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Finally.

29 (damn near almost 30) years in the making, and I finally see Disneyland at Winter Time.

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This dream coming true was made possible by my boss. He took the entire office to a Disneyland weekend Holiday trip instead of throwing a traditional office party. We were provided two day park hopper passes and two nights at the Grand Californian Hotel. It was pretty awesome.

The Lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland

The Lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland

The Grand Californian does not look very Disney inside…although I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting. Maybe more Hidden Mickeys?

However, it still delivered with their usual customer service and atmospheric awesomeness. For example, every couple of hours they had carolers, actual carolers, singing acapella Christmas songs in the lobby. There are pianists that fill the lobby with Christmas music.  There is a GIANT Christmas tree all decked out in the middle, and of course, the service is always phenomenal.

  1. Have I mentioned that it was FREE?

My boss wanted to forgo the usual Holiday party and got everyone in the office a weekend in Disneyland instead. He paid for the hotel, the park hopper tickets and for those who ran into him, drinks and dinner, or $100 gift cards, or random little gift shop presents. He actually paid for a fabulous dinner at the Wine Country Trattoria (I had some extremely delicious lamb shank).

And if you have the prixe fix menu at the Wine Country Trattoria, you actually get reserved viewing for the World of Color water show. As far as I was concerned, even if we had to pay for it, the good food and great show is well worth it.

Gotta admit, that World of Color show puts the Bellagio fountains to shame. I think my jaw dropped a couple of times, and my front teeth were dry from smiling so much throughout the show.

World of Color Show

World of Color Show

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The Grin that dried my teeth.

           I also got to experience Magic Hour. If you stay in one of the Disney hotels, you are allowed into the parks an hour before anyone is even allowed to breathe in any disney air. This meant that we got on all the rides we wanted with practically no wait, and also let us get the fast passes for the new Cars Land car race before everyone else.

Then, there’s getting on Disney rides at almost-midnight. There’s something pretty eerie about rides in the dark, especially the Jungle Cruise in Adventure Land. In the daytime, all the creatures are clearly plastic and mechanical. At night, the croc swimming up to your jungle boat, looks pretty darned real. So do the piranhas. And the hippos. Uh…yeah. Creepy cool.

I also forced myself to get on California Screamin’, the one and only real roller coaster in Disney’s California Adventure. In essence, the BF made me promise that if he would be a good sport throughout the Disney weekend, I had to get on ONE scary ride. Fine.

I still refused to get on the Tower of Terror though. And in exchange, he watched the broadway-esque production of Aladdin without complaint. He liked it. He totally did.

And, did I mention that my firm hosted a CHARACTER BREAKFAST? Yeah…more cheese on the weekend of cheesy fun already! It was surprisingly fun acting like a kid again with these characters. Tigger was there…of course.

TIGGER and I

TIGGER and I

NO matter how old I am, Disneyland always delivers.

I’m glad I get to see this Winter Wonderland and cross it off my list of things to do in Life.

Character Breakfast!

Character Breakfast!

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Protected: Pent Up

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Protected: The Luxury of Patience

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Last Wednesday, I decided to pat myself on the back for having had an interview. So, I went to visit my good friend, YC, for some tennis (lessons) and pool time. We played a little tennis, which really more or less involved me hitting the balls so inaccurately and missing everything she shot at me, that we spent more time picking up balls than really hitting them. But either way you look at it, it’s still a good work out. Haha! Which was really the whole point of the tennis endeavor.

After that, we went to the Stanford Shopping Center and bought sandwiches from La Baguette. Yum! She, then made us some delicious pina coladas (almost virgin) and we decided to head to the tempting, sparkling, deliciously cold pool.

Ahhh…this is the life, is it not? She’s definitely got the Los Altos lifestyle down! Jealous!

However, the day didn’t quite end the way it gloriously started. In fact, by 3 in the morning, I was sporting this schmancy little bracelet around my arm.

Why yes, that’s an ER tag.

You see, I was diagnosed with Chemical Keratitis. Apparently, those are chemical burns to the corneas. Ooooh…it’s not as BAD as it sounds, especially once you’ve got the right anesthetic eye-numbing drops and vicoden in your system.

But before that, well it’s pretty much like a slow burn in your eyes.

First, it feels like your contacts are rolling up or getting wrinkled in your eye. So you rub your eyelid over your eye to adjust.  This doesn’t help. Then, it feels like your contacts are TOO DRY. So you put in eye drops. Visine, Bausch & Lomb, whatever brand eye drops you have handy in your purse or car or jacket pockets…anything…this doesn’t help either.

Then your eyes start to ooze. Yeah, nasty. It’s like eye crud when you wake up, except…uh oozy and slimy. You wipe it off and try more eye drops.

Pretty soon, your vision starts to blur and it becomes a REAL EFFORT to keep your eyelids open. So, you say good night to whomever you were chatting or texting with, they comment that it’s inordinately early (it’s only midnight after all), and you reply with, “My eyes fucking hurt. I need to sleep this off.”

Only, the sweet oblivion of sleep doesn’t take you away from the pain. Instead you toss and turn, you squint, you wiggle your nose, you rub your eyes, you shove your face into your pillow, you pretty much do anything to distract from the growing burning sensation.

You get the fantastic idea (which really turned out to be pretty useful later) to grab an ice pack from the freezer and press it over your eyes. There is maybe a 30 second period of relief before the burning resumes. You arrange and re-arrange the ice pack for about an hour. You sigh over the 30 second pleasure of numbness and grumble over the returning pain.

Pretty soon though, the cold isn’t doing anything for the BURNING in your eyes. You get so desperate that you rush to the bathroom turn the tap on to the coldest it would go and literally pour water into your open eyes. There is momentary relief, but again, it doesn’t last. You keep thinking that you just need to flush whatever is in your eye out. Your head is almost under the faucet you’re trying SO HARD to get more water into your wide open eyes.

It doesn’t work.

Finally, it’s 2 in the morning, it’s been almost 12 hours since you first dunked your head into the pool and opened your eyes to chlorinated water, and you’re on your knees on the bathroom floor and you can’t even cry because your tear ducts are apparently swollen. So instead, your making these pathetic little whimpering-whining noises–the kind that draws your dog over to you to whimper along.

Not to mention that you’re doing all of this in darkness because dear God light hurts. It hurts so bad. There is no sadder picture to be painted.

You finally get off your butt and just face that maybe you gotta go to the hospital. You can barely open your eyes at this point, and what little slit of an opening you can muster is all blurry and incredibly painful.

You nudge your mom awake, and you say, “Mommy (because Mommy is pretty much the greatest indicator that you’re in major pain), if this gets any worse, I might need to go to the ER.”

She stares incredulously, “How much worse does it need to be???”

Apparently, my eyes are puffed out of their sockets, my nose is clogged cuz whatever muscles are attached to my eyes are probably swollen too. My lower lip quivers, “It hurts…”

So finally, off to Kaiser we go. Thank God that it’s only 3 miles down the road. Not so much that my mom and her lack of sense of direction was driving. She kept asking me whether the signs said “ER” or “Entrance” or whatever. I had to remind her that I was practically blind. It was pretty comical, the way we turned around and around, made U-turns, and got into restricted driveways, and ambulance wells before finally getting into the ER. What would have taken 10 minutes probably took 30. The blind leading the blind, pretty much.

In the end, the docs looked at my eyes, declared that my corneas were burned from chlorine, that the chlorine had bonded with my contacts and I should have taken them off right away. That it was surprising I lasted this long when most people would have wound up in the ER by 9pm. That all my rubbing has caused an ulcer (scratch) in my left cornea which has caused the chlorine to infect that even more. That light hurts because it forces my corneas to contract and when they’re burned and swollen, that hurts. The doctor drops some anesthetic eye-numbing drops into my eyes and for the first time in about 5 hours, my eyelids do not fight me to open my eyes.

I get Vicoden and some fancy eye drops that I must put on every 4 hours. I was sent home and the rest is history.

Today, exactly one week later, 3 Vicoden pills (I still have 27 in my bottle, want some? Haha! JK!), lots of eye drops later…I have successfully reintroduced a pair of contacts into my eyes again. No knee-buckling pain, eye burning, or any such painful sensations at all.

Whew!

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Sometimes, I like to watch movie trailers and just tease myself.

Yeah, I know, I got issues.

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A few days ago, I remembered that I had put my Life List on this website.

And I had the great opportunity of crossing a couple of things off that list. So, I decided to go ahead and Blog about those few things. First things first: Passing the Bar!!!

Yessss!

Finally.

Five days before Bar Results were released, my family got a terrible phone call from the Philippines. One of my mother’s sisters had fallen into a coma. It happened so suddenly: she complained of a headache, and within 2 hours of that statement she was non-responsive.

I felt the added pressure of passing the bar because my mother was already super stressed out with the news of her sister. I couldn’t fail now. If I did, it would break my mom into pieces. I didn’t care so much for myself as I did for her state of mind. I never once brought up that in a few days, the direction of my life for the next six months was going to be decided.

Add to that the fact that my father’s sister and her family was also scheduled to visit us for four days. There was even less time to worry about bar results. I ended up playing to guide for them, driving them through Yosemite for two days, hitting Stanford and shopping, and a day in San Francisco. All that while, I kept my smile and all my churning concerns to myself.

The day of the Bar Results was the day I took my aunt, uncle and cousin to Stanford. We walked through the picturesque campus (yes, it’s killing me to say that, but it’s unfortunately true) keeping up a cheerful chatter the whole day. CCop checked in on me the whole day, and there was a steady stream of well-wishers buzzed through my phone all day. Once, when CCop asked me how I was feeling, I sent him this picture of the Burghers of Calais.

LoL! Yeah, I really did feel the way they looked.

As 6 pm drew closer and closer, I got quieter and quieter. Luckily an old family friend had come to meet up with us and she could talk a mile a minute.

After walking around Stanford, we decided to go shopping. However, it was closing in on 6pm. Instead of telling my visiting relatives that I was going to look at my bar results, I told them I had to write an important email. So, off they went and I stayed behind in the car.

When 6pm hit, I went online (thank you HTC Evo and Sprint everything data plan!) typed in my file number and application numbers, and held my breath.

My file number matched. My application number matched. My full name appeared (yes, all four of them). And finally this statement below it:

The name above appears on the pass list for the February 2011 California Bar Examination.

I felt a slight light-headedness. I HAD to check again. and again. It took a while to sink in…but…

I PASSED.

Thank God.

One less thing to worry about. One less thing to stress over. Six months of my life taken back into my control. And that, of course…gets crossed off my life list.

whew.

And so, the next day when we went to San Francisco, I had the pleasure of being able to share good news with my family at what my brother’s gf ALin called my “Smarty Pants” dinner (See my shirt).

 

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