Love in the Time of Coronavirus

5DBC7799-2B97-44F7-AD01-8F48158B2505Hey Kittens.

I hope that everyone reading this is actively engaging in social distancing, for the greater good. Your excuses of youth and vibrancy mean nothing to the elderly, the healthcare workers, the immuno-compromised, the asthmatic. Stay home, if you can.

I know, this is all so very, very strange. And I honestly hope that social distancing and quarantine will ultimately prove “alarmist.” But, I’d rather that be the case, than the alternative of under-reacting and increasing the number of illnesses and death.

The hardest part, in some ways, is that it’s springtime in DC! There are so many things I had planned, and now everything has been cancelled or closed. What that means is more time at home, and more time to write, share, reflect. Soon, I’ll share a much belated recap of my trip to Italy! And Utah! I’ll also likely share some thoughts on the virus and its various implications, because I certainly do have thoughts on the matter.

In the meantime, stay safe, wash your hands, watch out for the more vulnerable, don’t go crazy at the supermarkets, and take your vitamins! Last but not least, enjoy these pretty photos of springtime in DC. Parks and gardens may be closed, but I am blessed to have magnolias, daffodils, and other blossoms in abundance in this sweet little Capitol Hill neighborhood 🙂

 

Towards Redemption

IMG_9535It’s pretty hilarious to look back on early evidence of my journey towards a plant-based lifestyle. There is plentiful hemming and hawing as I gradually convince myself to exploit animals less, making various justifications and exceptions along the way. Recently, I even stumbled upon my handwritten journals from high school, in which I lament the way vegetarians made me feel guilty for eating meat (early cognitive dissonance FTW!)

Even now, I am not 100% plant-based. I eat exclusively vegan at home, but make allowances when I’m at a restaurant, traveling, or a guest in someone’s home. In those instances, I typically compromise to vegetarian or pescatarian levels. In other words, I’m still working on it.

But, I am far more “radicalized” today than ever, and I speak up passionately for the cause. That said, I am perpetually conflicted about it. Not about veganism itself, but about my advocacy. There are days when I feel horribly guilty about “telling people what to eat” or about pressing my viewpoint on others. I remind myself that it’s less and less a matter of opinion. The more we learn about animal sentience, environmental degradation, health, global hunger, and climate change, the less we can dismiss veganism as a lifestyle choice or dietary preference. Now more than ever, it’s an existential and moral imperative. Continue reading

The Washingtonians

Well folks, we have come full circle! After eight years, four states, and one foreign country, Chuck and I found our way back to the District. It would be fairly exhausting to recap everything that’s happened since then, so I won’t try. All anyone really needs to know is that Chuck’s promotion schedule had us saying adios to the Pink House a full year earlier than expected. I wasn’t particularly happy about that, but I was comforted by the idea that we were headed back to Washington. It was time!

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The Winds of Change

img_5654Holy mackerel, how time flies. Happy New Year to all! Lots has happened since I last wrote (as always.) The biggest piece of news it that Chuck and I are leaving California this summer. While I knew that was a possibility, especially given his pending promotion, I still found it difficult to digest that we would cut our SoCal tour short by a full year. Although I’ve struggled to find myself professionally in the way that I’d hoped, I seriously love everything about my life here. My house, my yard, my friends. My grocery store, my vet, my hair salon, my favorite restaurant and favorite bar. Even on the job front, I had learned and networked enough to shake up my approach and find success a different way.

But there’s not much you can do to tame the Marine Corps’s inevitable winds of change. So, we are off to Virginia in June, and I am finding reasons to get excited.

But for now, I want to embrace what little time I have left in my rose-gold, California Girl life.   Here are some of the highlights since I last updated in… wait for it… SEPTEMBER 2018! Continue reading

Endless Summer

Although this summer has been far too hot for my Coastal California girl sensibilities (you try 90 degrees with no AC!), I am still not quite ready for it to end. I’ve had a great time exploring the area, connecting with friends old and new, and – as always – enjoying the scenery from my own backyard. Two recent highlights were my visit to a Temecula winery and my very first music festival!

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The Small Things

I have written about my zen California life before, and expressed my appreciation for the little things in life, too. As I learn to take more in stride and put less pressure on myself, I’m seizing every moment to appreciate the small joys all around me… and I simply wanted to revisit that for a moment 🙂

Take, for starters, my glorious Pink House, and sunny California afternoons and sunsets. I’ll admit that it’s been a little too hot lately to spend much time in my shade-less back yard, but the temps are just starting to cool enough in the late afternoon to allow for a glass (or three) of crisp rosé, accompanied by fresh peaches and vegan cheese on my Brooklyn slate cheese board.

 

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Chasing Yesterday’s Rainbows

Mom & Bonni

I took this photo of my mother and my sister during one of our many visits to a mental hospital in northern Virginia, many years ago now. It was a lucky capture of something increasingly fleeting – tenderness, trust, and a smile, between a mother and her daughter. I haven’t been secretive about my mom’s descent into severe mental illness. It is highly stigmatized, which is stupid, because that makes it far more difficult for all of us to bear. So I will always speak up.

Mom battles Delusional Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder, which have no cure and no trusted form of treatment, due to the patient’s inherent suspicion and lack of insight into her condition. We’ve seen her through psychotic breakdowns, hospital stays, suicide attempts, jail time, and homelessness. As hard as that is, the reason it’s most excruciating is because Mom was our best friend growing up. She was a loving and energetic person. But her delusions have transformed Bonni, my dad, and I into the enemy, causing her a great deal of fear, anger, sadness, and pain – which causes her to lash out. And now, it’s hard not to hate the manipulative and abusive person she has become. Continue reading

Cute Cali Crannies

IMG_2715Over the past couple of weeks, I have explored some new nooks n’ crannies here in Southern California. Specifically, I saw Potato Chip Rock and San Juan Capistrano!

I experienced the former because I had friends visiting from Nebraska. You would think that visitors from the landlocked Midwest would want to see the beach in the dead of summer, but no! These athletic types wanted a hike..and a challenging hike, to boot. I had long wondered about Potato Chip Rock, but I will admit that I had no idea how strenuous it was actually going to be. Let’s just say that climbing 1100 feet into the air (and 2 miles of actual feet on the ground) was more than I bargained for, particularly under a full sun bearing down at 90 degrees. Continue reading