family, goodness, life, manfolk, martial arts, school, work

The past two months

I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I posted.  Unacceptable.  “Marjorie, pull yourself together!”

Things have been moving very quickly over the last few months.  I’ve started my last semester of grad school, which is bittersweet.  I’m ready to be done with school, but sad I won’t be able to tell people I’m a grad student, which I’v fantasized about doing since I was just a kid.  I’ll be done with classes in about six weeks, and I’ll walk at the graduation ceremony in early May.  My parents will be so proud, which makes me very happy.

give me a life in the country

I’ve applied to the JET program, which, if I’m accepted, will take me to Japan for a year to teach English.  I’ll essentially get paid to do accent reduction as a TA and live in the countryside, which sounds like a fucking dream.  I probably should’ve asked Boyfriend what he thought of that idea before I applied, but I didn’t because I want to go to Japan, and that’s that.  Turns out he’s totally into it, and will come visit/live with me for short stints if it works out.  Very exciting 🙂  I’m signed up for weekly, 2-hour Japanese classes; they start next Thursday.
UPDATE: 1/21/14
I just found out that I didn’t get into the JET program.  I’m totally crushed.  I can’t think of why they wouldn’t take me.  I didn’t even get an interview.  Ugh.  Ouch.

taught my Master Tatsu. no, really.

I’ve taken up Shinkendo, which is very challenging but rewarding (and I passed my first test!  Woot!).  We’ve started learning bō, my favorite weapon, and I could not be more excited.  Bō speaks to me in a way the sword does not, it’s like having a dance partner; it does what it wants, all I can do is give suggestions.  We form an agreement (most of the time), and communicate well.  Perhaps more importantly, I’ve found some amazing people who have become good friends at the dojo, and I’ve had the chance to reconnect with an old friend from elementary school, and can’t wait to help that friendship grow.  I also started another blog, which is what I’ve been spending my time on instead of

It’s all about life in a martial arts studio, and how hilarious and stressful it can be.

Office Job is still pretty dull, but better since Little Mole Boss was removed from her position as my boss.  She was a good boss (maybe the best I’ve had), but it’s nice to work with my co-workers more directly and speak frankly when we exchange ideas without fear of stepping on anyone’s toes.  I’m taking a more active role in the upcoming events our office is planning, which feels good.

I’ll upload a photo of our bees’ honey soon!

The bees are doing just swimmingly, and we might actually harvest some honey this season!  Soon!  We did a minor inspection and found a few bars dedicated to honey and nothing else.  I held up the comb in front of the setting sun, and it glowed amber and gold.  The comb broke open when I pulled it out (the bees built two bars of comb together, so it broke apart when I pulled one bar out), and the honey dripped out of the cells.  We tasted it right off the top of the hive.  It had a clean, light taste, ultra sweet and just beautiful to look at (surprisingly light in color).  I can’t wait to see what it looks like once we harvest a little bit.

Thanksgiving this year was good, but boozy for the cousins.  I love them, but omg they are annoying drunks, and they drink a lot, lol.  I’m such a lightweight, maybe I’m jealous? (hint: NOPE)  Next year we’ll have to divvy up the apartments by temulency rather than gender.  Diminutive Friend came up for Thanksgiving day to hang out and eat with the family.  She seemed grateful to have people to spend the holiday with since she couldn’t spend it with her family in New Orleans.  I love her so much.

Dad told me a while back that he’s unhappy at work, and since he’s unreceptive to changing jobs, I told him I expect him to find some way to change his attitude toward his job.  Instead of taking his job personally (and constantly checking his damn email), he’ll have to find a way to let it go.  We’ll see how that goes.  It strikes me that I’ve chosen a good path: teaching English as a foreign language is a job I will enjoy (assuming I can find one).  Frankly teaching just about anything at all would make me happy, and I’m lucky to have discovered this as early has I did.

My folks gave Boyfriend a subscription to Bon Apetit magazine for Xmas, which I’ve already reaped the benefits of with a delicious rosemary chicken and a butter-basted halibut.  He is an amazing person.  We’ve been together over 5.5 years, since April of 2008.  I find the idea of marrying him very, very intimidating, even though I would love to have him as a life partner, and he clearly feels the same.  Luckily, neither of us is in any rush to make it official, and I’ve never had a burning desire to wear diamonds.

I spent this past weekend at GameHaus with friends, and, like every Sunday, doing Shinkendo and enjoying my dojo family’s company.

I am so lucky.

goodness, humor

Xmas: Always a hilarious semi-disaster

wait until there are presents!!

My hands smell like a pine tree!  We just bought, carried upstairs (via freight elevator), and decorated our 6-foot tree with white and red lights, and gold and red ornaments.  Also, little Gregory (a felt gingerbread man I bought at the fabric store) almost made it to the top of the tree this year, but was usurped by a cheap, glittery, plastic gold star we use every year, which really tops the whole thing off nicely.  We figured out how to punch a whole in it and wind some twine through it and thereby affix it to the top of the tree so we didn’t have to hot-glue it this year.  Yep.  Classy shit.

Diminutive Roommate’s cat, Calico, is fweaking out, as usual.  It’s an annual ritual: the tree comes up, she investigates, goes medieval on the white twine that was used to tie it down to the roof of the car, then tears around the house when we hiss at her for attacking the lights.  It’s quite a little show.

The first year we lived at the old place (2008), it seemed like everyone was out of town with family: all my friends, both my roommates, even Sister I think.  I was pretty alone at home, and a few days before Xmas, I decided to spruce the place up, and bought myself a tree.  It was pretty tiny, only three or four feet high.  I threw it on top of the Pontiac, grabbed a stand to put it on, bought some seriously discounted lights at the local grocery store, and went home.  The guys at the lot gave me one giant nail with which to secure said tree to the wooden pieces of the stand, plus a plastic bowl for water.  It’s a pretty simple formula:

simple enough... for some

And yet somehow I was so excited about putting the tree up that I forgot about the bowl, and nailed the ever-loving shit out of those boards onto the bottom of the tree.  I stood it up and immediately realized my problem: I had fucked it all up.  And I could not for the life of me get the nail out of the boards or the tree stump.  I had done a world class job of securing them together, and it was going to take some creativity and muscle to separate them.

First I tried using the other side of the hammer.  No dice.  I tried standing on the wooden stand and pulling.  Painful and fruitless.  I realized I would have to apply all the force I could muster against something with more resistance than my body was capable of.

I came up with a brilliant, obnoxious plan.

The rear door to the building was made of metal, and opened up on an alley.  I decided to place just the portion of the tree with the stand on it outside the door, then close the door just enough so that when I YANKED on the tree, the stand would be forced off.  It seemed like a simple, if absurd plan.  I was pretty sure it was going to work.  What I didn’t count on was the noise, and the number of times I would have to repeat this amazing strategy to get that fucking stand off my goddamn tree.

mad genius

It must have been 2am by the time I started hurling the stand against the door and its frame.  The alley provided for some horrifyingly efficient acoustics.  I pitied anyone who lived within fifty yards.  After the first ten or so swings, I really got the hang of it, and threw my whole body into it.  A few minutes in, I took a break to laugh hysterically at the sweaty absurdity of my situation, then got back to work.

Eventually I succeeded, and none of my neighbors complained about the racket I had made (maybe because they were CRAZY).  I affixed the stand properly, decorated the tree sparsely, and placed it in an empty corner where it sat, looking warm, yet lonely, which described that Xmas perfectly.


Vacation, visitation, fried egg station

the runny yolk is essential

I have… (wait lemme count)… ten days off starting tomorrow (well, starting right now). Ten days, four of which will be spent traveling to/from or visiting the east coast. Boyfriend will be here for the last day, so that leaves me with roughly five days all to myself to do family functions and do my own thing (whatever that is).

So here’s the plan:
-Wake up as late as possible- not to be super lazy (but that’s good too), but to increase the sleep factor.
-Eat a delicious breakfast- cereal is ok, but I wanna try stuff I usually don’t have time for; a fried egg sammich comes to mind.
-Play computer/video games- I recently noticed that we have Shadow of the Colossus lying around, and I loved the way it looked when I watched a friend play it, so I’ll give it a shot. Plus, I’m gonna break down and buy the WoW Cataclysm expansion. I mean, they’ve changed EVERYTHING, how can I not experience it? Say your farewells now, loved ones (none of whom even know I have a blog). I’ve also been conquering the advanced maps on Portal (so good!). I’m good at this game, people. And it makes me proud.
-Clean up apartment- yikes, THIS needs to get done tout de suite. Mostly my carpet needs a solid vacuuming (and not with our tiny little PoS vacuum, I’m talking a real vacuum, the kind that weights as much as a small elephant and sounds like a B-52 taking off), and High School Friend Roommate needs to do her dishes (I haven’t complained once, she knows it’s an issue, I trust her, she’s cool, STOP LOOKING AT OUR KITCHEN LIKE THAT I’LL TAKE CARE OF IT).
-Ride my bike- I love my bike, and I never get to ride it because both jobs are so far away now (downtown and South Bay respectively). Plus, I need to get my ass in shape. Literally, my butt is soft, gotta fix that shit. And the weather’s clearing up tomorrow after five straight days of rain (torrential downpour while on the freeway today. NOT CUTE).
-Read a book- I’d like to finish Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It’s the last in the trilogy, and I want to be able to say, like a good nerd, “Yeah, I’ve read the books. They’re wordy but beautiful.” And they have been, so far, so I’m looking forward to finishing this giant fucking book that’s been sitting in my car for months now.
-Do some sketching- I need to do something creative. I got a Moleskine notebook for just that purpose, so I’m gonna try to find a few things to sketch to improve my ability to accurately put stuff down on paper. I’d also like to learn how to paint at some point. One step at a time.

Sister and I are supposed to bake cookies this Friday too, so that’ll take up the whole day. Now that I look at it, this is a lot to get done in the, like, three free days I’m actually getting out of the break.But as long as I’m relaxing, or doing holiday plans, I’m happy. I need to be content with whiling the days away. I’m good at relaxing once I get home, but I have trouble feeling good about spending a whole day doing nothing but sleeping, eating, watching anime, playing games, etc. I don’t consider myself a very hard worker, but i definitely feel guilty when I make no progress where progress could be made. I need to give myself a break now and then.

And I’m really looking forward to surprising Boyfriend on the east coast. Have I mentioned that lately? He’s totally clueless, it’s AWESOME. Can’t wait to see his friends (very cool guys), can’t wait to make him smile. This is gonna make him so happy.