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This may go down as the year the ants won. In times prior, well-placed Terro traps kept them at bay, but this year, they treated the Terro like it was part of a buffet I’d thoughtfully put out. I fear I’ve created an army of superants whose determination to march up the walls and across the counters of my home shall prevail – one struts across my keyboard as I type this.

2018 was also the year the mice came. Thankfully, they’ve retreated. No longer do I wake to tiny poops on the kitchen counter nor do I hear the scrabbling in the walls. I don’t know what I would’ve done if the infestation had continued or worsened.

It is because I can’t fix the big things that the small things upset me so.

My children are alive; my house did not burn down. I scoop gratitude in my hands and pour it out onto the streets even as I grieve for others. The knowledge that life could be worse lays like a knife at my throat. Still – gratitude for what one has does not dam the desire for more. I always want more.

An ant has crawled into my water glass!

What did I do this year? In January, I found myself quoted in the Washington Post for the first time; I think I attended the Women’s March in SF; I definitely woke up early for a glitter-themed Daybreaker party.

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February took me and a dear friend to Mexico, where I caught waves at Pascuales (small version of that gnarly break) and fell in love with La Ticla; my older daughter turned 28 out in Tennessee; I helped run the annual Ocean Day event (biggest ever) in Sacramento, facilitated a panel on beach access barriers also in Sac; Nick almost died from his blood sugar dropping too low during the night.

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I began March outside a Travelodge in SF, trying to find my son, whose blood sugar had been dangerously low, me in tears, sure he was dead because I couldn’t find him; some friends and I met up at the Museum of Failure, L.A. version; IMG_5550.jpegI attended the Coastal Commission meeting in Oxnard; I spoke, along with many esteemed colleagues, at the Global Wave Conference (goal: doing something to qualify as a keynote speaker someday) in Santa Cruz; Whale-watched as part of Surfrider’s all-staff; hiked the trail between Trinidad State Beach and College Cove; I spent a weekend in Sea Ranch with friends; my younger daughter turned 24 in Santa Cruz.

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April prompted me to write a post titled, “everything I know about being happy and healthy“; Bobby and I went on a date to #EPICprom2018; EPIC promI attended the Coastal Commission meeting in Redondo; I took an exceptional number of sunset photos.

Participation in Bike Month defined May as said participation required me driving my bicycle all over California so that I could “commute” on it in the many various places I stayed those weeks; I attended an MPA workshop in La Jolla, the Coastal Commission meeting in Santa Rosa, documented Hands Across the Sand in Ventura; three people I care about wound up in hospitals simultaneously; one of my best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer; Bobby and I celebrated our 26th anniversary and sailed with friends across San Francisco Bay.

June was nightmarish in many ways, personal and political, but contained the brilliant bright light of Kaylee’s graduation from University of California Santa Cruz; I marched in SF’s version of #FamiliesBelongTogether.

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Families Belong Together March

In July, I made what I hope was my first (as opposed to “only”) trek into the KQED studios to talk beach access; I attended the Coastal Commission meeting in Scotts Valley; I joined friends on a sailing adventure from Santa Cruz to San Francisco; I danced on a boat in the early morning hours; the doctor officially diagnosed my “advanced” surfer’s ear (not to be confused with “advanced surfer’s” ear); the SacBee ran an op-ed I wrote.

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Work consumed August, what with the IUCN EAGL thing and the big seawall victory thing and the Sacramento trip and the attending the Coastal Commission meeting in Redondo Beach and the testifying at the State Lands Commission meeting; I surfed till bruised and sunburnt in warm SoCal waves and sunshine; a friend’s death at 34 stunned me.

September delivered me to various locations throughout California once again, including to a gathering for Gavin Newsom, soon to be California’s next gov, and the Coastal Commission meeting in Fort Bragg; I led a workshop on civic engagement at Levi-Strauss’ headquarters in SF; I visited a waterfall; my housemates’ son entered a cake decorating contest and I assisted; the results from my friend’s CT scan delivered good news.

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We celebrated an epic work win in October; I toured Tomales Bay and ate oysters at Hog Island; I walked the new Eureka waterfront trail with a friend back home; my older daughter returns to Humboldt, gladdening my heart.

Martins Beach victory

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November took me to Big Sur for the first time to celebrate Nick’s 23rd birthday; I celebrated my own 49th; I stayed in San Francisco for the Coastal Commission meeting; I danced underground as the sun rose outside; fires ravaged the state; IMG_9781.jpegI surfed gorgeous waves, dolphins leaping nearby, pelicans skimming over the glassy ocean, all under a sky so thick with smoke that from the water, only the outlines of land remained.

And now, December. I attended the Coastal Commission meeting in Newport Beach, took the train this time, a 17-hour journey from SF to San Juan that I can’t wholeheartedly recommend; I garnered another quote in WaPo, wrote another blog post in which I strove to catch up, read a gorgeous column by my sister-in-law on books and being mother to my nephew; I danced and ice-skated in front of SF City Hall on a sunny Saturday morning; Christmas happened and brought happiness with it despite my worries and lack of funds; we walked the new Eureka waterfront trail as a rainbow emerged over Humboldt Bay; somewhere in all this, I marked the arrival and passage of Winter Solstice, as always clinging to the promise of a little more light and that flowers once again shall bloom.

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