Our Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul, If They Work

So I went to the doctor’s on Monday. A retina specialist, to check up on my eye condition after I had a vein occlusion. (Yes, I realize 30s is super young for vein occlusion when I don’t have underlying conditions, but you know, them’s the breaks?) For the past year or so I’ve been seeing flashes of light every time I move my left eye to the right. It’s most likely something is tugging on the retina and causing weird effects, which is why I had to go make sure my retina’s not detaching. Because of the pandemic I put it off until now. It’s gradually getting bigger – the area of flash of light, I mean – but more of a nuisance than something debilitating. Anyway, I finally scheduled an appointment on Monday, and went.

Well, the good news is that my retina is structurally fine, so far. No tears, no sign of detachment, etc. The bad news is that the doctor doesn’t know why I’m seeing this flash of light. His theory is that my vitreous liquid in the eye is shrinking, something that happens to near-sighted people as we age, and that is causing the problem. It doesn’t mean that the retina is going to detach, but it might, so the only thing we can do is just keep an eye on it (ha!) with routine check-ups. Not great, not terrible? At least I’m assured that so far, I can continue to see, which is a plus in my book!

A fun fact! So apparently the length of dilation of your eye is affected by how dark your eye color is. I have medium brown eyes, so when I get my eyes dilated it takes like 4-6 hours to get better. My husband has super black eyes and he gets over it in like three. And apparently people with super light colored eyes will stay dilated until the next day. I learned this from the nurse when she was dilating my eye for the checkup, and I was like, wow, no wonder some people don’t fear going to the eye doctors because they’ll be fine in a couple of hours. I can’t imagine how someone feels when it takes like the whole day and then some though. You can’t do anything then! Although I myself didn’t end up doing anything on Monday either. It wasn’t the dilation, it was the fact that the doctor was doing a really thorough job of checking my retina, which apparently involved using a metal stick to push back the sides of my eye and shining a ridiculous bright light for a long time. He actually put some lidocaine gel in my eye so I don’t feel pain during. So of course after I got home and the lidocaine wore off my eyes were bloodshot, puffy, teary, and all around miserable because someone just literally poked at it with a stick and blinded me for like, ten minutes straight. Brilliant. but hey, it confirmed that my retina’s fine, so there’s that, at least.

The doctor also suggested I go see my regular eye doctor (ophthalmologist instead of retina specialist) to see if I have glaucoma, and reschedule a checkup in three month. Well, all that will have to wait until I get vaccinated, I think. Maybe I can get my hand on something in May, but who knows. As of now I’m done with hospitals until I’m ready to try IVF again, which is, at the earliest, middle of March. I’m staying in my self-imposed quarantine for now. And on that note, I hope you guys also stay safe and have a good day.


One Step at a Time, and Skincare

So I just want to say I’ve spent most of January basically honing my work/life routine. I know people always say keep a routine, and I’ve never liked that idea, but now, a year into the global pandemic, I realized how much routine is necessary in times of great stress and copious unstructured time. I didn’t think about how my husband going to work, coming back from work, eating out, grocery shopping on weekends, and a slew of other chores kind of naturally formed a loose routine before. I had a concrete starting and stopping time for work: when my husband leaves I work, and when he comes back I stop. Now he’s WFH and it’s so sporadic when he’ll be busy in a meeting or when he’s slacking off, it’s throwing off my rhythm too. My routine just went completely whack over the past year, which was both bad for my productivity and for all the other things in life, like washing my face/put on sunscreen even if it’s cloudy, you know, self-care things. (The IVF surgery/pregnancy/miscarriage hoopla did not help matters, but that’s a different story.)

I decided as part of my new year resolution was to get myself back on a functioning adult track. Which basically meant I started to rigidly follow a schedule of what I’m going to do at specific time of day. In hand-written form, mind you, because I found that writing down checklists with a pen is somehow magically more motivating than typing it out on screen. I bought myself the Hobonichi Techo (which I LOVE. 100%. It’s been so, so helpful with my work), started a random journal and forced myself to record down every thing I’ve done each day, and bought an actual timer (like, the kind you use in the kitchen – it’s cute!) so I don’t stray off course. A bit excessive, I admit, but apparently that’s what it takes to whip myself into shape. Now I’m a month in and have more or less established things, or at least have concrete goals and can see when and why I’ve slipped up (mostly because I kept on getting distracted online, so I installed a web blocker and diligently used it.) You know I’ve always thought writing creatively as a career for me is like an alcoholic trying to stay sober. You have to do baby steps at first and then keep it up every day. You might slip up once in a while, but the goal is to get back on track, hopefully faster every time you failed.

In addition, I’ve also found out that keeping a routine is inadvertently helping out my skin! I’ve developed seborrhoeic dermatitis a couple of years ago (thank you California drought weather!) and have been trying to keep it in check ever since. I’ve been using prescription steroid creams and they do clear it up, however, it always come back after 10 days or so. I don’t want to keep on putting steroid on my face indefintiely, so I’ve been trying all kinds of other creams and serums and etc. to see if I can manage it without medication. Well, turns out that if I consistently keep a skincare routine it gets better. Right now I have minimal redness and peeling, and I’ve honed down what kind of moisturizer works best for me and what kind of ingredients are huge no-nos (alcohol, mainly, and maybe niacinamide, which is a shame because it’s a great ingredient, just not for me). I’m still trying out things but the combo is working well, and I’m super stoked about that. Keeping a routine on my work made me also commit a routine on my health. Who’d have thought?

Now if only I can apply the same to flossing. (Need to go to a dentist, but am waiting for after I get the Covid vaccine, which might not happen until June. Ugh.)

Life · Writing

Yep, It’s February

Well hello folks. New month, new entry, per tradition. Really, I should post more often, but sometimes things just get in the way. Plus, it’s not like every day there’s some major crises like Insurrection or Second Impeachment and the like. “May you live in interesting times” really is the worst curse ever.

Anyway, I just want to give a general update on my life right now. The first month of 2021 has passed and I used most of it to basically establish a routine – writing, skincare, chores, everything. Of course I hit snags when I just was not up for it, which was kind of excusable considering the turmoil that happened in the US, but just barely. I had no excuse not to work as much as I could the past couple of days, for example, except I just really didn’t feel like it. I did finally give my bedroom a thorough dusting. It lead to many more chores, however, now that I took a proper look at the mess the house has become over the past few years. I know we accumulate stuff just from living, but there’re surely ways to organize things better. I’m not going to Marie Kondo everything, but at least I should clear all the papers from all the surfaces (and they’re literally on ALL the surfaces) so I could give that a thorough dusting too. I mean I don’t think I’ve seen the top of the living room coffee table for a long time. So, yeah, more to add to the to-do list.

I feel relatively okay when it comes to work, surprisingly. I’ve been keeping more or less on track with writing, and I feel like I got a little more done each week that passed. It’s like I’m starting as an overweight person trying to run for the first time in years. Of course it’s going to be slow and miserable and sporadic the first 100 miles (aiming for 1 mile a day as the metaphor). But as I build more muscle I can run faster. Same thing with writing. I’m not working as much as I want right away, but it’ll build upon itself, so eventually I’d be able to actually keep a consistent schedule. The pitfall is stopping. And yes, your body needs at least 1 day of rest a week if you exercise regularly, so I carried that over to my writing too. Five days of work and then one day of break. I found that if I take more break days I tend to just, well, get lazy and not do anything for more days. So I have to keep up the momentum. That’s the goal of this month – keep going, and see how far I can run.


Inauguration 2021

I got woken up by an earthquake of all things. Hello Cali amirite? It was a small one so no big deal. And also the garbage truck kept beeping right under my window, but, anyway, the point is that I got woken up at spanking 8:30 am and so, decided to just get up and have coffee instead of rollover and go back to sleep.

Because of that, I caught the inauguration almost live! Almost because I went back to the very beginning instead of just watch the live feed so I can see the whole thing, which started I think half an hour before I tuned in? I don’t remember. Anyway, never in my life have I watched an inauguration of the presidency, voluntarily, in full. The only other time where I partially watched it was when Obama was sworn in since it was so historic. But these four years have tempered me from completely meh about politics into someone who actually turned into most of Biden’s many speeches, mostly after he won, and paying attention to state and local politics too. (I still try to avoid Trump talking as much as I can, so I did not watch the debates, but I did hear people’s reaction to it and I don’t think I missed much.) I voted for the first time ever. I obsessively followed Georgia Senate race and subsequent runoff; I think Stacey Abrams is just goddamn amazing and am going to check out her book from the library (I ain’t made out of money lol). I’ve also never had the desire to read any books written by politicians before. Not even Obamas, although maybe I should read Michelle’s at some point now. What a legacy, huh? (Trump I mean.) I’ve never had the illusion that America’s the greatest nation on Earth or whatever bs people get fed in elementary school, but now all the political decisions have such huge impacts on everyone that I feel like I must be well informed in order to navigate my life for the future.

So I watched all the speeches, songs, poetry, and of course Harris and Biden getting sworn in. I was truly anxious that there’s going to be a terrorist attack or something, but thankfully, nothing happened. Probably because there’re literally 25000 troops at DC right now, and social media kind of blocked people from organizing. It was boring, and normal, and bureaucratic, and I’ve never felt more hopeful. Later I was browsing more news and saw a headline that said something like “White House Believes Climate Change Is Real Again” and I was just facepalming so hard. Can’t believe the bar is set just that low but we’re slowly, slowly starting to climb out of the hole. So yeah, hopeful is definitely the right word. A hopeful 2021 is what I’m looking forward to.

(I don’t dare think beyond that let’s just get past the next few months first eh?)



So I called my parents yesterday and learned that they both got their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine!! Joy of all joys!!

Except, I also learned how they managed to get their shots, because they’re definitely NOT in the first group to be vaccinated (which is front-line workers and people in long-term care facilities, and I think also people over 75). The reason they got it was because, apparently, 60% of the medical personnel (nurses, mostly) TURNED DOWN the vaccine! Like, WHAT?? How can a medical person not believe in vaccines for whatever reason? So because the vaccines once thawed have to be used within a certain time limit, the facility’s just giving the leftover doses to whoever signed up. My mom not only got herself vaccinated, but she talked other people in her lab into getting them too, and they’re post-docs in their 20s – at the very back of the line, logistically, but they all got vaccinated. WTF? Here I am in a state where we actually have a shortage, and people in my parents’ state are having a surplus because of anti-vaccination ideals. Wow.

I would never move back to her state if I have any choice, but now I’m like, damn, I want my shots already haha. It’ll be like June before I can get mine, at the earliest, probably. It’s doggone crazy! Still, I’m so glad my parents are getting vaccinate, period, because no one around them wear masks and everything’s open. I worried about them every single day since March of last year. Now I can worry just a little bit less.


Okay 2021

Well, I was going to take a deserved day off just chilling and playing video games and look what happened!

Had a call with my mom and had to translate nouns like “insurgents” and “certify” and “Congress” and “the central government building of the US” to her to describe what is currently happening. She’s working, you know, like most Americans on a Wednesday afternoon, so hasn’t been keeping up on the news. That was fun. She figured something’ll go down today but wasn’t expecting the results. I think people just underestimate a crowd if they want to be violent. A person is smart; people are dumb. And a mob can become friggin’ dangerous no matter what political affiliation they hold.

I also caught Biden’s speech and Trump’s video live during lunch. My impression of Biden was “you seem pretty mad and that’s good! Call on these people!” and then Trump came on and both me and my s.o. were like “WTF?????” by the end. It’s so stupid. This whole process is just goddamn stupid on all fronts. Except Stacey Abrams. She deserves a medal. They also just called Ossoff for Georgia. At least one thing went right and on time today.

Still better than 2020 so far.


New Year Resolution Time

Yes, it’s time for the good old New Year Resolutions. To be honest, my track record with this is on par with the average person’s, which is basically abysmal. You set your goal to lose 20 pounds this year? Chances are you either didn’t lose any, or actually gained some, and you’re out of money because you signed up for that gym membership and you never went. Total cliché. So I really never bothered with this tradition. But that is not the case this year! 2021 – the year that I WILL get things done, one way or another.

So I had a serious talk with my s.o. last night and he’s rightfully concerned about my career progress. Or utter lack there of, as I still am nowhere close to finish my novel, five years in. We discussed it in detail and have decided that, I shall give myself six more months before considering switching course. So on June 30th I will give him a check-in. If I’m on track to finish the novel by the end of the year, great! Keep going! Writing is still my career. If I have fallen off course again, then it’s likely I’ll never be able to finish this novel no matter what I say – you know, the proof is in the pudding and all. Being a writer for me maybe is not the right path, and so I need to accept that and move on. So if by June 30th I’ve still got nothing done, then I will stop writing for a while, and find an actual job, by either taking a class in coding (something I always wanted to try) or see if a friend of mine can hook me up with one of those job-help programs that’s designed to help folks with giant gaps in their résumés (like women who took off 10 years to raise their kids, or they had to take care of a sick relative, etc. And no, I did not know this program was a thing either until my friend told me). Or just apply blind to any job and hopefully get something. Either way, I move ahead instead of dawdling in place. Still a good thing.

So yeah, my one New Year Resolution is write like my life depends on it until June 30th. Then depends on the outcome, I either still choose writing as a career or I go find another career before I become broke and homeless. The end. (Well I still might be broke even if I do finish my novel, but that’s a different issue requiring a different strategy. Right now I need to tackle this thing first.)


Happy New Year!

Happy 2021 everybody!

Let’s leave the past in the past, and try to move on to a better future. I, for one, will definitely try harder to stick to my work schedule this year. I will try to exercise more, read more, be more productive, and all those obligatory new year resolution promises. I will not let another year pass me by in a blur with nothing to show for it. At least the parts that I can control.

And, above all, I will not let depression or defeat rattle me. I will try to be more positive and fill my life with more positive things. And hopefully, in 2021, everything will turn out alright.


It’s the Holiday Spirit!

I have been doing nothing but buying things these past few weeks. It doesn’t help that everything is on sale, and sometimes the deals are just way too good. I know, I know, that’s how they trick you into spending. But for me it’s more like, well, I’m going to buy this anyway, so might as well buy it while it’s 30% off, you know? It’s doing trash to my wallet, but as we’re inching toward the end of this horrible year, I feel like I want to celebrate a little bit. And since we can’t go out and drink/eat/watch movie or anything collectively fun, online shop therapy will have to do.

It’s not all frivolous. I bought something for my parents for Christmas for the first time in a long time. We’re Chinese, so we never really celebrated Christmas as a huge tree-decorating/gift-giving holiday. Hell, in recent years I never really went home for Christmas or Thanksgiving – our family gathering day is Chinese New Year in Jan/Feb, and usually I couldn’t get time off work to go anywhere because Americans don’t celebrate that. My mom usually go back to China then, and she did this year too and almost didn’t make it back because of Covid. Anyway, this year I decided I should buy them something small at least – it’s the spirit of the thing. So I bought my mom a cute pair of house slippers because she’s cold all the damn time, and my dad wants some music CDs (yeah, so old-school, but I don’t think they know what streaming is, and I tried to convince them to buy an Amazon Echo over Black Friday but they’re like, we don’t understand this so, no). He also wants to buy a model kit for the Japanese battleship Yamato, which on the higher end is around 300 bucks. I mean, I could buy it for him, but both of them were like no, it’s a splurge and we really really don’t want you to spend the money. So, Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies it is.

Coincidentally, my iPad died last night. Completely dead – battery won’t charge no matter what, so it’s kaput. I’ve been eying the new iPad Airs this year. They’re so pretty and I think definitely worth the upgrade, but they also do cost a pretty penny so I was going to do it next year around my birthday or something. Well, looks like luck have other plans. My husband’s like, sure, I’ll buy you a replacement one, but it looks like the color I want is sold out completely, and won’t be back until January. Oh well. I’m going to go to the Apple store tomorrow to recycle my dead iPad, and I guess I’ll get a new one whenever it’s available again.

Yeah, a holiday of consumer consumption! At least I bought stuff on sale, though, including a new Steam game (Oxygen Not Included – been wanting this for years just waiting for it to go on a good sale because I’m cheap, and have a lot of backlog). It’s not like I can go anywhere because insane Covid spread Batman! But I have something to play over the break, eh?


Good Mondays – General Gratefulness

This is going to be a short one. I don’t have anything specific for today, but I do want to just express my gratitude for everyone fighting in this pandemic. The healthcare workers, the grocery store workers, the people keeping our infrastructures running, the USPS folks (who’re ridiculously overwhelmed right now due to all of our online holiday shopping), the people in the government who are trying and meeting slabs of brick walls from all sides impeding their progress, but still going despite everything, everyone who were actually social distancing and wearing masks and staying home since March, everyone who give a fuck about their fellow human beings and community outside their immediate families and themselves. We’re all stuck here together (well, most of us save the lucky rich few who are sequestered in their mansions with their concierge healthcare), and we’ll still be here in a few months time because vaccine distribution is probably going to be slow and very, very messy. I wish everyone well, and I hope y’all hang in there for just a bit longer.