Sunday, July 20, 2014

Camping and Tubing in Eleven Mile Canyon

Some friends invited us tubing/camping this weekend and, to be honest, I was being  a total grump and didn't feel like going. We went camping with Truman's parents a couple weeks ago and while we were gone (don't worry, it was only one night) Olivia got out. Some neighbors managed to wrangle her back into the back yard but, none the less, I was worried it would happen again.

And I feel like we've been gone a lot. And I'm going to be out of town next week. And laundry needs to get done. And mope, mope, mope. Let's be real, I'm an introvert and I have separation anxiety when I leave the dog. For realzies. Truman was a good sport and did the lion's share of the packing and Saturday morning we got out of the house only and hour behind schedule. But I was still pouting.

Once we got to Eleven Mile Canyon Recreation Area it was great. The area was beautiful. The company was great. The food was awesome. And Katy and I got to go tubing for the first time. I felt silly for pouting...but I still missed Olivia.

We've mostly been backpacking this summer and haven't done much car camping. I almost forgot how fun car camping food can be. It's sillier than what you'd cook at home and, as far as I'm concerned, calories consumed while camping don't count. We made foil pouch meals with ground turkey,onions, carrots and mushrooms for dinner and they were great. For dessert I followed this recipe (thanks pinterest!) to make dutch oven apple caramel cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon apple goo fresh from the dutch oven, plus darkness, plus a flash doesn't make for the best pictures but trust me, they were delicious.

 This is Raleigh, he was obsessed with the fire. 

Campfire pancakes

Tubing was great. We picked up a little raft at a local sporting goods store the night before hoping that the three of us (Truman, Katy and I) would all fit but alas, it wasn't really made for two adults so I tubed solo. 

 Katy thought this whole tubing idea was a little insane. Regie thought it was hilarious. 

 There was some navigating involved. 





 Tubing selfie! I think I get extra points for a selfie with a dog in it. 




Katy the dog has become quite the veteran camper (six trips in the last two months). She's now gone backpacking, hiked a 14-er (a mountain over 14,000 feet), gone car camping, and done a little tubing. She's 3 craft beers away from being a Colorado stereotype. The only down side is that she's a bit of a pillow-thief in the tent. 




Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Murrieta City Manager's Words Are Not Neutral

As a licensed attorney and critical race theorist, I know that words are incredibly important. If you've ever signed a contract or even fought with your spouse you know that as well. The race crit in me knows that we convey, embrace and norm culture through our words. So...I was infuriated when I read Murrieta City Manager Rick Dudley's letter that was posted on the city's facebook page. Here's the original message: 

This has been a difficult week in the city of Murrieta. We have been challenged and in some ways we fell down in the face of the challenge. We have been both celebrated and vilified locally and in the national press -- and mostly based on inaccurate interpretations of the same issue. On Monday, Mayor Long gave a press conference. During that press conference he recognized people’s right to peaceful protest. He also expressed frustration with the federal immigration policy that appears to be encouraging women and children from Central America to migrate to the US via the Rio Grande Valley. He recognized that immigration is the responsibility of the federal government, but was concerned that the Murrieta Border Patrol station would be receiving 140 women and children every 72 hours for processing. This facility is not appropriate for that purpose – it is essentially a jail, designed to hold drug runners and criminals caught at the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-15 just south of Temecula. When Mayor Long expressed frustration with the federal government and recommended protest, he was suggesting that concerned citizens contact their US Representatives and the President to share their thoughts. To that end, a list of federal offices, Members of Congress representing our area and the White House phone numbers were compiled on a list that was shared at the press conference.
Sadly, too many people took this as encouragement to protest the arrival of buses carrying the women and children to the Border Patrol station in Murrieta. Protesters came from around the southland to oppose the arrival of undocumented immigrants to Murrieta for processing. In the face of the protest, three buses were turned around and the protesters claimed victory. This was not victory. It was a loss for the city of Murrieta, for the community that we live in and love. It made this extremely compassionate community look heartless and uncaring. That is NOT the Murrieta that we all know and love. 


There appear to be two sides to this issue – those who believe Mayor Long was encouraging them to stand in front of the buses in protest, and those who believe that Murrieta does not recognize that the US is the envy of the world and that people want to migrate here, even at the risk of their lives and the lives of their children. Both sides are wrong. We understand that people want to come to the US to seek a better life for their families, and we are a compassionate people who want to help. But we also are a country whose legal system is based on the rule of law, and the people migrating must do so within the boundaries of the law. The protests resulting from the incorrect interpretations of Mayor Long’s comments have given our community a black eye. 


To be clear, the City of Murrieta’s primary role is public safety. Our police department has been out in force to protect the lives and the rights of those individuals who have chosen to protest. We are proud of our police department knowing that they have done an outstanding job of maintaining the peace.

Beyond that, we recognize that there is a battle in play between the Congress and the President over immigration. True, this is a federal issue and should be resolved at the federal level. But it is affecting our community is a very real and ugly way. This brings us back to Mayor Long’s original message – we should be contacting our US Representatives and the President and letting them know that their failure to resolve this issue has damaged our community, and not only ours, but communities throughout the southwestern US. We should be encouraging them to begin a dialogue – a dialogue that we are very ready to be part of. 

And above all, we should show everyone what a truly compassionate and caring community Murrieta is!
Rick Dudley
City Manager


I hated that, under the guise of neutrality or even compassion, the city manager reinforced the ideas that the immigrants in the buses were scary, bad, and illegal. To prove my point, here's another way the letter could have been written:

This has been a difficult week in the city of Murrieta, our community and the women and children who are seeking safety in the United States. Our city and its current residents have been challenged and in some ways we fell down in the face of the challenge. We have been both celebrated and vilified locally and in the national press -- sometimes accurately, sometimes inaccurately. On Monday, Mayor Long gave a press conference. During that press conference he expressed his own fear and concerned that the Murrieta Border Patrol station would be receiving 140 women and children every 72 hours for processing. Some of his fears were about infrastructure whether the facility could handle increased use. City officials believe the facility is not appropriate for that purpose – it is essentially a jail, designed to hold drug runners and criminals caught at the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-15 just south of Temecula. When Mayor Long expressed frustration with the federal government and recommended protest, he should have explicitly specified that citizens who shared his views could or should contact their US Representatives and the President to share their thoughts. 

Sadly, too many people took this as encouragement to protest the arrival of buses carrying the women and children to the Border Patrol station in Murrieta. For that the mayor should take responsibility for the lack of clarity in his call to action. He is sorry that such ugliness resulted from his action and encouragement. Protesters came from Murrieta around the southland to oppose the arrival of undocumented immigrants to Murrieta for processing. In the face of the protest, three buses were turned around and the protesters claimed victory. This was not victory. It was a loss for the city of Murrieta, for the community that we live in and love. It made this extremely compassionate community look heartless and uncaring. That is NOT the Murrieta that we all know and love. We can and will all do better. 


There appear to be two sides to this issue – those who believe Mayor Long was encouraging them to stand in front of the buses in protest, and those who believe that Murrieta does not recognize that the terrible situation many people are in and that leaving the homes they know and love is one of their only options, even at the risk of their lives and the lives of their children. We understand that immigration policy in the United States is complicated and that we would all be better if we approached the situation with love, sympathy and compassion. Whatever your political beliefs about immigration, the protests resulting from the interpretations of Mayor Long’s comments have given our community a black eye. 

To be clear, the City of Murrieta’s primary role is public safety. Our police department has been out in force to protect the lives and the rights of those individuals who have chosen to protest as well as those who are in the midst of a very complicated immigration process. We are proud of our police department knowing that they have done an outstanding job of maintaining the peace. 


Beyond that, we recognize that there is a battle in play between the Congress and the President over immigration. True, this is a federal issue and should be resolved at the federal level. But it is affecting our community is a very real and ugly way. During this time of tension and ambiguity at the federal level we encourage you to be kind and to make our city proud. 



And above all, we should show everyone what a truly compassionate and caring community Murrieta is!


Rick Dudley
City Manager


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Terrible Place Called Murrieta

It's funny how you can just know if a place is for you. If you fit there.You know by the vibe or the feeling or the air if the space is meant to be inhabited by people like you. Or at least if it's currently inhabited by people like you.

My family moved to Murrieta, California when I was 5 and we (half) joke that by the time I finished first grade I knew that this was not the place for me. What can I say, I'm just not the mega church kind of girl. I also really happen to value racial and ethnic diversity along with diversity of thought. Sometimes when people ask where I'm from I say something like "a terrible place called Murrieta." It's a little bit in jest. But sometimes the city earns the designation. 


An acquaintance from high school posted this article about immigration on Facebook today and the tone just made my soul hurt. Apparently 140 of the children who are in that horrible situation in Texas (more sad pictures here) are being moved to Murrieta. All the talk about "health screenings" and whether or not "they" had been "processed" is pretty gross. If you didn't know better you would think the article was talking about livestock rather than families and children. 


In a Facebook comment one Murrieta resident says, " who knows what kind of illnesses these people can be bringing in to our community [...]." In another Faceook post the mayor talks about safety in capital letters and then gives an "illegal immigrant update." I wish it all didn't feel so reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. 

Look, I know that realities around immigration are really complicated but at the end of the day, no matter what your politics are, it's important to remember that these are people. They are humans with feelings and we should treat (and talk about) them with dignity and respect. 

If you want to read some particularly disgusting comments you can check out the bottom of this article from NBC or this Facebook post from Murrieta's mayor.

Update: here's a picture from twitter of some lovely people of Murrieta trying to block the bus. Let's be honest, my high school history teacher the nut job I took AP American History  is probably one of them.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Crafty Canvas Wedding Anniversary Present

For our first wedding anniversary I ordered Truman one of those prints on canvass to hang in our bedroom. I used Photoshop to layer on a paragraph of my wedding vows to him. The camera phone picture below isn't perfect but I was really happy with the way the canvass came out. The only think I would have changed is I think would have ordered a frame for it. Oh well, Michael's or Aaron Brothers can probably make that happen. This project let me be a little crafty without making my husband pretend to be excited about some puff paint mason jar and glitter monstrosity. Puff paint is so 1995.


In a pretty funny great-minds-think-alike moment he also had a wedding picture blown up for me (except his had a frame). Thanks to our wedding anniversary our house is finally getting some decor on the walls. He also got me tickets to see Sarah McLachlan at Red Rocks. The concert is this Wednesday and I can't wait for date night!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The pet ownership thing is kind of getting out of control

Pug Life

So the results about Olivia are...no one knows. After a spleenectomy and a liver biopsy all the vets know is that there's something up with her liver and while it's not cancer (woot! woot!) they don't actually know what's up so for now the treatment is...nothing. I think I've decided that this is a good thing. She went in for a doggy dental last week and we're just going to check her liver levels every 3-6 months and see how things go. But in true Olivia fashion, the drama isn't over. The new development: Olivia now poops in the house. Seriously. Starting last week, after the dental, she suddenly started pooping in the house. We don't really know why. A word to the wise though: don't look up "10 year old dog suddenly pooping in the house" on dog WebMD. It's awful. And, just like people WebMD, that shit will convince you that you/your dog are dying. I don't actually think Olivia has all the terrible things the internet is telling me about (Stroke of the rectum! What!?). I think the more likely thing is that it's just been a stressful couple months and she is well, kind of loosing her shit (pun intended). People tell me about their toddlers sort of regressing when they bring a new baby home and I've decided that this is the same thing. We're going to try to do a little potty training refresher course, hope that the pug health problems mellow out and life (and restroom procedures) return to normal.

Speaking of Vet Visits 

Katy thought Olivia was getting too much attention and decided to contract some sort of eye-funk infection similar to pink eye. Over $100 later the treatment is that we have to put gel (yes, gel. Not drops, that would be too easy) in her eye twice a day. Turns out dogs don't really want you to put goop in their eye. So every morning and every night Truman tackles the dog and pries her eye open while I lay on the ground with doggy neosporin and try to get it into her eye. Meanwhile, Olivia is convinced the antibiotic is some sort of treat that we're not giving to her and spends the whole 3 minute ordeal trying to get in on the action.

And Because Good Things Come in Threes

The cat also picked up the conjunctivitis. The good news is that she's much easier to pin down. The bad news is that we think the nightly goo-ing has inspired her to cheat on us (as most cats do, apparently). She found a way to sneak out the back of our fence and has been spending considerable time out of our yard. Chicken wire will be making an appearance this week.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Go Read Debra Monroe's NYT Piece about Elite Parents and Volunteering

Now that I live in a pretty privileged life I often find myself feeling somewhat out of place. Now, to be fair, I was a raging liberal by the age of six (I blame 90210...Donna Martin Graduate!) who grew up in a republican household in the land of mega churches so I've always felt a little out of place. But there's something uniquely strange about living differently from how your family lived when you were a kid.



I just finished reading this NY Times blog post about the kind of parents who are able to volunteer in classrooms and it really resonated. Now, it's obviously not true for everyone, my mom actually did regularly volunteer in the classroom and she was someone who earned an hourly wage. My dad worked in the construction industry and was the president of the board for our local little league so there are obvious exceptions. But at Occidental College and in law school I was one of the few students who always worked an hourly job. I regularly missed study groups because they were scheduled on less than the two weeks notice that I would need request the time off. I've watched the way that the culture in college, and then law school, and then community group meetings has bent and catered to more affluent people and I liked the way the article captured the problem. For those of us who realize that people at different economic levels have different norms and realities there's probably a lot we can do to make our communities more inclusive.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Our First Wedding Anniversary

So...it started with a murder. As all good anniversaries do. We had to get up before the smart phone had struck 5 in order to be up in Boulder for the hot air balloon ride we had planned...and I am not a morning person. As we headed out the door (on time!) the cat rounded the corner out of the guest room with a giant (giant!) bird. This thing had to be at least a third of the size of the cat. As she headed up the stairs we realized she planned to murder this thing in our bedroom. Nothing says romance...

Thankfully, my knight in shining armor dealt with the bird murder and we were off. The good news is that it was all up  from there (did you catch the pun?).




I have a pretty serious fear of heights so there was always a possibility that I was going to spend the ride sitting in the bottom of the basket but that wasn't the case at all. The rise is so gradual that it feels really stable. 


 The views were quite pretty. At points we could see all the way to Denver. 




It wasn't intentional but, as Truman pointed out, the balloon ride was actually kind of a lovely metaphor for marriage. There are some ups and some downs. Some things you'd rather not deal with (in this case an annoying balloon captain named Frank) and some breathtaking moments.



Thanks to Lindsay for the awesome glasses! 

The balloon ride was only part of a really amazing weekend. We grabbed happy hour with friends, saw the musical American Idiot, went backpacking, walked around the Boulder Creek Festival, and finished it all off with a great dinner at a local hibachi place. It was the perfect way to to celebrate a really good year. I can't imagine life without my wonderful partner and I hope there are many more of these celebrations to come.