I am in Beijing! I like China. This is my third trip and I am getting better at it. My first trip I was not prepared at all and so many things were needlessly harder than they should be.
(Example: Chinese restrooms are not typically in the habit of stocking toilet paper; you are frequently expected to bring your own. You can see how knowing in advance to bring many travel packs of Kleenex would make the trip more comfortable.)
Anyway, the trip is drawing to a close. I fly out of Beijing tomorrow (Saturday) at 530 pm and after 13.5 hours of flying I will land in Dallas at 5 pm, half an hour before I take off.
A family member got married last week, so I took the excuse to stay down at the beach for a week. Or a week and change. My brother joined me for a few days but left to head back to Boston with my parents almost immediately. It's just me here (Dave is helping a friend with a cross-country move/road trip).
It's absolute bliss.
I am beholden to no one. I can eat what I please, when I please. I'm going for tons of lengthy walks along the beach. I brought dumbbells and have been doing basic workouts near daily. I brought some work and got a surprising amount done.
Right now I am angry because Hilton's preferred brand of alarm clocks literally requires a screwdriver in order to change the time, and mine is eight hours (and thirteen years, I found the calendar function, it isn't January 2002 anymore) off.
(The fact that I already fixed it is pretty much irrelevant here).
Most people don't travel with toolkits, Hilton!
...I can't believe I'm actually mad about this, but I am. I am very mad.
I have so many things I want to write about, but no energy to do so. Life is crazy.
I am forcing myself to sit down and get my expenses done finally. I have a $10k credit card payment due in 2 days and I don't want to carry a balance any longer, so I have got to get a check. I just finished July. Only 7 trips to go....
I just found this receipt. lol, poor past me. It's funny, because I have two more that look identical from this past week's trip to Texas.
Livejournal broke for a while but it turns out an addon I installed for Firefox was misbehaving or maybe I fucked it up somehow (the addon is called Remove It Permanently, and I am actually pretty sure I told it to remove the entry feed permanently) and it took me a while to figure out what was going on, so I sorta vanished there for a while.
SO I was just in a car accident. I'm okay, everyone's okay, but my car isn't okay. The other person wasn't able to stop her car coming down a hill and slid into an intersection at like 20 mph and hit me. I managed to dodge for the most part, so it could have been much worse, but my car isn't driveable right now. Best case scenario is that the wheel is bent and I need a new DSC sensor, tire, and wheel (and a bit of body work to fix my bumper). Worst case scenario is a broken axle. I won't know til Monday.
So, my gym has this thing where when you sign up, they give you a punch card with the date on it. If you come in 8 times in the next month, you get a free shirt.
I got the shirt today (the expiration day, actually). It was fucking HARD. Between Dec 7th and today I:
-spent a week in Texas on business -spent a week out of town visiting family -contracted the stomach flu and spent 2 days on the couch -got snowed in and didn't leave the apartment for an additional 2 days -misread the hours and showed up when the gym was closed -...twice :(
And I still got 8 visits in? Go me!
I found it really motivating though. I wanted shirt, therefore had to go in and get my card punched. Also, had to prove I wasn't one of those folks who was going to sign up and then walk away from it. I am going to have to think up another motivating force to get me to keep going in case my internal engine fails. I don't know that it will - I racked up some time in our apartment complex's minigym, and spent some time on hotel treadmills, even though they were not progress towards that goal - but just in case.
I haven't updated in a long time. Here's what's up:
-Dave and I signed a lease together! The place is beautiful. It's huge, it's on the third floor so we no longer have to keep the blinds drawn all the time for privacy purposes, it has TWO WHOLE BEDROOMS (you guys my place is a studio and my entire place could fit in the living area of this new place), there's a 24 hour fitness room and a pool and there are communal grills by the pool, and it's TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS A MONTH LESS THAN MY PLACE, unbelievable. Oh and he and I both have parking spots AND there are TWO visitor lots. omg.
-The place is in Connecticut and my commute just jumped from 45 minutes to 90. Each way. Less than ideal.
-But! I have hammered out a deal with the office where I will be telecommuting regularly and I will also periodically crash at my parents, which will save the wear on the car (and me).
-I also bought a sports car, so.
-Dave and I just went on vacation. His family has a house on the Cape and they were happy to hand it over to us this week. He and I were both desperate for it. i haven't had an actual, not-taking-customer calls in actual YEARS. It was incredible. It also coincided with a stunning heatwave, so we spent a lot of time on the screen porch, gasping in heat.
We had awesome food and awesome adventures - we took a ferry to Martha's Vineyard one day, I had never been - and I am just feeling, I don't know, recharged. So in love, you guys.
I'm now watching a Marriage Bootcamp: Bridezillas marathon and pretending like packing is gonna happen. Lol. Right.
Every once in a while I go back in my journal and there will be a post where I am whining about my inbox. Hah! Two years ago I was fretting about a backlog of 150 I couldn't make go away.
I took Friday to work from home since I'd hit 800 and desperately needed to cut that down a little. I got down to 400 (!) which felt pretty good. Since end-of-day Friday I've received another 21 though, and work is nonstop rushing as usual, so I'm back up to 415.
The plan is to make this a weekly thing. I hope it will help.
WOW lj just fucked the hell out of that long-ass entry I just had to delete, let me show you a neat trick.
1. Copy and paste a giant block of "lorem impsum" or something so you have a lot of text 2. Open (but fail to close) an LJ tag near the beginning of the entry 3. Open and close an img tag at the end of the entry 4. Save entry 5. Notice half of it is missing, go back and close tag and WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO THE TEXT.
My landlord called this afternoon and asked if I would be renewing my lease in the fall. I said no.
I am feeling really happy and really sad at the same time. I am not ready to leave Boston. I do not want to leave Boston-- ever, really. And this apartment where I have lived for the last 4 years of my life is the only place I ever really lived alone as an adult.
So I reinjured my neck. Again. hooray. one of my shoulders is literally 3 inches higher than the other and my neck doesn't move the way i want it to.
so yesterday i went to the dr. upshot:
* another referral to physical therapy, and this time, when i graduate, I JOIN THE PILATES GYM LIKE THEY TELL ME. literally everyone in my life has been instructed to get all over my case about this
*c-spine and shoulder xrays. my GP and i agreed that it's almost certainly muscle/tendon issues, but she wanted to rule out me needing to see an orthopedic... she caught herself before saying surgeon but what the fuck ever, if it takes surgery to stop this ever happening again I WILL TAKE IT
* another xray on my shin, where i have a weird bone spur or SOMETHING that is crazy painful to the touch
* i got a flu shot, and i didnt cry for an hour afterwards this time (only 30 sec or so lmao). it looks like the prophylactic anti-anxiety meds actually are helping untie the stimulus->terror response? i might actually be normal in a few years hoooooray
* i have an ultrasound of my enlarged thyroid next week and i am trying not to over obsess about that because, uh, what
* i told my GP that i was concerned bc sometimes this neck thing happens (to a lesser extent) and i usually self medicate with valium and ibuprofen and this time it is not working! she squinted at my med list as was like "uhhhhh... how old are these pills you're taking?" so i got an rx for new ones and OH MY GOD. before i would take 10 mg and be a little loopy and it would help. now i take 10 mg and wake up 6 hours later. if i take only 5 mg and im loopy as fuck but at least i can move my neck.
(i apologize, big pharma. i thought your expiration dates were a scam. i know better now)
oh i dont like the way i never listen to myself i feel like im on fire im too shy to cry for help oh i dont think you know me much at all this love is be and end all this love will be your my downfall this love is be and end all this love will be your my downfall im feeling down about this love
I do not understand how I can spend almost every waking hour working on something and still be underwater in almost every aspect of my life.
I am behind in work, despite easily working 60-80 hours a week, every week.
My apartment is a shithole pit of stuff. i am at the point where i basically want to throw away everything i own except - the kicker - I don't have time?
I haven't seen any of my friends in ages and ages.
I haven't started Christmas shopping.
I haven't sat down and spent quality time with myself in ages. I can't remember the last time I read a book when I wasn't sitting on a plane. I don't watch TV unless it's on for background noise while I'm pitifully trying to make an attempt in the mess of my apartment. I don't play videogames anymore (who has time?).
Everywhere I look I have Too Much To Do. It's very paralyzing.
today was Dave's first day as a member of the connecticut state police
it was his second day as a person who has a phone with a battery that doesn't charge, though, so i don't know a lot about it yet. i will find out more tomorrow, or more likely wednesday. i am in texas right now and have a long day followed by a long flight staring me in the face tomorrow.
i asked about his schedule, he said it's really complicated and at work, but he'd copy it down and bring it home tomorrow. i asked when he would be working tomorrow, he said "630 til whenever the busses leave"
"Busses?" i asked
"school busses. I'm at a school tomorrow"
I wore my Connecticut State Police Hoodie down to dinner tonight (at the hotel lobby across the parking lot). The guy who served me stopped by to chat and commented on it. He asked if I was police. I said no, my boyfriend just graduated from the CSP academy the day before the shooting. We talked about the shooting. He has daughters that age.
He came by later and refilled my wine, "on the house." we chatted more. about his kids, about tragedy, about the pain and helplessness and horror of Friday. He helps out at his daughters' school, handing out milk and snacks before he heads to the hotel to work the lunch and dinner shift. He asked how long I was staying in Texas. I told him until tomorrow night, he said if I came back for lunch it would be on the house too.
He talked about how he comes from Laredo, where the drug cartels war with one another, and there are decapitations, but how kids are sacrosanct. You do not touch the families. We wondered how we got here. We wondered how this could happen.
He came back again later, with a giant bag. There is a banana in it, and yogurt, and fruit salad, and two types of juice. "Thank your [boyfriend]" he said. "It's the least I can do."
I have a lot of things going on but I'm having trouble articulating, I guess. Work is burdensome. I am past one major crunch period and there is another rapidly bearing down on me but I think I will have a couple weeks before it arrives.
Dave is about to graduate from the CSP academy, like, in 10.5 days. That's something. I have a lot of complicated feelings about it.
I finished LA Noire a few minutes ago. I do NOT have complicated feelings about that. It's the first game in I-don't-know-how-long that isn't in the Mass Effect series that I've actually finished. At least a year. I have a long list of Games to Play but I don't know what's next on the agenda.
I am still so jet lagged. (Dad has started referring to it as "time scrambled" which is frankly a way better term). This is the fourth day in a row I've woken up at 5 am or earlier. I passed the fuck out at 9 last night but honestly I was in bed by 730.
I don't know why but I had a lot of difficulty with the housekeeping in China.
In the first hotel, housekeeping threw away the scrap of cloth that protects my laptop screen from my keyboard. (They then lied about it, which was frankly enraging. "Oh, we didn't throw anything away!" WELL WHY IS IT NO LONGER ON THE DESK THEN?)
In the second hotel, housekeeping stole my pants. Well, okay, they did not actually steal my pants. It turned out there was free laundry service and they decided my pants were dirty and took them away to be washed. The desk told me that they left a note, which I sort of doubt, because I didn't see one, but I wouldn't have been able to read it anyway. After this the front desk sort of treated me like I was harmless but completely brainless, which didn't actually bother me very much because for all intents and purposes, I kind of was. (After it was established that housekeeping had not bafflingly stolen my pants, I was actually pretty grateful. My trip had been way extended and the wash was an unexpected bonus)
In the final hotel, housekeeping - are you ready for this? They THREW AWAY THE CAP TO MY BRAND NEW TUBE OF TOOTHPASTE. I left the toothpaste behind because I didn't want it to spooge all over my suitcase, but I mean, DAMN.
Also, in all hotels they passive-aggressively did not consistently refill my toilet paper rolls, which was stressful because it turns out I can't digest cow stomach or chicken feet very well.
So I'm in China. It's cool. My trip has been extended twice now; I left (and arrived) on the 17th, and was originally to leave the 26th, which became the 30th, which is now the 2nd. I am experiencing an unprecedented degree of homesickness. I would kill a kitten to be able to understand conversations with waitstaff.
Or perhaps not. In the last few weeks, among other things, I have eaten: frog legs, chicken feet (boned and deboned), pig foot, pig leg (this one comes with handy plastic gloves, sort of like the bibs they give you when you order boiled lobsters). I've also eaten (somewhat under protest) fried jellyfish. I did request that we not order toads from the enormous tub o' toads.
So far I have been in Nanjing, Zhenzhou (pron. "JUN-jo"), I'm in Wuhan now and in a few hours I fly back to Beijing where I'll be for a day and a half or so before flying home. It's been a mostly work-oriented tour but I've gotten some sight-seeing in, like the memorial in Nanjing re: the Japanese rape/slaughter there, which was especially interesting since I've just seen the Israeli Holocaust memorial. (The two memorials, despite having similar themes, were SO different. The Israeli memorial was much more clinical and disinclined to use rhetoric. The Chinese memorial is much more... sensational and used a lot of adjectives.)
Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Wordpress, Blogspot, and ImageShack are blocked, near as I can tell. Apparently you can get them via 3G - the Great Firewall of China does not extend to mobile networks - but upon landing I got this text message:
Free Msg! Welcome to China! Dial 001 & 10-digit # to call US. For roaming support call 001-908-559-4899.
Depending on your plan, calls made & received are $1.99/min. TXT: Send $.50, Receive $.05. Pic/video msgs, web use, tethering, and apps use data while roaming.
Global Data: $20.48/MB. [Ed. note: mother of god] Turn data services off in device settings or use WiFi to avoid charges.
Except I can't use WiFi because I can't decipher the redirect pages so I am stuck with wired connections on my laptop only, whee!
That's pretty much that, and I am basically out of time so I am gonna run downstairs and head to the airport so I can go to Beijing and then San Francisco and then HOME where I can get PIZZA and UNDERSTAND CONVERSATIONS and not need to be babysat all the time.
if you have to call someone for business purposes, and you've been given their cell phone number, unless you've been SPECIFICALLY TOLD to use the cell phone number as the primary contact, you should call their office first
because they might be in china, and it might be three o'clock in the goddamn morning, and they might then not be able to fall back asleep and have to go to a conference on three hours of sleep
one thing about the israel trip I forgot to mention is that Google flipped its shit and kept sending me emails about how it successfully stymied a hacker in Tel Aviv from fraudulently accessing my account!!!! (spoiler alert: the hacker was me)
it's now flipping out about me being in China and blocking me again. google stop being so nervous.
Yeah so anyway, Friday morning I got my ass on another plane and flew back to Newark and then to Beijing and then to Nanjing, where I am currently sitting. This time I gave up and brought along a bottle of valium and brute forced myself to sleep on the plane - my neck is still all messed up, but I arrived exhausted but not wanting to faint or vomit. Still wanted to turn around and go back home though, lol. Progress!
I'm here for a training and a conference and then an installation; the pre-conference training is a two day affair. I'm supposed to do a 2 hour presentation to something like 100 engineers tomorrow from 10-12, and my powerpoint got rejected so I am just gonna wing it lol. The training is today too, so they basically told me today is my "rest day" and to hang out in my hotel room all day. They're gonna come collect me in a couple hours (6:30) and show me the sights. Whee!
(There is no twitter here, nor facebook. It hurts me).
this is a section from an actual lawsuit that has actually been filed.
14. Defendants breached that duty by operating, maintaining, inspecting, repairing and managing the subject property and urinal in a careless and negligent manner. Defendant failed to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers on the subject property and warn against such known dangers. Such dangers at the subject property include, without limitation: (a) Plumbing and/or water heating systems that violate the applicable Building, Mechanical and Plumbing code, (b) Urinal that shoots jets of scalding steam, (c) Failure to properly repair a known dangerous urinal and/or plumbing issue.
I woke up at about 3 am Monday morning quite itchy. I had hives - one on my hand, one on my chest, one on my arm. Frantic, I took a cold shower to stop their growth, then freaked out at my parents in the hotel room next door and slathered this prescription cortisone cream my dad has all over them, then went back to sleep. I woke up with about 10 more.
We stopped at a farmacia (pharmacy) to ask for antihistaminas (antihistamines) and I was given loratadina (we're assuming this is spanish generic claritin, since claritin is loratadine). I feel like I'm trapped in some awful offensive joke where someone's pretending to speak spanish by appending vowels to the end of English words except it's my real life.
Tuesday night I was scared to sleep, which was smart of me. I took an antihistamine before bed, which I think just means I slept through my skin exploding. Originally I had maybe 5 or 6 hives total. I just counted forty. On my right arm.
i am in spain. barcelona, actually, following a week in valencia.
spain is really lovely, but i guess i am just having trouble seeing past (ha ha) the fact that i am so covered in random hives right now (stress? this shitawful cold?) that they are even on my eyelids which are half swollen shut
Dave: Do you remember last night, when you told me the show I was watching was boring? It was after you had fallen asleep. Me: (laughing) Oh wow, did I really? Dave: Yeah. I asked what did you care, you were asleep anyway, and you said "yeah, that's why I'm letting you watch it." I was a little dismayed to learn your default setting is 'brat' even when you're unconscious.
mbs wizard: I am an east facing person and recently my office has been totally redecorated. i am now forced to sit in my total loss direction west and i have noticed my computer keeps playing up. Things like my cds will not play. It is so stressful now as everything worked perfectly when i faced south. It is impossable to sit in any other direction now. Can I use crystals to correct this problem or what is the best feng shui option? Please help
xkfan: why don't you post in your office floor plan with directions too?
mbs wizard: dear xkan. what a good idea. i never thought of that. Can u give me a couple of days to get all my directions exactly right by the compass and i will send it to you. thank u for being out there :-*