Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: life

Feeling some kind of way

Yesterday, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Probably because I had to get up early for the demo of my teacher’s teacher. The demo was at 11:30 a.m. and that’s when I usually get up or am feeding my cat while doing my morning routine.

Side note: My cat has gotten very picky about food since he was sick in November of 2022. I tihnk his sense of smell has been blunted because when he actually starts eating, he’ll eat plenty. Or rather, he will eat about a fourth of a small can and then suddenly stop. Unless he really likes the food (and this differs every day), then he’ll eat half. Once in a great while, he’ll eat close to the whole thing. That’s very rare, though. By the end of the meal (which can be up to forty-five minutes later), we may have gone through as many as 6 cans of food (not necessarily new ones).

I can almost consistently get him to eat some of some kind of Fancy Feast, which makes sense. It’s the McDonald’s of cat food and perfectly calibrated to make cats want to eat it. What I’m saying is that it’s not the most nutritious, but at this point, whatever he’ll eat is good. I’ve given him some of the higher-quality food, and he does not care for that.

Anyway, watching the demo for my teacher’s teacher’s school has left me feeling some kind of way. Why? Because there were weapon forms being done that I want to learn. A two-person sword form was one as was another sword form. Both of them were done by my teacher’s colleague, who I really admire. She (the colleauge/classmate) is a weapons admirer as well, and it’s clear that she has such joy when she does them. In addition, it was seeing her do the Double Sable Form at the demo in 2020 that made me want to learn it myself.

Here’s the thing. My teacher does not care for the weapons. She does them because that’s what her teacher wants her to do, but she does not keep up with them. Nor does she learn the more advanced ones. She focuses on the solo stuff plus Bagua. She did the Swimming Dragon Form for the demo and it was amazing.

Unfortunately, I feel if I want to continue with my weapon forms, I am going to have to find another teacher. My teacher’s teacher is amazing with weapons. His forms are beyond compare. He truly is a master when it comes to the forms. The thing is, though, I don’t feel comfortable with him as a person.

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Bagua is life

I had a private lesson today. Bagua, not Taiji. There is so much I want to leran; it’s hard to focus on just one thing. There are All. The. Weapons. But, for now, I have been captivated by the Swimming Dragon Form (Bagua), and I have asked my teacher to teach me. Before we got to that, though, we talked about her teaching style. One thing I really appreciate about her is that she tailors the way she teaches to each student.

For instance, she knows that I am going to question everything she tells me and instinctively push back when she asks me to try something new. At least that’s the way it was in the first five years of my study. I had aa deep distrust of…well, everything. She slowly won me over by being frank and honest with me.

Here’s the thing. I can tell when people are lying to me–even the slightest. Or skirting around the truth. I have written about how it’s because my mother gaslit me my entire life. Not on purprose and not deliberately, but she did. And still does. I don’t trust her to tell me thet rtuth. I am the unofficial keeper of the family lore. My brother and my father are also unreliable to a certain extent. My fathre because he’s…just a whole nother issue altogether. My brother because he has a terrible memory and forgets what happened a week ago, let alone what happened in our childhood.

Because of this, I am persnickety about the truth. I am as precise as possible because my brain is not happy with untruths. It’s one reason I over-explain myself. I want to make sure that others know I’m being as truthful as possible. Unfortunately, I have a hard time explaining myself for several reasons. One, I am a freak. I was talking about this with my teacher because she grew up as a freak, too.

One positive thing about being a freak is that I can see things from many different angles. This is also the negative about being a freak, by the way. Some things don’t need to be seen from a different angle. In addition, I can get lost in the weeds sometimes. Seeing things that aren’t there or things that aren’t explicitly stated. Was I right? More often than not, yes. This is not a humblebrag or even a stairght-out brag.

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Bagua is my bag–bait and switch!

Bagua is my new everything.

That’s it. That’s the post. Ha! Not really.

I have fallen in love with Bagua as is my wont. When I am attracted to something (or someone), I am ALL IN. maybe not on the theory, but definitely in practice.

My teacher is dedicated to Taiji and Bagua. It’s what she does with most of her time, which I admire and aprreciate. I don’t know if I want to go that far, however, as it’s a part of my life (internal martial arts), but not the whole thing. I wrote about how she’s a gerat teacher in my last post. She puts up with my bullshit and questioning. I was the most recalcitrant student when I first started. I mean, that’s how I am in the rest of my life as well. I question everything after a lifetime of being gaslit by myy mother. And I mean that in the actual sense of the word. My mother will lie at the drop of a hat about what she has said and done.

Here’s the worst part, though. She is not aware she’s doing it. That’s not an excuse, by the way. It’s the literal truth. When my parents were last here, my mother and father had a screaming fight. My mother ran into the room where I was (living room), and my father followed. They were yelling in Taiwanese and I said loudly to my father that he needed to stop (which was probably not the best way to handle it, but it was really upsetting me as well.

My mother was crying and my father was shouting. He has dementia, which was markedly worse than it had been the last time I saw him. That was the summer before the pandemic so 2019. My medical crisis was autumn, 2021. So two-plus years later. The amount of decline was shocking to me, though it shouldn’t have been. He was getting worse and worse every year, so that much of a gap made it even more noticeable. But, as people who have loved ones with dementia know, it goes in and out without warning. One minute, he’s talking normally, and the next minute, he’s talking about something that doesn’t exist. I learned to go with it, but my mother could not. She claimed it was beacuse she could not lie to him, which was part of the abusive marriage.

I’m not going to get into that. Just suffice to say that after more than fifty-five years of marriage, she was completely worn down to a nub. Whatever fight she had in her was gone except for in very brief spurts that probably didn’t do any good in the long run.

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Simmer down now

I feel like I can just breathe. I still have shit I need to do, but the rate at which I have to do them has slowed down. And, things like getting a new phone can wait. I do want to be able to take video, though. It really helps now that I’m learning something completely new. That would be Bagua, specifically the Swimming Dragon Form. It’s stimulating and slightly scary at the same time to be a total newbie again.

Well, not exactly. I mean, Yes, it’s a new internal martial art, but I’ve done some Bagua before. Walking the circle with 8 palms plus the DeerHorn Knives….I know this sounds mad from the outside, but I promise you it makes sense. At least to me!

I loved it from the start, but i thought it would be too hard to learn two martial arts at once. I wanted to focus on Taiji weapons because they are my life, my love, and my happily ever after. But…at a certain point…I got really into my beloved DeerHorn Knives. It makes sense because they are weapons as well. I asked my teacher if she could show me a form for them, and she saw an opening. She said that there was the Swimming Dragon Form, which was the best-known form. Maybe the only form? Don’t quote me on that. You have to learn it with your hands first before you can learn it with the DeerHorn Knives. I agreed because I was so earger to learn the DeerHorn Knives version and because I really liked Bagua in general.

I have mentioned it before, but the feeling while practicing Bagua is so different than the feeling while practicing Taiji. With Taiji, it’s about being calm, chill, and being receptive. You take the energy that is given to you and return it twofold. Theoretically, it’s not for aggression, but, of course, you can initiate if you want. When I’m practicing, I’m more about being smooth and doing it for my health. Even with the weapons, it’s not about attacking. It’s about perfecting the form and doing it as seamlessly as possible.

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A time to breathe

My brother came over today to eat his lunch and get me on his Microsoft Office 360 account. He thought he set it up when he brought over his old laptop, but I could not get in, It turned out that it was the wrong account. Once we fixed that, we got in fine. I could just use Google Docs, I guess, but for whatever reason, I prefer to not have everything I write online.

I love this new lappy so much. I was telling my brother that the reason I love it so much is a silly one–because I don’t have to think about it. It just does what it needs to do–and it does it quickly and quietly. With my old laptop, I had to nurse it along and the graphics were shot.

Bad news, though. I need a new phone. I tried to take a video of my martial arts teacher doing the Swimming Dragon Form (Bagua), and the footage was jerky. My brother said that it was probably an update and that I would need a new phone.


In itself, it’s not a big deal. I’ve had this phone for five or six years, so it makes sense it’s time to replace it. But after the last two months of irritations (and paying for things I needed to get done), I’m just not in the mood. In addition, the only thing I need a phone for is to surf the web and take pics/vids occasionally. I don’t need all the bells and whistles. I think I paid two hundo for my current phone. It’s an Android.

I’m willing to pay up to $350, but even that is making me wince. I hate the fact that all these tech devices are all tricked out when I just need something simple. Plus, I get stressed when there are too many options. Give me three choices and I’m fine. Give me fifty, and I become incapable of deciding.

This is my MO. I carefully look at ten or so options, then I give up and choose the one my brother/Ian tells me is the best with the options I want. I’m slightly ashamed that I can’t figure this shit out for myself, but my brain shuts down when faced with endless choices.

Honestly, if I did not want to take vids of my Taiji teacher, I would push the phone back for as long as it’s limping along. My brother suggested that I use the camera he brought me to take vids, which I could do, but I need to learn how to use it first.

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Calling a do-over on the new year

It’s been one hell of a new year so far. I’ve had so many little things go wrong, I feel off my stride. Yesterday, when I went to the mechanic, I did not even do my weapons practice because I had to get up at ‘what the fuck?’ o’clock in order to drop my car off. 7:30 a.m. I know that’s not early for many people, but that’s the middle of the night for me.

Then, I had to walk back home after, so I reasoned that not doing the weapon forms was fine. For once. Last night, I was logy by 9 p.m.–which is unusual for me. I kinda drifted in and out of sleep, but I was fighting it. This is just me. I cannot go to bed before midnight. In fact, I didn’t get to bed for real until late. Then I got up at nearly noon.

I did my whole Taiji/Bagua routine–shit. I remembered that I did not do one part of it. Wait. Did I? I think I did. At any rate. I did almost all of it if not all, and I feel somewhat back in the groove. But I also had a few other fiddly things I needed to do like set up my new laptop. Which is my brother’s old laptop. Mostly, I had to access all my usual websites and make sure I had my passwords so I could get in.

Actually, once I got into Google, the rest were cake because they’re all linked. Not sure if that’s a good thing, but it did make things easier. The laptop is the same age as my old one, but my brother buys pro laptops that are built to last. It has 2TB of storage and room for four times that. Actually, even more than that, but we’ll go with that. It has 32GB memory and can run anything I need smoothly and quickly. 2 SSD as well! It’s also built to withstand being dropped. The thing I have to do is make sure taht I don’t get food on it as I did on my last one (food and beverages).

He also gave me his old video camera because, yes, he got the new model of that as well. I had to order a few cables for it, but it’ll be great to try it out once I have it all set up. Again, my brother buys quality products, so I know it’s going to work for me as I need much less than he does from my tech. By the way, I am on my desktop, and I’m shocked by the fact that all the lettering/numbering on my keyboard have all been rubbed off. I should not be shocked by it, but I am. It doesn’t matter because I’m a touch typist, but there are a few keys that are troublesome because I type in Dvorak and don’t use some of them that often. Like the brackets. If I need one of the lesser-used keys, then I just hit around where it should be until I actually get it.

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Adulting one problem at a time

Got up at ungodly o’clock (for me) to take the car in. Did the stretching part of my Taiji warmup, but not the weapons because I knew I was going to be walking home. It’s .8 miles from my house, so just about my level of comfortable. And I would have to do it twice. Maybe.

They told me that they would be slammed, so I should just drop it off. About five minutes after I got home, they called to say it was, indeed, the battery, and that they had to get a special battery from Toyota. The guy was personally going to drive and get it, which was one reason I use them. They do the personal touch, which was really lovely. Plus, they were so close and I did not have to drive on the freeway to get there.

After I finished talking to my garage guy (not Denny, though that is the name of the place), I called my brother. He was selling me his laptop, and I asked if he had time today. I did not want to walk to the garage again (to this time, not from), and he was could do two things at once. I told him I would buy him lunch/dinner if he did it, so he’s coming over.

My brother is the best. Oh, and he is also selling me his old camera that he had been saying I should get (the same model, not the actual camera). He is upgrading to the next model up and as usual, his leftovers are still in perfect condition–and usable.

I love my brother. Not only is he a technical whiz, but he’s willing to help out whenever he can. This is one of the best things about him–he puts his head down and gets shit done. Even my father who has nothing nice to say about anyone once said (while my parents were here during my medical crisis) that my brother just did what needed to be done without complaint. And he said it as an actual compliment. He was right, but I was shocked that he had even noticed.

I know that if my brother could do something, he would move heaven and earth to do it. He likes being helpful, and I liked being helped. In return, I buy him food and am his psychologist/relationishp advisor when he needs it. It works for both of us quite nicely.

It’s funny. When we were kids, we did not get along. We did not dislike each other, but we were not friendly. We are so different, it was hard for us to find anything in common. We are still polar opposites in what we’re interested in, but we get along like gangbusters now.

We can talk for hours. We HAVE talked for hours. Another thing that I appreciate is that he validates what I went through as a kid. He’s the only one who went through the same thing with our dysfunctional parents. We can check in with each other and say, “That was fucked up, right?” Or, because my brother doesn’t swear, “That was messed up, right?”

I can never thank him for what he did for me while I was dead. I liked to joke that dying was a breeze for me because all I did was lie unconscious for a week. He was the one who kept everyone updated through Caring Bridge. He was the one who talked to my medical team and made decisions for me. He was the one who visited me every day and Zoomed in my parents and friends.

He did all this without complaint and without help. He did it while still living his every day life. Meaning, taking his kids to school and being a real estate agent. He was my rock, and I can never, ever repay him. When I tried to thank him, he shrugged and said, “That’s what family does.”

True. I would have done the same for him, but I wouldn’t have been as good at it. He is aces in a emergency because he is more on the logical/pragmatic side. I can turn my emotions off long enough to get shit done, but it comes at a cost. We both agreed, though, that my mother would not have been able to handle it. My father wasn’t even a consideration.

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I’m officially done with 2024

I’m bringing my car into the garage tomorrow between 7 – 9 a.m. so that they can look at the battery and possibly replace it. That’s irritating, yes, but at least it’s a problem being taken care of. The place is about a quarter mile from my house so I can walk home after dropping off the car. Or see if my brother can drive me back. I am not happy about the multiple car problems I’ve had, but if everything gets fixed, then fine.

However. I got a letter from the county saying that they had not receive my renewal form and my medical insurance was going not going to be renewed. The renewal date is 2/2/24. So a week and a half from now. I called the county this morning and got put on hold. “We are experiencing an unusally heavy volume of calls this morning, and you may have to wait.” That’s what I hear every time I call them, but it probbaly is especially true since the pandemic.

I got a person after an hour on hold. That was actually half the amount of time it took me last time. Let me tell you that I sent in the form three weeks ago (at the beginning of this month). It was a bit after the deadline, but I’ve done that before. I’m not proud of it, but it’s never been a problem. Oh, and this is the first year they’ve made people renew their forms since the pandemic. Which, again, is probably why they’re slammed.

Anyway. They received my form, but apparently, they don’t acknowledge that at all. Because they are behind in processing them, the notices for cancellation went out, anyway. Do you get how fucked that is? I did everything right (mostly), and they HAVE my renewal form. They’ve had it for three weeks, but they haven’t processed it yet. In the meantime, there is a week and a half until my insurance runs out.

The woman told me that if I don’t get a confirmation that my insurance has been renewed by January 31st, I should call back (sigh) and ask for the process to be expedited. But she couldn’t do it today because technically, I’m still covered. How fucked up is that? It has to actually elapse or be a day before elapsing before it can be expedited. This is just bonkers to me. It has to be the pandemic because I’ve never had this issue in renewing before.

I told Ian (before the medical insurance bullshit) that I would rather deal with dying twice again than this drip, drip, drip, of mundane life annoyances. In part because i was unconsicous for much of it, but also because I didn’t really have to do anything other than recover once I was out of the hospital.

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Being pecked to death

I am still annoyed by life. The start to 2024 has not been the best, but it hasn’t been the worst, either. I wrote yesterday about how the small things seem much worse because I can’t actually talk to a human being. Let me talk to a real human, and I’m much more patient–even if things go south.

For example. My phone. My annoyance that it wasn’t working was outsized because I couldn’t actually talk to someone. I talked to an AI and did the best I could with the limited choices I was given. They gave me an appointment for between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Which, I mean, that’s not really an appointment time, is it?

The day they were supposed to come, I got up at 7:30 a.m. Not two minutes later, I get a message from CenturyLink that my appointment will be between 1:40 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. I could have slept an extra two hours if I had known this the night before! But, no. They set the schedule in the morning, so I had to wake up at an ungodly hour for me just in case I was the first appointment.

Side note: Can we please put to rest for good the notion that people who are night owls are lazy? I have tried to adjust my sleep schedule, and I cannot go to bed before one or two in the morning for the life of me*.

I have tried. And I have tried. I have told myself sternly to go to bed earlier. I have pushed it back in increments. I was going to wake up an hour earlier every day until the appointment day. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I just set the alarm for 7:30 a.m. and went to bed at 1 a.m. I did not fall asleep until after 1:30 a.m., and I did not sleep well.

That’s the other issue when I have to get up at any given time. I just can’t sleep well. I wake up every few hours or don’t really sleep. I nearly slept through my alarm. I woke up to NPR talking about whatever, and that was really bizarre. Not that th e person from NPR was talking–that’s what NPR does. They talk. But because I was only half awake and thought it was something happening in real life. I mean, in my actual home and not just the radio. Yes, I still use a radio alarm. I’m old school like that. It’s worked for over three decades, and I’m using it until it actually breaks.

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The hits keep coming

I’m so annoyed. SO. ANNOYED. The new year has been a drip of irritating things (to be fair, it started at the end of last year0, and it’s continuing. The first tihng was my internet acting up (saying I was using a TERABYTE of data in one month  after years of using 10 GB a month). My brother helped me figure out some of the problem, but not all of it. And, of course, Comcast/Xfinity was worse than useless because they don’t have to be helpful. What am I going to do? Switch to CenturyLink which is nearly as bad? (And which is causing me a current problem?)

Then, this year, I got a flat tire a week-and-a-half ago. I had to get four new tires. The last Saturady, my phone conked out. No idea why. And I could not get a real actual human being to talk to at CenturyLink. I managed to get an appointment for Thursday (tomorrow), if you can call it that. It’s any time from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Now, today, I wanted to get my meds. I went to the garage and tried to start my car. It would not start. I called my brother (because that’s what I do). It’s probably the 12-volt battery. Or it might be the cold that makes the battery not work. I remember replacing the battery during the pandemic, probably early on. So it’s been nearly four years, which my brother says is the norm for 12-volt batters in Minnesota.

Oh, and my laptop is dying. I bought it in April of 2019 so that’s not a surprise. In fact, I’ve been nursing it along for the last six months or so. It’s not a surprise, but it is definitely on its last legs now. Like, I won’t be able to use it in a month or so. I have two choices. My brother’s old laptop is still usable. He buys top quality and top-notch professional laptops that last for a decade or so. His last two laptops before this one are still in use. And the one before that still works. He’s put four years into the one I might buy, which means it has at least two to three more good years in it (if not more). It has 2 Terabytes of memory (and I cannot have less than 1 Terabyte), an SSD, and all the other bells and whistles I need. The one thing that makes me pause is that the graphics card is a 1050. That’s not very good. My current desktop is a 3070. This laptop is a 1050. But I’m not going to use it for gaming. Just watching videos and writing. And surfing the net. I don’t need a good graphics card for that.

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