Simplicity to be… Prepared???

To the average person, simplifying your possessions seems like it would be counterproductive in being prepared. If you’re getting rid of those items intended for some obscure purpose, how could you possibly be prepared for everything? Well first, I think that minimalists and frugal people can be much more resourceful than most. They are able to find a single item to fulfill multiple uses. Second, they are more prepared to cope when life throws them something unexpected.

Let me explain.

Tristan’s parents live in your stereotypical two story suburban house with a cluttered garage, filled to the brim with stuff. His mother is a firecracker, I love her to death. Although she is approaching retirement age, she has just earned another credential in special education and shows no signs of retiring. Ever. She loves her job, and she loves to take on projects (of late they have revolved around redecorating the house). Recently, she fractured her back in a horseback riding accident. His father is not in great health. He is not able to help around the house much, and his health requires constant care. Around the same time as his mom hurt her back, his dad tripped on a garden hose and broke his rib.

With the double onset of these injuries, the house became less of a sanctuary and more of a source of stress. Neither of them could clean, sort, organize, or take care of the garden. They are embracing the idea of simplifying and decluttering, and all of the benefits of  owning fewer possessions. After witnessing the burden that possessions can place on people, we are now more determined than ever to live simply so that if something unexpected happens, we have less stuff to worry about!

Pop-Up Wedding

So eloping has ALWAYS been on the table for Tristan and me. He is uncomfortable being the center of attention, and feels like we’ll be stuck “guilt inviting” a bunch of people that, in his mind, have no business being a part of such an intimate commitment to each other. I could do without the expense/stress/social pressure of wedding planning and would love an intimate little ceremony with just us and our immediate family. Also I would love to give the WIC a fat middle finger.

Anyways, that’s why this Runaway Pop-Up Wedding right in the heart of San Diego would be so awesome! Sadly the date is creeping up pretty freaking fast. Maybe they’ll do a Fall event?

Vacation: Going with the Flow

Sorry about the lack of post yesterday. It was the last day of my long weekend in Santa Barbara. The trip was definitely an exercise in going with the flow and a demonstration of best laid plans going awry.

The original plan was to drive up Friday night, crash at my friend’s place, go camping Saturday night, and spend Sunday night at a hotel, returning Monday.

Well the first plan change came after work Friday. Although I only work 15 minutes from my apartment, a series of unfortunate accidents (two. two car accidents) strategically placed on the drive home turned the commute into [Google Maps estimated] about an hour. My carpool decided that the two breweries also strategically placed on the drive home were a better place to spend our time than the car. So we didn’t make it home until 8 pm at which point I was substantially inebriated.

So we decided to leave Saturday around noon. Since LA sucks, we  didn’t get to my friend’s until 5:30 pm. At this point it was a bit too late to head out camping so we opted to spend then night then hike the next day. Sunday we went on a “hike.” My friend and his roommate (engineering graduate students, who are notoriously poor communicators) took us on this “hike” which turned out to be “summiting a 3258′ mountain with 500 mL of water.” The views were incredible and at the peak we were actually above the clouds. So we ended up being too tired to even find a hotel and ended up spending the night at my friend’s once again.

Overall, a great trip. Definitely not what I had planned, but hey, what in life goes exactly according to plan?


Photos from our hike:


Inside the clouds


Our shadows on the top of the clouds. The sunshine was behind us and made a rainbow around our shadow.


Top of the clouds!


Watching the clouds roll away. We climbed up the ridge to get to the top.



Views along the way:

IMG_0501[1] IMG_0508[1]IMG_0505[1] IMG_0510[1]

This is not my passion

If you didn’t know already, I work as a quality control analyst at a pharmaceutical company. When I was earning my chemistry degree, I knew I never wanted to work in industry. Specifically, I knew I never wanted to work in pharmaceuticals. More specifically I never wanted to work in quality control. And yet somehow I ended up here.

That somehow was this: as an undergrad in 2009, the ice cream shop I was working at went out of business. Well being a poor college student trying to put myself through school, I needed something. My professor sent my resume to this pharmaceutical company that was seeking interns. I got the internship, and worked 10-12 hours during the week and 40 hours during holiday breaks. After I graduated I had $200 to my name and $30K in student loan debt and I was starting graduate school. So I continued at the company as an hourly part-time employee while trying to balance graduate classes.

A month in, I dropped out of grad school. I was pursuing a 1-year intensive teaching credential/M.Ed. program that was going to require me to commit my daytime hours to student teaching, a schedule conflict with my paid employment. I needed money. I had no other way to make rent. And quite frankly I was burnt out on school. As an undergrad I had forfeited all of my breaks, Spring Break, Summer Break, Christmas Break, everything to research and internships in order to make enough money to pay for rent and gas and to get some experience. I needed a break from having every minute of my day dedicated to working and studying.

So my company offered me a full-time job. Benefits, 401K, the whole deal. For a while it was great. I had enough money to make all of those purchases I had put off. A car to replace my gas guzzling monster that was on its last leg. An iPod. A haircut. A full tank of gas. Food that wasn’t from a can. My body healed. I dropped 15 lbs. I cut out coffee and energy drinks. I reduced my drinking by 80%. I got massages twice a month to finally work out all of those knots I had acquired over four years of tediously maintaining school/work/life balance. I started taking yoga classes once a week. My head cleared, and my life slowed waaaaay down.

And then after a year things weren’t so shiny. Office politics became more visible. All of the other departments hired while we downsized. The expansion of the rest of the company increased our workloads. And my projects became tedious. Every misstep, every failure meant a pile of paperwork. If anyone has worked in quality, you know it’s a bureaucratic nightmare. Dozens of volumetric flasks (pictured above) kept me company. My desire to teach resurfaced. I found it harder to relate to my peers in industry when my heart was in academia.

So in 3 months and 2 days, I’m leaving my job. Tristan and I are going to Idaho for a week to enjoy the company of family, friends, and the Sawtooth Mountains. And then I am going to graduate school.