A Letter to Myself | P.S. Punny

I don’t often converse with myself out loud. No pep talks into the mirror before speeches. No self-motivation during workouts. No, “That was embarrassing,” after inanely awkward moments. Instead, I write and think… a lot.

I welcome playful thoughts because adults are not encouraged enough to be imaginative. I am introspective, lean into my feelings, and try not to let my too oft existential crises consume me after 2 AM. Nothing good happens after 2 AM.

Hence, it was unusual to get a letter addressed in my own handwriting. After marathoning the Back to the Future trilogy (twice in two days), I did ponder if my past or future self was warning me of some imminent danger.

Dated March 4, 2020, written as a work assignment two weeks before quarantine, it felt like reading a horoscope. As much as I believe in magic, fate, and destiny, I’m a huge pragmatist. Of course some blurbs could apply to anyone, but at what point do you concede it’s more than just a coincidence?

Well, I’m letting myself believe it’s perfect timing, and even though Past Vietca had no idea lockdown was coming, she really knows Future Vietca, a constant hopeful. She also has a great sense of humor. Lots of cheese… you have been warned. Enjoy!

Dear Vietca,

You will always feel like there isn’t enough time to complete all your goals, even if there is. You feel like you could be more successful. You feel like you could be a better person.

The feelings will persist and there are others like you, and others who will help you through this. There are resources out there for people like you.

You’ve achieved so much already. Give yourself permission to celebrate even while continuing to build on what you’ve created. You are a rock star and someone or something made you forget that. Get it back and get back to it!

Love you!

Vietca

P.S. Where does a king keep his armies? =)

Anniversary Update | Hi Dad

Hi Dad,

A lot has happened in the last year, and even if it’s a relief you don’t have to deal with it, if only you were here to deal with it with us.

  • COVID-19 is still rampant in the US because people struggle with caring about themselves versus others, while the rest of the world knows they’re not mutually exclusive. If you were here, you may convince Mom to stay in, but then I’d have to worry about you both.
  • Racial relations have elevated from where not being racist is no longer enough, and being anti-racist is an active choice. It’s too bad I never got to know more about your thoughts on matters like this.
  • I did my first oil change! Took three hours, BUT it’s a step up from when you taught me how to check my oil and coolant levels.
Vietca's First Oil Change
  • I started dating and met a lot of… different types. They weren’t keepers, but the stories sure are. Remember the kid who “proposed” to me from another car at a Houston intersection? I still have the ring.
  • I went camping for the first time in years AND finally saw a bear in the wild! Remember that huge bear you got me when I was four, and someone stole it off the truck on moving day?
  • I built my first computer. I mean, I kinda built the others, but was more hands on this time. The first one you got me had a black and green screen. I just found my diary entries on floppy disks.
  • My friends helped me make a pumpkin Halloween costume, but everyone thought I was a strawberry, hot chili, or tomato. I was a… Viet Cà (cà = tomato in Vietnamese). Now that I think about it, I think you told me my first pun, in Vietnamese no less. Something about a lady with a lemon waiting for a boy with a bottle, haha.
  • I used my bilingual skills to make students feel more comfortable in the classroom! Remember the Vietnamese teacher who said my name wasn’t real, and seven year-old me said if she didn’t know it was, she’s not qualified to teach us? I got to spend the whole summer with you learning to read and write.
  • My friends and I had a fierce debate about how to close takeout boxes. I think I won. Remember that bigger-than-me barrel of fortune cookies from your restaurant? I’m taller now, but still collect fortunes. I have a feeling you had something to do with me getting this one.
  • Mom needed a couple of surgeries, and was stubborn about letting others care for her. Guess it runs in the family. She’s better now because we caught it in time. I still wish you told us sooner.
  • I visited Filoli Gardens for my first time, and it was absolutely beautiful! I still love Christmas as much as I did when you bought us our first Christmas tree in the first house we lived in together.

Finally, the Chargers didn’t do very well, but at least the AFC West won it. I still remember that Chargers-Steelers game we watched together that led to the Super Bowl. They’ll get there… soon, I hope.

Sorry, that was a lot, but it was all to say that however much you missed doesn’t amount to how much I miss you this year, today. It was nice catching up.

Love, Việt Ca

Apple Digital Clutter Desktop

500 Days of Some Streaming

Technology allows us to save everything—photos, bookmarks, online courses we will never take—contributing to digital hoarding which should slightly abate during lockdown. Don’t think I’m talking about you? Check your desktop.

Apple Digital Clutter Desktop

In its tangible counterpart, cats die in some dank part of a garage full of Christmas décor from the ’70s. The digital world, however, is virtually limitless where corners are darker, dustier, and links to cute kitten videos and nyan cat GIFs are long-forgotten. They are lost in an abyss of information we intend to access, but rarely do, at least, not at the rate at which we add to it.

I inadvertently spent two years consuming little to no digital media because life happened in 2013 and even more happened thereafter. I started working a lot and became more introspective as did those around me, including complete strangers who shared their secrets and insecurities. It helped that I was bartending and some of these folks were less-than-sober. Yes, you. =)

On January 2, 2015, I broke my unintended hiatus, and binged six seasons of Sons of Anarchy in just as many weeks. Technically eight, but I took a break for my birthday weekend (“Zelda-brate” was that year’s theme), Super Bowl XLIX, and February bday babies.

I wanted to see if I missed any fusses as my Mr. G’s (RIP Steve) peeps were all about it, but I also needed some self-care. I went back to my well, a hole in the ground when you’re thirsty, to be quenched by art, TV, movies, karaoke, not enough KBBQ, and writing; I even started dating again. Ugh.

Anyway, enter, Netflix’s “My List” where, apparently, there is a 500-title limit. Assuming each is at least 30 minutes long, that’s 250 hours of programming, or 10 straight days. Mind you, there are movies, multi-season shows, and comedy sets. It also means I tacked onto the list on roughly once every three days, more if I was a good curator, constantly adding more content as completed ones term off.

Netflix Old Logo

The way 2020 is going, the “stay home, stay safe” scenario is holding steady, so I will spend this time meandering through these titles. Realistically, I can finish by summer’s end by watching a few hours a day… in addition to content outside this platform, like the Star Wars franchise I started May 4.

Netflix, if you’re reading this and considering sponsorship, I can be loyal. 😉

Finally, some notable observations because who am I without lists? Also, whoever recommended watching 500 Days of Summer as a post-break-up movie should be ashamed of themselves. Worst. Idea. Ever.

  • Seen/caught up | 28
    • Way more before I shamefully scrubbed the list
  • Still catching up | 27
  • Food-related | 24
    • Surprised? Me, too.
  • Non-English content | 32
    • When I have time focus on only the piece, including anime I stubbornly refuse to watch dubbed
  • Added after watching A Christmas Prince | 18
    • Sparked by this infamous Netflix tweet
  • Of those, how many I would’ve added anyway because I love Christmas | 18
  • Stand-up sets | 52
    • What? I like to laugh.
  • Science, documentaries, other non-fiction | 63
    • Because science and learning and s***.
  • Recs, or added so I can relate more to others | 43
    • Because… empathy.

By the way, wishing Happy Father’s Day to all the dads here and beyond, stand-in dads (hi Mama Do), pet papas, and all those in between. And no, I didn’t forget.


  1. Don’t be a clutter bug | Harold Taylor | 2015
  2. Surprised Kitty (Original) | rozzzafly | 2009
  3. Nyan Cat Original | 2011
  4. Nyan Cat GIF | MEANS TV | 2015

Actual Hindsight for 2020

I am really excited about this next year for a multitude of reasons, but I’ll give you 20, naturally:

20. I will continue to shamelessly execute good (or “bad”) wordplay, particularly this joke since the next chance won’t be until 2120. Fun.

19. Some of the goals I set are oldies, but still goodies. Persistence.

18. Some of the goals I set are oldies, but defunct. Follow-through.

17. Some of the goals I set are newbies, but necessary. Growth.

16. I am involved in far too few activities… Variety.

15. … far too much. Balance.

14. I will make sustainable changes to better care for my body… Health.

13. … mind… Knowledge.

12. … and soul. Inspiration.

11. I will renew interests that (used to) make me me. Invest in.

10. I will take a deeper dive into my finances. Invest out.

9. I will cut back on aimlessness… Intention.

8. … idleness… Action.

7. … and self-doubt. Confidence.

6. I know more of what I do and don’t want. Clarity.

5. I want to put myself out there more. Creativity.

4. I want to put myself out there more. Vulnerability.

3. I want to put myself out there more. Love.

2. I want to get the most out of each moment. Life.

1. I will continue to shamelessly be happy being me, and put myself first more often. Vietca. (Already getting a head start on #20!) #seewhatididthere

If you have a goal, let’s succeed, or try again, together! This century is no longer a teenager, so make room for our Roaring 20s! Good luck, everyone, and Merry New Year! Going out with a boom… er… many booms!

5F8CF77F-B232-4251-A041-63E1753365A5

 

Finding Dory Is A-Dory-ble

Thank goodness for all that are worth the wait.

Thirteen years ago, I first watched one of my favorite movies,  “Finding Nemo“. Three years ago, they announced its sequel. Today was a long time coming.

Finding Dory” is so a-Dory-ble, I could hardly con-tang my glee. It’s a must-sea!

Wa-ter you saying? You don’t want a-Nemo puns? O-cean-t have done so many. Sorry, can’t kelp it, sometimes.

Okay, one more: what do you exclaim when multiple algae are causing trouble?

Al-gaes is crisis!

Whale, if none of these made you smile, then no pun in ten did.

#HappyFriday, anyway! ❤

P.S. Yes, I do know the plural form of “algae.” Psttt… it’s “algae.”

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