposed to be at as well. Johanna had to bail out because her marathon is next week and she had to train really hard today for it. Marc in the meantime is down with a severe cold. I suppose the good thing about this was that when we asked for a table at the infamous Omelette Parlor, we were seated right away.

After a carb-filled brunch, we went to visit the Farmer's Market nearby. We went away with lots of vegetables and of course, strawberries. Then we headed to Third Street to look for a suitcase for my sister-in-law and to do some impulse shopping for ourselves.

When we went home, there were already guests there watching the Oscars. My uncle has this Oscar gathering every year. He and his friends fill out ballots and tally up the results in the end. Tito Gary won this year. I normally join in the festivities but lately, I haven't been feeling up to getting involved too much in his activities. So I just sat back tonight and chatted with the guests, but my attention was only half on the actual program.

Anyway, as to shopping, my end-of-weekend tally is as follows:

4 pairs of shoes (Should I be embarassed? They were all good deals though.)
1 jacket
1 racerback tank for working out/climbing
1 sheer top

I don't feel as guilty ending up with all these things because I'm cleaning out my closet and sending back shoes and clothes to the Philippines to be donated to people who need them. It's just a little bit of replenishment.

Anyway, while my mom's here, I'll have to rearrange my workout schedule to accommodate spending more time with her. Longer cardio for three days, and two days climbing in the early morning. It's only for a week. Who knows? Maybe I'll actually like this schedule and continue with it.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Welcome Routine Change

Today, instead of eating lunch at work like I usually do, I grabbed some lunch at the Panda Express in Pacific Palisades then went to visit Marc, Neil and Jim at their worksite. I felt pretty mean, sitting there eating on the patio while they worked. They had had lunch already, and I was merely catching up with them. I did however bring them a box of espresso chocolate chip cookies (three of which I ate because I couldn't resist).

It's so nice to break out of my routine and welcome interactions with other people during my work day. I get cabin fever dealing with just Grace, Bruno and John, I suppose. So I was so cheerful and peppy when I was chatting with the Palisades crew. It's definitely something I want to do more, because it's so relaxing and it recharges me for the rest of the day. I guess I really crave interaction with more people.

Anyway, it was fun to watch them work, and I actually took a few pictures to document the "before" state of the house. Then next week I'm paying them another visit when they're done so I can see the final product of their hard work, and can take pictures of it too. If they let me, I'll post a "before" picture, and an "after" picture here. It'll be like a little Changing Rooms experience for me.

Mini-reunion

My mom is here for a short visit. I've already began planning for the two weekends she's going to be here. But one of the things I'd like is for her to meet my friends here. So on Sunday, there's brunch, and then maybe a dinner with some other people sometime during the week. I think it will be a good gradual introduction to the life I have here. I hope she doesn't get too much culture shock.

I actually ventured out and said, "Maybe you should come to the climbing gym." But of course I immediately added, "But you just might have a heart attack."

Mom: "Why? Because I'm going to see what you do?"

Me: "Yeah."

Mom: "Then maybe I shouldn't."

Well, your choice, Mom. Good one too.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Potty Mouth

I feel like I need to rinse out my mouth with soap and water today. I got stuck in the most horrible traffic jam I've ever been in, and let me tell you, it got ugly inside the car. Good thing I had my windows up, or I probably would have gotten shot in the head. With the way I was talking though, I wouldn't be surprised if people heard it through the window. My volume was on max, and my inner censor had taken a vacation. But it felt pretty damn good.

Watch this show, dammit!

Most of the shows that I was raving about last season, I've actually gotten burned out on. I don't feel any great desire to stay at home for TV anymore. But there is one show that still stands out - and I keep telling people to watch it. It's called Scrubs, and it's the most hilarious TV show I've ever seen in the past year. It really might even be better than Friends (*gasp* Did I say that?!).

I wish I had a picture of a particular scene in the last episode - Turk holding up his foot to Elliot's nose, and Elliot reacting to it. After watching it last Tuesday, Marc and I did a little breathing exercise, supposedly to calm ourselves down and clear our heads, but everytime I exhaled, I had to suppress a giggle because I couldn't stop seeing that toe in my head. And, when I opened my eyes the next morning, it was the first thought I had, and I busted out laughing. Great way to start the day!

I cannot wait for the DVD to come out. My brother is a doctor, and I am definitely sending it to him when it becomes available. So people, if Scrubs is showing where you are (I wonder if Manila has it), it's a sin not to at least give one episode a try. You'll like it!

Spot The Difference

Okay, some people have emailed me and/or mentioned to me that they never even noticed that I had changed my hair color. Here are the "before" and "after" pics.



See the difference?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Comfort in a Laundromat

Just wanted to say a quick thanks to the person who helped calm me down tonight. It goes to show, comfort can be found anywhere - even in a laundromat - as long as you're with the right person. There's so much gratitude in my heart; I am so, so blessed to have you. Thank you!

WHAT?!

Being the obsessive geek that I am, I checked my hotmail account earlier today to see if there were any updates on the iPod that I just ordered. Surprisingly, there it was: an email from Apple. And it contained what I thought was good news at the time: they had reduced the price of the iPod so I was going to get refunded some money.

Curious as to the reason, I checked the Apple website and noticed that the 40GB iPod was no longer there. I pulled up Google and came up with this:

%^&$^#$%#&^%&^*(@@#$%$^^!!!!! Sneaky Apple people!

Now what am I going to do with a 40GB that pales in comparison to everything else Apple will be selling soon? Thanks a lot! But yeah, yeah, at least I'll be able to listen to music. It won't be so bad (I think).

Cold Butts


This is a photo taken from Daisy's camera when we were in Big Bear the other weekend. We got tired of taking turns with the orange "sled" so we just used our butts. Fun!

Hello Angst

This week started out so great for me, but now I feel like I'm in a downward spiral somehow. I won't get into details - it's too much drama I can't even fathom completely sometimes, and I'm just tired. I feel like just locking myself up so I don't have to deal with all these issues. I don't want to go home, but there's nowhere else to go, no other place of contentment or peace to go to.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Zanzibar Again


Just came from Zanzibar last night. Whew! The club was packed - now I know what it's like to be a sardine in a can. This is us looking all sweaty while taking a break from the dance floor.

And here are the rest of the pictures.

The Pajama Series

My hair is back to black! I have to get used to it so I did this series.


Sleepy-eyed.



Did I make the right decision?

Saturday, February 19, 2005

This Exists?

Man, I think I've seen it all. I was reading the latest issue of Outside magazine, and in it they had an article about the weirdest competition I have ever heard about - the Sauna World Championships.

Yes, I know. What the hell?

So I read through the whole article, and apparently this sleepy little Finnish town called Heinola holds this competition every year. They turn up the heat to a starting temperature of 230 degrees Fahrenheit (as a point of reference, the article mentioned the record high in Death Valley to be 134 degrees) and then the competitors come in and sit in this oven, to try and outlast each other. Every so often, a half-liter of water is poured on the stove to give another blast of heat, as if it wasn't hot enough already.

One competitor: "Last year the skin on my ear lobes split open from the heat."

And of course the usual sexist comment: "Sauna competition is man's sport, not woman's sport."

That's okay, buddy, it's all yours.

To learn more:
History
Program
Rules
Results
And okay, just in case, but do I really need to put this?
Contact info

Good luck, sauna people!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Switch

So I'm finally done transferring my files to Blogspot. Took longer than expected, but I'm happy with the results. Eventually, I'll start customizing the template too, when I find the time. This will have to do for now. Not bad anyway, right? It's just too bad that I can't bring over the comments.

===========================

It's raining again. I'm in SoCal, and it's raining. What is wrong with the world?

===========================

Just wanted to mention that I'm going dancing again tomorrow night. Wow, I've gone dancing in the past month more than my whole life in Manila, I think. Haha! But like I said, Zanzibar does that to me. I prefer Friday nights there though, because the music is more to my taste, but it doesn't matter - dancing is dancing!

===========================

Lastly, this is for all the Napoleon Dynamite fans out there:

Napoleon Dynamite Soundboard

Man-in-a-Tub Realization

I was talking to my friend Greg, who was inviting me to go out with him and his friends to a sushi bar in Venice. When I hung up the phone, I realized something - all my past boyfriends have always loved sushi. Go figure! So maybe I should hang out at Japanese restaurants more often.

Fear

I recently pulled this snippet from the book A Life Of Pi by Yann Martel. I thought I'd share this passage here - I've always talked about being consumed by fear sometimes, and this passage really describes the sensations and feelings so accurately. Maybe the physical side varies, but the psychological part is right on the dot, at least for me.

I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread.

Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear.

Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you’ve defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you.

What a Dork!

I wish it wouldn't look so dorky to take a camera into the climbing gym and have someone take photographs of me. Last night, I did my first lead climb. Marc taught me the basics for a few minutes and then off I went. It's exciting to be the "first" one to climb, to have to clip in, and feel like I'm taking on more responsibility somehow. Of course, I totally froze for five minutes when I was asked to practice a fall on a lead climb, and I just couldn't bring myself to let go of the hold. It took a lot of encouraging words and reassurances (which sounded weird, because they were saying, "Let go! Fall! Fall!", which in itself doesn't sound encouraging relative to climbing, does it?) for me to finally take the fall. And that's only the beginning because I cheated and fell right after clipping in instead of falling from a higher place so that it would be more realistic. But that will come with time.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Join the Bandwagon

I recently just clicked the Place Your Order button on the Apple website. Yep, I've gone and bought myself an iPod. After all the irritating indecision I've been going through about this (I spent an hour making pouty faces at the Apple store because I couldn't decide what to get and Marc, who was of course only trying to help, wouldn't make the decision for me), it's finally done. Whew!

New Year's resolution: Make up your friggin' mind faster, Cathy! Gosh!

And of course, since it's my iPod, I had to put a cheesy saying on it. Now I have to buy a cover so not too many people will know what I've had engraved on it.

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My boss John is going away on a ski trip to Whistler. I'm totally envious, because I've heard so many good things about that place. I'm looking forward to when I can travel more, because I'm really getting into skiing, and I crave more practice. It's so much fun to be in the snow, especially on trails where no one is around. Everything is just so peaceful, and I can ski without feeling self-conscious about myself.

====================

Oh, and of course since the warm days are coming, I've already gotten my swimsuit fix. God love that Victoria's Secret catalog. I always get excited looking through that magazine - summer is just around the corner, and I can't wait to hit the beach and go bodysurfing or bodyboarding again.

====================

And did I ever mention that I've gotten on the Adventure 16 bandwagon as well? Everytime I'm in the area, I have to swing by the store, and I inevitably end up purchasing something. Hmm. I suppose it's not so much the store itself, but that since I'm getting into climbing more now, I find myself trying to stock up on clothes that I can use. My Amazon wishlist is peppered with climbing pants that I want, and I'm always on the lookout for stretch sport tank tops. Image-conscious? Nah, I actually use it as a reward. Everytime I go up a notch with my bouldering or if I'm able to climb one level higher, I treat myself to something. How's that for motivation?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

New Phlog and an Awesome Saying

Phlog has upgraded to their new system, and I was given two options for the interface. I'm testing out this one, just for a change, but I'm a little bit bothered by the fact that it's hard to tell when an entry ends and a new one begins. But oh well. This will have to do for now, until I'm able to get a customizable blog (which I have been meaning to do for the past three months).

Anyway, I got an email from a friend today, and she has this awesome quote that I wanted to share with people!

"To be drop dead gorgeous and extremely intelligent is a curse, but don't despair, my friend, suffering is good for your soul."

Whew! It's a little breezy in here right now. But this is a welcome punchline on down days, so maybe it will help someone out there as well. It made me laugh, which made this day even better than it already is.

I'm always attracted to drama so I'm changing my Lenten abstinence for a third time: I am going to strive to be cheerful, and to be much more social, and to listen more. It's interesting to hear what people have to say because it gives me a better idea of who they are. I suppose that's why most times that I meet someone for the first time, I like to be quiet and let them talk, because I always like to know what kind of thoughts are in their head, what interests them, what they like to talk about.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Ski Bunny

This past weekend was our much-awaited Big Bear ski trip. Daisy flew down from San Francisco just to be able to celebrate Angela's and Andy's birthday with the whole group. Their family had a spacious and fully-equipped two-bedroom timeshare condo, and we all squeezed into it.

Joedie, Angela and Daisy took a ski class on Saturday, while Daniel, Hedwige and I went up (on the East Mountain Express lift, mostly) and skiied down the trails. At one point, since I was with advanced skiiers, I had to go down a black diamond, and it didn't turn out to be too bad. I was actually able to make it down with only a couple of falls. But it sure did build up my confidence because I was still alive at the bottom of the trail!

Then we sat down to a sumptious dinner at home Saturday night - there was a roast, salmon, asparagus, corn and rice. And of course the sansrival birthday cake, that was super yummy but loaded with sugar. There goes the diet!

We skiied half the day Sunday too; I went with Daisy to the bunny slope a couple of times and taught her how to make turns (their stupid ski teacher didn't even get that far - what a ripoff!), and I was happy when we met up again afterwards and she told me that she was able to improve her turns, and even made it to the other trail. :) Fulfilling! Also, Sunday, when I was on my own, I ventured onto another black diamond, and I made it, no falls! Whew! Now if I can only make it with my eyes closed.....

At 2:30pm, Daisy and I had to haul ass out of there because she had to be at the airport by 5, and I wanted to go to mass. Well, neither one happened. Daisy missed her flight (but was able to catch the next one), and I ended up simply hanging out at the Literati cafe on Bundy and Wilshire.

Anyway, here is a picture of me while I was on the lift. This was taken Sunday, right before my black diamond run. These two girls from Manhattan Beach were with me on the lift, and they offered to take my picture.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Fasting and Abstinence

Today is the beginning of Lent, and I'm supposed to come up with something for my abstinence this year. Last year, I tried to abstain from ice cream, but when my dad came for a visit, he bought a half-gallon of one of my favorite flavors (Private Selection's Moosetracks), so I caved.

This year, I'll try to be better. I think I'll give up chocolate, and see if I can handle that. As long as I hide that huge bag of M&M's that I recently got (but which I've eaten half of already), I think I'll be fine. Of course, John also has to stop coming up to me from nowhere and handing me half of the chocolate bar he's eating.

Fasting is going to be much harder though. Already today, I've eaten more than I should have. Grace just hosted a luncheon here yesterday, and today the leftovers are screaming to be eaten. There's cream cheese and salmon with capers, there's the yummy fried rice she made, and she just brought me a plateful of fruit. Yikes! I might have to skip dinner altogether to compensate for all the food that I've eaten so far today.

Honestly though, I'm not so driven to fast. Abstinence is one thing, and actually it can be kind of fun, like a mind game you play on yourself. But fasting? It's a good thing that we don't have to do it for forty days, but still... it's torture not to be able to eat when I've come from a workout, and I'm climbing tonight. I'd probably pass out if I don't eat anything.

So okay, no chocolate for 40 days. Doable. I think.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Sleepless Monday


Zanzibar is fast becoming one of my favorite clubs. And since lately I've been dancing a lot, I'm suddenly getting caught up with the desire to take up salsa dancing. I've always said that I enjoy the best when I have a dancing partner, and it's really because I can make dancing "interactive" somehow. I don't know how else to describe the attraction. But anyway, salsa dancing requires a partner, so I know I'll like it. Plus I like the sensuality of it, although I want to make sure the partner that I find won't be some psycho pervert. It has to be just like the guy Jennifer Aniston dances with in Along Came Polly: good-looking but undeniably gay.

Got home kind of early actually - well, late for a Monday night, but early for a night of dancing. But I slept at 3am after a much-needed conversation, which I hope will be concluded sometime soon - and in the most favorable way possible. Sigh.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Weekend Recap - Superbowl Weekend

I'm not much of a TV sports fan, so this weekend didn't feel any more special than any other weekend for me. But of course since everyone else was in that celebratory mood, I had to join in the festivities.

But Saturday was pretty laid back. Actually, I had planned on doing a long drive all by myself, just to explore the surrounding areas more. I love getting in my car with no pressing destination in mind, and just letting my whims take me around town. But I had to work for a little bit instead, so my long drive turned into a mini-drive along Sunset all the way through Pacific Palisades to the beach. It was actually a beautiful drive, and I was sorry to have to cut it short. It was getting too dark, so the whole point of the ride (sightseeing) was defeated.

Saturday night, Marc finally got his wish and we sat down to watch The Gladiator, which turned out to be pretty damn good. I'm not a big Russell Crowe fan, but I liked the movie anyway.

Sunday, we all headed to Tito Ante's and Tita Edna's to "watch" the game. I say "watch" because I really didn't. I only looked at the TV to see the commercials (some of them were funny, but a lot of them were kind of corny!). Amazing half-time show though - I loved all the songs that Paul McCartney sang. That guy still has IT!

Then I hauled ass to the Promenade after we made a quick getaway from the Superbowl party. I wanted to check out the Apple store in preparation for my much-awaited iPod purchase, but 5 minutes after I walked into the store, as I was looking around for a salesperson to talk to, they turned off the lights and prepared to close. Gee, thanks.

So instead of going home with a brand new gadget, I went home with some milk and a package of processed meat. Oh well.

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Hey it's almost Valentine's! I was at Ralph's last night (where I got the milk and the processed meat) and they had this whole section dedicated to the occasion. Red and white and pink all over the aisle. I felt so girly.

Anyway, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank St. Valentine for inspiring this holiday, but darn it, where is Cupid when you need him, huh? There's only a week left, so he better hurry!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Remembering Home

I've been thinking lately of just how much I've kept in touch with my folks back home, and I'm actually embarassed by the answer. I know what it looks like to them - that I just packed up and left and never looked back.

The truth is though that they infuse my life so much with the old traditions and old beliefs that they raised me with that I somehow feel suffocated. I revert back to being their baby, instead of being a full-grown adult who can make decisions on her own.

They say that a daughter inevitably ends up like the mother, and in some ways, I am happy to be like her. But I struggle with the things I question about her, like how she's driven by fear. Maybe it's the way she was raised too, or it's just how she is, but letting fear govern my life isn't healthy for me. I realize more now how much I can accomplish when I push fear out of my mind.

If I had been afraid, I would never have climbed to the top of the mountain and seen the amazing beauty of Joshua Tree. If I had been afraid, I would never have hiked the 6-mile trail to Pear Lake, and I would have missed seeing the serene waters of Aster Lake. If I had been afraid, I would never have made it down the trail in Mammoth, and I would have missed the feeling of exhilaration after finishing the run. If I had been afraid, I would never have met and gotten to know the new friends I have now. I just wouldn't have experienced all the things that I have experienced so far.

I don't blame my mother; it's the best way she knew how to raise me. She believed in being protective; that was her way of showing that she cared. I still keep in mind the lessons she's taught me, the words of advice she's given me, but I don't take everything "just because mother said so" anymore. It's hard sometimes when she's around because she still has that influence on me, and I suppose that's why I've kept talking to her at a minimum.

Talking with my cousin David has all the more made me realize how much I'm still so connected with my mother somehow, and I'm really trying as hard as I can to make sure that the decisions I make are for me and not just to make her happy. David understands; and I'm relieved, because at least someone knows where I'm coming from. Especially in this family, having an ally is very important. Already, having David on my side, I've seen some changes, and I'm happy and sad at the same time.

I love my parents like everyone else - really, I do. I don't know what I'll do when they're gone. But for now I need to take this time to be away from them. It's a sort of make-up time for myself - to be able to do the things that I was never allowed to do or try back home. I just hope that they understand what it is I'm trying to do, and that they'll know that this is what's best for me.