My Brother

As we indulged in leftover Halloween candy today after lunch, my coworkers and I reminisced about our childhood experiences surrounding the holiday, touching on our various strategies to maximize candy collection, and equally important, candy retention. Yeah, parents would take it away, but most everyone at the table mentioned that their siblings were the biggest culprits when it went missing.

That wasn’t the case for me though, because my brother was the best. I don’t remember any candy theft; on the contrary, he showered me with treats and looked out for me.

When he fundraised for school by selling candy, he’d save and buy me my favorites.

When he frequented Comic Grapevine, the local comic book and gaming store, he’d bring me along so that I could buy candy, play or watch them play the games, peruse the comic books, and play with the store cats. I can’t imagine how annoying or embarrassing it’d be to have your kid sister tag along for stuff like that, but he brought me anyway. It’s where I discovered my love for Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat — I was never any good, but I was happy to watch. It’s where I spent my hard-earned money on new pogs — the sparkly slammers were my faves, of course. It’s where I learned how to play Magic: The Gathering, amassing my own collection of cards and subsequently blowing the minds of all the boys in my class — I had to bring my decks to school and play before they believed me.

And when I started dating, going to dances and parties, and generally doing all the things my parents forbade me from doing, he’d cover for me, pick me up late at night, and always make sure I was safe.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a sibling like mine.

 

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(Apologies for the terrible photo quality!)

#firstsevenjobs

  1. Kitchen minion (working at my family’s restaurant as prep cook, dishwasher, porter, etc).
  2. Math tutor (high schoolers).
  3. Waitress (again for my family).
  4. Sales associate (JCPenney and two children’s boutiques: This Little Piggy Wears Cotton and Cotton & Company).
  5. Research assistant (Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute).
  6. Museum docent (Hall of Health, a children’s health/science museum).
  7. Babysitter (a family I met at Cotton & Company).

TIL: From My Podiatrist

 

For the past few months, I’ve been getting back into the habit of running. Mostly for my dad who, after doing a 15k with me and my brother, would like to do a half marathon together as well. I’ve never been much of a runner and frankly, I’ve always hated it, but for my family — of course!

During and after my runs I’ve experienced periodic foot pain, so I’ve been experimenting with run schedules, running surfaces, shoes, shoe fittings, shoe lacing, etc. Unable to figure anything out on my own, I finally made an appointment to see a podiatrist.

I got bad news, but it was a very informative appointment. After she asked about my injury history, checked out my stance and walk, and x-rayed my feet and ankles, here’s what I learned:

  • I have hypermobile joints. People have always pointed out that I’m weirdly flexible — not in a manner that’s useful of course; only in bizarre, pointless ways that elicit reactions like “EW how are your arms/wrists/whatever bent like that?!” So, this was an official diagnosis of what I already knew.
  • I have extremely unstable ankles, thanks largely to my past injuries and the aforementioned hyperflexibility.
  • Inherently flexible individuals are highly accident and injury-prone, and have a tough time becoming rigid. It’s all coming together…
  • Due to my foot shape (furthest right on this image), certain areas of my foot bear the brunt of the impact when I run.
  • When standing, my feet are very flat, which can be problematic for running.
  • I have a bipartite medial sesamoid in one foot.
  • If my ankles continue to worsen, surgery is an option — down the road.

My podiatrist’s conclusion: I’m simply not built for running, and I shouldn’t run at all.* I should instead focus on low-impact, strengthening activities like yoga, barre, and pilates. I should also wear ankle braces, boots, or high tops at all times to support my ankles.

Huge bummer. But I’m glad I have a better understanding of my body and how I can prevent further (or permanent!) injury.

*I asked what my options are if I insisted on running: custom orthotics and specific shoes.

Update: I saw an orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion. He also concluded that I shouldn’t be running… but for completely different reasons. 🤔

100% Jenny Zhu

I recently signed into my 23andMe account and spotted something I hadn’t noticed before: Ancestry Composition. As a Chinese woman whose parents (and grandparents, great grandparents, and so forth) were born and raised in China, I foolishly never gave much thought to my ancestry.

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Turns out I’m maybe only 88.8% (that percentage though!) Chinese. And that’s based on their “Speculative Estimate.”

The default Speculative Estimate corresponds to 51% confidence – this provides the most detailed view of your ancestry. You have the option to make the estimate more strict, meaning that the interpretation shown is more likely to be accurate. The Standard Estimate is at 75% confidence, and the Conservative Estimate is at 90% confidence.

At 90% confidence, they can only peg me at 55.1% Chinese.

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I’m continually blown away by all the interesting info and connections I’ve been getting for the past three years from 23andMe, which I only paid $99 for.

If you’re like me and have both an insatiable curiosity and a desire to know all truths, despite its potential unpleasantness, I highly recommend.

Coffee

My body is pretty sensitive in that I react quickly and noticeably to many external agents/incidents. Examples:

  • I’m allergic to most everything under the sun, confirmed via prick test with an allergist. Doesn’t slow me down, but everyone around me has to put up with a bit of sneezing…
  • I bruise like a peach.
  • I get car sick pretty easily. Yes, much like a child.
  • Meds works great — I never need a higher dose of anything.

But because I’ve been living this way for nearly 30 years, I’ve become… desensitized to the sensitivity. This is my reality. I’m used to it!

Nevertheless, caffeine remains a tricky one for me to manage. I generally avoid it because I (think I) have an addictive personality (this is my MO not only out of practicality, but also necessity) — I don’t want to develop a dependence on caffeine. But man, I love the taste and ritual of coffee.

So, I have coffee when…

(1) I crave the flavor, as a treat. This is dangerous because it makes me feel fantastic, and makes me want to feel that way all. the. time. But unfortunately, one sip too many leaves me shaking and feeling like my heart is going to explode out of my chest.
(2) I’m tired, but need to be on my A game. However, more often than not, it doesn’t do anything for me at this point, when I actually need the boost.

Where does that leave me? It’s either too effective or completely ineffective. Am I doing it wrong?