Thursday, January 30, 2014

Starting over on my own

This blog has always been a window into my life. It's an authentic, through-my-eyes recounting of the places I've visited, the people I've met, and the things I've seen and enjoyed. It's easy to write about the fun times, the beautiful things, and the wonderfulness that I'm lucky to call my life. Much more challenging has been to write about difficult and heart breaking events.

This is one of the hardest posts I've ever felt compelled to write. How much to share without sharing too much? To come to the point: My marriage is ending and I will be relocating in the near future to a new city, a new state, and a new beginning. Exactly where and when will be determined in the coming weeks or months.

Why? While I've been fortunate to be part of a marriage that, while unconventional, seemed to sustain itself on the trust and independence my husband and I mutually shared, it was also a relationship that often drove us apart due to many differences in our personalities.

"Opposites attract," I'd tell myself whenever I felt the gnawing fear we were becoming less compatible.

For now faith, the love and kindness of family and friends, Kitai, my
trailer, a little wine, and a lot of ice cream are seeing me through.

But last year things changed. With The Glampette I realized I was a different person while I was on the road compared to how I felt when I was home in San Jose. While traveling I was more balanced, more calm, more like someone I used to be a long time ago. One day I realized, with a growing sense of ambivalence, that I wanted to be that person again. There was a part of me I'd rediscovered driving for hours and hours all alone on the interstates. After coming to the realization that the peaceful life my soul yearns for would forever be out of reach if I stayed in my current life, I made the difficult decision to start over.

I felt truly torn. A marriage is a commitment and I didn't take my husband's feelings or breaking the commitment I'd made six years ago lightly. But to be in a marriage means loving and giving of your heart openly, willingly, and generously. I will only say that I tried as hard as I could for as long as I could.

So why start over? I truly believe if I'm going to live the life I'm meant to live I have no choice but to move away from all that I know and move towards the unknown. In my heart I have an innate sense that it's in the mysteriousness and possibilities of the future that I'll find the full potential of who, and where, I'm meant to be.

Due to the personal nature of this topic I'm closing the comments for this post so if you have any questions or comments you'd like to share please message me via this contact form. For now the most I can promise is that I'll read every comment I receive.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I usually don't but today I did

I did it. I got the flu shot. My friend Judy had been pushing me for a week to get one. Then I saw some news reports and realized it may be the best thing to do. The thing is I tend to have bad side effects from a lot of things. Antibiotics have made me break out in hives. Pain killers make me so nauseated several times I've gotten sick to my stomach and once I couldn't even stand up I got so dizzy I had to close my store and lie on the floor for hours until I felt well enough to drive home.

Basically it was really easy:
  • I walked into a CVS pharmacy and filled out a short form.
  • They needed a few minutes to process the form so I did some shopping and received 20% off my entire purchase for getting the flu shot.
  • When they were ready they called my name over the store's PA system and asked me to return to the pharmacy.
  • I was charged out at the register but was fortunate my health insurance covered the entire cost of the shot so I didn't have to pay anything. Friends had told me shots usually cost between $20 - $30.
  • I went and received the shot. Yes, it hurt. But only for a couple of seconds and not nearly as bad as I'd be hurting if I caught the flu.
So when I got the shot this morning and felt fine a few hours later I thought I'd dodged the potential side effects of this year's influenza vaccine.

Then I took a nap.

When I woke up I felt like I'd been power lifting and/or had been hit by a truck. I had body aches in my arms, hands, chest, and legs. I also had the chills. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening feeling like a sick puppy. I'm hoping I'll feel better tomorrow.

But the moral of the story is: I'm glad Judy talked me into getting the shot. I think it's her fault I feel so icky now but I wanted to thank her for being so concerned about me not dying from the flu that she cared enough to hound me for a week.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Winter in Northern California

This morning I went over the hill to run an errand in Santa Cruz which just happens to be the home of my favorite South Bay artisan ice cream shop: The Penny Ice Creamery.

I arrived 8 minutes before they opened which gave me plenty of time to sit with the two guys who got there before me and to peruse the day's menu. While I knew I should have been ordering/eating food, like for lunch, how could I resist? The Salted Butter Toffee caught my eye immediately then called my name.

I was told the past two days the temperature had hit 80ยบ' (or close to it) in Santa Cruz. Is that crazy or what? I was wearing a short sleeved t-shirt enjoying the summer weather and incredibly blue sky. I swear, sometimes the weather here is just too perfect :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A gorgeous garter snake

Today I saw something special. A juvenile garter snake. Though it looks big in this photo it really wasn't. The diameter of its body at its thickest point was barely more than 1/4" wide. She just looks big in the photo because she remained so motionless trying to camouflage herself into the leaves I was able to get my iPhone just a couple of inches away from her to take this picture. I'm calling the snake a "her" because she was a beauty.

I've always loved snakes ever since I was a little kid. Seeing one out in the wild like this, whether in the woods or a garden, always gives me a bit of thrill. As I watched her I couldn't help but wonder why so many people are so afraid of snakes. To me they are living sculptures. Each overlapping scale, the patterns they create, and the coloration from vivid to muted are like canvases painted by nature.

If you see a garter snake please don't kill it. From insects to rodents they will catch and eat many of the pests you don't want in your yard. If you don't like them just turn and look the other way if you see one. They aren't lethally poisonous like a rattlesnake so there's no danger to you if you just leave them be :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Goodbye Squash

Today was one of those awful days. Those days you hope will never come even though you know they will. Today we had to make the heartrending decision to put our kitty to sleep.

Here are just a few pictures that capture what a sweet cat Squash was.

Thank you Paul and Michelle for the upper right image.

I will miss you dearly Squash. You were my late night blogging buddy, always wanting to rub your mouth and head against my hands when I was clickity-clacking on my keyboard. And my early morning snuggle buddy often curled up against me sound asleep when I awoke. You were so sweet and a friend to all who entered this house, whether they wanted to be your friend or not. As hard and sad as it was to let you go it was the right thing to do.

I'm glad you had a good morning this morning. Eating, purring, soaking in the scritchy-scratches just as happily as you had every other time I'd ever scratched your little grey head and face.

I miss you so much. I hope you arrived at your destination on angel's wings and you're now free of sickness and happily purring because you are at peace. You are not alone. You took a little piece of my heart with you to keep you company.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sweet Squash

Last week our kitty Squash stopped eating. A trip to the vet and a second trip for an ultrasound confirmed that he is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer that has metastasized. Just like that. He may only have days or weeks left.

Nineteen years is a good run for any cat I'd imagine but of course I wish he'd have made it a few more years.

For now he's eating on his own, receiving IV fluids at home for 10 minutes a day to keep him from becoming dehydrated, and because he's still using his litter box and purring like crazy when anyone pets him his quality of life was still good today. When that changes we'll have to let him go. Tonight my heart feels like it's breaking into tiny little pieces.

I realized I've never taken a picture with Squash (only pictures of him) so we posed for a selfie tonight, our first and last.

There are a million things I should have done this evening but all I could bring myself to do after bringing him home from the Vet was to sit beside him on the floor with a box of Kleenex, petting his little grey head to keep him purring, and telling him how much I love him and how much I'm going to miss him when he's gone.

My final goodbye:

Goodbye Squash - January 4, 2014

2014: The year of choices

I don't usually put a whole lot of stock in what fortune cookies tell me. But, recently I received a fortune cookie that had not one, but three fortunes in it! One said I would travel to exotic places in my lifetime. I've already done that but could always add more. The second said I'd receive a message with good news. That happened by Facebook private message that night when I got home. And this was my third fortune:

Hmmmmm. Making choices. I've made some hard ones in my lifetime and am sure if I live long enough I'll have to make more. The thing about hard choices is it's easy to go back and forth in your mind unsure of which direction is the right one. For me they usually keep me up all night as I turn the situation around in my mind over and over trying to foresee the possible outcomes of each choice I could or don't make.

Inevitably there comes a moment when I have to make a decision. Will I choose what's easier or harder? What's safe or dangerous. What's familiar or will I stare uncertainty in the eye and walk towards it?

I posted on Twitter the other day: "One day I realized fear of change is a mental obstacle. Regardless of my choices life will create obstacles so I may as well follow my heart." I said follow my heart because I've always been an emotional thinker, basing decisions much more on my feelings and intuition rather than societal norms or facts. It's made my life both interesting and challenging.

The thing is we, as a species, seem to fear change. To resist is almost a natural, knee-jerk response. But life has taught me ultimately change is good. Sometimes you see the benefit immediately. Other times it takes months, years or even decades to see how the change you once dreaded and tormented over really was, in the end, for the best.

In 2014 I'm hoping to make the right choices. And I guess so far so good. My fortune cookie said so.