Ohana means family and family means everyone’s life gets blogged

The New York Ohana has been a big part of my story. I’ve been asked for more info about them, so here you go!

Quyn and baby Jake (they're just friends)
Quyn and baby Jake (they’re just friends)

The Quyn character has been played by Quyn, a New York Times VJ. She recently went on a spontaneous solo trip to Paris to paint, eat croissants and take photos. She’s a talented artist with a practical side. A mutual friend once described Quyn as “someone who will never fail.” I couldn’t say it better myself. Quyn bravely moved to New York without a job, she came armed with a degree, hard work ethic and a determination to make it. Has she ever!

James is played by James, a kinda big deal NFL editor/manager/coordinator. He loooooooooves the 49ers. He claims if you prick him, he bleeds red and gold. I’ve never confirmed this, but I have seen the gold jacket he keeps in his apartment. Don’t believe him if he tells you I tried it on. I DID NOT! He calls his lightweight bicycle the ghost. His pastimes include coming up with clever hashtags, picking up girls at naked yoga class and trash-talking Seahawks fans. We’re all waiting for him to move to Cali.

Jenga tournaments are serious business.
Jenga tournaments are serious business.

Navani stars as Navani. She’s a writer and radio show host among other things. She is a regular contributor to Latina magazine. Navani recently jetted off to London for a week just because someone asked if she wanted to. (Spoiler: Correct answer to that question is always yes.) Navani’s talents include bio writing, knowing when popular artists and authors are speaking at events and running for the G train in sneakers, heels and flip-flops alike.

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It’s not the next chapter, it’s the first chapter

It’s my last night in New York City. I was trying to think of something epic to do, but all I wanted to do was come home and write an article for my class and maybe have a glass of wine (definitely have a glass of wine).
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And that reminded me why I’m moving out of New York. While I love it here, it’s so expensive to rent a room in which to eat, sleep, write and raise a cat. Perhaps you’ve heard me say that 8 million times. When I got here, I was so excited to go to every show and visit every museum. Now, I long to write my books, make home décor with Tara and Betsy, go kayaking with Pam and/or Kristin on a pretty day and go to the pumpkin patch with Janice, Nolan, Colin, Kim, Max, Betsy, Thomas, Tara and Lora.

Leaving New York is so bittersweet. I keep telling my friends here that I’ll visit annually, probably move back some day and will definitely force my future children to be NYU Violets.

Living here had its triumphs and failures, and changed me more ways that I can list, but when has that ever stopped me from trying?

I leave with more scars than I arrived with. Two physical and a few emotional, but you can barely see those anymore.

I leave more assertive than I arrived. Don’t you dare try to take my dryer at the Laundromat or fly through the intersection I’m walking through. Can’t you see I’m walkin’ hea’?

I leave more self-assured than when I arrived. I won’t tell you want you want to hear. I’m going to tell you how I see it. If you don’t like my answer, don’t ask me again.

I leave here talking a little different. “Me” sounds more like “may” than it used to. And the four-letter words flow out more naturally. There might be more subtleties I haven’t picked up on my own.

I leave here dressing a lot better. I’m not sure how the Seattle weather is going to factor into my new wardrobe.

I leave with friends who changed my life for the better. I can’t thank Quyn, James, Navani, Jen, Kristin and all for being a part of my life. You’re all an inspiration to me, and I adore you.

I leave here with a tighter, more toned body that I have a great, big fear of losing when I don’t have to walk up 5 flights of stairs to get home and 10 blocks to the grocery store. Plus, I had to give my beloved gym the deuces. But, I did email Crunch and ask for a Seattle location. The regional manager assured me they’re “working on it! 🙂 That’s his smiley face, not mine.

I leave here so excited for my future. I’ve got big things planned and really, truly believe I can accomplish them. I can’t wait to show you!

And here’s a gratuitous picture of my nephew. I acquired him and his sister while I was in New York, too.

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A tale of two sets of shoes

What’s the difference between this collection of shoes …

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

and this collection of shoes?

Exhibit B
Exhibit B

The first image is of cheap, unwearable shoes. They kill my feet. I don’t know why I held onto them all winter. The thought of putting them on my feet gives me that I-don’t-wanna feeling.

I can walk around the city all day in the second set – even though they’re heels. They are comfortable and cute, too. The straps aren’t made of cheap materials that rip up my feet. Even when I was breaking them in, I didn’t have to bandage my feet. They weren’t even crazy expensive – probably the $110 range for each. I’ve had the turquoise and black shoes well over a year each. They’re still in good shape.

I’m calling it: No more Urban Outfitters, Zara or H&M shoes. My feet deserve better.

Thanks, Mom

I don’t know how to begin to thank the woman who handled disgusting tasks for me, built up my self-confidence, endured my nastiness and watched me leave home.

At Ocean Shores, Wash.
At Ocean Shores, Wash.

My mom worked nights, so she’d be home during the day in case my siblings and I needed something delivered to school, to stay home sick or to drive us to tennis/soccer/piano.

She went without, so she could provide us everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted – or thought we wanted because all the cool kids had it.

She didn’t let it show when I hurt her feelings with my snottiness. Or when I cried about not being pretty enough or smart enough or wanting something I couldn’t have.

She let me try everything I wanted to try. She told me she was proud of my courage and loved me through my failures.

It takes a special kind of woman to be a mom. It’s often a thankless job of listening to whining, cleaning up other people’s messes, bearing the brunt of frustrations, going to awful band concerts when you’d rather be … anywhere else, listening to teenagers scream about hating her and wanting to leave. I don’t know if I have it in me to do this job.

And the reward for doing the job for 18 years? Watching your little investment leave, rejecting the life you provided her, calling only when it’s convenient for her and visiting only at the holidays.

OK sometimes you get adorable grandchildren to love on, a cool adult child to share a beer with or successful offspring to support you.

Cute grandbaby to play with.
Cute grandbaby to play with.

Or you continue your mom job, taking the, “Mom, I have the flu,” “do I need stitches for this,” “I need money” calls.

Thanks, Mom, for all you’ve done for me. I love you.

How to find a therapist

I found my therapist through Google. I was searching for a relationship therapist in Seattle when Caley popped up. I scrolled through her website and really liked what I read on her blog. My ex and I both work in digital media, so a tech savvy therapist seemed important to me.

Caley and I emailed a couple times before our initial phone call. During that call, she asked what I wanted to accomplish. I don’t even remember what I said, but I felt like she nailed what I needed in just a 10-15 minute conversation. She had a road map and explained her goal is to work herself out of a job. I was hooked. I knew she was the therapist for me. I couldn’t wait to get started.

About six months later, we had accomplished what we set out to accomplish. I’ve been raving about the experience ever since. I’ve sent a couple friends in need to see her as well. They’ve all raved. Now I’m often asked how I found Caley and how to find a good therapist – particularly from friends who aren’t within a 20-mile radius of Caley.

I wish I had answers, but all I can do is tell you what worked for me and what I know now. Before Caley, I had one session with another therapist. I felt judged. I think it’s fair to say we mutually agreed she wasn’t the best for us. Because we left before our hour was even up.

After that, I called a couple therapists on my insurance plan. None of them had any sort of web presence and never even bothered to call back. Not impressed.

I went in only knowing as much about therapy as I’d heard from friends, seen in movies and studied in my college psychology classes. But I liked that Caley’s approach is to get to the root of the problem. My personal approach to health is that medication should be a last resort. I’d rather try every other option first. But to each their own. The talk approach is not a quick fix, but it was less time-consuming than I thought it would be. For me it took about six months. I started going every-other-week, then slowly went down to every three or four weeks. It’s case-by-case to be sure. In that initial call, I asked Caley how long it would take since I have friends who have been in therapy for years. She told me if she is still working on the same problem for a year or two, she wonders what she’s doing wrong.

My insurance was tricky. It covers mental health, but I had to meet a $500 or $1,000 (can’t remember) deductible first. Then it paid 80 percent. I don’t know what I ended up paying out of pocket, but I can tell you it was worth every single cent, and I would not hesitate to go again if necessary.

So if I were to look for a new therapist, here’s what I would ask:

 

  1. Based on what I’ve told you, how will we proceed?
  2. How long and how often do you think I will be seeing you?

The answers to these questions will probably be vague and certainly are subject to change, but I think you’ll get a sense of whether your therapist has a plan or not from them.

After that, I’d do some soul searching. Are you ready to be vulnerable? Are you ready to face repressed memories? Are you ready to cry on the couch about what your mother and father did to you (they did their best! They didn’t mean to!)? You have to be ready to work for it. No matter how good, the therapist, you have to be willing to put in the work.

Maybe I’m weird, but I always loved my appointments. I had no trouble talking about myself for an hour. I laughed, I cried. I left hiding my tear-filled eyes under sunglasses, but I always felt better and stronger. It’s feeling I wish for everyone.

I know I studied communications in college, but …

I believe I’m meeting the world’s most awkward Craigslist seller tomorrow. Here’s how NOT to have a conversation.

Email 1

Me: Hello, I’m interested in the printer on Craigslist. Is that still available?

Seller: Yes.

Email 2

Me: Great! Are you available at all today?

Seller: No.

Email 3

Me: Tomorrow? I could meet you around 4.

Seller: OK

Email 4

Me: OK. Where should I meet you?

waiting on a response …

 

Laundry day

*This got cut off before. Fixing now.

When the laundry bags appeared in the living room of 21E, I knew I was in for it. My roommate (AKA Crazy Girl) was horrible about laundry. First she’d spend hours bitching about how it’s too heavy to get down to the basement (despite the carts and elevators available). Finally she’d decide to send it out (despite the expense and fact that she hadn’t made a dime all year). Then she’d complain about how the fluff and folds, which pick up and deliver, don’t do her laundry the way she likes it. “It’s just never as soft and nice” as she writes out explicit instructions and attaches it to each bag.

I have done the drop off and pick up later thing. It’s nice to just pick it up on my way home, but Crazy Girl was right. It’s never as nice as I do it myself. And laundry is something I can do myself, so my Midwest side makes it hard to justify paying someone to do it for me at inferior quality.

Pandora, chai latte and a book.
Pandora, chai latte and a book.

Laundry is the chore I take the most pride in. I fold my towels perfectly, thanks to my training at Bed, Bath and Beyond. My socks are folded together just the way I like. I go home and make my bed with the sheets tight and crisp, just waiting to welcome me for a night’s sleep. All my clothes are clean and ready to be chosen the next morning.

Lately, I’ve been coming home while my clothes are in the dryer (the laundromat is across the street. I can see it out my window), and cleaning my apartment as if to create a welcoming place for fresh, clean clothes. I shake out the rug, sweep the floor, put my dishes away and open the windows to let some spring air in.

Then I get to sit back with a book and a chai latte and appreciate a job well done.

Enough with the bad news

For the last year or so, I feel like we’ve just been hammered with bad news. As someone who works in news, there’s just no escape. It’s not starting to take a toll on me, it already has. As we hung up after our handoff call with the West Coast editors today, my fellow New Yorkers and I let out simultaneous sighs. We all looked defeated.

We’ve been “in the seat” for the Tucson, Aurora theater, Wisconsin Sikh temple, Seattle cafe, Empire State Building and Sandy Hook Elementary shootings. We were there when the reports of firefighters being fired upon came in. We reported the news of a rash of commuters being pushed in front of oncoming New York subway trains. Then we took those trains home.

I’ve heard the Mister Rogers quote about when tragedy strikes, you see the people helping. I’ve heard the line about tragedies doing nothing but highlighting the strength and resilience of the community.

Those things aren’t untrue, but aren’t they just things we say to make us feel better?

I love being in the news industry, I can’t imagine leaving, but right now. staying feels overwhelming.

My cat-mate

Kelly, you might not want to read this.Quyn, you are forbidden from commenting on this.
That lump in my bed? It's Carlos

Carlos moved in Monday night. He spent the next 24 hours hiding under my bed. I even wondered if he somehow got out of my apartment when I was unloading the car because I neither saw nor heard any sign of him for 24 hours. Finally, I moved the boxes out from under my bed and pulled Carlos out.

After that, he slowly started peeking out and exploring. He spent the next 48 or so hours buried in my bed. I uncovered him to give him some pets and brushing and to say goodbye when I left in the morning. He came out here and there, and did the things cats do, like eat, look out the window and chase hair bands around the floor.

Last night, he felt comfortable and got brave enough to spend a lot of time out of bed (scurrying back under the covers when he hears a loud noise outside or someone in the hallway). I got home from yoga in black yoga pants and a black hoodie. They are now covered in white kitty fur. My gray rug is covered in kitty fur. I brushed Carlos well enough to have to clean the brush at least three times last night.

This morning, I planned to wear corduroy pants, so I got ready in my bathrobe, brushed Carlos again and put on my pants just before I had to leave in an attempt to keep them clean. Still, as I was lacing up my black suede booties, Carlos was trying to nuzzle his little face against my legs. I was literally hopping away from him, saying, “Noooo!” What, does this cat think I have a washer and dryer at my disposal?

Once I got out in the hall and locked the door behind me, I gave my clothes a once over to get some stray kitty furs off me.

This is trouble. Other than cat fur being icky, I have a mild cat allergy. I can usually be around one cat, but if I’m around multiple or if that one cat is right in my face, I’ll get the itchy eyes and sneezes. My eyes have been so irritated all week. I’m not sure if it’s still me adjusting, spring allergies, the overwhelming perfume at work, the fact that I haven’t been wearing my glasses or all of the above. But I’m learning a cat-mate is a bigger adjustment than I thought it would be.

He's cute, right?
He’s cute, right?