Friday, July 31, 2009

Roadtrip Thursday

Yesterday brought a lot of unexpected twists and turns - all of them great. I took a trip to Washington to do some shopping with Allen. So much fun! We randomly decided to continue our drive down to south to Seattle. Lucky for me the Nordstrom half yearly sale was still on. I tried on some ridiculous shoes. The hot pink patent leather ones from Guess definitely took the cake. Even in the sweltering heat I enjoyed the lovely city of Seattle. In thinking about where I would like to go to law school, Seattle is definitely some place that I am going to keep in mind.

Allen and I were probably in the car for the same amount of time that we spent shopping, though it was just as nice. We talked about all sorts things, including religion and my recent ventures with it. For the last 21 years I have known myself to be agnostic about religion but for whatever reason I have started questioning my stance on the subject. I've gone to church a couple of times this summer in an effort to fairly evaluate my views. I mean I've had certain views, which were largely influenced by my parents, but I realized that I'd never been to church before, so how could I say that I don't like it. It's similar to the way that I'd felt about vegetables up until a year ago. I hated them but never actually tried most of them. Now I cook with them a lot and enjoy their taste. Sure it might be a rudimentary comparison, but they have their points of intersection.

There are a couple of things that complicate religion for me. The first being that I'm still not entirely sure I believe in God. I think it's as plausible as evolution or the Big Bang theory. I fall into an undecided category and I'm not sure what it would take to place me on one side or the other. Secondly, I'm not a fan of the concept of organized religion. I think it's great to have beliefs and faith, but I don't think going to church is requisite to having them. Thus it appears to me that the first problem is what I'm more at odds with. Perhaps it is one of those things that I will wonder about through out my life in varying intensities.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A new challenge for a new month

My dad told me today that I need to be a maniac when it comes to studying for the LSAT this coming month. Not only will I have the most time available to dedicate to my studies, but the number of days before the big day are dwindling. I am going to be maniacal. I have to be. I have worked hard and want law school more than anything else. This test is my chance to prove that.

My job is also starting again soon. I got a promotion at the end of last year, which was great. It also comes with added pressure from my boss, although I know that he is pushing me because he knows that I am more than capable of doing great things for our program. He is someone who believes in my capacity to achieve. Believe it or not, my dad is too. He just has a different of expressing it.

August will be about time management. Striking a balance of productivity and sanity.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The antithesis of a goal

I was thinking about goals (again) today. I certainly have my fair share of them, though they mostly fall under career and academic goals. I also thought about a more personal goal: getting married and having a family one day. Is this something that should be qualified as a goal or is it more of a dream? What is even the difference between the two? It seems to me that other people are too unpredictable to be incorporated into a goal. Obviously it's unethical to manipulate them, and even if you could, it would be a difficult task. So why even call this a goal? What makes me hesitant to call this a goal is because I'm not entirely sure it's something one can work towards, say like getting an A in course. Feel free to dispute this, I'm just thinking out loud.

Elements beyond my control are often what deters me from achieving something much more challenging, even though it might be more rewarding. You can control another person's feelings towards you just about as much as you can control the weather. I also think that this might be where the work component enters this equation. To reach the point of marriage probably requires some amount of work from both people. Compromises must be made. Discoveries occur. Change is talked about. Eventually a contract is signed.

And when I think about all of this, all of the contradictions and fluid answers are what makes it seem unworthy of my time and energy. As unromantic as this all sounds in type, I still find myself enthralled with the idea of it all, which is something that I doubt I will ever untangle.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Honesty is the Best Policy

From a young age we are told that honesty is a coveted virtue. The Girl Scout promise even includes a line that says, "I promise to be honest and fair." Sometimes we are in situations where we think we can protect other people (or ourselves) from getting hurt, thus we sensor information. Perhaps it's all contextual. But I can think of a long list of scenarios that are better off stated plainly and dealt with. One of them being relationships. If you are unable to communicate feelings or emotions, then what kind of a connection are you left with? I think it's safe to say none.

Even though my dtr conversation didn't go the way that I had expected, at least I know what is going on. He said to me that he had wanted to talk about our dating for a while. Then he said, "Vanessa, I just don't think my heart is in it." What?! The last time I checked he was the one who made the first move to pursue this. Then again, I suppose that this is the whole point of dating - to discover whether or not you want to be in relationship with someone. I've also decided that it might be the hardest decision that one faces. Do I continue one or break it off? It is obviously disappointing to discover that you do not see eye to eye but it's all for the best.

And so now commences another new adventure for me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nearing a new beginning

Oh the end of summer school is in sight for me - my exam is tonight. I'm going to take a well deserved break and plan to spend the week decorating the new place, golfing and making more pottery. More than anything I'm looking forward to getting a brief taste of summer. I have also taken a cue of inspiration from Finch's and plan to do an antique French twist on my room. I've already got a white comforter and a light blue one. I'm going to try to get pillows in sage green, blue and pink. I'm also going to scour thrift stores for some glass jars like these, love them! I've already got my desk and an armoire. I'm planning to use my shadow box above my desk, along side of small collage of photo frames. Preferably ones that are wooden and have design on them. I also have my white curtains that I plan to use.

I also spoke to all of my family yesterday, they were at my house when I called. My nana shared some especially good news with me. My grandpa's wine won three silver medals at the California State Fair Wine Competition! I am so proud of him. Wine making has been a hobby of his for a while now, and it's just so wonderful to seem him achieve something like this. I am beaming with pride for my family right now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Proceed to Step One

I'm sure it's happened to you before. You're talking with a friend and all of the sudden, they say something that indicates that they know you too well. It's usually one of those moments where you stop dead in your tracks and think, "how/why do they know this?" I believe it is the mark of a true friendship. Today I was in the library and Rob showed up to study as well. We (briefly) continued our conversation from last week about my general aloofness with the boy that I'm dating. Well aloof might not be the right word . . . we've been dating for a little over a month and it seems like it's a the point were the inevitable "define the relationship" (dtr) question sprouts. I have certainly given it a lot of thought. He's someone who I really like and would love be in a relationship with. However, I am being a complete coward about bringing it up. So I was telling Rob that I was supposed to see said boy yesterday but it didn't happen. And he said to me, "Why don't you just call him? I know you want to." True. I really do want to see him, in person, so that this conversation can happen soon and that I can regain my mental stability.

We continued this semi-whispered conversation in the library and I brought up the age-old question to Rob, "how do you bring up this topic?" My rule of thumb is to not pose questions that I myself wouldn't want to answer. You know, the broad open-ended question "where is this going?" These were Rob's instructions. "Step one - get tequila. Step two - make margaritas. Step three indulge in said drinks and other activities to have a night of random, drunken-ness. Step four - bring up this question the next morning after wild evening." This is certainly the kind of situation that I was hoping to avoid. Rob of course told me this in a joking manner. But just as well all advice comes from experience. It got me to thinking. Once the period of deciding whether or not you like someone is over, and you decide that you like the person, what is suppose to happen next?

In my ideal world, a serious relationship ensues. However I find myself living in the warped era of dating where anything goes. But seeing as though I have my values placed on the lost art of chivalry and courtship and romance, I am looking for something methodical. So my step one is to figure out if we are even on the same page. If so, then why not call him my boyfriend? Gina and I were talking about this because it is an issue I have been noodling over for about a week, and she gave me some great advice. She said that "any outcome is a good outcome for that conversation." And she is completely right. I am going to keep this in mind and the next time that I start to get butterflies in my stomach I am going to remember that no matter what, I will have an answer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A new cafe

I just got back from meeting a friend of mine for lunch at this lovely little place called Finch's. It's nestled in between Gastown and Yaletown, possibly in the Heritage District (though no one calls it that). From the outside I could see the gause white curtains tied in the center of each of the large windows facing the street. As I waited for my friend to lock her bike, I noticed the busted antique furniture that filled the cafe. Of course once I walked through the door an even more pleasant surprise awaited me. The backdrop of the counter was decorated with various sized blackboards all framed in ornate gold frames with the menu hand-written. What really made this space special was all the small details. A fancy umbrella placed on a random coat hook. Over-grown leafy plants. A large robin's-egg green hutch. Light, airy and yet cozy. It was the epitome of chic.

There menu was nothing short of amazing either. The sandwiches are made on delicious baguettes. I ordered the egg salad sandwich, expecting the tradition version where the egg is all chopped up and mixed with various delights. This sandwich, however, was in layers - a beautiful presentation. Large lettuce leafs, bright red tomatoes, slices of cucumber, followed with a hard-boiled egg perfectly sliced and splayed across the top. Mayonnaise and Dijon mustard topped it off. My friend's sandwich looked equally delicious. Pear, brie, prosciutto. It was lovely. If you're ever in the neighborhood, take time out for a tea.

When we finished, we walked a block west in the sweltering heat to my favorite used book store, Macleod's. I purchased a copy of Virginia Woolf's A Writer's Diary. Selections of Mrs. Woolf's diary. I'm looking forward to reading her thoughts about writing. I'm hoping to be inspired by the philosophical ideas that drove her own writing.

As for this evening, I have plans to attend an opera of Bluebeard. Should be interesting. I've never been a fan of the opera, but this is a very short production and I do like the fairytale version of this story.

This has been the kind of day that I am thankful for.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A brand new week

My work in the pottery studio is really coming along, I could not be more pleased with the progress that I've made. My glazes from this last batch of mugs were especially good. One of them I glazed with celadon and a darker green around the top. I'm even more excited that I have five new mugs that will be fired this week, yay! I will try to put up some photos soon.

I also went on a two runs today in a effort to step up my half marathon for this fall. I'm feeling pretty good right now too, very refreshed. I'm looking forward to my run tomorrow morning.

More packing on my agenda, but at least my days in basement hell are numbered. Thank goodness for fresh starts.

It's going to be a great week!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer Dinner

Chickpea Salad - a new spin on a pasta salad

1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
1/4 red onion
3 roma tomatoes

Add to a large bowl:
chopped vegetables
shredded basil

Enjoy the flavors - the crispness - the colours.

New friendship

Last Friday I was studying with a friend of mine at the Boulevard, but before any real work was done, we hashed out our landlord problems. A gentleman sitting behind us over heard the topic du jour, and struck up conversation with us. Turns out he is a recently retired lawyer and offered us some advice on our predicaments. It was very kind of him to say the least. We also chatted for a bit about law school and his experiences as a lawyer. He is one of the few lawyers that I've met who has maintained a passion of his work for a substantial number of years. I've often found that to be one of the discouraging points about law, is that many people I've spoke with claim that the work is monotonous and redundant. They have the attitude that they know it all after about 5 years in practice. Sure that might be true since most lawyers specialize in particular aspects of law, but I'm also of the school of thought that it is impossible to 'know' and have seen everything. But then again, I also enjoy the challenge of constantly learning what I don't know, which is how I feel about law. So many areas have undergone substantial changes in the last 20 years and there is always new ways to think about it, especially if you enjoy older theory. Anyhow, speaking with Mr. Burke renewed my faith in the density and compelling nature of law. He was kind enough to give me his contact information in cast I would like a recommendation to his Alma mater, Cornell!

Before we parted, he cut out a small Cornell logo and gave it to me. He said to keep in on my computer as a reminder of what I am work towards. It also reminds me of his story. Another example of the kind of future I wish to have.

Find this image here

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The long week is over

It's been one of those exhausting weeks. I'm sure you've had them before. A million different things are going on and nothing seems to go according to plan. In fact, planning for the worst case scenario would not have been sufficient for this week. After four months of the worst landlords and living situation ever, Karoline and I signed the lease for our new place last Monday - our golden ticket to happier days. However, giving the landlords move out notification proved to be nothing less than excruciating, and four attempts at a written notification later, they finally accepted it. They also started showing our place last night, at a truly inconvenient time. I was in the middle of making food for the dinner party I hosted and groups of people were trolling through the premise. I'm counting my blessing though that the landlords even agreed to let us out of the lease early in the first place. There have been many lengthy phone conversations with them this week that have put a damper on my good mood. But I've just decided not to let it get the best of me. Sure, things probably could have ended better on both of our ends. It was a situation that was bad to begin with, although it got worse, the important thing is that it is nearing an end!

Aside from all of this I have been working like crazy on my children's lit term paper. My investment and interest in this paper has amazed me. I think it's also one of the smoothest papers that I've written in while. I have to write the exam for that class next week. I have a lot on my plate.

The dinner party last night reminded me of that often times we have to experience not so good things to appreciate the good ones. Good food, great wine and lots of random conversation. It brought together six friends who shared, laughed and enjoyed each other's company well through dessert. They were the 3 hours that I had been most looking forward to all week, and now I know why.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Death Cab Concert

I saw Death Cab for Cutie in concert last night for the third time. Their live performances never fail to amaze me. Hearing the songs that I feel such a connection to performed right in front of me has such a different effect. It is interesting how the physical situation often changes you auditory experience of something. I recommend that if Death Cab is ever in your neighborhood go and see them.

The other odd/interesting part of the concert was that Rob was there with me. Death Cab songs are so often ones that I have, in the past, identified with my feelings about him. It felt weird to be there listening to a band that I feel is able to articulate my feelings than I am about a particular person/situation, but while he was standing right next to me. It felt like a release to be there singing along, although I don't think he knows I wish I had been singing at him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

White Tea Lemonade

Brew white tea
Add 1/2 of lemon Juice
Add sugar and water to taste
Serve over ice

This is one of the many delights of my day. My neighbor stopped by with a jug and it was delicious. The tastes were unexpected yet they all complemented each other. Some other things that made my day memorable:
: Reading Freud's "Female Sexuality" for my children's literature term paper on Anne of Green Gables
: Receiving an email from my best friend who is gone for the summer
: Remembering that the Death Cab for Cutie concert is tomorrow
: Going on the best run in a while. I ran faster and longer than ever before, and boy did it feel good
: Making a fabulous new coffee mug in the pottery studio this morning before I started school work

Even though I've had a few bumps in day that threw me for a loop, I must say it's been pretty good. Reflecting back on this very mixed up day makes me remember that even in a particular moment when things may feel overwhelming or bad, there are enough good (actually great) things going on in my life that I can still keep my chin up.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Righting a Wrong

I've been thinking about a post from several days ago in which I divulged the truth about my selfish nature. While I certainly do not disagree with anything I've wrote, I found myself in that same pattern yesterday and the realization of what it was I was doing made me feel really awful about myself. Yesterday the boy called me and ask if I wanted to go rollerblading. I was in the thrills of researching and writing and felt that I was on such a productive streak that I didn't want to give it up. So I told him that I was pretty bogged down with work, which certainly was not a lie.

He was then sweet enough to ask if he should just come over instead, to which I said no (again).
About a half hour after I hung up the phone, I was overwhelmed with guilt. Of course I was busy, when am I not. But he is someone that I'm beginning to care about and I completely wrote him off. I feel like I'm sabotaging what might be a great relationship, and frankly I have no good reason for it. In fact, I would only blame myself if I get hurt again because so far all I have done is be unavailable.

How is it that we find ourselves deeply implicated in patterns, or ruts? Well, Karoline suggest that I probably wasn't like this before the last major relationship that I had. I can't say for sure because it's really been the only one I've ever had. Even in my high school relationships, I recall writing off my boyfriend to study on many occasions. I know that I'm intentionally distancing myself because I'm not feeling reassured about the mutual nature of my feelings. What I'm currently trying to work out, is how to communicate this to him without sounding like a complete idiot. Do I simply say that my apprehension has come from fear of being hurt? He is a really nice guy, which makes that statement seem even more unwarranted. Today when I called him to apologize, I blamed my workaholic personality, though I'm not entirely sure that makes sense. I've truly placed myself into a hole and now must get out of it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Living room plans

I'm very excited to have decided on a new place to move, and even more excited that I gave my landlords 30 days notice. Now I'm thinking about ways to decorate my new living room. I am currently thinking something French-country because of the fabulous antique dinning room table I have. I also own a nice cream colored chair and my brother will be bring up a beautiful coffee table this week. I want to go with warm colors like sage green, cornflour blue, rusty reds, cream, and golden yellows. Our floors are an interesting red which will be a nice addition. Where I'm getting stuck is on the smaller accent pieces. I think I will look for patterned pillows, I recall seeing toile print ones at Bed on 4th Avenue. Maybe some kind of wrought iron piece for the wall or in front of the fire place. My plan is to go to some thrift stores around Alma and Broadway on the hunt for some good pieces. A wrought iron Eiffel tower would be superb.
The other problem I'm encountering is the futon we have for a couch. It has a black cover, but it desperately needs to be a different color. Luckily Majestic Sit & Sleep on 4th Avenue sells a variety of colors. I'm leaning towards a cappuccino color. Ahh I am thrilled to be able to decorate again!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Moving time (again)

Despite the fact that I just moved at the end of April, I find myself looking for a new apartment already. I think I was overwhelmed by a lot of factors that led to the very hasty decision of where I am currently living. Fortunately I've learned a lot of from the ramifications of this situation. The situation being that I have the landlords for hell, well actually Albania, but that's beside the point. We saw the property in an unfinished state because it's brand new, which gave them ample chance to miss represent the space. But I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt by admitting that my imagination may have run off with me as to what the final product would look like. Though I'm not sure that it was far fetched to imagine that a kitchen has non-bar sinks and a stove. Regardless, there were many perks to this space. Not only is it close to campus, the rent is very reasonable and I'm living with my friends.

The past 4 months however, have been anything but pleasant. I've expended as much energy into landlord issues as I have to my schoolwork. My dad pointed out the reality of the situation to me about a month ago. "A bad boss rarely gets better," he told me, "in your case though it's a bad landlord." It's true though. Who wants to be subjected to problems that have a solution? Albeit, moving is a hassle. What amazed me the most was how much I was willing to tolerate before I put my foot down.

Even though this tenancy has been awful, I've managed to derive some lessons from it.
1. People value professionalism. Based on my landlord's lack thereof, I've come to realize just how important it is even beyond business. Respect derives from it.
2. Re-evaluate your toleration line. I knew I was tolerant, though it was for all the wrong reasons. It's important to stand up for yourself because no one else can do it for you.
3. Letter writing is an effective means of communication. Sometimes words and meaning gets lost in verbal conversation. The passion and emotion of the moment can overwhelm us, but having it in writing will cover your bum in the future.
4. Be objective. I can't even count the number of times that I've reflected on events and listed this one. What's more surprising is that I still haven't got it. I think it's because we are so inextricably linked our emotions, and I'm beginning to believe that there maybe a greater reason for that.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Selfish Success

One more essay turned in and now checked off of my to do list. I very much enjoy scratching items off my post-its. Today has been great and I foresee it getting better. I got in some more studying for the LSAT and glazed a few new coffee mugs. I will also be meeting up with some friends for dinner in a while. One thing that I enjoy about the summer is the slower pace of the days. It may simply be a change in my own mentality, though I think there is plenty of evidence to disprove that at the moment. I was thinking today that I should really be embracing the time that I am in school. People out in the real world don't get the luxury of time off. Of course there are many more productive individuals than myself who do work during the summer. I thought about the my reduced stress level during this time of year, and got wondering about how I could apply this during the rest of the year. I suppose one way is to not let school overwhelm my life, maintaining a balance of other activities and interests. I find this difficult even now. I am much more of a workaholic that I lead on and I think that a lot of my past relationships have suffered because of it. It's primarily because I just don't know how to switch off that part of my brain, but also because I'm selfish when it comes to my personal success. (wow, I can't believe I just typed that) But it's the truth. I wonder if there will come a point when I will finally find someone or something that will illuminate my mind to of possibilities. Sure there are moments when I escape myself, like when I'm making art or running. I guess the trick is making them more permanent.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The cost of a vacation

I'm starring at my calendar wondering how it is almost the middle of July and wondering where the summer has gone. In fact, the concept of summer vacation seems to be a novelty that I am no longer privy to. Despite my lack of relaxation, I have the tendency to not be able to relax when given the chance. Exhibit A: this past weekend. I decided to take a last minute trip home, which should have been relaxing. The long 4th of July weekend always includes a large party at my parents' home and is a highlighted event on my calendar. This year, however, was different. I am in the thick of classes and knew that loosing out on a couple of days of work could be dangerous. Although a few late nights could be worth it. Last night at 11:30 pm, I found myself back at my antique French desk writing out a thorough to do list and nearly passing out at the sight of it. Furthermore, I don't think I've ever been this pressed for deadlines during the normal school year. I have lots of work, some that I will enjoy. Others which will be a fight to the finish. As I walked to class tonight, I was mentally groveling to myself but then realized that if I did not have all of this work, I would be complaining about being bored.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Disintegrating friendship

Sometimes the joy of a new relationship is overwhelming. Adoration for the other person. A fluttering heart. The world seen through rosy shades. However, what price do we pay for it? I've found out through my ever-absent roommate that that price is friendship. I can't deny that I was happy for her. She had many months of girl drama and I think it was a bit of a relief for everyone to see that she found someone wonderful. However in the last month, they've broken up and got back together on way too many occasions. From an outside perspective on the situation, I feel like she is only hurting herself, especially given the nature of the problems they've incurred. The expression "love is blind" seems befitting in describing it. I know that she loves her, but it breaks my heart to see her doing what she is doing.

Back to the issue of friendship. From the get go of their relationship, she more or less fell off the social map. Granted that's what one often expects with a new infatuation. But as time dragged on, I saw even less of her. In fact, the only reason I've seen more of her lately is because they broke up and she is finally sleeping at our house now. What is most frustrating to me is that now that she is here again, she acts as though everything is back to normal with our friendship. Of course I give her the benefit of the doubt that she hasn't quite figured out how I feel, but she's missed out on a lot in my life because she just has not been here. And that makes me a bit angry.

How do you deal with a seasonal friend? Right now my dilemma is whether I should still be there for her even though she hasn't exactly been there for me. If I decide no, I feel that it defines friendship as an exercise in reciprocity and that is something that I don't agree with. I believe that friendship, like any relationship has to be a selfless act. So what am I to do? Well, given what I've just written, I'm going to shelve my feelings and continue to be the kind of friend I would like to have.