I’m Moving!

Idyllwild RedwoodCalifornia is a big beautiful state, and I’m a fifth generation Southern Californian. I love my sunny beautiful state! But in the last decade I’ve become heat sensitive, so I started to look for alternative locations where I could live a more normal life, year-round. I found Eureka, in Northern California fairly early in my search–it has some of the coolest summers in the entire United States *and* it has a lot of authentic Victorian architecture, including the most recognized Victorian home in the United States, which for me is a huge draw! So while it may seem sudden, and completely unexpected to even those of you who know me well, I’ve actually been considering moving to Eureka for over seven years.

Why this summer? I graduated law school in May, and my plan was to put down forever roots in my old hometown of Fallbrook, in San Diego County. I love Fallbrook more than I’ve ever loved any other town! And it breaks my heart to imagine never moving back, but this year the heat has been brutal, and I’m tired of living a compromised life. I want to feel good all the time. I want to enjoy summer again. I just want more.

So I’m headed to Eureka. I’ll leave at the end of this month–just me, my tiny house, my cats, and my VW convertible. I’m excited and sad and scared and happy all at the same time. It’s definitely going to be an adventure!

The Ocean // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Redwoods and the ocean? Could these photos  be any more Humboldt County? Maybe! But in this case the first image is a redwood tree in Idyllwild, and that’s the beach in Malibu, so Southern California, rather than Northern California. But to me it’s proof that some of what I love about where I live now, can be found where I’m headed.

Wish me luck!

Law School Graduation

Law School Graduation
Photo by Crystal Worley.

It’s official! I have a Juris Doctorate!

I signed up for the LSAT in June of 2013, got a high enough score to qualify for a full scholarship at two different law schools, and by that fall I was enrolled as a 1L at Trinity Law School.

Law school was fun! It was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The graduation ceremony itself was a lot more emotional than I expected–it’s a big deal to graduate! I’m proud to have finished, and proud to have earned my Juris Doctorate.

Next up? Studying for the California Bar Exam!

Photo by Crystal Worley.
I’m third from the  right, in the second row. Photo by Crystal Worley.
See that ear sticking out? Cracks me up! Photo by Crystal Worley.
I’m not the focus of this photo, so I’m a little blurry, but my hair looks good! Photo by Crystal Worley.
We all look so serious–must have been a good moment in the ceremony! I’m on the far right. Photo by Crystal Worley.
Photo by Crystal Worley.
Photo by Crystal Worley.
Our official class portrait. I’m in the second row from the top, and just to the right of center. Photo by Crystal Worley.
My mom and I, after the ceremony! Photo by Crystal Worley.
My favorite professor ever! William Overtoom is a Senior Deputy District Attorney for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and he teaches Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at Trinity. I was lucky to have him as a teacher–he’s excellent! I received my first A- on a midterm in law school in his class, and it was extra meaningful to earn it from him. Photo by my mother, Sharon Rose.
I took Con Law, a couple of really cool business classes, and Legal Synthesis from Professor R. Neil Rodgers. My favorite semester of all was summer of my 2L year, when I had two classes with him. He’s, in my opinion, the best lecturer on campus! Photo by my mother, Sharon Rose.
When I first met Shelley Henderson I thought she was one of the most charismatic people I’d ever come across. I still think that! And it’s all real. She’s an amazing woman who has done great things, and is on her way to do even more. Photo by my mother, Sharon Rose.
Photo by my mother, Sharon Rose.

Deer and snow, in Idyllwild

Male Deer // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

We usually don’t see much of the deer when it snows–they stay down in a meadow nearby. And we’ve got a lot of fresh snow right now, so I was surprised to see several of them in the back yard this morning.

This little male is about about a year-and-a-half old now, and once he was weaned he stopped coming as often as the girls in his family. So it was fun to see him, and see how his once-nubby little antlers are developing!

My Tiny House: Framing the Foundation

Tiny House Trailer // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsWhat is the first step when building a tiny house on wheels, after research and buying the actual trailer? Building the foundation!

The first task was to remove half of the deck boards. They’re 2x6s, so heavy, and a solid deck wasn’t necessary, so to make the load lighter, I planned to remove every other one–and of course they were bolted on with hardware that required a lot of strength to remove!

Because I wanted my house to be 10’6″ wide, instead of the traditional 8’6″ wide, I needed to build over the wheel wells, so my foundation framing is done with 2×10 Douglas Fir–which makes the foundation tall enough to clear my wheels wells.

Each 2×10 was 10’6″ or 12′ in length, and so over 100 pounds. I definitely needed to hire someone strong to help get the foundation done.

The foundation framing with 2x10s is 24″OC, which is normally just fine–but I wanted to make sure my floor didn’t flex too much, so I decided to insert a 2×4 joist in between each of the 2×10 joists, so my floor would be supported every 12″ instead of every 24″. Why a 2×4? Because they’re much lighter than a 2×10 or even a 2×6, and since it was only to keep the floor from flexing too much, even a 2×4 was sufficient. You can see the blocking on the far left, for the porch, and the blocking in the far center, for the toilet, and blocking around each wheel well.

Wide Tiny House | Clearing the Wheel Wells // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Framing the Foundation // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Close up of the way the blocking for the porch butts up against a floor joist.

Framing the Foundation of a Wide Tiny House // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Matthew, the guy I hired to put the foundation together, felt that we needed more bulk at the front end of the trailer, so he used one 10’6″ 2×10, and then glued and screwed two pieces of 2×10 to it, to make it double in width, and then used Simpson Strong Ties at the join. The join is on the inside, and the full size 2×10 is on the outside, so it’s plenty strong.

Framing the foundation of a Tiny House // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Right before the first layer of 1/2″ plywood sheathing got dropped on top… I wanted to document the Simpson Strong Ties that were used in the foundation. Each 2×10 joist had a 2×10 joist hanger on both ends, and the 2×4 joists, had 2×4 joist hangers on both ends. And where we needed blocking, for the porch, corner Gusset Angles were used.

Simpson Strong Tie Corner Ties // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Simpson Strong Tie Corner Ties were used on the four corners, where the 2x10s met.

Framing the Foundation of a Wide Tiny House // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
A shot of both a 2×10 and the 2×4 joist hangers, along with a corner tie, all by Simpson Strong Ties. You can also see how the foundation hangs off the edge of the trailer, by about a 12″ on each side.

Foundation for a Wide Tiny House // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
The foundation with two layers of 1/2 plywood, glued and screwed down. Why two layers of 1/2″ instead of one layer of 3/4″? Two reasons! First, I could lift a 1/2″ piece of plywood, and I wasn’t sure how much help I would need to build the foundation, so I whenever I could make a choice that meant I could do the work if needed, I did. And second, by gluing and screwing down one layer of plywood first, and then gluing and screwing down the second layer, with overlapping seams, I ended up with a floor that is one big glued piece of plywood, rather than a floor made up of individual pieces that might shift or move on their own. It was just one more way to make my foundation and floor as stable and strong as possible.

Mama Deer

Deer in Idyllwild

Mama Deer

Pregnant deer

Mama Deer

Pregnant Deer

Mama Deer

Yes, we have deer in Idyllwild! And Mama Deer is pregnant again. She’s not only wider across, but she’s spending a lot of time in our yard again, where she can safely rest, and not have to worry about dogs or tourists–a sure sign a baby is on the way. Soon!

Clam Chowder Bread Bowl

One of my favorite things about going “home” to Fallbrook is getting to visit some of my favorite restaurants on the planet! Can’t you just taste those yellow raisins, and the cheese, and all those little seeds? Fallbrook does salad like nowhere else I know of… And the clam chowder? I could eat it everyday, happily.

It was great to share lunch at Garden Center Cafe with one of my very favorite people, Julie Reeder. And I also got to see my old friend Camereno! We worked together at Main Street Cafe, twenty years ago!

Clam Chowder Bowl
Clam Chowder Bread Bowl, at Garden Center Cafe, Fallbrook, California


Playing tourist today in my birthplace…

Pacific Beach, near Crystal Pier

My heart belongs to Fallbrook, but San Diego is where I was born and where I got my fashion sense! Sandals, wrap-around everything, with sun-streaked and wind-swept hair. 91X on the radio, playing Nirvana, and my car’s convertible top down. Near perfection!

Pacific Beach by the Pier

One more, just because it’s pretty.

And it reminds me of when I used to shoot hot rock stars on the beach…


Fallbrook Peacock

I had just taken the road that veers off Mission, near the Valley Fort, when I had to wait for this gorgeous bird, as he crossed the road. But I’m fine with that!

It’s not often–even in Fallbrook–that you see such an elegant peacock on the loose…