The First Day Abnormalcy

While most kids around the United States are sleeping in all summer, some are getting ready to go back to school!

I teach at a year round school and am fortunate to work at the same school my daughters attend. What’s even better is that I’m now full time! 

However it is way past midnight on the night before the first day of school and I’m still awake. 

You’d think that because this is my eighth “First Day of School”, I would be alright but no, I’m not.

Well, I am but it’s very exciting and terrifying and as you know, that combination results in too much thinking into the wee hours of the morning. 

Here are some pics of the classroom I’m sharing with a colleague and friend (who recently had a baby girl)…


We are doing a superhero theme and I so wish for the ability to fall asleep right now!

Good night! 

The Fireworks Fallacy

Independence Day, I’ve noticed, isn’t really studied in school. Yes, teachers have their curriculum and standards but we tend to stick to the next holidays on the calendar and even year round schools aren’t in session the first week of July. 

I just don’t think people are as patriotic and proud to be Americans as we used to be.

There. I’ve said it. 

You know, as a retired military spouse (I don’t even know how to word that phrase, if it even is one) and as an American, I’m not supposed to say shit like that. It’s like there are a whole bunch of quotes that we are supposed to say in this day and age and if you don’t follow the script, you’re on the other side. I didn’t even know I had chosen a side. 

Should we be more patriotic? Are we too patriotic? What does it mean to be patriotic anyway? Are we no longer allowed to be proud of who we are and the country we live in?

I thought I knew the answers when I was little but a lot has changed since I was a kid. We can’t say the Pledge of Allegiance anymore. Even if we did there are kids who don’t even have to stand for it and it’s not even a citizenship issue, some religions see that as idolotry. Ironic, isn’t it? 

It’s frustrating that we cannot have discourse without checking the Internet or quoting your coworker said or what everyone else is saying. We have lost our ability to think for ourselves, to express ourselves with evidence and without resorting to name calling. 

And don’t even get me started on fireworks. There are three fireworks stands within a half a mile distance from my house! 

Fireworks are a waste of time and money. My husband came home with the kids and a box of fireworks that set us back almost eighty dollars!

Eighty dollars? What the heck! It wasn’t even athe biggest box!

Still, we buy and light them up for the kids but does that make us patriotic? Spending too much money, setting stuff on fire, and making loud noises means we love our country and in turn, makes us good Americans? 

I don’t know who is messed up more from these loud, crazy ass fireworks going off tonight: the dog or the husband. Both cringe and shake when they hear the explosions. Both will probably have trouble sleeping fir the next couple of nights.

Now don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying to quit buying fireworks to prove something or that you’re unpatriotic if you don’t. We aren’t that house that has the “No Fireworks” sign that warns  others about a member of the household with PTSD. I think we should rethink our definitions of Independence Day, patriotism, and what it really means to be an American. I don’t have the answers but I’m pretty sure you won’t find them in a box of firecrackers. 

The Middle Age Mandate: Part 2

I’ve decided to cut out meat to feel better and hopefully shed some weight. Despite a couple of setbacks this week in the form of my mom’s delicious Filipino food and a graduation party for my nephews, I’ve been doing pretty well. 


Clothes that were too tight a month ago now fit and I don’t feel as self conscious in most of my clothes. I still have a way to go and I hope I can continue to have mostly vegetarian or vegan meals. I feel good. Healthier. Less deprived more often. 


Spinach blueberry and banana smoothie with soy milk. (I’m not trying to be fancy; I’m lactose intolerant!)

I’ve been trying to drink these dense smoothies every morning before milk and with a bit of local honey to fight allergies, they’re pretty delicious! I get hungry after a couple of hours so I have to make sure I have a snack on hand or I lose my mind. 

I recently took a frozen pad Thai meal from Trader Joe’s to work for lunch and while it was delicious, I realize I felt famished after eating. There wasn’t enough protein in my meal to feed my hunger and I probably ate too much for dinner to overcompensate. I felt terrible for a brief moment and realised I now know that I need to have enough protein at every meal. 

My husband R has also changed his diet in a very different way. While I have tried to adopt as close to a vegan lifestyle as possible (my silly rules help me avoid sugar), he has chosen to cut out processed food and white flour/sugar/rice. Hes been really supportive of me and I of him. Our meals even overlap when I make quinoa salad or beans and rice. He’s even cut out tobacco! Of course, he is losing weight faster than me! 

I’ll keep you updated! 

The Middle Age Mandate: Part 1

Now that I have had a chance to live in my fourth decade it’s becoming quite clear why many people my age go through a mid-life crisis.

While I never had a “perfect body” (whatever that definition may be), it was fine. It was mine. Despite the decade of sleep deprivation and gallons of alcohol consumed in my 20s, I recovered. I recovered after having three babies, even to the point of completing three half marathons.

But my 40s?

That’s a completely different and foreign decade altogether. Mother Nature pushed and pulled, tugged and stretched everything attached to me. Clothes don’t fit the way they used to even though I’m the same weight. 

My hair has a mind of its own after a lifetime of being the blackest black and stubbornly straight for a lifetime. 

I wouldn’t mind having sweat circles if my armpits didn’t decide to have an odor and perspiration purge overnight. 

I always thought it was weird that women on TV always put lotion on their hands right before bed. I still view it as weird and now I have to engage in a similar ritual. My heels are always cracked, painfully so. My elbows and hands are in a constant state of ash. 

It was bad enough I had painful and ugly cystic acne when I was in junior high but now I have to go through it again? That is, if I can see them around the smallest lines around my mouth. Thank goodness for anti-aging creams and sunblock without which my skin would be in a worse state. 

I used to see my father scratching at his scalp constantly. Decades later I have to manage psoriasis that is mostly irritating and rarely painful with a scary looking tube of steroids! It’s almost worst that it’s on my scalp because it makes my dry scalp that much worse. 

I cannot wait for this decade to pass. 

The Arcade Ambiguity

Most of the time my husband and I are a good match. He listens to my incessant talking and I listen to his thoughts on history and the Bible. I like the orange Starburst candies and hate the pink ones. He is the opposite so we trade.

Most of the time we are a good match.

Most of the time.

Now, hear this, I’m not here to air my dirty laundry. I’m not.

I just noticed that lately we’ve been letting stuff slide. Things that make him angry, things that make me stew, things that we have been avoiding just so we can sweep issues under the rug.

But we can’t do that.

Because in the end it only makes things worse.

It’s easier to ignore comments, pretend you don’t feel the way you do. It’s way easier than actually confronting the person. 

No one likes confrontation. No one wants it. 

But we need it.

I’d rather we talk about stuff and not let it sit. I’d rather have the difficult conversation now before we forget why we’re arguing, before we forget why we love each other.

I’m not going to go into specifics but the only way I could verbalize what was happening between us was to picture that old arcade game Dig Dug. It’s a game where you are digging your way to destroy monsters before they destroy you but the funny thing about that game is that no matter how weak your tunnels are, the tunnel never collapses. 

Marriage is NOT like Dig Dug. We have to fight the same monsters, not each other. Despite all the digging we do, it will come crashing down if we are not careful. I’ve never said I was perfect and if you think about it, my husband and I have not been married under the same roof for very long. It’s still new to the both of us. It’s up to us to make sure we don’t make monsters of each other. 

The Lactose Latitude

Earlier this week my husband’s maternal grandfather lost his battle to Alzheimer’s. Yesterday we made our way across three states to the beautiful state of Utah.


We visited with his parents and his grandmother late last night and they seem to be doing well. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow morning. 

I have never been to a non-Catholic wake or funeral so I feel a little uncomfortable. Not because I don’t want to be here or at a non-Catholic wake but because when someone passes it is always a difficult situation. I am unfamiliar with the customs and traditions of my husband’s family. But we are here for them. 

We have offered to take care of lunch in the only way we can in the form of cheap pizzas. My mother in law cooked for 60 people yesterday so I hope this alleviates a little stress for the family. 

Speaking of which, a visit to the grocery store in search of nongreasy and semi-healthy food was extremely necessary. Now I’ve been eating a near-vegan diet for a couple of weeks with a couple of meat-eating days, here and there. But I’ve really felt the painful and at times, nauseating difference for the past two days. One, for indulging in Mexican food for a graduation party and two, for a grease filled day on the road yesterday. My body is not recovering like it used to. Dietary rules have gone out the window during travel and just for the overall gratitude that his family is feeding us. 

My husband’s grandfather was always kind to me, both he and his wife wholly embracing me and my family. While he will be missed by his large and extended family, his battle was a long and suffering. We will pray for him. 

Our view from our hotel room

Passing through Nevada 


UPDATE: The eight pizzas were scarfed down by 3 dozen people, including a dozen kids! Our greeting from the kids (all of whom I had never met before) when we pulled up was, “PIZZAS!” I lol’d.

The Creativity Factor

With the girls on a short break from school, the middle A and I joined my husband R for a day in San Francisco. 
Until recently, A would talk about how much she loved San Francisco, how it was the best city in the entire world, and how she was going to be a marine biologist when she grew up.

Now she doesn’t believe any of that.

What happened?

I’m not sure myself and if you’ve got a reasonable explanation, please send it my way.

Now she wants to move to L.A. and be famous!

   
   
I suspect this is normal for her age. I wanted to become a writer and work at BOP magazine. Remember that magazine? Remember Sassy? Ah, the memories. 

The only difference between my upbringing and hers is that I’ll encourage her to be whatever she wants… Within reason. 

Her godparents are part-time actors and models but they’re also graduates of UC Davis and highly successful in their careers. One of my best friends said it best when she believed our parents were right in pushing us towards practical majors that led to actual careers (even though at the time, my soul was crushed). R even said the other day that we are in a place in our lives where we can freely pursue our dreams with his retirement and my career. I’m still trying to figure out if writing is still my dream. Sometimes I look around and feel so grateful for my husband, 

  
(Pssst! It’s an old pic!)

my family, 

  

(Some of) my friends, 

   
 
and my job 

  
that I already feel like I’m living in a dream.

In the meantime, I want A to do both. She can go to college and prepare herself for a great career AND she can go for her dreams.

She can and she will. 

We had a wonderful time at the Chuldren’s Creativity Museum at Yerba Buena Gardens. I was afraid that the museum would be too young for her. Upon entry there are so many activities for toddlers and preschoolers but we quickly found other amazing exhibits for her age!

We made our own clay figurines and created a stop motion movie!

   
   
I’m a little obsessed with Doctor Who…

   
 
A even made her own video game. She created her character and levels.

   
   
If these are the kinds of experiences she needs to do both, I’m so happy I’m along for the ride.