New Office: Pros and Cons

This whole work-home separation has been really a) wonderful and b) hard.

a) Wonderful

– More stairs! I walk up and down at least (and this a conservative estimate) six times the number of stairs I did when I worked at home.  This has to be good for my butt and my general well being.

– Biking! I bike to work!!  So fun.  And Real Simple says that biking gives you more energy which is something I definitely need.

– No cat.  No one is meowing and clawing and trying to eat some of my lunch.

– People!  I talk to at least one extra person every day.  It rocks.

– Way cool space.  Warehouse 416 is a way inspiring place to spend my time.

– Friendship! (Yes, this is somehow different than people.) I have an office mate who is pretty freaking awesome and takes great photos that make the office look even better than it actually is:

(Photos by Sarabek Images)

b) Hard.  And stressful too.

– Rubberbands are hard to locate. I always kept a well-stocked home office which, I now realize, was relied upon in non-home affairs.

– Where to file?? My desk is at work.  I pay my office bills and my home bills at the same time (always have).  Where do my home credit card bills go?  Where do my work bills get filed?  (off subject — why are they not all e-bills??)

– What to do? Get up earlier? The office is in a warehouse that has an art gallery on the ground floor, artist studios and one other business office.  It’s pretty vacant and rather creepy late at night.  Which is when I’m used to accomplishing most of the coding necessary to develop websites…what can I say?  I’m a night person.  It’s quiet — no one calls and I can put on a soap, and get in the coding flow.  I’ve been tried staying late by talking myself out of American Horror Story memories and dissolving into the comfortable lull of Days of Our Live, and then boom!  The timer from the weekly Toastmasters meeting goes off startling the wits out of me and bringing back American Horror Story memories.  SO SCARY.

– No cat.  When I drop some food on the floor, I have to clean it up.  That’s a serious bummer.


Thoughts on Easter Sunday

I found myself exploring the middle region of California on the way up from Bakersfield.  Along the way I got two (!!!!) really nice compliments about my hair, which did look awfully nice considering I had just slept for only five or so hours on my friend’s floor between the hours of 3am and 8:30am.  My friend Laura throws the best parties.

Along the way home we stopped at a Starbucks that was next to a Panda Express.  I was saddened to see families headed to a Panda Express for a high-fat high-sugar high-sodium hella processed Easter meal.

On the other hand, who could resit these two adorable pandas telling us of the magical treasures inside the Panda Express??

Mmm golden treasure shrimp.  Sounds expensive and delicious.  We can rest assured that the money they aren’t spending on quality ingredients is being spent on a decent advertising firm.

Later we ate at a Green Burrito.  The food could have been worse, but the sight of kids drinking sodas bigger than their heads was the real attraction (detraction?). Continue Reading

Cold Snaps Conquer Colds!

Cold Snaps (actually called Cold Snap) are an herbal supplement composed of 20 herbs to restore righteous chi.  I don’t know what the herbs are or how it works, but I do know that it does.  I just had to make a video and tell you all about it — especially when Julia came over with a cold.

Buy Cold Snap now at Amazon!

What helps with your cold? Continue Reading

A Great Winter Salad

I posted on Facebook awhile ago wondering what the winter salad is. I eat a lot of salads (one a day keeps me sane!). When the weather turns cold, I shy away from lettuce and other raw veggies. They take a lot of energy to digest, and when I’m using my energy warming myself up, the last thing I want is to sacrifice some of it to superfluous digestion.

Some friends came through with some great suggestions: whole grain salads with barley, garlic, orange zest, olive oil, and pickled veggies, roasted veggies tossed with herbs and balasamic, and green salads full of fennel citrus and red onion. Yum!!

I have more experimenting ahead of me, but I want to share this awesome recipe my aunt Liz suggested: Tassajara Warm Red Cabbage Salad.

Composed of sauteed red onion, cabbage, raisins, feta and slightly sweet toasted sunflower seeds, this warm salad is sweet, savory, crunchy and warm. I nervously made it for the first time and brought it to a Thanksgiving potluck the other week. I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be–I’ve met many people afraid of cabbage and raisins (I was once myself!). I was shocked by what a hit this salad was! I had even been hoping to take some home with me, but alas, no luck.

I make it in the Cuisinart and last night I whipped it up a second time in literally twenty minutes. That’s pretty quick for me — I’m a slow cook. My aunt recommends making extra sunflower seeds (they store well and are great for snacking) and adding more raisins, balsamic and feta than the recipe suggests. I agree!

Tupperware’s Stuffables containers are AWESOME for storing dishes like this. At first glance, my dish wasn’t going to fit in the container:

But thankfully, the flexible lid accommodates!!

A lifetime guarantee, flexible lids and it’s even dishwasher safe. Get yours today!

Feelin’ Good

I’ve had a rocky couple of months, and it’s been hard on my life, my optimistic nature and my relationship. Somewhere along the line I started seeing Geraldine Shute, LAc, over at Deep Healing Acupuncture*.

At first we were just addressing my intense arm pain (due to overambitious work habits), but after a few months we delved into the physical reasons for my mood swings, which, it must be admitted, were starting to rule my life.

She recommended the following changes:

Sunshine in the Morning

Get twenty minutes of sunshine in before 10 a.m.. I chose to do this with a morning walk. It sounds so simple, but for someone who works at home, it was a challenge to leave the house before the work day was over, and now that it’s dark at 5pm, that means greeting a world shrouded in night.

It’s more than just getting out. Sunshine stimulates your body to produce Vitamin D3, and a scarcity of it can lead to all sorts of health issues (check out this resource a quick google just found me).

Morning sunshine does more than just create Vitamin D3; it signals your brain to stop producing a sleepy neurochemical, and to start producing serotonin (which makes you feel good!!). Having specialized in brain chemistry in college, I immediately recognized this usefulness. Serotonin is essential to being happy, and is produced by exercise, video games and lots and lots of addictive drugs. Who knew we could stimulate its production just by getting a little morning sunshine??

Omega Supplements with added Vitamin D3

Your brain is comprised of tons and tons of lipids, or fats. Mine is too. We live in a world where it’s hard to get Omega 6’s (an essential form of fat) as I’m sure you’ve heard. Taking Omega supplements will provide your brain with a coating of lipids.

I like to look at it as a little Omega buffer between you and the world. You know how if you have an open wound, and you brush against something, or something pokes it, how much it hurts? You know how little it hurts if you have a band-aid on? That’s what I understand Omega supplements do for you. Without it, your brain reacts more harshly to upsets than need be. Introduce some daily Omega supplements and you’re golden.

It must be noted that it takes two weeks of daily Omega supplements to feel the effects fully. I’m on day 8 and I feel better. For serious.

Not all Omega supplements are created equal. My acupuncturist recommends Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega with D3, which is comprised of fish oil, something your body easily digests and incorporates into the brain. Of course, it does come with some fishy burps on occasion, but it’s a small price (in my opinion) for feeling better and can be avoided by taking them with meals.

An added benefit to choosing Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega with D3 is that they also contain Vitamin D3, mentioned above, and will help replicate some of that sunshiney feeling in you. Can’t argue with that.

GABA Supplements

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain; this means that it has a calming effect. For those who are prone to stressing out, a GABA supplement taken as needed can help calm the overworked anxiety systems. Geraldine does warn, however, that there should be some caution taken when introducing GABA to your diet. I know from my history in neurochemistry that introducing any neurotransmitter regularly will effect your brain’s normal production, a delicate balance that we often mess with but needs to be respected. She suggests that you consult a medical practitioner before incorporating GABA supplements, but also notes that you can pick it up at any drugstore (or on Amazon by following my links).

Do Stuff that Makes You Happy

A website devoted to helping you feel happy is The Happiness Project. Gretchen Rubin, the creator of the site and author of The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, has a blog of all sorts of suggestions to increase your happiness.

I’ve found that happy music, singing in the morning, and punctuating my day with Zumba youtube dance videos (dance along, it’s fun!) and jumping jacks, keeps my spirits up in the face of adversity.

Pay Attention

If Geraldine hadn’t asked me to start paying attention to my moods, I wouldn’t have noticed that the days when I walk in the morning I’m happier than the others, or that I am known to go from singing in the rain to bawling at a cell phone commercial within an hour. I always thought that my moods were in charge of me, and that is not an empowering way to view the world. Taking charge of my moods by noticing my triggers and what helps or doesn’t has been a powerful tool in feeling good.

I leave you with Levon Helm’s song, Feelin’ Good. A man who faced throat cancer, recovered, and has released three albums since, I find him a continual inspiration. Though this song may arguably be about using retail therapy to feel good, I like it and it makes me feel good. I would love to hear from you what songs make you feel good!

*It has to be noted that it was with a sorry heart that I didn’t continue seeing Christine Friel, LAc, at Double Happiness Health. The trek to Potrero Hill was more than my weakened state could take twice a month, but I recommend her very highly. For the east bay folks, I also highly recommend Geraldine. Message me for more info!


I had a strange request the other day.

You ever get those strange requests? It’s like 9 a.m., and you’re checking your email with your head weight on. You know, the head weight that sets your spine for the day, and has changed your whole outlook on life. The one that your chiropractor requires you to wear for twenty minutes at the beginning and end of every day. That one.

So, you’re checking your email, and a little flustered already thinking about the day ahead. You got this promotion you didn’t really want, though you wanted it anyway, and now it’s stressing you out. Go figure.

And there it is. A long email from someone you haven’t heard from in awhile. Someone who was once very dear to you and whose absence was very much a subject for this blog. Someone who has given you years of entertaining stories, and……

You knew he was engaged. He told you over Christmas, and you weren’t surprised. It was years ago, and you’re so over it.

But then, here he is, asking you to be his maid of honor in leiu of a best man. In lieu of a best man!

What are you going to talk about?

Recount the first dinner you had together where you thought you were going to go out, and instead he said, “Well. Do you want to have what I’m having for dinner, or do you want to have something else?”

To which you responded, “Um. What are you having for dinner?”

1 can of salmon, wild.
2 apples
1 orange
16 tablespoons of peanuts
32 ounces of water

No, no that story is not appropriate. Neither is the one where you told him that you thought he’d sold your relationship short after he’d broken up with you with the line, “If you were on my maintenance crew, I’d have fired you by now.”

Cause you were always fashionably late.

Still are. It’s one of those endearing qualities that makes you so reliably unreliable.

The upshot: Come August 18th, I’ll have fashioned a speech out of none of my favorite stories, and maybe some mutual friends share.

At least I have some time. I might join Toastmasters so that I might present my speech with the greatest of ease. Not that I really have trouble with public speaking as long as I have a drink in me.

Cheers to BOOZE!! Oh, I mean, my ex-bf and his new love.

Susie's Life Lessons December 5, 2005

1. Never try to brew kombucha in a pot that isn’t glass or stainless steel.

2. Sparkling white wine really does sneak up on you.

3. In order to timer record on a Toshiba SBV-393 VCR/DVD, you have to press the button on the remote labeled “Timer Record.”

4. Apple sauce collects mold remarkably quickly.

5. The new trend in frozen cookie dough doesn’t require you to shape the dough into balls yourself. Such a convenience, but at what cost?!!

Oh Those Cigarettes

My skin was itching, and I was tired of fighting it. So I dug through my purse to find the eighth of an inch of cigarette I’d hoped was still around. It had been a day or two since I’d indulged. Not long for some, but long for me, on this particular day, yesterday.

When I lit the match to the stub of a fag, the smell transported me back nine long years. It’s the difference between smoking and being a smoker, that smell. It was the beginning of a life-long love affair, and I smelled it yesterday.

I wonder if I’m alone in differentiating this odor. Perhaps it was the particular mix of suburban Northern California and newly lit charred tobacco. Perhaps I was just feeling nostalgic, but no, no, there was something different about this cigarette. Maybe I’d been carrying it around in my purse since high school, and Parliaments smelled differently then. But that’s not it, cause I smoked reds in high school, like the cool kids. No, it was the smell of that first drag, the particular odor of naivete. Something I’d lost, but somehow regained.

Today I wondered if a pack of smokes might make my day tolerable, and, should they, if they would again provide entrance to this strange time warp I’d stumbled on. I bolted out the office of the temp job formerly known as best temp job ever, to my local smoke shop, which I have, on occasion, utilized to buy the smokes that have proven in the past to make days tolerable.

And today? Well…

“A pack of Parliament Lights please” as I dig around my purse for quarters, hoping to put together the requisite $4.48.

“Are you 18?”

“Yes. I have an I.D.” oooh, but he doesn’t want to see my I.D. The question, apparently, was not out of concern for his tobacco license.

“Are you single?”

“Yes.” What was that?! Don’t tell stinky old nasty man the truth, stupid girl.

“You are?!” Lie now?! I already dug my grave. Let’s lie in it.


“Can I ask you out on a date?” Let’s see. You’re at least fifty, and you work at a convenience store. Perhaps you own the convenience store, but…

“Um..not this week. I’m having a hard week.”


“Oh…family shit.” The short answer. I mean, really, there are tears in my eyes. Do I need to explain myself?!

He mumbled something I didn’t understand along the lines of helping me through it. I must have looked skeptical. “Okay. Well, I’ll see you next week, then.”

And now, yet another reason to quit smoking. Or at least to avoid that particular market. I realize that I crossed a line. Now I’m old enough that old guys will hit on me too. And, in case you’re wondering, the smokes taste like I’m a smoker, cause I am, and, no, my day is not yet tolerable.