01 March 2017 // Eugene, Oregon
When it’s all said and done, the thing I’ll be missing most about Oregon are the people. More than the hard-to-believe campsites, the friendlier cost of living, and the short list of restaurants I look forward to getting a taste of next time I’m back, it’ll be the people.
All that other stuff was waiting for us the moment we arrived in Eugene, but the community we had there, that took some time and effort to cultivate.
Our church felt like a family from very early on.
Many of our GCF friends were walking through some very similar challenges at just the same time.
UO introduced me to quite a few new personalities.
I am happy that it seems like many of the friends we made all seem to be entering new seasons of life, about to start on new adventures or to enter the next stage of an ongoing journey. I’m glad that for a good window of time, we got to get there together.
#61 Valley River
02 March 2017 // Eugene, Oregon
Today I decided to go on a walk and to not stop until I felt like it. The path by the river goes on forever and allowed me to do just that.
I kept thinking about how over the past few years I would compare my life to the one I lived in my early twenties where travel, idealism, and adventure were abundant. The past couple years have been quieter ones and I often wondered if I got "off track" somewhere along the way. Life got too quiet... and I have a hard time with that. (7 trait, def.)
Then... in seemingly an instant, life became full again. I found my way back to being a dreamer, chasing opportunities I can hardly believe are open to me.
But I think I can appreciate this so much more having gone through a much quieter season. I can embrace adventure with a better appreciation for the simple things. I can be an idealist conscious of the hard work it takes to make ideals reality. That wasn't the case four years ago.
God keeps on reminding me that he isn't one to waste time.
#62 David Minor Theatre
03 March 2017 // Eugene, Oregon
I'm gonna miss Eugene's quirky theatres.
As our last date night I'm Eugene- at least for a while, we kept it simple with a movie night and mango hefeweizens and some fantastic beasts.
#63 Joy Friends’ Housewarming
04 March 2017 // Eugene, Oregon
We started announcing that we were officially moving out at our friends’ housewarming party and it’s been an emotional freefall ever since.
I’m feeling so thankful for the people we’ve been able to get to know over the past couple years here in Eugene. Our friends at Joy Church were a big part of helping us develop and further our sense of community, and there are so many faces that we’ll be missing.
#64 Joy Church Eugene
05 March 2017 // Eugene, Oregon
A year ago, Deanna and I had yet to find a church in Eugene where we really felt like we belonged. We knew we’d know it when we found it, but also, we had already lived there for a long time to no avail.
A week later, we walked into Joy Church– a small startup group of families and people meeting at a community center by our house. We quickly gathered that they were a new church. Really new. Like, that was only their second or third week of existence. People seemed surprised that we found them, but we knew we found something special.
Between their belief that “every city needs more joy” (really, I was feeling that way about Eugene right around then) and the warmth of community we got when we went out to Killer Burgers right after the service with a bunch of people we just met, we knew that the church was the right fit.
In the past year, they quickly outgrew the community center. Outgrew the first movie theatre cinema, and are quickly about to outgrow the largest theatre in the movieplex. Also, we grew closer to a lot of the families and friends we got to know through this church.
Today they celebrated their first birthday, and it saddens me that it coincides with my first day since moving out of Eugene. But I’m so, so happy for them. And so thankful for the work Jake and Bethany and the staff and volunteers put in to making it a strong community. And so glad our stories got to overlap for a year.
I only wish I had found them a lot earlier while living in Eugene, but I guess we pretty much found them as soon as we possibly could have. Happy birthday, Joy! I hope to be able to keep visiting lots.
#65 We’re Moving
06 March 2017 // Eugene, Oregon
This change is gonna be so bittersweet.
I took a job offer, a really sweet one, that will start on Monday in San Diego. I drive down next weekend.
I'm going to miss Oregon. A lot. That much is clear. Long before we even started dating, Deanna and I would just talk about how much we liked the Northwest and how we'd probably end up there someday.
And we did. We moved up the week after we got engaged. We've gotten married, finished grad school, switched jobs, made friends, and adopted a dog while living in Eugene. It's a place where we made so many memories and saying my farewells the past few days has been a hard order.
It's a good thing I really like the job I'll be starting soon. And I think I'll like living in San Diego as an adult much more than I did growing up there. I'm sure we'll make it feel like home soon enough. In the meantime this week doesn't feel real.
#66 PDX Farewell Dinner
07 March 2017 // Portland, Oregon
Had to take a daytrip to Portland before leaving Oregon so I could have a farewell with these faces. One of the big things I’ll miss will be being so close to some of our Portland friends– but more reasons to keep visiting.
Thanks Jesse and Raquel for getting married so soon. This farewell dinner was a bit more like “see ya in a month."
08 March 2017 // Eugene, Oregon
It all kind of happened so fast. One day, I get a phone call and the offer for a job in San Diego. I always knew I was going to accept, but I called back a few days later to make things official. I got excited. A new city. A new job. A great job. There was so much to look forward to. Then it started to sink in– Leaving Eugene behind is going to be difficult.
In spite of that, I’m glad that it’ll be hard to leave. That wouldn’t have always been the case. As a smaller city, one with stretches of grey days that would seem to never end, it often tested my patience. I usually wanted more activity, more community, more things to do.
I eventually found those things, but only after it had taught me how to appreciate what was in front of me, how to balance ambition and appreciation. The ironic thing is, that makes it much harder to leave. But that’s a good thing. Goodbyes should be hard. It means you’re leaving behind something good.
#68 Birthday Beignet
09 March 2017 // Eugene, Oregon
Our girl turned two today! (Or sometime roughly around today, but we celebrate her birthday on her adoption day.) She wasn’t so fond of the party hat but I told her it would just be for Insta.
Two is fourteen in dog years, so I guess we now have both a two year old and a teenager at home, in the same fur. 😳
Right when I was in the thick of grad school, Deanna was sure my life would be better with a fur creature in the house. And she was right! Beignet has made some otherwise ordinary nights hilarious with her antics, her silent screaming outside the door when she begs to get into bed with us, her musical outbursts when she thinks we’re about to drive towards the dog park, and her fondness for road trips to Bend.
She’s also been quite a handful at times. We adopted a really high energy dog, and there was that time when she treated herself to an entire package of extremely nutrient-rich maize meal from Africa. But she’s a sweet one and having her in the family definitely adds to our lives.
Happy birthday, Beignet. You’re our girl.
#69 Eugene Farewell Party
10 March 2017 // Eugene, Oregon
Our friend Jordan threw us a nice send off at his ranch on my last night in town.
I’m gonna miss this group of people right here. GCF was a good community to have at a time when a good community was hard to find. It seems like a lot of us will be starting new adventures soon, but I’m glad we all did the Eugene thing together.
Also, most of my farewell events revolved around Code Names and I’m totally cool with that.
11 March 2017 // Sunnyvale, California
The long drive between Eugene and San Diego is made much better with this in the middle.
Happy birthday, Daniel
#71 San Luis
12 March 2017 // Los Baños, California
"The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion.
He hardly knows which is which.
He simply pursues his vision for excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide if he is working or playing.
To him he's always doing both."
Found this idyllic reservoir <30 minutes outside of Gilroy. I knew I had to pull over and go have fun and be thankful.
#72 Day One on the Job
13 March 2017 // San Diego, California
My first day at the new job went splendidly.
Friendly coworkers, a pretty exciting mission, and a Mexican potluck as a welcome. That’s a sign of a pretty good fit.
I’m really looking forward to getting settled in at Plant With Purpose. Plus, I have a medicine ball instead of a desk chair. Here’s hoping it does what it’s supposed to for my abs!
#73 Parental Crashing
14 March 2017 // San Diego, California
Thanks to my parents for letting me crash with them until my new apartment was ready to go.
I couldn’t stay too long because it started to feel way too much like 2004, but it was a huge help when work started a week before my lease.
#74 The Righteous Mind
15 March 2017 // San Diego, California
“If you really want to change someone’s mind on a moral or political matter, you’ll need to see things from that person’s angle as well as your own. And if you truly do see it the other person’s way– deeply and intuitively– you might even find your own mind opening in response. Empathy is an antidote to righteousness, although it’s very difficult to empathize over a moral divide."
Book No. 10 of 2017
This is a book I’m very glad I read. Haidt seeks to explore while people are so often divided into liberal and conservative camps, both fueled by a belief that they’re doing the right thing.
That’s something that had interested me too, and although I don’t share every worldview with Haidt, I found his insight into moral palates one of the most satisfying theories about what defines a person’s political orientation. The short version is that there are five “flavors” of morality– care, justice, loyalty, authority, and purity. While liberals will have strong tastes for the first two, conservative tastes would be more distributed across all five.
The long version is worth reading, and I found it to be a rare thing claiming to be a helpful “explanation of the other side” that actually lived up to the claim.
#75 Luna Ave.
16 March 2017 // San Diego, California
“I’m never gonna wait
that extra twenty minutes
to text you back
and I’m never gonna play
hard to get
when I know your life has been hard enough already.
When we all know everyone’s life
has been hard enough already
it’s hard to watch
the game we make of love,
like everyone’s playing checkers
with their scars,
whenever they get out
without a broken heart.
Just to be clear
I don’t want to get out
without a broken heart.
I intend to leave this life
there’s gonna have to be
a thousand separate heavens
for all my flying parts."
#76 First Week Down
17 March 2017 // San Diego, California
Cheers to a really good week.
After my first week of my new job, I couldn't feel more thankful. I love it. It's exactly the sort of role I dreamt about having years ago- and now it's a reality.
Also, the USA just won the World Baseball Classic and I'm getting close to the end of reading Pachinko. So many good things.
#77 Moving In
18 March 2017 // San Diego, California
I officially got the keys to the new place on Friday and got to start moving in. It made for a fun weekend of IKEA trips, furniture assembly, and picking out a houseplant. And... no more driving around with all our stuff in the car!
Good to be home.
19 March 2017 // San Diego, California
New apartment means a visit to a certain Swedish Meatball restaurant that also lets you try out their mattresses.
#79 Loving This Job
20 March 2017 // San Diego, California
Going to work feels a lot like I’m playing. I have a lot of fun with what I get to do, and I know that’s a privilege for sure. I get to flex creative muscles, work with great people, entertain my international tastes, and do something that I believe helps people.
Case in point– the other day I got to spend about an hour and a half brainstorming ideas for a children’s book. It was a lot like that scene in Elf, minus the angry Peter Dinklage.
#80 The New Jim Crowe
21 March 2017 // San Diego, California
“Racial caste systems do not require racial hostility or overt bigotry to thrive. They need only racial indifference, as Martin Luther King Jr. warned more than forty-five years ago."
Book No. 11 of 2017
Wow. This book was a challenging and important read for me. It came recommended by numerous people whose intelligence and experience with matters of inequality I respect, so I knew I had to take to reading it sooner, rather than later.
The writing in this book was plain, but in a powerful way. By laying out the statistics and historical episodes that people of color in the United States have faced over the last century I began to deeply appreciate the drastic way the Civil Rights Movement shifted public perception to make overt bigotry unacceptable. At the same time, it helped me understand the new challenges this creates.
Whenever there’s a big step made towards equality, like abolition or the Civil Rights Movement, the old inequality usually finds a new way to express itself. After slavery, bigotry took the form of Jim Crow laws. Alexander convincingly makes the case that after Jim Crow, mass incarceration became the new vehicle for racial inequality- a tougher one to fight because of its lack of an explicit label.
This book was written at the beginning of Obama’s presidency, but in many ways it’s even more relevant with age. I don't know if this would be effective in swaying somebody committed to the idea that the world is post-racial, but I found the information and facts in the book to be extremely important to deal with.
#81 Looking to Run
22 March 2017 // San Diego, California
Finally hitting a groove here in San Diego means that it’s time to start running again. Or to at least find the right trail.
Started down this one this morning for just a couple miles. I think I’m onto something.
#82 In Search of a Good Morning
23 March 2017 // San Diego, California
Still on the hunt for my morning spot- the place I get to when I’m up early enough to watch the sunrise and watch the waves crash. It’s a spiritual experience.
Started today by testing out this bench. I think even the search for the right spot will be good.
#83 Meeting Downtown
24 March 2017 // San Diego, California
Got to spend my afternoon in a meeting downtown in one of the sweetest East Village offices. Good midday visit.
You and I are off to a good re-start, San Diego. Way to be.
#84 Chris Coffee Dates
25 March 2017 // San Diego, California
From public speaking to college housing to podcasting, Chris Ward is one of my all time best collaborators.
Now that we're living in the same city for the first time in a long time, I can't wait to see what happens next.
#85 Ducks In
26 March 2017 // San Diego, California
Final Fo' Baby!
This Duck just migrated south. Still a Duck.
#86 Crossing Paths
27 March 2017 // San Diego, California
“Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment."
#87 The Bluest Eye
28 March 2017 // San Diego, California
“Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do."
Book No. 12 of 2017
This was an important read that feels like one I should’ve gotten to long ago. I didn’t until now, but I’m glad I finally made up for a little lost time. At first I wasn’t sure how strongly I’d be able to connect with a book that seemed to be about body identity, but hey, I found a few entry points.
It doesn’t feel right to say that I loved it. So much of The Bluest Eye was written for the sake of intentional discomfort– something designed to provoke a little more self awareness in its reader, but in a less nihilistic way than Lolita infamously sought out to do.
It is fair to say that Toni Morrison is a gifted writer I look forward to reading more of. Her writing style is fluid, and this book still manages to be sharply provocative in 2017… all the more so when you consider when it was written.
#88 Sunset Resolution
29 March 2017 // San Diego, California
You know how there are tons of people who live close to some major attraction who never seem to take advantage of it? All the people in Anaheim who never go to Disneyland. All the people in Chicago who can’t remember the last time they just took a walk up the Magnificent Mile. The people in NOLA who know Bourbon St. is for the tourists.
I’ve been guilty of this myself. I went to college for four years right on the ocean. I never learned how to surf and didn’t make a habit of going to the ocean regularly until towards the very end. I grew up in San Diego and still have zero memories of that world famous zoo.
Well now, I live in one of the best places to watch the sun turn everything a blazing orange, and I’m feeling pretty committed to seeing it in person as often as possible. And if I miss one, I’d better have a much more legit excuse than whatever Netflix original.
#89 Moving Phases
30 March 2017 // San Diego, California
3/13 - Get to San Diego; start work
3/17 - Move into our apartment
3/31 - Go back to Oregon; get the dog; drive down the moving truck
4/7 - Back to Oregon again for a wedding; Deanna begins her drive down to SD
4/16 - Being able to eat meat and try a lot of the good looking restaurants in my new neighborhood.
What a month! Needless to say I'm looking forward to getting on to Phase 3 and taking another step towards a normal-ish life.
#90 Moving to Move
31 March 2017 // Eugene, Oregon
Not gonna lie, yesterday was pretty much no fun. Fifteen hours of loading up everything we own into this truck, trying to keep the dog from freaking out too much, and juggling a carpet cleaner, emergency trips to Lowe's to do wall repair, and donating half our things- with more donations yet to come.
This more than makes up for my extended absence from any sort of gym.
In honor of #LiNKWeek I am now going to drive this massive, fully packed vehicle across state lines.