Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm fucking clueless and helpless.

I'm tired.

I have days where I'm completely at loss as to why I'm doing my job. Namely, it's because I feel, at times, that what I'm doing is actually counterproductive for my clients and their potential of being able to live independently.

I do what I can for them. I do things that they can't do themselves. That can range from finding a dentist to finding an attorney who will help with their estate planning. I mostly do these things because my client can't speak English. They can't speak English for various reasons. (If you start lecturing me about how those damn immigrants should all speak English fluently, don't even speak to me, because I will bite your head off.) Their language barrier is debilitating for them, and hinder them from doing some (complicated) everyday things. They start relying on me. They start really really needing me. And at a certain point, I start questioning. I question, what if I'm not here? What if someone like me (by me, I mean someone doing my job) can't provide services to them? What then? How are they going to survive? What are they going to do?

Essentially, the main goal for all social workers is to work with the client until they are self sufficient. That's the ideal, but that's if we're in Utopia. Sadly, clients of mine have been clients for such a long period of time. So, what I do for them, the services I provide for them... is it actually helping them? Or is it making my clients into people who can't survive on their own? But can they even do that in the first place? What if? What fucking if?

I question myself with shit like this from time to time and it sometimes makes me really sad and frustrated because I don't know what to do to make things better. I don't know what I could do for the best interest of the client.

I hate not knowing.

One other thing that I absolutely hate about my job is when things get fucked up because I just didn't know about something. Something changed with the law, or policy, or I just didn't plain learn about it. But that's not an excuse, so suddenly my client's life is turned upside down.

I just wanted to vent about how, sometimes, there are situations where I would arrange certain things for a client and find out that it doesn't work, so it becomes really difficult for the client.

Le sigh.

I should go to bed. I should also learn not to take my work with me. Figuratively speaking.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I have feelings!

I sometimes could be an emotion-less robot, but there are particular moments when I am guaranteed to cry every single time.

One such moment is during acceptance speeches at award shows. I can't help it. I bawled with Halle Barry when she screamed that the glass ceiling had been broken. I sobbed and congratulated America Ferrera across my Jet Blu TV screen on my flight back from NYC when she won the Emmy last year. And right now, I just shed a tear when they showed a footage ( a FOOTAGE for goodness sake) of Sidney Poitier winning Best Actor. ( Lilies of the Field is one my dad's favorite movies.)

I can't help it! People are happy!

Back to cooking while watching the Oscars. (I'm pretty ridiculous and didn't watch ANY of the films nominated this year. I hardly ever do. I only watched Ratatouille. And yet, I cry.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Food for Thought

I read this in the NY Times the other day.

It's about food and relationships, and how people manage dating other people with different preferences and principles with food. (I.e. meat-eating vs. vegan diet, kosher-eating, picky-eating)

I had a brief encounter with this issue last year.

As you may all know, and I've mentioned it once or twice here, I lost some weight. Basically what happened was, I decided that I would like to see if I could run the LA Marathon (which I'm not going to) and started running. I slowly started getting better at running, and started noticing how the food I was eating was affecting the way I was running. I discovered my local farmer's market (which is literally a block away) and also started getting less and less interested in meat. (I'm not a vegetarian. I'm just into vegetarian cooking at home.) With all that combined, I started eating healthier and dropped about 15 pounds over a couple of months.

Not too drastic right? 15 pounds in numbers doesn't seem big enough to be in a weight loss commercial.


I've never been the world's unhealthiest eater. I always liked salads, beans, and nuts. You could ask my roommate in college. All I ate were spinach, black beans, and tomato soup during the times I lived with her. I used to eat all the leaves that came with her pho take-out. But I used to eat a LOT. In fact ( and you could ask my roommate again), my roommate's father used to call me a garbage can. He loved the fact that I could finish every one's food. Peter was also always amazed how a person my size could put away so much food. I always exercised, though, so I was never fat or overweight. I was, just, you know, chunkier.

Anyway, because I physically was unable to eat as much as before when I started running (it curbs your appetite a little bit per meal, but I ended up eating more times during the day), people started becoming really concerned. Then, they started focusing on what I ate. I mainly ate plant-based foods. While I think I've always leaned towards that food group, I think the fact that I wasn't eating a gallon of it, and the fact that I was losing weight caused some concern in some people.

It was really interesting how personally people took about the way I ate.

They would make comments about how I've changed, how I'm not the same person any more, how they feel weird eating around me. At first, it was OK, but after a while, people started making weird comments to me at every single meal. It was like they were putting a big scarlet H on me, throwing around the h-word as if I had just ruined my meal. "Gosh Lisa, you're so... healthy." It gets pretty annoying when someone has something negative to say every time you sit down and eat.

I didn't realize that the way I ate affected how people around me felt about me, and their overall opinion about me. Food is so emotional, and I suppose because I didn't want to take part in the plate of fried food or cupcake (unless it was a deep chocolate color), I was denying something that I should be sharing with them as their friend as opposed to just a dinner mate.

The oddest thing was, it was worst around my closest friends. People I saw regularly. They were the ones that were most vocal and negative about my eating habits. I thought they would be able to distinguish between my general human nature and my eating habits, but they were the ones that smashed those two together and accused me of being "not fun any more."

It's fine now. In fact, some of them have sought my advice about eating, since they've realized that I NEVER (and I stress this) compromise flavor when it comes to my meals. I've cooked my food and gave it to friends, and they've noticed that I actually do not deprive myself of anything with the way that I eat. But for that brief period of time, I was amazed how one part of my life that was seemingly unrelated to human relationship actually affected it in a significant way.

Do I have deal breakers with food and relationships? I think, for me, if they don't like my mom's cooking / Japanese food, it's a red flag. If they can't eat with my family, I don't know how I would be able to be with them. See how complicated food is? Amazing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One day late, but whatevs.

Happy Birthday to Louie and Mickie!

It's a sushi cake. How fitting, no?

I love their birthdays because I get to eat sushi....

Saturday, February 09, 2008


After a long day of work (and it's gotten longer these past 2 weeks) I don't want to talk to ANYONE. I usually don't pick up my phone (unless it's my mom), and I don't ever feel like grabbing a drink or dinner with anyone. All I want to do is go home, eat my hummus and tomato sandwich that I've been eating for months and read the paper online while doing crosswords.

I don't know what it is. It might be because I talk a lot during the day, to my clients, to my client's doctors/lawyers/caregivers. I'm on the phone a lot (confession #2: I hate phones), and if there's one thing I usually have to do is be patient. I am patient by nature (I believe) but it does get a little taxing by the end of the day.

I've successfully isolated myself from the world for the last couple of months, especially because my roommate and I used to have opposite schedules, where he would come home when I went to bed, and I would leave for work before he got up.

Recently, he changed his schedule to make it a little healthier, and now he's home by the time I get there. Usually, he's watching some crap television ( Celebrity Apprentice anyone?), but because he's there, it's usually implied that I converse with him at least once during the night.

So we talk. And we talk about work, about politics, about boys (mostly his). And you know what? It's not that bad. In fact, I realized one night that I'm slightly less stressed and tense after talking to him and going to bed. He also makes me go to my bed instead of letting me pass out on the couch. Now, it's not just anyone who could make me talk after work and actually alleviate my day's fatigue. I'm presuming it's because it's with someone I could tolerating sharing a living space.

I still can't completely enjoy talking to people all the time, though. If I had to be with people 24 hours a day, I might just shoot myself. I have yet to find a single person that I want to see every single day for 24 hours. People find it surprising when I tell them that I enjoy these times of solitude. However, if I'm not with you, I'm most likely by myself. Most likely.