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Hello from Encinitas

Oh, hi!  Since last we spoke, I’ve moved to Encinitas, California. And boy, has it been quite the drama.

I arrived on May 1, when it was monumentally hot here. The Horse Whisperer was still in San Francisco, finishing up work, so I made the journey with two miserable cats and a full car. The day after I arrived, our movers unloaded box after box (after box), and I picked up a wonderful friend at the airport, who flew down to help me unpack. The first week was mostly fine – totally overwhelming, but fine. I think I was mostly in shock, but I hung in there, and got a lot of things done.

The Horse Whisperer was scheduled to arrive on Sunday, May 11, and that’s really when all hell broke loose.

The morning of his arrival, I decided that I absolutely must get him a gas grill. And so, off I went to the Home Depot, determined to accomplish this surprise. I purchased the grill and propane tank, and headed home. Luckily, the grill was preassembled, but I had to move it from the car to the back yard (note: we have a back yard! It is tiny, but it exists!). During this task, I thought to myself, “I probably shouldn’t do this by myself. It might not be the best idea.” And yet, I charged onward. I got the grill in place, and then began to load the propane tank into the base. If you’ve ever done this, you’ll understand that a so-called twenty-pound propane tank does not feel like twenty pounds. There’s this tiny little hooked ledge that is supposed to hold the propane tank, so I gamely attempted to lift the tank onto the ledge. In the second attempt, however, the propane tank slipped and came crashing down on my left hand. My first thought was, “f@%* f@%* f@%*, I have broken my finger!” As I removed my hand from the place where it was wedged, however, I noted with relief that my finger was fine.

My engagement ring, however, was not fine. I HAD COMPLETELY SMASHED IT.

Friends, I cried. I bawled. I hadn’t yet cried since leaving my beloved San Francisco, and I made up for lost time in a big way. I sobbed giant crocodile tears. I called a few local jewelers, and learned an impressively negligible amount about antique jewelry repair in the San Diego area. I cried some more.

The Horse Whisperer arrived home that night, assured me that we would figure out the ring situation, and loved the new grill. We hung out for a day, and things were fine. He was dismayed by the number of boxes remaining in our house, and  I was dismayed at his disappointment, given that only fourteen of the ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY TWO ORIGINAL BOXES remained. We both quietly fumed for two days.

And then, all of San Diego caught fire.

You probably saw this on the news. It was horrible. There was ash literally raining into our yard. The Santa Ana winds were strong and crazy hot, and the finest bits of ash were blowing into our windows, covering everything we owned. The new house does not have air conditioning (locals continue assuring us that there is no need for AC most of the year… I remain unconvinced), and it was over 100 degrees outside, so closing the windows was not an option. On day two of the fires, it all caught up to me: the ring, the move, another saga involving That Which Shall Not Be Blogged. I was not feeling happy, and I expressed as much (probably in a very whiny tone of voice), and my darling husband, the light of my life, felt the need to suggest that I should “toughen up.”

And that, friends, is when I totally LOST MY SHIT.

Not since my teenaged years have I cried like that, for hours and hours and hours into the night. I woke up feeling hungover, hazy and headachy. I got in my car, discovered that the air conditioning and fan did not work at all, the windshield had suffered a major crack, and the front left blinker had died. We got a recommendation from one of the Horse Whisperer’s new coworkers, and took the car to the garage. They called, excitedly let me know that the AC repair would only cost about $350, but that they had felt something strange in the steering. They told me they would call back after checking it out. A few hours later, we learned that the car was going to cost around $2,800 to fix.

So. Here we are. We have a grill, there’s now only one box remaining to unpack (not including our extensive framed-item collection, which is flat packed separately), the fires are under control, temps have finally returned to the low seventies, my kitchen is actually functional, the car is going to be ready for pick up in four hours, and I have not yet found a jewelry repair person. Honestly, I’m exhausted. Things are getting much better (sometimes, losing one’s shit has the longterm effect of cleaning out the pipes, as it were), but it has been dramatic and not super fun. I miss my friends. I miss my town. I love the beach, but we don’t have much weather-appropriate attire, so that’s challenging.

Why am I writing this all down, after such a long hiatus? I’d like to remember this. I’d like to remember that the first week we were both here was ridiculously bad. Comically bad. I’d like to keep perspective, so that if and when we move again, I remember how it was. And I’d like to have a marker for how much better it gets. Because let’s be clear, it will get better. I can feel awesomeness on its way, and I’m SUPER MEGA DUPER looking forward to it. But I also want to appreciate how far we’ll have come.

Encinitas, over and out.


Life is good

Three weeks ago, I didn’t realize how great things would be in this exact moment. I hope I’m not jinxing myself, but the past three weeks have been really wonderful. I finished up my final two enormous events at work, and both went off with exactly zero drama. (They were not expected to be drama-free, I should add.)

On the morning of gala, we signed the lease on a cute house four blocks from the ocean. We haven’t seen it in person yet (eep) but we sent a trusted person over to take a look. I’m going to miss the everloving everything out of our current flat, but there’s something so exciting about these blank walls and new projects. Plus! There’s a patio!

I met one of my all-time favorite artists, Diana Fayt, when she arrived with a gift that my dear friend, Anne, commissioned for me. Wow. That was a stunner of a moment – I can’t even describe how happy and amazed and humbled I felt. It features two beautiful birds, connected by a ribbon. It represents the story of my friendship with Anne, and absolutely knocks the wind out of me. What a gorgeous, thoughtful, incredible gift!

And finally, after some bad news on the automotive front, the Horse Whisperer and I replaced his car! Three weeks from right now, I’ll be driving down to see our new house for the first time. It will be the first day I’ve been without a full time job since 2006. And I can’t wait to rock out in the new Subaru!

It’s a scary-but-happy time, and I find myself more and more excited about moving forward. Staring at that photo of H-Dubs on our street, I know I’m going to miss San Francisco so so much, but I feel like we’ve really lived here. Does that make sense? And even more, I’m ready to really live somewhere new. The gifts of this town have been huge, and I really hope we’ll be able to “pay it forward” wherever we go. We have another six-ish weeks here, and then it’s on to the next chapter. I hope this one continues to finish out on such a loving, happy note.


Dreams, Limbo, and Peter Gabriel

I’ve been dreaming lately of things forgotten: appointments, objects both precious and not, past wounds and treasures.

These months are a strange limbo. Some days, I wake up aching with love for San Francisco, stifling the dull panic of leaving. Other days, I can nearly feel the sun on my shoulders and the ocean breeze of my future life, and I want to get in the car and leave everything behind. I’m torn between wishing the days to fly by and longing to freeze time. I try to quell my growing annoyance at things I’ve forced myself to ignore for nine years — the smells of city living, the endless droning of car alarms at all hours, the jostle of too-close humanity on the bus. I want to look back with only love, and I want to look forward with only excitement. I want to remember everything, but remember it fondly. I want to forget to forget to forget the anxiety of moving ahead and the irritations of standing still.

A few weeks ago, we took a spontaneous drive out to one of our favorite coastal spots. I took the Horse Whisperer there on one of our earliest dates; he brought me back to propose; we’ve had so many pivotal moments in this one place. In our early days together, it was just a ruin with a parking lot and a set of ragtag stairs. Over the years, philanthropists renewed their interest in the spot, and it’s been primped and face-lifted. Much of the wildness is gone. And every time, there are more and more people. I miss going there to be alone, together, with him.

The drive out was hectic. Traffic was bad, and drivers and pedestrians were ignoring laws and common courtesy. Pulling into the parking lot, it appeared that the entire world had the same idea to visit. We spent ten minutes circling, waiting for someone to leave. Finally, we got out of the car and made our way to a low wall overlooking the coast. It was nearly sunset, and the throng was beginning to gather, sitting in a long row along the wall. I wasn’t in my finest form. This was my memory of my place! How dare all these people swarm it! The sun crept down toward the water, and then, there was music playing. It was far away, but getting closer. A guy appeared, strumming a ukelele. He sat on the wall with the rest of us, just playing the same chords over and over, and as the sky lit up in color, he began to sing Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes. The low hum of conversation continued around him, but his voice carried just slightly over it all.

The sun slipped below the water, and he strummed his final chorus, got up, and walked away. There was no fanfare, no acknowledgement of what had happened. And I had the strangest feeling that we’d started saying goodbye. I realized that I was ok with that.

I’ve been dreaming of things forgotten, both good and bad. I’m archiving things to remember, storing a bank of them for when I’m old and telling stories to my grandchildren. And soon, it will be time to finish the final chords and walk on to the next thing. There are more stories waiting out there to become a part of me. And I can’t wait.


A sick day ode to old school blogging

In the land of “old school blogging,” when I shared everything and anything, I would have told you all about the fact that I’m home with a cold. So, let’s party like it’s 2007, and write a stream of consciousness post about a lot of nothing!

For the past year, inertia has kept me moving forward at warp speed. I am really really terrible at slowing down, sitting down, and doing nothing. Sick days used to mean watching marathons of The Office, or something similar. Sick days now, on the other hand, mean making lists, sorting through old clothes, taking down the Christmas tree, and generally prolonging whatever illness I’m fighting. It’s all very mature.

Let’s continue this 2007-style post, and talk about some of the things that I’m worrying about pondering:

  1. Will I find a job in San Diego? Will it be a job that I like? Will I get a job quickly enough that I do not have to work at Starbucks in the interim?
  2. Should I keep all of these sweaters? I love them, but will they just take up space?
  3. Moving with cats. I am dreading it. How can I make this easier on everyone? And by “everyone,” I mean “Puck.”
  4. There are many items in our  home that I like, but am considering selling. Will I regret this later? Rarely have I regretted letting go of “stuff,” but I’ve also never let go of big stuff that I actually like. Maybe I should wait until we find our rental house, and then decide.
  5. OH MY GOSH, WE HAVE TO FIND A HOUSE. But not yet! What is the ideal window of time in which to commit to a place for a May 20-ish move-in date???
  6. What happens if I find a good job with a terrible commute? How do we choose a house without any sense of where I’ll be working???
  7. I am going to miss San Francisco so much. I know it will suck every time I see this town on TV. I know that I will have vivid dreams about this place for the rest of my life. It’s so hard and weird leaving somewhere that you love, in the hopes that somewhere else will be even better. What a leap of faith, man.

The list goes on and on, as you can imagine. I’m a Class I worrier planner, so I could do this all day. And then, there are the things that excite me:

  1. The Horse Whisperer’s new job. Y’all. For the past many years, we have had seven weekends off together per year. In this new position, we will have between THIRTY FIVE and FORTY weekends off together per year. Be still my heart.
  2. All of these open weekends mean that we’ll be able to do something we have never, ever done before: weekend mini-trips!!!
  3. The beach, and all its accoutrements.
  4. Getting a dog (possibly after a year).
  5. Eventually buying a house.
  6. Experiencing a new place together (we both lived in SF for a few years before meeting, and I’m excited for everything to be new to both of us at the same time).
  7. Being warm again. I have been cold for nine years. And, although I have adjusted, learned to layer, and even learned to enjoy it at times, I am super excited to be warm.
  8. Reserved parking!!!!!! No more circling around and around our neighborhood in an attempt to park our cars and go home!
  9. San Diego has a growing arts scene, and that is really exciting to me. I like making new things, which is the thing I’ve loved most about my current job. I’m excited by the possibility of working to build something that is fresh.
  10. Change. I love change. I crave it. It feels like life exfoliation. Is that gross?

On a completely different note, is anyone else quivering with anticipation over the premieres of Downton Abbey and Sherlock??? I have put both premiere dates in my calendar. H-dubs is not even remotely interested in Downton, but we both adore Sherlock. We’ve watched every episode about a half dozen times, so we’re pumped for new material.


2014 Goals

I’m entering into this year with the knowledge that it will be a year of huge changes. It’s very strange to see changes so far in advance; for the past several years, changes have just sort of happened, and I’ve rolled with them. Taking time to prepare myself for them has both upsides and downsides. And, because of this, I’ve decided to focus on four big things this year, with a number of mini-goals to support them.

1. Transition healthfully – the move is going to be a big deal. I’d like to survive it, and all its ancillary pieces, in a good place.

  • disengage from my current job in a way that makes me feel good
  • say goodbye to the people we love in a way that works for us
  • find a new home that provides what we need, and in which we feel comfortable
  • find a new job that challenges and excites me

2. Be the best version of myself – 2013 was not a year of this. In 2014, I want to feel good and proud of who I am most of the time. In particular:

  • laugh more
  • make things
  • be healthy, dealing with issues like allergies, skin problems, and dietary choices in a mature and responsible way
  • be comfortable in my body – move more, and find what makes me feel good

3. Be adventurous – think (and live) outside the box.

  • take a surfing lesson
  • try a new craft (I’d love to try weaving or carpentry. I know… I sound insane.)
  • take a dance class
  • visit Mexico

4. Nurture our marriage – someone recently shared some incredible advice with me, which I’ll share another time. It reframed many, many things. This move brings with it some amazing opportunities to relish our “couple-ness,” so I’d like to:

  • take more pictures together (there are a whopping FOUR photos of us together from 2013. Eep.)
  • develop “couple hobbies”
  • find a balance of work/life/creativity/productivity
  • be a team

Your turn: any big goals for 2014?