Monthly Archives: September 2006

Broadway by the Bay

Broadway by the Bay

After waiting for what felt like an eternity, John and I finally saw Miss Saigon Thursday night. The musical was a local production done by Broadway by the Bay at the San Mateo Center for Performing Arts. It pretty much goes without saying that the professional production at the Kennedy Center was better; still, John and I were pleasantly surprised. Most of the main characters were solid singers and the stage work was really well done. I did notice variations with some of the songs, for example, differences in pacing, but maybe those ordinarily change performer to performer. I’m probably unfairly attached to the original London cast recording.

Regardless, I still shed a river of tears. When the lights came on at the end, John busted out laughing after seeing all the tear stains on my sweater. Even walking to the car, I choked up trying to explain why I Still Believe gets me every time. Sigh. Yeah, so the performance was good. I think we may get season tickets for next year.

The Green Conference

The Green Conference

Holy shit man, too much going on for an unemployed person! Tuesday, I was back in the city for volunteer orientation. I was slated to be a “room attendant” at West Coast Green, this conference/trade show expo on green building (design, contruction, renovation, etc.). I was all stoked about meeting the organizers, an events firm based in beautiful, bohemian Asheville, NC (where I used to have a big landfill client). During orientation, the organizers talked about how all the food vendors were going to be organic and healthy and tasty. The carpeting was going to be recycled fibers. There would be recycling posts everywhere. Volunteers were going to wear organic cotton t-shirts, blah, blah. This conference was going to walk the talk (is that the saying?). So I was excited about being in the company of ultra green folks. I was looking to be inspired, I suppose.

Well, I was inspired… some. But the control freak in me was also a bit disappointed. Certain details just weren’t fleshed out. Lots of things were disorganized, which in some ways is expected for a jumbo expo (600+) but still. Shit has to pull together otherwise people will not take your green mission seriously, you know? The worst thing is to have people equate green with flakey.

Anyway, I got up at the crack of dawn on Thursday. My commute (car then metro) was about 75 minutes each way–exhausting on the noisy, dirty BART. When I arrived to my designated room, another volunteer told me we were all meeting in room 405. This was news to me, considering nothing was mentioned during orientation or in our packets but whatever. I went with the flow. Then, turned out four volunteers didn’t show. I told the organizers to comb through the rooms, because I didn’t know about the training in room 405, so they probably didn’t either. Long story short, the whole day was a mess. Some volunteers didn’t get the message; they were considered “no-shows” and then people were re-assigned to different rooms resulting in under- or over-staffing. We were supposed to have introducers and track hosts to interact directly with the speakers, and my people never came. Since I didn’t know anything about them, my poor speakers had to self-introduce. Not really a big deal for them, but as a volunteer with the event organizers, I was embarrassed. Then registration took forever, so many attendees poured into the sessions late… Then, many of the lecture halls filled to capacity, so attendees were denied entrance– they were not happy campers.

For my second session, the speakers were dicks. I introduced myself to one speaker, who was decent. The other two just continued their conversation while I stood there waiting for them to acknowledge me and to give a damn. They never did. And they weren’t even in the middle of anything deep; they were just shooting the shit. Wtf? Then I asked if they wanted the lights on or off and none of the three people gave any definitive response. I mean, they didn’t seem to care, but hello, if you don’t care, then just pick one. Finally, I was like, “so we’ll leave them on then?” and the woman gave me this look like I was dwelling on some silly detail. Annoyed, she shook her head, shrugged her shoulders, and said, “sure… whatever.” Look beotch, don’t give me ‘tude! Puhleez. Your construction company is currently selling homes below cost. Get off the high horse!

Anyway, the talks were so-so. Generally kind of boring with even drier powerpoints. Thankfully, in the afternoon, I sat in on a talk by Marc Vassallo on barefoot homes (aka informal living). Not only were the speakers really good, but their presentations were sharp, colorful, and entertaining. How refreshing! One speaker was an author who obviously had the public speaking thing down. The other was an architect, so all his slides were aesthetically appealing. Funny thing, the architect said one of his clients was a couple–Berkeley ecology profs. They commissioned a 28 sf add-on to their home. Haha, 28 sf is tiny– a 7 x 4 space! Their original floorprint? Only 700 sf. So John got an earful about that. Two high-profile professors living in a small, eco-friendly space… how cool is that?

Of course John always counters by attacking my computer obsession. “Do you know how environmentallly wasteful and degrading computer manufacturing is?” Touche. But he still shouldn’t give me crap about using cloth grocery bags and about recycling.

Crash Test Dummy

Crash Test Dummy

Last Friday was judgement day for the “crash test dummy.” For me, this gig was almost equivalent to the first day of school: I felt so much anticipation, I couldn’t sleep. I was up super early, like 6 a.m. or something ridiculous like that. I don’t what my deal was– I think I was just really excited to get some work. Ha, ha. I know, I’m messed up.

Of course in true Bubbey fashion, we had hit the Cheesecake Factory the night before… always gotta push that luck, right? So in the morning, I was at the upper weight limit exactly. Interestingly, after I took a dump (sorry for being crass), I was a half pound lighter. Now for all of us who have ever wondered the weight of our shits, now we know or at least we have a data point. So whatever, I wasn’t worried– I was within the range. The weight was with clothes on but shoes off.

I left the house at t-30 minutes. You never know with traffic and all. I arrived five minutes after stepping out my door. Thankfully, I took a book– I’m still reading Gladwell, btw (great book but I’ve been preoccupied). So I get in and the receptionist offers me a glass of water. Well, it was damn hot that day so I accepted. Ten minutes later, standing on the scale, I went OVER the upper weight limit! By like 0.3 lbs! THWARTED, I thought! Luckily, the bio-mechnical engineer (who even knew those people existed?) said it was fine. Eking by, man!

As for the job, it took place in a rented Ford Focus. I sat in the driver seat. I adjusted the seat and mirrors then the engineers–not even using laser/high tech equipment, which seemed a little half-ass to me– took various measurements, for example, navel to side door, forehead to window, nose to dashboard, etc. Seriously, I just sat there. Oh, so glamorous. Whatever.

So all this data goes towards some auto accident insurance case. The lady fractured her ankle or something, so I got to twist my foot every which way to simulate possible movements following impact. Then the engineers crank the numbers through a model to see if indeed the victim’s reported injuries are possible given all the conditions. Doesn’t seem too difficult and yet, the job actually solves a problem. And there’s an actual answer. That’s my kinda thing. No more of this unresolvable social ills crap. Plus, these peeps wear jeans to work. One dude brought his dog. The lady brought her toddler. How cool is that for workplace flexibility? And they’re outside in the gorgeous California sunshine. Not too shabby, I say.

Of course, I made out ok too. $100 for 45 minutes’ “work.” Unbelievable. I’m telling you, the golden gigs are out there! The manager said he’ll keep me on file. The engineers also said they’re waiting for x-rays, and after they receive those, they may need additional measurements. No problem, gimme a buzz!

I got loads of work yesterday from IBM too. Thank goodness. I am burning to make some dough! I have so many hours of recording to do… like 5 modules. As usual, all of it is fun too– not (software training). Haha. I just have to keep telling myself: peppy, upbeat, energetic. Yeah, that’s exactly what comes to mind when I read the scripts. Oh well, makes me feel legit, like a working member of society. So all’s good.

My throat feels a little sore today though… 🙂 Probably because i’ve been joining some social activities. Surprise, surprise. Our neighbors invited us over Sunday afternoon for football and finger food. There was another couple there who is getting married in three weeks. So yeah, they’re like full-on lovey-dovey stuff. And then, the dude had the nerve to ask us weirdo touchy-feely questions like, “when did you know it was love?” and “when was the first time you held hands?” Say what, dude? We been together ten years. Ah uh. None of that ok? I wear gramma pj’s to bed. John and I have a difficult enough time remembering the main dates… Needless to say, I was very uncomfortable– in part because then I felt like we were supposed to remember those moments?! I don’t know. I thought the questions were a bit intrusive too, especially coming from strangers. I was visibly stressed out, so I guess if anything, they got enjoyment from that– from my obvious discomfort. Anything for entertainment.

Searching for Answers

Searching for Answers

Ok, so I haven’t been in the best of moods lately… Thankfully, I’m feeling better today. Nothing new really on the job front, other than my own renewed conviction to hang tough. I’m still pulling all kinds of stalker tricks out of my hat in my continued efforts to jam my foot in the door and well, given the paucity of emails in my inbox, it looks like my most recent efforts remain unanswered…

Nonetheless, the sun is shining today. I washed the bed linens and hung them outside to disinfect (Shanghai-style). I did a light dusting, brushed/clipped the dogs, and I’m gearing up for another thorough vacuuming. Funny how cathartic cleaning can sometimes be. Overwhelming at times, liberating at others. Last night I flipped through an issue of InStyle magazine, a monstrous edition. I still don’t understand how these people “create” looks, but at least now I feel I can actually recognize decent looks, whereas before, I had no clue distinguishing good from bad. I started getting excited about all the goods and products. Not that I plan to buy them… it’s just something about the data. I like collecting information. I dunno though, something about starting anew too, updating something (besides the resume). I still subscribe to my no net gain or loss philosophy with clothes (if I buy something new, I force another item into retirement)… after all, who has all the space for this stuff. There’s another clothing swap coming up in early October… I’m debating whether or not to go. I’m not too keen on the venue, the same nightclub again. Still, I’ve set aside my retired garments just in case.

Anyway, back to the magazine. InStyle gave me about two hours of leisure stimulation, if that makes any sense. I came across this ad too (pictured), which piqued my interest. I can really get into classification systems and labels, at least as much as the next Myers-Briggs addict. Here is yet another opportunity to gain insight about myself. Yes, the handwriting analysis sounds a bit sketchy; I’m not a total believer. But whatever, it’s free (always key) and you never know, I could learn something new. While I wait for the results, I’ll continue reading Malcolm Gladwell’s, The Tipping Point, recommended (a billion times) by my friend Joon. Joon’s recommendations are like gold: he was so right about City Diner; if only I’d have heeded his advice sooner. From now on…

From 2005.09.21



The accident reconstruction model gig made my day, but that high only lasted one day. A day later, it took all the strength in me to fight off paralysis (triggered by my apparent inability to land a job). What other variable could I again change to improve the situation?

I called on my college friend Jenny today. She works in Portland but her company is national and it has vacancies at their CA offices. I asked her to pass my info to the right person regarding a marketing coordinator position downtown. Almost immediately, I got a call. The bad news is, the hiring manager said the job was really a “production assistant” more than a marketing person. In other words, the PA would be responsible for placing text into InDesign/Pakemaker to generate reports and such. While I could certainly become more familiar with both of these software applications, my preference is content development. And she stressed there was no technical writing or content development involved. Her voice was doubtful: she questioned whether the job would be challenging or even interesting. Way to sell the position, right? I mean, maybe she was saying I was overqualified? Was that supposed to be comforting? I don’t know.

Regardless, this afternoon, after looking around this tiny apartment, forever littered with dirty, cluttered piles of clothes, dishes, and junk, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the endless cleaning and washing required to keep this raft barely afloat. I felt tired– the constant job hunting, the pathetic combing of job boards, the brief optimism of new finds, and the depressing blow of rejection that followed.

And then my mom called. My parents are always calling me… maybe only once or twice a week but already, it feels like too much. They’re always like, “Well since you’re not working now, maybe you can read through all these contracts since our English isn’t good…” or “Well if you have nothing to do, maybe you can post more ads for our condo…” As if I were sitting in front of the tv eating bon bons all fucking day. Ok, yes. I watched Laguna Beach. For like 10 days. That trend died weeks ago. During the day, I don’t even turn the tv on anymore.

So anyway, mom had called me a few days earlier. She had heard about some intensive EFL program for native Mandarin speakers at Georgetown. The program was highly competitive and covered by scholarship. After the program, fellows were assigned to a government job, I assume in some kind of Department of Homeland Security post. Despite my disgust with anything DOHS, I tried to be supportive. After all, this was a great educational and motivational opportunity for my mother. Learning’s always good, right? So she sent me her application essays. They were decent but, as expected, far from native level. So I spent three hours editing them, making them more fluid. Emailed them back the same day.

This morning? She called and said she decided not to apply. WHAT THE FUCK? So her reason is that she doesn’t want to be a spy or an employee of the CIA. Ok, back it up. Jesus Christ. Mom, you’re not going to become a goddamn spy following a 6-month English program. Puhleez. I mean, first off, you need to be fully knowledgeable of government and politics, which most you (and most people) aren’t. Second, you need to have security clearance. Third, you need to meet like a spy profile or whatever. I mean, the government isn’t going to just pick some random citizen because she has native language Mandarin, you know? I was so frickin’ pissed off. People did a lot of work for her application. Someone wrote her a recommendation. I edited essays. The LEAST she could do is apply. If she gets the spot, THEN she can think about declining or accepting. I swear, my mother frustrates me to no end. It’s not just this application. It’s so many other things. She’s like one of those people who bitches and complains and then NEVER does anything to change or improve her situation. And she doesn’t give a damn about anything outside her backyard. You’d think she herself actually experienced the Depression or something, with her whole paranoid, dog eat dog attitude. Seriously, she is a captive of fear.

Yeah, I know. These aren’t particularly nice things to say about my mother. Well, the way I see it, this is my blog and I tell it like it is. Frankly, my family– like many families– is fucked up. I’m not blaming anyone or anything. I’m just being matter-of-fact about it. We don’t connect. I haven’t spoken to my brother in like three years. For some people, that’s hard to understand. But to me, anything closer than distant is uncomfortable. Even growing up, we like never ate meals together. Dad was working, mom was in school or working, Johnny and I did various afterschool activities. To this day, regular family dinners is a bizarre concept. If my family dines together now, we just eat. We don’t talk. People who like tell stories and joke around and ask about each others’ days? What the hell is that? Weirds me out. The purpose of a meal is to eat. I shovel my food in and that’s that. Next.

Oh, I almost forgot. Maybe I should stop surfing Craigslist. Take a look at this garbage. No wonder I’ve been in a pissy mood:

I am a very beautiful Asian girl with extremely long hair and fair skin. My name is Lily. I am 5’5″ tall, 120 lbs. I am slender and petite, and I have a curvy busty figure. As a finance and computer science double major from a famous bay area university, I am well-educated and have good manner. I have a mix of classy and exotic features. I am a real sweet girl and love to please. Truly one of a kind.

I will accommodate the following occasions:
1. Business events and occasions (company parties, trips and personal companion, etc.)
2. Formal/Casual encounters (dinner, travel, dance, movies, etc.)
3. Full body sensual massage (outcalls only)

I’d love to invite you to experience one of the best things in life – relaxing yourself with a beautiful and well-educated Asian girl in business or casual settings. Get a rejuvenation through one of the best massages you may have had in a long time. Add to the mix the element of a woman’s sensual and caring touch woven into skilled techniques, leading to a sweet and completely stress-relieving experience!

With my sweet and romantic personality, I will connect with YOU emotionally and spiritually. Sharing sensuality, your superficial packaging doesn’t change my dedication to you. Just be a respectful, honest, and kind gentleman. I’d love to build long-term relationship with you if you want. I will come to your place and pamper you whenever you need.

$200 minimum donation request (compensating my time only). If you book me for extended hours or overnight or several days, rates are negotiable.

Please send me your phone number, or phone me directly at *82-7O3-459-7349 (please unblock your caller ID). I am very discreet and considerate. Pictures are available upon request. 🙂

No sex / No full service

Oh. my. fucking. god. Ugh!

Meetup: Take 3

Meetup: Take 3

Saturday was a beautiful, beautiful day. Because I had us scheduled for a Taiwanese meetup in Sunnyvale, John and I were up early for a Saturday. The event was a BBQ Potluck, and I volunteered to take hummus and pita (Oddly, I think I was the only person there eating hummus). We hit our new fave hummus place (good old Trader Joe’s), and then off we went on a scenic drive down I-280. I suppose I’ve really grown accustomed to urban development, because I couldn’t help but be wowed by the vast open fields and big trees, courtesy of the Stanford University endowment (which is over $20 BILLION, but I just got btw). With the backdrop of a clear blue sky, the landscape was breathtaking…

Even so, I still have to piss on the parade: well, I mean the fields were all burnt! No dense, lush, green foilage (as on the East Coast). Zippo. All yellow, frizzy, and crunchy like a perm job gone seriously awry. Then again, who’s really complaining. This place gets no rain; that’s part of the CA charm. 🙂

Anyway, John and I arrived at Ortega Park right on time. In the end, probably 40 people showed up. Final vote? The event turned out less promising than expected. First, as John pointed out every half hour, he was the ONLY white dude. In my defense, how the hell was I supposed to know? I mean, yes, it’s a Taiwanese meetup, but surely some Taiwanese hook up with whiteys??! Or what about people who study abroad or people whose families are stationed in Asia? Seriously, my assumption should have been solid.

My second guess (that was also incorrect) was that there would be singles and couples at the meetup. Nope. I dunno what was up… There were older, mommy-looking types there, but they acted single. What the hell? Not that relationship status matters, but I’m just saying again, sometimes it affects the vibe, you know? About the whitey thing though, John should just get over his whole “Outsider” hangup. After all, welcome to my world.

So the meetup was ok; I met some nice people actually. Maybe like two with whom I actually conversed longer than five minutes. They were friendly, nice women, but in the end, I didn’t get their contact info, so what does that say? Same deal with John. Met maybe one dude he thought was ok (from Maryland, no less), but again, no contact info. And by 12:30, John was harassing the shit out of me about leaving. He had eaten his two sausage dogs and apparently, that signaled the end. So damn impatient, I tell you. I wanted to say goodbye to my two “prospects” (for lack of a better word), but they were talking to other people and god forbid John wait another five minutes for me to butt in and get numbers. Yeah, so in conclusion, meetup 3 was a total bust. So far I’m 1 for 3, the one being the anti-trafficking group. There’s a lipstick and politics meetup tomorrow in the city… not sure if I’m ready to take that on. The discussion question was, “What does it mean to be a woman?” Oh god, let me dig up my Women’s Studies 101 notes. Shit, I didn’t sign up for deep issues like that!

I have to admit though, my whole meetup experience has given me new insights. Now I totally understand the frustration of my single friends. Meeting new people for fun is such a fucking chore; I can’t even imagine meeting people for relationships. Ugh! Sucks, man!

But the larger picture is this: commonality is overrated in terms of connecting with people. Proximity (physical) is the answer. That’s why I feel closest to my friends made during my years in school. Oh god, how old does that make me sound? Middle school, high school, college, grad school. Sure, all of that was years ago and we drifted in and out of touch, but in the end, that spark lived on. Why? Because the foundation was strong. Weird, sorry that phrase conjured a Papa Gou image.

And more and more, I’m thinking that the bond isn’t just there from the start; it’s something that forms through repetition– seeing these people in class, living next door or down the street… I don’t know. All I can say is I compare each prospect with a tried and true, and very rarely do I believe the crossover will eventually happen. What does that mean??! I’m a skeptical beotch, man. And the high standards never die. What can I do.

Stood Up

Stood Up

So last couple weeks, I’ve been going on and on about making concerted efforts to meet people. I talked about finding activity groups and about joining Meetups. In fact, I signed up for like five groups– Mandarin language, anti-trafficking, Chinese professionals, etc.

So on Monday, the San Leandro Chinese language meetup scheduled their third get together. Seeing as one person confirmed, plus there was the organizer, I assumed that meant at least two people. Five others (including myself) RSVPed “maybe.” Well Monday night rolled around, and I felt myself getting lazy about driving to East Bay. I reasoned that maybe no one would show or that maybe they’d be a bunch of middle-aged bores (which I am NOT!). In the end, I knew I had to go. How else was I supposed to make friends?

I invited John (we were meeting at a Denny’s, after all) but even the Grand Slam breakfast wasn’t enough to entice him. He declined, preferring instead to watch Monday night football. I figured. So I made the trek across the San Mateo Bridge alone. When I arrived, the Denny’s was empty, save for three tables. There were three Chinese adults at one of the tables. Maybe they were the meetup members? I started approaching until I noticed they were fully engrossed in conversation, AND they had their food already. I arrived at Denny’s exactly on time… the members wouldn’t be so rude as to order ahead, right? So I waited. And waited. And waited. They weren’t looking for anyone either. I called the organizer, but he didn’t answer. Ten minutes passed and the three Chinese up and left.

The organizer finally called back and apologized. He had just started a new job, so he couldn’t make it, blah, blah. And the other “yes” person (the assistant organizer, btw), seeing as he was the only one confirmed, decided to cancel. Well gee, maybe he could have notified all the “maybes” that the damn thing was canceled? Wtf?! You know, I’d heard the accusations before, but I didn’t want to believe them. But shit, the evidence is overwhelming now (my case PLUS many others’): SFers are fucking flakey, man. They just decide last minute not to attend something and they don’t even bother to tell anyone else. Selfish bastards. Yeah, I’m bitter about it. Still.

So anyway, I called John to tell him no one showed. Ever the cynic, he just laughed in his “I told you so” kind of way.

Fortunately, the evening wasn’t a total bust. I had eyed a Nordies Rack on the way in, so the night was salvaged with me-time shopping. Of course, I didn’t find jack shit, but I guess I got to look around (and feel totally disenchanted by today’s fashion).

My second meetup occured last night in the city: the anti-trafficking meetup. You gotta give it up for feminists, man. They have their shit together. We got handouts, a mission statement, goals statement, a goddamn agenda! Sure, the topic was depressing as hell, and I got a massive headache learning about the abolitionists vs. regulationists points of views but still, it was cool to just be around people with passionate, you know? People who really believe their personal actions matter. Some consider them foolish idealists. I don’t care what you call them. I’m just glad I found them.

Making Weight

Making Weight

Haha, hehe, I got a gig yesterday. Yes, my job hunt has slowed to a screeching halt so I spent a brief time combing online for gigs. Something to do, some extra cash, maybe even a potential “in.” So what’s the job? I’m an accident reconstruction model, or as John calls it, a crash test dummy. Not exactly, but anyway, I answered this ad calling for a female weighing X lbs (within a 5-lb range) and measuring Y inches (one-inch range) tall. Hallelujah, I fit the profile! Called the engineer, went to the office to verify my height and weight, and bam, I’m booked for next week. Aww yeah, baby! $100/hour. Not. too. shabby.

In the mean time, I gotta watch my weight. You never know, that Chipotle burrito could just push me over the edge. I’m telling you, day to day and morning to night even, I fluctuate +/- 2 lbs. No big deal, but with this gig, it could be a tight rope to walk. I think it just means no huge pigfest this weekend.

But I do laugh, thinking back to high school when the wrestlers were always fretting about “making weight.” I remember before the big matches, Joe Ottinger and Sean Grunwell would pile on three to four heavy winter coats and run laps around the gym. For like an hour! They were insane. I had even heard rumours of guys puking themselves. Ugh. What horrible, horrible thoughts that conjures. Two close friends plagued so severely by anorexia, they were hospitalized. And so many control-freak perfectionists on campus at college… so sad. I mean, I probably have more obsessive tendencies than most, but thankfully, weight has never been a huge concern.

For Rent: 3 BR Townhouse in Reston

For Rent: 3 BR Townhouse in Reston

Well, we should have known it was too good to last. When John and I moved to China in December 2003, our Reston townhouse sat vacant for FIVE MONTHS before we finally got tenants. Part of the problem was a totally incompetant property management company (the agent we originally hired retired after a company bought his business). Then, I had to shop around and locate another agent– all from overseas. In May 2005 though, we finally landed a renter. And that family has lived in our house ever since. They re-signed a lease last May, but then last month, they said they were returning to their native country in October. What a bummer. For us and for them. They don’t even want to leave, but the wife couldn’t get her immigration papers. Thanks a lot, Uncle Sam. A perfectly fine, upstanding couple… the husband has lived and worked in the States for two decades, and now they have to uproot and go. And it’s not just my tenants. I know others… like my friend Matt who married a Japanese woman. Her papers took a damn eternity– all in the name of homeland security. Total BS.

Anyway, my place is posted on Craigslist. Know anyone interested? If so, please spread the word. Thanks!

I Still Need Help, Apparently

I Still Need Help, Apparently

I forgot to mention that pretty much as soon as I had arrived in Maryland earlier this month, my parents again sat me down for the “appearances are very important” speech. Despite wearing what I thought was a stylish outfit, evidently, I had disappointed them again. And boy did I receive an earful about how, for example, my father doesn’t want my mother to dress poorly: it’s important that she look good (Why? Is she his arm candy or something?). Whatever. I know appearances are important, but please, to suggest that John is embarrassed or ashamed by how I dress is just plain annoying. It’s yet another example of how my parents simply don’t get my relationship and my marriage. Anyway, partly I think their clothing comments will continue so long as I wear jeans (they consider denim “student clothing”). After all, my father is someone who used to play tennis in a suit! Still, I was a bit curious: what about my outfit that day triggered their comments? I actually thought the embroidered jeans and delicate top were well-paired. Nope. My mother said my top was totally wrinkled in the back. Ok, fine. I guess that is a tad frumpy. But Jesus, give me a frickin’ break: I shuttled around Boston for three days, and I just got off the plane! These style people, man. No mercy!

Later that day, my mother began sifting through her closets, pulling out clothes to give me. Mind you, she and I are about 30 years apart: we have totally contrasting styles, not to mention different body types. Nonetheless, she insisted that I try on all her mommy suits and flower-print, boxy tops. I mean, come on, I underwent Pamela’s program for a few months– in the very least, I now can look at something and tell whether the cut will work on me. My mother’s stuff is ALL WRONG. I’m talkin’ no butt pockets, high elastic waists, and shoulder pads! I’m not on Dynasty, for Crissakes! She refused to listen. After wasting two hours changing into all her mommy pieces, we finally both agreed that nothing looked right on me. She then explained her logic: she thinks I’m too damn cheap to go buy myself nice clothes, so to her, the next best thing is her stuff! Disturbing, on so many levels.

Clue #2 (suggesting my style emergency) came from my grandfather, Yebbie. I was prancing around in my new shoes, which I had purchased in Providence with Grace, when Yeb asked, “Aren’t the pointed-toe shoes in style now? With the spikey heels?” Nice. Guess he didn’t like my new rounded-toe wedgies. Sigh. Gettin’ style advice from gramps (who’s 80 plus)! A bad sign indeed.

Luckily, one good thing did come from my mother’s closet. You see, I’ve searched far and wide for a decent purse. Nothing ever fits my criteria for color, pattern, AND inside organization. Lo and behold, my mother had a purse she bought two years ago and never used (tags still on!). I have to say, it’s pretty cute, and it has good sectioning. Yay. Definitely an upgrade from the $3 USD Carrefour bag I previously lugged around.

When I returned to Cali earlier this week, I decided I needed to be more proactive about this apparent style dilemma. I decided to attend the upcoming clothing swap. I loved the concept of a clothing swap, but I was wary of (and uneasy about) the nightclub venue. But, I had to go: my peeps were giving me bad vibes, you know? I had to take action. So, I dragged my friend Karen to the swap.

An unfortunate restaurant pick caused us to arrive 20 minutes late, but I still got some decent pieces: two short skirts (black and gray), a stretch top, and brown ankle boots (to replace my SH ones). Sadly, Karen left the place empty-handed. Maybe (likely) her wardrobe is more extensive than mine. Sigh. My self-improvement program continues…