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May 2005
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a total and utter…

May 31, 2005   

Barforama. I don’t mean to compete with Seppo, but I am feeling like crap this morning.

My stomach feels queasy, and my head feels like it’s spinning and like I’m going barf any second now… which wouldn’t be a surprise, since I just got back from barfing up my breakfast in the bathroom. Earlier in the day, I was washing my hands in the bathroom when I spontaneously barfed into the sink just a little. Took me by surprise. Another 15 minutes, and I’m barfing into a toilet at work, hoping against hope that no one walks in and thinks I have some sort of freaky eating disorder.

My mouth feels dry and watery at the same time, with that weird wet sweet feeling you get in your mouth when you are close to puking. Ack. I think that I might not have puked up everything, and will need to hit the can again. Damn.

The worst part is that I don’t feel good enough to drive myself home. I’ll have to stick it out and hope that I feel better at the end of the day.

past perfect

May 25, 2005   

During the beginning of the room shuffle (which we are still in process of) I found a box of old mix tapes and pictures from high school. I look at the pics and am kind of surprised to think that many are from 10 or more years ago. It doesn’t seem plausible, but there it is. I think back to who I was in those pics and my first reaction is to believe that I am exactly the same person, but that is, of course, entirely wrong.

I also found a journal I had kept during the summer of 1998, right after taking Seppo to the airport (when he moved out to LA for a summer job) to just before I moved out here. It stunned me how raw my entries were, so devoid of the cleansed-for-the-public eye process that I subconsciously go through for my blog. I could feel so vividly who I was and understand how I felt back then.

I don’t think reading my current entries years from now will give me the same sense of who I was. Perhaps I should keep a hand-written journal in addition to this.

wedding dress

May 21, 2005   


dress_front_black
Originally uploaded by eingy.

I bought my wedding dress today! I went to see it at 10:20am and had it purchaed by 11:40. It was the first dress I had tried on, so I felt weird about buying it right away, but Seppo and I really liked it a lot, it was in a price range that I thought was reasonable, and the craftsmanship is excellent. I also got a petticoat, which is a weird word to see written down, as well as it is to hear and say. It is apparently a Maggie Sottero gown in diamond white silk. Ok then. πŸ˜€

I tried to figure out which style on the website it most closely resembled, but I wasn’t sure. It is similar to the Sabrina, but not quite the same in the bodice. It also has no tulle. So maybe it’s all totally different. Heh. I think it might be the Mallorie. As I’ve said before, these names for non-people things weird me out.

The woman in the pic is obviously not me. I blocked out the face for anonymity. πŸ˜€

lows and highs

May 18, 2005   

Looking forward to my sister moving to the US. She apparently received the package I sent her that included a form I-864, three of my most recent pay stubs (as proof of salary and current employment), and copies of 1040s for the last three years. I need to fax her my citizenship certificate, so I will be taking that in to work tomorrow. Woops, I mean today.

You know, the poverty line is grossly low. You know how I know it’s low (this is quite poetic to my ears)? I know it’s low because in order to be a sponsor for my brother-in-law (side note: my sister and her kids are US citizens, but she can’t sponsor him because she does not have an employment history in the US for the last three years), I have to make 125% of the poverty line for the number of people I support. By “people I support”, I mean 1) myself, 2) people I claim on my taxes as my dependents (my mom and little bro), and 3) the total number of people I am sponsoring. This bring the total to four people.

I was like, man, four people. I knew I must be over 125% of the poverty line for four people, but I wasn’t sure by how much. When I looked up the numbers, it turned out that I can sponsor something like 13-14 MORE people with my income.

THAT is how I know the poverty line is too low.

The guys came today to start working on re-drywalling the two unfinished bedrooms. Yay! It will cost us some money that we could really use to save for the wedding, but I honestly believe that this is the better/more right use of our money right now. Any improvements to the house will pay off in the future, I know. It still does sting a bit in the short run, but I’m happy that our home will become even more homey.

My sister also told me that my dad went to stay with his mom in the country. This is really good news, as it means that they must have come to some sort of reconciliation. It means some pragmatic things as well: we don’t have to worry about him not having a home or having food to eat. His mom is pretty well off — not rich, but pretty well off, and he’ll be living in the home that has been in our family for generations, living near farm land that our family owns. He’ll be in good country air, so his asthma should be better. He’ll be able to eat good foods, so maybe he will put back on some weight.

mid-year goals

May 11, 2005   
  • Get back to physical status of last year before starting the new job, which has proven to be more sedentary and snack-filled.
  • Brush up on sad state of French knowledge so as not to totally humiliate myself next year when we will get to go to Europe.
  • Go to sleep earlier.
  • Become neater. Start with desk-spaces, and expand to clothing and books.
  • Start planning wedding in earnest.

I think the biggest obstacles for me have always been when:

  • I get busy at work.
  • I get sick.
  • I get pissed off because my efforts are not bearing fruit at the rate I want them to.
  • I get lazy. But this is really an extension of the above, because when I see results, I feel good and don’t tend to slack. But when I don’t see results, I fall into the “screw it all” mindset.

The wedding thing is a big problem because neither Seppo nor I have any real clue where to start. We actually have some friends we can trust who have a fair amount of knowledge about weddings (shoutout to Becky! heh), but I am sort of afraid to ask for real details because I’m afraid I’ll find out just how scary a workload it will involve to get hitched, and stress about it because there is so much going on at work too. It seems — and I know this is severely naive of me — that it shouldn’t take much to have a decent, small, wedding. But I already know this is wrong. I know just enough to know how ignorant I am. πŸ˜€

quarters

May 11, 2005   

I spent the first quarter of my life as a pretty happy little kid in Korea. I spent just over the next quarter in the US elementary & middle school system. The next just-under-a-quarter was in high school and college. The final quarter, my current one, has been spent as a working professional. I’ve also spent a quarter of my life with Seppo.

Whoa.

The mind boggles. I wonder what the next 7+ years will bring.

I’m feeling pretty sick today. I woke up feeling really congested, cold, and tired, with a scratchy throat. But we are at a pretty crucial part of the project, so I dragged myself out of bed and came to work. For lunch, I ran out to a Korean restaurant to pick up some kimchi jjigae. For $6.95 plus tax, I got a large soup container of the stew, a little take-out box of rice, and a huge styrofoam container heaped with various sides, kept neatly apart by some saran wrap. Yay. Kimchi jjigae is the thing that I used to eat when I was a teeny tot when I was sick. The heat (both thermal and chemical) helps my chest feel a bit better and makes my nose run, which is gross but helps with the stuffy head feeling. I think I’m at this weird phase in my life where all I want to eat everyday is Korean food. I think it’s because I feel so tired and busy lately, and just want to find shelter in comfort foods.

Leading to feeling crappy is that I got a call from my sis yesterday. She said my dad has been hospitalized for some lung problem. She emphasized that it’s not lung cancer, but that they have not yet ruled out other cancers. He’s lost a fair about of weight in the last few weeks and has trouble breathing. He has asthma, apparently, and we are hoping that is all he has, and the rest is just due to some fleeting illness. They said that he should 1) quit smoking and 2) stop working, permanently.

My dad is someone who has always filled me with conflicting feelings, like many parents. I tell myself sometimes — pretty convincingly — that I simply hate him and want him out of our lives. This is easier when he’s being awful to my mom. It’s less easy when I see or hear about him suffering. The last five years have been absolutely brutal to him. He’s been through a lot and not due to his own dumb mistakes and failures, as it used to be. I just wish he could be somewhere where he is well-cared for and has time and means to find peace with himself.

how to win friends and alienate your enemies

May 9, 2005   

Disclaimer: This is gonna be a long post. :p

On Friday, I was workin from home when our housemate shows us this horribly creepy note from an anonymous neighbor that was in our mailbox:

PLEASE CLEAN UP YOUR YARD! [this is in red marker across the top]

Letting your property repeatedly become an ugly eyesore spoils our neighborhood and is grossly inconsiderate of us, your neighbors.

Fortunately, the city of Oakland has stiff laws with high fines for dealing with this situation.

If your property is not adequately cleared of weeds, debris, etc. by this Monday, May 9, we will file a formal complaint with the city, triggering the Blight Control Department to police your cleanup.

We felt that this needed a response, as the most annoying thing about this was that for the last few weeks, Seppo, with my help, has been working his butt off trying to get things cleaned up. If you looked at our yard today, it would be clear that things were happening. We wrote a note, hoping to achieve two desired effects:

  1. Assure our neighbors that things are getting done and
  2. Paint the anonymous note-writer as the bad guy who is disrupting the harmony and peace our (inclusive of all the other neighbors) neighborhood.

Seppo went around yesterday and distributed 20 copies of our note (which follows), and spoke to those whose lights were on. They were uniformly surprised, supportive, and friendly, which was great. This morning, another guy came by from across the street to say hello and to sympathize. That was awesome, and really something we appreciate. Our neighbors ROCK!

Our note:

Hello dear neighbors!

We are your neighbors at [house information deleted]. First, let us apologize for the state of our front yard and for asking you to read this note. We are writing because we recently received a very confrontational anonymous letter threatening to call the authorities on us for the state of our front yard, which feels very scary and alienating for us.

As people who have met us know, we’ve been trying hard to bring the lawn into order lately. We knew that unfortunately this would look worse for a short time before it looked better, which we feel terrible about, but we hadn’t realized that someone would feel the need to harass and intimidate us. We place extreme value on our home and know that you do too. Our home is not just a huge investment (both financially and emotionally) for us but truly a home, as it is for everyone else here who calls this great neighborhood home. We value the neighborliness and history of our street which is a rare gem to find, and we certainly don’t mean to cause a problem, which is precisely why have been taking action to make improvements.

Please rest assured that this is not the permanent state of things and that we are actively working on the lawn. Due to severe allergies, we’ve even resorted to doing some yard work in the late evenings when the pollen count is generally lower, but we are making steady progress. We have been doing research on pretty plants that will grow well in this climate, because we’ve come to the realization that between the terrain and allergies, grass can’t really be our face to the neighborhood. It took us a few seasons, but we’ve learned that we can’t keep up with it and we don’t want it to be ugly as it has been in the past – that’s bad for everyone on our street. In order to make everything tidier, we’ve been looking around at our fellow [street name deleted] yards to pick up hints and determined that we should rip out the lawn and replace it with other plants, which we are in the process of doing. This will go on for a few more weeks, as there is a big space to clear. Many fellow neighbors on this street know that we love our neighborhood, and that we’ve worked hard to make improvements on our home over the years to modernize and contribute to the ongoing beautification of our neighborhood. Sadly, it is taking a longer amount of time than any of us had hoped. For this, we apologize.

Everyone we’ve met out here has been wonderful the last few years, so it is shocking to have the threat of having the City called and being heavily fined hanging over us. To us, issuing anonymous threats causes a bigger damage to our neighborhood than a lawn that is getting ripped out. We feel violated in our own home over this threat because

  1. The writer assumes we don’t care about our home or our neighborhood
  2. The writer assumes we will not comply
  3. The writer acted alone to give us a very short deadline determined by himself or herself
  4. The writer feels it’s acceptable to make threats against neighbors by hiding behind anonymity
  5. The writer had never made any other attempt to speak to us about this problem before

If the intent wasn’t to harass and intimidate us, then we are relieved and in fact grateful for letting us know that there are people who are frustrated, but the wording was very clear and straightforward. This is pretty terrible and un-neighborly. πŸ™ As it will be impossible to clear out all of the grass by Monday (the deadline in the letter), we understand we may still get reported and will cooperate in every way with the Blight Control Department.

To us, this has always been the kind of wonderful neighborhood were people always say hello, neighbors tell neighbors when our cars have the lights on, and generally go out of our ways to work well together. We’ve traded great stories with people who have been there for generations, as well as people like us who are relatively new to the area. We remember when there was a fire on the block and people came out in the middle of the night to make sure everyone was evacuated and safe. This is the neighborhood we care for.

Please don’t ever hesitate to stop us in the street, knock on our door, or drop us a note to have a little chat over neighborhood concerns! We love to meet more neighbors and we won’t ever hold it against you to address neighborhood issues – they are our shared issues and welcomed responsibilities. The only thing no neighbor can welcome is a threat. πŸ™ We know it can feel awkward to stop a stranger for a chat, but we aren’t really strangers – we’re neighbors and will be for many years to come. πŸ™‚ We love the friendly feel of this street and are eager make sure that we contribute to a cooperative neighborhood and not detract from it in any way. Again, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, but hope that you understand that it will look much better soon.

Your friendly neighbors at [house information deleted],
Seppo and Ei-Nyung

My feeling is that this note, along with Seppo going in person to speak to people, really put everyone on our side. It was important for us to portray this person as not being in line with everyone else, to paint him/her as the “them” and all the other neighbors as a collective “us”. I think we won.

Us: 1
Anonymous jerky neighbor: 0

a stranger among us – release version

May 8, 2005   


a stranger among us – release version
Originally uploaded by eingy.

This was my submission to a challenge we are having in a flickr group I’m a part of. The idea was to submit a “picture of a stranger”. I tried to take photos of random people while we were at Best Buy, but it didn’t seem to work out too well. Then I remembered an awesome set I saw called The Seven Gummie Sins, and thought, “Why not?”

Mobi made himself a part of the lynch mob encircling the Hello-Kitty-disguised-as-cow without my conscious knowledge.

time to renew!

May 5, 2005   

My birthday is still months away, but the DMV sent me a renewal form as my license is set to expire this year. Using this handy thing I’ve heard of called The Internets, I was able to renew my license in about 1 minute + $25. I think it is only for people who don’t have to retake their pics yet. You need the renewal PIN that they send you in the mail.

Awesome!

I spoke to my little cousin yesterday on IM. She is about 17 years old and doesn’t remember me at all. What a bummer, but I haven’t seen her since she was like 4 or 5 years old, so I didn’t really expect her to. It turns out that I’m waaaaay more family-oriented than I ever thought I would be when I was much younger, and have this urge to get in touch with all sort of cousins now. Heh. It’s strange talking to a 17 year old, because I know that it wasn’t all that long ago and that I remember vividly what it was like to be that age, but I also know that from the standpoint of a teenager, someone pushing 30 seems ridiculously old and out of it. Oh well.

my food pyramid

May 4, 2005   

So I’m sure that you know that the food pyramid recommendations have changed quite a bit, but you know about this convenient food tracker that the government supplies for free? It’s not that great, and it’s not too fast, but it’s pretty convenient. I’ve been trying to see how I fare, by just sort of tracking how I eat for a week without making any conscious changes from the norm, and see if I’m drastically far from what they recommend or not.