Hello, Readers!

All day I have been cleaning and packing in preparation for my flight tomorrow to Austin, Texas. I will be meeting up with my sister for an epic road trip through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and back to California. This will be my longest road trip yet and hopefully most rewarding; we will be stopping at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, a magical place that is on the top of my bucket list. I will try to update photos as much as I can, but if I don’t then I will definitely post and do a write-up when I get back.

Long thought: I’m really thankful that after such a challenging year I will be ending it with a trip through the beautiful lands of the Southwest. I noticed that when I go too long without being in nature it really hinders my spirit and imagination. The city can be very confining to the mind. It makes me think about how crucial parks and community gardens are in city spaces. Kids benefit from these spaces, especially kids who grow up in apartments with only a small outdoor space to play in ( and often concrete); parks provide more space to play, learn, and meet other kids. Even adults can use these parks to unwind and escape the domineering gray buildings; they can look up at the sky and dream of new possibilities; they can breathe in and relax under the shade of a tree. So when I hear about park departments getting budget cuts it really affects me because I know what it’s like to be a kid whose fun depended on whether or not the park was open. My city has some pretty nice parks. For the most part, they’ve done a good job of updating and maintaining their spaces, which I’m not surprised about because this is a city that places a heavy emphasis on what it looks like (they dedicated an entire chapter of their city plan to “beauty”). The only thing I would like to see improve are the number of community gardens. We don’t have enough that are easily accessible to everyone.

Quick thought: Did you really think we could count on the Electoral College to help us? Honestly, I was not putting any of my faith in them. I know that’s pretty cynical, but I have accepted that we are living in a dystopia and in a dystopia, we cannot count on government systems to save us. There has to be a different kind of major shift created and forced by the people. I think we will see that happen in 2017 after January 20th, or we will as least see the beginnings of this shift happening.

Long thought: Where do males learn how to interact with women? TV? Movies? Friends? Parents? Relatives? All of these? I really want to know because honestly there are way too many males who are terrible at interacting with us in every setting. They truly just do not understand women on any level. It shocks me every time. This weekend I went out to a prominent night club in L.A. and had so many unpleasant and rude interactions with men. One guy saw that I was sweating from dancing so much that he walked up to me and blew in my face. Like, what?? Then he smiled like he thought he was just the cutest sweetest guy on Earth. Like as if I was going to say, “thank you so much! Ur so helpful! Ur my #1 fan!” NO. It was gross and rude. I do not want your breath¬†on my face! Who told him this was a cool thing to do? Seriously, who? And has that move actually ever helped him? I need to know. I mean, I know that societies conditioning of males is definitely to blame, but I want to hear their stories and get them to think about it so maybe we can find some definite solutions. It would just be great if dating or interacting with males could suck less because they make it so difficult to enjoy their company on any level.

Final thought: I am so ready to get on the road again! While I’m on the road I would love to read your submissions so send them in so I can publish your stories!

Thanks for reading,

M. Flores, Chief Gardener

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