The Low Point has moved!

There are a few reasons why I’ve started yet another blog, but the chief reason is that I’m pretty limited in my scope of what I can blog about when the title is The Low Point. Writing about literally anything that isn’t poop on my shoe doesn’t fit under that self-deprecating umbrella, and I wanna write about everything.

Head on over to http://unapologeticallymary.wordpress.com for politics, religion, being a woman, an adoptee, a lady boss, movie reviews, and other random musings I may have at any given time. Thanks for all the love and support you’ve shown me here — I can’t wait to get the creative writing juices going over there!

Lessons You Learn When You Have OCD

— or — “A Lesson in Self-Discipline, Age (Almost) 30”

It seems these days all I take pictures of and blog about is makeup, makeup, makeup, and thusly I’ve neglected this blog (once again, just like Puneet Sandhu *ahem* has neglected hers). I worry sometimes that people will think I’m airheaded, that I’ve lost my intellect, that maybe I made up the whole getting a college degree thing since, you know, I never once profited from it and worked as a secretary, which had its own form of mindlessness, for seven years. But I did — really — go to college and learn critical thinking skills and critiqued literature till I was cross-eyed and blue in the face. I still know big words like pandemonium (I love that word) and extraneous AND how to use them. Well, most of the time. I CAN SPELL THEM, AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. I have opinions on things going on in the world around me and would like to see my life shaped into something spectacular and meaningful, alongside Husband and kitty.

But I digress.

We all read that uncomfortable post I wrote awhile back about having OCD (and if we didn’t, then we can access it here). Perhaps only uncomfortable to me and my parents, but something that felt vulnerable, and if there’s one thing I really hate to feel, it’s vulnerability. But luckily I am not a famous person, and I am never met with harsh words from strangers EXCEPT on XBox Live, which, I know right? Weird. Anyhow, since then I’ve been working through my stuff. Stuff like inability to keep a clean home, inability to sleep (we’re still working on that, as was made apparent after last night’s hour and a half of sleep, which took place somewhere between about 1:00 am and 2:30 am), inability to act like a normal person sometimes. Because sometimes I feel terrible inside. Not depressed (I think we successfully got rid of that, thank you 10,000 iu of Vitamin D), but wound up, finding difficulty in breathing, not wanting to express myself and unsure if I can even if I tried.

But through all of that, we hit some high points. Most recently: the dishes. I can spout off a few reasons why the dishes plagued me, and plagued me bad, man — I don’t like getting dirty, I don’t like germs, I don’t like getting wet, etc. I would let them go for a couple meals and then suddenly the manageable plates and smattering of silverware became a mountain, and don’t even get me started when I had the irresistible urge to bake something. Dishes for days. Dishes  for weeks. Dishes for what seemed like an eternity, till I honestly considered throwing them away and purchasing new because that felt easier to deal with. Husband said it was unreasonable, coached me through it, encouraged me whenever I emptied the dishwasher and put plates in it.

And you know what? I felt like a damn baby. Because what 29-year-old needs her husband to turn dishes into some sort of game in order for her to complete them? Or push her till there’s an outburst and a vindictive, “Oh I’ll show you, Mister” reaction, till not only the dishes were clean but the countertops and probably one bathroom to boot. Also, organized papers. It was humiliating and demeaning, and although Husband never once put that on me, I felt as though it was there. And some fears rose, like, “What if he wakes up one day and realizes this is a total joke and leaves me for a woman who can function like a normal grown-up?”

He stuck with me. He stuck with me through the dirty dishes and unmade bed and unvacuumed cat fur and anxiety and here he sits behind me, playing a video game while I start a load of laundry and blog, till he finishes his mission and we play a round of cards. Do I deserve a man who puts up with all this? I’m not sure. I’m not sure I’ll ever be certain of that. He even took me out on a date after I essentially threw a temper tantrum from a combination of being hangry (def: hungry and angry, especially when the anger is induced by the hunger) and frenetic from missing a couple dosages of medication (which, by the way, I think I’ll be stuck on forever because the side effects of “weaning” off it are wretchedly wretched and not entirely worth it).

So I made a decision, a couple weeks back (and we’re not going to call these decisions resolutions because if anything, a New Year’s resolution kills my resolve) to be better. To try harder. To do the damn dishes every damn day because they’re not hard, they don’t kill me, and at the end, I feel better. I like how clean my counters are. I like that I can make anything and have clean dishes in which to do it (not that I would actually do that because duh it would create dirty dishes). And you know what? I’ve made it. I’ve done the dishes for the space of an entire week now, and, really dry hands aside (and I use gloves … I mean, what kind of weather is this that my hands get chapped and dry EVEN WHEN I WEAR GLOVES), things have been great. I’m considering adding regular laundry washings to the mix to see how that suits me.

I’m hoping it suits me great. I’m hoping that one day, I’ll scroll through my blog and find this post and think, “Oh … I vaguely remember feeling that way” because I’m not forgetting breathe and I’m regularly productive and I do regular chores on a daily basis because that’s just how my life is, and it’s fine. I want a fine life.

The Internet is Ruining Our Lives

When I was a senior in college, taking a senior capstone course in the American Studies department of Utah State (not even including a link to it because it’s a joke … American Studies degrees are jokes), we were assigned the final project of a paper and presentation on a good example of contested space. You know, like how white men came on over and took all of the indigenous peoples’ land and then reallocated it to them, like they had the right. So the degree gave me a certain perspective on America. I can’t help it — take a colonial American history class from the perspective of the native people, and you’ll get all the feels, too. Anyhow, things like ANWAR were chosen, and I decided on MySpace.

Image courtesy of underconsideration.com

Image courtesy of underconsideration.com

Because I’m old. I know. MySpace isn’t cool anymore.

At the time, the Am Studies advisor wasn’t particularly pleased with my decision, although she never told me I couldn’t choose such a topic (I was the only one who wrote and presented on anything pop culture related), and I did get a B as my final grade, so I guess I can’t complain too much. But I did find myself remarkably jealous of all the Am Studies students of BYU last semester who were required to write about things occurring in LA, which … my how the times have changed. She wasn’t familiar with MySpace outside of knowing the name and the general idea of it (social networking? Really? That’s not going to last.), which I think added to her distaste for my decision, and it wasn’t till post-college, a couple years ago, when I realized my paper and presentation were actually awesome. Till then, I’d felt kind of like a failure.

Being a secretary not using her college degree may have added to that.

My thesis was simple: social networking will ultimately alter the way society interacts with itself. Now I realize this seems like a big huge “duh,” but remember I was graduating back in 2006, when Facebook was primarily known as that website for high school students, with no News Feed, ads, suggestions, subscriptions, likes, etc. etc. et cetera. At the time, I think a lot of us weren’t totally aware of how much social networking had changed (AOL chat rooms? Do they still exist even?) and how much it would change us.

The sole reason I decided to make a foray into likening social networking to contested space was because I’d found some scriptures at the Institute building, chock full of personal notes, and I thought the person might want them back. There was one lone email address written inside, and I thought even if it didn’t belong to the original owner, perhaps this friend/acquaintance might know to whom they did belong. So I reached out — I explained the situation, and then I waited for a response. And I got one — the guy didn’t know who it belonged to, couldn’t remember even giving out his email address, and then at the end of what I thought was a simple, almost professional correspondence, asked if I was single.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org. For more information on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visit http://www.lds.org

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org. For more information on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visit http://www.lds.org

Um, dude. What if I am someone’s grandma. I wasn’t, as it turned out, but I was so thrown by this inquiry (something that I imagine most current readers are rolling their eyes at and muttering to themselves, “What is wrong with her? Totally harmless question.”) that I turned it into an entire senior project. Because who asked questions like that? Who was this guy? What would he have done had I responded? (I did not, by the way, because I am not in the business of becoming the topic of the nighttime news.) Where did he come off? It all seemed really peculiar, and I couldn’t help but imagine social networking was partially to blame.

And I still hold pretty firmly to that. We are a voyeuristic species — we want to know what’s going on in other peoples’ lives all the time, even if it turns out to be stupid or mundane or embarrassing (why else does “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” continue airing? Yeah). And what’s worse (and of course I am lumping myself into this group because you’ll probably be hard pressed to find another person who is as addicted to all forms of social networking as I), we’re more than happy to publish it for all the world. Because at the end of the day, despite how creepy we think voyeurism may be, we want to be noticed, to be followed, to be low-level stalked because it makes us feel important/interesting. People want their lives to be witnessed. So we publish all the things and we share it with strangers, and there’s been a huge shift in communication between “Hi, you’re a stranger, I’ll make a little small talk with you” to “Hi, you’re a stranger, and whatever you won’t tell me about yourself I’ll find on the internet, so you may as well tell me now.” We ask questions that would make our grandparents roll over in their graves , we overshare information that still makes our parents cringe.

And it’s continued to (d)evolve. I find myself opening up to acquaintances much earlier on in potential relationships than I would have even three years ago, and it will probably continue to be that way. It just is what it is, and despite probably our lamest efforts to fight it, we lose every time. I’ve always been something of an oversharer, and the internet and social networking have only perpetuated that. It’s a weird place to be, my friends. I want to stop, I don’t.

Thus enters the Internet Chain Letter. You know how these used to be — those lame email forwards your uncle would send out to the whole family that you’d skim and then put in your junk box because you didn’t even want to bother with it. We used to hate chain letters, and yet now it’s almost as if, as a society, we applaud them. We encourage them. And we act like they’re our human right and that we are entitled to share them with everyone. Literally everyone.

Image courtesy of memebase.cheezburger.com

Image courtesy of memebase.cheezburger.com

One of the more recent chain letters — a rant from a single Texas mom to President Obama that went almost immediately viral — spurned so many feelings and thoughts within myself, I almost sat right down at this very blog and responded in kind with my own letter. And suddenly I realized — that simply made me one of them. And under all circumstances, may God forbid that I ever become one of them. So I ranted about it to Husband (bless his heart for listening to me when I share things with him I want to share with the world) and talked it over with a few friends and sort of got it out of my system. I mean, I totally get it — you write something that potentially thousands of people might read, you feel validated and important and right, and frankly I know no one who doesn’t love the exhilarating experience of being right.

And then we sit back and we wonder how cyber-bullying suddenly got so out of hand, how abhorrent people got their own television shows, how we’re walking around every day, way more stressed and frustrated about everything far more than we ever should. We don’t like the President, we do; we don’t like big business, we’re fine with it; we want to save the planet, we think green people are nuts; we want socialized medicine, we think it would ruin the nation; we think veganism is weird, we think it’s the only way we’ll survive. I used to be really politically savvy, and I’m being serious here. When I was in college, I knew all the political things, and I enjoyed keeping up with them. These days, politics of all type make me so upset, I try to pretend like they don’t exist.

So. The internet continues on. Chain letters will remain rampant. Anxiety levels are higher than they’ve ever been. And maybe we need to change that.

The Conundrum

Or, as my father-in-law likes to call it, the condom (no, seriously, one night Husband and I were playing cards with him and he suddenly turned to me and said, “What’s the word, Mary? Condom?” to which I naturally replied, “I don’t know what the word is, but it’s definitely not condom.” Conundrum. Is what he meant.)

When I started this blog, I hoped that perhaps of the seven or so blogs I’d started it would be the one to launch me into never-ending fame and glory. And after a year of still writing in it and having a modestly high number of WordPress followers, I decided it was Time. I’d purchase the domain for myself and then I’d fill out an application for BlogHer and then become a famous blogger, like the Bloggess. Except maybe a little less. A lot less.

In reality, I don’t really have plans of becoming all that famous via a blog, but there’s something very satisfying about the thought of my owning a website domain. All mine. It’s probably the only child in me. So I contacted my nearest student employee programmer, asked him to check and see if the Swedish man who failed to renew his ownership over thelowpoint.com, called Josh Weed, asked for his advice, messaged Puneet, my most favorite fellow Asian, and then hit the brick wall of doubt and confusion.

Like, what am I thinking? What exactly would be the point of paying for a website if I don’t think it will actually garner any sort of monetary return? And it’s not like I have programming experience — that I can just use pre-made themes designed by people smarter than I is quite novel and simple. And furthermore, do I want to limit myself to eternally writing about the low points of my day? Or do I want to expand my blogging horizons and come up with a kickier URL like maryistheraddestgirlinthewholeworld.com and just write about everything that comes to my mind, funny or otherwise?

*face/desk*

thelowpoint.com is still available — I just checked. Like, literally just now checked on GoDaddy to make sure. But what if the Swedish man, despite his not doing anything on the website for over a year and letting his renewal expire, decides he wants to get back into whatever his website was about? What if I miss my opportunity right after deciding that’s the route I want to go? Or what if I purchase it and then decide I did want to write all my musings down for the world? This feels like a huge lose/lose situation.

To my friends who’ve already voiced their opinions, I thank you. For those who haven’t, go.

Now.

A Bevy of Low Points

I’ve kind of had a low point drought, to tell you the truth. I mean, we know this happens to me – I’ll have a perfectly fine life and then suddenly I will get hit with a ton of horrible things. I haven’t actually been hit with a ton, nor have they been all that horrible, but here goes anyways:

1. I’m not what you’d call a homemaker or housewife (so it’s funny that’s all I ever want to be). So … dishes pile up. Counters get sticky. Floors get hairy (look I shed OKAY. IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL, GUYS). And for the most part, Husband and I tolerate it. But the other day, enough was enough, and I decided to clean the bathroom counter and sink.

Used a Clorox wipe. The bathroom may still not be clean, but darnit, it’s disinfected and lemon fresh.

Image courtesy of clorox.com

Image courtesy of clorox.com

2. Spider in my bed. Heart attack. I no longer feel safe at home.

3. Last night, whilst sprinkling some delicious pre-shredded, bagged bulk cheese into my quesadilla, I burned my arm on the pan.

That's probably a 5th degree burn. My skin has melted away. My left arm is actually gone now.

That’s probably a 5th degree burn. My skin has melted away. My left arm is actually gone now.

Harshing my mellow.

4. Over the weekend, I had Arby’s and McDonald’s in one day. It’s really a huge low point that I had McD’s in the first place, and then that I went there around 8:00 pm so I could try their new fish nuggets, and then that I would totally go there and eat them again.

Photo courtesy of mcdonalds.com and my deft cropping abilities in Paint

Photo courtesy of mcdonalds.com and my deft cropping abilities in Paint

5. My new BFF and fellow blogger/Tweeter/Asian went to visit her home in New Delhi FOR, LIKE, THREE YEARS WEEKS and had limited internet. Something about being in a third world country or spending time with family. Bunches of nonsense. I was devastated, to say the least, but luckily she is back in New York, and I can bother her essentially any time I want. (Btw, Puneet, the musical assault is still coming — don’t think I’ve forgotten. I’ve just been busy what with having two jobs and two blogs and two Church callings and two husbands — wait, what?)

6. Husband saw a fluffy black kitteh in the parking lot of our complex and he didn’t snatch it up and bring it inside for me to love. He lost points with me, I’m not going to lie. His argument? “But we can’t have pets anyhow. Our landlords won’t allow it.” A likely story. That fluffy black kitteh was going to be mine and I was going to love it.

Updation Station

You know those awesome Mom blogs that are full of crafts and recipes? And at the end of the year (or the beginning of the following), they re-post the most popular? And there are pictures and tutorials and it’s so awesome?

This is going to be kind of like that, except without crafts or recipes or tutorials. Also, I’m choosing which posts I want to update you about because it’s my blog and I can do stuff like that. I’ll throw in a picture or two, though, I promise.

Okay, fine. Here’s a recipe I found on the internet by typing in the word “recipe”:

Recipe: Roasted sweet potato pâté
As found on the Seattle Times

This smooth, sweet vegetable pâté is perfectly complemented by the crunch of the nuts and the bite of the mustard.

Makes about 2 cups (8 servings)

2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes)

1/4 cup olive oil, or more to taste

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups canned no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Hot water, as needed

For serving:

Whole-grain mustard

Crushed roasted cashew nuts (salted or unsalted)

Baguette toasts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch chunks; they don’t need to be perfect, because they will be puréed. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the oil, vinegar, onion, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet and roast until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Allow the mixture to cool just a little, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add the chickpeas and purée until smooth and creamy. The pâté should be quite thick but still able to move around in the food processor. If it’s too thick, drizzle in a little hot water. Alternatively, for a richer pâté, drizzle in more oil.

Allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator, covered, for at least three hours and preferably overnight.

Serve in ramekins, accompanied by other ramekins filled with the mustard and the nuts, and offer toasted slices of baguette.

Nutrition per 1/4-cup serving (pate only): 230 calories, 5 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 370 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar

From chef Rich Landau of Vedge in Philadelphia

Gross. I’d never make this and there’s not even a picture.

  • I still occasionally get MRIs and, yes, I still look smokin’ hot in the scrubs.
Case in point.

Case in point.

  • I’ve given up on Pandora. Moved on to Grooveshark and then Spotify and then realized they all fail, so I either sit in stark silence or I plug in my iPhone. BECAUSE I HAVE AN IPHONE.
  • Sunburns. They still happen.
  • There is the possibility that my expensive, fancy schmancy running shoes have been downgraded to “shoes I wear while donning yoga pants.”
  • Shadra remains, to this day, awesome.
  • My vocabulary still sucks, but I’ve decided in my old and wizened age to be okay with that.
  • I’m pleased to report that there is really awesome sushi in Japantown, San Francisco, and I have decided once and for all to abstain from grocery store sushi for the rest of my life.
Full stomachs courtesy of Isobune Sushi in Japantown

Full stomachs courtesy of Isobune Sushi in Japantown

  • Yesterday, Husband and I went shopping and we were checked out by three different young men who were all skinny and all dressed like girls (not, like, transvestites. Like hipsters.) and it made me sad for humanity. Also, I figure the population is going to eventually get depleted because there’s no way a guy can maintain his manhood in skinny jeans. That just can’t be good.
  • Being a Democrat in Utah still sucks. But I’m less angry about it.
  • I’m getting laser eye surgery. It’s really happening — a person is going to shoot lasers into my brain and bore holes into my soul. Date has been set, but for the benefit of my mother, who wants to crawl into a hole and die every time she thinks about this impending doom surgery, I’m not disclosing it till after everything goes right. I might start wearing prescription-free glasses, like the young’uns do these days, though. You know, for fashion’s sake.

Hipster Mary

This much cute. This much cute just happened to you.

This much cute. This much cute just happened to you.

All in all, 2012 proved to be a pretty decent year for me. Scratch that — aside from the confusion over my Asian face and Caucasian name, it was rad. Super rad.

So happy 2013, you guys. Just rock the crap out of 2013 for me.

You Know How it Goes

You’re slumming around in your sweats and then your husband says, “One word: Verizon.” and then you haul butt to get ready to go in lightning speed and then you get an iPhone and a pink glitter case and then you spend every waking minute playing with it because you’ve never had a smart phone before in your life.

Photo courtesy of dailyiphoneblog.com
If only my phone could take a picture of itself. If only I were motivated enough to take a picture of it with a camera.

They’re just so novel.

Anyhow, it occurred to me around 3:00 this morning, reading Jane Eyre from my Kindle app, that I might want to introduce myself back into normal society. Blog posts to come, I promise.