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Coyoting II

Coyoting I

We made it all the way to our turning point without stopping once, something I have never done before or since. We took a minute to stretch and sip water, but only a minute. There were two people and a big dog coming down the trail, and since Smelmut doesn’t like big dogs, I didn’t want to stop and chance an interaction. We circled the old oak that marks our turning point and headed home. We’d really hit a groove, Smelmut and me. He was running at a perfect heel, his nose to my knee, no pulling. And then I heard someone yelling, “Coyote!”

The other day I was at a lunch meeting at this great little Indian buffet in The Valley. We were shown to a table and while I pulled out my seat, everyone else put their things down and wandered off to the buffet table.

“Come on, Trish! There’s no line!”

I looked around at the cell phones, car keys, and eyeglasses littering the tabletop. Mrs. Toots had left her purse draped over a chair, Big Boss’ briefcase leaned carefully against the table. I shook my head at my co-workers, who were staring expectantly. How can she leave her purse on the chair like that! I thought to myself. And their car keys and everything! Unattended! One time, my friend left her purse on a bar stool that she was standing next to, and someone totally stole her wallet! And this other time, my other friend was sitting at a café, her bag over her shoulder, and her laptop was stolen right out of it!

“We shouldn’t leave our things unattended!” I shrieked. The restaurant went silent. Everyone turned and stared. My co-worker, Mr. Hahpimon, made a face. “It’s a BUFFET. We can watch our stuff while we fill our plates.”

What can I say? I’ve been living in New York for four years. You don’t leave your stuff on a table in New York and expect it to be there when you get back. You also don’t turn around when someone starts yelling at you, because they’re probably wearing a newspaper suit and if you turn around you’ll be forced to endure a lecture on why one should get brain implants if one plans to visit Sleringula, a star that orbits Mars.

“Watch it! Coyote!”

Coyote? I looked over my shoulder and there, not four feet behind us, was indeed a coyote.  The biggest, fastest, snarliest coyote I’ve ever seen. And he was chasing us.

I stopped dead in my tracks, my eyes on his, and watched as he veered off the path and into the brush. I started to walk back to the people who’d been yelling and he made a move like he was ready to pounce. I faced him again and backed away slowly. He didn’t take his eyes off us for a minute. By then the people, newlyweds out for a morning hike with their German Shepherd, had caught up to us.

“Oh man! That coyote was hunting you! He wanted your little dog! We were watching him hunt something, but we didn’t know what, and then we came over the hill right when he started running, and we saw you! That was so messed up. You shouldn’t run out here with your little dog. Do you want us to walk you home?”

Yes, yes, I absolutely did, because do you know what? That coyote was still staring at us.

The Weekend Before The Big Move

So far we have:

  1. Found homes for the worm bins
  2. Packed everything that we absolutely can live without for the next four days
  3. Sent the cats safely to Los Angeles
  4. Built a special snake crate to safely transfer Meph across the country
  5. Packed suitcases of the clothes we’ll need our first two weeks in California, including work clothes for me and job interview clothes for Mike
  6. Secured someone to take over our lease
  7. Canceled TimeWarner and ConEd
  8. Changed our forwarding address
  9. Secured someone to take over our lease

We still need to:

  1. Purchase food for the road
  2. Find a home for our CSA
  3. Pack clothes for the road
  4. Find homes for the rest of our plants

And I don’t even know what else. There are a million other things, I know there are, but I can’t think of any of them right now. I’m a little freaked out, I’ll be perfectly honest. I’m ok, I’m fine, it’s all going to be all right, I’m just a little freaked out. Which is normal. But it doesn’t help that things are beginning to get messy. Messy makes me grind my teeth. Messy makes me want to cry.


bedroom before


bedroom after



kitchen before


kitchen after


living room before


studio before


cardboard nightmare

I’m totally over this.

And I am really looking forward to UNpacking on the other end.

In just 7 days

attack of the cards

One week from today we will be somewhere on the road, somewhere in the middle of the country. It will be our first day driving, so we won’t be far yet. We’ll probably be tired, we might be edgy, maybe we’ll be really excited, maybe we’ll just be really grumpy. I have no idea. I cannot believe that one week from today we will be driving home.

There was a minute not too long ago when I really didn’t know if I was ever going to get home again. I’m not talking about visits, I knew I’d figure out how to get home for visits, but there was a minute when I thought I’d be stuck in New York forever. I felt like Alice, stuck in Wonderland, surrounded by griffins and mock turtles and Queens shouting “OFF WITH HER HEAD” while I frantically tried to change shape so I wouldn’t be eaten alive by the droves — there was a minute when I didn’t think I’d ever get out of here alive, and if I did, it would be with my head down and my tail tucked between my legs.

Then we got out of that horrible little bug-infested tenement and we both just started to bloom. We both got more creative and we both filled our life with things we love; painting and writing, going to school, cooking dinner, $6 early morning movies on Saturday’s, Free Friday’s at MOMA, and now, now that we’ve built a life that we love, now that we’re happy to get out of bed in the morning because there is so much to do, now that we’re finally happy is when we’re leaving.

And then.

And then there is that part of us that is so happy because we are going home. Because there is so much to look forward to. Because of the lessons we’ve learned, the work we’ve put in, and the goals we have set. So I know there’s no reason to be afraid, not really, we are going to be fine. The happy life we built on this concrete island will be easily transported three thousand miles and set down amongst the strip malls, the tract homes, and the 101 freeway. But it’s crazy, you know? We got up one day and decided to move New York City, we lived here and grew here and fell in love for real here, and now we’re going home. Six months from now this will all be a memory, this whole thing, this whole section of our life, our marriage, our experience. There’s a part of me that hurts, there’s a little stinging in the corner of my heart, and I know this is a bitter-sweet good bye. Then there’s a part of me that is looking forward, eyes up, heart open, arms wide, and I know that even as this adventure is coming to an end, there’s another one right around the corner.

I can’t believe we’re moving cross-country in a week. Life is crazy, you guys. Crazy and super cool.

This was 16 days ago















Missing the transplanted cat-shaped practice babies.

It’s not weird, it’s not. (Say that fast.)

Lately I’ve been having this conversation with my dogs –

What? You don’t have conversations with your dogs? Really? I find that hard to believe.

I’ve been talking to Valentine and Theo about change. After all, there are going to be some pretty big changes coming up. There have all ready been some little changes; all our stuff has disappeared into big boxes and the cats are gone. So I explain this to them, and then I tell them about how we’ll be driving a big truck across the country, and we’ll spend the nights in campgrounds and friends homes, and then we’ll be in California! California, where the sun shines year-round, the sidewalks glitter with mica, and the markets are cornucopias of fresh fruits and vegetables.

I say all of this to the little dogs, who blink, yawn, and promptly fall asleep.

When I was a little girl, my brother, who’s birthday it just was, worked on a video for a kid’s TV show about a little girl who learned a lesson about change. After all, there is only one thing that doesn’t change, and that is the fact that change is inevitable. Just when you think you’ve found your groove, things change. Just when life gets cozy, things change. Everything is always changing. The girl learns this lesson and at the end, she gets a red cape and a red crown and she becomes Captain Change! And she learns to feel really good about all of the opportunities change presents.

I feel like that kid in the red cape. Change is wonderful! It gives us an opportunity to grow, and learn, and figure stuff out all over again. Change keeps life exciting, presents challenges, keeps us limber. And the changes coming up are awesome changes, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that change is also really scary and frustrating and is making me grind my teeth at night. Which is why I talk to my dogs about change. I’m really talking to me.

Mish Mash

This photo isn’t really related to this post, except that it is. I love this photo; my friend Christine took it at the after-party for her gallery show, and she has perfectly captured a moment when we were out enjoying a night with friends, having fun, and not thinking about canceling ConEd, or finding movers, or whether or not we can live without the salad spinner for the next eight days.


I am Captain Change, embracing the discomfort, and moving forward with an open heart.

25 Days Till

Today is twenty-five days until we load our truck. We got home from Esopus around four o’clock, dropped our stuff and headed out to scour the neighborhood for boxes. Between the corner pharmacy, the corner market and someone’s trash pile, we got us enough boxes to last through the whole dang weekend!

So now we’ve made a slightly obvious dent in the packing. I have decided it will be fun to do periodic updates, so all my Internet friends can see how the move is progressing, and so those of you who are so eagerly awaiting my return to Los Angeles (all twenty-eight of you) (what? I have an enormous family) can see how things are coming along.

There will be pictures.

living room 25 till

I loathe my little point-and-shoot camera, fantasize nightly about something decent with changeable lenses and a speed that allows for shooting in low-light without a flash, I have no idea what kind of camera that would be, but it would probably be able to perform magic compared to what my little Olympus does. These pictures are the way they are because I hate flashes and would rather post something that’s fuzzy and orange than something that has flash beams bouncing off of every surface.

We love this room. We really, really, really love this room. When we first moved in we thought we’d rent it out, someone could close the french doors and have complete privacy, you’d be surprised what people will rent in the city. But soon we were too much in love with this room. It’s been our multi-purpose room, our art studio/living space. This was the room where Michael discovered his love of painting, and where he started carving in wood. That coffee table is where we’ve curled up on blue sword-fish cushions for family dinner every night. It’s also where I spent most of my time writing. I love the space, all that room to stretch out and practice yoga in. And all the sun, perfect for our tiny urban garden.

living 2 25 till

This room has held so much happiness — this apartment gave us our first sense of home since we moved to the city. Even full of boxes and half-blank walls, it still feels like home. Which is probably because home isn’t the stuff that makes up a room, it’s the people we share the room with.


We’ve still got a long ways to go, packing wise. We haven’t even touched the kitchen, except to start emptying some of the cabinets and carrying their contents into the living room. Why? I don’t f-ing know you guys, I was getting tired. That’s when we decided to call it night and stuff our face with some of Mike’s Famous Fancied Pizza. Read more for Mike’s recipe for Mike’s Famous Fancied Pizza!

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