Sunday, January 25, 2009

Notes for my baby, part 5

In which Thu describes the magic of a holiday that is special to her.

In many ways, I'm extremely American - I was born here, I speak Vietnamese with an American accent (rather than speaking English with a Vietnamese accent), etc. But in one respect (well, this is ONE of the many respects) I'll happily celebrate my Asian heritage - this weekend marks the beginning of the new year, the Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year or the Tet Festival), and it's a time for well-wishing, well-being, and time spent with family.

I'll be honest with you - when you're young, and you ALREADY spend every weekend with your family, the only thing that makes Tet different from any other weekend is that all the grownups in your family all of a sudden give you little red envelopes full of money. When you're REALLY young, it's just a dollar here and there, maybe five dollars, and it all went straight to your parents for safekeeping. When you get older (say, teenaged) and you have some sort of concept of what money is for and what you can do with it, you REALLY love this holiday because all of a sudden, it's more pocket money for the mall, and sometimes your relatives start giving you tens and twenties. It's pretty sweet.

I kept receiving money up until last year, because I'm unmarried and in Asian culture you're still considered a child until you're married. I'm not sure what my status is this year since, rather than being a child, I am WITH child. But by now, the money is no longer the important thing. (My family stops giving you Christmas presents when you turn 18, so 8 years later, I've stopped coming to the holidays with expectations of receiving anything, and anything I HAVE received has been a pleasant bonus.) What I love are the traditions - there are certain dishes that are made, including banh chung, which is basically a savory dish? I can't even describe it. It's a long strip of pork meat and a long tube of bean paste rolled into the center of a huge lump of sticky rice and steam-cooked. You slice it and serve it with tiny pieces of pickled vegetables. I can't even do it justice describing it here - suffice it to say that it's one of my favorite parts of celebrating the New Year.

There are also games. The adults play poker, but as a child, I would often play blackjack with my cousins using dimes and nickels, and there is a traditional game (that I don't know the name of in English, and I would suck at translating it anyway) that is kind of like roulette, but much more intuitive, where there is a large paper mat with pictures of six different things - usually a crab, a rooster, a vegetable, etc. There are also two dice with these same pictures on each side. To play, you place your "bet" (we always played with pennies) on two pictures, and someone would roll the dice, and if one or both of your pictures came up, you would get paid the amount you put down. We haven't played this game in a long time, but you can imagine, with lots of people crowded around a paper mat on the floor, it gets pretty rowdy, and it's a lot of fun. And obviously, it's not about winning money, but about having good time.

And of course, there's family. Sure we are all together for Christmas and Thanksgiving, but Tet has always been the holiday where you don't travel and you don't make plans to meet up with people you rarely see, but instead you spend it with the people who know you and love you best. You want to start out the new year, the Lunar New Year, on the best foot possible, so it's good to be healthy, happy, and surrounded by the people you love. This is something I love and embrace about my cultural heritage, however "American" I choose to be for the other 364 days of the year.

This year that is beginning now is the Year of the Ox. There is an interesting list of celebrities born in the various years of the ox, from Adolf Hitler to Nomar Garciaparra (baseball player). Mostly what I should expect from my baby is that he or she will be a great leader and an eloquent speaker, which I think are both great things.

One thing I've been thinking about a lot is the passing of my culture from me to my baby. I'm so scared that my culture will die with me. I don't speak the language very well, and I don't know much of the history of my culture, and I can't even cook the traditional dishes. My relatives are getting older now, and eventually my generation will be the keepers of this knowledge, and I'm worried that I won't really have very much knowledge to pass on. I'm the daughter, niece, granddaughter, etc, of immigrants, and everyone I know is the same, also the first generation born here. So everyone I know is in the same position I am - how do we pass on knowledge that we're not so sure we have? How can I capture this moment in time and show it to my children so that they will know exactly how it was supposed to go? Or do I create something new, a hybrid of my cultural traditions, banh chung and pasta served side by side?

I guess one thing that is great about me having a baby so young is that my family is also still young enough to help pass on our culture. I don't have to do it all by myself just yet. My grandparents are still alive, my parents are still young and healthy, and everyone lives in the same area, and we will continue to get together like this every year for many years after this baby is born.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

End of the semester

I'm working on getting things done and graded... I don't have as much as I thought, but it'll still be enough to keep me busy. But at least I still have a week left. Funny how I'm more productive when I'm in class and I don't have to watch my kids than when I'm completely alone.

I'm glad to have reconnected with some people in my life, but it seems like there's been a falling out with someone else. And this time I don't even know what I did. Maybe I didn't do anything at all, and it's not even about me. I have no clue. I'm just going to wait it out, I guess, and hope this person eventually talks to me again. In the meantime, though, it's depressing the hell out of me. Other than that, I feel good. The baby part of me feels good too - no throwing up or anything, which is good.

I'm looking forward to the new semester, but I haven't read one of the books I'm supposed to teach. I told my kids that next semester will be hard for them, but it's going to be SUPER hard for me as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Notes for my baby, part 4

In which Thu lets the words of the day speak for themselves.

Today was the inauguration of President Obama, and while there's no telling what the world will be like when my baby is old enough to read and understand everything that has happened, what's important to remember about today is the spirit of hope and change that is sweeping through the country, this feeling of uplift that has been missing for so long.

I'm pasting here the full text of his inaugural address, and I hope that one day, my baby will understand how important this was - not just what he said, but the fact that he was able to be in a position to say it.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Monday, January 19, 2009

General exultations

I'm really, really happy that my entire family seems to be supportive of my having this baby. If my parents' reaction was any indication, it would seem like I'd be run out of my own town. But really , everyone is like, "We'll be there for her. This is a hard time, so we'll help her as best we can."

I wonder if my parents will be less mad at me now, knowing that no one is mad at THEM.

Tomorrow - at last! after 8 unglorious years! - is the Presidential Inauguration.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Notes for my baby, part 3

In which Thu details a little bit about Papa Jimmy, pre-baby.

Dear Baby,

I know your dad is keeping a journal of his own for you, and he's got his own life story to tell, but I thought I would fill you in on some of the wonderful things about him that he may or may not necessarily say himself.

- He's way, way smart. I might've gotten better grades in high school, but he's much smarter than I am, because he's more quick-witted and remembers information a lot better than I do. Don't try to pull a fast one on him by trying to convince him of a different version of the truth. His mind is like a steel trap.

- He's very honest about his feelings, more so than other males I know. I always know where I stand with him, which I really appreciate.

- He is a very caring, loving person. He takes really good care of me, and I have no doubt he'll take really good care of you too, Baby.

- He, like me, is a very compassionate person. People look at him and think he's a big jock sort of guy because of how tall and big he is, but he's not like that at all. He, too, believes in stopping hate and promoting equality (and he's got a much better brain for arguing than I do).

- He is a very talented musician and songwriter. This isn't something he reveals often, but your dad is pretty awesome. He learns instruments on his own, or else he finds his own way of playing them. I try to encourage him to share his music more, but he's really shy about this. Your dad is a really cool guy.

- He is hardworking and unselfish. Invariably, because of his size and height, your dad always gets called upon to do stuff like help people move or carry big things or whatnot, and he always does it, without much complaining. Where would anyone be without your dad?

Especially me - where would I be without your dad? We met each other when we were 15, and so, being with someone for over 10 years means that there has been a lot that I learned from him that has become a part of me now. If I were to erase every trace of your dad from my life, I'd be an empty shell - that's how big of an effect he's had on my life. And I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. You're very lucky to be born to a dad who can teach you so many different things and who can go play catch with you and can probably let you walk on his feet. Treat him right, okay?

Love, Mom

Notes for my baby, part 2

In which Thu details a little bit about herself and her life, pre-baby.

Dear Baby,

I know the general perception is that kids never realize that their parents were people before the kids came along. I know this because I have students who believe that I have no life outside of the classroom. So here is a little bit about me, baby, so that you know what kind of person your mother is.

- I'm 26 years old. Considering the trend right now, that's young (I guess) to be having a baby, but your Grandma Ngo was 23 when she had me. These days, people wait until their 30's.

- I'm in my third year of teaching high school English right this second. I didn't always want to be a teacher. Like most children of Asian immigrants, I spent most of my life thinking that I SHOULD be a doctor. (You're allowed to call me on it if I ever force you to be a doctor against your will.) I wanted to be a pediatrician because I wanted to help kids. Eventually, I realized that literature was my true passion, and that I could help kids in other ways, so I decided to teach. I've had awesome moments, and I've had really difficult moments, but I wouldn't trade this for anything. I really feel like this is my calling.

- I feel that I am a compassionate person and I believe in equality. Every generation has its battles for civil rights, and I'm not sure what yours will be, but throughout my life, despite previous decades of fighting for equal rights for different races and for women, racism and sexism still exist. The really big issue right now is homophobia. For example, it's not really appropriate anymore to go into public and use the n-word, but people get away with saying homophobic slurs all the time. It's the last "acceptable" form of hate, and your mom here is among those trying to stop it, as well as all other forms of hate. I don't know what your generational issue will be, but I hope that you will be fighting hate too.

- My major interests right now are knitting, running, baseball, music, film, and literature. I don't know if that will change after a while or not. I also was going to join roller derby, but the day before my first practice, I found out I was pregnant with you. I'm not saying this to make you feel bad or anything - I will probably join as soon as I'm able to :)

- I've been knitting for three years. You probably have a bunch of knitted things from me already. It's my stress reliever, my creative hobby.

- I'm not much of a runner, but I hope someday to run a whole marathon. Maybe we could do one together?

- Baseball! My team is the SF Giants, which means that they're your team too. I will NOT compromise on this one. You could become a hippie growing vegetables on a commune instead of having a job, but you BETTER love the Giants. Right now, it's the off-season, and it looks like 2009 is going to be an awesome year. The Giants haven't made the playoffs since 2003 - we haven't really come CLOSE to making the playoffs since 2004 - and I really think that this year could be a big year. What if you're a pennant race baby? If the Giants are in the world series, you, me, and Daddy are going for sure :)

- Music - I don't know if these names will mean ANYTHING to you by the time you read this, but I love Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Pulp, John Lennon, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I'm kind of a hipster snob (a little bit). When I was younger, I used to go to shows all the time, but now it's kind of hard for me to deal with big crowds. I'm also quite short, so I can't see over the people.

- Film - I can be a snob too, but mostly I don't go out to movies much. My favorite movie is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Within my generation, dvd's were invented, and I don't think they are going anywhere anytime soon, so you might also have dvd's. Thanks to film technology, I will be able to show you some of my favorites from my childhood: the Goonies, Labyrinth, and Transformers (the cartoon, not the live action one). I don't know, your dad knows more about movies (and everything else) than I do. More about him later.

- Literature - this is my thing. I love to read, though I find I'm having less and less time to. At this point, I'm not sure what you are yet, but if you're a girl, chances are, I named you Jane Beatrice, which you should know has literary origins. Jane comes from Jane Austen, my favorite author, and Beatrice is my favorite Shakespearean female character, from Much Ado About Nothing. They are women who are smart and witty. I want you, as a woman, to be those things too. (If you're a boy, then you're probably named after someone else. Ask me sometime.)

- Anyway, all of that above is how I like to spend my time. I like going out to dinner with my friends, going to movies, spending time with your daddy. I don't really lead a complex life, but it's enough to make me happy.

- I'm basically a very calm person. Unless I'm stressed out. But otherwise, count on me to be a soothing influence. My laid-back-ness might even get irritating at times.

- I'm also very loving. I love very strongly and I'm very loyal to people I love. That includes you, sweetheart :)

Okay. That's a little bit about what I like and what I am like. I don't know how much I will change by the time you read this, but I hope I retain all the good things.

I love you, dearest baby.

Love, Mom.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Notes for my baby, part 1

In which Thu describes some of her hopes and dreams for her baby.

I'd planned to handwrite this, but I really just haven't had the inclination. Maybe I really am a 21st century blogger after all.

I found out I was pregnant on Saturday, the 10th. Since then, I've been through so much that it has become important for me to say it, SOMEWHERE, or else I'll burst. Or fester.

The most important part is that I'm happy, and excited. It's not what I planned to happen right now in my life, but I love that I'm going to be a mother and that I'm going to teach my son or daughter about the world.

I have so many hopes and dreams for this child, and none of them are things like, "I hope she becomes a doctor" or "I hope he wins the Cy Young someday." I hope my child is smart - I don't mean smart as in, Asian smart and gets straight A's (although, that would be nice), but smart is in, able to think for him/herself and come to his/her own conclusions and to always question information and not just accept what is given to him/her. I would rather have a child who gets B's and C's but who chooses to follow current events, than a child who gets straight A's and only cares about celebrities and gossip. I hope my child inherits mine and Jimmy's appreciation for music and film, but also inherits our irreverent way of looking at things and sense of humor. I hope my child is compassionate and caring to others and doesn't hate other people because of how they look or who they are. I hope my child eventually finds something he/she is passionate about, a path in life, and not just a job to earn lots of money.

Is that a tall order for a child? I sure hope not. I am not going to make assumptions about what my child will want to do, or how academic they will be, or who they will love. Being a teacher has taught me a lot about being compassionate and about not being judgmental, and that's what I hope to bring to my role as a parent - I hope that never goes away, because I feel like that's the best part of me. I want my child to feel comfortable to talk to me about anything without worrying that I will judge them, and I say this because I never felt that comfortable about talking to my own parents, because I constantly feel like they will judge me. (And yes, they did, when I told them I was pregnant.) I never want my children to be afraid of me. To respect me and recognize my authority, yes. To fear me, absolutely not. In return, I hope that my child is also not judgmental of others and can be a voice of strength for the people that they love, in the future.

I'm excited. I'm happy. There is one thing I'm not happy about, but it's out of my hands. For now, I'm grateful for everyone who has expressed their support to me so far.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"I'm gettin back into gettin back into you!"

I'm joining roller derby again! This time I am fiercely determined to stick it out and make roster and be eligible to compete!

The practice schedule will be rough, but I'm determined to take this on. I need to think of names for when I finally make roster. :)

Tomorrow:

Oatmeal and raisins
Veggie chips and hummus
Salad with goat cheese
In'n'Out (I know, not really great for me, but I'm trying to make room for it!)
Energy bar
Workout: skating for an hour with se7en at Calskate
Salad or something like like that for dinner.

The plan for today

Very similar to yesterday's

Breakfast - avocado and toast
Snack - apple and cheese
Lunch - avocado and cheese sandwich
Snack - Luna bar, powerade
workout - Run 1:00, Walk 2:00. I bet I won't do any strength work today
Dinner - chicken breast (somehow prepared)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I did it! I ran!

I did end up actually running, even if only because I wanted to see if I still had it in me. And I did. Granted, I only ran for a minute at a time, but it's been a while, you know? It didn't hurt, I wasn't panting like crazy.

I'm trying to stick to the diet, but goddammit, when someone leaves delicious coffee cake in the staff lounge, I'm going to have some. I've been taking small pieces at a time, and not more than one or two a day. Not, like, two or three giant slices or anything. Today's meals were good - I liked everything I had, EVEN the huge chunky tomato slices in my sandwich. (I normally HATE tomatoes!) My dinner was good - I don't know why I've never made tilapia before! The pieces were well-sized, cheap (2 dollars for two pieces!), QUICK to cook (in fact, they browned a little...), and apparently they're healthy too :) I cooked the two pieces, and tomorrow I will have it for lunch or for dinner. I'm tempted to have more avocado toast tomorrow morning and then make a turkey and avocado sandwich for lunch, but I wonder if that's too much avocado to have in one day. It's a tiny avocado. Plus, I'd need to buy some turkey. Is avocado and cheese acceptable? Or is that too much "fat" in one sandwich?

The best part is that (contrary to what it looks like in the above paragraph), I'm not actually obsessing about what I'm eating. Like, I obsess on paper because I'm trying to figure out what to eat tomorrow, but during the day, I'm like, Oh yay, food! And I look forward to eating it. And (other than the salad yesterday), it tastes good! So, I'm fairly happy with my two days so far. I'm trying to track what I'm eating because it'll give me an idea of what to buy next week that I liked.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How'd it go today?

Here's how it went today.
me: :(!
the bad treadmill is broken
the good treadmill is sandwiched between stuff in the garage
the gym will be WAY too crowded
it's too f-king cold to go outside
and it's already five :(
I was supposed to be DONE by now
f-ck f-ck f-ck
this makes for a VERY bad day
f-ck f-ck f-ck
I want to throw things and yell
it was like yesterday when technology hated me too
what's wrong with the universe???
Jimmy: =(
oh baby
me: :( :( :(
it's past my time to work out, and I don't have anywhere to work out anyway
this is BULLSH-T
I finally resolve to do something, and I get f-cked over
what the f-ck is wrong with that treadmill anyway? and why is there so much sh-t in the garage?
and it's the wrong time of day AND year to go to the gym
f-ck this sh-t
I'm going to carry on being fat until the day I die
Jimmy: I love you
want to come over
and beat me
me: no
that won't help
I want to f-cking go running
for the first time in months
I finally have any sort of motivation to do ANYTHING and it just goes splat

Let's try this again, shall we?

Tomorrow:

Breakfast: Avocado with toast
Snack: Apple and cheese stick
Lunch: Tomato and mozzarella sandwich and a side salad
Snack: Pria bar at 2, powerade at 3
Workout: Do I try the run workout today, even though I'll run again on Thursday? Or just do the walking part? + I'll do some abs too
Dinner: Tilapia filets
Snack: Some cocoa

Monday, January 5, 2009

The plan for Tuesday 1/6

This is easier than writing it down in a notebook, I guess?

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins
Morning snack: Banana and cup of tea
Lunch: Salad with mushrooms, cucumber, and avocado
Afternoon snack: Pria bar with 8oz Powerade an hour later
Workout from 4-5: Run 1:00, then walk 2:00 - repeat 10x; 30 minutes of upper body
Dinner: Broiled chicken breast (see book); salad or veggies on the side

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Go ahead with your own life. Leave me alone.

For all intents and purposes, Jimmy and I are indeed back together. I've never been happier with him than I have been since we broke up, actually. We're communicating, we're having fun together, and we're totally in love. I love him more than I ever have. And what's better is that we're balanced. We need each other, but not in an unhealthy way. We each have our own things to tend to now, and we see each other enough, but not too much. If I still spend a lot of time with him, it's because all my other friends are generally unavailable. But I spend a lot of time by myself as well. Things are just RIGHT with us.

Why am I bitter? I'm imagining my friends and family, their eyes widening in shock as they say, "Oh. Well, that's good, I guess." I'm imagining their raised, judgmental eyebrows as they ask, "Are you sure about this?" And I'm imagining the hushed whispers and disappointed stares as I turn away.

These are not people who I randomly know and could care less about. These are the people I care about most in the world, and the people who (I believe) care about me most in the world. So I can't just turn up my nose and say "Screw you" and ride off into the sunset with Jimmy. I don't WANT to do that. I love my friends and family; they're my world. But how do I make them understand that things are different now? Things ARE different now. And yes, I'm sure. I do believe I know Jimmy better than they all know Jimmy, so I can categorically say that I KNOW he is different now. And I do believe that people can change. I don't believe EVERYONE can change; but I do believe that it is possible for some people, and that it is possible for him, and that it DID happen for him.

I know everyone just wants what's best for me and they just want me to be happy, but it feels like they don't trust me. They might tell me they trust me; they might even tell other people that they trust me; but behind their eyes, they think I'm being an idiot, naive, gullible. They think I'm making a huge mistake, and there will always be tension between Jimmy and everyone else because they don't think he can change. No one thinks we should be together.

And maybe partly it's my fault. I have a hard time balancing different facets of my life, and it's especially hard for me when some of those facets come together. Work, family, relationship, friends from here, friends from there - when my worlds collide, I just feel really awkward. So maybe I did TOO good of a job keeping my relationship separate from everyone else, and I'm paying for it now.

I'm also not very good at "selling" Jimmy. There were a lot of things that were bad about our relationship, but there were a lot of good things too, and maybe it's my fault that that I never spoke much about the good things. I guess I thought they were apparent - all of the things that are good about our relationship ARE me. I wouldn't be who I am without Jimmy. All of the good things that I am - my irreverent sense of humor, my taste in movies/music/tv, my interest in baseball, etc. - a lot of those things came directly from Jimmy. I guess I didn't give him enough credit. Yeah, sure, I have a degree and he doesn't, but he's absolutely the most intellectual person I know (except for a few English teachers), and I absolutely think he's much smarter than I am, despite me having more of a formal education.

So what now? Just do what I want to do and screw everyone else? Just explain the same thing over and over and make them understand? Fuck it all and move to Alaska and die? I don't want people to be skeptical of me. I don't want them to say things like, "Well, if you know what you're doing, then I'm happy for you" - I don't want your conditional happiness. I DO know what I'm doing, and you're either in or you're out. I don't want people to question my intelligence or personal strength, or think that I'm just acting out of loneliness or laziness. I also don't want to spend the rest of my life having to deal with awkwardness between Jimmy and everyone else at every single social function we attend together. I want them to know Jimmy the way I do and to like him. I don't want to always feel like I have to choose between two different sides of me, him vs. them.

Why do things always have to be so hard for me? Why couldn't I have had an easy relationship with a guy that everyone likes and have all parts of my life integrated smoothly without anyone batting an eye? Why do I have to go through all this bullshit? Is there some cosmic force in the world trying to test my character? Is this my "hero's journey"-style road of trials? Is this to balance out the fact that I breezed through school and professional life (so therefore, I'm not allowed to breeze through my personal life)? Why? Why me?

Friday, January 2, 2009

However trite, however over-done...

... New Year's Resolutions. Ready to be made and then broken. But hopefully not for a while.

- I will not buy anymore yarn until I use up all of the yarn I just bought and designated on my queue for specific projects.
- I will go through my yarn stash and clear out at least a whole box of yarn to donate/give away.
- I will not have more than 4 WIPs at any given time.
- I will eat at least three meals every day that I pre-plan. No more skipping breakfast.
- I will work out at least ten minutes every day, making sure to do both cardio and weights.
- I will get back into roller derby.
- I will actually stick to my HALF marathon training this time.
- I will try to go to bed by 11 and wake up by 6:30, at least on work days.
- I will try to get all relatively small assignments graded within a week and all large assignments graded within two weeks.
- I will turn in my grades well ahead of the grading window deadline.
- I will stick to my budget and not create dire financial situations for myself.