I am a teacher and aspiring writer, and keep a blog to keep up with writing and document the daily moments that make up my life. Working with my students & travel writing are my biggest passions. People, art, food, wine/spirits, and culture are other writing interests. Thanks for coming by!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pre-Baja CRAZE

So we arrived in Encinitas late-ish last night, and I thought we were pretty much in vacation mode at this point. But no. Granted, today was a day to do last minute odds and ends like grocery shop, get gas, get cash from the ATM, etc., so we knew it wasn't a completely cush day. However, Rob and Travis had about 118 pre-Baja secret projects going on that left Karissa and I completely baffled. Here is a loose timeline of the day.
9 am: Travis makes coffee, and pulls his new tent out of the bag. Rob helps Trav assemble new tent. They realize that the new tent is missing crucial parts, like a set of poles. Add trip to REI - to exchange tent - to the to do list.
10 am: Rob and Trav are outside completely unpacking Rob's vehicle, resorting everything and repacking it.
11 am: The guys are leaving to do their "manly men" errands. (Their words, NOT MINE!)
12 pm: Karissa and I get a call from Travis, they are at Smart & Final and want to know what kinds of drinks we might want. Tecates and limes we say.
1 pm: We get a call that they forgot toilet paper and paper plates. Can we get pick some up?
3 pm: Karissa and I arrive home with the groceries for the trip and they tell us that we bought WAY too much food, even though we only bought about a bag and a half of groceries a piece for 5 days for six people. They are convinced that with these new groceries everything will NEVER fit in Rob's FJ.
4 pm: Due to the influx of new groceries, coolers are being unpacked and repacked and unpacked and repacked again. It's getting exhausting just watching this. And no, they won't let us help.
5 pm: Reworking the camping gear, bags, clothes, food, etc, now that they have the coolers to contend with.
6 pm: Travis tells us he can't come to dinner with us. He's too stressed from all the packing and has to pay some bills, tie up some loose ends.
7 pm: They tell us we're waking up at 5:30 am to leave for Baja by 6 am.
And they call this a vacation???
I hope all of this was worth it. :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas break to-do list

1. Finish writing Christmas cards. Still so many left to write!
2. Take Coco to the dog park every day.
3. Finish Christmas shopping.
4. Clean the house.
5. Start reading "Educating Esme."
6. See friends I haven't seen in ages!
7. Buy more purple pens at office supply store.
8. Make a few more photo ornaments for family.
9. Pick up any last minute items for Baja trip!
10. Possibly get more Christmas cards made at Kinko's if necessary.
11. Walk at McKinley every day or go to the gym for yoga, swimming, or workout.
12. Call Saskia in Holland!
13. Go see a movie.
14. Read my magazines.
15. Go on a photo taking day with Rob so he can try out his new camera!
16. Wrap gifts.
17. Pack for Baja.
18. Hang photos on the walls.
19. Play piano.
20. Get resume posted on EdJoin and Subfinder!
21. Do some photo collages in journal.
22. Write New Year's resolutions.
23. Start on article(s) on dog park, and living in midtown for East Sac News.
24. Coco to groomer.
25. Get organized with school file(s)/supplies, etc.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I have so far yet to go.

Why is it that when one huge milestone is finally right in front of me, I begin to think of all the shortcomings I have, and start thinking about all of the ways in which I am not "there" yet? I am finally days away from getting my teaching credential after two year straight of eating, sleeping and breathing teaching. And instead of getting to enjoy this moment, my mind races straight to how much weight I want to lose, and how overwhelming it is to try to even begin getting there. And how I need to find a teaching job for the fall, and how I need to make more money than my nanny job will provide in the spring, and how I'm not as good of a cook as I'd like to be, or as clean or efficient or organized as I would like to be, and on and on and on. There is the version of me that I dream of, and the version of me that I am. It makes me really sad, because it feels like I always think I will be happy when I reach this next goal, and the goal is achieved, but instead of enjoying it, immediately all of my shortcomings come to mind and the joy is lost. Not that I don't feel joy often in life, I do. It's just that often big moments that I've highly anticipated in life have almost always been anticlimactic. Do other people experience this too, or is it just me? I am not trying to sabotage any chance at happiness I have in life, because I am often happy. But I have so many fundamental things about myself that I'd like to change. It's hard to know where to begin when you feel like you could improve in every possible way. And why haven't I written in years, or submitted anything in years? What is holding me back from running straight for my dreams? What's the worst that could happen? Another cranky editor can tell me that my writing is too abstract? Whatever. Life goes on. I want to take steps to be a better person. Not that I need a better heart, at least that part of me is good. But better motivation to pursue my dreams and not give up and believe I CAN. They say the hardest thing is to begin. They couldn't be more right. At least for me, it couldn't be more true.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gratitudes, in no particular order

1. Rob and Coconut
2. My health, and the health of my loved ones.
3. Food and shelter and all of the bare essentials.
4. Sunrises, sunsets.
5. Swimming.
6. Beaches.
7. Surfing.
8. Friends.
9. Happiness and joy.
10. Writing.
11. Celebrations.
12. San Francisco.
13. My family, even though sometimes they drive me crazy.
14. Travel.
15. Learning foreign languages, currencies, and trying out new foods.
16. New and novel experiences.
17. Good books.
18. Islands magazine.
19. The Hawaiian Islands.
20. A good laugh.
21. Teaching, for many reasons. But everyday I learn at least as much as I teach, if not more.
22. Photographs, photography.
23. Good memories.
24. Hula hoops, and hula hooping.
25. My nieces, Abby and Maya.
26. Baby Camden.
27. Cooking, and learning to cook new things.
28. Good conversations.
29. Coziness.
30. A nice walk. A walk on the beach, even better.
31. The color turquoise.
32. Black tea with milk and honey.
33. Learning.
34. A good nap.
35. A good night's sleep.
36. The magic in life.
37. Adventures.
38. Surprises.
39. Sea life.
40. Dogs.
41. The dreams we have in life, and looking forward to having them come true.
42. Fires in the fireplace to keep warm in the winter.
43. My purple pen.
44. Good films.
45. Thai food.
46. Getting to speak French with my grandmother, Mimi.
47. Almost being done with school!
48. Trips to look forward to, like San Francisco, Baja, and Kauai!
49. Art projects, collage, etc.
50. Seeing old friends.
51. Hibiscus flowers.
52. Tropical beauty: the flowers, the scent of the air, the colors, the sea, the shells.
53. Hula.
54. Meeting new people and hearing their stories.
55. Creativity.
56. Hanalei, Kauai.
57. Encinitas, CA.
58. My cruiser bike!
59. Seeing the glass half full.
60. The joys of the past, the present, and those yet to come!
61. Frida Kahlo.
62. Mexico.
63. Cuba.
64. Brea finally coming back after being gone for so long.
65. Saskia in Holland, who I still miss all the time.
66. The San Francisco Chronicle.
67. My dreams to go to Valparaiso, Chile with Rob.
68. Google Reader.
69. Having fun!
70. Enjoying life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Teaching, like life, has its ups and downs. Teaching can be the most wonderful and amazing job on the planet, and at the very same time the most sanity inducing job on the planet. The duality in itself is a little bit of a crazy maker, but it's also part of what keeps it interesting.
There's nothing like the feeling of teaching a lesson on something really interesting that I'm excited about, the kids are excited about, and everything goes as planned. I have a creative lesson plan and all sorts of ideas, and I can't wait to teach it. When everything goes smoothly, and you see the wonder and excitement light up their faces at the joy of a new discovery. These are the great days and the days that make the tougher days more bearable. But as much as I've complained about my bad days, as the old saying goes, sometimes there's a lot more to learn from your failures than from your successes. I've had some rock bottom low days teaching, and trust me, I have no desire to relive them. But I've learned a lot from those days, and what went wrong, and how I might do better with those situations next time. I think I want things to go well all the time, but the truth is, that will probably never happen. Also, the bad days make the just ok days that much better by comparison. but most importantly, those bad days should not be considered lost or wasted days. It seems as if (for me at least) it is only through great struggle that I really grow, and as much as I love those dreamy teaching days, I can appreciate the bad days too, and everything in between. I think that only in thinking that everyday has to be great or perfect will I suffer. My goal is to let go of always wanting things to go the way I want them to go, and just let things go the way they go. I mean, doing my best to do my part to do the best I can of course. But there is a lot of freedom to letting things happen the way they happen and being ok with it. Because all that any of us can do is do the best we can, right? And then let it go, and be ok with what happens because it is what it is. And whatever it is is ok.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What I Love

Coconuts! I love coconuts, and I'd had a lifelong dream to drink coconut milk straight from a coconut on the beach someday somewhere in the tropics. This dream came true when we were in Varadero, Cuba. Our friend Yariem got the coconuts for us straight from the tree. I was on cloud nine.

Birds. How cool would it be to fly? I've always loved birds, they symbolize freedom to me. This one's for the birds!
Surfboards. I love to surf, but haven't in awhile. I need to move back to the beach!

My lifelong best friend, Alicia. I have too many memories to count with this girl. It's impossible to imagine my childhood without her in it. I have very few memories without her in them. I treasure our friendship very much. You can't replace a lifelong friend.

My family. I love them.

Our one year anniversary on a catamaran on Lake Tahoe in August. Also one of the best days of my life. Actually, since I met Rob, life has been a lot better in a lot of ways. Although it's only been a little more than a year since we met, already, I can't imagine life without him.

My man. The best thing that ever happened to me. Need I say more?

Old photos, old friends. This is Brea and I in a photo booth in high school. We were 16 I think. I love finding old photos and reminiscing about them. I also like to make cards and collages out of old photos.

Hula. Hula is a huge passion, as is almost anything to do with the Hawaiian Islands. This was my first hula performance ever with my hula sister Marcella. Another very special day for me.

Abby and Coconut, two of my favorite little beings in the whole wide world.

Getting Coconut. One of the best days in my life. Life has been so much better since I got her. She brings me so much love and happiness.

Teaching. The best decision I ever made was to become a teacher. Sure, there's hard days, but the benefits far outweigh any challenges. This was Sammarria, the first little girl I ever worked with in my credential program. I was her literacy tutor, so I helped her become a better reader. We had a really great time together, and her reading improved a lot. We both cried when our time was over.
This is what she wrote to me on our last day together.

Coconut. This was Coco's first trip to the beach ever. We were in Bolinas. Two of my favorite things combined: being at the beach, and being with Coconut. She had a blast this day.

Kids. I love working with children. There are few things in life that feel more valuable or rewarding than working with children. Kids are so cool.

My mom. Her zest for life is incomparable. She's a great role model for me to remember to enjoy my life, and to live in the moment.

Hibiscus. My favorite flower. It reminds me of my favorite places like Encinitas and Hanalei, Kauai.

Discovering new things, like new kinds of fruit at the farmer's market. This was starfruit at the farmer's market in Havana. I'd never seen it before.

Beaches and Sunsets. This one was in Varadero, Cuba. I wish I could watch the sunset everyday. Every sunset I get to watch feels like a gift.

Foreign currency. Maybe I got this from my dad. I love foreign currency, and like to save and collect it. To me it's a little window into the country's history and interests. Aside from that, many foreign currency notes have very colorful and intricate designs, like little works of art.

Photographs. I love to take photos and have always loved photography. For me it's not really whether I'm good or not, but just that I enjoy doing it that makes it so worthwhile. Travel photography is my favorite. This is on Brea's street in the El Cero district of Havana, Cuba.

Bookstores. I love bookstores - why else? - because I love to read. This was a great little bookstore in Havana and my chicas (who both speak Spanish) were checking out the books. I was out of luck this time because I barely speak, and definitely don't read in Spanish. Hopefully someday I will though.

Art Museums. I love art museums because I love art, especially in other places. This was an art museum in Havana. We didn't go into this one, but we went to another one that had all of these old movie posters from the 40's, 50's, and 60's. Everything was hand screened, and so cool. There was a lot of really interesting stuff there.

My friends mean the world to me. I can't imagine my life without them. They bring so much joy to my life. This is Karissa and Brea and I in Cuba in November 2007. We were visiting Brea in Havana, who was in med school down there at the time. This day was one of the best days of my life.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Grains of Sand

I cut this out of an Islands magazine years ago, and to this day, it's one of the coolest things I've ever seen. It's grains of sand magnified hundreds or thousands of times. When I look, I see bits of glass, shell, and coral, among other things. It's so colorful and beautiful when magnified. It's incredible to think about the fact that something so magnificent is right before our eyes but cannot be seen with the human eye alone. It reminds me to try to find beauty wherever I am, and remember that there are so many wondrous things in the world just waiting to be discovered.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The First Day of School

Tomorrow is the first day of school and I am so excited to meet my new students and see what's in store for me this semester. I've always loved the first day of school, it's such a big deal for kids. I guess it's kind of like the adult equivalent of a New Year. Tomorrow is going to set the stage for the next year of their lives. I was a little worried about teaching fifth graders because I taught second grade last, and at that age, they're still so sweet. But my cooperating teacher said not to worry, that they are still just little kids in bigger kids' bodies. I'm looking forward to meeting them tomorrow and getting to know them. I'm sure I'll have some stories to tell.
This photo is of me on the first day of school in first grade. I couldn't wait for school to start, and the first day was such a big deal. I absolutely loved school at this age. Later, not so much. Then even later, like in college, I began liking it again, on the occasions that I had good professors and some interesting material to work with. I feel like my education could have been much better. I hope it's better for the kids I teach than it was for me. They deserve it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In Memory of Danny

Today is the four year anniversary since my father Danny passed away. He's been on my mind a lot today, and lately in general, and I wanted to write down a few memories I had of him.
He was above all, an artist, and most of all, an artist of life. He was amazing with several artistic mediums and was gifted at painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture. But his life was his ultimate masterpiece. He was in Costa Rica on archeological digs, and in Morocco, Spain and Italy traveling with my mom. He was mysteriously beating the slot machines in the Caribbean islands, and arriving at Easter Island on a canoe with a buddy, hoping not to get beheaded by the local tribal chief, who luckily for him, thought he was a God and treated him like a king.
He was always collecting things; cameras, foreign currency, stamps, Pre-Columbian figurines, and rocks, among other things. He liked panning for gold. He was a dreamer. He was somebody that could make friends with anybody, and if he was around, it was always a good time, because he'd be telling you a joke or singing you a folk song or sharing tales of his wild adventures. I think we've all lived vicariously through his stories, and still do. Although he had a checkered past and had done some time in jail (for starting a Porsche sting operation and smuggling goods in from Costa Rica,) he was one of the most friendly, loyal, and loving people you could ever meet. He was one of a kind and there's never going to be anyone else like him. Not having him around anymore is really tough. Although I may not have shown it enough, I loved him a lot.
I didn't see him that often, but when I did, his face lit up and he treated me like one of his favorite people in the world. He had that gift. He always made people feel special. He was so loved in our family and is greatly missed. He is gone, but will never be forgotten. I have a feeling that we will be telling stories about him for years to come.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Inspiration ~ Continued

Old Photographs

This photo is of my mom's hand and mine when I was two or three years old at the beach in Mendocino, the place we went every summer. Old photos bring back such good memories, and are so comforting for that reason. I also love to make cards out of old photos. My photos, old and new, are some of my most treasured possessions.

Kamato Hongo of Japan

I cut this photo out of a newspaper years ago. At the time, she was the oldest documented person alive on Earth. But the reason I cut it out was that she was 115 years old and grinning like a 5-year-old. Although she may have been one of the oldest people on Earth, she was certainly young at heart, and from the look of the photo, still in love with life. I aspire to be like her, especially in old age. But really, even now.


I am in love with the Hawaiian Islands. I have been since I first stepped foot in Kauai back in 1995, and the more I go, and the more the years pass, I love the islands even more. Everything about Hawaiian culture inspires me. I love the Hawaiian people and culture and the lifestyle. And the aloha spirit is alive and well in the islands, that's for sure. I could be happy living in the islands for life. The beaches, surfing and hula would be plenty to keep me very happy and occupied. This photo was taken when I lived on the North Shore of Oahu in 2001. I had the day off and spent it making a lei. This was my view off of my front deck. Not bad. Wish I was there now.


I think that travel is my ultimate inspiration. I love to travel more than just about anything else on Earth. Exploring new places, hearing the languages, seeing the sights, and tasting the cuisine, all of these things are such a thrill. Traveling, to me, is as good as it gets. And the people, the people you meet are unforgettable. I think the people I have met while traveling have been the best part of all. This photo is of Karissa and I in Havana, Cuba in November of 2007. This was an incredible trip, and probably my favorite trip ever.

Friday, August 21, 2009



Being at the beach is the ultimate source of happiness and inspiration for me; the beautiful ocean, the salty air, the happy dogs, the seashells and other ephemera that wash ashore, the waves, everything at the beach conspires to make me happy.

Cool Messages from the Universe

When I was living in Oceanside, back in 2002, I would walk to my favorite coffee shop every morning for an iced coffee and a muffin. On the way, I would always walk past (or over) this piece of stamped cement that read O.U. Miracle. What a great morning message, and how uplifting.

Being with my Best Friend

Whether we're walking on the beach, cooking together, swimming or surfing, or taking a trip together, I am have the best time of my life with I am with my chica. There are no words for how happy we are when we're together.

Visual Delights

I took this photograph at a spice bazaar in the South of France near Aix-en-Provence back in Summer of 2000. The world is ablaze with visual delights; I love finding them and capturing them. Not to mention how cool were these spices? Most of which I'd never heard of. But some of that had to be due to the fact that I didn't know all of the French to English translations.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Adventures with Megumi

Now that Summer is almost over, and my time with Megumi is almost over too, I wanted to write a little bit about our time together.

Let's see, so we went to the zoo, a lot, and that was fun, at least when it wasn't hot. Megumi really loved the giraffes and zebras and flamingos. (Who doesn't?) Lately we've been going to the duck
pond and the fish aquarium, which I think we both like better than the zoo. There is this turtle at Capitol Aquarium that Megumi absolutely loves, he swims right up to the glass to say hello when we're walking by. I think we both wish we could adopt him. And there's this adorable big orange fish named Sherbert there too, who loves to rub noses with people through the glass. This turtle and fish duo are so sweet that kids just love them, and they've got a little unoffical fan club going. I mean, can you blame these kids? I'm sure Turtle and Sherbert are nicer than most of the people these kids know.

Today we were at the river, and the river was beautiful. We took an hour long walk this morning before it got too hot. There were dozens of dragonflies, and lots of birds and squirrels, along with the occasional person or dog, or both.

It's a really wonderful stage she's in, it's the age of discovery. She want to know the words to everything, and how everything works. I will miss her when I go back to school but I'm glad I'll be going back when school is over. She's such a special little girl.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


It was really nice to get out of Sac and head up to the Sierras for a day of kayaking with Rob, my dad, and my stepmom Donna. We stayed with my dad in Auburn on Friday night, then spent the day kayaking on Saturday at a lake up toward Tahoe. It's such a peaceful experience just being alone in the boat in the middle of the lake. Living in a city makes it tough to get out into wide open spaces very often. It's so good to just look out at the water, relax, and empty the mind of all the busy thoughts that constantly occupy me. I'd like to do a lot more kayaking in the near future. And kayaking in Southern Baja to whale watch one winter is a big dream too, among many others.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


My chica was here this week and there is nothing in the world like being with your best friend. All I know is that when she is here, I am so happy, and I have no worries in the world. My boyfriend made the most wonderful Chilean meal, and we just ate, drank, danced with Coconut and caught up (or tried to) about everything under the sun. I wished we lived closer. I miss her so much.