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Random thoughts

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Current List of Favorite Foods

1. Trader Joe's Dried Pineapple Rings (Unsulfered, Unsweetened)
2. Garden of Eatin' Blue Corn Chips (Organic)
3. Whole Foods Cornbread
4. Apples
5. Fresh Blueberries
6. Private Selection Moose Tracks ice cream
7. Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream (the best!!!)
8. Cottage Cheese and Whole Wheat Bread
9. Whole Foods Custom Salad (with lots of baby corn)
10. Dark Chocolate M&Ms

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Packing Heavy

With all the traveling I've done in the past, you'd think that I would have mastered the art of packing light. Not so. I always think of "what-if" situations and inevitably pack for a thousand different scenarios. The fact that these imaginary scenarios remain imaginary still doesn't stop me from packing "just-in-case" items. I remember when I went to Chicago I had an overnight bag, aside from my carry-on luggage (which I checked in). This was for four days! And now I'm being ambitious about packing for this week-long vacation I'm going on.

But wonder of wonders, I've actually narrowed it down to one carry-on luggage, which I will bring on-board with me, and a purse. Hopefully I won't go on a last-minute packing frenzy on the eve of my trip.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Load Off My Shoulder

Tonight, I finally got a huge load off my shoulder. Work has been piling up more and more, and I was getting overwhelmed. I'm not much for confrontations or sticky situations, so I couldn't decide how to handle it. But finally the task was done for me. I am now off the hook with this startup business that was stressing me out because I was being asked to act as an entrepreneur when I didn't really have the experience for it, and am not actually in a strategic position to execute the responsibilities involved. So whew! I feel so relieved.

There's a lot of pressure with the new responsibilities I have with John though, and so I don't actually have a stress-free work environment. But with that other thing out of the picture, I can focus more on the full-time job I do have.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hearts and Poker Night

Whew! I just got home. I left the house shortly after lunch and suddenly found myself in a rollercoaster of activities.

The original plan was simply to do some slacklining at the park or at the beach until around 4ish, after which I would head home, change and go to mass. Well, as it turns out, Douglas and I laid out on the beach for awhile and read our books then we met Cecile at the park on 7th and Idaho. I slacklined for only about half an hour, and then it was time to head to mass, where my uncle and grandmother were waiting.

After mass, I said goodbye to them and waited out front for Douglas to pick me up with my car. Then we headed to Cecile's apartment and joined her and two of her friends, Jeff and Kimberly. We had intended to go to the free concert series at the Getty Center, but when we got there, they were turning away cars that wanted to park nearby. The closest parking lot that was open was so far away, and we decided it wasn't worth it since by the time we actually got to the concert, we would only hear half an hour's worth of music.

So we drove back to Cecile's, brought out the wine and beer, and ordered Thai food. Jeff and Kimberly had brought sandwiches so they ate those. We sat around chatting for a little bit and then got around to playing one set of Hearts and several rounds of Texas Hold'Em (which I totally sucked at).

I'm really glad to be getting out there and hanging out with new friends. It's been awhile since I met someone new and actually connected with them, so tonight has made me pretty happy. Plus I don't feel like so dependent because I can have fun on my own - although of course I always get the excited jitters when I see the calendar and am reminded of how close I am to joining Marc in Massachusetts.

Dull Razr

As expected, I finally dropped my flashy new Motorola Razr - twice. Once on tiled floor, and once on cement (when that stupid Adelphia installer wouldn't install the damn cable box without John). I don't know if this is related but now there's this annoying little envelope at the top of the screen that just won't go away. I have erased all my voicemail and have read all my text messages, but that little icon is persistent.

Actually, I had about four missed calls last night but no voicemail notices. But when I was trying to get rid of that little envelope by checking my voicemail (because earlier in the day when I had finished checking everything, it still wouldn't go away), I suddenly had four messages that I was never notified of. But after listening to all the new ones, the problem was still there.

This morning, I turned my phone off and turned it back on again to see if that would get rid of it. Then I had two notifications - "Message 8 sent" and then "Message 9 sent". Those were messages I sent last night! $#^%&%%^&*^*^!!!

Alright, that's the end of my ranting. Sheesh.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My List of Places to Visit

I just had dinner with Cecile and Douglas at Sushi King on Wilshire, and talking to those two made me realize how many beautiful places there are out there that I'd never been to. And it gives me that familiar itch to travel. Here is my list so far (based on the conversations tonight):

1. Boulders in Bishop
2. Tuolomne Meadows
3. Red Rocks
4. South of France
5. Chamonix
6. Seattle
7. Zion National Park, UT
8. Smith Rock, OR

I'm sure more will be added to the list as I cross other places off it. The bummer is that it's smack in the middle of summer and going to the places that are in California will just prove to be unbearable with this heat. So in that respect, I can't wait for fall.

Am I Back in Manila?

It's just been unbelievably hot the past few days. They say that with the marine layer by the beach, it's actually cooler in these areas than in the valley, but that doesn't mean much when it's in the upper 80s outside, it's really no consolation.

Normally I'm used to the regular California summer weather - dry heat. But this time it's just been so humid that I feel like I'm back in the Philippines. I went for a run today and came home sweating buckets, so I jumped in the shower (cold water) and stood there for about five minutes after washing the soap off. When I stepped out, I already felt warm and there were beads of sweat on my nose again. What the... ?!

I remember too that summer in California meant hot days but cool nights - meaning you could get away with a tank top and shorts during the day but you'd better have a light sweater ready for the evenings when the sun goes down. Well last night I was all ready for the evening chill, but when I stepped out of the gym in my sweater, I couldn't stand it and I had to take it off.

I'm really glad that we don't live in the Valley anymore. Imagine the heat there! We'd be roasting!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Frustrating Roadblock

I spent a very frustrating afternoon at the Santa Monica apartments today. We are in the process of moving to the office there, and I had to meet the cable and internet installers to make sure they put the equipment in the right places.

I finished one installation in the penthouse without much trouble. But when it came time for the next installation for the actual office, I came so close to blowing up. I suppose the guy was just doing his job, but I couldn't accept the logic he was using. Adelphia called me to let me know that he was waiting downstairs so I went to let him into the building.

Cable guy: Who are you?
Me: Cathy.
Cable guy: Oh. Hold on one second.

He rushed out to consult his colleague who was about to leave.

Cable guy: I can only install the wires but I can't leave the equipment.
Me: Why not? What's the point of installing the wires if we can't use it?
Cable guy: That's the thing, I asked the other guy and he said I can't do it. Our supervisor says so. Your name is not on the account so I can't do it.
Me: Okay that doesn't make sense. Why would Adelphia call me to let me know you're here and then not let you install it?
Cable guy: But your name is not on the account.
Me (looking at the work order): There it is right there, they have my number on there and everything. That's why they said look for me because I'm the one who's meeting the installer.
Cable guy: Sorry. You're not the account holder. I can't do it.

This went on for about ten more minutes. The apartment manager came out and helped me chew the guy out some more. I even tried to get John to authorize it through the phone and Mr. Cable Guy still wouldn't do it. In the end, we sent him away without having anything installed, not even the wires.

But geez! The red tape these companies have! I suppose they just want to make sure that the installation is really authorized. It was just frustrating though. I waited four hours for these installers, and even had a very delayed lunch. What a day!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ten Days from Tomorrow

I think I may be talking my own ear off about this trip to the East Coast. But the thought of the things I have to do this week is making me yearn for the week after when I will have the option to wake up at whatever time I want (not that I would sleep late because I'd probably be bouncing off the bed, ready to explore) and not think about work - any work. Heaven!

Secondly, I may be missing an important weekend away with my girlfriends, so I feel robbed somehow. I had been looking forward to this for so long, and now that I might not even be able to go because of work, I'm even more desperate for some kind of getaway. I guess there's not much I can do - bad timing is bad timing, and well... work is work. This is just spoiled little me whining about it.

Today, to keep my mind off things and to do something productive (remember my vow to make a "program" for myself?), I did some research on different careers that I may be interested in. This is something new to me - I never thought I would find myself saying that I need a career change, but here I am, seriously considering it. I suppose it's inevitable since I've been transplanted to another place, and there's just so much change in my environment that I have to change somehow as well.

I was remembering just recently how I almost majored in Occupational Therapy, but that I had been teased endlessly about this profession, so I changed my mind and went into the computer field instead. I wonder how different my life would have been if I hadn't switched? Maybe I wouldn't be having the problems I'm having now.

The fact remains though - I really like to work with people, and I like interaction. So sitting at a desk, staring at the computer the whole day (and getting punished if I'm seen standing up for a stretch or chatting with a colleague) is not appealing to me. I know that now from experience. Maybe that was just an isolated case, but it made its mark. It was like being managed like a machine instead of a person.

I could go on forever about the things I like to do and the things I don't like to do, but that would take forever. I know because I've been doing it in my head and I'm not done yet. Haha! Hopefully something will come out of this self-analysis though - maybe the next few months will find me doing a completely different thing. If all goes well.

That's reason number 3: With all these thoughts in my head, the break I'm about to take will serve as a recharge point, something to help me organize the thoughts in my head and make me think clearly. So Charlemont, I can't wait to see you.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Relaxing Day

Not much of an eventful Saturday, compared to the previous Saturdays I've had. I did a little bit of work today for TNT Phone, which is a new business that my brother Ernest's friend has just established here in the US. It's a bit of an iffy situation for me, but I'm still trying to see where it will take me.

After getting the work done, I felt the need to wind down a little bit and destress, so I donned my climbing shoes for a couple of hours at the gym. It's so therapeutic for me because when I'm on the wall, I have to stay completely focused on what I'm doing and it helps me clear my head of whatever problems or issues I'm having.

I'm really bad with names so I can't even remember who I climbed with - it was an Asian guy who just happened to be climbing at the same time I was. Anyway, this little girl named Hunter (yeah, for some reason, her name I can remember - yay me!) was bouldering with her father (? or brother? uncle? I really don't know), and Asian guy and I helped her with her moves. I really enjoyed giving Hunter tips, and it actually made me think that maybe I should give teaching a try. I have no idea what other people could possibly learn from me, but it feels very fulfilling.

I got the best compliment today too! I know I always try to be stronger, to climb better, but there was also one other thing I was trying to incorporate into my climbing: grace. Hunter's dad or brother or uncle said, "I saw you climbing earlier and you looked so graceful!" Then when I sat down beside his wife, she said, "We were watching you earlier, and you climb so gracefully!" I swear I must've blushed for five minutes after that.

I then went on to get a haircut in Marina del Rey. Marc must be so happy that I've found a salon close to home. I remember one of our conversations before.

Background: I used to live in Orange County so I had a stylist there. When I moved back up north, I continued going to her for awhile.

Me: I have to get my hair cut. Annie can do it, she's a hairstylist.
Marc: Where is her salon?
Me: In the Valley.
Marc: Do all of your hairstylists have to be so far away?

Okay, Mr. Denis, you do have a point. So I went to a salon in Marina del Rey, and I am pretty pleased with the results. It wasn't as reasonably priced as I would have liked, but she did a pretty good job. I know no one's going to come up to me and say, "Patay na ba ang gumupit?" (Have you killed your hairstylist yet?)

Then it was grocery shopping time, which is something I like to do to unwind as well. I sometimes spend hours just looking at new products in the market. Man, I am getting old!

And now it's 10:43pm, and I'm the hermit tonight. My uncle is out, my grandmother is out, and little old me is typing away here at home in my computer. The tables are definitely turned tonight.

Sleep is on its way so I'm signing off for now!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Taxi Driver

Now I know why I can't be a taxi driver. I spent most of the day today in my car, driving around and getting stuck in traffic. Sure, it's just sitting in a car, but it takes its toll on you. I got home today and everyone was dressed to go to dinner. I was good to go until I found out it was in Chinatown. Chinatown? That's more than ten minutes away. I felt my desire wilting. I could walk for ten minutes to a restaurant but somehow the thought of getting in a car again, even though I won't be the one driving, gave me a case of the sighs. So I begged off.

Grandmother: Baka naman pupunta ka pang gym ha. (Are you still going to the gym?)
Me: Yeah, pupunta nga po. (Yeah, I will go.)
Grandmother: Eh akala ko ba pagod ka, pupunta ka pang gym? (I thought you were tired, why are you still going to the gym?)
Me: *whining sound*

It's not like I was tired physically, it was more of a mental weariness. I was searching for something to offset the time I spent in the car today - butt flexes, running, climbing, whatever! There was just no way I was getting into the car again, at least not for more than five minutes.

So I'm back here at home. I was supposed to go to a Bastille Day celebration with Cecile but I'm just not all there tonight. Besides, there's work to be done, and chores to do around the house. Some alone time is always good, and I always treasure the opportunities I have to zone out on my own.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Weekend Recap - The Sound of Music and Mt. Williamson


Tito Monching had two extra tickets to the Sound of Music singalong at the Bowl, so Marc and I decided to take the tickets and make a fun night of it. After a restful day, we drove to the mall at Hollywood and Highland, and from there took the shuttle to the concert grounds. The rest of the gang had gone there early for a picnic, so when we got there they were already at their seats watching the pre-show costume contest.

The contest dragged on for a little bit, although it was really interesting to see how creative people can get. The winner was a man who dressed up as a carburetor, from the scene when the nuns showed that they had taken the carburetors from the cars of the Nazis. There was also a (gay?) guy who had donned a fullblown wedding gown, cut low on the chest so you could see his chest hair - I can't even say that his chest hair was "peeking out" because it was actually screaming for attention. Haha!

Funny quotes from the whole experience:

Scenario 1:
In the movie, it's the middle of the night, and the children are in Maria's room because they are scared of the thunderstorm outside. Maria tries to comfort them by singing them a song. While they are in the middle of it, Captain Von Trapp comes in looking very disapproving.

Guy in audience:What the hell? He's still wearing a tie?!?!?! (in reference to the time of night)

Scenario 2:
The Baroness pretends to help Maria choose a dress for the ball but instead persuades her to leave. Maria packs her bags and then is shown hurrying down the steps and out the door.

Girl in audience (in a very whiny voice): Don't go! You've got confidence in you!

Scenario 3:
Maria is frustrated that she can't get new material for the children's playclothes. She drops down on the chair by the window.

Girl in audience: Behind you! The drapes, behind you!

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

Sunday, Marc, Cecile, Cecile's friend Philippe and I went to Mt. Williamson for some climbing. I had gone to bed at 1:30 the night before so I was really out of it, yawning all the way down the trail to the rocks. Don't want to dwell too much on it but it was a horrible climbing day for me. Augh! But at least today I did better.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Countdown

20 days to go.

I think I've visited Charlemont and Martha's Vineyard websites so much in the last few days that they've probably doubled their hits this month. Haha! I can't seem to stop reading about these places, and I can't wait to finally get there and have the experiences I've been dreaming about. I keep looking at the calendar and trying to pacify my mental itch.

Websites that have benefited from my eagerness:

Google map of Charlemont
Official Charlemont website
Trails in Charlemont
Official Martha's Vineyard website
Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce
Martha's Vineyard Portal website

I'm such a tourist! I hope there's time to get settled down and look like I actually kind of belong there (even though I don't). But there's no way I'm going home without a Martha's Vineyard shirt and some maple syrup from Vermont! ;)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sangria!

I had lunch today at a Mexican restaurant along Wilshire. An enchilada, some beans, some rice, a glass of water.... But then I saw the waiter with a trayful of delicious-looking sangria, and somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain, a lightbulb came on and I signaled the waiter over.

Fast forward to now, and I feel like my head is as light as a feather. Woohoo! If only workdays are always like this. But then again, it probably won't be a good idea to come up to my boss and say, "Waaaaaaaaaaaaassuuuuup, John?" I used to be able to drink more than ten shots of tequila without getting drunk but now half a glass of sangria can actually get me tipsy! Geez! Gone are the days when I could drink while studying and ace my midterms, or drink in the middle of the day and still be sober enough to give a report in the afternoon.

But boy, that sangria was good. Mmm mmm mmm!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

When Pride Rears Its Ugly Head

It's funny how pride can get the best of you and turn you into the one thing you don't want to be. I think lately I've become victim to it, thinking so highly of myself in terms of the things I do that when I suffer a setback, it's so hard for me to accept.

It might seem like such a trivial example, but like in climbing, which I've become completely obsessed with, I sometimes refuse to try anything easier than a 5.10, thinking, "I'm a 5.10 climber, anything below that is no challenge so I don't want to do it." Well, this mentality has caused some arguments of late, and I've tried to step back and see what's wrong with me.

I climbed last Saturday and warmed up on the easy climbs first, and at the end of the day, instead of pouting, I went away with a big smile on my face. I suppose it's all done just to have fun, and I should never lose sight of that. I don't know - sometimes pride just gets the best of me, but I inevitably get the letdown, and find myself humbled.

Confusion

I've gotten involved with this new venture, and I'm still groping around in the dark about what to do with it. Like I said in my last post, I tried to send out as many emails as I could. But then I found out that the details have changed and that has consequently rendered all the information I've emailed obsolete. Darn! I know, this is such a young business, prone to mistakes and stumbling around, but I'm just a little frustrated.

The good news is that I might actually be given a bigger role in the future. It all depends on one little presentation tonight that I have to provide support for. How exciting! But then at the same time, what with all the changes happening and me not knowing about it until after I've relayed the message to potential customers, I'm a little thrown off by this whole deal. I hope things become more organized soon. It would be fun to see this company succeed, and it would be very fulfilling if I were involved in its success somehow.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Planning

My friend Gwen, who has drawn up a 7-step program for herself to follow so she can reach her goals, has inspired me to do the same. I haven't yet completed mine - don't really know if the goal I've set for myself is the one that I really want - but her focus and determination has made me realize that I really need to take action, take chances, even though I might be scared to death at the uncertainties in my life right now. So thanks, Gwen!

This also means that tonight, I am going to be working my ass off until I'm satisfied that I've sent out all the emails I can, to help me get myself off the ground. Wish me luck!

Weekend Recap - Fourth of July Weekend



Happy Fourth, everyone!

It's the end of the long weekend. Although I stayed local, I feel like I did a lot these past couple of days. It had the right mix of everything - reconnecting with family and friends, spending time with Marc, hanging out at the beach and of course, climbing.

Saturday morning was pretty mellow actually, but it picked up when we went to church. First of all, I think I've completely changed my mind about mass in St. Monica's. I used to think that the Sunday 5:30 mass had the best choir, but going to the 5:30 one on Saturday proved me wrong. There were only five people in the choir and they were miles ahead of Helena and her backup singers. There's really no way for me to describe it properly; whenever I begin to try to explain it to someone, I inevitably just get this nagging urge to haul them away to mass on Saturday.

After mass, my uncle, grandmother and I drove over to Burbank to hang out with my cousins and uncle and aunt. We had dinner at Elephant Bar then chatted a bit more at their house, telling jokes and playing the piano and guitar. It was a much-needed family reunion, because I never really get to hang out with them that much or talk to them on the phone. Reconnecting is always good.

Sunday morning, Marc and I drove to Malibu Creek (we were debating whether to go to Echo Cliffs but as we didn't want to end up like baked goods, we decided against it) for some climbing. I think it was one of our better days at climbing of late - Marc flashed a 10d, a sure sign that his arm is getting better, and I flashed a 10b pretty much on-sight. I know this will sound a little conceited, but it felt pretty damn good especially when this group of people watching me climb cheered when I topped off and was lowered to the ground. Thanks for the boost, guys! :)

We headed out mid-afternoon to enjoy the last rays of the sun in Zuma Beach, where the photo above was taken (I realized I was wearing blue pants and had a red-and-white towel, so I couldn't resist posing for the holiday).

Today, after a Fourth of July breakfast with Marc at Bread and Porridge, I was able to drive down to Orange County to spend some time with Joedie and Angela. Joedie's moving to Texas soon and today was my last chance to spend time with him, so I really made it a point to go there. And that was definitely a good idea because lately we haven't had the chance to really hang out.

It feels like I didn't really get a chance to hang out here at home and just kick back for awhile so that's what I'm doing now. Is it sad that my idea of relaxing is typing on the computer, which is pretty much what I do at work? Hmm. Oh well. But here I am, hating the fact that the weekend is over, but nonetheless thankful because of everything that happened.