Looking back on 2019 (2 of 2)

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July: The month of July included more travel, for work, school, and play. Annie and I started out the month visiting family and friends in Montana. We are just getting to know what a beautiful place it is and are excited for the warmer weather so we can go visit again. It was great to see my uncle and some friends from Baton Rouge–makes being so far away from what’s familiar a bit more like home. The next week took me to Minnesota for a conference–the Place Based Justice Network–my favorite of the year! The following week I was back in California for class, again. All the travel was fun, but it was also good to come home from all of those trips–home to Annie, home to work, home to my house…being away helped me to settle my heart and to look at this place more as home.

August: Annie turned 12 years old in August! She’s still her spunky self doing as great as ever, just sleeps a little more than she used to. She can still outrun me and takes herself out for a walk if I turn my back on her in the front yard. What’s been great about us being here is that Annie is allowed to come to my office and she LOVES being an office dog! I love it, too!

September: September is always a whirlwind of a month, as it’s the start of the fall semester on campus. It’s also comes with amazing views, like the one on the pic. Mt. Rainier is a fickle mountain–often hiding behind the clouds. They have a saying here that goes “live like the mountain is out”. There’s just an energy that comes from the view of the mountain that’s hard to describe. It’s an energy that’s needed in September when we are back in full swing on campus. It was great to be starting my second year in my position, knowing more about what was ahead and taking initiative to make some changes.

October: Thanks to Annie’s first family, she loves (ok, tolerates) clothes and costumes, which makes October a fun month for us. We have a collection of different costumes and rotate thru them in the days leading up to Halloween. It’s a blast to take my taco on a walk around the neighborhood or take a ride with my lion in the front seat. It’s a great time of year for walks as well with the fall colors and leaves all over. Seasons are a big theme of our time here, as it’s been a while since I’ve experienced all four in the same year. It’s cathartic to experience the changing of the seasons and to watch the cycle of life that accompanies it. I also got to sneak away for a quick trip to see friends in Colorado!

November: I spent a lot of time learning about learning in November… teaching and learning is the theme of my class this semester. I got to do a really fun project where I spoke to a student about a faculty member from who they learned a lot, then observed that faculty member teach a class, and then interviewed the faculty member. Seeing the themes emerge from these three perspectives was amazing. The doctoral journey is a difficult one, but also one that has me constantly learning and growing and becoming a better version of myself.

December: December was a busy month both for work and school–the end of the semester comes with deadlines in all areas. December also brings with it one of the highlights of the year for my office, as we are a part of a community event called Winterfest. This event is similar to some that I was a part of in the past with the goal of connecting people in need with available resources. What makes this one different is the community ownership of the event–it’s amazing to see these neighbors caring for their neighbors at a time of year that can be tough for so many different reasons. Annie snuck in a visit with Santa while she was at doggie day care. She confirmed her place on the Nice List. She is also keeping the couch warm for all of the students who have gone home to be with their families for the holidays.

We hope that you have had a great year full of great memories and lots of growth! Know that we are ever grateful for our friends and family who continue to be a great support on this journey!

Cheers to 2019! Bring on 2020!

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