Category Archives: life

Jurupa Fire

So this fire is really close to my parents’ house. Like, if the winds shift, their house would be in danger.

This is worrying to say the least. It’s on the local news (which never happens), and the fire’s name carries the area name (seriously, no one but people who live in the community long term know that the northwest area next to the red-marked section is called Jurupa Hills (and yes that golf course is there, but it’s really little and no one remembers its existence until election day)). And I’m 45 minutes away.

This is nerve-wracking, but not the first time a brush fire has happened. (It’s just the first time the news has bothered to cover it.)

I’ll update when the fire is under control. (I’m optimistic that everything will be fine.)

Update: The fire ended up passing their house. It was always within a mile or so, but the winds kept it away, and now that it’s completely contained, I can safely say this ended up being fine. Thanks everyone!

Adventures in cooking

How it beginsI enjoy cooking, but I hardly ever participate in the activity. Except when I choose to spend  money on other hobbies and adventures instead of prepared food.

My favorite aspect of cooking is that all the measurements and ingredients are more suggestions than rules. I’m quite slap-dash about measuring, and am known for forgetting (rarely the important ones) or swapping out ingredients. The kitchen is always a disaster when I’m in it (but I’m very careful to clean it when I’m done), because I enjoy the whole process of making food.

So, since my grand plans for major adventures direct, I’m finally putting my How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook to use. And I’ll be taking pictures of what I make as I go.

And for those of you wondering, I’m an omnivore. But most of what I’m making is actually vegan, because cow’s milk and I get in in fights (and the cow’s milk always pwns me). And I’m not buying meat, because it’s expensive, and I’m only cooking for 1 person, which means the non-meat leftovers will last a smidge longer.So far all the recipes I’ve tried have been successful, including vegan cinnamon rolls (that I inadvertently added too much flour to, whoops!)!

This time of cooking is just another adventure to go with the all the others in my life right now. I’ll chronicle the best successes and the most phenomenal failures here, on flickr,  and on twitter, as long as I remember to take pictures of the food before I stuff my face or throw it out, whichever the end result deserves.

And if you have any recommendations for recipes or places to find them, please include them in the comments! The recipes and sites can be whatever you want to share related to food, as I’m never afraid to modify.

So here’s to cooking adventures and the ensuing deliciousness!

Getting Older

Business card holder. Or the history of the earth in your hand.I’m not sure when growing up transitions to getting older, but I think I’m in that stage now. Later this year will mark 30 years that I’ve walked the planet, but I think reading this blog post by one of the high school students from my work drove home the realization that soon the joke I have of what I will do when I grow up will move to absurd.

But even when the joke is absurd, I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’m grown up. Maybe it’s because I’ve looked pretty much the same (with the exception of the length of and amount of gray in my hair, and the addition of glasses) since my sophomore of high school. Or maybe it’s because I’ve always been told I’m an old soul (though less frequently as I add years).

I don’t really know. How does one every know when they’ve grown up? Based on the social milestones passed? Or do you just wake up one day and realized you’ve finally grown up? Or perhaps you grow up when you realize you aren’t invincible and that death is a part of life. (If that is it, then I think I realized that early enough that it’s part of my life already so perhaps I’ve always been getting older and never growing up.)

I’m not sure that I want to grow up. Not because I have a Peter Pan complex, but because I think that if I felt like I’d grown up, I wouldn’t have any new goal to continue striving for. I’m content with who I am, yet there are still many things I’d like to do. That transition to getting older seems so final, and I’m not ready for final. I don’t even like making solid plans longer than a month or so. And even then, I only solidify what I have to. Like plane tickets to visit friends.

And perhaps this random collection of thoughts stems from nostalgia that comes with age.

Or maybe I’m just getting old.


I've measured my life in coffee cupsDo  you ever have those moments where you can’t even think about what you have to do when the sun rises (or whatever time your day starts) without your breath catching?

I have them more often than I would like. And, through the years, I’ve developed lots of coping skills, but they’re only good if I recognize fast enough that I’m either in the midst of, or on the brink of, one of those times. Like Tamaflu’s prime effective window is with in 2 days of getting the flu.

This one snuck up on me. I’ve been really good about writing in my journal (which is vital to my mental health) as of late. But I realized yesterday, when a non-issue at my work became a thing in my head, that I’m(hoping) in the middle of one of those times.

When my hair was long, I would randomly cut it during these times. But now I keep my hair short, I’d probably get the same looks Debra gets in Empire Records. I wouldn’t cut it out of frustration with my hair (honestly my hair is one thing I’m vain about), but because my hair and its length were solidly within my control. Having that element of control when everything else feels out of control continues as one of my favorite pet illusions.

But I didn’t have that. I did what I will apparently always turn to – travel.

I planned 2 trips for the next 6 weeks in 1 day. I’m going to visit friends and leave my current life behind for just a moment, because the bell jar is beginning to close in, and I need to breathe. I am trying very hard not to plan the details of my trips. I have my transportation. I have places to stay. And other than that, I’ll leave it to the mood that takes me at the time.

Because when my coffee cups pile up, it’s time to get out of dodge for a minute and hopefully learn what life holds by stepping out of my life. When I come back, my hope rests on having the energy then to face the next work day.

So I’m off on grand adventures. Or at least mini mental health retreats. Because no one wants FAFSA advice from a crazy person.


The moving winds of life


At times, life is calm. Everything falls into place with very little effort and it appears as though all the small pieces are in place and the world is as it should be.

Other times, all hell has broken loose and the tempest swirls around, enveloping all light and hope, and the world will never be right again.

And, in both extremes, the constant, understated fact is that they have a terminating point where they will give way to the everyday life.

Another time exists that sits off to the side watching the evanescent tempests and golden days. Its presentable calmness hides its true identity as the opunsettled moments within everyday life where things should just be normal (whatever your definition of normal happens to be) and yet they feel unsettled – as though there is some vital piece missing from your existence.

These are the times that try my soul. To be so divided between feeling content, which is the reasonable response when life just is, and the feeling that your life lacks some vital component when nothing presents itself as easily identifiable. Much like the picture above that I took at Queen’s Bath in Kauai, I feel the unsettling wind blowing across my life that has worked itself out beautifully. But, much like the wind, I can only see the effects without the cause; only my edgy feeling and twitchy responses reveal the extent to which I am unsettled, but refuse to illuminate the cause.

So through all of the possible responses to this realization, I will attempt to remain content in all things. I will embrace the beauty the inhabits all times in all things, and I will wait for the revelation that will set this time aright and look forward to what the next step holds.

Hey, March!

So, February blinked past, which seems especially awkward this year considering the extra day and all. I’m not sure what kept everyone else busy, but February 2012, was a packed month.

I got assigned to assist on developing my work’s new website. And then I got promoted to full-time in the Higher Education Services Department. I took a break with the Gallifrey Twenty-three, this year’s incarnation of the annual Los Angeles Doctor Who con. And in the midst of everything finished applying to Ph.D. programs.

But my life has calmed down now. The website went live, and I have some time to think again.

It will pick up again, I’m sure, especially when I start traveling for work, but, for now, I’m enjoying the time to myself and the space to write more.

Grad School

Studying Math
Not what I'm applying for, but you get the idea...

So I’m applying for PhD programs, because I love school. A large percentage of my friends headed back to school this fall, resulting in more than a little jealousy, which is how I knew it was time to get over my hang ups an start applying.

I’ve conquered my first hurdle  — The GRE.

Now I’m faced with the annoyingly tedious, almost overwhelmingly so, task of completing the applications for the schools I would like to attend. Which isn’t as bad as 1am makes it feel.

So I’m researching the programs, finding out the due dates, emailing God and everybody — basically spending the best Wednesday night ever. Though the search through J.C. Hutchins‘ archive to remember how I’d discovered one of the schools on my list was fun.

Hurdle 2 should be mostly dominated before the end of the week. Which will begin Hurdle 3 — the waiting.

I’m not currently emotionally prepared to contemplate the final hurdles. But I will keep posting here, because why wouldn’t I?

Mastering the art of walking in high heels

Seriously. High heels are the more precarious of footwear selection if your intended persona should exude confidence. Doubly so if you’re a taller, fuller physique.

Because you’re attempting to navigate an uneven, spinning (if constant) terrain on what boils down to sticks attached to a narrowing funnel at an angle that cannot help but create a medieval torture device better described as “Toe Vices”.

And today I managed to wander around my work, all day, without tripping or generally looking more of an idiot than normal in the eyes of high schoolers. Which I would’ve chalked up on the success side, even if I hadn’t had to run 2 errands on the way home. It is the first that decisively placed me back into “Master of the Toe Vices” list. Continue reading Mastering the art of walking in high heels

Home from a fall

Indiana Huber Farms Trip (155)I’m home again. I didn’t get to write as much on the fly as
I would’ve liked, but the internet connection was persnickety. And I was having
too much fun out an about. This just means you’ll end up with week-old stories.

My current feelings about the trip are best summed up by
this picture. It was beautiful and lovely and full of wonder, and I am more
than a little sad to have to come home.

Life calls, however, and I have much more to do before I can
really rest.


I don’t really understand what the rest of the U.S. means when they talk about “Autumn”. In Southern California, we call it “Fire Season”. It’s the time of year where fines are issued for people with land they haven’t cleared of brush. The weather warms up again after a brief cool down from the summer heat. And we all tie down anything light weight.

When I read about the reds and oranges of the fall colors, I think of flames devouring hundreds (or thousands) of acres and the (increasingly more frequent) local community. The crisp air comes from the excess of electricity in the air that puts everyone on edge. And the trees fall, along with their leaves, pieces of roof, and the occasional semi-truck from the strength of the Santa Ana winds.

So I decided, since my roommate lives where this Autumn thing everyone raves about takes place, to fix my lack of knowledge. I’m spending a week in Kentucky to experience the fall everyone outside of the American Southwest seems to know. I expect there will be many pictures. Many will probably end up on tumblr and flickr with links and further posts here.

Please fill me in on this phenomenon, if you know about it! I might need a few pointers.