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. 😘


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