Saturday, July 31, 2010


I told my intern buddies on their trip to New Orleans to call me when they are having a 'Mid-high'. I do not want them to call me when they are having a peak, in other words, the most epic moments where I will inevitably feel a bit dour because of my inability to be there. But I also do not want them to call me when they are bored on the drive there or back. That will make me sad because they aren't having a great time. It's a conundrum isn't it? :)

So I wake up to a voicemail. From my gal pal. Immediately I hear the background static of loud noise, likely a bar. I smile because for a second, I'm there. She's saying she's having a great time and she introduces a cameo appearance. She is with another intern, and he says hello. He mentions not wanting me to feel bad, and I anticipate a huge "But... " coming but instead, he speaks on behalf of both and left a message of missing me and love.

My heart is torn open and fills with so much love and appreciation. It was definitely the best way to wake up and start the morning. Just to hear their voices and the consideration they had, albeit at 2AM. :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Is Someone Getting The Best Of You?

At Woodrow's last night, probably the last hang out at Woodrow's with my intern buddies, I came out about 10pm, and immediately had someone say, HEY!

At first I didn't recognize him. But it was Mike from work, who I met once at a dinner with some PMO folks. I recall a great conversation about the oil/gas industry in regards to the BP oil spill.

I had such a great time meeting him and his friend Lindsey from Florida.

I eventually came back to my intern group after about 25 minutes, and said hello to all. Hugged them all, but got some pushback from one of the boys who always gives me a hard time when he said, "You've been here for like 20 minutes, and I'm just now getting a hello?" I smiled, and hugged him aggressively to apologize.

Here's a vignette I want to highlight.

I'm having a really great time - being loud - laughing - and really getting into the music and being kinesthetic.

The song, Best of You by the Foo Fighters came on the speakers. An AMAZING song that I absolutely love. I was so enthusiastic about it, and was so happy that Jeff sang along with me to it. I said I love this song. And we talked about the Foo Fighters and the topic of karaoke came up. Mr. Gives me a Hard Time mentioned my idea of going to Spotlight Karaoke. I said that he mentioned it the night at the Flying Saucer, a few days ago. He said, no I don't remember that. I corrected him and said, I indeed brought it up at the Saucer, and that he must not have been paying attention (I promise - I was saying this in a very very teasing way. Definitely was misinterpreted. :/) Then, he stops talking, and with the most serious look on his face, says okay. He looks away. I'm continuing to laugh and sing along to Best of You and that particular boy asks "How much have you been drinking?" as a truth in jest. I said, "I've only had one - and I'm ... still working on half of it still."

I looked at him as if to say, "Do you have any idea who I am and what I'm about? Are you really asking this?" And Jeff chimed in, "Yeah, this is Charlene. She's pretty happy and amped most of the time." [Those words meant a lot to me.] And I added on, "Yeah! I'm always like this. Do I really seem different to you today? I'm just really happy." And he said, you're... what's the word for it. And as I waited, every second stretched on forever. So I gestured to my wrist and feigned annoyance that I was waiting on him. He said, "I'm done" and looked away from me, and talked to someone else, and then got up to go to the bar.

I was confused by the overreaction. What I did triggered something beyond the interaction that took place. I asked Jeff, if I seriously hurt his feelings, because I can fix this. Jeff said, No, what you did was nothing wrong. You keep being you, being Charlene. He's just being him. He gets like this sometimes. Don't make anything about it. And the song 'Best of You' was still going on, and I said, "That's right. No one's getting THE BEST, THE BEST, THE BEST, THE BEST OF ME!"

As the night closed out, I hugged everyone goodbye, and when it got to the particular boy that always gives me cathartic grief, I asked him, "Are we cool?" and he says, "Yeah we're cool. I'm not really mad." I say, "Really? Cause you looked genuinely upset." He said, "I know you didn't mean it. But I'm not going to lie, some of those things you said, I didn't like."

I was satisfied with 75% of the answer and the hug I got. The 25% - although knowing I didn't mean it, and taking it with a seriousness that was offensive to him made me a bit confused. This is another discussion and dissection on its own but I know for a fact that we don't know each other well enough to be grating on each other's nerves. Where this energy is coming from - I don't know - and it's actually... not my job to know or correct. So all I can do is make a judgment call about the friendship.

Time will tell. But there's no way I'm going to be held hostage to the emotional sways of someone that reacts to the emotion related to the content of my words and not the actual context and friendship that he and I have constructed.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Managing Stress.

How do you sum up your 2 month and a half experience in 10 minutes?

It's a bit overwhelming.

I needed to also facilitate a presentation that was at first to be attended by the GM of Tech Computing and CIO of my technology company but he had to cancel at the last minute.

Obstacle 1: A gentleman and a woman were having an ad-hoc meeting in one of the IDE rooms right when I was supposed to begin setting up. My supervisor gave me one of those terse commands to tell them that we had the room reserved. I went in the room, and politely knocked, let them know that we indeed had the room reserved. They looked up their own reservations, had the incorrect time zone, yet still pushed back. It was discovered that they ignored the prompt to connect and therefore, caused more issues. They eventually left. We lost a precious 10 minutes.

Obstacle 2: The laptop I hooked up to the network did not pull up my powerpoint because it did not have My Documents. When I thankfully tried to open Outlook (I sent the powerpoints to my supervisor earlier), it needed to restart outlook, and it cost me a few minutes and made me extra-aware of every second it was taking.

Once pulled up, there were a few adjustments my supervisor wanted to make. Compounding the stress together, I did the best I could.

It certainly wasn't my favorite moments at my internship, but it taught me about handling corporate stress, and how it feels to have something fall apart in front of your team. Things ended up going well and I did a dry-run that was well-received, despite my complete lack of preparation. It just goes to show, people aren't out to attack and maim you. Show your heart, show your bones and you'll be okay. Also, it doesn't mean one shouldn't prepare, but most of the time, there won't be enough safeguards to make us feel prepared. One must leap, and the net will follow.

The net appeared, many times today when I saw absolutely nothing in sight.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Positive Emotion.

Positive emotion will trump negative emotion every time.

If I have a chance to smile, I will choose it over frowning, every time.

Today, a friend that promised to see me before he left work apologized for not coming by. The reasoning was his friend was leaving and he couldn't say bye.

I thought the answer was a load of bull. But I was stressed out, so I noted that and wanted to move on immediately. I said, "It's alright" and closed the chat window.

I didn't get a response, and because of the day, thought nothing of it.

Later on, I get a text - it was him saying him and a friend were going to Flying Saucer. He asks if I'm going. I say, probably not, I'll be working still. He offers to buy me a drink and says to come out. I send a smiley face. He says, I guess that means yes. It does.

So I go there, and I'm happy as a clam. I get a drink, and he takes care of it for me, just like he promised. Smooth. In a ninja-like way. I didn't even notice. He also said, I can tell when people close the windows of Communicator you know. I was like, wait. How? What. No. And he explained. I felt so bashful for closing the window right after responding. It made my angst seem so transparent. I never try to pour my frustrations on anyone. The negativity ends with me, I like to say.

He really cared. I appreciate that. In the movie Inception, Dom says, people yearn for reconciliation. Tis true.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Little Monster.

When I first heard Gaga was coming into town, I knew I was going to be the one to get tickets. No matter how fierce the competition was, those tickets were already mine.

Fast foward to the day tickets began to be sold on Ticket Master. Kyle got up early and was waiting to buy them. Nearly immediately the tickets began to sell out. The $225 tickets we wanted were gone. But luckily, his credit card apportioned some tickets exclusively for those credit card holders. Minutes later, 3 tickets were ours.

The waiting game began until July 25th arrived.

Before we could turn around, the night was upon us.

Kyle and his friend Fernando picked me up, and off to McDonald's we went so I could grab food, and look utterly ridiculous to the 'normal' public before we ventured off fashionably late to the Monster Ball Tour. ^_^

I donned my elbow-length black gloves and boy did it feel good to cut the fingers off of them. I had on my gold skirt from my 21st birthday and a black dominatrix-y belt and my sparkly black tank top. To top it off with accessories, I wore my amazonian diamond princess necklace and went for exagerrated eye makeup.

We got to the Toyota Center, parked, went in, and already, I was so enamored with everyone's costumes!

This is the one place, as Gaga said, where the freaks come out and it's okay. We outnumber everyone else.

I was crying out of sheer happiness. Gaga, my strength, was here, singing all of my favorite songs. She is power. The way she yells out these very simple statements of righteousness and self-love. Love yourself.

Her costumes were out of this world, and I remember most of all not the costumes, not the dancing, but the way I felt. I felt that the arena was a haven where I could remember, I am so LOVED. I am so privileged.

Although Gaga brings much beauty to this world and has connected people with her music, her theme of the night was realizing we had it all, all along.

Raise your paws little monsters.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Skydiving Part 2.

It was even better this time.

I was chewed out by the Deli cook when I decided not to grab a bite to eat. "Have you taken chemistry? Do you know what happens when adrenaline mixes with stomach acid? It's not a good combination." I'm so glad my dad in disguise was there to give me a talking to. :)

So my group ate pizza. It was good! And then, shortly after, we flew. I suited up. I had the most experienced sky diver with me. He showed me what to do and I had to memorize it all.

I wasn't 'excited' or anxious until Mariana started freaking out in front of me on the plane. hahaha. It was contagious. The door opened, and I couldn't believe the moment was almost here. I was the last one off the plane. It's a weird feeling. There's no pressure to jump. There's no one looking anxiously at you.

I waved my left arm out. Outwards. Ready. Inwards. Set. Outwards GO - and I stepped out simultaneously with my left leg and jumped out.

I won't EVER forget this feeling. It's the most intense leap of faith you can take. That, and when you bungee jump, and the still air. It's quiet. And it's just you and your mind. Here. It's loud. There's Dennis behind me. And there's our ritual of 3-2-1 go, that forces me to go. But in the forefront of my mind, there's oh my god, I'm jumping out of a perfectly good plane.

The free fall, I was still shocked, but remembered, not to open my mouth. I remembered just to breathe. I had weird form when I first jumped, but it corrected itself.

We did 360s both ways, and the forward moment. It was so fun. I actually looked at my altimeter when it was time and pulled the parachute. That felt powerful. Although I was pulled around like a rag doll. :)

We parachuted through a rainbow in a cloud. That was SOOO EPIC!!

Also, we did many spirals in the sky that seemed way faster than our freefall. We flew over the hanger, which didn't seem safe in the least, and we did a slider to the ground.

I had way more fun this time around. And I had much more excitement than before. :)

I'm so glad I woke up early to go.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inception Part 3.

I'm a mad woman.

I saw it again, this time with my best friend. But afterward I had the existential conversation I wanted.

Man, this movie speaks to me in a different way every time.

The concept of limbo is frightening.

I have an almost religious seriousness about the movie. It has very few comic reliefs, and I am following what the actors are doing, what they're saying, and how they're doing it because I can't get enough.

It's been so long since I've made a connection to a movie on a level like this. I'm enjoying the ride.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Inception Part 2.

I absolutely loved it again.

I understood it a whole lot more. And it's something that still gets me..

When Dom says, "I've had my time with you, Mal. We did grow old together." That touches my heart.

Also, what jumped out at me was the music, even more than before. So haunting. So pressing. It just screams at you, there's so much at stake, can't you understand?!!

The time differential still gets me. 5 minutes in real life is an hour in a dream. So when you go down different layers, 10 seconds - 3 minutes - 20 minutes - and there's Saito's limbo.

Inception is such a powerful idea. An idea is more powerful than anything. Once it catches, it's near impossible to shake off.

Positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time.

Friday, July 23, 2010


In reference to my post where I discuss getting over this boy I was in love with... an update to that is, I read the situation correctly. So when I was at Woodrow's with the group on Thursday, she pulled me aside and asked what I knew about the weekend. I said, I knew nothing. Just that midtown happenings were happening. She said, well, you're out of the loop. She said, "He and I made out this weekend. Very publicly."

The way I reacted was one of non-reaction. I was well prepared, surprisingly, more than I expected for what she had to say. My role in getting over him had to change too. It had to change to being supportive for my friends if they want to pursue each other.

What threw me off was how aloof he was being with her. He purposely abandoned the group at one point to get a ticket and to stand and get a great view while we played cornhole. It was so strange. Before I knew that my friends made out together, I wanted to focus attention on everyone else. It was a bit obvious as there was only 5 people, but that was for my own sanity. I needed to ease in back into some kind of friendship with him, and it couldn't be by focusing all of my attention on him. I wanted to cultivate relationships with the other guys and my gal.

I had fun. My friend let me know that she is in 'girl crazy' mode where she's wondering if he likes her or not. I smiled, not in a way where I took pleasure in her pain, no, it was one of commiseration. I was in her shoes a week and a half ago. I fought those demons, and I fought it fast. I have no idea of her sheer strength, but I'm pulling for her to not let him get the best of her like he did from me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hair Cut.

From idea to implementation, it was about a week.

I looked on Google - searched for Houston hair salons, and I saw Marbella's salon on lower Westheimer. It was close to my house, open late on weekdays, got great reviews, and it was near the top of the list.

I filled out an online form and submitted it, and just asked for what I wanted. I wanted a Thursday appointment at 7pm.

By Wednesday of this week, I thought it wouldn't go through. Oh well, I thought in the back of my head. Back to the 'supercut' style barber shop I would go, until I could invest more time to get a legitimate hair cut.

But I got a phone call confirming a consultation and possible hair cut for Thursday at 7pm, albeit with a different hairstylist. I was fine with that.

So I ended up going straight from work in the heavy rain to make it to Marbella's right about on time. I didn't realize I had so much to do at work that day.

So I walk in, and immediately I ask, do I still have an appointment at 7pm? They asked are you Charlene? I said, yes, and the man behind the counter said, yes you do. So we walked to a chair, I put my purse down, and at first it was a bit stiff. He was asking what I didn't like about my hair, and I let him know, there are facets to my personality that I don't feel my hair conveys. He sardonically said, Ohh? :) But we quickly found a meeting point with our personalities to connect.

He was a very nice guy that was completely open to talking about anything. We talked about our dreams, our beliefs on having children (this surprised me too), who we've dated, our preferences, our views on what is FUN, etc.

The money I spent, was all worth it. The conversation, getting out of my comfort zone, getting some tips and tricks with my hair that I'll keep forever, having a real consultation and DISCUSSING what I wanted and coming to an agreement, having the professionalism and fun that a haircut requires, and more.

I'll come back for the treatment, service, and the experience.

If ever I get too comfortable, I need to change things up. That night the first thing out of his mouth was, "Did you get a haircut?... I like it." ^_^ Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Interim PMP.

I was a bit apprehensive for my PMP today with my supervisor.

I was thrown off. I was asked, "Do I feel challenged? And where am I being challenged?"

I got really great comments overall. I wanted the criticisms, and I got some that were hardly criticisms in my own view. Learn the company more. Learn the transition to work life more. Give more ideas and examples more. That is something I can agree with.

We talked a bit, and I just felt really good. The comments I received were really ... complimentary.

Good work ethic, great communication skills, adaptable, strong team-player, proactive, etc. I got really great feedback.

I need to ask someone though, who will give me some cons. If you're hearing too many good things, you need to ask some others. And that's just what I'll do.

The biggest room in the house is the room for improvement.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gives Me Hope.

A friend of mine in the group is constantly checking in with me and makes sure I get home okay. It's a simple text message, but it means I'm not out of sight, out of mind. I really appreciate that. He gives me hope.

In addition, a leadership instructor told me she began running after 40, and has done a marathon and a handful of half marathons. That has impressed me so much. The fact that she didn't begin running before. She on regular occasion runs 6 miles. She remembers the first time she ran 5 miles in a row was the biggest accomplishment and one of the biggest adrenaline rushes she's felt.

Wow. These people, in different ways, give me hope. One for their quiet consideration. He's a southern gentleman at heart. And she's someone that's had her struggles but has overcome them beautifully.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I felt like I was too much in my comfort zone tonight.

I had to get out of it.

I was at Spotlight Karaoke. People before me kept singing in twos and fives and just swaying back and forth, not taking the limelight. That seems completely paradoxical to the act of singing on stage.

So I decided. Pick a song I want to sing.

I first stumbled upon Alanis Morissette after Sara and I glossed over her, when we picked Baby One More Time together.

I went back. Alone. Picked Thank U. It was a quick process.

An eternity passed, and I had those nervous butterflies that only I knew about.

My voice cracked, and who the hell cares, I sang my heart and soul out in that song.

Thank you India. Thank you consequence. Thank you disillusionment.


I got so much love after I sang the song. But I was so proud of myself for singing and being true to myself.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Eye Appointment.

My eyes were a bit irritated from wearing my contacts for an extended period of time, and today was my eye appointment. This has been an appointment I've deferred for far too long.

Going to the doc was tough. :)

At the eye doctor's, an assistant tried to take care of the glaucoma tests. Those machines instinctively make me uncomfortable.

I talk through my strength rituals, reminding myself that it's only a machine, and the better I cooperate, the faster it will be over with.

After 25 minutes and no progress, I go ahead and have my eye appointment.

In the moment, I believe it means no glaucoma tests!

I had a great candid appointment with a new eye doctor I tried out. Dr. Nguyen at the Walmart on Dunvale. Very great guy that's so funny to talk to. He was going to Lake Charles later that day, and was so excited for the buffets coming up. :) I thought that was awesome. He talked about a difficult time in the office when someone had kept farting and a patient thought it was him by the non-verbal language, and his hilarious attempts to convince the patient otherwise. Haha! It brightened my day. I also got a few Vietnamese lessons from him. I apologized for calling him the incorrect title!

What I'm most proud of is persisting to do the glaucoma tests when the attendant asked me. I did try to finagle my way out of it (i.e. "So, what do I owe you?") but after 15 minutes more, and having my right eye finish the test on the 2nd try, and my left one a few more than that, everything was okay. I just had to hold open my eye, and calm myself that I wasn't going to be poked in the eyeball. ^_^

Good times at the Vision Center.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Our Map.

My brother had an intervention last night about his career path.

It's something I struggle with. When loved ones, the ones that watch your back, and the ones I feel obligated to watch over, don't make the decisions I think would be ideal.

I know I have my own map of experiences. With my brother, he's been re-aligning his career track for some time now. Ever since he's started college, it's been a realignment process that my whole family has given the freedom of his own space to think, cultivate his thoughts, and make his own decisions. From Medical doctor, physician's assistant, anesthesiologist assistant, to now pharmacist, I've been along for the whole tumultuous ride.

It's tumultuous because he handles situations much differently than I. I strategize, and in parallel, I implement. I don't sit still for long, and I have contingency plans in the back of my mind, and I'm always at the ready to pick myself up and move forward. I benchmark myself. I know I should only look to myself and listen to my body, but you know what, sometimes you need to reference what others have done to give you an idea of what the human body and mind are capable of.

So he sits. And he contemplates. Not knowing which direction to move forward in, needing to eliminate each possibility completely before going to the next branch. My dad and I have been talking with him, and I think we've hit a deadlock. It's enough to shut anyone down for sure, to tell someone, your approach is all wrong, and you should change your path.

But it's because we care, and ultimately it's his choice and his life. As I sat in the car with him, driving home to Fiesta Lane, I tried to talk to him about my point of view and how he could apply it to his situation to be more effective, I got the answer of his agreement to disagree.

Pride is such a huge thing in our lives. Pride is not a huge issue for me. I don't think my pride keeps me from making amends with people that matter most to me. But when others have such pride that it keeps them from being the bigger person and taking that step, this is where my judgment gets confused. Do I put aside my pride, knowing that I'm validating the other person's pride? Or do I make a statement, and put my foot down, to show that out of all people in the world, I won't be just another person who steps aside because your pride was too much for them?

It's tough. It really is. But our family is in the long haul.

Friday, July 16, 2010


This movie rocked my face off. I feel so incredibly inspired.


I've been going through the most brutal ~23 days of my life. I've been in love with a boy.

Sure it's been good in the sense that I feel ALIVE - but it's been terrible in the sense that I absolutely know my worth, and can read body language like it's no one else's business. I know that he may be interested, as he shows positive signs towards me, but I know for a fact he is really into a friend of mine. Sure, that priority can change. But in the meantime, I need to pull myself together and I haven't. I'm not beating myself up, just recognizing the situation first. It's being able to say no to invitations, when I know he'll be there and others, and have a good time without any dependencies.

I thought I could coach myself to not have expectations. For a while that worked. I would smile and relish every moment I had with him. But what happened when he and her would interact? It would be like an earthquake would break my heart. It may sound melodramatic, but this is what I felt.

I changed my approach. I tried to be more assertive and to just wear my feelings on my sleeve. I did. But there's a quote I abide by religiously. Never give up, but never be unwilling to face the facts of your reality, no matter how brutal. The reality was, he views me as a good friend. In this present moment, that is the reality. The future, whatever it holds, is its own fortune.

This movie has lead me to change my approach. I need to pull the trigger, no matter how painful it is. -spoilers start here-

I have to shoot, like Cobb shoots Moll. Cobb doesn't want to. He wants to live in the fabricated reality, an eternity with his wife that couldn't draw the line from reality and fantasy. As an extractor, he often goes and discovers invaluable information stored in dreams. His Achilles Heel was his wife, who even in these dreams, he fell for, and like clockwork, she would sabotage him. It almost compromised his capabilities as an extractor. So he is stuck in a limbo that's more dangerous than the one described in the film. Instead of having one's subconscious remain stuck, he is rationally remaining stuck. I am in a conscious limbo, and every day I've been focused on the outcome of this falsehood. It is a day I could be really LIVING, free from any kind of reciprocity. At the end of the film, one can interpret whether or not he pulled the trigger, to leave Moll and to resurrect himself to be with his children and have a life free of guilt. I believe he did. I believe the optimists of the world will believe he is free with his children, living the life he wants.

I am an optimist and I believe in myself. I believe I can pull the trigger. I'll have to figuratively shoot him. With a gun. Let him die. So that I can live. I know that this false world where he and I are together, is a world I must depart. Now.

I've constructed this world for less than a month. But like dreams, life when you're under the influence of pure emotion is a lifetime. I am strong. I will be courageous and do something that will hurt in the short term. I will let him go. I will say no, and live my life like it was before him. I'm Free, and it really feels like it this time.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Saying No.

Saying no to him and the group at large has been difficult.

But it's allowed me to see more of the beauty in myself.

This weekend I took a respite with my family.

I've taken more pride in my work.

I've chosen self-love.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tough or Suffering?

It was the moment. She was actively pursuing someone else. I couldn't believe it. She even said, hands off, he's mine. I smiled so big, that was the best thing she could have said. Could it be? She and the apple of my eye viewed each other as platonic friends the whole time?

Like clockwork, I got a call from him. He said he was in the back by the street with the boys. I hugged them all hello. I had stars in my eyes. He complimented my boots. We talked about things. The topic of what I was doing tomorrow came up. We made plans. The feel-good emotions were running high. I was so happy to be there.

The turtle races were over. He kept glancing over at my friend. He made his way over. I heard some of the commentary of the boys with me. It was all I needed to hear. Even with her interest in another guy, he chased her. Right in front of me. I sat down and just chatted with my other guy friends but I was visibly shaken.

I couldn't believe the reality I was facing. I laughed, smiled, had a good time, but my mind was thinking in two spheres. Almost like a split-screen in real time. He came back to join us about 30 minutes later, an eternity. We chatted for a few minutes, and almost like a light switch, he announced he was ready to go.

That was it.

I was done being tossed around like a rag doll. I know my emotional highs were guiding me, but these emotional lows were kicking me in the most brutal of places. I had to walk away from him. This Thursday would be the last day I would be treated like this, by myself.

So I choose to be tough. I know I'm in a critical phase, but there's no looking back.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Museum of Natural Science.

I love after-work excursions. Also, I hadn't had one-on-one time with Beebs in a while.

Off we went to the Museum of Natural Science in separate cars, but first, we ate at Gotham Pizza.

Delicious thin crust Mediterranean pizza.

We went off to the Museum and after some chaotic parking issues, we both got there, tickets in hand, albeit it was already free, and we started looking at some exhibits.

The highlights were definitely the gem exhibit and the jewelry. Oh it's so gorgeous. Beebs immersed me into her life and what she found sexy about geology and I have to admit, it is very interesting.

These are the most beautiful works of nature, because most of the growths of crystal and these rock formations don't grow like this, into these huge sizes and intricate forms. So this museum showcases the rarity, the specialty, and it's when you think about how amazing nature really is.

The jewelry just melted my heart. I would love to wear these pieces, any piece. They are all so extravagant and so beautiful. In the pitch black room, these boxes of strategically lit cases was like sneaking off into a vault where no one was supposed to be. The 5 inch thick vault door added to the effect.

We ended the day talking about life and love in Hermann park, sitting on the benches where I took my British lover, what seemed like ages ago. :) A very good day.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hard Work.

I've forgotten the true feeling of working so hard and having that accomplishment of saying I AM FINISHED WITH THE GOAL I HAVE SET IN MY MIND!

YEAH I'm that strong!

So tonight - let it be the day that I am FINALLY up to date with my blogs.

1 Blog per day was uttered back on January 1st and let me just say, THIS HAS BEEN A CHALLENGE.

I thought my posts would be one-liners for the most part or quick posts, but it really has been a real investigation in the topics that I need to ruminate over or topics that make me happy and asking the question, Why, why does this make me happy? Why am I inspired to do more?

And so my style for every post has been to post something thoughtful. Thoughtful doesn't come easy. "I didn't say it was going to be easy. I said it was going to be worth it."

So I'm very excited at that magnificent feeling that will come tonight after doing a job well done.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I came back to Houston on Saturday night, fatigued, a bit sad to leave the festivities early, but focused on my reality of getting my demo ready for Monday.

I recall sleeping when I got home, and taking a break until mid-Sunday just to rejuvenate myself. The mental-switching cost here was huge. Playing around with SharePoint on the server was invaluable but I didn't need to actually do the site all over again. I just bombarded my brain with ideas on what I could possibly do, so I could easily hit the ground running in the morning at Chevron.

I got up early at around 4:45, and go to school a little before 6. Tom was already there, but I scared him when I walked in his office to say hello. Malcolm was here shortly after, and he was impressed too. I had my Monster drinks that the street team was handing out earlier, which everyone commented on, to say "It's not healthy! Stop drinking that!" It worked on me, when Ken took me aside to really explain where he was coming from, and it was that personal touch, not trying to tell me what to do, but to explain the health choices I make, that made me re-evaluate my decision. I later threw away both of my drinks.

For the RAMP meeting, I was to demo my SharePoint site, and I got it opened on the GIL desktop. We were in the IDE and Mike, Evan, and Jacob were on the other side. The meeting went relatively quickly and it got to my portion, which I talked through and I realized no one was out to light a match under my feet. I got some sincere questions and I got some advice on what to do next.

It felt really good to be shocked when presented with a huge challenge, and to balance the prior commitments I've made, and to finish everything really well. I got everything I wanted to do completed that weekend (besides staying with the gang all weekend), so this is one of my proudest work achievements.

JJ, thank you for turning up the pressure. It's taught me a lot in time management. Sometimes you know everything you need to know; you just have to crank it out.

From Thursday's announcement of the assignment, to calling my dad, to getting the server in my room, to going to Austin and having the time of my life, to getting back and testing, to going to work super early, to finishing the first iteration of the site in only 3 and a half hours, to demoing it in the IDE to my team, was amazing.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


There's just something special in my new group of friends and I can just feel it.

It was definitely confirmed over the weekend, and I think Grant said it best. He mentioned that it was funny, there's no denying that each and every one of the people in our group is an overachiever. Yet, we don't talk about it. It's an implied thing, and up until now, I've forgotten. I sometimes take for granted how people feel about upholding commitments and just following up like they say they would, but it has been so surprising to me. They are just a really good group of people that work very hard and have wonderful values. It makes sense really. In order to be hired by such a competitive company, we had to overachieve to get where we are. Every intern in our group has a level of ambition that we don't wear on our sleeves, for fear of appearing one-dimensional, so even when we are trying to let loose and go crazy, we still have our morals intact. And it amazes me. My work has been a great way of meeting really good friends. Here I was thinking that I may not make lifelong friends here. I have a really awesome feeling about this group.

It's the little things. Like calling me to see if I'm lost or texting me about going out when it was mentioned earlier in the day. It's thinking of me, when they could 'forget'. It's really fantastic.

We all want to do the right thing, and we end up actually doing it. Sounds simpler than it is. I can think of multiple instances for each person in my group, in which they did the right thing in a circumstance where they could have not done anything at all. For example, one of the boys took the initiative to plan out a birthday event for another intern, sent out the details, took care of all the logistics, and cooked burgers, and really thought about the details. He got a cheesecake because that's the only cake the birthday boy liked, and he had to really dig deep to find out. It's these things that tell me wow, these are really good people. They care. And they look out for everyone. They're caring. Considerate. Sweethearts. Top-notch people.

Also, yesterday when I had trouble finding a friend's house in Austin, she called and then eventually I found her place. We talked about it the next day and she told me she was paranoid and worried that I was severely lost. It was a signal to me that she was sincerely invested in my safety and my well-being. That sentiment is certainly rare to come by, and it shows that she has great values.

I could go on with these anecdotes, but the main point I'm driving home at is, they lead by example, and I'm happy to know such a great group of people care about each other and genuinely will do the right thing.

So just by being around them, I am inspired to bring my A-game and pay it forward and stepping up when I see a need. I just go ahead and fulfill it, because that's what they do too.

One of the best nights I've ever had in my life. Sixth Street with wonderful people, and tubing on the Guadalupe today.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Work Challenge.

This is the first work crisis, scratch that, HUGE OBSTACLE, I'm facing.

So Thursday I had my weekly meeting with my supervisor. She let me know of another assignment she wanted to give me - it was simple, just compile the powerpoint for a really important meeting with the GM/CIO of our group. So I would have to coordinate with my team, who have various projects going on to give ~2-3 slides for them to present. No rework, just the most pertinent information distilled for the CIO.

Anyway, she reminds me of the meeting on Monday (RAMP meeting) and says it'd be a good time to demo my SharePoint site, or what I have of it so far. I agree to it, all the while thinking in the back of my mind - oh my gosh. I AM GOING TO AUSTIN THIS WEEKEND. AND I AM OFF TOMORROW.

As of now, I have the User Reference Guide Materials DONE. That looks pretty, and I hope it's good enough to go, but the Community of Practice and FRONT PAGE aren't done. The Front Page is probably something that I should prioritize if I have to choose which one I emphasize this weekend, being it is what everyone sees first. I must also say that, this week just on Tuesday, I got direction from Pam (SharePoint ETC team) and a double-check on my organization chart and on Thursday, my supervisor wants me to demo it on Monday. So I literally, have had NO time. But I will definitely manage and look back on it and SMILE at this huge challenge.

So I leave the meeting, knowing what I'm walking into this weekend. It's time to pull out the alter-ego Clutch. The one that shall get things done.

I'm going to have the BEST time in my life with my best friends and work friends on Friday and Saturday afternoon. But Saturday night, Sunday, and Monday morning, all belongs to doing an excellent job preparing so that I'm ready to rock and roll for both of my meetings at 9AM and 10AM. WOW.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Operating on a few hours of sleep, I drove to Texas City to handle a ticket I received earlier this year driving back from Galveston when I realized my relatives were staying at the beach house, so I couldn't fix up the place yet.

I spent the night at Vivian's house, and we watched Taken, which shows a very careful Liam Neeson being a vigilante and taking out the captors of his daughter when she travels abroad. I now understand what it means to be safe, and I don't ever chide anyone nowadays for taking extra precautionary measures. Liam Neeson is a protector and a great father who loves his daughter so much, he'd do anything to save her. With all the action scenes going on, that's what got to me the most. The unconditional parental love.

So I was at Vivian's house in West Houston and woke up (a bit sleep-deprived) to drove to Texas City to submit my forms, and finally I drove back near downtown to my house.

Wow. It feels like I've been around the world. It's the power of belief. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Trying Something New.

I hope I introduced something positive in a friend's life today by initiating him to the wonderful world of sushi.

King crab.
How to mix the soysauce and wasabi. It really is an art. I love it when it burns so good.

He came in with an open mind, and an empty stomach. He came out saying, I can't believe I've missed out on this all my life.

It's never too late to start anything.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I'm Proud.

It was his birthday.

I've been having a conversation in my head that said, my body could be a lot better and I'm apprehensive at the judgments they will make of me.

But I was on the phone, I had a little bit of liquid courage in me, and I said Eff it.

Off with my clothes, which was a bit difficult, with a phone in my hand.

Out of my comfort zone and into the water I went.

It was difficult. To see the BEAUTIFUL sculpted bodies everyone had.

But I had to realize, I have a beautiful one too. Mine is just as gorgeous. And everyone should see it.

I'm proud for this big leap. A year ago, I wouldn't have dared to. Now I will. Because to be honest, a guy who can't see me for my true beauty when I am wearing a bikini is blind. I may not be a Victoria Secret model, but I'm way better, I'm authentic.


Monday, July 5, 2010

DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again.

It's devastatingly amazing how excited I am for my Austin retreat.

Tubing on the Guadalupe, which will veil the mishaps of last year's Guadalupe excursion with MISSO.

Going to 6th Street with the HUGE gang. I'm so excited. I'll have my new colleagues flanking me and my best buds, Kyle & Sally. I love it when my worlds collide.

It's something new, in something I'm familiar with. And so I can't explain it. The air is electric, my heart beat is racing, and every time I think about it, it's like falling in love again.

I hope there's dancing involved!

This song I guarantee will be the anthem of the weekend.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Twilight: Eclipse.

“When we were five, they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. Our answers were thing like astronaut, president, or in my case… princess.

When we were ten, they asked again and we answered – rock star, cowboy, or in my case, gold medalist. But now that we’ve grown up, they want a serious answer. Well, how ’bout this: who the hell knows?!

This isn’t the time to make hard and fast decisions, its time to make mistakes. Take the wrong train and get stuck somewhere chill. Fall in love – a lot. Major in philosophy ’cause there’s no way to make a career out of that. Change your mind. Then change it again, because nothing is permanent.

So make as many mistakes as you can. That way, someday, when they ask again what we want to be… we won’t have to guess. We’ll know.”

Surprisingly good speech. Something I'll have to remember. And a much better speech than the airport analogy that our speaker made on our graduation day. :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Defensive Driving.

So I had to just take a Defensive Driving course back from a speeding ticket WAY earlier this year.

It was a big pain in the butt, but it was absolutely necessary information. I think it may have saved my life. I really have forgotten so many things about driving - the rules: what to do when a police car is on the side of the road, what to do if you hydroplane, Blood Alcohol Content limits, just the reason why attitudes should be adjusted on the road, and so much more.

Driving is probably the riskiest thing I do every day. It's also the area where I'm the most careless, to be absolutely candid. I fiddle with my phone. I adjust my GPS. I look in my purse for something while I'm adjusting the radio. And my attitude with driving is to get from Point A to B the fastest because I'm usually in a rush to make it on time.

The course, in a nutshell taught me empathy. It taught me that hey, the world really does not revolve around me and my desires or wishes. That people come into the car with their baggage. They are late too. They are upset. They just are pessimistic about other drivers. A litany of things. Also, drunk driving happens not to the crooks and bad people who have track records of wrongs, but it's russian roulette. You never know, it might be your first time driving with a little bit of alcohol in your system, but you may kill someone on the road. I know this stuff is heavy, but if this is what it takes to change perceptions, then I'll take it any day of the week than making another bad decision. Or on the flip side, you may be making great decisions on the road, but still be caught as a recipient of someone else's bad decision making. One of my favorite teacher's daughter left the earth this way.

And it's tragic. It hit me, like a bus, that I don't want to be caught in a situation like this. Ever. My work has instilled a huge safety culture within me, so I am definitely ready to change my behavior. I know how it feels to be caught on the wrong side of the law, and it's probably one of the worst feelings in the world. Your reputation means nothing, everything you've done in the past means nothing, just what happened in that present moment.

So I understand that I don't want to be a negative force on the road, any more than do I want to be a negative force in the world with my words and actions.

So even though the gruelling 7+ hours of driving training took a fair share of my day, it was a necessary lesson. I have been refreshed on so many things. Regulations. Rules. But most importantly, I've changed my attitudes to understand that everyone on the road is there for the same reason. We all want to make it home safe at the end of the day, to smile one more time with our families, and our friends. Please do not rob anyone of that opportunity, and don't rob it from yourselves.

Friday, July 2, 2010


I watched Avatar again. It's a movie I dearly love because of the values it inculcates.

*Sticking to your guns and pursuing the path you believe in, even if it'll get you killed.
*Risk-taking for love and belief.
*Building trust because of genuine desire. And the courage to rebuild trust when mistakes are made, and relentlessly pursuing it.
*Never giving up, even in the face of huge adversity.
*Listening to your heart, and falling in love even when it's frowned upon and taboo.
*Leveraging your confidence to get you through situations that seem against all odds.
*A world of positivity always wins out in a world of negativity. Doing the right thing always wins.
*Don't underestimate the balance of energy when it comes to nature. If you push, push, and continuously push nature, nature will eventually push back.

The final battle scene - had me in tears.

Why? Oh lord, I find myself getting emotional more often, which I think is great. :)

I think the rawest of emotions come out when there's so MUCH on the line. Your family. The love of your life. The people you've grown up with. The animals. The respect of your land. The soul of your terrain. It's everything. Every associative thing, is on the line. I think I'm largely a proponent of peace. But if there's one facet I want to highlight and respect, it's the process that occurs when one is thrown into an environment where one has to put oneself on the line, and believe that their actions matter because it's LIFE or DEATH for themselves and anyone around them. I am in awe at the ability to feel so POWERFUL in such a physical way.

I can only imagine how visceral and tragic it is to witness the deaths of those in front of you and around you in wars past and present. There's been so many in our world's history. If I could put my ear to the ground and ask the earth one question, it would be, "Mother Earth, what have you seen in all your years?"

Thursday, July 1, 2010


It gets my blood pumping.

It makes me FEEL ALIVE.

It makes me so happy, and it's something I can do for hours on end.

The $1 was so worth it this weekend at Edwards while we waited to watch Toy Story 3 again.

It was even worth sweating in my chair as I fanned myself off in my thick cotton button up and skinny jeans.

Anything to do Vanity Angel and AM3P. :)