Archive for June 2010
And we fast-forward to the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009. I still don’t have a regular job, but I’m contributing as the chief writer for a photography website, writing short educational articles. I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life yet, but I definitely want a regular nine-to-five job where I get to see the same people everyday. I find that despite having all the freedom in the world, I desire a more structured lifestyle.
I’ve taken a few photography classes, but decided to not go any further with them, as they are somewhat repetitive and the instructors are didactic. I begin to doubt my photographic abilities and desire to do something that I know I’m good at, perhaps engineering. The paycheck would be nice too. Yes, making money off something I’m good at would be really quite a nice thing again. Photography and art start to become a hobby in my mind, instead of a life pursuit.
During this time, I also realise that I have become highly allergic to wool, perhaps having something to do with moving yet again (there is supposedly scientific fact behind this). I stop knitting altogether. Besides, it’s too warm and I have just run out of interesting things to make and people to give my knitted items to.
Running becomes my main hobby in life, along with continuing to micro-manage everything I eat. I become more obsessed with food, my appetite waning as well as my voracity for life. A friend comments that my face is starting to look hollow, so I allow myself to eat a bit more than my usual spartan amount, but only enough to help fill my face back in again. I’m also not sleeping very well, and that probably contributes to the hollowness of my face. I try writing my ideas down, but sometimes it backfires and I spend the rest of the day spiralling out of control.
Somehow in the middle of all this, I also make a new friend, a guy named Darren. We randomly meet when we’re both out shooting in Alviso and exchange information so I can send him the portrait I took of him when we met. We end up influencing each other more than either of us think possible. We hang out a lot and he takes me places like this in San Francisco, where I take photos of a purple/pink/blue sky.
Near the end of this period, I finally start to appreciate the lack of a structured lifestyle. I search for peace, but it’s difficult to find and frustratingly out of reach. I yearn for more in my life, but I also know that it’s really not so bad as it is as long as there are people around me that I love.
It’s been almost 3 years since we moved to California. We moved here in July 2007, 4 years after I’d moved to Massachusetts from New York. I can’t believe we’ve lived here so long; it’s almost like we just arrived really.
A lot has changed in these three brief years here in California. I’ve changed physically, taken up new hobbies, picked up new people while simultaneously dropping a few friends here and there. I’m moderately content with my life right now, of course with the exception of a few things (nothing is perfect, right?), but I’m not going to get into those imperfect parts of life. Why focus on the bad when you can see what’s good and positive instead. It’s a lot more constructive if you think about it.
That photo up there was taken in 2008, when I had started taking a photography class at De Anza College. I don’t exactly know what I was doing with my life, but I took a couple years off working in engineering to "find myself" and generally be a slacker. I think a lot of people thought I was busy being a degenerate loser, but for the most part, I think it was helpful because it let me do something other than school/work for a short time.
The best thing about this time was that I picked up running and started losing weight and caring about my body. Before then, I had just resigned myself to being the fat girl, and I always knew that I would never be fast or strong and I was just a happy fat girl. Ah, happy times, really. Of course, now I realise that being overweight wasn’t good for me, and that I should really try to be fit and healthy instead. Besides that, I look way better in clothes these days, and I can move more easily with a lot more energy than before.
About the time that photo was taken, I weighed 15 pounds more than I do now. I was pretty close to my current weight, but I was also still much bigger. I still have that jacket that I am wearing in the photo and it is much larger on me than it was back then. I remember that jacket being a pretty tight fit at the time.
I don’t recall having many friends at the time, except for people from my photo group and the occasional friend from classes. I do remember feeling quite lonely and wishing that I knew more people, but not quite knowing how to get out to meet them. I clung desperately to Franny, but of course he didn’t want me whining about when he was coming home when he had work to do.
It made me feel really pathetic.
This week, I’m making Five on Friday into a gratitudes post, because I need to spend more time being grateful for everything in my life, and less time complaining about what I don’t have.
This week, I was grateful for:
1. My lover, my partner in life, my fellow adventurer on this long path. He puts up with me and is intent on doing whatever it takes to make sure we spend many many years together.
2. My very close friend who grounds me and reminds me to take a generally optimistic view of life.
3. My other very good friend who laughs with me about everything, and sometimes he laughs at me, but that’s ok too.
4. My parents and their unconditional love and concern for me. It is much appreciated, even if I don’t know how to show it a lot of the time.
5. The cat for purring so loudly in my arms every morning and for insisting on loudly greeting me at the front door every single time I get home, even if I just went out for 5 minutes.
A friend recently discovered that he has been biking for exactly a year as of the summer solstice (yesterday). It’s pretty awesome that he has seen such a huge improvement in his bike skills and it makes me really happy to see someone pick up an activity that they truly enjoy and make it an integral part of their lives.
Of course, this made me think about my own experiences biking and how much improvement I’ve seen in the past year as well. It’s been almost a year since I started using my bike to get around. I started riding to work in the beginning of July 2009 and I have never looked back. It became my main form of exercise since I didn’t feel like going for a very early morning run or late evening run when I picked up that office job.
I’ve gone from an ill-fitting single-speed mountain bike to an old-fashioned mixte, and finally to a roadie. I also went from not even knowing how to change a tire to being able to do some of the bike maintenance myself. And yes of course there is the physical improvement as well. It’s been a steep learning curve for sure, but a very enjoyable one (almost as enjoyable as that steep slope on Page Street or Arguello heading into the Presidio).
When I first started biking, I don’t know where I thought I’d be in a year. I still don’t have a fancy fresh-from-the-factory bike. I like riding around and seeing the world from under the brim of my helmet, and I’ll use any excuse to ride my bike.
I know that I crashed my bike just over a week ago, and I have just about a week left before I can ride again, but I am so terribly excited for it. I’m taking my time off as a chance to get my bike ready to ride again.
This time next week, I will probably be doing a nice ride (probably solo) to see the ocean. And I’ll try not to crash my bike this time.
Phew, what a week. Up and down and up and down! A little good news, a little bad news, but still I’m going to chalk this week up as a win for sure. In the end, things worked out and I’m feeling good about life, unless it’s the prescription drugs talking for me.
1. A little bad news: I fractured my wrist
It means no biking until the 28th. I am counting down the days and readying the bike for my very first ride. I decided that I’m going to use Blue to regain my confidence before I start riding the roadie again. I’m a bit nervous about it, but also excited at the same time.
2. A little good news: I fractured my wrist
And that’s all for the ‘serious’ injuries! Seriously, I am so thankful to have walked away from this accident with only this. I don’t even have a hard cast, just a removable brace that I have to wear all the time. This is very good news.
3. Coy finished the ALC ride
Big congrats to my friend, Coy, who finished the ALC ride last weekend. He raised a ridiculous amount of money for the cause and he had some great photos to share. I hope he doesn’t mind me linking to his awesome photo essay.
4. I rediscovered my love for pan-fried brussels sprouts
On weekend nights when Fran has hockey games, sometimes I invite my friend over for ‘home-cooked dinner and a bad movie’ night at my place. The last time, we made pork cutlets braised in red wine, young broccoli stir-fried with garlic, and pan-fried brussels sprouts with carrots and onions. Yummy. Oh, and a loaf of store-bought batard with olive oil.
I love brussels sprouts, and they are a very easy and healthy vegetable dish. I trim off the stem of each sprout and cut them in half. Then melt some butter in a hot skillet, place each sprout with the cut face down, and let them brown until crispy. You can put the lid on to steam them, but if you leave them long enough they’ll cook without the lid too. The important part is to leave them alone until the face is browned and crispy. If you fuss too much, they won’t brown right. When the face is brown, I typically stir the whole thing around and let parts of the back brown a bit too. Yummy.
5. Pretty wall, pretty bike, and my cutiepie
This guy is pretty great. He’s been very helpful with his bike knowledge to move me along on fixing the roadie. Plus, I’m off the bike right now, and he walks everywhere with me, walking his bike too (the one in the photo is actually a borrowed bike). That’s really nice of him, honest. I would so much rather be riding around with him instead, but such is life right now. I’m paying attention to both his, J’s, and Dr. Fran’s orders so I can mend up and get my ass back on the bike. It’s good to have friends who encourage me to get better, even if I am very resistant to their advice.
I really do try to listen to my well-meaning friends in the end, try being the operative word here…
As you may know, I got into a little car-bike accident last Friday. Of course, I didn’t go to hospital or anything because I have this really odd doctor-phobia that doesn’t make any sense. After everyone told me to go to the doctor (Fran, Jason, Al, everyone at work, strangers on the street, etc), it took the holy word from my Ma to finally force me to make an appointment and go.
Ma has clout.
As a result of Ma chiding me for: a) not telling them until Sunday, and b) not going to hospital, I got myself all checked out, much to the relief of Frannie and all my friends. Turns out I fractured my wrist (that Ace bandage wrap was a super good idea on Saturday), but I am otherwise unscathed, though bruised. My knees look like someone took a sledgehammer to them, but the ligaments and tendons are okay and everything is still right where it should be.
I got a number of comments on my “goatee,” and I responded with jokes about how I’ve been trying to grow it out, but I’m asian, so it’s been coming in a little spotty. I also commented that I sure left a dent and a few scratches on that car. Ha, you like how my face looks? You should see the car!!
I am funny.
After the accident, I am glad that I’m not too badly off, and I’m ready to walk/MUNI everywhere for the next two weeks. I thought about just holing up and not seeing anyone for two weeks while I heal up, but we all know that is just not going to happen. Saturday I walked all over SoMa/Union Square and then made a Rainbow run early Sunday morning as soon as I woke up. I will not be stopped. I am an out-and-about person and nothing short of a broken leg is going to stop me from going out. Well, I would probably still go out with a broken leg, but I would just be pitifully slow going anywhere.
Since I’m not on the bike as much, I find myself taking a lot more photos of everything. Ha, this might mean more self-portraits for sure. Depending on what you think of my self-portraits, this is either great news or time for some eye-rolling.