18 June 2018


I’ve spent the amount of time it takes to reach the precipice of young adulthood without my mom. It’s hard to believe that today marks 18 years since she died. I remember intercepting the 3:30 AM phone call from the hospital and staying on the line as they told my dad that there had been a change in his wife’s condition. I knew exactly what that meant and, looking back, had been preparing for that moment nearly all my life. I raced up two flights of stairs from my basement bedroom to convince my dad to let me go to the hospital with him to no avail. June 18th fell on Father’s Day that year. It seems fitting that this was her final “gift” to him, sarcastic asshole that she was.

I often wonder what it would have been like to have a relationship with my mom, adult-to-adult. Would we have gotten along? Would she be turning liberal in her old age the way my dad has? How would she react to my devotion to the Spurs instead of her beloved Pistons? Would she like Colby? What kind of grandma would she have been to Ramona?

This last question is the one that opens the door to so many others I’ve held in my heart. I hate that she missed my wedding. I wish she could have seen me get my PhD (and maybe I would have, you know, actually attended my hooding ceremony). But the thing that saddens me most is how she missed out on her granddaughter. Ramona is so extra and frustrating and amazing. She’s the human manifestation of intensity. I think they would have gotten along quite well.

It’s knowing that I’ll never see them together, which has led us back home: we’re moving back to Austin. My dial is always stuck at 11. I struggle with happy medium. I work an unhealthy amount because I don’t know how not to and even I, disdainer of introspection, recognize that something needs to change. We’re moving back to Austin so Ramona can grow up with our friends’ kids. We’re moving back to Austin so I can learn how to balance work and life. We’re moving back to Austin so that I’ll have a life that lasts longer than 48 short years and Ramona doesn’t have to ask these same unanswerable questions.

We’re moving back to Austin at the end of this month. I’m excited for friends and tacos and central air conditioning. I’m looking forward to owning a home again and cooking in a kitchen that is mine. I am ready.

11 January 2017

Whole 30 Day 2: creamy lemon garlic dressing

I didn't watch the President's farewell address tonight because I can't bear the idea of the Obamas leaving the White House. Instead I went to a friend's happy hour birthday party (and drank nothing tyvm), battled the wind and rain, and watched this when I got home:


At least my food was delicious.

Lunch was another salad with surprise Brussels sprouts. I don't know why I called them surprise. I was surprised when I found them I guess? Whatever the case, they were super tasty.
om nom nom
For dinner, Colby cooked salmon and we ate it with an arugula salad with eggs and tomatoes. It was supposed to have avocado, but the ones that we got were still super crunchy.  No bueno, but the salad was AMAZING because of the dressing.

creamy lemon garlic dressing
juice from 1-2 lemons (to taste)
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

Combine everything and let it steep. 

It is so so so delicious. Colby used walnut oil to make the mayo since olive oil is too strongly flavored. The mayo itself is really good and definitely something we'll be using as a base for other dressings and salads. I definitely want to make this jalapeño slaw next week and now I'm envisioning pairing macadamia nut encrusted white fish to make tortilla-less fish tacos. Hmmm..

09 January 2017

Whole 30. Again.

Yes, I know. I always start the Whole 30 challenge and then quit part of the way through. I hate the rhetoric on their website/in the forums too, but my past experience has shown that it really does help me stop craving sweets and generally eat better. Plus, there's nothing like insanely restrictive yet morally superior clean eating to reignite my decades-old eating disorder make me cook at home. Since misery loves company healthy eating challenges are better when you have other people to complain to hold each other accountable, I coerced asked a few friends to join me on this goddamn nightmare magical food journey.

My motivation for doing the Whole 30 this time around is to reset my palate so I appreciate whole foods again, generally eat better, and make sure that I am as healthy as I can be. One of the biggest fitness fallacies is that exercising helps you lose weight. I'm quite the opposite where I often gain weight since exercise makes me super duper hungry. In the past, I've done Whole 30 and have been really diligent about staying within the frankly excessively restrictive boundaries and was miserable the entire time. This isn't a tenable solution for me and so this time around I'm going to modify the rules: I'll still eat small quantities of dairy and beans.

Corporate lunch is delicious. Also free.
I am also in a much better position now because I get breakfast and lunch at work. Breakfasts will likely be mostly eggs and sometimes breakfast meats. Lunches are likely to be salad-based. Dinners and weekends are where I'll have to plan. Without further ado, our meal plan:

less pretty than one would hope but yet so delicious.

Citrus-marinated chicken with cauliflower rice

Salmon on an arugula salad with a 2 minute mayo-based dressing

Potato, egg, and homemade sausage hash

Dijon chicken with cauliflower soup

"Texas" Chili

I'll try to update with what we actually end up eating and recipes.

30 December 2016

New Years Resolutions Part 30

Obviously I have the same new year's resolutions as everyone else: blah blah, eat healthy, blah blah, go to the gym. Zzzzz. Oops. I think I fell asleep in the middle of those. But now that I'm properly awake, I wanted to take the time to list some more interesting ones.

1. Explore more of the Bay Area and northern California
My iPhone seems to think this was taken at Poplar Beach. Sure?

Yesterday we made a quick trip to Half Moon Bay to Sacrilige Brewery + Kitchen (do recommend!) and to check out the beach. It was fantastic! Ramona wasn't a huge fan of the giant waves, but seemed happy to play in the sand further away from the water. It was a pretty quick drive (~1 hr) and a lot of fun. Definitely a place I want to revisit so we can explore more. My hope is that we travel *somewhere* at least once a month. True fact: when I'm bored, I make up gift baskets in my head*, but my new game is going to be planning out day trips.

2. Cook
This Christmas sandwich was DELICIOUS. Also, not really what I'm going to talk about but whatevs.

If you look at my archives, it's obvious to see that I haven't been blogging, but that's also because I haven't really been cooking. In fact, it's so bad, that I'd say that Colby is a better cook than I am. I feel like I've lost some of the intuition that I had from years of cooking, but I've spent a lot of time this break in the kitchen and things are coming back. I usually get home from work fairly late, but there's always time on the weekend. I want to cook *something* once a week.

2a. Use the Instant Pot
I purchased an instant pot on a whim during Thanksgiving break. I want one of us to use it at least once a month.

3. Be proactive about friendship
from http://www.jelene.com/

I can be lazy about things, but one thing I want to work on is making sure that I maintain and enrich my friendships. We've slowly started to build a network out here, and we need to make sure we continue this. We also have an entire community spread across the country and I want to make sure that we maintain it.

4. Craft
I did take up embroidery very briefly this year (via Chris)

I really like doing complicated paper crafts because they are fiddly enough such that I need to use most of my concentration to not mess up so I have to turn off my brain for a bit. I stopped crafting once we moved because I left many of my supplies in Michigan and because there just wasn't any space. We still don't have a ton of space, but it's a lot more manageable now and Ramona LOVES crafting.

*My welcome to SF basket comes with a loaded Clipper Card, a bag of high quality local coffee beans, a hand made mug from a local artist, a bar of TCHO (which seems universally beloved), and some local art in a counter top composting bucket. Cute, right?

13 December 2016

Why We Don't Do Santa Claus

Ramona is at the age where Santa is a hot topic and it's something I've discussed with a lot of my parent friends this year so I wanted to gather my thoughts in one place.

Ramona's relationship with Santa got off to a rocky start. She was about 10 months old around the time of her first Christmas, during the throes of the first wave of stranger danger. We foisted her on the very warm-looking Santa (we were in Austin) and now have some hilarious pictures of her and her baby friend screaming on Santa's lap.
"Get this the fuck off my head, Mom."
The next year we tried again, this time at Bronner's Christmas Wonderland. We waited almost an hour to see Santa. The end result was that Ramona screamed her face off when we put her on Santa's lap and the only way we ended up getting a picture was to have me hold her somewhat near Santa, but out of her line of sight.
These people are serious about Christmas. It looks like this all year. Photo Credit: Ken Lund

We moved to California at the end of 2014 and didn't have the opportunity to go back to Michigan. We did, however, consider going to a different Santa, but Ramona was old enough to remember how scared she was. Every time we walked by the Santa Hut at the local mall, she'd freak out a little bit. We finally decided to tell her that Santa wasn't real. It was something we were already leaning towards but it seemed like a good way to alleviate her fears.  

So why were we leaning towards it at all and why have we doubled down on it now that she has teachers and friends and other people she generally trusts tell her that Santa is real?

1. Santa has a social justice problem. We tell kids that if they're good they'll get presents from Santa. What about children from families who can't afford to give them a lavish Christmas? Are they not good too? Santa conflates wealth with goodness. Obviously it's not something you bring up when you tell kids about Santa, but that isn't a deep question, especially considering how competitive kids can get.

2. As much handwaving as you do, telling a child that Santa is real is still lying to them. We work so hard to teach children to be honest with us and each other. We tell kids that lying is wrong. But how do you reconcile this lie? And when they do figure it out or we have to tell them, then what? Either the kiddo figures it out and is upset that their parents and the people they trust have lied to them or they get to the age where you need to tell them and then it's crushing. Why start in the first place?
Probably what you think I look like
3. In the same vein, we've now had to have discussions with Ramona about how Santa isn't something she's allowed to talk to other kids about and if they ask her if Santa is real, she shouldn't say anything. So now I'm telling her to lie to other people. And while I understand the alternative here is to lie to her and tell her that Santa is real, I don't want to have to lie to her so other people can lie to their kids.

4. I've spent the past 12 years working really hard to be in the position I am right now. And now I'm supposed to give credit to some old white man for all the presents that I buy her? NOPE. NOPE. NOPE.

Smaller issues:

  • We tell kids to not trust strangers, but it's okay that Santa some how spies on them while they sleep and he knows what they do on a day-to-day basis. 
  • And then he commits the felony of breaking and entering. 
  • Also, Santa? Totally breaking the laws of thermodynamics

16 September 2016


I work in tech. My job has super cool perks like free crossfit, spa water on every floor, and a salary that allows me to live in the most expensive area of the country. I take the BART from West Oakland to Civic Center to get to the office, located about a block away from the station, and I am continually humbled and reminded of my privilege. It's a rare day that I don't pass someone with a needle. The station is littered with the slim orange caps that I had previously associated with insulin and allergy shots. 

The contrast between the Civic Center BART station and my posh office is stark. And while it's a mind-boggling thought experiment to calculate just how little* you'd be left with at the end of the month if your income was the median value for the zip code of my just-outside-of-mid-Market office and the average rent for a 1BR San Francisco apartment, it's not just a gedanken exercise, it's real life for some.

In an effort to address some of this immense economic disparity, my friend Michelle started a non-profit called Techtonica. Techtonica is a 6 month program that enables low-income women and non-binary adults to gain the skills they need to work in tech. While many similar coding programs cost tens of thousands of dollars (thereby being vastly out of reach for most people) with no guarantee of future employment, Techtonica is free to the students and has jobs lined up for graduates. In addition, students are provided with a laptop, a living stipend, and free child care. In order to provide these incredible benefits, Michelle is currently fundraising through IndieGoGo

If this is something that speaks to you, please get involved! Make a tax-deductible donation. Spread the word through Twitter (and use the hashtag #BridgeTheTechGap), Facebook, and your personal network. Volunteer at tech workshops or help organize or package some of the seriously awesome campaign perks.

You can read more about Techtonica and the income disparity it is working to relieve from Michelle's Medium post and find Techtonica on Twitter @techtonicaorg and Facebook

*it's $100.67

23 April 2016

Procrastination tastes like jalapeño slaw

I want to start cooking again, but I've spent a lot of time coding and re-learning statistics in the name of professional development. I decided to carve out some time today to use up the cabbage that's been sitting in the crisper drawer for a week and the jalapeño that was on its last leg.

Jalapeño Slaw

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced
1/4 c mayo
2ish T lemon juice
1 small lobe of shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 tsp kosher salt
salt + pepper to taste

Toss shredded cabbage and 1 tsp salt to evenly distribute in a colander placed over a bowl (or sink). Let sit for up to an hour, or at least as long as it takes to prep the rest.

Combine mayo, lemon juice, garlic, jalapeño, and shallot. Let sit for a bit to let the flavors combine and the harshness of the garlic and shallot to subside. Season with salt + pepper to taste.

Thoroughly rinse and drain the salted cabbage. Add in the dressing.

We served it with avocado slices and pork. Highly recommend. Would do again. 5/5.