Saturday, December 06, 2008

Everything Changes

My world is changing at a million miles a minute and I'm trying my best to keep up.

As many of you know, Yoshi and I are no longer together. It's complicated and despite what his blogs may say, the hurtfulness and "wrong-doing" goes in both directions. There is no one person to blame, although in many ways, I do believe a lot of what's happened is my fault. Of course, he would say otherwise.

We're still trying to maintain some kind of relationship. Right now it's a strange muddle of "we're 'friends'" and "i still care for you" and "rawr, death!"

In 2004, we bought a car together: a black, 2004 VW Jetta that we named Kuro-chan. Only recently did we pay off the loan. To be honest, he paid for the majority of it as I always took care of the rent, so when we split up, I said I felt best if he took the car. So, currently, I am rideless save for a little red bicycle that I use to go to work and to the grocery store down the street. I didn't think having no car would be too bad -- enter economy-driven changes at work.

The Honolulu Advertiser recently went through another series of early buyouts, lay offs, departmental realignments and they're now eying up significant pay cuts. I'm lucky to still be there, considering how many people are no longer with the company. This last bit of departmental restructuring affected my position as Online Coordinator and I will be moving into a Digital Media Sales role to help drive revenue. The change is effective immediately and will actually be a good opportunity for me in terms of my financial situation (of course, assuming that the proposed pay cuts do not come to fruition). However, to use a phrase that my friend Vraxx always uses, "the gotcha is..." that in order for me to do this job -- I need to have a car.

Did I just say that I need a car and I currently don't have one due to my personal relationship issues? Did I just say that this change is effective immediately?

*blink* Uh-oh.

So now, I'm on a car search. Gotta spend money to make money, right? And I think I found one that I like. Now it's just a matter of qualifying for a loan and convincing the dealership that they love me enough to give me a really great deal on the car. Thankfully, my year and some change of working closely with the various dealerships on the island via being the local Cars.com technical support contact may aid me in this.

But I need to buy a car... now.

Furthermore, with all the changes at work, plus the uncertainty of more imminent layoffs and a possible pay cut of 31.5% looming over us, it make for some very unhappy coworkers and sometimes, an extremely stressful and frustrating work environment.

Emotional stress. Work stress. Financial stress. Not happy.

I know that what I need to do is roll with the punches and move forward. I know that 我慢するしかない。頑張るしかない。But I think I'm actually having a hard time of all the changes. And as is typical of me, I'm not good at seeking help. I'd rather withdraw and stew a bit and give myself time to process all the issues at hand -- then force myself to accept and move forward.

But first, I need to get used to the fact that I'm still standing still while everything else in the world is changing.

Then once everything stops spinning, I can try to catch up with the rest of the world.

/me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Town Called Selfishess

Inspired by the emotions of the moment, since this is the only way I can say what's on my mind without saying what's on my mind.

I don't even know if what follows makes sense. I didn't reread it. I'll try to read it tomorrow morning before I head out to work --

-----

Long inhale, short release
Screaming, trying to find our peace
In the cacophony that splits our ears
Our minds, our hearts, brings forth our fears
Floods our eyes with tears that blur
The lines of faces, reality. Anger stirs
From years of puffy eyes and aching breasts
Trying so hard, but not good enough yet
Or ever. Loving, leaving, loving, leaving
Half-truths to find the truth, leads to deceiving
Cycle of pointing fingers never ending
Praying for strength, transcending
Those fingers pointing in all directions,
especially in this one.

Blood runs so red, the crimson stains
Our outward stretched fingertips, reaching despite the rain
That steadily washes away the foundations set
By the dreams and wishes and hopes. Forget
All those dreams and replenish the vermilion pond
Filled with depression, accusations, guilt. Respond
Not to those reaching palms and slap back
The soft touches, warm lips that hold, trap
Keep back the doubts, worries, pain and lead
Us back to a place that lays between Denial and Greed,
where Greed is another name for the destination known as
Selfishness.

The monster that lives there that makes the weak hold on
To that which should be released - Let go! So dawn
Can come to the darkened land we have built for
Our own with the Love and Pain that can come only through doors
Built by two who want nothing more than to make the other
Happy. Two who want nothing less than everything good to cover
The World that was supposed to be Theirs. And failed
At doing all that they had intended, building trails
That wound round and round and ended up at Dead Ends
Both fighting hard not to end up in the Town of Friends
The Selfish monster who refuses to release us from its grip
Laughs at we who fell, who stumbled, who tripped.
But truly, despite the bruises, cuts, and bleeding hearts,
The failure at which Selfishness laughs was not complete, just parts.
Because the two succeeded at one thing that it could not attack.
Loving.
Each other.
Forever.
And saying goodbye...
But staying together...

11.04.01 - 11.09.08
Sayonara.

/me.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Silence

Inevitably, when there's a long hiatus between postings, something's amiss. It's rare that I choose not to blog simply because nothing's happening. That's not how my life works. Something's ALWAYS happening, whether I like it or not.

Generally speaking, whether it be personal, professional, or whatever -- long breaks between blogging mean that something is happening that I can't really discuss in a public forum. Not necessarily "can't." Sometimes it's "won't." Other times, tis "not ready to."

This is all of those times. Actually, the past several months has been "one of those times" at every point along the way.

I won't go into detail. It's not always good to air one's dirty laundry. Let's just say that I'm really good at making mistakes when I should know better. I'm good at hurting people I care for, sometimes knowingly and sometimes not. As selfless as I like to think myself to be, I'm selfish. I want what I want -- and while I often will sacrifice my wants for the needs and wants of others... sometimes, enough's enough, and I take what I want for my own. Or, at least, I try to...

What do I want?

Heh. 自分自身も知りたいな~。

I guess the blanket answer to that question is happiness. Tis a cop out response, I know.

I guess happiness is pretty relative and certainly, I've been at lower lows. I just need to make a decision about how I want to achieve and/or receive the thing that I want. That happiness thing.

But I can I make the right decisions? Or should I just remain silent and see what comes?

/me.

P.S. Twitter is stupidly addicting. Check me out at http://www.twitter.com/monchalee

P.P.S. I came across a poem that I wrote on 05.22.06. It was in response to a poem that a friend of mine wrote about friendship. I shall post my friend's and then my response.

Friend's Poem: Oasis

Tired wanderer, scorching desert: Crying, burned, jaded, worn
Wounded heart, pain and hurt: Come to me, bruised and torn

Desert oasis, illusion not: Comfort, healing, mending, rest
Recover from life's battle's fought: Water clear, refreshing, zest

Friendship deep, forgiving, pure: Tested by life's desert heat
Standing strong, whole, and sure: Drink stranger, take a seat

Once a wanderer, now a friend: One more drop in the oasis
Will another come along: Different hearts, many faces

Oasis in the desert sands: Shelter from life's toughest wrath
Healing hearts, healing hands: Friendship found on journey's path

My Response: Mirage

A barren desert, hot and dry
With little life and shelter none
A stranger comes, wandering lost
Parched and baked by blazing sun
Sees shimmering water, blessed hope
Crawls toward the distance, cross the dunes
Reaches living, lush Oasis
Can't believe that this is true
Reaches down with dirty hands
To take a sip of cooling life
And finds, instead, a mouth of sand
A mirage -- an illusionary knife.

-----

I guess that says a lot about me and my experiences, huh? Oh well.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Virtual Predators

I've never had a problem meeting in real life the people that I've met or known virtually. I tend to spend a lot of time online -- I have since the advent of affordable dial-up. And despite the dangers, I find that I tend to "trust" personalities of a digital nature.

One of my old bosses, Joy, never understood why I could "make friends" online so easily. Neither did she understand why I would choose to blog. To her, it's dangerous. To her, there's no privacy. I've always written her paranoia up as "Generation Gap."

I find that so many people find that hiding behind a computer screen makes them brave -- and brutally honest. And because I think that I'm generally that way, with or without said computer screen, I tend to respect the people on the other side.

I've been lucky in that the majority of people I've met in person have been exactly as they were online. Or at least close enough. With the exception of a stalker or two, I've managed to make some really good virtual friends. Heck, I even met Yoshi online back in the days before Yahoo! owned Geocities. And because I'm a fighter (or something like that), I have managed to finagle my way out of potentially bad situations.

Over the past half year or so, I've made friends with a sweetheart named Rumi. We met online through http://www.mixi.jp, a Japanese social network site much like MySpace. She contacted me and said she planned to come to Hawaii and wanted me to be her friend. She was traveling alone and wanted to have someone local with whom she could hang out. I had no problems with this.

We met up and I took her around a bit. She wasn't here long, but we got on well enough and she posted all about me in her blogs when she returned to Japan. I was her Hawaii sister.

She recently was back in town, again, traveling by herself. And for whatever reason, we had a hard time catching each other. A lot of missed calls. We managed to get together last night for dinner -- she left this morning. And I found out part of the reason why she'd been so hard to get in touch with.

She, like me, makes friends online. And meets them in person. And stays with said virtual people when she visits Hawaii. Last time, she encountered no problems. This time, the person she stayed with was one of those people that everyone warns you about. One of those virtual people that's nothing like they pretend to be.

As an aside, she'd actually met this person face to face in Japan, when they hung out for a week, but the original meeting was via Internet. From what she knew of the guy, he was nice. Trustworthy. Safe.

She came to Hawaii and aside from stealing her money -- he beat the shit out of her. Punched her. Kicked her. Bit her. And she didn't call the cops because she doesn't speak English. And she didn't call her other friends in Hawaii because she didn't know what to say. And so she stayed half a week -- and then ran away when the guy went out one evening.

Rumi told me all this last night -- as we ate her last dinner in Hawaii for this trip. She showed me some of the cuts and bruises she'd accumulated from the experience. She held back tears and said that she had intended never to return to Hawaii -- it's too scary.

And all I could think was about how I couldn't protect her. How I had no idea that someone was hurting her. How vulnerable she was because she didn't know who she could turn to. And how this is exactly what Joy was talking about.

And I hate to admit it -- but the Internet is a scary place. And I have honestly been lucky that something similar has never happened to me.

Does this mean that I'm going to stop blogging? Of course not. Does this mean that I'm going to stop "making friends" with people online? No.

But does it make me scared that maybe I'm setting myself up to get hurt? Does it make me want to tell all my friends to be careful -- because you never know who you're really chatting with? Does it make me want to Google the bastard who hurt Rumi and find out every detail about the jerk, so that I can ... do ... something?

... Rawr. I'm speechless.

It's been said a million times: The virtual world is full of real life predators. I was just too obtuse to see that it was true.

/me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Unhappy Meal

I had a bad day Tuesday. It started off with me in tears and didn't get much better at work. I won't go into the details of why today was what it was, but know that it brought me down and made me completely antisocial.

Several people asked me to go to the gym -- and while at first, I didn't want to, Rob was nice enough to drag my ass out of the house and force me to go to 24 hour fitness.

I hadn't eaten dinner yet and was starving. But he pointed out that I likely wouldn't go if I ate first. I'd either get sneepy, or I'd simply stay home and mope. At least in not eating dinner, it made me seem lighter when I weighed myself. I weighed 121 lbs -- my goal is to be between 113 and 116 lbs.

By the end of the work out, I was famished. Our choices? Go to Safeway to pick up ingredients for cooking... something. Or McDonald's 24-hour drive through. Of course, we chose McDonald's and undid everything we had done at the gym.

I decided to order a Happy Meal in a lame attempt to do something "positive" for myself today. Happy Meal = Happy Me, right? Wrong.

Why?

No toy.

The world obviously doesn't want me to be happy right now. It won't even give me a stinkin' Kung-Fu Panda McDonald's Happy Meal toy.

Frickin' sucks.

/me.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Holding Back Dreams - Part III

My big baby brother is graduating from Punahou on Saturday and of course, the question of the moment is: "Where are you going for college?"

His dream? New York University

That's where I wanted to go. And that's where my littlest brother (now 16) wants to go.

I didn't go. I went to Mount Holyoke College and wasn't even allowed the opportunity to apply to NYU. In the end, MHC was fine and I met beautiful people that made the whole experience worth it.

But there has been a lot of drama within the family lately. Talks of unhappiness. Of suicide. I've always said my family was disfunctional. It's not empty of love. We all (most of us) love each other. But maybe with the exception of one person, who of course has her share of downs, there is not one of us who is happy.

Not my mom, dad, stepdad, grandparents, brothers. Not me.

And now it looks like my brother may not be going to NYU. The final decision has not been made -- but the outlook is grim. And why will he not be able to go?

Because of one person standing in the way.

And I watch as another person's dreams bite the dust.

/me.

Holding Back Dreams - Part II

Did I ever tell you what my dreams were?

I wanted to be an artist. Of any kind. I wanted to draw. To create. To design. To do something that wasn't along the lines of a young urban professional. That was my first and foremost dream.

When I was young, I was a state sponsored Honolulu Academy of Arts student. I went to weekly art classes, free of charge. I guess my teachers saw something special in me in terms of creativity. I was working toward my dreams.

What happened?

One day, I drew something of which I was really proud. The average artist is rarely satisfied with their own work -- so to say that I was proud of it is to say quite a bit. I showed it to a particular member of my family.

And they said it sucked. They asked me why I was even drawing. It would never amount to anything. It wouldn't pay my bills.

That day, I threw away every piece of art I had ever done. I put away my crayons, pencils, and cray-paas. And I have never done a serious piece of work since then. Doodles don't count.

And I moved on.

I picked up music. I was a percussionist in band. And at my peak, I was considered the 3rd best mallet player (xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, etc.) in the state. Playing music was wonderful. It moved me. I imagined continuing to take music through college and eventually play for the symphony or ... broadway shows... or something.

What happened?

I was told that I have to quit band. Quit playing music. Why? Because my brothers wanted to play baseball and soccer. And I needed to take care of them. I needed to go to every practice. Every game. It doesnt matter that no one in my family came to my practices, games, concerts. My brothers needed me, or so I was told.

So I quit band. I put away my mallets for good. Never to touch them again. And I threw myself into my brothers' lives. I joined the PTA so that I could take a more active role in what their school was doing for them. But because I was young, my opinion wasn't taken seriously. And eventually, my brothers quit soccer. Quit baseball. And I was left with not much, in terms of dreams.

Then I started dating Yoshi. And I dreamed of being with him forever. And marrying him. And making a life with him. Four years later, we were broken up. I was laying on the floor each night, sobbing my heart out. I'd lost my final dream.

And now we're together again. But I'm not dreaming anymore.

And I don't think I want to dream anymore.

It's not worth the piece of yourself that you lose when you give up on that dream.

/me.

Holding Back Dreams

A friend of mine recently had to make a decision of huge importance -- whether to stay with his girlfriend or pursue his life-long dream of becoming a tattoo artist. His sister, his ex-gf and I pushed him to "ditch the bitch," so to speak, and follow his path to greatness.

In my mind, I was appalled that she would even consider asking him to choose her or his dream, because to me, if you love someone, it is your place to push them toward their dreams. Even if their goal is not one that is particularly savory or important to you.

In the end, he took our advice. He approached his gf, told her he wanted to continue pursuing tattooing... and she conceded and realized that she was stupid and selfish for having asked him to choose in the first place.

Victory. He got love and dreams in one fell swoop.

Yoshi has always pushed me to be more than I am. He so wants my business to take off and I know he gets frustrated when I don't work on it. But to me, I get frustrated BECAUSE he's pushing me -- when he should be pushing himself.

He's always wanted to sing. To be a singer. In Asia, specifically. And I honestly, truly believe that he can do it. And it pisses me off since I've found so many opportunities for him to move closer to his dream. When I lived in Japan, I had a friend who was following his dream to be a jazz singer/songwriter. He is still pursuing that dream and had offered, at the time, to help me send out Yoshi's demos, since he already had all the connections.

Yoshi never gave me a demo.

In more recent years, Yoshi has had the opportunity to sing in front of Sony executives with ties in the music industry. They heard his voice. Loved it. And told him to submit a demo. We never gave them a demo.

And today, when I talked to him about it -- I found out part of the reason why he hasn't moved forward with his dream. Because if he does, he won't be able to give me the attention that I need.

Admittedly, I'm an attention whore when it comes to relationships. I'm needy. (Totally shitty realization when it hit me.) I think that in so many situations, I've found myself being put on a back-burner when compared to other things, that now, I demand being number one. I need to be the most important thing in my significant other's life. Because, no matter what I'm doing, I try to make it a point that THEY be the most important thing in MY life.

And when I'm put on the side -- even if they don't mean to put me there -- I feel it acutely. And I begin the self-hate thing. Totally unhealthy, I know. It's the years of being told "you're not good enough" and being put on the sidelines within my own family, I'm sure, that makes me the needy thing I am.

So then it hit me. I'm holding him back.

He always said he was holding me back from realizing my dreams. But he asked me today,"what is your dream?" And my answer? "I don't really have one anymore." And it's true. I don't. So obviously, he's not holding me back from anything.

So it made me think about my friend's dilemma. Girlfriend? Or dream? The difference is, that she was making him choose, hoping that he'd choose her. In this case, because I love him, I want him to choose his dream. Even though it'd suck to be me when that day comes because I know that I'd be losing him.

I realized today, while we were having that conversation, that it was almost like asking him to leave me.

Of course, that wasn't my intent. I fought so hard to be with him. I've been fighting for the last 7 years to keep him. And I wouldn't have fought so hard if only to have him leave me again.

But I believe his dream is... right.... there. And the only thing standing in the way... is me.

I guess it's a subject we'll deal with when he returns from Kuwait. He'll be back on the island in 18 days. It'll be good to have him home again.

I wonder if, in the end, home = with me... or on the road.

/me.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Stress

For quite a while now, I've been really stressed for various reasons. I've mentioned some of the different sources of that stress in previous blogs, but in the last few weeks, the stress seems to have truly compounded -- causing, in essence, a not-quite-as-genki, rather-sit-in-the-corner-and-not-interact, don't-wanna-go-out kind of me.

My self-confidence has plummeted (again -- ha!) and what I originally thought to be some kind of cold or bug has actually turned out to be stress-induced coughing, accompanied by untimely spotting, some kind of weird rash thing on my torso and lack of appetite.

I don't feel the urge to do anything, except for maybe sleep -- and I haven't had a good night's rest since... I actually can't tell you when.

I force myself to eat at least once a day, not because I'm hungry but because I know I need the sustenance. But no longer am I eating healthy. Instead, I'm eating what's easy -- which is rarely ever good for me.

I don't work out, which is setting me back in the Muffin Wars. Total, I've lost like 20 lbs and I've at least another 10 to go before I'm satisfied. But in the not exercising and the not eating (or not eating healthily) I've begun losing the muscle mass I'd gained and have begun regaining the fats.

And while I can't tell you here what has been the main root of my problems -- let's just say that whatever it is has severely affected my self-confidence in other areas as well and left me completely unmotivated.

And there's always the issue of who I can trust and who is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

I've been very lucky in that I have many who know I've been stressed and who worry about me and want to help in what ways they can to alleviate what stress I have. I appreciate it, even if I don't seem as though I do. I'm very much aware that some of you have gone out of your way to try to take care of me and I love you for it.

The universe is out to protect me, probably as much from myself as from the things that seek to cause pain and unhappiness. Lately, Buddhas and protective amulets keep finding their way to my side -- many in the form of gifts and some in the form of circumstance. If you've given me anything to try and help me -- bracelets, amulets, cards, hugs, prayers, massages -- it has helped. I'm not completely self-destructive and that, let's just say, is an amazing thing, because there was a time in the past where I would have easily taken a knife to my skin to "alleviate the pain." I think the praying and chanting I've been doing also helps me to stay sane and realize that this isn't that bad. I know it's not.

Yesterday, I bought myself an amulet of sorts and I pray that it's a sign that things are to get better.

In 2001, a Wiccan friend of mine gave me an unshaped piece of black jade wrapped in silver wire that served as my protective amulet while I traveled. She imbued it with all her love for me and her wish to keep me safe. I wore it as a pendant for a few years, never taking it off. In 2003, the pendant disappeared. It just fell off one day, leaving the silver chain around my neck. I guess its work was done, but I've always felt funny that it was no longer with me.

Since then, I've been looking for black jade. Ask anyone who knows and they will tell you it's nearly impossible to find. Many will say that they've not seen anything made of black jade in years. Over the last 5 years, whenever was appropriate, I'd look. And so would my mom. And my dad. And we've never found any. (Well, I found some on the Net, but wasn't sure if I could trust the source.) Anyway, yesterday, when I was out with my sister and my dad... I found black jade. In the form of a pendant. In the shape of a happy Buddha.

And with the help of my family, I bought it (since I didn't have the cash on me to buy it myself). According to the woman from whom it was purchased, her mom brought it over from Hong Kong 10 years ago. And it was the only black jade one she had. And I guess it was waiting for me.

So, at least that's one positive turn. Surely, a needed one. It would be great if the Universe could send a few another positive things my way. I mean, I guess it has... but it's all stuff for the future. Nothing for the present.

I guess I just have to be patient.

/me.

P.S. Congratulations to Leah on her engagement to Mark. I love you both and will try my best to make it to Atlanta next year to be by your side. I miss you and send alll the love I can to you and to Mark and to One-Two and Three-Four and your parents and Kyle and Bubbie and your weird grandpa with the dented head. I love you!

Check out their site: http://www.leahandmark.com

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lost Friendship

Yoshi came home on March 14 for his two weeks of R&R. We had originally intended to spend those two weeks in Japan, having me meet him half way, but the military is a changeable thing and couldn't give him absolute dates. Without those, planning on my side was impossible (or at least, very pricy) and we opted to just have him come home and hang out.

And hang out we have been. With as many of our friends (and acquaintances) as we can. Dinners. Karaoke (lots of this). Random talking story.

What has been hard with this is inevitably, people begin to feel left out and hurt because an invitation wasn't extended to them... but was extended to others they knew.

As many of you know with my get-togethers, it's usually a toss up with either everyone showing up or no one showing up.

Most recently, it was an (almost) everyone showing up situation. Only a handful of people were invited. Mostly my friends who are karaoke-going regulars and a small group outside of that were originally to come and were originally invited. Then because of circumstance and proximity and relevance to conversation, more people were invited. And people invited people. And the originally meant-to-be-small event wasn't that anymore.

And people who weren't invited caught wind because their friends were going. And got hurt. And angry. And all I can say is I'm sorry.

In the last several days, aside from having my car's rear windshield demolished by a car battery (a whole different story altogether), having that person who damaged my car continue to be a threat, getting hives (from what? I don't know), and now completely losing my voice... I have also been screamed at, accused of being full of b.s., and have ultimately lost a friend (maybe forever?)... someone who I care about tons, but no matter what happens, I seem to only continue to hurt.

This person said they gave up on our relationship. Gave up. And I don't know how to make it better. I don't think I can. No matter how much I care for that person and want them to be part of my life... no matter how much I enjoy their company and the memories we've made (the good ones mostly, the bad ones make me depressed as hell), I can't undo the hurt I've done.

Ever.

And so... I guess amongst all the craziness this week, I'm losing one of my closest friends. More than a friend, really. So, whether or not the person reads this, I wanted to at least say thank you for everything they've done for me. For the memories. For the sharing. For the teaching. Learning. Comfort. Laughs. Love. For taking care of me. For making me feel special. Beautiful. For everything small and big, good and bad, dumb, stupid, ridiculous, amazing, happy, sad. For being a part of my experience and letting me be a part of theirs.

I'm sad that it's ending like this. Ending at all. But I wish that person all the happiness and brightness and love this universe can give. Because that person deserves all that.

あなたの上に星が降りますように...

さようなら.

/me.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Lack

Greetings all,

Sorry I haven't been posting.

Really, I've wanted to. But I'm always faced with the "what can I write without hanging people out to dry" issue. I often want to say so much, but I don't feel it's appropriate for me to name names or make things obvious, especially when I have something negative to say.

And often, I blog because I have something negative to say.

Here's a super basic update of life.

Work: We might go on strike and I'm still having basically the same issues I was having before about getting along with my coworkers. I've basically decided there's not much I can do about the coworker issue. Certainly, there are people I work with whose company I enjoy. I'm going to try to focus on that, for if I didn't, surely I'd go crazy(er than I already am?).

But it's the strike I'm worried about. Last year, I was out of work for several months after I was forced to leave Lost. (Randomly, an update to the Lost story is that I heard the woman who fired me was also fired shortly thereafter. I hate to be petty, but I'd like to think karma bit her in the booty.) At the time, Yoshi had not worked in a month because he took time off before his deployment. This wasn't such a big deal when I was working, but when I wasn't and we were living off our savings, I was scared that we wouldn't make it.

Then I found this job at The Honolulu Advertiser. The pay is good for Hawaii (although I can think of a certain paralegal in DC who makes as much as I do for making copies). And the hours certainly weren't upwards of 14 a day, so it looked like I was going to have a life. I made my probation, started trying to build up my savings again, and just joined the Hawaii Newspaper Guild as is required of my position.

And now we might strike.

I really hope it doesn't come to that and it looks like the company is finally willing to talk to the Unions about other options, so that's positive. But man, I don't know that I can take another financial hit. Because I work in an online department, many of my immediate coworkers aren't very concerned because in the worst case scenario, they can go out and freelance.

With my skill set, I don't know that I can do that. Ah well, I guess I'll figure things out.

Personal: I'm still trying to lose my stubborn muffin tops. I am, indeed, winning the Muffin Wars to an extent. I've lost a total of 20 lbs and I've another 10 to lose before I'm satisfied. I've changed my diet considerably and I've continued to work out at 24 hour fitness. But honestly, I've been slacking on the working out. I was doing really well with going 3+ week at first, but since then, it seems that I come home too tired to do anything or my gym buddy, Rob, doesn't want to go because he's too tired from work. Hopefully, I can get back into the swing of things.

I don't know if it's because of stress or diet or whatever, but I've noticed that I've been really moody lately. If you've been a target of my moodiness, apologies, although I can't really be certain if I snapped because of my moodiness or because I was actually irritated but couldn't control myself. Often, I try not to let on to my irritation because I'm usually irked by something that cannot be changed or is unintentional, and thus not really worth the fuss. But lately, I haven't been able to hold my tongue very well. And my facial expressions easily display my annoyance.

It bothers me that I'm beginning to lose emotional self-control. With the exception of extremely emotional situations, I've always been able to hold myself a certain way while in public. I wonder if it's the lack of carbs in my diet. Ah well.

In other news, I want to take up fencing, art and singing again. But at the moment, life neither affords me the time or the money to do these things.

The art, one would think, would be no problem. But my beloved HP laptop on which I had planned to do the art has recently died... given me little options for digital art. Singing, of course, I can do at home, but certainly it isn't the same. (Although needless to say, I do sing in the shower.) And fencing... well, practice times are never when I need them to be and I'm pretty sure my blades have rusted. I'm not even sure if I can fit my jacket, knickers, or lame. Perhaps I should try those on.

Oh, and yesterday was my birthday. Thanks to all of you who sent me well-wishes. On the one hand, I was amazed at the number of people who messeged, texted, and called. But then I realize that they all have access to Facebook, Mixi, and MySpace... all of which offer reminders of people's special days and a quick button click to send one's love.

Thanks to Rumi-chan in Japan who called exactly at midnight (though I was sleeping and didn't answer). Thanks to Yoshi who called and woke me up and gave me a bday present that I didn't know was my bday gift which I accidentally opened in January. Thanks to Josh Borje for being the only one who wanted to go out to dinner. Thanks to Ian for inviting me out with his other friends, although I couldn't make it. Thanks to my coworkers who didn't know it was my bday but figured it out and got me a Hotwheels cake from Sam's club. And thanks to Eric for wishing me happy bday 3 bajillion times during the day. All of that meant a lot.

Somehow, despite all the love, I was still really depressed at the end of the night. I went to sleep at 11 and woke up through out the night to yell at Kira for misbehaving. I don't know why I was so blah.

Again, maybe it's the lack of carbs.

/me.