Tuesday, August 25, 2015


After having the day I've had today (which honestly wasn't that bad), I decided to compose a list of words and phrases:

Discern what is important from what is petty
Discard the petty
Harness negative feelings and energy into positive, proactive thoughts and actions
Extricate from toxic people. Immerse oneself with positive, affirming people.
Genuine feedback = Growth
Learn from weaknesses and mistakes
Change thinking and behavior for the better
Overcome adversity
Never let the desire to be liked get in the way of goals
Be communicative
Be direct
Open to other ideas and possibilities
Be respectful of others' humanity

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hello goodbye

I have really long hair.

Like, really long hair. I have always identified myself as always having long hair. It sweeps almost to my mid-to-lower back. Sometimes wavy, occasionally braided, most of the time in a bun on my head with a swirly flair.

And now I have an appointment soon to just cut it off. I'll be making a donation to Locks of Love, a non-profit that donates hair to children who for medical reasons suffer from hair loss.

It just seems like such a simple way to help a kid out. A couple of my friends did the same thing. They grew their hair to extraordinary lengths (both yellow gals too), and then one day they chopped off a good two feet of hair.

It will give a kid out there (and me in a way) the opportunity to start anew. All that - with just hair. So whoever out there gets my hair: I hope it helps you - even if in a minimal way - during your difficult time. It's been with me through my ups and downs, drama, both good and bad. I hope that you will find the same resilience that it has shown me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


As I wade through my thirties, the number "40" being in the not-too-distant future, I have to say that vanity never completely wanes.

At the risk of sounding incredibly narcissistic and shallow, I confess I still want to feel beautiful. I still want to be desirable. I suppose this sentiment will change if/when I reach the age of 80. But in the meantime, here I am.

After all, can anyone honestly say they don't care if they're repulsive and repugnant? And if you, reader, are such a person, then I tip my hat to you.

So, as I've mentioned before, I've been called ugly before on numerous occasions. I won't revisit those memories, but suffice it to say that being called ugly from ages 8 through 18 is pretty shitty.

It's so arbitrary. As Khaled Hosseini said in his novel, And the Mountains Echoed, "Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly." A girl can be the same exact person, but after a few pubescent changes and some weight loss, she can transform from an object of scorn to one of desire.

We abhor beauty, yet we covet it. And so, while the moments grow more sporadic as I age, I still get a kick out of a compliment.

My work is pretty business casual (emphasis on the "casual"). I push the envelope a little. Slacks with simple shirts. Jeans with a cardigan. Simple flats and even sneakers. I've toyed with the idea of wearing black yoga pants and hoping to pass them off as black slacks, but I was advised against it. As you can see, I love feeling casual and comfortable.

Today was an unseasonably warm day, and I decided to wear . . . a dress. With heels.

I never wear dresses or heels. Ever. Only when the weather is so uncomfortably warm do I throw out the notion of embarrassment over my less-than-ideal legs, thighs, and arms, and decide to don a dress.

So I wore a blue dress with simple nude pumps. Kind of like this:

It's so funny. When you happen to look good on a given day, women and men will compliment you in completely different ways.

Today, women exclaimed, "That dress is so cute on you" or "I love that dress!" They would gush for a minute or two and then we'd talk about the warm weather and how it brings out the cute summery dresses.

Men, on the other hand, say absolutely nothing. They compliment you in other ways. I said hi to a male coworker in the kitchen, whom I've worked with for years, and for a solid five seconds, he didn't say anything. He just said "Hi" and eyed me up and down - not in a pervy way - but in a somewhat shocked way. Clearly I've been dressing like a hobo for the last few years.

There was another male coworker with whom I've also worked for years. This particular morning, I saw him at the end of the hallway. I smiled and waved before going into my office. He stopped mid-step, paused for a second, half-smiled back, and shyly looked away.

What? It was bizarre and funny at the same time. All because of a dress and heels.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

More fiction. A work non-event.

He folded his arms and leaned into me, a bottle of beer dangling in his right hand. "What if I told you that I was in love with you?"

I stared back at him. "I would tell you that you are insane."

He leaned back a little. "That would be your response?"

"Yes." I paused. "We are speaking hypothetically, aren't we?"

He smirked. "Yes."

"Great," I said, "because that would have been a very uncomfortable conversation." I took a sip from my glass and looked at him over the rim.

He sighed and turned to face the rest of the room. "Too bad," he said as he unfolded his arms and took a swig of his beer.

I scoffed. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Just saying," he said.

" 'Just saying'?"

"It would've been good," he said, looking at me with a sideways glance.

I laughed, feeling embarrassed and flushed. "That's absurd."

"Just saying," he said, shrugging. "Hey." He put his beer down. "Let me show you something."


He took my hand and guided me to the back of the restaurant. "Um," I said trailing behind him tentatively, "all of our coworkers are out there." He didn't respond and walked me through a couple hallways, down a flight of dimly lit stairs, and toward the end of a long, dark corridor. He pushed open a door and we were suddenly outside, in the chill night air, on an empty patio.

"The patio doesn't open until June," he said. "But they always leave this door open."

I saw the mid-size buildings loom like dark pillars. The sound of traffic, foot traffic, music from car radios, strangers cavorting and laughing in the street, they all seemed to hum together in a dissonant symphony in the evening air.

"Wow," I said, looking at the sky. Then I turned to him and saw that he was looking at me. He was still holding my hand.

"So what was it you wanted to show me?" I said, slowly pulling my hand away.

"This." Then he kissed me.

For a few shocked seconds, I didn't know what to do. Then I pushed him away. "What are you doing? You're being insane."

"I suppose I am," he said, still leaning into me. "But tell me something."

"What, what are you talking about?"

"Tell me this is all in my head. That there's nothing here."

So dramatic, I thought to myself. This was straight out of a soap opera. "There's nothing here," I heard myself say.

He eyed me for a moment and said, "Okay." He walked up to the patio door and held it open."Let's go back up."


"We don't want to stay out too long," he said. "People might talk."

"Right," I said. I walked through the door he held for me. We walked through the corridor, the dim stairs, and hallways in stilted silence. When we rejoined our group, a coworker saw us and said smiling, "Where've you guys been?"

"Just making out," he said wryly. The group burst into laughter.

"Haha-okay-I'm-going-to-get-a-drink," I said in one breath as I walked away. As I waited at the bar, I watched him chat and mingle as if nothing happened. I saw a girl laugh at a joke and touch his arm. He was, after all, a funny guy.

A tiny part of me felt a twinge of something. Something I didn't want to feel. It was then I realized I had to go.

"Okay guys, I'm heading out," I said in the vague direction of everyone, smiling wanly. Protests here and there of "Already?" or "You're leaving? Another drink!" When I told him I was heading out, he nodded, said "See ya," and turned back to his rapt (mostly female) audience.

And then I left.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pure Fiction

When I was a young child, I read the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. The premise of the books was simple: The reader could literally choose her own adventure. The reader would be presented with a plot and, at a critical moment, the choice to pursue one course of action or another. For instance, if you witnessed a robbery, you could "follow the bank robbers" and turn to page 15. If you chose instead to "call the police," you would turn to page 37.

Like no doubt countless other children, I would number and add a paper bookmark whenever I was confronted by a decision in the story line. That way, if I were unhappy with the story that ensued, I could simply go back to my bookmarked page and proceed with the other choice and story line. In one particular book, I remember littering the pages with so many numbered bookmarks that I gave up and resigned myself to the literary fate my choices had taken me. After all, there were always other books to read, other adventures to choose, other lives to live.

What if real life were like that? What if, whenever you were confronted by a crossroad, you could simply place a bookmark there in that moment in time? That way, if you chose unwisely or unhappily, you could simply un-live the life you just lived, go back in time to that bookmark, and live a wholly different life with a different ending - a little wiser and without consequence.


It was a Friday night and I was drunk. Very very drunk. I was at the annual company retreat and tonight was the final night. We were in a large ballroom, all three hundred of us. An open bar stood in the corner, promising good times and unspoken mischief. I was on my third or fourth whiskey on the rocks and laughing at every witty and witless joke I heard.

At this particular moment, I stood admiringly by Anna, a beautiful senior analyst who was almost a decade older than I was. "You have the perfect body," I said, eying her slender figure. "I could motorboat you." Anna laughed hysterically. Alec, a senior vice president who was standing nearby, smirked and said, "We need to see more of this side of you."

I looked at Alec and laughed.

I remember the first time I met Alec. It was at my interview, two years ago. He walked briskly into the lobby where I was seated, held out his hand, and tersely said, "I'm Alec. Nice to meet you." I immediately stood up, shook his hand, and replied, "Nice to meet you too." He stood at an unremarkable 5'9, with disheveled dirty blonde hair, a plaid shirt, and skinny jeans.

Alec worked in the company's L.A. office, while I was interviewing for a position in the New York headquarters. The position would not be reporting directly to him, yet would work closely with his role. During our interview, Alec struck me as incredibly intelligent, articulate, and unabashedly cantankerous.

I accepted the job offer immediately.

Over the next two years, we collaborated on numerous business decisions. Our interactions were always professional and perfunctory, sprinkled with a polite joke or anecdote about the weather, our kids, or other mundane topic. Once in a while, he would visit the New York office to have some face time with the other senior executives. I could tell he missed living in New York.

Tonight at the company retreat, Alec was leaning against the wall with a beer in his right hand, quietly watching Anna and I banter. Anna noticed I was running low and offered to get me another whiskey. "Sure," I said, while every cell of my liver pleaded no. She left me with Alec, and we stood there talking for minute or two about an upcoming project. Anna then slipped a new glass of whiskey into my hand and whisked off to mingle amongst the throng of other drunken coworkers.

I sipped my whiskey, and for the next hour or so, Alec and I talked. He talked about his wife and how he thought she was amazing the first time he met her. He told me about the company's history, his irreverent opinions of his department, and his frustrations with the bureaucracy.

"You're not thinking about leaving, are you?" I asked. He paused and looked at me unwaveringly. "No, you can't leave," I pleaded, grasping at his arm with both hands. "You're the only one who responds to my emails!" He laughed, unpersuaded by what I perceived at the time to be very persuasive reasoning.

And at that moment, Alec wasn't a senior executive anymore, but merely a guy I was chatting and joking around with. I was now leaning against the wall facing him, my right arm close to his, and feeling pleasantly intoxicated and disarmed. And then it just crept up on me. This strange yet warm, nostalgic feeling, something I hadn't felt in a very long time.

"It's crowded here," Alec said, eying the door. "There's another bar in this resort. Want to go?"

"Sure," I said. I playfully linked my arm in his and we left the room of rowdy coworkers. After stumbling through a couple carpeted hallways, we arrived at the bar. Closed.

"Oh no," I said.

"Hmm," Alec said and paused. "Let's go to my room."

"Okay," I said. I felt something within me gently yet earnestly pull me towards him, and I let myself be pulled. As we walked up a couple flights of stairs, my arm still linked in his, my incoherent mind began to register what was materializing in this story line. What is going on? Is this really happening?

He unlocked the hotel room door and let me inside. I stood there for a moment facing the dark room as I heard him close the door behind me. The room remained dark, save for the dim moonlight that streamed in through the windows. I slowly walked to his deck and looked outside, over the shadowy trees and mountains beneath the moonlight, feeling serene, excited, and scared.

"Come back inside," he said quietly.

I turned around and walked towards him as he sat in an armchair. He took my hands and gently pulled me closer to him. I felt him place his hands on my waist near the edge of my shirt and his fingers touch my skin. It was then I realized that I really didn't know Alec that well, other than our business relationship and cursory small talk. Somehow, through a sequence of events, I was in his hotel room, feeling intoxicated by him, the whiskey, his hands touching my waist, and wanting very much to be with him.

It is at this moment in time where I would have placed a bookmark. That thin slip of paper I could always revisit just in case I chose a story line that ended unhappily.

I moved his hands from my waist and held them in mine. He then guided us to the bed.

"This is crazy," I said to him as I sat in front of him.

"I know," he replied, pulling me toward him.

"This is crazy," I repeated. "We're both married. With kids."

"I know," he said. "But I have this irresistible impulse to be with you."

"What, why?"

"I just got this feeling that you really wanted this," he said. "And you just looked so cute."

A part of me melted, and the feeling inside seemed to grow and emanate and reverberate between us. His words seemed to blur my senses and again I felt myself being pulled toward him.

Yet a part of me knew that this, all of this, was very wrong. And so, I made my choice: I resisted. And, after much awkwardness and weirdness, I left his hotel room.

Later that evening, in my own room, I replayed the events of the evening in my head, feeling confused, anxious, and exhilarated. I got three hours of sleep that night. The next morning, I was a nervous wreck. How would I act around Alec? Would we just pretend nothing ever happened?

The answer was yes.

The retreat was three months ago, and we have resumed our regularly scheduled charade. Conversations are painfully professional. Emails are terse. I am rightfully, agonizingly kept at arms' length. And I think back to that paper bookmark that hovered tremulously over his bed in his hotel room that night, and wonder, "what if."

What if I had given in? What if I had chosen the other path, the one filled with broken vows, guilt, and the inevitable destruction of both of our lives? What if I allowed myself just one night of pure selfishness? How exquisite and vile.

That night lingers in my mind, painfully, hauntingly, like a hangover I won't cure.

Yet, what of my husband and my children? They are indelibly etched into my heart, and I could never, would never, unweave their stories from my life.

And so I am a contradiction. A dichotomy. Like a book that has already been written, with two story lines that cannot possibly coexist yet are bound by a brittle spine. If I had chosen the other path, where would my story have taken me? I wonder if, at this precise moment in that alternate story line, I would have been experiencing the same magnitude but a wholly different kind of angst. I wonder if I would be revisiting that bookmarked event behind closed eyelids in the ephemeral moment between consciousness and sleep. I wonder if that other version of me would also be asking a different version of "what if."

But all the questions and metaphors mean very little when the reality is that this story has already been written. This life has already been lived. And the other story line is simply an idea, a pure fiction that was never chosen, never read, and thus never existed.

Monday, December 08, 2014

A closed door

I’m in my mid-thirties now. Married, with a kid, and about to buy a overpriced house in the burbs. Aside from the occasional pangs of stress at work, I live a mostly calm, drama-free life. A much different place than I was ten years ago in my mid-twenties, when things seemed so uncertain.

I’ve been with my husband for over 7 years now – clearly the longest relationship ever. And it’s comfortable and nice, sprinkled of course with the occasional bickering, mostly over whose turn it is to change the poopy diaper. So I’m way past the age of being cynical about love and relationships. It’s too much effort and, frankly, no longer relevant.

Thanks to advent of the Disney movie, “Frozen,” and my daughter’s obsession with the song, “Let it go,” I watched the film with her. It was cute.

Oddly enough, the song that resonated with me the most was the song, “Love is Open Door.” Yes, it’s a saccharine, chirpy little Disney duet that to most adults might sound like nails on a chalkboard. But for some peculiar reason, the song played over in my mind and stirred something within me.

At first, I couldn’t identify what the feeling was. And then I realized it felt like a longing, almost like nostalgia.

Corny as it sounds, I think the hopefulness and naiveté of the female character, Anna, reminds me of me…from ten to twenty years ago. (And how apt that [spoilers] her seemingly perfect suitor turns out to be a villain.)

So if I peel back the jaded layers of my life and past lame dating experiences, I can still reach that pre-teen who had ridiculous notions of how love worked. How the Perfect Soulmate would just materialize and rescue me. He would be perfectly handsome, charming, and intelligent, and know how to dance (like Prince Hans! Okay I'll stop).

I suppose a part of me mourns the end of the childlike romanticism. I will never have the same level of hopeful excitement that I did all those times I (unilaterally) hit it off with a guy I just met. The most exciting romantic moments were the first few dates with a guy you really really liked. The awkward anticipation of the first kiss, the waiting for the next date, the first time you hold hands in public. The feeling of almost swooning.

Of course, I’m perfectly happy with the hubs and have absolutely zero desire to be single. My husband and I have a very honest, sincere love. There are no secrets, there is no longing, because we both already have what we want. It’s not really about being single vs. being married.

I suppose I have nostalgia for the dreamy hopefulness. The kind of silly romance you see in your kid’s Disney movie that was once so real and palpable in your adolescent self.

(By the way, this post completely obviates the whole point of “Frozen,” which is all about women coming into their own and not needing any Man to prevail. And I just realized I became one of those moms who blogged about “Frozen.” Ugh, how unoriginal.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Yellow beauty

Yellow Mom is visiting me this weekend.

"Wow, you look so big!" she remarked when she saw my expectant belly.

"Yes," I replied.

"Grandma says that because you are beautiful, your daughter will be beautiful."

"Oh, that's sweet," I said.

She then looked at my face. "Why do you have so many zits?"

There it was, the familiar Yellow Mom gem.

I've heard the old wives' tale that, during pregnancy, a daughter steals her mother's beauty. And if that's the case, this Baby Yellow Gal is doing a hell of a job. I've been breaking out like an adolescent throughout my entire pregnancy. So much for that "pregnancy glow" that every other pregnant woman seems to rave about.

"I started breaking out since I got pregnant," I said. "You didn't break out when you were pregnant?"

"No," she said, her face still crinkled in horror.

"Oh, okay," I said. Really, how else do you respond to that? So much for that facial earlier this week.

My zits notwithstanding, Baby Yellow Gal seems to be thriving within. A month to go!
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