Thursday 13: Confessions, volume II

Life has been whirlwindy lately. I just got home from an excellent academic conference in Monterey. I gave three presentations and per usual, my head is filled with so many ideas for future projects. Between school, work and life, here’s hoping I get to some of them soon. In the mean time, more confessions for this Thursday 13.

1. I eat Girl Scout cookies for breakfast. Trefoils are the color of toast. Toast is a good breakfast food. Therefore, trefoils are a good breakfast food. False logic, but it’s not stoppin’ me! Muah ha ha.

2. My future vacation home will be at the ocean.

Pebble Beach


Pretty sure I could handle a house overlooking the ocean.


Can you imagine this view from your livingroom window??

Mr. T and I drove 17-mile drive and toodled around Pebble Beach last week. After viewing the multi-million dollar mansions by the sea, I’ve decided I could handle it. Of course, you could put a shack by the sea and I would still be happy as a clam. (I couldn’t resist an oceanic cliche)

3. My heart aches for those living in civic unrest. When I think of the lives of folks in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya (to name just a few), even though I don’t understand all of the issues, I pray for peace. And resilience. And transformation.

4. My heart aches for those living in political unrest. And like a good Pollyanna, I wonder “What can’t we just be nice to each other?” Maybe not even nice. Maybe just civil!

5. I do not support unions or collective bargaining. Clean up the coffee you just sprayed on your computer screen, I’ll give you reasonable arguments in future posts. The nutshell: I think unions provided a valuable service in reforming labor in this country and helping to establish rights for workers. But, I think the model is now antiquated. It constrains organizational creativity, process, and flexibility, and may do more harm than good. Further, I am highly skeptical of a for-profit entity’s ability to really keep the best interest of the masses in mind on the long term. Again, stay tuned for more.

6. I DO, however, support the rights of workers. I believe in fair wages for all sexes, colors, creeds, what have you. I believe in safe working environments. I believe in sustainable practices that keep the health, safety and well-being of workers in mind.

7. I believe in fair, humane, compassionate organizations. And I’m working damn hard on this PhD so I can help build those and influence policy in this country that supports them.

8. I think teachers–at all educational levels–are grossly underpaid. I saw posts on Facebook this week that likened elementary school teachers to babysitters and suggested we pay them that way. Something like minimum wage per pupil, per day. With 25 students, the wage came out to $100,000 per year or something. And I totally buy it. The fact that our teachers–educated professionals who shape our children’s identities and knowledge–are making tuppence is abominable. And don’t get me started on what we pay college professors. How can we expect our students (at all levels) to be excellent if we don’t support education and provide the resources to encourage true learning and transformation?

9. If I could be any fish in the sea, I’d be a jellyfish, gorgeous and deadly!


Okay, that was an awful segway (segueway? segweigh?), but I was getting all fired up. After visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium this week, I’ve renewed my love of the jellyfish. Despite being instilled with terror by the Discovery Channel’s exposé on the deadly box jellyfish in Australia (teeny tiny and can kill you dead in an instant!), I still think the larger colorful varietals are gorgeous.

10. It’s not easy to cut and run. If you read Confessions, volume I, you know that I fear failure. It may be more accurate to say that I HATE failure, too. For instance, I’ve been working on a research project for the last 18 months. Yes, 18 freaking months. It took awhile to build the study, to convince the organization to let me do the study, to find resources to fund the study, and then to actually complete the study. It was my very first experimental project using survey methodology. And guess what, it was a dismal failure. I sent almost 900 survey requests and got 22 back. TWENTY TWO. Granted, I was asking physicians, but still, I expected more than 22 to be compelled to answer my fabulous survey. Last week, I had to make a decision whether to throw another $400 and 40 hours at the project, or to give up, I mean better allocate my personal resources. Although it was the better decision, “giving up” felt/feels horrid.

11. I thrive on nostalgia. I was born in Salinas and spent my formative years in Seaside and Marina, suburbs of Monterey. Revisiting my old stomping grounds last week reminded me how much I thrive on nostalgia. I appreciate personal history, experience and tradition so much. I had fun sharing memories with T and other friends who had to listen to me shriek things like “There’s Dennis the Menace Park!” and “When I was little, we went to the _________ all the time!” (Insert “wharf,” “beach,” “aquarium”)

Mr. T and me at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. During this trip, and for the third time in my life practically, I got to pet the Bat Rays! Maybe it’s a function of having longer arms, but I recall trying unsuccessfully to pet the slimeballs throughout my childhood.


Cannery Row seems so much more commercial and slick than I remember growing up. Hard to believe actual canning took place there what with Tollhouse, Ghiradelli and Bubba Gump in residence. Le sigh.


My beautiful Pacific.


Some tropical beauties for you.

12. My foodie credentials are limited. Despite my propensity to eat and endless love of white trash food (see here for a brief ode to corned beef hash and all things fried), I appreciate the experience and artistry of fine dining. For instance, as a belated Valentine’s celebration, T and I visited the Montrio Bistro in Monterey last week. I tried braised the beef risotto, pistachio-crusted cod, polenta croutons and creme brulee. (To die for!) Not my everyday fare, mind you, but definitely not wild and crazy. For instance, I can’t fathom eating pate or ceviche or sea urchin or geoducks.

T at Fisherman’s Wharf. We started in Carmel looking for sandwiches and ended up on the wharf eating sand dabs.


Not a bad view for dinner.


Located on the commercial wharf, the Sandbar is a local hangout.


Excited for fishes. I tried my mom’s faves: Clam chowder and crab-stuffed prawns. Tasty, but my creep meter kept going off on the unclean meat front.  And then T and I discussed at length why or why not clams are unclean meat. Nothing like a discussion of Leviticus over dinner.


Pretending to be a shar-pei with cold ears?

13. I count down to everything. For example, there are 75 days until I move home!


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