Tag: moving

Finding New Favorites and Missing Old Ones

The best part about settling into a new place is finding new favorite cafes and restaurants and hangouts.  Or – if you’re moving back to a place – to rediscover old favorites.  Max approves of Adele’s Diner which is just down the street from us.  I’m not sure he’ll approve as much when the curly fries run out but we’ll see.  We really miss Golden Valley Brewery for their high backed booths, they’re beers, they’re mostly reliable french fries, and their Snickers pie.

The other night Philip’s bicycle friend from Southern California stayed the night with us.  He and his daughter were en route to Portland.  He took us out and at first Philip was suggesting that we go to the Russian River Brewery on Fourth Street but I nixed this suggestion on a couple of vital points: the noise level in there is obnoxious, it’s a very adult hangout (tall stools, no french fries, mostly young hip college aged people with hook-ups in mind).  Yes, they have good beer.  But I suggested the slightly more kid friendly 3rd Street Aleworks.  They have better beer, french fries, and big tables for families, and less noise.

I was wrong about the noise level.  It was NOISY in there.  Have I mentioned how much I dislike noisy restaurants?  If you can’t have a conversation without being a few inches from the mouths issuing sounds then it’s too loud.  Or if you have to shout.  How did I not remember that?  However, on all other counts I was right.  It has great beer (less aggressive than the Russian River brews), good food (decent fries – Max ate quite a few), and nice big tables for groups of people.  The nachos were very good.  Max was not thrilled with the noise level and was also put off by the home made potato chips which he also tried (some soft bits on a few chips repulsed him) so after eating some fries and drinking one and a half Mr. Pibbs (which he was keen to try because of affiliation with American Dad) he went off to check out the other restaurant next door called “The Flip Side” which he’s decided we must try next because it’s much quieter and they have french fries and Mr. Pibb as well.  “Coca Cola products” as he put it.  (As a side note – Max normally prefers to drink either root beer or Dr. Pepper)  Both these places are right next to a movie theater which Max noted with interest.  Strange, because he hates going to the movie theater.  I commented on this and he says he might be interested in trying it out again.

There are days (like yesterday) when all the electronics in the house stop working (our internet connection sucks, our remote controls are weird, and we had 2 bad video game purchases) and Max decides we need to move back to Oregon where things worked and the Game Stop didn’t suck and the video rental place had video games to rent (apparently there is nowhere to rent video games in Santa Rosa).  But then we go to Sweet Tooth and thoughts of fleeing back to McMinnville evaporate.  Sweet Tooth is his new favorite cafe.  They have coffee and Italian Sodas (grape flavor is on order just for Max!) and soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt and a whole store full of candy.  New and old kinds, gimmicky kinds, weird kinds (little plastic hospital bag of blood, for example), and humorous packs of gum.  It’s a candy lover’s mecca.

My favorite places (so far) are Third Street Ale Works (in spite of the noise), Trader Joe’s, Treehorn Books (good old fashioned used bookstore), El Patio, and The Tearoom in Petaluma.  I haven’t found my own favorite cafe yet but I enjoy going to Sweet Tooth with Max just because he enjoys it so much.

I have yet to visit the farmer’s market here but hope to do that on Saturday.  I still need a library card (the library in McMinnville is very good – but the Santa Rosa library is much bigger so there’s more available) and I really need to get myself to some Chinese and Indian restaurants.  However, what with all the grocery buying (so expensive here!) and electronics replacements, joining the Y and getting shoes… must budget.  We still have to make one more trip to the old house for the rest of our furniture and things.  It will all fit in a much much smaller truck than before but will still be quite expensive.  Plus – the IRS is pounding down my door.  So all the frivolous going out to dinner and exploring restaurants must wait.  For now we will only go where Max wants to go because dining out will be a family experience.

What I’m missing in McMinnville (aside from friends):

Movietime Video


Saturday Market

Golden Valley

I’m off to get some work done and later go to the Y for my 3rd workout in a row and then I must hang out with the kid.  Have a great Thursday!

6 Days

I am not in good shape this week.  Mentally.  Emotionally.  Physically.  But that’s hardly a surprise since we’re moving across state lines on a budget and with more stuff than we can probably fit in the biggest U-haul and all the complications that moves inherently come with have certainly come with this one.  I’m going to bullet point things that come to mind that I feel like sharing in absolutely no cohesive order or for any other reason than that I really love bullet points visually.

  • It has come to my attention that my PMSing is becoming so bad now that I get nearly suicidal every month when it comes.  I will admit that thoughts of death or the desire to go to sleep for years on end or forever have been uncomfortably frequent in the last two years but never so acute as it is two days before my period.  I never PMSed at all until after I had Max.  It’s been getting steadily worse over the last 11 years.  But it’s ridiculous now.
  • This move is requiring so much help from others and I’ll bet most people don’t actually know how hard it is for me to ask for help in the first place because I have learned over the years that it’s important to ask for help and to give it because reciprocity is at the heart of a strong community and so I force myself to reach out.  This week I reached out because I have no other option.  My sister and our friend Bobby are going to get quilts from me because I’m THAT grateful for their willingness to help us in such a big way.
  • I love making quilts.  I intend to work on not only those two quilts but the two I’m already working on.  I intend to make/finish 4 quilts in the next year or so. My friend Chelsea quilts so maybe we’ll inspire each other.
  • I have this horrible dialog/anxiety running through my head night and day as this move approaches – I am moving back to a lot of family and friends who knew me back when I was either a regular sized person or a chubby person but NOT an obese person.  I am so ashamed of my body right now and I simultaneously want to be around my old friends but also not let them see me.  This past month I have gained back every ounce I managed to lose previously and though I refuse to step on a scale I know I am back to my all time heaviest weight and maybe have made a new record.  I’m less ashamed around my Oregon friends because even though many of them have seen me go from fat to obese – none of them have ever seen me as a regular sized person.  I am aware that this is a stupid thing to be anxious about and I’m also aware that those of my friends who really like me and care about me are not going to be harsh judges of my weight just as I would never be harsh judges of them in the same situation.  But I can’t stop this awful shame from living in my head every hour of the day.  Meanwhile I’m so desperately stressed that I’m doing everything possible to make it WORSE.  What’s actually going through my head is something like an apology I’m silently making to my friends and family every waking hour “I’m so sorry I’m obese.  I’m so sorry I am so disgusting!  I promise I will take better care of myself after the move.  I am so sorry to be such a gross disappointment!  I’m not fat inside!  It’s not completely my fault!  Only half of this weight is from my own bad choices – the medications did the rest!  I promise I won’t always be this hideous looking!”
  • It’s actually excessively noisy in my head all the time – that isn’t the only dialog playing on repeat.  Why the hell don’t minds have shut-off buttons?  Beer and television do an adequate job but then they cause other problems.  My sleep isn’t free of noise either.  I’ve been having awful nightmares.  One ended with someone having their nipples cut off and this person dragged himself to a house I was wanting to rent leaving a trail of blood.  You just don’t feel rested after disturbing dreams.
  • I can’t wait to get myself set up with a new doctor who can send me to a psychiatrist and also a therapist.  I’ve been in desperate need of therapy for the past six years but couldn’t afford it because it wasn’t covered and then we had no coverage.
  • I can’t wait to join the YMCA!  I can’t wait to lose enough weight to not feel ashamed of publicly exercising.  But if you are starting off as large as I am there is no better gym than the Y to work out.  It is filled with all shapes and sizes and ages of people.  No one cares or judges.  Or, if they do, I never feel it there.
  • This week I had a dent on my leg that convinced me it was a sign of a fatal illness.  Those of you on facebook already know all about it.  It was ridiculous.  I had to make fun of myself but this kind of thing happens ALL THE TIME.  (Not the leg dent, the part where I obsess over some minor physical mystery and become convinced of my own doom)  It took the dent more than 16 hours to disappear.  So I’ve concluded that I have spectacularly unresilient flesh.  Probably just a function of my age.
  • As soon as Philip leaves the most muscular, fast, and hairy spiders move in.
  • There was a word (or a phrase) camping out in my head all week that I was going to mention because it was driving me nuts but now it’s gone and I can’t believe I’m so annoyed that I can’t remember what it was!
  • I just remembered the word that was trolling my head for the past few weeks: Verklempt.  But in reality what my head was saying was: Ferklempt.  Over and over and over.
  • At least this bastardized line of Shakespeare “Life is not life when it alters with alteration” has finally stopped going through my head on an endless loop.  that went through my head several times a day almost every day for a year and a half.
  • Max has discovered one of the many uses of bubble wrap and tape guns: bubble wrap armor to protect yourself in an airsoft war.

That’s it for now because I have to do a little work and then do a lot more packing.  There’s no one left to help me.  It’s just me and Max here with the animals.  My mom is in California with Philip and I feel jealous.  Even though I’m going to be there in 6 days with them.  I’m way overwhelmed.



Moving Anxiety Has Finally Set Up Camp in My Head

There is no way we’re going to be able to fit everything we own on a 27′ truck.  There is no way I can get everything packed in two weeks.  How the hell are we going to manage the whole move?  My mom shouldn’t drive 600 miles on her own because she has vertigo and isn’t supposed to drive much at all.  I can’t help her drive.  Philip will have to drive the truck.  Where will all the animals go?  Where will the kid go?  In the cab of a 27′ truck with his dad, his dog, and two cats?  Or with his vertiginous Grandma and her dog and her two cats?  Will Philip be flying up and then driving down with us or driving?  Also – Philip has two days only to move us.  So that’s one day to pack the truck which means I need someone to pick up the truck in the first place and bring it to our house and then I will need people to help us start loading it or it will be too much for Philip and I to do in one day.  What about my precious plants that must come with me?!

I’m in official moving freak-out mode.  Cause this whole thing is so impossible.  Moving up here was much easier – we paid a moving company to move us for the first (and only, I think) time in our lives.  It was fantastic!  It also cost a fortune.

Do I need to leave a bunch of furniture behind?  I’m already making a mental list of what I’m willing to let go of and what I’m deeply attached to.

-two days and mucho panic later-

I’m much calmer now.  We got a lot of packing done while Philip was here.  He’s headed back south today and won’t come back for two weeks when he’ll come back just to pack up the moving truck and drive us back home.  Last night I went through my desk and my files and wonder why I’ve let it all go for so long.  I love having my things organized and cleaned out.

Oh right.  That bitch, depression.

Anyway – I have rediscovered how cool my desk is.  Now I can’t wait to be set up in my new office.  I’m trying to focus on how great our new house is and not on how we’re going to get there.  I’m definitely enjoying how much less shit is coming down with us than came up with us.  The feeling of shedding belongings continues to refresh me in the midst of all my anxiety.

Max is out of school now too.  Summer is almost officially here.  Philip has a good new job he’s really excited about.  I have artichokes to eat from the garden.  There is fresh cool air rushing through my window which I’m grateful for after yesterday’s heat.  I’m lucky in my friends.  I have so many good friends looking out for me and rooting for me.  I still don’t like radishes.  The sight of my calendula blooming always makes me happy.

And now I have to catch up on my paid work and get back to packing and organizing and not freaking out.

I Never Did Like Wednesdays

Did someone put the Universe in some kind of twisted choke hold today?  I’m feeling incredibly thwarted.  Which is weird  because right after waking Max up to send him off to school I crawled into his bed (because Philip was still sleeping in ours making a bit of noise) and Pippa curled up against me and immediately fell asleep too.  Next Penny decided to get in on the group nap and curled up really close to me and Pippa, all snug-like.  Chick, who had been happily sleeping next to Philip, thought being left out of such a group sleep effort was bogus, so she jumped up and curled up on my other side.  It was the nicest sleep ever.  Except for the nightmares, but whatever.  Naps with pets are the best.  So what happened, Universe?  Did you suddenly get jolted into reverse mode?

It took twenty reboots to get my laptop working.  This is the same laptop that was recently completely burnt out and got a whole new shiny hard drive.  Since getting it home it’s done this one other time.  Now it’s getting to be a habit I’m getting really mad.  So I go to start Philip’s computer and it takes 20 minutes to check all its files before opening.  So dumb.  Then I tried doing something else that didn’t work that shouldn’t have been an issue.

What’s the deal?  And no Daily Show for a second week in a row?!  Do they stop their show during the summer?  Is it over for the year?  I don’t recall that being the case before.  And how come everyone’s kids are getting out of school this week and mine has fully three weeks to go after this week?

But now that I’ve had some breakfast for lunch I am feeling much better.

After realizing that I can’t go to the BlogHer Food conference in Seattle I held out hope that I could go to the main BlogHer conference in New York this year.  But I’ve realized that I just need to focus on settling us in after our move.  Plus, even though we might be able to afford the trip, it seems likely that I’ll be buying a new laptop instead.  We’ve been so broke for so long it’s important to get ourselves in order.  We have taxes to pay back and things to take care of.

So no NY trip.  But I did realize that what I can afford to do this summer is spend a couple of nights in San Francisco all alone.  A mini inexpensive solitary trip.  This is the right speed and the right price for me this summer as far as taking a break from my daily routine is concerned.

Man, I’m all over the place today.  I have got to get some work done and then I’ve got to pack.  Lots and lots of packing.  In reading my daily 150-200 blog posts I notice that right now there are a ton of people: having babies, getting pregnant, and MOVING.  Everyone is moving!  So I’ve been reading all these other people’s thoughts on the horrible process of moving but how it has cleansing aspects too.  And most of us seem to agree that there is pleasure in settling into a new place.  Of course, I’m not settling in a new city, just a new house.  Philip said that when he drove into Santa Rosa last week he felt like he just came home.

I hope you all are having a less thwarty Wednesday.  Here’s something very pretty to look at before you go off and bet busy elsewhere:

(this photograph is completely unprocessed but it’s still pretty)

Currently on my mind: quackgrass, packing, and the word “scrotum”

I am overwhelmed.  Philip moves to California on Sunday.  Without us.  I will be single parenting for almost two months.  He’s taking a truck so he can move some of our stuff down and take all the things he’ll need to be living a bachelor life for two months.  So I’m trying to organize all that and my head is buzzing.

Next Monday he has a job interview with a company he really wants to work for that’s located in Petaluma.  If he were to get it he would have an easy commute and have benefits and also get paid considerably more than he is now.  BENEFITS!  He was told that dependents are not covered 100%.  Who cares?  The main thing is that if we get insurance through a job we can’t be pre-screened and refused coverage.  Please send him good thoughts on Monday.

Max was sick for 10 days.  Really sick.  So sick he missed a whole week of school.  And exhausted his mother.  Now he just has a lingering cough but is otherwise recovered.

I’m amazed at his resiliency in some areas and rigidity in others.  His food issues remain challenging and you’d think a person who can stubbornly cling to resentment over things like the doctor who told him the nose cauterization wouldn’t hurt – three years later and he’s still steaming mad any time the subject comes up.  When we told him we were moving he was angry with us.  We were out to dinner and I told him before we got our food.  He lost his appetite for the rest of the evening.  But by the next day he wasn’t angry any more.  I asked him and he said “I’m not happy about moving but I’m not mad any more.”  Just like that, he let go.  He doesn’t want to move because he likes it here and naturally doesn’t want to leave his friends.  But he really only has three friends and he rarely hangs out with any of them any more.  He admitted that this is true.

Mostly he doesn’t want to move because he hates sunshine and warm weather like I do.  He likes the cooler climate of Oregon.  He likes rain.  And snow.  And cold weather.  Getting used to the weather in Santa Rosa will be a shared challenge between him and I.  We will buy really big fans.

I need to do some more packing for Philip.  I also need to go to the store to buy him clothes for his interview.  He’ll need them for other interviews too.

There is exactly one good thing about Philip being gone from us: I get the bed to myself.  But after a while the excitement of getting to spread out and not have someone sleeping in the MIDDLE of the bed will wear off.

My garden is completely covered in super tall quack grass.  I keep worrying about the yard because I have no time to do anything for it and no money to spend on someone else doing things like mowing it and cutting down blackberries and I know the city will come and give us a citation when we’re gone and all that grass gets taller.  I know my neighbors already hate me.  Plus, I feel bad for the house.  Who knows how long it will take this house to foreclose – the other one took TWO YEARS.  Finally it has passed out of purgatory into new hands.  Which is a relief.

I’m really worried about the yard.  I guess I’ll see if I can pay some landscaping company to mow and whack some things back in a quick and hacking way just to keep it under control.  I don’t know.

I just know that I keep concentrating my worries on the wild yard.

Time to get my act together.  It’s time to concentrate on what needs to be done now.  Like, right now.

Plus, I can’t get the word “scrotum” out of my head and I’m not even sure how it got there.


Enjoy your Thursday!


The Long Road Home

After six years of trying to settle in a strange and hostile territory, I’m going home.

At the beginning of July we are moving back to California.  The irony of making this decision right after (finally) getting our application for the HAMP loan modification approved does not escape my notice.  We made this decision two months ago and I hope that any of you that ever doubted my ability to keep my own secrets will doubt no more.  The timing was wrong to make such announcements but today I am finally able to set the truth (mostly) free.  I am deeply relieved that we will be leaving this community and heading back to one I feel welcome in, feel comfortable in, and understand.

If any of you were under the impression that I’ve been happy here that’s because I have worked hard to BE happy here.  I have continually tried to see the good in this weird town I managed to land us in.  Every time I have been disappointed or hurt I have worked hard to see the lessons, to find the truths, to make peace with the feeling that I will be trapped here for all eternity.  I have repressed so much of what I’ve felt.  When friendships have ended over issues I couldn’t believe were issues I have chosen to look to myself and work on my own tolerance issues instead of focusing on their intolerance.  I have chosen to counter the bad with the positive and to stuff my uncomfortable feelings far out of anyone’s reach.  Mostly because I didn’t think we could ever afford to leave and if you are trapped somewhere (anywhere) you either have to find a way to leave and not give up until you do OR you have to make the best of where you are.  I chose to make the best of my situation and repress my desire to get out of this hole.

But repressed feelings have a way of working themselves to the surface, worming a way into the light.  It’s a full time job to convince yourself that you can survive in a community that doesn’t embrace you and that, in the end, you can’t embrace either.

I hate it here.  I hate this town.  I’ve been slowly suffocating.  I have been so lonely, watching others publicly inviting everyone around me to participate in their private lives while leaving me out.  I’ve been trying to think how best to explain this and I don’t know – I can’t figure out how to make anyone understand that this is not a friendly town beneath the surface of things.  There are invisible fences around everyone.  People are artificially friendly.  I’ve been referred to as “family” by someone who has never once, and never will, invite me into his home.  If that’s how you treat family how the fuck do you treat your friends?  I once was trying to explain my experience of McMinnville to the girl at the video rental place (who grew up here) who was really surprised that I called this town unfriendly.  Another customer interrupted our conversation to say that she came here from Humboldt County and definitely thought McMinnville is an unfriendly town.

People are cliquish here.  This town is like one enormous high school.  While many incomers I’ve met have felt the same way as I do about it, there are definitely some who have had a totally different experience – they had the fortune of finding a clique that they were welcomed into.

In spite of it all I don’t believe it was a mistake for us to move here in the first place.  I believe our story would have been very different if we’d landed in Portland as originally intended and I think it’s a real possibility that I would not be returning home to California if we had.  But if we’d moved to Portland a lot of important things wouldn’t have happened and I can’t regret what I’ve learned from living in a community in which I don’t belong, in which I feel so far out of my comfort zone that I learned things about myself I couldn’t have learned otherwise, like how much less tolerant of religion and religious people I am when I’m the minority atheist in town.  I can’t regret the isolation that forced me to reach out online to find like minded people to create a community that have sustained me through hell and back even though I’ve met so few of you in person.  I can’t regret the few really close friends I have made here and though they have all either moved back to where they came from or are complete recluses, I can never wish the past six years didn’t happen because I treasure what warmth and love they have given me and I certainly would not have lasted a year here if it weren’t for them.

I have so much to say.  I have so many things I have to try to find the semi-politic way to say without compromising the truth.  I rarely look back at old posts of mine unless someone posts a fresh comment on them or unless someone brings one up specifically.  (Maybe once in a while I go through them late at night in a maudlin mood after a few beers.)  I will need to write a lot of posts to unload the tumor of emotion and thought that’s been amassing in the throat of my intention.  I am sure I will cover plenty of old territory, it’s inevitable.  I’m not going to go back and check to see if I’ve already said this or that.  If I need to say it today then it wasn’t enough to say it yesterday or five years ago.  I’m not going to apologize for telling old stories because my perspective has changed with my decision to return home.  Consider yourself warned and please don’t read anything you might find tedious.

Consider this my McMinnville debriefing period.  Before I can return home to Santa Rosa I have to be grilled by my conscience, by my heart, and by my memory to be sure I am truly ready to rejoin civilization.  It will be like Lucas being debriefed on MI-5 when he returns from a Russian prison but without all the torture, blood, and sweat.