We left the grey - the lovely grey! - of Portland for the brilliant gold of Santa Cruz. I don't know why I doubt myself every year - yes, bring sandals, bring sunglasses, bring a damn dress even though you cannot fathom wearing such an outfit while packing in the Northwest. Oh pale body, wake up.

I am here for the people, for the giving of gifts, for the dental work, for the sun, for a chance to scrutinize Santa Cruz and determine if the town is as dear to me as my heart claims it to be.