Birthday Boy. 

Helloooooooo Loves! 

Who watched the debates? I have trouble watching these because I get too passionate and end up yelling at the TV, and this year is the worst ever, so I boycotted and caught the highlights later, which were enough to make my brain boil. In some ways, they seem superfluous this year; I can’t imagine that anyone is currently on the fence about who to vote for. 

We’ve had a busy two weeks around these parts. Last weekend, we headed down to Southern California (which, for you east coasters who aren’t big on looking at maps, is about the equivalent of driving from NJ to VA) to celebrate Danny’s 37th(!) birthday with his fam. 

It was 97 degrees on Sunday where his parents live, and Danny has really been wanting to go to Huntington Beach – the other Surf City – where he spent many Summer’s as a teenager and young adult, so we, his sister, and his nieces spent the day there and we had a BLAST. We rented a couple of boogie boards and bought a frisbee, and had a lovely day in and out of the water, before heading back to his parents for family dinner and cake. 

Birthday boy and his parents.

Danny and three of his five siblings.

Danny and his 12 year-old niece.

We both took off on Monday for his actual birthday and after sending his nieces off to school and spending some time with his mama, we got on the road for a leisurely and beautiful drive back to Santa Cruz, and spent the evening being lazy before rejoining the workforce Tuesday morning. 

After a loooooooooong work week, we kicked off Saturday morning with a hike in Henry Cowell Redwood Park, on the Sandhills trail. We first did this trail nearly two years ago, and I remember being certain that someone had brought in all the sand that we were suddenly walking through in the midst of the redwoods. But no; it’s totally natural: 

The redwoods are so beautiful and majestic and the pictures never, ever do these mountains any justice. 

After the hike, we packed a blanket, towels, books, strawberry water, and our new frisbee, and headed out to be beach bums on a rare 80+ degree Saturday. 

After several rounds of frisbee, we even ventured into the water, which was cold – most people wear wetsuits in the water, even in summer, because it just never gets that hot here – but, honestly, I found it warmer than the water at Huntington Beach.

On our drive back from SoCal on Monday, we got into a long talk about the long-term sustainability of living in Santa Cruz. (An anxiety-provoking conversation that my similarly-aged coworkers/friends and I have weekly.) The reality is that buying a home on Santa Cruz is barely even a real possibility, and even if it was something that I/we could afford, there are still a bunch of reasons that it doesn’t make sense for me/us. There are some dreams that will certainly never be realized if I live here permanently, and, as much as I really, really, REALLY love this paradise that I’m living in (see: how I spent my Saturday), there are things that I love and want more. 

So! We’ll be moving. Not now, or anytime soon. I still need a couple of years to earn my supervisor chops and I’m not ready to say goodbye yet. But I know, for sure, that I will move, and that decision is actually giving me relief. No more looking at $600k one-bedroom homes. No more anxiety about how to stretch my social worker salary (and Danny’s truck driver salary) into a $3k/month mortgage while still having money leftover to eat. No more sacrificing my dreams to fit this city’s availability. I’m at peace. 

And, as I said, we’re not leaving yet! I still have plenty of time to enjoy and soak up everything that I LOVE about this beautiful place. 💝 

Hope everyone is having a great week! Love yous the MOST. ❤️

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