Zombiefied

It’s just starting to dawn on me how much I need to accomplish in the next week and how very little I want to do the work. The last push of the semester is always the worst, because it’s when you’re supposed to work the hardest but you have the least motivation. I’ve really been operating on a sleep deficit this entire week, and I can tell that the little cogs in my head are starting to grind up uncomfortably against each other and slow down.

I went to go see The Importance of Being Earnest at the Stanley on Wednesday night, and I loved it! Oscar Wilde is brilliant, and it was acted out well. What dismayed me slightly was the fact that I’m pretty sure I was the youngest one there; apparently nobody my age does things like going to go see a play written in the late 1890’s. This was further reinforced when I went to a friend’s place later and he gave me a blank look when I mentioned Oscar Wilde, and an even blanker look when I asked him if he knew who Chaucer is. I’ll have to admit the English geek in me cried a bit, but then again, there’s a lot of things I don’t know or care about so I’m sure it works out somewhere.

My faculty also had a formal on Thursday night, which I thought went really well. I ran around a ton for the first few hours just making sure things were going smoothly, so I didn’t really get a chance to sit down and have dinner, but I danced lots later and still had a really good time. I was a complete cripple on Friday though – I seriously felt like I had stubs on the ends of my legs for feet. Heels are killer. I really do hope guys understand the pain we go through to be tall. (Especially if you’re as short as I am.)

I have so much stuff to do, but I think Vancouver is laughing at me because we’ve been having a beautiful weekend – it was gorgeous yesterday and today. I went for a run, but other than that I’ve been mostly sitting at my dining room table looking wistfully outside. Ten days till freedom! Back to work I go, enjoy your Easter weekend everyone! (I will be pigging out tomorrow night and words cannot describe how excited I am).

Blogging in the wee hours

…is equal to procrastination at its finest.

I have tooooo much stuff to do, but I also need a bit of a break because my mind is starting to go insane, so it’s time for a very-early-morning-post.

I’ve been a bit absent – the last week has been good, but busy. I feel like the last bits of the semester are just trickling through my fingers like sand – I thought there was so much more of it, but it’s just all falling through the cracks and slipping away faster than I could believe. Not that I’m complaining – as far as I’m concerned, the sooner school is over the better.

As for notable events of the last week or so: I went to a information session for the field school in Italy that I want to do this upcoming fall, and I am so incredibly excited for it. It sounds so amazing! You essentially spend eight weeks in Prato, Italy, studying the literature, art history and history that comes after the Black Death. It’s actually interesting, because I’m studying some similar things in my Medieval Lit class right now, so I might know a few things about the time that we’re looking at. You stay in little places around the town, you learn Italian, you take classes at a palazzo and field trips every Thursday – it sounds like a dream come true. I’m practically hopping with anxiety to sign myself up. (You think I’m kidding? You want to know how often I check the SFU International page to see if applications are open? It is sad, I tell you. Sad.)

I also saw the Hunger Games on Friday, which I was pleasantly surprised with. I’m one of those people who always likes the book better than the movie (except, perhaps, for Lord of the Rings. As much as I love the books, the movies are – well – epic), but I think they did a really good job on it. The actors/actresses were spot on in their characters, they stayed mostly true to the plot, and it was a well-done movie overall. I really enjoyed it – so go see it! (But read the books first).

I also feel like I’ve done a ton of cooking in the last few days. I made cookies on the weekend as a way of warding off my homework:

The recipe was originally for oatmeal raisin cookies, but I changed them to oatmeal blueberry pecan. Variety is the spice of life, y’know. Also I ran out of raisins. The recipe is from smitten kitchen – I just changed the raisins to dried blueberries and walnuts to pecans.

I also made truffle pasta for dinner. Basically, take some pasta, add some alfredo sauce, sundried tomatoes and peas; then add the magic – one part truffle cream to two parts olive oil, drizzled over the pasta. Drool. I only had whole-wheat spaghetti in the house, though, which I think ruined it a bit. When you’re eating something like truffle oil, you need the unhealthy amazingness of normal linguine.

Then today, I had to make MORE food for a potluck tomorrow (which I forgot about). I managed to get myself into a rice-krispie disaster: I think the marshmallows my mom gave me were really old, so they wouldn’t melt properly, so I just ended up with this gigantic marshmallow that looked like a life form. It clung to the sides of the pot and I could practically hear its tiny voice going “noooooooo” as it reached out its tiny marshmallow-y tendrils to grasp frantically at the edges of the saucepan. Kind of like a weird marshmallow fiend. Anyways, that failed, so I just made cookies but was way too tired by that point to even care what they taste like. They’ve got butter and chocolate and sugar, so it’s pretty hard to go wrong.

I’ve been feeling really weird lately – happy but also stressed out at the same time. Somehow the things that are making me happy are kind of stressing me out – how does that work?

Anyways, if I have any hope at all at getting to bed in the next while, I should go back to my homework now. Sigh.

Running after the sun

Today is – wait for it, wait for it – a day where the weather is supposed to hit a high of ELEVEN DEGREES. Yes, you heard me right. ELEVEN WHOLE DEGREES. After weeks and weeks of trudging through snow at SFU, I almost cried with happiness when I woke up this morning to sun pouring through my blinds. Sun? Warmth?! These things still exist and are not just figments of my imagination? And – dare I say – does this mean the mythical entity of  spring might be coming? (Now that I’ve written that, the weather gods are going to laugh cruelly and snatch my sun away).

It’s been a sleepless week, but I had a great Friday night and I woke up this morning energized and happy. I decided to take advantage of our fleeting spring weather and go for a run along the sea wall of downtown Vancouver. It was the best idea I’ve had all week. When Vancouver is sunny, it really is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and as I ran along the sea wall and looked at the mountains and the water I couldn’t help but grin like an idiot. It was a super endorphin high compared to my usual drag-my-butt-to-the-treadmill feeling of running. I wore shorts – shorts. (And yes, my legs got really red and cold once I stopped running, but that’s okay). I saw a heron! I saw ducks! I honestly finished with my run with the biggest exercise high I’ve ever had in my life.

These are pictures taken at the end of my run – the scenery around Stanley Park where I was running was much prettier, but I was too busy running to pull out my phone. Kind of throws off the flow, y’know.

One of my posts wouldn’t be complete without a small rave about food, so I should mention that I tried out Hapa Hour at the new Hapa Izakaya in Coal Harbour (formerly Hapa Umi). It was a pretty good deal – they had a list of tapas that were half price between 3 – 6 PM. Hapa can be pretty pricey, though their food was amazing, so it’s worth hitting up for those three hours.

Beef tataki, ebi mayo

Polenta fries

Karaage

Between two people, we had ebi mayo, beef tataki, chicken karaage, polenta fries, the spicy tuna roll and ika (squid) for $30 overall. The dishes are tapa-sized, so you would typically eat a couple of them. Yum.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go stare out my window like a puppy in love and try to imprint the sun into my memory before it goes away on Monday.

Starting my countdown

Despite a lack of sleep and too much homework (what else is new? I should really just assume that this is my default state until end of April), I’m happy to say that I’ve been having a pretty good week. It feels like it’s been pretty hectic, but in a good way – always on the go, meeting someone, eating something, that kind of jazz. It’s funny how the sympathy seems to flow when your family jets off to the Caribbean and leave you. I’ve had more offers of company this week than I know what to do with. I feel pretty loved, not going to lie.

It’s the first sunny day we’ve had in a while, so I’ve been in a good mood all day. SFU had to go and ruin it by snowing, but the sun returned pretty soon afterwards so I’m going to consider it a win. It’s the third week of March – I honestly feel like I should be able to wear t-shirts by now, but nope, it’s still layers and layers of clothing for me.  My city seems to be pretty resistant to this whole idea of spring.

I came to the realization yesterday that I have about a month left until I’m done this semester (including finals), which is exciting for two reasons. One, this semester has been a ton of work and I’m really, REALLY excited to have no more homework or studying to do. Second, the faster this semester ends, the faster I will be going to California! I’m finally settling my housing up, so things are starting to fall into place, and I can’t wait to see everyone I met last summer and to meet even more amazing people. Plus, the sun and I have some serious catching up to do. I love Vancouver, but the sun doesn’t seem to share my feelings.

I’m also going to a information session for the field school in Italy I want to do in the fall, so my year of travelling seems to be coming together. I really can’t wait for both of my trips – I will definitely miss my friends here and my family, but I always think that the best time to travel and experience things is during university. Besides, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right?  (Er, I’m neither Jack nor Jill, but whatever). I have such a travel bug – there’s so many places I want to go and not enough time (or finances), but I will eventually get everywhere I want to go!

I’m feeling inexplicably happy and optimistic. I’m not going to question it. :)

Jet lag without the jet

I don’t think it’s fair that I’ve been feeling really jetlagged without having gone on an actual trip. Whoever invented DST was a jerk (a quick Wikipedia entry reveals it was George Vernon Hudson – damn you, George). It’s probably a combination of DST and just general staying up too late, but my circadian clock has been completely off this entire week. For example, I was tired earlier and am now extremely awake, hence not wanting to do homework and blogging instead.

Perhaps it’s the sleep pattern disruptions, but my week feels like it’s been all over the map. I think there have just been a lot of smaller things that have added up to make me feel slightly insane. (As my friend put it, “I want to write a book about your life.”) When I think about it, though, it all seems to boil down to one thing – communication. My entire week has been a series of miscommunicating, not communicating, and wondering what the other person means when they attempt to communicate. Whether it’s someone just rubbing me the wrong way, failing to carry out a message that they were supposed to send, or just being generally enigmatic, I feel like I’ve been walking around with this large sign saying “Hey! You should make my life complicated today!”

Thinking about it more, though, I am not really sure I can really say where the fault lies. Sure, it’s easy to point fingers and say that this person wasn’t listening, that this other person said something they shouldn’t and consequently I deserve to be mad, etc etc. But knowing myself means I know that I can also be guilty of failing to pick up on cues that I should. It’s totally possible that I took things the wrong way or that the person had completely good intentions.

After ranting to my best friend and letting my stress out at the gym, I’ve come to the realization that I tend to let things build up, which in turn influences how I interpet other people’s actions. Actually, this is a lie. I knew it already, but I need to remind myself once in a while. I think the fix for this is to try to see the cues that people are throwing at my head and I’m letting bounce off, and to stop getting so worried about smaller things.

This will probably last all of a few days, but it’s worth a shot! And now with a clear head, I am going to toddle off and work on deciphering some Chaucer. Exciting life I lead!

I’d fight through The Fray for a sandwich

Midterms = complete! After this week, all I had energy for tonight was a huge dinner with my family and my butt settled comfortably into my couch. I’m now very happily full and enjoying a very lazy Friday night.

I went to go see The Fray last Sunday. I like their music quite a bit so I had high expectations, and they met them for the most part. It was a great show, lots of energy in the audience and the band put on an excellent performance. I think I was a little disappointed because my favourite songs by them are mostly slow ones, and they performed a lot of the higher-energy ones. But overall it was still a really good show and I’m glad I went.

Other than that, I’ve had a relatively unexciting week. I did have one of the best sandwiches of my life on Thursday at Meat and Bread, on Cambie and Hastings. They only offer four different sandwiches a day. I had the porchetta – it was this amazing concoction of bread and pork roast and I am practically drooling just thinking about it.

So good. I’m feeling sleepy, so I’m going to end this post and enjoy the rest of my Friday night doing absolutely nothing before I have to start working again tomorrow.

“Whoa – I had no idea my makeup brush was that colour!”

It’s been a pretty hectic week – lots and lots of assignments, which meant I was spending a lot of time in my cave – er, room. This upcoming week isn’t too great either, but at least things are due at the end of the week, which gives me some time to study and whatnot.

For my weekly Thursday lunch, I went to a raw food vegan place called Gorilla Food, on Richards. I wasn’t really sure what to expect – to be honest, I never really understand what vegans eat. From what I can tell, they seem to be missing out on a heck of a lot (of course, my food addiction probably biases me a little), but hey, to each their own. My friend and I initially got lost trying to find it – we thought their kitchen was the restaurant and were quite confused at the lack of decor and chairs. Turns out it was another few storefronts down, and we just suck at reading signs.

I got a choco-gorilla shake, which had almond milk, cacao, banana and hempseed, and a “nyce” bowl, which was veggies and seeds. They were actually pretty good – the shake tasted a bit gritty because of the hemp, but the dressing on the veggies was really good. I was pretty full by the time I had gone through half of my shake and 2/3rds of my bowl and I couldn’t finish everything. That in itself is likely a good sign because I never seem to get permanently full when my meal consists mostly of veggies. It was pretty pricey though, probably because everything was organic.

This evening, I wanted a break from my homework, so I did what every normal girl does on a Saturday night: my sister and I washed our makeup brushes. We’re pretty cool that way. I hadn’t washed mine in at least a year, and my sister in at least two years, so it seemed like a good plan considering we rub them all over our faces on a regular basis. It’s a pretty easy procedure – take some water and baby shampoo and scrub-a-dub-dub. What made it interesting was the absolutely disgusting colour of the water we were washing them in. It was pretty gross. On the bright side, my sister kept on discovering that “whoa, my brush is actually that colour?!”

We then finished our amazing Saturday night by watching the Game of Thrones TV series (which is awesome, by the way). We are the coolest sisters ever.

Green Monsters Galore

Apparently, “no pain, no gain” applies to comp sci homework as well – my head hurts from staring at my screen and praying for the right numbers to come up in Terminal. Who knew CS was so similar to [insert violent sport where they use that saying here]. Or really any of those sports with the big burly men who roar about how if they’re not in agony, they’re not doing it right. (In my opinion, they’re doing it very, very wrong, but what do I know?)

What makes up for it? I had two green monsters enter my life today :)

ANDROID PYJAMAS YO!

God, I’m such a Google fangirl. I think I actually disgust myself sometimes.

I’m part of a mentorship program for Google, so they sent me some pretty sweet pjs for helping them out. I may work for the best company ever. And nobody could ever deny that the little green android robots are freaking adorable. (Should I mention I have two sitting on my desk..?)

My second monster of the day:

My first green monster smoothie! I’m trying to be a little more conscious of what I eat during the day – mostly so that when I go out I don’t feel so guilty about it – and jumping on the smoothie bandwagon seems to be a good way to get more fruits and veggies in my diet. Despite the fact that it looks like something Frankenstein might drink, this was actually really delicious! I guessed at my ingredient proportions, but this is roughly what I put in:

Green Monster Smoothie

2/3 cup chocolate almond milk

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp peanut butter

2 handfuls spinach

Smoothies are pretty easy to tweak – I used chocolate almond milk because I happened to have some on hand, but you could probably throw lots of things in there: any type of milk, yogurt, berries…the key seems to be banana and spinach though. Nom. My new breakfast. Plus, I’m usually a zombie in the mornings, but I had a ton of energy this morning despite poor sleep. Coincidence? Or green monster superpower? Or perhaps I was simply all energized because I was excited that my pjs were arriving today. Knowing me, that’s totally plausible.

Pounds of pancakes and red umbrellas

Well, the rain is back in Vancouver. It’s a little needy and never leaves us for long.

I went for breakfast/lunch (what do you call it when you eat breakfast past lunch time? Brunch seems to imply it’s before lunch time. Post-lunch brunch?) at a place called Jethro’s today. It’s at Dunbar and 18th, so it was a bit of a trek, but thankfully my girlfriend and I have infinite patience for good food (we once waited two hours to eat at a place in San Francisco – we’re those people). It’s this tiny little restaurant that only serves breakfast and lunch, and seemed to have a line-up the entire time we were there.

I tried the Rooster pancakes, which had chocolate chip and espresso, and we got a Denver omelette, which had ham, onions and cheese. We messed up a little – we intended to get the South of Denver, which had pulled pork, but it’s okay – it’s an excuse to go back next time (like I need one). The food was great, but the thing that got me was that the pancakes were honestly the biggest things I’ve ever seen. They were the size of small UFOs. I swear, they could’ve fed four people – they were ridiculous.

Between my girlfriend and I, we managed to finish most of the omelette and 3/4 of one pancake. I swear I had at least a pound of pancake left over when I came home, which I promptly fed to my hungry little sister and friend. I had to waddle a bit coming home…

Definition of a food coma

Next time I want to try their pancake with bacon baked in – it sounds like the most delicious heart attack ever.

I also conducted Operation See-If-New-Boots-Will-Destroy-My-Feet: I bought these gorgeous constructions of over the knee grey leather and chunky heels in Seattle, and I am kind of in love with them. I don’t normally wear heeled boots though so I had to test if wearing them meant I would be hobbling for days, but all systems were a go! I love when that happens. They were so beautiful, I figured they deserved some photographic love, so I took a few pictures in the rain with my sister and my beat up red umbrella.

If any boots were marriage material, it’s these ones.

 

Stressless in Seattle

It’s finally reading break!

Usually I scoff at the “reading” part, but unfortunately it looks like I actually have a lot of homework to do over the break. And by a lot, I mean an amount that makes me cringe and send off little prayers to the denial gods every time I think about it.

However, I feel like I’ve started off my reading break pretty well. I had intended to cross off some homework on Saturday, but I ended up running around doing errands instead. I did have a chance to snap a picture of the beautiful sun peeking over the mountains, though:

After a day of non-productiveness, I went for dinner at one of my favourite Chinese restaurants: Sha-lin on Broadway. It has awesome food, including the most amazing panfried dumplings and zhajiang noodles ever. Drool.

My family tends to eat a fair bit, as shown by our empty plates.

I also met up with a friend for drinks at the Diamond in Gastown, right across from Chill Winston’s. I felt extremely cool going there because it’s completely tucked away on the top floor of an ordinary building – you enter through this nondescript little door that looks slightly sketchy, and emerge into a bar with a beautiful view of Gastown, a great cocktail list and a complete hipster vibe. I did feel like I was supposed to give a secret password or something – and somebody actually told me later that they supposedly have this secret room where there is a password and all these rules you have to follow, or you get kicked out. A little too hardcore for me, but interesting to know.

Sunday morning I left bright and early (though I definitely wasn’t bright, but bleary-eyed and stumbling) for Seattle. I assume it was to slightly assuage their guilt about leaving me behind when they go to the Caribbean, but my parents decided to take a day off and take me to Seattle overnight so that I could have a bit of a break before returning to my lair (er, bedroom). My dad wanted to visit a friend who had just moved to Seattle as well, so it worked out. He dropped my mom and I off at the outlet centre and we basically shopped all afternoon. It was nice to be able to spend American money – I made some money at Google the past summer but haven’t been able to touch it because – well – I live in Canada and it’s American money, so I didn’t want to convert it. I got some nice stuff – pretty much all clothes and shoes, but hey, I’m a girl. We like those things.

We stayed at my dad’s friend’s place overnight and decided to spend today exploring Seattle a bit. We went to Pike Place, which reminded me a lot of Granville Island – lots of different food and handmade things.

It appears that my penchant for taking photos of food lingers even when I’m in a market with a million other things to take pictures of. What can I say.

I did find that Seattle reminds me of Portland which slightly reminds me of Vancouver which reminds me of San Francisco. (Well, Vancouver is where I stopped, but there’s a point here.) West coast cities seem to have a similar kind of vibe, though there are definitely differences. I’m a west coast girl through and through, and I figure that vibe is what’s going to keep me sane if I ever have to leave my beloved Vancity.

After Pike Place, we wandered around a bit more – to be honest Mom and I did more shopping. Retail therapy is great. We found these beautiful native art rings in an art gallery that actually fit our tiny fingers!

(Yes, that’s my leg…I got bored on the car ride home.)

We wanted to beat the traffic, so we headed out of Seattle at around two. My parents wanted to hit up Costco and Trader Joe’s before getting home, but before that could happen our stomachs had to be appeased. The solution was the buffet at the Tulalip casino. Classy, I know. It was decent – I had to try multiple desserts before I could find one I actually liked.

I may or may not have eaten them all…you’ll never know.

I was really happy that we got to go to Trader Joe’s though – I am really jealous of my American friends sometimes. Joe’s has such interesting foods and it’s not as rip-the-money-out-of-your-wallet as Whole Foods (though I have to admit, I have a Whole Foods fetish). We got some things that aren’t really around at home – cocoa almond butter, lemon curd sauce, interesting sea salts, that sort of thing. There was a really nice sunset on the way home too, so that finished the day off nicely.

Overall, it was a short trip, but it worked well in its intended purpose of letting me destress (despite – or perhaps because of – the fact that I basically shopped for most of it). I feel a little more ready to tackle the mound of homework that is narrowing its evil eyes at me…gulp.