I’m 34.

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was pretty non-eventful. Before, I was a little freaked out about getting older, but now, it’s like, “Dude, I’ve got so much other stuff going on right now I had even forgotten my birthday was coming up!” I had a pretty packed work day yesterday (enough to make me grumpy and whine inside, “Why do I have to work so hard on my birthday!?!?”) and afterwards just chilled at the in-laws. As much as I don’t want my birthday to be a big deal, I still think it’s a special day and that I shouldn’t stress too much. Note to self: take off on my birthday next year!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this thingamajig with some real content. Let’s see what’s been going on with me lately…

  • Still working. Had a lot of people leave the company, a lot of good people, some who I’ve been with for a long time. It was pretty sad and I’m definitely going to miss them, not just professionally but just having them around every day. This is definitely a new chapter in my professional life, and if I ever thought I was busy before, I had no idea what I was talking about! There’s a lot of changes going on at work, and I’m just trying take everything as it comes and not worry about the future.
  • Ben is potty trained. I would never have thought that would be a major milestone in my life, but seriously, I’m so happy I don’t have to carry around a massive diaperbag anymore. However, I now have to deal with the occasional, “I HAVE TO POO!!!” outburst in public.
  • I’d like to have another kid. So no need to ask (because EVERYONE asks). We’re working on it. A girl would be ideal, but I’ll be happy with just having another child. People go out and get drunk and get knocked up with no problem, but for us, it takes a little more time. I’m sure work stress isn’t helping, but we’ll see what happens. Ben’s starting to get a little bossy, so I’d like to give him a sibling to boss around instead of me.
  • Our house is still up for sale. I love our house, so I’m in no hurry to move anyway. But what I don’t like is living in this half moved/half not life. When people are interested to come and check out the house, we have this massive cleaning binge which is stressful. A lot of my stuff is in boxes, so when I need to get something I need to rearrange boxes to get what I want (if I even remember WHICH box I’ve put it into!) Also, the house that we really liked, that had been on the market FOREVER, was sold last month. We were kind of counting on the fact that no one wanted it and that it would still be available after we sold our house. Such a shame…Ben had even picked out which room would be his. Oh well, at least we’re not paying two mortgages.
  • Hmm…I think that’s all for now. I really miss my blog…but there are just so many things going on I don’t have a lot of time to devote to it. Poor yanowhatimean!

    Anyone still out there?!?

Goodbye Lola Dorie

I know it’s totally late, but last week my Lola Dorie passed away. Now, she’s not technically “my” lola (grandmother in Tagalog) - she’s actually Melanie’s grandmother. But blood doesn’t matter in my family - the bond that we have, the “cousins” is stronger than that. I’ve known Lola Dorie for as long as I can remember. When I was little she lived next door and sometimes would babysit me. I remember her gigantic goldfish, fish that lived longer than they should have. I remember how she would scold me for playing with the fake animals in their terrarium. She gave the best air/sniff kisses whenever she greeted me. Every Christmas, there would be an envelope of money for us, even when we were old and had jobs of our own, written out to us in her pretty handwriting. She had cancer once, and when I came over for a visit, she hobbled over to me in her robe and said, “You wanna see?” and flashed me…

Last week, I was making plans with my sister for the weekend. I was going to pick her up, and she mentioned that I might want to go and visit Lola next door, and that her health had taken a turn for the worse. I had seen her a couple months before, and she seemed fine, but I agreed that it was about time for a visit. On Wednesday, I read my cousin Maui’s facebook profile (because Facebook is how I know what’s going on with people) and just from the sound of it, I felt the need to go visit Lola that night. She was sleeping when we came, and didn’t wake, but I was so surprised at how frail she looked. I could tell this was a pretty rough time for her daughter, my Tita Ellen. No matter what age you are, it’s hard to watch your mother fading away.

She passed away the next day. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of family gatherings. We traditionally pray for 9 days after someone passes. This involves the rosary and intercessions and lots of food. I remember when my mother passed, I gained 10lbs after all the prayer nights were done. Sadly, it’s times like this that I get a real appreciation for my family, how close we all are. My aunt flew in from Cincinatti, my father cut his San Diego vacation short, and every night, the Titas and Titos came over to support the family, with food, prayers, stories and laughter. It was a little exhausting, driving back and forth and back again, with a lot of housework not done, but what was more important was being with family and supporting Melanie and Maui.

The hardest thing for me was being at the cemetery. Lola’s grave was only a couple hundred feet away from my mom’s. Seeing the people I love, so sad at the loss of someone they loved was a little overwhelming to me. I knew that Lola was close with her grandkids, and even her great grandkids. They’ll be missing her every day…

In the end, Lola Dorie will be reunited with her husband, who passed away a while ago. I was watching an episode of Scrubs last week where a woman died soon after her husband, and they talked about how they were so close that they couldn’t live without each other. I think that for Lola, she loved Lolo Sonny, but she knew that her work wasn’t done. She had grandkids to watch over, and great grandkids to meet. Once she knew they’d be ok, she was ready to be with her love again.

Lola, you will be remembered, and you will be missed.

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Dear Mr. Governor

Please stop, you’re embarrassing our state.

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———

I believe that there was a time when Rod Blagojevich started off as a good guy with the best interests of our state in mind, but I think in time he just got caught up in the greed and corruption that is Illinois politics. I’m sure he’s not the only one who’s dirty, and the things he’s done are probably minor to what others have done, but he got caught. I don’t understand how going on The View and the Larry King show, peddling out his story to the nation - most of whom don’t even live in the state that will be deciding his fate - could help him. He just keeps on saying the same things - “taken out of context”, “can’t call a witness”, “the big picture”, “not what the people want”. Let me tell you something, the people are tired of your mug on TV, I’m pretty sure if a vote was taken by the people, the very same ones who voted you in would vote you out just for the fact that you’ve been a complete tool during this whole thing.

Can’t wait til Saturday Night Live this weekend…it should be quite entertaining. How much you want to bet that there’s another Blagojevich spoof?

I’m THAT Guy (well, Gal)

Today during work I got an email from a coworker where she was announcing that she was leaving the company and saying goodbye to the people she had worked with in the email. She was someone that had worked with me on one of my big projects, and even though we’re not in the same department anymore, we still chat every now and then. We even partied it up when I was in Seattle a couple years ago. So I was a little sad to hear that she was leaving, so I wrote her back an email saying how much I’ll miss her and how she’s one of the few people I still keep in touch with “on the other side”.

To my horror, right after I clicked on the “Send” button, I had realized that instead of hitting “Reply”, I had hit “Reply all”. I went into a panic. I looked at the recipient list and saw that there about 50 names on there, peers in my old department, managers, department heads and a vice president of the company. I became “that guy”…you know, the person who replies to everyone with stupid crap like, “Yeah, me too!” or “OK” - stuff that they should have just replied to the original sender. The guy who doesn’t care that they’re clogging up your email box with their email that’s really meant for one person.

I debated on replying to everyone again and saying “Oops, sorry!” but that would have just made it worse. I was using webmail, so I couldn’t recall the email (and really, recalling an email doesn’t prevent people from seeing it - once it’s sent, it’s sent!). So I just gave up and stewed in my own embarrassment.

Now I’m totally going to be paranoid with every email I send, checking to see who it’s being sent to.

Never again!

5 Years

Today is the 5th anniversary of my mother’s passing. It’s weird how I keep track of these milestones, but I can’t help it. I still remember that day so vividly - the people who were there, the look in my mother’s eyes, the crying, holding her hand…I often comment on how I have a horrible memory, but when I remember something, I remember it pretty well.

I am still reminded of her on a daily basis - sometimes small things, like the “ding” of the letters on Wheel of Fortune…sometimes big things, like Ben going through my wedding album, pointing to my mom, and saying “Lola” (grandmother). I know she’s watching over all of us - her biological children and all the other children she had treated as her own. She’s left us in good hands - her best friends always watch out for us and help us along our path. I know that they, too, still feel the pain of her passing and miss her terribly.

So I decided to change my blog, just for today, for my mom, since she loved roses.

I miss you, Mommy.

Powell Endorses Obama

I know that people will say that General Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama is because they’re both black. Maybe that has something to do with it, but if you look at Powell’s political record, he’s an honest man, constantly trying to do what is right. I feel that this move by Powell is also to make right a wrong that he feels he was a part of - presenting a case to go to war with Iraq to the United Nations, even when he was skeptical about the proof that he was given that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (which it was later found was inaccurate information). The Bush administration used Powell’s positive ratings and respect of the international community to their advantage. His endorsement shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise - he’s a moderate Republican, and it looks like his views are more like Obama/Biden’s then McCain/Palin’s. I say them together like that because I think that if McCain was running with anyone else who wasn’t as conservative as Sarah Palin was, he would have gotten Powell’s endorsement. I mean, come on, Powell donated money to McCain’s campaign last year - even before he was the presidential nominee! But maybe Powell saw the same thing that I did - that McCain is a good man, a man that is passionate about his country, but a man who has lost himself and his values in the quest to win. Both McCain and Obama said they’d run clean campaigns, but both sides have stooped down to fear tactics, from Obama’s camp pulling the “Seriously, do you think Sarah Palin is ready to be president?” to McCain’s camp constantly bringing up “washed up terrorist” William Ayers. I honestly have only seen about 5 commercials in the last several months that weren’t critical of the other candidate.

Anyway, I’m happy that Powell crossed party lines to give his endorsement. I’ve always admired him, and I admire him even more for coming out and stating his opinion. He also had this to say, which really hit home because I just had a conversation today about Obama and his Muslim ties:

“It is permitted to be said such things as, ‘Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’ Well, the correct answer is, ‘He is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian’,” Powell said. “But the really right answer is, ‘What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?’ The answer’s ‘No.’”

Why are we so scared of Muslims? They’re good people. To which some people would say, “The 9-11 terrorists were Muslims.” Then I would say back, “Most serial killers are white men. Should I be scared of white men?”

Racism. Fear. I just don’t get it.

Insert Foot in Mouth

When I was little, I used to have recurring dreams about sharks. The most popular shark recurring dream was me about to get into the bath and finding the bathtub filled with sharks. I think that’s why I’ve never learned how to swim - there’s always a part of me that’s terrified of what lies beneath the water.

I don’t have those dreams anymore, but I still have recurring dreams. My recurring dreams now are of me losing my bottom front teeth. It’s weird, I know, but in my dreams my teeth fall out at random times. You’d think that this would prompt me to go to the dentist to make sure that this doesn’t happen, but the opposite has happened - I’ve been avoiding the dentist because I hate the pain and a little, tiny part of me is afraid my teeth are going to fall out.

However, I’ve been feeling a bit of sensitivity in my molars, and I know that I can’t avoid the dentist forever, so I went online and searched for a dentist with some good reviews. Luckily, there was one by my house. So I made an appointment.

Once I got there, there was a TON of paperwork to fill out. Your usual “new patient” stuff - medical history, who to contact in case of emergency, etc. There were also questions like, “Does going to the dentist make you nervous?” (yes) “what don’t you like about going to the dentist?” (PAIN, that scraping sound, PAIN) “Do you have any special needs?” (i need to keep my teeth) and “when was your last cleaning?” (I have no idea!). I wanted to make it pretty clear that the last place I want to be is in the dentist’s chair.

After filling out my paperwork, the dental hygienist called me into room with THE CHAIR. I got myself ready for the inevitable pain and that I was going to be in for a really rough cleaning because of my dentist avoidance. My hygienist was a friendly Filipina, and when she sat me down we talked a little, and it went something like this:

HER: You look really familiar, have you been here before?
ME: No, this is my first time here
HER: Do you live in the area?
ME: About 10 minutes away, though I’m not usually around here. I don’t think we’ve met before.
HER: Hmm, I guess not. But I swear I’ve seen you before…
(now at this time, I’m thinking, “Oh my god, what if she’s a blog reader?!?”)
ME: Umm, I don’t know
HER: Where did you go to school?
ME: I went to U of I
HER: Oh! OK!
ME: Did you go there, too?
HER: No, not me, but do you know “Bill XXXXXX”? (names have been changed, obviously)
ME: Oh yeah! I know him! He used to date my best friend “Jamie YYYYYYY”
(Now at this point I’m thinking it’s his sister or cousin…but then she says…)
HER: (Pausing) I’m his fiance.

UM. AWKWARD.

Now right after she says that, a million thoughts race through my mind - first one is, “DAMMIT! WHY DO I HAVE SUCH A BIG MOUTH!” Other thoughts revolved around the fact that for the next hour she would be holding sharp instruments inside my mouth, possibly even a drill. Why did I say I was best friends with her fiance’s ex? Why was that nugget of information important? Couldn’t I just have said, “Yeah, cool man, I know him…” Instead, I just laughed and congratulated her and told her how great of a guy he is (because he IS a great guy) but it was a little weird.

Lucky for me, she was an absolute sweetheart and constantly asked me if I was OK. There was a lot of scraping going on because of my infrequent use of dental floss, and the retainer on my bottom front teeth is every dentists nightmare to clean. However, she said that for someone who hadn’t been to a dentist in recent memory (and come on, with my memory I could have been to the dentist last week and not remembered) she said my teeth weren’t all that bad. I’ve got a couple cavities that need to be taken care of in a couple weeks, but after that, I should be good to go. No root canals, no plucked teeth, no dentures, just ask long as I make sure to take good care of my teeth.

The visit went so well that I decided it’s time for Ben to go to the dentist. He’s got an appointment today and I’m really curious to see how it will go. We brush his teeth as often as we can, and he always get a little sticker afterwards. He’s still a very clingy child, so I’m not sure if he’ll like the dentist’s chair that much. I’m preparing myself for a lot of screaming, clawing and a good case of hives breaking out during his checkup. Wish us luck!

update: thanks to the other tara - i know i had looked up the interpretation of the falling teeth dream before, but I had forgotten what it meant. click here for the interpretation of the falling teeth dreams.

What Am I Doing With My Time?!?

I remember a time, long long ago, when I used to update this blog all the time with funny life stories, comments on the world around us, and other things. It hasn’t been that way lately, though I hope to one day return to daily blogging about things a little deeper than big Z’s no-no (though that IS a very important event!).

There are times that I wonder what the hell I do in a day, why I don’t have time to do the things that I used to do. I know that Ben takes up a lot of my time - though if I pop in a movie usually he’s good to go. But I don’t see him the whole day when I’m working, so I like to spend as much time as possible with him after work. Dave’s been studying for his upcoming board exam, so he’s MIA most of the time - I like to joke that I’m a single parent right now, but for some reason he doesn’t find that funny :-P. I don’t have the same stressful, all night, high pressure work load that I had last year, though work still is busy. I guess that most of my time goes to taking care of the house - washing dishes (I swear I felt like all I was doing last weekend was washing dishes!), cleaning up after Ben (serves me right for buying him puzzles - that means there are puzzle PIECES to clean up!), making meals (though I haven’t made a meal completely from scratch in a while now) and other things.

Outside of that, I’m not sure what else I do with my time. Of course, there is internet surfing, TV watching and Wii playing in there somewhere, but is it really taking that much of my time? I have no idea…

Anyway, one of my goals this year is to not only to make better use of my time, but to KNOW what I’m doing with my time.

I guess once you get older

Icebergs! How Could I Forget About Icebergs!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it already, but I’ll be going on a much needed vacation this week. We’re going on an Alaskan cruise, which has always been something I’ve wanted to do. Sure, it’s fun to go on cruises in tropical areas, going snorkeling and lounging on the beach, but I’ve always wanted to experience the beauty of our northernmost state, something I got a taste of when I visited there for work several years ago.

So of course, I’ve been doing research on things to do and places to see. I’m excited to see the glaciers and wildlife! But as I was going through people’s pictures in flickr, I realized there was something that I could have been suppressing, something that I will most likely have an encounter with during our cruise: ICEBERGS.

It’s something that I’ve mentioned in this blog, but never really gone into detail over…but I’m really scared of icebergs. I’d never seen one before in person (and really had thought that there was a likelihood that I’d never see one) but there’s something about them that rattles me. I think that part of it is the fact that you only see about 15% of it above water - the rest of it’s massive size lies hidden, waiting, under the water. The other thing is the sound that (I assume) they make underwater, this low frequency, ominous rumbling.

At first, I thought that maybe I was just making up this phobia, but in Wii Fit there’s a game where you have to balance on an iceberg to pick up fish, but if you go too far you fall off. I get all nervous and my heart starts beating heavy when I play it, so I know that this thing is legit, because I LOVE playing video games!

I just did a good search on “fear of icebergs” and I ran into an article that explains almost exactly how I feel:

Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words <-Link
It gives me the creeps.

Immense and unforgiving, icebergs show up where they are not supposed to be. They are cold and cruel-looking. More to the point, they often hide the worst of themselves.

I once came across a particularly vivid series of iceberg photographs.

Every shot showed different icebergs from two perspectives, photographed both above and below the surface of the sea. In one especially frightening shot, two jagged ice peaks reached innocently into the blue sky. Below the water, however, the thing spread into a monster, a craggy mass fully six times the size of the peaks in depth and width. It glittered with menace.

With an iceberg, it’s what you can’t see that is most terrifying.

So I leave you with this picture, as I try to get over my icebergophobia so I don’t totally freak out when I’m on the ship and I see an iceberg in the distance.

Iceberg Underwater

I Have a Bad Feeling About This

Usually, I LOVE the Olympics, but these upcoming games have me worried. I stuck up for the Olympics when activists in different countries were protesting the running of the Olympic flame, saying that politics should be left behind. But the closer and closer these games get, the more I realize that it was a horrible idea to give these games to China. It makes me upset that the spirit of the games is marred by the actions of the host country trying to show their supremacy and power.

One thing is the censoring of the internet for the media - something that China had said before that they would allow. Later, they said that they would relent and allow more internet access to restricted sites - but not all. Next is how horrible the air is in China - athletes are staying in neighboring countries because the air is so bad. It’s come to the point where sporting events lasting more than an hour (like the marathon) could get canceled if the air is poor. Can you imagine? You train your whole life, travel around the world running marathons, then cannot race because China never bothered in the past to care about vehicle and factory emissions.

joey cheekWhat sparked this post today is the latest in this clusterfrak that is 8.8.08 - the 2006 Winter Olympics golden boy (and all-round good guy), Joey Cheek, has been denied a Visa. In 2006 Joey made headlines by donating his medal winnings , about $40,000, to Right to Play, an organization that promotes sports to children in Darfur. He’s one of the reasons why the Olympics are as awesome as they are, and to me, embody everything that the Olympics stand for. He skated for the joy of it, for the competition with his peers, and not for the money, but along the way, made the world aware of the struggle of the people of Darfur.

He was planning on attending the Olympics to support other athletes who are part of his organization, others who also support efforts in Darfur. Unfortunately for Joey, China has ties to Sudan and Darfur, and not the side that he’s on.

Read more about it here.

But he’s not the only one having problems with visas. Even foreigners who are living and working in China are having problems with their visas - many of them having to leave China because of the tight visa restrictions. Hotels are fighting each other for travelers, since China’s visa restrictions are so tough, no one is coming to China to actually watch the games.

It’s all a little sad - these games should be about a celebration of sports and competition, but instead is becoming a hotbed of ill feelings and politics. China is working so hard to make themselves look good and keep their games safe according to their standards, but I’m afraid that it may all backfire on them, with the losers being the athletes themselves.

update: The US is going to protest Joey’s visa denial:

“We have sent in our embassy in Beijing to demarche the Chinese. That is where we go in and say we are concerned about this and we want you to reconsider your actions. We would hope that they would change their mind.”