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9/20/12 03:27 am - The thin line between life and death (a)

.. . I haven't been able to update more frequently on this journal since last time. For a while, my family and I have been trying to find out what is wrong with my grandma. Her appetite for food had been diminishing and she has gotten so skinny. She lives with me and we share a room in the house. I took off time from work to go to doctor appointments with her and my father, etc.

Finally, she had what we later found out to be her first heart attack on 8/3/12. We were watching the track and field event of the Olympics when she had chest pains. We sat her in the back of my car and I had the most scariest drive ever. I was rushing to the Sutter General Hospital ER with my grandma gasping for breath, with her skin cold and clamy, saying,"aah this is so painful.. so painful.."

She survived that heart attack and came home for a week. That week was so tough for me. At random times, she would have shortness of breath or have chest pains. I would wake up in the wee hours in the morning and hear her gasping for breath, help her sit up and rub her back and chest..

Then on 8/17, she was having a really bad night with shortness of breath whenever she lays down on the bed.. the home visiting nurse came in the morning, saw her looking a bit blue, and told us to call 911. At the hospital, they found that she has three clogged arteries..

Grandma survived that second heart attack and we put her into a nursing/rehabitalization home to get stronger and may be able to get bypass heart surgery. She was in the nursing home getting physical and occupational therapy.. getting stronger.. My second brother who was on a business trip in China flew down here for a week to celebrate her 90th birthday. Her birthday on the lunar calender is september 5th this year and on the roman calender, it is september 11th. We took family photos with everyone.

Less than a week later on 9/13, she suddenly had shortness of breath again and was sent to the ER from the nursing home. Her heart was damaged due to another heart attack.. she had pneumonia, urinary tract infection, sepsis, and failing kidneys. She was still fighting and clinging on for life. Doctors didn't really think she could make it through the night. Her condition was a bit better and a bit worse for some days..

Today, 9/19/12 tuesday in the morning, the hospital called us to quickly come.. We went there around 9:30.. and she was declared dead at 10:30AM.

We all knew this day was coming, but its still hard. I tried to prepare myself for it, but .. . I have been going back and forth from home, hospital, work, nursing home for this month and a half.. It was tough dealing with her deteriorating condition in the hospital, but now even after her death, its not yet *over*. Now we are running around preparing for her funeral, life insurance, funeral ceremony/rituals, going over her belongings.. etc. Its sad because my grandma has always been there in my life, like an anchor in the house, and now she is gone. There are so many things I still want to ask her and tell her. Whenever I think about her, tears start to flow, now matter how much I try to wipe them.. I guess that it was good to spend so much time with her these past months.. we watched Olympics together, watched Animal Planet at the hospital, watched her do physical therapy every morning, fed her food, had our last family portrait together. She will live on in our memories..

6/17/12 02:00 am - summer strikes!

Argghh-- I have to complain about the terrible hot weather in Sacramento today. The forcast was around 103 F. My house is so old and the insulation isn't good so its so hot indoors too! =_=

I went to the postage stamp show at the Scottish Rite Temple with my father. It is the mini show, so there wasn't any exhibits. I was rather disappointed that there weren't any two cent stamp bins... I could spend hours going through those bins picking out stamps! Anyways, I got some souvenir sheets, some old used postcards, used envelopes with stamps, and first day covers. American stamps usually seem very boring to me, so I like to look in the foreign stamp section. The oldest postcard is postmarked 1905 from Italy to U.S.! I also started a little collection of envelopes opened by different censors. Seems like many countries like to check out mail from Turkey during the 1940's!
Most of the envelopes are empty, but I got a few with actual letters in them! I opened an envelope postmarked 1949 from Greece to U.S., and was the letter was all in Greek. What was that quote from Shakespeare? "It was Greek to me"! The second envelope with a letter was from Kenya to U.S. It was typewritten in English and dated 1982. It feels a bit awkward because it read like a letter from a teenager to another teenager. Talking about Hockey season, going to proms, class schedules, boyfriends and gossips, halloween.. Typical "teenager" stuffs, but written from Kenya? haha..

Well, its getting really late.. Tomorrow I'm planning to go to a Lavender farm in Escalon, CA (near Modesto) with my brother, cousin and her parents, cousin's friend#1, cousin's friend#2 with husband and kid. I invited my co-worker and she declined to go. She said its even more in central California and you must be crazy to go because its going to be even more hot! I watched the weather forecast on Friday and it said that Saturday its going to be 103F and Sunday will be a bit cooler at 93F. I assumed that it would b about the same in Modesto. I just checked the weather and its going to be 106F tomorrow there!! I'm going to die of heat! haha.. Now I got to rethink about my great idea for a photo shoot wearing "country" lolita clothes.. ahhh~

good night!

5/30/12 01:15 am - tsurai

I used to be pretty good at keeping a journal, but these past years.. I guess the main reason is that work is the same story over and over again. Complaining and whining, etc etc. My life really isn't that interesting to write about anymore on a daily basis. Basically it would be something like this: Today, and last week,.. or even almost every day.. my boss kept on bugging me about turning in reports since its near the end of the month and that is the time for billing. We are running short of supplies to do the work, and all my boss keeps on saying, "I don't have enough money." Finally, we run out of some supply at one point, samples to do build up, and we don't have much to do without the supplies, then he buys a little bit of what we need.. just enough to last for about a month. This cycle has been going on for a few years now.

Anyways, this Memorial Day weekend, I was originally thinking of going to the Fanime anime convention in San Jose, but ended up staying at home. I've been going there for nearly four years in a row, and sadly enough, the first time was the best. The MusicFest concert was amazing with all these indie bands from Japan. I never was able to go to the whole weekend for Fanime, so the most horrible thing in the world is lining up for the day pass. ARGH! Last year, it took me two hours to drive from Sacramento to San Jose. My sister and I were then stuck in the wretched line for about *TWO* WHOLE hours. We didn't really get to do much that day.. however, we took advantage of being there and basically played in the video game room all night long!
This year, I told myself that if I want to go to Fanime, I really better pre-register.. even if it is the weekend pass, because the line from purgatory was unbearable. Well, I forgot to pre-register. Finally, what really killed it was that on Friday morning before Memorial Day weekend, I was about to leave for work, when I noticed that someone entered my car and vandalized the ignition lock and switch. Such bad luck! I guess that is better then my car stolen.. but now my car wouldn't start at all. I had to drive my father's pick-up truck to work. You know the economy is just that bad when someone is really that desperate to steal my "grandma car", the 1993 Dodge Spirit.

Its really bad writing, but I'm so tired.. but I just finished submitting my online police report:
Between 5/24/2012 9PM to 5/24/2012 9AM, my car (1993 Dodge spirit) was broken into possibly for an attempted theft of the vehicle. The car is parked on the curb directed in front of my house, next to the driveway. No damage on the outside doors, but the plastic covering the steering wheel was cracked, and the ignition lock, cylinder, and switch is vandalized. Broken plastic pieces of the ignition lock and switch assembly lies on the floor of the car. Nothing seemed to be taken from the vehicle, but the culprit left a key-ring with four different car keys. Each of the car keys seem to have been sanded down. The car is now unable to start due to the damage.

So, the highlight of this year's Memorial Day weekend is spending two days at the junkyard "Pick-n-pull". We went to the one in Antelope and Rancho Cordova. If you never have been to a junkyard, its quite an experience! Personally, I find it rather interesting! Since our family is quite the cheapskate and we got lots of old cars, we go to the junkyard quite often when we need to. The lot is covered in gravel, so its dusty and hard to walk on.. Then the cars are arranged into brand, vehicle type, and if it is domestic or import. Basically, you bring your tools, pay two bucks to get in, get a hand stamp (good for any Pick-n-pull all day), search for your car hopefully in a similar year (you might have to wander through rows and rows of cars, but each one is labeled with the year and model), attack the car(cass) for your treasure, and bring it up front where you pay for that part.

Anyways, it was quite hot on Sunday and Monday.. and lucky for me, everything is 1/2 off for the Memorial Day weekend! Some cars been scavenged and people leave parts, tubes, wires, lugnuts, screws all over like entrails. Even car seats are up for grabs! Broken glass on the gravel look like shiny diamonds. Some cars look burned or so badly crushed that I wonder if someone died in there! Most of the people who go there are the older crowd.. people covered in oil and grime.. and there are lots of Mexicans. I just feel a bit odd entering this world.

Whoops, its getting really late.. I need to finish writing this later. That's why its hard to write.. I write too much and it takes too long!

12/26/11 12:49 am - Boa festes feliz natal!

.. . last minute trip to europe! I need to buy some supplies, but its Christmas day and not many places are open. Thank goodness for Walgreens~ I got to stop procrastinating. . Need to wake up at 5AM for flight at SFO..

9/1/11 01:02 am - doodles & vocaloid

.. I haven't really been drawing anything for such a long time. So, last month, I decided to try and enter the USA Hatsune Miku design contest. The results of the contest was posted up recently, and of course, I didn't win. The grand prize was a trip to Japan! I wasn't too impressed by the winning entry though. It seemed a bit like a generic cheerleading outfit. There were some other designs I liked better..

winning entry:
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2011-08-28/hatsune-miku-u.s-version-contest-winner-announced

my entry on deviantart:
http://shuran.deviantart.com/art/USA-Hatsune-Miku-contest-entry-245773284

I tried to throw a futuristic blend of Cowboy, Native American, and .. *cough cough* Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. You know that triangle pattern belt that most Vocaloids wear? When I first saw it, I thought of Cesar Zeppeli from Jojo Part2.. ;_; Oh, I'm such a nerd.. .

However, I find it fascinating on the fact that the whole Vocaloid phenomenon is supported by fans who compose the music and create the art. Because of this, there are so many variations of the character design and outfits. I've noticed that there are so many Vocaloid cosplayers at anime conventions.. I'm surprised how popular it became despite it not based on an official anime or manga. When I first heard of Vocaloid, it was some years ago. The concept of creating synthetic voice to help musicians create songs without having an actual singer is so interesting!

One of the first Vocaloid songs that I found on youtube was the Hatsune Miku "Levan Polka". Imagine my surprise when it is a cover of the song by the Finnish band Loituma! I borrowed Loituma's CD "Things of Beauty" some years ago from the Santa Monica library.. so to hear it covered by Miku was quite strange.. . However, of the Vocaloids, I find Miku's voice a bit too high pitched and cutesy for me. I prefer Luka or Meiko's voice.

I haven't really researched too much on vocaloid songs, but I like these so far:

Megurine Luka - Just Be Friends
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoPzP-MwcLI
Hatsune Miku - Strobo Nights
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC6vLtLhmK4
Meiko - Cradle of Destiny
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQOdrqXRPrs
Kaito - Cantarella
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwiQFatodTU

1/22/11 04:03 am - sois attentif!

My heart is beating so fast. Its around 2AM and I decide to check my e-mail before going to bed. I am using the computer near the kitchen, not at the front living room, where is close to the sidewalk. I'm next to the door outside in our backyard. A little further is a wooden gate leading to the driveway/street.

All of the sudden, I hear someone knocking on the door! I was so startled! Its so late! Who would knock on the door at this time of the day?! Did they see that some light is on, so they knock on the door? I quickly crept under the door window. We have that wooden gate door, and on the house, we have a metal gate door plus a wooden door with a window on top. I panicked because I wondered if someone forgot to lock the outside gate or the metal gate door!! or maybe the knocking is from the neighbors?

Nope.. I hear some knocking again and even hear someone trying to open the wooden gate! I couldn't tell if they got in or not! I quickly put the deadbolt on the door and squatted down close to the ground (in case they can see me). I felt so scared and petrified! I then hear the front door bell ringing.. then more knocking on the wooden gate! I quickly squatted down and went to near the living room. Should I see who it is? Being a girl at home with my pops (who is old) and my grandma (who is ancient), I felt very uncomfortable to do so. It could be someone in trouble or not.. but due to a couple of strange incidents that has happened in these past few days in my neighborhood, I feel downright scared. ( I will describe them later). Through the window curtain, I see a flashlight moving from the wooden gate to the front door.. hear the door bell.. Then, a little bit, I hear a car alarm! Crazy!!! Is this person trying to get my attention? Is he doing it all on purpose!? I then hear a car honking crazily..

This got to be too much for me to handle. Is he just going to keep on trying until he breaks the door?! I finally unfroze, and went to my pops and woke him up. We lift up the curtains to see a white car parked across the street directing across from the window. I quickly asked my father if he locked the wooden gate.. he said yes. We went outside and saw it was locked. Thank goodness. I re-locked all the doors and then we noticed that the car made a U-turn and was honking the horn crazily in front of my house before it sped off.

Ah man, I am so frightened, paranoid, and creeped out now. Tomorrow, I'm going to turn on this light, go outside, and see how noticeable it is from the sidewalk. I have no idea why this guy seems so desperate to get my/our attention. If he has some emergency, he would go to another house, not crazily honk his horn in the middle of the night! He would yell out for help! what is the creepy idea of using the flashlight?

This is the third event that made me very scared lately. I will describe the other two..

Event#1- Last friday, I got off from work and was parking in front of my house, when I noticed something very peculiar. You see, my neighbor has a strip of concrete walk way next to our driveway. Our driveway leads to the wooden gate, while the neighbor's concrete walk way leads to a dead end fence. They just put it up the week before because someone stole their bicycle and groceries. What I saw was a stranger, a young hispanic man, walking from the concrete walk way out towards the sidewalk! He walked to the sidewalk and turned around the corner of the block. That is strange because the only thing of interest is our wooden gate! I then noticed that my neighbors didn't seem to be at home because only their porch light is on. After I got out of the car, I crept out to the end of the block and saw that he was still walking. He did not go into my neighbor's house. Who is this stranger? I was thinking that he was looking for possible opportunities to break in or steal stuffs. Anyways, my brother and mom told me that I should have confronted that individual and asked him what is his business.

Event#2 - On Wednesday night at around 9:30PM, I decided to cook some pasta to bring as lunch. I ran out of a few ingredients, so I walked to Safeway. Its only around 5 blocks away and I have went there many times at night. It was around 10:15Pm when I was walking back home. A few blocks away from my house, I notice a man riding a bicycle across the street, going parallel to me. He was coughing, riding a bit slow and stopped at times.

When I got a few houses away from my house, I was ready to get out my house keys, when I noticed that he stopped almost directly across from my house. Now, I'm a bit of a paranoid type of person. I don't feel comfortable that someone sees or gets to know where I live and such. That man on bicycle was just sitting there on his bike and I was just thinking, "hurry up and leave so I can get back home!"..

So, instead of going back home, I thought,"OK, you dumb-bell.. . I guess I will do a little more walking today." I walked past my house, at first going fast, but I noticed that man on bike again riding, so I went slow, hoping he will just go on his way. He was riding a little bit ahead of me on the other side of the street and I let out a sigh when I saw him turning left.. . or so I thought. Instead, that man was riding in circles between the blocks! OK, that is strange.. I turned left at the corner.. when I hear his coughing and noticed that he also turned left!!
I was getting really scared now because it really *SEEMED* like the man is following me. Near the end of that block, that man was riding in circles again, as if he is WAITING to see where I am going to go next! I was somewhat panicking now.. I was brainstorming who else I know in the neighborhood I could go to or maybe a store I can walk to.. Unfortunately, Target was probably closed. I could turn in at an alley, but that is so more quiet and scary! From where I was walking, I knew that it was going to be more dark and quiet.. so at the next corner, I turned left again (Basically, I am going in a circle).. THis time, that man on bike did not follow me. I kept on looking over my shoulder.. and felt a bit more comfortable to see some other people walking around. I then RAN around my block, not going the fastest and direct route, and quickly went in my house and locked the doors.

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I don't know if all three incidents are just coincidence or not, but its really a sign to really be careful at night.. Even in your own neighborhood. I'm a night person, and have always walked around at night with no problem. I admit that I might be a bit creepy because I like to look into people's windows while walking and imagine what sort of people live there. Its harmless, I tell you! :O Heck, I've even walked in downtown LA at night (not a good idea, BTW).. and all the time studying late night in college and walking back home!! I am so glad that I didn't go home directly, because who knows what the bicycle man is up to.. is he just spying on me to see where I live or was planning something.. whatever his true intent, it is probably no good at all.

Some precautions I usually take:
don't have a schedule
take different routes
look around your environment before entering your house

After this, I think I may change my schedule to sleep earlier. =_=|| Lots of my co-workers tell me that I need a cell phone.. .

I know some people on my friends list go to SacState and there has been many incidents of rapes last year.. . So I hope they also be careful too!

good night. :(
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12/29/10 12:11 am - holidays!

I've been doing a quite terrible job on writing entries on this blog! :O

Well, I hope everyone had a joyful Christmas! This year.. well, it was raining a lot (which is a good thing) and I was being lazy (which is a bad thing).. so I didn't really get to put up the Christmas lights on the roof!
All I managed to do before it got dark and raining is climb up on the roof and clean the gutters. Its kind of fun going on the roof because it gives a different view of the neighborhood and the yard! I did put up some orange (from halloween sale) and white lights inside the house though. We didn't bother to put up the Christmas tree this year though..

The really nerdy thing I remembered to do this year is display my Christmas themed Light and L nendroid figures at the window sill. Yes, I am a fan of Death Note! Light is dressed up as a reindeer and L is dressed up as Santa. Too bad they will go back into their box later on until next year! haha..

Every since getting OLDER, Christmas has sort of become less of receiving and opening gifts and more of *giving* gifts. I remember as a kid, my brothers and I had enough presents to build structures in front of the Christmas tree! These days, its good to even have a stack of some sort! So, its best to get your kicks by buying gifts for other people so you can put a smile on their face instead! Being Chinese and non-Christian, Christmas isn't a very important holiday for my family, but we still celebrate it.

Unfortunately, I have a really bad habit of procrastination. :( I am one of those last minute holiday shoppers. The worst part of it is that I usually have not much IDEA of what to get for everyone, so I have to sort of randomly stumble upon some good ideas for gifts. The shopping mall, Marshalls, and Ross all close at midnight? OH YEAH! Last week, after work and eating dinner, I would go shopping. I bet my face is something terrible. Drooping eyebags with a tired listless gaze, squinting at the super bright lighting in the stores. My body clock is so confused and messed up because it feels like its daytime with all the people shopping in the stores and yet I feel so exhausted at the same time! I become a zombie as my eyes try to keep up with everything.

Anyways, my brothers and I have some NEWER Christmas traditions now:

1) wrapping gifts with used wrapping paper.
Why waste perfectly good wrapping paper when you can re-use over and over again? My co-workers were quite amused about this and they usually fight their instinct to rip the wrapping paper and give me back the paper and box! :D My brothers and I wrap our gifts to each other in the most worn down paper ever. Some have holes patched up with other pieces of paper or are covered up with a ribbon flower and the print is beginning to sort of fade. It is hilariously funny to try and keep using it year after year! Its almost like meeting an old friend who you see year after year, but have something different inside! haha..

2) writing a really ridiculous gift tag.
Its hard to wrack your brains to think of what to write on a gift tag. Sometimes its quite insulting yet funny! I once got a gift saying "To: Piss handler" (Yes, I work with urine) The "from" part of the tag is easier. Some examples are "Satan Claus", "T.V. People" (for my grandma who watches TV all day), "King Pooh II" (er, yeah, my family loves toilet humor..), "Lara Croft, Army Men, and Seaman too!" (for my brother)..
Of course, its hard to think of new things to top a previous winner! :D

I still remember a quote from my traffic safety instructor in high school. He kept on telling us stories and told us many times, "You gotta kill them with kindness." Its an interesting quote.. You really do feel good when giving more than receiving. Although it doesn't necessarily refer to Christmas, it really shows the spirit of Christmas.

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OTOH, New years is coming up and in the EGL world, all the special fukubokuro lucky packs are dropping everywhere! So tempting, yet the yen to US$ rate is horrendous. 82 yen per dollar?! :O =_=||| Last year, I actually bought the 10000 yen Suppurate system lucky pack. The contents were really something to behold. It was a really crazy mixed bag.. My sister and I were laughing at the necklace with a teddy bear hot-glued holding a candy apple! @_@ I also got a cool leather eyepatch.. but I realised that eyeglasses and eyepatches don't really go together. I need to get contact lens in order to wear the eyepatch.

Well, apparently shipping is free for orders 30000 yen and above. Some person on EGL is doing group orders.. but is in Canada. Would anyone be interested in ordering a lucky pack? After last years lucky pack, I'm still considering whether I should get one or not. To tell you the truth, the real fun is opening the package. Its an expensive price to pay though! :) Maybe I should just save up instead of buying frivolous items.. .
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11/5/10 09:53 am - Fun in the sun.

It was sort of last minute, but here I am in Southern California.. First LA and now San Diego! Its so hot here, I'm being toasted. Yesterday I went to the San Diego Zoo. It was very gigantic!! I got to see the very lazy pandas eating bamboo. If only I can pet its fur..!!! I can sort of understand that man who jumped into a panda exhibit area because he wanted to pet the panda because its so cute! :D I think he got bitten though.. :O The Koalas were really lazy sitting slumped like couch potatoes on the trees. Apparently, it was around 100 F yesterday! Well, I'm probably going to leave either today or maybe tomorrow.. By Greyhound bus of course! Probably take around 12 hours..
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9/27/10 11:07 am - a requiem for.. .

nitta-hide

I can't believe I will see them live in the U.S. tomorrow!
I was going through some of my photo albums and came across this photo. (unfortunately, the dates are wrong on the photos!)
Looking at it temporarily transported me back in time.. back when everything was new and fresh.. back when things seem so innocent. It was the year that Hide died. I just started listening to X-Japan not so long ago.. it was when GLAY was the most popular band around (when they all looked visual .. haha.. seems like Jiro is the only one that sort of kept that image!) along with L'arc en ciel. I also listened to a lot of Mr. Children and Southern All Stars.

Its amazing that the class got together to create this mural in memory of Hide. In fact, I was amazed how each homeroom got together to work on their project for the school cultural festival. To show you the OTHER popular culture phenomenon that spread like wild fire throughout the world during this time period:

nitta-titanic

yup, I'm that old. Oh yeah, it was a real blast attending the GLAY concert in SF a few years ago. I was so happy that they played so many oldies that I actually know! So by having seen Glay in concert and going to see X-Japan in concert.. does that mean I'm currently pursuing/reviving my lost teen years?! haha..

9/11/10 02:50 pm - going bananas..

I feel so stupid!

I went to the West Sac Target and looked around in their new grocery section. I was surprised to see bananas to be only 19 cents a pound, so I got around 2 pounds. (BTW, they have lovely bronze bird cage necklace on sale for $7 now!)

Well.. at the cash register, I noticed the cashier didn't weigh out the bananas. I paid the bill and while walking out, I looked at the receipt.. Its not 19 cents a pound.. its 19 cents for each banana!!

My eyes fail me! I knew that it was too good to be true! Sigh! If I knew it was 19 cents per banana, I would have gotten the largest ones I could find.. :( Usually the supermarket bananas are around 69 cents per pound!
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