Monday, May 28, 2012

Room with a view

For the first time in my life, I am going to live someplace that has a view.  We are on a high hilltop overlooking hills and city off to the west, with lovely hills to the south and north as well.  I am particularly anxious to see what kind of night sky we have -- I'd love to have the Milky Way visible from the back yard, and see meteor showers without ever having to leave my property.

We are now in the full court press to move, and I can't wait to unpack and get back into my homesteading activities.  I miss composting, canning, growing, and all aspects of this life.  We severely curtailed it when we were showing the house (mainly because our realtor felt no one would really be impressed with our awesome compost and homemade soap except us) and I'm anxious to get back to the routine of recycling our waste back into soil, and basic dry goods into things we use every day.

But the question begs....exactly what will we do with all the land we purchased?  That is a huge question that is still wide open.  What will we raise or grow?  How easy will it be?  Stay tuned...the answers will no doubt be forthcoming in the next year or two, or five.  Right now I don't know exactly what our room with a view will be looking at, but I'm guessing at least the horizon will probably remain the same.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Since we're waist-deep in packing, signing closing documents and getting ready to move, it made total sense to do something completely different.  In this case, it was drive 6 hours to Reno, Nevada for two days in order to watch the "Ring of Fire" eclipse on Sunday afternoon.

Sometimes you need to do these things, and you can't reschedule an eclipse for a time that's more convenient for you.  You either show up or miss it.  And actually, you may miss it even if you do show up, because an eclipse it a totally weather-dependant event for us here on earth.  Get enough clouds aloft and the show will be over before it even gets started.  But luckily for us, Reno was mostly sunny on Sunday, and we got a phenomenal look at the moon passing in front of the sun.

I've known this eclipse was going to happen for about 18 years.  That's because the last one we went to see was in 1994, and it was mentioned many times that the next one visible from the Western U.S. would be in May, 2012.  Of course at the time my son was 8 months old, and 2012 (the year he was expected to graduate from high school) seemed like a very long ways away.  It came up faster than I ever thought possible.  And so last Saturday, I found myself on Interstate 80 with my son, taking him to see an event I'd promised myself we'd go to for 18 years. 

The eclipse did not disappoint.  Eclipse light is eerie, beautiful, and soft, and the images we got both on camera and in our memory banks will be with us a long time.  Reno was more of a disappointment.  Occasionally I see internet broadcasts from a pastor from Reno, and while he's a great theologian and speaker, he's also somewhat obsessed with the Rapture, and now I understand why.  I'd be obsessed with it too, if I had to live in a place as spiritually dark and desperate as Reno.  Never seen so many lost souls in one place, and that's saying something considering I grew up in Los Angeles.  There were people walking down the street, drunk and with drinks in hand, zig-zagging around the homeless, the mindless, and the addicted to head into the casinos and strip clubs to spend what little money they had.  There are more 7-11's per square block than anyplace else in the country.  There were street people everywhere, wandering around in the dry heat looking for some shade.  

It was an odd place to see one of nature's and God's true graces -- a solar eclipse -- but that's where it was happening so that's where we met it.  And on the campus of the University of Nevada Reno, it was more of a family-friendly environment, anyway, so all was well.

And it was a couple of days spent in the absolute elsewhere with my son.  In two weeks, we will be moving 90 miles west of here, and he will be staying here to work for the summer.  That may not sound like a big deal to most people, but leaving him here is a very big deal to me.  I know, I know, come fall he's off to college anyway, and he's with his dad and will therefore be well-taken care of, but it's still hard.  

Because it wasn't that long ago we were driving along the Arizona/Mexico border with an 8-month old baby in the car seat, heading down to Douglas to see a mid-morning eclipse of the sun.  And at the time, I promised him we'd see the next one together, in 18 years, in May of 2012.

And now he's 18, and I'm sending him out into the world that is Los Angeles, is Reno, and has all the darkness I hate and the wonders -- like solar eclipses -- I love.  And those 18 years went much, much too fast.

And now, we return to our regularly scheduled moving madness.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who do you want to be today?

Moving always gives one a chance to re-invent oneself, and this move of ours is no exception.  I've been having thoughts and dreams about what's to come as my conscious and subconscious work on the idea of what I want to do.  It'll happen, once I'm settled, the walls are painted, and all the boxes are unpacked in our new home, in our new town a couple of hours to the west of here.

Do I want to be a beach girl?  A wine country woman?  A farmer and raiser of livestock?  All of the above, I guess, but the details remain to be worked out and that's where the mystery and fun is. I expect this summer I will do a little bit of everything, but if I'm honest, it's the beach life I will be the most happy to return to...walking with my feet in the sand, feeling the spray in my face, and loving the fog and cold that comes to our coastal areas in July.  Those things all sounds like heaven right now.  I've been landlocked for a long time, and may go a bit overboard in the other direction for a little while.  Which is expected, and which I will indulge myself in, at least through summer.  

I see myself in a little coastal dive someplace, eating clam chowder, watching the fog roll in and knowing it's triple digits in the place I came from.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sometimes life is like this

I think before we're born we all get to fill out a form where we can check off whether we want our karma on the regular installment plan, or whether we want to go with the "lump sum" plan.  If you take the lump sum plan, everything notable and important in your life will happen at the same times, but you will have years and years of peace and quiet in between, when there's not much going on.  

I know which box I checked:  I asked for the lump sum.  Consequently, in the next three weeks I have two sons graduating from high school, with all the pomp and circumstance that goes along with it, family coming in from out of town, one yard sale or organize, a 100 mile move to complete, an eclipse to travel out-of-town to see,  and a loan to close on and sign documents on.  These are all fun things except when they wake me up at 3 a.m., all their details flying around in my head, and then it's all a little bit daunting.

The key is to breathe, to remember to be in the moment, and keep an excellent and detailed to-do list and calendar.  And pray, hopefully and expectantly.  

I don't know quite how it's all going to get done, but I do know, with 100 percent certainty, that it will.  And then the only thing to navigate will be how different it's all going to be.  More or less.  There will be a new horizon to see the sun set on, new roads to get used to driving, but "General Hospital" will still be on every day and my fridge will still make the funky clunking sound it does when it makes ice.  And God will be there, overseeing it all.  Some things are eternal.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The short goodbye

Last night my husband and I took a walk down memory lane to our favorite restaurant downtown and after that, to the little ice cream shop next to the town square.  It was a beautiful night, windy and warm (but not hot) and we sat on the edge of the fountain in the square, ate our ice cream, and reminisced about what this place was like 20 years ago, when we both first arrived. 

We talked about Eiseman’s Hardware Store.  The Kings Mall.  Peden’s.  All places which no longer exist anyplace but our memories. 

Back in those days, this town was a real Mayberry.  The tree-lined streets downtown were safe, there was no graffiti to be found anyplace, and you could easily see the Milky Way from your backyard at night, because the town had less than 20,000 people and there just weren’t that many lights.  It was small-town paradise.

So we talked about this town, and we talked about what happened here that changed it all.  About how the lower-end growth has killed what it used to be, and replaced it with something not as appealing as before.

 I will miss this town – as it was.  But the fact is, I don't fit in here anymore, because as the town has grown, the socio-economic demographic has changed and I'm now in a severe minority.  I don't even speak the predominant language anymore, so music in stores, billboards, conversations in the grocery aisles, etc. all now happen in a language I am not fluent in.  

Our city planners have also done a bang-up job of ruining the sweet, small-town flavor of this place.  They’ve lobbied for businesses in the lower end of the socio-economic scale to move in, convincing people that a WalMart or store like it meant jobs, and now we have the under-employment and poverty to prove it. Sure, these businesses brought in jobs – minimum wage jobs.  This would not bode well for the future of my children, if they were considering staying here, which thankfully they are not.  They will go off to college and will not return to this town, because they will become too well-trained and educated to find meaningful work here. Very sad.

So we took one last look over what this town is now, and one longing look at what we remember about it.  We will leave in 28 more days, hopeful and optimistic as a new chapter in our lives starts. 

And I will miss what this town used to be.  But not what it has become.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It makes no sense

35 years ago, if someone had told me we'd all be carrying around little phones in our purses, I would have said, "awesome."  And I don't use the word "awesome" lightly.  To think of the convenience of being able to call 911 or emergency road service when you were stranded or in trouble, to dial your friend when you ended up running late to meet her at the movies or a restaurant, and to be able to leave the house never worrying that you were going to miss an important call would indeed have seemed awesome.

But then imagine the person breaking this wonderful news to you also told you that your phone would also (in addition to being a phone) actually have a little typewriter inside it, and you could also use your thumbs to type out messages to people you wanted to communicate with.  Umm, OK, we'd have said, I guess under some limited circumstances that might come in handy.  You could send a message during a time you'd be expected to be off the phone, like in a quiet auditorium or maybe your doctor's waiting room.

They then reveal to you that they are visiting you from the future and can assure you that almost everyone chooses to use the tiny keyboard to type when having a conversation in the future, instead of using the phone feature and just calling the person to talk.

I would think that the future sounded like a very weird place.  And indeed it is.