The Porch Life

Our farmhouse had a wonderful porch.  We did love to sit on it and enjoy the view which happened to be our own back yard.  The down side of having your front porch in your back yard is that there’s no watching the comings and goings of the neighborhood.  Being part of a porch peanut-gallery is one of life’s greatest activities.  Our new house has a wonderful porch that looks out at the street and as the street we live on is fairly bustling it affords us opportunity to observe and even TALK TO NEIGHBORS.  If you didn’t know this already – neighbors are a lot more likely to say hello if you’re in your front yard doing something that looks relaxing such as enjoying a festive beverage while lounging in a brightly painted Adirondack chair than if you skulk behind your 6 foot tall fence.

If I want to be unseen I can either go back in my house or I can go into my private back yard.  This is a healthy arrangement.  I love having a porch life!

Speaking of our back yard… we have a giant heritage oak in ours that gives the most wonderful shade to those of us who loathe the direct light of the sun.  I think Chick is scared of the bird noises in the tree – there are several varieties that hang out in there and chatter and/or complain.  She’s also afraid of the neighbor who practices playing the tuba.  I personally LOVE hearing the tuba playing – it makes me smile every single time.  It reminds me of when I was practicing playing the accordion every day worrying that I was bothering the neighbors.

I want, for the sake of the people I love that I left back in McMinnville, to be circumspect in my praise of Santa Rosa and of my new house.  However, have I not always resolved to be as truthful as I can here in my corner?  So – I have to say that I am so happy to be home and within two days I had the strangest feeling that maybe someone slipped drugs into my water and I just had the longest most surreal bad trip and I just woke up the next morning six years ago – that’s how much I feel like I’ve come home and how bad McMinnville was for me.

What year is it?  It’s the friends I love that I left behind in Yamhill County that are keeping the reality clear – and also I think if it weren’t for them I would not have lived long enough to make it back to California.

Coming home and immediately being surrounded by the love and help of so many friends here I realize how unbelievably fucking lucky I am that I have the ability to make good friends wherever I go.  Yes yes yes – I have joked a lot about the enemies I’ve made in McMinnville but the other side of it is that I made more friends than enemies and my life is rich with them and no matter how much I have to learn in life (I have a lot to learn in life) and no matter how many mistakes I make (I make a shitload of mistakes all the time) there is no way I would have so many people pulling for me and helping me and supporting me through tough times if I was a truly bad person.

I’ve spent a good amount of time recently staring at my feet smoking on the floor of hell asking myself what I need to do to get the brimstone outta my hair and I’m still not sure about the answer but I know what hands reached out and pulled me up and I know that I owe a lot to a lot of people.  You’re all on the balance sheet and if you need me to pick the coals out of your eyes I’ll burn my fingers doing it.

I don’t think I’ve been relaxed in 6 years.  Not down to my bones.  I relaxed on my porch yesterday and talked with friends Philip went to college with and I unpacked more boxes.  I don’t think I’ve been this happy for 8 days in a row in six years either.  Coming home is powerful.  I think it’s valuable in life to try new things, new places, and have adventures outside of your comfort zone.  Sometimes you accidentally discover that you were never home in the first place until you traveled and landed somewhere you never dreamed was in your blood – but when you find home you know it.

We owe a lot of money in back taxes.  I am waiting for my work check which we expected to come the Friday before our move and consequently we’re on our last few dollars today.  I have to face putting Max in a real school and I have to get all his assessments lined up.  I don’t know what I’ll be able to do for my child here.  My dog is scared of so much right now and I still haven’t let my cats outside.  My house is still largely unpacked and I’m still quite behind in work (but starting to catch up).

For all of that – I’m just happy.  I’m not worried.  Not about the big picture.  I know we’ll be able to pay our bills and catch up with taxes.  I’m still worried about things like my first spider bite in years which I’m a little obsessed with because I opened it up to let the fluid out because the hard little bump was really irritating me (as in: couldn’t stop thinking about it or touching it) and then it freakily kept filling up and getting all tight and hard again.  But this is ME.  This is my usual stupid anxiety and I can put it into better perspective when I’m not constantly freaking out about the bigger picture.

I love this house of my aunt and my mom’s.  I LOVE IT.  They chose the wall colors so carefully and because they are who they are – the colors are fantastic!  I’ve never moved into a house with wall colors I don’t wish to change.  The dining room especially reminds me of everything I love about my aunt – it’s this soft elegant lavender color with a creamy ceiling and white trim.  It’s wonderful!  We keep trying to find faults so our old house will not feel bad, like how the water pressure in this house sucks.  Yes, it sucks, but it’s ridiculous to point that out since we got used to it within a mere few days.

I love that my kitchen has a window that can actually be opened.  It’s kind of important.  This evening I baked hamburger buns using my friend Emma’s recipe – there’s nothing better than filling a new house with the smell of baking bread.  I haven’t been in the bread making habit for years but I used to bake a lot of it and while I wouldn’t call myself any kind of master – I was good at it.  It seems fitting that coming home would result in the exhumation of old habits.

Life is still going to be messy and stressful and tangled because that’s the nature of the beast but my light, which nearly extinguished recently, has been re-lit.  I am enjoying the simplest of things like my cat Penny’s silhouette in the window of our new home as I look up from outside and see all that warmth spilling out.

My door is always open and if you come I will let you in.

Provided you are gun and hostility free.  And haven’t been bitten by a zombie.

Now, any ideas how I can convince my friend Sharon to start a pigeon messaging system between our houses?



  1. Ann says:

    I am so sending you a big hug!!! What a tear inducing post this is. I am so happy for you. The picture of you relaxing deep into your bones is fantastic. And the thought of burning fingers fishing the coals of hell out of a friends eyes…priceless.

  2. angelina says:

    I want to take more pictures and I will but right now it’s all BOXES EVERYWHERE and we don’t even have all our furniture so it all looks pretty disheveled. I think I should take more pictures for future reference though.

    I think it’s important for me to keep you and the other people I love who live in mcMinnville and Yamhill County in mind. I’m totally aware that my experience was totally different and that McMinnville turned out to be toxic to ME but it’s really great for other people and families with different needs than mine. I can’t help but make comparisons in these early days of returning to Santa Rosa but I need to remember to keep perspective too.

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