June 27, 2007

Another Try

Life got in the way of running again and I missed double dipsea for Vancouver. From what I hear, I made the right choice. I donated my number to E2 and she said it was the hardest run she'd ever done in her life. Even if I hadn't taken the opportunity to be lazy, I'd still have been much too out of shape to enjoy it.

But, now there's a new target.

The 2nd half of the San Francisco Marathon.

I just put all of my training runs into my calendar up to and including race day. 4 weeks. Each week with 2 shorts, 1 medium, 1 long and a speed day plus a of bike riding with E to prep for Tour de Peninsula and at least one hour of yoga in the evening.

And, of course, work is crazy right now. So sticking to this plan will be a big challenge. I'm going to have to try very hard to balance life, work, and running over the next 4 weeks.

Say it with me now... "No matter how tired I am, I will run *before* work."


Because if there's one thing I've learned in my half-year as a lawyer, it's that when work gets crazy, the evening plans are bound to suffer.

June 23, 2007

I heart Vancouver

I don't know if I've ever fallen so much in love with a city upon my first visit. Of course the reason for our visit was damn romantic -- P&F's wedding, earlier in the dating cycle and more gung-ho than is typical of our generation. And, then, the food gods shined their benevolent faces upon us, and, the weather was gorgeous every afternoon, the people were nice, and there's tons of trails for walking/running, and... well, what else do you want from a city, eh? That's probably 80% of the battle right there. Oh, and I heard at least 10 languages each day, so that's another 10%.

In short, I'm a sucker for Vancouver. I already told my sister she should consider applying to UBC for grad school, should she decide to go that route. See, P&F are moving *away* from Vancouver as a result of the wedding. But I want permanent connections there. I'm that much enamored with it.

One of the biggest draws is that the city is just gorgeous and very comfortable to me. Oddly comfortable. As in I felt more comfortable in downtown Vancouver than I do in San Francisco. And I feel pretty damn comfortable in SF. I think it was the combination of the slightly more international feel and the less hipster-inspired culture. Somehow, it felt architecturally like home while being more diverse and accepting of differences than SF.

I could live there, if it weren't for the rain thing. Okay, so really, I could probably only live there in the summer, 'cause the dark winter days would kill me. And even in the summer, I'd be grumpy in the morning, when it rains. But, I digress.

Leaving the US, the security guards confiscated my moisturizer and face makeup because they weren't in a plastic bag. Arriving in Vancouver, in contrast, we participated in an impromptu bachelor and bachelorette party (P & F were SURPRISED! Veil, tiara, chocolate mousse which they fed to one another in front of the airport. Fabulous!). This was in the loading and unloading only zone for at least 30 minutes and not a single person dared to suggest that we were a national security threat.

P & F took us to our hotel, which was an aging 3 star where the last star was noticeably losing it's luster. Somehow, I found that all the more charming. It reminded me of the hotel where we stayed in Sydney CBD before E & I got engaged. Also, what it lacked in modern conveniences it more than made up for with substance: Our 30th floor room had a balcony and a view of half of the city, including Burrard Inlet and Stanley Park.

The top of the hotel was a rotating restaurant and bar. You may not think this is a plus. Hokey. Lame, even. But, E has an odd obsession with rotating restaurants and, I must admit, I'm slowly catching it as well.

After checking in at 11:30 PM, we walked half a block and found a selection of 3 asian restaurants that were still open. We opted for Robson Sushi because they had "all-you-can-eat-sushi." All you can eat sushi is clearly the type of thing that's either going to be horrid or awesome. Either you are sickened by the quality of the food, or its the best thing you've ever done. It was the latter. And only $10.95CA. Which reminds me, by the way, we've basically reached parity with the Canadian dollar. They shouldn't have to pay more for books anymore.

Friday day, as a break from working from the hotel, we walked down Robson Street, window shopping and people watching on our way to an amazing lunch at Kalypso. The decor was ecclectic, the greek music relaxing, the service excellent, and the glass of Tsantali white and red wines we each ordered upon their recommendation were both very nice. We shared a greek salad with amazing feta, spanakopita, grilled octopus skewers, and my favorite dish, Saganaki (mmmm....fried cheese with lemon...). The experience prompted us to move Greece up on the list of vacation destinations.

From there, we hit the Sears in Robson square, which, in case you were wondering is nothing like Sears in the U.S. I sent E off to amuse himself with the power tools section while I purchased replacement face makeup and moisturizer and he came back explaining that they had no such thing.

Friday night, after witnessing P & F's wedding, we were treated to a Chinese banquet by F's family at Kirin. As you can imagine, we left stuffed to the brim. Crispy beef, where you been all my life? But we still had room for drinks with P&F in the rotating restaurant.

Saturday, E put on his finest Nasa T-shirt and we took a nice walk through town to to a Creperie and then to the MacMillan Space Center. For dinner, thanks to lucky_girl & hubby's recommendation, we enjoyed omakase with P&F at Tojo's. It was expensive, but quite good. Just another check on the list of the blessed vancouver food experience.

Sunday morning, after an early night to digest, we headed to F's favorite local dim sum joint. Delicious! Dim Sum with a side of chili sauce. Za Leong (or however you spell it) was a new addition and how can you argue with deep fried bread-dough? Plus, nothing beats F's mandarin when trying to order from across the room.

From there, we headed to science world, which, in E's and my estimation, is one of the better science museums in the world, and believe it or not, we're slowly becoming qualified to make that statement. The science museum keeps being the one site we consistently hit in almost every city we visit...

After science world and our viewing of the associated Omnimax film the Human Body, P&F took us to the local brewpup where E and I shared a taster sampler and we all listened to a trio from the Vancouver international Jazz fest.

Shortly thereafter, we headed to the airport where every flight except ours (or at least every one prior to ours) was unacceptably delayed (as in, "could you stay the night?"). We took off a little late but arrived in time and now, I can't wait to sleep.

It was one of the best weekend trips I've ever taken.

June 20, 2007

A Milestone

Today, I took my very first contract that I wrote from scratch to our head IP partner for review.

Nervous does not begin to describe the feeling.

Ordinarily, I've got something to start with. A form from the other side. One of our form agreements.

But not this time.

This deal was weird. One of those unique combinations of technology, business, and founder eccentricities that lead you down a path of *free-drafting*.

I was shocked when the client said he liked the first draft. Particularly because we had several almost-arguments over how to structure it.

But he's just the client. It's good when he likes it, but really, the test was the partner.

Guess what? The managing partner of my group, who's been practicing law for almost as long as I have been alive, made 6 edits on my 7 page contract. 6 small edits.

Plus, he said, "good job." And, "Thanks."

I thought he was going to rip it to shreds. I was prepared. Steeled, even. It was going to be fine.

Instead, I had to deal with the shock that I may actually be starting to get the hang of this lawyer thing.

I'm still dealing.

June 17, 2007

Father's Day Weekend

We had quite a busy weekend.

Originally, I'd planned a going away weekend for a friend who's moving to Alaska. We'd planned winetasting, food at the local vietnamese fusion joint, and a girls' day at the spa.

But, that plan was cut short when a member of her SO's family passed away of cancer.

Talk about hitting home.

I did my best to regroup. I sent out an email to the portion of the crew that were my friends and asked if we could still meet up, still winetaste, still do girls' day at the spa.

All but 1 obliged me. On Friday, I found out that the one who didn't respond was silent only because of my idiocy and sending the invitation to the wrong email address. Saturday night, she even tried to join us last minute. It was not to be, but she made the effort.

So, instead of moping, I spent the weekend visiting amazing amazing local wineries with friends. I went to the spa and got a facial. I ate entirely too much imported prosciutto, imported cheese, and local salame. Not to mention more than my share of vino, chocolate, fruit, etc.

Despite the weekend of sensorial indulgence, when E called his dad, to wish him a happy father's day, it hurt. Not all consuming. But pain, none-the-less. Like jealousy, but milder. No hatred, just the even-keeled stretching pain of sadness that you know you can't avoid.

So, I called my bro. He told me that he'd spent the day with my niece watching movies. She loves Rambo. That was just like Dad. When we were kids, we thought he was cool because he'd let us see any violent film we wanted. Of course, he'd pause the movie and send us out of the room for anything remotely bordering on sex. I called sister to laugh at Dad's movie ridiculousness and left her a message.

Plus, dad's sister sent me an email. Dad's other sister had left me voicemail on Friday. The entire family really reached out to one another to support each other this day, as we should have. And, yet, instead of gratitude, all I could think was...Silly dad. Didn't he know we could see the kissing from behind the couch when we snuck back in?

Also, E was amazing. After he called his parents, when I completely changed the plan for the evening and turned into a moping child, he willingly installed a curtain rod and hung curtains in the guest room in response to my odd request.

Because all of a sudden, I wanted big household jobs to be done with tools that made noise. The drilling noise. Somehow, it made me feel better. I couldn't go to the grave, but through E, I could bring drilling to me. It assured me that dad knew I missed him and wished him a happy father's day.

Silly, but true.

And, even sillier, but I'm going to go watch a "chick flick" to cap off my day. I'm not sure how that fits in. But, who am I to resist?

E2 left artisanal chocolate too... mmm....

June 16, 2007

Recipe: Chilled Green Curry Salad

I threw this together for last BBQ. It was a hit. It's refreshing and spicy at the same time. I think it may become a regular in the rotation.

(For the salad:)
-1 head lettuce, chopped in the cuisinart (I actually shredded it, but E and I agreed that it would be much better chopped next time)
-2 large red bell peppers, cored, and chopped in the cuisinart into strips
-2 english cucumbers, skins on, sliced in the cuisinart

(For the dressing:)
-1 T soy sauce
-1 t green curry
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-2 T brown sugar
-3 T fish sauce

1. Pull vegetables straight from the fridge (hence the chilled part). Use the cuisinart to prep the vegetable components. Put them in a bowl and mix them with your hands.
2. Combine the dressing ingredients and stir with a fork 'til the sugar is dissolved. Pour over salad.
3. Serve immediately or chill and serve the next day.

Other ingredients I would have considered if they were lying around:

-shredded carrots
-shredded cabbage
-glass noodles

Permission to relax

I've been exhausted lately. Getting up in the morning for my AM runs has been quite difficult. I just want to lay in bed and get another hour of sleep. Mind you, I still get up, and I go, because I'm insane and I'd signed up for double dipsea.

But Thursday at BBQ, I found out that a good friend, P, is getting married on June 23. In Vancouver. Without family in attendance. This is good news. He and his girlfriend F, have had immigration issues that have prevented them from living in the same country since they've been together. He moved there for a long stretch to ensure they were compatible. She's come for many visits. But they couldn't truly, legally live in the same country while leading a normal life.

Apparently, some government official managing greencard appplications to file an application (I'm not making that part up) decided to fast track non-UK citizens who received their college education degree in the US. Or something like that. P was only born in the UK and speaks with a British accent, but he's not a citizen. And he has a degree in CS from UT Austin. So, much to his surprise, he's in the fast track.

Long story short, P has to be married to F, quickfast, before he files his fast-tracked application, if they want to be able to legally live in the US together.

Hence, E and I will be flying to Canada to witness a very small backyard wedding next weekend. I'm so excited for P & F. I'm also thrilled that I will finally be going to Canada. Every time I've tried to go, something has gone wrong and I haven't been able to go. I was partially convinced that Canada was a myth. You know, like a painting at the Northern edge of the US. P assures me that it's real, and that E and I will like our weekend in Vancouver.

The second bonus is that because I'll be in Vancouver, I'm not going to be able to do double dipsea. I've given myself permission to be lazy until we return. If I want to run, great. But if not, like this AM, then I've given myself permission to stay in and relax. Blog. Plan travel.

Sure, after a week of lazy, I'll be in worse shape when I start really training for the SF half. But, I'm hoping by giving permission to laze through a low mileage week, I'll be more motivated after the time off. I'll let you know how that works out.

P.S. any food or site-seeing suggestions for Vancouver?

June 13, 2007

Lest I forget

There are times when I love my job.

When I forget to eat lunch because what I'm doing is so fascinating.

When it hits home that sometimes I get paid to learn, and after that, I get paid to play with words.

When I feel important. Useful. Helpful. Smart. Necessary, even. Like what I'm doing matters and that I'm good at it.

I can't imagine trying to do this without that occasional work-induced bliss. Mind you, as a first year lawyer, those days are few and far between. But when the law flatters... if you happen to like women like that... man, oh, man. It's a heady experience.

June 12, 2007

Blah Blah Blah

I'm slightly busier than ideal this week at work. I knew, going in after the weekend of not working, that I had quite a bit lined up. Plus, I've had a client emergency each day so far, and that's kicked me into "finish up work at home" mode both today and yesterday.

But, then again, I was loafing for the first half of this month, so I suppose the hours are almost needed. After the deal from hell, I did quite a bit of summer associate bonding, which was fun.

But it doesn't count towards my billables, so...I should probably start to pay attention before the end of June rolls around. What a concept! I haven't even thought about whether I'd be on track, hours-wise for at least a month.

In other news, my Thai basil is starting to turn purple, but all 4 basil seedlings (green and purple) are wilted a bit from the transplantation. Also, I think my tomato plant grew. E thinks I'm crazy. I think I'm going to start taking pictures of my tomato plant. Perhaps it would be faster to give him a name instead of saying "my tomato plant." Did I mention that E thinks I'm crazy. I really hope I don't kill it.

June 11, 2007

On Perspective

The closest people in my life have all lived a little. Or more than a little.

They've bled. They've had a death or two. They've fought. They've lost a loved one. They've struggled with depression or anxiety or bipolar disorder or addiction or abandonment. Something. Anything.

Humanity is flawed. And the people I love all live it and love it.

Sometimes, I forget that. And I get uptight. I start to act like perfection could actually be mine if I could just be good enough. I curl up and protect and stop being willing to make mistakes.

Hah! The three-part joke's on me.

A. Lack of mistakes is not an option for us humans.
B. When I behave as if it's an option I become someone I wouldn't pick for a friend.
C. What the hell would I want with a perfect boring life, anyways?

June 10, 2007

Summer Food Kick-Off

Saturday, we had our first BBQ of the season. We bought entirely too much beer, bread, chips, and sausage. But we nailed our estimate of the white wine, hamburgers, cheese, cowboy caviar, almond bundt cake (marzipan-based recipe from my favorite baking cookbook), fresh raspberry and pitted bing cherries topping for the cake.

It was great to catch up with my sister (who drove the farthest! yeah!) friends, and friends of friends. The sun was out, and the smell of barbeque was in the air. It is officially BBQ season.

Unfortunately, it is not officially tomato season. As much as I wish it were true, it's just not.

So, today, at our local farmer's market, to tide myself over after looking at the hothouse options, in addition to some dark leafy greens (which have been sadly lacking in our diet), I bought a black krim seedling. I also bought an assortment of basil seedlings. I asked many questions about care and hope to undo my current gardening skillset, which involves killing multiple cacti.

I picked some of the basil leaves for lunch and added them to the not-even-close-to-true-tomato in our fridge with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. We ate it with leftover bollilo from the barbeque. The good olive oil from vino noceto plus good balsamic did a good job of hiding the substitute non-flavor-full tomatoes from me until the real thing appears.

But, truly, I just can't wait. I've been outside to check on my plants 3 times today since I transplanted them. I reread the "Tomato Cultivation" chapter in The Tomato Festival Cookbook.

According to the gardening man who sold me the seedlings, I can expect tomatoes at the end of August. According to the Seed Savers Exchange I have 69 to 90 days from today.

August 18th, I'm looking at you!

On my todo list is daily soil dampness checks, the purchase and placement of slow-release fertilizer, the purchase of a cage to allow the plant to grow and the research of anti-squirrel tactics.

Much like bacon and chocolate, I expect you will be seeing quite a bit about tomatoes.
Wayward Miles

Saturday, A and I headed out to one of our local parks for an 8 mile run in the hills to prep for the insanity of Double Dipsea.

Predictably, we got lost. We did almost 13 miles instead of the planned-for 8. Several of them were walking. Which is good, because I think we'll be doing quite a bit of walking on the double dip as well.

I'm sore today. The Garmin says we did 3160 ft of ascent and 3005 ft of descent. The double dip requires 4638 ft of ascent and roughly the same in descent. So, I imagine I'll be significantly more sore after that.

The only good news is that the highest point on our lost run was over 1600 ft and the highest point on the double dip is under 1400 ft. So we know there won't be elevation-related issues. All other issues, however, are wide open.

Oh, and since we got lost, I was late to my hair appointment. My stylist was not pleased. But she did, however, mention that she was doing the Relay for Life if I wanted to sponsor her.

I had made her wait because I was running. She was running a race and looking for sponsors. The beneficiary is the American Cancer Society and they would make your donation in the honor of a lost loved one to cancer or a survivor. Needless to say, I left the hair salon with a significantly lighter wallet than I intended.

But I'm glad.

June 4, 2007

The three-to-one rule

A long time ago, someone, probably my mom, told me that it takes 3 positive messages to counteract a negative one.

The idea stuck with me, even though I'm horrid at applying it.

I often think complimentary thoughts about the amazing people in my life. But I rarely say them.

On the other hand, I'm fairly free with my brutal honesty. If I feel hurt by someone's actions, I let them know. If I'm confused by someone's actions, I question them. Bluntly. I've mellowed as I've aged, and I've learned to keep these thoughts to myself more often than I once did. But I still let them fly without the cushion of 3 of the many positive thoughts I most certainly am thinking about anyone I care enough about to say the negative stuff to.

Basically, I don't follow the 3-to-1 rule. And I should. Because I don't want to be the reason someone thinks less of themselves. If it is true that people need 3 positive messages to internalize one negative one, then I need to grow. I'm great at conveying constructive criticism. But it's still criticism. It needs to be guided with love and admiration. It needs three positive thoughts to be voiced as well. And I'm always thinking them, so I might as well start saying them too.

Lately, I've been thinking quite a bit about the next phase of being an adult. What it means. How to gracefully become a woman in my 30s who can hold her head up high with the knowledge of her crazy 20's, but be proud of the person she's become, ideally one who's more even-keel and responsible with human emotions than her former self.

I'm also wondering how to become that woman who doesn't plan to have children anytime soon and yet completely respects and admires women who make an alternate choice. I've been thinking about how my selection of life path will necessarily distance me from many of my closest friends during this decade simply because we won't share similar experiences.

The reality of the growing separation between my closest friends/family and I as I age and evolve became very apparent during the wedding process. It's sad, but true. We all grow, and thus, many of us grow apart. I think part of aging gracefully is learning how to negotiate that reality and maintain connections that are truthful and honest yet allow for the growing distance.

And so, I've decided that one of the best things I can do to help myself transform into this decade of life is to embrace the 3-to-1 rule. I've rejected quite a bit from my mom over the years. But it turns out, she's often a wise woman, in her own way.

So here's to me being more openly positive. Here's to me vocalizing my friends' and families' strengths, successes, and general fabulousness. I am very lucky to have them all in my life and not a day goes by where I don't think a thought of gratitude. It's time to sing those thoughts in public.

Wish me luck.

You know it's a good weekend when you wake up on Monday with:

-2 holes in the palm of your left hand
-2 deep scratches in your right elbow
-1 bruise on your stomach

On Saturday, I ran 10.4 miles with E2 on trails in nature. Trails in nature have bugs, dips, and rocks. A bug may be able to get behind your sunglasses and fly around in that small space just before you need to navigate a dip in the trail followed by rocks. Might I suggest stopping running to deal with this issue?

That would explain the hand.

On Sunday, E and I rode our bikes to the nearest mall to have lunch with bear, an old friend (ostensibly we were going to shop as well, but we left after the first shop and vowed to buy all purchases online). Upon arrival at the intersection before the mall, E called bear. He handed the phone to me, the light turned green. I was hungry and wanted to get to the restaurant as soon as possible. So, I tried to ride across the intersection from a stop while talking on the phone.

I did not negotiate the curb on the other side so well. Hence the elbow and the stomach.