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It’s been so long since I’ve written. I truly miss it.

And so much has happened since my last post.

For one, I’m engaged! It’s strange, but sometimes I forget. Though I do have a gorgeous reminder on my left ring finger to prove it. I still stare at my ring sometimes and I love the way it sparkles in the right light.

I have a new job, which I love; it keeps me busy, but in a good way. This week was particularly hectic as we were out and about visiting clients. However, I do enjoy time away from the office and getting some fresh air. My favorite visit included a tour of the CSULB campus. I learned about a program to teach English abroad. Dare I say it…? I got excited about the idea of going back to school. I couldn’t help but daydream of the possibility of moving to another country…Italy perhaps…and truly immersing myself in the culture as an English teacher. How amazing would that be?!

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah…I love my new job. Today, our boss let us off early, and treated us to happy hour in appreciation of our hard work. I have to say that I appreciate her appreciation of our efforts. It’s nice.

I’ve lost 20 pounds! I have started to eat healthier; more fruit, more veggies, more protein, fewer carbs, no junk food (except for the occasional In-N-Out, cause who can resist that?) And I’ve been making an effort to walk almost every day. It’s taken five months, but the journey continues. I have more work to do before reaching my ultimate goal.

Shaun & I took an amazing trip to Mexico with our parents. I’ll have to tell you more about that in a separate post. It’s deserving of its own special spot on this blog.

But tonight, I just felt like putting some random thoughts on “paper”.

Like the fact that my Seabass is turning one tomorrow. I can’t believe how fast he’s growing up. I’m excited to see the family and celebrate the first year of this little guy’s life!

But before we party, we’re hiking to the top of the Hollywood sign. I hope the weather is nice and we get some great pictures.

Right now, I’m just enjoying some quiet time on the couch. Well, mostly quiet. There is the faint keyboard clicking coming from the office, and “Las Mañanitas” is playing at the neighbor’s house a few doors down. Sounds like quite a fiesta! Maybe I’ll crash it.

Whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re enjoying this lovely Friday evening.

June 25, 2014

I started out the day feeling nostalgic. I would miss my life in Pasadena, but I also had reasons to celebrate.

For one, I had a fresh, new beginning to look forward to. A new office, a new team, and a great location!

In a perfect world, I’d write fiction for a living; and I would work out of my home office; which would overlook the ocean.

But until that day comes, I will settle for writing contracts in a small private office across the street from the beach.

I’d say that’s not a bad gig.

In addition to my professional endeavors, I had a very personal reason to be excited and thankful.

On this day, “WhiteKnight05” and I were celebrating the 3rd anniversary of our first date. He was taking me to dinner, and the location was highly confidential; I think he enjoys surprising me.

But first, I had an eight-hour work day to get through.

I’d be lying if I said the day dragged. I had so much to do; loose ends to tie up. I wanted to leave on a good note, so I made every possible effort to wrap things up in a neat little package.

I didn’t even have time to take a lunch with my office mates as planned. However, they did throw a nice little going away party for me. They served Mexican food: taquitos, chips & salsa, Takis, Mazapan, and a few other tasty treats.

The best part of my going away was receiving one of those matted frames with a picture of the hotel, and hand-written messages from everyone in the office. I waited to read them until I got home; I wanted something to look forward to after saying goodbye.

As I packed up the last of my things, I prepared to load the car. Just then, I received a special delivery.  Flowers from my love!

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Thoughtful as always. Good thing I was behind schedule!

And thank goodness for my two best office mates who helped carry everything to the car. As we loaded the boxes, I prepared to say goodbye and it hit me.  I would miss these two lovely ladies and the laughs we shared on a daily basis. I embraced the feeling and let the tears run down my face. We hugged, said goodbye once more, and they sent me on my way.

On the drive home, I transitioned from tearful to excited. I looked forward to our top-secret dinner plans, and to celebrating the end of an era. But saying goodbye to Pasadena was only the beginning.

My life was about to reach a true turning point, and I had no idea.

I’ve spent the better part of the past fifteen years in the city of Pasadena. And not just because that’s where I spend the forty hours of my workweek. Pasadena has been like a second home to me. I love the restaurants, the museums, the architecture. It’s a city full of culture and I’m happy to have spent so much time there; on and off the clock.

After (almost) nine years at this job, I am bidding goodbye to my second home and heading for the coast. I’ve recently accepted a position in the city of Long Beach, and while that still hasn’t quite sunk in yet, I am relatively excited about it.

I guess for now, my focus is on saying goodbye to what my life has been for over a decade. Pasadena will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve made some life-long friendships here, worked out at the iconic Rosebowl Stadium, enjoyed the annual chalk festival, art night, outdoor concerts, and so many other events!

At lunch time, I’d often go on a quick stroll to escape the workday chaos. I’d sit in front of city hall (my favorite building), watch the pedestrians walk by, and make up a story for them. On a good day, I’d be surprised by a playful squirrel. They captivate my attention the way a shiny object would a racoon.

Today, I went on what might potentially be my last stroll in this city. For a while, anyway.

Thank you, Pasadena, for fifteen unforgettable years. I won’t be far, and we will most definitely meet again soon.

It’s been a little over four years since I published my original bucket list.

Today I reviewed it for the first time in a while. And in doing so, I was excited to see that I’ve checked off quite a number of things on there.

As a matter of fact, I’ve covered just about 30% of the items on that list!

I should note that I’ve removed a few items, and modified my wish list as I’ve gone along.

For one thing, now that I am older and wiser – ahem – I’ve decided to forgo some of the riskier items on the original post. (i.e. bungee jumping). Sunny, don’t ever say I never took your advice. 😉

Or maybe I’m just a big chicken, and the older I get, the more appreciation I have for life.

So much to see! So much to do! It would be foolish to miss out on the rest of the list over a tragic bungee jumping incident. It just doesn’t seem worth it.

Let’s just call it re-prioritizing.

happinessIn any case, I am so looking forward to what’s ahead in 2014 and 2015!!

I might be getting a little ahead of myself, but I am a planner, and that’s just what I do. God-willing, I hope to make it to 2015 and to have the means to accomplish all of those wonderful things I have to look forward to.

After all, the secret to happiness is…having accomplishments that you are proud of; and always having something to look forward to!

 

 

It’s amazing what one Facebook ‘like’ can do.

Earlier this evening, it started a conversation.

I had posted a silly buzzfeed link, which made me laugh, and in turn made me want to ‘share’. The content of the post is rather unimportant for the point that I am trying to make here, so we’ll just skip over that part. You are of course, welcome to partake in the laughter by clicking on the above link.

It’s always interesting to see who likes the different things that you post. Tonight, I received a like from a friend whom I hadn’t spoken to in some time.

I wonder what he’s up to, I thought. And rather than just ask, it occurred to me that I could invite him to an upcoming barbecue, and we could reconnect; in person. Imagine that!

Well, the barbecue thing might not work out, but it certainly sparked a conversation about life, career choices, and literary passions.

Suffice it to say that it reminded me how much I enjoy writing. And in our discussion, I spilled the beans about this blog.

It’s a very personal thing; and most readers don’t really know me personally. It’s kind of nice having that separation. But this friend is trustworthy and so, I shared. 

Side note: I suppose that a true “friend” should be trustworthy, but the word friend gets misused sometimes, especially in Facebook context.

Back to the story.

After sharing the blog link, I of course, had to go back and see the last thing I had posted. I was genuinely shocked to learn that it had been four months since the last update. It was from the holidays. 

So here I am.

One Facebook like, and I am once again reminded of my passion for words.

I feel like I’ve neglected this little part of me, and I have SO much to share; like my nerve-racking Lasik eye surgery; or the fact that I just became an aunt for the second time! Or that I am checking off a new item on the bucket list – learning Italian – one of several this year!

I may have stopped writing, but I have not stopped planning, or living. And I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Fresh posts to come in the very near future. I am truly feeling invigorated!

Lasik

I’ve never been a fan of wearing glasses. I got my first pair at age 15, but I only wore them part-time. As my vision became progressively worse, I became more and more dependent on my glasses.

I was so happy the day I started wearing contact lenses at age 21. I felt like myself again! No glasses to cover up my face; to cover up the real me.

That was about thirteen years ago.

Sadly, in the last six months or so, I’ve had issues with pink eye, general eye dryness, and newly developed allergies.

After several doctor visits, and numerous contact lens trials, my Doc (whom I once worked for when I had a career in optometry) finally concluded that my eyes were rejecting the contacts for all the above named reasons.

At that point, my only alternatives became glasses full-time, or…Lasik.

My beautiful niece & I

To be honest, the idea of having my eye operated on just gave me the willies.

That morning, I called my boyfriend with the sad news – no more contacts. The idea of having to wear glasses full-time actually made me sad. I felt like I was losing my sense of self. There were tears involved.

But as always, Shaun was very comforting as he attempted to make me feel better about the whole thing. He strongly encouraged that I go for the Lasik. He had it done about six months before we met and he has always said that it was a life-changing experience for him. And, that he would do it again in a heart beat!

Well, I went home that night and we talked about it some more. As he explained the process to me, I became sick to my stomach. No joke. I struggled with the idea of having my eyes worked on.

But I suppose my disdain for wearing glasses was greater than the fear of having my eyeball sliced open.

And so, I went in for the consultation. Alone.

I wish Shaun could have gone with me.

I know, what a chicken. I’m a 33-year-old woman and I need someone to hold my hand through the process. What can I say?

Dr. Berg was great though. And he came highly recommended by my old boss. During my appointment, he did some testing to determine that I was a good candidate for Lasik; refraction, dilation, and checking the thickness of my cornea. Apparently, your cornea can be too thin and that automatically disqualifies you.

Well, lucky me! I am not lacking in corneal thickness.

Aside from determining if someone is eligible for Lasik, I think Dr. Berg’s biggest job is making the patient feel at ease. And to be honest, after walking out of the appointment, I felt pretty great!

I scheduled the surgery and planned accordingly. It would take place on a Friday, so I would take the day off work and use the weekend to recover.

Let’s fast forward to the night before the surgery. I did a terrible thing.

I waited until then to read all the risks involved. I had to. So I could sign off on it; for legality reasons I presume.

And of course, one of those very scary risks is the possibility of total loss of sight.

Reading that document the night before my procedure was a poor decision on my part.

I worried. I became a nervous wreck. And I determined that my “fear of abandonment” could be better defined as “fear of loss”.

I feared losing my eye sight, and everything that included. I looked at Shaun’s face and imagined not being able to see it ever again. I thought of my beautiful little niece and worried that I might not be able to see her grow up.

Talk about a mind-fuck. And I did it to myself.

Friday morning I felt a little better, but as we drove to the doctor’s office those very scary thoughts started to creep in once again. I teared up a little and Shaun tried to calm me down by saying something funny. It worked for a second, and then my mind took over again.

At the doctor’s office, I managed to keep it together until the last minute. The nurse walked out of the room for a moment. Shaun took the opportunity to ask me how I was doing. That’s when I broke down. Tears welled in my eyes and streamed down the side of my face. I was SO nervous!

The nurse came back and asked if I needed a moment, but I just wanted to get it over with.

So she walked me into the operating room. They lay me down, put a pillow under my knees and asked if I wanted a blanket. They tried to make me as comfortable as possible.

I had dressed warm, as instructed and passed on the blanket. Knowing that I was a nervous wreck, she also offered a teddy bear to hold onto during the procedure.

Her inquiry made me feel like a child. I needed to get it together. So I said no to the bear and tried to do just as I was instructed:

1. Remember to breathe.

2. Stare straight at the red blinking light.

The room was cold, just as I’d been warned. The lights were bright, but I couldn’t see much of what was going on around me.

Dr. Berg talked during the whole procedure, trying to keep me calm and informed.

The first thing he did was set my eye in place. It was being held down so I couldn’t move it. They’d used numbing drops, so I couldn’t feel any pain. Just pressure. Very tight, uncomfortable pressure. All around my eyeball.

“You’re doing great, Debbie.”

“Good job, Debbie.”

His statements were meant to be reassuring, but my nerves had not dissipated.

They heightened when he spoke the words, “Now we’re going to make the flap.”

I cringed, then froze.

Big gulp.

Breathe. Remember to breathe. I could hear nurse Amy’s words in the back of my head.

With both hands in my jacket pocket, I took one deep breath.

I felt my lungs fill with fresh oxygen.

Again.

But don’t move a muscle. Stare straight ahead. Look at the blinking red dot.

“Good job, Debbie. You’re doing great, Debbie.”

The flap had been made and it was time for the laser.

My vision was blurred. My poor cornea!

The scary part was beginning. The room was cold. The equipment was loud.

Suddenly, I could smell my eyeball burning. It was not a pleasant thing to think about.

And if you’re wondering what that smells like, go burn a strand of your hair. You’ll have your answer.

Breathe. Deep breaths.

I tried to remain calm. I though of Shaun sitting outside the room. He was watching. I needed to be strong.

I stared at the red dot which was now very faint. Darkness was taking over. I saw a bunch of brightly colored dots against a dark background and then all of a sudden, the lights went out; just like Dr. Berg said they would.

“It’ll only last a minute or so,” he promised.

This was a turning point. Would I be able to see again? Or would I see darkness forever?

Before I could give this a second thought, the laser part was done and my blurred vision was back. In one swooping motion, he put my flap back into place and began “brushing” the surface of my eye. I’m not sure exactly what he was doing, but it felt like a series of brush strokes clearing any remaining debris.

It was time to repeat the process. It was the left eye’s turn.

They covered the right eye and began by setting the eyeball into place.

The uncomfortable pressure was back. And as they prepared to make the flap, Dr. Berg announced, “This doesn’t look right. Let’s do it again.”

That was disheartening.

I spoke my only three words during the procedure, “Is everything okay?”

They assured me that it was, but I couldn’t be certain.

I prayed and hoped for the best.

Blurred vision. Bright colorful dots. Darkness. Brush strokes.

Twenty minutes later, the procedure was complete and my eyes were patched up.

They helped me out of the chair and walked me toward the examination room.

Dr. Berg flashed a light into my eyes to make sure everything looked good. He brushed my left eye again to clear off some remaining debris.

“Looks great! You’re all set.” he said and sent me home.

I held onto Shaun’s arm as he led me towards the car. He was careful and gentle putting me into the passenger seat. I kept my eyes closed the entire time.

It was strange being in the car and not being able to see anything. I imagined what the roads looked like or where we might be given the length of time we’d been in the car.

About halfway home, I felt stinging; burning. Drops were streaming down my cheeks. I couldn’t really feel them, but I tasted the saltiness on my lips. I lightly patted my face dry with a tissue.

This was normal. The nurse explained that the numbing drops would wear off on the car ride home. Just keep your eyes closed. Don’t rub them.

Not that I could. Clear plastic shields had been taped to my face for my own protection.

“We’re home,” Shaun said. I didn’t even realize we were off the freeway.

He helped me out of the car and led me into the house.

“Your eyes will burn, sting, and hurt during the first 4-6 hours,” Nurse Amy warned right before I lost it in the exam room and burst into tears.

But that’s why they give you two sleeping pills. They are intended to knock you out so you can sleep through the painful part.

Dr. Berg gave me one pill before I left the office.

When I got home, Shaun gave me two more that were in my outpatient kit. I slid into our comfy memory foam bed and dozed off almost immediately.

I slept until 1:45pm – not 3pm as I’d been instructed.

“If you wake up before 3pm, just lay in bed with your eyes closed.”

And so, I did.

But around 2:30, I heard my stomach growling.

Before I could become a grumpy, hungry panda, I asked Shaun to get me some food. He ran out to get me my favorite; a beef bowl from Big-E’s. Well done. Well cut.

I lay in bed for the next hour until he returned with my grub.

He touched my arm and helped me out of bed. I sat up, opened my tired eyes and looked around.

3:45, the clock said. It was ten feet in front of me and I could read it clearly.

It was a scientific miracle. I could see! Without glasses! Or contacts!

I walked around the house amazed by this wonderful new gift.

Everything was bright and sharp. It was like wearing contacts, except not.

I stared at Shaun. I could see his handsome face again.

And I’d be able to watch my niece grow rapidly before me.

I looked in the mirror. My eyelids were puffy and my eyeballs spotty with red.

The left eye was worse. I guess having to “reset” the clamp did a number on it. But it would heal in 4-7 days.

And in spite of the redness and puffiness, I’d never loved my reflection more.

No glasses.

I was myself again! Thanks to Jesus and Dr. Berg.

In the words of my friend D, “Technology – 1; Mother Nature – 0.”

 

 

…of the year! I just love, love, love the holidays!! And this year, I was able to enjoy them more than the last – from the Christmas music to decorating our home for the holidays; putting up our tree, holiday parties, and everything else in between.

At the end of 2012, we were still settling into our new home and trying to get the hang of the whole “being grownups” thing. As I reflect on the past twelve months, I can say that we have definitely come a long way!

With lots of ups, and even the occasional downs, 2013 was a pretty amazing year! I have lots to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to in the year ahead.

If you are reading this, thanks! I wish I could update more often, but I am happy that you are still interested in what I have to say.

I will leave you with my favorite moments from the 2013 holiday season. Cheers!

Decking the halls – I had a blast putting up our second Christmas tree, setting up our new little village in front of the fireplace, and even adding a small tree in my office at work. On the bottom right is my new favorite ornament! It’s a souvenir we picked up at the Waikiki Christmas Store.

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At the annual Woodland Lane Progressive

Day trip to Solvang, CA – all decked out for the holidays. Trees & Gingerbread houses everywhere!

  

Christmas Eve with my family – my niece makes everything more fun! She loved her new “box”. There was a swing inside from her Tio Lalo. And I had the pleasure of wrapping that gigantic thing.

Christmas Morning. It was wonderful to wake up in our own home and open presents together in front of the “yule log” on tv.

Day after Christmas – at Downtown Disney with my bro, sister-in-law and the kiddo. She has so much energy!

  

And finally, New Year’s at home with the fam. The best part was the fireworks at midnight. Our neighbors know how to celebrate!

November

I was tempted to completely skip over November because I spent most of the month recovering from one ailment or another. From a pinched nerve to a nasty viral infection; I’d never felt so sick in my life.

The cherry on top? Pink eye! I looked like a weirdo for almost 3 weeks.

But on Thanksgiving, I really had a lot to be thankful for.

I had my health back; I felt like myself again.

And it was so nice spending time with family! And of course, stuffing my face with lots of good eats.

Also, there was lots of excitement at my parents’ house! Mom got Dad an early Christmas present. He was so shocked! And emotional. Can’t think of the last time I saw my dad cry. He absolutely loved it!

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And here’s our annual family pic! Four different families, all together as one.

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All in all a pretty unforgettable day.

Side note.

Did I mention that I might have accidentally set Shaun’s sister’s microwave on fire?

Yeah…

That happened.

At round 2 of Thanksgiving, I decided to reheat some cocktail weenies.

Bad idea.

Leave it to me to choose the only flammable plate in her kitchen. It was one of the disposable plates left over from her mother-in-law’s 60th birthday party.

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The culprit.

I turned away for what felt like a few seconds, but when I glanced back, I saw a bright glow coming from the microwave.

Flames!

To make matters worse, I was in complete shock about it.

I hit the cancel button, but I didn’t do anything else!

I stood there, staring at it. And the only words that came out of my mouth were, “Um, guys…?”

I looked around. There was a sink, but no hose.

And not a glass in sight. How do I get the water from the faucet to the microwave?

My brain froze.

Thank God for Sam who was nearby to yell “Fire!”

That’s when the men came to the rescue. They ran from the living room into the kitchen to put out the fire.

I cringed with embarrassment.

It wasn’t until later that night when I was able to laugh about it. Of course, now it’s hilarious! 

Who will forget the Thanksgiving when Deb set the microwave on fire? Ha!

No one.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Captain America & Wonder Woman wish you a super Hallow’s Eve!

Never thought I’d say this, but October might just be one of my favorite months of the year.

This one has been particularly fun-filled! Lots of movie-watching, pumpkin-carving, and dressing up in costume!

On the first weekend of October, we went to the  Maroon 5 concert at the Hollywood Bowl! They opened with a new fave, “One More Night,” and played tons of stuff from Songs About Jane, my favorite album. It was kind of nice being surrounded by new fans too. I knew all the songs (that they did not) and I felt like a real fan. 😉 Probably just means I’m older than them, and thus, I know more of their songs.  Felt good anyway.

And the best part? Fireworks at the end of the night!

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The following week we went to the St. Anthony’s Fall Carnival for some good eats!

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More fun times with my niece! Check out the Snow White costume I bought her.

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Did I mention she’s walking?!

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Look at that face. (Being silly at Nina’s house) And that hair! This little girl cracks me up.

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A movie screening with my love!

Outdoor Scary Movie Night! We watched John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and The Ring. I was definitely looking over my shoulder after that! The funniest part was having our friends pull back the shower curtain in our bathroom, just to make sure no one was hiding back there.

Thanks to our awesome neighbor Linda for the delicious peanut butter s’mores!

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The Cal Poly Pumpkin Festival – my first time actually attending. It was great to be back on campus post-graduation, and we all had a blast being silly at the pumpkin patch.

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Pumpkin carving party with friends. No contest. We’re all winners!

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Another movie screening! This is one is super top secret and we’re not even supposed to talk about it. But I’ll say that it stars Tom Cruise, it’s scheduled to come out June of next year, and we absolutely loved it!

A Halloween party, where I dressed up as a witch because my Wonder Woman costume didn’t arrive in time. It all worked out!

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Tea with my sis!

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And the last week of October included more pumpkin carving, scary movie-watching, which all culminated on Halloween. We had so much fun handing out candy again this year. There were so many kids that stopped by our house.

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Here we are with our superfriends!

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The trick-or-treaters absolutely loved our costumes. Several of the kids asked to take pictures with us, and we felt like celebrities. Can’t wait to do it again next year!