Monday, May 23, 2016

Intransigent Transience in California

I've recently begun the process of opening a home bakery. I've been baking my whole life, and recently quite a few people have asked me to bake for their occasions. I filled two paid orders, and the state of California requires that I do all the paperwork to fulfill a third. The environmental health department requires labels for every product I'll sell, but it's a fully custom bakery so I don't know what I will sell. That means I have to cover all the bases, and that's a mind-boggling number of permutations.

Californians are the first to jump on "health" food trends: juice cleanses (do more harm than good), superfoods (not really that super), organic (misnomer and misguided), etc. The ones that affect my bakery are gluten-free (very few people actually have gluten sensitivity), milk-free (legit; sources vary but ~75% of the world population and 25% of the US population lose the ability to digest lactose after weaning), and egg-free (religious, moral, or sometimes health-related). This is making my life very difficult at the moment.

I'm proficient at starting things, but don't have an impressive track record for finishing them. I want to do this more than I've wanted to do something in a long time. I'm still struggling with my foray into real estate sales, as I'm anything but a natural salesperson, and I have little passion for it. But baking- baking has been my hobby as long as I can remember. I dismissed a career in baking because of the early morning hours, but a custom business can be on my schedule. I can integrate the bakery with my real estate venture by marketing them together, but first I must finish what I started.

I must succeed in real estate because I failed at everything else. I must finish the endless recipe permutations because I can't complete any more orders if I don't. I must finish what I started.

Oddly, the tendency to fizzle out halfway through an effort is quite common in California. Many startups here in Silicon Valley take a leap of faith and then panic at the last moment. Friendships dissipate as splendidly as they are forged. Plans are blown off, promises forgotten, goals left to fly away on the ocean breeze or obscure the road ahead like the fog rolling over the mountains. Transience is intransigent.

Maybe it's because of the weed. Maybe it's because people come here to follow their dreams and leave when faced with exorbitant housing prices and extreme competition. Many come to Silicon Valley from overseas with the intention of building up experience and savings accounts and going back home. They build lives here knowing they will let it all go, keeping this world at arm's length lest they get sucked in.

Whatever the reason, I fit in quite well here, which is not always a good thing. Being bipolar, I need an immense amount of willpower and self-control to hold onto things. Endeavors, friendships, skills, health, family, my marriage, my sanity. Fitting in makes it easier for me to dive head-first into these, and also to float away from them. I want these things. I need them. I cannot function without them. I must not fail. I must not let myself be completely Californian.

Being Californian isn't all bad. I don't care about vegan, gluten-free, organic superfoods. But I have always cared about the environment. The infrastructure for electric cars is excellent, and I love my Nissan Leaf. Many business are paperless and use recycled materials wherever possible. I've also always cared about equality, and California is one of the most inclusive places in the US, possibly the world. There's a refreshing attitude of "we don't care what you do as long as it doesn't cause harm".

Maybe that's why many people here don't finish what they start. Nobody judges us for giving up. Our best is good enough, even if we may have it in us to do better than our best.

I'm trying to do better than my best. It's always impressive when people overcome obstacles and become successful. I want to be in that category.

The problem is, success for me is like climbing a mountain. The higher I go, the harder it is to breathe. I need to take it step by step, and I need help.


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  14. September 19, 2017

    Dear Kristin,

    I have a tendency to repeat myself so I apologize to you if you have already seen these words before.

    I used to visit various libraries on random occasion and read the magazine articles that caught my eye. One dealt with a gender difference study. It was very interesting. Most women rate their appearance lower than other people rate them but most men rated their appearance higher than other people rated them.

    This speaks to an important difference between men and women. The average woman compares herself to women she deems more attractive than herself whereas the average man compares himself to other men that he thinks look worse than he does.

    This gender difference principle can also be applied to resumes that men and women submit. The average man brags and inflates his work successes and accomplishments whereas the average woman downplays what she accomplished or is rather matter of fact about what she did career-wise.

    Having said this I can also say that the women are catching up to the men and I don't mean that in a good way.

    For example, in the old days if a Christian couple of the Jehovah's Witness variety got divorced people in the congregation assumed it was because the husband had committed adultery. Sure enough, there would be a disfellowshipping announcement regarding the (ex-)husband's name. Nowadays it could be that the wife is just as likely to have been guilty of adultery so the disfellowshipping announcement could be equally about either (ex-)wife or (ex-)husband.

    The reason I put the “ex-” in parenthesis is because an announcement could be made either before or after the divorce is finalized.

    I used to live in Washington State. I had read a newspaper report about a follow up study that was done on patients that were released from Western State Hospital. They only put the worst of the worst of mentally ill patients here. To give you some perspective, a shrink interviewed me and determined I was not qualified to be hospitalized at Western State Hospital. I was therefore sent to a “regular” (whatever that means) mental ward/hospital.

    Roughly one third of released patients got better on their own. The second third stayed the same with or without Western psychiatric medications. The bottom third got worse no matter what psych med cocktail they were put on. I am sure you can see what this implies for pharmaceutical companies.

    I believe psych meds are like placebos but with serious negative side effects. Perhaps you feel your psych meds help stabilize you. I am of the opinion the reason they have that effect is because the average patient is placed on too high a dosage with sedative side effects as a result. The sedation may be accompanied by sleepiness and grogginess. Many patients falsely attribute a feeling of calm because of the sedation but I think you will agree with me that true calm is not the same thing as sedation.

    If you feel you must continue to use psych meds then please take the lowest dose possible. That way you can still have the placebo effect with the least amount of negative side effects.

    Best-Joomi Lee aka Joo-Mi E

  15. If anyone knows I'm remembering these studies (or any other study I've mentioned online) incorrectly you are more than welcome to correct me.


  16. My mom claims my symptoms are worse around my periods. You may want to track your periods on a calender to give your husband a heads up that he show you extra loving concern during those difficult days.

  17. Part 1 of rereading response:

    I reread some of your words recently and was not too surprised at how forgetful I was although I did remember that you are funny and know more about Korea than I do.

    These are some of my reactions and I apologize if you've seen these words before.

    Have you heard of the non-profit Dress For Success? Most major metropolitan cities have a chapter giving nice interview outfits to women who can't afford to buy their own. Many of them are escaping domestic violence situations. They also lack the education, skills, and experience that you have in abundance and they could sure use some life skills coaching from you.

    There really is more happiness in giving than in receiving.

    Random out of order thought reactions to some of your posts:

    I like a few Incubus songs but have not felt compelled enough to buy any of their songs either off iTunes or amazon. Usually, if I buy a digital download song it is because I am willing to play it on repeat quite a few times.

    I love your New Year's post of 2009 where you type, "I resolve to make other people happy in a way that doesn't make me unhappy anymore". This would make a great T-shirt logo on

    I have never celebrated my own birthday even before my parents became Christians of the Jehovah's Witness variety. I do remember them celebrating my younger brother's first or second birthday. My dad's best friend explained to me that Korean males celebrate two birthdays. The first one is to celebrate that they survived the first year of life and didn't succomb to any death dealing illness. The second one was to celebrate his senior life and retirement. Presumably he had been blessed with grandsons by then.

    One Seoul taxi driver tried to get away with not giving me my full change after we arrived at my destination. He finally gave me my change with a snort of disgust and said something insulting to me in Korean. That's how good my broken Korean was back then.

    It also bothered me that Korean pedestrians would bump into me on the busy sidewalks but the airline hostesses did the same thing on the Koreana/Asiana air flight! Even if Koreans are communal the Cambodians are even more so. I felt that if "Maria", a local donut store worker, ever could compare her Cambodian family immigrant upbringing with mine then she would agree with me.

    I hope you write that book with an emphasis on humor since our depressing world needs a good laugh.

    I have met Korean women married to men that serve(d) in the USA military. Perhaps the husband knows how to say hello or thank you in Korean but that is pretty much it. The wife typically speaks enough English that I don't have major problems understanding her.

  18. Part 2 of rereading response:

    So I am going to assume that you now know about location detection and why your work computer sent you to Singaporean homepages.

    I love the line, "A tiny raindrop connected to you."

    I have never tried dog meat but I am sure different cuts of meat from a dog's body will taste differently from one another and that a vegetarian dog will taste differently from an omnivore dog and that a chihuahua might taste differently from a German shepherd. It is like how I prefer pork chops over roast beef from a cow and am willing to pay more for pasture raised beef and dairy than for CAFO, factory hormone injected, cow stuff.

    My mom once told me she had eaten dog meat before and she had a good laugh over my reaction to that tidbit.

    I have described Koreans as the Irish or Italians of the East, the Japanese as the British or Germans of the East, and the Chinese as the Americans of the East. I know this is a broad overview and that exceptions exist just as they do for other generalizations.

    Home really is where the heart is.

    There was an Old Testament Bible writer who wrote that he felt a loathing for his own sins even though compared to other ancient Israelites he was considered a righteous man.

    The New Testament Bible says we should not compare ourselves to others but this good advice is very hard to follow.

    I ate traditional holiday food for Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving holiday. My younger cousin was shocked because we were both active Jehovah's Witnesses back then. He tried to explain to me why I was wrong to eat what I did but I just didn't get it back then. Jehovah's Witnesses avoid patriotic holidays becuse they have members all over the world and are supposed to view themselves as members of God's kingdom first and foremost. The celebration of patriotic holidays is considered divisive.

    My younger sister and I are Irish twins, siblings who are less than 12 months apart. We were both born in March.

    I think Krispy Kreme donuts are gross!

    I think anything else I could have typed you already know about.

    1. Joomi Lee aka Joo-Mi EOctober 22, 2017 at 10:10 AM

      My very strong opinion about Trump is that his team found out which of the Democrats in the Electoral College were hock deep in debt and offered to pay off their debt in order that they would cast their vote for Trump.

      Politicians are good at spending money. It doesn't matter if they are Republican or Democrat. And if they are close to my age or younger then they were also good at racking up debt. This is true of most Americans regardless of whether they are registered voters or not.

      To be conservative used to mean conservation of resources regardless of whether it was environmental resources, financial resources, or any other kind of resources. But now, it seems the two political USA parties have done a flip flop. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, after all.

      I sometimes feel surreal, as if I had woken up one day in an alternate "timeline". For one thing, the so called liberal media always seemed to be harping about Obama's place of birth, his religious beliefs, and his Harvard grades. Wasn't he considered a liberal President?

      And then I discover the Fox news network and the Glenn Beck Show and realize that compared to that, the basic free news channels really were liberal in comparison.

      The words that came out of Glenn Beck's mouth were so hateful and ridiculous that it was hard to believe I was not watching a satiric comedy political show if it weren't for the fact other people were treating him as a real political influencer. I later learned other liberals were watching him for amusement also.

      Over 20 years ago I worked on a special audit team for Regence Blue Shield in Tacoma, Washington. A woman asked me for two see through Post It bookmark stickers. Back then they were only made in one width. I pulled one out of its case, cut it in half with some scissors, and gave both halves to her. Now they make them in different widths and colors.

      Someone told me Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote. This speaks to the optimism the general registered voter public felt about her. After all, she forgave her husband for adultery. Perhaps she could put a more human compassionate face on the USA presidency than ever before. I mean, can you imagine Donald Trump forgiving Melania if he ever found out she had given another man oral sex after they got married? I don't think so!

      Most Americans who survived the 1930's Great Depression are dead now. They said things like, "If you can't afford it then do without it" as well as "Waste not, want not". It was both Democrat and Republican who said things like that. It was both registered voter and non-voter who said those things. It was both white American and black American who said that and anyone who didn't fit inside either category.

      It was said of white Republicans that they didn't like Obama because he had a black daddy and that black Republicans didn't like him because he has a white mom.

      Chinese born actress, Joan Chen, correctly said that race and color does matter and that we should talk about it rather than ignore the problem.

  19. All numbers are finite to Jehovah but not to Jesus and the other finite Immortals that followed him. This is one reason but not the only reason God can predict the beginning from the finale.