Ben and I went to LA to this past weekend to visit Meaghen, Nik, and their new baby, Marley.

Los Angeles is a truly bizarre place. I knew I felt this way, and yet somehow I was surprised anew while we were down there. I can't seem to get over the contradictions. It's glamorous and grungy. There are fantastic restaurants in strip malls, mansions and pools on desert hilltops, jungly gardens in a drought, and sun-worshipers in an endless sea of pavement. In a one block stretch we saw dreads, deep tans, stilettos, designer clothing, board shorts, and battered flip flops. You can be anyone here. The energy feels creative, ambitious, artistic, and disconnected. There's amazing eyewear everywhere—the kind that only looks right on the faces of architects—and amazing heaps of cigarette butts in the gutters at their stylishly-shod architect feet. The houses are huge and the dogs are tiny. The cockroaches are the size of banana slugs, the cocktails are fancy and perfectly made. Servers in restaurants here seem to be perfecting personas; they lean dramatically while explaining the ingredients of a breakfast burrito special. There are people here from every corner of the earth, and beautiful front yards with nobody in them. One street looks like paradise, the next one over like urban hell. Privacy seems important. And cars. And lawns. And hard work. And dreams.

But enough about LA. We went to see Meaghen, and the consensus is that she's a natural. Kristan called it after a moment's observation and she was completely right. Meaghen is a stellar mama. She seems to be mourning the loss of her old life—as all new moms must do—and embracing her new reality in equal measure. She's calm and confident, exhausted and cheerful. And her baby is thriving. Marley is secure, attached, well-fed, curious, and unafraid. It was interesting to see Meg navigating her LA world for her daughter, figuring out how to instill some of her Humboldt values in a place so utterly different from home. Her other home, that is. Her home with solar power and an icy river and more deer than people. It was sort of like watching a Canadian goose take care of her gosling in a blazing hot desert. But she's doing it, somehow, and she's doing it the only way Meaghen ever does anything—with hardcore commitment and serious research. Marley will grow up to be relaxed, opinionated, political, adaptable, tough, kind, ferociously argumentative, open-minded, happy, and a total sap. Just like her mom. I am sure of it.

Keep pushing the Raffi, my friend. You are beautiful, even covered in drool.