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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Round Two: Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The West Wing may have convinced me that prostitution is a perfectly legitimate way to pay for law school and that the 19th amendment (ERA) is completely unnecessary. I’m sure that’s not right.
  • I’m reading about Carl Jung right now and it ironically makes me head want to explode.
  • Reading exercises your mind but not your body…thus, actually making you fat. Weird, no?
  • I miss meat….particularly sliced ham.
  • I really can picture myself living on a farm one day. At least in a farmhouse style home with a small organic garden in the backyard. Canada would do nicely. Or I’ll be traveling the world. One or the other.
  • CCR has a song, “Put a Candle in the Window” which is beautiful and is my theme song right now. This could change at any given moment.
  • I read a statistic that says 45 % of American between the ages of 18-34 would like to like in New York City. This means, 45 % of American between the ages of 18-34 are clinically insane, completely impractical, suffer from the SATC syndrome and/or delusional.
  • This article makes me never want to leave Seattle:
  • I’d like to go to law school not because I think I’d be a good lawyer but because I think I’d be a good law school student. Of which I told a friend and she replied that was the stupidest thing I could say about going to law school.
  • Life is too short to play it safe.
  • It is approximately 2,854 driving miles from Seattle, Washington to Durham, North Carolina and would take approximately 40 hours to drive costing $193.61 in gas.
  • "Baby Jesus is smiling at you. Have faith." (not my random thought but particularly apropos)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Are You Ready For This?

I got this email from a friend yesterday who knows that I’m going through some stuff. She always knows what to say and again, she didn’t fail. I thought it inspiring enough to share. May we have the heart to respond.

I am going to urge you (ok, more like beg you) to join me in being brave.

Keep your sensitive heart intact but otherwise be ballsy, made of
titanium, fear nothing.

Join me in living life at the highest level.

We have to do this. There is no other way to help our great nation
regain its firm footing.

You can cry, you can eat wheat once in a while, you can wish for all
sort of things, but I want you to wake up knowing you are strong and
loving and that no one will stand in our way.

Are you ready for this?

I hope so.


My response to her is a whole-heart, I am ready. Today is a new day to be strong and loving. Today is a new day to forgive and have heart and to rejoice. Today is a new day to right the wrongs, to open our hearts and respond to our callings, and be fearless in spite of or because of the fearful.

I woke up today wanting to be strong, loving and fearless. One day, in the very near future, I will be.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Weekend Escape - Day 3

Rain and snow mix fell this morning as I lay in bed. The rain was heavy, persistent and perfect. I again, grace Owen and Nadine with my morning pleasantness and we have a lovely breakfast of omelets, watermelon and hot cocoa. We lounged around for a bit and then made cookies (my favorite chocolate chip ones). Nadine made roasted vegetable soup from last night’s casserole which we had for lunch along with focaccia sandwiches. It may seem like I focus a lot on food here but it’s because my aunt really is the best cook I know and I am one of the best eaters that I know. I believe that's really why we get along so well.

The rain continues to fall. I keep "stoking the fire" (a new phrase I learned meaning adding wood to the fire) trying to keep the room has hot as possible without heating my aunt out of her own home. Not much noteworthy has happened today and that I am grateful for. Nadine and I have had a great visit and solved most of the world's problems in the course of a couple hours. We'll have a lovely dinner and watch some West Wing.

On that note, my weekend escape will comes to a close. And to that end, I close.


My Weekend Escape - Day 2

I woke up this morning to the sound of Nadine's voice in the kitchen. I was still feeling tired but more lethargic. It's Saturday which means I go for a run but I really didn't want to go this morning. I lay in bed debating with myself, "To run or not to run." The blue skies told me it would be worth it. So I graced Nadine and Owen with my presence which is always a treat for everyone. Nadine has already made focaccia bread (from scratch) and to dough is rising on the oven. Owen is gearing up to make blueberry waffles (from scratch) and I want to go for my run even less at the thought of all this food. But none the less, I go for my run down to Sargent's Bay just a mile or so from the house. Sargent's Bay is a small provincial park that is as peaceful as it is beautiful and the trip is never complete unless I make it there. There is a piece of large drift wood that jets out the bay that has been there since I've been coming here. I like to lay there and ponder about the life. Today was no different only in that, frost covered the shaded sides the wood and which made lounging on it cold and wet. But I didn't mind. I listened to the waves lap along the shore and marveled at the clarity of the waters and simplicity of it all. I ran back home ready to dive in the waiting blueberry waffles with real Canadian maple syrup. Obviously, I had just been on a good run so justifying eating 2 waffles was very easy. There really was no second thought. We finished breakfast, put the focaccia bread in the oven to bake and went about getting ready for the day. We had a very busy day planned of errands, cooking and eating.
Nadine and I headed out to pick up a few things, including for me, the world's best granola for Wheatberries Bakery, which I make a purpose of picking up every visit. It is $8.00 for a 600g bag but worth every cent. Nadine and Owen were off to a dinner party in the evening and we needed to get dinner on for them to take. After our errands we made it home to start on the Roasted Harvest Vegetables Casserole, peeling and chopping a variety of winter root vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, potato, zucchini, turnips, broccoli and cauliflower, mixed with olive oil, rosemary and other herbs, the casserole is ready to go in the oven. Next, the hummus. Nadine whips up a batch of curried hummus (from scratch) which is the best hummus you'll ever have. Nadine and Owen head out the door with casserole in hand and the evening is mine to myself. The fire to roaring downstairs, my casserole is in the oven and the solitude and stillness is welcomingly palpable. I prop myself in front of the fire which brings me to now. I am more content than I have been in a very long time. I've had a day with the family, eaten great food, spent the morning sitting by the ocean, broke a good sweat, slept a good night's sleep, and been at peace with a lot of things. My heart is quiet, my mind is wondering at a leisure pace. I am in my element of heat by the fire and quiet solitude. The roasted harvest vegetable casserole, fococcia with curried hummus and smoked Gouda cheese made for a lovely dinner. I'll have a bowl granola for dessert and revel in the blessing that this day was.

I write about this weekend which presently seems inconsequential, but in the future, I want to remember this weekend. This weekend I was better than just ok. These days I had warmth, food, family, saw beauty in the trivial, took time to just sit by the water, cherished the time I had with my family, and created new memories. Because, I worry about those days where I won't remember these moments and their just become lost to the hustle and bustle of daily life. I always want to remember the smell of home baked bread with the slightest hint of rosemary lingering in the kitchen. I want to remember the sound of laughter at the stories Auntie Nadine and I share as we go for the long drive on country roads. I want to remember to warmth of the fireplace on my back, the feel of vegetables doused in olive oil, and the softness of clean sheets as I crawl into bed. I want to remember because I am very aware of the fleeting characteristics of life. I am aware that times changes, and we won't always have the opportunities to do what we want when we want it, so do what you want when you want now. Tomorrow, I will do just that, but for now, I'll bask in this moment and wait for tomorrow to come.

My Weekend Escape - Day 1

I live by the firm belief that there are two ways to deal with problems. You can either face them head on OR you can run far far away as fast as possible. I often choose the latter which explains my lack of confrontation skills and inability to cope with conflict. It also explains why I spend lots of time not at home. My go-to retreat is a lovely home on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. My dearest Auntie Nadine and Uncle Owen call this place home where as I call it my personal B&B. Their home is a safe haven for me where I can just relax, be me, and leave all my worries 176 miles away. It’s just a short drive, ferry ride, and another drive away. From beginning to end, my weekend escapes inevitably are blog-worthy, so here I go.

My Weekend Escape - Day 1:
I hit the road after leaving work around noon. Headed north, I made a quick stop for lunch in Mill Creek and continued on. There was little traffic and I was making good time. I quite enjoy the drive to the border. It’s all very picturesque with the fields and mountains and trees and lakes as it reminds me that country really isn't too far from the city. I passed the time with a phone date with Stacy and eventually reached the border.

Now, a quick word about the border. I quite enjoy going through because 1.) I'm so close to Canada I can see it, 2.) Without fail, I get asked the same questions (where do I live, purpose of my trip, destination, duration of stay, what do I do for a living, where do I work and is the car mine?) so I'm never really nervous like some people get and 3.) I'm always interested about what border patrol officer I'll get. I find that occupation so fascinating I wish I could talk to a border patrol agent and just quiz about crazy stories. As I approached the booth I saw the border patrol officer was a rounder, 35ish gentleman with a friendly yet serious and dry disposition. He asked the purpose of my trip to which I replied, "visiting my aunt." At the end of the standard questions, he threw in the "What will you and your aunt be doing?" I inadvertently chuckled out loud and response with, "You never know." He handed me back my passport and with a sly smile said, "Lucky aunt." I nervously smiled back and drove away. As I'm pulling away, I think, "Did that border patrol agent just hit on me?" And the answer is yes. God Bless Canada. That totally makes up for the homeless guy that called Chester and I "Skanky Bitches" in the tunnel not 6 hours prior.

Onward to the ferry, through Vancouver, and to the terminal. We had a smooth sailing, minus the late departure. I have great memories of that ferry ride but it is also the part of the trip when you realize you are so close yet still have a bit of a ways to travel before getting to the final destination. Since the ferry left late there was a weird timing situation with Auntie Nadine and Uncle Owen and getting me fed (clearly very important). Nadine is kind of a big deal in town so she phoned MaMa's (A little restaurant in town) and asked if Paulette (the owner) would stay open for me as the ferry was late and I hadn't eaten. In true coastal hospitality she stayed open until I arrived just in time to scarf down a Panini and run off to the evening's festivities.

We head over to the Artesia Coffehouse/Art Gallery (which oddly enough wasn't serving coffee, only herbal teas and apple cider) to have an evening watching local musicians perform. I sipped on hot apple cider and partook in the evening of music and revelry. The line up started with Metomorphosis, a trio of young ladies (still in high school I presume) who did great renditions of "Warwick Avenue" and "Strawberry Wine." They were followed up by a French Canadian guitarist and vocalist, Gaetan Begevin, has a vague likeness to Gerard Depardieu with longer thinning hair and his shirt unbuttoned one button too far. Nonetheless he was a good vocalist and guitarist who did a great cover of The Animals, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." The third act consisted of 2 soprano saxophonists who felt the need to "improvise" for 15 minutes, of which sounded more like barnyard animals wailing on New Year's Eve, but then again, I prefer music that generally has rhythm, a melody, a harmony, or any other such "generics." I'm sure they are very talented. Lastly, and the best was definitely saved for last, was this great 5 person band called "Sweet Cascadia." Consisting of a guitarist/harmonica player, bass cellist, banjo, and couple folks on the percussion/back-up vocalists - totally rocked the house in the calmest tree hugging, granola-eating-sustainable-resource-using way. They sang about second-hand bikes, Wal-Mart (and keeping it out of their town), kingfishers, and they encouraged the audience to sing (which I heartily participated). They even got an encore which they seemed so surprise at that they were a loss of what to do with themselves. When all the acts where done, we helped clean up the place, put the chairs away and socialized with the locals, then headed home to call it a night.

At this point I've been up since 5:30 am, traveled several hundred miles and its now 11:00 pm. I'm exhausted but relaxed and calmly energized. Shockingly (ha!), Nadine and I always find the energy to chat and laugh more so we gathered in the living room and talked about music, French Canadians, learning languages, plans for the next day and other such irrelevant topics. Midnight roles around which obviously means one thing in this house: snack time. Owen runs down to the fridge and unwraps this smoked Gouda cheese (from the Okanogan in Washington) which tastes like bliss and we all chowed down on a midnight snack of cheese and rye bread. It was delicious and the most pleasant way to wrap of a lovely evening. I made my way to bed so excited to crawl in, read and fade into sleep.