no. 18: this beautiful country

it's my birthday week (birthday month?)

It’s been another week of late nights in the Nebraska Legislature where I have worked to block more bad legislation (tax credits for private education, collecting DNA when people are arrested even if they are innocent, getting rid of all income and property taxes and going to an extremely regressive statewide consumption tax) than advance good legislation (with votes and politics, everything comes down to a math problem) - a long, long week, but a successful week overall. I prepared for the busy week by GETTING OUT OF HERE for a long weekend that ended up being full of surprises and adventure.

All of us (except invariably masked 10-year-old Alice) fully vaccinated, Danny planned a surprise birthday trip to Moab, Utah to visit Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Throughout the last year, we’ve had a standing Zoom meeting every Saturday night to play games online with two other couples. I know the boys, but the women I have never actually met in person. However, we’ve spent the past year getting to know each other through our weekly game nights and group chats and discussing news and politics and life. When we arrived in Moab, I got the surprise of my life when one of the couples met us at the airport. They had totally kept the surprise from me. We’re all vaccinated, we spent the weekend outside, and we got to have our first in-person game night. Unbelievable.

In the past few years my world has been opened up to the beautiful national and state parks of our country, and I’m getting a little bit outdoorsy too. Maybe? Comparatively. In any case, I own hiking boots now. I have hiking poles to help my knee. I have opinions about stretch pants and linen tops and hats. It’s a new world to me.

I’ve also noticed my stamina increasing. In June 2019, Alice and I did the Great Wall of China and I about died. When I first hiked at Big Bend National Park in December 2019, nothing had ever been more exhausting. In September 2020, I hiked Hope Pass in the San Isabel National Forest with a 12,500-foot elevation, and I thought I would have to get rescued by a helicopter at the top because my knee got so messed up. But since then, the elevation and the terrain has been getting easier and easier to handle. I look forward to hikes.

Tressie McMillan Cottom recently wrote about her journey into movement and “athletic-adjacent things",” first with the purchase of a Peloton (I secretly want one too) and then walking on trails, which she really enjoys. I related to her story as a person who never considered themselves athletic or “fit” or enjoyed exercise, but found a way to movement. Found a way to enjoy movement on her terms. With hiking, I learned that it’s not that I don’t like exercise, it’s that I just haven’t had a positive experience with it yet. The pandemic gave me space to find that.

I love movement outdoors. It is a really luxurious thing to be in nature.

Can you believe the Earth looks like this?????? How lucky are we?

Thank you to everyone who has supported my new retail/design venture Five Nine, and thank you to Justine Ward for this lovely photo. Everything I sell is one of a kind, exclusive to us, or independently designed. There is also plenty of collectible vintage mixed in. I love retail and design - thank you for being interested in what I create and coming along in support. Supporting my shop is so immensely helpful to me.

Everything in the shop is an extra 20% off this weekend for Alice and my birthday sale! No code needed. (On 5/9 I’m 35, and she is 11!)

What else?

  • Happy Mothers Day to all of the moms and caregivers out there. And to those for whom Sunday is anticipated to be a difficult day, I’m thinking of you and wishing you all the peace and healing you need.

  • I’m thinking about getting a dog from this rescue I started following on Instagram. Can I handle it? I think so? I’m getting increasingly excited. What if the next newsletter I send is about my new dog?

More to come. If you know someone who would like this in their inbox, forward it to them and tell your friends to subscribe. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter, too. If you have a question about navigating the system, getting a benefit, or are generally pissed at the government, contact my fed account at Help me pay my rent and validate the work that fulfills me by shopping at 5/9. Get vaccinated, and stay safe!