A few weeks ago, I sudden felt a craving for ballet. Luckily, SF Ballet’s season just started. I got to choose between Program 1 The Joy of Dance and Program 2 Modern Masters. It was this clip, an original short film by Ezra Hurwitz inspired by Justin Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings, that sold me.
The Joy of Dance consists of 3 dances — Helgi Tomasson’s Haffner Symphony set to Mozart’s Symphony No 35 in D, Jiří Bubeníček’s Fragile Vessels, a new work commissioned for SF Ballet, set to Rach 2, and Justin Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings with music composed by Sufjan Stevens.
Unfortunately, Haffner Symphony felt like a boring filler, but Fragile Vessels properly blew me away. Bubeníček employed a lot of classical techniques but he choreographed the piece with abandon. Every move the dancers made is with purpose. It has a lot of passion and heart. It’s not of desperation but of power and earnest to life. The second movement was particularly gripping. The choreography made the familiar Rach 2 sounds new and refreshing with nostalgic passages. The lighting and costume also accentuated the dance perfectly. The last time a ballet excited me so much was Wayne McGregor’s Chroma at the Royal Ballet (watched Chroma at SF Ballet as well, but was not impressed), but that didn’t even come close.
In the Countenance of Kings did not disappoint either. Justin Peck’s choreography matched Sufjan Stevens’s grand composition. It was busy and joyous, and I observed hints of jazz elements. It was such fun!
I love the two pieces so much so that I almost want to buy another ticket for the evening performance (I’m even willing to suffer through the hollow Haffner Symphony again). But I didn’t. Only because I want to go home to Daniel. Heehee..
大學畢業之後每隔幾年就會冒出要來複習德文的念頭。但沒有一次可以複習超過 Lernziel Deutsch 的 Lektion 2. 大概在三年前我不經意地發現 ‘Deutsch: warum nicht?’的 podcast, 便開始有機會就聽一聽, 但是成效不彰。直到後來找到了的教材本, 認真地認單字(仍舊像學英文一樣不背單字), 吸收文法, 做練習題。有些練習題感覺很蠢, 但後來想想, 他的重點不是要考倒我, 而是藉由重複來加深印象吧。所以我都盡量乖乖地做了。
我的個性就是貪多嚼不爛，撐到 Series 3 的時候我又開始”蒐集”各式各樣的德文學習資源: vk的德語群組，italki的德文學習文章，更多的德文podcast…不過還好我自己安排的DWN進度都還是有跟上。現在DWN Series 4 也快結束了，但是 subjunctive 跟 conditional 還是有點混亂啊！想到就覺得慌張。不過，畢竟DWN不是文法教材，我的疑問應該可以在別的文法教材裡找到解答。繼續加油囉！
Arya doesn’t like to go out. She doesn’t even like walks if it means going further than 100 meters away from home. She absolutely abhors car rides. She would always pant and prance. She would try to stand up and look outside, but not in a happy way. However, we discovered that piano music somehow calms her down. She would be pacing and agitated, but as soon as piano notes start to flow, she’d settle and lay her head down. So we ended up creating a playlist just for her, and we’ll make sure to put it on at the start of our journeys.
We adopted Arya (Aiya, 哎呀, puppy) on the labor day weekend of 2013. We were planning to go somewhere but we got lazy. Instead, because I wanted to look at cats at the shelter (even though we kind of agreed that the condo is not suitable for cat(s)), so we went to the shelter. At the shelter, the cat I wanted to entertain the idea of adopting was adopted already, so we went to check out the dogs, because Daniel loves dogs.
Daniel knew that there’s a beagle. She stood out among all the chihuahuas and the pitbulls. We checked her out through the glass. She sure was cute, and I noticed that unlike other dogs in the shelter, she was not excited when we show up at the window. She stayed in her bed, half acknowledged our presence. We went to the front desk to inquire about her and learned about her sappy story.
She was used as a breeding dog. Her vocal cord was removed and part of her ears were cut, for whatever reason. She was about 11-12 years old and she has been in the shelter for 3 weeks and no one really checked her out. Probably because of her age.
We went in to meet her.
I’m never a dog person and I was not familiar with dogs/how to deal with dogs. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know how I was supposed to behave. But she was very mild. She just came over and smelled us for a bit. I think I found her acceptable. (Plus she did look adorable.)
We went home to sleep it over, because a life is not something to be rash about. And we decided, yes, we want to give her a home and we want to make the rest of her life as pleasant as possible to make up for her suffering (that we assumed she’s been through.)
You were never a puppy — when we first met you, you were already 11, allegedly. Your heartless previous owner only told the shelter that you were about 11. You were 24 pounds, a chubby little thing. (According to the record you gained 2 pounds the 3 weeks you were at the shelter. Probably because you were too cute looking. No one, except for the potential adopters, could resist.) You are always a puppy to us.
Your big eye balls, pudgy feet and cute paw paws. That’s why your official name, Aiya, never really stick. (Especially when you don’t answer to ANY name.) You’re our puppy, pup pup, puppilon (like papillon), lonlon.
I love it when it’s food time and you get so excited when we walk toward your food bucket. You’d jump so high. It’s your only energetic moment and you truly act like a puppy (not that I know what a puppy should be like.) Daniel would instruct you to sit (and you follow that command so well!) but I always enjoy your energy and enthusiasm very much.
I don’t care that you don’t do tricks. What do I need a dog that does tricks for? I just wanted to spoil you and make you as happy as you can be.
You deterioration happened so fast, but it feels like a lifetime ago when you were happily sniffing stuff in the house or on the grass, with your tail alertly raised, following invisible trails that lead you to nasty ivies or under the backyard deck.
I’m sad that I don’t have a chance to make you happy anymore. I’m sad that I don’t get to see you doing the stuff you like anymore. But I’m glad you don’t have to suffer anymore. :(
We didn’t ask to keep your ashes. (We chose cremation because we cannot bear your little body being eaten away by maggots, at best.) Because, what are we going to do with your ashes? It’s not you. When we eventually left the hospital, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was abandoning you. Even though I wasn’t. And you wouldn’t care even when you were alive. (You always happily walked away with them without even looking back.) I didn’t want to leave you. But I don’t think you care either way. More accurately, I didn’t want you to leave me. But you did, and there’s nothing I could do.
You brought me such joy that I never could imagine. I don’t understand why I bratty little thing can mean so much to me. You understand hand gestures/what we want you to do, but you only do it if you feel like it. You don’t like being touched, but when we seem to have forgot about you, you would walk over and demand some rubbing. I really really hope you enjoyed the three years you were with us. We really tried to make sure you’re happy and comfortable.
When I was in the bathroom, I remembered you’d poke your nose in, push the door wide open. You might even walk in, make your rounds, barely acknowledge my existence. It was kind of a nuisance but of course I secretly took it as your wanting to check up on me (even if it most likely wasn’t.) I would tap the door close once you’re in the bathroom with me and you would try to use your nose to nudge the door open. So cute.
Somehow the title of the novel was not at all appealing to me. That’s why I hesitated to open it even though I’ve had the book for a while. (I don’t even remember what prompted me to get the book. It must have had come up as a recommendation based on a book I read previously.) But I was desperate.
The book was easy to read. I wouldn’t call it a page turner, but it kept me interested and engaged. The story was like a neat little puzzle, while the “mystery” was not the point, where the pieces come together nicely one by one throughout the story.
It bugs me a little bit how every little piece fits perfectly in the story. I cannot shake that feeling, even though I kept telling myself that it’s the point of fiction. Nevertheless, it’s very enjoyable.
It’s been a week since I finish Imagine Me Gone. While I’m still trying to digest it and hopefully write something coherent about what I think and, more importantly, how it made me feel, I’m on a quest for the next book to read. It shouldn’t have been difficult. I have, already in my Kindle, over 100 samples of books which, at one point or another, look appealing to me. I also have over two dozen books that I intended to read.
First, I turned to Jade Sharma’s debut novel Problems . I finished the entire sample and I felt like I can definitely continue to read it, but I’m not convinced that I want to delve into a novel about addiction. Moving on, I came to Anne Tyler’s Back When We Were Grownups. However, the characters seem unrealistically quirky, and I had no patience to even sit through a softball game at an engagement party, even though the opening of the book was great — “Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.” I opened Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, but as soon as I realized it is set in WWII, I retreated. Then I unwittingly stumbled upon The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I didn’t realize it’s yet another book set in WWII because it started off with cheesy plot device — pretend to set the stage in the late 90s, fabricate a scenario that creates a question intends to hook and throw you into a “flashback”. However, it was not the fact that the main story is set in WWII that turned me off. The way the characters are portrayed is like a teenage girl’s attempt of a romance novel, affecting her non-existent knowledge of the world and human.
And then we came to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I don’t remember why I got this book. Either a personal recommendation, which I doubt, or it is a “you might like this as well” suggestion by GoodRead or Amazon based on the other books I liked. I did not have high hopes because I did not particularly like the title of the book. But I was drawn in faster than I could imagined. It’s very likely because the novel seems to be about books and book loving people.
I think I’m happily settled for a while.
So I’ve started listening to Cortex (after Daniel started to re-listen to it and Hello Internet), because now I do want to manage my monkey better and through that, live a better life. The first few episodes inspired me to rearrange my iPhone icons. It was long overdue. I was periodically organizing it to make sure it has some sort of logic, and when I downloaded a new app, I’d try to put it in a logical place. However, after a few strikes of laziness, it got out of hand and I stopped trying.
And this is what happened: (Grey might have an heart attack. Daniel almost did.)
I don’t even know when and why Pinterest, an app that I barely use, ended up on the first page. That is probably why I could never, really NEVER, find it. It has no place on the first page! (It still took me more than 10 seconds to find it on the above image as I write this.)
I started to reorganize it and try using folders. I used to hate the ideas of folders on iPhone. The only 2 folders I had, which were on the very last page, are games, which I’m trying not to play, hence hidden, and Apple stuff that I cannot remove. I didn’t start out with a clear rule of arrangement and no specific/tangible end goal, except for making it look nicer and make my workflow more efficient. Daniel disapproves. Therefore, now I’m trying to think about it more.
It is indeed very difficult.
Currently, I define my pages as: constantly used, frequently used, and rarely used but because I don’t remember their names so I don’t want to uninstall them and not being able to reinstall them when I need them. Because of these three categories, I have three pages instead of two even though I can really fit everything into two. Putting the Obsessions (Facebook, PTT, Plurk, VK, reddit, twitter) into a folder is me trying to break the established neuro-pathway where my finger autonomously taps on them whenever I find myself with one minute or two (sometimes even less) of “spare time”. I didn’t really obsess over vk, reddit or twitter, but having a folder with only 3 apps is an abomination to me, so I brought them in.
Now I don’t know what else to do.
The central idea of Grey’s home screen arrangement principle that Daniel is advocating for is easy access for important apps and search for the rest (which neatly reside in a folder). I couldn’t get behind the idea initially because, to be honest, I never used the search function and the thought of training myself to adopt a new behavior is unthinkable. But I think the argument is legitimate — anything that is not on the first page usually cannot be instinctively and instantly located, and therefore, instead of wasting brain juice (albeit a few seconds), one should just search for it when needed. I figured out how I can get to the search bar (while talking to Daniel to exhibit how I really don’t ever use that function) and I’m getting used the idea of searching. Now my phone looks like this. We’ll see how it goes.
最近一股作氣看完了兩本之前從台灣帶來的日本小說- 江國香織的”金米糖撒落的地方”以及柚木麻子的”書店的戴安娜”. 覺得也許我的閱讀勁回來了, 便想要趕快再找一本書來看, 以免隔太久好不容易回來的勁頭又離我而去. 看著書架上好幾本這一兩年從台灣帶回來的書, 都沒有一本引起我的興趣. (目前剩下的都是中文作家的作品, 有一半是散文, 而我目前實在沒有看散文的心情.) 打開 Kindle, 幾十本略有興趣而下載了 sample, 或是衝動之下買下來的書, 實在不知從何挑起, 有點意興闌珊. 翻看書目時看到 Arthur Koestler 的 Darkness at Noon, 印象中應該是在書裡或電視電影裡有人提到過, 我順手查了一下便決定下載, 不過現在是怎麼也想不起來究竟是在哪裡聽/看到的. Darkness at Noon 雖然被某些人認為是二十世紀最重要的十本英語作品之一, 但在中文界應該沒那麼有名, 所以我會下載應該一大半原因是因為我喜歡它的書名.
Darkness at Noon 的每一章節很短, 看起來很順暢, 有事要暫停也很方便. 令我很驚訝的一點是, 我看到第九章竟然都還沒有讓我生起想放下的念頭. 畢竟這個題材並不是我很有興趣的, 然後步調其實不快. 但不知為何, 雖然目前為止故事還平平淡淡的卻很吸引我.
工作上的任務雖然有點拖拉還是處理完畢, 這幾天在看好一陣子前買的小說”書店裡的黛安娜”, 非常動人, 一股腦就看完了. 已經好久沒有好好地看幾本書了說. 另外, 籌備了好幾天的丹尼爾周末慶生計劃, 從構想到準備材料, 現在也都成形了. 就待明天實際執行啦!
最後因為這兩天心血來潮又一直逛Radley的網站想買包包長夾, 想起了因為掉線而不敢再帶出門的 Radley 狗狗吊飾. 我一股作氣地加線把它們縫緊, 明天就可以帶它們出去玩了.
It’s not even a third of the year and I’m already on my third endeavour (the first and second being Deutsch and wedding planning, neither of them finished.)
Now I’m onto programming. (Second ever attempt since uni.) We’ll see how long this lasts.
從台灣回來不久後 Daniel 忽然跟我求婚. 完全在意料之外.
驚喜過後就開始扼腕, 如果他早點求婚, 我在台灣時就不會一直被念, 而且可能還可以在婚紗特賣搶到什麼便宜好貨. alas. (現在敢抱怨了因為戒指卡在手上拿不下來, 嘻嘻.)
因為不想要把自己逼瘋, 尤其 Daniel 現在正忙著轉行的事, 我們決定最早明年春天結婚.
但我後來發現可以以訂婚的名義回台灣先宴客, (這部份我自己來, 當然還有媽媽跟妹妹幫忙, 一些親朋好友也很熱心的說要幫忙, 畢竟我只能遠端遙控) 於是大概看了一些場地 (其實本來心裡就有個底了), 問了餐廳空檔, 很爽快地就下訂了.
在下訂之前沒事的時候就在看 GetMarry 板, 資訊很多當然也很零散 (還有我最愛看的 drama 實不實讓我分心), 我整個像無頭蒼蠅一樣, 感覺上好像知道該準備什麼, 實際上還是抓不太到大方向, 畢竟我的情況說普通又有點奇怪. 我今天可能看一堆禮服租或買的資料, 明天可能看一堆邀請卡的設計. 所以我除了偶爾完成了一個項目會有個放鬆感之外, 隨時好像都處在 low to medium anxiety level 的情況下.
可憐了 Daniel, 我焦慮時很容易亂發脾氣.
不知道在哪裡看到, 人家說場地, 婚攝(現在想想不知道是指婚紗還是婚禮紀錄)跟新秘要先訂好, 其他可以慢慢來. 短短一句話又讓我陷入焦慮狀態. 剛好我想到 Florence 跟我的情況有點類似 (只是她在回台灣前被求婚, 還有機會剛好拍個婚紗先), 就跟她請教, 討資料. 她們的婚紗照我還蠻喜歡的, 所以想說有認識的也好, 就跟他們聯絡婚禮紀錄事宜, 但是後來多看了幾家, 發現他們算蠻貴的, 而且婚攝的風格我不是很喜歡. 所以我又找了幾個評價不錯的, 後來選定了一位作品我跟Daniel跟媽媽都蠻喜歡的, 只是他的助手回信很制式, 感覺有點不安心. (但說真的, 單單詢問的人應該不少, 如果每個人都親回, 應該會累死.)
接下來就是新秘啦. 本來也是看了 Florence 推薦的, 我覺得還可以接受 (整個就是沒概念人又怕麻煩). 但是第一次填詢問單時 email 好像留錯了, 一直沒有接到回信, 所以就開始看其他的新秘. 實在有夠多. 不過我越看越多越知道大概要看什麼, (不能看新娘漂不漂亮, 這90%是天生的XD) 看了快十位, 還是沒有看到很喜歡的. 回頭看看我自己化的 (明明就不會化妝), 覺得好像只要修個眉毛就不錯, 只是事情才沒有那麼簡單的啊… 上相度, 持久度等等應該都無法比. 何況我還不會自己弄頭髮 (想盤髮).
不過事到如今我已經學會深呼吸, 沒有非誰不可, 低頭看看戒指, 兩個人開心才是最重要的.
加上很喜歡 Aquamarine 的水藍色, 就認定了 Aquamarine 是我的定婚石.
但是做了越多研究, 越發現 Aquamarine 的壞處 (其實只有一項, 就是它硬度不夠, 當定婚戒天天戴很容易刮傷甚至碎裂.)
於是我把主意打到了 Sapphire 上面. 因為在做 Aquamarine 的研究時發現 Sapphire 其實什麼顏色都有 (為什麼中文叫藍寶石呢?! XD), 應該可以挑到我喜歡的顏色, 而且硬度有 9 (鑽石是 10, Aquamarine 是 7.5~8)
心裡有個底之後就開始尋覓我跟Daniel都喜愛的戒指. 看了幾家店之後大概了解我們的喜好 (看到實物戴在手上跟看照片感覺完全不同啊.) 後來得知某家珠寶店幾周後有 Custom Design 活動 (店內會有上百隻戒台供挑選, 然後可以自帶散石或是跟他們購買.) 我們果然挑到了設計簡單大方又很別緻的戒指, 不過, 戒台的價錢已經是我默默在心裡定下的上限了 (雖然是 Daniel 買單), 於是我決定, 主石還是選 Aquamarine 吧! 反正我們選的戒台, 主石會是坐在裡面不會凸出來, 應該不太會刮到撞到.
活動當天有珠寶師傅坐鎮, 購買完畢他隨即幫你改戒圍. 明明我量的是4.5, 單據上也寫4.5, 但是改完之後拿到的卻只比4大一點點. 偏偏那天改完店已經差不多要關門了 (我們還先回家一趟再出門, 因為 Daniel 不想在 mall 裡等), 所以也沒想過量量戒指看正不正確. 我使盡力氣把戒指塞進去, 以為戒圍是正確的, 就開開心心地回家了. 回家之後, 戒指差點拔不出來. (主石還沒裝上去, 所以戴著睡可能會戳到眼睛, 所以要拔下來.) 只略略覺得奇怪也沒有多想. (拔到指節的皮都腫了 XD)
因為店小姐誤導, 我們去該活動之前以為他們店內就有 Aquamarine 散石讓我們挑選, 結果其實沒有. 所以我們還多等好幾天等他們合作的珠寶商送來幾顆顏色大小是我們要的 Aquamarine. 好不容易等到了, 卻只有我們覺得其實太大的六顆跟兩顆非常小顆的 (大概分別是 7mm 與 3.5mm), 在挑選時我們直接跳過兩顆小的, 把重心放在那幾顆較大的上面. 憑良心講, 他們真的很漂亮, 雖然說隱隱覺得這大小對於我們的戒台來說好像太大了. 但是店小姐一直說不會不會, 師傅會調整. 我們又沒概念, 於是就挑了顆喜歡的付錢, 交給她們再交給師傅把石頭裝上去. (這時我們隨口提了一下戒指好像改太小, 店小姐才又拿傢伙出來量, 結果果然是改太小了! 並不是我手指忽然變粗… 她們滿口答應說這次一定會改好.)
滿心期待我的漂亮藍色戒指, 但是一直苦等不到他們電話. 大約一周後的星期三, 店小姐打電話來, 說珠寶師傅把戒指跟石頭退回來了, 什麼工也還沒做, 因為石頭太大, 他需要先跟我們確認主石突出戒面我們可不可以接受. -_- 什麼鬼… 事到如今我們只想趕快拿到我的戒指, 就跟他說好的沒問題. 但是店小姐又告知我們珠寶師傅周五才會來店裡拿, 我們最快拿到戒指大概也要下周二. 我此時已經十分不爽.
一來, 他們 Aquamarine 賣我們賣超貴, 我們本來覺得有挑到喜歡的石頭, 然後又不用自己到處尋覓, 人家賺點 markup 可以接受. 但是現在整個感覺越來越差, 實在不想再跟他們交涉, 於是我又看起了 Sapphire (因為 Aquamarine 算是半寶石, 所以除非在網路上找其實不太好買 XD) 我記得 reddit 上有人推薦 Shaneco, 說他們除了鑽石之外, Sapphire 是他們注重的項目之一. 很棒的是他們的庫存都在網站上可以查到, 所以對於他們手上的 Sapphire 價位也有個底. 我又多做了點研究, 人家說 Shaneco 的 Sapphire 其實價錢很不錯, 雖然不是最便宜的, 但是加上服務什麼的還算划得來.
在下定決心跳槽 Sapphire 之前, 我打電話去問第一家珠寶店一些問題 (因為我想知道我們選得 Aquamarine 的大小, 這樣我才知道適合大小的 Saphhire 大概是在什麼價位, 還要順便確認可以退 Aquamarine). 店小姐非常扯, 我問她石頭大小, 她一直跟我扯東扯西, 說石頭突出來沒關係. 我說那你不能看一下嗎? 她又找一堆藉口講得好像石頭不在店內. 我想說算了, 這不是很重要. 但是後來講到別的事情, 她又透露石頭是在店內沒錯, 我就很直接的對她說, 那你就現在去量一下啊. 她才不甘不願地拿來量. 更機車的是, 她看我想退 Aquamarine 還想坑我錢, 說什麼我們已經沒跟你收工錢了 (明明就是活動裡包含的啊) 你這樣我們要跟你收工錢. 我已經很不爽了, 一點也不委婉地指出師傅明明就還沒有把石頭mount上去, 你到底是在說什麼鬼… 她才訕訕地說喔好你要退也是可以.
同時, Daniel 幫我問到這邊的分店問有 Sapphire 庫存, 於是我們周四殺到 Valley Fair 把 Aquamarine 退掉, 把戒指拿回來. 周五殺到 Shaneco 去挑 Sapphire. 雖然 Sapphire 還是比我們之前挑的 Aquamarine 貴, 但是石頭本身的品質, 跟 Shaneco 的服務, 我們覺得非常值得.
不過我們總共花了比我自己設定的預算多了一倍的價錢. 但是 Daniel 開心, 我也開心, 錢… 就再賺就好了. XD
It is really annoying when people ask you for help, and always respond like they know the answer already (when they obviously don’t.)
It does NOT make you sound smarter ok?
And don’t start every questions with “I think I have a brain fart today…”
No, not just today.
本來覺得自己在這項上面應該很放得開, 但是看越多心得就越不知道該怎麼辦. 朋友都講得很簡單, 挑自己喜歡的就好了啊! 但是我又無法試吃, 難道只看盒子挑嗎? (是說只看盒子挑也是ok, 但我都看上超出我預算的盒子啊… orz)
本來跟媽媽討論了之後, 差不多決定了我們兩個都還算喜歡的組合, 只要等媽媽試吃過關即可下定. 但我又跑去看人家心得, 當然各家餅都有人愛有人不愛, 所以看到最後整個就懷疑起自己的選擇. (如果在訂婚前能自己吃到就好了啊… orz)
話說我覺得如果我自己可以試吃, 應該就可以果斷的做出決定, 但是其實應該也只是說得容易而已.
Initial note was very girly, and the scent reminds me of Tocca’s Florence. But soon after, it matured. It became more feminine and I smelled the warm caramel.
There’s also a hint of something that reminds me of Calyx by Prescriptives.
It’s honestly better than I could hope :)