Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Vice(s)

In this greedy materialistic season we call the Holidays, I'd like to announce my vices, aka, what costs me the most wasteful $$$.

In descending order:

5. Gourmet food
4. Chocolate
3. Coffee
2. Target
1. Fashion

5. Gourmet food in the form of spending an hour an a half at the newly opened Whole Foods and spending $8 on a raw harvest sandwich and $10 on organic cocoa powder.

4. I only like dark chocolate above 70% which sometimes is more expensive. And only the good kind.

3. Buying a cup of coffee is luxury enough. I buy coffee like people buy cigarettes. I don't think about the price you're paying if I can just get a cup of black coffee.

2. I never come out of Target without buying only what I need. It's seriously a trap.

1. I have too many shoes, accessories, black tops in varied cuts, dresses I've worn about twice, and most recently, boots. I own many boots even though I live in a city where boots are not necessary. And I don't own flip flops. Go figure.

There. I came clean.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Rub a dub dub. Thanks for the grub.

This Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks to the following:

1. First and foremost, my family. My family is the best. We're small, and we don't have anyone else here in the States, but I've never felt like I lack anything because of it. I'm proud of them and they're proud of me.

3. Nudy. Without her, I would disintegrate.

4. Peter. Without him, I would be broke and on the streets because I wouldn't be able to afford my apartment. (And he is my small little family of mine in our small little home.)

2. My home friends. I have a small group of friends that have been with me for many years who I refer often as the family I chose. They've seen me for better and for very very worse and I am the luckiest person on earth to constantly have these people in my lives.

3. My college friends. My college friends often are the ones that understand me the most when I talk about my job, and about what I want to do in the future. We share the same philosophy because we came from the same great place. I'm especially thankful for Carmen, my eternal roommate, and Yvonne for indulging in my crazy quirks. And for constantly commenting on this blog. You're a great comrade, Yvonnesky.

3. My job. I bitch about my work sometimes, but I couldn't have been working at a better suited place for me. I can't believe that I've found a place where I immediately fit from the first week I was working there. I believe in what we do, and I believe in what our entire organization does for the community. It will be a year since I started there very soon, and I feel so grateful to be working with such quality people.

4. My health. I'm so much more conscious about my health since I've been dealing with people who are not as fortunate. I just hope that health care will be comprehensive enough when I need it in the future.

5. Coffee. It's my one drug, and I love it like Britney loves Cheetos.

6. Dark Chocolate. See above.

7. My MacBook and Internet. I'm addicted.

8. Facebook. I'm so addicted, it's actually a little unhealthy. But I'm nonetheless thankful for Mark Zuckerber for creating such a thing that allows me to enjoy the small joys in life like being poked and being superpoked.

9. You. Sure, you come after Facebook and coffee in the ranking, but they're incredibly high on my priority. But I'd like to thank you for reading this blog, and giving value to this small thing I have, and letting me say whatever I want.

So thank you. Thank you, dear void, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm friggin boring.

I had several options to do several things this weekend, but all I wanted to do was stay home and read my book. So I did. And I finished it too.

GOD I'm so boring. I've become that girl who stays home, listens to public radio, drinks coffee, reads books by older liberal Jewish women, and falls asleep every night with the light on. Actually, I don't know why I say "that girl". It's not like I know anyone else like that. And I think I mistakenly labeled myself a "girl" when it should had been replaced with "grandmother". And "coffee" with "chamomile tea". At least I'm still cutting edge to a certain point.

I suppose I'm growing up...?

Lately, I've been thinking about the stages I go through with my life, and the stages my friends go through with their lives. The thing is, I've never been on the same so-called life timeline with my closest friends. Especially with my best friend. She and I have never been on the same page as far as what we're working on and what we're striving for. For example, at the moment, I am knee-deep in my job, and she is knee-deep in going on to grad school after having graduated from undergrad this year. I've been out of school for 2 years, and she's been going straight since we were all mandated to get an education.

This has proved to clash and compliment our friendship over time.

My internal clock is now automated with my job. At the latest, I get up by 7AM, and I get incredibly tired once 9:30PM strikes. Because my job is social service related, I'm heavily interested in what happens on the local and national level, because it actually affects my clients and what I have to do. Because I'm a recent graduate, I'm one of the youngest ones at work, and I get lots of advice and insight about things that are... I guess "grown-up".

On the other hand, with my friend, she has obligations to study and therefore her sleeping schedule is random (although, I would argue that hers is more regulated and early rising than most students). She's become very disciplined in her study habits, and can memorize, read, and take tests like no other. She has a lot of studying obligations, though, that she doesn't have time to read about stuff I read about. But she's 110% more knowledgeable about science and academic journal articles than I have ever been. And because she's in school, and not a freshman, she's rarely the youngest one in classrooms.

We complement each other and many things, mostly through trading information. But, I must admit, our priorities are slightly different. It's funny, because it's always been kind of different (because my friend and I are practically opposites in many aspects). But recently, because I've become more anal with my time (which I suppose is a sign that I'm "growing up"), we had a brief clash which brought some awkwardness. I mean, we worked it out. We worked it out pretty well, and in a very civil manner. But it just left me wondering.

I think this is the time, if it hadn't already happened, when friends start splitting ways due to different priorities and life timelines.

I have former friends who are now acquaintances because we're doing very different things now. Number one reason is them getting married and creating families. Number two is me having a job, and friends going on to school. Number three is physical distance; friends are distancing because they've moved away.

It's sad, I suppose, but I'm also feeling that this is what people talk about when they say "that's the way of life". I guess that's a cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason, no?

Soon, we'll be so split that I'll only have unmarried, un-family-attached, career-minded friends that are so reminiscent of those sitcoms and Sex and the City's, that it'll probably be quite pathetic. But my married and family-holding friends will probably be dying inside in their ridiculously monotoned households. And we'll all be unhappy and frustrated in such cliched ways in our own respective worlds, but some how find a reason to go on every day. Like that IRA or pensions.

If you're wondering about my friend and I, though, (which I doubt you are but I'm going to assume you are anyway), we've gone through so much and had such different lives throughout the entire duration of our friendship, that these types of clashes probably won't be the cause of our demise, if we ever have one. So you see, that could happen too. Different people could coexist with each other in very close and personal ways like she an I do. She's practically my family, and maybe that's why it doesn't matter if we don't really do the same thing, ever.

It is nice to have someone like that in your life, though. Right?

Anyway, have a nice Sunday everyone. To support my grandmother-ness, I'd like to report that it's 7AM on a Sunday morning, and I've been up for nearly an hour. In the spirit of grabbing my youth by the balls, though, I'm going to go on a run.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

JoWriMo gone wrong.

There has been a halt to my JoWriMo, caused by my utter stupidity.

I left my journal on the plane coming back from NYC....GAAAAAAAAAAHHH. I've contacted the airline, airport, and posted a lost item note online... Now, I'm just waiting. I feel as dumb as how Yo-yo Ma must have felt when he left his cello in a cab. But he got his cello back, so I'm hoping I'm just as lucky.


I went to NYC this weekend. Seriously... I hate leaving that place. I've been talking people's ears off about how I should live there some day, so I won't torture you guys any longer. My desire to escape is heightened by this disgusting weather we're having in LA. 80+ degrees in mid-November????????? Fuck that shit. I really hate it.

I spent most of my time visiting friends, because apparently, I have a lot of friends who live on that side of the country.

One day... One day, I will be close to them.


I had that cup of coffee at the cutest little cafe that reminded Carmen of this old deli/cafe we had at out college. I had the best blackout cake, and am now vowing not to touch any other cake unless it's just as dark as a blackout. Or if it's cheesecake. I love cheesecakes.

Come to think of it, those pictures make it look like I spent my time in the woods, and not the city. (Central park is like a twilight zone in the city.)

Here's one more to prove that I was in a urban area:

I heart public transportation...

Friday, November 09, 2007

I'm an ass.

So, now I feel like an ass for making that comment about white men bitching, because my roommate told me his friend lost his job yesterday because of the strike.

I forget that I live in the city of The Industry. And I don't mean the City of Industry. And I sometimes forget that my roommate is involved in The Industry.

Oh well. I hope it ends soon.

Off to NYC tonight! Photogs to follow. I promise.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

In Support, I guess.

So after reading this I suppose I can support the Writer's Guild strike.

If anything, the middle class has the shitty end of everything, because a lot of times, they get nothing. I should know.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's 11AM.

Certain things that I've though about today:

Writer's Guild Strike: I want to support it fully, because I support writers, but in the back of my head, I can't help but think... God, stop bitching, you old White Men. This is mainly because 90% of the writers striking are white men. I also don't watch television (besides Ace of Cakes) so, perhaps I don't feel the effects of the strike. But like I said, it's something in the back of my head, and I sincerely hope people's jobs are protected, no matter what color.

November is National Alzheimer Awareness Month. Be Aware.

It's cold and I want some good Indian Food.

Calling Social Security is such a drag. "Your estimated wait is 8 minutes" is such a wrong estimate. It's been 20 minutes.

The end.

Monday, November 05, 2007

What I really do.

This month is basically insane. And so was last month. And the insanity actually feels kind of good. Work is busy. Work is good. I shall talk about work.

So, I get the, "What exactly do you do?" question a lot from my friends. It's mainly because I put up random away messages on my Gmail like, going to a luau with seniors, or it's Karaoke day with the seniors, or I hate calling Social Security, or I hate walking to Skid Row.

First the logistical part: I split my time between my Social Service agency and a subsidized senior housing for low-income older adults. M-W-Fri I'm at the agency, and Tu-Th I'm at the apartments. I'm a social worker at both places, but I face different types of cases in each.

First, the title "social worker" is a little misleading, because I get the impression that you actually need a Masters in Social Worker to be considered a bonafied social worker. I'm what they call a Case Manager. A person who manages cases of different clients. At the senior apartments, I'm known as a Service Coordinator, which means I am the one who is responsible with getting appropriate benefits and services for the residents.

First at the agency. A typical day at the agency starts with me at my desk, sipping coffee and listening to my voices messages from clients with all sorts of questions. Can you help me find a Japanese speaking dentist who takes Medi-Cal? (There are practically none.) I need help taking care of myself, because I'm too old to drive and do housework. I'm homeless again and need a place to stay. I have kids and am about to get evicted.
Then, I spend the day trying to solve these problems, and call all sorts of places, and interpret for my clients. My least favorite place to call is Social Security because there's always a wait. I also sometimes do receptionist work and intake random callers too. My most recent one that sticks out in my mind is a call from someone saying, "The gusty wind blew away my divorce papers. What do I do?"
At the end of the day, it's a lot of documenting. And then, sometimes I would have to walk down to Skid Row so that I can translate for my client to agencies down there so that my client can get the appropriate resources like food and TB tests.
Other than that, it's random snacking and fooling around with my co-workers, who are, to say the least, a colorful bunch. I really really like working with them.

Now at the senior apartments. I usually come in early in the morning, and there's usually a resident waiting for me with a piece of mail they don't understand. More than half of my work is reading complicated / English mail from different places, including government agencies. Half the time, it's life insurance trying to sell shit to them. Sometimes, though, things are more serious, like a letter saying they've been kicked out of their original insurance because some strange broker had tricked them into buying another insurance policy that they don't need. Other times, I spend visiting the residents, which can be good, or really really bad. Like, if you visit them and realize that they are incapable of taking care of themselves. Or if they had passed away. I have yet to encounter an actual dead body, but several residents did pass away since I started working there. It's the way of life, really. (Needless to say, this job has really made me realistic about death. I have never really been afraid of dying, but this job really makes me want to prepare for it.)

Then there are random things like luaus and karaoke. Hey, seniors need an active social life too. I also have lots of meetings to talk about programs, and other internal stuff that sometimes takes an entire day.

So that's what I do. It's really the type of job where anything can happen in one day. I really like that part, but sometimes it can suck ass too.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Why I'm not running

I am officially declaring it here: I am not going to run the marathon.

Most of you know that I started running earlier this year in hopes of a possible half or full marathon. All sorts of things happened since then. I've lost weight, my sleeping pattern did a 180 (prime example: it's 6:30AM on a Sunday morning, and I'm writing this entry), and I am now able to run roughly 10 miles.

I guess I can run a half. But I will let all of you know right here that I will NOT run a full marathon. My reasons are simple: I don't want to. I am so content in how running is working my life, that I don't want to do anything that can potentially mess that up. I've heard people getting burnt out after training for something like that, and I do not want to feel burnt out about running. At the moment, it's the only time of day where I have an hour to think about nothing, and where I can listen to an entire episode of Fresh Air without being interrupted. I can't tell you how releasing this experience has been. I won't do anything to change that.

Running has also given me the opportunity to notice things that I would have never realized. There are just things you notice by walking around outside. They are:

1. Skunks like dark places. The rich neighborhoods in my area are dark. Hence, skunks like riches areas. (That is such a potential LSAT question.)
2. Sprinklers are the biggest waste of water. It makes me so sad to see sprinklers on in the rain. And most of them just make puddles on the sidewalks instead of watering the grass.
3. There are more dog poop on the sidewalks in the morning than in the afternoon. People, pick up your shit. Seriously.

There are positive things. I swear. Like, for example, you really do notice the change of the season.

Anyway, this is why I will keep running, but I will not run a marathon.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


A friend told me that November is National Novel Writing Month. I'm not talented nor crazy enough to participate in NaNoWriMo, but I really like the idea. So here's my little thing for this month:

Basically, November is my favorite month of the year. The weather is (usually) just right, and I love warm colors and layering clothes. I can't write a novel, but what I can do is write in my journal or here to make sure that I am concious of each day passing in this short month. I've done pretty well with my journal so far, so let's see if I would have something to say on a regular basis here.

I really love fall. One good thing about LA is that winter feels like fall too. We basically just go from fall straight to summer every year.


Friday, November 02, 2007

My conflicted relationship with LA

I've said this time and time again, but I have the most conflicted relationship with my dear city Los Angeles.

I love it here. I love being from here. But there are so many things that drive me absolutely crazy about living in this ridiculous city.

The number one thing that I absolutely canNOT STAND about this place is DRIVING. DRIVING in time-wasting, gas guzzling, mother-fucking TRAFFIC.

It's seriously the one thing that is driving me away from this city. (No pun intended.)

I hate the transportation system here as a whole. The bus system blows. A lot of the times, routes don't have a round trip system. It'll have a route one way, and then you have to go an extra step and take 2 more buses to go back to where you originally came from. The train system only covers certain areas. The subways are OK, but they're basically only for Downtown Los Angeles. The freeways are the worst in the country, and it is the most frustrating thing to know that some places that take an hour in traffic is actually only 15 minutes away without it.

How do I survive?

With good public radio stations and a good cup of coffee.

But I am pretty close to moving out of this crazy city because of this dumb ass traffic.