0-adult in 18 years

Why are behavioral changes so difficult for humans? We implement them so often in research with animals. I guess we motivate behavioral changes in science with animals using fear or hunger – ie, if you don’t do this thing then you don’t get a cracker, or I’ll give you an electrical zap. But it’s morally wrong to treat humans over 18 like this. Under 18, it’s called parenting and it is exactly how behaviors are established. Over 18, and you are magically enabled to make your own decisions and in many cases, supported by parents or a loved one to choose your own path, however unsustainable it might be. There are trickle down problems as a result of “us” being so hesitant to change and lacking the motivation to improve ourselves. Doctors have a tendency to treat symptoms rather than root causes (when it comes to obesity). People tiptoe around real problems that their friends have in order to avoid an emotional conflict – a conflict that only occurs because of the lack of open-minded-ness for a potentially necessary change. We float along in the ease of the status quo… but why not change the status quo to a state of constant, intentional action? Take care of yourself. It’s literally all you’ve got.

ugh

Parents brought back all my stuff from storage in Seattle, and I went through old pictures today (to discard some, reminisce over some). Just… wow. So many people, so many names and people in my memory. People I once interacted with daily, enjoyed, were friends on many levels, and now I absolutely don’t know who they are at all. I have so many shadow memories of these shadow people. And I have passing thoughts about where these people are now, who these people are now… and it’s just a hop skip and a jump from asking myself, who am I now? How would I define myself to those who I once knew a lifetime ago?

None of us are really all that different, probably. We are all meandering about, trying to find happiness in our own ways. Most of us living the working life with the dream of eventual retirement when we can go explore and experience the world and all it has to offer. Our methods may be slightly different, and our means and starting points and approaches. It’s so difficult to observe without judgement or coveting, especially with access to all these ports of social media and excess awareness. Was life easier in the old days with snail mail and phone books? Was there less pressure, or were people less prone to be pressured? The best we can do now, I guess, is accept ourselves wherever we are and do our best to not give in to that pressure.

vive calle

Two blog posts in 3 days?? :O

Yesterday Stan planned a small event for a group of friends to participate in Vive Calle San Jose, a cool closed-streets pedestrian/bike event that took place from Midtown to Japantown. It was pretty cool, and it was more fun than I expected to bike around casually in the middle of the street without fear of cars running us over. And the streets were surprisingly quiet without the rumble of lots of engines. I wonder how much noise pollution comes from automobiles. There wasn’t any good swag other than free popsicles (of which the boys partook 2 of, each) but I did find Wits and Wagers for $1 at a thrift store! That was pretty great.

But I’m here to log some headcount to food quantity data. We bought 4.2 lbs of uncooked chuck (?) (on sale for like $13!) and 4-5 bell peppers, an onion, 16 oz pico de gallo, and 60 tortillas. One bag of chips and one jar salsa. 8 eaters (Stan, me, Mike, Je, Tom, Justin, Dan, Robert) and all we’re left with is 20 tortillas. Everything was eaten!!! I was afraid of having leftovers because I didn’t want to be eating leftover tacos for a week, so I’m happy that it was just about right.

Search words: How much food for 8 people for lunch?

PRK

Almost exactly a month to the day I got my PRK laser eye surgery!!! And boy does it feel great. I still have a mental lapse every night before bed when I think to myself “Oh shoot I forgot to take off my contacts” which makes me smile because I don’t actually have any contacts to take out!!!

Pre-op appointments: I did my consultation (for eligibility and quote) months before my surgery when I was still shopping around and deciding if it was something I wanted to do. They told me that due to cornea thickness, I was only eligible for PRK and not LASIK. Didn’t really matter to me, since any discomfort in recovery is minimal compared to long term satisfaction! For which both types of surgeries and comparable positive results. A few months later, I found out that my FSA was doing a weird half-year plan where I could (I thought) contribute full year dollar amount twice in one year via a strange loophole, so I went ahead and booked my surgery for during the overlap time. Unfortunately, it was a misunderstanding and though the benefits plan itself allows you to contribute, the IRS has a calendar year max, so I wasn’t able to get an extra $500 or so off of my surgery. Sigh, oh well. At the couple-days-before-surgery pre-op, they measured my vision again and dilated my eyes. Some eyedrops they put in for numbing or other reasons really stung, probably more so than any other part of the experience.

Surgery: Lots of numbing drops, sitting around, and then the surgery itself. Each eye took maybe two minutes. “Stare at the green light.” The doctor scrapes off the top layer (epi-something) which oddly looks like a squeegee on your windshield from the inside of your head. Then the doctor holds your head while the laser goes bzzbzzzbzz and you smell something burning. Your eyes! And then they put on a contact and everything is blurry but not actually worse than my eyes were going in (5.75 both eyes.)

Recovery: Immediately after the surgery my eye were sore and it was somewhat tiring for me to keep my eyes open. So I took a long nap :) Next day my eyes were very sensitive to bright lights, so I took the day off. I was able to read my Kindle in a light-filtered room. The biggest annoyance for me during recovery was the fact that my right eye healed much more quickly than my left. This made depth perception weird and I feel may have contributed to mental tiredness much more. The schedule for the recovery eyedrops was annoying, but doable. They said to expect significant/peak pain on day 3, since that’s when the epi-layer would merge back together, but for me it didn’t feel worse than when you accidentally put your contact in backwords and blink. I would describe it as irritation, not pain. They said to expect pain like “cutting a lot of onions” but it wasn’t like that for me at all haha. I still had some irritation at 2 weeks (occasional, only my left eye), but it was minimal. And now, 4 weeks after surgery, no irritation! Just like contacts, but BETTER because my eyes aren’t dry at all! I haven’t experienced any ghosting or whatever during the night time, and pretty sure my vision is better at night than it was with glasses.

All in all, highly recommended surgery! It set me back about $5k in the end (including some $300 or so of medications not covered by my insurance) but I am so happy to be able to see in the mornings!!!

changes

Recently I’ve been noticing that my leather jacket fits a little tighter than comfortable. I’d been in denial about it for awhile and just attributed it to wearing it unzipped, or lumpy clothes underneath, or something. But I’m pretty sure it fit much better when I bought it (one year ago) and have decided that my shoulders have probably gotten wider. I don’t have any baseline measurements, but yesterday Je measured my shoulder span (back, bone-to-bone) at 15.5″. Shall report back and use this new data point as a future reference. I mean, this is not really a significant thing, I’m both happy (yay shoulder muscles!) and sad (leather jacket fits funny :() about this change in my body but in the end, whatever. Although I think this is the first sustained tangible difference I’ve noticed in my body shape since beginning to exercise consistently (~2 years).

In other news, I stopped washing my hair with shampoo after chatting with Wesley about his no-poo lifestyle change. I figured I might as well try it, since I don’t particularly like washing my hair and the more low-maintenance I can make my life the better. (Standard work-aversion tendencies.) I use baking soda and tea tree oil when I feel like my head is getting uncomfortable (about once a week) and otherwise rinse with water or skip a shower entirely. I don’t typically take long showers but I have found that not needing to lather, rinse, condition, rinse saves quite a bit of time. Hope it helps with the drought as a side effect :) It’s been 3 weeks and the only minor down side is that my hair smells like hair instead of smelling like flowers (which used to only last 1 day after shower anyway…). My solution is to spray a bit of perfume or rub a bit of essential oil into my hair. No complaints from me so far, but just a few complaints from Stanley… I’ll probably commit to this for a few more weeks before evaluating whether to stay or not.

If anybody is interested in trying no-poo though, I’d have to say it was a pretty easy transition for me since I used to go 2-3 days before showering, and my curly hair hides grossness pretty well. Typically (from what I’ve read) the scalp/roots will first over-produce oil in the first few weeks while getting used to not being stripped, before adjusting and getting to a happy place. Maybe my standards are lower but I felt like I was over the hump in like 1.5 weeks – more typical is a 5 week transition.

In other other news, I’m training for a half marathon. I’m following a couch to half marathon plan vaguely, but started at week 10 of 20. The plan does two short runs during the week (3-4 miles) and then one long run on Saturday that varies from 5 to 10 miles (more then less then more again). So far my longest run has been 7.5 miles (I mapped my run wrong and was short of my 8 mile plan lol) with no joint pain and no sign of impending injury. Nice! I will say that my calves have been really sore after the long runs though… might go check out a running shoe store this weekend. I plan to complete the 13.1 mile run by the end of October – do you want to be a morale booster and join me for a few miles in the middle? :)

santa rosa island

Stanley and I went camping with Dennis, Matt, Layla + Kyle, and a few of Dennis’ outdoorsy friends at Santa Rosa Islands, Channel Islands. Dennis planned it as a quasi-Introduction to Backpacking weekend, which meant that some of us rented backpacks to see what it was like to carry a 30 pound thing on our backs. But the hike in to the campsite was only about 1.5 miles, and we never moved campsites, so I’m pretty sure it barely prepared us for any future real backpacking we may or may not do.

I think my backpack ended up being around 32 pounds with what seemed like barely anything in it:

  • sleeping bage
  • tent
  • exped sleeping mat
  • manduka towel (could have done without this)
  • one set of spare clothes, swimsuit (could have done without this)
  • a sweater (could have been a windbreaker)
  • a box of scones, cheese and salami for the first day
  • misc electrical: battery pack, xiaomi yi camera, cell phone

Stanley carried all the food, which included two cans of tuna, almond butter, crackers, tortillas… our packs were relatively even in terms of weight, even with his being about 15L smaller.

Anyway, overall the experience was not bad at all, though it wasn’t very backpacky. It wasn’t difficult to carry all our stuff on our backs for a 2 day trip, and per expectations on the Internet, we had significant amounts of extra food on our way back.

We did an 8 mile hike to Torrey Pines loop trail on the first day, and a 11 mile hike to Lobo Canyon the second day. After the second day my hamstrings were ridiculously tight… in hindsight, I think this is because I wore my Nike barefoot shoes the entire weekend and the extra extension of my calves and hamstrings was unexpected. I was so surprised at my soreness because I always feel like I’m a relatively fit and capable person, haha. But I could barely walk that second evening.

The last day we spent hanging out at the beach for hours – the totally empty beach with white sands, blue waves and skies, was really relaxing. The pictures from my Xiaomi definitely didn’t do the place any justice.

I do wish we visited the island while the flowers were blooming, so we’d traipse through fields of grass and wildflowers instead of hay, but in the end I had a good time hanging out and taking it easy on a receptionless island an ocean away from any city.

I am just trying to the best person I can be, to “all parties involved” but if that means being subjected to this stress of receiving the wrong kind of unwanted attraction then I am sick of it and I have to make some changes and not be that person anymore. This is not what I want and please go away. I’m not sorry. This is for me.

delayed gratification is hard

But totally worth it. I just checked my 401k balance a few days ago and was surprised with a pretty serious chunk of change! This makes me feel way better about the fact that the amount of dollars in my primary savings account has not increased significantly in the last year (well, I got my end of the year bonus last year but promptly spent it on flights to Korea).

I think it’s a very grown-up satisfaction to be happy about this instead of being happy about attending a concert or buying designer clothes. Not that I wouldn’t be happy with a few more pairs of shoes…

road trip

This post has gotten ridiculously belated (about a month and a half) because of a major change in priorities in my life. I need to figure some things out…


Stanley and my first stop up the coast of California was Santa Barbara! I had only ever been when Je was visiting colleges (2003?) so I was kind of excited to see what the area was actually like, having heard of the amazingness that was SB by the ocean. Because of LA traffic, we arrived later than expected and missed our tour of the Santa Barbara Courthouse. We walked around and enjoyed the weather and took some photos at the top of the tower.


Since Stanley and I were both vegan during our trip, there was a dearth of appropriate eateries :( In Santa Barbara, we had an average kale salad and an above average vegan+gf “thin mint.” I should have gotten more of those thin mints… We stopped by Mission Santa Barbara (without going in…) before heading to Solvang!


We walked around Solvang, being unhappy that we couldn’t eat any Danish danishes. The Hans Christian Andersen museum was a tiny room with old books in all languages. I didn’t know that he wrote some of the stories that were there!

We stayed the night in San Luis Obispo, and woke up early the next day to go hiking!


We went to Bishop Peak around 9am – the weather was nice, and it was a really nice day for a hike. The trail was about half shaded, and we saw a good number of people also hiking that day. And even a few people running up and down! (I think the total hike was about 4 miles, don’t remember.)

Super annoying thing: On our way down, we saw a couple girls with a dog on their way up. They weren’t carrying any water bottles or anything, and their dog was obviously parched. As we walked by, the dog sat down and didn’t want to keep going – obviously tired and thirsty. The (presumed) owner was getting frustrated at her dog, trying to pull it to keep walking. I offered some water for the dog, and told her to make a bowl with her hands. The dog drank it up and probably could have used much more. I mean, you don’t have to bring water for yourself if you’re lazy, but please, please always take care of your dog. Made me super sad.

After our hike, we went to Big Sky Cafe in downtown SLO for lunch. We were starving! We filled our stomachs and water bottles and got back in the car to continue our way up the coast.


I had considered stopping at Big Sur, but it didn’t really seem convenient. Instead, we went to the teeny tiny Limekiln State Park. It was a quaint little campground with two short (5 minutes?) hikes. One went to the lime kilns in question (used to purify? lime that was mined from the mountain/vein) and the other to a waterfall. We rested here (I needed a break from the curvy PCH) and ate some snacks by the ocean. When we were about to head out, a couple of guys came back from their kayaking with their day’s catch in haul! They had caught maybe 20 or so giant fish. They were super ugly and amazing, and I wondered what it’d be like to roast a fish you just plucked out of the ocean. Possibly made it a bucket list item.


Our last city stop of the road trip was Santa Cruz. We spent nearly a full day hanging out at the Natural Bridges State Park and Boardwalk. At the Boardwalk, Stanley and I got the most amazing salad ever at The Picnic Basket. It had olive tapenade, avocados, asparagus, citrus dressing, pistachios, kumquats… and some how worked together spectacularly. It was the market salad of the day, but I do plan on going back there for another go at their salads someday soon.

After Santa Cruz, we headed to SJ. Home sweet home!