Writing

handsSometimes I don’t really know what to write, and then I think oh, you shouldn’t write for the sake of writing, you should write because–because you’re trying to write something. Because you’re trying to convey something. Because there’s a story you have to tell, a thought to flesh out, a destination to get to. You’re driving your point home.

But I don’t always have a point or a story or destination. And then I remember how I used to squirrel away hours just stabbing down words, stringing together sentences, writing whatever I wanted just because. Because it was fun and it made me happy and I didn’t really care if people read it or loved it or hated it. It was like rubbing on unscented lotion. It’s therapeutic, no one really knows you’re wearing it, and it’s something you do for yourself. You’re not trying to leave behind little scent fragments of yourself. You’re just doin’ you.

And I like how writing’s an avenue to sort things out. It’s like talking through a problem, but writing through ideas instead. I’ll start off with a nebulous idea of what I’m going for, or something I’m trying to get out and by the end of, oh, five or ten pages, I’ll have come to some conclusion. That, or at least have reached greater clarity on something than I would’ve if I hadn’t written it at all. Thinking is thinking: chaotic and constant. Feeling is feeling: sometimes uncontrollable and inexplicable and discomforting. Writing’s sorting through that. If my head were a tree raining varied thought-leaves, then writing’s my little rake.

naiveté

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The naïveté strikes again! I roll my eyes hard. The universe likes to pry its thick hands under my eyelids so I am forced to see what I choose not to. For purposes of privacy, I will stay vague on that front. I mean, it’s sad. But I’m not going to write about it. It’s just sort of sickening and stupid.

I will just write about–well, I don’t know.

I look forward to reading people’s blog posts. I love reading people’s journal entries. I realized that as I thought, “I feel listless. I should blog and read.” And then when I clicked on, I felt my heart lift a little bit.

It’s more interesting than my social media feeds, at least. I haven’t been scrolling those much. I tried to delete my IG, but it wouldn’t let me, since I had done that less than a week ago.

It was my second day at work. The day went by fairly quickly, although I was in a bit of a haze for the most part. I’m adamant about sticking to a strict 8 hours a day, where I don’t look at my laptop after 5. This time next week, though, I’ll be switching from the work computer to my personal computer for the class. I forget what time it goes on until.

There feels like there will be a lot of professional development? My supervisor’s already scheduled numerous calls between me and leaders in adjacent departments. I’m very new to the field, so it’s been informative and fun, so far, to chat with others. She also  reached out to an alum from the I/O Psychology program, who then scheduled weekly check-ins with me. I am grateful. It’s like a networking and mentorship program materializing in front of my eyes.

Though I am painfully introverted sometimes–most of the time–so I’m grateful that I can rest at home, since the work is virtual. It also works well with my inability to focus/intense periods of concentration. When I need to bounce around, I do it, just as I would in the office. But now, people don’t see me spinning around my chair or walking around the office, hunting for Cheeto puffs.

After work tomorrow, I might stop by the library and drop off my books. I’ll pick up some new ones as well. I’m still wearing my mask and face shield, although Americans have decided that coronavirus is so March 2020. Brilliant nation, we are.

I read The Dutch House two days ago. I finished it in one day. It was so well-written. I was skeptical at first. But about fifteen pages in, I loved it. And I despised Andrea. And I loved Maeve. And you could just tell that Cynthia wasn’t it: maybe it was the narrator looking back, and realizing Cynthia wasn’t it. It upset me that Cynthia was so resentful of the narrator for his choices, but then just constantly badmouthed his sister, Maeve. Okay, spoiler alert. I should tack that on.

And I watched Rick and Morty yesterday. It felt very Bojack-esque in its final episode. Finally, the creators decided to give us a loop-de-loop episode that referred to past episodes. But it wasn’t what any of us would have expected. I think they’re all high geniuses, the lot of ’em.

I’ll end this post at that, on a light note. And I’ll go back to reading blog entries to distract myself from reality. I don’t like worrying.

“No justice, no peace”

I unintentionally semi-attended one of the protests for the death of Floyd, murdered at the hands of police brutality. Unless you are Patrick the Star, you know who I am referring to (Floyd and countless other victims), what I am referring to (systematic racism and police brutality in the US), the evolving situation (peaceful protests over the span of half a decade whistling into frustration; people taking advantage of the situation, bringing UHaul trucks to a protest); and how many people may or may not feel on social media.

We had gone into the city to observe the apparent damage from last night. This was after we mosied on through the rich and poor neighborhoods, a mere ten minutes apart. Here, in the heart of the city, cop cars lined every street. They parked in groups of ten. They huddled together, breaths close, adjusting their tear gas masks, apparently forgetting that while it was a period of protests, it was also a pandemic. We glanced at street troopers deeply inhaling each other’s air particles.

All of the windows, for streets on end, were boarded up. Not because they were broken, it turns out, but for preemptive measures. We circled around the blocks several times, peering at the graffiti that spat from every wall. Every corner. Chants I have heard many, many times. No justice, no peace. A different energy permeated the street. As we passed by people with signs and masks, we sensed that there was a new person in the chat: tension. Fear. You could feel it. Whisps of it. Floating above the cauldron of anticipation.

We passed by a screaming ambulance. And it pointed us towards the hundreds of protestors, who suddenly showed up overnight. They were not here ten minutes ago. But now they were, an itching crawling mass of ants, a rhythm of outrage, sadness, defiance. We ended up parking right in front of the protestors as they all crossed. We honked our horn, because we were inside, and le beau held a fist, and they saw, and they did too. And in the video footage, I see now, the collective fists rising, rising, rising in unity.

I have always loved attending protests, capturing the raw energy, swollen and real. Collective effervescence was the term my professor had once used. And even though I was not in the protest myself, I felt it, if only briefly. Again. And then I remembered the incredible sadness and tragedy and numbness that accompanies every other headline. The same old story. For so long, people have turned a blind eye. This protest–this was different. The posts I see on my feed–they’re different. How so? Not the content, but the people who are posting them. By God. The message seems to have gotten through to more of the masses than before. That is the smallest sliver of hope.

This is all straight out of a USA textbook. Times from the 1960’s. The L.A Race Riots. Dates of sit-ins and names of groups. Malcom X, MLK, Black Panther, Emmett Till. We memorized these names. These faces. Rotely. Sang their names in songs. Unaware that as we bristled about, naive and young, the world outside was very much the same as the one in the textbook.

It feels as if there is nothing I can say to add to the discourse. There is nothing I can say that will change the past or reality. There is nothing I can say to change the world as it presently is, or once was. My desire to see no evil and hear no evil, a privilege I cradled like a baby’s blanket, was ripped from me today–silly girl. It’s somewhat relieving and exhausting and overwhelming to see that this dominates every single news feed. People know. People who would have normally waved it off five years ago, when it was Trayvon Martin, are noticing a pattern. And they feel some type of way about it.

That being said, I can hear both sides of the argument for and against violence in the context of protests. Outside the context, I do not condone violence. I strongly dislike violence. It makes me nauseous. It’s sickening. We got here because of violence. Because of countless murders. Because of regular brutality. I can hear that peaceful attempts have been ignored for far too long–I can hear that violence only perpetrates violence. Here’s my cop-out, no pun intended: I take no stand. The sad thing about violence is that what makes it violence is a victim. Usually dead or maimed. And we may support violence in the abstract, until that victim is our mother, father, sister, best friend, cousin, uncle, co-worker, husband.

There is no happy ending to this post, no conclusive remark. Just as there is no happy ending for Floyd’s story, a familiar U.S tale. Racism is America’s cystic acne, I said today. It continually flares up. And when you think you’ve cleared out most of it, it just crops up again. Who knows what’ll be the miraculous Clean-n-Clear to America’s racism? I sure don’t.

But so long as there is no justice, there will be no peace.

To the countless victims–of coronavirus as well, the 100,000 and counting–may you Rest In Peace.

One last diary entry before I sleep—

Also–last thing, but just as I was rescheduling and updating students, my professor for Fall messaged us. Class will be virtual, she declared. We might as well be comfortable and safe at home.

Perfecto. I only have two classes in the Fall: this newly virtual one was going to be on Tuesday and Thursday morning. I’ll only have one other class on Tuesday afternoon–we’ll see what she decides to do. At this point, I’m wondering if there’s a workaround for the overpriced parking permit…

That means I’ll only have one tentative in-person class for the rest of the year. I am a-okay with that. I chose to attend an affordable graduate program at a good time.

I look forward to starting my position in Org. Effectiveness. Ah! I can’t believe it. I’m entering the I/O Psychology field! Squeals. It begins on Monday. I’ll have to wake up early, like the rest of the new starts, to set my laptop up. And then I’ll meet with my supervisor and whatnot.

It’ll be interesting with it being a virtual experience: I hope to do well and keep my scatterbrain in check. The Python Programming summer class will also keep me busy. I can’t wait to be a busybee this summer. I’ve been obsessively doing nothing in the interim between finishing up grad classes and starting work.

11:11 make a wish!

Pink Dream

I dreamt I was in a roller blading arena. It connected to an arcade and a mini society living room, decked in soft pink. The carpets were plush and pink, the sofas were light pink, and every few feet, there were Dalmatian statues on pink ruffles.

By the corner were two black sofas, two people chatting on them. We were in this field trip home playing hide and seek, an old game. We no longer fit in most of the spaces. The backyard was opulent, wide, green. It exuded careless luxury. Look at me and my space, it said.

Quarantine Diaries

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Consolidated most of my journal entries on here for over the past month–they were all starting to melt together, as the days initially did. Months of posts, rolled into one, have a cool archival feel to them.


March 13th, 2020

Time has been suspended. Classes are cancelled–moving online. Work’s gone online, too, which means my grease shines from my dome forehead through a webcam. In the past few days, with all the things to do and all the apparent time in the world, I have:

  • Spontaneously decided to bleach-balayage my hair
  • Developed and scanned two rolls of film
  • Started episode one of the Korean zombie Netflix show, Kingdom
  • Eaten half a tub of raspberry sherbet
  • Started episode one of Paradise PD
  • Taken a few paranoid, curious peeks around grocery stores. Bought nothing but ice cream.
  • Eaten two fried chicken sandwiches: chick fil a is open again
  • Taken a pre-employment drug test

I’m also still really paranoid, terrified that I’m harboring organ-eating pathogens, but this is sort of the way I always have been. Now I can just visually express my disgust at being too close to strangers. And I can count all the places I’ve touched without feeling like a grade-A germaphobe. Because if the rest of world also is one, I’m normal.IMG_5615

Back to the blonde thing. Le beau begged me not to do it at home. I’ll pay for it! He exclaimed. I’ve been offering to pay for it! I said, it’s not about the money. He said, I’ll pay you not to do it at home. I’ll pay you 50%! I said, well, I want to do it at home. Besides, I don’t even know what I want it to look like.

That was our conversation at the local ulta yesterday night. I put the l’oreal product down, but then spotted the last 40 volume developer bleach tucked in the higher aisle. Ah. Volume developer. Youtubers talked about using 30 volume developer. Sounded about right. So I bought the box for $10. What a steal. Then I watched a few nightmarish youtube videos where girls forgot the toner. So I bought a $10 toner on amazon. Another steal! Compare that to the $200 process.

So here’s the deal: my hair is stubbornly dark. I’ve thrown platinum blonde dyes in, only for my hair to absorb the dye, gobble it up, and leave, dark as ever. I realized, probably seven years later, that the issue was the darkness. Which had to be lifted with something as strong as bleach. The colors needed to be lifted to the brassy oranges and yellows in order for other colors to stick. So it hit me later, but I didn’t do anything with the knowledge.

Now, though, my plan is this. And hear me out. I’m going to paint-bleach my hair, balayage style. I’m going to leave it in for 1 hour. I’m going to anticipate cheeto-orange tresses, if I’m lucky. I will then use a toner–3 days later–with a 20 volume developer. This will hopefully reduce the brassiness to something more grey and ashy.

I want something that’s, like, chestnut ash, or subtle ash blonde, highlights, or baby lights, or whatever. I want something, as I declared over the phone, that made people wonder if I just happened to go to the beach a lot. What is that supposed to mean? The beach? Because the sun makes your hair lighter, I said. So maybe people would wonder if I went to the beach a lot.


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March 16th, 2020

We drove around the region today. By region, I mean rural-suburbia. At first, it was a search for cardboard. It evolved into aimless meandering.

We found a bunch of goats and lambs by a trail. As I walked over to them, they bleated happily and trotted towards me. We fed one of them fresh grass from outside the gate.

We passed by a hobbit-home and skated around the odd neighborhood. Pot-holes littered the ground. Evidently, each owners had purchased the plot of land, then hired a unique home developer. From the villas of spain to the backwoods of virginia, each house hailed from some vastly different land. But it didn’t. It was all here. On a plot of muddy, uneven land, where there were no sidewalks.

We drove over a bridge that reminded me of DC, and crossed onto a bridge known for its hauntings. Later, we dipped into a cozy, hobbit-esque coffeeshop, but not until we’d cloroxed the table. Hunger drove us to Taco Cabana, where I got the steak tacos.


March 22nd, 2020IMG_5604

Earlier, I deleted IG and am avoiding the news because of the swarm of negativity.

I initially saw the move to virtual as an overwhelmingly positive one, I’ll admit. But now people are griping. It turns out when the world is as much of a germaphobe as you, the economy halts. Complacency kept germs on the move–but also us. The virus, in other words, has gone viral. People are online–not caring, caring too much, treating patients, partying with friends, spewing political statements, on the verge of tears, holding yoga sessions, et cetera.

But I go for a drive outside and realize the real world is different from the online one. Children are peddling furiously, couples are out on luxurious walks, and grass continues to grow. Alongside national despair. So I’m going to list out the good personal aspects of this odd chapter–aware of being swaddled in privilege, but also not in the mood to be flooded by online negativity. Even though I think I already have.

So here are some pro’s and thoughts and whatnot:

  • Being online for classes–hell yeah! This means the most taxing part of grad school–actually showing up–has been X’ed out. I can “show up” in pajamas (aka click on Microsoft Teams) and fiddle around on my computer for three days a week. And all of this non-effort goes towards a Master’s degree. Not too shabby.
  • Having added flexibility to work more. I can up my hours, take on more students, and not worry about scheduling conflicts.
  • Living healthier. Saving money. Now that I mostly eat at home, I won’t be splurging on calorie-ridden foods at restaurants. I know that there are economic ramifications to when everyone is doing that. But on a small scale, it’s just… nice eating at home. It always has been. And I’ll order from my favorite places–as I did today–every now and then.
  • Saving on gas and tolls. Now that I’m not driving everywhere all the time, 50 miles a day, my tolls and gas bills will shrink. As a ridiculously stingy person who spent a few weeks trying to manipulate her MPG with weird tricks, this is a relief.
  • Going for more runs and walks. I’d always use “school” and “tired” as poor excuses to not move my body more. But now that I’m largely sitting at my desk, I feel inclined to sprint up and down the street, go for a jog, get some fresh air. I’m not the only one with this mentality: I’ve never seen so many people taking strolls, riding their bikes, enjoying the weather.
  • Relaxing at home 24/7. I’m already a hermit crab incarnate, an intensely germaphobic introvert who’s had difficulty going out in public. Now I can rest comfortably, and in solitude, without being pooh-poohed for rejecting social requests.
  • Being pushed to write more, paint more, and learn more. With all this time, I can brush up on coding skills. I write in my diary a lot more. I painted a shitty beach this morning.
  • Spending more time with my family. I know my friends are at their practical breaking points, unable to spend another moment at home. But I’ve been really happy about that lately. And my pigs count as family. Now that they know I’m home more, they take my every bathroom break as an opportunity to squeak for food. They even wait until I’m done washing my hands before jogging up to the walls, and screaming, “HUMAN! FEED ME!”

March 27th, 2020

Drinking my coffee black–I never realized how light it could taste, and how flavorful. I made two cups of shitty coffee yesterday, faded to the color of cream, over-sugared, and took two sips before nixing it. There used to be a cafe by the library, where I’d go for my small coffee, cream and sugar. That was where my coffee addition started. The cafe is gone now. After eleven years, it closed.

Cleaned the house. Got a bacon, egg and cheese at 5 in the morning. The bagel was burnt. But my cupboard, luckily, had one bagel left–from maybe forever ago. I remelted some cheese, and remembered when I would grab one of these every morning in college. I would go to the glorified 7-eleven, which I lived right above, and buy a bacon, egg and cheese. I’d also either get coffee or hot water, which I’d steep my berry tea in.IMG_5605

I’m rereading the Harry Potter series. It’s weirdly comforting to read about the weather. The descriptions are kind of cheesy. But I like imagining early morning mist on the qudditch field, and winter sun, and fat droplets of rain in the gryffindor room. The weather, in real life, is comparably mild. It’s been pretty outside. Spring. Which means people pack themselves into parks like ignorant sardines. I was satisfied to hear that the cops had cruised up to the rec yesterday, which was previously crammed with people.

Our online grad classes started back up again on Monday. We won’t have to go back to campus until this August–yes! Aside from it being a gas-guzzling trip, the campus and neighboring city are unpleasant. The drivers are terrible. I’m happy to not make pointless runs to school, only to spend all class reading the news.

Speaking of the news, America has outdone itself once again. In a mere 3 weeks,  its known cases have reached #1 on our top hit global pandemic playlist. At first, in early january, I was irritated to see politics and policy being injected into the conversation. After all, humans, regardless of gender or age or affiliations, are the ones who carry pathogens.

But it has not taken long for me to realize that policy generally governs people–rules such as lockdowns, or restaurant shut-downs, or travel restrictions. Power offers resources: economic aid, ventilators. And from a psychological standpoint, leaders should offer consolation a sense of steady hope. But I guess none of that matters now. They’re getting sick too. It’s sort of all spiraled out of control here in the states.


April 4th, 2020

  • Painting more–writing more lately. Typing this from under the wooly covers.
  • Developed the roll of film le beau took with me during his brief rural travels. I am oddly fascinated by rural spaces: they are so foreign, so familiar–so strange, yet not?
  • He surprised me with a little gift today. I’ll put it on the mantel piece when we have one, I said.
  • Earlier, I watched his pseudo YouTube channel about chocolate clay, (“how can somebody bastardize chocolate?”)
  • For a moment, I peeped out of my hole and hopped back onto Facebook– I like jumping on and off social media platforms. It was brief and okay.
  • And I had a bit of work today. Got ahead on assignments. Spent a few hours picking out virtual furniture, but decided on very little. Braved the cold for three film shots.
  • Tomorrow I’ll paint, journal, and scan my film. I wish I had good books on me. I’ve been trying to reread old ones, but I grow bored so quickly. My attention span is too short. And I’m too picky.
  • Maybe I’ll make berry cobbler again tomorrow. I baked some two days ago: dee-licious.
  • I keep wanting to watch Daria, but it reminds me of someone I don’t like anymore.
  • I admit the days are growing on me. I enjoy cleaning, disinfecting, and glaring at people who talk too close to each other. I like walls, skies, paint, Hulu, photos and solitude.
  • Welcome to my hobbit-hole crib, MTV.

April 11th, 2020

Yesterday, my my best friend’s family FaceTimed in; I’m convinced we’ve all spent time together on this earth before. It was a warm few hours.

Le beau was kind enough to grab me sugar, flour and butter from the store. (The sardine-packed stores, where people milled around inches away from each other; where children ran and wiped their grimy fingers everywhere; where one woman checked out 100+ items. Poor le beau.)

I said I’d bake him cookies last night, but ended up having to push that back to today. They ended up tasting like reduced sugar cookies–sugar cookies with reduced sugar–with the occasional M&M. Admittedly pretty tasty, light and doughy, but definitely not something you’d find at the store. I felt a huge tug of guilt pouring in the prescribed amount of sugar, and ended up pouring half back into the container.


April 20th, 2020

I ordered from Domino’s today and yelled “thank you!” to the woman delivering. She was wearing a mask and gloves. Before eating the pizza, I rebaked it in the oven at 350 degrees, which is what I do with any food made outside my home. Been craving tomatoes, so the pizza and pasta hit all the right spots.

Otherwise, I finished a DataCamp course in R (Predicting Employee Churn, which makes it sound like ice cream?), worked on a Statistics lab with my team, did a mini ab workout, did two mini sets on HelloChinese, wrote in my diary, threaded my caterpillar brows, and watched an episode of Daria.

I’ve been obsessing over hair bleach for the past three days. It was a brief descent into shallow madness. I ended up ordering a second container of hair bleach on Amazon, paying extra for quicker shipment. Then I cut my hair off. Then I soaked it in honey. Then, at 3AM, I realized the honey was still in my head. I washed it off the next morning. I plan to bleach my hair more thoroughly next week once the dye arrives.

About one year ago, I was wandering the streets of BA, an arts district, with my boyfriend. Over the weekend, we took a long drive all over the city–to BA and back. 70 miles, he said. He’d driven 70 miles. Before that, we shareed spicy chicken sandwiches from Chick Fil A and took a long walk outside.


April 22nd, 2020

IMG_5606During our afternoon class, I got an email from the company I’ll be working for this summer: the program’s gone virtual. My jaw dropped. Even though the rest of the world is currently plugging away in their pajamas, at home, online, it still surprised me. I figured they’d either move the start date back or cancel altogether. But this has been a welcome relief. I figured I’d definitely get sick if I went into the office this summer.

That being said, a wee part of me did want to meet the team and whatnot. But all things considered, this is a really good situation. I did choose the position partially because of sweet location: just 10 minutes away. I guess I’ll be at home, 10 minutes away, for the summer. The position, to be less vague, is in Organizational Effectiveness. It’s right up the alley of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, which is what I’m in graduate school for. I’m really happy they didn’t cancel. I/O Psychology is a niche field, and I was lucky to have stumbled upon the posting early on.

For our program, we’re expected to log 400 hours of work in an I/O Psychology field. This ensures that students have a toe in the field, which is critical: just entering the field can be a huge challenge. Past cohorts have done fairly well. Lots of alumni are in the field, locally. But with 70% of my cohort still searching, it’ll be different for us. Luckily, we don’t graduate for another year, so that gives us time to hunt and work and finish school.


April 25th, 2020

We took our weekly drive around the city today. 

Before the car date, we exchanged food: homemade cookies (wheat M&M’s, all I had on hand) for spicy chipotle. The weather was unbelievably beautiful. We sat on lawn chairs, peered at each other over light blue masks. Feeling restless, we then embarked on a drive.

We stumbled upon strange streets; looked up a house selling for 4.2 million; gawked at the crowded mask-less parks (Football! Picnics! Wedding shoots! Clusters of no-fucks-given sunglass-donning folk chatting two feet apart. I quickly understood why so many cases were bunched up in this well of wealth–nobody gave, or gives, a damn.)

We decided to polish the afternoon off with boba. At the last moment, I suggested some takeout: katsu chicken and a bento box. He liked the idea. So I got a milk tea boba and he got a chocolate boba. I made a phone order for the food, and he picked it up: he’s been kind in picking up all the food. 💖 Then, I suggested we go to a pretty place.

“But there’s nowhere pretty in this neighborhood,” he said.

“There is! The nursing home.”

“What?!”

So we went to the nursing home lake area, a lovely walkway space with two lakes, dozens of geese, and families of ducks. Many families were here. But they were all spaced out, and far away. We parked in an isolated area, where we faced biking families and strolling couples around the lake.

Eating out less makes eating out a treat. And I like it like that. Same with our weekly dates. It helps round out the days.


May 1st, 2020

I’m half woozy on half a cup of lime margarita. We were on the route home today, the sun hiding behind the clouds, building lights aglow, and I thought to myself: I want tacos. After fumbling between the plate and the combo, I decided on the plate. When I set the food out for rebaking, I realized that they had forgotten to put meat–the only filling–in the taco.

Aside from that, this afternoon was a good one. I made le beau some presents, two of which were edible favorites, one of which was a semi-gag, but also meaningful.  Afterwards, we walked and drove around until it was dark outside. It has been so long since I’ve been out at night that I was surprised by the darkness of the car interior. I was expecting the car to be lit up, because every room I’ve been in for the past few months has been fairly well-lit. It dawned on me that it’s just been that long since I’ve driven at night.

I showed le beau my hair today and he liked it! I’m super happy about that. He’s fairly honest about his opinions. I think I’ll post a photo of my new hair with my face blocked out. I’ve been, like, a grooming machine the past two weeks. From threading my brows to waxing my legs to bleaching my hair to painting my nails to tinting my brows to cutting my hair, it’s been a home salon over here on steroids. I’ve always done these things, just spaced far apart. Now I do it on a regular basis. I mean, it’s not like anyone is going to see me (aside from le beau).

The margarita is fading away. I’m notoriously lightweight. It comes and goes fast.


May 10th, 2020IMG_5608

Yesterday, I decided to sit in the trunk of my car while le beau fiddled with his car. This way, I’d be able to watch TV, sip tea, and peer at him from afar. Well, about five minutes into it, a large wasp came zipping through my car, inspecting it curiously. It crawled in and out, up and down, hugged the lights, tunneled in a hole. I watched with horror for about 20 minutes, unable to move my car, because it kept going inside.

About 30 minutes passed of me watching the wasp, waiting for it to leave. I peered up at my raised trunk and realized, with dread, that there were two identical nests on my car. And in one nest was a suspicious wasp, wrapped around the papery nest. I quickly ran to my room and grabbed a hoodie to tighten around my head and neck because, you know, wasps.

Too scared to do anything, I asked le beau to get my stuff. And then I asked him to spray them with the magic wasp killing solution. Le beau chased down the two wasps, juice in hand, spraying them down in the acrid stuff. It worked. They fizzled to the concrete. I was blindly bellowing throughout the entire situation, hugging my laptop, as we ran across the street and looked, ninja-style, for the third and final wasp.

The third wasp peered around the premises, noticed his dead friends, and zipped away. About an hour later, he reappeared, this time directly flying towards le beau. He grabbed the juice and chased the wasp down. Fine mist sprinkled on top of the wasp, who then realized that we meant business. So he went higher and higher until the juice couldn’t reach him. He disappeared into the treetops.

And so all was well. Or so we thought. As I crawled into my truck, then back out, he screamed, “it’s right next to you!” A fourth, smaller wasp had been resting nearby, probably searching for the hive, unable to find it. Le beau juiced him, too.

The third wasp never came back. I imagine he or she is out there plotting our downfall. We have quite the vengeful breed of wasps around here. A stinkbug tooted on le beau’s chair a little later as well. It flew into his chair, zipped, and flew away. When le beau sat down, he cried, “it stinks!” It’s a real zoo around here. I rescued a moth with a broken wing last week, and peered at two adorable lizards today. A few weeks ago, I found a crowd of crows gathered around a broken duck’s egg in the backyard.


May 12th, 2020

The company is mailing us laptops. They let us know in an email yesterday. I was trying to do a social media detox but caved around 2 PM, restless and curious. A parent also emailed me about my student’s progress, and I was antsy to respond.

The email asked for a shipping address, personal hobbies, and a personality test–right up the alley of I/O Psychology. At first, I was a little miffed by the test’s shortcomings: you had to have a really good vocabulary to differentiate between the two options. But the results were terrifying accurate.

I’m halfway through the master’s program in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. In regard to the career zig-zagging, I know that this is a place I genuinely want to be–here at the intersection of business and psychology. Because for once, I just want to do this for myself. Like. Pursuing the field isn’t a matter of trying to meet other people’s expectations; I don’t feel the need to defend or explain myself; I don’t feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle of judgement or fear, etc. Like. It’s a field I want to pursue because I want to learn and get better at it, and I feel hopeful and driven as I move towards it. It’s, like, fulfilling? And it’s okay if people aren’t familiar with the in’s and out’s. It’s for me.

Aside from that… I realized my LinkedIn profile photo was 5 years old and felt like getting a new one. Took them yesterday, edited several today, shared a few on Instagram. Most people said the generic smiling one was most appropriate, which makes sense.


Sociopolitical

What’s fascinated me from the start of it all is how sociopolitically the human race has responded to a purely biological agent. You see, a virus is not concerned with skin color, election votes, hair color, eye color, zip code, or nationality. It’s preoccupied with survival. It’s just trying to replicate and make it in this big, bad world, just like the rest of us.

The reality is when you’re in close contact with a sick person, without protection, you’ll be infected. You’d think that people–mostly Americans–would care more about doing what they can to prevent a disease or illness. But it’s all culture and politics here.


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May 14th, 2020 

To mini-celebrate being done with my first year of graduate school, le beau picked up our bobas and we cruised around.

We stumbled upon a sprawling park. The lake shone; trails extended for miles; thin trees, perfect for hammocking, lined the field. People were out and about, mainly on the trails. Easy to avoid.

I twirled around, ankles bare and scratchy. The sun was out, a little warmer than usual. Beads of light sweat. Him under the tree in a dark blue chair, dipping chicken katsu in sauce. Would we be doing this without quarantine? Maybe, but maybe not.

My new favorite pastime has been finding lakes, ponds, and rivers. Pockets of nature I can roll my time in. I like getting lost in the waves and reflections.

Two hours passed. The sun was hot on my face. We found two trees spaced well apart and he set up his hammock for the first time. I sat on the grass nearby. I played a wistful Lana who wished for a better America.


May 16th, 2020

In the rain, we scurried around the empty lots and shops and farmer’s market space that would, normally, be selling local fruits and foods. We had just polished off our custard ice creams and Italian ices.

We splashed into puddles. We jumped on concrete blocks. We sprinted around in circles like follow the leader. After a while of this, my soaked slippers felt cold. The rain no longer felt as friendly. So we went back to our cars, where I decided I wanted to go home.

So we drove off and I remembered that I had forgotten my umbrella. We circled back and retrieved it. I went home to change into more comfortable pajamas and he brought us back Chick Fil A. I ordered medium fries, eight nuggets, and a spicy chicken sandwich.

In the middle of the road, I blasted Megan thee Stallion and he danced around. Break danced. Shimmied. Boogied. I joined with my own PJ-ed high kicks. The neighborhood drove into his driveway, eyeing us suspiciously. He even darted outside to get a better look. What a weirdo, le beau remarked.


May 17th, 2020

FaceTimed EM today. We were talking today about how we got caught in the perfect stretch, conveniently located between ritual-laden years of high school, college and official “markers” of traditional adulthood, i.e marriage and kids.

We already did prom; graduated high school; started college normally; ended with regular ceremonies. Right now, we’re simply working and balancing school and our Master’s. We aren’t graduating for the time being. We also aren’t getting married, not for some time; won’t have kids; don’t have kids, thank god, so working from home isn’t doubling as daycare.


May 19th, 2020

 

Two days ago, we got Venezuelan, drove to a nearby park, and set up our lawn chairs on a hill. We watched the ant-like crowds of people celebrating birthdays and holding picnics and going for muscular jogs. Was this Central Park? Because it looked like Central Park. People gathered without a care in the world.

Yesterday, we had our ice cream custard and park date. After an initial stumble where he couldn’t locate a proper hammock place, we settled down by a bridge and sat in the grass. A mother duck with her 14 ducklings waddled by in the lake. Two turtles, Turry and Turrisa, kept poking their heads up to peer at us. We watched a line of high school boys walk in slow-motion, emanating 70’s exaggerated cool, one boy pretending to throw a frisbee. Two slowly tussled their hair.

Today, despite having slept 12 hours and spending most of the day in bed, was a mediocre one. Mostly because I realized my film chemicals were no longer working. I wasted a roll of film on expired developer. And there is no developing kit to be found online. Then I put a little too much milk in my mashed potatoes. A black wasp snuck inside my home and has not been seen since. It’s just been a long and peculiar day, and I look forward to sleeping it off.


May 20th, 2020

I love learning online. I love teaching online.

I love being able to learn at my own pace. Rewinding. Fast-forwarding. I love being able to 2x speed an instructors’ video and zone out when I’m tired. I love cutting out the most exhausting part of education: driving and showing up. Do you know how much money in gas and tolls and time, in life, that I’m saving?

I love being able to click into a class 2 minutes before it starts. I love being in my pajamas while the professor blares on and on as I scroll through social media. I love tackling the content when I feel most comfortable and motivated. I love being able to google questions I have after class instead of getting b.s answers from the professor.

I love being able to use a digital white board with my students. I love being able to share my work with them through a screen. I love being able to email over a link to the class and sit and wait in my room, shorts on, for a student to click on. I love being able to email answer keys and skim the news while they work.

Life is a million x thousand x three times easier with remote instruction. I won’t delve into all the technical aspects of socioeconomic disparities; of limited Internet access; of kids with ADD; of parents needing dayca–I mean, school; or the fundamentally social aspect of school, which was all it was ever good for–in my case, at least. Making friends. So I won’t go into that. I know, I know, I know people have it different.

My personal experience is that remote learning has been the best thing since sliced buttered bread.


May 24th, 2020

Who told me to drink (Hokkaido, yum) milk tea after 1 PM? I have a personal rule to not consume caffeine in the evening. This is why!

This is why. It is 1:19 AM and it is way past my bedtime. I normally would be sleeping at 11, but here I am, one lousy yawn in.

Another weekend date today. Boba first–I tried a new flavor called Hokkaido milk tea because I heard it was creamy and caramel-y. I loved it. It tasted like liquid dessert. I pictured myself with a gallon of it and downing it every morning like milk. But halfway through, I got a bit tired of it.

Afterwards, we got katsu chicken. I got it with the bento box, so mine had fried temperura and sushi. I’m obsessed with the complementary pickled onions and jalapeños. The last time I ate there in person, the waitress noticed I was scarfing the onions down, so she gave me a second. I’m the type of person who goes to korean and japanese restaurants solely for the free small sides. (Ugh–this is making me recrave glass noodles.)

We took our food ate it at one of the unused restaurant patios. The restaurant has been closed for months. The patio had lights and tables and a large jenga game. I maneuvered my way around with Lysol, clorox, a face shield, a mask, and alcohol wipes. I sat a table away and ate half my food, since I was full from the milk tea.

The librarian–who I picked up my books from, contactless!–said she liked my face shield! I was proper flattered. The library book pickup was seamless. I wish I’d known of it earlier. To be honest, I’d looked at the library website a week into quarantine. But I didn’t realize just how contactless it was! So now I have five books waiting to be devoured.

I think I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s supposed to rain, but maybe we can still do something fun. I’ll finish the rest of my milk tea in the morning. That gives me a jolt of excitement.

Also, I took my pigs out to graze on grass today. B was all about it–he sniffed the grass, bit one, and began his buffet. C, on the other hand, was terrified. He was clawing the box in a desperate attempt to go home. He froze when I pushed him on the grass–then sprinted back into his box!

Here’s a photo of B hogging all the space in their nap box.


Park Fiends

We went biking at the park; hiked through the mini woods; sat by the lake, dangling our toes. We observed the ducks, birds, swans and turtles. We observed the small human boys toppling their bikes. We observed growling small pups and families playing frisbee.

At the other lake we’d visited earlier, we sat under a large tree on lawn chairs, finished katsu chickens to the side. We briefly meditated. I got him to meditate! He dipped into a state quick. Afterwards, I shared my thoughts. And then I realized–and this will sound cheesy–all we have is now! This blade of grass swaying–it’s doing that now. The past and future only exist in our minds: all that is real is the present.

That isn’t to invalidate the past or future: time is less linear and more complex than just whittling it down to the present. Trauma is real. As is the future. But hyper awareness of the present is an odd byproduct–and practice–of mindfulness.

It’s a very weird realization. It runs contrary to everything I’ve learned, the doctrine of strict time. So. When it hits, it hits. And then it fades away. In the sea of thoughts. Until I briefly remember again. And every blade is sharp, vivid, clear like a lucid dream.

Easy Chinese Ribs

Figured out a way to bypass the 6+ hours of marinating and softening it usually takes to make Chinese ribs in the oven.

Pressure cook it first.

After I remarked that I’d have to bake the ribs for 5 hours, my family went ahead and pressure cooked it. They left it on the counter to quickly run errands. Wafts of pork floated around the kitchen. Around 8 PM, feeling hungry and antsy, I decided to bake the already-pressurized meat, which was slightly tender.

I grabbed every savory condiment– and its complement– I could think of. Base of light soy sauce. Splash of dark soy sauce. Hint of fish sauce. Grapeseed oil. Sesame oil. Generous five spice. Onion spice. Spoonful of honey. Hint of sriracha. Paprika. Salt and pepper. Then I added water, because why not? I dumped the sauce all over the ribs, wrapped them up in foil, and set the oven to 450 degrees, 1 hour.

450 degrees felt right. The foil on top would keep the ribs from burning, and it’d keep the heat trapped within the ribs.

After 40 minutes, I smelled a faint burning smell, so I ran to the oven to check on the ribs. I took them out. They were fine. Delectable, actually! Sweet and savory. Fall-off-the-bone. The sauce wasn’t evenly distributed, so I removed the meat from the bones, mixed them back in the platter, and baked at 325 degrees, 10 minutes. This would create a dry slightly-burnt crust.

Voila! Tender, juicy and crispy ribs.