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Burning Man

Fires in the distance

Wow, this year continues to crush us. The west coast is on fire. We left home because the fires in the mountains were causing so much smoke I couldn’t sleep. The other morning my husband woke up next me in a hotel room in a pandemic 90 minutes from home and he was stressed. He turned to me and said what if all these fires mean we can’t sell our house?

I don’t know. I really don’t know. I mean, we’ve been saying things are getting worse for years but we haven’t been able to understand what getting worse looks like on an individual scale. We’ve been a bit protected in our careers and our privilege. These things that are happening are a constant back drop of dispair and now personal impacts that show up in ways we don’t always expect. On a macro level, you say of course the west coast is on fire. Of course this administration has failed us in a pandemic. But then you find yourself trying to book a hotel in a not crowded place to work from during a pandemic with better air quality without spending too much money and you think- what the fuck is this life?

Hey, I get it. I am lucky. Lucky I have a job. Lucky I had $600 to spend on a hotel for 3 nights by the ocean. Lucky I have a car. Lucky I am not sick. But some days lucky doesn’t feel so fabulous. And I can’t help but wonder, how did people survive WWII? How did people rebuild Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima? How about Vietnam after the US pulled out? I think a history of terrible things and wonder how do people recover mentally, spiritually, and emotionally?

But then when I think about that, I feel like I’d rather bury my head in good fiction or mindless television or play music loudly. Maybe that’s how people survive. Maybe other people’s art is literally how people survive. I wish I could say my faith is carrying me through. But it’s not. It’s me going through the motions. It’s me wondering how faith matters in the face of climate change, pandemics, racism, and willful ignorance.

But that’s just part of today. Today I also went through boxes of slides, photos, developed negatives, and old camera equipment with my husband. We made piles to keep or not keep. I’m taking Teddy to the vet so all of his shots are in order for a move. I am continuing on as if things will continue on. And that’s how we are getting through another day.

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Pandemic Life

Spoiler alert: we don’t have Covid-19.

We waited forever to get results for my kid’s test. 20 days to be precise. We waited so long, I let my kid out of quarantine and got tested myself to go back to work. Drive thru CVS fail.

If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that I am super over certain things about this country. Healthcare is one of them. I’ve complained about it FOR YEARS. It’s expensive, inefficient, and needs so much improvement. Over the years I’ve read a lot about about it, worked in it, and argued with lots of coworkers and friends about it. I am tired of the idea that a diagnosis could devastate us into poverty.

I am also really over grind culture. Let’s be honest, I’ve been over it for quite some time. I’ve worked very hard as a nurse and to get advanced degrees. I’ve worked very hard to give my kids a different life than I had in poverty. It’s taken a lot to get them opportunities and a college education.

Another thing I am tired of is state sanctioned violence. AKA police brutality. How many protests? How many videos? How long do we have to wait for change? Most people I know are frustrated about this.

The fourth thing I am tired of we have actually had a reprieve from. Mass shootings. I am tired of that being a normal state of existence. Staying home has at least decreased the incidence of that, especially in schools. One day I got a text from my youngest in college. I was working and she said she was sheltering in place for a possible shooter. I am so frustrated that America has decided guns are worth that risk.

So after complaining about all of the things I’ve always complained about, what are we doing? We are looking to sell our house and move. How will we move in a pandemic? We are not 100% sure, but we are doing it. ✌️

It’s Really Grand

Every day, I wake up and go to work. No really. Every day, I wake up, and I go to work. Except when I schedule a day off of call in sick or am lucky enough to be cancelled. But that costs me because I still need to get paid, only after being cancelled I will have less paid vacation hours. That’s for the weekend job (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). But M-Th, I just work. I took this teaching job knowing it meant working every day, but also knowing it would be temporary. And this week I am half way through the first semester. 5 more weeks of my grad school semester. 7 more weeks of teaching. And then I have 5 weeks off (just not from the weekend job). Is it confusing yet?

Basically what it means is I can go some more places. And there is nothing like teaching international students from Brazil, Italy, Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, and more, to make you want to get out and see the world. So I am already planning a trip AND my husband and I already have a trip to Hawaii booked.

But before the monsoon of crazy work/school schedules began, we went to a bucket list destination.

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This summer we drove to the Grand Canyon.

From LA, the drive is fairly long, which is why we did that stop in Vegas. But after Vegas, we hit the road to somewhere I had been wanting to go for a while. And the Grand Canyon was really fantastic. On the way from Nevada to Northern Arizona, we stopped at Hoover Dam for a short tour. It was HOT in July. But the dam is impressive nonetheless. DSC_0298

We also stopped in WIlliams for lunch, wine, and a little Route 66 kitsch.
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But Grand Canyon National Park…well, it really was worth the placement on the bucket list. It’s just hard to imagine how big it is until you walk along the rim, and then look back at places you were standing.

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When you try to spot the Colorado river and it looks like a small creek, but the park rangers tell you it’s around 300 ft across.

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Our short time in park was more than we expected. For example, lodging and dining options in the park are numerous, but we never felt especially crowded like some people describe. Also, we imagined the Grand Canyon to be rocky and dry. At 7000 ft up, it can be dry, but it is also surrounded by a forest. Which means trees. That was something we did not imagine in Arizona. Getting up at sunrise and watching the light change on the south rim was awesome. And then we ate breakfast by the window facing the rim at the Hotel Tovar. If you have ever asked yourself if the Gran Canyon would be worth the visit, the answer is yes.DSC_0320