Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Best Day of Our Honeymoon

Two weeks ago, Eric & I got back from our honeymoon - two fun, fascinating, adventure-packed weeks in Mexico. Neither of us had ever been to Mexico and we loved it and want to go back as soon as possible.

December is usually my favorite month of the year, in large part because with my birthday and various holiday festivities it always feels magical and celebratory and exciting. In the weeks since we've been back it's been a little hard to focus on those feelings because of various small stressors in our personal lives and because of some awful, depressing, soul-crushing current events from the last couple of weeks.

In an effort to relive some happier memories - and because people have asked about the trip and I have been too busy to put all our pictures and stories on the internet - here is the story of the best day we had on our honeymoon.



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Post-Election Day Thoughts.

Hi everyone - Eric here.

So it's November 5th. We've all had to endure the drudgefest of election season yet again, and here we are, with an outcome not all that unpredictable by historical standards. While I don't identify as a Democrat, I generally align myself with views of the Democratic party, truly only because I feel they are the only major party that seems to understand why empathy, compassion, and equality are important to social progress. Somewhat surprisingly, I don't really feel strongly about the results of the Congressional elections.

When politicians are beholden to those who pay their way to job security (corporate lobbying), of course they aren't going to represent your interests. Would you do something against the interest of your boss? Probably not, and your boss would probably stop paying you. In this way, nearly all politicians, Democrat or Republican, are corrupt. So honestly, I could care less who runs the House or the Senate. We've all voted for people who don't walk the talk, because none of them do. They're all bought and paid for.

So, in the wake of a very normal, predictable, historically-definitely-precedented election, here are some thoughts that are running through my brain.  

To the Republicans: It's time to put your money where your mouth is. Or rather, it's time to put your Super PACs money where your mouth was. Not to say you have a mandate; there's always the veto pen, so don't get too excited. To paraphrase Jon Stewart, do you go full Sam Brownback and ruin Kansas (e.g. bankrupt the nation)? I want to see if you are committed to your positions, even though the economy is better than it's been in years, and that seems to be the only issue you care about. For the last eight years, you've done little but obstruct. Time to act on your words, as crazy as I think they might be.

To the Democrats: Don't be so dour. You saw this coming, and you are cowardly for abandoning the president when he has actually been very successful in a number of metrics (not a personal endorsement). Look at the results from the actual issues of the election. Most of the actual issues that are aligned with progressives generally passed. Whether that was higher minimum wage, marijuana decriminalization, or personhood amendments, it wasn't a bad night for the things many of you stand for. Kind of strange that voters want a higher minimum wage, legal pot, and no personhood definitions, yet Republicans win the Senate. To me, that points to the out-of-control Congressional redistricting, which has roots in race and class, but that's a whole other can of corn.

To the nonvoters out there: Vote. Do it. Even if it feels useless. Politicians count on people like you to not vote. We have some of the worst voter turnout in the world, especially among developed nations. Even if the people running don't represent your views, at least vote on the issues. It's a way to feel a sense of responsible patriotism, and you get a sticker to show off to everyone. If you continue to not vote, have fun with your pity party and unwillingness to participate in your own democracy. Your choice.

To my fellow voters, regardless of affiliation: Make corporate campaign contributions a central issue in the next election. Demand it. This issue bleeds in to every national conversation that we have, and clouds decision making on every level. We must fix the way our politicians are elected. I wholeheartedly believe it is the most important issue of our time. Climate change? Women's rights? Gun violence? Banking regulation? Food system? Energy? Police militarization? Foreign policy? All of these things and countless more nation-wide issues are corrupted by the influence of money in politics. We must be united on this front as Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and anyone else.

Anyway, I don't believe much will change after this election. Let's make political corruption a top issue next election, and see how things change.

Zeez actively fighting political corruption.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hitched!

We did it - we got married! And we even get to share an anniversary with Amal Alamuddin and George Clooney.
We got to take a picture with some bighorn sheep on our mini-moon in Taos!
It's not really our style to share everything about it on the internet - as much as it was a super fun party, it was also a pretty intense, personal, emotional moment for Eric and me, so we want to keep some things off the internet, and some memories we'd love to share and relive in person. But we will share a few things here, and a few pictures when we get them from our wonderful photographer.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Gratitude and Privilege

Recently, Eric & I can't stop talking to each other about how much we have to be grateful for.

On the morning of our second day backpacking.
 At the beginning of August, we finally went backpacking together for the first time - a trip two years in the making. We spent two days in the Pecos Wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, starting at a trailhead that is a half-hour's drive from our house. We had amazing weather, saw some beautiful wildflowers and lakes, and even harvested some porcini mushrooms. It felt wonderful to really get away from everything and spend time in the beautiful wilderness that's practically in our backyard.

My half-marathon training is going really well. I feel stronger than ever and the idea of running 13 miles in a few weeks seems more and more possible every day. Eric's been running with me on my shorter training runs, and it's really fun to start our mornings with a sunrise run. It feels so good to be working toward this goal and seeing the progress, and exploring Santa Fe on foot has lead me to some spectacular views of the city and the surrounding mountains.

Eric with his first cherry tomato from the garden!
 It's harvest season, and Eric's garden is producing some delicious tomatoes, potatoes, kale, broccoli, and even a few strawberries. This morning when I needed a few more tomatoes for a recipe, I just walked out front and picked a few right off the vine - how cool is that?! And on Saturdays, we usually bike to the farmer's market to get the rest of our produce. Right now it's green chile season - the best time of the year in Santa Fe, probably - so the scent of roasted chiles fills the air.

Our most recent surge of gratitude comes from this happy news: Eric just started a new job as Program Coordinator for the best park in Santa Fe, which is right up his alley. He'll be spending a lot of time in the park, maintaining the gardens and educating kids & adults about plants. Last Monday and we both biked to work; on the way home, we met up on the bike trail by our house and rode home together. It was pretty darn cute.


And of course, we are continuously grateful for each other; for our life in Santa Fe; for Zeezy, the best cat in the world; and for all our friends and family that will be joining us next month for our wedding.

But while we are basking in all this gratitude, we definitely don't forget for a single minute how privileged we are.

Monday, August 11, 2014

First Ladies

In case you haven't noticed, Hillary Clinton has been all over the news lately. (Eric and I particularly liked listening to her Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross - check it out!) And not just because she recently wrote a book about her four years as Secretary of State - she's also the most likely presidential candidate for the Democratic party.

I know this meme is two years old, but I still love Texts From Hillary.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On Eleanor Roosevelt and Running

"You must do the things you think you cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Whenever people ask me what my favorite quote is, that's the one that springs to my mind. I first saw it on a page-a-day calendar that I had growing up, and it immediately resonated with me. As a bookworm and an introvert, I realized early on that I needed to intentionally leave my comfort zone to change and grow as a person. And in my adult life, I have done a lot of things that I didn't think I could do, including:

- Go to college far away from home in a place where I knew exactly zero people
- Get hired as a campus tour guide, a job which involved talking loudly to many people at once (and often involved walking around in the rain, sometimes backward)
- Paid off more than half of my student loans a year after graduating
- Moved (with Eric!) to a place where we knew exactly zero people
- Went on a 6-day rafting trip (and actually had an amazing time)

And, of course, the big one: running. Those who knew me before 2011 can probably attest to the fact that exercising wasn't exactly my thing. Sure, I walked a lot, and was down for the occasional yoga class or bike ride, but running? No way. It boggled my mind that people ran for fun. People that I was friends with! When I lived in Chile for months, most of my fellow exchange students would complain about how annoying it was to run outdoors (uh, because the stray dogs would usually try to run with you or chase you). I nodded in sympathy, while all the while thinking, "What is the deal with running?"

Finishing my first 10K in Bellingham!
Well, when I got back to the US, my roommates would often go to the gym together, and I started to go with them, too - we all had busy schedules so I had to get my roommate bonding time in when I could. And when they suggested that maybe I could try running a little, and pointed out that the treadmills had TVs on them that had cable, curiosity got the best of me. I ran 2.1 miles that day, and it wasn't really fun per say, but it wasn't terrible. And I had run 2.1 miles! That was honestly something that I never thought I would do. I was so impressed with myself that I immediately texted 4 or 5 of my running friends to brag about my accomplishment. And then slowly, but surely, I started to become a runner.

I still feel weird saying that - I'm a runner. I spent so many years assuming I would never be a runner, and even after three years I haven't gotten used to it. At first I thought I wouldn't be a runner until I ran my first race. After my first 5K, I thought I would feel like a runner after I ran a 10K. After my first 10K, I decided I'd need to run the Bolder Boulder to call myself a runner. Well, I did that. So what's next?

Right after finishing the Bolder Boulder, SO happy to be sitting in the shade.
Long story short, a few weeks ago I registered for my first half marathon! It's happening in September, two weeks before our wedding, in Santa Fe. Which means it's at an altitude of around 7200 feet. That makes me pretty nervous, and part of me still thinks, "I can't run a half marathon. I'm not a runner." But there's a bigger part of me that knows I can prove that voice wrong.

The thing is, every single time I run, I push myself to do things I think I can't do. When I feel like I can't go any further and I just want to collapse on the ground, I push myself to keep running for one more mile, or five more minutes, or one more block, or until I reach that shady spot on the trail. When I'm running, I'm constantly exceeding and re-evaluating my expectations of what my body is capable of. And I keep running.

After a training run over the weekend
 Turns out that's actually what makes me a runner. Even when I'm slow and tired and sweaty and all I want to do is lay down, I keep running. And the fact that five years ago, I never would have ever guessed that this is what I'd be doing? That makes it all the more gratifying. Thanks for the reminder, Eleanor.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Memories of Bogota

I'm back from Colombia! Well, I actually got back a couple of weeks ago, but between recovering from a post-travel cold, taking a weekend trip to Colorado, and getting back into the swing of working and having a social life, it's taken me awhile to get back to my internet life. But! Some pictures of my international travel are better late than never, right?

But first, a cautionary tale.