Thursday, March 16, 2017

Worse and worse

I can't even keep up, and I'm honestly so upset that I don't think this will be coherent.

The Great Barrier Reef has been bleached at an unprecedented rate. An enormous part of it is gone and will not return in our lifetime

EPA cuts that prevent monitoring of water and air, and encourage corporations to relax regulations, releasing god knows what into our environment

A muslim ban? WTF?

Relaxing the regulations so we don't need to build more fuel efficient cars (why would you stop progress?)

Budget cuts not only the arts and Meals on Wheels, but also NASA and the NIH. He truly wants to build an electorate of uneducated, uninspired people.

My job is based on money from the NIH. I will lose my job and be unable to get another one if the cuts to the NIH go through. If I do get a job at a public school, I will have to work under the most uninformed, uneducated Education Secretary ever. Doesn't sound like a good thing to me.

Why do we need a bigger military? Are we at war? Are we going to war? With who?

Why are we trying to preserve manufacturing jobs when the clear issue is technological advancement? Why aren't we trying to find sustainable jobs for blue collar workers?

Why aren't we supporting education? Math? Science? Arts? Music? These things contribute heavily to a well rounded, enlightened society. Why eliminate them?

Why eliminate American exceptionalism? Why crush it?

I am unsure my family and I belong here anymore. I am unsure who these people who voted for him are, but they clearly do not share any values that I do.

I wonder if they regret electing him?


Thursday, March 2, 2017

The sounds at my house

What does it sound like at your house?

In the early, early morning, I can hear the creek rushing in the valley

The trees rustle unless it's really windy and then they sound like a hurricane coming through

Sometimes, it's raining

Cows moo at each other and the moos echo across the valley

During the day, the woodpeckers and the squirrels fight constantly. One of the giant trees in front of our house is a woodpecker granary. The squirrels are constantly trying to steal the acorns. The battle commences daily.

The stellar jays talk a lot too. Sometimes they talk to you when you are walking in the driveway

The occasional car drives by

Sometimes, the volunteer fire department alarm rings

Our neighbors' chickens cluck

The ducks at the pond quack

Dogs bark

People walking by chat and also huff and puff. We live in a hill

Sometimes our neighbor is working on his house - sawing, hammering, listening to some oldies

Inside, D is laughing or talking or whispering

Toys are making noise

The cat is often meowing loudly

Usually, laundry

If our neighbor is home, there is lots of thumping from the downstairs apartment

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How are things?

In January, I posted the following goals and I thought since we are about 2 months in that I would see how I am doing.

1) Declutter. I am unsubscribing from all emails that I get that I don't want. My inbox is still full, but more full of things I want to see instead of things I need to wade through. I'm working on our stuff, but that will take longer - probably the whole year. It's a process and I am going to enjoy it

This has been mostly a success. I've gotten rid of any and all emails that I get. I am so glad not to see them in my inbox. Most of the emails I get are ones that I want or ones that I need to read. This has been such a huge change. As fort decluttering, it's going about as slow as I thought it would. I've gone through the back bedroom and I've tried to sell stuff and donate things. I've cleaned up one of the bathrooms. The truth is, I don't have time to go through all the things I want to and sometimes I don't have the energy. I've changed some of this goal to picking up one thing and putting it away every day. We shall see how that goes.

2) Be kind. I smile at people I don't know. I joke with people serving me. I look people in the eye. I thank people for their help. I ask for help. People are not scary, as much as social media wants you to think they are. I need people. I like people. This also includes being kind to myself, and accepting myself for who I am and where I am right here and right now. We can all use a little more kindness in this world

Yes, yes and yes. I practice this every day. And I am so glad that I do.

3) Notice. Am I stressed? Am I tired? Happy? Sad? Grateful? Where am I right now and why? Much easier to notice and acknowledge my feelings.

This has been a struggle, to be honest. Both Jan and Feb have been stressful, not only at work, but also at home - with all the rain, broken roads, inside time, etc. I've been better about noticing that I am stressed or upset, but I don't exactly have the best habits for dealing with said stress. I am hoping that March will bring better eating and more exercise to counter this

4) Less. Less TV. Less shopping. Less social media. Less stuff. Less judgement.

This has been good. I only order from Amazon once a month and usually it's for things that we need, like kids birthday gifts. We still watch a fair bit of TV, with all the rain it's hard to avoid. But I've not been on the facebook for a while and I am so glad for it. It's too stressful and negative.

5) More. More books. More goals and priorities. More love. More time spent with family and friends. More music. More dancing. More family fun time.

I've read quite a few books this year and have a stack to get through still. I'm working on setting goals and priorities. I'm working on more love and more time spent with family and friends. We've put more music in our lives and nothing gives me more joy than to see my kids dancing around the living room.

6) Budget. I've just realized my biggest obstacle to budgeting has been that I don't do it! I would track our spending over and over again - months and months, but I could never figure out why we weren't sticking to the budget. Now, I've realized that if I want to keep our spending down, I need to use some extra tools, like putting up some of our budget on the fridge so I can track how much we spend on food and household items. And trying to make one big trip to the store every two weeks instead of every week. And meal planning. And using the things in our freezer and cabinet. I've already seen this make a huge difference in our lives, so I am looking forward to making this a habit.

This one I have been trying to stick to religiously, but I have to be honest, it's been hard. I've got a google docs budget that I share with Alex every month. And for the last two months, we've come in under our overall budget, but still over budget in several areas. The good news is that I paid off one student loan today. I have one more big one to go. I have been cooking our meals at home, and trying to use all the things in our cabinets and freezer. We haven't thrown out that much food lately, so that's good. And I've gotten in the habit of making one big egg casserole for breakfast during the week, and some soup and salad for lunch. This bit of meal prep on the weekends makes my life so much easier. I just need to get better at meal planning.

Well, that's my wrap up. I feel pretty satisfied with my progress and I am planning some goals for March that will tackle some of these things. Hooray for progress!


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pay it forward

A former student of mine from SJSU invited me down to visit her student association last night. I met up with about 15 Bio students at SJSU and gave a talk about "my story" - how I got to be where I am. Three of my former students attended and it was so, so fun to see them. They are all getting ready to graduate and move on with their lives. I'm thrilled that I could have been a small part in their education. And that they enjoyed their time with me.

I wrote a letter of rec for another student. She got into a graduate program that she was applying for, and she sent me this lovely little figurine that says "thank you". It's amazing to make a difference in people's lives. I am so glad that I could be a part of these students' lives, even for a brief time.

One of my former students is applying for medical school. She is incredibly talented and has always wanted to be a doctor. When I asked her where she is applying, she said CA and NY, mostly because she feels safer here. She is Muslim. 

Diversity is one of the things I value most, especially in science. It's so refreshing to see new perspectives and to hear new ideas. I am so hopeful for the next generation of scientists and biology majors. And I hope I can keep inspiring students to study science and to be good citizen scientists. I think we have a ways to go. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Commute

Mudslide with tree
Commute
Blurry waterfall 
Another mudslide.

Tuesday, the rains came and all roads in/out of LH were closed. Mudslides, rock slides, trees down, wires down. All of it resulting from supersaturated soil. 32" of rain so far this season.
Yesterday we headed into work on the only open road - long & twisty. About 45min in, D barfed everywhere.
 Figures.
Alex brought us back home & then he went to work. 
Jumping in mud puddles 
Stir crazy
Pancakes 

Last night, Alex got almost all the way home on twisty road & encountered a huge Redwood down on the road. No passing through. Back up to top of hill, went very far north to another highway, into Half Moon Bay and all the way around on the coast. 

We are home today. More rain in the forecast. Roads barely open & likely to close with more rain. Expecting 2-3" today.

We might lose our minds :)




Thursday, February 2, 2017

End of January - how'd I do?

I set some goals - lets see how I did!

1) keep a gratitude list - one entry every day - I made 12 entries...
2) Read 4 books: I read 7 books!
3) Blog 6 times: I blogged 6 times!
4) Plan a date day: nope
5) Do the Whole 30 - done!
6) Do the 31 day Yoga Revolution - done!
7) De-clutter back bedroom - threw out a bunch of paperwork, but still have a pile of things to donate
8) Make student loan payment - done!
9) Try the envelope system: tried this, but didn't keep up on it
10) Discuss budget with Alex - done!

Mantra for the month: Let go of the past

Some things I am proud of:
1) I made my health and self care a priority and that turned out really well. I committed to eating well and exercising every day and I am super pleased about that. Last night, when I did my last of the 31 day Yoga Revolution, I almost cried. It was such a super thing to complete.

2) I've been experiencing some serious setbacks with my project at work and I've been struggling every day with it. It's been weeks. But I've been focused on pushing things forward. I've identified ways I can change and adapt. Things I can do to improve. And I've learned so much more about a programming language and using the command line and I'm really proud of myself for that. So even though I didn't complete all the goals I wanted, I still feel proud of myself for sticking to the project and seeing it through.

3) This month we had a lot of tough things to face. The weather was really rough on our little town and the rain washed out a portion of the road we drive every day. Most days were unpredictable - using alternate routes to get into work, losing power, flooding, etc. But I tried to keep my mood and my life as routine as possible and we have made it through. Doubtless, more storms are coming. But I feel more prepared.


Conversation with D

(driving home)

D: Who lives over that hill?

Me: I don't know.

D: Maybe Casey?

Me: No, honey, Casey lives far away.

D: Why?

Me: Because he lives near Grandma and Grandpa

D: Maybe Casey lives over that hill to keep away from the ants.

Me: ....