March 30th – “Plan a camping trip.”


Message sent! All that’s left to do is wait and see if anyone is interested.

If no one wants to go, great hiking is only a 20 minute drive north, south, east, or west for me. The best part about living in wine country is quick access to acres and acres of green space. There are so many parks here that I can enjoy without having to plan a big trip. I haven’t hiked since last summer. Maybe I’ll go this weekend and see some wild turkeys!

Thanks for the reminder, horoscope!

March 28th – “Someone is creeping up into your territory — decide now how you want to defend it.”

There were a lot of creatures creeping into my territory today.


In the garden, I was greeted by a little mud colored frog living in some plastic pots that were still muddy from rain. He was the size of a quarter and very cute. I put him in the shade and he hopped out of the pot when I wasn’t looking.


It was not until an hour later after I was done potting the fig and date plants that sprouted into my garden that I noticed the rhubarb. They were doing really well from the excess rain we had over the last few months. The rhubarb had strong stems and plenty of big leaves.


The only thing that didn’t look so good were little holes in the leaves. I knew who the culprit was.


No, it wasn’t this guy.


These shiny pretty beetles have been snacking on my rhubarb plants.


They like eating the leaves and don’t go for the stalks. I don’t mind sharing the leaves with them (because leaves are poisonous to humans and we can only eat the stalk), but the rhubarb will die if it isn’t able to absorb sun from the leaves. The first year the bugs came, they ate most of the leaves, severely weakening the plants. I don’t want that to happen again, so I need to defend my territory.

I can either kill the green beetles with my fingers or spray some neem oil on the leaves. There’s still plenty of neem oil left from last year, so I’ll save the beetle squishing for another day.

March 27th – “Making money is both an art and a science, and you have enough creativity and intellect to make it work. You just can’t seem to bring the two together. Don’t give up because you’ll receive some divine inspiration just in the nick of time.”

And “Financially, you could be doing a little better.”

Okay, horoscopes. I get the picture. You want me to make more money, even if I don’t want to. Well, it’s not that I don’t want to. I just don’t want to increase my income at the expense of my current stress-free lifestyle. What are you trying to do to me?!

I suppose I should be grateful, instead of annoyed about the situation. If divine inspiration is going to help me make money, so be it!

Going along with things and letting divine inspiration guide me seems to be the theme in my life right now. My tarot reader told me to go with the flow. A few months ago, she also said that I don’t have to worry about my writing projects too much. If I put in the hours, even if it means staring at a blank page for hours (oh, I have so many years of experience doing that), I will get some divine inspiration!

All signs point towards material and non-material wealth for me. Is that what it all means?

I really should have quit reading while I was ahead.

Another prediction warned me that, “Symbols are suddenly popping up all over the place, but not all have meaning.”

Horoscope, stop messing me and give me a straight answer!

March 26th – “Feel like you’re banging your head against a wall with someone? Give up, move on.”

Yes, I do. I’ve told myself that I’ve given up on my friend by keeping my mouth shut when it comes to his love life, but I really haven’t. I may not have been saying anything to him, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have strong opinions. I have been HOPING that he will come around and see what he’s doing to himself. Today I’m officially giving up. There’s no more hoping on my part. If I can’t help him become stronger, I have to just let him be!

On one of the days when I was relating too much to my friend’s problems, my partner wisely counseled, “Maybe there’s a lesson your friend needs to learn and he needs to go through this experience.”

I argued, “But they are BOTH suffering so much. He’s punishing himself AND her for something that has nothing to do with their relationship. It seems like his partner thinks that it’s what long term relationships should be. I hate seeing them both suffer like this. It’s awful!”

He replied, “Well, maybe they both have something to learn from this.”

“You have a point,” I paused because he was right. Then I continued, “The world can have cruel ways to lead us to where we need to go.”

It’s been months since I’ve had this conversation with my partner. I’ve always understood this intellectually, but haven’t processed it emotionally. Time to let this one go!

I doubt this will be the last time it will come up. The next time “hope” rear’s its ugly head, I’ll tell it to, “GO AWAY! I’m moving on!”

March 26th – “Oscar Wilde said the only way to get rid of temptation was to yield to it, and right now, the stars fully second that motion.”

Eggs Benedict on potato cakes is my favorite weekend breakfast dish. We’ve been eating them for a few years now at a local brunch place.

I decided to recreate this meal at home today. It’s raining, so there’s no jogging . Yesterday, I went for an 8.5 mile jog (the farthest I’ve gone in 10 years), so it was a good time to make a fancy breakfast. This recipe has a bunch of steps and does take longer than my usual 15 minutes.  I was so eager to eat my breakfast that I forgot the avocado on top! If you’re willing to put in a little more effort, it’s worth the time.


Eggs Benedict with Potato Cakes

4 poached eggs

4 slices of tomato

1/3 bunch cooked spinach

hollandaise sauce *instructions below

1 avocado

4 potato cakes *instructions below


  1. Make poached eggs:
    1. bring a pot of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to boil.
    2. Crack egg into bowl, then drop the egg into the water.
    3. Take out after 3 minutes with a slotted spoon and dry on towel.
  2. While the egg is drying, layer plate with potato cake, tomato and spinach.
  3. Add poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and top with avocado slices.

It might look a little sloppy like my first attempt  below (where I even burned the potato cakes), but who cares?!


Potato Cakes

2 large potatoes, shredded

¼ diced yellow onion (optional)

2 egg whites (optional, I uses this because it was leftover from the hollandaise sauce)

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peel potatoes, then grate them. Let set for 10 minutes. Then rinse to get all the starch and brownness out. Put them on a towel and pat dry.
  2. Throw the potatoes into the bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Heat a large skillet and put large spoonfuls of the mix on the pan (about the size of an English muffin). I made 6 cakes with mine. Brown on one side, then flip to brown other side. It takes about 10-15 minutes to fully cook the potatoes.


Hollandaise Sauce

2 egg yolks

½ tablespoon lemon

¼ cup butter, melted

Salt to tastes

  1. Put egg yolks and lemon into blender and mix for about 2 minutes
  2. Microwave butter until it is fully melted and hot. Make sure the butter is hot so it can cook the egg yolks.
  3. Continue blending eggs yolks and slowly add melted butter. Add salt.


March 24th – “It’s perfectly acceptable to rely on your network of friends and associates to connect you with the career opportunities you seek. But they will only send you down the same paths you’ve already been on.”

I laughed out loud when I read the horoscope this morning because it’s true!

A friend sent me the same job posting TWICE in the past few months for a political pop culture website. I was going to tell her this the next time I saw her so we could have a laugh about it or complain about how unrealistic employers expectations are, but today was the perfect opportunity. I had already scoped out this organization before and decided not to apply for any positions for several reasons:

  1. It requires proofreading which I hate.
  2. It’s demanding.
  3. The pay is REALLY crappy. I make about the same amount working part-time for what they’re offering for full-time work! Maybe these organizations are looking to fill their jobs with students/retired folk/the independently wealthy? I’m none of those.

I’m sure that she didn’t see the salaries before she sent the postings to me. I don’t think she wants me to work below the poverty line. Otherwise, I will be freeloading off of her for a long time! I’m already cheap, so I’ll be very annoying if I become even more frugal. Just this week, I gave myself a haircut instead of paying to get it done. I think it looks great, but my friend may think differently!

It’s a real shame that show “Extreme Cheapskates” is cancelled. There was a lady who ate cat food tuna instead of regular tuna just to save 30 cents. This lady was a millionaire, which made it even weirder! That could be me. I can see it now!

Okay, so I’m not going to live out that fantasy in this lifetime. My horoscope also gave me this suggestion:

Welcome advice on the 23rd and 24th. Yes, even unsolicited suggestions. True leaders recognize the value of differing opinions. Don’t follow blindly, but do think about the information.

If you have any advice about anything, including job offers, please do send it my way. I’m welcoming all of it today. I may not act on it, but it could give me some new ideas!

March 23rd – “A newly restricted budget may have you thinking differently [about how you cook].”

Last weekend, I went to see my tarot reader. She gave me a short look ahead at my next three months:

April – Focus on personal finances

May – Focus on taking care of myself because I’ll feel worn out and tired

June – Focus on completing the special project I’m working on

April is coming up fast, so I need to be conscious about my finances now. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have no budget. That doesn’t mean that I’m rich, have unlimited funds, or irresponsible about money. No, I just don’t spend a lot and don’t care to buy crap I don’t really want or need. With so much “good” advertising around now, it can be so hard to make that distinction! My birth chart even confirmed this and said that I’m responsible with money and good at saving. That doesn’t mean that there’s no room for improvement.

I have a friend who eats very healthy and modified her diet recently to be a little healthier. She feels better than ever! My financial challenge is just like that. I have healthy spending habits, but could do a little more to make it better.

My biggest expenses are rent, commuting, car payments, and food. I don’t want to work more, so the only way to increase my income is to cut my expenses. I can’t do much about the first three things, so I’ll work on my grocery budget.

I don’t go out to eat often and LOVE cooking. If I could, I would make everything from scratch. Yes, I totally want to churn my own butter! I’ll try cheesemaking first. If it weren’t so expensive, I would have already done it. It’s very satisfying to eat something that I’ve made. These experiments don’t always turn out well, but I still like trying. Remember, you haven’t failed yet until you stop trying!

For the upcoming month, I’ll stop purchasing any new spices, grains, or special ingredients. There are plenty of all of these things fully stocked in my pantry. In grains alone I have 8 varieties (quinoa, barley, brown rice, black rice, basmati rice, sushi rice, wheat berries, rye berries) and have even more pasta,  beans, and flour. I don’t need to add anything else to it. I bet I could survive on the dry goods I have stored in my house for months!

My horoscope also wisely advises me to, “Be shrewd with the cheese and don’t go crazy with the unsalted butter. The last thing you want to be stingy with, however, is fruit.” Oh, how I love cheese and butter! But I love fruit more!

I’m ready for you, April!

March 22nd – “All your hard work will pay off eventually, and today you get a glimpse of the reward!”

Since visiting Italy, I have had the desire to make pistachio everything! There are so many good dessert recipes out there, so I thought I would start with the easy stuff first.


Pistachio gelato is simple to make, but there are a few more steps to it than the regular ice cream recipe. It’s a custard-y ice cream with egg yolks, so it requires cooking the ingredients before using the ice cream maker. I cooked the mixture last night and churned the batch this morning.



This was a wonderful reward to have before my jog today. Usually, I wait until after, but who can resist freshly made ice cream?!


Pistachio Gelato Recipe

¾ cup whole or ground pistachios

½ cup maple syrup

½ tsp almond extract

2 cups whole milk

5 large egg yolks

¼ cup cream (optional)


  1. If pistachios are whole, process them in a grinder or food processor until fine.
  2. Bring to boil milk and ¼ cup maple syrup. Turn off immediately.
  3. Whisk egg yolks with almond extract and ¼ cup maple syrup
  4. Slowly add the milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, then put it back into pot.
  5. On low heat, cook the mixture for 8 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t boil.
  6. Then it rest until it reaches almost room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  7. Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker for 10 to 20 minutes (mine only took 10!). If the gelato is thick, add more cream. I only had 2% milk, so I thought it needed some cream.

March 21st – “A new beginning has turned down a familiar path, but surprises are still in store.”

The beauty of life is that it is ever changing. No matter how we may want things to stay the same, people grow old, sunny days turn into cold nights, and what was once new and exciting becomes ordinary and dull.

Last week, I said to a friend that, “Sometimes it feels like I’m going in circles. I came back, not once, but twice to the same job I had 16 years ago!”  I know that I’m not stuck in the same situation.  I’m not the same person I was 16 years ago living paycheck to paycheck trying to make rent. I’m not that miserable soul 6 years ago stubbornly trying to finish my dissertation. So much has happened throughout those years that it would be impossible for me to in the same place.

The new beginning I have chosen for myself involves creative writing. I’m not naturally a good writer. I never properly learned grammar in school and can’t proofread well if my life depended on it.

What I do have is something to say and I’m employing writing as my medium. It surprised me that I would want to do creative writing at this point in life because I had written if off for so many years in favor of more analytical work.

While I working on my story today, it led me down a familiar path of what it felt like to write creatively. It’s been over a decade since I last worked on a significant creative writing project. I’ve been improving my painting and cooking skills this past year, but that kind of creative process doesn’t offer me the same kind of joy that writing does.  Perhaps it’s because I can’t hide my politics behind chocolate cake and sweet kitten faces. No, creative writing seems to bring all of my opinions to the surface. 

I had already outlined ideas for plots for each chapter, but found my mind taking me somewhere else. I didn’t know what would happen next until the words came together. It’s kind of weird, but in a good way. I had no idea that I could surprise myself!

I can’t wait to see where my imagination takes me tomorrow!

March 21st – “A new idea is just a hop, skip and a jump from very sweet reality.”

It’s another work at home day, so I get to cook. I’ve been wanting to try this octopus salad recipe from Chef Kreso for a while and today was my chance. I’ve eaten octopus many times and have never made it myself.

As usual, I didn’t have some of the ingredients. =)


This is what I ended up with.

Octopus Salad

6 baby octopus

1 tomato, diced

olive oil

freshly squeezed lemon juice

minced garlic

½ red onion, diced

salt and pepper


I added the octopus mix to a simple salad of:


Mixed greens

Garbanzo beans

Marinated artichokes




  1. Bring water (with salt) to boil. Add octopus and cook for about 2 to 4 minutes. Poke it with a fork to make sure it’s cooked. Take out immediately and rinse with cold water. This will stop it from cooking further into a rubbery mess.
  2. Dice octopus and mix with tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, onion, and salt and pepper.
  3. Add to salad. No salad dressing required!


More cooking to follow tomororw!