How long has it been since I’ve been to a dentist?

Tell you the truth, not sure. Maybe…between after college graduation to now?

Anyways I guess I have been avoiding the dentist for a while because I knew I could not afford it. Not even with my first job. I was living in a city (San Diego) I could barely afford and I was not paid very much and I had debt. I thought to myself: when I get out of credit card debt, then I’ll see a dentist. That did not happen.

Then I took a contractor job with more money and moved back to LA. But I did not have benefits. I thought when I get my benefits after finishing my contract, I could see the dentist. Well, I got laid off.

Now I’m finally in a job where I could afford to see the dentist and I get benefits. Since I travel for work during the week, I really needed to find a Saturday dentist. But anyways I found out I REALLY needed to see the dentist. I got a toothache for the past couple days and the pain was throbbing and getting worse each day. I called the dentist for an emergency on Friday. He said he would book me for an appointment that day but I told him that I had a meeting I could not cancel and this meeting is 60 miles away from me. So we then booked the emergency for the first appointment on Saturday at 9 am.

That Friday was a pretty hard day and it got harder towards the end of the day where the toothache got uncomfortable on my neck. I even went to sleep at 8:30 pm because I was so tired.

Then Saturday, I woke up at 7:00 am feeling ok. I cooked some breakfast and then 30 minutes later, I suddenly got tired and slept from 7:30 am – 8:00 am. I woke up and got ready and I found doing regular simple tasks like taking a shower and brushing my teeth very painful. This pain was worst than yesterday and the day before and it was traveling from my right ear to my right shoulder. I asked Mr. Fish to drive me 3 miles to the dentist because I felt like driving was going to cause me pain too.

So now, we get to the dentist. I was really embarrassed to tell the dentist that it’s been a while since I’ve seen a dentist. I told her that I was previously a contractor and didn’t have benefits and she got the idea. It turns out that my tooth is infected and would need a root canal and crown too. Today, they drained the infection. It was weird because all of the sudden, my neck pain went away. They also had to do a full mouth exam too since it’s been so long since I’ve been to the dentist. They found  some of my fillings are wearing out. Definitely coming back to fix those too, but I think I need to finish getting my root canal and get a crown for my infected tooth too.

Anyways my experience from my first dentist appointment was surprisingly pleasant, better than what I remembered growing up. They even made financing my dental work very manageable too (thank god!). I had a choice to pick 6 months with no interest paying $330/month or do longer payment options (up to 2 years) with less monthly payments but there’s interest. I was tempted to pick the 6 month option with no interest, but then I realized all the un-foreseen disasters and incidents I’ve gone through — from getting my PayPal hacked to getting a new car battery. If you think you go through life with absolutely no problems or live with your parents, maybe a 6 month, no interest option is great for you. So realistically, I had to pick the payment option with interest because who knows, I might need to buy a new car part.

Now if only dentist can give out frequent punch cards because I am definitely coming back for more dental work.

Finding some gratitude

Wow, what a week! All I can say is that I am so happy the holidays are over. I felt I experienced a series of bad luck week after week.

It started with the first weekend of December, when I was planning to do some holiday shopping. I wanted to plan ahead of time. My car battery died. I thought it needed some charging so I had to let it charge for a few hours. The car battery was only good for 4 days and I was stranded at a Trader Joe’s parking lot. Then we had to charge it again — enough to last me for the following day and get a new car battery. I got a new car battery and it cost me 120 dollars. Ouch. That was enough to get me gifts for the family I was sponsoring, my white elephant gift for work, and a white elephant gift for my friend’s dinner party. It would still leave me off with 30 dollars to buy Christmas cards and other fun stuff.

Then the following week I got sick. Enough said.

Then the week after I got my PayPal account hacked and they took out 1100 dollars from my checking account. That was probably the worst of all for the month. I told my fiance how I felt the universe must be doing great because it’s expending on my luck for that to happened. He kept telling me to not dwell on it. It’s so easy just dwell and mope. I mean these people took a lot of money from me and I’ve been trying to save money these past few months. It was a headache trying to call PayPal and my bank back and forth everyday that week and asking for temporary credit and when will I get my money back. I still had holiday shopping to do!

But then I realized something…I realized maybe I shouldn’t dwell on all the bad things and let it get to me. The day I got my PayPal hacked was when our client gave us a gift and took us out for lunch. Also my CTO gave me a gift too. I realized I let a good day go sour — or actually…a good week go sour. When I took a picture of my gifts for my daily photo on Instagram (I know that’s cheesy)..it made me realize that I forgot about life’s details. A year ago and maybe years before that I was treated terrible at work. Last year I almost got fired just to get actually fired a few month later. Last year I started a new job with big pharma fatty who treated me awful and refused to give me a voucher for a pair of steel toe shoes. Then the years before I was just simply put it…I was under a couple of slave drivers. They were always giving me extra work because they have to leave earlier for a blah blah excuse or just didn’t want to do it. The work still had to be done because we worked in cell culture. What sucked was when I needed help because I was sick, they didn’t help me.

But anyways, compared to other years, the holidays for 2013 were probably the better ones. Even though I lost a lot of money during that month, I have to realized, I have the best job ever. I am at a job that I do look forward to every Sunday. I get treated very well. I mean last year, I had a supervisor who didn’t bother to give me a pair of 120 dollar pair of steel toe shoes when I started my QA job — no matter how many times I followed up. Before that in my first job, I got sloppy seconds everything. When I started my Project Coordinator job in July 2013, I got a laptop, an iPhone, name placard, and briefcase. I thought “wow, I get all this? What did I do to deserve this?”A month before that I was let go from my contract job. Weird how life goes… I went from being walked all over for years and one day there was a break and I stood up and just found myself walking. Even though it’s been five months, this feeling still feels new in a very, very good way :-). But I’ll go more about those feelings another time…

My fiance is right…I shouldn’t let these events dwell on me.

Exactly what you think it is!

So yesterday was just a day at Hermosa Beach out with friends for my birthday but then….

2013-08-31 18.01.17Yup exactly what you think it is! And out of all my outlets I decided to post this ring picture on my WordPress exclusively. Too tacky to share on Facebook or Instagram immediately. Since I don’t have that many friends on WordPress and I write more substantial stuff on WordPress, I thought it made the most sense to share on here.

Meanwhile, on Instagram and Facebook, they’re only getting this (and WordPress deserves these pics too):

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This last picture was inspired by the #followmeto series on Instagram. This is probably the closest view Facebook and Instagram is going to get for now.

 

 

What I think success looks like?

I’ve seen this on Facebook and my bosses’ office. I definitely agree.

I’ve found myself in really sticky situations especially lately but like all other times, I try to turn it around. Lately these last few situations have been a more serious degree. I really enjoy my new job.

Not too long ago, I got laid off from my job. I’ve been working in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry since I graduated from college. I saw that as an opportunity to re-think my goals and choose another career path. That was when I changed gears towards public health and I am currently working for a non-profit.

Also my most recent one was walking away from a promising (once-so-promising) start-up. I’ve been with this group since February and we got ourselves a grant and an accelerator. When the accelerator started, my partner was fighting over silly things like money even though my partner said we should try to avoid fighting over money. The thing was I never fought back over money but my partner kept starting the fires. The reason why I never fought back is because I had no money to really keep in the first place.  I already knew what was coming. When you’re an entrepreneur — expect to be without a paycheck for a while. I’ve heard various answers — it could be months and it could be years. I didn’t mind behind without a check from the start-up. I guess my partner was stressed for putting her eggs in one basket. Also my partner and I had very different visions for our start-up — one driven by commercialism, the other was driven by passion. I left not just the accelerator and told the program to just give my stipend to my partner, but overall I left the start-up. Like I said, I had no money to even take in the first place. There was no point fighting back.

That is the ugly side of being in a start-up. Make sure your partner is a real partner and shares the same vision with you. My partner and I saw things differently and it simply wasn’t working out.

It was really hard for me to leave because I was the spokesperson for the start-up. I attended networking events and everywhere I went, people told me that I seemed extremely passionate about what I was doing. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen the next time I was going to see these people about what happened. But now since the worst is over, if I were to ever bump into any of them again, I’m all right telling them what happened. I am posting on this blog after all.

I was afraid of leaving because I was afraid people would think I’m no longer interested or was not willing to take on the work. Not true, I felt because of what happened, the relationship was going to be so toxic and not salvageable — the easiest thing for me was to walk away. I knew I had other avenues to pursue.

I know these won’t be the last time I’ll encounter difficult situations. My boyfriend tells me that my stand-out quality would be tenacity. I encountered some pretty unfavorable situations but I try to do the best I can with whatever cards I’m given.

The Unemployed Series: Cleaning the House More

The most replies I get from people when they told me during their time of being unemployed was that they cleaned their place a lot.

Yikes! I realized I need to catch up on that. I may have gone to the gym (which by the way I am thinking of letting that go since I need to train for the tough mudder. That means train myself for 10 miles of TRAIL running!) but as soon as I go home, I move less. I get attached to my laptop and try to look for jobs, look for networking events, do side projects, and plan out my week. Also my butt is glue to the floor or the bed/couch (FYI, we live in a studio apartment. We don’t have a chair.)

She looks very pensive.

She looks very pensive.

I was tired of sitting on my floor looking for jobs, writing cover letters, scheduling events, side projects, preparing for my upcoming interviews, and Coursera classes. So I decided to stand up and take a break. I looked around my apartment and realized maybe I haven’t done as much as I thought because my apartment is a mess!

Maybe I’m just hard on myself… I haven’t cook in a while either. Actually I try to make an active effort to go outside during the daytime to volunteer, participate, network, etc and save job hunting at night at home. It forces me to move more.

Anyways last Wednesday, I decided to stay in. I exercised at the yoga studio in the morning and stay in at the apartment to prepare for my upcoming interview the following day. After staying in, I realized I was the floor for 2 hours straight and maybe sweeping and moping the kitchen was overdue so I took a break to sweep and mop the kitchen.

Then later that day, I get a message from a friend she needed a place to stay for a couple days until she is able to move in her sublet but school starts on Monday. Decided that I got to clean the bathroom! Got to make the place nice for my friend to stay over for a couple of days.

I’ve always put off cleaning and decluttering because I’m always “tired” or pre-occupied with something else. I can see it now as something to clear my mind and take those occasional breaks to stand up once in a while.

The Unemployed Series: Still keeping my health club membership!

It’s been a week since I got the news that my assignment ended. Actually I’ve been surprisingly busy. As of today, there are has been 3 opportunities on the table and of course I took them. I just have continually follow up.

This is what happens when you volunteer in your free time! But I’ll talk about volunteering another time.

So all week, I’ve been in conflict with whether or not to keep or freeze or cancel my YogaWorks Membership and all of them seemed to be very pricey consequences.

  • If I keep it, then I’ll just pay my monthly membership.
  • If I freeze it and pursue a cheaper temporary membership, I’ll be paying the 15 dollar a month at YogaWorks plus I’ll be paying initiation fee and monthly fees at the new membership.
  • If I canceled my YogaWorks membership and go somewhere else, still have to pay the initiation fee and the monthly fees and that’s not in my budget.

So I decided to bite the bullet and stick with my YogaWorks Membership. I know the place I volunteer at in Burbank, they have a gym where it’s 10 dollar initiation fee and 10 a month membership and it’s really close to the building I volunteer at.   But I don’t work at Burbank everyday and I’m not driving that far to just work out. Also I spend more time at the other communities we serve which is outside of Burbank.

Anyways why am I discussing exercise? Well exercise can help your job search! It produces endorphins and I feel it’s what keeps me sane otherwise I’d lock myself in the apartment job hunting all day when really I should be out in the world and networking.

Also since they’re group classes, it’ll keep me disciplined so I have to attend the class. And also they’re saying that exercise improves on overall appearance and confidence. I guess I can think of my membership as an investment to a better opportunity.

I try to go to the classes in the morning so I feel like I accomplish something and I’m ready to start the rest of my unstructured day.

Organizing my life

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. I’m still in the process of getting adjusted to my new schedule. Also I’ve been sick :-(.

It seems like my resolution is to be more organized. Even though I don’t recall having a New Year’s Resolution to be more organized or ever had a New Year’s resolution. But I ended up finding myself buying an erase board for my weekly menu.

wpid-IMG_20130106_120056.jpgAlso I found the PERFECT Organizer!

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No you do not have to be a mom to have this planner. For me, I love how this planner is undated and streamlined with monthly goals, projects, and to-do lists. For the “theirs” list I just replace it with things that are work related or reminders to do for other people.

Also I got this awesome Moleskine book to collect all my recipes!

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Don’t know how all of the sudden I decided to become more organized. Maybe it’s always been like that. For the longest time I carried a little notebook around for jotting down things I did today, things I NEED to do today, addresses to meet at, shopping lists and now I find myself compartmentalizing these things.

Do you carry around an organizer? How do you organizer your life?

 

Yes, I am back in school

After thinking long and hard…I decided to take some classes.

This plan took quite a long time to execute. For the past year at work, an older colleague always tells all the 20-something coworkers “you’re young, you guys should be going to school.” She tells me that too and I have taken some of her advice from getting Masters, Ph.D., M.D., J.D. but I deep in my heart, I couldn’t feel it. I just didn’t want to go get and a Masters or Ph.D. in Biochemistry and not have much to show for it when I get that title.

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(source: All Women Stalk)

You see, I have a friend who is completing a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry — sound very lucrative right? I remembered a couple months ago, she was not looking forward the comin days her graduation because she was getting her Ph.D. and she had no contacts to land herself a job. I just didn’t want to feel the way she was feeling if I were to pursue a Ph.D.

I didn’t want to get a Masters either in Biochemistry because when I look in the job requirements for a certain position they would say “Masters with no work experience or Bachelors with 5 years experience.” Since I’ve been working for 2.5 years, I don’t see why I would get a masters since it’s about 2-3 years to complete and I’m about halfway with earning 5 years of experience so I really don’t want to pursue a Masters in Biochemistry when I’m learning on the job in the tech industry. I can comfortably talk about an equipment or a process because I have actual job experience not because I helped read the instruction manual.

I even mentioned the only way for one to move up is knowing someone, it’s not just about how much do you know and how much schooling you’ve gone through. I told her the way for me to know someone is to meet more people and have a bigger circle of friends. I gave her examples of my friends telling they’re not too happy with their grad school program and I knew I didn’t want that to be me. She didn’t seem to like my answer.

Maybe I’m coming off as cynical. I even told my older colleague that I don’t mind putting my school on hold. If I had the money, it would be nice. She told me if she was my age, she would’ve continued doing school longer. She also mentioned if I was older and I had kids, it would so hard for me to go back to school because I would have too many other responsibilities.

I told her that I actually just want to travel more because I never got to travel abroad or went anywhere during my undergrad years. I told her I want to travel as much as I can before I turn 30 (I hope much longer than 30) but she told me “but you have to save a lot of money.” I wanted to reply back “on the contrary…” but I really didn’t want to bring on my pitch on how I saved money to go to Southeast Asia and paid off my credit card debt at roughly the same time. I believe you should take a good look at your bank accounts, I think you’ll be able to save money to go travel anywhere you want in the world. I understand where she is coming from but I guess to me travelling when you’re young is more important because it’s the most affordable when you’re young and I feel a person is more interesting when they come from abroad. You can do more stuff while you’re young like riding a motorcycle through Southeast Asia or exploring Angkor Wat. If I had children, I feel I would have pay significantly more not just because I have to pay for more plane tickets more money on safety. Exploring Angkor Wat required a lot of walking and I don’t recommend you bring small children — they’ll complain its too hot and their legs are tired and the day is over when your kids say its over. That’s just one example I told my colleague that its better to go adventuring like this when your young because if I had a kid I’d have to wait for them to get so much older for them explore places like Angkor Wat or wait until they make their money to go on their own adventures.

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Laos is on my travel wishlist (source: http://www.weekendblog.co.uk)

My colleague didn’t see where my desire for adventuring life came from. I think if I were to go back to school at any age, there are so many options for people in all walks of life to go back to school. In college my T.A. was a single 30 year old (at the time) mom with a 7 year old kid and finishing her Ph.D. in Neuroscience and before she finished graduating she already had some potential employers at the time. The T.A.s and grad students are met were not all alike in age and what part of life they came from and I never thought too much about it when I left. I guess I found them pretty inspiring. When I left college I felt like the world was a place where inspiration comes to die. I didn’t find any inspiration — I still don’t. I feel I am surrounded by people’s excuses like “I would like to [travel, go back to school, find a better job] this but I have [responsibilities, kids, no one will hire me, I have nowhere to go, etc].” In the back of my mind as they list their excuses, I try to think to someone in my life who has overcome their barriers and were able to achieve whatever they want. I usually I mention someone I know who has overcome their obstacles but then more excuses come about. As I said, I feel the people I’ve been meeting lately inspiration someone dies there.

I guess you can call me an idealist but YOU make it happen.

Wow, I went on a tangent. Anyways I’ve been working for the past 3 years after graduation and I finally thought how will I take myself to the next level? As I said a Masters in Biochemistry probably won’t make a big difference. I did not want an MBA like every other person — I mean you earned your MBA and you’re still a research associate I? I know at least 3 people. Guess those MBAs and the amount you pay don’t quit show for it. I always heard in business school, you meet a lot of people in pretty much every industry you can possibly imagine… *shrugs*

So I decided I’ll earn my license in Project Management. I have to take the classes which lead me to get my certificate for completing the class and I could take the board exam to earn my CAPM and eventually earn a PMP. I got the idea because for the past two years I’ve been working more side projects and I’m always curious about how a company makes the decision they make. It’s a purely 100% class. I was thinking about getting the certificate in UCSD but then I realized all it matters if I get the license and I already have the tech industry experiene. Also I don’t get reimbursed for school if I chose UCSD extension :-(. They didn’t have
community college classes offering PM either so I am taking an online course through my work which is pretty much free. The hardest part of the online course is the online course, even though its set at my own pace, I want to go through the course three times a week. The plan was doing a lesson Monday, Wednesday, Friday and I’ve been setting reminders. On Friday I didn’t do the course because I went to happy hour but I did do the course Saturday morning however. Each lesson is about 2 to 3 hours long and I did not realize how much of my evenings it takes up during the week but that’s ok. Also since the course there are no onsite class meetings, I’d probably have to network around and ask people how they were able to move up into project management in the tech industry. So we will see….

How convenient

Lately I’ve been pretty stressed out especially today. Today was the breaking point.

The worst type of stress so far is financial stress especially when people’s financial problems become my problems. It stops me from achieving my goals and I sigh to myself that I had to keep whatever I want on hold. I really haven’t felt very well more like very annoyed with a dwindling savings account and a tighter wallet.

You see, my previous place had AT&T and when I moved out I went to the AT&T website to fill out the transfer of financial responsibility to the currents tenants and gave the people in the previous place the new passcode for my account. They said “thank you” and that was it.

Today I just received an e-mail from AT&T that my transfer of financial responsibility has not been processed. How convenient, the e-mail was sent on the day that bill had to be paid. I called AT&T to see what’s up. It turns out that the people living the old place never went through the process (all it really takes is to type in those four little numbers) and the window of time for them to type those four little numbers never expired and I have to redo filling out the information. It was really frustrating because I still had to pay for the bill.  I told AT&T that I didn’t want to pay for that the bill because the tenants in the previous place were suppose type in the passcode so they could pay for it. Customer service then transferred me over to the Billing Department to set a later date so I wouldn’t be penalized for paying late and then…my phone died.

How convenient.

I forwarded the e-mail I got from AT&T that the transfer was never processed along with the passcode and the link and just hope they go with it. Or…

I also thought maybe…I should just cancel the services and have the people come in and take the box. I don’t care if I have to pay them for taking it away…I’m paying for peace of mind not someone’s cable and internet bill. Peace of mind is a one time payment for not having AT&T not send me any e-mails and heart sinking reminders.

Or I can just keep pushing the due date, keep renewing the transfer of financial responsibility, and not pay until the people in the old place give in and the bill they see is a snowball of all the cable bills in the previous months.

Yes, I am that unforgiving.

I know people advised me to at least call them to let them know I’m canceling the services as a courtesy but to me, these people have been living with free cable for the past two months. Why should they find themselves surprised that I suddenly decided to not have cable in a place I don’t live in. They had that opportunity to get my account and but I guess it takes a lot of work to type in the four numbers. They’re at my mercy because it’s my checking account and I can do whatever I want.

Also people advised to give them the courtesy to cut them off because times are hard, maybe they can’t really afford the luxury of cable and internet and its going to be a harder hit that they’re not going to have TV and internet. Oh dear, a first world problem! No cable TV! No DVR! NO INTERNET!!

Anyways did all I could….now…please give me a peace of mind.

Single Female Roommate

I’ve usually have been the single roommate or if I had a boyfriend, I didn’t see him for a long time and it was usually any of my roommates who had a boyfriends they see on a regular basis so I usually don’t see them.

So while they have their fun, I tred to find something to do.

And usually I was the roommate who didn’t have much do except for work and going to the gym. And now I decided to do the book club and I know after book club I want to probably walk in some math and engineering courses before I start class in the fall. I mean before I just worked and worked out and then watched TV and looking at my roommates one who is taking classes and the other one is studying for her MCAT. I know my MCAT roommate is trying to get into med school because she does miss being in school. Anyways the before lifestyle was just so monotonous and not very fulfilling, but the new lifestyle with book club and my boyfriend it’s so much better. I’m so much happier.

I feel awful telling Mr. Fish about what happened. I don’t want him to think he’s not making me happy it’s just the opposite–the complete opposite. It’s nice to have someone to talk to and someone who supports you. Someone to talk to that you don’t need to beat around the bush–you can always come clean.

You see…female roommates would really like to have their female roommates to be single until they have a boyfriend. I notice this in all spectrums of female relationships. A fellow single female roommate is your wingwoman, the one who is your designated driver, the one where you see two guys at a bar and say one guy for you and one guy for me, etc.

Anyways, look I don’t think my roommates meant to leave me out tonight. I came back home from the gym and I see my two roommates getting ready to leave for dinner and a movie and just left. Then a couple minutes later one of my roommates comes back to the house asking me if I wanted to go with them too and they didn’t ask me because they didn’t know what time I was going to leave.

I told her “no” because I needed to do laundry and I was going to LA tomorrow right after work. You see, before I didn’t have much going on in my life and now I do and I need to remind myself that I’m going on a different schedule and that for the longest time I stayed home while my roommates went out with their boyfriends. I told her maybe we can do something next week except for Monday and Wednesdays because I have book club and I don’t come home until past nine.

I sort of think it was messed up that they just left and then suddenly came back asking me if I wanted to come along. Usually a more considerate person would say “hey we’re going to dinner and a movie feel free to hang out” or not say anything at all and leave. Not leave and come back as if they didn’t anything wrong–it’s just poor timing. That’s something my dad taught me when it came to social skills–timing.

All I need to do is remind myself that I’m not doing a bad thing for joining book club, bonding, and hanging out with my boyfriend. I’m only feeling bad for myself because I’m being left out. Like I said this is new because it’s been a while since I’ve had a busy schedule.