Week 4: Santa Cruz and Chinese New Year

Listening to: Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull – On the Floor (needs more Pitbull. I think the song drags on about 50 seconds too long for radio play but I love the lyrics I’m like Inception I play with your brain HAHA) (my coworker Julie just told me that she heard this on the radio. So I’ve been proven wrong!)

Reading: John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley (my two favorite things about reading this book is 1) it’s a more respectable author than the typical books I read and 2) I really like the texture of the paper)

Saturday:

I intended to wake up really early and go surfing in Santa Cruz. Early as in, I set my alarm for 5am and would have liked to have started surfing at 7am. But I ended up sleeping at 1am since I was busy researching what to do in Santa Cruz and when 5am rolled around, I promptly turned off my alarm and slept in until 8am. I decided to surf another day but still head down to Santa Cruz and hike around Wilder Ranch.

Ohlone Bluffs Trail

Wilder Ranch is awesome. There is a really great bluffs trail that is almost entirely alongside ocean views for 12ish miles. I am guessing the entire trail is 12 miles because I walked from 12:17 to 4:40 and I’m going by a ~3 miles/hr assumption. At first there were quite a few people but soon I became the only person in sight (why does that always happen). The weather was great – well for me. Overcast but not windy. At some points there was coastal fog and it started to make my clothes damp but it went away after a little bit. On the way back, the fog rolled in again and towards the end I was thinking, ok this is no longer fog … this is a light rain. But it’s like Seattle rain – not bothersome and just a little misty!

I've hiked three weeks in a row! I hope there are 49 other coastal trails near me

The bluffs trail was really peaceful and exactly what I needed for the day. All I need is some Andrew Bird tunes and all my newest music finds and I’m good. At some points the trail runs alongside a long railroad track but for the most part it just winds between sheer ocean cliffs and crops, with distant hills and the PCH in the background. There are pelicans and little coastal birds, some sort of frog ribbeting under the cover of leaves and some rabbits hopping around. I even saw people surfing! Which made me wish I had brought my surfboard. Next time…

Surfing at Three Mile Beach

My legs were dying towards the end and I had to pee so bad. Thank goodness the park bathrooms were unlocked. I drove to a Mexican restaurant I had yelped, Taqueria La Cabana. I chose it because it was convenient to my route and they had CA burritos (aka burrito with french fries). I am on the search to replace the delicious Calsadilla from the now closed Taqueria El Tacontento but I don’t think it will ever happen. The burrito was huge and I ate the entire thing without even feeling guilty. Plus horchata. mmm Santa Cruz is a lot smaller than I expected. There weren’t many choices on yelp. I always assume universities are the site of some food mecca, but not the case here.

CA-17 is the freeway to get down to Santa Cruz and it is a fun drive. Windy with tall evergreens on the side. Made me think of my drive up through the truly Northern CA, near Lake Shasta. Sighhhhhhh

Zoom in for surfing fun

I got back around 6, showered, and then thought I might fall asleep right then and there. I watched some Vampire Diaries and tried to stay awake a little longer so I wouldn’t be such a grandma, but I ended up sleeping at 10pm on a Saturday night. EXHAUSTED.

This is what happens when you don't have friends to take your picture

Sunday:

Had a fantastic night of sleep. I woke up early morning to the sound of heavy rain outside my window, which was soothing. I got up around 7:30 and left for rock climbing. I did get one V1 that had stumped me a few times which was an accomplishment. Lately I will either finish a climb on the first try or just never finish. I’m becoming lazy at rock climbing 😦

Bought some dumplings from 99 ranch, then went back home to sit around. I have had this framing groupon for months. You might remember reading about it. I finally called to get a price estimate. I was thinking that I would be able to frame two or three things and wanted to see what my options were. It turns out, a single framing is minimum $145 upwards to $300. WHAT THE FUCKING HELL. So I spent $22 on a poster that will cost like $145 to frame?! How does that make any sense. Why is the frame more expensive than the thing it’s showcasing? How ridiculous. Well, I guess this entire poster alone will cost me $71.55+ (groupon + poster)

I really want to just find a nice cafe to sit and read. But yelp is not giving me very good options. If I were in Seattle… I would be at. Well let’s see. It’s a Sunday. I would probably go to Ugly Mug Cafe in University District since parking is free on the weekends and University District was where I had the most difficulty finding parking. I do not know where to go here.

A bird in the bush is worth a picture!

I was petting the dog and thought “aw what a cute little wet nose.” Then I thought, why is it wet? If a child had a wet nose, I would not think “what a cute little wet nose.” I also wouldn’t be petting a child.

I went to Laura’s for Chinese New Year dinner! Deliciousness. My contribution was Trader Joe’s guac and chips, and a bag of pretzel M&Ms. You know, traditional Chinese foods. Now it’s time for another work week to begin. I always have this feeling of dread, but last week was actually pretty cool. Hoping this week will be too!

Unless something interesting happens before next weekend, you probably won’t see an update for a while.

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Week 3: Stanford and Santa Clara University

Listening to: by the time I actually wrote this entry, I had changed favorite songs several times since the last post. So now you get multiple songs! Or rather, now you can glance at multiple links and not click them…

Listening to 1: Selena Gomez – Round and Round (Dave Aude remix) (based on her Kiss & Tell album and her multiple awesome Dave Aude remixes, I am going to start calling Selena Gomez my favorite Disney princess)

Reading: In Her Own Sweet Time

I’m pretty content with life lately because I’m kept so busy that I get a kick out of how productive I’m being and for now, that’s enough. In a day I can basically only choose between 1) watching tv 2) going to the gym 3) reading 4) cooking or 5) blogging on my free time. I can maybe do a combination of two, but no more. My latest obsession is Cougar Town. In fact, whenever I think “maybe I’ll blog a little,” I end up either watching an episode of Cougar Town or youtubing clips of Cougar Town. Probably the reason this entry is coming so late.

This is the very first clip I saw that got me hooked. TWoP said it was one of the most memorable TV moments of 2010 – how can you not watch?

Courtney Cox doesn’t strike me as someone who looks particularly humorous but … she was on Friends. And she has great comedic timing – does this mean she is really funny in real life? Are comedy actors super hilarious or is it just an ability to act and a great script? Is Jennifer Aniston hilarious in real life? Let me know the answer if you know … Anyway, I now love every one of the characters and this show has my favorite tv qualities: callbacks and continuity! Pennnnny can! And super cute moments that you most appreciate after watching multiple episodes. My favorite clips are not great stand alone clips since they are most hilarious after if you’ve seen several episodes … but here are some other funny ones:

I can’t believe it took me several episodes to realize, but Ian Gomez on the show is JAVIER FROM FELICITY! Javier from Felicity was like, my favorite character of all the old WB shows. Let me think about that more carefully. Buffy, Dawson’s Creek, Angel, 7th Heaven, Popular … yes. I’m going to claim that he was my favorite character of all those dramas. I always wondered if Ian Gomez had that accent and was really gay. From the way he acts in Cougar Town, I would say that he is just a crazy good and hilarious actor

Listening to 2) Bastien Laval ft. Layla – Restlessness (Wendel Kos remix) (it took me FOREVER to find this version, which is the one c89.5 plays. All the other ones don’t have the DUN DUN DUN dundundunnnnn DUN DUN DUN dundundunnnn that is my favorite part of the song)

Saturday: Crap I delayed so much in doing this blog post that it is going to be the next weekend by the time I submit this entry about the prior weekend. How terrible. No wonder people never blog. Is this what it’s like to have a life? So last weekend – Caroline came to visit! My first real guest to the South Bay where I had to think of things to do! Lucky for me, Caroline enjoys exercising because what we did Saturday was walk about 5 miles. Starting with …

1) Santa Clara University which I’ve been told is the very first university in AMERICA California. I wrote America and then thought “wait … I’m pretty sure that dude we randomly met in Virginia said William and Mary College was the first college in America.” We went because Caroline likes to see missions and this is the site of one of the CA missions. Unfortunately, there was a wedding! So we didn’t even get to go inside 😦 We got to walk around the small college though

Someone religious I bet

2) This wasn’t a place we walked around in BUT it’s worth mentioning: Bill’s Cafe! I am always stressed that someone will come visit me and I will have no idea where to take them to eat in the area since I don’t eat out here very often. But now I have a breakfast place! Also, my team REALLY likes to eat at Pedros, a closeby Mexican restaurant, and I think it’s pretty good. So that will be my go-to dinner place in Santa Clara

3) Stanford: omg. I remember when Rex took Frannie to Stanford during her visit and I thought “I’m sure there are more interesting places to go.” I now know – THERE ARE NOT. I found myself feeling grateful that at least there was a university nearby to explore. Sigh, San Jose. It was a really great day to walk around though. Super blue sky!

If I didn't work, I'd come here to read (but why would I be living in Palo Alto?)

We pretty much walked whereever we wanted. Walked around the main area and some buildings, then Stanford Hospital (no cute, single doctors in sight though) and once we walked around there we decided to just continue on to Stanford Mall.

While shopping I saw all these things I wanted to buy but I wasn’t in the mood to spend money. Just in the mood to want things. I feel like when I go shopping and I see a TON of things I want to wear, that’s a sign that my wardrobe needs some updating. I am now obsessed with this one chair from Crate & Barrel though. I immediately fell in love with it at first sight – and then I sat on it. And it was heavenly. The upholstering is sooooo cute. I want to buy furniture and upholster them myself! I really wanted to get this and start decorating my room. But then I saw the price tag

Yours for $899.99. No lie.

Yeah. Not going to spend that much on a chair. Before I started work I had all these fantasies like “omg I can buy this and this and this whenever I want” but now that I’ve started to work, I’ve started to feel poorer. I don’t spend very much so clearly it’s just psychological, but I feel more strapped for cash now than I ever did before. I guess because now I’m like “this is it – this is all the money I’ll ever have” whereas before it was like “I have this amount of money and I”m going to SPEND IT ALL because I will get paychecks later.” Whenever I hear a coworker talk about something they want (but can’t afford) it makes me think “gosh, they have higher salaries than me and they still can’t buy that.” Damn you American mentality for making me believe that I can buy whatever I want, regardless of my job!

Most of my coworkers rent. How much more expensive are Bay Area houses compared to Socal? Why do I know so many people whose families own multiple houses in SoCal and so few people who own just one house up here? I think I have to reconsider my idea of the “average American household income” because now it’s finally clicked that Arcadia =/= average. I know it wasn’t common for high schoolers to go around driving luxury cars, but I didn’t realize it wasn’t common for working professionals to drive BMWs and Mercedes either.

A BLACK squirrel!

What else … well one day our team got Pinkberry for a snack and I figured “hey might as well try this blood orange flavor since I’m not paying for it.” BIG mistake. Because now I am ADDICTED. I never liked Pinkberry before but OMGGGG the blood orange flavor is SOOOO good. Crap. I’m thinking of it now. Anyway, Pinkberry YUMMM I’m only five years late to the party…

Hmm after that, we walked back to my car which was all the way back at Stanford. We basically walked non-stop from 1ish to 6ish. I’m glad I can do active things with Caroline!

It looks like a seal. But it's a FREAKING Stanford SEWER LID

Listening to 3) Arcade Fire – Modern Man

Sunday: was football day! I went rock climbing in the morning. I am REALLY REALLY bad at rock climbing now. It’s actually really discouraging to me. All the top roping courses I did were pretty easy and I could always just reach for the rock and it would always be within my reach. Now that I’ve returned to bouldering, I don’t take any risks and refuse to jump for a hold unless I’m 100% certain I can get it. Ugh. Now I’m back to doing V0s and barely any V1s. BLAH I was doing V2s damnit!

Then Laura’s for watching tv! Love it. Her mom makes fantastic beef noodle soup. It is crazzyyyy good. I bought a 5 layer dip from Trader Joe’s to eat while watching football. I wanted to die when I saw how many servings that little container had. After football and Mean Girls, we went to Pinkberry – so I went from having Pinkberry maybe 3 times in my life to 3 times in a single week. I am now a heavy proponent for Pinkberry snack runs at work.

The Stanford squirrels were not as terrorizing as Berkeley skills. Wussy squirrels

4) Hot Chip – I Feel Better (what an apt title)

The week: Work is great. I understand how to do things and most of my troubles have been the client not providing us something or giving us something that doesn’t tie. So, not my problem! I am loosening up with my team and showing them my cool side. I dropped the F bomb two nights ago for the first time and they LOVED it. We have a thing called genius points where if someone does something awesome, we get a genius point and at the end, the winner gets prizes. Half of my genius points are in some way related to me cursing. HAHA

Some place in Stanford

So I’m currently reading this book, In Her Own Sweet Time. It was not what I thought it would be about at all. I’m not even sure what I thought it would be about at this point. What it turned out to be is a journalist essentially documenting her experiences with researching how to have babies and weighing her options as a single late thirties woman. I cannot relate at all to anything she says in the book. It reminds me of the time I went to Babies R Us with Laura and halfway through our shopping, I realized that I had absolutely no interest in anything within the store. They had the most ridiculous things. I hate how baby/little kid things are so plasticy. They had a diaper trash can. How is the diaper trash can different from a regular, half the price trash can? There is a replaceable air freshener at the top. I don’t know why you need a diaper trash can when you can just throw diapers away in a regular trash can and take the garbage out more frequently. Why anyone would want a diaper trash can to deodorize the smell and keep literal SHIT in your house longer than necessary is beyond me.

Ok. It’s 2am and it’s actually REALLY late for me now. I normally sleep by midnight. I’m going to regret this tomorrow.

It looks like I’ll be making weekly entries from now on about my weekend. I  feel like as long as I can do one entry a week where I did something substantial, I’d be pretty content with life. So far, I’m 3 for 3!

Listening to 5) Britney Spears – Hold It Against Me (in terms of number of plays, this song is the definite clear winner of all my favorite songs. Living legend Britney Spears! It totally brightens me up whenever it comes on the radio. Also, this is a crazy good song to elliptical to. If you match the beat, your legs will be going CRAZY fast)

“Look at that poor guy. No over here, you”

Week 2: Oakland and Point Reyes Coastal Trail

Me: How old was she?
Mom: Not that old, about 30 or so. She didn’t look racist
Me (thinking I must have heard wrong): What?
Mom: Racist. She didn’t look racist. You know how some Arcadians look racist against Asians. She seemed nice.

Me: What about your resume? Did you do it yet?
Mom: What? I need to go poo
Me: I thought you said you were going to work on it! Why aren’t you doing your homework?!
Mom: You must think I am lying to you right now, but I really have to use the restroom! BYE! *hangs up before I can respond*

Listening to: Sara Bareilles – Sitting on the Dock of the Bay (live) (I loveeee when the SF crowd goes wild during this song – it always makes me smile inside)

written on … I don’t even remember at this point.

SO exhausted right now. Mainly in my legs but it’s spreading into my head. That sounds like I’m describing a disease.

Friday: I did very, very little at work. I now really enjoy doing nothing at work, whereas before I would panic and think that I had to be utilized at every minute. This is a much better place to be. Unfortunately, I will no longer have these moments. My busy season OFFICIALLY starts Monday. (As I edit this, it is now Sunday and I’m sad and desperately clinging onto the last few minutes of my Sunday. I have never wanted to stop time more).

I drove to Kristen’s place in Oakland after work – kind of late but apparently still not late enough because I hit pretty heavy traffic almost immediately on the 880. Then we headed to Naomi’s housewarming / birthday party. I LOVE how Naomi decorates her place. She inspires me to do more for my room. I really do need to decorate this room and give it some personality. It’s pretty tragic right now. I feel like people are more interesting when I visit them and their rooms are well decorated. I know that’s very superficial but … *shrugs shoulders*

Slept over at Kristen’s – always fun to spend a night outside of the house! I like where I live, but it’s just fun to get out of Santa Clara every now and then. I ended up sleeping super late around 2:30am just surfing the web.

Fun flower pics from my hike

Saturday: Woke up fairly early and I went rock climbing at Mission Cliffs in SF with David (Kristen’s David). I really enjoy going to different rock climbing gyms and seeing how they grade differently from Planet Granite. David doesn’t like bouldering so we did top roping for the whole day. KILLED my arms. When I top rope with Jessica (Laura’s sister), I always do easier courses – highest I’ve gone was a … 5.7 I think? I did various 5.10s today and failed a 5.11 😦 I don’t think I’m a fan of top roping. I don’t like depending on people and I just want to do my own thing. I like how when I boulder and fail, I can retry on my own time, but for belaying, I feel pressure to have to either complete it quickly so I’m not just hanging there, or I have to just give up so my belay partner is not wasting time. Also, when I finish a bouldering course I love that moment when you hang at the top and feel accomplished. But when I finish a top roping course I’m always like GET ME DOWN RIGHT NOW.

Dropped off David back at his place and then set out for Point Reyes. I’m fairly certain we left Mission Cliffs at 11:30 but somehow I arrived in Point Reyes at 2:30. How did a supposedly 1 hour drive turn into 3 hours? Well I guess one hour was the actual driving time, one hour was me shopping at Safeway and stopping at various observation points and a third hour was just the reality of driving along SF streets and my GPS presuming that there are zero cars around me and zero red lights. Stupid GPS.

Stopped at the Golden Gate for some photos. Like everyone else in the Bay Area.

So I drove to the Palomarin trailhead in Point Reyes which is the southernmost point. I wanted to do the Coast Trail. Here’s a tip: there’s actually not too many coastal views except at the beginning. At first I thought I had left way too late today to get in a good hike, but I did 8.5 mi total (yay!) and I ended my hike right as the sun was setting so it actually turned out perfectly. My shoes are now horribly muddy though which sucks.

I can't get enough of the Pacific coastline

I had to decide between driving the 880 back home or the 101. You wouldn’t think it, but it’s only a 10 mile difference back to my place. The catch is that the 101 = Golden Gate = $6 toll. But totally worth the toll because I got to eat dinner with Soo Jin, Janie and Albert! We all got completely different foods from different restaurants. Makes me really appreciate the idea of living in the city. For some reason I’ve had the name Cordon Bleu in my head for a few weeks so I went there and got the combo. Delicious! I ate way too much but I figure I exercised enough to warrant it today. Soo Jin had a Thai place, Janie had a Korean place. Fun times.

Left around 11 and got back at midnight. Now I need to put my head down.

Sunday: Today was like errands day and super fun Golden Globes day. I woke up and thought about rock climbing but my entire body was just exhausted, even though I had slept eight hours. So I just stayed in bed and watched tv until my mom called me. I did laundry, cleaned my room, vacuumed for the first time ever, washed my shoes (who knew scrubbing shoes with a brush could make such a difference?) and then rushed to Laura’s so I could go to Costco. I ordered a carne asada bake and didn’t eat it until I got back to her house. I even cut an avocado to eat along with the carne asada bake and I had taken three bites of it, thinking “mmm this is such a great idea!” before Laura’s sister walked by and said “that’s not even carne asada! You got a chicken bake!” and I looked at it and realized that I had been tricked and given a chicken bake! And never realized it. Damn you Costco!

I realize I no longer put these photos in any logical order, but it's because I have to spread the wealth

We had to catch the Golden Globes red carpet – only missed the first few minutes which is fine. Watching awards shows with Laura is the BEST. No one else appreciates pop culture or my knowledge of pop culture as much as she does. It is really great to make jokes about celebrities and someone gets them (or comes up with even better jokes). So that went on from 3ish to 8:30. Next awards show is the Oscars and I think we are going to need some alcohol during our viewing party. Which is something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do. These are the parties I have always wanted to throw

1) Superbowl party, complete with beer and fattening appetizers
2) Awards show viewing party, with champagne and/or wine
3) Mexican themed bbq, with a loud radio blasting in the backyard

Tuesday: Well busy season started and it’s actually not bad at all. Rereading my post, I’m now like, hmm I freaked out about busy season for no reason. I leave relatively early (9pm on Monday, 7pm today) and so far I’ve been doing modules that I actually understand, so I feel great about myself. I’m not sure what I will do this weekend but I’m operating under the assumption that I will have to go in for work on Saturday. I really need to go rock climbing. Well, I actually go pretty often, but I really need to try harder courses. Lately I haven’t been trying as hard – as long as I get a few new ones in every visit, I feel ok, but I should really be pushing myself to do more V2s and bettering my technique on V1s.

Sunset on the coast

Week 1: Chrissy Field and Point Reyes

Listening to: Camera Obscura – Happy New Year

Laura: So my senior asked me to document this process because he didn’t know how to do it. And I later found out that a manager, a manager!, had written one before and had got shit on for it too! And that one was for another client who had done this process for many years. This is the first year my client’s ever done this process. So I was like, how can they expect me an A2, to know how to write this?!
Me: Wow, what did you tell your senior?
Laura: I said “… ok.”

Me: And of course that guy is better than me – he went to Brigham Young
Laura: Oh, yeah their accounting program is really good. Plus Mormons are REALLY disciplined. They can sit there and read a boring document for HOURS. I mean, they go to church, so…

Spoiler! This was taken at Point Reyes

Friday! I went to the library and picked up a bunch of new books to read (not sure when I will read them, but at least I have them at my disposal!) and then went rock climbing. I didn’t realize that the first Friday of the month = free guests so there were a TON of people. At first I was annoyed, then I realized that people who have never rock climbed are very approachable. So it was nice to meet new people, even if I don’t think we’ll see each other again. Then I went to Laura’s and bummed around and fell asleep on her couch and finally went home.

I was here just nine months ago!

Saturday! I drove to Laura’s then to SF and ate brunch at Zazie’s in the Sunset neighborhood with Soo Jin, Robin and their friend John. I’ve been in the Bay Area for three months and ever since I moved here, I’ve never been to SF for fun (ie. outside of the Embarcadero). Well, besides New Year’s day when I went rock climbing by myself, but that’s not real fun since I wasn’t with any friends. It was a culture shock, being in SF. I had forgotten about how ugly the houses are in the daytime, the long waits for brunch, how tiny the restaurants are, the abundance of North Face jackets, how women love to wear black yoga pants as everyday pants, how it takes ten minutes to drive a few blocks … SF feels very foreign to me now, which makes me a little sad because I liked how it sometimes felt like a second home to me. It made me feel more cosmopolitan.

Brunch was good but I think I have to write a note to myself to not order poached eggs again because I like scrambled better. We went to Soo Jin’s place and sat around until I had to return to my car and pay the meter. We had an incredibly inefficient few minutes where everyone came with me to get my car, move it to Gough and Geary, stand outside the parked car, then decide to drive it back to Soo Jin’s place to park it in the garage. But MAGICALLY while Soo Jin was getting stuff from the apartment, THE BEST SPOT EVER became free and I parked in it. I seriously would have stayed overnight  just to make the most of that amazing parking spot. That was such a highlight of my SF outing. PARKING!!!

Kite Flying at Chrissy Field in SF

Soo Jin, Laura, Albert and I then went to eat tapas and paella at a place called Alegrias, voted most romantic restaurant, near the Russian Hill area. We got a pitcher of sangria (I found it delicious), the paella with the longest name on the menu, rabbit, tripe and patatas alioli. Yummy! My head felt a lot slower after the sangria but by the time we drove back to Soo Jin’s I was ready to drive.

And then I went to Berkeley! Drove to Triple Rock and hung out with Kristen and some of her friends. I felt far more sociable for those three hours than I have in many, many months. Not sure why, but lately my mind just shuts down when I’m with a big group of friends and I can’t keep up with conversation. We played Things! and Apples to Apples. Unfortunately I was too full to order any delicious Triple Rock food, which I had kind of been looking forward to. I really want some of their garlic fries and the Brushetta Rock sandwich. Next time! I also want Cancun – haven’t been there in forever!

Cafe Intermezzo breakfast burrito

Sunday – I am exhausted. Jon, Josh and I went to Cafe Intermezzo to fill up before our Point Reyes hike. Delicious breakfast burritos! I’ve only had it once and loved it. Then we went to Trader Joe’s to pick up snacks before heading out. The Trader Joe’s on University is supperrr cute – all the artwork is Berkeley related and there’s tons of sunlight in the store. I picked up a bag of trailmix, peanut butter filled pretzels and dried mangos. I feel that hiking was just an excuse for all of us to buy a ton of otherwise unhealthy snacks. Point Reyes! Was not at all what I imagined. Today was the perfect day for hiking in the Bay Area – completely clear, no rain clouds, not that cold and not hot. I thought the place would be packed but we didn’t see that many people. The trail we picked wasn’t as coastal as I had hoped but we stopped at Arch Rock which had a really great coastal view, and now I have a general idea of where I want to go next time. Point Reyes is HUGE! I can’t wait to go back again when I have free time.

The Bear Valley Trail

We hiked from 1 until 6pm. It is awesome to hike with people like Josh and Caroline who can actually recognize things along the hike. We would hear a bird call and go “JOSH what is that” and he would know the species and the gender. From just looking or hearing it! He also has all these bird calls on his iPhone so when he identified one bird, he started playing that bird call, knowing the bird would get agitated and think some bird was encroaching on its territory. Within a minute, the real bird was making all these angry noises and coming to investigate. HAHA bird.

Looking through Josh's bird book

I had mistakenly thought that we could have hiked back another trail, but it soon became 4:45 and we realized that the sun was setting in 20 minutes and we had seven miles left and zero flashlights. So we decided to cut back to the trail we came on and took REALLY large strides back to the car. It became dark before we could make it back, but at least none of us got lost, stepped in a puddle, or stepped in horse poo.

Approaching Arch Rock
CA Coastline
Back on the trail

I had yelped restaurants before we left (which always ensures a worthwhile trip!) so on our way back to Berkeley, we stopped at a place called Sol Puerto Rican Restaurant (check out the site, it’s fun and will make you hungry!). The restaurant has a really great vibe – people are encouraged to sit together with strangers because of limited seating and the acoustics are nice so all the conversation fills up the restaurant without creating an overcrowded feeling. The food was good too – we all got Bistec sandwiches. I also ordered a coconut flan (only because the original flan was sold out) and I almost got an orange mango iced tea but canceled it last second. Verdict: delicious! But I’d have to pay $5 in toll to return to San Rafael so I probably won’t be going back any time soon.

Bistec Sandwich from Sol Restaurant

Work tomorrow! It’s only 10pm but I think I will sleep. EXHAUSTED.

Monday: Training in SF! I intended to bart in from Rockridge, as I have been doing every time I stay in Berkeley. But for the first time ever, and I did NOT wake up any later than usual, the parking lot was full. I drove in a circle, thought “oh shit,” and decided to drive to SF. I’ve always wondered what people do when they arrive at the bart station and realize there are no parking spots. I still don’t know what they do. And this has happened to me twice. Luckily I had woken up earlier than I needed to, so it was 7:44 when I left the Rockridge bart station and the GPS said I could arrive in SF at 8:01am.

Of course, anyone who lives in the Bay Area knows my GPS is a LIAR. At 8:01 am I was moving slowly (but at least moving!) down the 580. At 8:10 I was waiting in line to pay (I never remember to keep my wallet out of my laptop bag so it’s a VERY good thing I had $6 of quarters in the front). At 8:20 I was slowly waiting to merge onto the bridge. I arrived at the SF office with relatively little trouble and luckily some of my coworkers had also been stuck in traffic so I wasn’t the last person into the training room. All in all, pretty amazing that I arrived only 5 minutes late despite not intending to drive to SF at all!

The training was fun – an outside guy came in to tell us how to be efficient and remember what our values and goals are. Far more interesting than the usual “this is how you operate this program” sort of trainings we had last week. There was one activity where we paired up with someone, preferably someone you didn’t know, and you introduce yourself in one minute. The catch is, you introduce yourself as if it were 10 years ago. There wasn’t much for me to say about that, since I have basically no memory of anything that happened more than a year ago. And I was twelve ten years ago. The person I paired up with happened to be a tax senior manager HAAAA I really liked how she said “ten years ago, I was working all the time. Like all the time” with such astonishment and regret.

Well after that, we then had to introduce ourselves again, only this time, 10 years from now. I ended up saying “Um … ok ten years from now, so I’d be 32. I’m 32, and I’m living in Seattle, Washington. I have a very balanced life … I’m probably not working at Grant Thornton anymore – I only say that because you’re from the LA office! – um, maybe I’m married. Maybe I’ve been married for one or two years. No kids. I exercise every day and I love my job … I get out of work really early, well ok not really early, at a reasonable time – before it gets really dark. Um … I have a good group of friends, and I’m pretty close to my coworkers, like we hang out on the weekends and —”

I love how I basically said “I’m quitting this firm!” to a freaking senior manager. There should really be a filter on my mouth. She laughed really hard though, so it’s all good.

My real busy season starts on Monday. It took me so long to get this entry together that it’s already almost the second weekend of the year. Goodness.

Welcome to 2011

Today was another pretty great day. I have been staying in Berkeley since Sunday night since I have training in SF Monday through Wednesday. Blegh. What am I going to do in a few months when I have no Berkeley friends to stay with?

I got off of work at 5pm and as soon as I got off the bart, I jumped in my car and headed to 4th St. I REALLY wanted to go to the Crate and Barrel outlet while their Christmas stuff was still in stock but yesterday I found out that they close at SIX. It’s a 30 minute bart ride and you wouldn’t think it, but it takes 30 minutes to drive from the Rockridge bart station to 4th st. Around 5:45 I was like “if I’m not there in five minutes, there’s no hope.” I parked in front of Crate and Barrel at 5:51, decided to chance not paying for 9 minutes on the meter (spoiler: no ticket!) and ran into the Crate and Barrel store.

I saw my beloved snowman doormat but there was no price. I asked the saleslady who took it to the counter and I found out it hadn’t even been marked down from its outlet store price. I was hoping it would end up being like $8, but it was $11.95. I told her “I know that I only have five minutes, but I’ll think about it” and she laughed and I walked around the store to see if there was other Christmasy stuff. There wasn’t anything, and after my pondering I figured “ok … it’s only $12 and I just drove thirty minutes to get here” so I went back and bought it. LOVE IT! I can’t wait for Christmas next year! GASP I forgot to go shopping for marked down Christmas lights. I’ll check Target tomorrow night.

Next year I'll be wiping my feet on this!

So I dropped off my doormat in the trunk and then walked around 4th St, which still had their holiday lights up. LOVEEEE. I really like the bookstore on that street too – I get a lot of good book ideas from there. Then I drove back to the apt and decided to check the track’s open hours. My ass hurt soooo much after today’s training. Around 3pm, I had the urge to just get up and do jumping jacks and run some stairs, which is what happens when I have too much pent up energy. Amazingly, the track closes at 8pm and it was only 7!!! So I changed into clothes, went outside and tried to ignore the fact that I was wearing shorts in 45 degree weather, and headed to the track.

I have not run at Edwards track in FOREVER. Since March. And I have not run outdoors since September 15th! Which was apparently the night right before I went to the Grand Canyon with Eric and Frances C. Thanks Google Calendar! I ran 3 miles straight, which is 2.5 miles more than I expected. Seriously, whenever I run on the treadmills at Planet Granite, I have to stop around 0.80 miles. It’s embarrassing. After my run my legs were so jelly-like. Muscles I didn’t know I had were aching. By now they feel fine but I wonder if tomorrow I’ll wake up, unable to stand.

I just finished watching the Black Swan with Jon and Josh. It wasn’t as scary as I thought and I didn’t fall asleep which is generally the sign of a good movie. Yesterday we watched a film called “Just Give” and it was really interesting too. Now I have to sleep because I really can’t be tired during training. All the partners are sitting behind me so they’ll know when I nod off.

Year 2010 in review

5 best songs I listened to in 2010 (over and over and over again)

1. Get Far – The Radio: makes me remember Seattle every time I listen to it. I’ve probably listened to this song 100+ times, but I’m still in the stage where I refuse to ever skip it when it comes on
2. Stars – Take Me to the Riot: played most when I was walking around East Bay neighborhoods. I have a feeling this song is about drug addiction but I pretend it’s about going to a party
3. Morgan Page – Brightest Hour (remix): my new favoriteeeeeee artist
4. Timbaland ft. Katy Perry – If We Ever Meet Again: I first heard this song from Jackie’s blog but it always makes me think of the roadtrip since this was the very first song on my “Stay Awake!” mix and I guess we had to stay awake pretty often on those long drives
5. Metric – Black Sheep: Jon sent me this song and I am still obsessed with it. It’s one of the few songs I can consistently listen to while I’m at the gym and I am totally willing to wait 3 minutes and thirty seconds for the awesome instrumental part at the end

Things I can cross off my bucket list after this year: I have gone on a cross-country roadtrip, I have driven down the PCH, I have lived in a city all by myself for a month, I have rock climbed, I have had a salaried job, I have passed the CPA, I have lived in a complete stranger’s home (many of them in fact), I have surfed, I have walked the Golden Gate Bridge, I’ve hiked a trail in the Grand Canyon, I’ve hiked the Skyline Trail at Mt. Rainier, I have felt 100% pleased with life

Mt. Rainier

Written in the afternoon: On the last day of this year, I’m feeling … well I feel like I have a lot of little errands to finish. I did just pass the ethics exam so WHOOPEEE I am officially a CPA licensee. I have to fill out some forms but that should be the easy part. I plan on using my bonus (what’s left of it after taxes at least) for travel after busy season. I have to go grocery shopping for vegetables because I am going to attempt to make roasted vegetables for new year’s/laura’s mom’s birthday dinner tomorrow night. And I would really like to rock climb even though my body is rather sore from rock climbing too many days in a row.

The 5 greatest experiences I had this year:

1. Realizing that I had actually driven myself to Seattle and I was loving it. I think the exact moment when I realized I had not made some terrible mistake was Day 4 when I was standing on the balcony of the Marine Sciences Building of UW, chatting with The Guy Who Would Later Teach Me How To Parallel Park and looking out at the sunset, the I-5, and Union Bay
2. Hiking Mt. Rainier and seeing some of the most gorgeous landscapes I have ever seen at every turn of the trail
3. Those moments when I leap for a handhold while rock climbing and realize that I haven’t fallen to the ground
4. Running into Palace Cafe in New Orleans and demolishing a banana fosters with Kristen, Andria and Christina, thereby eating all of New Orleans’ famous foods
5. Posting blog entries filled with pictures and a google map detailing an adventurous day. That seems like a lifetime ago.

View from Gasworks Park

Resolution for the new year: Never settle

Sometimes I begin to feel complacent with my life here. After a long week of work, it seems just fine to sit in my room all day long and just watch tv and scuffle around my room. But I don’t want to forget about all those dreams I once had of a kickass young 20s life. If I can’t even remember what I used to want to do, that’s not a good sign. While it’s nice to have those quieter days to myself, I would like to save quiet days until I’m older and my knees can’t take that much and I can’t force myself to stay up past midnight. For these years, I better go out more often, make more friends, live more of life.

Work resolutions for the new year:
1. Not have a long pause when someone asks “how is your job going?”
2. Have more to say when someone asks how I like my client besides “it’s REALLY close to my house” and “it’s REALLY close to the rock climbing gym!”

Written at 8pm: What have I done today? Well I just watched the entire season of Raising Hope and I thought it was a really good show. I did  go rock climbing for an hour and a half and I was able to do a V2! There must have been more to my day than that … well I guess I took that ethics exam. I am going to read now and supposedly figure out my life plan before midnight. C89.7 is going through the top #89 songs! It’s a dance party in my room…

4 (because I can’t think of a fifth) new favorite celebrities of 2010:

1. Zac Efron: I know he’s nothing new but he just got much better looking in the past year!

I have better, half naked pictures of him on my computer

2.Matt Bomer

I really wanted a pic of him in glasses but this will have to do

3. Nina Dobrev: Sometimes I find her frighteningly thin on Vampire Diaries

Her hairrrrr is amazing

4. Candice Accola: She has such a great wardrobe as a vampire on Vampire Diaries

My favorite picture of her is her mugshot HAHA

After reading my Christmas cards this year, I realized that they all had a commonality: everyone wrote something along the lines of “I hope your life gets better soon!” Which makes me wonder how I come off in my blog. I used to think I had a fairly happy blog but I will then talk to someone and find out that my entries depress them. HAHA I need to blog more happy entries! But my life now just swings between “meh, okay” to “god what the fuck I hate this fucking shit.” I suppose that’s one of those “depressing things” I write. What a weird turn this year took. Now I know first-hand what people mean when they say they realize they know less about the world the more they see.

Written at 9:30pm: Now I’m considering driving up to Berkeley and celebrating New Years at Jupiters. I am reluctant because 1) it’s a one hour drive 2) it’s cold 3) it’s going to rain tomorrow so I can’t hike 4) Crate and Barrel is closed so I can’t go there tomorrow either and 5) I kind of want to find out what are the top 30 songs on this countdown. I want to go because … the alternative is sitting here typing on my blog.

Things I find myself craving from time to time:
1. Carne Asada fries from Rigoberto’s in SD
2. Mexican Hot Chocolate from El Diablo Cafe in Seattle
3. Cuban Roast sandwich from Paseo in Seattle

4. Beef onion pancakes from Liang’s Noodles in Arcadia
5. Calsadillas from the now closed Mexican restaurant near Bear’s Lair in Berkeley

Written at 10:10pm: I guess the verdict is that I will be spending New Years at home. The main reason: if I were driving an hour to Berkeley, I should have left way earlier to make it worth it. The second reason: I do really just want to listen to the rest of this countdown. I have been hearing pretty great songs that I never heard – they must have been played before I arrived in Seattle in August! HEY. The Radio is #20! Now I really wonder what is the top 19. I suppose listening to commercial-less dance music and googling pictures of celebrities to post in this entry is not a terrible way to spend New Years.

Realizations from 2010:

1. I used to hate traveling but that was because the only time I’d ever traveled was on Chinese tours. And Chinese tours are the worst way to travel (unless you’re 65+ … and Chinese)
2. Work is exactly what I had envisioned but I somehow find myself liking it less than I expected
3. There are a LOT of people in California. It seemed normal since I grew up in this state, but it turns out, there are nice states where popular places aren’t swarming with people. And life is better there.

Random Youtube video I found in my favorites. I couldn’t find/think of any other scenes I could post so here it is…

Written at 12:30am: I didn’t realize it was midnight until I heard fireworks go off and I checked the time and lo and behold it was midnight. I was busy calculating my expenditures for the year. It’s a little skewed because of some messy accounting for $304 of the cross country roadtrip and $1,339 that I didn’t include for the Seattle roadtrip with my mom but …

Total money spent from my own pocket in the year 2010: $13,555.57
– Total spent on food: $2,791.19
– Total spent on shopping: $1,612.44
– Total spent on travel (like gas and public transportation): $1,482.65
– Total spent on groceries: $493.12
– Total spent on rent: $5,283.06

Well I was really looking forward to finding out what the top 10 songs of 2010 were but I swear it never went to the top ten and just restarted at 89. The last song I heard before it restarted was Yolanda Be Cool – We No Speak Americano and while I enjoyed that song for a bit, I refuse to believe that it was #1. I guess I’ll never know …

For once one of my new year’s goals is not GET THINNER. I think I’m actually quite happy with my weight ever since work started! Working has always been my best diet. Too busy to eat but still so tense that I have to gym all the time. So it only took eight years but I can finally cross “lose weight” off my list of things to do! Now I will add “maintain weight”

I’ve run out of topics/lists. Good night!