When Pandora was Life

I never come back to this blog because I don’t want to write “I’m-coming-back-to-this-blog” post. It seems so daunting. Do I have to update everything that I’ve done in the years since I’ve last posted? Do I have to apologize for the random few posts when my daughter was first born and I wanted to try out Amazon affiliates? Do I pretend like it never happened and start fresh?

I’ve decided upon: sit down and write. Write it like you used to write. I’m the same. Except I’m not.

The samely different, I think.

But I remember. I remember when Pandora was life. I loved my stations. I worked hard to create them. They were beautiful. They helped me write. They helped me run.

Two things that have fallen the way of Pandora.

Except I write every day. I did it. I’m a full-time, work from home curriculum write. Full time. Like for real. I’ve been plugging away at this for over a decade. Tiny little projects. Huge projects. Breaks from freelancing because it was too hard to maintain and still teach. And then I quit. Again. And then I panicked. For the first time ever. And I told myself – three applications a day until you get it. And I did.

And bam! A year later – a year of extreme sweat and sacrifice – my company brought in a quarter of a million dollars. Like seriously.

I made it.

The girl who dreamed of this. Who developed these playlists and listened to them ad nauseum plugging away at my life dreams.

I did it.

And this was the first week that I didn’t work an insane amount of hours, and I wanted to write something for myself. So, I dusted off — my, uh password? – and came back in here.

And guess what?

Pandora is playing. I started with the station made from my favorites. And they’re still favorites. It’s like a little slice of nostalgia.

Everything’s changed but it’s still exactly the same.

I don’t teach anymore. At least not for now. Who knows what will happen. But the fact that I actually left the classroom is monumental for me. It was such a huge part of my identity for so long. It was me. And now it’s not. And it’s weird. It’s really weird. I don’t miss it in my day-to-day life, but I miss it theoretically if that makes sense.

I’m a mom. For real. Of two kids (I’m ignoring those Amazon posts). A girl and a boy. And they’re my everything. They are the reason that I have pushed so hard for the past year. And you know what? It’s an amazing feeling to be able to care for them and feed them and buy things they want and need. It’s all I could have wanted.

Layla just came on. I always said I’d name my daughter Layla Rhiannon. I didn’t. Probably a good thing. But it’s good.

Life is good.

It’s not Pandora anymore, but it’s beautiful.


apartment gardening: day ten

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It’s been about 10 days since the planting extravaganza on the living room floor. I’ve lost the rosemary plant. It developed some sort of mold and died after a few days. I’ve also lost the dill, but it was already dying in the AeroGarden so I didn’t expect the dirt would save it.

One tomato plant is doing extremely well. The plant it shares space with is also doing fine. The other two plants, I don’t think will make it. One seems to be recovering, but the other is just withering away. All of the bell pepper and jalapeno plants are doing quite well. The jalapenos are flowering. All of those plants have been getting washed with an organic insecticide (more about that momentarily).

The succulents are doing well as I expected they would be. They are quite happy and at home in the ecosystem that is my living room.

I’m happiest about the two basil plants. I wasn’t sure that they were going to make it after being transplanted from the Aerogarden. They still don’t look completely healthy, but I’ve been moving the Genovese plant into more direct sunlight earlier in the day when I’m home. Now, both are sprouting new leaves, which I figure is a good sign.

The flowers that I planted as seeds sprouted up a few days ago and were so strong that they pushed dirt out of the little pot they were in. That’s probably the first thing I’ve grown from a seed since I was a kid, so that’s pretty awesome. And…it inspired me to buy some cilantro seeds, which are the new herb pots in the pictures above.

I’m happy that most of the plants are doing okay. I have developed a bug problem, though. So, Terro has been placed strategically for the ants, fly paper for the flies and Natria insecticidal soap for the peppers because they’ve been eaten by I don’t know what.

I’m trying to figure out when things need to be watered instead of just watering all the time and drowning plants. So, we shall see….


because sometimes I miss the subtle reminders.

I read Paolo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage right after I read The Alchemist. The novel follows the journey across the Camino de Santiago. I finished the book in one day, and I said  then that I was going to have to do it someday.

The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage to the burial site of St. James. I think somewhere inside of me I’ve always known that I would do some sort of pilgrimage. There’s something about communing with one’s soul that I just know is a big part of who I am.

At any rate, life goes. And two years later, I haven’t thought much about the book or my initial desire to walk across the northern coast of Spain. Until Coelho’s books went on sale for $.99 on digital readers, and I bought another copy of the book. The reading was a gentle reminder of the desire, but it still seemed like something for “some day.”

Then, Friday night I became entranced by the Discovery Channel’s Out of the Wild. On the show, a group of nine people are left to find their way out of a remote Venezuelan area. It was an epic journey–one that I have zero desire to take. The funny thing is that as a result of watching that on Netflix, the movie The Way came up as a suggested film.

So, I watched that last night, and I think I’ve pretty much decided. So, the goal is one year from now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about setting new goals lately. I finished a draft of a second book, ran a half marathon, made it on a train trip to Vancouver…pretty much knocked everything off the list.

Some of the new ones are very obvious: rewrites are in order. But I need something physical. And I need something spiritual. I think working toward this is perfect. I really want the journey to be the end of a journey not a desperate run away to find something–myself, presumably. I want it to be a celebration of process–physical, mental and emotional. And while I know that I could do it when I’m older as many people do, I think I want to do it while it will be as easy as physically possible.

So, there we go. Or, there I go. Just putting it out there to hold myself accountable.

#febphotoaday: Week 2

Actually made it through another week!


Day 14: the Valentine's post, I assume. But the topic was "Heart."


(what Valentine's Day actually looked like for me)


Day 13 was blue. It was also a day after rain, so the sky was the perfect choice.


Day 12: Inside my closet. The rest of it is a mess, but a stack of baseball caps was perfect.


Day 11: what makes me happy. No shoes. Long drives. Coming back from a wedding in Riverside.


Day 10: self-portrait. This was hard to do with my phone!


Day 9: a front door. To the school where I teach.


Day 8: Sun. Easy.

walking times: lunch in #dtla

It was such a gorgeous day today that a walk seemed like the perfect way to spend the afternoon. And, of course, food was involved (I feel like all I’ve done the last week is eat!).

We ended up at Korean B.B.Q on 1st street in Little Tokyo. I ordered the half barbecue chicken-half beef plate. My friend ordered the half spicy pork-half chicken plate. Both meals came with a salad, miso soup, rice, kimchi, pickled cucumbers, and potato salad. The portions were more than generous (I’m glad I only tasted the soup and focused mostly on the meat), and the price was great. [P.S. My friend went to extra care to point out the turtle-shaped skillet that the food arrived in. I have to agree that it was a nice touch!]

We ended up sitting in the restaurant watching a Korean soap opera with English subtitles. I wish I knew the name so I could keep up with it!

We pulled ourselves away from the soap opera and headed back out to 1st Street, where we made a stop at Fugetsu-Do to pick up some Kopiko coffee candy. At $1.50 for the bag, it was a steal and a perfect “light” dessert after the huge lunch.

The mile or so walk back home was perfect after our meal, and we made brief picture stops at St. Vibiana’s (where we found that the courtyard was still maintained), California Water Plaza (after a ride up Angel’s Flight), and Bank of America Plaza (where a once public park–a place I’ve eaten often–was fenced off with warnings against trespassing on “private property”).

St. Vibiana's

California Water Plaza

Gated park at BofA Plaza

why #occupy?

One of my coworkers said to me that she doesn’t understand the purpose of the #Occupy movement.


Let’s put it this way…

1 in 7 Americans lives in poverty.

1 in 6 Americans lives without health insurance.

And every day I park my car in a lot filled with Mercedes Benzes and BMWs. That belong to 17-year-olds.

So, you see, I said. People are tired. Tired of people saying that wealthy people deserve to have more. It seems to me that all a 17-year-old did to deserve a brand new $40,000 car was be born in the right zip code.

For the majority of us who were not that fortunate, I wouldn’t say we’re jealous. Just tired. Tired of people losing their homes. Tired of being afraid to go to the doctor because it will cost too much. Tired of feeling that everything being done for our children will never give them enough advantages.

But mostly tired of people with three and four homes, who drive to their jobs in big corporate banks every day, who make $1 million a year, and who never ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, not everyone has it this easy.

So that’s why #occupy.

#Occupy so they can see as they walk to their fancy offices.

#Occupy so that perhaps the drive in the ultra fancy car is a little more difficult because you can’t drive down the #Occupied street so easily.

#Occupy so that “those” people “who should just go find a job” will be faces instead of nameless people–faces you’ll walk by on your way to buy a lunch that costs as much as families of 4 budget for dinner each week.

#Occupy so that we stop thinking in numbers and money and start thinking in solidarity.

See, it’s not about the money. It’s not a Robin Hood scheme. The purpose is not to rob the rich to feed the poor.

The purpose is to exist in common solidarity. So it’s not robbing, but it’s creating–building–community. Where each of us is responsible for the welfare of our brothers and sisters.

“in some countries that would be considered walking”

By some strange twist of fate, I have been asked to and have decided upon “helping out” with the cross-country team where I work. I do not say coach because, well, in the grand scheme of running I know nothing. (And more importantly, if someone walked into my classroom and started calling herself a teacher, I’d be pretty annoyed.)

At any rate, the title of this post was overheard during a drill.

When I went out to run alone yesterday, I thought about this. Not about my speed because I am ridiculously slower than the students with whom I work. But I thought about it in terms of effort. Usually when I run, I do it at the easiest pace I possibly can.

And I wonder why I make such slow progress.

So, I eliminated music from my runs. Which was a really hard thing for me to do. But I completed a two-hour run without music and knew that I would be okay relying on the sound of my breathing and my footsteps.

Once that hurdle was passed, I decided to make a conscious effort to improve form and speed. Doing the same thing in the same way over and over again (slowly in my case) just ensures that you can do that very thing in the same way forever, I realized.

And already I feel much better about my progress this week.

Nice to know that “to teach is to learn” applies to coaching as well.


It’s been a long while since I’ve written here. I guess I’ve been busy. Like technically busy and also mentally busy.

During the gap, I have:

  • reached the 10 mile mark in my long runs
  • reached the Chapter 45 mark in my novel
  • went white water rafting for the first time
  • biked 15.5 miles with a 2200-foot elevation gain
  • spent a week+ in Big Bear
  • visited my cousin(s) in Oregon
  • spent 3 days on a road trip to Monterey with one of my favoritest people ever
  • gone to more than a few Dodger games (even though it’s not always fun)
  • reevaluated life (yes, again)
  • realized that I will always, always be in a state of reevaluation and that’s the perfect way for me to be
Mostly, I have thoroughly enjoyed a summer in a way that I haven’t in a long time.

pickup lines that will never work on a teacher

1. If I had a teacher like you, I might have learned to read.

Ummmm…that means you can’t read. Which means I think you’re stupid. Which means we’ll never, ever have anything to talk about.

2. You don’t look like a teacher.

Obviously, whatever context I’m meeting you in that’s not me standing in front of a classroom is going to be me not looking like a teacher. 

3. If all the teachers in my high school looked like you, I probably would have graduated.

Reference comment #1.

4. You absolutely would have made the TILF list at my school.

I’m sorry. That’s absolutely creepy and overly disturbing.

BUT the most epic fail in this regard is chronicled here: Smart girls aren’t pretty?


I’ve been stockpiling these (as you can see), but most are the same or very similar. And nothing ever outdid the ‘smart girls aren’t pretty’ line.