Monday, February 28, 2011

Tough to Date

Dating is tough.

I think that is even more true the older you get. It is much easier to meet people when you are in college, or just starting a new job, or maybe are involved in lots of activities - but the older you are, the more it seems that people your own age are already in relationships. With today's technology, we can use dating sites, which can be quite successful, but not without risk.

I know - dating may be an odd topic for me to write about, but it came about like this. I was talking with a friend about how Vicki and I got together, and how when we first met (well, met again after 25 years....we had been friends in high school) I was not going to get into a relationship with anyone, especially not someone who lived 3000 miles away.  I was certain I would be single for a long time as I built up my life and my career, raised my kids as a divorced parent, figured out who I was....etc.  We started emailing each other and texting - but I had not even spoken to Vicki on the phone when I picked her up at the airport the first time.  That somehow seemed like too much involvement or commitment. We were both adamant that this was a "just friends" thing.  That lasted all of about....uh.....most of the weekend?  We got emotionally involved fast.

Yup, dating is hard. Lesbians are very bad at it.

What does a lesbian bring on a second date?

A U-Haul.

I will say, we have not U-Hauled each other. In fact, it probably won't be until summer that I see Vicki's stuff arriving via any kind of truck.  Hey - maybe we set some kind of record in the lesbian world!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Year's Time

It is sometimes difficult to know how much personal stuff to share and how much to keep to myself. Anniversaries are always a good time for self-reflection and, in between being sick and busy with life, I have been trying to take some time for that activity.  It has been a year and three months since my break-up with Casey, about a year since another tough situation in my life was concluding, and almost a year since Vicki and I got together.  Wow - a year - how did that happen?! It has been an amazing, full year - exciting and fun in many ways, such as travel and expanding friendships - and heartbreaking and scary in others - breaking apart my marriage, living through what that has done to the kids, having my job go part-time.

On the tests that measure stress by life events - I am way into the health danger zone.  Mostly I cope well - and much of my stress is "good stress," but still, sometimes, I would like for life to slow down so I can catch my breath.  I am learning to meditate, exercise more, and eat better.  I am building a relationship using the lessons I learned from the past - unwilling to make the same mistakes again.  I do the best I can as a mom - working to fit in fun, and discipline and life lessons all in the limited time I have with the kids.  Really, I get a fair amount of quality time with them - maybe more than a lot of working parents. When I am with them, I am generally actually engaged with them, or at least being with them watching tv, or sitting side by side gaming or doing artwork.  I do some chores with them - but not much beyond dishes and laundry - and sometimes other cleaning. So, our time together is well spent.  For that, I am grateful.

I try to be the best ex-partner I can. Casey and I get along well.  We still don't see eye-to-eye on some things, but are good at putting the kids needs first and realizing most of what we don't agree on isn't something we have to resolve.  We have both met people and heard stories of people behaving badly with one another and their children after a breakup that I think we are !both thrilled that the other is a reasonable person and not a selfish crazy person unable to see how their actions affect others.  Thanks for not being crazy, Casey!

I see I am rambling, and I realize I am tired.  It has been a wonderful year for growth and realizations and figuring out who I am outside of a long-term marriage and outside of being a law student. I have not done everything perfectly, of course, but done my best at the time.  That's all any of us can do, and what I will continue doing.

Wii are Still Having Fun

From time to time, I have posted about how much fun the kids and I have with the Will.  Wii still do! Although not the near-obsession it once was for Boy Wonder, he still plays a fair amount, and Vicki is a gamer from way back (can you say original Nintendo....or Atari...?) so Wii is very much a part of our lives.  Over the years, I have heard so many good things about Wii Fit. I always planned on getting it someday. Fortunately, Vicki already had it and has brought it to our home in Portland. The kids and I have all set up accounts and have had a great time with balance games like tight-rope walking and aerobic activities like hula-hooping.  Kaylen is a champ at that!  I can see how this could easily be more than just a game, and an actual way to concentrate on  losing abdominal fat and getting into shape. I actually did work out with the Wii three or four times this week and it felt good - with the added benefit of being fun.  Let the games begin!

A Quiet House

It is Saturday night, not quite 10:00. The kids are asleep. I hear Kelton's still-stuffy breathing although I am downstairs and he is upstairs. The house is quiet. Ah...peace.  I do hear Kelton's rock tumbler grinding away in the basement. It is a distant sound though, and not particularly bothersome. It is so nice not to hear traffic right outside my window.  Life is good.

I figure I will take a bit of time to write some blogs, read through my emails, sort through which are FB comments, or sensa reviews, or information I have requested, or maybe, just maybe, an actual email from a friend. Those are the best, aren't they? Just like in "the good ol' days" when people would look forward to a handwritten letter in their mailbox, now, it is an email from a friend we look forward to. It always feels good to know someone out there was thinking about you.

Being Sick Sucks

I hate being sick. Two weeks ago I was out sick for 4 of 5 days of my new job. Talk about both scary and frustrating. I cannot remember when I last missed almost a full week of work due to illness.  Kaylen had been sick with a fever for about 5 days, then Kelton had it, and the doc said it was the flu.  Then I started not feeling well, but for me, it was just extreme fatigue.  By extreme, I mean walking up the stairs to get to the bathroom was a daunting task.  I may have had a slight fever - but no sore throat, coughing, stuffiness, headache - not the usual symptoms. Still, I was so exhausted, I couldn't drag myself to work - well, I could have - and could have sat there, not able to comprehend anything because my mind was mush - and exposed all of my co-workers, who then could have gotten angry at me when they got it.  That seemed a bad option.

My supervisor was super cool about it, and this week, although tired by the end of each day, I was mostly feeling like myself again. After that week, I was looking like I might need some of the best anti aging products but this week, I think I appear  almost look normal again. Well, normal for me. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Appreciating A Sense of Place

I know with age, maturity and experience comes a deeper appreciation of things, both simple and complex.  I have really been noticing over the past few months what a deep appreciation I now have of “place.”  Don't misunderstand, I have always appreciated the beauty of my surroundings – and was hugely grateful for the view I once had of the Seattle skyline and Puget Sound.  I have never been deeply attached to actual physical dwellings – like my homes.  I appreciated them, but am the type who enjoys moving – wait, no – not the actual moving process – but being in a new place, so did not particularly attach to houses.

I have long considered Seattle my home town. It is where I was born, but left when I was five and did not return to until after undergraduate school.  I have always loved Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, the San Juan Islands – all the amazing water places.  When it came to decide where to take the bar exam, I really went back and forth – Washington or Oregon?  Casey and I used to talk about returning to Seattle, so Washington was a serious consideration.  I had made a lot of legal contacts down here though, plus we had a home, and a life closer to Oregon. Also, the Portland legal community is closer-knit than the big city of Seattle and has a really good reputation for collegiality. 

I suspect there are several things at play – such as moving out of a nice house, and living in people’s spare rooms for 6 months, and then living in a small one-bedroom apartment with homeless folks roaming outside my window and the smell of urine permeating my garage, that make me very aware of  “place” now.  I am sensitive to my personal surroundings, and also the geography.  More and more I realize that I love Portland. I am gaining a greater appreciation of the history, the beauty, the personality, and the livability of this city.  I fought the idea for years – I lived across the river in Washington, damnit, not Oregon, and I was not a Portlander.  Now, I am, or at least, I am becoming one.

Living in the apartment was a perfect way to sample a local neighborhood and really get a feel for city life. It was not “downtown” – as in among the skyscrapers – but definitely inner-city if you are used to the suburbs.  I could easily walk to stores, coffee shops, restaurants, a mall, and the light rail system. I loved it,  so did Vicki, and so did the kids – so when an opportunity to move into a great place just three blocks from the apartment came up, we jumped.  I really, really like the new house – lots of “old house” personality, so much room compared to the tiny apartment (nothing makes you appreciate space like not having it), and great neighbors. Everyone walking by is so friendly, happy to introduce themselves and share things about who else is in the neighborhood. They clearly love it there.

If often find myself driving to work, or out on a walk simply appreciating the views.  The skyline is interesting, the historic buildings have character, the river and bridges are beautiful.  This is a great place to live!  I am very grateful for this opportunity to live and work in such a wonderful place.  My commute is between 6-11 minutes, depending on how I hit the lights. How fantastic is that??  The river is still no Puget Sound, but I think I can be content visiting Seattle – at this point, it feels more like a nice place to visit than to actually live.

Here are a few photos I have taken on my camera on those days I was just out enjoying the city. If you are a FB friend, you have probably seen these - but here they are again!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Last year, Valentine's Day pretty much sucked for me. Ah, what a difference a year makes!  Really, what a difference just a month, a week, a day, an instant can make.  From the pain and suffering of one event - or two - or three - can arise something beautiful, amazing and completely unexpected.

Although Vicki is back in VA, we arranged to meet in Seattle for a romantic Valentine's get-away.  We had thought about meeting half-way, but by the time I travel east, we would lose too much time, so Seattle it was! We got an amazing price thanks to Priceline - and ended up on the 34th floor of The Westin.  Here is part of the view...we could also see the water, but the bright sun made the picture not turn out very good.

Maybe if I would have thought to buy iphone instead of a Blackberry, the picture would have been better!  We lazied away all of Saturday - eating, sleeping, browsing at the Pike Place Market - and ended up at Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. (I had a nachos craving and had the best nachos ever at the Hard Rock in Atlantic City.)  It was a wonderful weekend and I am so grateful that we have both the means and the desire to do such crazy things. 

On a sad note, Boy Wonder ended up sick with a fever, stuffiness and sore throat.  I got numerous updates and checked in on him regularly. By Sunday morning, I was not feeling very good either...and still am not...but don't seem to be going downhill.  Casey and I are both desperately hoping this is what we all had last week, and not another round for us all to experience. Ugh.

Anyway, to those who have a special person to share this day with, and those who do not - Happy Valentine's Day! 

Monday, February 07, 2011

We moved!

What a crazy week! As I mentioned in my last post, we thought we might be moving - and we did - the very next day! Vicki and I met the owner Friday night, after a family party, rented a Budget truck the next day, shopped around for new couches (you may recall that I mentioned we were using the futon on the kids' bunk bed as a couch) and a couple area rugs, were loading the truck by 4:00pm, and got done unloading at the new house at 12:54. We did not want to be moving at 1:00am and we thrilled to have just met the goal. :)

We had to move last weekend because Vicki was going back east the next Tuesday - last Tuesday now - and won't be back for about 6 weeks.  So, I would have had to do it all alone, or hire people...which in retrospect might have been good!  Now, though, we have this crazy memory, which is fun.

Last weekend we also had to drive an hour, each way, to go pick up a puppy for Vicki to fly back to her mother. The puppy is one her brother raised - so, in addition to all the moving stuff (we still had a load of misc. stuff to move on Sunday that the kids and Casey helped with) - we had to pick up the puppy and puppy sit for a couple days. Talk about tired!

The new house is wonderful!  It is an old house, built in 1928 (maybe earlier) that has been made into a duplex.  We now have a living room, dining room (that we are going to make into an office/activity room, kitchen with eating area, 2 really good-sized bedrooms - the master bedroom even has a little reading nook, and a basement with laundry area.  It is nice having room to spread out in!  I had the kids this weekend and they loved it here. (Kaylen ended up sick after her Saturday birthday party, but that is another story. Let's just say that I was glad I did not have to go use coin-operated laundry machines in my old parking garage/basement. Poor girl. She is still not feeling very well and had to stay home today.)

The new place feels good. I still have a bit of odds and ends to remove from the old place, and boxes to unpack at the new house, but things are in a very livable condition.  I am excited for Vicki to come back so we can settle into our new home together.

Soon, I will need to go out and buy groceries, carefully avoiding the point of purchase displayswith all the activity, it has been awhile. Until then, I will get creative with things I found in the freezer!

Life is good.