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Archive for May, 2007

So today was Eastern Colorado, Kansas and just into Missouri. All along, we had been expecting brown and never-ending flat when we drove through Kansas. And parts of it were like that, as was Eastern Colorado….flat and green and brown for as far as you can see — which out there, is about 20 miles in any direction. There is quite literally nothing there.

But then Kansas started to improve. Rolling hills. Lots of green. More varied than we had anticipated. Also, their rest areas are great. Free wi-fi, clean bathrooms, and huge green grassy areas for Myrawonderpup to play or walk and go out. So, we were pleasantly surprised today.

However. We are still 16-17 hours away from Durham. I really, really don’t want to go into a 5+ hour interview on Wednesday coming off an 8-hour drive. So, tomorrow is going to be our one really long day. We have the alarm set for 6:15, with plans to be on the road no later than 7. Our route — drive from Kansas City, MO to Asheville, NC. Go on and map it on google. Actually, I’ll save you the trouble. It’s about 13 hours, but it means that Tuesday we’ll have less than a four-hour drive which is much better.

Getting really excited for our house now, I can’t believe our new life there is starting in just two days. And I don’t really mind the 13 hour drive so terribly much, we are driving in 3-hour shifts tomorrow. It is just a LONG time to be in the car.

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Halfway there…

Good morning from Aurora, Colorado, where the mountains are beautiful, but there was more flat farmland than we were anticipating. I think I somehow expected the entire state to be mountains lol.

We have driven for three days, we have three more to go. We aren’t quite halfway there with miles, we will hit the halfway mile marker this morning.

Yesterday was Wyoming and Colorado. Wyoming, at least southern Wyoming…SUCKS. Big. Flat. Not that pretty or interesting. Nothing to look at. No stops for hundreds of miles. We stopped at a rest area to let Myra go out — it didn’t go well. Poor pup apparently has sensitive feet, and since that part of Wyoming is mostly desert, she didn’t want to be on the grass at all, she kept picking up one of her feet like it hurt her, but really, she just didn’t want to be walking on dry prickly desert grass. Because there wasn’t really any grass, she was having a really hard time going out, she’s always gone on grass. We finally just walked her down a gravel road off the rest area for a little bit, until her body overrode her desire to not go the bathroom in this strange place. After that, she was great for the rest of the day.

We passed an exit with a McDonald’s and Wendy’s right after we stopped at the rest area for Myra, and we weren’t quite hungry for lunch, so we decided to keep driving till the next exit. Big mistake. We drove for more than two hours after that (doing 85-90 for most of it) until we finally found another exit. Not just another exit with food, another exit. There were maybe five other exits in between, with two advertising food. But it is so flat and empty out there, you can see for miles in either direction, and there was nothing there, not even houses. The two exits that proudly proclaimed they had food — they had old gas stations and that was it. That does not count as food. We couldn’t eat and get out of Wyoming fast enough.

Once we got into Colorado, things improved. We stopped in a real town (after Wyoming, it was like the Mecca), got real coffee and drove out towards Rocky Mountain National Park. Wow. Just wow. HUGE mountains and rocks, driving alongside a river, winding up the mountains, watching the clouds and light change. We intended to drive to one of the parks and go on a nice little walk, but we were driving up the mountain for over half an hour with no idea of when we were going to hit the park, and it looked like it was going to rain, so we stopped along the side of the road, and let Myra have fun sniffing around at new things. It made us all feel better.

I actually got to have a real dinner last night, and not more McDonald’s or Wendy’s salad. It’s weird that after 9 years of not eating chicken, I’ve eaten it twice a day for the past four or five days. But if I wasn’t, I would either be starving or very malnourished at this point. At least I’m eating fairly healthy this trip, on the first drive across the country, I lived off veggie burgers. Now I’m living off chicken salads, but at least there are some vegetables.

Today is Kansas and Missouri, and we are planning to have a really long day today, since obviously there won’t be any scenery. Now that we are officially at the halfway point and are past all the pretty states I wanted to see, I just want to be there, and see our new yellow house. Few more days…

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Yesterday we began packing up the truck and our life, trying to make it all fit into a space no longer than 8′ long (we would get charged extra for going over 8′). Tim, poor boy, had to load the truck virtually by himself. Our friend Steve was great about coming by, helping with the couch and boxes we had already packed, but he had to go home to get ready for his class. I had to run around doing last minute errands for a good part of the day. That meant Tim was the only one moving boxes into the truck.

And why is it that it seems that no matter how much you have packed, you always have more to do, and it seems like you will never possibly be done? We were packing and cleaning past midnight then got up bright and early to finish up.

At the end of day one, we are safely in a La Quinta in Caldwell, Idaho, near Boise. (If you have pets, and travel, stay at La Quinta. They are really great). I now love Myra more than ever, because she was a complete angel today and last night, even when she had no reason to be. Her whole world has turned upside down and inside out, and then had an 8-hour car ride. She was flat and quiet for most of the trip, and she was annoying us initially because she was refusing to go poo, but then we realized she would let us know when it was urgent, and she did. The only real side effect to all this change is that she seems more clingy with both of us. If one of us leaves her sight, she gets whiny and pacy and wants to come with us. But I’m sure she will get back to normal when her world normalizes.

It’s weird to know that we have left Portland and Oregon only this morning. It seems longer and further away from when we got in the car this morning. The drive proved exactly how changeable Oregon is. We went from city to lush green fertileness in the Gorge, to flat desert area to an area with mountains and evergreens that looked like Idaho, to these really cool hills in shades of brown, red and green that were really pretty to drive through.

Myra asleep now, and we are one day closer to our new life.

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Last night was my last outdoor exercise class, and it was a nice way to say goodbye to the city. We ran down by the river, and the sun came out after a day of rain and clouds. I got to look at how beautiful Portland is, run by a lot of things I’ve run by a good number of times, and see my favorite light. It’s hard to describe, but the air is really clear here, and once in a while, when the light is right, things kind of glow and have this shimmering clarity around them. That light was out last night.

I usually end up running with Kim, but for at least part of it, I was running by myself, which gave me space to say my mental goodbyes to this city.

Even though Portland didn’t end up working out for us, I’m so glad we came out here. I always wanted to live on the west coast and I’m glad I got the chance to realize that dream. I discovered that I am really a trail runner at heart. I reconnected with my inner wild nature child. In Mass…it’s harder to feel connected to the earth and nature, because everything is so developed, and now I realize how important it is for me to be around trees and undeveloped areas. Since people out here are so green and environmentally conscious, it made me more aware of little things I can do to make a difference. I feel like I’ve grown here and rediscovered/discovered parts of me I either forgot about or hadn’t yet met.

But now as I sit looking at the truck sitting on our street, waiting for us to load our stuff onto it, and we prepare to move once again…I find myself desperately wanting to be settled. I think Tim and I are going to really work to make North Carolina stick. Lisa stopped by to say goodbye to us and to myrawonderpup, and after she left, I was just a mess. I’m so tired of leaving friends, starting over someplace new with no friends, no one I can call to get coffee when I need to talk. I have three really great, close friends, Lisa, Rosemary and Mik, and now I officially won’t live near any of them. I know I will make new friends, but it’s hard to leave and uproot and start over again.

Right now, I’m in an ending place, and endings are always hard. Once I switch to a beginning place, things will seem fun and exciting and I’ll be looking forward to new adventures. Now I am honoring and remembering what we have here and saying goodbye.

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The internal war

Today, after dropping Myra off at school, I wandered down to Petite Provence, home of some of the best baked goods this side of France. Since we are leaving next week, I wanted to get one for Tim — it used to be a Friday ritual.

The line was slow, giving me plenty of time to ogle all the pastries and muffins and croissants. All things I can no longer have because of my gluten intolerance. I started hearing a little war waging inside me.

Maybe I’m really not as sensitive as I think. Maybe I really can eat wheat or gluten, maybe it was just because I was reintroducing it back into my diet after the elimination diet that I reacted so strongly to it. Maybe it’s not that bad if I have something with wheat or gluten.

And then I remembered what happened when I ate one Red Vine before realizing it had wheat flour in it. Within three minutes, my stomach had bloated to about four times its normal size, I was in pain for hours, and then my skin broke out the following day. I remembered what happened when I ate a spelt cookie, and how sick I felt. I remembered how badly my skin broke out after eating spelt for a week.

And yes, it is that bad if I eat gluten. So I won the war, but sometimes I guess I have to remind myself why — because even though I can’t eat that stuff anymore, it doesn’t stop me from wanting to eat it from time to time.

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So, it’s been more than a month since I posted last. Last time I checked I hadn’t fallen off the face of the earth, but it’s been a whirlwind here.

Since I last posted, I went to visit North Carolina and liked it. The area felt like home, more so than Portland ever has. While I was there, I had an interview with Duke for a writer position. Came home and had a week of phone interviews and editing tests with another company. My best friend from college came out for almost a week. I’ve had more follow up with Duke and the other company. We found an absolutely adorable house to rent that is in the perfect location and seems very cozy.

And then packing started…because we are moving, next week actually. Yes, it came up that fast. It was primarily a financial decision, since I’m not working much, we were having to dip into our savings for some expenses, and we figured it made sense to move sooner rather than later.

As much as I can’t believe we are moving AGAIN (This will be our fourth move in two years, and our second cross country move in two years), I’m looking forward to starting a new adventure in Durham.

And my job situation has improved in leaps and bounds. I was officially offered the Duke job, and I have a six-hour interview with the other place the day after we get into town. And yesterday I was contacted by another company I had applied to, they wanted to talk to me for two different positions. After feeling invisible and un-marketable in the job market out here, it is so nice to have attention and strong interest from different places in Durham. It just makes me feel like this is where we are supposed to be right now and as a result, we have positive things coming back into our life. It felt like we were fighting and fighting to make things work here in Portland, and it was energy spent in a not-positive way. This feels right now.

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The joys of wheels

The other day, Lisa and I went rollerskating for 18+ night at Oaks Park. It was so much fun, and being on wheels makes me happy. It reminds me of how I was almost always on skates when I was younger. And it was fun to skate to music, not recorded organ music.

One of the things that made the night even more fun was watching other people and their joy in skating. There was an older guy who was zipping along on his roller blades. Girls who were dancing backwards. A rink worker who was having all kinds of fun zooming around backwards (I really want to learn how to skate backwards!). There was this black guy with a Rastafarian-type hat who was doing all these great dance skate moves who was just having so much fun.

It was neat to see how wheels make people happy.

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