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Friday, December 2nd, 2016 09:40 am
Wow, I'm TIRED. But I just need to power through the next couple of days...

- Sunday will be the day of the Big Move. Today I'll try to pick off a little more miscellaneous with the help of my bro. I've been too tired to move this past week, but ... well, it's gotta happen!! And a lot of friends are coming to help move on Sunday! It... it might get a little crazy! At last count, there's 8 people coming??? :O??

- Tomorrow is taiko + Oakland hangouts with my bro + last day of Chinese School for this quarter. That means I have to get grading and payroll done TODAY. But hopefully it means I can crash a bit tomorrow night, before the Big Move.

- Tuesday is when the printed fan anthology will finally arrive. It's also the official day we're out of this apartment. I spent 3 hours last night getting all the shipping stuff prepped and ready to survive the move, so hopefully when the books show up, I can just stuff, seal, and mail. Well, there's still one more set of prints that are coming today, and also 3 doodles that I need to do. And I'm sort of dreading the part where I stand at the post office Shipping Machine and manually punch in 30 international destinations... But after that, I'll be done!

It... it's been a long month+ of travel and logistics work, both at work and in the post-baby-sleep time. I've been staying off tumblr both due to election drama (oof, thinking about that is still upsetting, and I'm kind of looking on in numb shock as Trump seems to make good on his campaign promises), and because I'm just too tired to be in the right mental state to be on tumblr.

But that's also meant that I'm now in that weird state where I both crave the low-grade social interaction that tumblr offers, and also being too tired to really have the energy for it? :///

... I'll feel better when I have enough brain cells to start thinking about making stuff again. Making stuff comes first, tumblr interactions come second. I interact with people via making stuff, so first I have to have the energy and brain space to do that. I'll just be glad when Christmas is over.

(Ugh, Christmas is like, my least favorite holiday, but everyone wants to make a big deal out of it, what with all the fandom yuletide stuff, and basically having this weird deadline for gift-giving. At least I don't have to give presents to my family. Maybe I should institute an "gifts? what are those?" rule for myself, too. Why can't all holidays just be Chinese holidays where everyone gets together and eats a lot of specialized food?)

Anyway, by this time next week, things will be ... more done.
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Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 04:02 pm
So we have a house now. Or rather, a cute 2-story, 3bed 2bath condo end unit. We kept hitting roadblocks when trying to get a mortgage (to Hoosband: "what do you mean you don't have credit?" to me: "wait, you own the company? That makes you self employed, we need to start over.") So... it's now a family loan.

Thus begins: the move. Which is currently in the "bookshelves" stage. I dread when we're down to the "miscellaneous bits" part of the move, where everything gets shoved in boxes and then I'll have to spend weeks trying to filter through that.

Parents have been super helpful in taking the babbu for large chunks of the day, so that I can do work. (Which I've really needed, since our company is down 2 people right now. Which means that I'm trying to do 3 people's work??)

Anyway, some more moving will happen this weekend, and then on Monday we're headed to Chicago for Thanksgiving.

I'm a little frustrated that we're leaving on Monday instead of Tuesday or Wednesday, since this means I'm leaving before our shipping person gets back from China, and I can't do a proper handoff. I blame past-self for not listening carefully when Hoosband was buying the tickets.
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Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 02:45 pm
I was going to organize all of this, but ... eh.

Wow, democracy sure is a thing, eh? 59,789,023 votes cast for Hillary Clinton, and 59,583,744 votes cast for Donald Trump. And even though Hillary Clinton won by a measly 200,000 votes, Trump is the electoral college winner. On the one hand, I sure would like the get rid of the electoral college. On the other hand, the popular vote has shown exactly how divided we are. 47.7% vs. 47.5%. There really isn't a "mandate", just a lot of people, going in the cast their votes.

And that's what they are, aren't they? Just people, doing people things. Late last night I was in the "48% of the country hate people like me and my friends" stage, and early this morning I was in the "48% of the country would fear/scapegoat people like me and my friends" stage. But now ... well, 59 million people cast the vote for Trump for a whole host of different reasons. Sure, some of them are horrible fascists and racists. But also, some wanted a conservative judge on the Supreme Court. Some feel betrayed by the Democratic party and their promise of bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. Some view government with utter suspicion and would rather trust a sleazy businessman than a sleazy politician.

And so. We are here. Because democracy worked.

Voting is pretty awesome. Recently I was working on putting a fan book thing together, and I was like "how many people want it as one giant tome, vs. 4 slim booklets?" And the mailing list was like "eh, I don't care either way" and "I see benefits of both, so I'll defer to the group." So then I set up a survey, and... guess what? Everyone except for me wanted a giant tome. If I hadn't set up that survey, I might have mislead everyone into the impression that everyone else wanted the 4 slim booklets, just because I was the most vocal person in the mailing list. But then people voted.

Just like how people in California voted for higher taxes to help build schools. And to ban plastic bags in grocery stores to help the environment. To allow bilingual education. For stricter gun control. Turns out that we prefer reforming the death penalty rather than repealing it. And sure, the California state legislature is officially allowed to be upset about Citizens United (37 more states to go before it becomes not-ridiculous!)

So voting -- it happened.

And I want it to keep happening. I want the popular vote to count, and not just focusing on 11 swing states. (And apparently there's a way!). I want the Voting Rights Act bolstered. And I want to vote in a Democratic congress in 2 years. And in 2020, when Rutabaga is 4 years old, I want to help vote in Democratic state legislatures across the US, to fix the gerrymandered districts. (Or at least gerrymander it the other way for a decade).

And I vote in other ways, too. I vote with my money when I choose which TV shows to watch. (Watching The Get Down, *not* watching Daredevil). I vote with my time and energy when I choose what to do with my life outside of work. And I vote with my voice when I express my opinions.

I've always been a "everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as they're not being a dick about it" type of person. But yanno what? The thing I always forget is that this means I'm also entitled to mine. So next time someone's like "oh, this country is going to hell under the Democrats," I'm going to engage and make my opinion heard as well. I should do more than glare at the guy harassing a woman on the subway, because that is Not Okay. Just like building a wall or banning Muslim immigrants is Not Okay.

More importantly, though -- 59 million people voted for Trump. Hillary was expected to have a 4% lead in the popular vote, but ended up with 0.1%. That means that there's roughly 5 million people who unexpectedly voted for Trump. How did we overlook 5 million people? Why is it that they were only able to make themselves heard through voting?

If the people who voted for Trump are not college educated -- well, let's work to make college more accessible. If the people who voted for Trump are sick and tired of working a dead end job with no prospects, well, people are teaching coal miners to code. If the people who voted for Trump think that immigrants are evil and white male privilege is threatened ... well, I don't see any other way to show them differently except to make my opinion heard. To vote for more inclusive mass media by putting my money where my mouth is. To vote for better education through donorschoose, and by being a good teacher. To vote for school boards that value pre-K education and to vote for state legislators who will vote to keep polling places open. To vote.

Because voting doesn't happen once every 4 years. And like a muscle, it needs to be exercised.
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Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 10:29 pm
So, there's this house that we're about 2 days away from signing on.

Buying it would involve:
- sinking in 90% of our savings
- sinking in 70% of my parents' savings (which we will then pay back at a 2% interest rate until we decide to sell the house.)

But it's a good location and a good house and basically a place that I can imagine myself, Hoosband, and Rutabaga living in for the next 3-5 years.

Except, with these election results ...

We might need liquid capital, yanno? More importantly, my *parents* might need liquid capital. And whereas before, I feel like we can make back the cost of the house if we sell after 3 years, now I think it's going to be at least 5 years.

Which would mean a lot of our money would be locked in for at least 5 years.

But on the other hand, by having parents help buy the place outright, it means that all of the money that we would have been spending on paying rent or mortgage interest, would then go into a safe savings account. Like, that's an extra $3000 a month that we'd be saving up. And if we live frugally in the next couple of years, we can actually save up a lot of money that way. If our current incomes stay stable, we'd be able to save up the money that parents are lending us in... 7 years. (And still be able to sell the house and get the money back that way.) And by being able to save more, that means we still have a certain amount of liquidity that we can shift around.

It's hard to see through the panic and jitters and project how much a Trump presidency will affect our lives for the next 4 years, but that's kind of what we need to decide by tomorrow 11am.
- health care costs might go down for us and go up for a bunch of people
- the Supreme Court is going to be not-fun, but then again, Scalia was pretty horrible, and I can't imagine someone being THAT much worse than him.
- America will lose the respect of everyone on the global stage and treaties will not be honored. I don't know what that will mean.
- Hoosband's industry might collapse as the government becomes more anti-science and anti-environment.
- Family business might struggle as anti-immigrant sentiment grows and more people go back to China. (On the other hand, Family business might get an uptick as Chinese immigrants start feeling a greater need to have their kids learn Chinese, just in case they have to go back to China.)

49% of this country clearly doesn't like people like me and my friends and family, and that is the most chilling thing of all.

But, states still decide the education curriculum, and entertainment and mass media still follows the consumer demands, and the internet will still function (for now?). :/

So... I dunno. I know that we're not going to move to another country, we're going to stay and do what we can. But is it better to do so while owning a house, or not?
summercomfort: (Default)
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 01:22 am
LJ has a like button now! XD

Is that enough for me to switch to using their /feed instead of their /friends ??
summercomfort: (Default)
Thursday, October 6th, 2016 12:50 pm
so we made an offer on a house. Someone had a higher offer with less borrowing. So:

- Confirmed that Bay Area home prices are crazy, and if we ever want to buy, it'd probably be in Oakland
- I appear to have a pretty hard line of "no more than $1 million" on home-buying
- There was a lot of angst this week, but I think it was good for us overall, because Jono reconciled himself to the possibility of owning a home, and I reconciled myself to the possibility of not owning a home. Plus I learned how to ask for financing.
- Operation "rent a second apartment" is go! :)))))
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Monday, October 3rd, 2016 11:38 pm
So, went to see Hoosband's real estate agent today, who spent 2 hours going over everything with me. Then we wrangled mom to see the place, and I got really excited about the prospect of owning it -- started imagining hosting comickers hangouts in the living room/patio area, admiring all the extra storage space, and having a guest bedroom!!

Then I got home and Hoosband's like "oh, I thought we were just doing this like a test run. Do you actually want to get the place?" There's a lot of "holy shit we have to make such a ginormous decision in the next 3 days" hand-wringing, which experience tells me is pretty much going to happen every time we look at buying a home.

Which led to lots of talk and angst and it's boiled down to:

- I'd like at least 1 extra bedroom and some extra living space to host people (it worked out well back when we lived in a house because we'd do our "living" in the living room and do our hosting in the family room)
- Hoosband would like the flexibility of renting, for a variety of reasons.
- We'd both like to stay in this area, but aside from our current apartment, there isn't another rentable place with pool and yard. But our apartment complex is all 1-bedrooms, so we can't just switch to a 2-bedroom. Everything else that fits our criteria is for purchase. (average $1.5 mil)

So.... I think the solution is *not* to buy a house (which involves sinking in all of our savings, *and then* paying $4500/month. And also moving.) I *think* the solution is to rent another 1-bedroom apartment in our complex.

No wait, hear me out:
- current living room: for our piles and general living-in-filth, and for when singular friends visit
- other living room: for hosting get-togethers! For extra space hangouts! Rutabaga can run around there freely without worrying about wires and other sharp stuff as much. Playdates.
- other bedroom: for hosting friends overnight, for when one of us needs a quiet work or study area.
- other closets: for storing more long-term things, like the tubs of legos, the taiko drums, the comics prints, the camping gear, the luggage, the used baby stuff, etc.

We'd basically be getting roughly the same amount of additional space as the townhouse, and paying roughly the same amount of money as the mortgage, but with the flexibility of renting! Plus it's not like "arrrrgh gotta decide right now!!!" I can keep an eye out for the next apartment opening. Then! When we don't want to live in this area anymore, we can go to the new location and rent a proper 2- or 3-bedroom.

Anyways, gonna sleep on it, but I think this is the right thing to do.
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Saturday, October 1st, 2016 11:33 pm
So, next weekend I'm going to be at APE, which will mean I'm going to miss teaching this lesson. It's a pity, because it's one of my favorite ones. It's a short essay by 王鼎钧. Below is an ad hoc and informal translation.

Three types of growth

Humans are a living thing, and thus are constantly growing: we grow in age, we grow in skill and knowledge, and we grow in morality and wisdom.

"As the seasons pass, people age": the growth in age happens naturally. But the growth in knowledge and wisdom, must depend on our own efforts. If we but slack off for a moment, they stop growing, and even begin to regress. The most pressing question in our lives, is how to ensure that these three: age, knowledge, and wisdom, grow in tandem.

然而光阴的流逝有一定的数量和速度,虽然没有办法减少,可是也不会增加。我们追求知识,学习技能,培养品德,开拓胸怀,却可以随着自己的意愿,提高速度。种瓜得瓜, 种豆得豆, 而种瓜种豆,操之在我。人生的责任在此,乐趣也在此。
The passage of time is like water flowing downstream, but improving oneself is like a boat going upstream. The former disappears in an instant of release, while the latter is difficult every step of the way. It seems rather unfair. And yet, time passes at a set pace: even though there is no way to slow it down, neither would it speed up. Whereas our pursuit of knowledge and nurturing of virtue and understanding, can be sped up according to our will. When you plant melons, you harvest melons. When you plant beans, you harvest beans. And whether you plant melons or beans, that is decided by you. The responsibility of life lies in this. The joy of life also lies in this.

Time will never stop. Since that is true, we should also continue to grow in our wisdom and knowledge, without pause or rest: Only that would be a fulfilling life.


The middle two paragraphs especially speak to me: that what you choose to put time and effort into, is what you will receive in harvest. And one can't expect a harvest in something that one hasn't planted and tended. More importantly, the choice of what to spend my time on (and thus, what harvests I want), is something that I can control. I have a sense that I wrote about it last year, but I can't find it. Regardless, it's a question that bears more frequent asking: am I planting the right things? Am I expecting impractical harvests?

I'm thinking about this today, for several reasons.

We went to look at a townhouse today. It's in a good location and within the bounds of "reasonably priced." We're probably going to have to move in 1-3 years, as Rutabaga grows, so it looked like a good option. But the subsequent discussion also brought up a sore point in our relationship: the fact that we're location-locked. My family is here, my family's business is here, and now, we also have regular activity and friend groups here. But Hoosband's family isn't here. And being here means limiting the types of jobs that Hoosband can seek out. And the Bay Area is an increasingly onerous place to live: commutes are long and housing is expensive.

In our current area, we are paying $2300 for a one bedroom. When Rutabaga gets older and we need to move to a two bedroom, it's going to be ~$3200, at least. Currently Hoosband commutes 90 minutes to work, each way (about an hour on the train, plus biking). But if we move closer to his work on the train line, he won't be able to find a place to sit or a place to put his bike, which means his commute would be shorter but more painful. If we move to somewhere on the BART line, say, Oakland, that might also be the same: shorter but more painful. If we move, it means not being able to take advantage of the 3-5 hours of free childcare my parents are providing, which comes out to be ~$1500 per month that we don't have to spend.

I'm very sad that Hoosband has such a horrible commute, but ... I really can't find a reliable way to reduce this misery.

Which brings me to the question of planting and harvesting. I say that I love Hoosband and want to make him happy, but am I putting sufficient energy into that? I've inflicted a baby on him, trapped him in the Bay Area, and can't even find a way to reduce his commute misery. Maybe we should give up everything here and move to Chicago, where he'll be happier. Right now, all of the melons that we're planting are increasingly locking us to this place -- we spend time with comics club, we have established rituals of walking around the neighborhood, etc. And if we buy a house here -- well, that's the biggest melon planting of all.

Which is why, I suppose, we will keep renting even if it's not necessarily the smart thing to do financially: easier to plant melons by accident and lament that they're not beans at harvest time, than to face the fact that we might need to make some tough choices.
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Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 11:02 pm
So, dad is headed back to China this Friday, because uncle has moved from the stage of dying that was "maybe another month or two?" to "any day now." DDDDDD:

Rutabaga started eating mush this week, and so far she's pretty into it. She had 4 servings today: banana, carrot, apple, and squash. (They say to add 1 new food every 3 days, but I've just been doing a new one every day. ::shrug:: Well, I waited until she started pooping again after the first feeding of mush, but since then it's been pretty consistent.) Maybe in a month or two, I'll be phasing out the formula and the breastmilk????

I've got a lot of stuff to do in the next few weeks, and I'm So Very Tired.


- 9/1-5:
---> Hoosband's family is visiting!
---> Get Anthology set to print
---> Update all the websites: sbaycomics, scs, hcc

- by Chinese School Teacher Meeting 9/10:
---> get Carrie to fix email
---> prep talk about WASC and online hw
---> figure out new wages and expectations
---> get catering
---> remember how to orient new teachers
- 9/11: taiko drumming at Solano Stroll

- by 9/13: get accounting done
- 9/17: Chinese School starts. Get there by 3:15pm to set up for talk
- 9/18: taiko drumming Dragon Boats

I think I'll still get some baby-free time, even with dad gone. But maybe I should start looking into babysitters?
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Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 11:01 pm
So there's this HabitRPG assignment that I need to do tonight, or else I don't get a shiny piece of exclusive equipment:

"Turn one of your positive feelings into a hero. List your hero's strengths and weaknesses. What small changes can you make in your own life to play to their strengths?"

Okay, positive feeling: love for others and desire to give them things
Strengths: Makes me do things that I wouldn't otherwise do, gets me out of my shell, makes me feel loved in return, gives me a sense of human connection
Weaknesses: Sometimes it feels too much and that I don't have time for myself.
Small changes: um... let that drive the time I spend outside of baby care and work? (But that's kind of the weakness -- not getting enough self time.)

"Turn one of your negative feelings into a monster. List your monster's vulnerabilities. What is the most effective way to take them down?"

Negative feeling: tiredness
Vulnerabilities: food and sleep and rest
Best way to take them down: do more of the above

Negative feeling: jealousy
Vulnerabilities: actually talking about it with said person
Best way to take them down: see above

Negative feeling: anxiety
Best way to take them down: make lists, give myself a break, remember that I don't have to do it myself and recruit others to help
summercomfort: (Default)
Monday, August 15th, 2016 12:23 am
Had a down day today where nothing much was accomplished. I seriously took two hour-long naps, and then spent about 2 hours on tumblr. What Even.

I think part of it is that I've been trying to maximize my work time, which has definitely helped me with my productivity and with feeling less overwhelmed with work. But always being "on" is no fun, either.

Tomorrow is Monday and back to work. I feel like I have a long post forthcoming about work and life and responsibilities, and that down time isn't sufficiently valued in our society, but in the meantime --

- I'm worried about Hoosband working too hard, and he's worried about me working too hard, but there really doesn't seem to be any good solutions, given that we both care about our respective jobs and hobbies.
- I don't know what to think about childcare, and decisions/value thereof
- I really need to sleep before midnight, but it's so nice to have all this quiet space for thinking and doing whatever I want. (Except that I'm usually too tired to take full advantage of it.)
- I need to get better at real life friendship??? Maybe?
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Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016 10:49 am
And now, all the work things:

- edit and send out mass email
- make kindergarten teacher cards
- burn 400 kindergarten cds
- make kindergarten vocab picture cards
- finish editing grade 10
- year end taxes
- fix website
- figure out all the changes needed for the start of school
- wrangle monies for the new hire
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Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016 01:14 am
It's 1am. Once again I'm up too late, so I know I'm going to pay for it tomorrow, probably around 1pm when I really want to sleep but the babbu is like "play!!!"

But I have a lot of stuff to do! Aside from work --

For the comics anthology:
- shade and resize N's comic to bring it more in line with the rest of the comics.
- re-order the comics in the anthology
- possibly draw a 4-pager to bring the page number back up to 80???
- front cover tweaking
- completely redo back cover
- get a test print with Lulu to try it out??
summercomfort: (Default)
Thursday, July 28th, 2016 05:38 pm
.... I would not have voted for Sanders in the primary if I knew that the California Sanders delegates would be starting so much drama at the convention.

Like, seriously, take a chill pill. So much of Sanders' policies made it onto the platform. All this chanting and booing is making me like Sanders (or at least his campaign) less.
summercomfort: (Default)
Friday, May 27th, 2016 12:22 pm
So Tuesday was the 2 month mark for Rutabaga, and yesterday was the completion of 9 weeks. I can't believe we've only been at this for 2 months. The last month has seemed particularly long, between work and baby care and everything else. But hey, this means there's 1 more month to go before the 3 month mark. The 100-day celebration is going to be on July 2nd. (Fun discovery: full term + 100 days = precisely 1 year from conception.)

Anyways, I posted some photos here:

Rutabaga has been quite a mild-tempered babbu, and for that I'm grateful. :) She's been sleeping much longer through the night recently, and the daytime is more clearly divided between solid sleep and solid wakefulness ("Explore Mode"), which is also good. Still pretty picky about formula, but... eh.

Okay, enough about that. Tomorrow, Jono and I are going to Fanime, and then on Sunday we have another comics get-together, and next Wednesday I have more WASC stuff due for work. So... to-do list!

- Website updates: put up more verified teacher links, fix a bad link, make some pages introducing our new material
- Get 2 last images in for Kindergarten so that I can send it to the printers
- Write WASC report action plan update by Wednesday.
- Do year-end payroll stuff by next Saturday

- San's dress: see if tank top + skirt combo works or not. If so: add slit to the skirt. If not: make new skirt.
- San's white tunic
- San's "shoes"
- San's fur thing: cut into right shape, attach the tooth necklace
- San's head band and arm bands
- Ashitaka's arm sleeves: finalize hand portion, add red cord, make blue strips for tying the inside.
- Ashitaka's happi: shorten sleeves, add trim. Make belt
- Ashitaka's "shoes"
- Ashitaka's shin wraps: see if janky socks work. If so: done! If not: make some.
- Ashitaka's hat: make front mouth cover
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Sunday, May 8th, 2016 11:06 am
So the last post is basically me arguing with Jono. This post is all the character blathering.

more spoilers?? )
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Saturday, May 7th, 2016 10:32 pm
Okay, writing this here before I wade onto tumblr.

Spoilers ahoy! )