Living Inside Zigzags

Liz's more or less public musings

How would Jessica Rabbit draw herself?

Jessica Rabbit famously said, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. While I don’t know how Jessica Rabbit would draw herself, it’s been a quote that’s stuck in my head lately, mainly because it captures what it can feel like to be a non-white person in America sometimes. Specifically, my own experience as a visibly brown lady means I’ve got a love-hate relationship with my skin, because I feel like I have to explain like Jessica Rabbit, that I’m not a bad person.

Part of what makes stereotypes so difficult to fight against is that some of them will ring true if you grow up in that culture. To the extent that I want to discuss it, it’s that I always felt like it didn’t fit me, because I wanted to assimilate and blend in when I was younger. It’s not something I’m proud of today, but growing up Latina in the ’90s meant that to the extent I could, I wanted to hide everything about me that I see now and appreciate as part of the physical body I am grateful to be in today. I knew I’d never get into college if I accepted that all society wanted of me was to be birthing children at the age of 16. I recall my doctor telling me at 20, that I better get on with having kids if I wanted to keep up with my family members. I don’t think that she’d have said something like that to me if I was from any other race but one which happens to have a reputation for its fecundity.

I imagine every single person alive comes from a culture that has certain ingrained ideas about other cultures. I know that Latinos are known for being the type to be popping kids out like rabbits, and the only reason I feel ok saying that is I happen to be Latina, and one who’s tired of having to explain to America why I would like to be seen as just an American, thanks. I can’t, though, because folks will still ask, “But where’s your family originally from?” and having to explain, yet again, how I’m a native Californian, and when pressed further about it, that simply meant “Mexico” but also so much more than that because once upon a time, California was Mexico, and this tends to shock those who aren’t native Californians. And then I have to put up with being told something along the lines that I’m one of the “good ones” because I made it out of the barrio. Every time it gets brought up, though, it pains me because it makes me have to stroll back down memory lane, and I’d rather just be seen as the person I am in my eyes, before I thought I had to prove myself instead of just be myself.

Even though I can’t escape what I look like to others, I’m hoping that they see me for the qualities that matter: my character, my personality, my intellect. It’s hard to know whether I’ve accomplished that goal, but I feel like it’s worth it to try to convey that who I am is more than what’s seen. Artists like Prince are so inspiring, because they give the hope to the rest of us that it’s possible to be appreciated for who we are on the inside, even when it feels like we cannot escape that our reality is shaped by our physical embodiment.

Another April…

This new April doesn’t feel that much different, but it is, because I’m finally taking my last set of law school exams, ever. That’s a really good feeling, but it is also frightening to know that the California bar is the next hurdle to tackle. I’m also noticing that it’s really going to be a crazy effort to do well, because I don’t think anyone outside the legal field bubble who is in it really has a sense of what it’s like to undergo this process.

It’s the sort of process that I know I’ll only get through with God’s help, in addition to my own hard work. If you can, any prayers, good energy, or positive vibes you want to send my way, I’ll appreciate it.


I don’t know the source of the image above, a friend of mine shared it on social media and I figure if it’s on the internet, then odds are good I can use it, since the right-holder should be making it clear they need attribution. Also, there’s good old fair use. It’s educational:)

Cooking During Lent

Growing up, my parents would always be excited to discover another fast and tasty meat-free meal that would feed the whole family for several days. My brother and I were very active kids, too.  This meant we were always wolfing down our meals and likely wanting seconds, too.

Both my Mom and Dad worked outside the home (sort of a necessity in the Bay Area, cost of living has never been affordable for those who aren’t making upper-middle class salaries) so meals that would become family staples for Lent had to be kind on the wallet, easy for either parent to make, and kid-friendly. Sounds like a lot to ask for, but we soon realized that eggs and cheese, with a vegetable or two would be a hit.

When I discovered that the husband and I had been blessed with a 3.5 Quart Slow Cooker as a wedding gift, I was so excited! We had never had one growing up, but when I would visit friends whose parents had slow cookers, I remembered how it seemed to make the adult responsible for cooking meals glad to have it. I thought that if enough grown-ups in my life thought it was a good product because it made their lives easier, when I’d be ready to start being an adult I should get one, too.

I’d seen and saved a ton of slow cooker recipes I’d wanted to try if I ever got one, and it was a struggle to decide which one to try first, but ultimately, since it’s Lent, and I don’t eat meat on Fridays (to learn more about why Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays, click here) I thought I should try making a quiche, since they follow the tried-and-true family secret cooking formula: eggs + cheese + vegetable(s) = delicious.

Quiches always seemed to be the sort of dish that while tasty for breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner (anytime, really, I love quiches) they would be easy to get wrong. In other words, the sort of food only an expert chef should attempt to make. I remembered I’d seen slow cooker quiche recipes, and decided to try one. I was impressed by how easy to adapt the recipe I used was for my slow cooker’s size, and produced amazing results!


Spinach & Cheese Quiche Slow Cooker Recipe:

Ingredients: (Note: for a 3.5 quart size slow cooker)

  • 6 eggs
  • 1.5 cups of milk (your choice, I use 1% skim milk)
  • 1.5 cups fresh spinach (dice and place on paper towel to dry ahead of time, if possible)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (I use Kraft)
  • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (it can be similar to Feta cheese, and it’s what we had on hand)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Cheddar or shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced (I like onion, you can use onion powder if you don’t like onion texture)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Butter/oil (to grease the bottom of the slow cooker)
  • Optional seasonings: the husband and I love garlic and prefer our meals to have a kick, so I threw in a dash of garlic powder and a sprinkling of Cayenne pepper for some spiciness.

Recipe: Makes enough for 2 to have leftovers for a few days:)

  1. Grease slow cooker’s crock pot bottom and edges. I usually use butter or canola oil, but use something so it’s easier to clean up your cooker afterwards:)
  2. Whisk together the eggs and milk.
  3. Mix in the salt, spinach, onion, Cotija cheese and Parmesan cheese. Once fully mixed in, add additional seasonings.
  4. Pour mixture into the greased slow cooker, and sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and cover with lid. It’ll look like the image below (minus the lid):IMG_20160312_150330
  5. Cook on slow for 7-8 hours. It’ll look like this when it’s done:IMG_20160312_150931

Original Spinach and Feta Cheese recipe can be found by clicking here.

What slow cooker recipe should I try next?

Of Cactus Soup and the Clintons

It’s the middle of February, and I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to make sense of my life and where time goes. It feels like I ought to be carrying on as if nothing of importance is happening in my life, because a wedding is just that, a wedding. It’s not important professionally or anything, I’ll still be me after it, right?

That’s the lurch that modern-day feminism has left me in, what with our former Secretary of State lobbing statements against women for having voting opinions that may differ from her own views. My own two cents regarding Hillary run along these lines. It’s why I’ve been pitching to anyone who will listen that Bernie Sanders really should have a “Bernies for Bernie” ad campaign, everyone loves puppies and I’d sure vote for any Presidential candidate that embraced puppies as the pivotal issue to capture the millennial vote.

On a more serious note, the real reason why I’m not really that enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton is two-fold. The first reason is that Bill Clinton was already President, and I feel  like America has had all it can handle of Clintons in the White House. Hillary’s had a great career in politics, but that doesn’t mean I think she ought to be President.

The other reason is that  I was a child during Bill’s Presidency, and Hillary was First Lady at the time, and I recall the scandal of Bill’s affair. She stayed with him, and their marriage is their business, but I just hated that politics meant that the leader of America was the type of man who would stray from his wife. As a child, I naively believed love and marriage meant infidelity would never touch a couple who seemed to have it all. It sucks, but a part of me doesn’t want to see Bill at Hillary’s side in the Oval Office, because after 8 years of seeing President Obama and Michelle be as in love as they were when he entered office, and zero scandals, I feel like that ought to be a standard the American public should maintain.

It doesn’t seem too difficult to expect our nation’s leaders to keep their hands to themselves.

That’s my two cents on it. We’re in America, and I’ve got a Constitutional right to free speech.

As promised, below follows a soup I made up earlier this week. It’s cold/flu season, I was hit by some random bug, and felt the need for both cactus and soup. Some culinary wizarding and disease-addled inspiration, and poof something resembling soup with cactus bits in it appeared, and for lack of any better name, I coined it Cactus Soup. Enjoy!

Cactus Soup Recipe:


  • 1-2 cactus leaves, or about 1/2 bag cut cactus (can be found at local grocery stores like Chavez in the Bay Area)
  • 1-1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup of orzo, or any rice
  • 2 eggs
  • salt/pepper/seasoning to taste

1. Cut all vegetables (onion, garlic, cactus if bought whole leaves) into uniform pieces. I prefer squares, but it’s up to you.
2. Add cut cactus, onion, and garlic to a pot with 1/2 cup of chicken stock, and if not fully covered, add enough water to barely cover the cactus. Bring to a boil until cactus is cooked, stirring occasionally, takes about 5-10 minutes. (You can tell cactus is cooked because it’s changed green coloration, from the vibrant fresh cut green in photo 1 above, to the mellower green in photo 1 where there is an image of cactus in the spoon).
3. Strain the cactus, keep the fluid it cooked in because you’ll use it to cook the rice. Set aside strained cactus while cooking the orzo or rice. Add 1/3 cup of orzo/rice to the cactus-chicken broth, cook according to its cooking time (usually on the package somewhere).
4. As broth simmers down, add more chicken stock, keeping temperature at a simmer.
5. Whisk the 2 eggs together, then whisk in 2 spoonfuls of the cooked rice and soup into the container the eggs were whisked in. Slowly pour egg mixture into the simmering soup, stir the soup as it pours in.
6. Give the egg 1-2 minutes to cook, then add in the cactus that was set aside earlier. Season to taste!

The Human Animal

I just finished reading Animals in Translation. It’s an informative and insightful view into how the animals in our lives may be thinking, and how to better address their needs. The focus is on livestock, but the author’s personal experience with her own pet animals poses some neat questions about our relationships with our companion animals. There’s some science in there, but I don’t know why I feel like I have to post that as a disclaimer?

Science is fun!

A long time ago, I made the decision to switch college majors from biology to political science and philosophy, not because I didn’t like science but because science and engineering degrees usually have courses taught where students are graded on a curve. As a poor brown girl whose scholarships at an expensive private school was based on her keeping a high GPA, and whose first semester put her dangerously close to losing said scholarship, it made sense to switch to a major with less curved grading.

Curved grading is scary. Which is something that gets overlooked in the discussion regarding how and why women, especially women of color, don’t pursue careers in tech and engineering. High school aged me spent a lot of time stressed out because I knew that my family didn’t have the wherewithal to afford the price-tags on most college campuses. The first time I had to deal with reading through an acceptance letter that included my proposed financial aid package, I cried.

Not tears of joy, but the awful hot tears of disappointment, because you’ve spent your whole life hearing your parents push you to go to college but know behind closed doors they worry about how they’ll ever afford it, and no matter how hard you pray several hundred thousand dollars just aren’t going to miraculously drop from the sky. So when a school does offer you a full tuition package, you take it without really reading the fine print (believe you me I read it all the time now).

That was my reality, and while I probably could have figured out a way to have a better GPA in the sciences, I was too scared to risk losing my scholarship since without a way to pay for the education, I would have had to drop out or be forever in debt. Not a fun way to live, and of friends I’ve made throughout the years, the ones that were able to stick through the sciences and engineering were the sort of folks who didn’t have to worry about paying their way through college, too.

I’m not sure what a solution would be to encourage women to stay in the sciences, to encourage women to commit to careers in engineering. There’s something about conservative fields and curved grading, the justification is that the schools are separating the wheat from the chaff and employers get their pick of the top notch students, and somewhere in there is baked in the idea that everyone learns in the same manner. Which science has shown us isn’t true.

Maybe a solution would be for more employers to invest in their employees’ education? I know I’d be happy to stay with any employer that paid either for me to get a science/engineering degree!

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