To friends who have queried me about why no recent updates here, thanks for missing me.
Here's a quick synopsis of life since arriving in Sacramento around Labor Day.
A love affair with co-housing
We're subletting a one-bedroom unit in downtown Sacramento with about 20 families who have chosen to live in an intentional community in an urban environment. I only wish I had known about this when we were raising our kids.
Some of the bonuses: the choice of communal dinners (for $3 a homecooked meal), neighbors who want to get to know you and will offer to drive you to work if your car is broken, take turns taking care of you if you've just had surgery, watch your kids if you can't get home in time, loan you a car. That's the pragmatic part.
Then there's the just friendly part –– having the casual conversation with someone on the way in the door from work with someone who is actually interested in getting to know you.
It's been a perfect fit for us –– reminding me of why I loved the cruising community whether at the dock or at our anchor. And why I love living in North Hector, NY (Valois, if you can find it on a map). When I suggested we consider taking the co-housing concept to Mexico, Michael pointed out that co-housing re-invents the village within the city --- and that Arroyo Seco is essentially the model for co-housing.
I guess he's got a point.
Two weeks of jury duty
Not even two weeks into my return, I reported for jury duty . Not that I had any room to complain. Having never served, I guess I was overdue.
Still, I was stunned when I was chosen to serve on a two-week trial (Michael called me "Seven of 12" for the duration). The defendant had been charged with criminal negligence for leaving his 10-month old son unattended in the bathtub (with his 4-year-old brother). When he returned, the toddler had drowned.
Ultimately, we deadlocked, with 11 of us voting to acquit (deciding it was definitely negligent, but not criminally negligent). But the whole experience was exhausting, demanding, tragic.
Back in the classroom
Unfortunately, while the trial was going on, I was still responsible for teaching my four classes.
That meant spending all day at the courthouse, then coming home in the evening to prep for classes and generate assignments through email and the web. If I could point to any one thing that put my stress level over the top, that would be it. As the judge said early on, there's no hardship in teaching since the state will continue to pay us --- teaching is just hard.
And it was.
It's taken me about two weeks to catch up, and I'm just now hitting my stride in the classroom -- even tho' we're more than halfway through...
Some other highlights from our Sacramento semester :
• Celebration! We took about a dozen friends to Delancey's in San Francisco a few weeks ago to help Dylan celebrate the big pay-off for a year of studying. He has passed his second level Certified Financial Analyst test, a stunning feat! We toasted to having the most highly qualified bartender in Arroyo Seco, hopefully just on his vacations from his job in the financial district in San Francisco.
• Buying a Toyota Tundra truck (with a V-8 engine.... varoom, varoom!) to drive to Mexico. And buying another trailer to take to Arroyo Seco or one of the beach properties. It's 26 feet, with a walk around bed and a slide out where the dinette is. Pretty roomy compared to the Grey Goose! Now we're buying all the 'stuff' to put in the truck and trailer to take to Mexico, things we can't easily get in down there. We're also designing Stage 2 of construction in Arroyo Seco and we've put electric and septic out at the Tenacatita beach lot.
• Sorting thru a lifetime (mine and my parents) of photographs and documents, then scanning them to preserve them for the family. I've found old photographs of generations of Beardslees and Schwartzes, including finding my father's birth certificate from Hungary and his naturalization papers in 1921.
• Playing with our Sacramento grandkids.
Going to Sami's fastpitch softball games (she just turned 11!) and playing with Kamryn, who just turned one in September.
• Playing fiddle with my SloJammer friends in town.
• And –– oh yeah –– teaching four classes at the university.
We're heading back to La Manzanilla, Tenacatita and Arroyo Seco as soon as our semester is over in December. Hope to see ya'll there this winter!