#238 (Christmas with S)

This is the first year in a long time that I’ve opened Christmas presents in a house that wasn’t either owned or occupied by someone I knew or in my own house. I rented a house located near the foothills of Mount Hood to accommodate our commute up and down the mountain for the next several days of skiing and having fun in the snow. This is also S and my first event together that included all her kids. 

Now I did Christmas my way and bought presents that I thought her kids would like. I know two of her kids would appreciate their presents as they expressed interest in the theme of their gifts. However, the younger of her sons is the questionable one as it’s hit and miss with him. Oh the adolescent millennial male. 

Regardless of their reaction (excited or non-engaged) it matters not as I cannot control how they act. I can only control how I react to them. I read that somewhere in one of those self help books as I was going through the loss of my first wife many years ago. So whatever will be will be – isn’t that an old song…

I packed up my truck, which just came out with a ‘good to take on this road trip’ thumbs up from her new doctor (mechanic), and headed to pickup S. Now once I picked her up, we had yet to finish the grocery shopping, and then had to collect her kids from their dad’s house. 

I expected drama…and it showed up 

The grocery shopping with S wasn’t bad as I had my list of things to buy based on meal planning which we agreed on days in advance. Prior to grocery shopping, I did create the list based on our menu planning and after reconciling with items I already had in my pantry and refrigerator. It turns out the list wasn’t as long as it seemed it was when we were planning out the meals. 

The drama didn’t hit until we were at her kids dad’s house and when her younger son broke a unique Christmas ornament that his grandmother on his father’s side had given his father. Basically he broke one of his father’s keepsake ornament passed down from the family. 

Now no hell actually broke out, but apparently his father wasn’t happy which caused the younger son to sneak out the back door of his father’s house and scamper across the front lawn. I didn’t realize it until minutes later when we were packing up the rest of her kids in my truck that we saw her youngest child in the back seat in hysterics, and adamantly refused to go with us on our skiing trip. 

After S tried to coax him without success as it didn’t help that S forgot to get his outer winter gear from the back of her car. His dad came out and also tried to calm him down, which he did temporarily with an alternative plan to clothing. 

Plan B was concocted with her youngest using some of his moisture wicking clothes he had at his dad’s place and to borrow some of his dad’s clothes which then only added more fuel to the emotional turmoil her youngest was experiencing. I figured the breaking of the precious family ornament and now having to borrow from his dad’s closet set him further into an emotional tailspin. 

Plan B worked for a brief moment until round two of fighting broke out as there was no ski jacket available.  Finally after many moments of yelling and actual hatred and hurtful verbal exchanges from both the parent and the youngest, they were able to connect with his grandmother who agreed to bring her youngest son’s clothes to a meeting location between where their father was and where S lived. This meant another 45 minutes or so before we would actually be on the road to the rental house. 

I drove towards our rendezvous point in awkward silence for the first 10 minutes or so but then began talking with her daughter. Soon the tension broke and they were back on somewhat amicable grounds. The silent peace treaty was in force and conversations took on a normal tones until grandma showed up at the meeting location. One last of mother son argument occurred when he still refused to go to the rented cabin in the woods. 

During the drive to the rental house, I learned the kids’ father is very strict with their kids in that he strikes fear in them when they do anything wrong. So maybe that’s why the children are the way they are. And whenever asked if they would spend time with their father, they all would opt not to go if given the choice. So sad as this is very contrary to my upbringing. 

The gift exchange

All was normal during our drive to the rental house. We reached there a little over an hour and unloaded. The kids retuned to being kids and were excited and claimed their individual rooms. One we toured the house and the sleeping arrangements were decided, I started on dinner as S decided to relax and the kids unpacked. 

After dinner we opened our Christmas presents and I got genuine tears from her youngest child as he wasn’t expecting the gifts he received from me. It wasn’t the values of the gifts , but the fact that he appreciated what he received. It was a breakthrough to see the loving side of her kids as each seemed genuinely happy and appreciable. 

The evening ended on a high note as I got legitimate hugs and thanks from each of them. 

#life #teenagers #emotional #firstchristmas

Advertisements

#235 (52 years ago)

On an island 5 km in diameter, I entered this world as a premature baby weighing under four pounds. At least that’s the story my mother told me when I was a young kid. I don’t have many pictures of me when I was a child and living in the Philippines. The only one I have is in black and white and is the size of a passport picture. It wasn’t a closeup of my face. So making out who the subject of that vintage photograph was would require a magnifying glass. 

It took four years before my mother married my step father who was stationed on a military base in Manila. My mother worked on base as a housemaid for one of the military higher ranking officers. My step father was in the US military stationed on the base where my mother happened to work. That’s how my mother met my step father. 

I unfortunately don’t remember my biological father. The story my mother tells me is that they were both young and my biological father decided he didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

It takes a village…

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Based on my mother’s stories, I had plenty of relatives to watch and care for me so I guess I was literally raised by a village of aunts and uncles and cousins. 

People say they can remember their childhood but I’m not one of those people. I only have faint recollections of playing with some airplane and I remember the first time I’ve ever seen fireworks. I also vaguely remember taking baths in a barrel similar to an old oak barrel where wine or whiskey ages and ferments. Other than those faint glimpses into my childhood in the Philippines, I don’t remember anything else or people who cared for me. 

Going to America…

Shortly after my mom wedded the only father I know, we both flew from the Philippines to the US of A. The first American soil we put our shoes on was San Francisco. 

Since then, I lived in various states: North Carolina, which was where my brother was born. From there, we lived in Virginia, which was the first time I had ever seen snow. It was fun for me as I was too small to actually do chores like shoveling snow or the like. I remember having loads of fun with my friends during my first snow sighting. 
Then I believe we moved to Arkansas then Kansas then finally settled in Texas, which is where both my little sisters were born. 

I blinked…

Now, I’m 52 living in the Pacific Northwest with two grown boys of my own. In retrospect, I’ve lived a life full of twists and turns that couldn’t have been anticipated – but that’s life. You roll with the punches and there were many of them. 

I didn’t think I would be a widow at 26, remarried and annulled within six months, then married the third time to be dismissed after ten years of marriage with no reason other than “I just don’t feel that way for you anymore.”

Apparently my mother had a sense that this would happen as I’m the only child taught how to cook. My other siblings were not required to know their way around in the kitchen. When I confronted her for the special treatment, she replied, “I saw that you would be on your own in the future and you would need to fend for yourself”. Thanks mother for your foresight. It has paid off in spades. 

Birthday celebrations…

I typically keep things on the down low when my birthday comes up as I’m not big in public celebrations. I would rather the day be just another day. So far I’ve been successful in avoiding the public celebrations with the help of taking the day off from work. 

The adage: “Out of sight out of mind” has apparently been the saving grace as when I did have to work on my birthday, I chose the “work remotely ” option for that day. No one had been the wiser. 

For this year, I’m on vacation for my 52nd year and I love it that way. 

Happy quiet birthday to me…

#bestbirthdayever #life #singleasianmale

#234 (my last work day)

December 21st, 5pm finally comes around signifying my official start to my holiday vacation. The company I work for has allotted two days for Christmas (12/26 & 12/27) and two days for New Years (12/30 & 01/02). So this year there are two working days between Christmas and New Years. So if one is smart, they can use two acation days to get nine consecutive days off. 

I had to up that and took off 12/22 and I’m not planning to return to work until 01/4, which gives me 14 consecutive days. I hadn’t taken the last two weeks off for several years. As a consultant, I always took the last two weeks because I needed to take a mental break, but that’s been at least 4 years ago. 

Yeah I’m officially on vacation. I hope the days go by slowly. 

#vacationmode #vacationrime #nowork #life #dingleasianmale

#233 (packages for Christmas)

December 19 and two more days remaining until it’ll be past the deadline for the gifts to reach my family in Houston. I’ll now have to ship using the USPS priority mail service which guarantees my packages arrive just in time for Christmas morning. 

As with all families, my nieces and nephews have grown up and are harder to get gifts to them. So because my family have dispersed and are now living in separate lives, this year I decided to send several packages instead of sending one big box as I did last year for the older of my sisters to distribute to the rest of our family members. 

As a matter of fact, my presents I sent them last year was collected by them a few days prior to this post. My old sister had been trying to reach them because she were the one I had sent the packages to as my other sister doesn’t want to provide her actual address. Families are weird aren’t they?

Anyway I think I need one more gift. This means I’ve got to rush to the store either during my lunch hour or after work. Then package up the last box and get them to the post office to ensure they arrive on Christmas Eve day. 

Gifts for me…

Most years I’ve purchased at least one gift for myself. However, this year I still hadn’t purchased anything for me. At this point in my life, I really don’t need anything. In fact, my girlfriend told me today, “you’re hard to shop for because you really don’t need anything and you’re very self sufficient.”

“Thanks,” I said and agreed with her in that I am hard to buy for. 

However I think, if she actually recalled some of our recent conversations, she could have identified a few things I could use or would want. But I’m not big on pointing out things for people to buy on my behalf, especially during the holidays. I mean I have the means, I’m single, and I’m a bit picky when it comes to the design and ease of use of things. I also would select quality over price. So better for me to buy my own stuff. 

Santa’s domestic shipping dept…

December 20th – My last gift going to Houston was purchased, wrapped, labeled, and sealed for delivery. All three packages have now been dropped off at the post office and entrusted with Santa’s domestic shipping department (USPS) to get my packages to their delivery point in time for my nieces and nephews to open and enjoy their presents. 

#christmasgifts #family #shipping #usps #life #singleasianmale

#231 (let it snow)

Ten years ago I moved from south Texas where the weather was consistent with 80% or greater humidity most days of the year. Rainfall statistically were the same as it is in the Pacific Northwest, but instead of the drizzle, rain drops from the heavens in buckets. Literally! Stepping out in the southern Texas rain would soak you in seconds. 

Winter in south Texas only had a few weeks of the cold with an occasional hard freeze. I lived there for 34 years and there were maybe three hard freezes. At least that’s what I remember. 

PAC NW…my second home…

I love the weather here in the Pacific Northwest where four actual seasons could be experienced. The humidity happens for a brief two to three week period before it returns to the typical nice, comfortable, warm summer days and cool summer nights. During the fall season, the crispness in the air could be felt. I love it!

It doesn’t snow here…

However, when I first moved here, I was told snowfall were seldom. I have to tell you…they’re liars…it has snowed every year for the past ten years I’ve lived here. 

I’m not complaining as I love driving in the snow, playing and walking in the snow, and just being active in it. Last year I learned how to ski and before the end of this year, I’ll be back on Mount Hood skiing again. I cannot wait!

As early as this past Thanksgiving Day, the nearby mountains, and both the ocean and central cascades had been receiving plenty of snow, which is fantastic for feeding our sreams and rivers as the snow melts in the upcoming spring and summer months. 

On the valley floor…

We are currently still in the fall or autumn season and a few weeks away from when winter officially starts. However, La Niña has kicked in strong this year and provided a wintry wonderland twice in the last week with a potential third snowy day coming this next weekend. 

We normally don’t get snow that sticks to the valley floor this early in December. The surrounding hills with elevations higher than 500′ may receive a dusting of white powder but seldom on anything below the 500′ elevation ceiling. 

Early snow…

For the first snow storm that took place a week ago, I spent most of the time indoors working on actual work stuff. This second round, I’ll try to take some advantage snd actually get out into the elements and enjoy the snow and the coldness it brings with it. 

Of course, since Portlandians don’t know how to drive in snow, I’ll take extreme precautions to avoid the idiotic, inexperienced, and overly cautious drivers along the way to my fun. 

#letitsnow #winterwonderland #pdxoregon #life #singleasianmale

#230 (teenagers)

I woke up an hour earlier Wednesday morning than I normally do and well before the time my alarm would have sounded. I’m not sure why, but I was wide awake. “Hmmm,” I thought and wondered what was I dreaming about to wake me up so suddenly. 

My morning routine is to check my phone for messages, make my coffee, and make a quick breakfast that consists usually of a slice of toast and maybe some fruit. The latter is only if I have it. 

I must have slept hard…

I think I now understand the reason I awoke so suddenly. I believe there are messages in an alternate reality or universe that we are all connected to and if we’re tuned in to that world, we could receive certain information subconsciously when we’re asleep and even at times while we’re awake. My dreams must have been telling me about something that required me to awaken before my normal time. 

On my phone was a missed call from S and a voicemail, “I need you…call me please.” It wasn’t the typical message and it sounded like she was crying. With no response from me to her voicemail, S sent a series of texts as well, with her final text received around 2:30AM. I read her text messages and immediately called. 

Teenagers trouble…

Her oldest child was was out with a friend parked on country gravel road doing something they shouldn’t have been doing and subsequently got pulled over for a broken taillight. It turned out, he and his friend were smoking marijuana with the evidence bellowing out of the vehicle. When S was describing what happened, I pictured the scene from the Cheech and Chong movie “Up in Smoke” where the car was filled with smoke. Hilarious in movies but not in real life. 

Recreational pot is legal in the state of Oregon but like alcohol you must not be under the influence while driving. 

She has had the “drug” talk with her kids, and she did learn several months prior to the early morning incident that he had previously smoked marijuana with his friends. However, he had told her that he had never been behind the wheel after he was lit. 

I was not there for that pre-incident talk, but got the gist that as long as he was being safe and not driving, it was okay. Hmmm…

Different parenting style…

I would have never said it was okay for either of my sons to smoke or do drugs while they lived in my house. As I’ve mentioned in my prior posts, I’m not into any mind altering medicine let alone drugs (whether the drugs are legal or not). The reason is I have to be in control and having medicine or drugs that gives up that control would not enter my body on my own volition. That’s just how I’m built.

Loving your kids never means condoling any compromise to their safety especially allowing them to partake in recreational drug use. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean your kids who reside under your care should be doing it. 

My point of view is drugs, legal or not, puts my kids in harms way. I’m not saying that prescribed medicines that help illnesses such as diabetes, or a thyroid issue, or cancer should be avoided. I’m only referencing recreational drug use, which includes alcohol. Now when they stopped living with me, then they were on their own and no longer subjected to my house rules, and can do whatever they want to do regardless of my approval. 

Suffer the consequences…

Part of my parenting view is that if you do the crime, you pay the time. Consequences are great parenting tools and I used them in raising my kids. I think my kids are better off as I’ve allowed them to experience the appropriate pain levels. Moreover and more importantly, they’ve learned to cleanup and find ways to resolve their own messes – no government (parent) bailout. 

Her oldest son now has a record and would most likely lose his drivers license for up to a year, could lose his job, definitely would incur court fees, and would also result in an increase to their automotive insurance premiums. All for a moment of not thinking (or allowing your child to do something they shouldn’t be doing). 

The enabling parent…

Now S doesn’t subscribe to this point of view. She doesn’t want to take away all their “fun” things in life. So I guess her consequence would be that she would continue to bail out her kids for the rest of her life…

#parenting #toughlove #life #singleasianmale

#229 (no lazy Sunday)

My Sundays normally start slow and remain low key. Well I couldn’t do that this past Sunday. I spent the night at S’s house and with the looming end of year coming and my garage is not close to being vacated, or at least rearranged enough to begin parking my car in there, I needed to get home. 

I fail miserably during the week nights to get motivated to work on my garage project as long work days drain me mentally. I’m also transitioning into a new area at work which requires me to ramp up quickly thus I’m breaking my rule of not bringing work home. You have to do what you have to do right? I’m hopeful it’ll begin to slow so I don’t have to work long hours as I have been. 

You have to go???

I woke early and completed my morning routine before S even stirred awake. I was downstairs making coffee when she came into the kitchen. She saw I was already dressed and my bags were by the stairs next to her front door. 

The fourth of July is an awesome holiday here in the USA as that’s when the big displays of fireworks are anticipated followed by ooos and aaahhs as the colorful, controlled explosions unravel in front of the gathered spectators. 

There were no spectators uttering their ooos and aaahhs, but there was an explosion all right. 

Boom!!…

“I don’t see you much and you’re leaving soon!” S started in as she realized not only was I dressed, but I had brought my bags down from her bedroom, and I also fixed my hair. 

After 10 months, S has learned that I don’t venture out unless my hair has some product in it or I’m sporting a baseball cap. 

In the words of Obama…”settle down”…

I explained that I still need to work on my garage, and that I have a goal of getting my garage project done before the end of the year with the main reason is that I could again park my car in the garage. I extended an invitation for her to help me, which I knew she would decline. It’snot only she wouldn’t help but also because she would be chauffeuring her children in various errands throughout the day in preparation for the coming school week. 

A life coach…one of my many talents…

We had a heart to heart discussion for about an hour, which afterwards, I took her out for lunch. During our discussion, she opened up…well actually I’ve observed most everything she mentioned already so it wasn’t new to me. But it did confirm my readings. 

She admits that her attitude has been shifting especially with her kids and her parents and she doesn’t want to be so volatile so quickly. She’s also under a lot of pressure with being a single parent of active teenagers who demand a lot more work than she has energy. She also confessed that she feels like a failure. 

I asked if she knew why she feels the way she feels now? After listening, she concluded that she’s not happy with herself. I asked what was her top things she wasn’t happy about herself. She rattles off her list and number one was her size. 

Size is not everything…

I’m going to pause here because I don’t understand this ladies. Why is size always at the top of your lists that you don’t like about yourselves. Personally I blame this on magazines and TV shows. For me (and I bet there are many men like me), the person inside is more important than what you look like on the outside. A gorgeous, slender, proportionately appealing woman could be the biggest turn off because she’s mean, ugly, and downright horrible on the inside. My advice is make sure your inner house is clean before you worry about the cosmetic outer shell.  

Therapy session…

About an hour later had passed, I jokingly said, “this session is free but I do want you to come regularly to talk through your feelings.”

We both laughed. She replied, “just add it to my tab,” 

So although, I didn’t leave as early as had planned, our intimate conversations brought light that she wasn’t naive about her social awkwardness with her family and kids, especially her younger son. It also reassured me that she truly wants to be a better person. 

I told her that I had something to help her but she wouldn’t be getting it until we opened our presents on Christmas. I think I could actually help and best news is…she wants me to help her…

#lifecoach #life #singleasianmale

#228 (new appetizers – part 2)

The two appetizers turned out better on the second round. So instead of taking one, I took both to S’s holiday work party. Did I mention, the party dress code was to proudly wear the “ugliest Christmas sweater” you own. And there would be a white elephant gift exchange to boot.

I’m not sure we would win the ugliest Christmas sweater contest as it’s not too bad compared to other sweaters people were happily dawning and flaunting. 

My white elephant was purchased during one of those couldn’t sleep because I had too much brain activity keeping me awake nights, which I’ve always had throughout my teens and into my adult life. I couldn’t wait for someone to open it. The recipient would either love it and hold on to it, or try to quickly coerce another guest into stealing it away from them. It’ll be entertaining regardless. 

Arriving late…

Well of course we would arrive later than most of her coworkers. I guess that’s the new norm when I’m with S. We weren’t as late as other folks but much later than when I would have normally wanted to arrive. Of course S was okay with it as that’s just who she is. I would be there a few minutes before. I might sit in the car and wait while the starting time approached, but I wouldn’t be “fashionably late” as we have been. 

All gone…

In parties I don’t host, I like to watch and see which items are devoured first. I discount any store purchased items as those don’t represent what I would normally prepare. Those that legitimately run out first are the ones I want to emulate and either get the recipe, or the more favored thing to do is to savor the flavor and try to pick out the ingredients. 

Of the two I brought (with S), both were neck and neck on their consumption rate, which after the first round of grazing, only a few pieces (about half a dozen) remained. There was another contender which I also liked. It too had a few remaining pieces. I took another couple of them to begin deciphering the flavor. 

I tasted garlic, a sweetness like a syrup or honey, or maybe a jelly of some sort squeezed into a date which was wrapped in bacon. The filling in the date tasted like cream cheese and a pepper or jalapeño jam. It was quite tasty and the different flavors blended together well. 

On the second round, the two items S and I brought were gone. So were the bacon wrapped date stuffed with cream cheese and pepper jam. 

So now I have three items to include in my upcoming small plate themed party. 

#entertaining #life #appetizers #partyideas #singleasianmale

#227 (new appetizers – part 1)

I think the next party I’m planning would be a small plate themed gathering. Some folks (and in that I mean my girlfriend S) think that tapas or small plates require less preparation than a full four or five course meal. If fact it’ll actually take more time as there would be more, chopping, slicing, puréeing, and visual artistry than say making a steak or roast dinner. 

Given my previous experience in the four parties I hosted the past 12 months and the many parties hosted when my oldest son was a small child, this one would blend and test my culinary art skills (not saying I have any professional training), time management, and superb coordination. Oh who am I kidding. It organically comes together on its own. 

Opportunity for an experiment…

S was attending a staff party this past Saturday in which I was her date. She volunteered us (and us being me) to cook something for the party. So I took up the challenge and thought about introducing a new appetizer, or perhaps two. It depends which one tastes better. Maybe what I make for her gathering , I can add them to my arsenal for my upcoming event. 

Now S is really a good cook. But she cannot reproduce the exact taste every time she makes a dish, which is problematic as I think there should be consistency from the first time they taste the dish to the next time you serve it again. She knows she brings that unique gift of having inconsistent flavors each time she makes a dish. The main reason is because she substitutes ingredients and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. 

My style…

I don’t precisely measure anything, but I do keep the same ingredients I used the last time the dish was successfully served. Rather than measuring, I eyeball it and taste as I go. Although the amounts of each ingredient might be slightly different each time I make the dish, the flavor is pretty consistent with my previous batch. I also go by color, smell and texture. 

Typically I give myself a few days to create several batches so that I could tweak the flavor profile before presenting it my partakers. This time I did not have that luxury. 

Saturday morning I woke early and travelled an hour south to S’s house. I was determined to make at least one batch before the final version I would present to her coworkers and her boss. S of course had a different idea in that we just make one batch and go with however that one comes out. So I had to emphasize that’s not me, and that’s not how I operate, and that’s not what I’m going to do, especially if I’m the one cooking. 

Do you remember back in grade school when two alpha males squared off in the playground and the other kids would chant, “Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!”? 

No one was chanting this phrase, but I sure felt the tension as she had other plans she wanted to do that day. In the past I’ve given into her crazy, full schedule day to which we either showed up late to an event and/or we were frantically scrambling to get out the door. Oh typical Pisces – late to everything. 

Just settle down…

After I took my stance, I said calmly but assertively, “I’m going to the store to buy the ingredients for tonight’s dinner. You can either come with me or not.”  I waited a few minutes, then I left (without her). 

I bought the ingredients and returned to her house. I didn’t know where she went as her garage door was open and her vehicle wasn’t in sight. I suspect she had to run one at least one of her children somewhere. I entered her back door that led to her kitchen. I cleared out a space in her always cluttered kitchen counter to begin my prep and cooking. 

Cook and dishwasher…

When I cook, I also wash, dry, and put away the dishes I used – which is how I’ve always been. I think it is because I don’t have ample amounts of cookware so I need to keep a clean pan handy. It’s also partly of my OCD. So while the first batch was cooking and I had about twenty minutes, I started in on the dishes I used as well as the pile of dishes left from either the night before and/or earlier this morning before I arrived. 

The oven timer sounded informing me that my creation was ready. I set my first batch on the counter to cool and kept an eye on her cat, which has a bad habit of jumping onto the counter. Ensuring my food was not in jeopardy of being consumed by her cat, I turned my attention back to the dishes. 

After the dishes were washed and drying on a rack, I sampled my first batch. It wasn’t bad. It needed a bit more spice (for me), but other than that I think it was just right for her coworkers. I left a few samples out for S to try whenever she returned. 

The other appetizer…

S still hadn’t returned so I started on the second appetizer option. I’m not sure I’ll bring both, but at least I would have something I could be proud to present not only to her party but to mine in the next few months. 

By the time the second appetizer was done, S had returned along with a peace offering of my favorite Dutch Brothers drink. Along with the drink was her apology for our earlier verbal scuffle. That’s the part of our relationship I don’t like – the contention between us when we disagree on what we have to do. Usually I give in as it’s not worth the energy to fight on noncritical matters. 

I tackle the hard stuff first while she likes to play first and work later. Thus my house is clean and most of the time things are in their places. Her house is the opposite and regularly decorated (or accented) with piles of clutter made evident by the various drop zones established out of habit over many, many years. Her kids complain of the messiness but, like their mother, they contribute and don’t do anything to rid their house of the piles until it has accumulated well beyond a quick tidying exercise. When they do start on the cleaning it take several days. 

I’m not sure that’s a characteristic of a being born under a particular sign or just laziness. I think it’s the latter as my younger of the two sisters have the same decoration techniques. My sister was born in April and S was born in February. 

#relationships #life #forgiveness #patience #singleasianmale 

#226 (prepping for my introspective)

The last weeks of the year, I begin looking back at my accomplishments and reconcile them to what I had planned in my last introspection. 

I only set a few goals and let other things materialize. Here was my short list of goals. 

  • Begin a blog post. A year ago on December 5th, I started blogging about my life. I posted about my online and offline dating experiences as well as other happenings. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to the following stats. I find it’s a lot of work to write 5 posts a week. So I might back down to once a week or a max of a 2 or 3 posts a week.
  • Hiking 25 trails. I did 12 so far. One of the hikes was an urban hike/walk through a small town. It looks like I can do at least one or two more before the year ends. So possibly I’ll end the year with 13 or 14 trails. 
  • Train/plan for a triathlon in 2017. Well…I’ve been on a few runs. I bought a road bike and completed two rides. But I didn’t swim. So not good on this goal. 
  • Maintain my weight loss from the previous year. The beginning of the year, I was around 168lbs. As of the other morning, I weighed in at 168.2. So check. Weight management / maintenance on track.
  • The last one was to get back into having home parties and get together with friends. I hosted four parties and a thanksgiving dinner. My friends are asking when the next party would be. So another checkmark. 

Not bad. I’m at 50% mark of my personal goals from last year. 

Things Not planned…

Some unplanned surprises came along. The first one was finding a steady girlfriend. After several dates from online dating services and friends setting me up with their friends, I met someone at one of those switch / speed dating events. So far we’ve been exclusively dating since February. 

Normally I would travel back to Houston, rent a beach house for a week, and visit with my family. This year my sister and my mother came up to see me. It was a great unplanned event.  I’m so glad they came. 

I haven’t taken a vacation with anyone in a long time. This includes the later years of my marriage with my ex as she was busy working on building her and her brother’s business. But this past year I took three vacations – one in Washington state and the other in California with my girlfriend. I also did a staycation with my sister and mother. 

Also not planned (and not good for funding my retirement) was spending a butt load of money I typically wouldn’t have. I guess when you have a girlfriend, and do things that you normally don’t do like joining wine clubs, going on vacations, and having nice dinners out with her, you don’t have as much to put in your retirement account at the end of the year. 

Introspective…

It’s been an eye opener having a more active social life. I like the aspect of having my friends around me and seeing them enjoy the food I prepare. I also like having a special person in my life to share life with – I can do without the emotional roller coaster ride (but maybe I need that). 

I miss my family. Other than seeing the older of my two younger sisters and my mom, I haven’t seen my other two siblings for a couple of years now. I also miss seeing my nieces and nephews. 

Need to beef up my retirement. I only have a few years from now before I plan to exit corporate life. The dilemma is I’ve got a girlfriend and we both love to do things that requires spending funds I would otherwise allocate for funding my later years. Need to find the balance for keeping the relationship fresh without spending a little fortune. 

Need to maintain my physical and mental health. As I get older, I realize age will continue to appear and make physical changes as shown daily in the mirror. Aging will add challenges to both my mental and physical well being.

Letter to my future self…

To finalize my introspective (in the next few days), I’ll jot down a few goals and seal them in an envelope until my next introspective (December 2017). Sorry I won’t share those at this time, but will disclose the list once I’ve finalized them. 

#introspective #betterme #life #singleasianmale