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Not dead. Just buried.

It feels like it’s been a million years since I posted last. Which seems to have become a theme ever since I moved back to California. Which is funny – funny sad, not funny ha-ha – because I really thought that one of the things that would happen once I was in California was that I would write constantly. CONSTANTLY. I thought I’d move to California and become a mega-writing-machine. Instead I just work all the time. But I’m not complaining, I’m really not, because I enjoy my job and I like the people I work with and thank goodness I have a job, especially a job I like with people I like. Also, that’s really just an excuse, is what that is. I still make time to watch at least two hours of television every night, so I could be writing, I’m just not. Let’s say I’m on a bit of a hiatus. While I adjust. Still. Still adjusting after nearly four months in El Lay. I am. I take a long time to adjust.

Aaand moving on. Guess what? I got a bike! Mike gave me a bike for Christmas! He gave it to me early so I could start riding it now, and I love it, I really do. I am using the bike as my sole form of transportation and I must say, riding a bike is way more fun than driving. It’s true that my round-trip commute has stretched from thirty minutes to an hour-and-a-half, but what does that matter when I spend it with the wind in my (helmet-covered) hair? Also? Cycling nine miles a day is going to do wonders for my physique.

Speaking of Christmas presents, Christmas is in two weeks and I don’t have a single gift for anyone. Not a thing. There are twenty-five people in my immediate family for whom I need to shop and I have no idea what to get any of them. I’m beginning to get nervous. I hope that next year I have a little more foresight and start my shopping in September, instead of waiting until the last minute like I have done every other year for my entire adult life. Why do I wait until the last minute? Because I’m a procrastinator. I really am. It’s terrible. Yesterday my mom took me and my 14-year-old niece shopping so we could pick out our Christmas presents and you guys, I am getting some awesome stuff for Christmas. But what am I giving? I have no idea. I thought it would be fun to use bakers clay to make my traditional dismembered gingerbread people into Christmas ornaments for my loved ones to enjoy year after year, but when I mentioned the idea to my mom she looked at me like I had frogs jumping out of my mouth and said, “But …. why?”

Because, Mom. It’s AWESOME.

What are you giving your loved ones for Christmas? How early do you start your shopping? Do you have any ideas for me? Because I could really use some help here…

Frosty’s Got Her Groove Back (I think.)

Chillin

V-Dog says, “Just chill, man. Just chill.”

Today marks three months since we arrived in Los Angeles and three months of living with my parents and all our animals. I wrote a one-month check-in, but I skipped the two-month because it was a much less pleasant month. First of all, it rained nearly every day. Also, the honeymoon of being home had worn off and I was reminded of all of The Valley’s flaws and did you know that sometimes it rains in Los Angeles? Because I was sure there was no rain here but it has rained at least forty-five of the ninety days we’ve been home.

This last month has seen it’s own trials, don’t get me wrong. But I think I’m starting to get into the swing of it. We’re beginning to get into a bit of a routine, which is great, I am a huge fan of routines. We’ve been spending a lot of time with family and we’re looking forward to the holidays. Also, I’ve gotten over the weather, mostly. I went to New York at the end of October and realized that sixty-degree weather is not cold. Sixty-degrees is lovely, thank you. I will never again complain about sweater weather in November.

As far as work goes, it’s starting to be fun again. For a minute things were really intense, but I’m settling in, learning how to work with the other members of my team, finding my voice. Michael hates his job, loathes and despises it, but as soon as he gets his California EMT card he’ll be moving on, so he’s not letting it get to him. Instead he’s looking forward to school in January. He finally got all his transcripts sorted out and he’s been given a date to register for Spring semester. The admissions office had given him such a hard time about his classes – as if Bio 1 in New York City is somehow sub par to Bio 1 in Los Angeles – it made me crazy. When I found out he’d gotten everything transferred over, it was all I could do not to jump up and down and squeal like a child. I am absolutely over the moon.

So things have been looking up. The second month home I felt like moving had been a mistake, something we rushed into, dear god, what did we do to our life? But this month feels good. Like we’re getting our groove back.

It occurred to me today that all of life is like this. That no matter what, there are good days and bad days, sometimes you’re in a groove and sometimes you’re in a ditch. Even when we aren’t making big life changes, things are always changing, and just because we find our way one day doesn’t mean we won’t get lost the next. I think that what I need to focus on is building a life that’s congruent with my goals. Even when things aren’t going the way I plan, if I’m at least moving towards something I want, I feel happy.

What are my goals, you ask? I’d be happy to tell you! In the next six months I’d like to spend more time with friends. I’d like to spend more time writing. I want to visit Florida with Michael so we can spend time with his mother. I want go on weekly dates with my wonderful husband. I want to be living in a little two-bedroom home that we love, that we could be happy in for at least five years. I want health insurance. And I want to be having fun and feeling successful in my career.

Those are pretty reasonable goals, right? Totally manageable. If things change between now and then, if my goals change, it doesn’t matter. After all, people make plans and God laughs at plans. And then people cry and get depressed. Then they make new plans and feel hopeful and there we have the circle of life.

Sunday Afternoon

Sunday Afternoon Web

We haven’t had a Sunday afternoon like this in ages. The kind of Sunday when you stay in your jammies with a coffee  and the paper until noon. An afternoon for reading in the shade of a tree, a little dog on your lap. A long, lazy, quiet day of rest.

Usually Mike has to work on Sundays, but he was running in the woods yesterday and tripped over a piece of barbed wire and hurt his hip really badly. He can’t put any weight on his right leg at all, and it’s hard to wait tables standing on one leg. So he’s home resting and I’m resting right alongside him. Or, I’m doing my version of resting, which is to say I’ve given myself a manicure and a pedicure, and washed four loads of laundry. Heaven.

Close Call

my wiener

I was chopping tomatoes at the kitchen counter just before family dinner the other night, when I heard my brother yelling, “Where’s the wiener? Where’s the wiener?”

The fencing in my parent’s yard is just wide enough that both little dogs can slip through without any effort at all. The first day we were home we found Valentine sniffing around in the front yard of the house across the street and down two. An hour later we caught Theo lapping water out of the next-door neighbor’s pool. As a result, those little dogs are no longer allowed in the backyard unattended.

On this particular evening, I’d spent the entire day working in the yard with the dogs off leash and they hadn’t tried to go through the fence, not once. When I went inside to chop tomatoes, I didn’t think anything of leaving them alone in the yard. They’d done nothing but sleep in the sun all day and I could see them right through the kitchen window. It wasn’t like they were going to slip through the fence while I watched.

But I wasn’t watching the little dogs asleep on the shearling cushion. I was watching the tips of my fingers. So when Ty started yelling, “Where’s the wiener? Where’s the wiener?” my heart leapt into my throat. Most likely drowned in the neighbor’s pool, I thought, because I am the worst dog-mother in the world. I dropped the knife and ran into the yard.

“Wiener! Wiener! Wiener!” Ty yelled.

I joined in, “Theo! Theo! Theo!”

Nothing. Not a sound.

Usually when I call Theo, the tags on his collar jingle. He doesn’t always come right away, but at least his tail starts wagging, and on that hot dog body of his, a little tail wagging goes a long way. His butt gets going and the movement travels down his long spine and his tags jingle till they sound like church bells to my worried ears. But not that night.

That night we called him and called him and the yard was silent. We ran around the yard, our calls getting louder and more frantic, but he was nowhere. I rounded the side of the house and there he was, safe and sound under the roses, happily eating a pile of shit like it was a fresh london broil. I couldn’t kiss him for a week.

Self Indulgent and Super Classy

iphone.lo

Remember when I was in New York and I was blogging while posing for my friend Christine’s photo project? This is one of her final picks.

The assignment was to shoot a five page fashion spread that tells a story, so she decided to tell the story of a young blogger who gets her first book published. The spread would be titled, “Frosty-licious: Self Indulgent and Super Classy” and it features the blogger participating in various social media platforms. This one is called, “Twitter.” Or I don’t know, I just made that up, you’d have to ask Christine what it’s called.

Anyway, all the photos came out great, but I think my personality is most beautifully captured in this one:

Hawt

Don’t you agree?

God Bless Suburbia

After dinner last night, right before we headed upstairs to get ready for bed, we realized we’d forgotten to run the errands we needed to run. We were supposed to pick up coffee, sugar, a GFCI electrical socket, and the required black pants/black shirt Mike needs for his new part-time job. (Yay for the part-time job!)

Luckily, it was only seven-thirty, so we tucked the dogs in for the night, grabbed sweaters to protect against the freezing sixty-degree weather, and hopped in the car.

Yes, we get ready for bed at seven-thirty. What can I say? We’re an old married couple.

By eight-thirty we were brushing our teeth and marveling at how we’d just run three hours worth of errands in one. It was because of the strip mall. And the trunk of the car.

You see, most people who live in suburbia take for granted their ability to run multiple errands in a short period of time. I know, because I used to be one of those people. And then I moved to New York and figured out how the rest of the world works. Or at least the part of the world situated in Manhattan.

If we were still living in Manhattan, we’d have had to make three separate stops, instead of the one we were able to make last night. First we’d have gone to K-Mart for black Dickies and a generic black button-up. It would have taken us thirty minutes to get there, plus a ten minute walk off the train, and it would’ve been a miserable experience because that K-Mart was never fully stocked and it was always so full of people there ought to be signs out front warning shoppers not to enter if they fear large crowds. Next we’d spend another twenty minutes on the subway, another fifteen minutes walking, and then we’d be at Home Depot, also terribly crowded, with checkout lines thirty people deep. Fifteen more minutes walking and an hour on the subway before we got to our neighborhood market, all while carrying everything we’d purchased elsewhere. By the time we finally got home we’d have spent at least three hours, probably four, and we’d be exhausted, sweaty, and praying for an early death.

Instead we hopped in a car, drove to a strip mall, purchased everything we needed at a Target and a Home Depot sitting back-to-back, and were home in sixty minutes. Yes, it’s a little freaky that we can buy groceries and clothing in one location, I’ll be honest. Target’s new grocery section makes me feel a little bit dirty, I don’t know why, but still. I do not miss the city at all.

P.S. There’s a wiener in the lantana.

wiener in the lantana

Something. Anything.

wild flowers

Work is going really well, but it is all consuming. In the mornings, sometimes, when we’re able to drag ourselves out of bed early enough, Mike and I have been taking the dogs for hikes, because all four of us need the exercise.  Then I spend the day working and Mike spends the day job hunting. Then we have dinner with my parents, and then we crash. And I just haven’t figured out where to make time for my writing. But I have got to figure it out, and I’ve got to figure it out soon, because I can feel myself getting out of practice.

My bosses are writing a book, and when I finish transcribing it, it will be my job to edit it, which is the part I’m really excited about.  Editing has always been one of my fantasy careers. But in the meantime, I spent over four hours typing today and I swear to you, my fingers ache in a way that I cannot even begin to describe. So for now, even though I miss you terribly, I must let my fingers and wrists rest. There is probably another four hours of typing to do tomorrow, in between meetings and phone calls and Thursday Night Family Dinner, which is surely the highlight of my week.

One day I’ll get back to regularly scheduled posting, and until then, may all our days be full of sunshine and wildflowers.

(I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.)

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.

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.

HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DRY MY LETTUCE NOW, MIKE? HOW?

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