Saturday, August 29, 2009

Moving and Change

I am probably insane.

I bought my Volvo in 1988 new and it has been by far my favorite car. I figured it might be my last car and was working on it. But the last couple of years smog certificates were getting harder to pass, and the State kept making offers to retire the car. But it has been doing well lately, and the car was born to drive country roads. But in the last couple of weeks I have been getting an intermittent, nasty screech which has been increasingly accompanied by steering problems. Then cash for clunkers temptation (which I found my Volvo couldn't qualify for -- gas mileage was too good!?!). More screeching and one day I asked "should I replace my car"? Two seconds later, as I tried to unlock my door, the handle fell apart in my hand (and what is worse, inside the door.) Another couple of days hemming and hawing, looking and fretting, and getting the the car through the back seat. So Thursday, on the way back from our clergy cluster, I drove around looking at all the cars in Eureka and finally bought a brand new little Subaru Impreza Outback Sport, Subaru's answer to the Toyota Yaris, not the bigger Subaru Outback. .

I know as a guy I am suppose to feel happy about buying a new car, suppose to swoon at "new car smell". But, really it stinks of chemicals. And I am grieving a very old mechanical friend. I feel like I did when our cat, Pumpkin, died shortly after moving to Morgan Hill, couldn't make the move, just as my Volvo couldn't. I am sure I will get to like this little thing after a while, it is very easy to drive. But right now, after driving a Volvo for twenty years, it feels like I am driving around in a lunch box. For now it is just another friend lost in the shuffle.

Picture found at

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Two and Two

New Beginnings including a blast from the past...

This has been a busy week with school starting, very big for two girls who recently moved here and don't know any of the other kids. A lot to ask of your daughters... And while I do get a sense that it has been challenging and hard and lonely at times for them, there is still a sense of excitement, something new and hope, the promise of something better. They are getting up on time, taking the time to get ready and look nice and actually going to school, all which are good signs.

Then on another plain, a request from my past. An old friend from college sent a message via facebook that her daughter and good friend were traveling our way and could we help point them in a few directions. Of course we could and they landed with us for one short day and evening for an absolutely delightful time. Fun and serendipitous was the fact that they are now the same age we were when we were hanging out and having adventures. Both of the Emilys touched my heart with their personas, open and excited about life yet with the spiciness of their own distinctiveness. And brought back embarrassing memories of how untogether I felt at their age. Challenging yet with so much promise. I wish them the best and have no doubt that they have a wonderful road ahead of them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Country Living

Oh, if they could only see me now!

Well I have to laugh at myself and how different life is from just a couple of months ago. This past week I canned blackberry jam again (even strained out most of the seeds this time). Earlier in the week Livy and I were invited to pick peaches at a friend's home and made peach jam and peach chutney this time. Actually thinking about making pickles. I'm back to knitting daily, something I did for many years before turning into a Siliconian mom. Realizing that some of the fog is lifting and Fortuna and this area is beginning to feel more familiar and not a constant challenge and mystery. It's still stressful and there are still details to be followed up on and boxes to find (I really thought we were more organized than this!).

I was going to complain about how some people go through the stress of making changes in their lives and actually lose weight mysteriously without even trying. Sigh... I will never be one of those people and adding to my to do list is going back to Weight Watchers and losing the weight I gained in the move. Then a friend sent me an email about whales versus mermaids with the just being whales live fulfilled social happy lives and mermaids are a smelly figment of our imaginations and I remembered a turning point in my weight struggles where I stopped being so critical of myself and befriended myself in a new way. Being loving, kind to ourselves is such a key to being healthy. And so obvious (when I'm feeling it) that I wonder why it is so difficult to pull out of a hat at times.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blackberry Pie

Pie, pie, me oh my...

When I facebooked about the local blackberries, I received a lot of smartassed responses about phones but go ahead, feel free to mock me as we sit eating blackberry pie, still warm from the oven, picked fresh from the bushes down the street only hours ago. Today we froze peaches from Ted's brother's land that were beginning to spoil and were too good to waste. Tomorrow we have been invited to pick more peaches at a new friend's home and might try our hand at canning peaches (as opposed to peach jam). Livy has her horseback riding lesson in the morning and then off to check out the County Fair in Ferndale before we pick peaches. Are we living the country life or what? Next week I will actually be part of the fair as I participate in the spinning booth.

Yet I have been feeling very turned around. There is something familiar about country living that I take to naturally and love yet hasn't been part of my identity for a long time. We get so much of our identity from our work and what we do that I feel lost without it some days. For a long time I have been immersed in the real estate world in Santa Clara County. I love working and real estate as much as I have been enjoying our country life and this time getting settled in to our new community. But in a way, I think you have to be a little braver to live here where you are defined for who you are, not what you do. Maybe I'm wrong and there are different ways people feel trapped here but what you do doesn't seem to define you in the same way it did where we were living. And I admit to feeling lost more than I would have expected without my work and my work identity.

P.S. Response to Ted's previous blog (which I probably shouldn't be doing) but isn't fixing the toilet over and over again a little like not asking for directions? Call in the plumber already!


I have to admit about being very anti green when it comes to toilets. (How about that for a sentence with many layers of meaning?) I think it is very important to conserve water and an easy way to do a great work in the world is to have a low flush toilet. On the other hand, I have never seen a low flush toilet that it wasn't necessary to often flush multiple times, which defeats the whole purpose after a while.

A toilet is amazing technology that, when it is right, can work for decades without any problems. One must consider one's position in the world, orientation of a house and movement of groundwater and flooding. Except for the power toilets we had in Morgan Hill, most of the power is generated by gravity and the stored energy of suspending water where it wouldn't usually go. Generating the pressure to raise up water by using the simple water pressure of the city's water lines. Even the power toilets we had generated power by simply stretching a rubber diaphragm using the cities normal water pressure. Simple and brilliant. But, when problems occur, I would rather be in the next state.

Regardless, stopped up toilets are Dad's job. Designing rectangular drains when plungers are almost all circular is evil. And almost anything you do with a toilet that is out of the ordinary is disgusting. These are things we don't talk about in public (and probably shouldn't in a blog) but can be a huge issue in moving. I have great respect for plumbers who can figure out how to get beyond all that. Anyway, I am all for toilets that have storage tanks as big as the Hoover Dam and to hell with water conservation. Oh, did I mention that I have spent a lot of time fixing our stopped up toilets in the last couple of weeks, actually since we moved in.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vacation or just plain work?

Victoria and back again...

Saturday I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and didn't understand how tired I was plus the surprise of looking in the mirror and realizing how sunburned I was. Ted told me we had traveled 1800 miles on our vacation and I actually felt a sigh of relief. Although there were some real highs on this trip and many good times, there were some real challenges also and traveling that far that fast was more work than vacation at times. But all things considered, we did really well and accomplished what we set out to which was to explore the Northwest and get to Victoria with Ted.

Once again, I fell in love with my husband and with Victoria. What a beautiful amazing city, so full of life and history, charm and beauty. For a city girl who also loves the country it's a perfect place to visit. Being in Victoria for Ted's birthday was great, we finally got to the James Bay Tea House which he has been talking about for 15 years (I must admit I had the best scone ever there), elegant dinner with just Ted and me and the Royal Museum the next day. One of my favorite times was kayaking on the James Bay, seeing mom seals with their pups, bald eagles and blue herons. Also watching Livy feed a seal off the pier. We could have spent much more time there, didn't even scratch the surface. We will go back to Victoria without a doubt.
And the travels to get there were also beautiful. The California coast north of us captivated me (and I know we'll return there time and again). I was struck by the wildness of Oregon and the vastness of the rivers which put our rivers to shame. Washington was breath taking beautiful but also horrific with all of the logging and clear cutting. I tried to keep an open mind but seeing that beauty disfigured was hard to take. And I loved that we went to Forks and La Push to make Jenn happy. Which wasn't that far from the rain forest which disappointed Ted (global warming after all?). On the way back we stopped at Mike and Lynn's and had a great time seeing their home in the country and enjoying their hospitality.
Back home and glad to not be in the car, getting settled in and having a little time and breathing room. Discovered this afternoon that there are ripe blackberries in our backyard (plus a neighbor's patch which we have an invitation to invade). I like living in the country.