Category Archives: Just Life

Just Life, Ranting and Raving


Just so you know... This exists now.

The past few weeks I’ve been exhausted. Like. EX.HAUST.ED. Like where I feel like I’m wearing a suit of weights and I cannot make it through the day without a nap. I have always had moments or days like this but never for a stretch this long. I have various other health concerns being checked out so I figured I’d have to bring this up to my doctor, too, and hope to god it’s not something deadly (mild hypochondria mayyyybe).

But then.

Earlier this week, I ran out of this super delicious iced coffee Starbucks sells in grocery stores now so I did my old standby of making an iced coffee out of a packet of Via. I felt great all day. I was so relieved to think the exhaustion might finally be clearing up. I even had the energy to run to the store to buy more iced coffee.

You know what’s coming right?


It doesn’t say it’s caffeine-free, but IT CLEARLY IS.


I Googled but no one else online seems to be talking about this very serious problem. Of course, that could be because no one online seems to be talking about this coffee at all?

IDK WTF you did here, Starbucks, but I, for one, am personally hurt and I’ve lost some trust.

My lovely readers, spare yourself weeks worth of health-related anxiety and don’t buy this coffee even though it’s got a warm and rich, slightly nutty flavor. Sigh. What a loss.

Just Life, Places We Go

Thoughts on Yosemite

view of the whole valley from glacier point

Google Maps might tell you that Yosemite is about 6 1/2 hours away but that is a dirty lie. Yosemite is actually 6 1/2 light years away and when you add in three or so breaks at about 20 minutes each you won’t arrive at your campsite until exactly 10 hours after you left the house at six am. And you’d want to stab all the people when you finally arrived except that YOSEMITE and you have actually zero desire to stab anything all all.

If you find a gas station in the middle of nowhere for surprisingly cheap it’s probably because you’ve fallen back in time to the only gas station left on earth that doesn’t accept any form of plastic as payment. Just save time and go to the overpriced Chevron down the street.

Bakersfield is, indeed, the armpit of California. I hated it. So much. And we didn’t even stop there. I could just tell I hated it from the freeway.

In the area there is a street called 7th Standard Road. Even Bakersfield hates Bakersfield.
(ALTHOUGH. When googling the road name to fact-check myself, Google asked if I wanted to know about “7th Standard Road Ghost” so it just became slightly more interesting.)

There is a town called Fish Camp. There is a town called FISH CAMP. THERE IS A TOWN CALLED FISH CAMP.

In Fish Camp there is a creek called Big Creek. Really.

Other names that might need reconsidering: Mosquito Creek, Avalanche Creek.

yosemite valley

I may or may not have cried when we turned the corner and got our first glimpse of Half Dome and El Capitan. The thing about these enormous rocks is that there is no way to fully capture their power and beauty in a picture. Even Ansel Adams, clearly the god of Yosemite photography, could not honestly convey how incredible Yosemite Valley is. You have to be there. To turn that bend and catch your first glimpse of the valley is a spiritual moment that neither words nor film will ever be able to convey.


People yell “Elmer” across the campground all evening. Really.

Bears like soap. Bears like Chapstick. If you need Chapstick at 4:45 am you will have to leave your tent and fight an actual bear for it. Bears are clearly assholes.

Here is the thing about bears. When researching this trip, I found this on the Yosemite official website:

what bears eat

So, basically, don’t have any crumbs in your car or you will probably die and kill everyone around you with bears. That is the message I took from that. And, to be honest, I don’t even think I am stretching what they are saying too far. Luckily, I knew that bear sitings were fairly rare since the bears are pretty people-shy, so I wasn’t too worried. Until I arrived and signed my bear contract (seriously) saying that I promised to follow the bear rules and while we were discussing this, the ranger told me they’d had bears in the campground every single night for the past two weeks. Naturally then, I saw a bear. It was right outside my tent at 4:45 am, looking through the neighbor’s (empty) boxes on their picnic table. Probably looking for Chapstick.

Because I am an emetophobe, the bear was still less upsetting than the kid with the stomach flu in the next campsite over. I did not sleep at all that night.

On Monday I had the kind of day where I dropped everything I touched (usually onto my feet) and I tripped over huge logs that were not at all invisible and I had a really hard time with Capri Suns.

and then this deer asked for a picture with my humans

Animals we have seen (in order of size):
Bear, stag, deer, coyote, ravens, blue jays, woodpeckers, squirrels, chipmunks, squirrel babies, massive ants, slightly less massive ants, regular ants.

margie took this

The problem with learning to skip stones is that once you plunk it in the water it’s gone. And who has the time or patience to go looking for more skipping stones? NOT THIS CHICK.

On the other hand throwing stones as far as you can is fun.

panorama along the road to glacier point

Pros to being the driver on twisty mountain roads: Having control over not allowing the car to go careening down a cliff ending in the death of everyone on board.
Cons to being the driver on twisty mountain roads: Not being able to see the scenery while you carefully watch the road so that you don’t send the car careening down a cliff ending in the death of everyone on board.

reflection swimming in rivers

The trick to being in icy rivers is just to wait until all your extremities are too numb to feel anything. At that point it’s quite comfortable.

Rain in Yosemite is beautiful and I’m so glad I got to enjoy it. I’m slightly less amused having to lug home a wet tent and camping chairs.

it rained on the last morning

Los Angeles can have traffic at any hour of any day. But it will definitely have traffic at 9:30 on your way home after an exhausting trip. Especially if you were kept awake all night the night before by a crying baby at the site next to yours. Related: I feel somewhat stabby to those parents who walked their crying baby outside my tent all night.

When you leave cats alone for like five days, by the time you finally arrive home their eyes will be all big like they’re afraid they might be hallucinating, they won’t stop asking you if you are real, and once they are convinced this isn’t a dream, they’ll automatically get crazy and climb all the walls.

My mom’s high school best friend went to Yosemite for a summer job and never came back. I can see why.

forest yosemite falls

If you want to see the rest of the pictures, you can find them at my Flickr album here.


I visited here with my grandparents nearly 30 years ago and it’s been a beloved and fairly clear memory ever since. I’m so glad I got to go back, and to share the place with my children, forming their own beloved memories in the process. I hope that the next time we go will be sooner than three decades on.

Just Life, The Zebra, Throwback Thursday

My Thursday was a Thursday so I’m inventing Throwback Friday.

My Thursday was a Thursday so this is throwback Friday.
Me. In the 80’s. Not in a poodle skirt, but rocking the hell out of my Alice dress and flip flops.

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with the 1950’s. I think all of America still is, to be honest. But particularly in the 1980’s I remember a significant amount of 50’s themed things – 50’s day at school, watching Grease at sleepovers, 50’s diners, Barbie even had a 57 Chevy. The same era a Sonic drive-in opened up briefly in town. I made a personal goal to drive there in a 57 Chevy of my own someday while wearing a poodle skirt. And then Sonic closed only a few months later and basically ruined everything. Also I got bored of the idea. But mostly it’s their fault.

Someday you should ask me about how I also planned to have my sweet sixteen birthday on this one floating castle that turned out to be the kind of party boat that’s not really apprioriate for kids. The world conspired againt my childhood dreams.

My mom was born in 1950 and so the 1950’s were her decade in the same way the 1980’s are mine. 30 years apart, each. And, just as the 50’s did in my childhood, the 80’s are making a comeback now (god help us all).

But the thing is that the 1950’s were FOREVER ago when I was a kid, but the 1980’s were basically just a few weeks ago if you ask me now.

Is this how it was for my mom? Did the 50’s feel like last week to her when I was obsessed with them? Do my own kids think the 1980’s are a million years ago? For research I asked them and I got insightful answers such as, “The 80’s were like 100 years ago, right?” and “You mean people from the 50’s are still alive?” Ah, youth.

It’s not news to say that time is relative and that it gets shorter as you get older, but I still can’t wrap my brain around it. This year it’ll be 20 years since Kurt Cobain died (the marker by which I organize everything in my lifetime). But it feels like just a couple of years ago.

As Einstein once said about time, “What the hell man?”

I Own a Home. WTF?, Just Life, Random

Because Rainbow

rainbow fairy lights

I wrote up an entire post just now about a weird electrical thing in my apartment (THAT IS HARMLESS AND WILL NOT KILL ME) and then I realized how very boring the entry was. So I deleted it. But I’d already taken this picture and uploaded it so I’m posting this here without the boring bit. I know. You’re welcome.

Just Life, Onwards, The Zebra


family <3

So it was my birthday more than a week ago and I haven’t even blogged about that yet. Someone should take my temperature.

I was pretty much brokenhearted* that I couldn’t responsibly make Disneyland happen this year so I was trying to heal my soul by finding a suitable alternative. And then I realized I could go to Julian, a tiny historic mining town in our local mountains. If I crossed my fingers hard enough, it might even be cold like actual winter (or, as my frister calls it, a theme park winter). And I crossed my fingers hard enough, I guess because it was about 45 that day. My San Diegan blood was beside itself with excitement over such a dramatic experience. The children on the trip with us were less pleased. They were all, “I’m cold” and “This weather is cold” and also “Can we go inside now because it’s cold.” We even saw snow:

theme park snow

My family and I visit Julian on a fairly regular basis. It’s the place (the only place, really) to go pick apples in the autumn, and there are some good campgrounds in the mountains nearby. But I’d never gone for one of the carriage rides. I was raised by grandparents who had lived through the depression and we were never allowed to do frivolous things like have fun because they were too expensive. Sometimes I stop suddenly and think, but wait. I’m a grownup now. I CAN DECIDE TO BE FRIVOLOUS IF I WANT. So we went on a carriage ride.

kids in a carriage

Did I mention that Bethany and her family were there, too? Cause they were. Which was extra fun because they’d never been before and we took them on the grand tour of important things like the candy store and the cemetery and pie. (What? We like cemeteries, okay?)

What do you mean you don't hang out in cemeteries on your birthday?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here but for about 10 years I couldn’t consume cow dairy. I discovered that it gave me emotional reactions which would cause me to turn into the Hulk and yell and throw a lot of things. Eventually I figured out that I could tolerate dairy from other animals without the same issues. But back when I moved in September I ordered pizza to “pay” people for helping me and they didn’t take the extra home so I had a lot of cheesy pizza around and very little self-control so I wound up eating *cough*anamountofpizza*cough* and didn’t even throw one thing. So, after ten years, apparently I can have dairy again. I FEEL SO FREE OKAY.


The point of this all is pie. Julian is famous for their apple pies and they top it with cinnamon ice cream. And it is the literal best food in the entire galaxy. And it had been so long since I’ve had any. And I don’t want to go saying anything too crazy here or anything, but it might have been almost as good as a trip to Disneyland.

Cinnamon ice cream. Best.

In the evening we headed back to town and had dinner with some friends where someone may or may not have misheard my story about the farting carriage horse as “whores” and we all laughed until we peed a little.

a good omen on Imbolc, I think

Last year I had high hopes for being 35. I mean. It wasn’t 33. 33 was a load of shit. It was, to quote myself, a fucking motherfucker. And 34 was pretty good. So I figured 35 would be nice, too. And I won’t ever say that 35 was as bad as 33 because no one died, but it sure was harder in a lot ways. So I’m over having expectations for years or ages. I just hope I can survive 36. If it’s not too horrible then it’s all the better. My friend Claire texted me early in the year and asked how my new year was going and I was just all, “Whatever. Who cares. What even is happiness. Joy is overrated.” Because I have partly evolved into a french art film, apparently. And I don’t think I’m depressed, really, I’m just jaded. Life has been relentless and I am tired. I’m taking each moment as it comes and just trying to keep swimming. So I don’t know if 36 will be better – god, please don’t let it be worse – but I’ve let any expectations go. Here’s to another year which will hopefully suck somewhat less! At the very least I can expect to giggle until the end of time about the farting whores of Julian.


*Not EVEN exaggerating. Checking my SoCal privilege. Ahem.

Just Life, Random

Clearly I Need to Get Out More


I am not one for hanging out in bars. I mean. I’m not against them or anything, it’s just that when you grow up in a family of closet alcoholics, you tend to avoid drinking. At least I did until I discovered that I was probably sane enough not to become an alcoholic myself. And for some reason people don’t seem to want to take non-drinkers out drinking with them very often. Which, really, is fine because I was born 60 and too old to be dancing all night. Instead, my early 20’s were spent driving around town at night looking for mythical local landmarks and convincing myself that we found them. If this makes me sound like a total nerd, I’ll have you know that we often stayed out past midnight.

So last night I went to this vaguely Wonderland-themed wine bar for a friend’s birthday. It was a beautiful bar (indeed, the call it a “spirit and wine parlor”) with walls covered floor to ceiling in greenery, hanging lamps made out of twisted branches and beads that reflected and refracted the low lights, and the occasional steampunky clock thrown in here and there. The sangrias were perfect and the bartenders kept the birthday girl well provided for with drinks named for innuendos. The clientele were mostly your average Gaslamp mix of women in form-hugging dresses and hipsters with epic mustaches. Except us. We were all dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland. Because we are awesomer than your average Gaslamp mix.

Also except for these two couples in particular that seemingly had fallen directly out of an SNL-sketch and through the rabbit hole into this bar. Couple number one was made up of a woman channeling 1980’s Sarah Jessica Parker wearing an entirely cream-colored outfit, her curly hair tacked up into some sort of “French ponytail” she probably found on Pinterest. Her date was the male version of 1980’s Sarah Jessica Parker, but his hair was less curly. It was clearly a good match. The Hipster was strong with the man in the second couple. He was wearing round glasses and had an overly-large scarf on as though he were trying to convince everyone he was the librarianiest librarian around. I’m not entirely certain his date was his girlfriend because we felt pretty sure he didn’t swing that way. In any case, she was entirely unremarkable. I spent a long time trying to mentally remark upon her, so that I could remember to write this down today, but I could not do it. There was zero remarking to be had with her.

At some point in the night normally well-past my curfew (I think it might have been 9pm) a DJ started playing and all the cool kids (except for us who were actually way cooler) went and smooshed themselves together on the small dance floor. I know there was massive group smooshing happening because at one point I decided to go to the bathroom and for some reason the way to the bathroom was through the smoosh floor. I mean dance floor. (Strangely, the way back from the bathroom was much simpler and less smooshy.) (I feel like I should say “smoosh” a few more times to get it out of my system. Smoosh smooshy smooshed smooshers. It’s so fun! You try it! Smoosh!) These two couples were having none of the smooshing. They decided to create their own dance floor. Right next to our table in the corner near the bar. And that was kinda weird. And it was kinda weird that they kept, like, bumping into us when no one else in that area was doing much of the bumping into. But the really strange thing was the style of dance itself. I feel like it’s totally okay for me to make fun of them because 1908’s Sarah Jessica Parker clearly stole my dance moves. The ones I made up in high school when I was really into 10,000 Maniacs and thought that if I just threw my arms out a little wider and more randomly I’d actually literally turn into Natalie Merchant. 1980’s SJP, in her entirely cream-colored ensemble was throwing her arms back and up and out and I really don’t know a lot about how the cool kids dance (today or, like, ever), but I am fairly certain it’s not like that. Male SJP seemed to really dig it, though. He was way into her smooth moves.

Possibly Gay Librarian and Unremarkable Lady Date, however, stole the actual show. I am fairly certain that with a large enough grant it can be scientifically proven that they fell out of that one party scene in Douglas Adam’s Life, the Universe, and Everything, and they’d have been showing off their trophy for the most gratuitous use of the word “Belgium” if they could have been heard above the music. Instead they had to communicate their Special Uniqueness to the world through dance. It went like this: grind, swing dance, grind, grind, completely stop dancing for 45 seconds to perform an obviously-trademarked move where Unremarkable overdramatically ran her fingers through Librarian’s Bieber-esque hairstyle, resume grinding. In the words of the wise Dave Barry, I SWEAR I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

At some point Librarian left the other three alone at which point 1980’s SJP and Unremarkable hooked up and did some combination of the two dances while Male SJP looked on helplessly and while we took bets on how soon until the girls started making out. But we could not have been more wrong. When it came time to split up the foursome for whatever reason (probably something Extremely Unique you’d never understand) the two men gave each other a hug. And not just a, cool-see-you-later-dude-hug, but an I’m-so-sorry-to-hear-your-dad-died-you-can-lean-on-me-hug. And then a kiss. On the lips. And the thing is that two guys kissing is not weird. But pecking anyone goodbye who isn’t your actual mate on the lips is just as weird as they way they danced.

I will never understand hipsters.

But I will always find them endlessly amusing.


Just Life

To Do List for This Weekend

1. Wear pajamas for at least 36 hours straight
2. Watch the 2013 Big Fat Quiz of the Year
3. Eat pizza
4. Play Epic Mickey for at least 3 hours to make up for the last six months of no video games
5. Read Avatar: The Promise
6. Cry the whole time because FEELS
7. Drink a Mexican Coke
8. Take a bath
9. Actually sleep in past 7am
10. Read whatever novel I want for hours and hours
11. Spend time with my lovely frister Summer

It has been a lovely weekend.

7 Days, Just Life

Then and Now. 7 Days.

7 Days Final Run: Day 4 (Then and Now)

Seven years ago I took part in a self-portrait project. It was, I think, inspired by the various 365 projects that were popular at the time, but only required a week’s participation at a time, four times a year. Just my speed! Over the course of the years I got to know new people, and I brought some of my friends from other areas of my life into the group. Some of the people I met or got to know better through the 7 Days group have become very important to me. In fact, as I write this I am sitting Bethany’s living room while I make use of her laundry facilities (my dryer decided to take the day off today). In fact fact, I’ve spent like almost all the last week with Bethany and her family. They are sure to get bored of me any moment now.

Seven years is a long time. When I started this project my little one wasn’t even two and my daughter was about to be five. They are so different now (although my daughter looks exactly the same somehow). Through these last years of this project so much of life has happened. Marriages began and ended, babies were born, people moved, friendships were forged, relationships changed. But babies were born, man. Like where there once was no human, now there is a human. What? How does that even happen? (Don’t answer that, I actually know how it happens. I’m being deeply philosophical here, smartass.)

It seems so random that a chain of events of various importance could lead me to this group which had such an impact on my life. And on my laundry.

And now the project is coming to an end. I understand it, but I feel sad about it. An era is ending. There is so much I still wanted to share with these people. And many of them have become a part of my life so they will share those things, but that particular community will be gone and I will miss it.

Edumacation, Just Life, The Zebra

American Civ I


To procrastinate help me study I thought I’d post some of my history notes here for you. Verbatim from my notebook (although I have omitted the boring bits). Because I like to think I am adorable at all times.

-1518 led unsuccessful attack against Montezuma
-gave everyone smallpox
-won second attack [in some year I didn’t write down] -was real asshole to everyone
-congratulated self


1676 Bacon’s Rebellion-
-Nathaniel Bacon was pissed because Indians
-took it out on richie assholes
-1675 “major conflict” in Bacon’s area of Virginia. Governor Berkeley was all “too bad”.

Rhode Island-
-result of religious and political dissent of Roger Williams (a Separatist minister)
-he proclaimed that the land belonged to the natives
-1636 bought land from the Narragansett, created Providence
-1644 est gov’t with no church ties
-actually interfaith. whoa.
-it’s like this guy isn’t even an asshole or something

(OK. Fine. Those last two lines were embellished. But I would have written them down if writing by actual hand wasn’t so HARD and TIME CONSUMING.)

(I am honest to an actual fault.)

I Own a Home. WTF?, Just Life, The Zebra


Right now I’m moving. Well, actually, the move itself happened over the weekend. But you know. I’m living out of boxes. And by “right now” really I just mean “over the last month and into the next” anyway. So my life have been one third packing, one third painting and fixing the new place, and one third studying neurons n brain shit. And about 10% sneaking in episodes of Supernatural when I should be painting, packing, studying, or sleeping. Also I’m bad at math. Things I am not doing right now even though I should be: planning my kids’ school year, returning emails, working on SOAM, sharing Lady Links, cooking any meals at all, eating food that is not cold pizza, shaving my legs and armpits (of course those last ones are debatable “shoulds”). And so the Universe was all, HEY BONNIE YOU DON’T LOOK OVERWHELMED ENOUGH LET ME FIX THAT FOR U. And these are the things that have turned a busy month into ONE GIANT LONG THURSDAY.

The weather has been 90 and muggy for like three weeks straight
The kids caught colds (and I had to drag them along with me anyway)
Ants. Are. Everywhere. In my closet. INSIDE the dishwasher. ON MY SHOPPING CART AT TARGET.
My uterus started falling out
The cat got fleas despite being fully medicated
I ordered a mattress from Ikea and spent 9 hours waiting for it to be delivered and it wasn’t. It took four trips back to the store, and two hours on hold to figure that shit out. (They refunded my delivery fee.)
The cat got worms from the fleas
When I was taking my test for my psych class, the test froze when I was halfway through and I had to start over from the beginning.
I keep throwing away things I need.
I actually returned something really important that was my own thing and not even supposed to be returned.
Having to deal with the financial aid office at the college. Enough said.
My son’s mortal enemy (no. really.) turned out to be in his class this year.
We came home to a surprise planned power outage. No. Really.
I have a major spam problem going on here because I haven’t had time to figure out how to stop that yet because I am computer-stupid sometimes and I currently have 1,591 comments to approve or delete. NO IT’S OK I HAVE TIME.

So to sum up:

You know what I love? My pretty red wall.