coffee clicks

Coffee clicks: November! How did this happen?

Life is seriously playing at double speed these days. I can’t wrap my mind around November. Wasn’t it just September? Aren’t we still finding our back to school groove? My pulse quickened at the sight of a flash of Starbucks Christmas red in someone’s newsfeed this morning, and I know – I just know – it’s going to be December 24th in 5 minutes.

I’m clearing the house of all remaining tempting (read: chocolate) candy today after a 48 hour binge that more or less consisted of near criminal leves of behavioral regression on all parts (mine included. Fasting today to clear my shocked system of the 1000 grams of sugar consumed at the annual All Saints bash we hit up last night). Good news: there are no Snickers left. Bad news: see previous.

Are you getting straight into Christmas planning mode to try to knock it all out before Advent begins? I’ve always dreamed of being that person. Last year I made a valiant, very pregnant effort and ended up with WAY too many toys from the thrift store and a Christmas Eve stomach flu for my troubles. This year my loose plan is to wait until December 19th and then spend a solid 24 hours in hustle mode. I work well under pressure.

This effort in LA to pair willing homeowners with homeless and homeless families is intriguing. What do you think? Would you ever consider participating in a program like this?

I was shocked by the avalanche of positive responses to my Harry Potter confession. Thank you for being such wonderful readers! I really believe I know the smartest and most humble people on the internets.

This is actually heartening. I feel like our own culture has been slow to name the connection between porn and sexual violence. I got a good response last month in Nashville when I illustrated the connection between the two for a college-aged audience – there were some shocked faces in the crowd and good, thoughtful comments afterwards.

Makes me so sad. Blessed is She is heading to Dublin early in the new year to put on a retreat for women. What a gift that will be to the Irish Church!

Just incredible writing. Still reeling from the shock of the massacre in Pittsburgh. I briefly dated guy who lived in Squirrel Hill when I was in grad school, and we would walk past the Tree of Life Synagogue every weekend on our way to a local grocery store that sold amazing challah bread.

What are your weekend plans? I’m solo parenting tomorrow so I’m considering fleeing to my parent’s house for backup. And putting the whole family on a strict meat and vegetable regimen for at least a day. I felt a momentary pang of guilt sending them out the door to school this morning at their current decibel levels. Pray for all teachers on this most sugared out Friday.


  • Amy

    Hi Jenny,

    So excited to hear about the Blessed is She retreat in Dublin!!! I was looking at your posts on a Blessed is She retreat recently and had a longing in my heart for something like that here in the Emerald Isle….I’m on the waiting list….fingers crossed….if you are ever in Ireland let me know. I’m an avid fan of your blog and it is a source of great inspiration, motivation and hope for me. God bless, Amy.

  • jeanette

    Re: initiative in LA to subsidize ADU housing (not really “tiny houses”)

    I speak from first hand experience: I am living right next door to one (not in LA). BTW, they aren’t “tiny houses” at all, they are ADUs (accessory dwelling units) under a new CA law that permits them throughout the state regardless of what local codes may say. In fact, local cities had to create new codes etc to manage the issue. And they don’t have the quaint little “Portlandish” tiny house look pictured in the news article you linked us to. That’s a false spin on the subject.

    Our experience: The home next door to us had a detached single car garage constructed about 70 years or so ago that preceded our home, which was built on an adjacent lot in the 1990s. Prior to owning our home, that structure was being used in drug trafficking. The garage is 6 feet from our bedroom window. The owner was able to convert it to an ADU in spite of codes requiring a minimum distance between homes because it is a pre-existing structure. The rule is that the owner must live in the main house or ADU, but he does not. He rented both units without complying with the law (and the only way to rent both units is to turn one into a low income unit, which it is not). The new tenant that lives there has a HARLEY-DAVIDSON that he parks immediately outside of our bedroom window. He revs it up, shaking our very foundation and blasting our ears, and he does this well after midnight. He apologized and said he wouldn’t do it again, but he repeatedly does. Who knows when a different tenant will live there and what problems they might bring. If they weren’t so close to our bedroom and making us lose sleep, I’d just shrug. So, yes, NIMBY accurately describes how we feel about it, only in our case, not in our side yard would apply. And I really take exception to that condescending way people will use NIMBY to ridicule those who don’t want something built adjacent to their homes due to the impacts of such construction. I would guess they either aren’t in a position to have something built in their neck of the woods that would change the enjoyment of the home they live in (not to mention property value, which whether they think that matters or not is a harsh reality that can have devastating financial effects on homeowners when they try to sell their home and move) or they subscribe to a political notion about property ownership that involves some element of communism, and we are all just comrades. Yes, I’m feeling a bit sarcastic. Probably sleep deprivation.

    As for the naivety of the LA effort in offering subsidies: I’m not even going to get into the obvious issues with having a home with a family and children suddenly giving up some space to build a structure to house a person(s) who may or may not pose a threat to the safety of your family. Because you just don’t know about the potential tenant, who the article describes as homeless. Homeless doesn’t define the character of a person (i.e. socially well adjusted or not, criminal or not, mentally ill or not, etc–and living in a community with a great many homeless people all around town, I know what I’m saying), homeless merely describes their lack of housing. Not just the individual tenant will be occupying the space, but the visitors as well. So the tenant may be bringing problems of their own that extend to their social connections, and people are lying if they say they don’t pay a higher price to own a home in a given neighborhood because they want a safe place to raise their kids. So what about your other neighbors who do the same? Is it just their tough luck if someone wants to create additional housing that might impact the neighborhood?

    Also, there are occupancy restrictions, but people ignore occupancy restrictions. Would you like to see 10 people crammed into a structure intended to house 1 or 2 people? This is what will happen because people are desperate. Better than living on the streets, but not neighbor friendly. Would you want to be the one to object to having the 10 destitute people living there if they are creating a problem? No one wants to be the one. By the way, the article describes housing being created for “families” — but that is not true unless the tenant happens to be one adult with one child, because these ADUs are not houses, they are more like a studio apartment, so wipe the rosy picture of helping a family being housed. Families are not going to really be helped in getting housing, and the life of a family crammed into an ADU is not what I would call providing housing for a family.

    While you might think it is a grand idea to have one of these in your backyard, your next-door neighbor who paid a huge sum of money to live in an actual house with a yard that they hope to enjoy rather than a condo or townhouse with high density occupancy and no yard. I’ve already seen ads by construction companies offering to do the ADU project, and they are explaining how it will increase your square footage and therefore the market value of your home (not your adjacent neighbor’s home, though).

    I have been trying to move for several years right now, running up against the dominant multiple offer wall in the real estate markets, and the bottom line problem with housing in CA is that foreign investors are purchasing homes well above asking price and driving up the cost of housing, and until that problem is addressed, we are going to continue having affordable housing shortages. And these same foreign investors might really love the idea of these LA subsidies to build an ADU to increase their investment income.

    But the LA solution doesn’t even address WHY these people are homeless, it is more of the “housing first” approach. But there are a variety of reasons why people are homeless, some of which would make this particular solution not very family friendly. So, while ADUs may supply some housing, it does it in a patently unfair manner, affecting homeowners who have no say in the process at all, creating high density housing in areas that are zoned low density without adding any supporting infrastructure which is part of the normal planning process when housing projects are developed.

    In my rather irritated opinion, this is not the appropriate way to increase housing units by creating housing in already existing neighborhoods as though it is “spare land” for the expedient solution to homelessness. It is not very well thought out.

    Cities have planning departments that are supposed to plan for growth, usually based on birth rates, economic growth, etc. But, did they envision and plan for the immigration growth that has been exponential (this is very pertinent in CA and especially in LA). People come to this country with the idea that a job is available but without any idea that housing is not.

    The same thing is happening in the Silicon Valley, where the tech industry can hardly supply housing at all and the service sector jobs cannot pay workers enough to afford the housing in the area let alone compete with the highly paid professionals in the tech industry for the little housing that is available. For example, you have Apple Computer in Cupertino creating a new enormous campus that will even further impact that community housing and traffic, and the city approves those kinds of impacts without a corresponding housing plan, thus further burdening workers in finding housing. It takes time and planning to respond to normal community growth, but is there not enough time and planning for migration patterns or a tech giant wanting to expand?

    This rapid population growth has been going on for years, and LA should have been in the know about that, so why did they fail to plan? Oh, you mean we need land space? How about planning better with retail spaces that take up so much land instead of shoving ADUs into neighborhoods? So much of sprawling retail could have been mixed use retail/housing, but you never see that being done. There are many solutions to housing, but someone’s got to do the planning for growth. And I have a big objection to a state law that puts together a one-size-fits-all solution to housing. Not all cities in CA have the same housing issues, but all of them have to support this ADU legislation. LA’s solution of offering subsidies is not a good one, and incentivizing it with subsidies will only worsen the problem of foreign investment in residential property and further aggravate the real estate markets there.

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