Running Like The Wind

Today, I picked up running. I am horrified at how unfit I am for it, but mile after mile… one day I’ll run a couple without panting like a cat out of breath after. Bears, watch out! I won’t be the last left! Another reason why I choose to run – because if was ever in the situation to have to run away from a bear, for my life, I don’t want to tank. I want to be wind.

Is presently classified as over-rated in my book (running like the wind). However, I will do everything I can to stick to it. I feel that I have some trouble sticking to things, for at some point almost anything and everything can feel like it’s smothering a person. Anyway, yes, I want to run like the wind. When I get there, it will be less over-rated. Then, I will probably always try to outrun someone, outrun you, World.

Yet, I run for myself. I run, because when I zoom past the pavement, past the trees, past the parked cars, I feel free. I move on my own, but listening to my music keeps me running. I just feel the beat and my feet moving to it. Step by step, beat by beat, it’s almost like dancing out a routine your body knows without lessons. I can feel my heart pumping and the emotion of the song. I am the song. I am the pulse of life. And it’s all within me. It’s exhilarating. It’s incredible.

I will keep it up, but encouragements to do so are more than welcome. Help me stick. 🙂




Thanks to Milya for discovering this song

Everyone needs a “Heartbreaker” ;)

Hello, World!

It is a lovely Saturday morning, here in sunny San Diego, California. It’s 8:45 and I am happy it’s the weekend: I woke up with the sun 2 hours ago and got to lay in bed and watch a brilliant French movie instead of getting up and going to work. 🙂

This brilliant movie is precisely what inspired me to write another post: I want to recommend it to anyone and everyone. It’s the perfect pick-me-up to make you laugh, smile, and begin your day. The movie is called “Heartbreaker” (2010) and I knew I wanted to see it when I saw the trailer 2 years ago. Thanks to a lucky star, I randomly spotted the title on Netflix last night and vowed to see it first thing in the morning (i.e. today). The movie is a romantic comedy, refreshingly devoid of being too cheesy, or stupidly funny. It is smart, light, and dreamy.

Yes, dreamy. I am divided between the urge to explain what’s so great about heart-breakers, but inadvertently reveal the plot, and keeping my mouth shut, so that your curiosity makes you watch the film. To reconcile this conundrum, I will just say that “Heartbreaker” made me feel very alive and free. So, for the rest of the day I’ll be on my own dreamy love adventure. Lucky for me, I already have my bad boy Prince Charming.

Definitely watch the movie. It has great acting, a great story, good music, and will make you dream and laugh. Some guys may find it chick-flick-y though, but I would say to completely ignore them. I think my hubby would like it too.



On Seneca’s “On the Tranquility of the Soul”

Last Thursday (May 19) we were discussing “On the Tranquility of the Soul” and Seneca’s recommendations for alleviating one’s depression, anger, etc, focusing in particular on the role studying can play in this. Below I am laying out some thoughts about learning and the tranquility of the soul, contrary to popular opinion. I’d be happy if someone would defend Seneca on this, or further the discussion.

While overall I agree with Seneca that studying can be a good (and productive) way to distract oneself and help overcome unfavorable states of mind (longing, depression, feeling worthless, anger, boredom…), I simultaneously object to this claim, because of the general manner in which he prescribes it. While studying can help in SOME situations, I feel that Seneca should have either recognized that studying can have adverse effects sometimes, as I will discuss below, or that specific types of studying should be prescribed to people for specific types of grief and suffering. Seneca should have specified the kinds of studying one should engage in given the person’s circumstances and what he or she is trying to “conquer.”

My first objection to studying as an alleviate-all is that it can be harmful to one’s tranquility, as I’ve found from personal experience: while learning more and more about politics and economics and gaining in-depth understanding of the political, economic and social structures of Europe and America, what I have learned has largely upset me, due to

–          the realization of the state of affairs in these two continents (those being my focus/specialty) and the rest of the world

–          finding out where my position in the world is and how futile my attempts to change it would be

–          feeling like in some ways I have wasted my time learning, because although I have gained immense awareness, it has put me in a love/hate relationship to education and learning, things I used to wholeheartedly love.

Thus, in this case, studying has actually served the opposite effect of giving me peace – the more I know, the less I wish I knew and the more upset I become. Furthermore, in the case of philosophy: I love the subject and could spend hours talking about ethics, the meaning of life, theology, death, desire, emotions, justice, etc… but practically, I have found that a big majority of people couldn’t care less not only about discussing these topics, let alone practicing an ideology – has even anyone in the class never told a lie, or not broken any law at all? If that is the case for university students deeply immersed in philosophy, what does this say for the rest of the world?

So yes, I am deeply saddened that life is the way it is and that I am aware of it. When I was young I couldn’t understand the saying “ignorance is bliss” and now I feel mocked by it.

Sorry if I went on too long a tangent trying to prove that learning can be harmful to the tranquility of the soul, but I just wanted to illustrate this other side of studying, which I feel Seneca has overlooked.

My second objection to Seneca’s essay is that he should be specific in prescribing studying: one should engage in learning this-and-that depending on such-and-such circumstances. For example, while learning more about politics and economics and philosophy might have adverse effects on me, learning about literature, the cosmos, a foreign language, or dancing gives me immense pleasure and I could very easily immerse myself in any of those activities, feeling like I have enriched my life. Just as well, someone squeamish might not benefit from learning about medicine, as it might give them nightmares after having seen or learned about certain things (amputation)….

Lastly, my objections also connect to something we talked about last month – the suffering of the world and how it is much easier to ignore it or be undisturbed by it if it far removed – happening somewhere else or f you don’t see and hear about it. The more one learns about injustice, for example, the harder it gets to ignore, at least for the ones who value the virtues of justice and morality.

Mascherata Veneziana

Buongiorno, cari miei!

You may wonder why I greet you in Italiano. Well, here is a story of recent events…

We happened upon a newspaper with a glittery cover of a mask. Due to my natural love for masks and balls, Maxim sweetly looked inside to find out what event the cover referenced. Amongst the multiple Mardi Gras parties advertised, he found a unique one – a Venetian carnival in the Little Italy district of sunny San Diego.
After looking at the webpage it was decided that we shall go, and go in style: costumed in typical Renaissance attire.

Moments later, my quarters became a dressing room, covered with an explosion of gowns, costume pieces, shoes, make up, glitter, sewing items, and most importantly of all – masks. I was irked that although I easily found splendid attire for my gentleman, I laked a proper dress to fit the Venetian style for the occasion. That is when I raided the rest of my closet and with some help from my dear Maxim I transformed some pieces into new ones – namely an old dress, which I will never be able to wear as such in the future, but luckily do not lament for greatly.

Given that we had just two hours between finding out about the event and its start, and only my closet to work with for creating costumes, I believe the results were magnificent! Once again, I was happy that I had saved some unique old clothes and that I acquire new attire pieces with each Halloween, as a little folding, tons of pins, some cutting and sewing later we looked good enough to be stopped multiple times around the carnival for people asking to take our picture.

(Ah, as vain as it sounds, sometimes I love being the girl everyone makes nice comments about as I pass! *wink*)

The Carnival itself featured live Italian music, lots of vino, teachers of Waltz and other classic dances, jugglers, stilt walkers, and a multitude of masked people dancing, laughing, talking….

I loved the decorations for the occasion – carnival flags all around, banners on the streets, mask cutouts glittering on the sidewalks…. It felt as if for a few hours on that one night people came together to just be people. It is ironic, yet wonderful, how behind these masks we can be more real than we are without them – dropping the pretense, losing the judgment, forgoing discrimination.

We ended the festivities with dinner at the romantic Vincenzo Ristorante Italiano – a sweet finale to a wonderful night.

For a taste of the night, here is a very brief video:

Saison Chère, Mes Chéris

It is December and 2010 is quickly coming to an end. Only a few more hours and swish, it’s a new year! I cannot say that I am not excited. Every new year I think that it will be different than last one, in all the ways I with it to be – less wallowing, more goals achieved, more time spent with friends, more physical fitness, etc… and in the end I leave it feeling bittersweet because I have gains and losses on all fronts. Yet, I cannot withhold my anticipation once again. 🙂

This December…. I took my exams, hung out with my closest friends, spent some time with my family, cuddled with my kitty, read the full Sherlock Homes anthology, decorated a Christmas tree, made a multitude of food, celebrate more birthdays, missed other friends that could not be here (Valery and Inna), and got engaged.

Yes, Christmas 2010 was probably the best one I have ever had – it was extra special, as Maxim proposed to me – early in the morning, in the living room, next to our Christmas tree, while I was clad in only a tunic (in which I had gone to bed), with messy hair and smeared make up from the previous day. It was amazing and sweet, and even somewhat peculiar, as I knew my present was a ring the moment I shook the box of my beautifully wrapped gift. The ring is perfect. It is gorgeous, and most importantly, the center-piece is my favorite blue gemstone and not the stereotypical, boring, cold, impersonal diamond. I love it.

In the spirit of season, other memorable festivities were, in chronological order: Jenny’s Birthday, Winter Break, the ORW Christmas Party, the Holiday Party at Kenny’s, Nikita spending three weeks with us, the non-stop raining between December fifteenth and twenty-third, Sabrina’s birthday, Christmas dinner, welcoming the New Year in other time zones and sharing it with family and some of my most missed ones (<3 Inna), and the New Year’s Party I am heading off to in some minutes.

I guess though, that instead of rattling off about it, I should just show you….you know, talk less, do more. 😉

First Summer

This, tonight, is the perfect summer night, the only one like this that I’ve experienced in San Diego. Today was also the hottest day of the year (103 F), which accounts for the current bliss I’m feeling: The warm summer breeze caresses my skin softly, without causing me to pant like a sweaty dog after having chased a rabbit for hours….

As per usual for San Diego, there are no stars tonight, but the sky is a bright kind of blue, with two to three shades of the color.

For once, getting a frozen treat in the evening seems just right; and so, I got one – a unique creation, a mix of flavors that tickled and pleasured my taste buds in the form of frozen yogurt. The cookies and cream melted with the California strawberry and vanilla custard into a sweet explosion that I exaggerated with dulce de leche and offset with a bittersweet mango tart… Yuuumm, the flavors of the Candyland!!!

I topped off my culinary masterpiece with fresh strawberries, condensed milk, a hint of melted white chocolate, some kiwi, some bits of cookie dough, twix, and finally – mochi. It was another piece of heaven on Earth (numero dos in my book), lasting about 7 minutes…But surely you know how it goes – if life was filled with too many sweet moments, it’d be hard to learn to recognize them or appreciate them.

So, cheers to a sweet, sweet night that lets your mind dream, your senses feel, and your spirit relax… 🙂