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. 😘

Balance. 

Hello Loves! 

I literally do not know where to start with the political circus that was this weekend. 

I am so thoroughly disgusted with All the Things around the Trump campaign that I broke out in hives. (Okay, I don’t know if they are really caused by Trump, but I know that they started on Saturday when I was reading all the ‘boys will be boys’ defenses of his vile words and they were getting better right up until the start of last night’s debate, in which I told Danny that I think my hives are my blood literally boiling under my skin. Coincidence? Maybe.) I feel fairly certain that we can wave goodbye to any possibility of a Trump presidency (I HOPE) and I’m also cautiously optimistic that this spectacle of a campaign will force the GOP to either implode or reform, but I remain disturbed by the deeply hateful and divisive part of the country that Trump has uncovered. It’s not as though I didn’t realize that there were some seriously racist, sexist, and bigoted people out there, but I took comfort in the knowledge that those opinions were not socially acceptable. That comfort is now gone and we clearly have some work to do. 

I was immensely proud of Hillary last night. She had to shake Trump’s hand and pretend that they were equals, and she did it with grace, strength, and ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE of how things – like THE SENATE and health insurance and Syria – work. I have still not gotten past the fact that Trump has spent less time preparing for this job than many people spend preparing dinner. 

Watching Trump last night, my main thought was that he has not one shred of authenticity in him. The man is literally ALL ego. He is the EPITOME of a megalomaniac, which is why he never, ever admits that he was wrong or says that he was sorry for what he actually did. 

I have read a lot in the past few days – I have had trouble tearing myself away from consuming media on this subject – about what Trump said and all the reasons that it’s bad, and the most demoralizing part for me is the incessant denial that this is misogyny. That the excuse that ‘all guys talk like that’ – which, even if that WAS true (and, while I know that most men talk about women and sometimes behave in a way that makes me feel really small, I do not believe that most men’s ‘locker room talk’ rises to the level of boasting about sexually assaulting women), DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY; it actually makes it far, far WORSE – is misogyny. That GOP men saying that they are offended ‘as a husband and a father’ – because women only matter as an extension of men – is misogyny. That the phrase ‘boys will be boys’ – an idea that has created a culture in which women are CONSTANTLY having to change their behavior by dressing differently, not walking alone, not drinking too much, and having their keys ready when they walk to their cars at night (to name just a few) because we certainly can’t expect BOYS to change their behavior and STOP ASSAULTING WOMEN – is misogyny. On the one hand, I’m thrilled that Trump has exposed the misogyny (and racism and bigotry and etc) of the GOP, as we’ve all known it was there forever (and, sidenote: Let’s not start thinking that the GOP cares about women just because they are turning on Trump now. That’s a political move, not a values-based one. Do not be fooled!). On the other, the GOP and Trump’s refusal to own what is actually the problem – a misogynistic culture, not that Trump went a tad too far in his ‘locker room talk’ – still feels pretty crappy. Because they are denying women’s reality. Denying the real problem ensures that the problem won’t be solved. 

ARGH. 

Okay, I know I’ve been heavy on the social-political talk lately, and I promise that I’m going to stop…right after I tell you about Birth of a Nation, which Danny and I saw on Saturday. First of all, it was EXCELLENT. Very well done, very gripping, very poignant. I highly recommend it. I also cried through the entire two-hour movie. The entire thing. Like, I had to stop myself from loudly sobbing kind of crying. And afterwards, Danny and I were both kind of speechless and had to go on a long walk to calm ourselves and process what we had just been through. It is a heavy movie and not one in which you can take comfort that ‘it’s just a movie’ because, yeah – that all happened. And not even that long ago. 

[Another plug here to join the Injustice Boycott!] 

And now we can return to our regularly-scheduled, light-hearted programming. 💝

I had to go to Oakland again for training this week and, after complaining about how crappy the hotels in the allowed price range were, a friend suggested Airbnb. Duh! I’ve used Airbnb before – when we first moved to Santa Cruz and were apartment hunting – and had a great experience, and this was no different. I rented the cute cottage below, which had a super comfy double bed, fully-equipped modern kitchen, and clean bathroom. 

Plus, it was located in a super sweet neighborhood in Berkeley, a few blocks from downtown, and slightly less than a mile from the campus. 

I went on a walk around the town after training in Wednesday, and again before training the next morning, and really enjoyed the city. It’s hard to capture in pictures, but it’s basically built into hills, which remains one of the more surprising characteristics of most California towns to me. Before moving here, I thought it was all flat beaches because that’s the main thing that you see in movies and on Baywatch.

Berkeley is also filled with murals, which I loved. They are hard to capture on camera because they are so big and you are standing right in front of them on the sidewalk. This was a smaller portion of a multi-frame mural, to give you an idea. 

My sunrise walk around the campus was glorious, and made me wonder what it would be like to be 20 again, and to go to college in such a beautiful place. I love the mix of inspiration, excitement, and ambition that I always feel on campuses, and Berkeley was no exception. 

One thing that did make me sad in Berkeley is how many homeless people there are. At 7AM, nearly every storefront that I walked by – and remember, it’s a city, so there are a bunch of storefronts – had a homeless person sleeping there. Between that and Oakland’s ‘tent cities,’ I’ve been pretty appalled by how the cities here are (not) addressing this problem. In a country where some people have so, so much, nobody should have to sleep on the street. Nobody. The campus actually had several of the below-pictured fountains, and I saw a homeless person wading in one, gathering change. Again, nobody should have to live like this. 

View of the sunrise and the side of the massive campus library. I feel smarter just looking at libraries on college campuses. 

We also had an exceptionally beautiful – even for here – sunset in Santa Cruz the other night, while I was out walking. 

Naturally, I had to take multiple pictures of it and none did justice to the beauty that I am privileged to view. 

I took Danny to his first hot yoga class today. Traditional Bikram yoga is 90 minutes long, but this studio does a non-traditional condensed 60 minute class, and thank goodness. When we walked in, Danny said, ‘This is it? It’s not that hot.’ I smiled and said, ‘We’ll see how you feel about the heat, dear.’ Ten minutes to the end of class, he had to step out for fear that he might throw up. Those classes are no joke. (Plus, we had gone for a 4-mile hike prior to, and had yet to eat that day. It was probably not the best prepping.) But I think he enjoyed it, and we are going to try Khundalini Yoga next, which is more focused on breathing and is Danny’s fave yoga practice. 

During our hike this morning, there were more people than usual out and about, and Danny joked that people were there decompressing from last night’s debates. Which is probably so true! (And is exactly how Santa Cruzians think/behave.) in that spirit and as an antidote to all the negativity and ranting that I started with, I leave you with these thoughts from monk Thich Nhat Hanh: 

Someone asked me, “Aren’t you worried about the state of the world?” I allowed myself to breathe and then I said, “What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help.” 

Yes, there is tremendous suffering all over the world, but knowing this need not paralyze us. If we practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful sitting, and working in mindfulness, we can try our best to help.

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day and hope everyone has a wonderful week! ❤️

Love yous tremendously. 😘

Injustice Boycott. 

Hello Loves! 

I am taking a short break from sharing Santa Cruz sunsets to talk about something much more pressing than where I recently hiked. As you all know, I tend to have strong opinions related to our political system, but especially in regards to social justice issues. I am basically a socialist (thanks to Bernie for making that socially acceptable to say) and have spent my career in social work, working with our most vulnerable and underprivileged populations. I support programs that even liberals sometimes have trouble swallowing. 

So, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I strongly support the Black Lives Matter movement. We, as white people, have had the privilege of ignoring how deep and how destructive our culture’s racism is for far too long, and we cannot ignore it anymore. Nor should we. Every day, I see the results of our racism. I see it in our justice system, the unfairly harsh penalties given to black men, the disproportionate number of black men that are incarcerated. I see it in the ‘stop and frisk’ policies in NYC. I see it in the countless, never-ending stories of police brutality, perpetrated largely against black people. I see it in the voter suppression efforts in North Carolina. I see it when people ignorantly say ‘All Lives Matter.’ Institutional racism, structural racism, implicit racism, personal racism. Racism permeates every aspect of our culture, and talking about it and growing awareness are no longer enough. We need to take action. 

In that vein, Shaun King – a social justice writer whose writing and advocacy I greatly respect and admire – has begun organizing the Injusice Boycott ‘to combat police brutality, racial violence and systemic injustice in America.’ He outlines the framework for the boycott – beginning December 5th – here, and I can’t urge you strongly enough to make the ‘pledge that you will boycott cities, states, businesses, and institutions which are either willfully indifferent to police brutality and racial injustice or are deliberately destructive partners with it.’ In America, we vote with our money, every day, with every purchase, and it’s time to vote for justice. 

Now, I realize that the boycott will be inconvenient for some of us. While we don’t have all the details yet, I suspect that there will be places that we can no longer shop and cities that we can no longer see a concert in. To that end, I want to remind you that police brutality and racial injustice are more than inconveniences; they are a tragedy. Black families have had to endure the horrific consequences of white people’s privilege and convenience for centuries; surely we can shop somewhere else or skip that show for a few months or years. 

I am tired of living in a country that refuses to take ownership of its brutal history – as Michael Moore said in his latest film, we are ‘a country born in genocide and built on the backs of slavery – and work to make amends. I am tired of living in a country where white people are too afraid to talk about racism in any meaningdul way. I am tired of living in a country that would rather ignore problems than do the hard work to create change. I am so tired of inaction and denial and changing the topic and ignorance and rationalization and justification. I’m tired of it all. 

And you know what else? Black people are tired of it. Black families are tired of grieving their loved ones and being afraid of law enforcement and being asked if you can touch their hair and cultural appropriation and mass incarceration. Black people are tired of having to educate ignorant white people who are too lazy to read a book to educate themselves. Black people are tired of white people crticizing literally every way they try to peacefully protest while doing NOTHING about the real issues that they are protesting. They are more than tired of it. They are fed up. Frankly, at this point, I think we all ought to be grateful that they are sticking to peaceful protests. If most white men were treated the way most black men are for one whole week, I suspect that they’d burn the whole country down with their rage. 

Joining this boycott is how we stand in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters. It is how we tell them that we see what is happening and we know that it is so very wrong. It is how we tell them that YOUR LIFE MATTERS. Joining this boycott is an act of love. 

This is how we change the world, People. It’s time. It’s long past time. Which side of history do you want to be on? 

Join us. ❤️ I love you. 

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. ❤️

P.S.

I got it. 


I couldn’t wait anymore. I could only find two copies in all of Bookshop. I suspect I’ll be finished by tomorrow. Danny is even excited to read it. And then I’ll send it to Rooms. Keep a copy in circulation. Supporting an author that I adore. Spreading the love! ❤️💝😍

Happy Sunday! 

A Week in the Life. 

Hello Loves,

Wheeeeee!

This week had a bunch of wonderful things packed into it. Starting with:


BABY GIRL! And BABY BACKPACKS!! I can’t even. 😍😍😍 Her and I had a Skype date last Sunday, which was two minutes of her smiling and me sticking out my tongue and waving. I cannot get enough of her. This is my new ‘wallpaper’ for my phone. 

Halloumi! There’s a middle-eastern restaurant in Soquel, where you can order off-menu halloumi sandwiches, and it’s become my most favorite restaurant. My friends and I had lunch there this week and life was good. 🙂 

Some scenes from my ‘Harbor Walk,’ a three mile loop around our neighborhood, Arana gulch, the harbor, and the beach: 

I continue to attempt to capture the enormity of some of the trees here in Cali.


Again.

I know that I say this incessantly, but I still cannot believe how beautiful this city is, and that we have world-class hiking right in our city. Speaking of…


Danny and I hiked Niscene Marks with my friend Stef last weekend. I was so engrossed in our conversation, I didn’t take any pictures! When we finished, I checked my phone and was shocked to find that we had hiked five and a half miles and it had been nearly two hours! I thought it had been, maybe 45 minutes? It was a really, really beautiful hike, with excellent company. 

A view of San Francisco from Oakland.


I had training in Oakland again for two days this week, so I spent Wednesday night in Berkeley. 

I saw a BUNCH of Black Lives Matter signs (❤️), ate some really amazing vegan food, and found chickens in someone’s front yard while I was walking around. What’s not to love? 

I also saw several ‘tent cities,’ which are both heartbreaking and infuriating. There are whole sidewalk blocks covered in tents, and I cannot believe that the city won’t do anything to help these people. There is no reason for people in this ridiculously rich country to live like this. Danny and I have a semi-serious dream to eventually buy land and build a bunch of tiny homes on the property, to do our part to promote housing first solutions to help end homelessness. 

This made me laugh.


My autographed copy of Love Warrior (with special limited edition gift!) did not arrive this week. In fact, when I requested the tracking number, I discovered that it hasn’t even shipped yet. This is the danger of preordering books. Fortunately, I’m privileged enough that I can, and likely will, just pick up another copy when we hit up the bookstore tomorrow  – for gifts for Danny’s nieces, whom we’ll be seeing next weekend to celebrate his birthday ❤️ – and then give it away, thus spreading the love! 

The Love Revolution even spread to the soap opera world. I received this text from Rooms the other night. The Carly that she is referencing is a character from General Hospital, her favorite soap opera. 

Love is Winning! So happy for and proud of Glennon. 💝

Here’s an article about Glennon’s new book in The Chicago Tribune. I am so glad that she is in this world. 


I read this post about skepticism regarding white allies of Black Lives Matter, which was thought-provoking, well-written, and wise. It started good and just kept getting better. 

I also read this post from Shaun King – whom I recently started following and whose work I am strongly supporting – about finding a form of protest that white people would actually approve of. SO ON POINT. 

And for those who have Facebook (and don’t mind logging into it), this short metaphor is worth reading. 

I also finished reading Cherry last weekend in anticipation of Love Warrior, and am now tearing through Lit while I wait. Mary Karr is so good. I really have a thing for strong, female (former addict) memoirs. I’m pretty sure these women are going to lead the Love Revolution that will save the world. ❤️


OH. And did I tell you that Glennon and Brene (Brown) are teaching an online class together? I’m signed up and SO EXCITED!!! (Another reason that I ‘need’ to buy another copy of Love Warrior. The things we do for love. 😉) 

Happy Weekend, Everyone! 

Looooooooove yous. 

Long Weekend. 

Hey there, Loves! 

Post-dentist smile!

I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend; I know that I am! 😎 After traveling the last two weekends, this work week was looooong and I was excited to spend a good chunk of the weekend with my books, Netflix, and my bullet journal. It was also my first weekend on-call (until Saturday at 5PM), as a supervisor, which provided the perfect excuse for my favorite low-key activities. 


Last weekend, my friend, Adi, and I ventured three hours east, towards the Sierras, to our friend/mentor’s cabin and boat in Angels Camp. We all met up at the local gas station / deli / place to buy stuff for the lake. 

Yup, that’s the name of the meet-up spot.


We got sandwiches from the deli and headed to the lake. Maryanne (friend/mentor) and her partner, Chris, come up here nearly every weekend in the summer, bringing along friends to take out on the boat. They have a wakeboard, water skis, and a tube for the boat, and we brought along plenty of snacks and champagne, which fueled us through the eight hours we spent on the lake. 

Maryanne giving wakeboard lessons.

She’s a pro.


I got up on my first try and was starting to get the hang of staying up by the end of the day. It was SO.MUCH.FUN. I’m already excited for next summer. Adi had a fear of falling that prevented her from getting up to begin with, so we also blew up the tube and her and I flew around the lake behind the boat, laughing uncontrollably the entire time. 

Me, Adi, and Maryanne.


The cabin was about thirty minutes from the lake, and we stopped for dinner in the small town of Murphys on our way back. The town was very small, with only a few eateries; our restaurant featured burgers, tacos, and pizza. We also noted that there were several cute shops and discovered that Murphys is the hidden gem of wineries in Cali. We’re planning a trip back in the fall – before winter sets in and the cabin gets rented out to the winter sport peeps – for hiking, antiquing, and wine tasting. 

The cabin itself was set in the mountains, with very little cell service, and was incredibly serene. The light pollution is almost nonexistent, serving to make the night sky breathtaking. We stayed up late chatting, and I kept thinking how grateful I am for the friends that I’ve made in Santa Cruz. All these kind, bright, thoughtful, interesting, fun, social justice warriors. ❤️

In other news, I can barely stand the news anymore. Brock Turner, police brutality, Trump. It all seems bad, bad, bad. But I remain hopeful that all of these things are catalysts for the revolution that our country needs.


Speaking of revolutions, my signed copy of Love Warrior, the new book by my favorite love revolutionist, Glennon Doyle Melton, will be arriving this week, a fact that I have announced to Danny no less than 19 times in the last week. It’s the most excited that I’ve been for a book release since the seventh Harry Potter book came out. (I actually finished reading Mary Karr’s Cherry this morning, and am debating about whether to start Lit, as I know that I’ll immediately stop reading it when LW arrives.) And, in even bigger news, Glennon teamed up with BRENE (Brown, obviously) to create a new online class called The Wisdom of Story, for which I have already signed up. These love warriors – along with a few other faves – are my heroes and I believe their revolution to be the solution to all of the world’s problems. 

I’ll leave it on that positive note for today. Danny and I are headed on a walk to downtown for some card shopping, shoe shopping, and the movies. 

Love you alllllll! 😍

Country Lovin’.

Hello Loves! 

Last weekend, I went to Wisconsin to visit my Grandma days before her 96th birthday, and to see my parents, aunts, uncles, and a few cousins. (Well, really, just Craig and Brenda. And my cousin’s kids, HR and ZT. That’s a few?) As always, it was a beautiful experience…and it *is* an experience. There is a part of my heart that Wisconsin touches like nowhere else can. 


I flew into Chicago around 130, with the expectation that I’d be spending close to two hours there before boarding my 40-minute flight to Milwaukee. I texted my parents, who were en route to Milwaukee from NJ by car and expected to pick me up in a few hours in Milwaukee. They’d had a leisurely vacation morning with a long walk, breakfast, and slow start. My dad texted back that, as serendipity would have it, they were about 20 minutes away from O’Hare. They scooped me up there and we were off to Milwaukee! (About an hour later, I received a text that my flight was delayed by an hour and a half. Even more of a win!) We went to Whole Foods for coffee and snacks for the farm, walked around Lake Michigan, then headed to Three Brothers, where we ordered far too much delicious food and talked. I am very lucky to enjoy my parents’ company so much and count them both among my closest friends. 💝

After dinner, we drove to The Farm! About two hours from Milwaukee. 


Above is a poorly framed photo of a picture of The Farm, in all its glory. The farmhouse that we sleep in at The Farm is over a hundred years old and gives the sensation of having walked into a time capsule, particularly the upstairs, where the majority of my family does not like to sleep (the mattresses are probably as old as the house). Personally, I love it up there (and I can sleep almost anywhere): the rattling windowpanes, the dearth of outlets, the hidden treasures, such as my dad’s high school diploma, old photos, and other family keepsakes. 

Saturday morning, our walk got rained out, so the kids and I did some face painting, which I had to quickly (and surprisingly easily) was off, so that we could get to Krohn’s for cheese curds by noon. 

I got two bags of curds to bring back to the west coast and enjoyed them as a snack all week. We also stopped by the extensive yard sale happening at the house next door to the farm for this: 

A lemon squeezer!


Apparently, my mom has been looking for one of these heavy-duty old-fashioned lemon squeezers ‘forever.’ And now she has one! (We also have an identical one at The Farm. Back in the day, all the farmhouses had the same stuffs.) That afternoon, my parents and I went to Algoma, a nearby town on the water, to pick up smoked fish. We also stopped into a local coffee shop and perused some beautiful handmade jewelry. For dinner, we feasted with everyone on bagels, smoked fish, tomato slices, and cheese, and it was delicious. 


On Sunday, the kids went to church, so my parents and I went on a walk, just the three of us, which was lovely. 

Afterwards, we went to pick up Grandma and then headed to my aunt and uncle’s cottage on Lake Michigan for an afternoon BBQ. 



The views are (clearly) very beautiful. I even found myself thinking, ‘I could totally live here, and it would be so much cheaper than Santa Cruz!’ And then I remembered: winter. 

The Ledvinas are known for their love of good food and good conversation, and this trip was no different. It was during this BBQ that the idea of recording Grandma telling stories first came up, and I now have plans to run with that in October. My Grandma has so much history – of our family and in general – in her head and she is still so sharp; I want to record those stories before it is too late! So, I’m planning a trip back in October to do just that, and I am very excited about it.


I was overwhelmed by emotion a few times during my short weekend visit. First because the topic of ‘getting older’ kept coming up, as all of my aunts and uncles are doing just that. My parents are the youngest of the bunch and they are in their sixties, and people are starting to talk more about how their bodies just don’t work the same as they used to. Even a couple of my cousins have had to stare down their own mortalities already. In a logical way, I totally get that this is how nature and biology and Life work, that our bodies get old and then die, and I’m down to have that conversation with people. As I’m fond of saying, ‘Getting old isn’t so bad. Better than the alternative, right?’ (Says the 31 year-old, in all her infinite wisdom.) On the other hand, the reality that this ‘getting old’ thing is happening to some of my favorite people in the world is…unsettling. As Grandma says, ‘It doesn’t do to dwell on these things.’ Moving on…

Actually, I’m going to stop my reflections there so that I can get this posted finally. I still have to update y’all about last weekend’s boating trip to my friend’s cabin, and all the rest of life! Luckily, this upcoming weekend will be a quiet one at home, with no obligations, and plenty of time to read and write, which is all I want right now. 😊 


I also have my first on-call shifts this week, now that I’m officially off of probation as a supervisor. I’m a teensy bit nervous, but I’m at a big advantage over other new supervisors going on-call, as my day job as the Screening Supervisor is pretty much identical to what the supervisors do on-call. (I’m also excited because we make great money from being on-call. Wahoo!) 
Love yous! 

Me