That one time I had a Portlandia Moment!

Portlandia, that IFC sitcom about everything stereotypical in Portland is funny, of course only if you do not actually live in Portland.  I actually saw much of Seattle in this comedy.  The first season had me rolling, mostly because they took everything I do and believe and magnified it to the ridiculous almost religious point.

In one episode, I believe it was season two, which by the way was not nearly as good and lost my interest, they were in a sustainable restaurant.  The couple asks about the chicken and ends up on the farm in a commune.  The questions they asked about the menu we legitimate questions if you are eating consciously.  But after about the third question it got weird.  And then the other day………… Richard decided that I had a Portlandia moment.

We were at one of the few local non-chain restaurants for breakfast Sunday.  I considered having a waffle.  I have a passionate hatred for artificial maple syrup.  I have hated it my whole life.  I think it tastes like a mouthful of fake sugar and plastic.  In my trying to decide I asked the poor waitress if the syrup was real maple syrup or artificial maple syrup.  She was embarrassed and had no idea.  I ended up ordering something else, but Richard and his daughter were quite embarrassed by my question.

I realize that my question probably was ridiculous in that restaurant.  In a local sustainable restaurant, it would not have been a big deal, but in a small diner, it was unreasonable.  This area is full of waffle houses, and I used to love waffles, but I have never liked the maple syrup, only butter, peanut butter or fruit for this girl, unless it is real maple syrup.  And that is why that one time I had a Portlandia moment…………..

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At the edge of the cliff, do I jump or do I hold on a bit longer?

No this is not about suicide.  Please understand this is a metaphor.  I just got the news we will not be going back to Liberia.  I will be terminated of service as of October 15.  So now what?  Coming home and seeing how hard it was for Richard has put my heart in a precarious place.  Do I ask for a reassignment?  Do I wait to go back to Liberia in June?  Do I suspend my dreams for a year and help Richard adjust here?  There are so many questions about my next step, I am so confused and should be extremely stressed out. I am not actually stressed, just troubled about what to do.

Sadly the truth is I want it all.  I want this great adventure, I want to help Richard and I want to be able to pursue my dreams.  I realize that I cannot have it all, but I have to be very certain of my next few steps.  If I decide to go back in June that gives us time to actually move into a new apartment and get resettled, but does it give me the time to actually build up community?  When I was evacuated I came home to an empty house and an empty life.  It is still quite empty.  It is difficult to make friends here.  There are no local bars or coffee shops to meet people.  This is a commercial place, there is no community here.

So as I sit here looking over the edge, I wonder if I hate this place so much and feel so out-of-place, what does Richard feel?  I know he wants to move back, but I am certain that the entire state is not so bad, just like all of Washington is not like Seattle.  Each town has its own personality, or lack of.  I think I hate it here because it represents retreat to me, and it has no soul.  This town is not very old.  It has no history and certainly no art scene.

If we had a place to call our own, a place to meet some people, it might feel different. So now I am putting this perspective into my current decision.  So here I sit, drinking wine and trying to figure out my future, or should I say our future, because ultimately my relationship is the most important.

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Time for a change.

I am one of those long hold outs!  I refused to buy a CD player until you could no longer get cassettes.  I refused to buy a DVD player until VHS was almost obsolete.  And for a reference here, I still connote figure out how to operate a DVD player except for the one on my laptop!  I bought my first cell phone in 2004.  After I bought my daughter a prepaid cell, I bought myself one as well.  It was a Nokia brick.  I refused to upgrade to a smart phone until you could no longer just go to the cell phone provider and get one. I refused to buy a computer until 2003.  It took me several weeks to attempt to join a chatroom, which I stayed with until they closed them all down.  I got a MySpace for a bit.  I actually may still have one, who knows.  I refused to jump on the Facebook wagon until 2009 when I realized the only way to contact my professor was on Facebook.  I hated the idea of using my real name.  Obviously that is still an issue.  I realized shortly after creating my account that people I had no desire to hear from could find me.  It is the same reason I wrote a snarky “I hate you all” profile on that High School dot-com sight.

After a month I realized how to change the name to the name I have embraced here.  I actually use that name professionally as well. I have for the last 2 years.  I have had that screen name for 5 years now.  I have connected all my actual friends to it.  Today Facebook shut down my account and informed me I had to use my real name.  I had already made a digital copy of my profile to save all my pictures, but it was a sudden swoop and I was locked out.  I had not been able to grab all the pictures, and there were thousands, from my friends.  I had to create another “normal” fake name to grab the pictures.  I informed everyone that I was closing my account, and I have thought about it since the stupid timeline thing happened.  This time I meant it.  I have moved all my pictures, or at least am in the process of moving them to Google plus.  I have moved over to Google+ and LinkedIn.


When you create a product that people come to depend on, and then change things and create a dangerous situation your product is no longer of value.  The danger here is that I am not the only person who has a fake name on Facebook.  There are battered women and abuse victims that have not used their real names to avoid online conflicts and prevent people from actually finding them.  By forcing us to use our “real” names you put some of us in very real danger.  I informed Facebook of this and deactivated my account.  I would have deleted it if I knew how to.  So if anyone out there knows how to delete a Facebook account please let me know.  I have retrieved everything I need from them.  So to all my friends that follow this blog, I am sorry I will no longer be able to share inane daily goat pictures and videos.  I am sorry I can no longer keep you updated on Monsanto and its evilness.  I am sorry that I will miss seeing new pictures and updates.  I am not sorry that I told Facebook to stuff it!  Why go after names, why not scroll through the profiles and find the wiener pics and the vagina shots?  Those are way more offensive than a fun name.

The point really is that it was time for me to move on.  I just had to get angry enough.  I wasted too much time on that site.  I can spend my time better researching and looking up articles that mean something, not stupid little op-eds that are only a title and a picture with no real information.  It was time for me to expand into a new adventure.  Sadly not everyone was ready to flee with me. So for those of you who are on Google+ or 600694_4058304820939_1857178374_nLinkedIn, I will find a way if you want to stay in touch.  I will still post here and I will remain focused on making the World a better place, because I am ChaCha, just like the dance I see it not as a step backwards.

Besides with my new contract I wouldn’t want parents to think ill of me. ;)

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Live and Let Live

Since the first day we moved into our first place together, the neighbors downstairs have been Satan himself. I have almost always lived on the first floor. It made it easier with kids and an aging dog. It also helped to roll bikes inside. This is the first time I am on a second story/top floor. In the past I have lived under a family with very active children. I just learn to accept it and laugh it off when it gets really bad.

Since the first day we moved into our first place together, the neighbors downstairs have been Satan himself. I have almost always lived on the first floor. It made it easier with kids and an aging dog. It also helped to roll bikes inside. This is the first time I am on a second story/top floor. In the past I have lived under a family with very active children. I just learn to accept it and laugh it off when it gets really bad.

The new neighbors, which my partner has named neck tattoo boy, apparently think we are having weight lifting sessions and step aerobics up here. From the first weekend they complain about us making too much noise, stomping around. The first time he said it went on well past 11 pm. Which I find extremely confusing due to the fact that we were unpacking and we stopped for a dinner break around 5 and then went

The new neighbors, which my partner has named neck tattoo boy, apparently think we are having weight lifting sessions and step aerobics up here. From the first weekend they complain about us making too much noise, stomping around. The first time he said it went on well past 11 pm. Which I find extremely confusing due to the fact that we were unpacking and we stopped for a dinner break around 5 and then went to a local bar to watch a Sounders game. We game back after 11 and went straight to sleep. Unless we are doing aerobics in our sleep we cannot possibly be responsible for the noise.

After I left for Africa Richard brought his daughters over for the night. Apparently watching TV is a loud activity and involves stomping around. Again, they were sitting on the sofa, so not sure why we are being blamed. That week Richard talked to the landlord about it. Stating he just didn’t want any trouble, but they were complaining about normal living noises that are happening during non-restricted hours. Apparently tattoo neck boy is not supposed to be here. And the child that he kept telling me that I was disturbing is a figment of his imagination. I have yet to see the kid.

We have not heard anything from them since that weekend. Tonight, however, I was blessed with an accusation. Apparently we have been stomping around all day. I looked at her and informed her that we had not been home all day. She said well tell whoever is up there to knock it off. I looked at her again and stated, that is what I am telling you, no one had been home most of the day. The couple of hours I was home was spent sitting watching TV. The couple of hours that Richard had been home was spent on the bed playing on his iPad. I made dinner but that was made standing in place.

Maybe now that I told her we were not home, maybe they will shut the hell up. The next time it happens I am going to figure out a way to get a bass thump out of my speakers with no actually noise and face them against the wall!


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A little slice of Heaven in nothing but Hell.

As I have stated my new home is not very homey.  It is a hell of box stores and chain restaurants.  I have found a couple of slices of heaven in this hell.   I have found a CSA delivery.  This comes bi-weekly and arrives on my doorstep.  It is full of organic fruits and veggies.  I had a similar one in Seattle.  This made my life a little happier.

I have known about the farmer’s markets in my city and the city near me.  This weekend I visited both of them.  I found these wonderful small round eggplants and wild mushrooms in the market in my town.  Happily this is a very easy bike ride.  I also saw patty pan squash which are fun to stuff and roast.  I only bought a couple of items so I could check out the other market.  On the weekends that Richard is on call, I convince him to leave the car for me to run errands as needed.

In Folsom, which is a town I do appreciate, the market is much larger.  There are more produce and street food booths.  I found white raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, wild salad mix, roasted pistachios, and baby potatoes.  For about $25 I got all this from both markets.  Some people feel a farmer’s market is too expensive, but the reality is very different.  When we pay $3.00 for items that we use just a little of and then waste the rest we are paying way too much.  In a farmer’s market we are only buying what we can consume, knowing that the window for use is limited.  I immediately froze all the berries, just because I know that they only last a day after you bring them home.

greek meals at home

I have found, and this is personal experience, that if I buy produce in smaller quantities at higher prices, I tend to waste them less.  It also encourages me to think about my food more.  I am so thrilled to now have access to this type of resource again.  I did find it weird that the farmers at the market did not have dandelion or mustard greens.  In fact I was informed that they were weeds.  Ugh, any good farmer recognizes a source of food and welcomes it!  At least I would.

In a moment of desperation, I found several bags of ancient grains on sale at Sprouts.  This store is similar to Trader Joe’s.  I am not thrilled by it, but it is better than chain stores.  At least the produce is less packaged than TJ!  I have actually found Arugula there, but only in those stupid plastic bins you buy.  I found Kamat, Chia, Spelt, Millet, and Amaranth, all were being discontinued.  I am saddened by that.  Although this pushed me to pursue finding a true Co-op.  I found a small one in Roseville, which is about 6 miles from my home.  I think it is potentially biking distance.  I talked to a very nice woman there who informed me that I might look into Sac Co-op for refilling my oils and other liquids.  I contacted them and now I wait to hear back from them to see if they have the things I am looking for.  Also I  wonder if my membership in Seattle Co-op is valid there, hopefully so.

watermelon arugula

I have been thinking about what to do with myself these days.  I have decided to look for a temporary job.  I actually found contract work.  I have been approved to tutor students.  They offered me more money than the lab ever thought of offering.  I also am able to tutor online or in person, which makes my life more flexible.  I am excited to have a few hours a week of usefulness.

It is hard to wake up daily when you do not want to be in a place, I have finally found a new hope here.

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The best Therapy,,,,,,

As I settle into my new interim life, I have found myself fighting depression and boredom. The problem is, I do not have many friends here. The ones I do have are all working during the day. The highlight of my day is when Richard comes home, which is not a bad thing, but puts a big burden on him.

I have found my days sucked into the television, which is not the healthiest of habits. My last post I discussed starting a yoga class and taking charge of my life, today I want to expand on that. On Friday I met a nice man to “play” tennis. I am not ver good, but he seemed ok with just getting some exercise. I have to say, I hurt so bad after an hour of volleying the ball and chasing it. I hope to catch up with him a few more times. Next month I will be taking actual lessons, which is a bit exciting for me. Maybe I will be better after a couple of lessons, and will be able to actually play a game. On Sunday I met a nice man to ride my bike with. We were both looking for a casual pace with more distance than speed. I enjoyed biking with him and hope he had fun as well.

I had lunch in Fair Oaks on my way home Sunday. I got home and Richard was still in bed. I was happy to have spent my morning out and about, it is always better to spend it with someone who has a similar goal. This Wednesday I am planning on meeting a guy to ride with during the week. Hopefully he is a good match as well. It takes stepping out of your comfort zone to make life a bit more bearable.

Later Sunday night I found I had a flat. Thankfully I made it home, but I had to wait until Monday night to put the bike on the car and take it to the bike shop. My wrench was stolen and I have no idea what sizes I need so I had to take it in to figure that out. Sadly I am certain the mechanic had no clue how to work on my bike, he actually said so. I fear I have to take it back into a certified Electra shop.

I put in an application for a few part-time jobs. One was for a bike shop that flatly stated you must bike to work. They decided that I lived too far away to bike to work. I found that strange, because as an advocate no distance is too far. This mental model just pushes the anti-bike agenda. I do have an interview on Friday with a tutoring organization. I barely put the application in and they contacted me, so either they are desperate or my resume was that good. I am hoping it is my resume.

It will feel good to have a reason to get out of bed every day. I have always hated not working, it makes my life feel empty. Just having a reason to get up and get out of the house daily is a great change.

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The Juxtaposition of Being Stuck and Unstuck.

Being sent home feels like a failure.  It feels like being stuck in this never-ending loop of unknowing.  What do I do now?  The news is terrible.  It looks as if the soonest we will return is in 6 months.  I can ask for reassignment but the earliest those will be filling is in January.  Do I just wait it out?  Do I get a job?  Do I find new friends?  Do I just lock myself up alone and hope for the best?  I mean really getting a job is the worst option, who wants to hire someone for a few months?  Who wants to make a new friendship just to have the person up and leave again.

I am grateful that I have Richard.  I just wish I had some better grounding for this stuck phase.  I am gaining  weight and slipping into a depressed state.  I can only wallow in self-pity for so long.  Eventually I need to get up off my butt and change things.  I took the first step last week.  I bought a couple of Groupons for Yoga sessions and Tennis lessons.  I  also purchased a manicure and pedicure, but that was for my self-esteem.  Self esteem, yeah that little ugly thing that can bury itself to never be found again.

My first yoga class I had Richard’s car to attend.  It was hard, I thought I would die in the heat, oh yeah I didn’t just buy yoga classes, I bought hot yoga classes.  I felt so worn out after the fact.  Then on the next session I had to ride my bike.  I was stressed and exhausted when I arrived because I got lost and was running so late.  I made it through the class and after lunch I biked back home.  I felt so great.  I now look forward more to the ride than the classes.  It was what I needed a reason to get on my bike.


I start tennis lessons next month.  I look forward to those as well.  I decided that I should look on Craigslist for someone to play with.  I found one.  I also found a bike riding buddy.  I now have a couple of “dates” to bike and play tennis.  That makes me feel a bit better.  I also looked into a job and think I found one tutoring science.  I think just finding a project and balance is what I needed.  I know that this sticking point is not forever.  I hope to work enough and play enough to keep my mind active and my depression at bay.  Sometimes that first step is the hardest, once you take it, it changes everything.  It has been a long time since I looked forward to something more than Richard getting home from work.

On a upnote, my choices in activities may boost my health some.  I hope to lose a bit of weight but more importantly to push me away from depression and back into life.  The mind is a very powerful thing, and if I were still living in Seattle, I would have so many things to go and do and so many people to do them with.  Here I have to start over, so today I took those first steps.  Hopefully they will be the right decisions.

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