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April 11th, 2010

03:44 pm
At some point in the near, near future, I will absolutely need to leave my soul-crushing day job. I do nothing, contribute nothing, am not stimulated in the least, and derive no real, tangible benefit from the job besides a paycheck and insurance for Mira. I suppose that, on a bigger level, I'm not really working towards a career - there is certainly something out there for me to do for the next 40 years that will be more meaningful, beneficial, and well-paying than what I do. I certainly am capable of more.

I've been reading a ton of blogs lately with the idea of simplifying my life, quitting my job, and becoming a professional blogger (or otherwise self-employed). I just need to fight lifestyle inflation, get rid of the crap in my life (physical and mental), and figure out what my priorities are and focus on them. I need to build up my savings more so that I can quit my job and pursue something worth pursuing. And I have to get my life to cost less so that my savings can last longer. If I can make a living doing what I want, how I want, from where I want, I'd be good as gold.

I've been throwing around the idea of starting a blog on the side about mindful consumption: appreciating how the food on your plate got from a farm to your plate, being aware of the impact that your stuff has on the environment and the world around you, how buying local makes your community stronger. It's something that doesn't seem TOO overdone, and that I could reasonably both love and have tons of writing material for. I have dreams of monetizing it through e-book sales, affiliate sales, and ads (it is apparently not horrendously hard to make a living this way), though that's a ways off.

I still need to get another degree. Although I'm still waiting for the results of my Political Science application, I'm starting to realize that it's probably a fairly useless degree and that I need to learn something more marketable. I need 2 more classes to even be eligible for a Master's in Economics, but only one to get into Resource and Applied Economics (much cooler - the economics of food and the environment: I could work towards ending world hunger and eventually becoming a professional international coffee buyer). I could definitely dig getting a Master's in Statistics (which the state is trying to axe at UNR) or Applied Mathematics. An MBA or a degree in Public Health would be pretty okay too. Really, the object would be to boost my chances of getting into a kickass law chool and studying immigration and/or international law.

Christina and I want to sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership this year. The idea is that you pay to buy a share of a local farm(s)'s harvest. Then, every week you get a basket of tasty, fresh, local, organic vegtables. We're trying to pick between Great Basin Basket and Rise and Shine Farms. Great Basin gives you more variety, berries, and a pretty awesome newsletter. Rise and Shine gives you what are apparently incredible eggs, plus it's cheaper and delivers directly to your house. Mira's going to be eating solid food by the time that these CSAs get rolling, and we want o get her in the habit of eating healthy and eating vegetables. Christina and I want to eat better anyway, and you could do a lot worse than eating food that's organic, freshly picked, and that didn't need to travel halfway around the world. Also, any of the weirder stuff that we end up not liking (Beet greens? Tatsoi?) will end up pulverized in our food processor and given to Mira as baby food (yeah, we're planning on making our own baby food).

It is distinctly hard to type with a crying baby demanding attention. It is only moderately less difficult when she falls asleep in your lap.
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful

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March 23rd, 2010

11:28 pm
I don't really remember having the flu before, but I can tell you now: it's the closest thing to a near death experience you can get. Or so I imagine. These past few days have sucked balls.

On the other hand, Christina's been pretty awesome taking care of me and all.
Current Mood: sickTwo knives randomly being twisted into my skull; intestines in open rebellion; nausea preventing the

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February 24th, 2010

08:19 am
Mom and her friend Brad came over and painted Mira's room a nice blue/lavender. Hopefully the paint fumes aren't too toxic.

Mira's doing alright, though she is staying awake progressively more and more. This in turn, means that she's getting progressively more bitchy. But it's not so bad. The problem at night isn't that she deprives me of sleep so much as it is that she wakes me up right when sleep starts getting good.

So I basically have to decide my fate for the next 5 years within the next month. This will be done through a series of decisions with specific timelines:

1) Do I apply to go to UNR this fall? If so, I have until the end of March. Alternatively, I've been seriously thinking of applying for law school, specifically immigration law. But there are no law schools in Reno - we'd have to move to Vegas (UNLV = in-state tuition) or DC (3 of the top 10 part-time law schools are there). Either way, I'd like to get some sort of grad school under my belt before I attempt to work for the State Department. But with a law degree (and the equivalent of a house payment in student loans), I'd have a much better fall back plan in case things don't go as planne.

2) Do I buy a house? Obviously, not if I move. Even if I don't move, I still don't know what I want to do with the house. Christina's renting to own the house we're living in right now from her dad anyway. So do I buy a house for me and the family and give up the money Christina's sunk into buying our house now? Or do I buy a condo and rent it out? The disadvantage to renting the place out is that I have to deal with renters and also a second rent payment if it's unoccupied. But $8000 for buying a house is pretty decent.

3) I want to join the military part-time. Probably the Air Force reserves or something. Leadership and international experience plus potentially learning a rare language? Those on a resume will eventually make me rich. Plus, having military service (and a rare language skill) is the equivalent of affirmative action for with the government - especially on my road to becoming a diplomat. The question is, when? There is a solid 5 months of training I have to get to just to become an "officer" - after that, there's job training, which will tak a few more months. And it boils down to this: what 8 months of Mira's life am I willing to miss? It certainly won't be happening this year - the first year is all about milestones.

4) If I move, I can go where the jobs are. I certainly don't want to be doing what I'm doing for longer than I have to. A house complicates my ability to move. But Reno has all my friends and family (and a supply of people willing to babysit).

Dang it. I hate being grown up.

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February 5th, 2010

07:41 pm
Mira's home! Somewhere along the line, somebody realized that waking her up every 3 hours and expecting her to eat instead of fall back asleep was sort of dumb. After being left to her own resources, she started drinking like a champ. Last night, we spent the night at the hospital for a trial run with Mira. As sleepless as that was, it went pretty well. And now we begin a sleepless adventure for the next half a year. There's too much to do, and too much logistically in the way of doing it all.

Eventually I'll put more pictures up.

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January 21st, 2010

10:57 am
So yesterday, I managed to have, not one, but two cars break on me. We were at the hospital and, after visiting with Mira for a bit, came back to find that I had left the lights on. Two guys were nice enough to jump us but, as it turns out, the starter refused to budge. The key goes in most, but not all, of the way, but it won't turn. So it's fucked. We're going to try another key to make sure that's not a problem, but if that doesn't work, we just may abandon the car since it's an old, abused POS.

So Christina's dad picks us up and takes us to his place so that we can borrow a car of his. We go back to the hospital for a bit and then to Mom's for dinner. On our way out, I slide into a curb thanks to the egregious amount of snowfall. The wheel is crazy bent and pinching the tire. To add insult to injury, the hubcap is pretty broken too. Ironically, it drives a lot like my car right now - pretty shaky and wobbly. Fuck.

On the other and, Mira's doing really well. So far, she's had both her oxygen tube and her feeding tube taken out. She's bottle feeding - they bumped her up to 20 cc's of breast milk every 3 hours, which is a huge step up from just having an IV in her hand. She still has signs of jaundice that is getting worse, so at the moment she is under a blue light to break up the bilirubin (ie dead red blood cells) in her blood. It very much looks like a tanning booth that she's in.

I have more pictures up!

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January 17th, 2010

10:38 pm
Mira's a trooper. About halfway through the day, she turned into a houseplant. They put her into a little climate controlled greenhouse and put a sunlamp over her. She was getting jaundiced so they had to simulate some sunlight for her. She apparently likes the box okay. They also tried putting an IV tube up her arm. It sounds like they're going to try putting it through her head instead, which is actually safer and less dramatic than it sounds.

The main thing that's keeping Mira in NICU (Natal Intensive Care Unit) is that her lungs aren't strong enough to breathe deeply. She's supposed to be breathing 40-60 times a minute but instead she's breathing about 100-120 times a minute. The other big thing is that she hasn't associated sucking with eating. She can suck a pacifier like crazy so it shouldn't be much of a problem. They haven't fed her yet because she's struggling to breathe, let alone manage to eat and breathe at the same time. She should be drinking breast milk tomorrow through a tube that's all the way down to her stomach. She'll be pacified at the same time to associate sucking with a full stomach. Classical conditioning at its best.

We're here till 7 PM tomorrow. Then we get to commute to see our daughter every day for maybe 2 weeks. Huh. At least that means 2 weeks of uninterrupted sleep, I guess. Still, Mira has a big fight ahead of her.

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12:57 am
We now have a new baby girl! Mirella Anne Mathavorn was born at 7:37 PM today (1/16). She was 5 lb 8 oz, and 19 and a half inches long. For a preemie that's 5 weeks too early, she's pretty huge.

Long story short, there was a tear in Mira's amniotic sac. Christina's water broke at work and we ended up going to the doctor. Apparently, the tear was probably caused by a bacterial infection and, if left untreated, Mira would have been at risk for getting infected too. So we ended up inducing labor. For 5 hours, nothing was dilating. Christina's dad, her stepmom, and I went to get dinner and, when we got back, there was a hideous banshee wail from the bowels of the seventh layer of hell coming out of Christina's birthing room. Somehow, she had managed to get from 0 cm to 6 cm in half an hour - the usual timeline is a crapload of time for 4 cm, and then 1 cm an hour after that. After getting kicked out of the room twice while the epidural was getting shot into her spine, Christina decided she was ready to push. We surrounded her as she reluctantly put her hands behind her knees. A pregnant pause (no pun intended). A few awkward glances. Then Christina pushed once and, in a small explosion of fluid and blood, Mira was born.

Mira's mostly okay. Her lungs aren't strong enough to breathe on her own yet. She'll probably be here at the hospital for 2 more weeks to get stronger.

As Christina's step brother said, Mira has my face, Christina's chin, and Mick Jagger's lips. She also has my feet, hands, and blood type. She has Christina's "ear bumps" and buff thighs.

Don't take my word on it. See for yourself.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

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January 15th, 2010

08:55 pm
FML, for these specific reasons:

1) My boss never wrote/sent in a letter of recommendation for me to get into grad school. It is 3 months late and the semester starts on Tuesday. This was despite constant nagging on my part. UNR never sent me a rejection letter so clearly they were waiting for that one last letter to make a decision. My boss, granted, has been going through some miserable health issues. but she should have had the cahones to tell me months ago that she had too much on her plate.

2) My car is making a terrible knocking sound in the transmission - it is due to a broken oxygen sensor or something like that. It made the "Check Engine" light go on. This was 2 months ago. I went to get it fixed back then and they needed to order a part for me - it came but they never called me back. I needed to renew the registration on my car by tomorrow but I can't pass a smog check with the "Check Engine" light on. My car has been in the shop for 3 days. They haven't even looked at it yet. Then they're going to reorder the part. And THEN they're going to address the fact that, since then, my alignment has been thrown dangerously out of whack due to a curb and my awesome driving skills, and I also need a new latch to prevet my car door from swinging wildly into things. This, of course, will take more parts that they don't have, which will mean more time uselessly waiting for the car in the shop.

2b) I went to the DMV to get an extension on renewing my car. Person #1 told me I could get a 24 hour permit for free, a 10 day extension with a failed smog certificate,or an extension costing $8.50 a day. Person #2 gave me a 24 hour free permit for Monday to Tuesday. Knowing my luck, the DMV will assume that I went without registration on Sunday and fine me $250 for lapsed insurance.

3) Fuck my job. One coworker got a 3 day suspension for sending an e-mail about mundane procedures to our head bosses. We had a meeting that was, more or less, a thinly veiled slap in the face with an "action plan" so that we can "improve" and also absolve our management of all responsibility for their idiotic decisions as of late.

Actually, the only thing going really well right now is me and Christina. We went to her hometown in Shingletown, CA last weekend, and it was solidly good times. There was a baby shower (one of maybe 3), a horde of children tackling me, and more mentions of "food stamps" than i have ever heard in my entire life.
Current Mood: groggygroggy

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December 31st, 2009

09:02 pm - Obligatory New Year's Post, 2009
I am on the verge of growing up and settling down. The thought terrifies me - I wanted to have at least a decade of poor decisions (with little long-term consequences), adventures, globetrotting, and careless hedonism under my belt before I actually decided to work on a meaningful career and stay put for a while. But I guess that never was the kind of life that was meant for me, nor anything that I could reasonably have done without rich-ass parents or better fiscal responsibility (read: living like a college student/hobo indefinitely).

This is the year where I will be expected, for better or for worse, to behave as a responsible adult. Baby on the way means that I need to lose any selfishness I might have lingering within me. Combined with a job that I hate, grad school (maybe - I might rant about that later), and probably buying a house, I'm going to have to buck up and do shit because it's the right thing to do.

I want to reclaim my inner teenager. He had big ambitions, the idealism to match, and the desire to do cool shit. Not that he really did do cool shit. He, for the most part, was pretty broke and had no reliable car (though my car now IS breaking down pretty hardcore). Still, he and I always shared the same goals and aspirations. It's just, he was scared as fuck to do anything really scary (travelling/living permanently abroad, going out of town for school, etc.) and I think I'm stuck through some sense of obligation to tone down my inner urges to just wander and explore indefinitely. Neither were terribly happy. But maybe the two can find some common ground.

For 2010, I resolve to stop ignoring what my (proverbial) soul keeps telling me to do. I need to take risks, explore new horizons, do shit that makes me feel not just happy, but fulfilled. I need to do work that satisfies me, study things that excite the hell out of me, live and love the hell out of life because I got myself to the point that I can. This is especially true with Mira on the way. The last thing that I want is for her to grow up playing it too safe. I want her life to be amazing and exciting, and I certainly can't set a good example if I hate my own life.

Actually, this is not such a different resolution from every other resolution I've made here. The difference is that I am fairly confident now of what sort of life would make me happy, and the steps that I probably have to make to get there. And I urgently need to turn things around while I still can, procrastinator that I am.

Last year, I resolved to do things that would terrify me the fuck out. Mission: accomplished. I snowboarded for the first time, overcame my fear of most Thai food in Thailand, applied for grad school (more importantly, I sacked up and asked for letters of recommendation), crawled across a cliff face to swim under a waterfall that literally took my breath away, scaled 310 feet of blocked off corridors, secret ladders, and rooftops to get to the (closed) top of St. Istvan's Basilica, and, most importantly of all, found out that I would be a dad. All told, this was a pretty good year. Subtract spending half of the year worried that life will never be the way I wanted it to be, and it would be perfect.

I'm mulling over auditing my 101 Things in 1,001 Days list and creating a "Best of 2009" photo album on Facebook within a couple days. But, for now, it's off to sleep for a few hours before finally getting the first New Year's kiss of my life (long story).
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
Current Music: The Lawrence Arms - 100 Resolutions

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December 13th, 2009

08:55 pm
So i just watched Primer, and I have to say - it is a ridiculous mind fuck. I waded through a couple detailed diagrams and a 19 page essay to figure out what the hell happened in the movie. There is nothing quite like time travel to make you feel little. It's not enough that I am an insignificant speck in an unfathomably large universe - I am also one of infinite possible iterations and timelines of myself existing in one of infinite versions of a gargantuan, expanding universe. Woo. Netflix/rent it if you can.

Also, I hate snow. This after a couple spin-outs, a few times being stuck in snow banks, a couple jump starts, and not having things plowed that desperately need to be (ie the streets around my house, the Airport parking lot).
Current Mood: left cold by my newfound sense of meaninglessness.

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