The Sunday Review: Over the Mountains and Through the Woods Edition

Hello lovelies.

We are full into summer and loving it. Backyard barbecues, lazy days at the beach, and fresh tomatoes from the garden. As hard as it was moving out of the Vallejo house, I am so happy to have landed where I did. Among other things, the apartment hasn’t gotten hotter than about 75, despite the number of 90+ degree days.

1. Family, found. I spent the first half of the week in Columbia, CA, a tiny town on the western foothills of the Sierras, with my “brother” and his family. We got in Monday afternoon and had a quiet evening. My brother and I took a walk that night, ending up in a soccer field. It was almost like being back at summer camp, lying on the grass, looking up at the stars, talking about anything and everything. There are some people I can go months or years without seeing or talking to, then pick up exactly where we left off. My brother is like that, one of those quiet certainties in my life, and I am grateful he and I found each other when we were kids.

2. Road tripping. Wednesday was the fourth, and rather than head home and try to find somewhere to watch fireworks, I opted to drive through the mountains and back (don’t worry mom, I texted a friend with my route and when I expected to be home). I went east on 108 through Stanislaus National Park, took 395 south, and picked up 120 through Yosemite. It was a long day in the car – by the time I hit Groveland I was ready to be home – but completely worth it. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate all the good this country has done than by driving through some of its most beautiful places.

3. Filed under “How Did I Miss This?”. I started watching Gilmore Girls this week, after endless raves from one of my girlfriends, and I’m completely hooked.

4. Things I left in Europe, Part II. Remember that jacket I left in the back of a cab in Bulgaria a few weeks ago? The driver brought it back to the cab company office, and one of the managers at the site we were visiting went over there and got it. Sending it via FedEx or UPS was prohibitively expensive. Prohibitively. I asked the manager if he could look into sending it via the Bulgarian Post, but if it was too expensive to find the jacket a good home. I didn’t hear back from him for several weeks, figured it was a loss, and paid RTR for it. Then this week, I got an email from him saying he’d been on vacation but was back and would put it in the mail this week. No idea if it will make it here, but hopeful.

5. Take me to church. Since our Mother’s Day hike, I’ve been trying to get onto a trail with Z once a week when she’s with me. Saturday, we went to Redwood Park in Oakland, where Z did a three mile hike like a champion. I missed a turn on the loop we were doing, which meant that instead of an easy, flat and wide trail, we ended up going down a fairly steep trail with lots of rocks and loose dirt. She looked at the trail, looked at me, and the kid who had been whining five minutes before that her legs were tired and could we go home already womaned up and did the rest of the hike without a single complaint. I’ve never been so proud.

Links and things

The Clarion West Write-a-Thon is halfway done. I am struggling to hit my writing goal – I’m averaging about 1500 words/week instead of 2500 – but I’m also writing more, which makes me happy.

Murder your darlings. Before King, before Faulkner, there was an obscure lecturer named Arthur Quiller-Couch.

The Guardian put together a list tallying migrants who have died coming to or in Europe since the early 90s. It’s a sobering reminder of both how dangerous it is for migrants and refugees looking for a better place to live and that closing borders is not a viable long-term solution.

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