Monday, January 21, 2008

It was the best of times...

I was directed to see this clip of The View today. I can't stand the View; chatty women talking over each other gives me a painful headache. But sometimes I am directed to see relevant brief snippets of the show online.
This clip is thoroughly irritating to me. On MLK Jr. Day the women are discussing whether we are, as a country, more racist or more sexist, the question being pertinent to whether we'd be more likely to elect a female or a black president. Elizabeth says that black men could vote before any woman could, Whoopi urgently corrects her to the contrary. The person who put the link up makes fun of Elizabeth for "putting her foot in her mouth." Turns out she was right. Google "womens' suffrage" and "black vote" as I did to nail down the exact dates.
I hate being wrong. I try extremely hard to always be right, and I like to think I usually am. This preference is likely in large part due to being the oldest child in a family, since what the oldest says usually goes; and they are also usually the first to learn how to verbally defend anything they say to their advantage. I have to think having an older sibling would be maddening at times. Right, Ian and Calista? ;)
As I've become an adult, I've gained a healthy obsession for being able to back up what I say. Sometimes I might be too slow to speak on an issue or defend an idea because I don't have all the info. I really dislike when people speak too quickly and incorrectly on something they are not at least partially educated on. And if they do it with even a hint of condescension, they'll have work to do to gain my respect again. Exhibit A, Whoopi Goldberg. It is the slightly malicious part of me that wants to see her reaction when she finds out that she incorrectly corrected someone on national television on such a major part of history. I generally like Whoopi, but shame on her for not knowing, and you know what, a little shame on Elizabeth for not defending the accuracy of her comment. I probably would have done the same thing, I can't imagine trying to keep everything I say straight on national television. But I will use this as an example for myself to continue to seek knowledge and accuracy in everything I say, and have the confidence in my words enough to defend them.
I will never forget the concept of the acronym "WUKFA" as long as I live. Of the many invaluable things Spencer taught our rhetoric class that year, this is on my top three.
There are basically five levels of knowledge in regards to everything we encounter in our lives, be it a person, history of a country, piece of literature, political policy, how to use a mac, nutrition, etc.

The first is Awareness. A vague idea that something is there and has a shred of significance. I am aware that there is a great novel out there called A Tale of Two Cities. I could not tell you more about it than that I know it exists and is well-respected and that the title of my post comes from it.
The second level is Familiarity. I am familiar with many people; the ones I see on State St. or friends' parties and say hi to but not converse with. I might know they went to my college and are from Washington and have heard who they are dating, but that's about it.
The third is Knowledge. I have knowledge of Santa Monica, having been visiting Zac there for nine months now. I know how to get around pretty well, and have a couple favorite restaurants and shops, but I have to ask someone else for a good place to have a glass of wine in the evening, how to get to the 10, and I still discover something new every time I go for a run there.
The fourth level is Understanding. I understand Spanish. I can speak it and write it and read it somewhat proficiently. Since I haven't used it much over the past year, it's quite rusty but I've translated for missions teams and had friendships spoken only in Spanish before.
The fifth level is Wisdom. I am wise in very few things. My best example is maybe myself. I know myself very well; my strengths and weaknesses, I can intuit how I will feel about something or someone quickly, how certain exercise will affect my body, and I know how to make decisions for myself that I will be happy with tomorrow, in 6 months, or in two years.

Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Familiarity, Awareness. Spencer taught us to strive towards knowledge and understanding in things that we intend to speak to others about, and to strive for higher levels if we are hoping to actually teach or debate with others about something. He gave us a quote about how many men speak on things they are only familiar about, and only few share abuot that to which they are wise. We were urged to seek wisdom on the things most crucial to our lives... our spouses, our children, the line of work we pursue, the things we vote on. We were challenged to have the evidence to back ourselves up when confronted, to have the wisdom to be able to love deeply.
The journey to reach this point obviously takes work, but I believe that it is our duty to embark upon it whether you are sharing your views on tv or just trying to be a good friend, employee, or citizen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Update & Miscellany

On the job front...
I am going to be working with another agent as well as Mary starting next week! Bruce is a top agent here at Prudential and I will be working with them each half-time. I'm excited about this change, especially because it gets me moving forward on one of my New Year's goals ahead of my deadline. I had wanted to alter my work schedule somehow by the end of February to be making more money and be more challenged. Done and done. I wasn't sure that the change I was seeking would still involve real estate, but I think this is the right thing for me. I'm lucky to get to live in a city I am in love with and work in a job that indulges one of my passions - people's homes. For fun, here's a photo of one of my current favorite properties listed in Montecito (not our listing!)... it's just around 7 mil and sits on Hot Springs Road.

Tutoring tales...
I have been tutoring a regular client of mine, Page, for almost 3 years now. As time goes on, she gets smarter, and me...well, I try. This girl is in high school now, so one subject in particular is really starting to fry my brain. Raise your hand if you're familiar with congruent triangle postulates or linear equations or parallel line theorems. Right. I never planned on tutoring in Geometry but the past couple months have found me doing it anyway, and it's some of the most challenging and rewarding ways I'm spending my time. Page and I busted through the afore-mentioned concepts and more this week as we prepared her for her final today. I would have done way better if we were working on an literature paper or Spanish exam, but I have to toot my own horn and say I did a decent job this week. There's nothing like having to relearn a math concept that you last looked at a decade ago and then explain it on the spot. No money I've ever earned felt as deserved as this, and no job has tested my intelligence as much either.

Mid 20s...
Googled this favorite phrase of ours the other day and found the exchange below on a blog.

A two-sentence post:
"I used to be in my early-mid 20s, but as of now I'm in my mid-20s. No new post today while I'm figuring this out."

Comment on the post:
Scott said...
"I'm currently in my early 30s and let me tell you- ENJOY THAT SHIT."

Well, Scott, I am.

Friday, January 4, 2008


On New Year's Day I enjoyed this lovely sunset at Hendry's Beach. What a great way to kick off the year, especially one that I'm so excited about. I think this year is going to hold some great things, for me and others that I know as well. Plus, 8 has always been my favorite number, and I'm already getting excited just seeing 2008 everywhere! I'm serious.
I decided to be really intentional in laying out how I wanted the next year to look. I've had general New Year's goals before, but I'd been gathering ideas together for awhile and wanted to take some time to write them out on the first day of the year. I have a hard time being specific and nailing down when I want to accomplish certain goals. I'm working on that!
I think one of the biggest lessons that I have been learning since college (and hope that I finish learning by the time I'm out of my 20s!)is how important discipline is. I have it in some areas, not as much in others. In church the other day the pastor quoted Henri Nouwen saying, "What discipline will help me remain faithful to my choice?" So, what habit do I need to form, or break, in order to get something done or achieve my goal? One habit I'm working to establish is that of being able to just do it. No waiting until the perfect time, no holding off until I feel ready or in the mood...If I can nail that one, wow, that would be half the battle right there.

So anyway. I'll name a few of my goals for 2008... most of them I'll leave for myself and just a couple others to see posted in my room.
* I want to read at least a book a month. Lately I get so absorbed with google reader and magazine articles that I don't seek out books from my list. Well, here I go.
* I plan on visiting my friends & family in other cities that I've been meaning to for awhile, which includes the Bamfords in Phoenix, the Millers (etc.) in Sacramento my grandparents outside of Sacramento, and my dad's side of the family up in Oregon.
* Get to know the Bible better with Lesley.
* Write on here at least once a week. That was my goal originally but I haven't yet met it.
* Plan for an adventure for the second half of this year. Working on a couple different ideas. Time to travel again.
* Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my meals and snacks. Hello, Tri-County Produce, you'll be seeing me more often.

I'll finish with this photo of an affirmation that Mary, who I work with, does with her husband. They have a great relationship and are excellent and being intentional and setting goals for their lives. They do affirmations together every Saturday morning. Accountability and inspiration in the form of your partner... I love it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Madly On.

Heard on Gossip Girl the other night (an unusual place to find inspiration, I know)...

"Sometimes you need to step outside to clear your head and remind yourself of where you're going and who you want to be."

"Stepping outside" is very important to me. I am very easily distracted, and I try to be intentional about doing things and going places that help me gain a refreshed perspective on myself and my purpose. Around Christmastime every year I've made sure to spend a few quiet minutes late at night up at Westmont just looking at the Christmas lights in front of Kerrwood and the tree on lawn all lit up. I'm lucky to still live in Santa Barbara and easily be able to get up there to do so. I did it once again a couple days ago. The effect is mentally and almost physically refreshing. I grabbed a photo of the lights (camera isn't the most powerful) and also of the path I was standing on, a path that I used to traipse down with Zac on winter nights 5 and 4 years ago.

I think forward to the future so much; the promise and possibilities of next week, next summer, 5 years from now, are irresistible. I enjoy the present well enough, as anyone who knows me can attest to, but I do have a hard time being grounded in it. As for the past, I hold it very close to me. But I've never really written out a "year in review" before for myself...maybe because until now, no medium was as conducive to it as a blog. So here was 2007, kept simple; just stand-out moments, lessons learned, things accomplished.

*Dyed my hair dark dark brown. People at work were asking Mary where I had gone, and who was this new brunette working with her.

*Andrea settles into San Andres (after moving in late '06) and becomes one of the world's greatest finds from Craigslist ever.

*We threw a Nautical Party at San Andres. Most fun theme yet.

*Saint Patrick's Day, when we covered the town with green shamrocks.

*Zac moved to Santa Monica/Brentwood. 1 hour & 20 minutes never felt so close.

*Got better at keeping in touch with friends and family out of town over the phone, mostly due to the several drives to and from LA every month.

*Came home from work on my half-birthday to our beautiful house on fire and a half dozen fire trucks hard at work to save it. Most of our stuff was saved, but the house was ruined for occupancy indefinitely. Our hearts break.

*Next-door neighbors/friends take me in for the next two months until we have found and can move into a new place. Such generosity without expectations or hesitation is one of the biggest gifts I've ever been given.

*Learned that it is not possible to be perceived as perfect and blameless in others' eyes, and I should stop trying to control their perception, because I'm not.

*Saw John Mayer, The Fray, and Snow Patrol in concert, not to mention numerous other small venue concerts, fulfilling my 07 resolution to go to see more live music.

*Camping with my dad in Santa Ynez.

*Went up to Fremont with Zac to see my mom graduate with her B.A. Fun to see your parents' dreams come true.

*The Housewarming Party, 07-13-07, at our new estate. Was one for the ages.

*Started a blog to get back into writing, a longtime goal. Got Google Reader, which changed my life and everyone else I know who has it.

*Fiesta, primarily attending the free Mat Kearney concert on the grass with Emily. Was one of my most favorite concerts ever, and afterwards turned into a spontaneous dance party under the stars for a primarily 20-something crowd when a dj took the stage.

*Hit up the summer events in town, like SB Museum Nights, another goal for the year.

*Wedding fun, including Chap & Katie and Occy & Lauren. There's nothing like a Westmont wedding for an amazing time.

*Zac's birthday in Vegas with his family.

*Meg and I start a small group. Another goal for the year. Getting up early for coffee for the first time in my life.

*Took the CA Real Estate Exam and passed. Hooray.

*Turned 25. One of the best bdays ever... had a bonfire and wine-tasting party, Zac surprised me, went and sat in on a Rhetoric class and had lunch with Spencer, layed out by the pool with friends, and went out to dinner at Zaytoon. Love my friends.

*Halloween Party. The roommates have always wanted to do one, and it turned out sweet and spooky. Being a geisha was maybe my favorite costume yet.

*Zac comes to Fremont for Thanksgiving. We hang out with approximately 5154 family members. A terrific time.

*Soccer team winds down fall season undefeated for the first time in my 3 1/2 years with them. We are scored on once.

*Executed a diligent and somewhat organized Christmas season. Complete with a spiced apple candle purchased to put me in the mood during the entire month. In my opinion this makes me for sure (well, almost) an adult.

Already realizing some things about myself with what I chose to include on the list. Was a great year, all in all, and definitely an interesting one what with the fire. But from the ashes we rise, right?
I have high expectations for 2008. Stay tuned.