On the anniversary of my first year in California

One year ago today, I drove across the border separating Nevada and California north of Lake Tahoe, on my way to take up residence in Santa Rosa, California.

I’d been driving for 9 days, through Asheville, Clarksville, Memphis, Arkansas, Amarillo, Santa Fe (where I spent a day), Four Corners, Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and finally Tahoe. It was overcast and rainy when I arrived, coming into town via highway 12. I stayed in my last hotel room of the trip in Railroad Square, just a few blocks from my new apartment. The next day it was overcast and rainy when I loaded all of my things from the moving truck to a rent-a-truck and from the rent-a-truck up a flight of stairs to my apartment.

Thinking back over the last year, some things stand out.

Meeting Marcia, Joy, and Kyle through Dawn within days of starting at O’Reilly. Rows and rows of grape vines, everywhere. Exploring a multitude of state parks. The Russian River Beer Revival and BBQ Cook-off—definitely going again this year! The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park—felt like I was right back home in North Carolina. Helping to institute the Glitter Ponies trivia team. Meeting Stephanie at a Halloween party. In drag. Getting a bad case of poison oak on both legs. Two months with Stephanie’s Mom. Traveling down to Pinnacles National Monument and Point Lobos State Reserve. Weeks and weeks of rain. Getting my first cease-and-desist letter and getting represented by the ACLU.

I’m already excited about year #2.


Congratulations! As of last month, I’ve been here for ten years and a friend told me she thought nine years makes you a native. I’m guessing that the poison oak and drag shaves at least a couple of years of that off of your status, minimum. (I like to think that the black eye garnered by climbing around on hillsides in turnouts to see El Niño waterfalls gave me a few months myself).

I hope it’s been at least as good for you as it’s been for O’Reilly! Because I know it’s been very good for O’Reilly.

Sonoma County rocks now that Justin is here! You are always fun and delightful. I’m glad you moved here.

For the first year anniversary, it is traditional to give paper. Since you are not that traditional, I guess I will give you booze.

You are a sweetie pie, and I’m glad you moved here.


I’m sad you moved there since you are still so far far away from me and your mother, but then what is so new about that. From the time you left for college we’ve barely seen you but we’re mid-coastal whereas you’ve become bi-coastal.


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