Living and Loving in Santa Cruz


Well! Here I am in a new town, in a new bed, with a new schedule that is a little exhausting, but I have enjoyed every minute of it so far.

A little hesitant to leave Sunday, a morning departure turned to an after lunch, turned to a late afternoon, etc. Finally, I drove the car slowly and sadly away from beautiful friends, food, and John at 8:45pm, leery of a 9am start the next morning. A quiet, freshly painted room greeted me; my new roommate, Meadow, and I dragged a bed into the room, and I threw on some sheets and blankets without unpacking another thing. I was pleased to find that when I squeezed shut my eyelids in this strange new place, I drifted to sleep quite easily despite the cold, empty spot next to me where John belonged.

An alarm, my routine oatmeal, a mug of tea, and a car GPS delivered me to the U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, 400 Natural Bridges Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. That’s the official name and location for all you info nuts that like to know the specifics 🙂 I climbed the steps to the front door, breathed deep the coastal air, and entered to discover my science soul re-ignited. Research posters and rock samples line the halls, and around every corner is a different lab devoted to studying and understand this magnificent, gigantic rock we live on. Right at home, I shook hands with scientists young and old clad in hiking pants, causal shirts, and flip flops. Not a pretentious looking person in sight (mind you, looking and acting do stand alone).

After the initial enchantment, the rest was all business. The facility is brand-spanking new, so about 6 different labs, including mine, are moving 30+ years of equipment, samples, and frankly, junk, from their larger spaces in Menlo Park. So, my first week has included 0.00000% science and 100.00000% brute force, lifting, sorting, cleaning, and oddly, pre-fab furniture assembly. It’s a task that must be done, and they are paying me for it, so I am not complaining. In fact, I have quite enjoyed the antique laboratory relics that I have found so far. Below is one of my favorites that I might beg to keep. An official USGS field utility belt. Genuine leather, stamped and including an altimeter, notebook pouch and tape measurer.

Besides work itself, I am definitely digging Santa Cruz as a town. A laid back, beachy Berkeley, it’s been an easy transition. Fog in the morning, sunny blue skies in the afternoon and evening. Quaint neighborhood pockets with restored antique homes and lovely gardens. Neat shops and locally owned restaurants. But what’s the best part about where I live you ask? BIKING. Why? 1) I don’t live at the top of a giant hill 2) it’s smaller and less populated, so the motos tolerate the pedal pushers and are easy to avoid on side streets 3) the only thing separating me from work is about 5.2 miles of coast. Below is a map of my ride and some pictures I have taken while enjoying it. You will notice the cold, wet morning vs. the golden afternoon. It’s taking me about 40 mins each way so far because I stop to snap pictures and pedal slowly as I look over the the small cliff edges to the waves and natural rock features below. I have also found that pesky dog-walkers like to stop and chat and create an impassable barrier of legs and pups and leashes across the path, which forces me to stop and get a lovely, misty, salty swath of air in my face and hair and deep into my lungs, oh darn.

    

My Bike Route on Google Maps

More new soon, that’s about as much as I can think of to bore you with for now!

I think this 7 month contract will end all too quickly…

Oh! email me for my address so that you can begin sending me a plethora of postcards and letters and goodies to keep me company 🙂

(This is my first time blogging, so please let me know how I can make it better!)

4 Responses to Living and Loving in Santa Cruz

  1. This is wonderful Kira. You could always pick up writing as a second career, or perhaps write a book some day. The pictures are lovley. You’ll have to let me know when I should plan my first trip to Santa Cruz. I know… I’ll need to stay in a hotel . 🙂 Yours will be the first blog I’ve ever followed, plus the fact that I’m your mom I’m sure I will continue to think it’s fantastic, needing no improvement. Love you madly and SO happy for your scientific side!
    xo, ma

  2. You are a SUPER STAR!!! Glad you are seeing the bright side of the road, to quote an old Dead tune, and I’m psyched to hear more about your work as it becomes at least 1% science (although the utility belt is sooooo frick’n cool!!!) and your enjoyment of Santa Cruz. But please save the wine tasting for when we come visit you!!!