Long Time No See

July 21, 2009 at 8:35 am (Uncategorized)

I don’t think I want to even look up when my last post was, but let’s just say it’s been awhile.

The past few weeks have been both really busy, and exactly like business as usual (depending upon which weeks you’re talking about, really).  I haven’t really done all that much out of the ordinary, except that what I have done is really out of the ordinary.

At the end of June, my whole family took a trip to Asia.  We visited Hong Kong, Xi’an, Beijing, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Singapore over the course of our 2 week trip.  It was very busy, with lots of flying, and definitely really, really awesome.

And about a week after I got back from that trip, I got engaged.  The fiance bought a ring while he was in the Philippines, and asked me to marry him a few days after he got back.  I’m very, very excited about that.  So excited, in fact, that my mom is sick of hearing about it all.

Otherwise, it’s just been work as usual.  I’ve spent my weekends trying to relax and catch up on sleep, because I think I’m still just the slightest bit jet-lagged.

It always amuses me just how easy it is to slip back into your daily life after leaving it for awhile.

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Ready for summer

June 1, 2009 at 8:33 am (Uncategorized)

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I had my lovely new living room fan on.  I used my new not-nearly-as-icky-as-it-could-be sunscreen on my face, neck, ears, and arms.  I put on my new waterproof mascara, because I noticed that my non-waterproof stuff was smudging a bit at the end of the day on Friday.

And wouldn’t you know it, today is cooler than it has been in two weeks and overcast.  I’m glad for it, but it’s kind of ironic.

I did some shopping over the weekend to try and get ready for my big trip to various parts of Asia.  I managed to get some of what I needed at Target, although I forgot to look for sunglasses there, and all of their hats were either stupid or made me look 40.  I was going to have to go to JC Penney anyway, so I’m hoping I can find at least sunglasses there.  I also need new shirts, another pair of pants (if I can find one), and I’m really hoping I can find a very lightweight longsleeved shirt (but I’m not holding out much hope for that).

It’s frustrating me a little that I have to very carefully plan all of my time between now and when I leave, just to make sure I get everything done that needs doing.  I won’t have much time to just relax, which is too bad, because I’ll have even less time when I’m actually on this vacation.

Also, the ceiling fan above my desk is really annoying.  It’s just the slightest bit unbalanced, so it makes a constant noise that I can’t quite tune out.

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May 21, 2009 at 8:24 am (Uncategorized)

You know what’s awful?  Being really and truly suited for a society that dictates that all skin but the face be covered before leaving the house (and dictates that everyone wears hats outside), but living in a society that thinks the more tan you are, the better.

It’s really obnoxious to have to cover up all of my skin before spending much time in the sun (or deal with the ickiness that is every sunscreen I’ve ever tried).  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find anything long sleeved in the spring or summer?

It’s just too bad that having pale skin is no longer really in vogue. 🙂

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Gardening!

May 12, 2009 at 9:08 am (Uncategorized) (, )

I’ve been thinking a lot about gardening just recently.  It’s the time of year to start planting most things, since it’s finally stopped freezing at night periodically.  Oregon weather can be kind of amusing, because everyone put away heavy winter coats weeks ago, but our growing season is really only just now starting.

Either way, I’ve got a major handicap when it comes to my gardening aspirations.  My poor little patio gets basically no sunlight.  It faces east, which would be an excellent source of light…except that there’s a big tree (an evergreen, no less) right in front of the apartment.  I can’t even really grow houseplants, because my apartment is always sort of dim.  I’ll appreciate all the shade this summer (since it’ll keep the whole apartment cooler), but it’s awfully frustrating right now.

So I’ve got a lovely little Nandina (of the dwarf “heavenly bamboo” variety) in a container on my patio right now.  I planted it last fall, and agonized all winter about whether or not the plant was going to make it.  Fortunately for me, Nandinas are pretty hardy plants, and they’re not picky about how much light they get (although they are more showy in full sun).  I’m also lucky that the edges of my patio do get exposed to rain, so I don’t actually have to water this plant.

Even so, it concerned me that it remained exactly the same size as when I bought it all winter.  I was almost convinced it was just going to give up and die on me over the summer, but I noticed a little bit of new growth yesterday.  Yay!  So I may be a bad houseplant mommy (RIP, poor little ficus), but at least I’m not a horrible gardener all around.

Either way, my relative success with the Nandina has encouraged me to find another shade-tolerant or shade-loving plant that I can grow outside on my patio.  I’ve got an empty pot (thanks to the dead ficus), and I’m thinking I may try to find a fuchsia that will do well in the shade.  I think there are varieties that do, and the plants have such lovely flowers.

I also may try to find a strawberry pot and grow some shade-tolerant herbs in it.  I’ve really wanted to try my hand at growing some herbs for awhile, but a lot of them really need a lot of sunlight.  So I’ll have to see if I can find any herbs that would do well in shade…even better if I’d actually use them!

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Livejournal

May 11, 2009 at 8:50 pm (Uncategorized) ()

I logged into Livejournal for the first time in quite awhile tonight.  I’d sort of forgotten about it for awhile, and then was avoiding it because I couldn’t possibly have caught up.

Apparently, the last time I posted was 11 weeks ago.  So basically, when I started this blog, I accidentally quit Livejournal.

It makes me a little bit sad that nobody noticed.

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Ick.

April 28, 2009 at 8:13 am (Uncategorized)

I feel like crap today.  It’s mostly because I have a headache (and it’s very likely the same headache I had yesterday morning).  I’d hoped that drinking some extra water this morning would help, but no dice.  I should have just taken Aleve and been done with it.

Plus, it’s raining, kind of.  Not really raining, so it’s not really worth using an umbrella, but it’s enough rain that I arrived at work rather damp.  Even knowing that we probably need this rain doesn’t make me any more inclined to be happy about it.

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Responsibility

March 10, 2009 at 8:03 am (Uncategorized) (, )

I’ve been thinking a lot about responsibility just lately.  Out of sheer curiosity, I thought I’d look it up.  This is the definition from the American Heritage Dictionary (via dictionary.com):

re·spon·si·ble (rĭ-spŏn’sə-bəl)

  1. Liable to be required to give account, as of one’s actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust.
  2. Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority: a responsible position within the firm.
  3. Being a source or cause.
  4. Able to make moral or rational decisions on one’s own and therefore answerable for one’s behavior.
  5. Able to be trusted or depended upon; reliable.
  6. Based on or characterized by good judgment or sound thinking: responsible journalism.
  7. Having the means to pay debts or fulfill obligations.
  8. Required to render account; answerable: The cabinet is responsible to the parliament.

Responsibility is almost like the Holy Grail of adulthood, at least in the United States.  Most everyone wants to be a responsible adult, and wants those they care about to be one, too.  It makes life easier, when everyone is responsible and self-reliant.

I mean, looking at the definition, it means that you can make decisions alone, that you can be depended upon, that you can pay your bills.  It means that you can be held liable for your actions and trusted to have good judgment.  It means that you recognize yourself as the originator and cause of your own actions.

But is that really all it is?  I’ve wondered, lately.  I personally think that I am a responsible adult, and yet I don’t quite fit that definition.  I am both less and more.  Less, because I still rely on my parents for advice (and in some cases, financial assistance).  But also more, because others rely on me.

I have begun to think that true responsibility comes only when you realize that you are not alone in the world.  When you realize that you need other people, and let yourself lean on them when you need it.  And when you realize that other people need you, and give them your support when they need it.  The world is interconnected, and it is actually very irresponsible to assume that any person can do it all alone.  When you inevitably find yourself in a bind, your problems are bigger than you ever thought they would be, and it’s that much harder to find solutions.  I suppose, as they say, no man is an island.

I think this is true on a personal level and a more impersonal one.  On my own personal level, I still rely on my parents for advice, and sometimes financial support.  I rely on my siblings for emotional support (and sometimes just plain entertainment).  I rely on Amiel for nearly everything.  But I am responsible for nearly the entire economic burden of my household.  In that respect, Amiel is very much dependent upon me.  Ideally, we will eventually share that burden equally, and be dependent upon each other.  Eventually, I will also be far more responsible for my parents than they are for me right now.

Or, nationally, I am responsible for the health and well-being of this country, as is every other citizen. I  pay my taxes, I follow the laws, and I vote.  But this country (and everyone in it) is also responsible for me.  It must protect me when I am threatened, and it provides a safety net (consisting of social welfare) if I ever fall on hard times.

Even internationally, this holds true.  The world is so interconnected that something that happens in one country can have an affect on every other country in the world.  When each country is responsible, each is able to help those in trouble, and receive help when it is in trouble.

I suppose this explains a lot about my own philosophy of the world I live in.  Interconnectedness isn’t just some thing that happened while we weren’t looking.  It is, I think, the very foundation of our nature as humans.  We are all drawn towards responsibility, because of the promise of independence that comes with it.  But we are also drawn towards responsibility because of the ability it gives all of us to rely on each other.  A person who is truly responsible understands that we all need each other, and tries to make sure that a workable system of give and take is there when we need it.

And, I suppose, my definition of irresponsibility is trying to get rid of that system of give and take when you don’t need it – but expecting everyone else to build it up again when you do.

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I have enough character, I swear!

March 2, 2009 at 6:15 am (Uncategorized) (, )

For anyone who has ever read the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, I’m sure you remember all of those strips where Calvin’s dad talks about things building character.  Basically, Calvin complains about having to do something, and his dad insists that doing whatever it is builds character.

I kinda feel like that right now.  I’ve got so much character built, it’s coming out of my ears.  I’d really like to take a break from character building, just for a little while.  It’s really too bad that I likely won’t be able to any time soon.

We’re starting to get actual spring here.  It’s really only just the very beginnings of it, because it’s still cold.  But the daffodils are starting to bloom, and that’s the first sign of spring here in the Willamette Valley.  What’s funny is that apparently more northern parts of the valley got snow just last week.  Oregon’s a funny place.

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February 23, 2009 at 8:25 am (Uncategorized)

I haven’t really written anything here recently, because the only things I can think of to say are on subjects I’ve been spending the past week or two trying to avoid thinking about.  Other things just seem too much like…minutiae.

I’m a natural optimist, in the sense that I function better when I have a reasonably happy outlook about my future, and so I work pretty hard to keep that going even when I’m not really feeling it.  It’s been harder than usual lately.  And it always, always comes back to money.

It’s not even that I don’t have enough of it.  I just can’t predict it.  I can’t count on still having it next year or next month (or, at the moment, even next week).  It’s a horrible kind of defeat for me, sometimes, that I can’t even get a low-paying job.  The best I can do is a series of temporary low-paying jobs.  It’s demoralizing.

I don’t even want to tell people I haven’t talked to recently what I’m doing, because I feel like I should be doing something better.  Or at least something more permanent.  There’s no shame in working as a secretary as a sort of placeholder while you figure out what you want to do, but it seems so much worse somehow that I can’t even do that.

The only thing that gets me through the day, the week, the month is reminding myself why I’m here in the first place, and reminding myself that I actually do have it harder than most people like me.  I still don’t regret moving here, and I still think it’s worth it.  But it doesn’t always help to know that part of the reason why I’m struggling is because I live in a poor city with few prospects and a glut of college-educated people.  It’s in a state with higher unemployment and lower median income than most.  And unlike many of those other college-educated people, I didn’t go to school anywhere near here, and a lot of people have never heard of the school I got my degree from.

I really hope I manage to find a permanent job soon.  Otherwise, all of my memories of this place may end up being indelibly colored by the fact that I feel like such a failure right now.

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Sadness

February 21, 2009 at 1:03 pm (Uncategorized) ()

So there was this restaurant about half an hour away from us that served Filipino food.  We went once, about a year ago, but hadn’t ever been back.  It’s far enough away that it’s a bit of a pain, and we’re sometimes just too busy on weekends.

I think it may have closed.  Amiel is really, really bummed.  So we’ll content ourselves with ordering pizza tonight and watching movies.  My poor displaced Filipino. 😦

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