Getting Ready to Go Back to School

The summer is flying by. It’s just a few weeks until I go to my intensive week-long retreat to kick off my second year of grad school. Hard to believe! We’re taking a Gestalt class first so I’m reading up:

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Recent Eats and Drinks

Things I enjoyed ingesting and imbibing in June:


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Farmers Market fresh peaches, Snowed Spinach omelette breakfast at Sweet Maple


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Japanese grill cooking in Japan Center West Mall, stuffed bell pepper from Mollie Stones, Chipotle chicken bun sandwich at Streatfood, salad from a FiDi pizza place, pork buns and fruit tartlet at California Academy of Sciences Nightlife, steamed broccoli and white wine at home


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Sauvignon blanc at Source SF. I also had meatless buffalo chicken, lemon Brussels sprouts and black bean soup but my dinner photos came out blurry, grapefruit mimosa at Sweet Maple.

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Clearly Canadian is Making a Comeback

Five years ago, when this blog was relatively new, I wrote an article titled My Favorite Carbonated Beverages. At the time I was doing a lot of writing on HubPages and had posted an article about the best flavored water.

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In that article, I’d named the #1 option to be Clearly Canadian. I wrote:

“I fell in love with this brand of bottled water more than ten years ago, long before the shelves were filled with so many brands of bottled water and long before I’d given up drinking soda. I think that’s why I liked it so much at the time. It’s a carbonated flavored water beverage so it tastes a bit like soda but it’s fruitier and fresher. And I think there’s something to the fact that they’re using pure Canadian water because it really does taste clean. They’ve now launched a non-carbonated version of their water which I haven’t tried yet but am interested in testing out.”

The truth is that I felt really nostalgic about this brand. We used to take these long summer road trips from Arizona to visit our grandmother in Ohio, and there was one summer when I was a teenager when I fell in love with Clearly Canadian and drank it during the whole drive. Additionally, I was involved in pen palling back then and would decorate beautiful pages in friendship books – my early stabs at art … Clearly Canadian and Snapple and other drinks were part of the ephemera I included in those pages. So I just have this fondness for those cold glass bottles and their yummy drinks. I’m sharing this now because I just received a Facebook message letting me know that Clearly Canadian is making a comeback. Note: they aren’t a post sponsor or anything; I just found the message interesting and thought I’d share. Their website says:

To all of Clearly’s loving, thirsty, demanding fans, this is where you come in to bring Clearly Canadian to life! With your help, work and commitment, Clearly Canadian will be coming to a store near you and into your hot little hands even sooner. Your pre-orders will be literally pushing Clearly Canadian into production. Please order today and please keep campaigning like its 1994!”

They are running a campaign right now to spread the word that they’re back, and they’re offering opportunities to get free cases either by purchasing some to get the free one or by spreading the word to enough people. Looks interesting. Anyone else a fan of this drink?

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May Eats and Drinks

Some of the things I enjoyed food-wise in May:


IMG 6029 1024x1024 May Eats and DrinksSweet Maple deep fried Dixie bacon

IMG 6165 764x1024 May Eats and DrinksCrepe Florentine with sides of fruit and bacon at Honey in Tendernob
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Fresh Fruit


IMG 6051 1024x1024 May Eats and DrinksBrie and garlic with apples and baguette at Liverpool Lil’s

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Homemade Ravioli

IMG 6209 764x1024 May Eats and DrinksKale salad (above) and pepper/potato flatbread (below) from Fat Angel off of Fillmore
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Drinks and Desserts

IMG 6105 1024x1024 May Eats and DrinksAmazing ice cream at Pauline’s Pizza in Mission for a friend’s birthday
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Chardonnay and Lemon Poppy Scone from Munchery

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Wine at Fat Angel

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That Bai5 you see in the background is one of my current favorite soda alternatives
IMG 6026 1024x1024 May Eats and DrinksWhite ginger tea at Sweet Maple

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Applied Spirituality Final Post

I recently shared that I’d done a creativity/spirituality process for a grad school class. I shared my original proposal. Throughout the semester we did forum posts with updates about our process and progress. I thought today I’d share the final post that I did at the end of the course, which I titled Looking Forward.

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A lot seems to be happening for me, in me, around me lately … because of the work for this course, because of the work in this school. And while I thought about sharing some of that here, particularly in regards to what I’ve been continuing to do for Applied Spirituality, I’ve decided that what’s more important for me at this stage is to look at what it all might look like moving forward. What did I get out of this? What will I take with me? What will it mean for the people I encounter personally and professionally in the future?
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What a Life Perspectives Study Says About Me

I recently participated in an online Life Perspectives Study run by a graduate student in psychology named Ivan Nasilev.

The Request for Help

Here’s what prompted me to participate:

Interested in contributing to psychology research and learning more about yourself? This study being conducted by the Institute of Psychology at the University of Heidelberg focuses on how different life perspectives and well-being measures relate to each other. More specifically, it aims at investigating how many empirically distinct kinds of optimism there are, and what positive and negative effects they have on psychological well-being and human health.”

Research background

“Even though “optimistic” and “pessimistic” are terms regularly used for the description of people in everyday life, in psychology research there is still no agreement of what “optimism” exactly is. Some research groups see it as a general positive expectancy of the future, others as a specific way people explain the causes of things that happen to them. A third viewpoint focuses more on whether individuals tend to focus on positive or negative aspects of situation when both are given. Finally, another stream of research speaks of “unrealistic optimism” in risk assessment and its possible consequences.

While some of these concepts have been very widely researched, there is still little understanding to what extent they reflect the same underlying processes or how they possibly differ from each other. Answering this question may reveal important insights on which aspects should be trained and how their development can be better approached.”

Study Results

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Breakfast at Sweet Maple

One of my favorite local breakfast places is Sweet Maple, in lower Pac Heights near Japantown. Usually I order the two egg breakfast with Millionaire’s Bacon and coffee. But on this day I decided to order white ginger tea, a side of fruit, an omelette and Dixie Bacon (which is deep fried bacon). Yummy all around.

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Borderlines (Favorite Quotes)

I recently read Borderlines: A Memoir Borderlines (Favorite Quotes) by Caroline Kraus. This moving book tells the true story of the author’s experience of losing her mother in her early teens and how that grief made her ripe and raw for enmeshment in a mostly platonic relationship with a woman with borderline personality disorder. It’s intense and interesting and sometimes funny.

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I always bookmark my favorite lines that stand out in every book I read. There were a couple from this one:

“Looking back, I see San Francisco as a curious siren. Almost everyone I was about to meet had migrated west for their own vague reasons, following some strange instinct that promised hope. It was a place that seemed ripe with possibility.”

“There is a particular kind of depression of the spirit sometimes associated with the deep introspective stage of transition and change. When this occurs, the Bear is a reminder that there is a prallel between depression and the natural state known as hibernation, when involcvement with the outer world is minimized in order to focus more energy on the inner processes necessary for a successful transition.”

“Memoir is, fundamentally, a literary investigation – a mystery that is cracked by re-creating dialogue and translating settings and action into words. But these are the vehicles to truth and not in themselves the end. There are the facts of this story, and then there is what I make of them. The curved lens of memory adds its angles to the process, shaping every setting, stretch of dialogue, and scene. But the aim of memoir – to transcend personal experience – is a corrective voice to that lens. In the end, the most distilled, captured “truth” is what the author has gleaned, with earnest motivations.”

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Applied Spiritual Experience Proposal: Creativity = Spirituality

This past semester included an independent study course on Applied Spirituality. My plan ended up taking shape in creative ways throughout the semester and it ended differently than it begun – but I think that was the point. I thought today I’d share my original proposal for my course.

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I am interested in using this course to explore the concept of creativity as a form of spirituality. I want to look at how creative practice can be used to tap into something bigger and more universal than the self, allowing the creativity of whatever created us to move through me as an individual. I am curious how this practice can expand my own creativity and broaden my sense of creative work as a form of spiritual practice. I am also curious how I can use a creative practice to deepen my sense of the spiritual/ the oneness/ the creative flow of the universe.

Nature of Practice

I will be working with the practices of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way workbook series, which essentially says that creativity is a part of our nature and that it is safe and valuable to open ourselves to a creative channel that allows a creative spirit bigger than ourselves to flow through us and work in the world.

The practices of The Artist’s Way specifically include:

  • 3 pages of daily handwritten “flow” writing each morning, daily
  • 1 20-minute meditative walk, daily
  • 1 creative solo “artist’s date” with the self for at least one hour weekly
  • Weekly reading on specific topics
  • Weekly written and creative exercises related to the reading topics

The exercises for each week incorporate a number of different practices including affirmations, mining the past, service to others, seeking synchronicity, etc.

For my daily walk I want to practice three types of walking meditation throughout the weeks. One is a gratitude meditation that I’ve already been doing in my life and find very valuable. One is a more basic meditation coming back to the breath in the body and the ground beneath the feet and working to release attachment to any other thoughts. And finally I want to take this opportunity to deepen the work by using some of the meditative walks to explore/ inquire/ examine/ observe how creativity is working in the world at a more universal, energetic, flow level.

Purpose of the Practice

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