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Thursday, May 27, 2010

since i live under a house like a troll, my front door is not accessible on the street, but rather through a gate and a backyard. the gate is probably 8 feet high, but has a 4-6 inch clearing on the bottom. i noticed the other day that there seemed to be dirt flung from under the gate, as if someone or something was digging underneath it, but i didn't think too much about it. ...
i was awoken two nights ago by the idea that i was having trouble breathing. i remember dreaming that i was having a hard time breathing... less in the drowning or asthma attack way, more in the fart-in-an-elevator kind of way. the thought of not breathing was enough to wake me up at 4am to find out i was, in fact, trying not to breathe. the stench of skunk was so strong, it woke me up. even worse, it was strong enough to wake me up and MAKE ME GET OUT OF BED to light a candle to combat the smell. that's a strong skunkiness, though wow didn't seem to be phased by it whatsoever.
i've had a few run-ins with this skunk before, to the point that i might as well name him (yes, i'm assuming it's the same skunk, and yes, i'm assuming it's a he). once, i drove up to my gate, and just as i was about to exit my vehicle, noticed that striped tail walk around the side of my car... i peered out my driver's side window, terrified, and whispering to my mother on the phone (as if he may hear me) that it wasn't safe to get out of my car. 20 minutes later, long after my mother had laughed at me and hung up, i ventured out and booked it to my house. another time, i was sitting on my couch watching television when i heard a rustling outside. assuming it was a rat in a tree (which WOULDN'T scare me, oddly enough), i grabbed a flashlight and headed out to investigate. i walked along the ivy-shrubbed wall, looking for the glint of a rodent's eye, and having found none, i turned around to go back in the house. just as a did that, a lumbering black and white furbull came around the corner from the back of the house. if i was a cartoon character, you would have seen the !!! right above my head as i stopped in fright, then zipped in to my house, locked the doors, closed all the windows and, for reasons i still can't explain, turned off all the lights. i cowered in my bedroom, shining the flashlight out the window, watching my peppery visitor amble about the yard. eventually, he went down the stairs to the gate, at which point i was faced with a question... do i open the gate for him? how is he getting out? if i go out there to help, will i get sprayed? i eventually worked out in my head that it would be better to risk reaching over him to grant him exit than it would be to accidentally trip over him in the morning because he couldn't find a way out. as i tiptoed outside, i looked around warily... where the heck did he go?
since then, i have pieced together that mister skunk is a seemingly regular visitor to the yard, digging his way in and out from under the gate, and perfuming his travels to the point of waking me up. part of me is horrified at this invasion of the homestead, and the other part of me is absolutely delighted. ocean beach is known for its squawking green feathered friends, but i seem to be in the part of the neighborhood with adventurous four-legged furry friends. and i kinda like that.
current mood: stanky!

Monday, May 24, 2010

taking it to the bank
i put a few points in the karma bank this weekend when i volunteered for an event to help the City of Hope with its annual fundraising walk. to be honest, i originally signed up for the volunteering as part of the disney "give a day, get a day" program, where you received a ticket for free admission to disneyland for giving a day of service. the joke was on me when disney ran out of their ticket quota 10 weeks in to the year, leaving those of us who signed up for volunteer opportunities any later than mid-march in the uncomfortable position of considering bailing out on a commitment to charity. so i decided to go through with it, even with the daunting task of being there at 6 in the morning.
what a mess. i know that i have quite a bit of experience in event management, so maybe i shouldn't judge. but holy cow, what a cluster this was. i arrived at 6am, per my instructions, to find that my actual volunteer shift didn't start until 7:30. trying to make myself useful for an hour and a half proved to be difficult. it was equally comical and frustrating watching a group of 10 or so volunteers try to also make themselves useful when being tasked with "blow up some balloons". that was an excellent lesson in Volunteer 101... they will do what you tell them... nothing more and nothing less. the coordinator finally came over to clarify that she wanted a few bunches of balloons to tie to the registration tent to get people's attention, and hence started the tense discussions (close to all-out brawling) on appropriate string length and whether 2 balloons should be tied to the same piece of ribbon. really, people? this was something i became an expert in circa MIDDLE SCHOOL.
when it was finally time for me to take my post on the route to encourage and cheer and make sure no one wandered off the route and got lost, it was close to 8. unfamiliar with the area the walk was being held, i asked directions to my post from multiple sources, and i was assured that i would need to be shuttled to my location. i waited in the small parking lot designated for shuttle pick-up... only to be taken to the end of the parking lot and dropped off at my post... about 20 yards from where i got on the shuttle. awesome. i spent the next hour and a half chatting with my partner-on-route, until we saw the first of the walkers come through. and right behind the walkers was a car. turns out that no one thought to shut down traffic through the walk, so there were people blasting through the area at 40 miles per hour. my job quickly morphed in to one of traffic cop, cheerfully yelling at the walkers to stay on the right while trying to direct 2-way traffic on a 1-way lane.
and then it started raining.
eventually the shuttle came to pick us back up, and i was only aware of that when my partner got off the shuttle and asked if i was coming. thanks for the heads-up! i decided enough was enough and checked out by letting the route coordinator know what a mess the route was. i felt no obligation to stay and clean up... i probably would have been there all day.
part of me feels like volunteering next year in the position of either event coordinator, or at the very least, volunteer coordinator. i know i could do it better. the other part of me says sleeping in on a saturday morning is a treat i earn all week. incentive or no, totally not worth the experience.
current mood: what a mess!

Friday, May 21, 2010

a break in the clouds
it may be odd to those who have known me for a while that i have chosen to be political about the state of california's economy, and in particular, the university system, if only because i've never really taken a stance or chosen to be informed on much of anything. but it just takes one little spark to ignite passion, right?
good news from the state capitol today, via our chancellor:
"Governor Schwarzenegger recently released the “May Revision”, proposing the restoration of $305 million that was cut from the University’s budget on a “one-time” basis in 2009-2010, and offering $51 million to cover a portion of our unfunded student enrollments. I was particularly heartened that the Governor also proposed full funding for the Cal Grant program, which is critical to our efforts to preserve affordability for students.
Separate from the operating budget, the Governor also has proposed $355 million in capital construction bond funds for facilities projects on UC campuses. These projects would stimulate private-sector job creation and take advantage of current construction costs while also addressing a number of pressing facilities needs.
Final decisions over spending priorities will be especially difficult this year, but I hope lawmakers will agree that an investment in UC is an investment in the people and programs that can help lift the state’s economy. We will continue pressing the case for supporting the quality and competitiveness of the University."

i encourage you to become involved in advocating, as a private citizen, for the university of california’s budget needs by joining the UC for California network at http://advocacy.ucsd.edu. your advocacy results in funding for future generations of state tax payers... so the more you educate them, the better jobs they get, which means higher income, resulting in more taxes collected! everybody wins!
current mood: the future looks bright

Monday, May 17, 2010

a funny thing happened on the way out of target
what should have been a 20-minute jaunt over to everyone's favorite store turned in to a bloody 2-hour ordeal. on my way out of the dressing room, i banged my not-so-funny bone on a door jamb, causing an instant gusher of blood, not to mention the instant dead arm. i hoisted my dripping elbow up and, with tears in my eyes, asked the dressing room attendant if she had a band-aid. as she tore the place apart, i started looking for the merchandise i had dutifully left outside of the dressing room. the bandage-less attendant returned, and without my permission or even awareness, sprayed my elbow with an antibacterial bactine-like substance.
i'm sorry, i couldn't help it. i definitely yelled "WHAT THE FUCK?!" quite loudly in the middle of target.
now, with my arm throbbing and sizzling and still running with blood, i had to make my way to guest services to find a bandage. hoping my ordeal was near end and getting dizzy with pain, i found myself watching yet another associate slowly digging through their generic first-aid kit, randomly pulling out items and asking "will this work?" (umm, no, your half-used tube of neosporin is not going anywhere near my open wound, and will do nothing to stop the flow out of it). i finally had to ask, "you're target! can't you just pull something off the shelf??" eventually, she set off to do just that, while someone else grilled me about what exactly happened, including another dripping trip to the dressing room to show where i had left my flesh. i had to tell them "look, i'm not going to sue you, i promise. i just really want a bandaid, and i really want to get away from you people." i was a bit cranky, i admit. eventually the guest services chick came through with a bandage, a rough paper towel, and a used bottle of rubbing alcohol. i did my best not to contaminate myself further, bandaged up the wound, and headed to checkout.
the friendly man behind the counter chirped a cheerful "how you doin' today?" and i responded with a dark "i've seen better days..." to which he responded "that's great!!"... WTF?!
a day later, i have a hole in my elbow and a bit of shadow on my perception of one of my favorite stores. but at least it's a good story.
current mood: owie!

Friday, May 14, 2010

oh, sun god
my fellow tritons will understand all the emotion that goes behind those 3 little words. "oh, sun god." this once tiny get together has turned in to the biggest thing that san diego, not just ucsd, has to deal with on a yearly basis. as a student, i had hardly a notion of the impact of this event, even with the legends and myths that filtered down to me as a young freshman. now, as a staffer, and watching the daytime fair + nighttime rock show turn into nothing less than a half-million dollar spectacular of epic proportion, attracting partygoers from all points of the globe, my perspective has been altered: what once used to be THE event you looked forward to and planned for all year, now is that event staffers try to navigate around and avoid. if you're in the unfortunate circumstance of working in the center of it all (like me), you are reminded of the debauchery in the nastiest of ways... like realizing, that for this one day, there isn't a restroom on campus that is safe from human fluids on every surface.
praying to the sun god, an icon of the university on 364 days of the year, becomes synonymous with the porcelain god for that unavoidable 365th day. and your perspective on that fact all depends on which side of the tuition you are on.
current mood: hoping to escape relatively clean!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

a new mom
a change has come over me recently, cresting last week at the birth of my new baby, kylie. i think i get to legitimately call her "my baby", though i had nothing to do with her conception and will have nothing to do with funding her college education. but still, she's mine, maybe a little more so than my new nephew griffin, only because i was there with her a lot more. i found myself shouting questions to her in the general direction of her mom's belly, seeking her approval on cuisine choices when i took her mom out for dinner, or instructing mom to keep squeezing her in so she wouldn't be born when i wasn't around. as it turns out, i was around... so much "around" that i was in the operating room taking pictures and keeping mom focused? entertained? once a regular checkup turned in to one of those we-need-to-go-in-and-get-her,-like-now moments. so, as assigned by kylie's real daddy way back in october (before he was shipped far, far away, to a mythical zone of the world called afghanistan), i was kylie's stand-in daddy... though declining to cut the cord, because, um, ew.
i've never been much of a baby person... never got gooey-eyed over the small, often misshapen creatures, never appreciated their smell like a woman is apparently supposed to, never wanted to hold them or coo. but, now that i have 2 babies in my life that are, in one way or another, MINE, i find those maternal instincts that people always blather about starting to bubble up from some dark, dusty corner they've been hiding in. makes me sort of wonder what else may be down there. but, while i'm certainly not rushing out to get knocked up, the mere thought of it doesn't make me scoff or cower like it once did. i'm sure my parents are relieved about that.
current mood: welcome to the world, kylie valentina!

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