Category Archives: Life

the perfect bowl of porridge

I read Bee Season by Myla Goldberg a few years back right before the movie came out.  I really looked forward to this one scene from the book.  The mother in the story had a broken past; her parents were killed in a car accident.  As a result of this broken past, she would wander around and steal things.  Nothing in particular, nothing she would ever use, just little objects.  Those objects wound up in a storage locker.  She meticulously placed the stolen objects into a pattern.  There were objects of all sorts – a left shoe, an ash tray, a glass – arranged in a way where everything fit together, everything had a place, every shard of her broken past was rescued and brought to this storage locker and pieced back together into a work of art.  I was amazed at the description of this scene because I was comforted by its beauty and “wholeness” just as much as the mother must have been.  I felt like if I had her past, I would do the same thing and there would be nothing wrong with that.  Remember how in Silence of the Lambs Clarice found comfort sitting by the dryers in the laundry room?  I imagined it felt like that every time the mother placed a new object into her storage locker.

Of course the movie didn’t do it justice.  The viewer walked away thinking the mother was just a bit cooky because the depth of meaning was completely lost.  I hate slightly off scenes in movies.  Children of Men had a great scene in the book where women strolled around with porcelain dolls pretending they were real children to fill the void of not being able to get pregnant.  People would stop to coo over their porcelain babies.  At one point someone stopped to admire the doll, congratulate the mother, picked up the doll and smashed it to the ground.  I thought that would be a fabulous scene in the movie just for the look of shock from the pseudo-mother.  Alas, nothing in the movie, even though it was a great movie otherwise.

Anyway, my first apartment by myself was when I moved out of San Francisco to Walnut Creek.  It was 429 square feet of space.  I bought a day bed and a bunch of cheap shelving for the closet from Target.  I had one closet that was literally in the bathroom in which to store linens, clothes, Christmas decorations, and anything else that finds itself stored in a closet.  It took me a few months to settle in and feel comfortable.  On the weekends, I never really wanted to be alone.  It felt odd to stay in a studio apartment all day.  However, after getting through the winter and early spring gloom, I had bought enough furniture to arrange everything just so.  I cooked dinner for myself and cleaned all my dishes right afterward so nothing cluttered up the shallow sink.  I had all my laundry organized and my clothes arranged impressively in such little space.  Linens and towels were stored in the drawers beneath the daybed.  Exercise equipment in the basket under the shelf.  The bed would be made a certain way each morning to look more like a couch rather than where I slept.  I loved that apartment.  Everything had a place.  On weekends I would clean every corner and relax on my balcony comforted by the perfection of my abode.

During our awful break up, boy snuck into my apartment and took all the pictures of the 2 of us out of my picture frames.  I don’t think there was anything worse he could have done.  Each frame was eerily empty and it felt like he was trying to steal part of my life from me.  I remember having such anxiety that whole night – I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t think, I felt completely numb.  When I got the pictures back I returned each one to its frame, but I felt so violated.  After that incident I didn’t want to live there anymore.  I rushed to leave and ended up in a place I hated and never quite settled into.

People have asked lately how the living with boy situation has been.  It has been good.  Not having to shuffle back and forth from Berkeley to Oakland after work and then again after class has freed up so much time.  I love staying at home on the weekends, making coffee, Sunday pancakes, Monday pasta night, and finding Jack curled up in a new sleeping nook relaxed and happy.  We had guests stay in our 2nd bedroom last weekend and they had a bed to sleep in, not an air mattress on the floor.  We’ve hosted more brunches and dinners than we have ever done in the past.  We’ve had friends sit around our dining table instead of just the two of us never using it.

It’s my opportunity to settle again, return to the bliss of everything in its place.  But sometimes I can work myself into a sense of panic over the couch not fitting quite right in the living room and the bedroom not having the right shades to make it feel light and comfy.  Clutter still hides in corners.  My pictures of family that comfort me so much don’t have a home yet.  Walls in one room are bare, walls in another room are cluttered.  I stare at the pile of paper bags wondering who stuck that bag in there without folding it completely flat.

I take walks around the neighborhood with Jack looking into every home.  I try and see around to the back, what kind of a back yard they have.  I imagine which home I would choose to live in and how I would fill the space.  Light colors, lots of sun light, not too many things on the walls.  I take a mental picture and put in my pocket.  I bring it up again while lying in bed waiting for sleep or before tackling physics homework.

I wonder if this is what Goldilocks did.  If going to the bears’ house was just her dream right before falling asleep at night.  The place she could go to and find everything just right.

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reminds me of running around the backyard barefoot

Before I get in trouble for blogging during work, just know it’s a quick cut & paste.  I often reference a cajun background and it’s hard enough to imitate a cajun accent nevertheless explain that it’s not at all southern.  So, for your enjoyment, a cajun joke forwarded to me from my grandfather.  This can be dissected into a long ass diatribe about cajun culturalisms on so many levels, I don’t know where to start.  So let’s just start here, read it aloud and you will be echoing the accent of several of my teachers from grade school to high school:


Boudreaux and his wife Clotille lived on a little farm outside Mamou.

One day Clotille said, “Mais, Boudreaux, you have to get rid of dat dog.  All he does is lie under de front porch and turn over da trash cans.”

Boudreaux said, “Okay. Cher . I’ll get rid of him.”

He put him in the pickup, drove down the road a couple of miles and dumped him out. He drove home and in a few minutes the dog showed up. So he put him back in the truck, drove several more miles and dumped him out.

After getting back home, the dog showed up again.

Clotille said, “You have to take him out and drive around and around a lot in circles, den dump him out. Dat way he won’t know da way home.”

Boudreaux said, “You some smart, Clotille, and dat’s why I marry you.”

Boudreaux took the dog, drove all around and zigzagged a lot then dumped the dog out.

He started back home but pulled over and parked and called Clotille on his cell phone. “Has dat dog come back yet?”

Clotille answered “Yes, he just came in.”

Boudreaux said, “Well, put him up to da phone – I’m lost.”

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I like mondays.

After rough 6:00 am 6:15 am 6:30 am 6:41 am wake up, a quick jog around the block, a  a work day without a lunch break, therapy, cheap and easy pasta monday’s, and evening class….

I get to the end of my monday.  And the end of my monday is why I like mondays.

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25 things

My sister tagged me on facebook with this “25 random things” list.  I told her I wasn’t doing it, but I just didn’t want to do it on facebook.  So I’ll do it here.  Yes, my facebook page links to my blog, but you know how facebook is.  Unless you self-promote yourself via your feed, no one bothers to look on your page.  So there’s less of a chance all those random colleagues I have as friends on facebook will find this.  I’ll start with the reason I have never done one of these things.  But rules first:

If you you get this, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click post.)

Obviously, I’m not on facebook.

1)  I hate memes.  Why?  B/c they scream “look at me, I want to talk about me!”  (verses the narcissism of blogging..? I know.)  I’m not judging you, this is my problem.  I hate overt displays of ego.  Which leads me to:

2)  This girl I used to work with would come up to me and go on and on about the guys that would hit on her.  Either on the bus, on myspace, at the gym…  She only did this to me and I couldn’t stand her while everyone else loved her.  I didn’t understand why she did it, and it made me feel like shit.  Too much ego in my face.  I was so happy when she left, but I couldn’t let anyone at work know that.

3) That guy I briefly left boy for was the same way and I dread running into him because it’s a 5 minute brag session before getting in the last breath”and how are you?”  And just like with the other girl, I feel like shit afterwards.  I just don’t get it.

4) I’m trying to get over this by not being afraid to toot my own horn (and I’m not talking about flatulence.)

5) Although, while we’re on the subject of flatulance and tooting my own horn… well, enough said.  Boy can back me up on that one.

6) And also, since I made a B in physics when I was SERIOUSLY convinced I was going to fail, I now have it in my head it’s very possible I could be a medical physicist.  So I’ve been reading this physics theory book and actually really enjoying it in a sci-fi kind of way.

7) I’m by myself on a Friday night in my apartment watching Ghost Whisperer and getting scared.

8) I’m worried I won’t make it to 25.

9) I was afraid of the dark until the age of 17.  I always had nightlights.

10) I still have the blanket.  It stays under my pillow.

11) I can’t believe I just admitted that.

12) Part of keeping that blanket so close is sentimental value.  My grandmother made it.  She died before I was born.  Sometimes its absence in the middle of the night can still send me into a panic.

13) Obviously, I’m very insecure.

14) Insecurity also makes me overly proud and stubborn as hell.  My mother will gladly testify to this as I have pulled those 2 traits out on her one too many times.

15) Look!  I’m at 15!

16) Sometimes I sit at work and worry about Jack.  I also worry that I won’t cope very well if something ever happens to him.  It’s embarassing to admit the amount of attachement I have to my dog.  But I will say he got me through some of the toughest times I have had in my adult life.

17) No one could ever take care of me like boy does.  I don’t say it enough because after exposing too much of our break up on here I’ve been more protective of what I do say.  But it’s true.  He’s my best friend and then some.

18) I find 20-something blogs I like and start commenting and following them on twitter to establish an online social network.  I recently had to unfollow someone completely because she got engaged and started going on and on about offering advice on how to find “the one” and how to have a good relationship and how to live a better life (she doesn’t read my blog, I’m pretty sure I know who reads this.)  I found it not very genuine, overly optimistic, and it annoyed the crap out of me.  It felt like high and mighty self-branding.  Should I feel bad about this?

19) I could talk forever about the importance of eating healthy.  Bottom line is I don’t, I mean I do, often, but oh, I don’t.  This back and forth pattern, eat healthy, eat a whole pan of brownies, probably puts me at a very high risk for an eating disorder.  I am very conscious of my weight (my grandfather has always asked about my weight and my mom compared my body type to Tonya Harding when I was a ballerina then later called her a cow on ice.  Not blaming, just sayin’…)  Most important part is that I don’t have an eating disorder and never have, but it’s a constant uncomfortable unease with my body and diet that I really hate.  Ooooh, what it is to be a girl.

20) My one big regret was quitting ballet too soon.  I developed a woman’s body earlier than the other ballerinas and was put in the class with the older girls, but I didn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with the weight factor.

21) I want to be a doctor more than I let people know.  I can’t wait until medical school.  I get very excited talking about it.

22) I’m pretty sure I still have friends that doubt my ability to do this.  I don’t know if they realize saying things like “some of us just don’t have the aptitude” in response to my struggles with physics is pretty transparent in how you think I’ll do.

23) And nannannabooboo, I did well in physics so in your face.

24) I’m going to meet boy and a friend at dinner now.  They went to see a scary movie.  I don’t do scary movies.  I’m too sensitive.

25) And I don’t plan on washing my hair or getting out of my jeans and tee shirt anytime soon.

Did it!

The End.

And all my readers who have blogs need to do the same.  Wandering Bella, The Blonde, The Purposefully Content, The IT Girl, and everyone else.  kthxbye.

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the rest of what I wanted to say about my Tahoe adventure

On the train ride to the airport hours before our plane ride to Hawaii, boy turned to me and said, “you realize if we don’t have fun on this trip we’re breaking up.”  My jaw dropped to the floor before I started cracking up laughing.  Because it was so true.  Really, if you can’t have fun in Hawaii with your significant other, there’s a BIG problem.  Fortunately, we didn’t run into that problem.

Tahoe proved no different.  I’ve never felt resentment of going some place spectacular and missing out on something I thought was awesome because he wasn’t in the mood to go to the top of a mountain or go down the 2.5 mile trail one more time.  We’re good travel mates.  And if you’ve ever traveled with someone who gets whiny and in a grumpy funk over one bad meal or a lack of ability to make a decision about what to do next, then you know how nice it is to have a travel partner that matches your pace and priorities perfectly.

In between the most awesomest snowboarding, I snowshoed twice a day with Jack.  When we arrived the owners’ yellow lab, Kona, came up to the driver side door to greet us and Jack went nutso.  I think Jack thought this whole vacation was for him (you know, because that Chem and Physics final stressed him out so much.)  He hopped onto the bed right away and sprawled out before we took him on an evening romp through the snow.

I took Jack snowshoeing in the mornings by myself not so much because boy has a problem with snowshoeing as much as he has a problem with mornings (he works at 5am, so any chance he gets he sleeps in.)  I can’t explain what I like about snowshoeing without getting super excited and cheesy, so here goes…  I took over 100 pictures that first morning out there by myself.  Being out there in the woods with the snow killing all the sounds around so I all I heard was the crunch crunch of my snowshoes kept a smile on my face.  I wanted to capture the glitteryness of everything.  Jack could go anywhere he wanted but mainly stayed at my heels because he got wobbly legs where the icy surface tension wouldn’t hold him above the snow.  Maybe partly because the air was so thin, but it was so clean – a combination of which could have led to me taking pictures of the bark on trees and the frost on sticks convinced that these things are the most beautiful things EVER!  And that fungus, the stuff growing on that tree stump?!  Wow.  And then the last morning, Jack started to get a bit wiggy.  As if in staring at me, ears back, head low, tail down before turning all the way around and running back along the trail to the cabin.  I was talking out loud to him “what’s the deal, dude?  You love this!  Why are you running?”  He did it a few more times but I kept going knowing he will always follow me rather than go off by himself (I love this about Jack.  He will always come to me instead of running off, it’s a reassuring cattle dog gene.)  About an hour later when we returned I told the owner what Jack was doing and how weird it was.  His response?  “Bears.  You don’t think to look up, but there was probably a bear in a tree.  They scout out their prey from the trees.”  Umm, huh?  Shouldn’t they be in hibernation?  In any case, I so wish I would have seen one to get a picture.

In the evenings we sat in the adirondak chairs by the fire roasting s’mores while Jack and Kona did laps around the fire in between begging for marshmallows.  And you know that feeling after a vacation?  The one you want to hold on to, the lack of tension, glow in your skin, the lack of self-awareness about what my hair is doing or what I’m wearing?  Yeah, that.  I thought about it.  What I was really dreading about going back to work.  I arrived at this – I hate trying to dress nice and do my hair and look decent for the office.  What you may not realize, but my friends can testify to, is that I am extremely self-conscious.  I hate trying to look nice, I can’t put an outfit together to save my life and I hate trying to smooth out my hair (it’s frizzy folks, unless I don’t wash is for days and truth be told I mostly wash it every 3 days, if not longer.  You may think it’s gross, but I say it saves me hours of blow drying and straightening.)  I read over at Working Girl blog that advertising and marketing careers are known for being fashionable.  Not this working girl.  I’ve declared too many times that a job where flip flops and jeans are not allowed is not for me.  Am I whining?  Yes, but it’s sort of a problem.  I can get stuck in the mirror forever in the morning not satisfied, trying way too hard, afraid of being judged for not trying harder.  I sweat too much to wear fitted shirts (yeah, I don’t know why I sweat so much, just do.  Doctor’s response – it’s a sign of good health.  Tell that to my fear of raising my right arm too high in public.)  I am a tee shirt and jeans girl.  So, there.  That’s the pimple on face since I’ve been back.  It’s the self awareness that came with leaving the woods and returning to the cubicle when I don’t thing I quite belong.

And it’s the last few days of freedom before a I hunker down for Physics II and Chemistry II.  I know, you think I would get a break with getting a B in physics can all, but that was just the first half!  On to magnets and oscillations.

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more than you wanted to know about snowboarding

Boy and I just came back from our annual Tahoe trip.  We extended the trip this year to include 2 days of snowboarding instead of just one.  I insisted that this time we take a lesson so I can maintain control and not risk blowing out a knee (2 years of snowboarding and we never took a lesson.)  So we did.  And it was awesome.

We took a weekday lesson in the afternoon which meant it was one cutie instructor with a british accent (Rhys, like Reece’s Pieces) and just me and boy.  Basically a private lesson.  He took us to the bunny hill, up the lift, talked us through getting off the lift (still hit the snow the first time off) and walked me through coming down the first hill.  And just having someone there, talking you through the obvious, I wanted to throw my arms up and call my mom and scream “look at me, mom!  look at me!”  We started off with falling leaf, which looks like this:

falling-leaf1So you do this while keeping your board pointed side to side while lifting your toes, rocking back on your heels and squatting down shifting weight into right foot then left foot.  Easy peasy.

Next, S turns.  These are supposed to look like this:

sOr something like that.  So the point is to keep the same foot going forward all the way down.  Whereas in the falling leaf you have right foot going forward, then left foot.  On the S turns, you flip around on the turn and have your back facing down the slope.  Now think about this position.  When coming down on your heels, it’s so easy to fall on your tush and slide down the slope.  But if you fall on your tush facing up the mountain, it’s a heck of a long fall!  See:

fallingMuch scarier, and much more painful.  I slammed down and caught myself by my wrists and I just sat there b/c holy ouch.  I was shaken up and scared to fall again so it took me a while to try it again, but it got better.  It always gets better.

Day 2, we did some bunny slope runs then hit the big trail.  2.5 miles, 8,000 feet up!  First accomplishment, not falling off the adult ski lift.  Boy and I both hit the snow hard last year and the little siren went off that indicates the lift had to stop until the people on the ground can get there faces out of the snow.  So not cool.  This year?  I had a little british voice in my head repeating “alright, 100% this time!  stand up straight, put your weight forward, left butt cheek last to leave the chair…”  And magic!  off the chair and gliding down.  We strapped on our boards and started down the mountain and the experience was 110% more enjoyable than blustery last year when I was tired, sore, had altitude sickness and found myself walking down the mountain grumbling and the parts where I put on my board were so flat I didn’t go anywhere.  This time I zigzagged the whole way down.  Like this:

als-s-tunrsNow, the important part here is what you see to the right side.  Mmm hmm.  Those are 360’s people.  I started my zigzag down the slope and lo and behold – I’m doing circles!  I was totally showing off.  Making sure boy was looking at me each time so I had an eyewitness.  There are cameras set up on the slopes and you can go to the site afterward and see if they caught you in action.  Each day I sat and went through about 300 pics posted trying to see if they got me.  And they didn’t!  I’ve been so worried that no one would believe me, that I am now a very awesome snowboarding fiend.

What I like most about snowboarding is that it is quite possibly one of the scariest things I will do.  Each night afterward I spent an hour before falling asleep freaking myself out, visualizing all the injuries I could get, everything that could go wrong, working up into a mental block.  And each day I went out and got over my fear.  I feel like a walking ad for how girl sports raise self esteem.  Although I think those ads are meant more for the tweens rather than the 25+ gals 🙂

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going to smell the snow

candied ginger for the car ride for me: check

trail mix for the car ride for him: check

bone to chew for the car ride for Jack: check

3 days of food (and enough ginger ale to keep me burping for a month): check

Jack’s snowshoeing vest: check

movies.  tons of movies: check

completely non-intellectual and age inappropriate books (i.e. the Twilight novels I haven’t gotten to yet): check

my snow pants that I left at home last year (followed by a temper tantrum upon arrival): check

TAHOE!

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