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Before I take 2016 by the reins, I should write out all of the accomplishments that I made this year, even though I did not make a list of goals.

1. Ran two marathons. My goal was to finish the LA marathon and to maybe get under 2 hours on a half-marathon (did not do that). I ended up signing up for Chicago's lottery and making the cut, so I decided to run that marathon too. My conclusion is that I like certain aspects of running marathons, but I hate the training. My goal races next year will be a little different, since I want to get into trail racing and running more trails. I also feel like Go Far Run group has been very instrumental in making me more committed to my running.
2. Camped a whole lot more. 2015 was definitely the year I opted for the campground rather than the hotel room. Camping is not only cheaper, but camping under the night sky affords you some of the best views of the Milky Way. I visited three major national parks in the US (Joshua Tree, Lassen, Inyo Forest) and I climbed to the top of the largest peak in the contiguous United States: Mt. Whitney. I also backpacked on the Ohlone Trail, which has been a half-hour drive from me all of this time. New Zealand was incredible, and I managed to do so many things while I was there that I can't even complain about not making it to the south tip of the Island. Camping there was in many ways better than the US.
3. Lived alone. 2015 signaled the start of my lease. My apartment is expensive, it is in a boring neighborhood, and it picks up outside noise pretty easily, but it is mine and mine alone.
4. Left the country. I went to visit New Zealand. I stayed with Brady in Wellington and then I toured the South Island and much of the North Island alone. Traveling alone had some scary moments, but I felt safe most of the time. The worst part was catching a ridiculous sea sickness on the ferry across the Cook Strait. Luckily, I did that in a place where no one will remember me.
5. Held on to my job. 2015 has been financially tough for my company and for worker morale. In 2016, I will be looking for (and may have already found) a new job, but my company has not fired me. Even if I do not switch jobs next year, I am still in an okay place with my employer and I will make the best of my situation.
6. Saved! 20% of my post-tax income. That is still not enough to buy a house, but my aggressive squirreling is paying off. I am now a member of freecycle and buy nothing groups in my community. Both have been a huge help in reducing the amount of stuff I have as well as introducing me to new things.

This brings me to some 2016 goals.

1.Get my financial house in order.
3.Trail races.
4.Find a new job.
5.More Camping and Road Trips

Also, on the agenda for next year, I will be visiting Portland and Atlanta.
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Last week, I had a weird job revelation when I expressed the desire to become sustainability director at a huge company (i.e. Google) to my coworker. Immediately after saying that, I started looking at MBA programs, but the time and money commitment does not seem necessary based on my experience. After doing some research and having some conversations with some people, I decided I don't need an MBA program but I should look into MOOCs with specific goals in mind as well as maybe writing a statement of intention that I can insert into my cover letter. I should also start applying sooner rather than later.

My job will still be around, maybe months, maybe longer. I don't plan to quit, but the reality of needing a new job soon makes me a little tense and a little excited.

I have been absent from this apartment for three weekends in a row so it was good to have a low key but social weekend. I did some much needed catching up with the important people and important places in my life.
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One of my goals this year involved climbing Mount Whitney. At 14,505 ft, it is the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. I recruited a group of friends who I regularly backpack with and we set out to get a permit. The permit process had its complications because I did not win the lottery, but I was able to secure a good spot on the day I wanted when the permits opened up in early May. I chose September 18th as a starting date because I knew from previous experience that September weather is less stormy. Incidentally, there was a storm the week before our trip that dropped a bit of rain and snow on the trail, but the day we set out there were no clouds, no major signs of smoke, and very little wind. Basically, the only obstacle keeping us from ascending was ourselves, and maybe the terrible stigma of having to carry your own poop. The trail is frequented by several hikers during the year, so a wag bag (potty in a bag) is an absolute necessity for leaving no trace. The first day/night we drove seven hours to Lone Pine, California via the Tioga Pass. We ate dinner, downed beers, and headed over to the campsite at Whitney Portal where we began our hiking the following day.
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A year after starting my not so new job, my life had reached some kind of stability at least personally and financially. Unfortunately, that did not last too long, as the various lines that supported my job began to snap and now the company that I work for is on shaky ground, meaning they might not be around next year. Because things seem bleak at my job, I have made it a goal to find a new job by December. And by job, I mean something that will boost my career and not just an emergency exit. If that job is further north, I will also consider different housing options. I think I can attain these goals if the economy doesn't go into a weird place. With my rent being too damn high, it would be hard to quit my job right now and do nothing, although I am feeling burned out by the situation.

I am climbing Mount Whitney in a few days. I have wanted to do this since I made it up Half Dome in 2007.

The past couple weekends I backpacked in the Ohlone Wilderness (an area of vast open space between Fremont and Livermore) and I flew down to LA for the Jewish New Year. After this trip to Whitney it will be nice to stick around here for a while. I have had too many weekends where I am not at home. Then in the second week October, I am off to Chicago to run the marathon.
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A friend of mine passed away.

He died of a heart attack. I found out when I added his ex-girlfriend and good friend Shannon on my Facebook. She contacted me on the day he died for an entirely unrelated reason, but we did not find out about the death until Thursday.

Will was the nicest person. When I moved to Palo Alto, he made a point of contacting me and telling me that he thought I was a good person. This was critical in making me feel like I did not completely mess up everything after a particularly bad breakup.

When he broke up with Shannon, I felt partially at fault because I was the person she relayed her feelings of frustration to. Will did not try to make me feel terrible. He understood.

I lost contact with Will because he moved away from Palo Alto, but it was never intentional. I had actually hoped to add him on Facebook and send him a nice note. Sadly, the moment I clicked on his profile was also the moment I found out that he passed away.
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Wednesday night: Started to feel unwell. Symptoms were exhaustion, loss of appetite, and 100.4 fever.
Thursday Morning: Kept passing out at work. Left around 1:00 pm to sleep. Ate half of a pho for dinner.
Friday: Managed to feel a little better so I braved a day at work, but then came home and decided to eat pancakes and pass out.
The weekend: Mostly sick and in bed with brief moments of feeling able bodied, kind of like a bad illusion. Made some weird judgments at my co-workers pool party, like swimming in a body temperature pool and drinking a margarita. Payed for that on Sunday with return of a fever and a lump of phlegm and swelling that is so expertly hidden in the back of my throat that it would take a team of explorers to pull out.
The rest of next week: Probably going to work, trying not to pass out, sitting at my desk--at least this is what I have learned about the progression of said illness. I am hoping that by tomorrow the amount of garlic and ginger that I swallowed provides me with an awesome miracle cure.
Netflix queue: Shrinking and growing at the same time as I figure out how not to move around.

In short, I hope to avoid whatever happened this year by getting my flu shot, but something tells me that this is not the flu..unless it is the slow flu.
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It is summer in the South Bay, and I am dealing with the oppressive heat.

Five years ago, when I first moved to Los Gatos I had a place with a swimming pool. I lost swimming pool privileges in my next place and it made summers difficult. My new apartment has a decent-sized pool. Instead of doing a hugely sweaty jog around the block, I changed into a bikini and did a few laps. It felt pretty nice and did the job of a nice air conditioning system in reducing my body temperature.

The Grateful Dead concert was a great show, despite the weird lottery debacle. I enjoy hippie concert goers, and the jam sessions were expansive but never dull. I am done with paying for concerts for the summer. There are some great free shows in the pipeline and I am trying to save money for travel, down payments, secret space missions..etc. Business deals take a hiatus in August so I wonder if that means I should take a week-long road trip.

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It is funny how in the loneliest of times, you can find what you need in some middle-aged men who play your favorite music. I was satisfying my cheese cravings at the Whole Foods in Campbell, on a solitary Saturday night. Two men were jamming to some Beatles songs on guitar and they invited me to come listen. After the first song, I started to sing along and they were puzzled and amazed as to how I knew all of the lyrics. We jammed for thirty minutes and they taught me some piano theory. Then we exchanged phone numbers and they told me how they play outside cafes in Campbell. I should be jamming with them soon, as in tonight. I think this is the beginning of an entirely different and wonderful relationship.
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The year is 2007. I am at the apex of what is an breezy but motionless relationship with The Engineer. I had just taken a shower, and I was naked and wrapped in a towel. He had a bunch of plants strategically placed on the window sill and perhaps I should have been more mindful of their precariousness. However, I knocked them all off the sill, spilling the plants and their contents to the ground. This would be the only time that The Engineer raised his voice at me, in order to exclaim disdain that I had to knock every single one of them down while he was replacing the dirt and the plants in the pots. The comment made me feel small and infantile in what was already a power imbalanced relationship. After cleaning up the plants, he handed me one branch of his aloe vera plant to take home as a peace offering. I put it on the balcony of my studio, never giving much thought to it. We broke up, the plant fractured into branches. It followed me to my place in Sunnyvale. Then it followed me to the apartment in Los Gatos and subsequently the house I shared with my ex. The plant grew larger, so I transplanted it to a steel pail. It grew to fill the pail, despite the fact that it became kind of sickly looking as a result of neglect. I took it to this apartment that I currently live in and I separated the individual buds from the pot. Out of one single plant, there were at least ten viable plants. I placed some of them into new pots so that they can get stronger.
Current Music:
He Can Only Hold Her- Amy Winehouse
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Last night, I watched this documentary on Kurt Cobain. Montage of Heck.

It reminded me of this guy I pined after my entire high school career. When I met him in Junior High, he wore this "RIP Kurt" Nirvana shirt that said "The Sun is Gone, But I have a Light." I thought it was pretty self-indulgent. I also thought that liking him was an exercise in self-indulgence, and that I was compromising my popularity in being friends with him or liking him. Then we did drama together. We were co-stars in this play called "The Defenseless Creature" by Neil Simon. He revealed himself to be a tremendously talented actor. Not only that, but as his mind revealed itself through works of fiction he wrote, school projects he did, or numerous conversations we had about music, I began to like him and I was sure that he liked me back. But the pressure to be liked in junior high meant I had to reject him or at least act very cold. In high school, the tables turned. He met this girl, one year his junior, while directing a drama play and he would stay with her throughout high school. I became the girl who felt socially awkward and didn't know how to fit in. I hung around people who would validate my awesomeness with their laughter and I shied away from putting myself out there with people who were more judgmental. He became more confident and more popular at least among the smarter kids. One time, we were sitting alone in my friend Alex's car after doing some nerdy activity, and he asked me if I wanted to have sex. Apparently, his girlfriend and him were exploring open relationships in high school. As much as I wanted to replace his girlfriend, I realized that my dignity was more important, so I told him no thanks.

Later on, he went to Stanford. Then, pursued a PhD in Computer Science at Berkeley. We met a few times after high school, but I let the friendship lapse. Still, I think about him from time to time. I think about how being socially awkward in either high school or junior high shapes people and makes them into who they are as a person when they grow up. I also think about how our musical tastes are similar even though we have grown in different directions.
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