Monthly Archives: August 2007

Decade Plus One

Decade Plus One


John and I celebrated our 11-year anniversary last Thursday. I know, am I an old geezer or what? Sigh. Sags and wrinkles just around the corner. I know, can I be any more vain?

So we caught the first flight out of SFO to PDX. Portland is a cool city, and we hit it during the best time of the year. Lush, green, clean, stunning. I booked us in the swanky Westin downtown. Location was superb and the bathroom was the size of my home office, but still, I was not impressed. Only gave them three stars on Yelp. Yup, you gotta really work to get four or five stars out of me. I mean, please. I’m forking over some major dough. Don’t penny pinch me for every little thing, especially when Red Roof offers that shit for free. So annoying. Yes, we paid for the extras but only because John got the magic anniversary pass. Any other time? Forget it, mister. Anyway, the service was lame too. Talk about a slap in the face, I booked the reservation in my name on my card, so who do they put into their database? Ms. J.E. Yes, at least they used Ms. instead of Mrs., but hello? I have my own first name and last name. Seriously, that shit should not slide for a freakin’ 5-star hotel. Get with the program. I know, maybe you don’t understand the severity of this incompetence. There are additional details, but long story short, I tried to correct their mistake in person. I practically spoon-fed them. They STILL got it wrong. Whatever, man. Three stars. No more.

Otherwise, Portland was fun. We met up with my buddy Jenny from Shanghai. We went kayaking down the Columbia River. I signed us up for the beginner tour, but I still got my ass whipped. Three hours and on top of that, Jenny and I wasted the first 15 minutes stuck in the loading area (crashing into things), because we couldn’t figure out how to steer and work the rudder at the same time. The guide came back for us, but then off he went again. We spent the rest of the time trying to catch up with the group. I know, we really were pathetic. I’m just glad we did the kayak tour before buying a craft for home. I had considered getting a kayak for John and me to paddle around in the nearby lagoons, but after the outing? Shit. We’ll just join the REI outing. That stuff is too much work. Plus, I still prefer skating. 😉

Saturday and Sunday we headed to the Oregon coast. Jenny’s hubby James ran in the Hood to Coast (Mt. Hood to the OR Coast), this insane 225-miles-in-24-hours relay event sponsored by Nike (based in OR). There were 1000 teams of 12. I had no idea the US even had 12,000 runners! Nuts if you ask me. We drove to the coast and met James when he came in. Better he than I.

Astoria was a quiet, restful place. Very small, somewhat industrial (reminded both of us of Pittsburgh), peaceful, slow, and beautiful. We went up to the famed Astoria column, where I was once again reminded of my fear of heights. I got really stressed ascending the stairs. I don’t know what this new phobia is about, but it’s pissing me off. Makes me feel mentally unstable. In due time, I made it to the top. The views were totally worth it. My phobia is going to have to take a back seat though. I’m signing up for a beginner’s rock climbing course at the local gym. I’ll let you know how I cope.

Sunday rolled around pretty quickly. As is now the norm with many air departures, our flight was late. All in all, the trip was a grand time, but I was definitely happy to get back to the pups. I can only go a few days without petting their rabbit-soft ears. Yup, I’m a sucker for my pups.

Beating Out the Competition

Beating Out the Competition

I am so thrilled– I got the Open Space job! Yup, the race went down to the wire, but I came out on top. So psyched, especially since the interview process for this media writer/web content coordinator position was a bear: resume, supplemental questions, recruiter interview, 3-person panel inquisition, 4-person panel inquisition, compensation talk, formal offer. Yup, they kept me guessing until the very end. Seriously, I went in two weeks ago (after the second panel interview) to meet with HR and the Public Affairs Manager. Even then, neither stated that I got the job. They just said they were concerned, because I’d make less than my current salary. So we did the salary discussion, and the next day, I got a call followed by a formal offer. I couldn’t believe it: they actually took into account the issues I raised. And on top of that, I was pleasantly surprised that they deviated from standard protocol (new hires start at the bottom step of their salary grade/range) to offer me one step below the max. Now is that classy or what? Definitely a good sign. Of course Bubbey reserves all judgment until my desk and computer are revealed. My hubby’s a smart man, eh?

I’m just happy I got the gig. I mean, this whole thing started back in June! And man, had I lost it to another, I would have been beyond pissed. Really. I mean, the amount of prep plus all those days cutting out early from work… Hurray, hurray! Now I can finally stop looking at all the damn job ads. What a relief!

So I start in mid-September. I’m taking some time off to relax, cook (I’m trying), clean, plan trips, and party. It’s like the new me all over again.

Of course, leave it to me to revert to my stupid ways… You see, like a true moron who just doesn’t learn from past mistakes, I volunteered to be a hair model again. Got partial highlights. Over-developed, unevenly colored, you name it. Salvageable but yes, I promise now that I will never be a hair model again. I think I’ll head to Ulta tomorrow to get black again. I know, at this rate my hair is going to fall out.

Weekend in L.A.

Weekend in L.A.

John and I were in L.A. last weekend hanging with his sister Susan, who just turned 30. Susan is the total opposite of me: tall, gorgeous, super fit, ultra stylish, great job, tons of friends, millions of suitors. Sure, she’s single and her dogs aren’t Angels on Earth, but still, she’s happy. And I don’t begrudge her happiness. It’s just that her life is so different from mine. Seriously, we arrived at her apartment, and the entire kitchen counter was covered with b-day gifts, flowers, chocolates… the works. It was as if I had entered The Hills… I mean, who gets all that stuff for her birthday? Well anyway, that was just the beginning.

So Friday morning, she went to work. In the afternoon we braved the Friday get-off-work-early traffic and drove down to San Diego (Del Mar Racetrack) for the horse races. Yup, same racetrack where my buddies Nick and Jessica went (I know, I’m like five years behind… Newlyweds is so over). It was hot as fuck outside, but I enjoyed seeing the horses. Really brought back some childhood memories– as a kid, I was totally obsessed with horses. I practically had the horse section of the World Book Encyclopedia burned into my brain. Anyway, the animals were beautiful– so muscular and lean and gorgeous. Too bad I couldn’t touch them. We bet on a few of the races, and while some of my picks placed, we didn’t win squat.

After an entire afternoon of racing, we stuck around for the Cake concert. John and Susan complained that the sound system sucked and the music was inaudible, but frankly, the volume was just my speed (read: not deafening). Unfortunately, the lawn was packed and stupid fucks stepped into some food and then proceeded to step on my feet. Yes, I wore flip flops so as you can imagine, my toes got slathered with some nasty shit. Felt so disgusting. Then in front of me, a pack of kids kept passing around their pipe. You’d be proud: I didn’t flip out– at least not externally. Internally, I was going ballistic. Seriously, food getting smushed into my toes and then the smell of pot all around me? Ugh! On top of that, I didn’t even recognize any of the damn songs. I know, I’m such a fucking dinosaur.

Thankfully, Susan was annoyed by the low volume. Plus there were some really obnoxious kids surrounding her, so we jetted out early. The evening ended off well with a visit to Melting Pot. Yup, a tub of cheese around 10 pm. Gotta love indulgence.

I was definitely a bit apprehensive about this trip. Originally, I had planned to hang out with my Shanghai buddy Pamela, who was supposed to be in SoCal scoping out Irvine as her next place to live. Unfortunately, her mom-in-law passed away, so her trip got delayed… Totally understandable, but such a bummer for me. I knew ahead of time that things would be a little awkward with me being dorkus maximus and hanging out with cool kid Susan… And Susan is really nice– a wonderful hostess, but you know, she’s a social butterfly. Always has stuff going on. And she and her friends are big drinkers/partiers. Needless to say, there was a lot of boozing. And since I’m a zippo-light drinker, I felt a bit out of place. I know, I’m so socially awkward.

Regardless, John and I did hit the beach. The sun was crazy strong, so we tried not to stay out too long. On Saturday, Susan took us to the Sawdust Art Fair. We drank beer and listened to a really good musician/guitarist. Susan was so sweet: she even requested a song: Over the Rainbow, which we played in our wedding slideshow. Like a true sucker, I cried. Surprise, surprise. But not because of wedding nostalgia: I cried for the obese singer who died… Yup. Issues.

Saturday night we went to dinner with Susan’s friends. After that, we hit a comedy club. Was good. I forget the guy’s name, but he did awesome imitations of Dubya. On Sunday, John and I ate an an awesome little dive brunch spot (Yelp, I love you!). In the afternoon, we caught Superbad. Entertaining.

All in all a very packed weekend. The time off was not relaxing at all. And this Thursday, we’re heading out to Portland. Insane. Yeah, you just try to keep up with us jet setters. Ha!



Working the System

Working the System

Awww yeah baby, just got the verdict on my speeding ticket from May. Not guilty. Eat that! I’m so proud of myself. No more coughing up the hard-earned dough to the coppers.

Of course I spent hours researching the whole damn process, but you know what? It was about frickin’ time I learned how to work the system. Seriously, I encourage everyone to do the same. Here were the steps I took, in case you’re interested.

1. Waited to get the courtesy notice in the mail (about 5 wks from date of citation).
2. Submitted the fine but requested the option for “trial by declaration (written statement).”
3. The Court mailed me the forms requesting any additional evidence and a written statement.
4. I completed the forms and submitted a statement along the lines of:

I was traveling westbound on Highway ABC mid-day heading towards the XYZ Bridge. Before I was pulled over, I had changed lanes to position myself for the upcoming toll plaza. The weather was dry and sunny; I was traveling at a speed safe for the conditions.

The officer pulled me over several hundred feet from the toll plaza. He said I was speeding and that he clocked me going 82 mph; however, he did not show me the readout on his radar gun.

I question the accuracy of the radar device that was used…

Blah, blah. You get the point.

5. About one month after receiving the trial forms, I got a letter saying I was found NOT GUILTY, because the officer failed to submit paperwork responding to my statement.

I had suspected this might be the case: officers usually show up to court since they can charge OT for it, but they rarely refute written declarations because it’s pure paperwork. Regardless, it sure helps to do the homework. Saved myself enough dough to buy another 3-4 pairs of Birks. 😉



A few of my coworkers organized an after-work drinks/dinner at Chevy’s on Friday. To my surprise, the turnout was strong– about 14 people. It was a little odd with people still trying to figure out what pushed me over the edge (is it really that much of a mystery?). All in all though, a grand time. I had a beer (got tipsy after just one), the ballon guy came around and designed me a ballon doggie as well as a very flattering hat (pictures were taken…). Afterwards, most of the peeps headed home, but since I was still a tad inebriated, my buddies Dave and Joe took me to Chuck E. Cheese’s next door. I know, usually I’m too serious for games and arcades, but the booze took off the edge, and it was kind of fun accumulating those little tickets. Ha, reminded me of those Fun Factory days: I always took in my straight A report cards to redeem the 10 free tokens. I know, I was such the nerd.

This weekend has been awesome. I’m finally getting some sleep and recapturing some zest for life. On Saturday, we went to a lunchtime picnic thrown by John’s company. My god. Total opposite end of the spectrum. They frickin’ rented out the park. Had a goddamn moon bounce, magician, palm reader, caricature artist, catered food. The fucking works. No coworker being the designated grillmaster. Was awesome. I got my palm read– the guy said the downward slope on one of my palm lines meant I had to be careful of my proclivity for depression. Nice.

Then, I was super psyched about the artist. He’d done a bunch before us, and they were all really good so I couldn’t wait for us to get ours. How’d it turn out? Total dud. Doesn’t even look like me, and on top of that, he made John look like a cross between Jarrod the Subway guy and Simon the Chipmunk. Totally UNflattering. I dunno if it was because we were the last ones or what. Regardless, I got a decent belly laugh out of it. See for yourself. Seriously, please tell me we do not look like that. Please.

Saturday night, we went to the movies. Yup, I actually let us go out for full-price movies. We watched Bourne Ultimatum. I had missed the previous two in the series but apparently, it didn’t much matter. Ultimatum was quite good. I’m starting to see the appeal now of going out to the movies. Hee, hee.

Today was a very active day too. In the morning, John and I found a new park on the peninsula, where we took the dogs on a morning hike. Was fun. Unlike Dry Creek Park, Pulgas Ridge had plenty of shade.

On our way home, we dropped by Trader Joe’s and picked up stuff for lunch. Threw some pollo asada on the grill and had wraps. Not bad at all. In the afternoon, we went to the pool. It was gorgeous outside, and the only soul at the pool was an old man sunbathing in his Speedos. Seriously, where the fuck is everybody? Oh well, more pool for us.

After dinner, I took the pups rollerblading. They must have been tired still from the hike, because they dragged ass. Yup, time to whip them back into shape. First day of their fitness program coincides with my first day of unemployment: Monday. Yup, I’m eating that shit up this time. Btw, Birks arriving tomorrow. CANNOT WAIT.

Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence

Jesus, where the hell have I been, you ask? No earthly clue, to be honest. Just been decompressing and livin’ it up, I guess. Yup went to the theater a couple weeks ago… saw Broadway on the Bay’s Beauty and the Beast and then drove up to Sacramento the day after for Les Mis. BATB was actually quite good (and to my surprise, John is hooked on the soundtrack), but dayum, running up against Les Mis? No contest. The Sac production was very different– a circular stage with minimal props… I never thought Les Mis would be a spartan production but it was, and it was amazing nonetheless. The Jean ValJean character had performed the play like 1300 times, and he had that shit down to every single second. I was totally entranced. And the tickets were only $45 each! Not too shabby. Then again, the drive was two hours. but still, completely worth it and I’m eyeing what’s next. I am so obsessed, I’ve checked ALL the area theater lists. Cabaret is slated for March 2008 (I know, who the hell plans that far in advance) in San Jose. The Cirque traveling production is coming in September. Maybe I should take a community theater class just for kicks… How funny would that be?

So the job hunt is going ok. I’ve had some decent interest. Some rejections but nothing debilitating. Made it to the final round for a website job at a green space management public agency. Interview was crazy– endured questioning from a 3-person panel. Felt like the Inquisition, but I think I did well albeit not superstar well since I got called back for a final, final interview. I guess the panel had trouble choosing from the final four. Judgment day is next Thursday. Wish me luck. This place is so up my alley. Example? I went to the restroom before my interview. In the bathroom next to the sink, there was a sign next to an empty paper towel dispenser explaining that they had replaced paper towels with an electric hand blower/dryer because it was more eco-friendly. See what I mean? At my current place, I set up a can/bottle recycling bin and every week, it was stuffed with trash. Pissed me off!

As for the current gig, last day is next Friday. Yup, ended up giving 3.5 weeks because I’m a sucker like that. Thinking about leaving all the people made me all sad at first (I have emotional attachment issues), but I’m over it now. Seriously. I made the friends I made and I’m rejoining the world of the living so even though I won’t see them daily, I’m sure we’ll be in touch. So no worries.

In other news, I’m busy planning my life. My buddy Pamela from Shanghai will be in southern Cal later this month, so we’re going to meet up. Just booked my cheapie flights on JetBlue for four days in the land of the beautiful people.

Also, my other buddy from Shanghai, Jen, will be in Portland at the end of the month. John and I are going to celebrate our 11-year anniversary there and then hang with Jen and her hubby James. I’ve never been to Portland, but I can’t wait. To help us blend in with the treehuggers, John and I are getting Birks. Yup, I’m getting real ones this time. I know, ugly as fuck but I found some super cute clogs. Pamela is going to kill me but hey, my feet will love me. Plus, these are actually quite adorable, don’t you think? Definitely the most I’ve ever spent on shoes but hell, it’s a gift to myself. I consider it a liberation present. I’m eyeing Milanos or Sicilys for John, but I’m still working on convincing him… He’s gotta clean up the toe cheese first…

Ok well time to run. Hitting the hot tub. You’d be proud… now that I’ve emotionally let go of the job, I’m doing all kinds of activities. Life is good.