I go through weird phases.

One particular thing that I phase through every few years or so [and more often when I was younger] is my handwriting. This was much more noticeable in my pre-college years as I did much more hand writing than keyboard writing. I loved writing terribly thought out things just for the sake of going through the physical motions of writing. [There may also be some kind of link between this and my silly infatuation with pens/pencils/other office supplies...]  I would often deliberately change certain aspects of my handwriting just because one day it struck me to do so, and I would consistently use it until my brain said otherwise. It may be hard to visualize the examples that I'm about to awesomely bullet-point, but... do your best.

  • Use a large lowercase rounded Y as a capital Y.
  • Connect the large lowercase rounded Y to the next letter.
  • Use a rounded lowercase Y.
  • Use a sharp lowercase Y.
  • Connect lowercase Y's to the next letter.
  • Don't connect lowercase Y's to the next letter.
  • Use a rounded capital W.
  • Use a rounded lowercase W.
  • Use a capital U with no tail.
  • Use a lowercase U with no tail.
  • Use a spurred capital G.
  • Use a curved tail on a lowercase Q.
  • Use a sharp tail on a lowercase Q.
  • Use a lemur tail on a lowercase Q.
  • Use a lemur tail on a lowercase G.
  • Use a rounded bottom lowercase T.
  • Use a straight-lined lowercase T.
  • Use a cursive capital I when writing print.
  • Use a print capital I when writing cursive.
  • Connect lowercase X's to the next letter.
  • Strike through Z's.
  • Strike through 7's.
  • Strike through 0's.
  • Don't strike through anything.
  • Add head and feet to 1's.
  • Use rounded 2's.
  • Use sharp 2's.
  • Make 2's look like Z's.
  • Only use cursive.
  • Only use print.
  • Only use small caps.

And I am fully aware that this is an entirely incomplete list. But it gives you an idea of the phases my handwriting went through. I wish I could say that I now find this type of thing beyond silly and "What in the world was I thinking?" but... I am afraid this would be an untruth. I still like doing this. I like taking one little thing and changing it and seeing what happens. I would test run a couple changes at a time for a few months and then add in something new or revert back to something old and keep going. 

Rest assured, I generally got rid of the stupid ideas [i.e. lemur tails].

Looking through pages of inane teenage writings, I find it entertaining [probably more than I should] to see how differently my handwriting style looked from one year to the next because of these little tweaks. I am weird. I accept this. We will be better friends if you accept this, too.

Just FYI, there were also some unwritten rules in my head regarding changes to my handwriting. To name a few...

And against all logic, I am still a firm believer in my number 1 rule of handwriting:  The tinier, the better. At this, I am a pro. I am a handwriting fiend. The end.*

Moving on. Phase 2.

I like names in general. I dislike certain names in the specific. I can become rather obsessed with names that catch my fancy. When I was younger [oh my bovine, has it really been 14 years?], I had an out-of-control list of names that I really liked. But what's one to do with all of these names and no real people to connect them with? Easy peasy:  Write a story with 50+ "main" characters. This, folks, is how good writing is born.

I had a problem, however. As time went on, my awesome names started sounding less than awesome. And if I no longer liked the name as much, I no longer cared about the character as much. What's a writer to do then? Peas! Just demote them to become a secondary character! Ah, writers have so much power. Ah, my "likes" are so phase-prone.

But here I am now. Nearly an a-dult. Murried off to a mathman. My childhood stories now reduced to gathering dust under my nightstand. But I still like names. I constantly have a running list of "favorite" names in my head, and about once a week, I'll randomly ask Jason, "What do you think of the name ___?" in the hopes that he will validate my current consideration for the Elite List of Names.

I don't think he understands the game. But he generally humors me with his input.

So, here I am now. My Elite List waxes and wanes, bringing in new awesomes and kicking out the what-was-I-thinking?'s on a semi-regular basis. I need to solidify this list somehow. Instead of story-ing them to life, I have decided that I will rename the Elite List to now and forever more be called The Future Half-Asians. This list just became real, yo.

Sure, this means Thaddeus is no longer a candidate, as well as Methuselah and Jupiter Moon!, but I have gradually come to terms with this. I do not think I would ever deliberately invoke a lifetime of mockery upon my child just for the sake of my passing entertainment. [And even if I would (I wouldn't!), I have Jason who most definitely has enough mercy (and final say) for the both of us.]

With that said, however, sometimes my brain explodes with all of the tantalizing options out there [only correctly spelled, symbol-free, and pasture-fed names are eligible, of course]. A conundrum that Jason and I have encountered is that we tend to like first and second name combinations that sound extremely... ethnic? cultural? tastily flavored from an identifiable region? Whatever the reason, I am afraid [and unbelievably entertained] that our kids might end up with names that would give me another option for family photo arrangement:  Country of Nominal Origin.

It is late and we have had an extremely fun but exhausting date day, so I know that my brain has jumped tracks and now this post is not very cohesive and is really rambling and seemingly pointless but there's nothing I can really do about that at this point so I suppose I should just stop the madness ASAP. Just know, there was a point to all of this, and I think it had to do with knowing when something is "good forever" or just "good for the moment." It's hard to say. The point may have been something even more vague. I'm sleepy.

You know you want one. A pig pillow bed, that is. Oh, and the kitten.

*Despite being Asian, I have yet to try my hand at inscribing poetry on grains of rice, but if you disregard this tiny [ha!] fact, "I am a pro" still stands true.


boom (crack, snap)

Last week we awoke to the glorious sound of a thunderstorm. Not since living in Texas have I heard such a lovely storm. I really find it peaceful and relaxing to hear the pouring rain and distant thunder rolling. We have thunder here sometimes, too. It's just not remotely the same. It's always very timid and very brief. This storm was like the ones I grew up with.

Apparently that's because it was right on top of us. Our building was hit by lightning (so they fire department says, though they couldn't find where it hit). It was an unbelievably loud boom, followed by (the astute will have guessed) a crack and a snap. Maybe two cracks, or two snaps? Those two I think are similar in this context. Anyway the fire department showed up because people in the upper floors reported smoke and/or sparks. Panther reacted to the noises of the firemen and maintenance guys outside by slinking into our bedroom and yowling quite peculiarly, while puma got into the cabinets where we store beans and potatoes and hid behind those (actually a very effective hiding spot, but he was in a lot of trouble for it).

The firemen never found any fire, though they did knock a hole in the wall somewhere (not in our unit, but we'll get holes in our walls soon, so don't worry). By the time they were wrapping up, it was starting to smell like gas in our apartment. I told one of the maintenance guys who was milling about, and he got a fireman to come check it out with one of their little gas detectors. It didn't show any gas. Huh. They thought the smell might be something to do with the sprinklers that had gone of in some units (thankfully not ours!). Apparently sometimes the water sits in a tank somewhere for a very long time and often gets really gross. I never knew that. So they left.

By then it was time to get to work, but alas, our cable modem wasn't working. Probably related to the lightning. It must have gotten a power surge or something. I spent a while trying to get it to work (it still turned on, it just didn't work anymore), but eventually gave up and had to go buy a new one. Throughout the day we continued to smell what we thought was gas. We opened the window in the evening to get rid of whatever the smell was. That night we discovered that the TV had also fallen victim to the lightning. I try not to be materialistic, but this was actually pretty sad. We can't really go buying a new TV every couple years. We only got this one from saving up money from Christmas and birthdays. Sigh.

The next morning a guy from the gas company came by because enough people in the building had complained of smelling gas in their units that they believed us that maybe the fireman had been wrong the previous day. Yeah, we had a gas leak. It was somewhere in the actual gas line inside the walls. Apparently most of the gas was getting into the apartments above us, since the leak was inside the walls. Still, there was enough in our unit to detect it. Cue holes in the wall. At least they were interior walls. First they knocked some holes with a hammer, and later that day someone came to make a path in the wall for a new gas line to be installed. Basically he cut a 1ft tall opening in the wall from the laundry room to the back bathroom to the exterior wall, where they'd later drill a hole for the new gas line.

That was on Wednesday, so I guess now it's been a week since they cut the gap in our wall. The guy finally came back yesterday to put the gas line in. Now we have to wait for someone in the county to inspect it before they can fix the wall and turn back on the gas. I'm guessing the inspector (who works for the government) will take even longer to show up than the contractor who put in the gas line, so who knows when we'll have a wall. Honestly, we're not worried about the wall. It's kind of funny, and isn't going to cost us anything.

Meanwhile, our renters insurance told us they would cover the TV and the modem, although they wanted us to first take the TV to a repair place and get an estimate to see if it can be fixed. If it's fixable, then probably it will barely cost more than the deductible so I don't even know if we'll do it. But we still don't know, because TV repair places apparently take at least as long to give an estimate as contractors take to come install gas lines. We also don't know whether our Wii and Xbox 360 are working, because we have no TV to plug them into. They both turn on, but so did the TV. At least it pretended to. Made that clicking noise. Lit up the little light around the power button. Then nothing, the screen never came on. So for all we know those are also busted.

At any rate, we're still alive. The gas leak didn't cause us any harm and the stuff that was damaged was just stuff. Plus, I got the TV box out of the back of the closet when we took the TV to the repair place, and now we're using it to block the kitchen from Puma. He does not like it ("It's super effective!"). But. I don't really know how to feel about thunderstorms anymore.

I'll stand 


state of mind

<begin ramble>
Welp. The transcription world has been pretty consistently frustrating for the past few weeks. Jason has been rising early to teach his summer calculus class while still banging his head on his desk routinely in the afternoon about his research. The black cat graces us each morning with his pleasant piles of presents outside the litter box. Ants continue to investigate our apartment's entryway. The gray cat sits on our cutting board and contaminates our vegetables with his long hairs. I have a tiny red spot on my chin that seems as noticeable as a volcano spewing crocodiles. People have terrible driving habits. My hair is an untamed jungle. People are inconsiderate. Jason's hair is a desert without an oasis. People are illogical.

Sometimes it all builds up to the point of the tiniest thing seeming insurmountably aggravating. I want to gripe. Complain. Cry. Be angry. Quit. Curl up in a ball. Just make everything go away.

But I know deep inside [and really, I don't have to dig that deep inside] that my current perception of the world isn't all that accurate. I know life is good. It is. I just need to reorient my head.

I may need to put in some extra hours in the evenings to make up for the sparse daytime production, but I never come up short by the end of the week so I just need to quit stressing over it. Jason has to put in a lot of hours, but he is making progress towards his PhD and that's all he needs to feel responsible for, and with the close of yet another summer session, X number of students now have a better understanding [if not appreciation] of calculus because of him. Panther is an animal who just wanders about our house [yes, Jason and I both consider animals living freely in our place as just a very fascinating thing, for whatever reason]. While we do have ants visit us from time to time, we also have a praying mantis who lives on our screen door  who eats other gross bugs for us. Win. [Though I do not advise watching the consumption process as it really grossed me out.] Puma is an adorable fluff monster who purrs me to sleep every night. Red spots disappear; volcanoes spewing crocs do not. We are alive and safe. Chopping my own hairs is a joy. More opportunities to practice kindness should be met with a smile. I like Jason's head. Illogical opinions or actions do not have to affect my logical choices.

And really... Life is good. We have had absolutely delicious meals of late and our refrigerator is stocked unbelievably full of tasty things. Each mealtime is exciting and just thinking of it makes my mouth water. We have adorable miniature calendars that not only make me happy when I see them and when I get to mark a day or task off but which also make me happy because they have added some much needed routine to our lives in various little ways. Our moods can be easily lifted by a spontaneous waltz around our apartment, some time spent lying on the floor, or [for me] letting my arms and legs dangle freely [this is one of those "you have to be there" kind of things] or spinning or spooning or pretending to be choo-choo training in the dark. We have our plans and our spreadsheets and our bottles of randomness and our laughter and our health and our peace of mind.

Life is good, and my personal goal is to minimize my lapses into the negative world of complaining. It really is just a state of mind and one that I have full control over. Nothing comes from griping. It's a complete waste of time. There is good if I choose to see it.
<end ramble>

It all depends on how you look at it.