Balance.Β 

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. πŸ’

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, β€œAren’t you worried about the state of the world?” I allowed myself to breathe and then I said, β€œWhat 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.Β 

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.Β 

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. πŸ’ 

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! β€οΈπŸ’πŸ˜

Happy Sunday! 

A Week in the Life.Β 

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. πŸ™‚ 

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. πŸ’

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. πŸ˜‰) 

Happy Weekend, Everyone! 

Looooooooove yous. 

Long Weekend.Β 

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. πŸ’

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

Creative Inspirations.Β 

Hello Loves,

I wonder if waking up to this will ever get old.


So… I literally can’t even talk about politics anymore. It’s too much. It’s too ridiculous. I can’t even dignify it with my attention. To this end, I won’t be sharing many links this week. This is what else has been going on… 

From a Live Oak and Pleasure Point neighborhood walk.


On Friday, my coworker-friends and I grabbed a quick lunch at New Leaf (a grocery store similar to Whole Foods) and then headed over to the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History to see our friend Stef’s exhibition. 

Stef took inspiration from the refugee crisis and other migratory stories and phenomenons to inform this exhibit. She applied for a six-week fellowship with the museum, was chosen(!), and then managed to work out a three day-week work schedule for the six weeks, so she can do both. I am equally inspired by and proud of her. 

Stef embroidered a large world map, a smaller California map, a Santa Cruz map, and a United States map. As people visit, she offers them the chance to share their migration story, and then she is embroidering their stories onto the map. She also gives visitors the option of embroidering themselves and has educational materials as well. She is so cool. 

From a Pogonip walk. A view of Santa Cruz.

Also at Pogonip.


The snake above scared the crap out of Danny and me on one our hikes. The snake appeared unfazed. 

I spent a couple of hours today working on a letter to send to all of my coworkers to encourage them to participate in union rallies. I’m as surprised as anyone that I’m taking an interest in leadership, but I have a lot of good reasons for wanting us to work to negotiate more money, and people that I trust tell me that it’s important for people to show up. I’ve never had a union before, so we’ll see how this goes. 

I’ve been starting to look at listings in Felton and Lompico, tiny cities in the (breathtaking) mountains, about twenty minutes from here / the beach. The properties are slightly more affordable up there, and would likely retain their value and be easy to rent out if I wanted to move elsewhere in the future. It kills me to be throwing away all this money on rent, and – now that I’m a supervisor – I know that I won’t be leaving Santa Cruz for at least a few years. And both Danny and I love it here. How does one know when they are ready to buy? 

I even like the gray mornings.


Work has been interesting, not just because of the union stuff. The state enacted new legislature and I’m in one of the workgroups to plan the implantation of the implementation. I get to work with and learn from some of the high level managers, participate in macro level decision making, and be a part of implementing *best practices* in our work. Our bimonthly meetings are becoming my favorite part of the day.


I like tracking my steps. This is my ‘Harbor Walk.’ It includes a stroll through Seabright beach, the harbor, Arana Gulch park, and then through the neighborhood, which is beautiful in itself. 


I’m leaving for Wisconsin on Friday. I’m super excited to see my parents and spend the weekend with my 96 year-old grandmother. And eat cheese curds. And freshly smoked fish. And Three Brothers in Milwaukee. 

I also have training for two days in Oakland this week, so I’m spending Tuesday night there. And yet, despite being gone more days than I am here, I still came home from the farmers market with an assortment of squash, greens, peppers, tomatoes, and five different cheeses. I’m getting in the Wisconsin spirit?  πŸ˜œ

I’ve been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcasts and getting super inspired. 

I made this risotto tonight. It was my first attempt at making risotto. It came out okay. It will get better.

Hope everyone has a beautiful week! 

Love yous. Very much. 

Me

Summer Lovin.

Hello Looooooooves!


You know that thing that moms say about their young children, “The days are long, but the years are short?” I think that actually applies to all people, all the time (and especially to weekends, which seem to flyyyyyyyyy by). I cannot believe that it’s already August and that, before long, our city will empty out again, the boardwalk will be closed during the week, and these warm days will get…slightly less warm. (I still live in Santa Cruz, after all.)


Did anyone watch the DNC last week? I did not. Mostly because I don’t need much more than a seven-second sound byte from the troll that is her opponent to solidify that I am, most definitely, with her. A coworker-friend did tell me that Michelle Obama’s speech was worth watching, so I watched that one, and he was right. She’s at least as good of a speaker as her hubs. 

This video also came out of the convention and has been my favorite thing ever for the last week. I had no prior knowledge of this pop hit, and quickly became infatuated with the feel-good lyrics and video. Like any good pop song, it burrowed into my brain and began playing on a loop. And now, as also happens with all good pop songs, I want to blow my head of a little bit just to make it stop playing. 

Oh, wait, I lied. This is my favorite thing ever from the last week:


That is my niece, with her little wispy hairs pulled into pigtails. My heart. πŸ’“

Work has actually been fairly slow and manageable for the last couple of weeks, which is a welcome change from the maddening pace that we moved at March through June. One would think that I would be using this slower period to catch up and maybe even plan ahead with some new organizational techniques or ideas for improving our practice for when it gets busy again. But I’m not. Instead, I’m just moving slower. Everyone is. I’ve actually started developing a theory that we workers (and supervisors) in Investigations are a bunch of adrenaline junkies and when things slow down, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. 

I still love living here. The other night, I had already walked about 15,000 steps for the day, but I was feeling bleh after I got home, and so I talked myself into going for a short walk. I only made it as far as the beach (about three blocks), and then just sat on a bench, enjoying the sunset. Some tourists walked by and I overheard one of the women comment on how amazing this place is, and I was overcome with gratitude that I actually get to live in this amazing place. 

I will always, always, always be grateful for the time that I live here. ❀️

I’m also very grateful for my new bullet journal. What the heck is a bullet journal, you ask? Great question. I’ve seen ‘bullet journals’ popping up in my social media world a lot in the past year or so, and I’ve been wondering the same thing. Then, my only Internet-but-also-real friend Rachel wrote this piece, which explains it perfectly. About a third of the way through reading her description, I was still not getting it, but then, it clicked, and I realized that I absolutely had to make one. For those who won’t read her explanation/aren’t all *that* interested, a bullet journal is basically a combination of an ongoing to do list, a planner, and a journal, all customized and rolled into one notebook. For me – a person who has different To Do lists and planners on white boards, post-its, and then also a separate journal – this is IDEAL for keeping track of my life. So, a couple of weeks ago, Danny and I walked downtown to Bookshop, and I purchased my first ever Moleskine notebook, with a dotted grid, and then I happily spent two hours setting up my bullet journal. 

To give you an idea, here are a few pages: 

The Yearly Calendar (or, ‘Future Log’ in weird bullet journal lingo)

One of my monthly pages.

Probably my favorite page.

The ‘Weekly Log.’ I really like the tiny calendar.


Each day also gets its own page, to keep track of what you need to do that day, and any journaling that you want to do. I’m not quite obsessed, but it IS a really nice way to start and end each day. And, you know, keep track of my life. 
This is normally where I’d post links to all the stuff that I’ve been reading, but… It’s too heavy. The news is so hard recently.[Although, let’s be for real: racism in all its forms has *always* been a problem. We just have cell phones and social media, so we (white people) are just more aware of it now.] I have some very strong feelings in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and I remain hopeful that this could be a time of revolutionary change and committed to marching in the next BLM protest in the Bay Area in support of that revolution. 

With that, I wish for you all to have a wonderful week, and encourage you to find beauty and gratitude in each day. πŸ’

Love yous very much. 

Weekend Love.Β 

Hey Loves.

My goodness, I am so happy that it’s the weekend. That four-day work week felt more like six, and it was a frustrating one. Being a supervisor presents all sorts of new challenges and responsibilities, and I was feeling the pressure this week. (I was also feeling the disillusionment, but that’s a different story and an inevitable byproduct of working in/for a bureaucracy.) 

My coworker-friend, who also does puzzles, left this on my desk during a particularly frustrating day.


Fortunately, I have built-in balance in a group of like-minded coworker friends. We have lunch every other week to talk about social justice, progressive practice, and organizational culture change (and less serious things too). They’re great. πŸ™‚


On to the most EXCITING news of the week: Sister-in-Law birthed another baby! 😍  Go Sister-in-Law! Baby Boy came into the world on Thursday, and I canNOT WAIT to meet him, and to see him and his big sister together. I’ve watched the videos of her meeting him at least fifteen times, and my heart grows with every viewing. πŸ’


Last weekend was a blast. I spent about seven hours on Sunday with Sofia (Danny’s niece) and was in awe of both how much attention, energy, and patience five year-olds require and how much fun it is to watch them learn. 

We collected – and counted – one hundred sixty-nine rocks.

So fun!

We stalked, captured, and released this lady bug four different times.


His parents see me with her and ask when I’ll have my own kids. And I remind them that two days is very, very different from always and forever. 

Some great things that I’ve read this week: 

Here’s the powerful letter the Standford victim read to her rapist. This is brutal to read, but also really important. Compelling writing and the most salient description of the violation of sexual assault that I’ve ever read. 

The Maturation of the White Ally. Also a powerful, important read. Danny and I had some light weekend banter over cappuccinos at 7AM about reparations and white privilege and all things racism.

I Know Why Poor Whites Chant Trump, Trump, Trump. I said recently that I am more afraid of how far he’s come than I am of his presidency, and while I am extremely disheartened that a demagogue has made it this far, I am much more afraid of how much damage a bigoted blowhard can do in four years. 

On the lighter side, my only Internet friend, Rachel, published this piece about ‘bullet journals’ that explained to me what they are and why I obviously need to make one. I’ve seen these mentioned around my blog world, but had no idea what it was and the planner in me thinks this is BRILLIANT. 


So far this weekend, I’ve skyped with my parents, had tacos with Danny, and laid on my bed and read. It’s been glorious. But after I hit publish, we’re headed to the grocery, then to the movies, and then making homemade meatballs for dinner. And probably a long beach-and-harbor walk in there too. Weekend life. 😎

Happy Saturday! Love yous! 😘