Splash! Into The Pond I Jump

Please allow me to introduce myself and take my first jump into the pond of Blogging!  I look forward to writing about far more exciting things than myself in the future, but will start with some background information.  I am starting this blog simply for my own pleasure, with the hope of looking back when I’m older on an epic of adventures.

My name is Katrin Deetz. I am 36 years old, and I live in Ben Lomond, California, in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains. I was born and raised in the East Bay Area suburb of Lafayette, California, as the youngest of three girls. I had a wonderful childhood, thanks to the hard-work and love of my parents. I love my family, and am fortunate to visit with them often. I especially love watching my five beautiful nieces and nephews grow!

I moved to Santa Cruz in 1998 when I began college at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I absolutely love living here and have no plans to move away! I graduated in 2002 with a BA in Environmental Studies, and had a short career in environmental consulting for groundwater remediation, and waitressing, before earning my teaching credential from San Jose State University in 2005.

I have been a teacher for over 10 years, and currently teach Seventh Grade Math & Science. There are days when I love my job: I enjoy the content I teach, watching my students grow, and the stimuli of learning and sharing information. I am also part of a great school and community. Some days I feel like, “Bam, slam dunk; they got it”! Other days I feel like I’m herding cats on a basketball court. There are moments when I truly believe I’m making a difference, and moments of feeling completely replaceable. I am grateful for my job and the honor of teaching my students. However, there is a fire in me to do something more. What that more exactly is, I’m not completely sure yet. Maybe it’s just retirement! I really do enjoy time off. Freedom and Independence are two of my favorite things in life. There is so much I want to do!

I am married to the love of my life, Ron Deetz, since our backyard wedding at my mom’s house on July 31, 2015, a Blue Moon. I’ve had the blessing of being with him since 2006. We have a fun-filled, passionate, best-friend ever, adventure-filled relationship. We don’t have children (yet?), but do share a deep love for our pet cat, Beau. We bought our first house in March 2015 in Ben Lomond, moving from our old rental on the Westside of Santa Cruz for the last 9 years, and are very much enjoying making this house our home!

I am starting this blog as a way to share stories of interest and hopefully inspiration; to connect with others around the world; to offer an alternative perspective to the cacophony of internet chatter out there. I’m a bit of an introvert who enjoys time alone and peace and quiet, but I love and need my family and friends, too.  I love discussing the human experience, especially adventure.

I love to write.  I’ve been writing since I was a child, and have collections of journals, short stories, poetries, and songs. I sometimes feel alone, despite the warm presence of many wonderful people around me, but I find connection in writing and reading. I want to hear from you, the readers, to know how you feel about certain topics and issues. I love the idea of connecting with thousands of people from different backgrounds, places, and ages, and look forward to hearing others’ perspectives.

I am passionate about nature, outdoor activities, exercise, health, Science, environmental issues, music, education, gardening, birdwatching, travel, and milking all I can from this life. I have a ton of energy! The older I get, the more I want to do in my short journey here. The world is such an exciting place with so much to learn about and explore, I feel there is never enough time. I am grateful for the blessing of the freedom and time to explore so many interests. I am lucky to have been born into opportunity, and don’t take it for granted.

Of all activities I love to do, I love mountain biking and trail-running the most; I do either one almost everyday. I’ve been riding since I was in college, riding to UCSC from my beautiful cabin rental in the mountains of Bonny Doon. When I was 32, and decided I’d “made it” enough to treat myself, I bought my first nice, full-suspension mountain bike. It was on. All I wanted to do was be on that bike. Everything else was a distraction. I rode that bike every single day for a year straight, through sporadic rain (it was a drought year, mind you), several falls (including a few over the handlebars; one with a concussion and separated shoulder), and cold Winter days. I was hooked on the level of riding that was suddenly possible with some decent equipment. It still gives me chills when I think back on it.

I love riding and still ride that same bike (a Specialized Camber Comp FSR 29’er) as often as I can, usually at least a few days each week. It’s my escape, therapy, joyride, and passion. I have done a few Enduro mountain bike races, and will be doing more in the future. I am spoiled for choice where I live: upper UCSC (my favorite), Soquel Demonstration Forest (“Demo”), Nisene Marks, Wilder Ranch & Graywhale, Henry Cowell State Park, Bear Mountain…the list goes on. Santa Cruz is one of the best mountain biking destinations in the world! Thank you to the San Andreas Fault for making our mountains.

Trail-running is a wonderful way to slow down a bit, experience the landscape, and take in the view. I feel so powerful when I am running, like I could seriously do anything. It is great for awareness: trying to take in the details of the forest, while scanning for roots, rocks, and other uneven terrain ahead on the trail in a graceful way. The clarity and calm that go with it just set me right. If I’m in a cranky mood, a good, long run will send those much needed endorphins to fix the problem. Connecting with the earth, feet on the ground, flowing through beautiful nature – this is what I look forward to after a long day’s work.

I go rock-climbing at my local gym, Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, and used to do a great deal of outdoor climbing in my younger days. Wall-climbing in the gym is a lot of fun, but nothing compares to the real thing. It is like a meditation on Flow.

I savor doing yoga, and my body will unhappily let me know when I haven’t been stretching enough. Yoga is the necessary complement to all of the fast, high-intensity exercise I do, and helps me tremendously with balance, core-strength, and alignment. I used to go to classes regularly (Ashtanga Warrior Yoga was my favorite), but now I just do my own routine at home.

In the Wintertime, I love to go snowboarding, and Ron (my husband) and I are Kirkwood season-pass holders. We’ve both skied since we were kids (thanks Parents for taking us!), and challenge each other to get better. Our trips to Tahoe rank right at the top of our best times. Ron owns his own surf school, Santa Cruz Surf Academy , so naturally I spend a little time surfing with him. He is an amazing surf-instructor with a knack for making people laugh. He even proposed to me while we were tandem surfing together! It was like a dream. We also play soccer together on a recreational co-ed league team. Most of all, we love to go mountain biking together. I am stoked to share so many passions with my husband!

Pretty much everyday of my life involves some sort of exercise – not for vanity, but for the wonderful, empowering feeling of its simple act. My philosophy is if it’s not fun, why bother? I love challenging myself, but I truly am happy doing the activities I do. I simply love and need to move! There are many benefits of exercise, paired with a healthy diet (I have been a Pescatarian for 8 years and counting), although there are no guarantees in life; all the more reason to seize the day.

When I’m not on the move, I love to stimulate my mind. I love to read non-fiction, especially about Science, and subscribe to my local daily newspaper, The Santa Cruz Sentinel. I like to do the crossword puzzle everyday. Current events, especially related to animals and the environment, are very important to me. Sometimes I get down about the state of the world (climate change, endangered species, etc… with “etc…” clearly an insult to the severity of this endless list of issues), but I try to let go of what I can’t control, and focus on the little things I can do (like using my own cloth bags, reusable water bottle, etc.).

I love music. I’ve been playing the guitar, singing, and writing songs since I was 11 years old. Blaring music and dancing around my living room is one of my favorite things to do when I get home from work. I like to “rock out with the band”, playing along with my guitar to my favorite songs at high volume. Music makes me feel like I understand what life is all about. It’s the glue that connects everything together; a blanket of comfort.

Being in nature is my main motivation for most activities. I just love to be outside! Always have, always will. The presence of mind and heightened sensory experience that come with being in nature connect me to my animal self; where instinct can take over, where I am fully immersed in every moment. Fully aware, but calmly so.

This state of mind I can summarize in two words: Flow, and Grace.

Flow is the state of being completely present to what one is doing, anticipating and responding in milli-seconds to adjust and adapt to dynamic, changing conditions with poise and control. Flow is moving with the current, free of jerky stops and crashes; it is productivity, enjoyment, and an expression of creativity. While we may not be in the “flow” every day of our lives, it’s a state of mind I expect myself to return to as soon as I drift out of it and enter the land of “Bog” (“Bogging” is the antithesis of Flow; bound by obstacles, delays, miscommunications, and inefficiency). Flow is living mostly stress-free. I believe in the power of Nature to help us achieve Flow, and I think most people could benefit from more time spent moving outside.

Flow is living with freedom of expression.

Grace is having the humility to remember we are not the center of the universe; that we share the Earth with other equally important beings; that we are really no more than specks of dust in the scale of Deep Time. Grace is recognizing that everything is all relative; that one person’s Eden may be another’s Inferno. It’s all about perspective. Grace is accepting that difference without judgment or rebuke. Grace is having the humility to recognize our own weaknesses and shortcomings without letting them define who we are; it is getting back on the saddle after a fall. Grace is helping others when we see a need. It is the love that keeps our society moving forward.

Grace is awareness with positive intent.

I don’t claim to have Flow and Grace mastered, by any means! Nor do I claim to be the first person to appreciate them.  They are simply the themes which speak to me and my life goals to work on. They represent the feeling of my best experiences: the ones where I flow with grace. The idea of “Flow and Grace” came to me on a bike ride (as many ideas often do), where I thought up part of my “ABC’s of Mountain Biking” (more to come on that).  F is for Flow, and G is for Grace in that alphabet. And those two themes really stood out to me as a summary for my happiest experiences. My best rides were full of Flow and Grace.

I look forward to sharing so much more in the future!

Disciple of Flow and Grace,
Katrin Deetz

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