Happy new year! Here we go again…

Normally when I reflect on the past year, I have so many feelings. This new year’s eve I wasn’t feeling particularly reflective, wistful or nostalgic. I wasn’t feeling much of anything, to be honest. 2015 was a pretty good year, but I don’t mind its passing. Still, I can easily point to the bright spots.


Despite being majorly stressed out and heads down in my studies nearly all year, it was a good year for my relationships. I made new friends from the programming classes I took, rekindled old friendships, and deepened my existing relationships. I am really thankful for growth in this area in 2015.


I gave up on wanting to do a chinup, but through the magic of running and strength training, I actually got kinda buff/thin in 2015, getting down to high school weight, which was a bit of a shock. Emotionally I was doing well, and had found a bit of stability and happiness in the pursuit of a goal. The Wellbutrin didn’t hurt either, not gonna lie. Oh, and I also finally got my wisdom teeth out. It was my first surgery!


In the spring I pushed even harder to incorporate coding into my job, and that opened a few doors for me. Eventually I walked out one of those doors and on to another adventure (okay that was cheesey but I had to). I saved up enough money to quit my job and enroll in a coding bootcamp. Where that goes, well we’ll see. I’m trying to stay optimistic.


In 2015 I visited Burma, Austin, Shanghai, Tokyo, New Orleans, along with a few short trips in the Bay Area.  Embarrassingly, I did not make my resolution of seeing my family 4-5x in 2015. I did not see them at all. But you know what, my family can come and visit me too! I’m choosing not to feel guilty about that.


So, what do you do for resolutions when you aren’t feeling inspired, guilty or fat?

  • I want to finish my program and get a job. That’s not so much a resolution as a necessity. IT WILL HAPPEN. IT HAS TO HAPPEN.
  • In order to find a job, I’ll need to network with the programming community here and make new connections. That said, what’s really important to me is to maintain and grow my close relationships (friends, family, partner). I’ve been really out of touch and engrossed in my own world. I can do better.
  • 2015 was the year of me being too busy to put any effort into my style. I knew that I needed to step up my game when coworkers started noticing whenever I dressed the tiniest bit nicer. Wardrobe makeover!
  • While we’re talking style… I’m sick of my apartment and everything in it. I’m a grown-up. I want my house to look like Pinterest, damn it! I know that I shouldn’t be spending money, but I’ve set a modest budget to upgrade and redecorate. I’ve started by reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering an Organizing”, getting new bath mats, buying a rice cooker that plays “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and researching how to paint furniture. Those are all Pinterest trends, right?

Okay, that was really long. 2016, let’s do this!


Miracle on 14th St.


A couple of weeks ago I was lying in bed reading the internet on my phone, when I saw that  my friend Michelle had a new post up on her blog about goals and cream puffs. It’s a baking blog, so yeah I suppose that makes sense. The post is your usual blog end of the year recap and look forward, and while I knew ahead of time that Michelle had had a big year, for some reason reading about her multitude of accomplishments while staring at beautiful pastries that I could never have greatly discomforted me.

Why is it that my natural reaction to a friend’s success is sudden insecurity? Is it because I didn’t do something big like buy a house? No, I don’t even want a house.  I wasn’t sure, but then it was obvious.

In the back of my mind I was thinking of a certain “goal post” that I’d written earlier in the year. I was scared to look at it, to be honest. Yet when I did I was pleasantly surprised. I hit most of my goals. The ones that fell to the wayside had a heavy emotional investment, and as a result I didn’t get them done. Too fucking painful, surprise surprise.

I spent the last half of December pondering what my goals for the new year should be. Every time someone asked me what my resolutions were, I would make something up. Lose weight, increase my net worth maybe? Try as I might, it just felt like I was forcing it to play the game.

Truthfully, I know what I want. I just want this lost and wandering sadness to go away. I want my life to be busier and simpler, if that is possible. I want to start new creative projects and to make some money on the side. Try things, have them fail, or hopefully succeed. Move around, shake things up. What goal is that? I’m not sure how to articulate it.

A few days before I took off for the holidays I was cleaning out the kitchen pantry. I pulled out a few shelves to better sort through the contents. The hole in the cabinet revealed yet another mess, but there in between the plastic bags and the rat poop was an envelope! I reached in, pulled it out, and yes there was a real letter in the envelope, and it was dated to a former tenant of my apartment, circa 2003!!!

As a journal and letter addict I was in heaven. I don’t know how but I didn’t read it immediately. I waited until I felt ready, and read the letter with a glass of wine.

The letter was from a young woman living in Long Beach, and addressed to her male friend (and perhaps romantic interest) who lived in my apartment, of course. In the letter, which spans the course of several weeks and stops and starts mid-sentence multiple times, the woman talks about waitressing in Long Beach, missing family back home in Topeka, and wishing desperately for some sort of direction in life. You can feel her 20-something year old heart all bloodied up on the page, aching for someone to love and some place to belong. It was very dramatic in that special 20-something way. If this story had happened ten years later, I imagine that it would be posted on ThoughtCatalog.

The letter ended a bit breathless and confused, which meant that I felt breathless and confused as well. Whatever happened to this poor woman? Did she ever go back to school? Did she and he work out? Did she move to San Francisco? I am a person that needs to know the end of the story, even if the story is terrible. I mean, I read the entire 50 Shades of Grey because I HAD to know.

So I googled her. And while I can’t verify that it’s her, there is a person with her name living in the area, working at Google. And someone with her friend/former love interest’s name is now a poet living in Oakland. Hmmmmmmm…

My roommate suggested contacting the old tenant to return the letter (he’s quite active on Twitter), but I don’t know if he would want it. It was stuffed pretty far back there. Perhaps he was hiding it from someone? Also, and this is completely selfish, but I don’t want to break the illusion. I want to believe. I want to believe that that scared and confused and kind of angry woman is now a happy smiling outdoorsy woman who did go back to school, and she now works at Google doing not evil things. She takes the bus down every day and even though the commute is killing her, most other things in her life are pretty great. Every now and then she sees her ex and they have a $4 coffee as they talk about the past and more importantly the future.

So I read the letter, and reread it, and I keep thinking about the woman who wrote it. This is kind of cheesy, but finding her letter hidden in my kitchen feels like my end of the year miracle. For some stupid reason, I have hope that it worked out for her. That hope spills over into my own life. Whatever goals I choose for myself this year don’t ultimately matter. One way or another, things have a way of working themselves out in the end.

Food, Health

WELL. Here we are at DAY THIRTY. The end of my vegan thing, and another 2 wks to go on the sugar program. I almost updated on Day 20, but honestly it was so boring. Here’s what I had:

Day 20: No Brunch to Be Had

30 Day Vegan: Eating at home has been totally fine as I’ve gotten my ass into the kitchen and have made a few staples to get me through the week. I’ve been living on the following: portobello mushroom fajitas, oatmeal, salads, falafels and lentils. I know, it’s not very exciting, but not having to think too much has been a nice change of pace. The only real disappointment is the fact that  finding vegan brunch in San Francisco is a pain. Even at classy joints like NOPA, there was nothing to be  had which would pass for vegan. So I cobbled together a few side dishes and called it a day.

I Quit Sugar: Getting there. Taking my coffee black. Eating a whole lot of avocado to keep the cravings at bay. Had a blueberry the other day and it tasted like a lightning bolt in my mouth. Whoa!

Side effects: Skin’s still looking pretty clear. Still dreaming about food. Not missing meat at all, just cheese.

Day 30: Last Vegan Day. My Tastebuds are Changing

30 Day Vegan: Well, that was a fun experiment. Is it disappointing to say that going vegan was not that interesting? I got into a rhythm and then there wasn’t much to it besides cruising through it on autopilot with my favorite veggie dishes. Restaurants were the only real temptation. Tomorrow I’m celebrating the end with a real brunch (EGGS) and maybe a nice meal.

I Quit Sugar: Still trying on this one, and doing just ok. It is really really hard avoiding fruit. I have about two more weeks on the IQS plan.

Side effects: Hormonal acne is back.>:l Even vegetables taste sweet to me. Lost a few pounds from going vegan, but nothing all that startling.

Final Thoughts on the Vegan Thing

The experiment was another reminder that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Vegan cheese in all of its forms (cashew cheese, Daiya) were crap (even after I ordered San Francisco’s “best” vegan pizza from Patxi’s), and tofu isn’t much of a replacement for eggs. I missed those terribly. Everything else I didn’t think about much. I made it through fine without dreaming of fried chicken, for example. Based on my cravings, I think that I can cut back generally on my overall meat consumption. It’s good to know that you can do without.

Life, Lists

2012/2013, the Return of Saturn, and the List of Lists


 The Return of Saturn

It is an alleged phenomenon which is described as influencing a person’s life development at 27 to 29 or 30-year intervals. These intervals or “returns” coincide with the approximate time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun, i.e. 29.4 years. It is believed by astrologers that, as Saturn “returns” to the degree in its orbit occupied at the time of birth, a person crosses over a major threshold and enters the next stage of life. With the first Saturn return, a person leaves youth behind and enters adulthood. With the second return, maturity. And with the third and usually final return, a person enters wise old age.-Wikipedia

I don’t believe in astrology at all, but without a doubt 2012 was my “Return of Saturn.” It wasn’t so much “entering adulthood” as “hold on, everything in your life will be rocked to the very core.”  WHEE!

So, yeah, you name it- it all got shook up in 2012. This felt in some ways similar to 2006, the year my dad died. Everything was up for grabs, and yet there was still a whole lotta love, travel, and intense feeling throughout the entire year. While it was a crazy time, one of the best things about this past year was that through sheer will and practice I developed a much stronger sense of empathy. I also became better at dealing with stressful emotions and thought patterns. I know it sounds crunchy, but it’s AWESOME, like some emotional superpower. Anyways, I enjoyed developing my empathic skills so I decided to investigate becoming a therapist. That wasn’t the right career path for me, but I found a great volunteer opportunity at the IOA, and so far I’m still working toward being a phone counselor there. Who woulda guessed?

So now that the dust has mostly settled, I can turn my attention toward 2013. My resolutions list is about a week late, but I wanted to make sure that I was committed before I made them public. Here we go:

The Easier to Implement

  • Start a positive early morning routine that allows me to slow down: including 5 minutes of meditation, a little stretching and some coffee. I’m not a morning person, so it would be nice to have pleasant things to look forward to when I wake up.
  • Switch to washing my face with jojoba oil instead of soap (random, but I’m already seeing results)
  • 30 days of veganism concurrent with 8 wks of the I Quit Sugar Program  just to see how my body feels (will be doing blog updates on this one)
  • Finally get my wisdom teeth out. 🙁

A Little Vague, A Lot More Tricky, And a Lot More Hippie

  • Work on getting out of my head more. This sounds so vague but I think that it can be accomplished with continuing my volunteer work, reading more, and continuing to make time for travel.
  • Helping my mom out with her restaurant, from revamping her menu to getting her set up online.
  • Simplify- I already love purging, but since I moved into a 6″x10″ room I’ve felt more inspired to take it to the next level. Beyond stuff, this includes cutting out people and habits that aren’t working for me anymore. Goodbye Twitter, goodbye friends who only want to talk about themselves.
  • Hold onto moments of happiness and don’t feel guilty or rush through them when they happen.
  • Probably the trickiest but most exciting goal: Write something. Will it be short stories? Will it be a blog? Will it be a novella? I don’t know, but I’d like to be able to publish it as an e-book by the end of the year. It will probably be about either 2006 or 2012. Surprise, surprise.

I feel a bit freaked out by these goals, so I guess that’s a good thing.