Photo Dump. 

Hello Loves! 

I’ve been away from the blog for awhile. As many of you already know, my personal life has been in upheaval since mid-February, and I’m still wading through the journey. There are challenges and pain, and lessons and joy. It’s an experience. 

This post is going to be a mix of a bunch of pictures and their descriptions, and random updates and thoughts. Above is a gray day on West Cliff. The wildflower game in Santa Cruz County is en pointe this year, thanks to five weeks of rain.  

Above is a view from San Gregorio Beach, about 45 minutes up the coast from Santa Cruz. I met some friends from a Buddhist-leaning weekly group that I attend there to hike and meditate by the ocean. 

Above is a pic of the harbor that I snapped on a four-mile walk that I took along the coast from my apartment to a friend’s house. My office was closed on 3/31 for Cesar Chavez Day, which was awesome because three-day weekends are my jam. A coworker-friend invited a few of us over for lunch and it was SO beautiful out that I decided to walk. 😎 (Another friend drove me home though.) 

Above is Seabright Beach – a few blocks from my apartment – at dusk. Work has been very, very busy for the last few weeks and will likely continue to be for the next few. When I spend that much time inside an office, I have to make a conscious effort to balance it with daily walks, even for only 25 minutes. I take a lot of walks at lunch, and at sunset too. (Obviously. 😋)

Another shot of Seabright at dusk. I’ve been walking out on the cliff in between the boardwalk and Seabright beach. I meditated out there last week. I can’t say enough how much I love being close to the ocean. Very, very grateful for this opportunity. 

Sunset from the above-mentioned cliff. This is also where the San Lorenzo River – from the Santa Cruz Mountains – meets the Pacific Ocean. 

How much do you love the clouds in this pic? A couple of weeks ago, my friend turned 35, so we had dinner, drinks, and cake at a lounge inside a fancy hotel on the beach. It was a really good time, but because I drink far less than I used to, I get mildly overwhelmed around a group of outgoing, slightly buzzed peoples. My friend’s two year-old felt the same way, so the three of us took a break to run around on the beach, which is when I snapped the above pic. 

Above and below are my attempts to capture the wharf at night from the Seabright cliff. 

Here are a couple of pictures of some of my fave California flowers from around the neighborhood. I don’t know what they are called:

I did the below 500-piece puzzle below in one Saturday. But I forgot to snap a pic of the finalized version. I’m gluing and framing tomorrow and will get one then. 

I pet-sat for my friends’ dog and cat a couple of weeks ago. This is their dog, Chewy. She has to wear a cone because she has allergies and scratches until she bleeds if nobody is paying attention to her. She’s old and adorable (and I have zero desire to get a pet/responsibility). 

Oh! I am officially a member of the Equilibrium Float Center that opened in my neighborhood. I have been floating at least once a month and adding an extra one in when I can. My next appointment is Thursday night at 7:30PM for 90 minutes. I’m going to find out if I like getting in the tank right before bed. 


In the midst of all this upheaval, I’ve committed to doing some emotional and spiritual work that I need. On a weekly basis, I’m attending Refuge Recovery meetings (the Buddhist-leaning groups I mentioned above, that are geared towards using Buddhist teachings to free one self from attachments), Al-Anon meetings, therapy, and yoga. On a daily basis, I am writing morning pages, meditating, using my BuJo, and practicing gratitude. In addition to hiking, walking, and following Michael Pollan’s food advice, I’m feeling pretty great. I mean, some days are hard, but I’m managing. I’m learning how to take care of myself, and I actually like doing it. ☺️

Hope all of you are happy and healthy and loving your people in this hard and scary world. ❤

Love,

Me 

Hippie-Dippy. 

Happy Monday, Loves,

My friend Susan sent me this and I think it is The BEST Ever.

After about a month of blissful peace and quiet, we are officially entering the busy season at work. I also overextended myself a bit with on-call hours – because I’ll be in San Francisco next weekend and in NJ (!!!!!) for a week, I traded shifts around and ended up on-call for too many weeks in a row, in exchange for six weeks of no on-call starting Monday – so I’m kind of spent. Very, very much looking forward to (and earning) my vacation. 🤗


For a long time, Santa Cruz – and most of California – desperately needed rain. Then it rained for, like, three weeks straight, and we desperately needed for it to stop. The mountains have literally been falling down all over the county (and Northern California). During a respite from the rain last weekend, Danny and I went hiking at Pogonip, and discovered that one of these HUGE redwoods came down. We’ve actually taken pictures of this tree before because it is so big. (Danny is 5’11” and look how tiny he is next to that base!) We climbed up it – and then had to come home afterward and immediately shower because there was poison oak everywhere – which was challenging and fun. And muddy. Everything was muddy, actually. The ground just doesn’t have enough plants in it to absorb all this rain. 


Once a month, we have a supervisor process group at work facilitated by a wonderful woman named Evelyn. However, Evelyn is out of the country for the next two months, so she arranged for Rachel from Healing the Healer to come to our group. Honestly, I was skeptical. I thought it was going to be too artsy-fartsy/hippie-dippy for me, and I was feeling very self-conscious about my artistic abilities (or lack thereof). 


I ended up totally loving it. Rachel was a CPS lawyer in LA for over a decade, so she’s got a lot of practicality and groundedness paired with the artistic hippie vibe. Her and her partner transformed the room with candles, artwork, music, tea, and snacks, and started by having us set our intention for the time. Mine was to let go of my inner critic and trust the process. They then led us through a guided meditation to find symbols for mind, spirit, body, and heart. And then we drew and painted our own self-care plans. There was a strong emphasis on ‘play’ like we did as children and I had such a good time that I am strongly contemplating buying an easel and watercolor paints. (In fact, as I type this, I realize that the only thing stopping me from doing so is that ‘I’m not a real artist.’ But, like, what does that even mean? I just want to play with paint and that is a totally acceptable reason to buy paint!) 

Rio Del Mar beach in Aptos. Santa Cruzians are outside *all the time*, as long as it’s not raining.


On Saturday afternoon, I went to Equilibrium, the new floatation center about 0.3 miles from our apartment. Both Danny and my friends got me gift certificates there for my birthday, and I ended up totally *loving* it. Definitely my best float experience yet. I’m not sure if it was that the float tank was a huge cube that felt more like a float room, or if it was the atmosphere, or if it was because I was just on the right mindset for it, but I practically floated out of there on a zen cloud of serenity. 

The old cement ship in Aptos, that nearly sunk in the rain. (Aptos is a tiny ‘suburb’ of Santa Cruz, a few more miles down the coast.)

Floating is kind of weird, even to hippies and Santa Cruzians, and it’s been hard for me to fully understand people’s love for it. Until now. My entire body was so relaxed and all the kinks that come from sitting at a computer all week got worked out in the 90 minutes that I was in there. Plus, my skin feels so soft and New when I come out. 

It’s also a therapeutic experience. I get anxious while I’m in there (how much time is left? What if they set the timer wrong and I’m in here forever? What am I supposed to be doing? Am I thinking about the right things?), and the float tank has taught me to recognize the physical feeling of anxiety and breathe through it better than any therapy session, book, or person. I had the revelation that I don’t actually need to respond to every impulse or react to my anxiety; I can just breathe through it and it will pass. 

And, it’s kind of a spiritual experience. When you remove all your senses and external stimuli – like other people’s expectations and the pressures of the world – your mind is free to think about all sorts of other stuff. A lot of people find it to be a source of creativity and inspiration, and I definitely had some sort of existential experience in there. 

Can’t wait to see these babies in two weeks!

I’m going into a busy few weeks: my girlfriends and I are going to San Fran next weekend to see a couple of shows, then Danny and I are seeing The Growlers (😍) again the following Friday, and then we leave for NJ the next day. Love love LOVE. 

Have a great week, Loves. Do some self-care; we need it more than ever. 

😘

The Resistance. 

Hola Mi Amores,

I’m not sure where to begin. We are a little over one week into Trump’s presidency, and I feel like I’ve aged several months. With each executive order he signs, my feelings oscillate from outrage to fear to sadness. I have an overwhelming desire to just take a nap for the next four years. 

Inauguration Day was rough, but the day after comforted my soul and encouraged my spirit. My friends and I showed up for the Women’s March in Santa Cruz, and I spent the entire day smiling. 

There were estimated to be 10000 people at the Santa Cruz chapter of the March, which is a huge percentage of its population. My friends who are longtime residents said it was the biggest demonstration that they’ve ever seen in Santa Cruz. [The weather probably played a role, as people were too nervous to drive  over the hill to San Fran or Oakland – where we all go for Pride – in the heavy rain.]



The organizers were not prepared for the size of this crowd so we couldn’t hear any of the speakers or singers, and that was totally fine. The number of people who showed up all over the world gave me a lot of hope for the next four years. There is a large and strong resistance that is committed to showing up for the people that our president plans to trample on. 

Planned Parenthood is up there!



When we walked by Planned Parenthood, some of the doctors and nurses were standing on the (screened in, for protection) balcony, cheering us on, and everyone went CRAZY. The attack on Planned Parenthood not only breaks my heart, it makes no goddamn sense to me. We want to prevent abortions by…limiting people’s access to birth control. (And not all people. This mostly effects low-income peoples, while many of us privileged folks – Trump’s daughter included – will remain able to manage our own bodies and if/when we get pregnant.) The complete lack of separation between church and state in regards to this issue also infuriates me. And I’m sure that we all saw the picture of him signing this executive order surrounded by OLD WHITE MEN. 



And can we talk for a quick second about him signing off on his refugee/Muslim ban on Holocaust Remembrance Day? Like, why?? You wanted to give ammo to the Resistance? (Some people’s cynical/paranoid response: probably.) Turning away Jewish refugees during WWII is a stain on US history; why would we repeat our past mistakes? Why does making America great again mean that we have to be assholes? Whyyyyyyyyy? 


That day was amazing, but that high didn’t last long. Pretty much everyday, I woke up anxious to check the news because what did he do now? The onslaught of bad news (and ‘alternative facts’ OMG) is crushing. I suggested to Danny last night that we take a ‘sabbath’ from the news every Saturday, as a day of rejuvenation to maintain my stamina. Because the reality is that I can’t sleep through the next four years and, in fact, I’m going to have to work, hard, as an advocate and an activist. We don’t have to wonder if we would have marched with MLK Jr. during the Civil Rights era; we can march in this civil rights era. This moment in history requires that we shake ourselves out of apathy and complacency and complicity and show up. 

Plus, I can’t spend the next four years consuming media and fuming. I need to do something with my anger. I need to act. To that end, I spent my Saturday night (on-call for work and) calling all of the swing vote senators for DeVos and Sessions’ confirmations to voice my dissent. (And I was super encouraged to discover that many of those voice mailboxes were FULL.) The Compassion Collective leaders provided me with a list of the senators’ phone numbers, as well as a few potential scripts to use


I also took some time to write in really tiny lettering on postcards to my senators, telling them about why I marched. This is Action 1 of 10 to be completed during Trump’s first 100 days in office, organized by the Women’s March. It was super easy to do, using the Women’s March Unity Principles. [Granted, I live in California and my senators are already fighting the good fight. But I imagine this still bolsters their spirits for the battles in Washington.)

This time in history also calls for a constant checking of one’s own privilege. Angela Peoples’ sign at the Women’s March and the accompanying interview was an important reminder that even us super-progressive women need to check our whiteness. Intersectionality is the answer to the question of how we achieve true equality. [And let’s be clear: true equality is going to be uncomfortable to those of us who are privileged. But we’ll get it’s that later.] People of color have been fighting this fight for a long time. They don’t need white women to save them; they need us to get behind them (or, in some cases, beteeen them and law enforcement). 

In other news, Danny and I went hiking both days this weekend, Saturday at Pogonip and Sunday at Henry Cowell with my friend, Stef. Everything is still super muddy from all the rain, but we had to take advantage of the rain finally stopping. And, as I mentioned above in relation to the Saturday News Sabbath, self-care is more important than ever right now. This is a marathon, not a sprint. 

And February is going to be a super fun month. My friends and I are going to San Fran the weekend of the 10-12th, Danny and I are seeing The Growlers on the 17th, and then we fly to NJ on the 18th for several days with the babies! And the fam! And the besties! 😍😍😍 I can’t wait! Look for an email from me in the next day or so about my itinerary. I am already super excited! 🤗💖🤓 

Love yous very much,

Me

Happy Birthday to Me. 

Hello Loves,

Well, Friday and Saturday were a whirlwind of emotions. On Friday, I had started sobbing twice before 7AM, cried on and off all day, and my entire office wore black. On Saturday, I was revived and so fired up by all of the marches. Here in the tiny city of Santa Cruz, we had over 10,000 people show up to march, and I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time. Couldn’t be more thrilled to be be part of the re-LOVE-ution! ❤️💛💚💙💜

We can talk more about that later; right now, I want to back up and tell you about my birthday weekend, because it was wonderful and I feel so grateful. 💝

A San Francisco street.


I took Friday off, mainly to give myself a four-day weekend, and spent the day doing self-care stuffs: journaling, reading, and walking. Friday night, there was a work happy hour, and some of my friends and I talked and hung out for hours. At one point, Adi commented on how exceptional her friends are, and that’s exactly how I feel about all of my people, too. ❤

The Farmhouse / B&B

On Saturday, Danny and I got on the road towards the city of Westport, in Mendocino county, in Northern California. Our destination was about four and a half hours north of us, and we knew it would be a beautiful drive. We actually drove up the entire California coast back when we were traveling in 2013, but I had no point of reference to fully understand where we were.

The creek in front of the farmhouse.

Our original intention was to see the 2000 year-old redwood that you can drive through in Legget, CA, and Northern California is rural: there were, like, six places to spend the night within 45 miles of Legget, and most were B&B’s. We went with Howard’s Creek Ranch Inn, a reasonably-priced and beautiful old farmhouse on 60 acres, whose website stated that they would not accept cancellations because you discovered when you arrived that it was an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. We had zero cell service, weak wifi, and they actually turned off their wifi around 10PM when they went to bed. 

It was perfect. 😍

There were actually two large farmhouses and several cabins on the property. The two farmhouses were separated by a rushing creek that went straight out to the ocean. A bridge connected the two properties and made everything even more idyllic.  

We stayed in the Blue Balcony room, which had a skylight above the bed. I woke up around 2am to a full (or, nearly full) moon directly above me. 

We arrived around 4pm after an absolutely beautiful drive. We met Sally, one of the homeowners, who gave us a tour and got us settled, then we immediately headed out to the beach, which was about 300 yards from our room, just in time for dusk. 

The view was breathtaking. I swear: I have an uncertain relationship with a Higher Power, but, for me, nothing makes a stronger case for its existence  – and creative design – more than the striking beauty of nature. 

We hiked around as the sun fully set, then headed back to our room. We had packed Trader Joe’s food for dinner, as I had been warned when I made the reservation that there was nowhere nearby to eat. I journaled, and we both read by the fire in one of the living rooms. 

The next morning, clouds had rolled in along the beach, blocking the sunrise, but creating a dramatic effect when coupled with the morning light. We set out on a hike up the small mountain directly behind the farmhouse. The farm had a herd of sheep that we walked by, but wouldn’t let you get too close. They also had chickens, and used to have cows. I was in heaven, surrounded by both the mountains and the beach. 

Breakfast was incredible: quiche, baked pears, biscuits, sausage, and fruit, all fresh, local, and homemade. There were three other couples at breakfast, two of whom had been there before. The third couple commented at breakfast that the highway noise was terrible at night, and we all looked at them confused, as maybe three cars had driven by on the 1 since our arrival. Then it dawned on me: ‘Oh, you were hearing the ocean, not the highway.’ They seemed much less bothered when they realized they were hearing nature. 

When we told Sally that our plan was to see the big tree that morning, she broke the news to us that all the rain had caused a huge landslide, so the 1 (highway) was closed going north. The only way to get to the tree involved going back down and around, which would add about 2.5 hours to what was already going to be a 6-hour ride home. We were both so taken with the B&B and the surroundings that we decided that we’d rather just come back soon. 

Soon after breakfast, we started the drive back, and opted to drive along the coast (we had taken the 101 on the way there, which is also a beautiful drive). The 1 is a longer way to go, but so worth it for the views. 

We pulled over several times on the way back, to enjoy the view and do some coastal hiking. 

I started looking at property in Mendocino county on the drive back. I was so in love with all of the beauty and the quiet that I decided that we should definitely move there. We drove through Fort Bragg, which is he biggest city near there. They don’t have a Trader Joe’s, but they have a downtown area and a Safeway, so I think that we could make it work. 

People always talk about the immense beauty of Northern California and now I totally understand why. Sally told us that they haven’t had a drought up there, and the difference is noticeable: everything looks a bit more green and lush than it does down here. 

The above picture is an example of what I mean when I say that driving around California is like driving through a national park. This is the highway that we took to cut from the coast back to the 101. 

We also drove through wine country (above), where the houses are seated on little hills. Here, it was a bit drier. All in all, it was a fantastic little getaway. We arrived home late on Sunday night, in time for my actual birthday. 

On Monday morning, I spent the first few hours of the day on the phone, which was lovely. When you live far away from a lot of your loved ones, this is a common practice on your birthday, and makes your heart feel all warm and full because so many people care enough to call. 💝

In the afternoon, I met some of my Santa Cruz friends at Seabright beach to have drinks from the Cooler of Randomness, walk around the beach, and hang out for a few hours. 

While we were there, we discovered that the rains had formed a pretty big hole in the beach, filled with driftwood, that the children had creatively turned into a seesaw. 

We took a turn on the seesaw, though, there was a huge pointy knot in my leg, so I couldn’t quite embrace the situation the way my friend did. We watched the sunset before heading out, and I fell more in love with my Santa Cruz coworker-friends. I’ve made some really solid choices here. 😁

I came home to this beautiful bouquet from Danny, that came with dinner, a gift certificate for a massage and a float at the new flotation center in our neighborhood (the next day, my friends also gifted me a certificate for a float at the new center – I’m so pumped for all the free floats that I have coming!), and the below tiramisu cake. 🤗

The whole weekend was pretty much amazing and I was so filled up with love, I practically floated into the week. 💝 I am very grateful to everyone who made my birthday brighter, and continue to feel disbelief about how lucky I am. 

LOVE. 

Exhausted. 

Hello Loves! 

I’m tired. This has been a weird week at work. A good friend-coworker/my diabetic buddy had a weird medical thing happen this week, our assistant director (whom I really adore) was diagnosed with MS, a case that one of my workers has been working really hard on took a bad turn, et cetera. I am SO looking forward to having Friday off and a beautiful and restful four-day weekend. 

^Seabright at night.  

We’ve also been semi-cooped up this week because of the rain. Last Friday, people were acting as though it was Armageddon. It’s been raining. A lot. (But not, like, so much. In NJ, this would be equivalent to an average week of rain in the Spring.) This area doesn’t hold up great under those circumstances. We’ve had mudslides, flash flooding, and one of the really big trees fell down. (Fortunately, not the one we are visiting this weekend.)

^Santa Cruz mountains, at dawn before the storms came

We pulled over on our drive to take pictures and stare, but got rained out before we could go hiking. I’m fairly spoiled now and – while I know we (desperately) need rain – I get a little stir-crazy if I can’t go outside all day. 

We did venture out for a short time on Sunday to the West Cliff neighborhood (out normal spot to watch surfers and sunrises). The wind was SO strong and the ocean was choppy. I was surprised how many people were still out walking. This is the most active city that I’ve ever lived in, including New York. People are outside all the time. (With good reason: if I haven’t mentioned it before , Santa Cruz is staggeringly beautiful.)

^West Cliff as the storms rolled in

I missed hiking, but took full advantage of being stuck inside. I finished The Story of the Lost Child, the fourth book of The Neopolitan Novels from Elena Ferrante (which were stunning). I watched Minimalism on Netflix. I used my new dual-tipped brush pens in my Bullet Journal. 

My Bullet Journal (BuJo, for short) is one of my favorite things in the world right now. I love that it’s a planner (and journal and to-do list) that is completely customizable. I follow different groups in Facebook and get ideas on how to set it up and what works best for me. I’m loving this set-up for my weeklies right now: 

On the left-hand side is my habit tracker, right-hand side is mini calendar, to do list, and upcoming stuff next week. On the bottom is a box for notes for therapy, for this little blog, and things to remember to tell my parents when we skype. And then in each day, I put day-specific to-dos, events, appts, and short notes for the day.

Oh, and Obama’s farewell speech? At some point, I just started sobbing. 💔 I have a heavy heart over one of my heros leaving, and a deep despair over what will happen to us at the whims of the orange troll. ‘The world will be a less stable place.’ Sigh. 

On the brighter side of work and life, we had a really successful brainstorming meeting today, I laughed a lot on a lovely friend date with Adi, I have happy hour plans with a big group from work on Friday, and Danny and I are heading up the coast this weekend for a restful retreat for my birthday. 💝

OH! And I’m booking tickets very soon for a trip to NJ to see the babies and all of my east coast loves. 😍❤🤗

Love you all very much. 

Me

Holidaze. 

Hello Loves,

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone is having a lovely Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year/winter week! I have had a pretty wonderful past two weekends, along with a bit of a struggle to work the four days in between. I mean, really, shouldn’t everything just close that week? I was still tired from the weekend! 

Last Thursday night, Danny and I traveled down to the desert to spend some time with his family. Every time we are in the desert, I’m left a bit breathless by the landscape. These pictures don’t begin to capture the beauty and the *sky* that exist there. 

On Friday night, Danny, his brother, Fernando, and I traveled down to LA to see The Growlers. We had rented a reasonably-priced hotel room a few blocks from The Wiltern, so that we could walk there and back, and enjoy drinks without having to worry about driving home. 

The above is a picture of Fernando and me, the only one that any of us thought to take during the night, and only because Fernando was intoxicated and enthralled by the fake snow in the lobby. [Earlier in the day, someone told Fernando and I that we looked like siblings. We’ve never gotten that before.]

The show was SO much fun. They played for almost 3 hours and we danced and sang to our heart’s content. I had my phone in my pocket, which kept track of my steps during the show; I danced the equivalent of 8 miles! (More, actually, because the show went past midnight.) 

The Growlers have been a huge consistent favorite among the three of us for the last three years, and it was Fernando’s first time seeing them in concert (our third). I have a solid emotional connection to their music from listening to it so much while we were traveling. We’re seeing them again in a Santa Cruz in February and already can’t wait. 

On Saturday, we went to his parents’ house to deliver guests and visit a bit more, then headed out to the SoCal beach before heading home. [Which are beautiful, but have got nothing on Santa Cruz!]

As we were out walking – in a vain attempt to walk off the *intense* soreness that we were both experiencing the whole weekend, post-concert – we stumbled upon the coolest nativity that I’ve ever seen, created by the artist listed above. 

The entire thing was made of stones, balancing together (I checked – they were not attached), and was so neat! I am so curious as to how long that took, and whether she found all the rocks on the beach. It was very impressive and we stood around it for awhile, taking pictures and gaping.  

We drove back to Santa Cruz on Sunday night (beating all the traffic) and went straight to the Del Mar theater to see Fences. The acting was spectacular, but the story moved a little bit slow for two people who had just come straight out of a five-hour car ride. And the theater was FULL. We may have enjoyed it more under different conditions. 

We’re back to our early morning sunrise walks. We had been slacking for the past couple of months because of the dark and the cold [The other day, it was forty degrees while we were walking, which is *really* cold for here, and I told Danny, ‘Imagine if you lived in NJ and 40 was the BEST it’d be for the whole day? Or colder!’ I can barely remember what that feels like. It was 62 by noon.’], but have gotten back into the groove. It’s one of my fave ways to start the day. 

This weekend, I’m on-call from Saturday at 5PM until Monday at 8AM, so Danny suggested that we have a movie night on New Years Eve, which is exactly what we did (but actually ended up watching a few episodes of Black Mirror, at my parents’ recommendation, and that show is CREEPY). After all the moving and shaking of last weekend and the work week, I am very content to have a quiet weekend. 

We went hiking today at Pogonip – our fave spot in town, five minutes from the apartment) to start the new year off right (as did 73838 other people; we couldn’t believe how many others we passed on the trail). Above is another rock formation that has been on the path forever, but only about a year ago, someone added the rocks for the tail end. I don’t like it; I preferred when the circle was infinite. 

It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but the top of Pogonip basically overlooks the city of Santa Cruz. You can see the mountains, the city, and the ocean. I can’t say enough how much I *love* having access to this kind of natural beauty within minutes of my home. 

  1. As we were driving back from the desert, I was, as always, commenting on the staggering beauty of California. The thing is, California is so big, and so much of it is untouched nature, in the form of mountains, forests, deserts, oceans (untouched? Eh), and cliffs, that any time you go anywhere, it feels like driving through a national park. I remember why I love cities – mainly, that the energy in cities is incomparable, that there is a constant stream of conflict and compromise created by having that many people from different walks of life in one small space, that it’s just cool – and I still do. I get a rush from being in a big city that I immensely enjoy. And while my ego would love to be cool, hip, and urban-chic, my soul needs the outdoors, the quiet, the space. [That being said, I still want my countryside to be close enough that I have easy, regular access to the city when I want it. As this election has definitively demonstrated, the cities are where most of ‘my people’ are.] 

[Wise words from one of my spiritual leaders above.] I am so grateful to live in this special place, still, for this new year. I have big plans for all kinds of healing and growth in 2017 and I couldn’t be in a better location to teach those goals. 💖 

And with that, Danny and I are heading to Bookshop to take advantage of the New Year’s sale, the art supply store to get me some BuJo supplies, and Trader Joe’s to pick up some black eyed peas and greens to go with my favorite homemade cornbread muffins for New Years dinner. 

Wishing us all a healthy, courageous, loving 2017! Love you very much. 😘

E

Holiday Love.

Hello Loves! 

Does everyone know that Christmas is this week? We had a little bit of drama at work this week, related to one of my Jewish coworkers/friends raising the question of how appropriate it is to have Christmas decorations all over our waiting room, given that it’s a government office and there is supposed to be a separation of church and state. Not surprisingly (though, mildly so, as we are ‘culturally sensitive’ social workers, in Santa Cruz, a city that enjoys its reputation of having exceedingly liberal/progressive leanings), some challenging and uncomfortable conversations were had in the office. Good times. 😝

Another new journal! (Pretty much any time we go to a movie, we make time to ‘walk around downtown’ first, which is almost always limited to browsing at Bookshop and staring at the wall of fancy pens at the art supply store and wishing that I was an artist, so I’d have an excuse to shop there. Both places also sell journals.) My friend had posted this read recently about Morning Pages. If you do a quick google search, you’ll see how many people use the practice every morning, which is simply writing three sides of pages (not three front-and-back pages, which would be six sides) first thing every morning. It can be about anything, from what you’re going to wear that day to deep philosophical thoughts, but it has to be three pages. Rather than using my Bullet Journal for this – which would take up a lot of space, and could also get pricey, as they are about $30/pop – I decided to see if the habit would stick by starting with this lovely $4 Five Star notebook. (My BuJo also has *much smaller* pages, which made me question the wisdom of this decision on the first day when I stared down the full-page expanse of empty white lines.) The first week, I failed pretty miserably, only writing three out of seven days. I think that I’ll need to get up a little earlier to fit this in and not have to sacrifice my morning walk. 

^Sunrise from one of the aforementioned morning walks. Writing and sunrise walks are equally good for my soul. I’m going to keep trying with the morning pages though, as I like the idea, I like the practice of writing daily, and I mine good material for therapy. 

Have I mentioned how many good movies we’ve seen recently? It’s Oscar season and Danny is a movie buff, so we’ve seen a bunch. My favorites, in order: Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, and Nocturnal Animals. We’re also excitedly awaiting the release of Fences (on Christmas Day) and Lion

^See all those little white dots on the cliff? They are birds. And the tiny white dots are a whole bunch of baby birds. It was so cute. We also saw a huge school of dolphins that morning, but they are almost impossible to get good pictures of. 

Oh! I made homemade cinnamon rolls last weekend, which turned into a three day effort. The first day was making the dough (with yeast), then letting it chill overnight. Day 2 (Monday night) was rolling the dough out, covering it in melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar, then rolling it back up and slicing rolls. Because I made 50-something rolls, this part took about two hours, and I didn’t finish until 9:30, at which point I decided that I was too tired to bake them that night. On Day 3, I let them rise, then baked and iced them. I brought three pans to work on Wednesday for our holiday breakfast, and another pan to a friend’s pizza-and-game night on Saturday. I saved a pan for me and Danny (to taste test, obviously), and plan to bring another couple of pans to his parents’ house this weekend. I think this will be a holiday tradition. 

^Seabright sunset. (Seabright is the neighborhood that I live in, and this is about three blocks from my apartment. I love it here.) 

I’m pretty excited to only have a four-day work week, followed by a four-day weekend. We are heading down to SoCal on Thursday night, then taking Danny’s brother and ourselves to The Growlers’ show at the Wiltern on Friday night. The Growlers have been our favorite band for the past few years, and it’ll be his brother’s first live show and I am SO PUMPED. We’ve been listening to them pretty much nonstop – and had several impromptu dance parties in our living room – to ‘prepare.’ We got a reasonably-priced hotel room a few blocks from the show where we will spend Friday night, then head to his parent’s house on Saturday for the holiday festivities.

I’m still working my way through Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels; halfway through the third (of four) right now. I don’t know what I’ll do with myself when I finish because I love them so much. I can’t even imagine reading another book that doesn’t include these beloved characters. This may be my favorite novel (if you think of them as one 1800-page novel broken into four parts) in the last decade. 💝

For a list of what else I’m reading – mostly articles about the ever-mounting horror of our incoming government – please see my friend Rachel’s blog here. I am astounded at how she finds the time to read all of this every week, and enjoy pretty much everything that she shares. 

Aaaaaaaaaaand, that’s all, folks! I hope that everyone is staying warm and cozy, enjoying the holidays, and taking some time away from work and technology to spend time with their loves. ❤️

Love all of you. 😘

Me

Missing Yous. 

Hello Loves!

It’s been awhile! And so much has happened in the world! While I’m no longer depressed and irate over the election, I’m also not becoming complacent. I’m more interested in activism and advocacy, and more committed to fighting injustice – in all its forms – than ever. (To that end, please consider joining the Injustice Boycott to peacefully protest police brutality and racial injustice.)

Work has been rolling along well. I’m *finally* starting to have days where I actually feel competent in my role as supervisor (as opposed to just hoping that I don’t totally blow it). We have a really good group of supervisors in my program, we work well together, and I’m so grateful for how supportive they have been while I learn. 

Pics from the supermoon. The long walk that we went on the night that it happened was one of my attempts at self-care and self-soothing after the election. I loved it, but also struggled to shake the background feeling of despair. I’ve been especially grateful for my social justice warrior friends here in Santa Cruz in the past several weeks, as we’ve all had some loooooooong lunches to process what is happening and discuss The Resistance. 

We had a fabulous time with Danny’s fam at Thanksgiving. We drove down late on Wednesday and the traffic was SO BAD that we had to stop about 140 miles in – which had taken us about FOUR HOURS – because we were too tired to finish the drive. We got a perfectly fine, inexpensive motel, slept from 10-6, then got back on the road. 

^My favorite little buddy, Sofia. When I asked her what her favorite part of kindergarten is, she responded, ‘Learning!’ At another point, we picked out a book to read, and she explained all the parts of the book. ‘This is the cover, this is the spine, this is the cover page…’ She loves showing off her new knowledge. 

Thanksgiving included two kinds of turkey, ham, potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, stuffing, gravy, rolls, and three kinds of pie. Danny and I contributed some homemade whipped cream, which is SO much better than canned whip cream – and it was a hit. Danny’s fam is always so good and kind to me and make me feel so welcomed, even though I don’t speak the language. If I can’t be near my family, they are a wonderful substitute. 💝 AND, I got to skype with Brother, Kayla, Shaya, and my Pop the next day, which was also *wonderful*. I miss those babies, and my Pop (and everyone!) so much! I really need to plan that next trip SOON. I can’t believe it’s already December…

I’m still madly in love with my bullet journal (BuJo). Another part of my post-election self-soothing came in the form of watching videos of people designing their bullet journals, which, for manybpeople, are essentially works of art. (I’m in two BuJo groups on Facebook and they were the only posts that weren’t related to the election.) The one that I started in July is just about full, and my new one came in the mail on Monday. It’s a hardcover, teal Leuchtturm 1917 journal and it’s beautiful. (I also started a wishlist on Amazon for all things BuJo related, which includes a pink version of the above journal – they only last a few months – 37 types of pens and something called washi tape for decoration.)

^A monthly page that I make at the beginning of each month. 

^A blank weekly page that I create at the beginning of each week. This is where I write events, appts, and day-specific to do’s. 

^The other half of my weekly page. This is where I write things that I need to do this week (‘write blog post’ has been on my weekly list for forever), things coming up next week, my daily gratitude log, and my habit tracker. I also do daily pages each day, for journaling in the morning and a short daily recap at the end of the day. I also create pages for meal plans and grocery shopping, and really anything. I keep lists of things to write on the blog and to remember to tell my parents during skype dates. I have pages with a book and movie list to track what I’ve read/seen, and want to read/see. I have a recipe page. I have pages for quotes. It’s totally customizable and you create almost everything as you go (except the index and the yearly log, whichbalways go in the beginning). It’s my favorite new hobby and a lovely way to start and end each day. 

Santa Cruz remains beautiful, in case anyone was concerned. Danny and I have been walking a bit less – it’s dark and ‘cold!’ – but taking advantage of the weekends for long hikes. 

Oh! And I’m reading the best novels ever. I’m on book three of four of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels – which is really one, very long novel broken into four sections – and they are some of the most beautifully written books that I have ever read. I am unable to read them slowly, and also dreading when they will end. I adore these characters, the neighborhood setting, the stories. Books are my favorite friends. 

I promise to continue blogging on a regular basis. I love you all immensely. 

-E

Anger. 

Hello Loves,

I’m sorry that I’ve been away so long, and that my first post back will not be sunshine and rainbows. I would rather talk about sunshine and rainbows, but that’s not the reality of the world right now. I totally get if you are tired of talking about the election, and if you are, go ahead and skip to the end of the post,w here there will be at least one pic of a sunrise. (Because, yes, as hard as it is to believe, the sun is still rising. Beautifully.) 

Friends, I am so angry. I am angry because I am afraid, and I am afraid of just how angry I am. I also know that anger is a cover emotion, and I need to unpack it. Let’s begin…

I am angry, just completely devastated, that Hillary lost. This is probably the most personal part of my anger, the part that genuinely just hated watching my team lose, the “sore loser” part. Yes, it’s true, that is a (SMALL) part of where my anger comes from. I wanted her to break that glass ceiling, for her and for women. She deserved to do it. And she deserved to be the President. She worked so hard and she was so strong, and she earned it, on a very basic level. And it absolutely kills me that that entitled, unprepared, impulsive man beat her. 

I am angry at the many, many, MANY people that didn’t vote at all because they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary, for a bunch of reasons that are definitely not because she’s a woman. (People didn’t like her, but strong, vocal, independent women in general are widely loved by our culture. Am I right? This is post-sexist America, people.) Anyway, my guess is that all of those people that just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary for a really, really good reason so they didn’t vote at at all – or who voted for a third party candidate – didn’t actually want or expect Trump to win, but they were railing against The System. They are principled. Well, good job, guys, because now we have a bigoted bully running our country. SO many people are afraid for their lives, but at least you have your PRINCIPLES. (I’m looking at YOU, Joe Rogan.) [This anger is, of course, misplaced. People are allowed to abstain from voting and allowed to vote for third party candidates (and, quite frankly, I’m pretty over this two-party system, too). I wholly support their right to do so. I am simply pointing out that maybe, maybe, it would’ve helped to consider the worst case scenario and whether the consequences of a Trump presidency were really worth it to “vote your conscience” in this particular election.

I am angry that I didn’t see this coming. Not because of the media, or Facebook, or because I live in a “liberal elite” bubble. I didn’t see this coming because I genuinely believed in the good of the humanity. I believed in common sense. I believed that people could see him for the unprepared, unqualified, bigoted bully that he is. Don’t get me wrong: I harbor zero illusions that we are living in post-racist America. I know how racist some people are. But I truly believed that enough people weren’t racist and could get past their (TOTALLY REASONABLE AND NOT SEXIST) reservations about Hillary to stop current-racist America from running the country. The disappointment is compounded by shock because I simply did not see this coming. (Yes, I am the white people that Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock were laughing at on SNL. I’m also the white person that Chris said would be “moping and writing on Facebook” the following day. I own it.) 

I am angry at the narrative that Trump resonated with people because he is “authentic” and “speaks his mind.” I am angry at this misunderstanding that we have that saying whatever (racist) thought happens to cross your mind aloud is how you show your true self. This is false. If I said every freaking thing that came to my mind, I’d be a schizophrenic, depraved, mean, spiteful, jealous, delusional, gleeful, dramatic, bipolar mess of a person. Thoughts are impulsive and fleeting. It is TOTALLY OKAY to vet your own thoughts before you give voice to them. Encouraged even. It doesn’t make you less of a genuine person; it makes you less of an ASSHOLE. Being authentic is about knowing yourself, what your values are, and doing your best to speak and act accordingly, not flying off at the mouth every time you’re displeased. 

And let’s be for honest here: when people say that Trump is “speaking his mind,” they are excited that they are being freed to say whatever racist shit they want. He’s categorized Mexicans as rapists and murderers, Muslims as terrorists, and couldn’t talk about black people without using the words “inner cities.” He was endorsed by the KKK. I’m not going to make the argument that he’s bigoted and racist here because it’s unnecessary. But let’s just be clear: People aren’t excited that they can now openly say that they don’t like the color blue; they are excited that they can now openly say that they don’t like black people. Because they believe that the president totally has their back. (And why wouldn’t they?)

I am angry because I am afraid, not just for the future of our country, but for people’s actual lives. I am angry because so many people – so many non-Christian, non-white, non-heterosexual people – are afraid for their actual lives. I am angry that some are implying that they are overreacting, that we are overreacting, that he hasn’t done anything to harm our country (yet). I am angry that they keep denying the role of race and bigotry in our culture, in his campaign, and in his election. I am angry that, even though so many of his supporters *swear* that they aren’t racist and that he’s not racist and that nobody voted him because they are racist, neither him nor his supporters have done a thing to denounce bigotry in all its forms or the acts of violence and hatred happening all across the country since his election in his name. I am angry that those same supporters who won’t take a vocal stand against hatred are calling for “unity” and telling us to “agree to disagree and move on.” I am angry that most of the people saying that don’t recognize that not being afraid is a privilege that is only afforded to white Christians.

I am angry at how many people don’t understand racism and white privilege, either because they have genuinely never been taught about it (a major failing of our public educational system) or because they just don’t care or think it implies to them (because they are WHITE). I am angry that they don’t recognize that their ignorance in itself is privilege because people of color have no choice but to learn about and understand racism. 

I am angry about this narrative about how Trump gave “middle America,” “the white working class,” “the marginalized whites” a voice. This narrative that says that Democrats are out of touch with the working class. This narrative that says that the biggest problem that we have in American politics is that we haven’t given white Christian people enough of a voice. This narrative infuriates me, as does the idea that we are supposed to cater to a bubble of thin-skinned white men who interpret movement towards equality as their own oppression because they are so used to having such a large piece of the pie. Maybe there is a reason that they feel “left behind” by the “liberal, coastal, intellectual elite.” Maybe it’s because those racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted, hateful, divisive ideals should be left behind. Maybe it’s even okay for them to feel a little bit bullied; maybe that’s what equality looks like: You bullied every other non-White, non-Christian person for so fucking long, you denied their experiences and you denied them their basic rights, you excluded them, and now it’s your turn to feel just a teeny, tiny bit excluded. Maybe THAT is justice.

I am so angry that I can’t find compassion for these “marginalized” Americans. I am not used to having this hard of a time finding the good in the world, in people, in humanity. I generally think that I have a great capacity for patience, and understanding, and forgiveness. And I want to find compassion. I want to understand. Actually, no. That’s the problem: I want to want to find compassion and understanding. But I don’t. And this is where I am the real “sore loser”: I am so angry that hatred won this election. More than I believed in Hillary, I believed that Love Wins, and I am so deeply, deeply disappointed that hatred won. I am so angry that in order to find compassion for the people who supported Trump, for the people that are committing these acts of hatred, I am going to have to have to look past their hatred at the scared person underneath. Honestly? I don’t want to work that hard. I don’t want to go inside the racism. It is so, so, so much easier to see a racist and hate a racist and not see them as a whole person, not see them as a fellow human. This is work that I really, really, really don’t want to do. And I know that I will have to do this work because I don’t want to be a hateful person, because, deep down, I don’t want to let my fear and anger win. My spiritual growth will necessitate that I figure out how to love these people anyway. And that infuriates me. 

Fortunately, one of my favorite leaders and love warriors told me that that’s okay. That we don’t have to rush through to compassion and unity. As Glennon said, “Before we call for healing, we must call for accountability. Before we call for unity, we must call for justice.” Before the country can heal, we will unify around injustice. People need to take responsibility for their attitudes and their actions. Amends need to be made. And until they are, we will advocate, march, protest, and fight in every peaceful way that we know how against racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and bigotry. The truth is, these things have no place in our world. Any ounce of common sense will tell you that. Every spiritual, ethical, and religious tradition in the world tells us that the goal is to learn to love, not hate, each other. These ways of thinking will be “left behind” and the people who cling to these ideologies will be left behind with them, or change. As the great activist Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” We may have lost in the short-term – change is hard – but Love will win the war. 

I hope. 

As promised. I’ll also be going out for a walk with Danny at dusk to check out the super moon. Because, as angry as I am and as much as I want to say ‘fuck it’ and give in to the all-consuming depression that I am barely keeping at bay, I know that I’m no good to anyone if I wallow. I know that we need white allies in the revolution now more than ever, and that I have a responsibility to shake myself out of disillusionment and keep fighting for justice. Now is not the time to give up. 


So I will write and read and walk and listen to music and meditate and do all the things that I have to do to get my mind back to the space it needs to be in to do the work, to act, to see the beauty in the world again. As Glennon tells me the Bible says, ‘First the pain, then the rising.’ Let’s do this. 

Love yous. 

E

For My Mama. 

Happy 65th Birthday to my Mama, 

The best wife ❤️, 

Most wonderful and loving Bubbe 😍,

And most understanding and supportive Mama that a girl could hope for. 💝

I love you so, so much, Mom, and have no idea how I’d navigate this world without you. You have taught me about compassion and forgiveness and sacrifice and kindness and unconditional love. About good, quality food, the joys of reading, the beauty of nature, and creativity, and so much more. You are the rock of our family and we are all so grateful for your love. ❤️ Wishing you the most wonderful of wonderful days, and many more to come. 😘