Tell me if it gets weird

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Maybe that was a lot, that last post. One of my best friends told me over a string of text messages from the other side of the country that it was. Sorry Jess.

But I’m not sorry. Not really. It’s how I felt; feel. It’s how I feel. I was going to write an abbreviated, candied version of what the last year going through IVF has been like, but it felt wrong to trivialize it. I thought maybe I’d wait until it was all over and I was pregnant (hopefully) and could write about the whole thing from a bigger-picture perspective that was more optimistic. But that didn’t feel right either. There’s something about detailing the process that is cathartic. And maybe, selfishly, I needed that.

So instead of writing the equivalent of a passing conversation you’d have with someone you hadn’t seen in a while in line at the grocery store, I thought I would instead sit down and write about it as though you and I (whoever reads this) were talking over a macchiato and almond-chocolate croissant in a cafe somewhere in the city instead. Tell me if it gets weird.

I guess I should start with some backstory. I’ve always wanted to be a mother. Ever since this little kid Jake hijacked my heart and there was nothing I could really do about it. At the time I was in college working afternoons at a preschool and he had just transitioned from the three year old class to the four year old classroom where I worked. He was sweet and infectiously happy and had these kaleidoscope blue-gray eyes. He would scout the playground for beetles during recess and when he found one, he’d cup it in his hands delicately and bring it to me like he’d found buried treasure.

It was his first day in our class and the school day was coming to an end. It was time for everyone to get ready to go home. He took his jacket and little back pack out of his cubby and put them on. One by one the kids’ moms and dads arrived to pick them up until it was just Jake left. I sat with him, legs criss-crossed on the alphabet rug, and told him we could play a game while we waited. He rummaged through the toy box and came back with two dinosaurs – a big brontosaurus and a little raptor. He handed me the big one and kept the small one for himself.

“Let’s play dinosaurs”, he said.
“I’m not sure I know how to play dinosaurs”, I admitted.
“It’s easy, I’ll show you.” he reassured me, taking the dinosaurs into his hands.
“Ok, you be the mama and I’ll be the baby”, he said to me.

He moved from the rug to my lap. In front of me, he made the dinosaurs talk and dance in the air. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Kids like to play games like that. After twenty minutes or so, his dad came in – out of breath, rushing, apologizing for being late. I could tell by the way he said it that it wasn’t the first time this had happened. I told him it was no worries, that Jake was great and I didn’t mind. After they left, I was picking up the dinosaurs to put them back in the toy box when the person cleaning the floors came in.

“He’s a good kid”, she said smiling. I turned and looked at her. “His dad’s always late, he works 45 minutes away. No mom either, she died.”

I thought back to the dinosaurs. I learned later that Jake’s mom had been diagnosed with late stage cervical cancer while pregnant with Jake and refused chemo to save him. She died when he was just 18 months old. Over the next two years, I scheduled my classes around spending afternoons in the preschool classroom. I started driving him home so his dad didn’t have to rush. That led to being his nanny while also juggling school and two other night jobs. We would swing on swings in the park, I’d take him to karate class and give him the “thumbs up” on the sidelines, and on his birthday we’d go to the museum downtown that had the giant T-rex skeleton. When I finished my last semester of college and left for San Francisco, I remember leaving Jake’s house for the last time in my old Honda civic. His little hands waving at me from the end of the drive way saying “goodbye”. His dad and his new girlfriend (now wife) standing behind him. I drove away that night thinking “one day I will have a Jake of my own”. One day I’ll be the mama dinosaur.

That’s why all this is hard. It’s hard because it’s something I’ve, we’ve, wanted for a long time now and at the moment seems so far away. One day there will be a little human, but for now he or she is just an idea, a thought, a distant daydream we have to keep reminding ourselves isn’t a reality. Not yet.

The year I hated.

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2016 was hard. We lost David Bowie, Donald Trump was elected president of the free world, and the only princess I ever related to died last week.

2016 got personal. After three years of “giving er’ all she’s got” (unapologetic Star Trek euphemism), we decided to undergo IVF. Little did we know the months that would follow were to be met with one massive failure after another. My abdomen, arms and hips are bruised from 100+ self-administered injections, my insides flooded with hormones that scrambled my brain. I’ve felt lonely, directionless, depressed, angry and then I stopped feeling anything at all. Of all the emotions to feel, numbness is the most disorienting. The absence of feeling. Feeling feelings is kind of all I’ve ever really been good at.

I did make some new friends. A russian fertility doctor in his 70s, a nurse I’m on texting-basis with, a middle aged french therapist, and a pregnant dog I fostered from a shelter that was going through a shitty female situation all her own.

In a slightly masochistic way I thought at first ‘huh, maybe this is the inspiration I’ve been looking for. I’ll write about it. I’ll make this into something’. I mean, some of the best stories are born out of tragedy.

“girl, 30, seeks to procreate with love partner, fails miserably”.

You know, a quirky off-beat love story about two people desperately seeking spawn.

But that was before the emotional asteroid hit and left a crater of psychological ineptitude in my brain, a hemispheric wasteland where creative thought used to live. That was before the familiar voice in my head, the one that’s always present, narrating the world around me in a young Julie Andrews-like voice went silent. And it’s hard to write without her.

I considered giving up. Fuck it, fuck all of it. I don’t need the uterine distress of birthing a turkey-sized homosapien and apparently the universe feels the same. But you can’t run from everything in life. It’s a sick loop, you just end up back where you started eventually.

2016 was the year I hated. I am different from it. And maybe it’ll all turn out to be a good thing eventually, but right now it feels like I’ve spent the past year circling the drain. So here’s to a new year, to the start of another trip around the sun, and to leaving 2016 behind. It will be good.

She said, convincing herself.


Photo by Phil Chester.

Morning commute with Stanley-PMI

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A couple times a week Trey and I commute into the city together in the mornings. Trey’s office is in downtown San Francisco, so we’ll brew up some coffee and put it in our Stanley-PMI mugs, turn on NPR’s Fresh Air or a podcast like the Nerdist or Radiolab and drive over the bridge. Sometimes we stop off at our favorite hole in the wall bakery for a blueberry bran muffin (me) and sugar donut (him) to go with our coffee even though it’s out of the way to go to our old neighborhood to get them. We’ve scoped out a few places near us, but none have¬†measured up yet. I’m still looking for the muffin/donut shop unicorn in our part of town. Trey’s been carrying the new black matte insulated mug lately. It’s sleek and durable and seals off so he can skate with it. I still carry the classic green mug most days. Both keep coffee warm for hours, which is good for a commute into the city. I’ve come to really love the days we ride in together. It breaks up the monotony of the bus and Bart, and gives us a way to have “breakfast” together a couple mornings out of the week. Yesterday Jack came too since he had a vet visit to go to later in the day. We stopped off and voted. And, yep, all I’ll say about that is: JACK for president 2020 (you know, someone that’s not sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic or believes climate change is a hoax).

This post was sponsored by Stanley brand . All views are my own. Stanley brand products make really rad presents…Ho ho ho..

A road trip to Monterey with Jack Dog

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Jack and I took a solo trip down to Monterey last weekend. On the way down we stopped off and saw some sea otters milling about near Elkhorn Slough, then a huge humpback whale right off the beach at Seaside Beach, and some funny sea lions hanging out on the docks of Moss landing harbor. Then we drove along the coast to one of our favorite spots – Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, and stopped at a yurt in the hills on the way back. Monterey is a place we go at least 3-4 times a year. I always find myself there. Not only is it breathtakingly beautiful and one of the best places to take a road trip, it’s one of the only spots in the US where you can sit on cliffs and look at migrating whales below. There’s a deep underwater canyon right off the beach in Monterey Bay where all kinds of animals frequent, especially whales. I’ve yet to convince Trey to go diving in the canyon in the kelp forests here – he thinks they’re too spooky. Diving buddy wanted!

Jack sat on the center console the whole way (his spot), then hopped up front to be closer to the air conditioning while driving the stretch of highway 1 in Big Sur. Whenever he does this I always strap him in with the seat belt like a human. He just stares out the window and occasionally glances over at me like, “you seein’ this?!”. He’s such a little buddha. Eventually he’ll hunker down and fall asleep on the arm rest.

It was nice to get away to one of our favorite places. Lucky us it’s only a couple hours from where we live. I can’t wait to go back…maybe in a few months when the elephant seals haul out. Until next time, Monterey!

See Monterey is giving away (1) complete trip package, including 2 nights at Monterey Tides, 2 tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and a wine blending at Joullian Vineyards. If interested, leave a comment to enter. This post is sponsored by See Monterey. All content and opinions expressed are my own.

Around Here

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The fog has rolled in and San Francisco is back to being mostly gray and overcast. It’s nice for working in the greenhouse though, nice and cool. Lately in the mornings when I drive over the bridge into the city, I’ve been looking down at the boats below to see who’s in the bay. I used to know all the captains from talking to them on the radio while out on the water. This time of year used to be when I’d start leading trips out to see humpback whales migrating south by the islands just outside the bay. There’s something about a foggy, cold morning that feels like home to me. I’ve been thinking about those islands and those whales a lot lately. Anyway, here are some things from around here these days…

1. This schoolhouse electric sign makes a domestic necessity a little cooler.
2a. I bought these shoes for a wedding I never went to. I’m not really a wedding person.
2b. I’ve been using Glossier’s ‘supers‘ face serum collection and like it a lot.
3. Sage, for aura cleansing and purifying…or something like that.
4. Mila’s favorite toy, on the sunny window sill, where she likes it.
5. Slip dresses over t-shirts, who knew it would come back?
6. The cashier at Whole Foods accidentally rang these puppies up as .99 bakery items because they were wrapped in brown paper. Oops. Win.
7. Jack is fall-ready with his little Pendleton blanket.
8. The cool-toned SF skyline from the Bay bridge.

Currently Watching


I love good tv. Trey and I like to decompress at night by catching up on our favorite shows we’ve missed. We hardly ever get to watch them when they actually come on – so instead, we stock pile and binge watch when we can. I always have my eye out for new shows and eagerly await trailers for new seasons of shows we watch and love. We have a rule when it comes to watching shows we’re mutually psyched on – no watching ahead without the other! It’s not really a rule, but fessing up to sneaking in an episode definitely feels like you’ve broken one. Most nights we fall asleep half way through, other nights we binge until our eyes cross. Here’s what’s been on lately:

1. Stranger Things
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There’s so much to love about this show. It’s like they took all the best elements from 80s sci-fi/horror movies and combined them into one nostalgic tv show. It’s very Steven Spielberg meets Stephen King. The kids riding their bikes through the streets reminds me a lot of E.T., and the pink dress/wig outfit the main character “Eleven” wears is very reminiscent of the twin girls from that hallway scene in The Shining. The jedi mind tricks, the Stand By Me-like group of boys, the list goes on. All of it…the music, the clothes, the characters, storyline…so so good! And Winona Ryder plays the mom. I’ve been a fan of hers since Heathers. Really lovin’ this show…and season 2 is already in the works! Woot!

2. Atlanta
There’s only been a few episodes of this show, but so far I’m loving it. The show was created by Donald Glover (Childish Gambino, Troy from Community), who also stars in it. It’s about two cousins who begin navigating the Atlanta rap scene after one of them starts making it big, leaving the other to take on the duty of being his Manager. The writing is great and the characters are fun – especially their odd friend who’s always stoned and imparts wisdom randomly. Come to think of it, those are usually my favorite characters.

3. Mr. Robot
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I’m still reeling from the crazy scene that happened the other night in this show. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Season 1 was amazing, and so far Season 2 has been pretty good too. The show follows Elliot, a cyber security programmer by day/leader of an anonymous group of vigilante hackers trying to take down a massive multinational conglomerate by night. They develop the characters so well in this show. Trey and I are big fans.

What are you watching? Any I should add to the list? I’m always looking for new ones!

Movin’ In

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We said goodbye to our apartment w/ shared yard in Berkeley (and the schnauzer¬†who always had beef with Jack…his name was Chauncey and he was an asshole). We are really happy to be in a house with a nice big back yard of our own now.

Jack and Keeper have become well acquainted with the doggie door and are relishing their new found freedom. It’s funny to see them both try to squeeze through the door at the same time and get stuck. Mila figured it out too, so she’s been spending some time in the back yard pretending to be a dog with them. Yesterday we went to the hardware store and picked up lots of things for DIY projects. It’s good to be (in our new) home!


Turning the big 0-3.

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My apartment smells like fresh linen right now. Not like the smell of actual fresh linen, but like the glade plug-in “fresh linen” smell. They had a sale on them at the gas station across the street and I needed them because my landlord is showing our place from 2-4 today and my cat likes to pee on the closet floor if any clothes are left out and we’re not supposed to even have a cat so I had to mask the smell of cloroxed cat piss floor with gas station “fresh linen” smell. It was half clutch decision, half “this’ll do” because like I’m a chill human and it’s whatever. So things are going good. I’m writing to you from the car, where I’m sitting in an empty gym parking lot with my cat on my lap. The dogs are in the back staring at the half-eaten turkey and cheese sandwich I left on the dashboard. My landlord probably wouldn’t even be pissed if he found out we had a cat, I mean…he already knows we have dogs. Maybe part of me just wants the thrill of a mid-Sunday afternoon covert cat-hiding operation.

Trey is out of town. He turned 30 so I bought him tickets to NYC to go ride with his bmx friends. I figured since I spent my 30th birthday on the back of a motorbike in the Philippines a couple months ago (I know, I need to post the pics), he should go on a bike-related adventure too. Whenever he’s out of town I go full-on Home Alone level wild, except the 30 year old version. I stayed up late, sang Hall and Oats in the bathtub, watched like fifty episodes of Catfish re-runs in my underwear, pinned everything I want for Christmas this year and didn’t brush my teeth once. For dinner last night I had one of those Amy’s microwavable macaroni and cheeses, a spoonful of maybe-expired leftover soup, oatmeal, and half an heirloom tomato. I legit felt like that rat in Charlotte’s Web that floats down the river on his schmorgesborg of food singing into the night sky.

Anyway, I’ve been gone from here for a little bit. I had to deal with adult life things and so I took some time to do that. How vague is that? Very vague. 10/10 vague. Wow I never noticed how much vague looks like it could just be the french slang word for vag. I’m 30 now so I can make vagina references with confidence.

There are lots of new stuffs happening. For one, we’re moving! To a house in the hills like 10 minutes away with a big back yard and a greenhouse. There’s a creek too, and other grown-up things like a drive way and a dishwasher. Having a house seems like an adulty maneuver. I just laughed out loud because while writing that I got a flashback of us in the backseat of an uber last week taking turns violently breathing in each other’s face to make sure our breath didn’t stink. Thirty. 3-0. I feel more like 0-3. I got Trey those big fancy number balloons so when he came home he REALLY knew how old he was. FYI balloons are about the worst thing you can buy if you’re an anxious human. “Balloon” is just a cute word for I’m going to stretch this weird rubber thing to it’s limit, tie a pretty ribbon on it and then take it for a walk outside in the world where EVERYTHING IS SHARP. It feels oddly similar to those parenting exercises in high school where they give you the pretend babies to see whether you’d kill it or not.

So, that’s my story for right now. Doing adulty things and turning into magical 0-3 year olds. Here’s a picture of Trey at his friend’s bike shop with his buddies this weekend (this photo is for you, future kids! look at your dad’s ponytail under his bucket hat!)!



Summer Reads

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Summer is such a great time for reading. I like all kinds of books, but off-beat fiction is what I really like to get lost in. I usually have a few going at a time – a book for the gym, one by the bath tub, another on my side of the bed – each with their pages dog-earred and stained with some ubiquitous liquid. Mila cat is my reading buddy. She usually finds me and cuddles up, snoring big fat snores into the crease of my elbow. I’m not sure there’s much better than a sweet kitty laying next to you in the late-evening summer sun with a book. Here are a few of the good ones I’ve read lately:

You’ll Grow Out Of It
Jesse Klein
After listening to Terri Gross’ interview with comic Jesse Klein about her book on NPR, I knew I had to read it. And boy did it deliver. Klein, who is currently the head writer/exec producer of “Inside Amy Schumer”, shares 24 humorous short stories from her life in this book…everything from growing up, to dating and “failing at” the rites of womanhood. She opens the book by introducing herself as a “tom man”, a term she coined for when a tomboy just never grows out of it. It’s been my favorite read so far this summer.

The Girls
Emma Cline
I couldn’t put this one down. The story takes place in the late 1960s and follows a young girl who encounters a group of free-spirited girls in the park and is drawn to them. Soon she is becoming a part of the group, which we later learn is a cult led by a charismatic leader. It reminded me of The Virgin Suicides during some parts, which I loved….mixed with a little psychological thrill.

Me, Earl, And The Dying Girl
Jesse Andrews
I am such a fan of the way Jesse Andrews writes. It’s so refreshingly honest and funny. This is his debut novel, although he’s been a screenwriter for years. He tells a coming of age story that follows a teenage guy as he navigates high school and adolescence, and how an unlikely relationship with a girl in his class with leukemia ends up being the closest thing he has to a friend. I loved how unconventional the story is and how it’s full of both light-hearted and deep moments. The film adaptation is really great too!

Modern Lovers
Emma Straub
I haven’t finished this one, but it’s been a good read so far. The story is about two couples who have been friends for a long time and live on the same block in Brooklyn with their teenage children. It’s the perfect book if you have ever wondered what happens to hipsters when they get older.