Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Did you have a good Easter? I sure did!

It actually started the week before, on Palm Sunday. My pastor's sermon was on John 3:16. At one point he talked about how God's attributes are inextricable, even the ones that seem opposed or that people make out to be so. The two he used as examples were love and justice: God exacts justice because he loves us; yet his justice is drenched in love. Listening to this, I got teary-eyed, because I felt that God was speaking directly to me. I had been wanting some sort of justice when it came to the end of my relationship with DC, and then I felt selfish and then guilty about wanting it.  When I heard the sermon I was assured that God had heard my cries, seen my tears, and was telling me that it was okay to desire justice, it didn't mean that I didn't love DC.  It's precisely because I loved him so much that I wanted the justice -- not a shaking-my-fist or getting-the-last-say or take-that, but something healthy for the both of us, so we could move on to our own better days. God didn't say whether I would ever get that justice (I hardly even know what it would look like), but knowing he hears -- and is here -- means so much more, and so much more, I realized, than whether DC ever hears me at all.  God doesn't promise us easy times or happy endings, but he does promise never to leave nor to forsake.  Being assured of that in a personal way was a huge step towards healing my heart, and was an awesome start to Holy Week.

The highlights of pre-Easter were Maundy Thursday, which entailed sharing a meal and some discussion with a group of friends; and attending my first Easter Vigil, wherein I witnessed my BFF's confirmation. It was a tingling time.

Easter Sunday itself was a lovely celebration service, flanked on both ends by meals and good conversations with friends.  It proceeded into a quiet afternoon and evening at home, doing some light cleaning and catching up on cross-stitch.

On Monday I was reminded of how great it is to allow the moment to just happen: an IM session led to an impromptu dinner and cello recital.

I broke my Lenten fast (from alcohol) as it happened to be Wine Night at the Lazy Ox Canteen; I diverted further from my norm of California wines and ordered a bottle from Montepulciano, Italy (a friend had gone there and raved about the vino). I have the remaining 1/3 of the bottle to enjoy at home (didn't know that you could have an unfinished bottle corked to for takeaway). We had a tasty meal -- here's a glimpse of my favorite items:

20110428-011743.jpg[sugar snap peas with quinoa + yuzu]

20110428-011803.jpg[caramelized cauliflower with mint + pine nuts]

Afterwards we headed over to USC's university church -- an old building, over a century old -- for the recital. I'm not very knowledgeable about classical music, but was told it was a good program. In the midst of it I realized that there was no way I would ever really remember the way each piece sounded, so I invested myself fully in the moment and thoroughly enjoyed each draw of the bow, each pluck of the string, each flourish of the accompanying piano.

20110428-062337.jpg[from the balcony]

What a wonderful start to the week! I wish all Mondays could be like this, but, then again, am glad they're not.  And it's already Friday today, too!  Here's to taking the moment as it comes, and being fully present in it! Have you had a chance to do that this week?

Friday, April 15, 2011


Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt, crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 11, 2011

Almost all over again

When DC and I parted as a couple, he wanted to stay friends.  But I thought it a bad idea: if we remained friends and one of us started seeing someone new, we'd basically have to break up all over again; why go through that heartache a second -- and potentially more painful, because we'd be that much more invested in each other -- time? I needed to protect my heart. So we went our separate ways, as difficult as it was, and as certain as we were that we weren't quite done with one another.

I did entertain hope that one day we could be friends again (and to be really honest, I even entertained our breakup being a precursor to rebuilding a better, future JDC). In fact, what I missed most about JDC were all the seemingly mundane things we did -- talking about our days, our thoughts, our plans -- I missed my best friend, who also happened to be my confidant, travel buddy, supporter, challenger, and, of course, my lover.  It took a while to separate the love feelings from the friend feelings; indeed, for a long time I thought the two were inextricably mixed.  As my heart healed I realized that more than anything, I wanted what was best for DC, and I wanted, in some way, to be a part of that.

But how?  DC would faithfully honor my request not to be friends.  So I knew that if we were to move forward in any way it would have to be upon my initiation.  I tarried with timing, at times feeling ready, at times not.  I introspected -- Do I really love him or am I afraid that I will never find someone like him, whom I will love as much or who will love me as much?  Is my hope based on romantic ideals of my first relationship being my last?  And especially in light of these thoughts, whom do I choose to love?  At the end of the day (really, six months), I just wanted to catch up with my best friend.  So last week I picked up the phone.

In doing so I found out that DC is in a new relationship (in short: he didn't answer either of my two calls but responded with a very brief email). My think-the-worst tendency had prepared for such a possibility, but the recesses of my heart secretly hoped that our love was unshakably deep, or at least deep enough that we would still care for one another.  The reality of the news was shaking, but more so was its delivery.  I'm sad that DC did not wish to hear what I had to say and closed himself off to me entirely, unwilling to receive my peace and good tidings.  I typed out a reply and sent it off immediately, so as not to edit away my gut response.  As I look back on that email, the only changes I would have made were, in addition to thanking him for telling me about his new relationship, to let him know that I wish he had been more kind about it; and I would have signed off with "Good-bye" instead of "Peace."  Ideally, though, our final good-bye would have been one with mutual peace, love, and blessing.  Is that too ideal?  Is it too much to ask?  I thought of the song "Hate Me" by Blue October, whose lyrics read, "Hate me so you can finally see what's good for you."  Does that apply here?  To whom? I don't know. I don't know that it matters.

For all the sadness I feel at having lost any semblance of relationship with DC and having that (frankly, terse) interaction as a last memory, I am glad that he responded at all and that he told me anything at all; he didn't have to.  So now I know, and I can in turn close the door.  I've had the weekend to feel crestfallen, to ponder and mourn and, yes, get a little crazy (in my mind), but in the end as in the beginning, my heart of hearts wishes DC Every Good Thing.  I don't know whether he read my response or simply deleted the email, but that's what I wrote to him, and I would never wish otherwise.

Rather than getting caught up in thinking about (or imagining) what I did or didn't do, or what DC did or didn't do, I am focusing on what God is doing.  At church yesterday we sang, "It is Well with My Soul," a hymn written by a man who suffered not a simple heartache, but unspeakable tragedy.  I went to bed praying that it would be so with my heart.  And I know it will.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Belated birthday post

My birthday tends to be a low-key affair, which is fine by me.  This year, though, I was quite lucky to ride with my fellow March babies for celebrations manifold.  Check it:

I missed my brother's birthday dinner to eat with old friends, one of whose birthday is the day after mine.  We went to Three Drunken Goats in Montrose.

[team J bday]

My actual birthday was a long day spent at church.  I found out that it was my pastor's birthday, too, plus another person's a couple of days later.  One of our friends made cupcakes topped with thin mints and initials (our names all start with "J'), and another friend brought a lovely fruit tart from Porto's.

Later in the week a group of friends met for a quick dinner at Zankou ChickenMy good friend treated me to my first shawerma wrap!  Thanks, Beej!

The following week we did a birthday party for college friends.  Tres leches cake from Perfectly Sweet, along shrimp egg rolls, gourmet sandwiches, and homemade Hainan chicken rice and ribs! 

I generally am over gift-giving because I don't want to accumulate "stuff."  Rather, I'm in favor of gifts of experience like movies or meals, gifts of quality time, or handknits. So I felt a bit bad about all the gifts bestowed on me this year; but I was able to shake it off (meaning: not feeling guilty and not thinking of a reciprocal gift) and simply be grateful.


  • West Elm vases/containers -- love that they're white!

  • Garden Anywhere by Alys Fowler

  • Back to Basics by Abigail R. Gehring

  • Soap -- delightful rose scent, sent long-distance from WDC

  • Sakura and gold-flecked stationery and sakura tenugui from Ito-Ya in Japan

  • Grey and pastel-striped summer scarf -- something I especially like because I wouldn't have chosen it for myself

  • Target & Best Buy gift cards -- the loophole against my "buy nothing new" rule

  • Eco-bag

  • Really nice, out-of-my-price-point headphones (from my brothers)

Zooming out from the above picture, you'll see one of my birthday gifts to self:


A vintage loveseat, found on CL (of course).  And thanks to my youngest brother's charm, it set me back $50 instead of the $75 at which it was listed -- score!  The light blue-grey damask-y upholstery is in good shape, but isn't really my style, so I've lined it with a jersey sheet while I search the internets for fabric.  My ideas range from a luxurious teal or gold or cream velvet, to a simple geometric, to something unique, like this.  In the meantime, it fits my little space perfectly (and means that not all of my guests have to sit on my (day)bed!).

[sewing machine + box]

My second self-gift was a vintage sewing machine.  I'd been researching for a while and knew I wanted an older Husqvarna for its high quality (the body is a single cast metal piece) and --frankly -- its hawt Swedish desgin.  It's a Husqvarna Viking 6020, complete with folding table, carrying case, and accessories.  It's just beautiful to look at, isn't it? And the sweing chair my brother found and gave me goes with it perfectly!  I actually swung back for the tiered sewing box, which came full of all kinds of supplies.  Now I can get on with pillowcases, hems, and (hopefully) skillbuilding!

Lastly, a lovely cafe au lait -- carefully and painstakingly brewed on a Chemex coffeemaker -- at the new(ish?) Intelligentsia in Old Town Pasadena (which serves food, too, btw), accompanied by delightful companionship and conversation.  Thank you, CO.

I'm so grateful!

I'm the last of my siblings to celebrate the first birthday without Mom.  We've all had each other these past (nearly seven!) months, which has been better than good.  Still, we all miss her.  We'll feel that similar pang again tomorrow night, as we gather to celebrate my dad's birthday.  It'll be a good time.  Different that how we would've wanted it, but good nonetheless.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Arranging the arts

In a fit of enthusiasm about the Small|Cool thing, I woke up Saturday and immediately began sorting through, re-framing, and arranging my art:


They're eclectic pieces, mostly sentimental -- and with a definite Japan bias -- including:

  • a tourist map of where I lived in Japan,

  • my name calligraphed in Japanese characters,

  • the character for "love" -- written by a second-grader (with her mom's help, but still!),

  • various happy sayings sent by my Japanese mothers,

  • a picture of my youngest brother, along with his "metamorphosis" art project,

  • a photograph I purchased in support of a photographer friend

  • a poem composed by my Japanese father (a literature student at Kyoto University) and calligraphed by my Japanese mother (a calligraphy instructor)

  • a drum painted by someone on my taiko team

  • Maui's hook, a souvenir of New Zealand from my parents

  • a baby picture of yours truly

This is most of the art that I own (20-25 pieces); it all needs to be spread across my apartment; and I don't want to spend any money (although I want to add a picture of my mom and other family members).  So they won't end up in the configuration pictured.  Right now everything is placed across the only stretch of open space I have in my studio.  Because I'm an excellent starter but not a stellar finisher, I hope this "method" works to annoy myself into hanging everything onto the walls sooner rather than later.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Small Cool 2011

Apartment Therapy has just announced the official start to this year's Small|Cool contest.  The entry deadline is the 20th.  Will I be able to "finish" my apartment before then so I can enter?  Not sure yet.  Here's what I'd still like to do:

  • Replace vertical blinds with curtains

  • Sew pillow covers

  • Hang art

  • Complete bathroom mat

  • Work on lighting

  • Acquire patio furniture

Think I can do it?  I think it would be fun!  I think I might try!  I welcome thoughts and suggestions (although I will admit that I do have a vision in mind, and when that's the case I can be very stubborn indeed.  But I'm totally up to hear other points of view)!