how you live your life

Every weekend, my dad calls me in the 8 o’clock hour.  Saturday and/or Sunday; usually just one of the two days.  8 A.M.  However, I woke this morning on my own & texted them at about 8:15.  My first thought was to go back to sleep, of course.  But I knew I couldn’t do it.  They texted back, and so I called them instead of texting more.

We talked about a couple things – my sister’s pending baby shower, my other sister’s birthday & how they were going to make it special.  Then I wanted to talk to them about my cousin.

We just got the news yesterday that my cousin passed away.  He was diagnosed with leukemia a month ago, & just finished a round of chemo last week.  Apparently, No One Knew.  I have 2 other cousins (they are his cousins as well), who live in the same area as him (ATL, Georgia).  He didn’t tell anyone else in our family.  I’m not sure who in his family knew.

He passed, I think, about 3am Friday morning.  The only person in our extended family that knew was my uncle, who is in Africa right now.  He found someplace that has wifi, and thankfully my cousin in NJ happened to be online at the time.  He told her via IM.  She called my cousin in ATL, who called me.  Anyway, none of that matters.

I was talking to my dad this morning, and he told me that.  None of it matters.

It doesn’t matter how he died.
It doesn’t matter when he died.
It doesn’t even matter who knows, or when.

All that matters is how he LIVED.

live_life_the_way_rememberdHe was so jovial. So respectful. I don’t know if this is going to make sense. But he’s one of those people that really didn’t have to tell his kids how to be. He just WAS. And that’s how they knew how to be. Like, he always showed so much respect for anyone older than him. Heck, he showed so much respect for anyone, period. He always came at each day full force. Never a complaint about anything. Always so happy to see anyone & everyone. I don’ t even know how to describe it.

Just so grateful for life, love, and family.

And that’s really all I think of when I think of him. Just his spirit.

So, I get what my dad said to me this morning. No one is going to care about your death when you’re gone. They’re only going to care about how you lived.

I’m so grateful to have known him. So happy that someone like him lived on this earth with the rest of us, and that his legacy will live on.

Aside

all the curly-haired girls

I have super curly hair. I think I’ve mentioned that before.

Well, I’ve straightened my hairs for a job interview & for new job. And have been continuing to straighten it for work. The simple truth is that it’s easier in the morning to get ready. For my new job, I have to be up at 6am, & AT WORK around 7:45-8am. I can take a shower in 8 mins flat if my hair is straight (w/ a shower cap); 12 mins tops. Then another 5 mins to style it.

If it’s curly, it takes anywhere from 22 mins (shortest shower time) to 45 mins (not max, but around that) to shower. Then another 15-20 mins to style, and like 3 hours before it’s dry (because I can’t use a hair dryer on curly hair).

I used to start work at 9:30am. I’m at my new job around 7:45-8am everyday.

Hence, it made sense to simply straighten my hair daily.

However, my cousin said something to me that made me think twice about it. She mentioned that she (a curly-haired sister), has 2 curly-haired girls, and they “see” what I do. Whether overtly or if it goes into their subconscious. I don’t want them thinking they need to not be who they are naturally. I want them to love themselves as they are, without wanting to change.aunt neice

It made me remember that what each of us do, no matter how small, is always seen by someone else. I made sure they got how much I loved their natural hair, and how lucky they were to have it. :)

forgive student loans

I’ma put in my 2 cents too.

When you get a student loan, you sign a PROMISSORY NOTE to get that loan. PROMISSORY. You LITERALLY PROMISE to pay that money back.

Teaching impressionable, quick to jump young adults that you can just take money for free is irresponsible. If anything, we need to tackle the issue of rising tuition costs that are out of control. NOT teach our youth that you can sign a promissory note for tens of thousands of dollars & just ask them to be “forgiven”. It’s not like you ate your co-workers piece of cake. It’s TENS of THOUSANDS of dollas! And you signed a paper after “loan counseling” PROMISING to pay it back! Are we teaching STUDENTS, those who are signing up asking to learn, that reneging on your word is the way to start your independent life?!?!?!

For the record, b/c for some reason, my personal experience will be questioned & thought of as relevant — I did take out loans. I was not given a free education. I am the daughter of immigrants. I did work 80-90 hrs a week during my summers from college, & I did take 10 yrs to pay off my loans. But I did pay them off, & I’m glad I did. My student loans taught me to budget, be responsible, & helped me raise my credit score. And if I do say so myself, my credit score is pretty spectacular!

not yet grown up

This past week, I’ve seen 2 fb invites from the same group of ppl. Here’s the latest one.

You are graduating college, & proud to say “hello adulthood”. Well, an adult prob wouldn’t put up a public event like this. Esp considering you’ll prob be looking for a job upgrade after graduation. Is this what you want your potential employer to see? You know they check social media sites, right?

_______________________

And this one for a GNO last night at an annual arts/music/tech/educ festival.

I actually proposed this to the person who asked for a girls’ night get-together. “Hey, I’m going to Ingenuity on Friday night. How bout you gals come meet up w/ me & my girlfriends there?”

Whoa. The next day, I get this invite & there’s over a hundred girls invited to it! The comments on that page were ridiculous…. about making sure to pick up lime in case they end up killing a hooker that night.

Um. If I click “I’m attending”, then EVERY ONE of my friends would be able to click the event to see what it’s about & see that stuff. I have some professional contacts on my friends list. Yes, they are in a category, but this event page is a public page.

Not only do I not do “whoring”; but even if I did, I would prob not put on a public page that I did it.

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you can’t win w/ health insurance

You just can’t get your own health insurance. You can’t. It’ll suck.

Though, my new company health insurance plan sucks too. So, which to pick?

Our company used to have our health plan through Kaiser Permanente. A handful of us were the only ones who liked it. Everyone else didn’t. So, we switched to Anthem, which everyone else loves, but I hate.

They love it b/c they use their own docs. Even w/ Kaiser, which didn’t really allow for that, they did, & just paid the extra surcharge.

Well, I don’t have a doc. So, when I had to make an appt just to get a refill on my old prescription, I picked a doc & called to make an appt. Was told there wasn’t an opening for 2 months. I told them I didn’t care who I saw, anyone was fine, I just needed a new script. 1 month wait for that.

What if I was seriously sick? It’d be 2 months? I’d be dead by then.

W/ Kaiser, I’d call in the morn & would get to see a doc that afternoon. It might not be *my* doc, but since everything was on the internal computer system, they had my complete health history right in front of them. If I needed an x-ray or blood taken, I’d simply go downstairs to either lab.

W/ the new Anthem, if I need blood work, I need to go to a special Quest lab. I don’t even know where those are. I’m not sure that x-rays are covered.

photo from flickr user Steve Rhodes - click to go to his photos

A co-worker thought she’d stepped on a nail, so called to get a tetanus shot. She was told she’d have to pay the co-pay for the appt, plus whatever the shot cost (this can be $85 or more, depending). She also found out that if she’d asked for the same shot the day before, it’d be just the $15 co-pay b/c it woulda been a “preventative procedure”. Now that she’d stepped on a nail (she thinks), it’s a “diagnostic procedure”. Um…. sounds like pre-existing condition to me.

But isn’t that the whole point of insurance. Doesn’t the word itself mean that you’re investing your money in the case that something does happen?!?! They’re the ones that are supposed to be there to FIX whatever happens. I know that’s how my car insurance works. I don’t get a new bumper before I’m in an accident.

the night we stood up Richard Strauss

Yesterday, we had planned a girls night; this consisted of dinner & opera.

Dinner was to be at 6pm, at L’Albatros. This was to allow ourselves a good 2 hours of gal talk before going to see Ariadne Auf Naxos.

Well, at least we thought 2 hours would be enough.

Maybe I should tell you my thoughts on L’Albatros first. I’ve been there waaaay too many times, imo. Everytime has been a disaster. The food was always, always, mind-bogglingly good. But the service has always been atrocious. Not the bread guys; they never left you bread-less. But the other serve staff. If you could get them to come to take your drink/food order. Then, when they finally did, if you asked them any questions about the food, I was prepared to be met w/ a blank stare. I even asked if she would go ask in the kitchen about what something was.

I ordered a goat-cheese tart once, & it came w/ something on the side that wasn’t on the menu. It looked like what I know as athāṇũ. When I asked her to check in the kitchen what it was, she seemed shocked. Not surprisingly, I never did see her again. No response to my inquiry. What if a vegetarian who’s never seen that stuff before had asked, or someone w/ food allergies; b/c of their dietary restrictions? Should I mention that it was a random Thursday happy hour, & the restaurant was pretty empty?

The food & drinks were always great there though, so everytime someone suggested it, I would just heave a sigh (silently), & be prepared for the atrocious service.

Weeeellll…. This time was different! We had the most delightful server, Tiffany. She was AMAZING. She knew everything there was to know, & was so incredibly sweet to us. Not b/c it was her job, but she really was just sweet, & kind, & nice, & smiley. Just a breath of fresh air. She would appear at the exact right moment w/ the exact right thing to say or ask! It was like she was in our heads!

She completely changed my view of L’Albatros, & I now can’t wait til the next time I go there!

Well, by the time we were done w/ dinner, we were no where near done talking. We don’t get a chance to get together as much now as before. Stupid lives got in the way.

We also made the mistake of eying the dessert menu.

By the time we were done w/ dessert, it was 7:50 pm. We took a vote & decided to ditch the opera in favor of martinis & wine elsewhere. Elsewhere ended up being The Bistro.

Now, just a few words about my thoughts on The Bistro before I ever stepped foot in there…..

1. Naming a bistro “The Bistro” is akin to naming your dog, “Dog”. Really? You guys want me to think you’re going to have a creative atmosphere & cuisine, but you can’t be bothered to come up w/ a name?

2. I had high hopes despite the name, b/c it used to be Sage, one of the most delish bistros I’d ever discovered. It didn’t get a lot of traffic, unfortunately, & closed.

So, we went to The Bistro (wow, that even feels weird saying that!). & I can’t comment on the food, b/c we only went there to sit at the bar & continue our chats.

But, of the 3 martinis I tried, I didn’t like a single one! They were horrible. The all had awesome names. I wish I could remember their names! I had some sort of a pear martini, I think, w/ some ginger syrup. But it really shoulda been called a pear-ginger syrup w/ some vodka. B/c it was too sweet, & I just couldn’t drink it. I tried my friend’s Smashing Pumpkin (for obvs reasons), but didn’t like that either.

So, I asked for ole faithful, an espresso martini. I’ve never had a bad espresso martini until that night. Ugh.

Anyway, this post was really supposed to be about bathtubs, but as you can see, I got off track.

But, I do think I’ll try to take more pics when I’m out of food & stuff, so I can share the experience here too. Also, so that I can remember it more; for my own benefit!

sickness & airline travel

Ok, so I’ve been sick. Like really, really sick.

I’ve been so excited this past month. Randomly, one night about a month ago, I found a place. An awesome place. The top half of a house across from the lake. Half a front porch, other half is a sunroom. Working fireplace. Real wood everywhere (that hasn’t been painted over a million times). Beveled glass. Built-in sideboard & shelving, framing a sitting area in the dining room w/ windows. Just gorgeous. Plus, room in the basement for a treadmill.

The day we moved, on Sat, I started coughing. Well, on Sunday, the coughing became non-stop. & painful. Oh so painful.

It got to be way too much on Monday, & I went to see a doctor. They tested me for the regular flu & did a chest x-ray cause they thought I had pneumonia. I waited 5 days for the results; turned out to be bronchitis. Oh, it was so horrible though.

I was barely semi-covered, when I had to travel the next week.

The doc gave me meds, cough syrup w/ codeine & a z-pack (antibiotics), that he said should have me better in 5 days. Well, that Monday coming up, I was supposed to speak to dozens of ppl in Boston, & on Tuesday, to hundreds in NYC.

I knew I was still too sick to actually do this trip, so I tried calling the airline. I told them how sick I’d been & that the doc thought I might have the flu &/or pneumonia (we hadn’t gotten the results back yet then). I just wanted to change the name on the ticket I paid $360 dollars for to that of my co-worker. They wouldn’t have it. They offered me a voucher for travel in the coming year. I checked prices, & it woulda cost over $700 if we re-booked new tix for the same flights in her name. So, that was no consolation.

I told the airlines that Barack would def NOT approve of their basically telling a very sick person that they would have to be in a contained space w/ hundreds of other Americans.

They didn’t seem worried about it.

They could hear me wheezing & coughing. I spoke w/ about 4 or 5 different ppl in their customer service. Customer Service. HA!

Well, I ended up going. I downed tea like a champ the whole time. It was the only thing keeping me from coughing. In NYC, the guy at the corner pizza place looked at me weird when I asked for some hot water in a to-go cup. I told him to just charge me for tea or coffee, & he seemed to have such a prob comprehending that I just wanted to use my own decaf green tea instead of their stuff. I balanced 3 to-go cups of tea on the subway, w/ my work bag & my purse. Got shot dirty looks from others on the train everytime I coughed. Like I was some deviant.

Ugh. I can’t believe how difficult ppl make it to be sick. It’s not like anyone wants to be sick. & EVERYONE’s been sick. So, shouldn’t they empathize & maybe cut others some slack?!?

Really, US Airways? You couldn’t just change the name on the ticket so I didn’t have to go through all that?

May 2009 Indian elections – Massive Attack!

My childhood was pure childhood.  I knew nothing of what went on outside my lil area.  I read my books, did my lessons (education was/is very imp in my fam), & played.  We didn’t really watch any tv.  Maybe on Saturdays.  Cartoons in the morning; & I remember there was a Disney movie every Sat evening.  Sometimes after school cartoons, but not when we were really young.

The books I read as a child were Indian stories; my grandfather would always ship or bring back books (written in English) of Indian tales.  We even had a subscription to Chandamama, an Indian magazine for kids.  It’s all hip now & online as an interactive website. It was similar to Highlights magazine; even had a good boy/bad boy page, Vikram & Vetal like Goofus & Gallant. It had some religious stories, & a serial fiction story that was to be continued every month. I looked forward to each magazine!

Then, I think around the time I turned 10, we started watching the news as a family. The local news & national. It was the Evening News w/ Dan Rather at first, then switched to World News Tonight w/ Peter Jennings in the early 90s.

Why is this important? I think b/c what’s going on in the world is important. I’ve always believed that any one person, & every one person should do what they should (not what they can, but what they should do, as in it is their duty to do it).

I’ve told y’all before that I was naturalized as a US citizen when I turned 18 so that I could vote.

But the whole point of this is that I was looking at pictures from a recent Indian election, & it made me proud of where I come from. India has the largest democracy in the world. The largest. & they take their responsibilities seriously.

Ppl make such a big deal of this last election here; w/ the highest voter turn-out. & that’s great. But it’s only great if the voter turn-out continues to increase election after election. I’m interested to see what this country does in Nov. 2010, & Nov. 2012.

129,446,455 showed up & voted in the Nov. 2008 election. That’s just under 43% of the population at the time (304,059,724 in July 2008).

Last week in India, about 714 million ppl voted (out of a population of 1.2 billion, that’s about 60%, folks). That’s good stuff.

Check out these pictures from the recent Indian election. Truly amazing. In #5, you’ve got an older woman who walked 68 miles to vote. And I know everyone’s aware of Hindu-Muslim tensions all over the world, but #25 & #35 say it all. We’re talking about tensions that go back thousands of years, yo!

You have to check out the pictures. They are amazing. Ppl hanging out on rooftops to attend an election rally. Ppl taking cable cars across valleys/rivers to get to the election site.

I really can’t imagine ever living in a non-democratic nation.

Ok, I made a collage of 4 of the pix to try to entice you to click on the link to view the pix. Also, if you click on the pic below, it’ll take you there. I did NOT take any of the pix, the credits are on the page when you click on the link!
india elect pix

my old age

I’m getting old. I’m totally losing my memory all over the place. I used to have a memory like a steel trap.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts that I wanted to post about, but then when I’m in front of this page, I just forget what it was that I totally wanted to put down on here! This is frustrating for me, b/c this spot is 1st my place to keep track of my own thoughts & a place to put up things I thought were interesting.

I do have a voice recorder on my phone & a notepad on it. Somehow, I deleted all my notes. But I’m gonna visit this site more too, which I think will help. I have a lot of catching up to do on everyone else’s blogs!moonstruck

But you know how in Moonstruck, Cher’s getting all gray around her face, & she gets that transformation before the opera? Well, I kinda feel like I’m going through what she did. I’ve been getting these grays around my face that I’ve been plucking out. I think it’s getting to the time for me to stop plucking, & just dive in & color it.

I’m going to research hair color before I do it, though. Cause my hair’s pretty long, & I like to keep it as healthy as possible so that I don’t have to cut it as often.

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