A Year in Review: 2009

December 31st, 2009 | Tags: , ,

So much has happened this year that it makes you wonder what might happen in 2010. The sentiment that seems to be the majority amongst friends and family is that 2009 sucked really bad and 2010 has GOT to be better.

Let’s see what 2009 had in store for me.

Good:
I graduated college.
Visited Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, and Vancouver, BC, Canada with my best friend.
I got an Xbox 360 from someone who must really love me.
I got to visit England.
My kitty is healthy and continues to be spoiled.
Continued to be a non-smoker.
The generosity of strangers, friends and family is astounding!

Bads:
My car kept breaking, and my windshield needed to be replaced.
I needed to talk to a counselor to make it through a semester of school.
I had a friend lose her husband.
I spent 8 months looking for a job with no luck.
I got a $0.27 raise for my 4th year of employment.
I spent too much of my time being pissed, angry, and altogether face-stabby.
Spent too much of the year  taking birth control pills that threatened to give me major heart problems before it was detected.
Student loans started to go into repayment when there is no additional money (nor jobs).
California has really poor management skills and pissed all of the tax payer money away. *sigh*

So needless to say, I’m one on board for the Eff Off 2009!! boat.

Everyone has resolutions of some type, even if they don’t call them resolutions. Here is my semi-predictable, and hopefully possible list.

Goals for 2010
Read more books.
Go to the gym regularly.
Eat better, but never deprive myself of my personal food joys (just in moderation).
Eliminate all of my credit card debt (this one I’ve been working on, but I want the only debt I have to be the student loans before the end of the year).
Work on projects that I’ve been thinking about but keep putting them off.
Dye more yarn.

That’s about it. What about you guys? What are your hopes for the new year??

Damn Good Food

December 11th, 2009 | Tags: ,

There are a billion things that I miss about living in Los Angeles, but one of the biggest is the food choices. There are some amazing little hole in the wall diners, cafes and the like that serve you any number of dishes. There was a little Filipino place on Western that I stopped in at least once a week for some take home at which point I’d hole myself up in my room and stuff until food coma ensued. It was completely amazing.

Part of the draw of a large city like Los Angeles is the international pot luck of people you meet. My friends were from all over the place! Goodie for me, because that meant that I got to sample some of the best foods ever.

Among my friends were a number of folks who had El Salvadorian backgrounds. At the time (and this was years ago) I was the type who believed that Central and South American countries who’s native language is Spanish all had similar types of food. Oh, please don’t label me, but how the hell was I supposed to know?!

One day Veronica and Alex and a number of our other friends went to this little El Salvadorian restaurant. They ordered a TON of pupusas and we proceeded to stuff our faces. I had never had one before, but they were insistent that I would “love” it. I was skeptical, especially when they jumped fingers first into everything in front of us.

“Uh… fork??” The woman who brought us our food gave me the blank stare. Y’know the stare… the “what the hell is this white woman asking for a fork for” look.

Along with the pupusa came this cabbage mixture (called curtido). It reminded me of kimchee. I hadn’t had much Korean food either, but kimchee is something I will always love and adore. It has a funny smell to it, and most people who don’t know what it is are afraid to try it. It’s not something that most people would like, sure, but oh ho ho ho, is it one of my all-time favorite things. So on that first pupusa adventure when the curtido was brought to the table, I smelled familiarity.

My friends ripped pieces off and dug right into the curtido. I, however, forked a TON of it on top of my pupusa, cut and forked it into my mouth.

And it was amazing!

After leaving Los Angeles I hadn’t had a pupusa in years. There’s no such thing as an El Salvadorian restaurant anywhere nearby, the closest is likely to be in the Bay Area (San Francisco) some 2+ hours away. I had random fleeting moments of remembrance, but I knew I’d likely never taste a pupusa again.

Until I started working with Norma. Now, she is Mexican, but she found someone who was El Salvadorian, and requested that she make some pupusas. I ordered a tiny amount and was content for a day or two. Yesterday, Norma asked me if I wanted some more for delivery today.

Um… lemme think… Fuck yeah!

So I ordered 20. And will eat pupusas for every meal this weekend. I will be gluttonous and fat, but oh, how happy I will be. And thankful to the lady that made me a little bit of Los Angeles for me to take home with me.

The REAL Holiday Spirit

December 4th, 2009 | Tags: , ,

So people often ask me why I don’t like Xmas and all of the holiday hooplah. I generally take the easiest way out and just say I hate crowds. Most people accept this answer as they fully and completely understand. Really, there are a handful of reasons.

Tiny History Lesson
Christmas (which will from here on be referred to as Xmas) was originally a Christian holiday as a means to celebrate the birth of Jesus. According to wiki (which I know is not the best source of information), the term “Christmas” is actually a mashing of Christ’s Mass, and totally makes sense. There’s actually a lot of interesting information on Wikipedia on Xmas.

Current Day
That being said, my dislike of the holiday has nothing to do with my lack of religious beliefs. Taking away from what the point of Xmas was originally, it has become a bigger and bigger cash cow for retailers. The list could go on and on about all of the scams, or even the downright rip-offs, of price inflation for the appearance of sale prices. Blah blah blah.

It’s more than that. This time of year boasts having “goodwill toward men”. It’s supposed to be about acting better towards your fellow man, and being more nice. Except, this is the time of year when we see people’s real colors come through. The pushing and the fighting in the aisles of stores. The fights and arrests of those who stepped over the line. The mad dash to get “the best parking spot” and nearly running folks over to get it. It’s about driving more angrily. The expectation to be treated with respect is higher, but the willingness to do the same in return is greatly diminished.

This is the time of year in which I avoid public places. I avoid having to drive unnecessarily anywhere, if I can avoid it. I don’t like other people’s disrespect and disregard to be made abundantly clear to me.

This isn’t about people acting as I would want them to act. This is about people who act better the remainder of the year, and from Black Friday on do they forget their manners and resort to overtly childish behaviors. Even saying that is putting children down because many are taught to treat others the way they would like to be treated. What kind of example are these people painting for children? Even if they aren’t acting in this way for their own children, they’re showing others that it’s okay to be that way. And it’s not.

The current state of the economy across the nation isn’t so fantastic. I’m probably on the “lucky” list for still having a job and a roof over my head. California is hit even harder than most with the decline of its own state government, its debt and an ever growing unemployment rate. These are desperate times. To keep their own families happy, they’re resorting to whatever means necessary. In my town, it’s even worse. 4th on the National Unemployment list isn’t something to scoff at, by any means. It means there’s less jobs, less money, and more desperation.

This is exactly the time of year in which we should show each other some respect. Many don’t. This is the time when those who can give a little, does. If you’re child is already going to have a ridiculous TON of presents under the tree, let someone else have the “last one on the shelf.” There’s no way of knowing if that’s going to be the only gift, or among many. It’s not a matter of knowing another person’s situation, but owning your own. Setting limits of what you’re willing to dish out by means of terrible behaviors.

I’m not exempt from acting badly during the holidays. This time of year puts me on edge knowing what’s to come. I avoid going out not because I hate crowds, but because I know myself. I know I have a terrible temper and a BIG mouth. When people are acting a fool toward me I don’t hesitate to spread the filth and make it be known to all how dumb someone is acting. It’s terrible and I know it. I don’t go out because it’s not for me to spread the hate during a time of year when we’re supposed to be kind to each other. Kind. Not loving. Not even accepting. Just kind. So staying in is my attempt at doing my part of keeping my bad attitude and Xmas hate contained within the walls of my apartment.

For those who go out and have to brave the wilds of malls, Wal-marts and shopping centers, remember that you don’t know how little or how much that other person has… so just be kind to each other. Be in the spirit of xmas, the way it was intended.

And I’m going to work on being less bitchy.