family, goodness, life

That’s a proud mommy

My folks are having trouble hiding their pride that I’ve finished my Master’s degree.  Mom sent out an email to some family friends that read thusly:

As Friends who have encouraged and watched this one grow, thank you for all of your encouragement and love.  Many of us have chatted about [tigerlilytoph] recently, and she just aced her thesis and had a paper accepted by the International Social Sciences Conference.  Very proud of this woman, and please enjoy her glory. What a Woman!

So sweet.  And of course all the people on the thread wrote back words of love and encouragement.  I was so touched.  Of course I had to write back:

Thank you, family of my heart.

I turned 30 in February, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to see what the next decade brings. You’ve all played pivotal roles in my development into who I am today; so much encouragement, such excellent humor and love for so many years. Luke, my gentle giant, teddy bear and jungle gym. Anthony, always a welcome companion with a ready laugh and sharp mind. Mary Kay, my literary mentor, without whom my love for writing might never have awoken. Marge and Peggie, the matriarchs of our tribe from whom I continue to draw strength. Chris, Cheryl and mom, the women who danced with me and served as the clever, hard-working, paycheck-earning, loving role models I needed. Each of you, lighting a different candle within me, even now.

I would be diminished without you. Thank you.

So much love,

[tigerlilytoph]

I’m so lucky to have had these people in my life from such a young age.  It really goes to show how important your parents decisions are, and what a huge impact (good or bad) something as seemingly personal as the kind of friends they choose have on a child.

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goodness, humor

Bicycle collision and quality time

I went bicycling with dad last month during the winter break.  It was pretty cold, and it had rained the night before.  We biked along the LA river, found a wild bee hive under a walking bridge, and eventually ended up at Tinkertown, a little area near Griffith Park where you can get your train fix if you happen to love trains (or even if you don’t–it’s free and super cool).  But before that, just as we were coasting down the ramp to get to the LA river bike path, dad came to a sudden stop, and started gliding back and forth across the path so he could stay upright without unclipping his fancy clip-in shoes.  My bike doesn’t have the shiny disk breaks (I think) his does, so naturally I slammed right into him, and took his bike right out from underneath him.  I landed on my left side and slapped the ground with my left hand and forearm at the same time (Hap Ki Do training ftw!), and dad landed on top of me.  He ended up with a small bruise on his hand, and I ended up all kinds of colors in plenty of fun places (see below).
Still, it was a fun, beautiful ride.  I couldn’t believe how many trees and random foliage is allowed to grow right in the middle of the river.  It’s pretty amazing, and surprisingly beautiful.  And it’s always fun to spend time with dad.

win!

win!

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badness, family, goodness, life, nerd

Thanksgiving grade: B+

I had a blast with my cousins over Thanksgiving.  I’ve come to discover that my mom and her siblings enjoy each other’s company while my cousins and I enjoy each other just as much, but for different reasons.  We got drunk a bunch while the adults stayed (mostly) sober for obvious reasons including Alcoholics Anonymous.  We had fun sober, too, and Chinese Friend from Office Job got to stay for two nights and experience a big American Thanksgiving before she leaves to go back to Shanghai.  She seemed to really enjoy herself, and everyone loved her.  She got invited back by everyone.  I hope she can make it, she’s pretty great.

Friday night with the cousins was epic.  I had four shots of Patron and a beer (Negro Modelo!) before promptly forgetting my phone in the bathroom where it was stolen before I realized it was gone a half-hour later.  So my iPhone 4 is totally gone.  Tragic.

We tracked it down via GPS the next day via iCloud and set off the alarm remotely after locking it, but the asshole who stole it (let’s call him Dirty Thief) turned it off, so we had to give up our search.  So sad.  I was bummed.  Now I have to spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone.  Please help.  It’s the only reason this year wasn’t a solid A in my book.

WTF this couple should be neutered. seriously, of all the HP shit to get permanently affixed to your personhood... the killing curse? really? fail.

I’m optimistic this will turn out ok.  Maybe I’ll get the 4s!  Maybe something magical will happen.  Maybe Dumbledore will come flying out of my butt holding Dirty Thief so I can pummel him before we green-flashy Avada Kedavra his ass.

If only I could pour my molten nerd-dom into the shape of a dwarven hammer, and just pummel people with it.  But then, maybe that’s what it’s like to hear me talk at all.  Huh.

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badness, goodness, life

The money issue

I’m feeling some pressure here.

I’ve known for a long time that I love to teach.  Teaching has always come naturally to me, much to the chagrin of Boyfriend who has gently hinted on more than one occasion, “Ok, you’re not at work, you can stop teaching now.”  It’s also common knowledge that teachers don’t make the cover of Forbes.  I will never be rich.  I will never make as much money as my parents do.  My sister will almost certainly out-earn me by a significant margin.

This never bothered me because I was going after (and I now do for a living) what I love.  I love to teach; I can’t help it.  And for that I will be not-wealthy (and potentially poor) for the rest of my life.  It’s not the worst thing in the world by a lot, but it is a shame, and it’s starting to bother me.  Discussing finances with friends recently has painted a depressing picture for me.  Suddenly I am not the one with the healthiest savings account.  In three or so years, I have become the lowest earner.  I’m at the bottom of the heap of people I love.  I’m genuinely excited for them, but their fortunes cast my own financial situation in sharp relief.  Starting today, I will always be poor compared to them.  That’s a depressing thought.

aaaaand there's the problem

I’ve made just one really fatal flaw in my life so far: I should have gone straight to graduate school after college, but I listened to other people who said, “You should try out the working world, you can always go back to school.”  I’ve spent the past four years in jobs I disliked (and occasionally hated), slowly clawing my way back toward academia until grad school is back within reach.  I regret not going straight to grad school.  I regret listening to others instead of listening to myself.  I knew what I wanted, and I let it get away.  It’s going to take a lot of work to get it back.

I need to get over it, though.  I have everything I want (except more spare time, one less job, and one more degree).  Things are good.  I’m about to get a new car.  I’m happy.  My friends are good.  My family… a bit of a mess right now, but that will change with time.  I need to focus on my future, and get where I’m going.  Focus.  Focus.  Focus.

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