Almonds in the Desert

August 2nd, 2015   This is the principle reason why California has a water shortage: agriculture where it shouldn't be. One side of the freeway is the natural, unirrigated terrain; the other side is irrigated almonds. We should never be growing luxury crops in desert climates. We're in the San Joaquin Valley. There's no natural … Continue reading Almonds in the Desert

Where in the world is…Marianne?

I fell off the face of last Spring, the result of committing myself to completing my dissertation, teaching 5 classes, parenting, a few health issues that needed to be taken care of, and the coming summer, which was filled with lots of camping and traveling with my family. We spent nearly a month trekking … Continue reading Where in the world is…Marianne?


Late December 2006 This morning, while sitting at one of the tables by the pool visiting with a resident of the complex, I noticed Palm fronds falling from the canopy of green above me. I followed the thwup, thwup, thwup? of a heavy tool beating in the air to the cascade of fronds falling to … Continue reading Carlos

Almond Harvest in the Valley

The author worked as an EMT and paramedic in northern California from 1993-1997. The call came just after 5:30 on a cold Autumn morning. A possible broken leg woke my partner, Russ, and I from broken sleep. As I stumbled to my ambulance, I rubbed sleep from my eyes and wrapped my jacket tightly around … Continue reading Almond Harvest in the Valley

When the Red Ink Stops Flowing

A few weeks ago, I lamented that academia has turned out not to be what I expected. Since I posted that blog, many of my colleagues have approached me about their own experiences in academia, I've been inundated with emails from folks sending stories similar to the one I wrote about, and even sat down … Continue reading When the Red Ink Stops Flowing

The Social Construction of Offensive Words

Warning: The post you are about to read is about offensive words. It seeks to throw a spotlight on the social construction of offensive language, and illustrate how society's interpretation of those words gives them power. In the course of this essay, some words you may find offensive may be used. And finally, any link … Continue reading The Social Construction of Offensive Words

The House on the Hill

This morning, I walked to the beach before sunrise. Its only 4 or 5 minutes from the 3-story condo complex we are staying at, and still within the gated community of Cabo Bello, so I felt safe enough to leave my husband sleeping in the pre-dawn darkness, leave a note on the kitchen counter, At … Continue reading The House on the Hill

The Injustice of Justice: Jury Duty in America

Our legal system in the United States is a wondrous thing. If you are arrested and charged with a crime, you have the option to a jury trial. Theoretically, we pick a representative sample of 12 of your peers to sit in judgment of you. Except if you are already a felon, or disabled, work … Continue reading The Injustice of Justice: Jury Duty in America

Zona Residencia

We rented a car at the airport and have been using it to explore the city and surrounding areas, and each day that we have driven outside of the area of our condo complex, I have become overwhelmed, feeling hypocritical and guilty. One of the residents in our condo complex mentioned to me that there … Continue reading Zona Residencia

The Best Carnitas Ever

The Best Carnitas Ever was originally published at  We are in search of authentic? Mexican cuisine without the upset digestive track that we have been warned of multiple times before arriving in Cabo. The last few evenings, we grilled steak and giant red and yellow bell peppers on the oversized grill by the pool; the … Continue reading The Best Carnitas Ever

The Ultimate Privilege

My mother would have called me a picky eater, if the term had been popular when I was a kid in the early 1980s; instead, people often said I was spoiled. I turned my nose up to onions, didn't care for orange juice, and had a physical aversion to ground meat (that was my mother's … Continue reading The Ultimate Privilege

Sweet Salvation

Sweet Salvation was originally published at  December 2006, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico There are three facts that exist on the southern tip of Baja Mexico: 1) this is a desert, 2) until very recently, even though the entire area is surrounded by ocean, there was very little drinking water here, and 3) it is … Continue reading Sweet Salvation