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What prompted me to think about this topic all of a sudden? Well, Jian had been away on a family emergency for one week (he’s back home today), & that gave me a lot of quiet time to think about different aspects of my life. I was also able to focus more deeply & observe things in my life that I usually let slide by, in my state of comfort & complacency. Since Jian had been away, one thing I noticed was that I was actively trying to go to bed earlier than I normally do when he’s around. I have a tendency to stay up later at night when Jian’s around because I always allow everyone else in my house to get ready for bed first, & I’m most often the very last person to use the shower, which makes me late getting into bed.

This time, I actively tried to get ready for bed sooner, so I wouldn’t have to spend so much late night time getting ready, & I’d have more free time to lounge around in bed before sleeping. I’ve also recognized a few other things, like lifestyle habits, that pretty much contradict each other. Here I’ve broken down a list of the most apparent contradictions that I feel like I could work on changing as this year progresses.


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I’ve already talked about this in my post intro, but I’d like to expand on it a little bit here. This has always been a bad habit of mine for a very, very, very long time. Even when I was working at my stereotypical 9 to 5 office desk job, I would stay up late watching videos on YouTube & futzing around on my laptop (I didn’t have a tablet at that time), even though I knew I had very precious little time to sleep before waking up at the crack of dawn to catch my early morning subway to get to the office on time. I thought I was being clever by taking naps on the subway, but looking back on it, I know that I was just burning my candle at both ends. I wasn’t getting actual proper sleep, & napping only helped me from nodding off in my office cubicle. Not to mention, I didn’t even notice that my skin’s complexion was looking frighteningly dull, & I was forming nasty dark circles & bags around my eyes.

I’m not quite sure why I like to stay up late at night. I think the inner child inside of me is trying to rebel from going to sleep at a reasonable hour…like I’m a teenager again fighting my parents’ bedtime curfew. I know it doesn’t do my body any good, but I somehow don’t feel sleepy before midnight.

On the flip side, I don’t mind waking up early. Ever since I had to wake up at 5am every morning for my office job, I’ve been used to waking up early. I still try to wake up early-ish these days, but it’s the getting out of my bed part that I still need to work on. I will set my alarm for an early morning time, & then when my alarm goes off, I spend quite a bit of time lounging about in bed until the last minute when I’m supposed to actually get up, get dressed, & get going with my day.

I set at least 3 to 4 alarms on my smartphone to wake me up in the morning. I just do not trust the snooze button. Also, I don’t want to have to hit the snooze button 4 or 5 times before I actually get up in the mornings. I like to set each of my alarms with different ringtones, so it forces me to actually wake up, pick up my smartphone, & physically check my phone. This pushes my brain to “wake up” as well, so I’m not letting myself stay in that half-asleep, half-awake mode that will always lead to me falling back to sleep when I’m really supposed to be getting out of bed & getting dressed.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed out of all of this, it’s this: I really enjoy lounging about in my bed, snuggled under the warm sheets while wearing my super comfortable & soft pajamas. If I had the opportunity to slack off, I could easily spend hours playing on my tablet while laying in bed, day or night. Though, I’m happy to report that I’m slowly breaking myself away from these types of bad habits. Like I said before, while Jian was away, I forced myself to get ready for bed sooner, so I can hop into bed at an earlier hour, & I have been actively pushing myself to sit up when I wake up in the morning. That way I won’t have the urge to just lay there like a dead fish out of water for the better part of the morning.


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I guess this is a good time to segue into bed making. I mean, it’s the first thing I do when I get out of bed in the morning, even before I brush my teeth or put on my clothes for the day. It’s one habit that I’ve trained myself to do, which is to make my bed every single morning even if I’m running late. Of course the OCD side of my personality can’t stand to see an unkempt, unmade bed. (It looks so sloppy!) So, I force myself to make my bed first thing in the morning to get that task out of the way. I once read an article in a Scandinavian mindfulness magazine, where they stated as one of their points of mindfulness is to make your bed every morning. It will give you a feeling of accomplishment & happiness, & when you get home from work, you will feel good because that’s one chore you don’t have to do on top of the hundred other chores you have to do when you get home. I feel very happy when I see my fully made bed every time I walk into my room, not only because I’ve ticked off one less chore on my to-do list, but because every time I walk past my room I feel like my room looks clean & tidy.

Even though I say all these wonderful things about making the bed in the mornings, I don’t actually enjoy the act of making the bed, mostly because Jian is the kind of sleeper that likes to toss & turn throughout the night, & that means that the bed sheets like to pull up at the corners, or they twist & turn. Even when I’m sleeping, I like to have my sheets arranged in an orderly fashion. I like all of the bed corners to be folded & tucked  tightly, & I like the top edges of my sheets & blankets to be as straight as possible. I don’t move around as much when I sleep. I notice this by how every morning I wake up with a crick in my shoulder or lower back from sleeping in one position for too long.

Making my bed every morning feels like a total drag, especially when I have to keep walking around the bed to re-straighten the sheets & re-tuck all the corners again. I try to rush when I’m doing this task, but it always ends up taking me more than 5 minutes to get the bed looking decent. On the other hand, I don’t have any issues or gripes with putting on new bed sheets. I guess my brain is tricking me into thinking that I’m making the bed from scratch. The mattress is bare, & I can now arrange the sheets exactly how I like it without having to go back & forth to tug & straighten the rumpled sheets. Plus, when you put on fresh new sheets on the bed, the sheets feel crisp, wrinkle free, & the elastic around the fitted sheet feels tight again. It’s like covering a bowl with a new roll of plastic wrap instead of covering it with a plastic tarp.


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Let’s transition from clean sheets to clean clothes, shall we? Oh, I love washing laundry: pre-treating stains, pre-soaking, the whole shebang. I consider myself an expert in washing clothes. I pretty much have taken over all control of the washer & dryer in my house. When anyone in my household has a laundry issue, they always consult me first before doing any of the washing themselves. I pride myself in doing a mean load of laundry. I pretty much wash all of the laundry in my household.

Buttttt… I will say that I loathe folding the clothes after they’ve been washed. I will do it, of course, but not without a lot of groaning & whining. I try to make this task a little less boring by throwing all the piles of freshly washed clothes on top of my bed, & turn on the TV while I’m folding everything. I’ll sometimes try to time myself to see if I can finish folding the large mound of just-out-of-the-dryer clothes before the movie I’m watching is over. Doing this makes me more motivated to fold faster. If I don’t give myself this challenge, then what could’ve originally taken me less than 30 minutes to do will end up taking an hour or more to do because I’ll get distracted &  try to do other things in-between folding all the clothes.

This is especially true if I have to fold a ton of t-shirts & women’s underwear. Why do men’s t-shirts always get misshapen after one wash? It’s like they’ve all got one higher shoulder than the other. Also, why is it so hard to fold those little scraps of triangle lace? The lace always wants to curl, & will never fold straight.


 

I would not consider myself to be a chef or a cook in any capacity. I did take a proper Home Economics class in high school where we learned about food prep, kitchen safety, & hot to follow a few simple recipes. However, I can’t say that I’m a very good cook. I would say as much as that I am proficient in the kitchen. I can boil water without burning the pot. I know the difference between ‘dice‘ & ‘julienne‘. That doesn’t mean I can cook Sunday roast chicken dinners with all the fixin’s. I can cook simple pasta dishes & a few varieties of one-pot stews/soups. I can also cook up a few simple stir fry dishes (like Asian fried rice dishes). I can even bake a sweet treat every now & again…but then again, I just don’t have the passion for cooking like most people do.

Take Jian, for instance. He’s very passionate about cooking. He loves creating new flavors & experimenting in the kitchen. He also loves to follow recipes he’s read about on the internet, written by some celebrity chef du jour from some new hipster restaurant. Jian can take random leftovers from the fridge & make new & inventive dishes out of those items. As for me, I enjoy cooking from time to time, but it’s not a real interest or passion of mine. My general approach to cooking is based out of necessity. I cook when I am asked to fulfill a request or favor by my household, you know, to let others take a break from cooking everyday. Sometimes, I get this creative food idea in my head, & that inspires me to volunteer my cooking services, but mostly I cook when I’m asked to.

On the flip side, I’m great at cleaning up the table after dinner. I can easily & confidently say that I’m the best dish washer in all the land. Yes, washing dishes is my kitchen specialty. It’s an extremely boring chore, but I’d rather scrub food scraps off of pots & pans than to prep & cook a full meal. Just like my enjoyment of washing laundry, I like to wash the dishes in exchange for food. Usually my mom cooks, mostly because she doesn’t like other people making greasy messes in her kitchen, but also because she’s always trying out new recipes she’s clipped from all of her old magazines. In turn, I help her not only set the table & wash the dishes after each meal, but I also help her clean the kitchen from floor to ceiling. I’d say that’s a pretty good trade off.


This is slowly becoming a burning blog post about how much my OCD personality rears it’s incredibly neat, yet ugly head. All I ever talk about is how much I enjoy cleaning the house & doing mundane everyday chores. Like in this section, I am talking about how I don’t mind vacuuming the house. I mean, it brings me joy & a huge sense of (relief) accomplishment after I’ve thoroughly vacuumed through my entire house. My house is not small, nor is it large. It’s an Eichler home, so it’s a fairly decent size. I’ve already got a routine on how I vacuum the house. I start with the bedroom side of the house & work my way in a wide C-shape or U-shape (depending on how you want to look at it) to the opposite side of the house where the former garage, current kitchen is located.

As you can clearly see in my graphic above, I use TWO different types of vacuum cleaners. That’s how crazy I get with keeping my house clean. I can get so anal rententive that I have different cleaning tools for different aspects of maintaining a clean home. For example, I only use my handheld cordless Dyson vacuum to clean flat, hard surfaces like hardwood or tile, but I won’t use my cordless vacuum to clean the rugs around my house. My Dyson vacuum is  practically an antique by today’s technology standards, so it wouldn’t be able to do much more than sweep hardwood/tile surfaces anyway. That’s why I don’t really use it to clean heavy trafficked areas & large furniture around my house. So, I also use a traditional canister vacuum that I have to plug in & roll around the house. My Miele canister vacuum has been with me for many more years, & has lived a much longer life than my Dyson cordless vacuum. It has sustained a lot of wear & tear, but it’s still putting along just fine, & I find it still easy to use (even in today’s cordless, wireless times). The suction & fill capacity of my canister vacuum is by far, leaps & bounds better than my cordless vacuum & really takes care of the heavy duty cleaning. The upside to keeping my cordless vacuum around is that I can easily buy replacement parts for it, & since vacuum repair shops are a dying trend, that makes it more convenient than probably buying a new vacuum every time I encounter a problem with my vacuum.

Ok, so on the second half of my graphic I wrote that I loathe dusting around my house. Since I get severe allergies when I encounter too much dust, even if I were to wear a face mask, I would still get major allergy symptoms from dusting. One major problem I have in my house is that we have way too many surfaces & objects that need to be dusted. For example, we have a ton of large LEGO sets displayed all around the house, & my mom prefers them to be looking pristine at all times, so she’s always making me dust every single set thoroughly. Another example is we just have a lot of table & open shelf space that needs to be dusted, & dusting is my least favorite chore to do around the house…ok, maybe second least favorite chore next to weeding my backyard garden. I am always trying to avoid & put off dusting until the absolute very last moment when I just can’t stand to see that thick layer of dust gathering along the top edge of the TV set. That’s when I’ll pop on a face mask & bust out my Swiffer duster & go to town. Dusting my house sucks major donkey balls, but unfortunately it’s something that can’t be avoided for very long.


Like a lot of women my age, I do have some insecurities about my body, not too many, but some. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always dressed for comfort & not really for fashion’s sake. I never really dressed feminine or cutesy/girly, although my mom has suggested that I do so many times throughout my life. I never got any of my sister’s hand-me-down clothes, & my parents never really forced or highly encouraged me to dress any certain way other than neatly. I could wear baggy jeans & t-shirts as long as they were hole-free, stain-free & wrinkle-free.

Throughout my life my mom has given me fashion guidance on how to dress properly for special occasions, special events, & the office. Her advice has helped me along the way, but I have still maintained my casual dress style up until now. I’d say over the past 10 years or so, I’ve become more open to wearing more feminine clothing. I’ve taken up wearing more skirts in the summertime. Granted, they’re mostly over-the-knee length or longer & often flow-y to hide my legs & waistline, but at least I’m open to exposing my bare calves, where as before, I would stick to wearing only jeans, chino pants, & women’s trousers….basically anything that fully covered my legs & gave them no shape.

But hey, even though I am appreciating skirts more, doesn’t exactly mean that I’m now comfortable showing off my legs. I’m still not very confident about my body & its shape(s), but I am trying to at least add some more age appropriate & classy items to my wardrobe. I am trying to show some semblance of femininity, instead of constantly looking like I’m a walking, shapeless paper bag. I have been, recently, more proactive in losing some stubborn weight I gained in the past few years, & trying to build up a little more muscle definition. It’s a long & boring process, but I would like to be able to wear dresses where I am not covering up from neck to ankle & looking like an inappropriate Victorian cosplayer. I have definitely fallen prey to society’s ideals & social media marketing of pretending that I look like I’ve got a “naturally” trim waistline, pouty DSL-like lips, & perky C-cup tits (all for the sake of attracting an equally high maintenance attractive mate). I wouldn’t exactly say that I look like a Lump-a-potomus. I am actually quite average in build, body shape, & boob size, but my self confidence is flimsy at best. I am working on that, building my self confidence, & that starts with feeling comfortable to wear skirts & other more feminine clothing items.


Now I’ve finally reached the end of this super long blog post. Let’s talk about one of my favorite topics, or rather one of my favorite food groups…or at least, it should be a food group all on its own. Let’s talk about coffee. You may be well aware by now, based on how many times I’ve mentioned in this blog that I frequent the big box coffee shop down the street from my house, that I am a lover of coffee. I love the smell of freshly roasted beans. I love to brew it at home & do all of those fancy-schmancy techniques those hipster baristas do at the café, like using craft roasted beans & grinding the whole beans myself. I love to drink coffee. Trust me, I could drink coffee all day long, but I know that’s not good for you, so I’ve been actively trying to cut back on the amount of cups I drink per day.

I used to drink three or more cups a day, but over the past few years, I have been really trying hard to limit myself to at most two cups per day. I’ve been trying to drink more water instead of caffeinated (& sometimes sugary) drinks. I have definitely cut down on the sugar factor in my coffee though. I have almost cut out sugar entirely in my coffee & espresso drinks, keeping mostly to milk & Half & Half cream. Sometimes, if the craving arises, then I’ll add two packets of plain sugar into my drink, but I try to avoid it now to keep my sugar intake low.

My mom was actually the person who introduced me to the wonderful world of coffee. When I was a young teenager, & a lot of my friends weren’t drinking or weren’t allowed to drink coffee, my mom would always let me take a sip or two of her cup. That got me curious about coffee, but I didn’t actually start drinking whole cups until I was in my twenties. I used to throw in a shit ton of sugar & milk in my coffee to mask the bitter, harsh taste. If I could, I would use those sickly sweet, flavored creams, & use a lot of it for that matter.

I guess over time I’ve built somewhat of a tolerance for the caffeine in coffee beans. I can drink coffee at any time day or night, & it won’t make me feel jittery or jumpy at all. Well, unless I have a “revolver” espresso drink, which consists of six short shots of espresso with cream, over ice. If I drink that, then my hands will be shaky for sure, & I’ll feel jittery for hours afterward. Otherwise, if I just drink basic cups of coffee, I can have a cup at night, after dinner or later & it won’t affect my sleeping habits. What I mean is, drinking coffee in the evening doesn’t keep me up at night. In fact, I’ve been known to fall asleep after drinking a strong café latte.

Well, even though I say that coffee doesn’t keep me up at night, it does however, perk me up in morning. I don’t know if it’s considered a full blown addiction, but if I don’t have at least half a cup of coffee in the morning, then I will feel light headed & somehow tired for the rest of the day. This is one of my life’s biggest contradictions aside from my late nights/early mornings contradiction. I don’t understand how I could crave coffee to wake me up in the morning, but it doesn’t affect my sleep at night. I mean, really. Any time after the morning has passed, if I drink coffee, I can still fall asleep, but I still need it to perk me up in the mornings. This just doesn’t make sense, but I’m not going to question it any further than this. I love coffee & will continue to drink it for as long as my body will allow. Coffee is so delicious. I can understand those who don’t have any interest whatsoever in coffee (& often prefer tea). That just means more coffee for me!


Well, there goes my long ass blog post. I could write a thousand words about absolutely nothing at all, but it relaxes me, & writing the topics in this blog post really had me exercising my brain, & forcing me to really take an in-depth look at my personality. It might not mean anything to the rest of the world, but to me this blog post was important to write. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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I’m officially back from Vancity, & I just want to say that we all had a blast! I felt like an awkward tourist that stood out like a sore thumb whenever I walked out of my hotel lobby wearing my thick jacket & scarf each day. I mean, seriously, I don’t know how the locals are able to walk in the brisk/chilly weather wearing what I would consider to be nothing (but actually thin layers), some wearing only t-shirts & thin hoodies, & I saw some girls actually wearing skimpy dresses. I’ve experienced crisp, cold weather like this before, but I still could not imagine wearing such thin layers. I probably looked like the Michelin tire mascot the whole time I was in Vancouver. My mom surprisingly had no major issues with her sciatica (no flare ups), & all the walking we did around the city did wonders for her physical therapy regimen. Well, now that I’ve gotten that little intro blurb out of the way, let me get on with it.


THE WEATHER

It was freaking beautiful the whole time we stayed in Vancouver. We thought it was going to rain the entire time we were supposed to be there, so we brought our rain coats & compact umbrellas, but we practically had no need for them. It seems Mother Nature had cried out all her tears the week before we arrived, so it was sunny with mild wind nearly every day. There was only one day where it barely drizzled, but nothing that required us to pull out our umbrellas. It wasn’t nearly as cold as we thought it would be. A couple of Jian’s co-workers explained to him that the weather was supposed to be much colder than it had been during that time, & that kind of scared us a little bit, but in the end the weather wasn’t much different from the cold wintery days of San Francisco.

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THE ACCOMMODATIONS

We stayed in the Yaletown neighborhood, right behind the BC Place Stadium, at the DOUGLAS (an Autograph Collection) hotel. The hotel was very close to Jian’s office in the Olympic Village area. He could walk to his office in approximately 15 minutes or so. First of all, I loved the neighborhood of our hotel. It was so convienient to get anywhere around Vancouver proper. I loved our hotel even more. The staff were super friendly, & the service was excellent. I was the most charmed by the architecture & decor of the hotel itself. It was a mix of modern city living, contemporary luxury, & mid-century modern. I took some photos of our room for your reference. I feel like for three people, the room might feel a little too cozy for some, but if there were only two people, then the room size would be adequate.

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THE FOOD

I’m not very much of a fan of fusion style food, but I ate quite a bit of it while I was in Vancouver. One of the first fusion style restaurants we ate at was called PIDGIN, & I think Jian just single-handedly turned me into a bona fide foie gras fan after trying their infamous foie gras rice bowl (a.k.a. donburi, 丼). After listening to the many times Jian had raved & gushed over this restaurant (especially raving about the rice bowl), I decided to try this restaurant, just to make him happy. Jian was not wrong. In fact, he was so very right. We shared the foie gras rice bowl & a dish of sweetbreads. I can clearly see why Jian loves this restaurant so much & has to eat there at least once on every trip to Vancouver. This restaurant has a great Japanese-Korean-French fusion style, but they also make killer cocktails. Sorry, we don’t have any photos of this famous rice bowl…we always end up digging right in as soon as the food arrives, without even thinking of a photo-op.

Another fusion style restaurant we tried was called BAO BEI CHINESE BRASSERIE (宝貝, a.k.a. treasured object). This restaurant is pretty popular, since it’s owner(s) are trying to revive the nearby Chinatown area by opening this restaurant there.  The place serves Chinese-French/ish fusion food, but we were not too impressed with the dishes we ordered based on our first impressions. Also, although the restaurant interiors looked hip & swanky, the space itself was rather tight (as in small). I think that if we have a second chance, I would like to visit this restaurant again, & see if the second go will change my impression of this Chinese-French/ish cuisine.

One of the most memorable eateries I tried in Vancouver was, of all places, a bakery called SMALL VICTORY BAKERY. Oh, man! I ate at this bakery at least three times during my stay in Vancity. Yes, that’s how much I enjoyed the pastries (& the coffee!) at this fine establishment. Plus, it was super close to my hotel, still in Yaletown, so it was easy for me to pop over there for a nice hot cup of drip coffee & a freshly baked treat. The decor & the font of the bakery’s logo remind me a little of our MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE here in San Francisco.

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We also ate at various other delicious eating establishments like: THE FLYING PIG, MINAMITUC CRAFT KITCHEN & TETSU SUSHI BAR. At The Flying Pig, I’ve never seen my mom devour a whole plate of tri-tip steak sandwich and shoestring fries. It was very delicious (& incredibly filling), & the restaurant’s menu items reminded me of the typical California-style cuisine I’m used to back home. Jian was very eager to introduce us to Minami, a very traditional Japanese restaurant, where we could try their version of box sushi (a.k.a. Oshizushi, 押し寿司). I don’t really eat boxed sushi, mostly because I don’t like warm sushi topped with warm, cooked fish. The textures & sometimes flavor don’t appeal to me, but the boxed sushi at Minami is definitely worth a try. I tried their version, & genuinely liked it.

When we ate at TUC, I didn’t know that I’d be scarfing down a 12 ounce slab of porterhouse steak. It was massive! OK, so I didn’t actually eat the entire 12 ounces of meat; I shared a little with my mom & Jian, so I pretty much ate close to 10-11 ounces of juicy, flavorful steak. Yum!

Remember when I sad I was converted into a foie gras fan? Well, Jian took my mom & I on our last supper in Vancouver to Tetsu Sushi Bar. This sushi spot serves up sushi using super traditional techniques, & it was some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten this side of the Pacific Ocean (meaning outside of Japan). We were treated to a delicious slice of heaven when Jian ordered the foie gras nigiri sushi (握り寿司) for each of us. My mom didn’t eat her piece, so Jian & I each shared one half of her piece, which is a big-time faux pas in sushi eating culture. (Part of the so-called unspoken rules of eating sushi, especially at the counter in front of the sushi master himself, is you do not split your slice of sushi in half, nor do you pick off the slice of fish from the ball of rice. Those actions are like a metaphorical slap of the face to the sushi master, as though you’re quietly saying his skills suck.) So, we tried to be as discreet as possible in sharing my mom’s piece of foie gras sushi…because Jian thought it was unfair that my mom gave me her entire piece for myself. Therefore I decided to share it with him.

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Is dessert considered to be an actual meal? I would think so because the cups of liquid nitrogen frozen ice cream from MISTER were pretty substantial. I also visited this ice cream shop about as many times as I visited Small Victory Bakery. Well, when my mom requests to eat ice cream, who am I to turn her down? Plus, their creme brûlée ice cream was to-die-for! I mean, the shop went the extra mile & added a layer of sugar crust just like a regular creme brûlée dessert. If ice cream wasn’t such a guilty treat, then I’d eat this flavor of ice cream everyday.

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Ok, & here is where I’m going to insert a montage of all the delicious libations we partook in.


THE ATTRACTIONS

Aside from all of the walking we did, my mom & I visited many of Vancity’s finest museums & gardens. We first explored around the VANDUSEN BOTANICAL GARDENS, where I got to experience my first hedge maze. Even though my mom was suffering through her bout of sciatica, she pulled through like a badass trooper, & was able to walk around the entire botanical garden without a single hitch or twitch. It was a nice relaxing day getting some fresh air & observing all of the various foliage & flowers. It made my mom & I really wish my dad could be with us to share in this enriching experience. My dad always loved gardens & parks, & the two of us enjoyed reminiscing aboout the good ol’ days with my dear ol’ dad.

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I was extremely thrilled when I found out that there was still a chance for me to catch the art exhibition from one of my all-time favorite pop art artists Takashi Murakami at the VANCOUVER ART GALLERY. I had heard about his unique exhibition called THE OCTOPUS EATS ITS OWN LEG through a video blogger on YouTube. This girl, whose monthly vlog I watched, explained how she got personally invited to the exhibition while she was in Vancouver doing a photo shoot for her startup fashion brand. She had incorrectly informed her viewers that the exhibition would be over at the beginning of March, which bummed me out, but then I was lucky to find out that Murakami‘s exhibition would be running until May 6! I quickly bought tickets to this exhibition (which also allowed us to visit the rest of the art gallery)…I could not miss this opportunity. I’ve seen a few of Murakami‘s artwork here & there around various museums, galleries, & high end shops, but I’ve never actually been to one of his full exhibitions before. It was a real treat to not only be able to view his art, but also learn about the excruciatingly painstaking process of creating one of his art pieces, & learn about his inspirations & art idols. At first, I wasn’t sure my mom would want to accompany me to view pop art flowers, cartoonish skulls, & grotesque morphed figures, but she was curious to say the least about this exhibition & thoroughly enjoyed herself. She was especially taken with the pop art teddy bear figure Murakami had created for Kanye West & his album Graduation. My mom had fallen in love with the diamond-encrusted gold necklace on the bear figure. I was especially grateful to be able to take a closer glimpse into the art life of one of my creative idols & inspirations.

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Aside from viewing one of the most creatively inspiring exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, my mom & I also visited a few historical & cultural museums along the way. We went to the MUSEUM OF VANCOUVER & the MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY. At the Museum of Vancouver, we learned so much about how Vancouver was formed, & we were especially interested in learning about the rich & long-standing Chinese & Japanese history of Vancouver, like how Chinatown was formed & how the Japanese were treated in the internment camps during the war. This part of Vancouver’s history particularly struck a chord with me because there’s a lot of both Chinese & Japanese culture &/or ethnicity threading through my family tree. We didn’t get to spend very much time at the Museum of Anthropology because my mom’s sciatica was bothering her a little bit, but we were able to take a look into all of the amazing artifacts from all of the First Nations of Canada. The museum was so well organized & orderly. It was too bad we coulnd’t browse around more. On top of that, we were eager to meet up with Jian, since he noted he would be able to leave his office extra early on that day.

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ALL THE REST

I was flabbergasted & shocked to learn from Jian & various other sources (like our varied taxi drivers) that: 1. there are no freeways, highways, or interstates going to or through Vancouver, & 2. there are no UBER drivers in Vancouver (yet…I think). I just could not fathom the fact that everywhere you go by car in Vancouver, you must take commercial & residential street routes. I am so used to driving on a major freeway or interstate in my city to get around more efficiently (even though our road traffic is getting increasingly worse each year). Then, I just got the hang of using the super convenient UBER instead of calling a taxi, but to find out that UBER is not allowed to set up shop in Vancity, that just boggled my mind. However, I heard from a taxi driver that sometime within the next year or so, UBER will be allowed to operate in Vancouver, which is a good sign.

One other note, I love how friendly, polite, & amiable the citizens of Vancouver really are. I mean, it’s no exaggeration when Canadians boast about how polite & humble they are. There was one night when we were trying to get a cab from the taxi stand in the public garage of our hotel, & the line for taxi service was pretty long since a lot of people from the BC Place Stadium next door had just finished watching a Canada Sevens rugby game & were all trying to get a taxi as well. One guy had gotten into a heated argument with his girlfriend earlier on in the day, & was already amped up from that fight after the girlfriend had stormed off in the taxi they were supposed to share, leaving the guy to awkwardly hold her purse. The guy eventually took his frustrations of missing his cab out on the valet at the taxi stand as well as some guys waiting the taxi line who were trying to stick up for the ever-well-mannered valet. After this angry dude let out his teeny-tiny tirade, he quickly & profusely apologized to everyone in view of his little rant. He kept saying that he didn’t mean to project his issues on to everyone else. He made a grand apology & then quickly got into the first available cab. Nobody said a word about his tirade other than to comment on who witnessed the argument between the frustrated guy & his pissed off girlfriend. This incident surprised me. In San Francisco, if a situation like this ever unfolded, the guy ranting about his missed taxi would’ve been in the middle of a fist fight real quick.

There is one last thing I want to say about the fair city of Vancouver. THANKS FOR PLAYING ALL OF MY FAVORITE MUSIC EVERYWHERE I WENT! I mean, every time I ate at a restaurant or cafe, or whenever I stepped into a shop, there would be commercial-free music playing throughout the entire place…& not just any music. All the music being played were all the golden hits from the 1990s, early 2000s, & the chart topping music hits of today…most of it being Alternative & Rock music. I practically was singing everywhere I went. It was epic.

[INSERT MY AWESOME SPOTIFY PLAYLIST HERE]


Overall, my Vancity trip was great. We got to catch up with old friends visiting us from Seattle, Washington. We stuffed ourselves silly on food & drinks…soaked up all the culture & good weather.

I wish I had more time in Vancouver to explore more neighborhoods & areas, but since my mom was sort of limited by her sciatica, & I was there playing care-giver to mom, we pretty much stayed within our Yaletown/Gastown bubble. I would have liked to explore more of the city on my own & walk to more places or do more outdoorsy activities. Jian is scheduled to take another business trip to Vancouver in a few months, & he has already invited me to travel with him. If I am able to roma around by myself, I would love to explore more of Vancouver! Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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Dude, like really, going to the doctor’s office makes me feel anxious & nervous, even when I have to go in for a routine check-up or for a specific reason; always has, & always will. Going to the dentist’s office also makes me nervous as hell, like, for real, but we’ll get into that some other time. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment scheduled for later this week, you know, before I head on up to Van City, & I’m already feeling the anxiety.

I know that I’m only going to the doctor’s office for a just a follow-up chat with a specialist I’ve already met & talked to before, but it still makes me freak the hell out on the inside. My mind cannot stop thinking about my upcoming appointment, & I’m not liking this one bit. I can’t stop dwelling on this upcoming appointment, feeling terrified of what the doctor may or may not say. I know (in the back of my mind) that I can’t control what the outcome will be after my chat with this specialist doctor, but it worries me to think he might say something that will affect the outcome I would like to achieve.

Once this doctor’s visit is done & over with, I will be able to breath a sigh of relief, & will be able to spend my time in Vancouver with no anxiety looming over my head. I am seriously dreading this appointment, yet I can’t wait to get this over with. I’ve always been little chicken shit scaredy cat when it comes to things like doctor & dental check-ups. Even when I’m going to get a routine teeth cleaning, I’ll feel nervous & on edge all the way until the dental assistant hands me that little plastic baggie with the travel sized toothpaste & dental floss & tells me I get to choose my own free toothbrush color.

I remember crying so hard as a kid whenever I had to go to the dentist (which was all the time, even though I hardly ate sweets or drank soda). I used to cry so hard when I was little that my mom would often pretend that I wasn’t her child when other parents would glance at her in the waiting room of the dentist’s office. It got so bad that my dentist would have to put me to sleep with laughing gas in order to do something as simple as fill a cavity.

Of course, I’m much better now. At least I don’t cry when I’m in the exam room…but that doesn’t mean that I’m not white-knuckle balling my hands into fists as I wait for my name to be called by the nurse. In my head, I’m counting down the minutes to when I can bolt out the door & run for my life to my car to get the hell out of Dodge. My mind drifts to all of the what-if-shit-goes-horribly-wrong scenarios, & that makes me feel even more anxious & on edge. Then, when I finally finish my appointment with my doctor &/or dentist, that’s when I can finally breathe again. I don’t always leave the doctor’s/dentist’s office feeling like I’m on top of the world, but I feel immensely relieved that I won’t have to see that professional for another few months, & then the anxiety train arrives all over again.

Well, I’m going to try to push myself to think more positively about this upcoming doctor’s visit, but I don’t think I’ll be very successful. Once I start feeling those nervous/anxious emotions, it’s hard to jump off that train. All I can do is hope for the best outcome afterwards. Then it’s off to Van City!! I’m so excited for my trip up north, that it’s almost helping me to forget that I’ve got a not-sos-cary-but-yes-it-is-scary doctor’s appointment coming up. Until then, Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

 

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This weekend is shaping up to be lovely. 🐻 🌺 . . . . . . . . . . #SaturdaySun #Saturdays #SaturdayFunday #WeekendMode #flowers #fuschia #magenta #outdoor #outdoors #ItsStillHazyOutHere #MotherNature #CityLiving #CityLife #TheBearsSchool #LineCamera @linecamera_official @the_bears_school_official
‘C’ is for coffee. ☕️ . . . . . . . . . . #HotCoffee #caffeine #coffee #espresso #FlatWhite #HotBeverage #drink #cozy #WarmAndCozy #AutumnWeather #TheresAChillInTheAir #TheLetterC #alphabet #foam #FlatWhiteArt #LatteArt #CoffeeArt #FridayFunday #TGIF #HappyHour #CoffeeHouse #TheBearsSchool #LineCamera #CoffeeOfInstagram #FoodieApp #DrinksOfInstagram @linecamera_official @foodieapp.official @starbucks @the_bears_school_official
I don’t think flip flops are proper shoes to work out in, but whatever floats your boat bruh. 🏋🏻‍♂️ . . . . . . . . . . #FlipFlops #shoes #kettlebell #WearProperShoes #WearProperClothes #shoes #gym #IAmNotAGymRat #workout #exercise #WhoWouldWearFlipFlopsToTheGym #WTF #Gymstagram #CityLife #CityLiving #LineCamera @linecamera_official
But first, we cheese. 🧀 🍮 . . . . . . . . . . #CheeseTart #BakeCheeseTart #HoneyLemon #NewFlavorAlert #NOTAnEggTart #dessert #SweetTreat #International #Market #UnionSquare #SoMa #SF #FoodsOfInstagram #CityLife #CityLiving #チーズタルト #チーズ #タルト #TheBearsSchool #LineCamera #FoodieApp @bakecheesetart_usa @bakecheesetart @linecamera_official @foodieapp.official @the_bears_school_official
New blanket alert! Got my new fleece blanket ready for the cold weather ahead... ♨️🛌🧺🧶 . . . . . . . . . . #NewBlanket #FleeceBlanket #blanket #fleece #FullSize #Peanuts #Snoopy #Woodstock #characters #ReadyForWinter #ColdDaysAhead #WarmAndCozy #ILoveSnoopy #Uniqlo #フリース #毛布 #ユ二クロ @uniqlo @uniqlousa @snoopygrams
Look around. The sky is brown. It’s a hazy shade of Autumn. The sun looked like a giant tangerine in the sky. Feeling the side effects from the wildfires in the Butte-NorCal area. Scary times. 🍂 ☀️ 🍊 . . . . . . . . . . #NOFILTER #orange #brown #smog #tangerine #sun #sunshine #NoClouds #Daylight #Daytime #afternoon #LooksLikeNightTime #sky #skyline #haze #hazy #smoky #TwighlightTime #nature #outdoors #outdoor #MyNeighborhood #CrazyNature #SuburbanLife #Suburbs #Autumn #MotherNature #SoScary #MotherNature #MotherNatureIsAMother #SideEffects

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