Wednesday, October 11, 2017

About last night....

I couldn't sleep last night, and neither could Alex. We both tossed and turned and tossed until I finally decided to get up and watch TV. I was sitting on the couch, watching New Girl when an enormous flash of light, like a bolt of lightning, lit up the sky. It was accompanied by a bzzzzzt sound (not thunder) and the general decrease in our electrical power.
It reminded me of the Northridge earthquake, standing in my parents' bedroom in the early morning light and watching the sky light up with transformers blowing up.
Turns out it was a fallen tree that had hit a power line. the road going west out of town in closed. We are so lucky that a fire didn't start.
I have to admit, things are so crazy lately, I was first thinking - could that have been a bomb? Could North Korea have sent a missile?
Needless to say, I didn't sleep much last night...

And today, the smoke is so thick over SV that we all can barely breathe.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Tom Petty

In high school, I worked at my Dad's business, answering phones and doing paperwork. It was a good job and I liked it - mostly because I worked with Patty. Patty was a woman with an amazing outlook on life. She always found the funny. She was always upbeat. She knew how to deal with customers, even when they really made me mad. And she listened to the radio incessantly. For a while, it was Howard Stern. Then it was some other talk show. I remember the OJ Simpson trial in there too. But we also listened to classic rock. We could get the "new" classic rock station from LA - was it 93.1? Anyways, they played all kinds of songs and Patty knew them all. She started to teach me and we ended up playing "Name that Tune" almost every day. I would borrow her tapes to play in my car. I loved the music. I started to listen to the Beatles. I would write out song lyrics - like, longhand. I loved the poetry. And I remember that Tom Petty had a hit at the time - Mary Jane. Everybody loved it because we all knew it was about pot (OMG - so cool to like a song about POT!) and the video was super creepy with Tom dancing around with a dead girl...
Patty told me that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had been around for a long time. I got their "greatest hits" cassette tape and I was surprised at how many songs I knew. That tape was on repeat in my car. Over and over.
When I was a bit older - after college, I could afford to go to concerts and I got tickets to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Santa Barbara Bowl. The absolute best venue to see a show, hands down. It's set in the mountains, in a schwanky neighborhood with oak tree lined streets and a beautiful view. I had gotten tickets for the actual second to last row. We were in the nosebleeds. So far away from the stage. But that night was magic. It was the first time that I had just seen a band play. A band who knew each other. Nothing else. No fireworks, no set changes, no big screens.  Not a big show or a big production. It was just Tom Petty, a stunningly dynamic performer, and his band. They played all our favorites, and I'm unsure they even had a set list. One song blended into another and the whole crowd sang every song. I danced and danced up in the nose bleeds and I made friends with all the people surrounding us. I remember a couple of women, "much older" than I was (at the time, probably 22-23 - they were probably 20 years older than me) and the music affected us the same way. The music spoke to us all in that audience that night.
One vivid memory I have from the concert is Tom playing guitar and looking over at one of his bandmates with a huge grin on his face - then the music changed. They had anticipated (or felt? or known?) the change coming up. They communicated without words. What a remarkable thing.
Since working with Patty, Tom Petty had been a constant presence in my life. I always return to his music, and there was nothing better than his concert. It's by far the best I have ever attended. The best for, oddly, the lack of showmanship. Allowing the music - complex, upsetting, melodious - to speak for itself. And showing the audience what true musical talent is. What a joy it is to hear a band of people who know each other inside and out to produce this wonderful art that deeply affects us all.
It's been a rough year - it's hard to deny that. I thought this year would be better because it couldn't be worse than last year, but here I am eating my words.
The world is full of awful people and awful things. It's art and artists who get us through these times. Tom Petty was one of those for me and I will never stop listening to his music as long as I live. I'm sad that he's gone.

Monday, October 2, 2017

6 years

This is a picture from our honeymoon in Yosemite. We hiked the Valley floor that day. It rained but it was still fun because there are always fewer people when it's raining. But rain at lower altitudes means snow at higher altitudes. We tried to drive out of the valley back to our cabin, but the snow was coming down, the road was slippery, it was dark, cars were getting stuck and my Dad's car that we had borrowed wasn't going to make it. Oh yeah, and we had no gas! We turned around and got a hotel room in the valley. I wished I had PJs and my glasses, but otherwise, it was a great adventure. A fitting start to our marriage, if nothing else.

A few days later, Alex planned a 17 mile hike with over 3000 feet of elevation gain (and loss, eventually). We started at 6am and had a lovely view of the sunrise hitting Yosemite falls across the valley from us. But the climb was slow going, the trail was icy and I had a meltdown. I don't do well on hills and I'm afraid of heights. At one point, the trail was slippery, icy granite and a sheer drop on one side. I was terrified. Also, we kept getting passed by people just reminding me how much I sucked at hiking and being outdoors in general. At some point, I accused Alex of trying to kill me on our honeymoon. We finally made it to Glacier Point around noon and we decided to call it a day. I was exhausted, emotionally at least. We had to pay $50 to get a bus down to the valley floor.

Marriage is an interesting thing, from a lot of perspectives. I really like Alex (obvi) and I think we balance each other well. He's calm when I'm crazed. He's over the top, and I bring him back down. He sets out to do something in the most complicated way and he generally listens to me when I tell him there are easier ways to do things. He lets me make crazy plans and do outrageous things without questioning me. He lets me be me and I think I let him be him.

You are around this person the most of anyone else, save for maybe your kids. You become almost the same person. I know how he will react to lots of situations and I'm sure he knows how I will react too. But we still have fun. We still laugh. He still goofs around and makes me question my sanity in marrying him. And sometimes the boring mundanity gets to you and I go a little crazy and he just takes my craziness. Or my imposter syndrome. Or my anxiety. Or whatever it is I have at the time.

Turns out, marriage is both wonderful and awful. You face the world together and sometimes that's really hard. There are disasters, personal, professional, local, world-wide, etc. Sometimes you don't agree. But you still wake up next to this person. We've both finished our graduate work. We've moved across the country, started over at Stanford. We spent 2 months on the road. And we are gearing up to do it again next year. We've had a kid, who is probably the coolest one I've ever met. Also, the one person who can drive me the most crazy too.

You choose to be in this relationship every day, every hour, six years (actually longer)... Nothing else could be better. I am sure of that.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Diary in the Life of a Mom

June 30: Celebrated the end of our first week of teaching with my co-teacher, Rob (he's from New Zealand, and the students love him). Beers at the treehouse, late night for us all. It was super fun - reminded me of what life was like before D. D falls asleep in the car, and miraculously, we can transfer him from car to bed (this never works...)

July 1: Crazy day with lots to do. Hit the Farmer's market and the library in HMB. Then to Costco to get gas and fill up on food. Took food to Alex's refrigerator in lab and hit a pool party hosted by one of Alex's labmates. Then back to lab for Alex to do some work and for me to pick up my stuff. Then to Chipotle for dinner, and meet up with friends at the Canada Day celebration on Stanford Campus. Then over to the building directly across from the Stanford Stadium to watch fireworks. They were so loud. So loud. My kid cried and wanted to leave, but we forced him to stay. We are really good parents :) Another night we can transfer D from car to bed...

July 2: desperately clean house. Alex goes for bike ride with Rob. D and I hang out. Rob and wife and weirdly, friends from grad school come out for BBQ at our house. It's a gorgeous day and we go for a nice walk around LH. Good food, good company - lots of laughs. I loved it.

July 3: I teach with Rob at 9am. My lecture is ready, mostly put together. I'm tired. Too much fun in the sun, I guess. This class is intense and I teach for a full hour. I feel defeated afterwards - anti-climactic, I guess. A and D come to work with me, and we leave early, around 2pm. D falls asleep in the car on the way home and sleeps for about 1.5 hours total for nap. We are exhausted.

July 4: A relaxing day. We hang out at home. A goes for a bike ride. We go to LH 4th of July picnic where there are games like a 3-legged race, an egg toss, a water balloon toss, a tug of war. D competed in the game where you fill a small cup of water, put it on your head (and try not to spill it) and then try to fill up a big cup across the way. He was the slowest of all the kids but he was so adorable. He took it really seriously. Also, he loved the hay hunt. They took a bale of straw and hid a bunch of stuff in it - little toys, candy, etc. He spent a ton of time in that and was very determined. He also swung on a swing tied to a tree branch. It was a real dose of Americana in the redwoods.

July 5: The cat wakes me up at 4:30am. I think she was upset. Or hungry. Or something. At the same time, I hear, "Is that you, Mama?" and D is up. I feed the cat and try my best to get him to go back to sleep but to no avail. He seems agitated, excited? My mom radar says, maybe he's getting sick? But then I think, no it's just been a crazy couple of days. We finally get up at 5:30am and we play with toys. He's grumpy bc he didn't sleep. He doesn't eat much. I have to teach at 9am, so we leave to get me there on time. I don't feel so great. My stomach is off. A & D drop me off and I go to class, tired. At 11am, daycare calls. D has a fever. 99.9. I think, well, I should have listened to my mom-radar. Last time I ignore that. We are teaching until noon, then Rob and I get lunch. We have to write a midterm and study guide. Daycare calls A. D is at 102.8. A leaves to get him, takes him to store, gets Tylenol, gives him Tylenol, juice and ice cream and goes to my lab to wait until I'm ready to leave. Rob and I write midterm study guide. Then I meet my family and we go home. I don't feel good either. That night, D and I slowly get worse and worse. I get a fever. My stomach is really upset. D is coughing. His fever is pretty high. We are dosing Tylenol, then motrin. Watching lots of TV. I take a nap and then go to bed at 8pm. D crawls into bed with me to fall asleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, I wake up and have to barf. I feel better, but still shitty, tired.

July 6: D comes into my room at 6am, scream/crying. He sounds like a seal. His fever is super high. I give him Tylenol. Play with toys. Watch god knows how many Puss in Boots (so, so bad, let me tell you). I take a nap. A finally gets up. I take another nap. We are all sick. Joy. D's fever is still high. He's upset and clingy. Just wants to cuddle, but he's so HOT. Ugh. He also takes comfort in holding my hair, which, after a while, just annoys the shit out of me. We spend the day taking meds, watching TV. At some point, he falls asleep in my arms like a baby. We watch Beauty & the Beast, Frozen. He won't eat, but he will drink apple juice. I think that's the only thing he got in him yesterday. Bedtime comes, and after one story he falls asleep immediately (9:30pm). At 10:45pm, he wakes up scream/crying. He is incoherent (but not feverish). I think he has to pee? Or he need water? I don't know. I finally calm him down, get him back to sleep. At 11:45, he wakes again, scream crying, and incoherent. This time, he wanders about the house, and I can't figure out what he wants. Dear god, help me. Finally, he lays down again and goes back to sleep. I think his fever has finally broken. He's not hot anymore.

July 7: At 4:30am, he wakes again, comes into my room and barks, "I need medicine". I give him medicine and get him back to sleep once again. At 7:30am, again, "I need medicine" - still sounds like a seal. I give him motrin, but he doesn't want to take it because it's not the Tylenol that tastes good. He wanders about the house, scream/crying/barking. It's fun. He finally takes his medicine. And he agrees to eat some Olaf soup. Chicken noodle soup for breakfast, it is. He drinks some juice. We turn on Puss in boots. Its still on, Mama needs to work. I feel better, but now tired/exhausted. My parents were supposed to come this weekend. No more. I have no idea what D has and I don't want them to get it. Also, he is not that fun when he's sick. Another day of TV, hanging out at home. I am frustrated and stressed out (but I feel better after writing this). I have so many things to do at work, and I cannot do them at home, esp with kids TV in the background. I am hoping I get time to work later. A is going to ride his bike to work.

Ugh, just ugh.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I picked up this book a the library the other week. I really enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees by Kidd, so I thought I would probably like this book as well. The book follows a slave named Handful (or Hetty) and some of her owners, Sarah and Angelina Grimké, two  sisters from Charleston, SC, who become abolitionists and feminists in the early 1800s.

When I was in high school, we took these trips down to LA as part of the National Honor Society. Mostly, we just joined that group so we could take the trip. It involved going to Hard Rock Cafe or Santa Monica Beach or some "cool" place like that and it was always fun. One time, we went to the (at the time, newly opened) Museum of Tolerance in LA. I remember that trip being a little depressing (obviously) and my only lasting impression from that museum was a pile of shoes. Shoes upon shoes upon shoes. All of them left when Jews were led to the gas chambers during the Holocaust. I don't know what it was about those shoes, maybe it was the familiarity (I wear shoes all the time) or how personal they are (we all have different shoes) or the fact that those shoes touched someone who was then brutally murdered, I don't know, but it made the Holocaust much more horrific to me. Much more real (more meaningful than reading about it in a history book).

I started Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and I honestly could not get through it. The horrific descriptions of how people were kidnapped in Africa and chained down in a ship to be sold for slavery was more than I could honestly handle. I had never thought of slavery that way. I can remember asking my mom when I was a kid if people treated slaves nicely and then maybe if they did treat them nicely if slavery was OK. Nope, never OK and people were never nice. To force a person into submission like that you cannot be nice. Nice is never a part of it. I had never appreciated that aspect of slavery. I had never really understood slavery and what it would have been like for people, day in, day out. I don't think I have the brains to understand it. But it is something that I need to remind myself of and I need to teach my kid about and I need to try to face, difficult as it is.

The older I get, the more horrified I am by things happening in recent history. The Holocaust, slavery, reconstruction, integration, the fight for equal rights. There are no words for how abhorrent some peoples' actions have been. I can't explain how I can know about these things for years, since I started school, but not truly appreciate what these things did to people, especially people of color.

This book was unreal. The novel begins with Sarah receiving Handful as a gift for her 11th birthday. Her mother ties a purple bow around Handful's neck and presents her to Sarah at her birthday tea. Sarah tries to refuse her; she doesn't want a slave, but her mother insists. Handful's mother, Charlotte lives with the Grimké family as well and Handful is forced to leave her mother's bed and sleep on the floor outside Sarah's room in case Sarah needs something in the night. Sarah is upset by slavery and at this young age, tries to free Handful (but is stopped by her father, a judge). Sarah and Nina are real people who left behind journals, letters and writings on the horrors of slavery and feminism. Kidd based her novel on what she knew about them. Sarah also (in real life) had a maid named Hetty who was presented to her as a gift. But we have no idea what happened to her in real life - it seems she died young. Kidd invents a life for Handful/Hetty and imagines what it would be like.

Sarah teaches Handful to read, and they become close friends (not sure what other word to use here, but Sarah has sympathy and empathy for Handful's position and tries to set her free in the only ways she can). This book is heartbreaking. The way the Grimké family treated slaves was horrific, to put it mildly. I cannot imagine being born into slavery and knowing nothing else. I also cannot imagine not being able to leave a place whenever I wanted. What freedom we have!

The story follows both Sarah and Handful as they navigate the life they are given. Sarah starts off with a voice, loses this voice for a while and then finds her voice, literally, in lectures for abolition. Handful draws strength from her mother, even when her mother is no longer there. This book was about strength, but also about what horrors people can survive and continue on. I both loved and hated this book and I feel like I learned a lot from it. I would highly recommend it as it's well written and compelling. However, it's obviously got me thinking about lots of things like slavery, racism (why are people such assholes?), why are cops shooting unarmed, harmless black people? and all kinds of stuff like that.

Sorry for the random stream of consciousness. Guess that's what this blog is for...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Just some pics

 hanging out with Grandpa
 superbloom above Ventura
 waiting for Dada to get a suit
Me and D on the Dragon at Happy Hollow

more pics to come...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


D is singing in the giant bathtub as we finish our first full day in Glasgow (pronounced glaz-go, in case you were wondering). We flew out of LAX on Monday night and arrived in Glasgow Tuesday night. The flight was largely uneventful, except for a couple toddler moments, with D crying, "I need to get off now!!!". He slept some, but the seats proved too uncomfortable for prolonged sleep, even for a 3ft tall kid. Alex and I slept some, but we were so thrilled to arrive to a warm hotel room for our first night. We ate at the hotel restaurant and collapsed into bed, exhausted. Naturally, jet lag had me awake and starving half the night. We woke up and caught the bus to city center, checked our luggage at the train station and walked about the streets. It's a beautiful city, and a lot of the architecture reminds me of the nicer streets in Philly. It's clear that our older cities found inspiration in the major European cities, likely because many came from here. My maternal grandfather was from Glasgow. His family came to the US in the early 20th century.

We ate a light lunch at a cafe and wandered about, checking out the Glasgow MOMA and finally settling in a square where D chased pigeons (and attracted hundreds just by throwing dirt on the ground - dumb birds!). We checked into our flat for the next two days. It's a nice place, but to our eyes, a little disorganized and shabby. But no biggie - we don't live here.

So far, I've had lovely interactions with people here. The bus driver complained to me about people putting their luggage in the racks the wrong way. It reminded me so much of Philly - the conspiratorial complaining that is actually quite funny. D ran around a market, finding items that were in the wrong place, and wanting to return them to their proper place. The clerk told me he does this all day - and he has no idea why things are left where they are (a package of cakes found by the fridge section, shoved in a crack).

We stayed at the apartment the rest of the day, except for a stop at the market. A jet lagged toddler does not have listening ears, and acts spastic at best. A good idea to keep him contained. Tonight, spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner. Some odd breakfast meats on deck for tomorrow. Tonight, D fell asleep during his nightly story, a first for sure. And now, naturally, at 10pm, I am quite awake and not at all sleepy - figures!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Haiku Friday

This week was rough, I
should focus on the little
things. We are healthy.


Serious crisis
in confidence. It happens
Not too. More rain.


Visitors Sunday
Dusty and family. We
love seeing old friends.

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


Mudslide with tree
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.
Alex brought us back home & then he went to work. 
Jumping in mud puddles 
Stir crazy

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: ....

Friday, January 20, 2017

Flowing thoughts

Not a haiku today
too many thoughts
end of an era
I thought we had it so good
now, uncertainty
elimination of comforts
little government support
let's start "winning" again
life will change
probably not for the better
I'm concerned for lots of things
climate change
science deniers
vaccine refusals
free speech
civil rights
human rights
conflict with police
elimination of federal money for education
creating a dumbed down society
more people to vote for Trump
somehow people wanted this
voting against their own interests
how the republicans do it I will never understand
I refuse to believe I live in a liberal bubble
I like people
I want to help them
help my students
give them a leg up
when we all look out for one another
we win
yes, we can

looking for leadership
I hope I can find some
or be some
let's comfort one another
love one another
then, let's prepare for battle
it's gonna be a long one

Friday, January 13, 2017


Back to civilization What does your commute look like?
Part of the road to our house is falling away
But there were blue skies this morning
We had to take a detour to a one lane road
In the trees
Wait for our turn
Make sure we have rescue bots in the car
Fallen trees
And power lines

Friday joys

Learning the joy of the selfie stick
Tshirt selfie
My loves 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (taking a cue from Coodence)


  • craziest storm I've seen here in NorCal. High winds and lots of rain. The main road to our house was closed due to a tree fall and electric wires down. Had a rough time getting home, trees down all over the place; took the long, dark way home. Felt lucky when we got there.
  • electricity stayed on, which was very nice
  • I couldn't watch Obama's speech, but I will try to watch it today. 
  • we ate soup for dinner. Our fridge is pretty bare
  • finished a book - I've read four books so far this month (one of my goals for this month)- two short Rosamunde Pilcher books, a book on saving money on groceries (another super short book) and Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover (my second time reading that book)
  • Alex submitted his paper
  • trees still down and many roadways closed so we took a circuitous way to work today. One of the places where a tree fell last night had a significant erosion too. I'm thinking they are going to have to close our main road into work sometime soon to shore up that mountain.
  • it was pouring rain, but now it is sunny. I saw a rainbow.
  • we need to go to the grocery store after work today. I am hoping we leave early and there are no more storms
  • I hope I can get my R script to run
  • is Thursday
  • we have lab meeting
  • I hope I have some figures for my paper

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Sometimes it really takes something drastic to make you appreciate what you have. We were warned that this past weekend would have bad storms, so we planned nothing and decided to hunker down at the house and make the best of it. Saturday turned out that way. We played with toys, watched TV and just hung out all day. Sunday was looking to start that way, but the power went out. And pretty much stayed out all day. The day was fine, although a bit dark. We lit candles and played with toys and played games. D and Alex went for a walk and both fell in the mud. It was quiet. But it was also stressful. Without power, I couldn't cook and meal prep like I normally do on a Sunday. We couldn't take showers or baths, couldn't do laundry, couldn't even make coffee because I had to grind the beans. I was worried about the food in our fridge and freezer (I have some stuff stocked up) and we started a fire in the fireplace that continually blew smoke into our house (it was really windy and rainy that day). That night? No power. Dinner made on the grill and eaten by candlelight. Played with toys we could barely see. D was in bed by 7pm. I was in bed around 8:30. It was a weird night and should have been restful and peaceful, but I couldn't stop feeling stressed. D was upset his room was so dark and in fact, sleep talked a couple hours after he went to sleep about how dark it was in his room. I slept poorly. Didn't get up at my usual time. Felt completely out of sorts.
Monday morning, no power still. No coffee. No shower. We made it into work and thankfully got some coffee (and brought the contents of our fridge with us). Showered here. Started to feel more normal. I got a text that the power was back on around noon. Hallelujah!
We left a bit early last night, and got home a bit early. Ate our leftovers for dinner and delighted in watching some terrible cartoons. I did my yoga that I should have done that morning. I turned on heaters and lights. Read to D in his room and left a nightlight on. It was so lovely.
I woke up in the middle of the night, heard the heater turn off. Thought, oh no! The power is out again! But rolled over and went back to sleep. Woke up at my normal time. Did my yoga. Made dinner in the crock pot. Packed lunches. Normal morning. I feel good. Life is good. Appreciate what you have.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year, New Ideas

Last year was a rough one, for many, many reasons. I'm making 2017 better and here are a few ways I am doing that, in no particular order:

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

What are you doing this year?