goodness, life, martial arts, school

The rapid-fire beauty of October

This past October was insanely busy.  I wanted so badly to write a post about the pumpkin carving and all the pumpkin-themed food and drink I’ve been making and enjoying, and all the awesome friendships that have been developing for me lately.  October was amazing, actually.

I invited a ton of people to the pumpkin carving and got about 50 people, including a bunch of foreign students who had never experienced Halloween pumpkin carving shenanigans of any kind.  Success!  Their pumpkins were awesome!  There was one Japanese woman who I befriended when she got lost on campus looking for her husband’s law school orientation who came to carve with her husband and a friend in tow.  They were amazed by the others’ pumpkins, and when I mentioned that I knew what sugoi means (amazing) due to watching so much anime, that’s all they could say, lol.  There were a bunch of different circles of friends there, and they all mingled well (although whenever my family comes, they tend to sequester themselves in the kitchen, which they did this time too… *sigh*).

the results of a successful visit to the pumpkin patch

the results of a successful visit to the pumpkin patch

The party was fantastic.  I made a huge pot of pumpkin drink and left it on the stove for people to enjoy.  It was empty by the end of the night.  There were two dozen carved pumpkins in all, I can’t believe I didn’t get any photos!  I was sick and too busy hosting and enjoying everyone’s company.  Of course there were a couple board games going on at once (Zombicide and Betrayal at House on the Hill).  A bunch of my friends from the dojo came and played Betrayal (and beat the haunt by cheating, lol).  It’s so great to hang out with them outside of the dojo, and apparently this is a new development.  Once most of them had left, Dojo Happa and I stood around chatting by the front door while a large group played Cards Against Humanity on the floor next to the piano.  We were chatting about how nice it is to see everyone outside the dojo, and he said, “Yeah, it’s awesome, we didn’t use to do that.  It’s because of you.  Oppa Sensei didn’t used to come out like this, now he comes to everything.  He was at the pumpkin patch, he came out tonight, he comes out to eat with us.  He’s not doing that to see me, it’s you!”  We laughed about my tendency to bring people together and make people laugh.  He seemed really appreciative, and it’s so nice to hear in so many words what I try so hard to do.  I really enjoy their company.  One of them (Senior Ecuador) invited a group of us to his parents’ house in the valley after the pumpkin patch to have a late lunch/early dinner of mostly Ecuadorian food with his folks, who could not have been nicer.  Earlier in the month, I had him over to get drunk and watch Hansel & Gretel, which wasn’t actually as bad as we expected.  He and Boyfriend actually kinda liked it, but they’re idiots, it was total trash 🙂

The founder of the martial arts style I’m studying now (Kaiso) had his 65th birthday party mid-month, and although it was expensive, it was a really fun time to see everyone dressed up and happy.  We had sushi and really good shabu shabu, and some amazing cake and green tea ice cream (which I got totally busted for scarfing down before we all had to leave in a rush to walk Kaiso to the valet and see him safely off).

I had a bunch of presentations and projects due within the last two weeks of the month, which coincided perfectly with the huge event my office hosts every year where thousands of people visit campus to participate in our programming, so that was pretty stressful, but I’m either getting awesome at handling stress, or getting better at handling my work load because October wasn’t nearly as emotionally/mentally draining as I thought it would be (though it felt super rushed all the time).  Also I was sick for the first time since I quit Karate Job.  Worst.  Timing.  Ever.

So... something to shoot for at next year's pumpkin carving

So… something to shoot for at next year’s pumpkin carving

A couple days after the pumpkin carving party, I went to a Danny Elfman Concert with Diminutive Friend and German Friend, which was amazing.  Although I’m not a huge fan of concerts, since there’s not much to come away with other than the music, which I already have access to and enjoy whenever I want.  Still, it was Danny Elfman’s first concert in something like two decades, so it was very exciting.  Loads of people in the crowd dressed up in what can only be described as a hodgepodge of steampunk, goth, circus, Halloween gear, and they all looked great.  And I kinda lost my shit when Danny Elfman came out and sang, “There are few who deny at what I do I am the best, for my talents are renowned far and wide…”  I knew he would sing that first!  And not just because it’s Jack’s first song in Nightmare Before Christmas, but because those lyrics are perfect for a comeback concert!

Then a couple days after that was Halloween!  I gave a presentation for one of my classes (in full costume, of course-Ren Faire gear this year), then zoomed downtown to an old professor’s class to defend my work (which he loved so much, he’s been using it as an example for current and future classes) and ended up giving my final presentation from his class all over again.  The students asked some really good questions, and I even managed to quote from the article he drew from most and essentially based the class upon, and I cited the page number of the quote.  So yeah, I’m a fucking amazing academic, thanks for asking.

Afterward he and I went out for a drink and chatted for a couple hours about my life, what I’ve been doing, what I will do, and why I’m not staying in academia (he wants me to so badly).  Midway through our time at the bar, I thought, “This is what it must be like to have a mentor.  Someone who knows the framework of your life, and what you’re capable of, and then looks you in the eye and demands that you go further and continue to challenge your self.  This is amazing.”  It was also super intimidating, but he was satisfied at the end of the conversation that I was getting enough stimulation (I convinced him my friends are all geniuses who don’t get drunk for fun, and that Boyfriend has a great sense of humor and is fully capable of keeping up with me), and that my selflessness might not be such a crutch after all (“So explain this to me: You have this sense of giving, this selfless streak coursing through you, but your’e American, and Americans are selfish, so how does that work?  Where did that come from?”  We had a good laugh about that, but he was mostly serious).  I invited him to come see the beehive some time soon, and he seemed enthused.  He’s also stoked to write me a letter of recommendation, and he’s super fun to hang out with, so overall I’m feeling pretty lucky to have encountered him in my life.  We walked by the Mayan on the way back from the bar, and he seemed particularly tickled when I fist-bumped some guy dressed as Deadpool (and Deadpool enjoyed being recognized, of course).  Overall an amazing evening.

And now it’s November and I can finally relax.  I’m feeling less sick every day, I only have a couple more projects to do for school, there’s nothing crazy going on at work (aside from the non-existent job security, bleh), and Boyfriend’s three closest friends are randomly flying into town for four days toward the end of the month for no reason other than to bug him and have fun together.  They’re great people, I can’t wait to see them and watch Boyfriend disappear for a few days into that tight circle of friendship and love.

Standard
goodness, humor, manfolk

Japan, you sexy weirdo

I found an app a while back called Sleepy-time Boyfriend, and yes, it’s just as amazing as it sounds.  It consists of about a dozen anime-ish drawings of Japanese men in various states of recline, each of which have a series of phrases that match their persona.  One is a flirty girl-boy named Sosuke (“Just being with you makes me very happy” and “I guess I should get into bed so you don’t feel lonely”).  Another (and my personal favorite) is Sei (voiced by Takaya Kuroda), a kimono-wearing DREAMBOAT with a voice like butter (“Come closer.” YESSIR).

But the one that gave me pause (between laughing hysterically and legitimately getting a little turned on) was this guy, Satoru, whose quotes have to do with being stressed at work, and how he wishes he could spend more time with you, his favorite lover:

he's a slave to his job... and his heart

he’s a slave to his job… and his heart

Is this a thing?  Do Japanese men fly off the handle at their partners when they have a bad day at work so often that apologies are a sexual fantasy?  And seriously people, up your standards.  My dream man does not apologize for getting angry at me for forgetting shit.  He doesn’t get angry at all.  In fact, there’s very little talking involved.  He’s more a man of action… *cough*

Standard
goodness, manfolk

Winter break debacle: Success edition!

Boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 5 years now, so I’m glad to report that I finally made it to the east coast to visit him during winter break.  I even managed to keep it a secret!

some woman almost forgot to take her dog out of the x-ray boxes.  I was ready to spring into action and rescue him, though, which would have been REALLY fun.

some woman almost forgot to take her dog out of the x-ray boxes. I was ready to spring into action and rescue him, though, which would have been REALLY fun.

If you’re new here, you might not recall that I’ve attempted this trip before: said attempt was marked by a tragic lack of success (as you can see here).  This time, though, the whole thing went off without a hitch.  I got a redeye flight to avoid any delays during layovers (which is part of what screwed me last time).  Once I arrived one of his friends, Coppertop, drove me to his place, then dropped me off at a mall where I needed to find a way to surprise him with some kind of subtly spectacular display of love.

I bought a pretzel (hadn’t eaten in over 12hrs) and wandered around the mall, chatting with attendants, feeling out who would be game to help me do something ridiculous.  I settled on an employee with whom I had a brief conversation about tea selection at William Sonoma.  She seemed nice, and their uniform is just an apron, so I figured if I asked nicely, she would let me wear an apron for a few minutes and hand out samples until Boyfriend came around, at which point I would treat him like any other customer and offer him one (and only one) sample before drifting off to help someone else.

This, however, did not pan out.  I got a text from Coppertop: We’re here.  Shit!  I texted STALL!, scarfed the pretzel and asked the lady at William Sonoma if I could borrow an apron for a loving prank.  She winced.  “You need to ask my manager,” and pointed to the most stressed out woman in the mall: apologizing over the phone to an irate customer, ringing someone up, then dashing into the back room, she clearly wasn’t about to get on board with any shenanigans.

pictured: inspiration

pictured: inspiration

I hustled out of the store, and wracked my brain for new ideas while scanning the very thin crowd for Boyfriend and Coppertop.  Then I heard it: toot toot!  The mall had a children’s train that made a circuit around the mall.  I got in line and fidgeted, eyes darting around, waiting to get caught.  The train pulled into the “station.”  Kids got off, kids got on, but there wasn’t enough room for all of us.  I stayed in line with two more families in front of me while the train pulled away.  I texted Coppertop I’ll be on the train in a few mins, and waited anxiously while the soft toot toot! slowly grew softer then louder.  As I glanced around, excited that I had almost made it onto the train without being spotted by Boyfriend, I noticed a sign: “$2 to ride.”  I froze.  I dug into my purse knowing exactly what I would find: one dollar in quarters.  I had spent my last three dollars on that damn pretzel.

Now I had a choice.  I could wait for the train to come back and throw myself at the mercy of the “conductor,” or beg for a dollar from the mother in line in front of me.

I chose the latter.

I explained how we’d been together for so long, but I had never been able to visit him, and the last time I tried it all fell apart, and now I was only a dollar away from a fantastic surprise, and would she be so kind as to loan me a dollar for the train ride?  “My boyfriend will pay you back, he’s a sweetheart,” I explained, but she was already nodding and reaching into her purse, as was the mother in line in front of her, who had over heard my sob story.  The train pulled in just as I said my twentieth thank-you, and we all piled on.  I pulled my ponytail out, put on some chapstick.  I was ready to wow Boyfriend.

We choo-choo’d around the mall for a minute before I spotted them.  Eventually we pulled right up alongside them.  As we idled by, I sat up straight, waved like the Queen and called, “Hello, peasants!”  He and Coppertop laughed as I pulled away.  Then I became that weird adult on a kids’ train ride without a kid to legitimize my presence.  So that was awkward.

The ride (finally) ended, and Boyfriend couldn’t stop smiling and laughing as we followed Coppertop around (he had some actual errands to run at the mall).  He loves his friends, family and me so much.  It makes him giddy when we’re all together.  He’s a good person.  I’m glad I got him.

Standard
goodness, manfolk

FYI, Boyfriend is still adorable

It’s been a pretty cold season as Los Angeles winters go.  He and I live in his grandfather’s old house, a two story, three bedroom and bathroom house that’s an amazing place to live, but expensive to heat.  We tend to just hang out in the bedroom while his tower hums and heats up the room.  Meanwhile, Boyfriend is often colder than me (especially his hands and feet), so he bundles up and is occasionally adorable.

soon he will break out of his cocoon and become a beautiful flutterby

soon he will break out of his cocoon and become a beautiful fiance LOL

Standard
badness, humor, life, manfolk

The sleep issue

Boyfriend’s out of town.  I’ve killed two whole bugs.  I did all the dishes I’ve been allowing to accumulate over the past week.

Side note: The joy of not doing my dishes has literally made me giggle aloud a few times recently.  Needless to say, I’m enjoying Boyfriend being out of town a whole lot more than expected.  It’s pretty fun, setting my own schedule, not checking in with anyone, sitting around watching Buffy all afternoon and writing my blog [like right now], drinking tea in front of the TV, not paying attention to Boyfriend… overall, a very relaxing, fun experience so far.

But getting to sleep is still a problem.  I found this chart to explain.  It does a pretty good job (except for the screenplay part: replace that with creating imaginary conflicts in which I dominate).

pretty damn accurate

pretty damn accurate

Standard
badness, goodness, manfolk

There will always be a spider

looks legit

I am not a fan of bugs.  I think they’re amazing in a cold, scientific way, but if they could all die without adverse effects on the planet and its flora and fauna, I would be happy.  Once, when Boyfriend and I first started dating, I saw a spider on the ceiling of his bedroom and squeaked, “Onoes boyfwend a buggie-bug!”  Bear in mind I’ve sparred with men more than twice my weight with two feet of height on me.  Boyfriend was delighted to see a clearly very vulnerable killing machine of a girlfriend, and came to my rescue armed with a tissue.  Thank you, Boyfriend.

Here are two emails I sent him on May 29th at 1130pm when he was out of town for a couple of weeks:

BOYFRIEND THERE’S A SPIDER!  It’s on the table, and it’s coming over here gaaaaaaaaaaaah!!
I blew on it.  It went away.  I think it’s on the floor.
Crap I can’t find it.  BOYFRIEND THERE’S A SPIDER.

15 minutes later:

Calico found it, she’s attacking it.  She stopped.  She keeps smelling it and watching it walk away.  JUST EAT IT GAH it’s under my chair!  WHY ISN’T IT DEAD YET.
Wait, did she just eat it?  Haha yeah, she ate it.  Good kitty.

I have recently come to a horrifying realization: There will always be a spider.  So I either have to always have to have a spider-killer around (Teacher Roommate fills that role when Boyfriend isn’t around), or I’ll have to get brave enough to face my fear of crawling things.

Boyfriend it is.

Side note: DO NOT Google “huge spider” if you want to sleep this week.

Standard
goodness, manfolk

He loves me

Last Sunday night as I arrived at Boyfriend’s house to spend the night, he was dancing in the doorway at me.  “What a clown, so cute,” I thought with a smile.  I went inside.  “I’m so happy to see you,” he said.
“Me too.” [hug]
As he closed the garage door behind me, he said, “I love you.”
“Oh yeah?” I said, a little surprised.  His random declarations of love don’t happen very often, but he’s been doing it more and more.  It makes me really happy.
“Yeah, everything’s better with you, my whole life is better.  I love you so much.”
“Wow, really?”
“Yeah.  I miss you when you’re not around.”
“Me too.  I wish you could be with me all the time.”
“Me too.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

So we’re doing ok, I guess.

Standard
goodness, manfolk

Edinburgh: Day 3

some nice lady was giving these candies away to the people waiting in line to buy tickets

We had such high hopes for today, but we couldn’t make it to the Palace at Holyrood.  We spent the majority of the day at the Britannia, a yacht for the royals that’s actually considered a palace on the water.

We wandered through just a few portions of each level of the ship, but it felt enormous.  The engine room was pretty amazing (a visiting German engineer, while on a tour of the engine room, is said to have declared, “These museum pieces are very nice, but I would like to see the engine room, please.”), lots of shiny copper pipes and glass covered pressure gauges.  The whole thing is lovely, if a bit cramped, but then I’m not used to maritime accommodations.

We took a break to have lunch at the only restaurant on the ship, The Royal Tea Room.  The wait was about 20 minutes and well worth it.  We had Famous Edinburgh and Assam teas, salmon sandwiches and Mull cheddar sandwiches, mushroom and truffle oil soup with giant french fries with seasoned salt on the side, and a scone with jam and clotted cream.  Too much food but super delicious!  We jumped back on the tour bus that brought us out, and listened to an informative, occasionally silly dialog between two fantastic accents (man and a woman) regarding the points of interest we passed on the way back to Edinburgh city center.

tea time at the palace on the water

We booked it to Edinburgh Castle, which is almost a thousand years old, and has never been taken in battle.  Recently, archaeologists found evidence of settlements on that very site as far back as 900 BC.  The castle itself has been rebuilt in various places, and purposefully changed by the Victorians in the late 1800s to look more “appealing,” and fulfill their romanticized idea of what the middle ages would have looked like (not super accurate, FYI, but kinda pretty if you’re not a stickler for accuracy, which I am, so fuck you very much, Victorians).  Needless to say, I loved the castle.  It also has the best view in the city, even on a rainy day like today.  You can see the clouds rolling across distant green hills, cold and wet, lush and fertile, secret and inviting.

impregnable door!

I’ve been craving fish and chips since that delicious bunch I got in Dublin, so we poked around until we found some (we checked out The Last Drop, a pub named in reference to the drop of a body on a noose rather than a drink, but they didn’t serve fish and chips).  But the fish was so boring!  I was so disappointed.  My last real meal in Edinburgh, and it was dull.  At least I had some really excellent fish last night at The Witchery.

The bus ride home was drama-free after yesterday’s slight panic about how we’d find our stop (which is not named on the list of stops in town).  Luckily, I’m awesome, and recognized our neighborhood by a shop name that was similar to a pub we went to on the first night, and the small clock tower that houses the pizza place of all things.

We’ve been home at the B&B for a couple hours, packing and getting ready to leave tomorrow.  Boyfriend has extra room in his bag (which has wheels, unlike mine), so he’s offered to take some of my stuff home with him: gifts for friends and family, and some of my dirty clothes.  What a sweetie.

I’m really gonna miss Boyfriend, but it’ll be nice to be on my own.  I’m so used to having someone to point things out to, share experiences with, hold hands with when it’s cold.  That part is going to be hard.  But I’ll enjoy having no one to double check with when I have an impulse.  That’s always fun.  I still have to make some solid plans for Oban.  I’m thinking of doing a day trip to Iona and Mull, and going horseback riding.  We’ll see.  If I can find a beautiful spot to sit, I’ll be happy.

Standard