Category Archives: Uncategorized

One Pan Mexican Quinoa


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapenos, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.
  • Serve immediately.

Summer is coming — summer is coming!

On School/Work

For the longest time, other teachers were dropping “Almost there’s!” and “X days left!”, and I was just like, “Yeah, whatevs. It comes, it goes, no big deal.” And then.


Last week hit. I NOW I AM SO READY FOR SUMMER. I honestly just woke up and BAM. Brick wall. Dead on my feet. Need break. Now.


On Folklife

It didn’t help that last weekend was FOLKLIFE. If you haven’t been to this festival, you haven’t been to any. We went for hours on Saturday, Sunday, AND Monday and still didn’t do more than lick the icing on the cake. It was wonderful in so many ways…

  • Who knew there were Nudest recreation parks around here? And a nudest theater, where on some days, you get a discount if you go topless, or even get a full refund if you go fully nude! Hahaha. Ok, I know what you’re thinking. That is sounds totally perverted and hippie-free-loving and very messed up. But, as someone who came from a culture that was so negative in its body-centrality, it was refreshingly delightful to hear about people who think the naked body is beautiful and weird and natural. Seattle is so quirky.
  • When my a coworker told me about Folklife, she mentioned that it’s where all the weirdest people of Seattle gather together. And that is SO TRUE. There was an old, warty man wearing nothing more than a tutu skirt and stuffed bra. Yeah, no shirt. A rainbow of hair. Freaking amazing costumes. Stunts by street performers. The very talented (as in, sword swallowing) and the very very lame (“look at these rocks that came from around the world!”) Teenage opera singers and tap-dancers saving up for a try at NYC. David-Bowie-Labyrinth-like crystal ball waving. Women and men in full-on medieval garb. I should have taken pictures.. Next year, next year.
  • Festival food. We ate our fill every day in the delicious (sweet corn-on-the-cob), the new (this gross Russian thing), and the deep-fried (block o’french fries). And, and an actual full-cheese, full-pepperoni TWO-FEET-IN-DIAMETER PIZZA.
  • The music. Everywhere! Drummers, singers, dancers, choirs. Lutes, guitars, drums, bands, harps. It was amazing!!
  • Worth a visit to the Pacific Northwest — JUST for this festival.


On Social Life

I filled you in on that social life stuff in my last post. When was that? … Ah, back in January. Yeah, right about the time when I was coming to terms that four long months had passed and I was, unfortunately, as much of a social dud here as I was in Utah. 🙂 What can I say … I’m just the kind of person that takes a long time to warm up and open up to people, and until I get to that point, I’m often forcing and faking my way through conversations.

Well, something interesting happened within the last few weeks. First, I started thinking less in terms of “what I want/need in a circle of friends”**, and more in terms of “being the kind of friend I want to have.”

^^That idea — “being the kind of friend I want to have” — is a complete reversal of my usual deep-rooted social power play. As in, I have a tendency to put myself in a position in which I won’t be at risk of rejection. And if I am at risk, I pull myself out (emotionally, physically, or both). So this “be the kind of friend I want to have” is a big deal. Interestingly enough, this change is less about making friends, and more about being worthy of friends — being the kind of person I want to be. So my role changes. Invite, contact, set-up, open up. Be vulnerable.

Another thing that happened: I read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. It’s stunning. I have always wanted to be part of a circle in rituals of love and empowerment for women’s events — menstruation, labor, menopause. I create the life I live, and I can be part of that circle. It’s as old as time and not lost to me.

Another thing. For the first time, I’ve started valuing brief interactions as real connection. As in, so brief that it brings to mind two ships passing in the night. The water-rafting trip and the river guide. The lunch after, when Dan and I happened upon two other rafters (a middle-aged woman and her 90-year-old mother) and had a lovely conversation. The folklife dancer who shared her amazing talents. The one-time-only geek-meet-up group. Parents of my students. The energy from the audience in a theatrical production. The late-night get-together before an old friend’s Microsoft interview. The capoeira dancing event where we met my little sister’s maestro. Monthly dinners with the Vegetarians of Washington. They all matter.

And last. Buds are coming up. After a year of working here, I’ve finally finally started to see the beginnings of real, bonafide friendship. It took so long and happened so gradually that (back in January) I was reconciling myself to the fact that coworkers are coworkers, and friends are to be found elsewhere. But poof! Spring came along and all sorts of lovely things were were coming up — daffodils … cherry blossoms … the beginnings of friendship.

You know, one of the wonderful things about my life right now is that I don’t plan on moving. I grew up in Texas, but I knew I would leave it and everyone there. Same thing with Utah — a problem exacerbated with the ever-changing student population. With friendship taking as much energy as it does, starting a friendship with the end in mind didn’t seem worth it. But here, I’m staying. It makes it easier to invest.

On triumphs

Oh, and I’d to make an announcement. World, I have found my book club. 20-somethings, some married, some not. All women. Professionals. Varied sets of interests — the obvious ones and the what-you’ve-heard-of-it-and-love-it-too? connections. Toni Morrison. Pushing Daisies. Game of Thrones. EMP Museum. Traveling. Outlander. BBC. Downton Abbey. YA fiction. Contemporary Literature. Siff. Tyrion. I was introduced to The Stranger, a lovely alternative newspaper. I’ve starving for THIS book club.



**Criteria: 3-5 girls, intellectual discussions mingled with tons of geek love, someone who calls me to go out instead of the other way around ‘cuz that’s the way I roll, interested in feminism and activism, book-loving, possibly significant others for double-dates, and it’d be a perk if they had means to travel together.




My school — in a modern architecture magazine

Carl Sandburg Elementary School by NAC | Architecture

Click picture for link.

This place you see above? My school. My library is lit-up section in the top right. I’m actually in there right now 🙂

Years ago, Dan said I should be a librarian. I believe my exact words were: “Uh…no.” Well, I’m eating those words now 🙂 Happily, too. Folks, I love my job. I. love. my. job.

I just… I can’t believe it. As a kid, I never even pictured myself in a job — much less a career — and I certainly never saw working as something to be enjoyed.

But here I am, thriving in this environment. Well, “thriving” in the sense that I’m trying really hard and enjoying myself while making many mistakes. I certainly have a lot to learn. I would never have believed it if I didn’t live it, but this school librarian job is HARD.

I just can’t believe it sometimes. That I found a job that I am so content in. I don’t count down the hours until my shift is up. Or stare at the calendar waiting for the holidays. I don’t rush out as soon as I can. In past jobs, when I’ve had a stressful day, I had to relocate asap. But here, I’m HAPPY to stay. I end a stressful day by sitting my favorite corner and reading a book.

This — this life that I’m living — it’s the dream I never knew I had. We live half-forest, half-city. Dan works his dream job. I unknowingly waltzed into what was my dream job. We successfully transitioned to vegan. We are both working on personal projects which are cool. The public libraries here are mind-blowingly fantastic. The weather is every color of gorgeous. The cats are purrfect. I even have my very own reading nook at home now!

Of course, there are downsides. And because I’d be jealous of myself if I read this post, I’m going to post some to bring this full circle for you. Let’s see. Downsides… Ah, yes. We don’t have any friends. We have coworkers, but no one to call if we got in a car accident. This is actually a gaping hole in our life. I want friends, but as usual, I hate getting out of my comfort zone and putting in the work to make friends. I’ve even shiied away from invites — it’s cool that we got invites from other-married-couples, I guess, but also all the more worse because we haven’t followed through. As mormons, the social circle side of life was usually taken care of for us…and now we don’t really know how to navigate the social sphere without it. I’ve even looked into some churches (I know, right?), trying to find one that’s more all-inclusive, but haven’t had any luck.

How does one go about making/infiltrating a circle of friends…?  We need other couples to hang out with. I’d love some girlfriends. What am I saying? I’d settle for one. One girl that I could go out to brunch with and freely double-dip french fries with. Right now, my besties are 5th grade girls who haunt the library during every recess to tell me how wonderful I am (which — let’s be honest — is great, but the reality comes in when I have to remind them to not play tag between bookshelves).

See? Told you this would come full circle. The super happy part where we both have great great jobs, and the other part, where we only hang out with each other.

I’ve been taking the ostrich approach with the whole friend thing. It’s easy enough; I enjoy my own company. So, I’ve kept my head in the sand, hoping that eventually friends will be dropped into my lap. But I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen this time. Which means I can’t half-ass my friendships anymore. And — confession– I don’t remember how to be a friend. I don’t know how to make connections with people anymore. I used to, I think. I just … I just don’t know. Maybe joining in activism — shared goal, shared dream… and then, voila, connection? …?

I don’t know.


Animoto fun

Operation Bahamas




After devouring this book,

I am looking at food more mindfully. I really like food — I love cooking and baking and presenting delicious food. I really really like it. I’ve thought about culinary arts school, but being vegetarian makes that difficult. And plus, I have no intention of working in a restaurant where I don’t get to hear the oohs and ahhs like I would at my own table. Soo… I’ll stick with recipe books. I found this REALLY AWESOME one.

It reads like a narrative recipe book (odd, but it works), and is really cool. I’m finding fun tips and tons of recipes to try out! I even made my own yogurt. Just look at that gorgeous stuff! The recipe looks so complicated, but it really is super easy.

And, then I made bagels. They were freaking delicious. Aaaand, I’m not going to tell you how fast we ate them because that would be embarrassing. As it is, I can easily compare the fresh-out-of-the-oven cheese-covered ones with Einstein’s Bagels. I’ve since decided that a bagel isn’t worth eating if it isn’t fresh-out-of-the-oven. You have GOTTA try this at least once. I recommend liberal amounts of asiago or parmesan cheese.


I also made these.

Just blueberries dipped in my honey-ed homemade yogurt. Nice idea … but I’m admittedly not crazy about them. They’re growing on me though. And it gave me something to do with all these blueberries I picked. I love blueberries, and my goal this summer is to eat so many that I’m sick to death of them.

For Dan’s birthday, I made his usual cake. Delicious for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as usual 🙂


And, of course, pizza! Toppings were homemade pizza sauce, tomatoes, sauted onions, green bell pepper, and garlic slices. There is a reason this has become tradition — it’s freaking delicious!


We’ve also been getting more luck with plants here than we ever did in Utah. Raspberry bush, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, catnip (heehee), and herbs. The cilantro died 😦


Ahh, food. Love it.

Dear Believer

On apostasy

The sunday school lesson on apostasy has been going around in church for the last few weeks, depending on where your ward is on the scheduling. I know, \because I have heard ripples of irritation almost every Sunday from questioning, but practicing, mormons.


Last Sunday, it was our ward. Dan came home in fury. He knows the stories of too many apostates to let that lesson roll off his shoulder. Mine of course, but also our friends’ stories. I’ve found that when you put two apostates in the same room, their story is going to come out. The conversation gets raw. Gets heavy. Gets real.


….And then sunday school happens, where the teacher writes three words on the chalkboard, and the rest of the class is spent validating these reasons as the only possible causes for people to stop believing. (Not to mention how “apostate” automatically equates with “anti-mormon.”)


I’ve sat in these meetings. It’s humiliating.  The things these people openly believe about us… Like, that I would turn my back on God and covenant because I was offended; as if my relationship with God was so fragile that a bad moment with another mormon would shatter that.


But I heard a wonderful wonderful thing. In another ward, my friend had the apostasy lesson too. But his teacher didn’t write the apostasy formula on a chalkboard. Instead, the teacher prepared early by calling in a “apostate” friend—a person who chose to leave the church—and gave him the floor during sunday school. And he shared his story.


I’m pretty damn well sure that he didn’t share a story about how the bishop forgot his name. He got to share his story, uncensored, live, face-to-face, and all that jazz. That gives me hope. Hope that mormons and apostates can understand each other, and that religious diversity doesn’t need to affect the relationship… that families won’t break when someone leaves the church. Someday.


It happens a lot. Errors on both sides. Apostates breaking under the strain of isolation. Mormons heartbroken over broken family sealings. Apostates have little pocket communities; Mormons have wards. Both need to change, but as an apostate myself it is all too easy to point the finger and say that if the lds church wants to really be about families—and not just the “families are forever” kind of family—they need to change this chapter of the lesson manual. Lessons like that create a mythical chasm between believer and unbeliever. It can kill families. It sets them up for failure in the case of apostasy.


Years ago, I told a true-blue-mormon friend that I was leaving the church. Her response was a one line e-mail: Are you getting a DIVORCE??


Is that response indicative of the larger conversation surrounding split-religion homes? Yes. It is. It is most explicitly taught young. The youth are taught (like many other religions) to only marry someone who shares their same faith (or else…).


Well, why can’t the “shared faith” be simply: hope, kindness, forgiveness?  The rituals of organized religions all vary, but are still all based around these same tenets.


I just … I wish religions would stop being so threatened by each other. I wish that they would celebrate enlightenment no matter under what religion’s name it was being practiced.



And here is a relevant article from the New York Times called “Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt.”