Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

April 27, 2011

Attitude: The Difference Between Ordeal and Adventure

I got the title of this post from a status that my friend Marsha posted on Facebook.  It's a great quote. I don't know if she got it somewhere or made it up, but I love it.

Attitude really is the difference between Ordeal and Adventure.  

I cannot tell you how much at peace I am, especially after doing that post about being financially ruined, and it's a little surreal and scary.  It's like, "what have you done with the real Joanne?"  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, for me to have an out and out panic attack.  A total freakout.  Even a good cry.

When I got back from the Cape, I was in full-on stress mode.  I was tearful at night when I went to bed, and not just because I missed my boyfriend.  I engaged in a lot of hand wringing about:  Where are we gonna live? How soon can we look for a place? Should I start looking and making calls now?  Should we live on or off Cape?  Will they allow dogs?  What about a job?  I will have no money, so should I start looking for a job? Now? Wait?  And OMG I have so much to do! Sell the house! Make sure the car is in good running shape! See my doctor and get a recent gyno/mammo before I lose my insurance!  Pack!  Separate two decades' worth of marital possessions with someone who isn't taking this division of property at all well!  Leave a job I like (most of the time) and a boss I love!  Leave a region I love! Divorce my husband of 22 years!  Do everything on my own for this move! Phone calls! Phone calls! Phone calls!

And yet, somehow I've managed to let go of the stress and 'what ifs'.  All of it.  It doesn't matter.  It'll work out.  It always does.  In the past, when I moved to California and then Washington, I threw myself into research.  I subscribed to the newspapers, started checking apartment rentals and job ads. I had a plan.  But for this major life change?  All I have managed to determine is when I'm leaving, approximately when I'm arriving on the Cape and when my stuff gets there.  I've also determined that all my stuff is being stored in the Coop.  Beyond that?  Not a clue.  No idea. No plan. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Squat.  And furthermore, I don't. Even. Care. Cavalier?  Denial? Call it what you want.  

I was raised to be a worrier.  Worry about money, worry about finding a job and a place to live.  Worry worry worry.  My mom's going to want to know what my plans are. She is a worrier/"what if?" person.  She drives me crazy with her 'devil's advocate' questioning too. She wants me to be stable and I appreciate that, but right now I'm flying by the seat of my pants and that's really OK with me.  

Stress has run, and ruined, my life. I've been such an angry person for sooooo many years.  I can't stand who I have become.  My own self loathing & self esteem issues have eaten me alive and robbed me of the youngest years of my life.  The chest pains, depression, excessive sleeping, nausea, panic attacks, road rage, TMJ, dermatographism/rashes, hair coming out in clumps: All stress related.  My job has become so complex over the past few years.  Right after 9/11, and for about 8-9 months, maybe about a year, divorces dropped off significantly.  Everyone was scared shitless, hunkered down and nesting.  We saw a spike in our estate planning during that time period.  Our divorces have surged as the memory of 9/11 recedes into the distance, and taken place with other stressors of life and the economic collapse.  The divorces have gotten so confrontational because people are so vindictive, moreso than normal.  Every single case goes to trial now.  No one wants to give an inch to the other person so I am battered and beaten down every day by pain in the ass clients and asshole opposing counsel.  It's taken a huge toll on my health.  I can't go back into law.  I don't care how well it pays, I have no desire to do this grind again.  I'm sick of waking up at 2:00 a.m. in a cold sweat, wondering if I've confirmed a hearing on time, or scheduled a court reporter for the 9:00 a.m. deposition. It's not worth it.  

Knowing that it's coming to an end has been a bittersweet relief.  I enjoyed a 20+ year career in law and it was very interesting and fun.  I got to meet some really cool people and experience some amazing things because of where I worked and/or who I worked for.  And knowing that I am voluntarily not going to work right away is a novelty, and very foreign to me, but on the other hand, I'm too tired to look for work either.  I need time off.  I deserve time off.  I've never taken anything extended.  I've never been off work more than 3-4 weeks tops.  I want to be off this fall and through the holidays.  I want to make a happy, stable home for my man and me, and our dogs.  I want peace and quiet. I want to be able to sleep till 8 if I want, get up leisurely, call mom see if she needs something.  Do crafts and work on my Etsy store.  Walk the dogs. Go shooting photos.  See my girlfriends.  Take care of errands & chores during the week, so that when my sweet baby comes home on the weekend, we can enjoy being together, without the distraction of the 'honey do' list. 
That is why I have adopted the "Adventure" Attitude, over "Ordeal", because for the first time in a long, long time, I am so happy.  My man makes me want to be a better person.  If I really am going to try and make a real, positive change in my life, I have to be committed to it.  When I'm in Victoria or traveling on my own, I'm a different person. I'm happy, friendly and smiling.  I'm the person I want to be every day, but can't because of the pressures that cave in on me. My crappy commute, my crappy clients, what mood is Brian gonna be in tonite, will the house be in shambles, is he at the bar, has he taken money out of the bank, how are we gonna keep the house when we're running out of money, is he ever gonna get a nauseum.  I'm so over that.  I want to be happier and more relaxed.  I can't be when I am killing myself with the 'what ifs'.  

I have made my peace with the loss of some possessions that I really liked.  Brian's taken the lion's share of the DVDs, including ones I really wanted.  I'm sure I'm gonna lose a bunch of CDs that I really like too.  And posters.  He doesn't like having to split this stuff up, and I can see a bit of a vindictive streak coming out in him when it comes to movies we both wanted.  I know his position is, "I'm not the one that wanted this divorce, so you will take what I let you have." That's fine.  I don't need confrontation over who gets the Harry Potter books or the "Clerks" DVD.  It's a small price to pay to quietly and quickly exit this marriage, close the door on this chapter in my life and start a new life with the man I love.  I don't care how broke we are.  I don't care if we end up in a one bed/one bath rental, I don't care if I get a part time job or not.  Making a ton of money isn't important to me anymore.  As long as we have enough to pay the rent and the bills, that's all I care about.

I've let it go.  I have to let the anger go.  It's toxic and it's killing me and I need to make the torture stop.  

April 25, 2011

Deconstructing the Den

The den has always been my fave room in the house b/c of it's warmth and eclectica.  

More books.  My dad built that book shelf and that's coming with me too.  Can't see the bottom shelf but that is full of record albums.  They also weigh a ton and require many, many boxes.

The chair is coming with me too, if it fits.  My parents bought 2 gold wing chairs a few years after I was born, and this is the only one that has survived.  It's comfy and I hate to part with it.  

Man that's a lot of junk stuff.  More books.  There are going to be boxes and boxes AND BOXES of books.

Isn't this Ponderosa map a kick?  I got it in 1988 when my dad and I were at Lake Tahoe and we went up to Incline Village, NV to see the Cartwright Ranch.  It was a blast.  It closed a few years ago.  I treasure this poster.

Brian's brewing awards.

More knick knacks and books.

Everything's off the walls except the decorative switchplates.

One week later, the closet is cleaned out except for those tape cases on the floor which are full of live Dead shows. I have to go through them and pick the shows that Brian will want.  I have all the books packed from the bookshelf my dad made, but the albums are only done A - C.  I hate packing albums.  I can't overload the boxes or else they will come apart.  So I saved that PITA task for last.  

Boxes of my books and Christmas decorations.

I still have to pack the books & stuff on the 2 small bookshelves (the books on the large bookcase are Brian's).  
I figure another couple of hours and this room will be done too.  Then I can move on to the upstairs.  I admit I'm getting concerned whether or not the POD unit will be big enough for all my stuff!  lol  

Onwards and upwards!!

April 21, 2011

When One Person Ruins It For Everyone

Hello my loyal readers.  I appreciate all of you accepting the invite for Tahoma Beadworks, since I have had to change this from a public blog, to an invite-only blog, due to the actions of two psychos, who came after me and my squeeze last Friday, because of information they gleened here.  It was so bad that I had to delete the entire post about how he and I met, because her friend left a very nasty "Anonymous" comment. I deleted the comment, and, out of sheer frustration and anger, deleted the post before I decided to change to invite-only.  I do regret that because it was a great story.  Needless to say it was a very upsetting and stressful weekend for he and I, having to deal with the lies and repercussions thereof.  I want to thank all of you for your support and your help, especially last Friday when the shitstorm hit. 

Unfortuately, my squeeze's ex is unbalanced (as is her best friend, who was in on the attacks). Somehow, she found my blog (still not sure how) and she came absolutely UNGLUED when she read the story of how he and I got together.  Most, if not all, of you know what was said, as I told you in private messages.  To be honest I wasn't terribly surprised to find her messages in my inbox b/c he told me he'd gotten a text from her that morning and she was good and mad.  She's one of those 'if I can't have him, no one can' bitches.  I knew her in high school.  She was a slut then and she's a slut now.  As long as she has contact with him, even if he's angry and telling her to leave him alone for good, she seizes on that contact.  She nearly succeeded in driving a wedge between us, but he & I refused to let that happen.  We both could have let this escalate to an all-out war, but neither of us has the time or desire for it.  This isn't high school anymore.  The less we engage her in her twisted games, the more likely she'll be to back off.  Hopefully.  Fortunately she lives in Florida.

It's a pity because I don't let people bully me and I take shit from no one.  I was bullied in school a few times and I learned to stand up for myself.  I don't care what I put out there in public about me and my life, and I adopted a rather defiant "who-cares-what-she-thinks?" stance. I thought about turning on comment moderation, but the bottom line is, if Tahoma Beadworks remains open to the public, she will still be able to see what I am up to, comment moderation or not.  And also, he cares, and sometimes fears for my safety.  That is why I agreed to compromise and lock down my blog so that she can no longer track my every movement and activity, while still being able to write & post what I want.  It's a damn shame, but I understand the necessity for it, especially at this time while he and I are apart.  I know one thing, it sure motivated me to settle on my last day of work.  I have now scheduled the PODS container accordingly, and I have made the flight reservations for my honey to come out here and drive back with me.  After nearly 7 months of long distance contact and only a few precious days in March when we saw each other, it's going to be a novel concept of (1) Being in the same time zone when he's on the road and (2) Finally knowing that at the end of each week, he will come home to me.

Still, I'd really love to know how the bitch found my blog in the first place, because my Facebook profile is set to the highest privacy settings and the link to my blog is on FB.  Maybe it's because I erred and put my baby's name in the post and she googled his name and that came up. I did, however, have to change my Facebook message settings so that only Facebook friends can contact me.  It used to be that anyone could send me a message, in case an old friend was looking for me.  But because I received 3 unbelievably horrible FB emails, full of lies, from the psycho and her friend, I had to change that as well.  In addition, I used to have my blog posts automatically published on Facebook, in case any of my non-blogging friends would want to read it.  I've also had to disable that function b/c I am now FB friends with some of his relatives and friends, and I don't know who I can trust not to be snooping on the psycho's behalf.   I really have no idea how much digging this woman has done, or is doing, to find out what we are up to or how serious we are.  It's pretty obvious that I will be unable to post any information about my upcoming trip/move back east, either here or on Facebook.  Although I am confident that we will have no further problems, I've learned my lesson about prematurely sharing too much.

He warned me though.  He told me this could happen if I kept pouring out my personal thoughts in public like that.  He has implored me to stop blogging so much information, telling me I can vent to him and to my friends.  For one, I like to write.  My blog has become an outlet for that and that's what I'm used to now, esp. since I can type faster than I can write in a journal and without the writers cramp.  For another, because Brian had told me that my bad moods or my venting about a bad day adversely affected him and his moods, I stopped discussing my thoughts with him or venting if I had a bad day.   But I admit, I didn't take my squeeze seriously when he said the information I put out there can bite me in the ass.  I never expected to be blindsided by what happened last week.

Now that my blog is invite-only, it probably won't show up in your Dashboard as having been updated every other day or every few days.  I hope you guys won't forget to stop by to see if I've updated. 

Will I go back to having my blog public?  Maybe at some time in the future, but not for awhile, and definitely not till I get back to the east coast.  Knowing her, she will keep checking in from time to time to see if I have gone public again.  It's just a pity that she had to ruin it for everyone.

April 19, 2011

Let the Packing Begin!

Things are now underway and in full swing.  The house will be listed next week, and I've started to pack.  I decided to start with the most difficult rooms first, so I did the back room first.

When I shot this I noticed Pepper supervising from the doorway.

I have a lot of stuff.  Cool stuff, but man it's a pain to pack.

The footlocker is full of stuff too.  I've already cleaned it out once and I need to do it again now before I move it because it weighs a ton.

DVDs that still need to be divided.

Videotapes that also need to be divided.
Corkboard #1
Corkboard #2

First thing I did was take everything off the walls and pack up the knick knacks, after separating out what were Brian's things and what were mine, and what could be thrown away or donated.

Here's what it looked like after I finally finished packing up most of the stuff in this room.  These are my photo albums and scrapbooks and I have decided not to box them b/c they are just too heavy.  I will rope/tie 2-3 of them together at a time, and stack them like boxes in the PODS unit.  Not sure if I'll take that shelf unit but I do like's from IKEA. 

All my stuff is now boxed and a couple of them have been moved to the garage already.  We still have to divide the DVDs, VHS tapes, sports memorabilia and posters.  I will probably take the 2 smaller book shelves.
On to the next room!

April 17, 2011

Starting Over

Here's a scary-ass prospect:  I'm nearly 47 and facing what is for me, financial ruin. Gone are the days when our combined salary was edging close to 6 figures.  Gone are the days of being able to afford a weekly lawn service like we had in 2008.  No more trips to Canada or the coast.

I've always prided myself on having a fairly decent ability to budget my money really well.  My cousin Sharon has always said that Diane and I have always been able to make $10 out of $1.  Back in about 1977 or 1978, when Di and I started earning money from babysitting and chores, we both started budgets, which we kept in cigar boxes.  Inside the box was a little notebook and pen with the envelope of the money I'd earned.  We were between Christmas-Club-Account-Age and Real-Grown-Up-Savings-Account-Age, so all our cash was kept in our respective cigar boxes.  I'd do the math out in the notebook to keep track of when I was taking stuff out of the envelope, how much and what I bought w/ it.  And then adding in my chore and babysitting money.  I was what, 12? 13?  My parents were very frugal and were constantly drilling into my head the importance of hard work and not wasting money on what they referred to as 'crap', i.e., records, books, Teen Beat magazine, cheap jewelry & blacklight posters from Spencer Gift's. I was expected to have enough money to finance Christmas gifts for my large family of aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as my friends, and also have enough money to finance birthday gifts for my family & friends.  Most of my yearly saving went toward that end, but yeah, I did like to spend money on 'crap'.  I still do.

So far we have ridden out this recession fairly well, thanks to my awesome budgeting skills.  We would have gone under a loooooong time ago.  But if I don't walk away from this situation now, I'll really be screwed.  I have no choice but to cut my losses, and return to the east coast broke and jobless, seeking a career change, just like when I walked away from TV Production and started over in law.  I've got one chance left to rebuild my life and this is it.

The cruelest real irony is that I'll be unloading the boxes of my stuff into the Coop nearly 22 years TO THE DAY that I moved them out of the Coop, when I left to move to San Francisco.  I won't have an apartment so I'll be crashing at mom's for a bit, just like I did the 2 weeks between moving out of my Sandwich apartment and leaving for California.  I'll have about the same amount of money, but it doesn't stretch near as far as it did in 1989, before gas, groceries and everything else skyrocketed in price.

The thing that's really breaking my heart is the house.  It really is a great piece of property and I wish w/ all my heart that Brian could keep it, but it's not feasible.  Not without any income.  And he finds himself in the exact same position he was in when we met, which is flat broke, living on the edge of homelessness, and I feel just terrible about that and for hurting him.  This situation has been very hard for him to accept.  I don't know what the answer is for him, but if I am ever going to find my happiness and try to make a positive change in my life, I have to get out before my own depression eats me alive.  And at least I have people to go home to, back east.  My sweet boyfriend, my friends and family won't let me fall.  But Brian has no one here.  Moving near his family in NJ isn't an option.  Without an income, he is going to run out of money and that scares me to death.  Believe me, I am fully prepared to take both Pepper and Sagan, and that means Brian would be really alone.  I don't think he will survive without us, and that also scares me to death.  

22 years is a long time to be with someone, esp. as much as Brian and I have hung out.  We have acquired a lot of stuff.  I have started purging stuff and it is surprisingly easy to part with it.  I can't believe we hauled all of it with us from California.  Brian and I made a lot of great memories and had a lot of laughs.  Unfortunately we got off track, and fairly early on too, but we both opted to stay together because for the most part we get along well, as friends and roommates.  We moved to Washington for a fresh start after a particularly rocky patch in the mid to late 90's.  It was good for the first couple years here, but then everything went back to the way it was in California.  And now I'm closing the door on that part of my life and hurting someone who I do care about and did love, once. I have chosen to try and forget the bad times and look upon "The Brian & Jo Era" with the good memories of vacations and Dead shows, protest marches and hiking, and all the laughs we had, b/c we did have a lot of laughs.  I'm torn between happiness and excitement at my new life and sadness for ending this chapter in my life.  Balancing my passion for my squeeze and compassion for Brian is difficult at best.   It just sucks to be in this position.  Sometimes it's hard to get up in the morning and deal w/ all of the stress, yet staying home and calling in sick is almost a more stressful option, because I have to be here.  I want it to be July already.  And I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye to Brian either b/c he's already so emotional every time he thinks about my leaving with Pepper....and, more than likely, Sagan too.  He has already unfriended me on Facebook b/c of my being out in the open about my relationship status.

Our realtor is not optimistic on the chances of selling the house any time soon.  I had hoped that it could be listed at its assessed value.  That would have put a little bit of profit in our pockets after closing costs and the mortgage was paid.  But b/c it needs work and upgrades, it can only be listed for a few thousand more than what is owed.  We may break even, but it's not looking good.  He thinks it'll have to be done on a short sale and I'm still trying to understand what that means.  I'm not up on real estate stuff and I haven't had a chance to look through the short sale info my boss gave me.  To be honest, reading that stuff takes tremendous effort b/c it's just so all unpleasant and boring, no matter how positive I try to keep my attitude.   All I know is that it's going to fuck up my credit and I'm not happy about that.  Everything else on my credit report is stellar.  I don't think it's fair to put foreclosures on people's credit reports anymore because it's happened to millions of people.  I really thought we'd walk away w/ some money but we may, in all likelihood, walk away owing money.  How's that for a kick in the chicklets?

I just cannot believe how bad we fucked up by refinancing the house so much during the good times when banks were throwing loans and credit card applications at people, and I don't even remember what we pissed the money away on either.  When we refinanced, in 2005, it was to tap into the equity and buy that cursed property on the Olympic Peninsula.  Biggest. Mistake.  EVER.  We poured so much money into that place only to sell it a year later.  Yeah we put the majority of the sales money into an interest-bearing account and used it towards the mortgage balance when we refinanced the last time in 2008, but it wasn't as much as what we'd borrowed to buy the property in the first damn place.  I will, one of these days, blog about the Curse of the Neilton Property experience but I'm even creeped out by the photos I shot of it.  I can't even make myself scan them.  But I digress....

Could I have saved more money over the years?  Yes.  Should I have, instead of catalog shopping?  Definitely.  But compared to most other people, we did OK.  We were always able to see Grateful Dead shows back in the day, we always had enough to cover our bills.  We could go out to eat and take vacations.  I've never fallen behind on any payments to any creditors. We never had tons and tons of credit cards.  But now it's our turn to fall victim of the economy.

So.  There it is.  Nearly 47 and in the same financial situation I was in when I was 24 and headed to California.  Except I no longer have youth on my side, or years and years ahead of me to work to make it up.  I learned from working at Channel 56 that money doesn't buy happiness.  And I must be honest that the best years Brian and I had were the ones when we were really poor.  I didn't start making decent money till about 1991 or 1992.  We couldn't even afford cable TV that first year in San Francisco.  My main concern now is finding a place that will allow 2, possibly 3, dogs. As long as I am with the people I love and I am finally happy, that's all I care about.  I had hoped to take some time off to decompress when I got back, however I will probably have to job hunt fairly quickly, which is a disappointment, but a necessary evil.  I've already decided that I am not going to apply for any law jobs.  I can't do it anymore.  The stress is horrid and it took me 12 years to unlearn everything I learned in California when I moved to Washington.   I just don't see being able to learn Mass. law, and I'm just too damn tired to learn a whole new set of Court rules.  Ideally I'd like something mellow and part time, Mon-Thurs, at least for now.  Plus I'll pursue selling my jewelry stuff, once everything's unpacked.

And so I will limp back to Cape Cod financially battered, but hopefully mentally & emotionally healthy, or at least more mentally & emotionally healthy than I have been over the past 6 or so years.  Just like I've made my peace with being a Townie, I've made my peace with this as well.

April 15, 2011

It's a Major Award!!!

I am honoured to have been given the Stylish Blogger Award from my dear friend Sonnia over at a ladybug's life !  Thank you so much my friend!

To accept the award, you have to do the following:

1.  Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2.  Share 7 things about yourself.
3.  Award 10-15 blogs who you think deserve this award.
4.  Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award.

If I didn't choose your blog, it doesn't mean I don't like you or your blog, but I had to look at those who post regularly.


I first have to start with my Vincent Vixens.  We've become a close knit bunch of core Vincent fans, not only the blog administrators, but all the regulars who comment daily.  Each blog is unique, witty, informative, creative and sometimes just downright bawdy.  

The Valentine Cat
The Velocity of Vincent
Blue Velvet Vincent
Life & Vincent

Next I have my fave art bloggers.  The first two are photo blogs, the first of the Mt. Hood/Gresham, Oregon area and the other of Victoria, BC.  Said & Done is artist and actress Angela Cartwright's blog.  You will know her as "Penny" from the TV show "Lost in Space", and "Brigitta" from "The Sound of Music".  She is a gifted artist.  I've featured Silkie Sue's whimsical home made vintage-design stuffed animals.  And last but not least, my Facebook friend Rachel's beading blog, Seraphim Jewelry Designs.

Hood Photo Blog
Victoria Daily Photo
Said & Done
Silkie Sue
Seraphim Jewelry Designs

These next blogs are just good, clean fun and a lot of laughs.  All are well written by a great bunch of bloggers.  Hyperbole and a Half and Cake Wrecks are extremely funny.  Lady Axe writes about some pretty wild ghost stories and experiences she and her kids have had in South Africa.  

Petit Fleur
Sugar Mag's Random Thoughts
Hyperbole and a Half
Cake Wrecks
Daisy's Dead Air
Make Gentle the Life of the World

So Seven Things about me.  Hmm....

1.  The shortest job I ever worked was less than 2 days.  In college, my parents covered my tuition for which I am eternally grateful, but I had to have enough money to cover my expenses during the year.  It was not an option to just call my folks and request a cash infusion to my account.  During my junior year at Emerson in Boston, I found a job in the Want Ads, that had flexible hours to accommodate my class schedule and which was down Beacon Street a bit from where my dorm was, so I went in and applied.  It was for an answering service.  I was hired that day and trained for a couple hours.  This was early 1985, so it was still one of those old fashioned switchboards with the wires and pluggy things.  I had my doubts, but went back the following day for a longer shift.  It was in-fucking-sane.  By the time I left, after dark, I had a splitting migraine.  I never went back, except to pick up my check for the one and a half days' work.

2.  I have 3 milkcrates full of 60's, 70's and 80's vinyl 45s, in preparation for the vintage Wurlitzer Bubbler Jukebox that I desperately want to buy.  I will not settle for anything less than a jukebox that plays 45s.  

3.  My first fave rock song was "Little Willy" by Sweet.

4.  I'm extremely low maintenance in that I don't wear makeup, I don't get mani/pedis, I hate facials. I have 1 pairs of  rain shoes, 1 pair of walking shoes/sneakers, 2 pairs of moccasins, work boots and hiking boots. I hate clothes shopping & I hate paying retail for them.  I hate wearing dresses and skirts. I couldn't care less if my underware matches and I wear my grundies till they are ragged.   I have never required (or asked, begged, cajoled...) that any of my boyfriends purchase expensive or diamond jewelry for me.  The diamond jewelry 'guilt trip' commercials that air at the holidays, Valentines Day and in 'wedding season' send me into orbit with their 'DIAMONDS! Give her the gift she REALLY wants!" ads. IMHO, I think that spending the alleged 'two months' salary' standard to be gross, conspicious consumerism.  I'd much prefer a modest ring that cost a couple hundred dollars, and have the rest of said 'two months' salary' be put towards the future.  That's not to say that I judge anyone who DOES like expensive, nice jewelry/engagements rings/wedding bands, it's just not for me.  I also can't see spending oodles of money on a wedding.  Again, that money would be better served going towards a future together, or at least a kick-ass honeymoon rather than a big, giant one-day party.  It's why I eloped with Brian.  I couldn't face being the center of a Big Fat Italian Wedding.

5.  I've been obsessed and fascinated by Canada for as long as I can remember.  There was a Canadian tourism commercial that ran on the Boston TV stations in the early to mid 70's and I loved the music/jingle, and the slogan was "Come on up!"  My father's sister, Aunt Stella, came to visit us from London, England in 1969, when she was moving to Ontario, Canada. I remember begging my dad to go on vacation to Nova Scotia, but he said it looked just like Cape Cod so it wasn't worth the long drive to see what we saw every day.  My parents took me to Niagara Falls in the fall of 1975, then the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior a month later. I used to pour over maps of Canada and was fascinated by the explorers who visited those northern lands.  

6.  And speaking of maps, I love to look at them.  I love road atlases and maps of all kinds.  I can sit and look at them for hours.  I've actually wasted hours on Google's maps, zooming around Victoria on the street view feature.  I can check out all my fave haunts from the sidewalk, without leaving the comfort of my home.

7.  I don't drink because I am allergic to alcohol.  When I drink, my sinuses swell shut, my face gets all hot and red, a rash breaks out along my jawline, my heart starts fluttering and I feel blood pulsing in my hands and feet.  Plus alcohol seems to go straight to my bladder so I'm in the bathroom every 10-20 minutes.  It's just so not worth it.  Just as well, I never cared much for drinking anyway.

April 14, 2011

A Public Service Announcement

Here's a handy little tip:  When you are at the airport, try to get in a security line that leads to the regular metal detector, because they still have them.  I found my way into those lines at both SeaTac and Logan Airports and, therefore, did not have to undergo the horribly invasive scanners and pat downs.  

April 8, 2011


"Welcome home.....Townie! lol" wrote my friend Elaine, when I told her I was moving back to Sandwich.  At first I cringed a little, then laughed and realized, yeah, she's right.  Once a Townie, always a Townie.

Townie.  It's a moniker I never wanted when I was young.  It was difficult for me in Sandwich sometimes, because so many people knew my dad, and therefore knew me by sight, so the gossip factor was immense.  My parents often knew what I was up to with my friends at the Mall before I even got home, because some big mouth nosy adult from Sandwich saw me and couldn't wait to call my parents to rat me out.  Talk about feeling trapped.

It was one of the reasons I wanted so much to break away.  The thought of staying in that small town, trying to eke out a living on the east coast was, I admit, somewhat repugnant to me at that time.  I wanted nothing more than to be on the west coast, where there were more things to do and see.  Where it seemed like things were always "happenin'" and exciting.  When it was 7:00 p.m. on a Sunday at my house and I had to go to school the next day, it was still only 4:00 p.m. on the west coast.  I would be kneeling on the couch, looking out the western facing livingroom window at the fading light, and squirm inside with impatience to be out west and frustration at being 'stuck' on Cape Cod.  Every time a football game was on and the announcer would say, 'Stay tuned for 60 Minutes immediately following the game, except on the west coast," a voice in my head would yell, "I WANNA BE ON THE WEST COAST!"  I still get a charge out of hearing that during a football game and I've been out here for 22 years.  My standard and audible response is, "That's right you East Coast suckas! It's only four PM here!!! HA HA!"

I've mentioned here, on more than one occasion, that the older I got, the more alienated I got from my town and life there. I always thought there was more out there and it would kill me to miss out.  I now see that my attitude was borne from the crushing loneliness I felt for so many years and my pitifully non-existent self esteem.  Over the course of time and because I was really, really into British music, I turned my interest to possibly living and working in London.  I wasn't quite sure how to go about effectuating that move, but it was my high school dream of  my '5 year plan' following college. After visiting, and falling in love, with San Francisco in 1986, I ditched the London idea because I had to move to SF.  I finally felt like I'd found a place where I could fit in.  At that time, I didn't know where any of my high school classmates had ended up and I had no idea how to find or get ahold of anyone.  There was no Internet.  No Facebook.  Most of them were busy having & raising their children and moving around themselves.  Many stayed in Sandwich, some moved away for a few years but returned and settled there.  The pull of the Cape can be very great.  But I never felt it then.  Or even when I visited over the last 2 decades.  I would be so homesick for the west coast and count the days, hours and minutes till I was headed west again.  I assumed I would eventually sell my mom's house and property and never look back. I figured there was nothing for me there anymore. So I left.

The older I've gotten, the more I've tried to analyze why I felt the way I did.  I eventually decided that, because so many of my classmates and friends come from what I call 'Ye Olde Towne Families', their roots run hundreds of years deep in that area, so it was harder for them to leave their ancestral home.  My parents arrived in Sandwich in 1953.  My family didn't even arrive in America till 1911.  I figured that was why it was so easy for me to walk away, turn my back on my past even though it was, for the most part, an idyllic small town childhood.  

Over the years, I have gone back to visit the Cape on quite a few occasions, and no matter what, I always, without fail, run into someone I know. Sometimes a friend of my parents', sometimes a classmate of mine.  When I was back east for 10 days for my dad's funeral in June of 2003, Sharon & Diane kept asking me if I knew everyone in town. They lived in Barnstable for over 10 years and went to high school there, and they said they never ever run into anyone they know, and they are ALWAYS on the Cape. I show up for the first time in years and end up seeing people everywhere I go. Because over and above seeing people at the funeral, no matter where I was a few days afterward, be it out for dinner with them, at CVS or Stop & Shop, or at the ice cream place, I ran into someone I knew.  

Flash forward to 2011, and all of a sudden I find myself staring down the barrel at 50 and wonder where the last 25 or so years went. The older I get, the more I find myself craving a connection with my past, because it's rapidly disappearing into the distance.  I really like it that I know so many people who have the same memories as I do.  Memories of mini-golf and then ice cream at Frannie & George's.  Learning to skate on Shawme Pond and on cranberry bogs in winter and July 4th fireworks at Shawme Pond in summer. Elementary school field trips to the Hoxie House where you had to find a partner and hold hands the whole walk there and back.  I have gotten back in touch with so many old friends, and  made new ones, and I see now that I wasn't as disliked as I perceived myself to be.  I had such a great time visiting people when I was in Sandwich last month.  There wasn't enough time to see everyone I wanted to see!  

I spent most of my time with Russell, whose family goes back generations.  He is related to so many people that I will never be able to keep his family tree straight.  A good portion of our classmates are his cousins. I also got to spend some time with my friend Marsha.  While we were getting coffee, another old friend from our graduating class, Terrance, came in to get coffee and that was a nice surprise to see him.  After Terry left, Marsha's keen eye spotted Gene & his cousin Sharon walking by on the street!  We rushed outside to say hi.  My parents are Gene's godparents, and I have known his and Sharon's families from birth.  And Sharon is Elaine's sister...the one who I mentioned in the first paragraph, above.  I saw Gene in Tacoma back in October of 2009.  He's always been one of my favourite people.

An adorable pic of Gene, Marsha & Sharon, three of my fave people!!

I also got together with my friend Nancy at her house for a couple of hours and it was a blast to see her.  The conversations just flowed so easily, as if I had never left.  I also stopped into my friend Michelle's Sandwich Village Herb Shop on Rte. 6A in Sandwich to say hello and check out her wares.  I know where I'll be shopping for all my Wiccan/Pagan needs once I move back!

Against my better judgment I am posting these pics of me with my friend Traci's daughter Zoe.  The 3 of us went out to lunch one day too.  Traci's family left Sandwich and lived in Florida somewhat miserably before deciding to return, en masse, to Cape Cod.  They live in East Dennis now, just down Rte. 6A about 15 or so miles from my mom's.  I've known Traci since the first grade.  

And also of me and Traci.

Next time the sun goes down on Cape Cod, I won't be so eager to leave and follow it to the western edge of the country.

I am, and apparently always will be, a Townie, and I've made my peace with it.  I'm in love with a Townie, all my friends are Townies and that's OK with me now.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.