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Day 172 of Project 365: By the lights.

There are pretty lights in the corner of FunkyPlaid’s study. I haven’t really decorated my space yet, but I am looking forward to it.

Today it has been 147 days since we left Scotland, not that I’m counting. (Of course I’m counting. I count everything.) That’s nearly five months. I say “nearly five months” but my current experience of time is so wonky that the phrase is practically meaningless.

A spam email in my inbox called me Dogmatic Halsted. Another called me Blatantly Halsted. I’d rather be blatant than dogmatic, I think.

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Writing from: my unembellished study. Listening to: an airplane leaving or arriving … anything but standing still.

Day 113 of Project 365: Tenacity.

I am going to avoid wringing my hands over the celebrity bloodbath that 2016 has been so far and instead talk about something positive. We all could use it.

While unpacking today, FunkyPlaid discovered a wee succulent plant that he had given me in Scotland some time ago. That’s right: our movers wrapped up a tiny plant in paper and put it inside a box and taped it up. That box went on a container ship three months ago. And today we unwrapped it.

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Sure, there were a bunch of dead leaves, but it survived. It had no water or light for three months and it survived.

Happy Earth Day.

Writing from: my makeshift study in the dining-room. Listening to: “Wabash Blues” by Joe “Fingers” Carr and His Ragtime Band.

Days 69-79 of Project 365: Massive catch-up.

No, I have not forgotten about my Project 365! But to prevent spamming your feeds, I have done one massive catch-up gallery. For individual captions, you should be able to mouseover each photo (if you’re viewing this on cygnoir.net).

Days 69 through 71 were spent wrangling logistics for the final move to Portland, which involved the earthly possessions we stored in the Bay Area while we were in Scotland as well as one very brave and accommodating tortoiseshell cat.

Days 72 and 73 were the drive up and the receipt of our goods from the movers. The move itself was not as smooth as we might have hoped, but Zen handled the ten-hour car ride with almost no complaints. We were within spitting distance of our new home when we had to stop to refuel the car, and that was when Zen chose to let us know with a very loud two-part yelp that it was about time we stopped doing this driving thing and fed her already. 

So we did.

Zen has amazed me again with her good-natured resilience. She is too feeble to attempt the steep stairs that lead to the second floor but she barreled down the stairs to the basement without any compunction. Twice. (And had to be carried back up, of course.) Her favorite part of the new place is the large forced-air register in the entryway, which we have dubbed Reggie. Zen alternates snuggling with Reggie and lounging in the sunshine in the backyard.

By the way, Zen approves of the new place.

Days 74 through 79 have been all about unpacking and acclimating. FunkyPlaid and I are now waiting eagerly for the Scotland shipment to arrive. Rediscovering belongings that we have not seen for five years was an interesting exploration in personal archaeology. I opened a box of cephalopod stuffies. There was another box marked “T-Shirts and Weapons” and it was an accurate label. And the grandfather clock made it, although it was not in perfect condition when we stored it. I am looking forward to being gainfully employed again so I can restore it to working condition.

And today during the course of errands we discovered Old Portland Hardware & Architectural, which is incredibly wonderful and has walls of antique doorknobs and made me wish for disposable income even more.

The whole transition has been relatively painless, and I am so grateful for that. I had steeled myself for a lot of hassle but we have had good fortune as well as a great support network. The only hitch so far has been porting my mobile number to my new carrier, so if you are trying to reach me via text or phone … you can’t. I hope it is resolved soon. Until then, email is best. Thanks for wading through the wall of text.

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Writing from: our new home in Portland! Listening to: our really loud fridge, which we have named Maxine. Yes, all of our appliances have names. 

Day 29 of Project 365: Parachute.

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Today I spent sneezing, coughing, and working on job applications. One in particular was due today, and I am so relieved that it is finally finished. For as much as I love job interviews – yes, really – I do not love job applications.

In other incredibly exciting news today, Zen met Jack. Jack was not bothered, but Zen sang and sang. At least she didn’t box his ears.

Writing from: Zen’s room in Marin. Listening to: Zen chugging water.

Day 28 of Project 365: Before first contact.

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I am not taking any chances with Zen’s acclimation to her new, temporary home, so for now she is confined to the guest room where FunkyPlaid and I are sleeping. Zen is not bothered by this in the least; she senses there is a world outside the door but has everything she needs in here.

The reason for my caution is the two other cats in this household, Jack (right) and Cinnamon (bottom left). Neither one is particularly aggressive but I know from experience that Zen can be. It’s also cruel to throw cats into unfamiliar situations like this one without several days of getting used to the idea of each other through the crack in the door. Jack has been nosing around but Cinnamon prefers to hide away (in general, not just at Zen’s arrival).

I’m fairly sure that once we start leaving the door open Zen will choose to remain in here by herself anyway. She’s never been overfond of other cats. But there are puddles of sunshine out there, and I know she won’t want to miss those. We’ll take it as it comes.

Writing from: Zen’s room in Marin. Listening to: my own sickly breathing. Ugh, colds.

Day 26 of Project 365: Soft landing.

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First things first: Zen is safely with us.

When I posted yesterday’s photo, I was pretty worked up about Zen being stranded in Newark, but I knew that I wouldn’t be of any use if I didn’t try to get some sleep until the morning. I had barely drifted off when the landline rang. FunkyPlaid jumped up to answer it. The caller was someone asking if we were going to pick up our kennel (their word) or if they should send it via the delivery service.

In my half-awake state, two things ran through my head:

  1. Someone at the Newark airport seems to think we're local enough to pick Zen up or to send her via ground transportation. Huh?
  2. Something has happened to Zen and all the airlines now has is her empty travel kennel. Which they now want me to pick up. We're not even going there.

I mumbled something about not understanding what they were talking about and asking where they were calling from. The person identified themselves as a cargo attendant for the airline at SFO and repeated the query about the kennel, adding the fact that Zen had been there since just after eleven the night before and they usually only keep kennels for four hours.

I was so confused that I asked the person if there was a cat inside the kennel.

“Yep, a big one,” the cargo attendant said. (Hey. She’s not that big.)

I said we’d be right there. The cargo attendant confirmed that they had given Zen a bit of water so she wouldn’t get dehydrated, a small detail that buoyed me. At least someone in that whole transport process was thinking of Zen as a living being and not just some stray bit of cargo.

We quickly got dressed, set up Zen’s litter box, and drove to SFO. Sure enough, Zen was there, in fine fettle and waiting for us. There was some issue with the paperwork – what a surprise – but the excellent folks at the airline cargo place got us sorted quickly and we were on our way home.

When we got here, Zen ate all of the food we gave her, drank a lot of the water, and happily received all the snuggles we could give her.

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As she dozed off I wrote yet another strongly-worded letter to the pet transport company. I still have not heard back.

After a few hours of relieved sleep, our first official act was to pick up our new car. During this process I decided that taking a selfie behind the wheel was an awesome idea or maybe just an idea and in my jet-lagged state ideas are in short supply. I didn’t intend for it to be today’s photo but I failed at that so it wins by default.

My one request of the day was a smoothie from Jamba Juice, an indulgence I have dearly missed, so we went there next … via P.F. Chang’s where I ate all of their gluten-free Mongolian beef with quinoa instead of rice. There is so much right in that sentence.

On the way home, we picked up some basic supplies for Zen. And that brings me to the five-hour nap and the present moment.

After an initial bit of turbulence, today has been a soft landing.

Stray observations:

  • Everything is so big and so shiny and so new that it's no wonder when Americans go abroad the first adjective we trot out is "quaint". America is short on "quaint".
  • I was stymied by the number of choices of cat food. Grain-free cat food with salmon flakes is a thing that exists.
  • I almost cried when the P.F. Chang's server had a non-food-related conversation with us. I know more about him than I did about the people in the building we lived in for the past two years.
  • Not sleeping before a long international flight seems like a great idea until jet-lag happens. Now I'm wide awake at midnight PST, which makes total sense in GMT where it is eight in the morning. d'oh.

Writing from: a guest bedroom in balmy Marin. Listening to: Zen’s purrs.

Day 25 of Project 365: Customs and welcomes.

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I’m not going to bury the lede: Zen is stuck in Newark due to Storm Jonas. I’m distraught both by the circumstances out of our control and by the lack of appropriate action taken by our pet transport company. But with any luck she will be with us in less than twelve hours, so I am resolved to stay positive.

The past twenty-four hours has contained nearly all of the standard range of emotions and some of the limited-edition ones I collected by saving cereal box tops. It started with the lack of sleep: FunkyPlaid did not sleep at all on Sunday night, and I slept for about an hour. Then we gathered up our dear wee calico creature and took her to the airport cargo ‘village’, the sheer preciousness of that phrase making me want to slap something in the face right about now.

This is where all the fun started. Initially, the cargo attendant refused to accept Zen because he said our pet transport company did not file the proper customs paperwork. Attempting to reach the company at 04:30 in the morning was ineffective, even on their emergency line, but the cargo attendant finally relented and said he’d accept Zen and go through all the usual pre-flight procedure with her in hopes the customs paperwork would get sorted before she needed to be on the plane.

I wish I could describe the feeling of white-hot rage at the situation paired with deep despair over leaving my beloved Zen with disdainful, skeptical strangers. But we had to push through it because in the few short hours between dropping Zen off and catching our own flight we had to turn over our flat and sell our car. You know, standard international relocation stuff. A little over an hour later – and still with no word from our pet transport company – the cargo attendant rang us back and said the airline had approved Zen for travel, so not to worry about the customs paperwork. All was well. Or so we thought.

We knew Jonas was on the way, and would likely interfere with Zen’s flights as she had to fly into the country through Newark. I had prompted our pet transport company for contingency plans. (Again, they failed to come through.) I’ve been tracking flights in and out of Newark just to know what to expect. I had hoped her four-hour mandatory layover – a requirement for pets entering the country – would offer some cushion against the inevitable delays. So I was not surprised when we got word from the airline that her flight would be delayed, and we could pick her up five hours after our own flight arrived.

What I did not see coming is the flight being canceled altogether, stranding Zen in Newark overnight. Even better: we didn’t know it had been canceled until I called the airline to find out the exact time of her arrival tonight. If I hadn’t been so persnickety about it we would have driven all the way back to the airport only to come home empty-handed.

The worst part of all of this is that Zen is alone in an unfamiliar place, thousands of miles away, and I can do nothing about it. I’m trying not to manifest that old adage, “Worrying is praying for something you don’t want to happen,” but all of this drama did put such a damper on what was shaping up to be an excellent welcome home. My in-laws are categorically awesome, and we saw the loveliest glimpse of a massive golden moon shining over the city as we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge. Now all we need is Zen with us, safe and sound, and we can get on with the next big adventure.

Writing from: my in-laws’ home in Marin County. Listening to: FunkyPlaid’s breathing as he gets some well-deserved rest.

Day 24 of Project 365: The way home.

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A few weeks after moving here, I kept asking FunkyPlaid what that big group of buildings looming over the city was.

Half a year after moving here, I had finally figured out what it was.

A couple of years later, befuddled tourists started asking me how to get to the castle. Me! I could hardly believe it. I must have looked like I knew where I was going, but the truth is that the only place I knew how to get to without thinking and without checking on the blue dot on my phone was home.

This is home to me. This has been my home for four years. This will not be my home tomorrow. All of these facts take their turns flitting into and out of the “inconceivable” box in my brain.

I am ready to leave, and I am not ready too. That’s the best time to go.

Writing from: a home, my home, in Edinburgh. Listening to: all of the subtle noises that I won’t hear again.

Day 22 of Project 365: Afloat on an empty sea.

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The bed is a borrowed raft, adrift in the empty flat. FunkyPlaid and Zen and I are left, cosy and drowsy in each other’s company. Strange how it even smells emptier. I am thinking of the other leave-taking in this matched set, and how melancholy I felt. This way feels bittersweet as well, for all we are leaving behind, but there is undeniable relief woven through it: we accomplished what we set out to do. (And more. And less. And so we’ll return.)

Zen has already moved on. The raft was always just a bed to her, and her fireplace is waiting.

Writing from: a still-furnished bedroom in Edinburgh. Listening to: the slow ping of the radiator.

Day 20 of Project 365: Anxiety selfie.

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This is the face I make when I realise that the ultra-efficient movers have packed all the fountain pen ink before I could choose a bottle to use for the next wee while.

::vague flailing::

Anyway, Zen was a champ today. She was miserable in her bathroom quarantine, only calming down when I would sit with her. Then my mom suggested that I put Zen in her carrier and keep her with me in the bedroom as I sorted through stuff. Add the heating-pad and boom! She went right to sleep.

Although she won’t have her beloved heating-pad with her on Monday, Zen will have a much roomier kennel with comfy bedding, and I am hoping that she is able to sleep through the flights. On the way here, I took comfort in knowing that the cats were travelling on the same plane that I was, at least to Heathrow. I won’t have that comfort on the way back.

Writing from: an emptying lounge in Edinburgh. Listening to: just a few moments of silence.

Day 18 of Project 365: Trio.

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One of the toughest parts of an international move is deciding what to store and what to keep handy. For the past few weeks I have been auditioning my pens for the coveted top-three spots and I think I have it narrowed down to the following (pictured from bottom to top):

  • Namiki-Pilot Vanishing Point 2008 LE, medium nib
  • Conklin All-American, 1.1mm italic nib
  • Lamy 2000, Binderized XF nib

But as soon as I decided on these three, I picked up my Cross Beverly, my Pilot Metropolitan, and my Esterbrook Dollar Pen. And what about my Pelikans? And which ink should I bring?

I have less than week to figure this out. And, you know, to finish packing up everything else.

Writing from: an anxious lounge in Edinburgh. Listening to: “Music for Pieces of Wood” by Smoke and Mirrors Percussion Ensemble.

So August happened.

  • Fringe shows attended: 8
  • Houseguests hosted: 4
  • Books read: 3
  • 18th-century documents fondled: whoa
  • International book festivals performed in: 1
  • Boxes packed: 920345754354
  • Miles moved away: 0.4
  • IKEA flatpacks assembled: 0. That is why I have a FunkyPlaid.
  • Stories written: :(

I am very glad that August happened and also that it is over because I would really like to get back to database-wrangling and story-writing and anything other than figuring out where to put all my Stuff.

This entry was longer but I lost the first draft to the vagaries of tethering my laptop to my phone. You have been saved a Carlinesque diatribe on aforementioned Stuff. We’re all better for it.

I left something in San Francisco.

Maybe it was my heart. No, my heart was there, for a time, spread out in beating chunks across the hills and Muni lines and friends and restaurants and libraries and moments I thought I would never survive and the moon so full reflected on Ocean Beach.

San Francisco, you taught me what it meant to expect beauty down every little alleyway, to believe in magic because living without it is dying a little every day. You taught me never to assume that I was alone because I felt lonely. You taught me patience with frustration, and when patience ran out you taught me how to curse it colorfully so I felt that at least I was doing something.

San Francisco, you gave me serendipitous meetings by the truckload if only I would look up from my books. You gave me ridiculous inconsistencies that I had to learn to wrestle, and in learning, let a little of my compulsivity go. You gave me a career direction and a writer’s voice.

I left something with you. I left my friends and I left knowing where to go for the best meals in the world and I left a part of myself, too, I know I did, that part that believes in a transit system and tolerance and a world with poets instead of politicians at the wheel.

But not my heart.

You gave me my heart.

The state of the chateau.

I have a few moments post-packing, post-homework, to write something substantial on What Is Going On.

I’m doing all right. I think the cats are in various levels of “all right” – Torgi is obviously very confused, but Zen is fine as long as she has me around and some kernels in her bowl. Tomorrow the housecleaners are here, and also a wonderful TaskRabbit named Gabriela is helping me take all of the donations to Goodwill. I will make a run to the storage space with some of the little stuff in a Zipcar before I go to my in-laws’ for dinner, my last at their house for a while. This is difficult to process.

FunkyPlaid has been amazing as always, and as supportive as he can be from so far away, but there is nothing quite like being alone in the evenings for this phase of it. Trying to keep up with schoolwork has been tough, but I just received an A on a paper I was struggling with last week, so I must be doing all right.

Le Chateau de Jambon looks astoundingly different without our stuff in it. Torgi is huddled with me on one of the remaining sofas as I write. We are in the room that has so often been filled with smiling faces. I am thinking of the house shows and the parties, and then of the near-silent nights with just soft breathing and cat snores and the foghorns so close.

I am thinking of crying myself to sleep last Saturday night after singing karaoke and then feasting on South Indian food with my friends.

I am thinking of my mom’s voice in my study as we spoke quietly about the future, my future and her future and San Francisco and that I would leave it someday.

I am thinking of my dad’s voice just a few short weeks ago as he sat right where I am now and spoke of this departure in terms of days instead of somedays.

I am thinking of how the house sounded so warm and cozy with all of our stuff in it, and now it is a giant, cold cavern that echoes with every footfall, even the littlest paws.

Melodrama comes easily to me, as does melancholy, so I know I need to be focusing on the wonderful thing just ahead. Still, this house became a symbol to me. The first time I ever saw it, FunkyPlaid had just returned from Scotland in 2004, and he was so excited to be here. I was hesitant and a poor guest because circumstances were different between us, and I had no idea how to comport myself. I was awkward and I stared at the homely tile in the kitchen briefly before running off, then hated myself for it.

I saw this house again when we reunited, and I fell in love with its warmth and luxury as surely as I fell in love with FunkyPlaid. When his home became our home, I could not believe that I deserved such a beautiful place.

I grew to believe it. It took a while. And then, after he left for our new home, I dismantled this one, piece by lovely piece.

The symbol is taunting me. I am seeing it right now not as a to-do list to check off but as a culmination of love, of safety and laughter and home-cooked meals, of a place I always belonged no matter how wretched I felt about the world just outside its door.

It is so much harder to leave than I thought it would be.

Unsettling.

The house sloughs off years, slowly exfoliating stuff and dust from every corner. In the middle of the night, I wake up from dreams just turning into nightmares. A cat is crying at the garage door, or shifting around and around in a slow circle, unable to get comfortable.

My right shoulder aches. I must be sleeping on it funny, but I never wake up on my side.

I went to see a movie by myself. The last time I remember doing that was almost eight years ago. That movie was much better than this one, but the Junior Mints were just as sweet.

When I wake up like this, I hear raccoon scuffles, shrill growls demanding obeisance. Our yard, soon to be just the yard, is contested territory.

The entire house is contested territory. Emptiness reclaims whole rooms, swelling and settling. I recycle the box of mints, borrow a glass of water, extinguish lights as I go. Finally there is no restless movement, no sound but the foghorns. Just when I crave a signal, a shriek, a sigh, a symbol – I hear nothing but a dull note as I eavesdrop on the tide.

A weekend off.

After seeing FunkyPlaid off on Friday morning, I vowed to have a weekend free of packing and moving. I would like to say that it has been blissful, but mostly it has been sort of pathetic because I have had a headache for the past two days that ibuprofen won’t touch.

Still, it was good to catch my breath, and thanks to FaceTime I have chatted with FunkyPlaid twice already, which makes the distance a little shorter.

The cats are unhappy. Zen follows me around constantly; if I am in another room for more than thirty seconds, she joins me. Torgi, on the other hand, has withdrawn to his only hiding place left, the linen closet, where he sleeps the days away. At night he wanders throughout the house, meowing for his lost parent. He hasn’t gotten the hang of sharing the bed with Zen if I am the only human buffer. Occasionally she will sniff him or lick him the wrong way and he twitches and she thwaps him and then we are all awake.

In just a few days, the fall semester begins. While I am looking forward to my classes, I get sleepy just thinking about homework.

One good thing about living alone: I am fully caught up on sleep, whether or not I want to be. It is very easy to go to bed early when there is nothing else happening in the house.

Zen just sat in front of the door to the empty garage and wailed. I know.

The storm before the calm before the storm.

FunkyPlaid’s penultimate day in San Francisco is here! And my title is wishful thinking, a little, because while yesterday was certainly a storm of activity, I do not think either of us will get any calm today.

But here! Here is my calm. Also I daydream about knitting, and read about people killing each other with fancy swords.

[caption id=“attachment_7118” align=“alignright” width=“150” caption=“moving face”]moving face, a webcam snap[/caption] I have not forgotten How I Decide Where to Sit, but the only thing I have been observing during my recent shuttle rides is the inside of my eyelids.

Yesterday was my half-birthday, which FunkyPlaid always remembers, even when he is packing up his entire life to move to another continent. I shouldn’t be surprised by this anymore, but I am. He presented me with the cleverest camera bag I have ever seen. It is a single-strap backpack contraption that swings around so I can open it quickly and grab my camera, even change a lens, without taking it off. It also has a billion other useful features that will come in handy while hiking around Scotland and holy crap we are moving to Scotland.

That happens about ten times a day now. I have packed up and moved so much in my life that the process is no novelty, but then I remember where we are moving to and I get all numb-tingly like I sat funny on my guts and they fell asleep and are just waking up, jangly nerve by nerve.

When I got home from work yesterday, FunkyPlaid and two of our friends were packing up the Uhaul to take our stuff to storage. At our storage place, two more friends joined us, and the whole experience went smoothly and quickly, once again proving that we could not be doing this without the help of so many terrific people.

There will be a few loose ends for me to knit tie up after FunkyPlaid leaves, but the toughest stuff will be done. I expected nothing less from him; even in the company of our extremely hard-working family members and friends, he is still the hardest worker I know. “Indefatigable” is the only way to describe his work ethic, even if I almost always mispronounce it.

After Friday morning, our home here will just be an almost-empty house inhabited by two confused cats and a bewildered swan, wombling from room to strange room.

Goodbye, books.

All of my books are packed. Such a relief! Everything left at this point is either going to purchases, swaps, or donations.

I turned the nestcam on for a little while today, just to break up the monotony. It amuses me to open a little window into my chaotic world.

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Our friend Eric picked up his mountain bike today, and also left with a few games and a tea set I was going to bring to Goodwill. Knowing that he has some of my well-loved possessions makes me happy.

I was bummed to give away my VHS tapes of “The Maxx” and “Hey Vern! It’s My Family Album”, until I found out that they had been released on DVD. Onto the wish list they went! Although honestly I cannot imagine acquiring anything else at this point. The urge to toss everything I own is very strong just now.

Among other bizarre things, I found a wooden box containing coins totaling CAD$3.24, €4.07, £7.52, and 500mk, the no-longer-legal currency of Finland.

The last four days of FunkyPlaid’s preparations for leaving will be intense, so intense that I am avoiding thinking about it. There will still be a bunch of things for me to do after he leaves, plus my semester starts in a couple of weeks, but nothing will compare to this frenetic pace. Leaving the country! It’s a big deal! Who knew?

Everyone did. I was just pretending it wasn’t, nose in my books. Now the books are gone and I have to look at everything just as it is, big and raw and more than a little uncertain.

Stuffed.

Twelve and a half hours ago, I thought I was looking at a few hours of packing in my study.

It looks worse in here than when I started, and I still have more to do.

I had this lofty goal of getting rid of most of my stuff, but I neglected to think about how much time it takes to sort through all of it.

The worst was when I found an entire box of sensitive papers to shred. I knew why I had packed it; I had loaned my shredder to someone who had never returned it. Still, I felt horrible when I found that box. It was a giant symbol of all the physical and metaphorical crap I have been lugging around for ages.

Purging most of it should feel better than it does right now, but until this room starts looking significantly emptier, I’m going to be grumpy about it.

Packing highlights.

Although this is hardly my first day of packing for Scotland, it has been a long one, filled with Kleenex (yay, head cold) and boxes I never unpacked from my last move and lots of stuff I simply do not know why I own. And now, some highlights!

Weirdest discovery: my very first mobile. I tried to sell it nine years ago, but I guess that didn’t work. I will be donating it through Call2Recycle.

Packed for storage: my entire poetry library. I may regret that, but it will give me a good excuse to use the public library system while I am there.

Thing I thought I would want to keep but don’t: my high school yearbook from senior year. I contacted my school’s alumni association to see if they want it. (Thanks for the idea, Unclutterer!)

Books, books, books. So very many books. Would you like some books? I have some up for swap at PaperBackSwap and Goodreads. If you are looking for a particular book, you are welcome to check out my library on LibraryThing and make me an offer.

HIWDtS: Bye-bye, lady.

Every once in a while, I encounter the N-Judah Greeter. He is a sweet man who says hello and waves to everyone who boards the train, and says goodbye and waves to everyone who leaves.

Most people avoid catching his eye, because that is his signal that it is okay to wave and talk. He spends a lot of the time in suspended animation, looking expectantly at each new passenger, hoping for eye contact. As soon as the person looks up, he waves and exclaims, “Hello!” Women get a “lady” tacked on the end. If the person does not respond, he repeats himself a few times, then stops and moves on to the next person.

If you, like me, respond, then there is a short script:

“Hello, lady!” “Hello!” “Where are you going?” “Home!” “OK, lady!”

On the way out, there is a similarly enthusiastic send-off. If it happens to be a Friday, as it was when I last saw the Greeter, he waves and says, “Bye-bye, lady,” then adds, “Have a good weekend!”

The Greeter has a thankless job. Because he is friendly on Muni, he is mostly treated like a hostile stranger. I have learned to take my enthusiastic greetings and send-offs where I can get them, because I never know when it will be the last time I see a place.

Except now I know. I know when my last Muni ride will be. I know when I will close the front door of my home for the last time, when I will drive to SFO for the last time, when I will get on a plane with my bags and my cats and fly over this giant place to a dream.

My beloved FunkyPlaid and I are moving to Scotland. Now that I can type that, it is real to me. He leaves in just over two weeks to get settled and start his PhD program, and I leave in just under two months with Zen and Torgi in tow.

Almost eight years ago, FunkyPlaid made this trip alone. I drove him to SFO and dissolved at the security checkpoint. I joked with him the other day that I won’t be crying this time, but who am I kidding? The moment is too big for me not to cry.

This departure is a culmination of so much planning, hard work, imagination, and passion, bolstered with support from our dear friends and family, and sprinkled with a bit of good luck and great timing. Most days it is difficult for me to picture the end result because there is still so much to do, and I find my motivation in knocking things off to-do lists. But every once in a while, I look up from the cardboard boxes and think of the adventure about to begin.

Bye-bye, lady.

[box type=“shadow”]I ride a shuttle to work. It is a really nice shuttle and the first time I have ever had this luxury, causing me to overthink pretty much every aspect of it, especially where to sit. And now I overthink where I decide to sit in every open-seating situation, so I’m writing about it in a series called How I Decide Where to Sit.[/box]

empty-handed

I dreamed of preparing to move away. Everything I owned had to be packed into suitcases and boxes. The sky outside was light but I knew it was nighttime. As I packed my clothes, they changed colors and shapes. Some of them hopped or crawled out of their containers. It was a losing battle. Finally I decided to leave with empty suitcases. As I was zipping the last one up, I looked down to see a necklace I lost a decade ago: an iridescent glass bottle shaped like a teardrop with a tiny cork stopper. I put the necklace around my neck and left, empty-handed and smiling.

missing

What I will/won’t miss about my flat:

  • pimp/ho fisticuffs during the wee hours;
  • siren orchestra of Fire Station #3;
  • the little man who slept by the front door of my building who would always say he was sorry when I tiptoed past;
  • surly neighbors;
  • always-packed laundromat;
  • lanky smokers in front of the corner bar, all elbows and coals;
  • lack of street-lamps;
  • single-paned windows;
  • tissue-thin taxi brakes;
  • the 2, 3, and 4 bus lines, especially that tschhhhhh noise;
  • the Angriest Beggar who called me “sweetheart” when he needed anything and “bitch” when he realized he wasn’t going to get it … every single time;
  • bridge-and-tunnel screechers after the bars close;
  • and every single unexplained loud noise in the night.
It’s been quite a year for me here. Living in this neighborhood definitely challenged me; working and living in this neighborhood exhausts me. I am looking forward to living in the “suburbs”, sleepy quiet, near the ocean and the park and not much else. Most of all, I am looking forward to living with my partner in a proper house that we will furnish and care for together.

Goodbye, little nest.  Onward to the next roost!

uninformed

I dread opening my RSS reader these days. Right now there are 876 unread items glaring at me, from a total of 269 feeds. How does anyone keep up? Every time I attempt to pare down the list, I get fed up, close the browser window, and pick up my book.

In other news, thank you for your comments on my upcoming move. We’re going to do it ourselves after all, with, to quote a famous band, a little help from our friends. That means I have to be diligent about tossing out everything I don’t need before the 3rd. Good thing I like culling.

My new-to-me XTi is about 24 hours from being in my hot little hands. Let the picture-taking, possessions-tossing, information-ignoring fiesta begin!

dear lazyweb

Dear Lazyweb:

Do you know of any experienced, inexpensive, and reliable movers for a cross-SF move? My usual movers are booked on 3 May, and I am morose, bereft, etc.

FunkyPlaid mentioned something that sounded like “renting a truck” and “doing it ourselves” but I think he fell down and hit his head because I cannot drive trucks and I have the lifting power of a piece of arugula.

All non-Yelp recommendations will be gratefully welcomed. Cheers!

An IndieWeb Webring 🕸💍

I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.