June 30th, 2009

In Transit

Coucou, anyone out there?

Oui?

Salut, les amis! Thanks for hanging in there. I know, I know. I promised you words & images almost two years ago! TWO. YEARS. They don’t lie about time flying as you get older. (You know how I loved me some mixed metaphors.)

Believe it or not I had pure intentions to come back and blab away at an earlier point only I was having some major technical problems that precluded my (not so) triumphant return! Thankfully, Monsieur deadpixel.ca came to the rescue and I can subject the Internets to my inane ramblings.

The thing is, I’d like my ramblings to be a little less inane. Surely this meandering post isn’t going to convince you of my master plan to revamp this old cyberhovel o’ mine but at least I am convinced! Unfortunately, my total technological dependence on my partner is going to hamper my plan’s progress for said partner is extremely busy with real work. That’s right, folks. This girl is going to have to learn how to wrangle her design ideas. No, wait…this girl is going to have to learn how to wrangle a CMS. So if you believe in a higher power, pray for this silly girl (who is tired of referring to herself in the third person)!

Also, if you’ve got special love for a particular publishing/content management system, holler! WordPress has been kind to me in the past but I am intrigued by ExpressionEngine’s possibilities.

And while I have no meaningful experience whatsoever with turning webby possibilities into reality, I’ve got a not-so-monkeyish coder king in my household. And lucky us: he is as patient and kind as love itself is so as much as he is likely going to hate having to help me with the redesign, we’ll all come out alive. Maybe with a new site for you to enjoy!

Methinks that I’m going to need to dedicate some of my late summer vacation time to this project. Yes, I’m still obsessed with vacation! Don’t get me wrong, I like my lawyerly work. That’s right: I am a lawyer now. It has only been one year since I was called to the bar but I’m already used to the lawyer jokes. Crack one if you must!

Surely no one wants to read about my lawyerly exploits but would prefer to learn about my international adventures. The last trip I mentioned — that fab exploration of Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague– seems like a lifetime ago now. Last year, we hit Paris for one delectable week. Just last month, we spent close to three weeks in Argentina and Uruguay.

I’ve been working hard to ensure that life continues to treat me well. Now it is time to work on documenting life in a brand new way. Wish me luck, dear friends!

August 27th, 2007

Hard to Raise Hell When Raised Catholic

Guilty. That’s how I often feel. When there’s no reason to feel guilt, I get annoyed with myself. Ah, regret, guilt’s evil twin.

Today some perverted pig flicked my right butt cheek as I walked back to work after a nice lunch with Dave. Spadina Ave. was sunny and full of pedestrians. One such lunchtime walker decided that it was his right to touch me. I whipped around and yelled, “What the fuck was that?!” His companion turned around but the culprit–the one who should feel guilty but surely does not–completely ignored my useless outburst. In shock, I muttered, “Asshole!” under my breath while a man smoking outside his fur store echoed my sentiments. “Disgusting!”

Yes, disgusting. And yet, somehow I was not just disgusted with the pervert’s behaviour, but was deeply disgusted by my own. Perhaps disgust is too strong of a word. I was disappointed in myself. First, I doubted my perception of the incident. Maybe he just brushed my bum by accident while walking by. When I pushed that silly thought away, I got angry about not chasing the jerk down and speaking my mind. What if he denies it and people think I’m making it up? Or worse, what if he does more than just flick my ass?

There I was, the ardent feminist, a crusader for equality and justice standing by and reaching for my cell phone so I could call my male partner who came to provide comfort. Sigh. Damsel in effin’ distress.

I love this city. I am almost never afraid in Toronto. In fact, when I am away from it, I often pine for the open and safe atmosphere of home that less diverse cities lack. The dream isn’t shattered, but the reality is a little foggier. (Oh, let me mix everything up today! Someone bloody violated my body in broad daylight and walked away to touch someone else without permission!)

Just yesterday while I was cycling with Dave and his family on the Îles-de-Boucherville, I was griping about how the tandem bike we rented reflected the pervasive male dominance of our society as the back seat (i.e., the seat for the non-steering follower) had a slanted pole for “ladies”. These are the kinds of things I notice all the time and complain about with like minded friends and family. I may sweat the supposed small stuff, but really, of all people, I do not need a bigger reminder of how bad things really are in our Western liberal democracy. I am not comfortable. I don’t lie in job interviews about my motivations for going to law school. Social justice and public interest law are not just buzzwords to me.

And no, I am not deluded into thinking that what I experienced today is the same as what the women I was working with on escape plans at the legal aid clinic. But I’m also not going to let anyone (myself included) talk me into believing that unsolicited sexually charged touching is no big deal. It is a big deal. And there’s no way in hell I am feeling guilty about getting angry.

So that’s that. What I do feel justifiably guilty about is not communicating with my dedicated readers (5 of you, on a good day :P ). Thank you for the warm comments. I owe you all big time! Usually I complain about being busy but I’m actually happy about all this busy-ness. Sure, I can’t say I loved spending the good part of my summer jumping through bar admissions hoops, but it’s nice to not completely crash land. (Yes, I did pass my barrister and solicitor exams. 10 months of articling and I’ll be a full fledged lawyer! Scary thought, eh?)

News about getting through the bar exams successfully came after my little escape to Europe. A cloud of pressure certainly lifted when I saw the word “PASS” on my screen, but it seems the pressure to succeed in my articles has settled in quite nicely. At least I feel motivated. This is good pressure. I’m happy.

It’s a time of transition. Even though I graduated law school (holy crap, I still want to pinch myself), I’m still technically a student of sorts. (Officially, I’m a student-at-law or articling student). And really, who stops being a student of life? (That’s for Carol whose e-mail signature declares her as such.) I am getting paid to learn. How neat is that?

It’s all very exciting to be moving forward. Too bad the technicalities of it all are less than thrilling. Living downtown with my dreamboat in a bohemian dream apartment just down the street from my dream job would be even better if the boxes unpacked themselves.

Thanks for reading, friends. I’ll reward you with some photos from Bavaria and environs soon! Okay, and the jealous ones who will only be pissed off about seeing the photographic evidence of my European romp, I promise to visit your corners of the web. Much love to you all.

July 9th, 2007

Punch in, punch out.

I am hanging onto my last shreds of sanity. Part of me wishes that I documented these past few months of ridiculousness; but mostly, I want to hit . Erase, erase, erase all that stress and exhaustion!

Despite all the doom and gloom, there were many bright glimmers of joy. My relationship is no longer long distance as Dave has made his triumphant return to Canada.

In equally happy news, I can no longer call myself a law student as I bloody graduated! Hi, I’m Adrienne, LL.B. Ha! 7 continuous years of university and many, many thousands of tuition dollars later I have a few letters behind my name and some serious eye bags. Maybe I’m a little bit wiser too. A little. Hopefully. Maybe.

Amazingly, I physically survived the barrister and solicitor exams. *shudder*

Now, I need a vacation. And amazingly, I get to leave for one in less than 24 hours. Europe called and I responded. Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague, prepare to meet Dave and Adrienne.

Hello, world. It feels good to be alive.

March 3rd, 2007

Escape to Beantown

It’s hard getting back into the saddle. What saddle? Why, the vanity blogging saddle, of course!

Dave (and others *cough* mum *cough*) like to tease me about they way I set priorities, but look who is laughing now! Ha! Actually, I’m not sure that I’m laughing all that much. I honestly love the work I do at the clinic; but boy, do I do a lot of work! They don’t call it an intensive program in poverty law for no reason.

I can definitely see how the working Joes and Janes of the world find themselves spending post-work evenings planted in front of the telly. Regardless of whether or not you love your work, it’s easy to feel beat after you punch out.

Despite following all the rules: eating well, working out, indulging in simple pleasures (beyond just watching the tube), I was burning out. I needed a break; and so I took one.

Yes, friends, I write from my vacation in…Boston! I cannot wait until my vacation destination stops being so darn predictable! Just a few more months till frequent getaways to Boston (and only Boston) will be a thing of the past. Sure, I love the Boston area, but it would be nice to have a little variety in my travels. Oh yeah, and living in the same place as my better half would be a bonus too. ;)

Technically, this little “vacation” of mine is an institutional “Reading Week”. I, of course, always manage to take the reading out of the week and infuse it with a whole lot of break instead. So much for finishing up the academic component of this term while away from my casework!

“…away from my casework!” Ha! I was unable to finish all the pressing work on my files before I left for Boston last Friday, so I had remotely login into my work account through Citrix and draft a lengthy legal aid opinion letter on Monday. Ah, the joys of technology! Oh well, at least I know my efforts are for a valuable cause. For what it’s worth, I love my job and think that it is worthwhile. I could be spending my days (and evenings) doing worse things.

I would be lying to you if I said that I haven’t been reading at all. I haven’t been working much this week, but I have been reading. I brought some Virgina Woolf down with me, but I ended up guiltily indulging in the fifth book of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, The Full Cupboard of Life.

Not everyone loves reading about the adventures of Precious Ramotswe; many (including my best friend, a voracious reader) find the series hokey, even trashy. I agree that Alexander McCall Smith’s Gaborone tales aren’t going to lead me into literary enlightenment; but they sure are going to satisfy my frequent hankerings for something light.

Before coming down to Boston, I had finished up a delightful novel, Martin Sloane , by Michael Redhill. Though there were plenty of unread books to choose from, I had a hard time picking a holiday read. On a whim I put To The Lighthouse in my backpack; but knew in my heart that I just wasn’t in the mood. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of Virgina Woolf (hehehe *gong*); I’m just a fan of going with the flow. The flow took me to Botswana.

Actually, the flow took me to some great bookstores. One of the things I love most about my frequent trips to the Boston area is the chance to visit some fantastic independent bookstores. I like Amazon as much as the next girl; and yes, I have been known to spend a lot of time and money in Chapters and Indigo. However, I also love a wee bookshop run by book lovers. C’mon peeps, I’ve slept among the books in this Bohemian book lovers’ paradise in Paris’ Quartier Latin: Shakespeare & Company Bookstore

My latest read was purchased at Rodney’s Bookstore in Central Square. Quality pre-loved reads at fair prices. Rodney’s also sells stationery, posters and other delightful things. They’ve got wooden floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that make me green with envy. They also sell loose wooden book cubes and stackable shelves so customers can try to recreate the Rodney’s feel in their own home.

I usually like to visit the Harvard Book Store (not to be confused with the Harvard Coop) and especially love their discount books section. I don’t really benefit from their decent Frequent Buyer Program because I am always buying their non-qualifying cheapie books. Who doesn’t love a remainder?

This time, I brought my business to another great bookstore, Lorem Ipsum Books. Owned and operated by an alumnus of Dave’s fine school and program, the store is a delightful marriage of geek and cool. I wish I could buy every book in the store’s lovely collection!

So if you’re ever in the Beantown area and love books, be sure to check out the above purveyors of fine reads.

November 30th, 2006

Hit it, Daniel Powter.

I had a bad day. It’s amazing how unproductive I can be when I’m really unhappy.

The skies opened up and wept with me today. Rain, rain, rain. Darkness too. I felt pathetic and well, I wrote a little story in my head (um, and I guess here, now) and the pathetic fallacy crept in. Hayden, meta enough for you? :P

Old demons don’t die easily. They’re like those pesky habits. Sayonara, obsessions, I know you’ll be visiting me later; but I’ve got to study right now.

Anyway, so here I am turning over a new page (um, post?) and looking tomorrow (and my damn notes) head on. And I’ll eat baked goods, cheese, nonya food and other goodies while I’m at. GUILT FREE.

To a weekend full of learning and laughter.

And here’s to some memories. This time last year, I was hiking in Sapa and then resting up on a junk in Halong Bay:

Warm pho, cold morning, big smiles

RefreshFair Trade?

Wait and watch

Balance

Cheese

One Year Ago

If I could turn back time...

November 27th, 2006

No Time and Forever

It’s a bloody good thing that I didn’t sign up for NaBloPoMo because I’d be dead by now. Post or die, they say? Bang bang, he shot me down. Bang bang, I hit the ground.

I’d like to say that I’m in full hermit mode, but I’m not quite there yet. I’ve been wanting to set up camp in the library for weeks, but there have been many obstacles. Fear of getting assaulted at gunpoint has me scurrying home earlier than I’d like to. My route to my car from the school is not exactly on the stretch where there have been a flurry of attacks, but I’m not exactly keen on taking chances when I am alone after dark.

I’ll try to hit the books a wee bit tonight, but I don’t have high hopes for midnight oil success. I maxed out my (or any sane person’s) allotted caffeine intake earlier this evening, but didn’t exactly hit the high. I feel like I’m in perma-crash mode. Wheeeeeeeee. NOT.

Aside from stressing myself out, I’ve been doing wonderful things to de-stress. It’s a cycle, kids. :) Some random activities from the past few weeks:

I had a girls’ night with my mother and my bestest friendest from high school. We hit the opera, a cheesetastic production of The Magic Flute, sung in English no less. Purists are cringing, I know. We got subscriptions together for this Opera Atelier season, which really just means we’re seeing all of their 2006/2007 productions…all two of them!

The acoustics at the Elgin Theatre were awful. I am sure that I’ve seen a musical there before–perhaps Anne of Green Gables when it was here eons ago? (Random note: I’ve seen the production at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown, PEI when I was supervising a group of Anne-crazed Japanese university students on a quick trip to the island of red soil. Best summer job ever.) Caroline and I agreed that our ears have been spoiled by the amazing sound at the new opera house. *shrug* Really, that is not something about which we are going to start complaining.

Lemme see what else happened? Oh yes, my laptop proved to be, um, less than trusty. It now sits on the dining room buffet bottom side up, with gaping holes where battery and hard drive once lived. Okay, so the battery has been dead for a while (and reordered after warranty expiration, damn it!) but the motherboard was alive and well just a few weeks ago. Now? It is DEAD. Good and fried; but not finger lickin’ good, sadly.

So if you are wondering why my commitment to Internet *cough* extracurriculars has been waning, wonder no more! I have appropriated my mother’s new laptop until school finishes, but I am going to use it to work work work till I finish my last set of freakin’ law school exams! Thank goodness I decided to be a cheapskate luddite and not register for the e-exam process. I will be handwriting all four of my 100% finals in a few weeks! Time to grow a few handy callouses. ;)

In addition to the opera, I also managed to drag myself out to the fantastic Reel Asian film fest. Superfriends, Helen and Phil scored me some free tix to the opening night at the historic Bloor Cinema. The film, After This Our Exile was by famous HK New Wave king, Patrick Tam (best known as mentor to Wong Kar Wai) and was his first in 17 years! I’ll admit that it wasn’t the world’s greatest film, but I did enjoy it immensely. As some of you know, I have an obsession with the Chinese diaspora and Tam’s treatment of a small slice of Cantonese-speaking Malaysia got me giddy. Honestly, I didn’t care when the movie took a wrong turn, I was too busy taking in the different Cantonese lilts. Even though I never travelled to a village like the one featured, I got the same high while sitting up on the Bloor balcony observing Tam’s Canto-speaking characters as I did when I discovered Cantonese enclaves in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Chinese aunties in those faraway places knew just how to make feel at home!

That night I got to briefly chat with my “date”, the lovely Andrea, who is back in the T-dot after getting her M.Sc. in something artsy fartsy :P in Ediburgh. As usual, she was looking fantastic, and made me feel like a lardy blob! I was all tarted up, but I looked like a slobby suburban marm next to that hapa beauty. Granted, Miss G had just been running around meeting with fashion folk all day. What’s a girl with a huge brain and legs up to her arm pits to do after getting a degree in something that ain’t “professional”? Work it. Woot.

I’m actually excited about Andrea’s planned foray into modelling. Um, hello, I am an amateur photographer with a handy dandy DLSR and no real studio portrait experience. Can you say rental lights and pseudo-studio fun? :D I don’t think Andrea has yet agreed to let me photograph her, but I’m sure after I get the whole Internet to pressure her into it, I’ll be able to use her for her body. :P So come on, Internet, don’t fail me now!

Ohlala l'amour!

Just over 7 hours ago, I sobbed my way back to school along our country’s largest highway after kissing and hugging my one and only goodbye. Why all this yammering of weeks past instead of telling you about this loveliest of lovely American Thanksgiving weekends spent celebrating our love? I was afraid, my friends, that committing those memories to bloggy permanence would strain my heart too much. I am a lovesick wuss, dear friends. And I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

These past few days have been truly perfect. Sure, we didn’t work as hard as we wanted to, but we sure did laugh a lot! And everyone knows that laughter is a great way to release stress. So increased stress from not working was quickly dissipated after giggle fits!

Tonight as I stuck my fingers into some crumbs from a luscious cake my darling brother brought home today, my father said rather facetiously, “Geeze, Dave is only gone for a few hours and you are already acting like this. Your true self revealed!”

I’m afraid, Dad, and everyone else, that I do not hide from my better half. In fact, I’m pretty certain that Dave would be interested in those crumbs too since they were chocolatey! Of course, Dave doesn’t like to get his hands dirty while eating, so I’d have to feed him the choco shavings. ;) Hehehe.

And as much as I loved that slice of comforting chocolate cake tonight, nothing can really mend this little hole in my heart. Nothing but Dave’s return to my arms in a few weeks.

7 hours since I said goodbye and 30 minutes till our 4th year anniversary. 4 years ago, on a cold and snowy night, I walked into Café Rencontré and met mon amour for the first time. He recalls it being love at first sight; and I felt a flood of feeling that certainly developed into true love fast. Coffee, a movie and then we were inseparable. Before I started law school in Toronto, Dave and I were together EVERY SINGLE DAY except for the days when I returned to Toronto to visit my family.

4 years ago, I found the keeper of my heart. In about half a year, we’ll be together once more. Forever.

Happy anniversary, mon amour. Like you said, it feels like no time and forever. <3 My heart–it wants to burst–but I won’t let it; because it needs to be around to keep loving you. Je t’aime fort.

November 9th, 2006

Kitchen Duty/Glory

I’ve been on a huge cooking kick. The desire to cook is always fuelled by stress. I guess the academic stress is really starting to pile on. Third year law students are just as susceptible to senioritis as undergraduates in their final year of study. I’ve always known that the academic slacking eventually catches up; I’ve just always chosen to ignore it.

At least I can say I haven’t been completely wasting my time. I’ve been participating in a number of exciting outreach programs, attending various challenging seminars, acting as a student ambassador, proofreading the Annoted Immigration Act, learning from mentors in the field, socializing (not enough, actually), hitting the opera (at our city’s fantastic new opera house)

ShuffleNiveauxOperatic NosebleedsIntermissionEscalate
…and playing mom.

You all know that I’ve never been a fan of rigid gender roles. No sir, I will not be pigeon-holed into undervalued work. I will, however, embrace the choice to balance my higher education with a little cooking and crafting. I’ll just leave the laundry, the dishes and the scrubbing of the toilet bowl to my partner who actually volunteers to do these things. :)

Since said partner and I are currently separated by our educational endeavours (which we both chose freely, thankyouverymuch), I’ve regressed a few years. Not only do I sleep in a twin bed in my childhood bedroom (painted pastel colours no less) in my original family home in idyllic suburbia, I usually eat food that my darling mother puts on the table.

Bits and pieces of old school gender roles are at work at my home. Both of my parents work hard outside of the home, but my mother cuts back on her outside work hours to make room for home work. So while I’m (supposedly) doing my homework, my mother does the work ’round the home. And so we’re the kind of lucky family that gets to dine on nutritious and delicious meals made by mother dearest every night.

Typically, my mother makes traditional Chinese (mainly Cantonese) meals. When she’s busier with work and other commitments, she tends to make simpler fare that requires preparation but little active cooking, you know, things like roasts or curries. We don’t switch from steamed long grain jasmine-scented white rice to basmati when the curry is Indian instead of Thai. The rice we serve with Chinese meals gets put onto plates when we eat classic roast beef.

While my mother has been away, I’ve sort of filled her role not because I feel forced to as the only woman in the house but because I’m enjoying the opportunity to use the kitchen as I please. Being a dependent adult child has its many perks (see above description of meals made by mum) but it also means that I have to live by the rules of my parents’ kingdom. Helping my mother in the kitchen is welcome and encouraged, but taking it over (and making a mess) while I indulge my culinary compulsions is not.

So usually when things are “normal”, I confine myself to making stews in the slow cooker for school/work lunches and baking goodies for breakfast and snacks. This allows me to scratch my domestic itch after primetime in the kitchen.

This week, the kitchen has largely been mine. I started to warm up for kitchen duty the night before my mother left, making a batch of banana bran muffins and a loaf of cheese and black pepper soda bread. I wanted to make sure my mother and grandmother had homemade goodies to eat on the plane (in an era of beverage only flights).

I’ve had the joy of roasting winter vegetables (butternut squash, yukon gold potatoes, carrots, red onions, and garlic) to accompany my father’s roast beef. I’ve made tandoori chicken and served it with a side of baingan bharta. Today I revamped my baingan bharta and turned it into a fusion-y vegetarian pita stuffer by adding a can of chickpeas, some more garam masala and a big dollop of creamy tahini. Yum. I love flexing my creativity muscles in the kitchen. Sure, classics are delicious. I dig pure, authentic food as much as the next person; but it’s always fun to mix things up, especially when you are incorporating leftovers in another meal. I remember a feature in the newspaper about the founder of Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago and thinking that the man had the right idea when he said he liked making a hearty stew and eating it for several days afterwards in different forms. He’d mix things up by adding different vegetables and cooking again.

Tonight, we’re having lamb chops. I think we’re just going to grill them indoors on the cast iron grill pan with some simple seasoning. I’ve never met a rosemary sprig that didn’t get along with a lamb chop. :P I’m going to be brave and make some brown rice on the side even though I’m sure my dad will prefer the aforemetioned long grain white variety. I wouldn’t normally pair zucchini with lamb but I’m keen on trying a new zucchini pancake recipe and we’ve got loads of zukes lolling around the crisper. Also, I’ve overextended my playtime with this morning’s workout (one hour of weight training and one hour of step aerobics, if you must know) and all my blabbing here so there’s not much time to run out to the grocery store to pick up a more suitable vegetable. Besides, I’ve got leftover beets and squash for extra side fun. My brother, the beet-hater, isn’t here to turn up his nose at the former either. :P

Off to do a little school work before prepping and eating dinner. The day’s almost spent and there’s so much more to do! Got to make room for Grey’s Anatomy, you know! ;) Happy Thursday, friends!

November 5th, 2006

Do you eat the red ones last?

Canucks who grew up planted in front of the telly have now got the Smarties song in their heads. I thought that I’d pass it on since the jingle is looping in my head, driving me loopy. ;) Actually, the song isn’t really driving me loopy. I am driving myself loopy.

You know, it’s the usual thing: I want one thing but do the other. I know what it takes to get what I want but I choose sabotage! Now have you got the Beastie Boys in your head? I sure do!

Want to cut back on the lard? Eat some leftover halloween candy! No, I do not eat the red ones last. I just eat the whole damn box. 80 calories and childhood memories transferred from little cardboard box to tummy in 10 seconds flat! Too bad that fat doesn’t only stick around for 10 seconds! Boo!

This weekend has been a bit of a blur. After leaving you with that unfinished entry, I made it to class late and then hit the little Waseda partay. The Waseda crew was so adorable. They organized a game of bingo that required us to answer a series of questions on Japanese culture and the link. Our team kept messing up but we ended up getting second prize. I am now the proud owner of a plastic Waseda bookbag (which none of the Canadians understood–”Is it an, um, shopping bag?”), a plastic Waseda file folder and some Waseda chestnuts (or “marrons” as the French and Japanese say). Since I am greedy, I sweet talked my way into another prize, a bag that we Canucks would more easily understand as a bookbag. I think it might actually fit my old beaten up laptop. Stylish, Waseda-y and functional. Woot.

Dinner, the experience, was fun. Dinner, the food, was yuck. Instead of going to the business school’s fancy dining room, we dined in the law school’s retro faculty common room that was gussied up with white tablecloths. The event was catered by the school cafeteria, so the chafing dishes were full of disguised cafeteria food. Mmmmm…salty chicken boobs drenched in even saltier hollandaise sauce!

I sat at a table with two professors, an acquaintance from McGill* who had spent some time in Japan after completing his Master’s at LSE, a Korean Waseda student and a Japanophile Canadian dude (married to a Japanese woman whom he presumably brought back to Canada with him after studying in Kyoto for several years.) Some very interesting conversation was had that night. Let’s just say there was a fair amount of delicate talk around discrimination against Koreans in Japan and general Asian relations. We talked quite a bit about World War II without letting our conversation erupt into WWIII. Sweet. It was so interesting to see P, the guy with the Japanese spouse, take on the diplomatic role as defender of the Japanese. It was also amazing to see just how diplomatic we all could be when addressing ultra-sensitive issues. Perhaps we’ll all end up as diplomats someday. I sense that some of us are interested in careers in international relations!

Among the other interesting things that came up during this little cross-cultural exchange was Joo Hee’s comment about the number of women attending my law school. Not only is Joo Hee a cultural minority at her school, she’s also in the gender minority. Whereas Canadian law schools are over 50% female, Japanese universities, especially law departments, are still overwhelmingly male. Joo Hee’s comment was saddening, if not surprising to most of us Canadian students, but she also pointed out something we had taken for granted: the number of women who have been filling our school hallways for the last century. She said that during their tour of our school, the Waseda students (who were all male aside from Joo Hee and one other girl) were shocked (yes, she said “shocked” to see that women had been studying at our law school for over a century.

Obviously, there weren’t a lot of women kicking around the old boys’ club back in 1892, but there was at least one and plenty more who followed her. Even though my friends and I still think that there’s a lot of progress to be made in the gender (and other) equity department at our school and in our profession, we should be proud of the progress that has been made so far especially considering the experiences of students from other places!

I had promised to take the Waseda crowd out on Friday night because I had abandoned them on their post-dinner Karaoke outing (in North York Koreatown of all places. ;) I wanted to show my new friends my city and a good time! Unfortunately, my body rebelled against that idea and I spent Friday afternoon and evening swaddled in bed.

I’m not yet sure if all that snoozing has done the trick as I am not yet feeling 100% better, but I believe in the power of deep sleep and Cold-Fx. Part of me thinks that pre-exam stress is already kicking in. Once again, I’m ill-prepared in all courses in all respects, but at least I’m prepared to fight the good fight! Ganbaru! :D

So here’s to a fresh week, in a fresh month. I refused to let November be solely defined by stress. Stress always means illness for me and who likes being sick? If only I could fight this pre-sicky feeling with a little Caribbean sun. My mother and grandmother are currently basking in the glorious southern sun without me. Actually, at this time of night they are probably just leaving a fantastically cheesy cabaret show and heading back to their little cabin to prepare for their beauty rest. Tomorrow they reach their first port! Girls’ vacation sans a key girl! Terrible, right? ;P I guess it is all for the best as a vacation down south would probably derail my study and lard busting plans even more. But a girl can dream…

*This guy, Matt, and I were in an honours political theory seminar together in our final year at McGill University. The class was extremely intense and full of smarties that intimidated me. Even though I was a poster child of the honours poli sci program and could have gone on to grad school in the field, I felt like I should not have been in the class. It wasn’t even the presence of a bunch of graduate students or the fact that I recognized my undergrad colleagues as people who brought keen to a new level. It was just knowing that it was all theoretical. God damn confidence. In the end, I always managed to rock my theory courses (more than other poli sci courses, go figure), but still always worried about how I interpreted philosophical texts.

Anyway, I’m way off on a tangent. The asterisk was meant to bring me to a quick point! Eep! Distraction city! I just wanted to point out that a disproportionate number of people in our teeny tiny heavy duty theory seminar hit law school after finishing their degrees. 4 people out of a 18 person class ended up at my law school. I am certain that there are more of us in law school. In fact, I remember that there were others going to different law schools the year I graduated and that I was the only one going to my school that year. But 4 of us are at the same law school now! There’s at least one of us in each year. Small, weird world. That the seminar was on justice and reconciliation wouldn’t have any relevance now would it? :P

November 2nd, 2006

Colonial Carnation

Nothing like a good old stroke of the ego to get the bloggy juices flowing. The darling Akio has called and I am answering. Here I am derailing the New York fashion world one blog at a time. :P Or perhaps this entry will be so boring the Mr. Fashion will get back to work! *cracks whip*

I had actually settled down in my really uncomfortable office chair (which still hasn’t been replaced) a few minutes earlier to gear up for a little bamboostariffic musing. I had just put on the stovetop espresso maker (also know as a macchinetta, cafetiera) and thought that I would get in a bit of online reading out of the way while waiting for the coffee to ready itself. Big mistake. I quickly got sucked into the Internet abyss and ran downstairs to find my silver pot sporting a new copper bottom. Oh well, perhaps everyone/thing can use a new look once in a while.

The pot and coffee survived fine. In fact, I’m drinking my divine espresso right now. Yum. This might sound disgusting to some but I’ve lightened my coffee with evaporated milk instead of regular milk or cream. Carnation from a can, baby. You may not have thought about it before, but I reckon that if you’ve ever travelled (or know someone from) a former British colony, you’ve consumed food or drink that involves canned evaporated milk. I haven’t looked into it much but I’m certain that the Brits shipped in tins of Carnation milk for a “taste of home” back in creepy colonial times. Funny how nowadays, folks like my parents (”locals” from a former colony), take their English black tea (Lipton Yellow Label, most often) with a splash of Carnation milk even in a place (another former British colony to boot) where fresh milk is abundant and cheap. Hrm.

The coffee was needed to aid digestion of my big ass lunch. *burp* I’m not sure it was worth all the calories (and the deviation from my plan to cut back on the carbs) but I’m glad I finally tried Remely’s , one of the city’s more popular Filipino joints. I didn’t know what to order so I got some chicken adobo, a BBQ pork skewer and some veggies with white rice. In hindsight I should’ve chosen something else aside from the chicken adobo or perhaps just gotten the BBQ skewer. I wasn’t that impressed with the chicken but quite liked the sauce. Something about sour sauce on rice that really gets me going. :D

I also picked up some ube hopia and other goodies from the bakery section. I was tempted by the lumpia, but sweets get me much more than salty things. I think that looking at Reese’s recent photos of Filipino desserts from her Sacramento trip made me want to hit Remely’s.

More later as I have to pretty myself for my criminal procedure class (which I am certain I will be late for >_<) and dinner with some visiting Japanese students from Waseda University. I know you are jealous. :P XOXO!

October 15th, 2006

Old Habits Die Hard

Crapola. It is past my bedtime and I’ve got a major qi imbalance (yeet hay for the Cantonese speakers). Class begins in 8.5 hours. Lovely. Just frickin’ grand.

But here I am! Blogging!

I guess I got pumped when I read about Mrs. Kennedy’s latest idea, NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. I have yet to add my comment to the original post as I am not sure I can commit to daily posting.

Speaking of not being able to commit, I’ve been trying really hard to kick my ass in gear for a few weeks and while the it’s been fanfreakingtastic on the exercise front I’m not cutting back on the calories enough. Argh. Honestly, I like the happy rhythm of “normal” food consumption—not too little, not too much. I hate that it takes noticeable deprivation (at least for me) to really drop lard.

I know, same old complaints. Blahdeeblahdeeblah! I swear, I need to take after Tim and start a separate health/fitness blog. Of course, it would be far less interesting than Unleashing Fong as I’d probably get lazy and just use it as a space to store my food and exercise logs.

But seriously, I need to really start being militant about logging everything. I like being able to track my mood and progress in a concrete way. It’s really not about dropping pounds or looking different. I’m really into treating my body like a temple. I spent my childhood and adolescence hating (and being told to hate) my body. Eff that noise. I’m way beyond that crap. Obnoxious Chinese aunties be damned, this heavy bod of mine may have issues but they don’t need to be about image.

Since I don’t have that other blog set up yet, here I am patting myself on the back for enjoying this morning’s hour of pure hard cardio. I was sore from yesterday’s strength/cardio combo so I laid off the strength training today. I should’ve stretched a little bit longer and more deeply, but I did hit all major muscle groups.

Now on to other equally mundane subjects. I don’t need to tell you that I am already 1000s of pages behind in reading (and understanding) of class materials. Earlier on in the term, I was behind because I was spending a bit too much time chillin’ (read: flickring, online thumb twiddling, telly watching), now I think I can claim that I am behind because of too many darned commitments.

Don’t get me wrong, I love extending myself for good reasons. The physical extension via my regular yoga classes rocks. The social conscience extension through community outreach programs also rocks.

My world, it is a’rockin’. I just need to get a’rollin’. *rolls eyes* :P All this rockin’ has got my head hurting though. Meeting after meeting after meeting. Aiya. Anyone want to guess how I spent my Saturday? Actually, it was just one meeting on Saturday–one looooong training sessions and workshop.

I have to limit my world-saving activities this term in order to save my sanity, I think. And so, I am not submitting an application for the world’s greatest research assistantship. It feels good to be able to just turn down something that looks so right on paper because I know it’s wrong in reality.

Okay, I need to sleep. I can barely function on 8 hours of sleep and tonight I expect to get 6. Thank God my ridiculous grad photo appointment (sorry, “sitting”) is not until Tuesday. Perhaps I can undo the damage tomorrow night with proper beauty rest.

This week is not starting well; but at least I know it will end well! Three words: Boston on Friday. Can I get a woot woot?