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Personal Essays

A week in San Diego without a phone

November 6, 2019 |


I never take my phone out on the water in Mission Bay, where I go to stand-up paddle board a couple of times a week. Sometimes I wish … Read More

Not that horrible woman from the Reader!

May 13, 2015 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader May 13, 2015.)

When I open the door to Room 315, I receive a standing ovation from kids I’ve never met before. They stand around clusters of desks, … Read More

The Pink Wrap Dress That Changed My Life

November 19, 2013 |

(Originally published in Elle magazine, October 2013.)


Pink, fitted, and four times as expensive as any item I’d ever bought, the Monah Li dress was everything my mother had raised me to resist.

I had to have it.

Although … Read More

What am I doing in Eastlake?

July 31, 2013 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader, July 31, 2013.)


The first day I took my daughter to her new school, I questioned whether moving to Eastlake was the right move for our family. I had stopped by … Read More

I could lose you forever.

January 24, 2013 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader May 6, 2015.)

When I am an old woman who repeats the same stories over and over again, the one I will tell of my mother will not be about … Read More

Afro Puffs

April 4, 2012 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader July 11, 2012.)

My three-year-old daughter has a beautiful Afro. It’s big and round (unless she’s leaned back in her car seat and flattened it), and most importantly, she loves it. After … Read More

The City Was Offering Up to $70,000 at 0% Interest

March 21, 2012 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader March 21, 2012.)

On October 12, 2011, my husband and I signed two hours’ worth of paperwork and forked over a $2450 earnest-money deposit on a four-bedroom, four-bath townhome in Chula Vista.

Read More

I Never Thought I’d Become a Welfare Queen

January 6, 2010 |

(Originally published in the San Diego Reader January 6, 2010.)

Poverty does not become me. I’m sure it doesn’t become anyone, but it really doesn’t become me. I was supposed to be somebody by now, and by that I … Read More