Thursday, February 28, 2013

Baby Names

{Asian babies are the cutest!}
Even though we're still a bit ambivalent on the whole Having Kids thing {That's a big statement. I need to talk about that in a later post. Next week!} , we were at Trader Joe's last night when someone yelled, "Capote!" to call over their son. ... Interesting name choice, no? Capote. Capote Castillo? ;) Got us talking baby names on the ride home.

I tend to love names that are classic, understood in many languages or have Latin roots.

For girls:

:: Olivia is darling, but so common now. I love that is comes from olive branch, a sign for peace.

:: Olaia is a Basque name we liked when we lived in Spain; pretty, and the name of a pink Mediterranean flower. We both like it.

:: I've always loved the name Mia, but Mia Castillo -- too rhyme-y.

:: Theodora and call her Teddie. Flavio is not a fan.

:: Clara is sweet, but Flavio doesn't love it. (Clarita, how cute is that?!)

:: I like Norah, but Flavio worked with a crazy person named Nora, so that's out. Funny when you love or hate a name based on a person you once knew.

:: My middle name is Grace, and I like it -- but it's not multilingual/Spanish-friendly. Grace Castillo? gusta.

:: Caroline is classic. Love it. And Flavio likes it.

:: Amelia is nice (But I read people may call her Millie. Ugh.)

:: Camila is cute. Flavio likes Camila a lot.

:: We have a friend named Dalia and we both like it.

:: Flora is sweet. Flavio says.."Meh."

:: Vivienne is understated yet glamorous and means vivacious/life. But Flavio thinks it sounds old lady-ish and gave me the stink eye for mentioning it.

:: My dad's name is Michael and he's one of my favorite people in the world. I think Michael for a girl is very cute, but Flav says no.

For boys, I am stumped:

:: I love the name Claudio, but read that it means lame/gimp. :( That won't work.

:: I like Gael - especially because it comes from Gaelic (homage to my Irish roots), and works in Spanish. But not sure if I really like the name, or just like the actor. Flavio likes Gael, but worries gringos will forever pronounce it: "Gail."

:: Rafael is nice, but Flavio is not a fan of its diminutive: Rafa.

:: Flavio's great uncle's name was Nicolas, and we both like it, but I had a student named Nico in Spain who sold drugs to the other teenagers. They called him Nico el Narco. :(

:: We both like David as a middle name - multilingual, masculine, and the name of our favorite Norwegian friend. :)

:: I like Alex (Flavio's middle name is Alejandro) but he thinks it's too common. I like Alex for a girl, too.

We both agree: Boys' names are much harder than girls' names.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Books to Love

I usually read personal growth books and memoirs but I want to get back into fiction.

My all-time favorite books (in this order):

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The History of Love
She's Come Undone
The Glass Castle
Love in the Time of Cholera

I'm thinking of reading Gone Girl next, but would love any recommendations.

On another note, why do book clubs always fall apart? I've been part of two book clubs and they both disintegrated after one or two books. Related: This Etsy bag makes me laugh, and may answer my above question.

Another pressing question: To Kindle or not to Kindle? I love holding real books, reading in the bathtub, thumbing over the photographs, flipping through the tattered pages. But I know a Kindle is eco-friendly and convenient. I may be in the Dark Ages, but I don't want to give up my tattered, torn, underlined, annotated, loved, re-read books. Dilemma..

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two Cookies for One

Homemade chocolate chip cookies are my all-time favorite treat. I'm a cookie person. Flavio's a cake person. So when I make a big batch of cookies, we usually end up giving most of them away lest I should eat them all. Until now...

Friends: The blogosphere has gifted us a recipe that makes JUST 2 CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. Perfection.

So I made them tonight and they were an easy dessert. Baking craving? Solved. Cookie craving? Indulged.

I sprinkle mine with a little sea before baking, which makes all the sweetness sing. 

NOTE: For the very best chocolate chip cookies in the whole wide world, which are a total pain and take 36 hours to make, see these. They are amazing. Cookie people will beg you for them.

Climbing My Own Ladder

When I was little, I'd invite my brothers and stuffed animals to sit on the floor of my room for "school".  I'd stand on my bed, lording over them to teach spelling and other lessons. When my brothers would disobey, I'd write their names on a tiny chalkboard. Eventually they'd leave, realizing my threats of detention didn't carry any weight. After a couple classes, it was just me and my stuffed animals.

Unsurprisingly, here I am in my 30s: A teacher (and kinder to my postsecondary students than I was to my brothers).

My ENTJ husband, who has quickly climbed the corporate ladder, often tells me how far he thinks I'd go in big business. He tells me I could sell, earn, and move up because I have the work ethic and the personality to do so.

Of course, his words are flattering. And I'm a big believer in Yes! You can do whatever you put your mind to! - so he is probably right, I could do all those things...If I wanted to. But there are reasons I've chosen civil service — with its pink slips, sometimes thankless work, lack of employer-provided healthcare, unlucrative paychecks and sometimes difficult students. For me, it's all about priorities. It's wonderful that my husband and others in the corporate world are excited by and respond to sparkly incentives like employer-paid iPhones, annual bonuses, generous per diems and corporate lunches. (Truly, thank god my husband is great at his job and loves his work because we'd be seriously skint on two teacher salaries.) But for me, climbing the corporate ladder, putting in long hours at the office, ambition, power, money, and success in the traditional sense are just not at the top of my priorities. Ambition is a wonderful thing, but it comes in many forms. My ambitions include: Being really great at helping others learn English, professing my passion for Sociology and maybe along the way, making a difference in someone's life. This is not altruistic — teaching is fun for me and allows me time to be selfish and do the things outside of work that make me happiest — like baking, being with my dog, happy hours, reading in the sun, Pilates, etc.  I'm okay sacrificing big money for big happiness. I know when I look back at my life upon retirement, the following will bring me joy:

Having made a difference.

Having loved.

Having learned new things every year.

Having taken risks.

Having traveled.

Having been good to my family.

Having been good to me.

I'm climbing my own ladder toward these things that I know will make me happiest. For me, these things are ambitious, powerful and important. For me, the peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers are the successful ones.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hello, Monday.

Wisdom for the week.
Today's one thing:  Come out of the blogging closet; tell others about my blog. :)

Merry Monday!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog Blueprint

"Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it."
--Mary Oliver

Here's the marvelous/dangerous thing about blogging: It's a medium where you can write whatever you want, whenever you want. There are no rules, which means the blogosphere is saturated with pages that can leave the reader (and maybe the author) with a sense of Who gives a crap?! bewilderment. So far, I like blogging but I am shy to tell anyone about it. I am a sensitive and generally private person, so I may be afraid people will read my unsolicited, unfiltered, spontaneous, sometimes personal posts and sigh, Who cares? just as I have done to other blogs.

{Sunday blogging - writing this post}
Recently, in one of those awkward moments where I was searching for something interesting to report about my life to a colleague, I blurted out that I'm starting a blog. Intrigued she asked, "What's it about?" Pause. ".......Um, you know, stuff. Like, things I'm baking, what I'm doing on the weekends, my feelings." I was all over the map. "Who's it for? Who's the audience?" she asked. ".....Um, anyone, I guess. I mean, I haven't really told people about it yet."  :/  She was supportive and genuinely seemed interested in reading it and finally wanted the name of the blog so she could check it out. Eeps! "It's not really ready yet," I panicked. She then nicely asked how I had time to write a blog when I teach at two campuses, etc. Again, no intelligent response came to me so I just fumbled, "Yeah, I know. I don't know..."

Thing is, I want to know how to answer her questions about this blog, but mainly for myself. I need a mission. I want to ask myself her questions just for the sake of having a blogging blueprint. (I am nerdy and I struggle with a need for structure.) Here goes:

:: What's my blog about?
This blog is a journal of my life. It's a space for reflection and for chronicling the bits and pieces of me. It includes personal entries, photos, weekend re-caps, recipes and crafts, and whatever else I feel like writing about. It will be all over the map because my interests are all over the map.

:: Who's my target audience? Who's it for?
If I am lucky enough to attract any readers (beyond my brother and my best friend), I am sure they will be a highly intelligent, well-coiffed bunch. Seriously, I would be stoked if any of my posts opened up a dialogue with anyone. {Blogging is partly about community, so I guess I should start telling people about the blog if I want to open a dialogue.} When it really comes down to it, this space is ultimately a creative outlet for me. If anyone else is interested in what I write, bonus! :)

:: Do I have time?
No. But the not having time seems to provide lots of blogging fodder. Stuff is going on all around me and I want to record it, remember it. I want to document what I am doing, feeling, seeing today so it's there for me to reflect on later. It's my time capsule; assisted memory. Maybe it's my inner ethnographer, but when you create, you slow down, you pay attention, you keep track, you see things differently.

:: Why am I doing this?
See above. Also, I keep coming back to my first post, which reflects that I just want to write. I like the idea of having my writings and photos in one running archive. And, I like to challenge myself. Self-imposed deadlines excite me and while I don't have a lot of time to devote to blogging, I like the idea of forced creativity. Sometimes I'm inspired and sometimes I'm not but regardless, it feels good to keep the creative juices flowing.

In the end, creating something is always good. Nothing bad can come of it. It's fun. Blueprint done.

Sunday Yogurt Cake

This yogurt cake is effortless and elegant. I like to whip it up on Sunday mornings, mainly because it makes the house smell lemony delicious, is awesome with coffee, and helps alleviate the rude awakening that is Monday (and Tuesday) morning. I make this a lot and highly recommend this recipe.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What's Your Type? Myers-Briggs

The Myers-Briggs personality test is wildly accurate. I took it for the first time about 8 years ago and took it again this morning and got the exact same typology: ENFJ.  And Flavio is: ENTJ

ENFJ is me to a T! A good description of my positive and negative qualities is here. It's like they know me.

Flavio is absolutely the managerial, goal-oriented, pragmatic ENTJ. My best friend is also ENTJ. Interestingly, ENTJs make up a mere 2% of the total population.

It was fun to take together and we both agreed it was freakishly spot on.

We took the probably-not-scientifically-sound-but-free version here! :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Mom's Best Marriage Advice

Flavio and I have been together for 12 years. Whaat?!! Crazytown. And like any couple that's been together forever, you start getting lazy. We've got at least 50 years ahead of us and I want to keep the sparks flying, so we're going back to the best marriage advice my mom ever gave me: Go on a date night once a week.

My man is on board and we're starting today.

But this time we're doing things a little differently. This week, we're meeting AT the restaurant. Why, you ask? Because when we get home from work and get ready to go out together, we're usually in a rush to walk and feed the dog, put on deodorant, put on make-up, change clothes, I get in my Spanx and Flavio sees all my Victoria's no-longer-Secret underwear, Flavio brushes, gargles and spits and, alas... Marriage trumps Romance.

To change things up and set the tone for romance, we're meeting @ Alexander's in North Park for a post-work Italian dinner. I'm excited to get dressed up alone, spot him across the candlelit room, maybe at the bar, walk up and give him a kiss, and rekindle our courting days, once a week. Amore!

PS. We budgeted weekly date nights into our financial fast.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gloomy with a Chance of Meatballs

Sometimes, when I've had a rough one, I make soup. I like to drown my woes in chopped onion, sauteed carrots and soothing broth. Today was just the kind of day that required post-work stewing, so I poured good wine, put on Thievery Corporation, simmered in my funk, and made soup. was a doozy. I woke up late and got in the car to find a near-empty gas tank. I rushed to the gas station, buzzed off to Coronado where I teach my morning class, parked, and then realized I forgot to bring my tote bag. My tote that has the handouts, the book, and everything I need to teach my class. I teach at two campuses and have a tote bag for each one. Somehow, I brought the wrong tote. I sat in my car yelling, "Shit!!" repeatedly and tried to figure out if I could possibly wing class without everything I needed. Finally, I decided I couldn't, called the college to tell them I would be late, and hauled ass back over the Coronado bridge to go home for my bag. I got the damned bag, booked it back over the bridge to the Navy base and arrived late to class, flustered and pissy. I am a hyper-punctual person, so this was very upsetting to me. I just couldn't shake the mood for the rest of my classes, for the rest of the day. Weekend: Are you here yet? ..Almost!

First world problems, I know.

So, after an intensely grumpy day, I popped in to Trader Joe's (with a list and cash), took Guiri on a long, head-clearing walk, and made soup. I have a ton of soup recipes I love, but Ina Garten's Italian Wedding Soup is easy and just the comfort I needed tonight. (Ina, you are so deliciously reliable!) The meatballs in this recipe are my go-to for pasta and for meatball sandwiches, except I make my 'balls with ground turkey and spicy Italian sausage and let me tell you, they are amaaazing. Yes, my 'balls are amazing! (I'm immature like that.) So I used my version of Ina's 'balls, left out the pasta and spinach because I didn't have them on hand, and followed the rest of her recipe pretty closely.

The soup was delicious!  I served it with lots of wine and a gorgonzola-pear-walnut salad and enjoyed the company of my husband. We kissed, we ate, we chatted and laughed and I felt so much better. It's good, this marriage thing.

Tomorrow is a new day.


{my 'balls}

{love this guy}

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Survival Tip: Bubble Baths

I am in the midst of a difficult semester and while I love many parts of my job, I come home most days feeling like a need a good glass of wine and a hot bath stat. The bubble bath is my meditation and my favorite evening indulgence. Here's my ritual:

Pour wine. Light candles. Dim lights. Grab book. Turn on faucet. Pour bubbles. Soak. Sip. Read. Think. Sugar scrub. Drain. Soft towel. Lotion. Jammies. Cozy socks. I am a new person.

Sometimes if I get home late, or I've had a rough day, Flavio will draw me a bath and bring me wine, which is so sweet. Heaven!

It's a spa treatment for my body and my spirit. Viva la bath!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Financial Fast

{rural chapel - Oaxaca, Mexico}
I know I can't out-do the Pope (Holy Quit! as Jon Stuart exclaimed), and I know Lent started last Wednesday, but I haven't had a chance to post about this year's Lenten sacrifice until now.

I was raised Catholic, but am not religious. Spiritual, but not religious. I prefer to live my life through the wise words of the Dalai Lama, "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."

But Lent is a wonderful time of year. A chance to cut back on the indulgences and the decadence of the holidays, an opportunity to re-assess and re-group in a new year, a time to usher in the re-birth of spring with the mindfulness of a personal cleanse that I think is a healthy practice for all.

This year, Flavio and I decided to make a Lenten sacrifice together: we are doing a Financial Fast.  My husband and I were raised in very different financial circumstances. He grew up low-income and I with too much. I spend liberally while he is conservative. As with most couples, money is our major difference.

We spent most of our 20s traveling the world with a We Only Live Once! mentality and while traveling is still a long-term priority, someday we'd like to buy one of San Diego's overpriced homes, pay off all credit card and student loan debt, and have a healthy savings in the bank. To make these things happen, we need to spend some time in our 30s getting serious about our joint money management.

Here's the plan:

:: We made a full budget to track our net income, our expenses, and our debt. We have a budget for the 40 days of Lent we're going to stick to it!

:: Use only cash (no plastic) for every single purchase.

:: Total shopping hiatus. No shopping. This means deleting all Anthro emails and tossing the Anthro catalogue before reading. No window shopping. No Forever 21 binges. No trips to Target or Trader Joe's unless we have a list of essentials, a budget, and cash in hand.

:: Record every single purchase that is not deemed essential (i.e., cheats). I will keep a running tally of any cheats and will post on my blog at the end.

:: Essential purchases include food, toiletries, gas, etc. -- necessities only. Extra bottle of wine at the grocery store? No. Mani/Pedi? No. Starbucks? No.  Essentials only.

:: Planned exceptions -- Go out for our First Date Anniversary (March 15) and other date nights as that enhances our relationship significantly and is important to us. Go out for friend birthday weekend on March 2. Date nights/eating out NO MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK.  All planned exceptions will have a pre-arranged budget that we must stick to! And we will pay for these planned exceptions in cash.

:: Meatless Fridays -- Good for the body and the environment.

Full re-cap after the end of Lent (March 30).

Let the deliberate simplicity begin.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


{sunset Obamaritas}
The classic margarita is hard to beat, but the Obamarita is a refreshing, bright, spicy new twist on the traditional -- just like our President. We mixed some up this weekend and toasted in celebration of Obama, President's Day, and the gorgeous summery weather.

Survey says: Tart and spicy with potential to be my signature springtime cocktail.

I stole the recipe and the clever name from
here; but my version is a little different:

1 part Tequila
1 part Grand Marnier (Grand Marnier is the secret to an amazing marg)
1 part pineapple juice
1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
Tajin to rim the glasses
Splash of Trader Joe's orange-flavored sparking water
Pineapple and twist of lime for garnish

Combine all ingredients (except sparkling water) in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake until shaker shows condensation. Pour into glass rimmed with Tajin. Top with sparkling water and garnish with pineapple and lime. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hearts On a String

I should've been a kindergarten teacher. Or, maybe I just have the mentality of a kindergartner, but either way these hearts on a string were so easy and fun to make! Flavio came home from a work trip and I had the fireplace decorated with them.  [An aside: This was more for me than for him because let's be honest, guys don't care that much about Valentine's Day or crafts - but he pretended to love them, because he's wonderful.] The heart decor, Freixenet, good conversation, Indian take-out and my red velvet cupcakes made for an easy and romantic Valentine's indoor picnic.


{hearts on fireplace}
{Valentine mail - save the USPS!}
{little Valentiney surprises}
{Valentine made on PicMonkey}

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Home Alone

Above. A video of me when Flavio is out of town.

Flavio's out of town for work and I'm realizing Single Sarah makes an appearance when he's not here. I've regressed to who I was before we lived together...and I'm not sure I like her.

I am usually obsessed with making sure we have healthy, balanced meals. But tonight I had a cupcake and wine for dinner, and then grazed on some popcorn...?? And breakfast this morning? A cupcake and extra coffee.

I love a clean house, but currently my dirty laundry has taken over, my clean clothes are strewn everywhere and the dishes need to be done.

I've been prancing around in the buff.

I don't typically have time for trash TV, blogging, crafts, pliates, on-line shopping, long prune-y baths with champagne, reading, etc. but this week, I've done it all. And I've been staying up really late, talking to myself, singing to the dog, watching Conan, making cocktails, and then getting up late for work in the morning.

The quiet was fun at first, but last night I fell asleep on the couch, and woke up in the middle of the night, lonely and scared.

I think I'm going crazy. I've been institutionalized by marriage and can't function outside it. He comes home tomorrow, thank god. I miss that guy.

I gotta get this place cleaned up.

Hot Spiced Buttered Rum

Last week I had a terrible flu. When I was finally on the mend, we made Hot Spiced Buttered Rum. Such a retro cocktail but oh so comforting! It was cold and rainy outside, my husband made a fire, and we snuggled under blankies and watched old episodes of Big Cat Diary. Just what the doctored ordered.


Warm a glass with boiling water, then drop into the bottom of the glass a tsp brown sugar, a pinch apiece of ground cloves and nutmeg, and 3 pinches cinnamon and zest some lemon rind into each glass. Pour over a shot of golden rum, then fill the glass with boiling water and top with a pat of butter.

PS: I didn't warm a glass with boiling water, and it was fine.

Source: Epicurious

Monday, February 11, 2013

Quick Red Velvet Cupcakes!

I hate to use the term semi-homemade. If I start saying semi-homemade I am on a slippery, saccharine-y slope toward Sandra Lee - soon I'll be saying tablescapes. I don't hate Sandra Lee (I don't hate anyone, really) it's just that the food she makes on her show tends to be semi over-processed.  And we've already established that I'm a control freak who doesn't like semi anything. ...  Wait. This post started all wrong. Can we start over? Sorry for the salty intro. Let me take you to the sweet, sweet land of cupcakes and love (and did I really start a Valentine's post with the word hate? forgive me).  Moving on. 

These Valentine cupcakes are quasi-homemade and they are delightful! A quick treat for busy ladies and gents who want an easy taste of love. You'll fall for these red velvet beauties, promise.

Here's the quasi part:


Buy the best Red Velvet Cake Mix you can find. I used
this one, because it's mostly natural.
Bake 12 cupcakes, according to recipe on box.

Here's the homemade part, and it's a show-stopper:


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar -- sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Valentine sprinkles

  • In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the mascarpone on very low speed until just combined. (Be careful; once you've added the mascarpone, excessive beating can make the frosting curdle.) Stir in the vanilla extract.

    Frost the top of each cupcake with icing and dust with sprinkles. Give to your loved ones and to yourself. Have a Happy Valentine's Day.

    Icing source: Epicurious
    {Ready to bake}
    {Ready to frost}
    {Ready for sprinkles}
    {One for me}
    {A couple for my sweetheart}
    {Some for delivery to co-workers & friends}

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    A Valentine's Heart-to-Heart

    My husband is out of town on business for the next few days which means I'll be missing him, but will have luxurious alone-time after work. Plans include snuggles with the pup, Pilates, and long baths accompanied by candlelight and Prosecco. While soaking up and soaking in the bubbles, I'll be plotting my Valentiney crafts and baked goodies. I know I'm a huge dork, but I love, love this holiday. It brings out my artsy-fartsy Martha Stewart, even if most of my friends are cooler, more sarcastic, 'it's so commercial' Jon Stewart about it all.

    It's almost Valentine's Day, so let's have a heart-to-heart. Whether you're a singleton, or coupled off, V-Day doesn't need to be about high expectations or overpriced dinners. Here are some simpler reasons I love The V:

    ::Self love::
     It's a day to remind yourself how much you love you. Do good things for yourself on Feb. 14 - exercise, long bath, cook yourself dinner, watch the sunset, buy yourself new underwear -- whatever makes your heart sing. We must love ourselves at least as much as we love others.

    ::Platonic love::
    You can tell the people you love they matter to you. Friends and family deserve a day of love, too. Let's reclaim the 14th from the amorous cheeseballs and dedicate it to all the people we love; not just our lovers.

    A day of chocolate, cupcakes swathed in pink icing, and champagne? Joy!

    It's nice to put your love in writing. I actually sent Valentines to friends and family this year and it felt great. Keeping up with my New Year's intention to send more cards. Woot!

    Whether you find yourself wearing black on Thursday, or a nerdy red/pink frock like me, remember how wonderful you are, don at least a smile, and spread the platonic love.

    Besos! x
    {Our wedding save-the-dates were Valentine's themed. Love them!}

    {Top photo / Besos cards from here!}

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

    All or Nothing

    {These words haunt me.}

    I've never been a heart half-in kinda girl. When I go for something, I go in all the way, or I'd rather not go in at all. I am not good at mediocrity or grey areas. In some ways, this is positive. I am a passionate Scorpio who gives 110% to everything I do, and this passion pushes me forward, makes me highly focused on a few things, and I am rarely bored. In other ways, it's completely debilitating.  I stop myself from doing things because they won't be perfect, or because they won't have my 'whole heart' in them. Needless to say, structure + planning + organization = I love. Most surprises / spontaneity = Total no-go. Some symptoms of my disorder:

    :: Exercise
    I won't work-out unless I can do an hour of something that will make me sweat. Half an hour of walking? Not enough. I'd rather just sit on the couch and eat cheese. "I'll just wait for later when I can really get in a good workout," I tell myself.

    :: Baking/Cooking
    I almost always have to make meals and baked goods from scratch. "Well, if I can't make my homemade salad dressing and a fantastic main for dinner, we might as well just go to In-N-Out," I tell my husband.

    :: This blog/journaling in general
    "Unless I can spend time writing a well-crafted piece, with a glass of wine in hand, and enough time to really think things through, I won't write at all," explains my lack of posts on here.
    Alas, life is so busy. Unless I start allowing myself to write a little bit, I won't write at all.

    There is something annoyingly high and mighty, uptight, and unbalanced in all this. I am not sure where this rigidity comes from, but it's insane. From this point on, I am working to edit myself less and live (exercise, bake/cook, blog, etc.) more.

    New maxim for 2013:

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    Hot Toddy Magic

    The silver lining in my terrible flu has been Flavio's Magic Hot Toddy. Thanks to my doting husband, his Magic concoction, and lots of bowls #18 pho soup, I am on the mend.
    {sorry this picture is so dark and ghetto looking - don't have the strength to re-take.}

    Flavio's Magic Hot Toddy
    2 generous splashes of Bourbon
    1 Tablespoon Honey
    1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
    Hot water steeped with your favorite tea
    Slice of lemon, slice of apple, and a few cloves for garnish
    Cinnamon stick to stir, if you have it.

    Calling In Sick

    I have the flu, I called in sick, and have been in an unnecessary shame spiral ever since. I am sick. I don't want to infect my students or co-workers. It's not good to teach when I barely have a voice. I need time to blow my nose every five seconds and hack violently in the privacy of my own home. And I need to continue sleeping 20 hours a day to beat this swinish flu. These are legitimate reasons for calling in sick. But every time I do (which is seldom),  I spend most of my sick days freaking out and feeling guilty that I'm some slacker; that I am alive and breathing so I should just get up, tough it out, head off to work with DayQuil in one hand and my red teacher pen in another, ready to teach valiantly despite illness!

    Why don't I give myself a break? I think it's all those Perfect Attendance awards they had me vying for in elementary school. I feel like I'm not allowed to get sick, that I'm letting my students and supervisors down. But the truth is, the world will go on just fine without me and maybe forcing myself to slow down is a lesson in chilling out and just being kind to myself.

    But wait..I don't think anyone is reading this, but just in case, this whole post might've come off wrong. This is not a humblebrag wherein I'm craftily trying to show you that I'm some hard working, admirable teacher who rarely gets sick/calls in sick and then whines about it when she does. I know it might look that way. And I am whining, but not humblebragging. That's not me and I hate when people spew false modesty or try to manipulate undeserved awws. Everyone gets sick and I definitely don't need sympathy for taking some time off. It's just me, thinking out loud about why I beat myself up for something as normal as getting sick / calling in sick. Is this making sense? Am I being paranoid?

    No real answers yet. Just lots of DayQuil and febrile ramblings. Going back to bed.

    Monday, February 4, 2013


    {Saturday space}
    {cookies and clueless}
    {the best Mexican tea - not just for digestion - a panacea, really}

    We went out for sushi with my brother and nephew on Friday night. My brother Mark is one of my best friends and is hilarious, so it's always great to spend time with him. And my nephew is an adorable Smarty-Pants McGee. He told us all about how the digestive system works as we waited for our food. Your stomach is grumbling? Let me tell you why. :) Very fun!

    Flavio had to work Saturday, so I spent the morning grading papers accompanied by lots of coffee,  Caifanes Radio on Pandora, pink tulips, and warm morning sun. I love blissfully quiet Saturday mornings in our house. Guiri naps while I enjoy the sunlight dance in front of our windows.

    After hours of painful grading, I baked cookies and then started to feel feverish and achy. I decided it best to stay in PJs, binge-watch two girly movies I can never see with Flavio around: Bridget Jones and Clueless, and rest. It was one of those mornings where you realize you haven't uttered a word to anyone all day and it's 2pm. After an exhausting work week, quiet and solitude was just what I needed.

    My parents came to visit on Saturday evening, and so did a full-on flu. All of a sudden, I was hit by a wave of fever, shivering, sweating and coughing. I went to bed, Flavio came home and tried to nurse me back to health, but I was just feeling awful. I was so bummed to miss dinner with my brothers and parents in Little Italy! The timing really sucked. I cried to Flavio and then knocked out in a NyQuil coma. 

    Sunday wasn't much better health wise but I did drag myself out of bed for lunch with my parental units in Seaport Village. I probably wasn't a lot of fun, but they were, and it was just nice to spend time with them. While the rest of the fam went off to do a tour of San Diego, Flavio took me home and I went straight to bed while he watched the Super Bowl. I woke up to the bootylicious sounds of Beyonce at the half time show, Flavio mixed me up some hot toddy magic, and then I went back to bed. I always brag about how I "never get sick" so I think the gods have finally punished me for my hubris. This flu is no joke.

    This post should include other notes -- about my dad's lymphoma, about how a cancer diagnosis, chemo and remission pingpong your emotions from sad to optimistic to angry to hopeful -- but this weekend my dad looked great and he delighted us all with his stories and teasing, and I was just joyful. The tough stuff for another post when I'm not hacking up a lung. I'm off to bed.