Thursday, April 07, 2011
I just got the word on my friend's cancer. I dared not ask him directly what his prognosis was because I didn't want to sound like I was asking, "So how long do you have to live?" Fortunately he volunteered the information today. He has a very aggressive lymphoma, but he says his prognosis is very good. They caught it early, his young age and good general health are all in his favor. These things are never 100%, but the 6 month treatment of chemo should do the trick. He is sounding very upbeat and positive, keeping a good sense of humor.
It's still very serious, but I feel better.
He's been posting pictures of his now bald head and just got a PICC installed today. It's so tough to see, but I'm so proud of him for being so brave.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
(Sorry about all the blog entries. I'm just feeling inspired to write.)
A week ago, I posted a status update that said something like: "Take your greatest weakness, and make it your strength."
What did I mean by this?
This actually comes from one of my favorite books, "A Game of Thrones" by George RR Martin. It's a fantasy series that is based roughly on the real "War of the Roses" in England. The House of Lancaster versus the House of York, with the House of Tudor winning. In "A Game of Thrones", it's the Lannister's versus the Starks, and probably the Targaryen's winning, but the series isn't finished yet.
One of the characters is Tyrion Lannister, who is a dwarf (as in dwarfism or midget). He is overshadowed by his "normal", attractive siblings. He'll never hold the same clout as his siblings because of his disability. He says this line to Jon Snow, who is a bastard son of Lord Stark. Being a dwarf and a bastard in noble families makes them outcasts.
"Take your weakness, and make it your strength. Then it can never be used against you."
I read this book many years ago. I'm starting to reread it because the fifth book will be released soon. This particular line has always stuck with me.
I'm 5'0", and have always been the 'runt' of my classes. I was always picked on and ridiculed for always being the shortest person in the class. Lots of my friends went through growth spurts in middle school, and I stayed the same. For a long time, short jokes really bothered me.
There's nothing I can do about my height. I will never be supermodel tall. I'll always have to hem pants in order to fit. I'll always have to use a step stool in order to reach cans on the top shelf. But I refuse to be treated as 'helpless'.
I didn't like the short jokes because it was really making a dig at a personal insecurity. Something I wish could be different, but is not within my ability to change. If you don't like your nose, you can get cosmetic surgery to change it. If you're petite, you're petite and that's it. When I would get upset, the person saying it usually told me to 'get a sense of humor' or 'it was just a joke'.
When I started taking martial arts classes, once again, I was the smallest person in the room. I had to work harder on my technique, because I didn't have arm/leg reach or mass as an advantage. 5'0" and 115lbs (at that time).
The end result was, by my mid level belts, I had cleaner technique than many of my other classmates. I rose through the belt levels quickly.
My master instructor took me to demonstrations along with the black belts (I was a green belt). He used me to show that it's not about size, it's about technique. I would throw one of my classmates who was 6'0" and weighed 220 pounds over my head. This particular demonstration with the tiny girl tossing the big guy around was a huge hit with the kids. We got lots of surprised gasps and cheers from the kids.
My master instructor used to have me spar with classmates much taller than me. A lot of them would go in thinking they had the advantage, then quickly end up on the ground. I used their size - their advantage - against them. They only had the advantage when at range, so I would quickly close the distance and get right up next to them. I was a grappler. I would grab their kicks and punches, then pull or step in close. Once I was on the "inside" space, the advantage was mine. I could sweep their leg or twist them to the ground quite easily. People have an innate dislike of others inside their personal space. They don't like being grabbed, and they don't like someone too close. My advantage was psychological as much as it was physical limitation that I would never have long reach with my arms or legs.
I often won the first fight against someone who never fought me before because they underestimated me, and overestimated themselves. Which is why my instructor would have me spar them in the first place. To teach them their size does not mean automatic win.
The *only* way I could achieve that was with proper technique. If I stood the wrong way, or didn't place my hands right, the big guys didn't budge. A lot of the big guys could brute force moves since they had the size, and room for error. I had no room for error. I had to do it right.
After that, I no longer cared about "short" jokes. I would smile, and secretly think to myself that I could toss them over my head, if I wanted to.
I believe a lot of them only said these jokes because they knew it bothered me. When it ceased to bother me, it strangely ceased to be funny to them.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
I'm a fan of dance shows. When I was little, I used to watch Solid Gold, Star Search, and even Lawrence Welk with my mom.
I can't dance myself being rhythm impaired, but I always appreciated the grace and the athleticism. I have pretty steady feet and balance due to my martial arts training, but choreography is a bit beyond me. Dancing is an extroverted activity, and I am very introverted. I feel too uncomfortable when I have too many eyes on me. Performing arts was something I shied away from. I preferred team activities like soccer.
My fiance absolutely refuses to dance. Funny, when we first met he said he was taking salsa lessons. He won't take lessons with me. I conclude he only took salsa lessons to meet girls. He's never denied this.
We're a mismatch for dancing, anyway. He's 5'10" and I'm 5'0". However, he *will* dance at our wedding!
I love how athletic and strong the professional dancers look. The girls have strong, muscular legs. I strive to build my body like them. Strong and sleek, not thin and emaciated.
I don't watch reality TV shows in general, but I love Dancing with the Stars. This season is particularly good.
Can I just say that I have a crush on Ralph Macchio all over again?
I was in 4th grade when "The Karate Kid" came out. He was probably one of my first movie star crushes. It's amazing how well the story has aged over the years. A story of hard work, overcoming those who try to keep you down, and personal achievement. Mr. Miyagi was the ultimate mentor: tough, but with love and respect.
And it's amazing how well Ralph Macchio has aged over the years. 49 years old? Good grief!
I love how proud Ralph is of his movie roles. Many actors hate their fame of their most popular characters. Sean Connery hates James Bond. Ralph embraces "The Outsiders" and "The Karate Kid". He's still just so cute and makes me feel like a school girl crush. I want to post a picture of him on my wall, just like 4th grade.
Ok, I won't.
I'm rooting for him as my favorite. He's having so much fun dancing, and he's quite good at it. I think the judges have been too hard on him these past two weeks. His enthusiasm is electric. I want him to win because he says he will do the "crane kick" if he wins the shiny ball!
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Just a recap in case you haven't been following my continuing saga. I've been complaining the past couple of days because the fiance came to me earlier this week with some 'changes' that he wanted with my cooking. At first I was offended by his demands because I have spent the past 8 years of my life working on making healthy food. I've spent years on Spark and other websites studying how to balance nutrition for weight loss. I felt a bit unappreciated, like he didn't know what he got. I mean, if he had dated my Texan roommate instead of me, he would be getting Frito Pie for dinner. Not healthy marinated carne asada, rice, and fresh green salads. Oh, and fresh squeezed margaritas.
Tonight he came home, swept the floor, mopped, vaccumed, and emptied the dishwasher. I asked him what prompted this. He said he saw that I had started sweeping the floor, tidied up the office room a little bit, and made dinners. He felt guilty coming home for a few hours, then clearing off again (he had to go back to work tonight.)
So...I'm feeling way guilty.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
We're getting married next year, so it's time to get a hustle on organizing. We've at least finally settled on a rough plan of where and when. We want to do a destination wedding because neither of us really want to do the work of getting a cake, catering, photographers, reception, etc. We really just want to show up somewhere nice and have someone else manage all that stuff.
I'm also not very traditional. A big wedding was never really something I had in mind. I've always been very independent, and marriage for me was always going to be 'under the right circumstances' with a particular type of guy. Fortunately, that guy came along.
One thing that is very important to me is having a handle on my own money. We have a shared bank account where we handle the bills and vacation money. We also have our own separate accounts where we can do as we please. No arguments about buying shoes or power tools. As long as we contribute our portion to the bills, the rest is ours. We never fight about money like many of our other couple friends. It works for us, so we're keeping this as is after we're married.
We are also maintaining our own separate retirement accounts. After we're married, he'll become beneficiary on my retirement accounts, and vice versa. It gives me the feeling of autonomy that's important to me. He's got his retirement funds, and I've got mine. In case of mid life crisis where he runs off with a 22 year old, I'll still be able to take care of myself.
I need to get back on my wedding diet. I have the same 10 pounds I've been wanting to lose forever. I can do it, I just need to get it done. The biggest thing that throws me off track is when we go on a weekend vacation. It just throws me off track in the worst way. I gain weight, then we come home and it takes me weeks to get back on my regular schedule. I need to get this moving because I need to get a wedding dress. I know what kind I want, but I'm probably going to have it special made. I want a simple dress with a V neck, high empire waist, and an over the knee pleated skirt that best flatters my figure. It should be of lightweight material suitable for a beach wedding. I'm fitting comfortably in a size 6 now, but I think I will be a size 4 in another 10 pounds.
One of my side hobbies is making jewelry with bead weaving. I plan to make my own wedding jewelry, but I need a dress before I can make something that matches. If I can find the V neck style dress, then I already have a pearl necklace design. If I end up with something else, I'll have to adjust. So the wedding jewelry is on hold, pending the dress.
We started discussing honeymoon options a few months ago. The first thing I said was I had some place like Antigua or Aruba in mind. I wanted to go deep southern Caribbean as it is not a normal destination we can go any weekend. That was too imprecise for my engineering fiance. He spent weeks putting together a spreadsheet. He went through hotels on every island in the Caribbean. We went through the spreadsheet and hotel pictures together, narrowed and ruled out options. The hotels and islands with the stuff we like to do with the best value for what we want to pay? Antigua or Aruba.
Ahh well. At least we are in agreement!
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