I’ve been thinking about this blog thing every day. What should I write about? What will be interesting? After several days of uninspiring thoughts, I finally came across an inspiring one. Today in our unofficial, unaccredited, yet still seriously taken jazz improv course, Dr. Plies stated that you don’t think when you improv. You just do it. You don’t pause and say, “Okay, now I’m going to play an Ebm7 chord, followed by a C#m11,. . .” No, that’s not how jazz works. Of course you need to know the foundation of jazz to gain the freedom of improvisation. But once you get there, you let loose and just be. I’m the type of person who finds it hard to just be. I am all about planning, preparing, packing, practicing, procurating, proctoring, patting. . .wait what?

I am wired to organize, to worry, to anticipate things before they come so when they do come, I will be ready. I have only recently realized that what I used to think is elite discipline is really only perfectionism driven by fear that I won’t be enough. Viewing it with that name gives me a different perspective. No wonder I have my days planned out by the hour. I have rituals, regularity, and routines. It’s comforting to me. The unexpected things that occur during the day really get me good. I’m not sure why I am this way. I don’t believe it’s innately bad, but I do believe it has twisted its way into some unhealthy practices in my life.

All I can do at this point is let the challenge of freedom from ritual merely brush my mind, then watch it leave. That’s all I’m ready for at this point. As I become more familiar with the idea of change, maybe then I will be ready to challenge myself for change. For now, digesting all of these things is challenge enough. Like I mentioned before, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared! But it shouldn’t be an all consuming source of stress.

And here comes the awkward part that reveals my inability to conclude in a non-awkward way. . .oh no I said awkward twice, agh three times!!




Getting to Know Me Part 2

To follow up with my last post in the Getting to Know Me Series, I am writing on the various things in my life that bring me joy.

Things I Like

1. The smell of fresh laundry. In my house in Southeast Portland we have three levels. The bottom level has the laundry machines. When I throw my soiled sports bras and dirty jeans into the washer and then pour some soap in, magical things ensue. The smell of linen scented laundry detergent permeates the entire downstairs level bringing immense pleasure to all who encounter it. I love the smell of fresh things, and that includes laundry sheets, Pine Sol, and so on.

2. My Roommates. Six woman, one cat, and now a golden retriever make for an interesting household. One would think that our house is a hub for cat fights, melt downs, and moody remarks. However that is not the case. My house is filled with individuals who respect each other’s space and things. My roommates are the type of people who give without blinking an eye but would never expect it in return. Besides that they’re godly, adventurous, kind, and responsible. They are such blessings to me!

3. Baking. I’m sure this is obvious. I find it so fun to bake. I’m sure it has something to do with the methodical process of measuring things out and creating a finished project that (hopefully) pleases myself and others. The more I do it, the better I become. There was a time when I didn’t know what vanilla extract was. Those days are gone.

4. San Francisco and Portland. It’s hard for me to choose just one city I adore. I grew up going to San Francisco often. Some of my fondest memories include chestnuts in Union Square and many years spent watching the SF ballet. Occasionally someone will drop their pants in the middle of the street, but what can ya do.

And Portland. . .ah, beloved Portland. I love this quirky, unique city. Home to amazing natural beauty and equally beautiful people, this city has stolen my heart.

5. Running with other people. I love to run but I don’t always want to run alone. I think it’s a beautiful way to connect with others and better ourselves physically. I’m grateful for all the people who have gone out and hit the pavement with me. I’ve had some pretty deep talks with Dad while out on the open road that I won’t soon forget.

6. Praying with other people. Prayer is powerful and I’m convinced even more so in groups. A healthy spirituality includes a healthy prayer practice and that’s hard to achieve alone. Praying with even one other person has such a powerful effect on my well being because I just sense God all over it. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

I love so many other things that include: my adorable pup Tobes, my incredible family, souls I’m in love with (like Vanessa, Michaela, Britny, and J. Cam), writing letters, my Nordstrom heels, hanging out with my favorite Domino, Warner Pacific College, peanut butter, and so on.

As I keep thinking about things I love, people keep coming to mind. I have met so many beautiful people during my short 20 years on this planet. So many beautiful hearts full of authenticity and kindness. What an amazing thing to witness.

This hasn’t even scratched the surface of who I am or what any of the people mentioned mean to me. Shout out to you all. I love all you wonderful people in my life,



Getting to Know Me Part 1

It has been a good while in terms of blogging since I have made a post. I thought about this in the last week and pondered many different things I could have written about. I have so many thoughts running around in my head. Before I go on about whatever topic I feel strongly about at the time, I figure I’d write a couple Getting to Know Me posts. If you’re reading this, you’re probably Vanessa which means you know more about me than most people. That makes this post what, pointless? No, because there’s a chance you’re some reader in the far future lurking through my entries. Maybe you’ll find it interesting, maybe you’ve already stopped reading. Either way here we go:

Things I Dislike

1. Wind. It seriously makes everything worse. Oregon weather wouldn’t be nearly as painful for a Californian like me if there wasn’t a 15 degrees windchill drop. Knit scarves and my North Face jacket are gold to me.

2. Being over 700 miles away from Boston. I’m not talking Boston, Massachusetts here. (Although it does blow that MA is so far away, but that’s another story and another beloved person.) Long distance relationships are really, really hard. I’m thankful I get to be in Boston’s physical presence the majority of the year, but I am not looking forward to another summer apart.

3. Running out of butter when I’m trying to bake. Baking is a stress reliever to me and butter is often an essential part of recipes I make. A pack of butter only goes so far. Oh how I hate to adjust my plans to accommodate butter-less baking. It usually results in no cookies being made.

4. Tauriel and Kili’s relationship in The Hobbit. Why Pj. WHY. I don’t mind the creation of her character, I actually really like Tauriel on her own. But why does the added female have to automatically be portrayed as a love interest? Aside from that, Elves and dwarves would never have romantic relations.

5. My mom is so far away when I’m at school. Now this is what really sucks. This woman’s amazing. She shares my love of Mochi and romance novels. She also brings me Watsonville sourdough when she visits. I love this woman.

6. Fake nice bloggers. I read a lot of cookings blogs. I can usually tell when the author is acting overly friendly so she can make her readers feel special or something. There’s nothing wrong with a genuine desire to help people feel good, but when it’s not sincere it just doesn’t sit right with me. For example, when bloggers say, “You NEED this in your life!!” No, I actually don’t. If your recipe looks good enough maybe I’ll try it, and if it’s wonderful I’ll make it ten times over. But I don’t need anything you have to give me. Unless it’s Joy Wilson’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Then yes, I need that in my life.

I also dislike many other things, like self-centered people, fleas, being barefoot on any floor that isn’t carpet, going over my WiFi data, running out of clean sports bras, crumbs, and how college is sucking me dry.

Side note: I don’t claim to be a writer nor do I strive for grammatical perfection. I’m just kind of writing for my own sake.

Well, now you know some of the things that push my buttons/make me sad/annoy me.

Until next time,