Feb 11

I’m a coldy, bratty hermit

What started as a sore throat, slightly upset stomach, and general ickiness  has finally blossomed into full-blown cold.  While a stuffy, itchy nose full of an unbelievable amount of snot isn’t fun, I’ll take that over congested sinuses any day.

I rarely get sick so when I finally do, I’m a total brat about it.  I was restless the other night, even after taking that blue cold medicine that might as well be vodka, so the TV seemed extra loud.  I marched into the living room, announced, “It’s too loud!” and turned the volume down so low that MB couldn’t hear it at all.  At that point he gave up and turned it off.

Since dealing with our noisy annoying downstairs neighbors, I started wearing ear plugs, which do an awesome job.  Once MB came in to grab his pants and belt to run out for a midnight snack.  He dropped the belt, cried out, “Fuck!” and I still didn’t budge.

But with my stuffy nose, I don’t like wearing the ear plugs.  They make me feel suffocated, and I don’t like hearing my labored, stuffy breathing, like I’m Darth Vader.

Friday night we did manage to go out and have some dumplings for Chinese New Year. After work we met up in the city and walked to the restaurant. It’s too pricey for dim sum but it’s clean, the food is good, and it’s in a convenient location.

I still miss my mom’s dumplings though.

Yesterday I barely left the house. Still feeling sick, I stayed at home while MB went out to meet one of his friends for lunch and play guitar in the park. I managed to almost finish a draft of an essay for a contest that’s due next week, and did some laundry.  MB came home in the late afternoon, we had dinner at Grubstake, our favorite nearby place, then spent the evening working while watching a surprisingly exciting reality-competition show about sharp shooters. We followed that with a couple of episodes of yet another anime. There are so many out there, but so few I actually like.

Not sure what I’m doing today.  Gym?  Highly unlikely.  Kind of do want to hit a cafe, any cafe where there will NO Superbowl activity.

Jan 10

Coughing, yoga, work

I’m getting over a cold so you know what that means: a hacking, choking cough.

I’ve had the cough since I was a kid.  It’s dry and ticklish, and lasts for weeks on end.  Last year I went to the doctor who said it was either asthma or allergies.  Since I can run four miles without losing my breath, I figured it was probably the latter.

Allegra took care of it (along with my hives), but now that I don’t have insurance, I don’t get Allegra.

I have to make do with water, tea, and lozenges, and scaring people into thinking I have H1N1 or bird flu.

* * *

Had my yoga class yesterday and my arms are sore!  But in a good way, not in a I-can’t-even-scratch-my-nose kind of way.  I also ran four miles.  Woohoo!

What keeps me from going crazy without a nine to five job is 1) staying in shape, and 2) being a productive writer.

* * *

Heard the most corp-speaky conversation at Bittersweet the other day.  It was three young women in skirt suits, and one, maybe the manager, said  “spot on” and “stay the course” at least half a dozen times.  (Why do so many corp speak terms ape the military?  “All hands on deck.”  “Round the horn.”  “Stay the course.”  Planning a party is not tantamount to planning an invasion.)

Then the manager type chewed out one of the girls for seeming “disenchanted.”  How much you wanna bet that the girl was doing her job just fine, but because she wasn’t a pollyanna, she’s seen as “disenchanted.”  So not only do you have to do your job, you have to reassure manager types that you’re “thrilled” and “excited.”


Is it insecurity on management’s part?  Or is it somehow tricking you into thinking you need them more than they need you?  It’s not enough to do my job, I have to walk around with an asshat grin on my face all day.  Yeah, fuck you.

Gee, Angela, tell us how you really feel.

Jan 10

Next Nervous Breakdown post + cold

My next Nervous Breakdown post is up.

Before I moved to the Princeton area, I live in a town that was mostly Jewish and Italian, ie, not too many Asians, which messed with my head in terms of standards of beauty.  Despite all the stereotypes of Asian women being trophy wives are whatever, my experience growing up was that Asian girls were not pretty.  Or at least that’s how I felt.

In other news, I have my first cold of the year.  It came on all of a sudden.  On Friday I was perfectly fine.  Then that evening I had a tickle in my throat.  By Saturday my throat hurt, and by yesterday I was sneezing and stuffed up.  Usually colds creep up on me very slowly.  Hopefully this one will disappear as quickly as it started.

Trying to get my butt to the gym today.  Will attempt a short run and then yoga.  I usually feel better after a light workout when I have a cold.

In other other news, we saw The Lovely Bones this weekend.  Two words: it sucked.  Very boring and lame.  So much of the book was glossed over or left out entirely.  The only good thing was the acting.

Jun 09

Bad medicine

Last night I took some Nyquil, which evinced by the fact that I had to show ID before I bought it, is basically blue Jack Daniels. Sensitive to all things stimulant/depressant, I took a fraction of the recommended dosage – 7 ½ ml as opposed to 30 – and it still knocked me on my ass. Less than an hour later I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and when I woke up a while later to pee, I could barely walk straight.

From the time I was a kid, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with cold medicine. The moment my brother or I showed any symptoms, our mother would say, “Kuai chi yao!” Quickly, take medicine! as though some Tylenol Cold (which my mom called “Co-Tylenol”) could stop one of a billion viruses in its snot-inducing tracks. While I loved that the stuff knocked me out when I wasn’t feeling good – the way I loved the “sweet air” at the dentist’s, so much so that I hoped for cavities – taking too much could leave me a bundle of nerves.

For standard colds, there was “green yao yao,” chinglish for green medicine (in my house there were actually two green yao yaos, one for the sniffles and the other a menthol gel that my mother insisted cured everything from bug bites to pimples to infected cuts ). I don’t even know what it actually was, but I do remember it was the least foul-tasting of the bunch and the mildest, putting me to sleep in a soft, slow way.

Sometimes for a mild cough my mother gave us pi pa gao, a syrupy Chinese herbal concoction, which I found really disgusting and literally had to choke down. For the cough that wouldn’t quit, there was Contact, red and gross. My brother and I would take the dose fast, always in a Chinese soup spoon, and grimacing and convulsing, immediately afterwards gulp a tall glass of water.

Contact not only made me drowsy, it made my whole body feel strange, like I was wearing a giant body-sized glove made out of my own skin. And too much of it gave me the jitters. Nowadays we know about the dangers of giving kids too much cough medicine, but back then my mom thought, She’s still coughing, she needs more medicine.

When I was 8, I had the flu and lingering hacking cough. Contact to the rescue! But as the weeks went by, I developed a bad case of insomnia. I had strange dreams and a continual ringing in my ears. Already a nervous kid, I was even more nervous, bursting into tears for no reason. It didn’t help that around this time I watched the Exorcist for the first time, or at least part of it, and managed to convince myself that I was possessed, and that soon my bed would start shaking and I’d be ramming crucifexes up my crotch. It got to the point that I couldn’t sleep alone, and made my brother sleep in the same room with me, to his annoyance I was sure. But I didn’t care.

The insomnia and fear of sleeping alone lasted a good year, maybe longer, till finally I decided to wanted to be back in my own room, which my parents would have to pry me out of for the rest of my adolescence.

Today, while occasional sleeplessness and catching z’s solo don’t bother me, I’m still wary about the likes of Robitussin, Sudafed, and yes Contact and green yao yao. I take it only when absolutely necessary (ie, when I feel like a pillow has been stuffed up my nose and sinuses) and in very small doses, though sometimes I still wish for a cavity.

Jun 09

London, Day 12

Hey whaddya know, I still have internet.  I thought it would be shut down by now.  Maybe I have it till midnight.

I’m totally coming down with a cold.  At least three of my classmates are either getting over and are in the middle of colds.  I asked the one who’s still suffering, “You came down with something?” and he said yeah, it seemed a bunch of people are sick.  I thought, Not me! and literally an hour later my throat started hurting.

The sessions today were boring as hell.  I thought the e-publishing conference would include more about books and trade publishing, but it seems to be all academic, which in small doses is fine, but for almost eight hours, is way too much.

It didn’t help that the room was too warm and I had dressed too warmly.  The temperature shot up to almost 80 today, though it’s cooler now of course.  And I was sitting next two people who didn’t think to move down into the empty seats so that we three weren’t sitting right next to each other.  As soon as a seat opened on the other end, I got up and moved.  The woman kept looking at me, and I was like, Fuck you, you didn’t think to move, I’m not going to sit up right up next to a 6 foot tall man radiating body heat in this 80 degree room.

So the cold is making me grouchy.

Afterwards I stopped at the reception for a short time, and then had dinner with one of my classmates.  We invited people, but no one showed up, and sometimes it’s easier with fewer people anyway.  We got Szechuan food, which was pretty good.  I had a sweet corn and chicken soup, very nice for my throat.

No pictures today.

Sep 08

Life goes on

I was at the Brooklyn Book Festival for just a couple of hours yesterday, so I didn’t hear if David Foster Wallace was mentioned.

According to his obit in the NY Times, Wallace had been severely depressed for months, and had been dealing with depression since his 20s. He never seeemed to write or talk about it, though in his writing there’s an undercurrent of sadness, even in his funny observations, which made his essays even more appearling to me. There wasn’t that arrogance or snarkiness that’s found in a lot of other modern humor writing.

The festival was just okay. That morning I had run the Race for the Cure, just 5K but I was pooped from it. It wasn’t too hot but the sun was strong and it was extremely muggy. Before the race started I wandered around looking for a bathroom (no port-a-potties!) and when I got back, I was already soaked with sweat.

As usual the whole thing took too long to get started with five billion speeches, including Cynthia Nixon (a breast cancer survivor) and, randomly, Stephen Colbert, who was pretty funny. “Who else will be carrying their six year old for the entire race?” Once I got past all the walkers – as per every year, what are you doing in the 9 minute mile portion??? – I had fun running in the Park. My time wasn’t bad, about 30 minutes.

The heat worsened throughout the day. At the book festival as I walked around checking out the tents, I was positively roasting, and when I sat in the shade to listen to a reading – and to get away from the heat – my hair was literally dripping with sweat. In the middle of the next reading, my throat started killing me. I thought it was just because I was thirsty, but it just got worse and now I feel sorta crummy. Hopefully it won’t blow into a full blown cold.

In other news, as you know the press has been all over Sarah Palin lately. What I find interesting is how many people are afraid of her, or use that term, ie, “She scares me,” including yours truly.
Just how many people are scared of the Alaskan wolf?

This guy, whom I LOVE by the way. Supposedly Palin tried to ban his book, Pastor I am Gay. “She scares me,” the author says. “She’s Jerry Falwell with a pretty face.”

Ed Koch, former mayor of New York and possible gay. The Bush supporter now endorses Obama – who knew! Of Palin, he says, “She scares the hell out of me.”

Pink! She told PopCrunch that she thinks Palin “hates women” and “is not a feminist,”that she “is not the woman that’s going to come behind Hillary Clinton and do anything that Hillary Clinton would’ve been capable of … She’s not of this time.” Concluding, “The woman terrifies me.”

Ben Stein.: “I don’t know if she scares Obama, but she scares me.” You’re not alone, Ben.

Matt Damon, saying that her story is “like a really bad Disney movie — the hockey mom…from Alaska, and she’s the president, and it’s like she’s facing down Vladimir Putin and using the folksy stuff she learned at the hockey rink,” and “there was a good chance John McCain would die in his first term in office and the thought of a President Palin is ‘terrifying.'” Not as terrifying as the thought that that movie premise sounds pretty good. (Just kidding. . . or am I?)

Sharon Osbourne. When finding out Palin hunts animals for sport, she said, “I’m scared of that woman with the glasses and gun!”

Palin’s own former campaign manager. “I’m still proud of Sarah,” she added, “but she scares the bejeebers out of me.” My favorite word of the day is officially “bejeebers.”

And lots of bloggers, including one who also loves her hair.

Although Palin frightens me as well, it seems saying so in the press is yet another no-brainer, like the whole pit bull/pig and lipstick thing. And what is it exactly about her that’s so frightening? Cheney and his cohorts are terrifying as well, but I guess they LOOK like it so it’s not as much of an issue. Palin is pretty and feminine, so somehow her extremism and alleged ruthlessness seem extra skerry, like a Stepford wife or little girl ghost.

Anyway, now I’ve been blogging for far too long.

Aug 08

Another summer weekend bites the dust

Can’t wait till fall.

The week was rather quiet though I did have work to do. I have a short presentation to give on Tuesday, and I still have to finish up my slides. Luckily I know my stuff so it’s just a matter of organizing my thoughts and rehearsing a couple of times. I had a presentation this past Monday as well, and although I was nervous in the beginning, overall it was fine.

For some reason this week I kept running into old coworkers. First was the medical director who gave me such a hard time before I left. Needless to say he pretended not to recognize me (dick). Then I saw two guys I actually liked, and as we were standing there chatting, another guy I liked came up to us. It was fun to talk and joke, even if just for a couple of minutes. We could do that I guess because we had all escaped our old horrible department.

Friday night MB had a friend over, and they had a “jam session,” the friend playing harmonica and MB on guitar. They were actually pretty good, especially towards the end. MB had me join in on this little instrument, I don’t even know what it’s called. It’s this prongy metal thing attached a small wooden base. I thought I’d suck but it was actually easier than expected.

Later MB and I saw Death Race. We knew it would be total brain candy, and it was. Some parts were SO dumb, like yeah right, female prisoners really look like models for hair care products and low rider jeans rather than the scary bus driver and/or cafeteria ladies from elementary school. I was also very tired and almost fell asleep a couple of times despite the noise and action on the screen.

Saturday was spa day with my mom and aunt. I had given my mom for her birthday a gift card for an hour-long Swedish massage at this spa I like, thinking we’d make a day of it. Then she suggested giving one to my aunt as well since it’s her 60th birthday this month. (My aunt and I are both rats.)

I picked my mom up around 2 at Penn Station, after which we walked to the spa, where we met my aunt. I’ve taken my mother to a spa before, but she acted like she’s never been. My aunt definitely hasn’t, and they were both embarrassed about taking off too many clothes under their robes. Then I had to tell my mom to shush as we walked through the “quiet area.”

They did, however, enjoy the waiting area with free tea and other goodies like Luna Bars and dried fruit and nuts. I liked seeing them take advantage of the frills. This is totally random but I think Dr. Jarvik from those cholesterol-medication commercials was there too. Or at least a guy who looked exactly like him, down to the balding slicked down too-long hair. But I didn’t feel comfortable asking, especially since we were all sitting there in our robes.

Our appointments were at the same time, but while my mom and aunt went off as scheduled, I sat around waiting for another 15 minutes. Turned out there was some mix up and my facialist was only just on her way back from another location. In all I waited maybe 20 minutes. No biggie, but the facialist was very apologetic, and they ended up giving me a 15% discount plus some free body wash. Nice! They must have it in their records that I spend bookoo bucks there.

The facial was very good, better than one I had last year when I was left alone, wrapped like a mummy for way too long. She did some scalp, neck, shoulder, and arm massage as well. The extractions were painful as usual, but didn’t take too long, and then she did an oatmeal mask. It was nice and cooling, but also smelled like breakfast. Afterwards my skin looked quite nice.

I walked into the locker room, and my mom and aunt were there, all done and waiting expectantly. For some reason my mother had decided to put her shoes in my locker instead of her own, and so she had to wait for me to finish before she and my aunt went off to Flushing to look for Korean soap opera DVDs.

I took my time going home, but then MB and I basically had to leave right away to meet my mom and aunt for dinner in Queens. Why my mother wanted to eat in Queens, who knows. Probably for the same reason she left her shoes in my locker.

It took FOREVER to get out there. The 7 stopped at every stop, and plus there was a baseball game, so there was train traffic. Then of course all the idiots dressed up in Mets paraphernalia. And when we finally got to our stop, we had no idea how to get to the restaurant. It didn’t take us long to figure out, but of course my mother had to call, frantic: “Where are you? Are you okay?” Hey lady, you wanted to meet in Queens.

The restaurant was pretty good. We had lots of seafood, including chili shrimp, crab, and this very rich fish (I don’t know the name), as well as Chinese broccoli (oh boy, I’m hungry).

This was the first time my aunt was meeting MB. I wasn’t worried since my mom is the stickler; my aunt is very easygoing and gets along with almost everyone. Plus she and MB had work in common (ie, computers). It was funny: the three of us kept lapsing in Chinese, and I’d forget that MB didn’t understand. He didn’t seem to mind, but I tried to translate as much as I could.

Afterwards we all took the train back together. My aunt got off at Grand Central since she lives in Connecticut, and we took my mom to Penn Station and waited with her till her train came. As we said goodbye, MB initiated a farewell hug, which I could tell greatly pleased her.

Today we had all sorts of plans. Get a late lunch, get massages at this Chinese spa MB found online, then see a movie. But after lunch and as we were hanging out at a bookstore, I started to feel really sick. As we left the restaurant, I had felt slightly nauseous, but I thought it just might be hormonal. Then suddenly sitting in Borders, I started to feel crappier and crappier.

I did get sick, but just a little. It was very weird. Afterwards, I was perfectly fine. I didn’t have too much of an appetite – though now like I said I’m sorta hungry – but no more hurling. Must have been something I ate.

Still we didn’t think massages would be a good idea, and just headed home. I had picked up Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, a strange choice for someone with an upset stomach, but I’ve been wanting to read it and it was on sale. It’s good so far.

I wish we had yogurt. That’s what I could go for right now.

Back to work tomorrow. So not the right thing for a lazy girl.

May 08

My final is over, yay!

It took me the entire class time, which I wasn’t expecting since I had finished the midterm early, but suddenly it was the last 10 minutes, and I looked up surprised to see that 2/3’s of the room was empty.

I was able to answer some questions very fully, like the significance of FRBR, and the advantages and disadvantages of Dewey Decimal vs Library of Congress classification. These were two areas I felt shaky in, and so studied like crazy.

I feel like the teacher didn’t do a good job teaching these concepts. When comparing the two classification systems, for instance, she was very vague. I didn’t even know for instance that mostly academic and government libraries use LC while public and school libraries use Dewey, till I did my own research online. I didn’t know that LC subclasses are completely inconsistent since they’re developed by experts in each class, rather than across classes.

Of course there were a few questions I felt like I was bullshitting, or didn’t have much to say about it. Oh well. At least it’s over. My summer session starts right away on Monday. Web design.

My cold seems to have completely evaporated. Very strange. A few days of a sore throat, one day of a runny nose, and gone. Not bad. MB had it much worse.

Yesterday I was finally able to get my passport photos. First I went to CVS but they were a hot mess. The girl couldn’t even tell me how long it would take.

Me: “Will it be a few minutes? Shoud I wait?”
Her: “Ummm, uhhh. No, I wouldn’t wait.”
Me: “Okay, I can come back. When? In an hour?”
Her: “Ummm, uhhh.”
Me: “At the end of the day? Five? Six?”
Her: “Ummm, uhhh. Can you come later?”
Me: “I’ll just come back tomorrow.”

I felt like I was at an auction. Do I hear five minutes? How about 10? An hour? Sheesh.

So I returned the next day, which was yesterday. Chaos! At least three other customers appeared to be unhappy/irate. My turn came and asked for my photos. The same girl looked through a couple of different envelopes. Nothing.

“Who took your picture?” she asked.

“Uh, I think you did,” I said.

Then she disappeared in the back, and was fiddling with a camera. Fiddle, filddle. I saw her take the battery out and put it back in.

“So are they ready?” I asked.

“Umm, uhhh.”

I had a feeling she hadn’t even downloaded them from the camera. Luckily I hadn’t paid a penny. “Forget it,” I said. “I’ll get them somewhere else.”

And get them somewhere else I did, from this little hole in the wall down the street. Took five minutes. Now all I have to do is send my stuff in and I’ll have a valid passport. Yay!

This afternoon my coworkers are taking me and my other colleague who’s leaving out for drinks. That’s very nice of them, but I wish I could use the time to work out instead. Then again, I could have gotten myself up early and gone to the gym then. Oh well. At least I got three workouts in this week.

Our dresser arrives today! Now I can organize my clothes better and free up some closet space.

Glad it’s the weekend and with no homework to do. :)

May 08

Motivated suddenly

As always: 1) procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate, 2) wake up at 6 in the morning panicking at everything I haven’t done, and 3) work like crazy.

It’s amazing how much I got done in the last 90 minutes. More than in the last week, I’d say. I don’t know why I do this. Maybe because I keep getting away with it.

I also have yet to start studying for my Knowledge Organization final tomorrow night. I figure I can get started this afternoon, do more tonight, and finish up tomorrow. I got A’s on my Information Professions term paper and presentation by the way. Yay!

My cold still hasn’t kicked in fully, but hasn’t gone away either. Right now I feel fine, but when I woke up this morning, my throat was killing me and I felt crummy. Then I had some hot coffee and my throat felt better.

It helped to run yesterday, and I hope to run again today. It’s amazing how much better I feel about myself after just one workout. Last week I was feeling particularly fat, and made sure to hit the gym four times, and felt great by Friday. Then by Monday I felt totally fat again. I hate that feeling – more than enough motivation to get my butt moving.

MB finally heard about his job situation. I think I mentioned his company was bought out recently, and he has been waiting to hear whether or not he’d get a job offer or a severance package. He did not want a job offer unless it paid ridiculously more than his current job. Dealing with all the corporate BS wasn’t worth it to him.

The real sticking point was that if you were offered a job and turned it down, you got zilch. If you were laid off, you got a ridiculously good severance package.

And lo and behold, they came through with a sweet severance package. It amounts to about six months’ worth of his salary, which is more than enough to live on, especially now that our rent is cut in half.

He is really happy. He’s been in this limbo for the past couple of months, not knowing how long he’d be getting a steady paycheck, or whether or not he’d get a lame job offer he’d have to turn down. Now he can take his time, work on his own projects, and consider carefully his next gig, rather than take any old one that comes along.

Okay, back to work.

Jul 07

Quiet week into a quiet weekend

Which was fine by me.

Saturday morning I headed out to my favorite Starbuck’s and wrote for a bit before SB called. It was such a beautiful day, we took a walk, Ellie in tow of course, stopping at Sephora’s to ogle beauty products we didn’t need.

Afterwards we had lunch at her place – well, SB and I did. Ellie licked cream cheese off pita bread (gross) and then resisted her nap, getting crabbier by the minute. When she finally ate, the faces she made while immensely enjoying some delicious banana were hilarious. Are all kids this expressive?

That afternoon I spent a lot of time in the Park – wrote on a bench and ran the Loop. 6.1 miles! Woohoo! While I was running, my left hamstring and knee were achy, but today my leg feels okay. Maybe the pilates is working.

There are some excellent hills on the Loop. It’s interesting to see the entire jogging/biking/rollerblading population start to move in slow motion when we hit a steep one. Suddenly we runners are pulling ahead of rollerbladers, and some cyclists start walking their bikes. Then of course when we reach the downhill portion, everyone’s zipping past us.

I love the Loop because it takes me to parts of the Central Park I don’t otherwise see, like who knew there was a giant public pool? Probably lots of folks, just not me.

I was thinking yesterday how it’s taken me two years to really begin exploring the city. My first summer I was caught up with getting used to this new life, post-divorce, living on my own again. I spent most weekends wandering up and down 3rd or Park Avenue, visiting the same museums over and over.

Last summer I was caught up with dating DK, but I did start to get to know the Park a little then. Sometimes we’d meet at the Bandshell, and since he lived almost directly west from me, I learned to maneuver across the Park, rather than taking the very slow bus.

This summer I’ve finally gone out of my way to delve into this huge playground just a few blocks from my place, whether it’s reading by the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, climbing up Belvedere Castle, or trying to find peace in Shakespeare’s Garden.

On July 4th, I went running in the rain, and on my way home, I passed the little pond where people sail miniature boats. Usually that area is packed, but that day of course it was empty, and I was amazed at how peaceful it was with the rain falling on the water.

Yesterday I did some more exploring, this time walking to the East River. It’s pretty nice from the low 60s to about 75th Street, but after that you’re pretty much on the FDR, which between the fumes and kicked up grime, is not so fun.

I also woke up with a sore throat yesterday and was feeling kind of run down. So I didn’t mind staying in for most of the day and working my writing. I ended up revising three pieces, two of which are close to being finished, one of which kind of stinks.

This morning I was hoping to get up early and go to the gym, but last night some idiot stood below my window and screamed into his cell phone for a solid hour. I didn’t get to sleep till after midnight.

My throat hurts today too, and I still have that fatigued feeling. Lots of liquids and vitamin C, and a light workout at lunch. Hopefully, it’ll go away in a day or so, and not grow into a full-blown cold.