The Funk Formula

I’m not shy about sharing my discontent of youths with other youths. When I was a high school sub, I joked around with tattooed kids about how back in my day we had to WORK to pay for body modifications. (Mind you, I knew the kids pretty well.) We had to earn every dollar working a thankless job at the front desk of our dormitories and not use the cash our grandmas gave us for our birthday. 

(I am aware now of how old I sound, thanks.)

With my own children, I tell them how songs today don’t come close to the classics. At this point I would put in one of my Dr. Dre CDs. 

There is a constant trend to throw back to the oldies, or at least what the current generation deems “old”. I appreciated hearing Blackstreet in the movie Pitch Perfect just as I appreciated hearing them live. 

In person.

Like right in front of me.

Yeah, he’s holding my hand.

Five friends and I went to the V101 Holiday Jam at the new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. We had a blast!

My friend T and I even got to meet JJ Fad! It was quick but still a fun story to tell. 

Zapp was there…

Ginuine was there; he came out during Zapp’s performance as an audience member.

En Vogue was there. They sounded and looked as if they never aged. Yes, I’m a little jealous.

More Blackstreet. Juvenile was also there but I didn’t care much for his lyrics so a couple of friends and I weren’t as excited to be there. I don’t like being called a bitch or ho in case you are an aspiring songwriter. Pretty sure most women feel the same way.

Bone Thugs & Harmony were there and they sounded great! My friend T and I saw them two decades ago in San Jose and they haven’t changed one bit.

Nor have some of their audience members who were partaking in herbal refreshments hence the reason I don’t have close shots of the group. Even now, just thinking about it makes my stomach hurt.

Oh, before the concert we met this fella…

Happy holidays!

The Ugg Challenge

Being active has never been difficult. 

Staying active? Well, that’s a whole different ballgame.

When I taught PE last month to elementary school kids, I had no choice but to clean up my diet to keep up with seven classes daily. I averaged 12,000 steps a day and was sore and exhausted by the time I got home. 

All of that was worth it because I lost a dress size! Coworkers were baffled at how much I lost. I don’t think I lost that much but it was certainly noticeable in a short amount of time. 

Our trip to Disneyland last week challenged me to keep up the physical activity and even now, I’m finding myself choosing more vegan and vegetarian meals as well as getting better at saying no to junk food (I’m talking to you, sweet tooth!). 

Yesterday the kids participated in a race as part of the last final miles of the California International Marathon. They felt like they did better than last year eventually. The middle was upset because she thought she was last (she wasn’t and even if she was, who cares?) and the baby said she was going to pass out (she didn’t). In fact, they seemed to get better when they started getting freebies from vendors. It was truly a miracle that they recovered in time to go to the mall for lunch!

I was proud of them but realized too late that I should have joined them! I hadn’t run in a couple of years (yep, three half marathons in a calendar year prob wasn’t a good move) but I was wearing boots and there was no way I’d be able to go too far without hurting myself. The middle was sad that I couldn’t finish with her but she did it and she did superb! 

Good job, kids!

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 Exrunner Problem

A year ago I ran the MaraFun Run with my kids, both biological and students from my previous school. It was not the full CIM (California International Marathon) but the last couple of miles for kids and families to finish with the actual marathon runners who started 26.2 miles ago. 

We had a great time and even though I am not working at that particular school, I was fortunate enough to join them again. 

We did run into a snafu. We kinda showed up too early. Like a DAY early…

But no worries. I never let a photo opportunity go to waste!



Now a day later and we are on the right track.



The Thriller Fluctuation

I started my job teaching PE this week (I teach part time in 3 month-long blocks) and I am sore!

I wish I could say that I’ve been keeping up with exercise since I taught in August but lie detector tests would determine that was a lie.

Monday was my first day and it felt like I was hit like a ton of bricks. I know that is just an expression but after dancing for six hours with no previous weight training or stamina building exercises, it was as if I was dropped repeatedly onto a pile of bricks. 

I can’t complain for too long though because this is a pretty sweet gig. This week, we (and by we, I mean the entire school of nine hundred students) are learning the choreography for Michael Jackson’s Thriller for a school-wide flash mob on Friday! I won’t be able to post videos or pics for privacy but there might be a pic of my own kids I could use. 

My son took a class on video production last year and he helped me put these videos together. Working with him was like nothing I had ever experienced. He is extremely dedicated to his craft, a perfectionist with a one track mind, and very passionate about art direction. I can’t tell if he’s me or my husband! 

You are welcome to share or use these videos to create your own flash mob. Please send me a link if you can. I would greatly appreciate it.

You can click here for a sneak peek of the Thriller Dance Tutorial. 

Then click here for the full Thriller Dance Tutorial.

When I decided to show one class the tutorial, they were so excited! Some wanted to know if it was on YouTube and I had to say no… Because the YouTube channel was my personal channel. Not that my stuff is NSFW but my kids are in some silly videos and I didn’t want other kids to make fun of them. I made other goofy videos from comic conventions I attend and some of the panel discussions  are inappropriate. So I spent all day trying to erase the electronic footprint that I have created without regard that someday I would need to change ALL OF MY PRIVACY SETTINGS.

Mission accomplished. 

The Thriller Amalgamation

With Halloween and my job starting up again, I’ve decided to go for it.

I’m going to teach my entire school how to dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Well, not the exact choreography because it is very complex. I can’t teach something I don’t understand myself.

I took a handful of the most well-known moves and made a routine. Wanna see the tutorial?

Too bad. I haven’t created one yet. Don’t worry. You’ll be the first to know.

I will leave you with a few pics from the Sinister Creatire Con last weekend. Why yes, that stunning woman is amazing!

And don’t forget Kristin Bauer, of True Blood and Once Upon a Time. She’s pretty awesome too.

Here are some of the cast members of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. See if you recognise them. They were hilarious and I’m not at all offended that they swore in front of my child. It’s an honour, really.


The Weight Lifting Vortex

Late last night I decided I was not going to accept a sub job for the following morning. I was experiencing anxiety from which I was medically immune. I needed time and an empty house to sort through this anxiety. 

I am wholly thankful and grateful that I have this opportunity to step back and be able to decide I didn’t want to work an extra day if I didn’t have to. 

I went to see my general practitioner a few years ago, this really cool dude who happily shared a picture of a grapefruit-sized cyst he removed a few moments earlier. He spoke to me about the regular information: eating right and possibly losing poundage to alleviate the knee pain I sometimes experience. At the time, I was running regularly and could stand to lose thirty pounds. It was this extra weight that was cause for concern. I mean, I don’t mind it usually so long as I’m still muscular. I thought for sure that my blood tests would reveal that I’d need a cocktail of blood pressure or cholesterol medications.

But I didn’t need medicine. I was healthy and I could tell that my doctor knew I was disappointed. 

I didn’t know why I was disappointed. Maybe it was because a lot of my friends were starting to take medication for one reason or another. Maybe it was because I carried more weight, therefore I felt I should neutralize this load with chemicals. Maybe I felt like I didn’t deserve to BE healthy if I didn’t LOOK healthy. I guess it was hard to accept that despite my body shape and size, my body shape and size were fine. 

The doctor then approached the medical cocktail I was already on. Did I want to still be on antidepressants? Did I want to reduce my meds?

I felt my eyes water as depression was a topic even less approachable than fatness. I couldn’t face life without my pills. They were a cushion to a harsh reality, making the pain far less than what it was and demagnifying the joy so as not to be drunk on endorphins that make the bipolar sect like myself look like we’re on speed. 

My doctor, being sensitive with all of that information revealed in a single tear, said that I didn’t have to change a thing and that being on antidepressants could be like a prescription for glasses, one that I could need all my life. Those statements saved me that day. I knew that life was ever changing and while I had adjusted my prescription in the past, I would do it when I was ready. If I was ready.

A couple of months I felt ready. I started taking my pills every other day which was not too bad.


There was a week were I started to feel unbearable anxiety. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t articulate how I was feeling, I was moody and irritated with everyone. If I didn’t sleep, I didn’t function. 

I didn’t like myself. I wanted to go back to MY normal. I didn’t like feeling that I was always about to say something important but nothing ever came out. Nothing ever came to mind. 

Somehow I got through that. When I’m cognizant about the negative emotions, I tell myself I have to face them head on. If I need to take a nap because everything is too overwhelming, then I take a nap. I needed to do something with this anxiety, to channel it for good. 

I started to declutter EVERYTHING. I donated toys and clothes we no longer used. I threw away so much  that I filled seven garbage bags. My kids had a knack for saving last year’s homework, toy packaging, dried markers, broken barrettes, and pencils too short to salvage. I donated books that my children no longer read and organized what was left of our books into nonfiction and chapter books. I consolidated all of my teacher and craft suppplies into drawers and even labeled these drawers! 

Pretty soon I realized that I was only taking my antidepressants twice a week. 

I’m realizing epiphanies during this med cocktail reduction.

1. Sometimes I don’t like myself, particularly when I’m a bitch to everyone around me. The best way for me to combat this is to acknowledge my bitchy ways and channel this into something productive. Write it out. Get on the bike. Watch crap TV.

2. Life is really difficult without antidepressants. It’s cringe-inducing and sometimes I want to go back to taking my prescription daily. I constantly tell myself that if I do have to go back, I am not a failure and really, it doesn’t even mean anything. 

3. Life is really amazing without antidepressants. I can feel wholly and without regard. It’s scary for someone like me who’s been semi-feeling for the past fourteen years. It’s intense and unpredictable which brings me to my next epiphany.  

4. I live in constant fear that I will say something that I regret. I feel like I experience emotions more intensely and probably at a thousand times more than a person who does not have depression. If at any time I articulated any negative emotion to anyone, especially as magnified as I felt, I could probably crush someone to the tiniest shred of humanity and then flick them away without a care in the world. I would never forgive myself if I verbally obliterated anyone. 

I am really lucky to have someone like my husband R in my life who knows exactly what I’m going through, having weaned himelf from antidepressants after the accident. 

This morning I went to the gym after dropping off the kids at school. I lifted weights for the first time in weeks and still feel powerful hours later, sitting here at Starbucks and writing away my anxiety. I realized that as I was leaving the gym that it was far easier for me to feel feel guilt.  Guilt for not running in a race in a year, not running at all for the past few months, not going to the gym in a month, for eating too much sugar at yesterday’s San Francisco Giants game, for eating too much PERIOD. 

And then I stopped myself. Why was it so damn easy to tear myself apart than revel in the joy of feeling strong and powerful? 

It was too easy.

So now I take it back. I take that guilt back and hereby replace it with the feeling of accomplishment and strength. Now I smile and feel it. 

The Sugar Coma Corollary 

In an effort to save money and calories, we try to limit the number of times we eat out. When we do go out though, we go out

We went to Leatherby’s, a cute ice cream shop that also serves hot food. There was so much ice cream that we had to take it home! I have to admit that my coffee ice cream sundae with hot fudge was delicious later that night. 

Another place we tried was Vampire Penguin– shaved ice! They have several locations in Northern California so if you get a chance, definitely try it out. We had strawberry cheesecake and S’moreos (s’mores made with Oreo cookies). So delicious! 


The Half Life Half Marathon

I am currently in a state of recovery, having run my third half marathon ever– and in the same calendar year.


I’ll be quite frank: it wasn’t pretty. Probably because of no training and date lunches with my husband.


Would I do it all over again? No, probably not.

Is this my last half marathon ever? Eh, never say never. I met a wonderful fellow walker at mile nine and we both shuffled our way to the end. I sprained my left hip at mile two, miles six through ten had no shade from the sweltering sun, and I sprained my ankle at mile eight.

Despite all this, I still won’t say never.