Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Things in June

In this blog, I pledged to try one new thing each month in 2018. The new thing could be trying a new food, doing a new activity, or going someplace new. I have asked my fellow readers and my boyfriend to hold me accountable. At the end of each month, I will tell you all what new thing or things I have tried. I will also discuss the barriers that caused me to not try it before.

One thing I did was to try a new activity. I went to a dessert show!

Barrier to going to a dessert show in the past: I didn’t know dessert shows were a thing. I keep calling them dessert parties.

Why I wanted to go to a dessert show: It’s dessert!

My thoughts on the dessert show:

I also tried a new food too. Seaweed salad.

Barrier to eating seaweed salad: I don’t really know. Before a couple of years ago, the only time I heard of seaweed salad is in that one song from Rent.

Why I wanted to try seaweed salad: It came with my delicious ahi tuna.

My thoughts on the seaweed salad:

  • Pretty good
  • It’s crunchier than I expected, though
    • That’s why I gave some seaweed salad to Franklin

Last, I tried a new thing this month. Bench pressing with a Smith machine (yes, I know Smith machines are bad, but it’s what the kickboxing gym has. It’s a Smith machine with a chest fly machine and some pulley attachments).

Barrier to bench pressing: I’m not a serious weightlifter. Only athletes, weightlifters (including powerlifters), and bodybuilders bench press.

Why I wanted to try it: Well, I was lifting weights with another kickboxer and he had me try it.

My thoughts on the Smith machine bench press:

  • I liked it, but I don’t want to do it every time I go to kickboxing
  • Definitely good for a beginner if they feel nervous about using a barbell to bench press.

Dear Mr. Don: A Letter to Franklin’s Late Father

Franklin’s father’s urn is getting buried today, so I decided to write a letter of what I would want to tell him. No, this will not be read at the burial. He already had a funeral mass back in March.

Dear Mr. Don,

The first time I saw you was the day before your passing. You were no longer talking, but you seemed to recognize me. You “woke up” when you realized I was in front of your bed and you seemed so happy to see me. I found out the next day that you were excited about the fact that your oldest son finally has a girlfriend.

It was honestly rough seeing you in that kind of shape, but you seemed a bit better when you woke up. It was really rough seeing you the day of your passing and I really struggled to keep it together. I didn’t want your family thinking it was inappropriate for me to feel the strong emotions if I never met you before. I was told that I was picking up on the emotions Franklin was afraid to show.

Although I really wished for you to wait to pass the next day, higher powers disagreed with what I wanted. The higher powers didn’t care that it was Franklin’s birthday. The higher powers felt it was time to go. I think I noticed first that you stopped breathing. The sound of the nurse turning off your oxygen was deafening. Your death affected me more than I expected. I never knew you when you were healthy. I never met you before your cancer diagnosis. I never talked to you before you could no longer talk.

I wish I could tell you that you did an amazing job raising Franklin. I wish to thank you for being Franklin’s biggest cheerleader when he joined the army. I am sure he would turn out differently if he didn’t join the army. I wish I could have seen you healthy other than in pictures. I wish you were able to talk to me. I wish to know if you approve of me for your son. I wish you could be there at our wedding like you were for your younger son. He just paid for half my engagement ring and will pay the other half when it arrives.

Mr. Don, even though your passing was unexpected and completely avoidable, I promise to turn everyone’s anger into action. If your son allows me, I will participate and raise money for the Light the Night Walk put together by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in your honor. If I give up a career in the tech industry, I want to become a patient advocate so I can empower patients and their families to speak up if they feel like the care is not satisfactory. I don’t want anyone to regret not speaking up like your older brother regrets. I promise to look after Franklin on this Earth like you did when he was young and like you are now in the afterlife.

I know you are in a better place without any shoulder pain or cancer. We miss you.

lgbt · Self-Discovery · Self-Reflection

LGBTQ Post: I Thought I Knew Myself, But I Really Don’t?

It’s LGBTQ Pride Month! I had this idea for a blog post awhile ago when I was doing some self-reflection, but I decided to do this now since it’s Pride Month!

I have learned through different articles that learning about ourselves constantly happens. There are aspect about you that don’t stay the same. People nowadays bash students who continue their education at a college or university, but that’s the perfect place to express yourself how you want to and may even learn something about yourself. You may even wonder if what you thought you were is a lie.

Let’s go back in time to October 2010 featuring a young, university freshman, 17-year-old me. I liked a football player because he kind of looked like a high school ex-boyfriend. Whenever I’d be near girls, I would have a sudden urge to kiss them. Of course, I wouldn’t act on it. I started questioning my sexuality. Am I bisexual? I’ve always liked guys so I knew for sure that I wasn’t a lesbian. After some searching online, I learned that it’s not uncommon for a girl to want to kiss another girl.

The feeling didn’t last long for every girl except for the girl who sat next to me in math class. I referred to her in a previous blog as “Bec”, but Bec wasn’t only in my math class. We were in the same new student seminar too, so I got to see her three times a week during the semester. That feeling was complicated by the fact that I liked a guy in my math class. I didn’t recognize that I had feelings for Bec until two years later when I was talking to a friend who realized she was lesbian the year prior.

I should have realized that I wasn’t straight after that semester and when I started becoming attracted to one of my roommates sophomore year, but I’m not going to retell my coming out story. This is the start to a years-long discovery that I am bisexual/queer.

Mental Health

Mental Health Post: My Thoughts on a Dessert Show

Warning: I briefly mention something about suicides in this post. If suicide is a trigger for you, don’t read this blog entry. Stay safe and practice self-care.

What does a dessert show have to do with mental health? Proceeds from the tickets to the dessert show my boyfriend and I attended last night benefits veterans with PTSD who are seeking treatment at a VA hospital near the location of the dessert show.

The dessert show involved a small selection of handheld desserts from a bakery only a few doors down from the dessert show location, coffee (which I don’t drink), and people from a music conservatory singing and playing instruments.

Before the music started, one of the musicians talked about how the proceeds of the dessert show is benefiting veterans with PTSD and talked about PTSD. He did mention the high suicide rates of veterans, which I felt was important to talk about because we had two celebrity suicides last week and suicide cases have spiked compared to previous years.

The same musician (who was mainly one of the pianists) also talked about how the conservatory he is a part of uses music to help with PTSD treatments in veterans. He’d play “dark” music as well as “light” music and has found that the “dark” music has helped veterans with PTSD connect with their feelings and start processing the trigger. Of course, not everyone in treatment is able to listen to the “dark” music at first.

Disclaimer: This is the point of the blog where I tell you that treatment for mental illnesses is not one-size-fits-all and no two people with the same mental illness is the same. Just because music therapy works for the veterans at the specific VA hospital doesn’t mean music therapy works for everyone. Just like mindfulness and meditation doesn’t work for everyone. However, I am not a medical professional and neither is the pianist, so you can take this with a grain of salt if you wish. Or you can try it if you want. If you found effective treatment, stick with that.

The veterans are asked to close their eyes or wear an eye mask so they can fully process the music. The music has helped people feel their emotions again. Before the pianist played a “dark” song that he wrote two months ago, he told us to not applaud, he allowed us to close our eyes like the veterans he works with do during music therapy (I wasn’t going to risk falling asleep), and even asked us to think of a title of the song. Me and a few other people felt like the song was about walking a path, one person felt like the song was about shadows, and another person felt like the song was about regret.

Then we had other music groups from the same conservatory performing. They’re going to start performing every second Saturday of the month. I’m not paying money each month for this, even though the first ending of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure will be performed next month (“Roundabout” by Yes. The song is more than 8 minutes long). I also learned that there’s talks about dropping the D in PTSD so it can just be “Post Traumatic Stress” instead of “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. Maybe it’s to decrease the seemingly low stigma? (Shrug) Now if only they could do that with Generalize Anxiety Disorder, since anxiety issues are being increasingly stigmatized.

Irrelevant comment: I wanted to move to that town when I got married since my boyfriend lives there, but just like at the big band concert, most of the attendees were of baby boomer age. I guess I’m too young to live in that town, and so is my Gen-X boyfriend.

Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Things in May

In this blog, I pledged to try one new thing each month in 2018. The new thing could be trying a new food, doing a new activity, or going someplace new. I have asked my fellow readers and my boyfriend to hold me accountable. At the end of each month, I will tell you all what new thing or things I have tried. I will also discuss the barriers that caused me to not try it before.

I did better than I did last month and tried more than one new thing (I only did one new thing back in April). Good for me. I first went to a new restaurant. It’s a British pub.

Barrier to going to a British pub: I don’t live near one. Clearly, I don’t live near exciting things.

Why I went to a British pub: Franklin’s dad’s cousin and her husband wanted to take us out to dinner. The plan was to eat a home-cooked meal, but the recent rainfall made the outdoor deck not look good.

My thoughts on the British pub: I liked how you could either get french fries in “shoestring” style or “English style” (which are steak fries). I personally prefer steak fries or crinkle-cut fries. However, Franklin’s dad’s cousin complained about how the pub was loud due to people coming from a wine tasting festival. Restaurants and pubs aren’t supposed to be quiet…

I went to another new restaurant the day before. It’s a new pizza place near my house that’s called “(insert name of a character from a popular movie here) Pizza”. Not saying the actual name or else you’ll find what town I live in. I’ve made some controversial blog posts so I don’t want to be tracked down and beaten.

Barrier to going to “(Character from popular movie) Pizza”: It’s a new place. It just opened up earlier this month.

Why I went to “(Character from popular movie) Pizza”:

  • Dad printed out the menu for me after hearing good things from his co-workers
  • Dad wasn’t making dinner that night
  • Franklin and I chose this over going to Noodles & Company

My thoughts on “(Character from popular movie) Pizza”: The inside of the place looked like the inside of a restaurant I visited back in January. Guess it’s a new trend? I also felt fancy having wine with my pizza. Moscato is the only wine I like. Definitely will go back one day.

Speaking of “(Character from popular movie) Pizza”, I tried a new food there too! I tried brussel sprouts!

Barrier to trying brussel sprouts:

  • I don’t like vegetables
  • No one I know eats brussel sprouts
  • I have never seen brussel sprouts other than in pictures

Why I tried brussel sprouts: It was actually Franklin’s idea. He looked at the small shareable plates and I asked me if I wanted to try the roasted brussel sprouts

Note to everyone: I read on Reddit that people don’t like brussel sprouts because their family members don’t cook them properly. Franklin has also never had roasted brussel sprouts because he’s had to eat them cooked in a way that “they were boiled within an inch of their life”. His words, not mine.

My thoughts on brussel sprouts:

  • They weren’t that bad
  • They were topped with parmesan cheese and pieces of bacon, which helped with the taste a lot
  • Needed more bacon and parmesan cheese
  • I would take a piece of bacon to put underneath the brussel sprout to help with the taste

Returning to School: How Do I Feel?

I would like to apologize if I post even less than I have been lately. I am about to return to school to obtain my Master’s degree in Computer Science.

Three months ago, I got my acceptance letter into the Master’s program. Because my Bachelor’s degree was not in Computer Science, I have to take three pre-requisite courses to “catch up” to the other students who have Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science. Those courses are discrete mathematics and two computer science classes. I have to get at least a B or better before starting my degree requirements. Tomorrow evening (May 30th), I will start taking a 7-week course for discrete mathematics.

I have decided to take the class over the summer so I could get a head start on my pre-requisites and reduce my extended time for completing the program. This will allow me to start my degree requirements in Spring 2019.

Weeks ago, I felt excited. I don’t feel anxiety about starting this even though I have heard how difficult discrete mathematics is, but I don’t feel anything right now. I’ll probably feel anxious about it tomorrow.

I have figured out ways to help me put in the most effort I ever put into a class.

  • I will utilize the small library on the military base I work on, my kitchen, and maybe some local libraries as study spaces. I live half an hour away from campus and will commute since I’m a grad student, so I don’t want to spend time and gas to get to the campus library.
  • I will read the textbook ahead of time to get an idea of what I will be learning about and to identify any concepts that are hard to understand.
  • I will review what I learned in the previous class to reinforce concepts in my head.
  • I will utilize YouTube videos to supplement my learning to review concepts in what could possibly be a new way or to fill a gap in my learning.
  • I will learn study skills that I did not learn in the past.

I will still do kickboxing, but I will only be able to attend Saturday morning lessons during my 7-week summer session and the fall semester due to having classes during the evening lessons. People say that exercise is good for relieving stress, so I won’t quit kickboxing. I will also utilize my boyfriend as my support when things feel stressful during the semester, because no one else will be my emotional support.

Anyone who has been following me since last year may have noticed that I don’t post as much this year. This is because much of my posting have been about other people or about events going on and it derailed from the original purpose of chronicling my personal journey. I changed that this year to mainly focus this blog on me. However, while I’m taking classes, I will likely blog less. I will still tell you the new things I tried this year because of my goal to try at least one new thing each month for 2018, but don’t be surprised if my only post for the month is from my Try Something New 2018 series.


Unexpected Good News

So yesterday, I was trying to find an application through my job that lets you set goals. I need to do this by Tuesday. I couldn’t find the application, but I found the electronic pay stubs. I decided to be curious and look at how much money has been going into my bank account lately and I noticed that it’s been more than usual. I originally thought it was because of changes into how much taxes get taken out. Nope, turns out I got my annual raise back in March.

I didn’t think I was going to get a raise after getting kicked off a project for not being good enough. I didn’t get an e-mail from my boss like I did last year. Glad I got a raise so I can put more money into my monthly student loan payments. Can’t wait to do that starting the next payment. Got to whittle down that student loan!

Speaking of work, I’m doing test engineering stuff on a project I was on when I first started with my company and it’s going well. I even was pulled aside by my test lead so he could say that I’m getting high praise and that I’m really good at being a test engineer. I find test engineering to be much easier than being a software developer because test engineers have step-by-step instructions, which is something that someone like me needs. Software development is more abstract and it’s hard for me to think the way a developer needs to think.

I’m still going to pursue my Master’s degree in Computer Science since the classes might help me become better at development work, but test engineering is probably my best fit for the foreseeable future. I will warn everyone now that when I start my summer math class and the fall semester, my blog posts may become more sparse than they have this year.