Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Passing peacefully

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Grandma's 100th Birthday
Grandma’s 100th Birthday on Aug. 13, 2011

On Saturday, September 17th, a little over a month after my grandma turned 100, she passed away peacefully in the company of family. I was supposed to go over to her house that night and see her one last time, but I just couldn’t do it. I knew I should, but I just couldn’t get myself to go. I went to work instead. And while I was there, I got a text message at 8:44pm telling me she’d just passed away. I went right back to work.

I wasn’t close to my grandma. We didn’t speak the same language so we couldn’t communicate, but her sons and daughters, my aunts and uncles and my mother while she lived, loved her like mad. They all took care of her as she got older. She was the family matriarch and ruled over all of them. She was fierce and unpretentious, and expressed her unabashedly uncensored opinions freely. She was a kind of hellion and smoked and drank beers all day until she was in her 70s. She still drank beer even at her 99th birthday.

She had an arranged marriage to my gangster grandfather whom I’ve never met. He died when the kids were still young. My mom was nine, but she was the 2nd to youngest. The older ones took care of her and the family. She was of a generation of women that were completely uneducated. She didn’t even know how to count money. But her kids all grew up to be successful, and they all took care of the matriarch.

At her 100th birthday, I noticed one of her socks had fallen off. She sat in a wheelchair, and used an oxygen tank. She slept a lot. Her mind had been sharp for a long time, and she’d been physically fit into her 90s, but by 100, she was less sharp, more quiet. I wasn’t sure she recognized me at all.

I put the sock back on her foot. I told her I was going to do it then bent under the wheelchair and she lifted her leg up. Her foot was so small but swollen. I put it on and she left her foot up until I set it back down for her. And I wondered if it was because she was so used to having people physically manipulate her body for her, or if she couldn’t tell I had finished putting the sock on, or if she hadn’t understood at all what I was doing. I wondered if the simple act of replacing a sock and the physical motions involved and the physical sensations it produced was now out of the range of comprehension.

And that’s what I think about now. Her swollen foot. How small and fragile it looked without that sock on. How cold it already was from missing that sock for just a little while. And that’s what breaks my heart. That and the fact that my aunt called me today to make sure I knew the funeral was tomorrow and then broke down crying. I can deal with the passing of my grandmother. She lived a long life, surrounded and loved by family. But I can’t deal with the pain my aunts and uncles feel. I can’t do anything for them. And it makes me feel useless.

Family is the heart of everything

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Maybe it’s my biological clock, or maybe it’s just becoming more mature and less selfish, or maybe it’s just being physically closer to my family that makes me so sentimental about the ties, blood or not, that make up a family. One of the girls I call a niece even though she’s not technically or legally my niece had her bridal shower today and it made me look at the kids in our family and think of how mature they’ve all gotten. Why is it that we remember children, no matter their real age, as children? I remember Klarisa as a little two year old girl because that’s when I first met her. She made my heart melt. I remember my son as a tiny little bean, but he’s a gorgeous, full grown man now. I remember his sister as a baby, less than two years old because that’s when I first met her. Bald, quiet, but sweet. Now she’s got an amazing and thick head of hair, and the maturity and attitude of a 30 year old in her 21 year old body. Family bonds can tie and restrain us, but goddamn, they set our hearts on fire that melt us irreparably. Once touched, never the same. Love for family is both sweet and bitter, but you couldn’t go on living without it.

me, dad, jess, and josh
Josh, Dad, Me & Jess

Mothers: Tina, Me, Lisa
Mothers: Tina, Me, Lisa

It pays to be a good driver

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I had to run to the DMV today because the guy at AAA didn’t seem to be able to help me — he told me I owed 2 years worth of registration fees on my Ninja! I told him he was crazy! Well the DMV told me the same thing and so I just paid them and filed for an address change for my license and registered vehicles. BTW, Santa Ana DMV was amazingly fast. The California DMV website lists the wait times for various local DMV offices and the wait time listed for non-appointment drop in visitors at the Santa Ana DMV (23 minutes) was spot on. I was impressed.

Last week when I was driving up to San Francisco, I got pulled over for speeding at 90mph. The speed limit on I-5 is 70 so I wasn’t going crazy fast, but I was driving faster than I normally do. Even though I’ve got that shit hot car, I usually drive about 80, maybe 85mph up to and down from San Francisco. Don’t ask me why I was doing 90. It didn’t feel any different than 80 and it was early in the morning and traffic was light, the sun was up by the time I got pulled over (at 8am) and I was about halfway to my destination and feeling really happy. So 90…maybe that was just a sign of contented happiness on my part.

I am a good citizen. I don’t do anything illegal and I hardly ever get pulled over. So somehow that makes me extremely anxious about cops. They literally make me sweat and shake. When I got pulled over, I had to really focus to keep my hands steady as I handed him the requisite paperwork because I’m not only terrified of cops, but I’m terrified they’ll know I’m terrified because that has got to be a sure sign of guilt about something.

But I acted calmly and handed him my paperwork. He took it to his car and I waited for about 10 minutes for him to look up various things about my person. And when he came back, he gave me a present! Look, your driving record is totally clean so I’m just going to give you a warning about your speed and give you this fixit ticket for your change of address on your driver’s license. I was shocked! Then he smiled and said, my brother-in-law has one of these cars. I know how they can get away from you sometimes. I thanked him profusely, called him sir, and wished him an excellent day.

People seem to love these cars. Anyone who knows anything about cars gets really excited about my car. I randomly met a guy who produced shows for the Speed network and he gets to play with all sorts of cars — even he loved my car. And he loved that a girl was driving that car. It made me puff up my feathers and preen myself a bit, I was so flattered when he said that. And people who know people who have STis seem to love them too. It’s such an odd thing to own something that other random people love as much as I love.

But back to that cop. I was surprised at his the kindness of his gift. I was really, really excited — he saved me hundreds of dollars, and saved me a whole day of traffic school. I think people should always pay forward acts of kindness. I remembered this when I got to the toll booth at the Bay Bridge and paid for the random person behind me. But I guess I should have paid for the next 100 people behind me. I still owe for that cop’s kindness.

Ready to ride!

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

It was a gorgeous day in Southern California today and I had ants in my pants. I think I just wanted to be out enjoying the sun and do some people watching. I was running around in the car today itching badly to go for a joy ride down PCH, but I didn’t. The new car gets bad gas mileage and I have green guilt. Besides, that’s not what I really wanted to do. What I really wanted was to get out on a motorcycle and cruise PCH and to feel the wind rush over me.

My little EX250 has been sitting here in my mother’s garage for three to four years. I think it’s time to ride her again. Today I washed and waxed her — just because she’s been sitting around unloved and unused doesn’t mean she should go to the dealership looking like anything less than the gorgeous princess she is. She is so clean and smooth now. I’ve been petting her freshly waxed gas tank.

Next week when I come back, she’ll be all tuned up and I’ll have my gear and her current registration stickers and she’ll be ready for the open road again. I cannot wait! She and I are going to tear up PCH together.

Like mother, like daughter

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I’m back in socal cleaning out my mother’s house. It’s an endless chore and I make slow progress. What’s been interesting to me lately is discovering how some of my behaviors are inherited from my mother even though I might have never known they were her behaviors (or at least not consciously been aware of knowing). For example: saving receipts. Like every single receipt for everything, and organized by year. I’ve decided finally to start shredding old receipts — anything not from the current year — but apparently my mother didn’t own a shredder. I’ve found 20 year old receipts. In fact, lots of other 20 year old documents. And receipts and documents for all the years since then too.

I found this binder the other day full of magazine and newspaper clippings. Which is a new habit of mine — instead of keeping whole magazines, I rip out the few pages I want to keep and organize them in a binder. I guess I got that from my mom too.

It’s amazing how much of someone’s life you can piece together by her accumulated bits of paper: travel routes via gas receipts, favorite foods by restaurant receipts, personal interests by saved clippings. Some of it I save because sometimes I discover something new or because I want to remember some moment with her, but most of it I shred. Because I’m trying not to be a hoarder.

I love words

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Clearly, I love words. And I love any use of language that makes me laugh. Especially when it includes lots of dirty words — because words aren’t inherently dirty; it’s the way you use them that makes them so. I’ve only seen this commercial once on TV recently, but it’s been on YouTube for 2 years so it’s not new. But my gosh it’s funny. Just listen to the actual words they’re using. My favorite is lint licker and cootie queen. Oh my god does that sound dirty. It just goes to show you that the right sized word with a hard beginning, middle or end (or any combination of the afore) and said in the right tone can make even the most mundane words (like kumquat) sound dirty and bad.

Birthday GRE

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I took the GRE about 2 weeks ago on my birthday and just got my scores today. Well, I saw them when I finished, but got my analytical writing scores for the lame ass essays I had to write. Shockingly low scores. Or, I should say the scores themselves are OK, but the percentile ranking seems awfully low given the scores.

I’ve heard the computer adaptive test, you know, adapts to the way you answer you questions so if you answer incorrectly, the next question is easier and vice versa*. So imagine my horror when over half way through my verbal test, I get a question with “disappointment” as one of the words. Now, I can’t tell you the actual question, but the word in the analogy was on par in difficulty with “disappointment.” I was heartbroken. I thought, holy god, how could I have fucked up this badly on the test so far that they have to give me baby words?!

But it turned out to be ok because I got the scores I wanted to get on both sections. In one week of studying, I boosted my combined GRE scores over 300 points so that week of studying was well worth it. I focused on practicing math problems over and over again and learning new vocab. I had some old Kaplan GRE workbooks and used those to study, but I wonder how much, if anything has changed in the past decade. I think the books I had came from early 2000.

Not that I care anymore cause I doubt I will ever have to take the GRE again! Woohoo!

* I say “I heard” because the GRE books I studied from were old. I have no idea if the current GREs are the same, but if I had to hazard a guess, I would say they were the same.

The mind fuck of coupons

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Let’s face it, more of us are cutting coupons nowadays. It’s something I used to do with my parents when I was little. Something I still occasionally do, but now I do it semi-regularly. But they’re sort of a mind fuck really. Of course, no one wants to pay full retail price, but sometimes you’re lured by the “value” of a deal into buying crap you don’t really want or need. Just because it’s a bargain somehow justifies the purchase.

Case in point: Macy’s sent me these 20% off all day, one day coupons. They basically want you to shop all day and use this coupon. I get it. And between the holiday sales and the coupon, you could buy a lot of stuff not at retail price. But I’ve been really busy lately with graduate school applications and haven’t had time for shopping, so I basically forced myself to shop on Wednesday. Not only was it their “last” One Day Sale, but I had used the 20% off coupon and now I’d have to use it as many more times as I could that day to get the full value of it. So I have a crappy day of shopping when I don’t want to shop, and I end up spending more money than I want to because it’s a “bargain.” And I love bargains — I went to the ballet this week and the Mr asked if I was wearing new pants. Nope, just pants I’ve had for years and have never worn before. Cause I like to buy shit on sale. Whether I’m going to use it or not.

The other problem with coupons is that sometimes I use a coupon and actually spend more money. For example, Target sends me coupons. I <3 Target, but they’re inconvenient to get to so I don’t go there as often as I might if they were closer. I sometimes buy items I wouldn’t normally buy just because I have a coupon for it. Little things like their Archer brand snacks, or home & beauty products I don’t normally use. The crazy thing is that sometimes I pay more for a particular item (like brand name feminine hygiene pads) because I have a coupon for it when I would actually pay less just buying the Target brand like I normally do. I know; it’s completely illogical! But I’m telling you, the psychological effects of coupons is complex and devious.

I am quite seriously considering going back to my irregular and not very frequent use of coupons to retain my sanity about shopping.

Ah, the shopping season…what torture

Friday, December 4th, 2009

I hate shopping for Christmas. It’s so much pressure to come up with the perfect gift. Or not even the perfect gift, how about just any gift that the recipient will actually and genuinely enjoy. I usually want to give up year after year. I know I’m like years behind, but last month I started an Amazon wish list because sometimes I do things I wish other people would do. I wish everyone I had to shop for at Christmas had a freaking wish list!!

I was reviewing my list last night so I could email my loved ones and was thinking to myself what a random mix of stuff it was. I mean, it’s all stuff I want and I purposely picked items in a range of prices, but I wonder if it takes the fun out of getting Christmas gifts because it takes away the element of surprise.

In recent years, I’ve begged family members to send me Christmas wish lists and sometimes I look at the things on there and think…I can’t get them this as a Christmas present — it’s too practical, or not special enough. My father is the worst to shop for. He has everything he needs, doesn’t send a list, and never intimates he has an especial desire for anything. And this year I missed his birthday because I was out of the country and now I have to make sure his gifts are doubly wonderful. My sister is the best at giving gifts; she always pleasantly surprises me with something. Special too is when you get an unexpected gift from a family member — that’s always sweet.

I’d like to put cash on my Christmas list. I think we Americans are too ambivalent about cash gifts. Other cultures seem to think nothing of it, but we seem to think it’s a cop out or impersonal, and only gift it when specifically asked for it. I say cash is the universal gift. Give it freely people. I’ll distribute it equally into in my writing fund, my whisky fund (almost the same as my writing fund), my new car fund, and my bathroom remodel fund. But before I do that, I’ll buy a drink and toast you for your special gift.

And in case you thought I had no holiday cheer, I leave you with one of my very, very favorite holiday songs. I listen to this song every year and I love both the original Vandals version and the No Doubt one below:

One night in Bangkok…

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

…makes a hard man humble” And my last night in Bangkok certainly did. So I’m blogging the trip in reverse almost. At least I hope to. You know I kept that paper blog during my trip. What did the ancients call it? Oh, a diary.

By the time I got to Bangkok for my last night before my flight home I was almost desperate for some company. Just someone I could speak some fucking English to. Those 21 hour bus rides and over night trains — no one to talk to. On the local buses I took, I was the only person that didn’t speak Lao. By the time I got to Bangkok, I was absurdly lonely. And for a big, confident, self assured gal, being absurdly lonely is…absurd.

Isaac and Kerry told me they’d gotten prettied up in Bangkok before they went back to the states. So I went to mall. I’d avoided it in Laos because I was busy looking at other things, but I do enjoy checking out malls in different countries so I went to the mall Isaac suggested. Indulged in some Thai underwear because Asian bras fit me (cause I’m Asian) and I spent less than $50 USD for 2 pairs of bras and 2 pairs of matching underwear — unheard of at Victoria’s Secret (and yet they were just as sexy).

I wore my cleanest dress. The one dress I’d brought for special occasions. The one I’d never worn before. It’s a travel dress; I bought it on sale at REI. It’s not that sexy. But at the end of the evening when I ended up at an Australian pub across the street from my hotel (only cause I knew there’d be English spoken there and they were playing MotoGP on one of their big screens), drinking Jamie’s all alone…the one guy who finally talked to me said he thought I was a Thai whore until he heard my English.

I guess part of me has to be proud that I could even pass for a Thai whore.


Procrastination…is updating your blog

Friday, November 20th, 2009

I found this on someone’s blog and this is so the bane of my life.

Traveling in Laos

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I haven’t been blogging because I’m traveling through Laos at the moment with Isaac and Kerry. At least for another week and then I’m on my own. It’s indescribably amazing. You can read about our adventures at their blog at monkeycaravan.blogspot.com. Laos is wonderful. That is all.

Starting to get desperate

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

The 2nd to last day before my trip and I’m starting to get desperate. I made sure to do all my driving errands today because a) I hate to drive in the city and b) I cannot make another freaking run to REI this week because if I do, I’ll stab myself.

Hello Kitty Luggage tagI was at REI earlier today (twice! I think I lost an earring there so I had to return to try to find it) and completely forgot to get the luggage tag I meant to get there. So I was forced — against my will — to get a Hello Kitty luggage tag at the mall (I tried the travel store but they didn’t have any cheaply priced luggage tags).

I also forgot the Glide at Sports Basement (where I was also at this morning) and was forced to try to find it at the mall (the SF mall is right next to my gym so easy access). I went to Footlocker and Lady Footlocker and asked for Glide and everyone wrinkled their noses at me. I knew what they were thinking. I wanted to tell them, “It’s for chafing. Not for sex!” but I refrained. Seriously though, I don’t know why Glide is not more commonly recognized. It’s sort of like an active person’s fix-all.

So now I have my Hello Kitty luggage tag. And plenty of Glide. Oh, and I went to BevMo to stock up on little tiny bottles of alcohol we can fit into our quart sized Ziploc bags for the flight. Really, I think that’s all we need. Next up: traveler’s checks and a flight to Bangkok!

This is why I don’t wax more often

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

I went and got a Brazilian bikini wax today — you know, maintenance for the Laos trip to minimize any need to shave. I’ve done this now 3 times in my life in probably about as many years. The first time just because I’d never done it before and wanted to, you know, experience something new. The second time as a present to my significant other. This time for the trip.

I do it so infrequently, I completely forget how painful it’s going to be. It’s probably why I wait an entire year to go back because it takes that long to wipe out the memory of the pain. I tend to laugh as a coping mechanism for a variety of reasons and excruciating pain is one of them so every time she’d yank a strip of hair off, I’d start giggling. We were talking about all sorts of things, and everything made me laugh. I probably sounded high.

It started off nice and easy — the edges weren’t as densely populated so it hurt less. Then the searing pain. The “want to gouge out the eyes of this person who’s doing this to me” pain. The “oh my god, what the hell was I thinking” pain. And the “good lord, I can’t take anymore pain”. Oh yes. Anyone who tells you it doesn’t hurt is a big fat fucking LIAR!

Coincidentally, I happened to catch a bit of the Daily Show the other day when he was talking about how Chicago lost out to Rio de Janeiro in their bid for the 2016 Oympics and he makes a crack about bikini waxes. It starts at 4:10 in the clip below, though the whole thing is funny if you want to watch it in its entirety.


The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Chicago Nope
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Ron Paul Interview

Prepping for Laos

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Photo by annamaticI’m in the midst of mad preparations for my trip to Laos. “Mad” because I’m a procastrinator. I bought tickets in July and I’m just now really starting to get ready for my flight in four days. I’m traveling with a couple I know for most of the trip, then solo for a while. You know how I need my solo time.

I’m looking forward to many things on the trip: getting away, seeing lots of new things, experiencing a completely different culture, tasting new food, walking endlessly, rain, heat, meeting new people, seeing new animals (if I’m lucky — you know how I love the furry things), and getting to know the couple I’m traveling with even better. I’ve never spent more than a few hours at a time with them so I’m immensely curious how this will turn out. I’m fairly certain it’ll be easy and fun, but I think the unknown is inordinately attractive to me and having never traveled like this — so intimately with so few people — it will be interesting. I’ve traveled solo and I’ve traveled with significant others and with large groups, but never by myself with another couple.

Photo by Fabio GismondiOther than yoga and the vaccinations I got, preparations include getting legal docs in order in case I die in Laos. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to and I think if my mother hadn’t died so suddenly and we hadn’t gone through probate, I wouldn’t even be thinking about it, but I am. Unlike any other trip I’ve taken before, this time I’ve got an emergency contact list to send to close friends and family which includes any information they might need in case I die like the person who has my will and the person who’d know about all my financials.

Another thing I’ve realized is that when you go away for a month and you’re uncertain of your accessibility to the internet, you have to figure out how to pay the bills. I’m not a big fan of autopay because I hate to store my credit card credentials with any sites so I’m realizing now that I need to prepay accounts or make other arrangements.

But that’s all the boring shite. Fun preparations include getting my travel reading list together, deciding on which camera to take, downloading podcasts, and figuring out what I absolutely want to see during my month in Laos. Goodbye internet, goodbye phone. I won’t miss you one bit!

Yoga is sexy

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

What is it about yoga instructors that make you think of sex? I’ve been doing yoga at home but decided to take a class at my gym today and I wasn’t even remotely attracted to the instructor and yet I found myself…yes, thinking of sex.

I think the meditative aspect of yoga combined with the focus on breathing and the purposeful arrangement of the body really pulls you away from your mental state and into a keen awareness of your physical state. With a clear head free of intruding thoughts and a heightened sensual awareness, it seems reasonable that one could easily make the leap to thoughts of sex. And I’m not the only one…

From the upcoming Couples Retreat which looks hilarious, is a bit of the trailer (note that I start the clip at 2:05 — the relevant bit — so you’ll have to start it from the beginning if you’re interested in the whole trailer).

From Sex and the City. Samantha has given up sex because her hot yoga instructor has, but it doesn’t last long. Don’t ask me why I couldn’t find this clip in English — I just couldn’t. It doesn’t matter; just read her lips.

Sisterly love

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

I’m back in Southern California working on cleaning out my mom’s place again. I’m pretty sure we won’t be done until at least the end of the year because there is so much stuff.

We had lunch with my favorite aunt and uncle, and my dad. After lunch my aunt told us stories about my mom — stories I’d never heard before. My mother never told us stories about herself. I always knew this aunt was her closest sister, but hearing about their lives together made me miss my mom, wish I’d made her tell me stories, wish I spoke Korean fluently, and made me realize once again how much my aunt loved her and still misses her.

I looked in vain for a good photo of my mom and my aunt when they were young. Then I decided I’d settle for any photo of the two of them, but couldn’t find one in the stash of photos here. They’re probably in my stash of mom’s photos in San Francisco. But here’s one of my favorites of my own sister. She and I weren’t as close as my aunt and mom when we were younger, but we certainly are now.

My sister and me in Ohio
My sister and me: Elementary school years in Ohio

Visit to Southern California

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I’m tarrying here with my blog so I don’t have to do any real writing. Things I noted about southern California on this last trip: it’s hotter than I like — I think I’ve gotten too comfortable with San Francisco weather. There are more fat kids than I would have imagined. I realize childhood obesity is on the rise but somehow thought the vanity of southern California would have mitigated this. Speaking of vanity, the women at the gym are about 1000 times hotter than the ones in my SF gym — by magazine/media standards. I’ve never seen so many pairs of perfect breasts or so many women working out with makeup on and hair done. Another odd thing I noticed about the gym — strength training equipment and cardio equipment do not mix and are kept on completely separate floors. Like somehow they’ve ignored the fitness trend of the past 10+ years regarding intermixing the two.

All silliness aside, a trip to Southern California means family time. I love the north and I love San Francisco, but I always hate leaving my son, sister, dad and the rest of my family behind in the hot south.


Josh and his cousins. Mike & Lisa and kids dropped by for some Korean bbq at our place.


Jess, dad, and me. My dad is still the apple of my eye.


My cousin and me. She’s my hardcore yet girly cousin so you can imagine how much I looked up to her as a kid.


My aunt and me. My aunt and uncle are so cute and active. They go mountain biking for reals.


Cousins. My cousin is engaged! We got to meet his fiancee and friend while they were visiting.

Ahh…teenagers

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I was just down in Southern California in the city where I’d spent my teen-aged years and I found my old high school yearbooks. I looked through the one from my sophomore year and was completely fascinated with the signatures at the end of the year. I didn’t have many, but half of them were poems about satan. Imagine what kind of lovely child I was then, in my 16th year of life. I wish I had my yearbook so I could scan some photos and poems for you.

In the summer before my sophomore year, I went to Andover, Massachusetts and had my first taste of freedom going to summer school away from my parents. I hung out with some privileged kids cum hippies. Very educational. But it was also the first summer I spent in a serious creative writing course. I would not say I excelled at it then, but I did write some creepy, depressing shit. Nothing at all like the depressing shit I write now. Now it’s more serious. And award winning!

High school isn’t something or some place I think about often, but being back in the home that I lived in when I went to high school spurs on these nostalgic memories. I think about people I haven’t thought about in a long time, I remember events I’ve forgotten for years, and when prompted, I remember being someone else…that teenager that I think I’ve outgrown but have never fully outrun. Part of me is that same person and most of me isn’t, but you are who you are and the past is part of what makes you who you are now. I like the person I am now and the past makes for good stories. As well as the heart wrenching pain and agony any good writer needs to shed the tears that’ll dampen the drying quills ;)

Fear and paranoia…run in the family

Friday, May 1st, 2009

My uncle called me this morning at 5:47am. I only have a fuzzy recollection of the conversation, but it went mostly like this: Is Jess ok? I got a call just now from D’s phone and when I checked the message there was nothing but the sound of running water. Ok. Did you try calling her? Yes, but her phones don’t work. A little bit of panic creeps in…They don’t work or she’s just not picking up? She’s not answering. Whew.

He was genuinely concerned. He was thinking about driving down to her house to check up on her. I told him I’m sure D (Jess’s husband) just butt dialed his number while he was getting ready for work (though it did seem awful early to be getting ready for work). My uncle: No, I don’t think so. D never calls me. On the message…all it was…just the sound of…running water. Water, like from a faucet. He was so upset about that running water.

I told him that I thought she was fine. He asked when we’d last talked, I said we’d just texted a couple of days ago and she sounded totally fine. Ok, but if he doesn’t hear from her soon, he’s driving down there…then, How are you doing? I wanted to tell him I wanted to go back to sleep, but I told him I was fine instead.

After we got off the phone, it occurred to me that this jumping to the worst conclusion when something slightly awry occurs and strikes a chord of fear, or even just a twang of fear, must be a genetic thing in our family. Just a couple of weeks ago my sister texted me to say she thought someone was going to kill her. I’ve thought the same thing before in the same irrational way where the fear isn’t based on any real threat, just the imaginary one I’ve built up in my head. And I myself have done the same thing my uncle has done — a good friend of mine butt dialed me early, early one morning and left a message that was nothing but street noise and of course, I immediately thought she’d been kidnapped and raped. And I too called her immediately and got no answer.

All of these situations turned out just fine — just products of overactive imaginations. But it makes me start to wonder about the genetics of paranoia…