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

June 26, 2011

Door Closes, Door Opens

So my divorce was finalized on June 15.  I wasn't as bummed as I thought I might be.  My boss brought the papers down to be entered.  When he got back to the office he grinned at me and said, "You caused me some problems down there."  I was mortified.  I couldn't imagine what I had done wrong, procedurally.  I literally wailed, "ooohhhh NOOOOOO what did I doooooo???"  He laughed and said, "Just kidding.  What happened was I presented the papers to the Court Commissioner.  He looked them over and said, 'Counsel, is this Joanne Wolf, the paralegal?' I said, 'Yes, Your Honor.'  He said, 'You realize she used to work for me? Is this going to be a problem?'....."  Turns out it was a lawyer I worked for, when I first moved to Washington 12 years ago.  He left that firm when he was appointed to the Bench a year or so ago.  We had a good laugh about it, and apparently he and the Commissioner did as well, especially since Steve had called him for a reference when I applied for the job at Fisher & Lindsay, back in 2001.  Steve assured him that it would not be a problem at all and it was all good, so he signed off on the final pleadings.  I thought it was a cool way to bookend my law career in Washington State.  I was working for him and his firm exactly 12 years ago, because we got to WA on June 4 and I started working there around June 10.  I must say though, it's a little disconcerting when your boss tells you that the Judges and Commissioners are well aware of who you are because they read your work product on a daily basis.  I've always liked to think of myself as the anonymous face behind the scenes, cranking out the work.  On the other hand, my signature appears on hundreds and hundreds of documents filed with the Court.

When I got the final papers back, I sent my squeeze an email to tell him.  But I couldn't wait for him to answer me that way, so I called him.  I could hear the happiness in his voice, and when we hung up he sent me a very sweet message via email. 

Brian's come to terms with it and he seems more able to move on.  We had a rather surreal conversation about him dating.  I never thought I'd see the day, but here it is and it's really OK.  I truly want him to be happy and get out there and meet someone that is more suited for him than I am.  We want different things now, and it happens.  We've been getting along pretty well, all things considered.  He applied for and probably will get a great apartment in Tacoma that allows dogs.  He is now more able to discuss the splitting up of the furniture.  I'm not sure how much room I'll have in the POD, so we'll see what I end up having to take out of necessity.  When we were discussing people he would think about asking out, I was a little taken aback by the list.  It sort of proved to me something that I always thought from day 1, which was that while he may have loved me and all, it wasn't just me he was attracted to.  He was looking at and thinking about other women "that way" the whole time. And that only battered my self esteem further.  Fortunately, this is no longer going to be a problem for me in  my current relationship.  Cause I need to know that it's just me, and my boyfriend has admitted to having tunnelvision when it comes to being in a serious relationship.  I'm not talking about the silly 'List of Celebrities I Can Sleep With' list, that's fine.  I'm talking about me vs. the chick down the street, or the woman that works on the 2nd floor, or the one that works at the store, or the cute young bartender at the bar.  Someone that poses a real threat to my relationship. 

I told Brian that I want him to let me know immediately if he is unable to keep Sagan, because I will spare no expense to get him to the east coast, and he promised me that he would assist in the process.  In the meantime, I have agreed to continue to pay for the organic, made in the USA dog food from Flint River Ranch for Sagan. All in all, I think Brian and I have handled this admirably.  I mean, it really could have been ugly and that's what I was afraid of and prepared for.  I had an escape plan, and discussed with my boss the different scenarios that included the possibility of restraining orders.  Fortunately none of that was necessary.  I did have some bad days, emotionally, especially towards the end.  Thinking about the last time I'll sit on my reclining loveseat, computer on my lap, watching TV.  Leaving my job and boss.  The thought of saying goodbye to Sagan is the hardest one of all and I try so hard not to think about it. 

I had good times with Brian though, problems notwithstanding. We really never fought that much, and we definitely had a lot of laughs. We had a lot of cool experiences and we saw and did lots of neat stuff. We have always been friends and we'll see how much we stay in touch when I leave. The "Grateful Dead Years" were the Golden Age of my marriage. And what more can I say about the west coast? I lived the dream, I really did. Everything that I hoped for came to fruition out here and I had a blast. There were some really dark times too, but I don't really want to rehash or remember them. 

My last day at work was more bittersweet than my divorce being finalized.  My boss and I got really teary eyed when we hugged 'goodbye', but fortunately we live in an electronic age so staying in touch isn't that big a deal.  And he loves to travel and wants to spend some time on the east coast, so I know I'll see Steve again.  It's just really weird for me to think that I don't have to worry about what fresh hell awaits me on my desk every morning.  No more verbal abuse and constant interruptions from the clients.  No more I-5/Highway 16/River Road/Highway 410 commute.

Me, Steve & Deb.  I look horrible b/c I was all weepy and stuff. 

I was reading an article, on I think, about how baby boomers are reaching their 50's and deciding that they want more out of life, new happiness, and are starting to divorce in record numbers, and Facebook is having a direct impact on those statistics as old flames and friends hook up again. A few years ago, most of the divorces we did were short-term marriages. 7 or 8 years was the average. Now we're seeing a marked upswing in divorces among people who were married in the mid-80's to early 90's, after college or military service. Their kids are grown, they are only in their late 40's and early to mid 50's. You don't get windows of opportunities like this very often, or a second chance at happiness and a new life. You can either reach for the brass ring or stay in a miserable situation and then regret it for the rest of your life.

A lot of my friends have been saying that I'm 'brave' to do this and take this leap. I'm not sure what that means because I sure as hell don't feel brave. I've been too busy to think about it really, and I'm still doing everything on my own, which is something that I'm just used to doing cause I always have. I love my man so much and I need to be with him. We are meant to be together and the only way that can happen is if one of us relocates, and it's not fair to ask him to move here. There are many reasons for me to move back, more pros than cons. I can only hope that my stuff makes it back in one piece without it getting blown away in a storm or end up floating down the swollen Missouri River. The trip itself is going to be fun, and we have a place to go to once we arrive. We can pick up the keys upon our arrival on the Cape and move in. I remember when Brian and I moved to San Francisco, how finding an apartment fell into place immediately and I knew that moving there was meant to be. That's how I feel now. I really thought we were gonna have a wicked hard time finding a pet friendly rental home, and I was getting discouraged by the lack of selection, and starting to despair a little bit. To have an actual address takes a weight off my shoulders.

Now I am off on a new adventure.  By the time anyone reads this, I will be on the road, headed east.  I don't know what kind of WiFi, if any, will be available in the various hotels we stop at.  If I check in anywhere, it'll only be on Facebook.  Therefore, I expect to be offline for awhile, as it'll take some time to get internet up and running at our place after we move in.  I expect it'll take 5 or 6 days to make the trip, and we'll hopefully be back in time for 4th of July.

Here's 46 years' worth of memories and my life.  It was suggested that I rope off the sections, but they only give you 2 eyelets on either side, and 2 on the top cross beam, so you can't get terribly creative with it or make a realistic webbing that will keep stuff back.  I did my best to pack and actually had extra room.  I started looking for stuff to fill the empty spaces.  I couldn't reach to stack stuff up high except for the firsts section in the back.  Each section thereafter steps down in height.  I was running out of stuff to fill it, so I ended up putting the lightest stuff on top, and hopefully if it falls, it won't go too far.  The good thing about PODS is that they have a hydraulic system that lifts the container straight up, and then the truck backs in under it and it's set down on the bed and then locked down to it.  The only tipping will be when the truck is going over hills and mountains.  And since the trucks can't travel really fast with loads this heavy, the shifting will, hopefully, be minimal.  Still, I'll be on tenterhooks till it arrives on July 7th.  The 4th of July holiday really screwed me on when it would be delivered.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you, my dear sweet friends, who have supported me, held my hand and kept me sane over the past 6 months.  I truly don't know what I would have done without you guys and I appreciate and love all of you.  

When door closes, another one opens and it feels pretty damn good to step through it with my true love and soulmate.  See you guys soon!  MWAH!!!!!

June 25, 2011

Regrets, I've Had A Few.....

And so my time on the west coast comes to a close.  I've been kicking myself for not being more mindful about making sure that I got to do and see everything I could.  I admit, I got complacent.  I could "always" go anytime, it was "always" going to be there.  I wasn't going anywhere...or so I thought.  There was always one reason or another why I didn't go.  Most of it was financial because I'm so damn cheap.  Now I wish I'd just bitten the damn bullet and spent the extra money for the hotel & gas. In my defense, I had to save up my vacation to go to the Cape, have time off around the holidays and have one other short vacation, which always ended up being to Canada because, let's face it, I'm addicted to Super, Natural British Columbia, which province is my next door neighbour.

I can honestly say that I had, for the most part, conquered my California-themed bucket list.  I didn't spend as much time in the Sierras as I would have liked, but I did see an awful lot of Northern California (and parts of Central and SoCal as well) and I am glad that I did.  When I moved up here, I remember thinking that there was going to be very little need for me to vacation in CA again, since I'd already seen everything I wanted to see (although now that I shoot exclusively digital, I'd love a few do-over vacations to Mendocino & Humboldt Counties).  In the 12 years I've been here, I only went back to San Francisco once in 2008 for Donnie and Mike's wedding. 

Unfortunately, I did not take full advantage of all that Western Washington and the Pacific Northwest has to offer, and I deeply regret that.  I didn't get to Leavenworth.  I didn't do North Cascades/Cascade Loop or go to Cape Flattery or beachcomb the many remote & dramatic beaches on the Olympic Peninsula.  Didn't visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival or the San Juan Islands, although I did sail through the San Juans twice coming back from Vancouver Island.  I've only recently been to Mount St. Helens and at that I didn't go all the way to the end of the road and really spend time there.  I have never been terribly interested in vacationing in Eastern Washington at all.  But I figured that, at some point, I would finally force myself over the Cascades to see what the high desert, channeled scablands, Blue Mountains and The Palouse had to offer.  I've seen pictures of East/South Eastern Washington and it's a different and alien world over there.  I fantasized about finding arrowheads in Eastern Washington, along the Columbia River. The Grand Coulee Dam is over there too.  Then there is the beautiful and mountainous Okanogan region in North Eastern Washington that goes up into South Eastern British Columbia. 

I never got to drive the Sea-To-Sky Highway to Whistler, BC to do a zipline and take the new Peak-To-Peak Gondola between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.  There was the helicopter tour I wanted to take from the summit of Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, that I didn't have time to do the only time I ventured up to mainland BC.  Didn't get to Hope, BC either.  I wanted to spend more time on Vancouver Island but only made it as far north as Chemainus.  I wanted so much to travel farther north and west and see Ucluelet and Tofino.  I had hoped to get back to Victoria one more time to take the float plane tour that never happened for me in the past and see Fisgard Lighthouse and Esquimalt Lagoon.  I wanted to take the Ghostly Walks Tour again, and beachcomb some more at Willows Beach.  

I would also like to have gotten back down to Oregon and visited the super hippie, college town Eugene, home of the University of Oregon Ducks.   I could have even based out of Eugene and taken a side trip to Crater Lake.  It would have been fun to get back to Cannon Beach & Seaside again too.  I love Portland and I wish I had seen more of it, especially the rest of the Bridges and another trip to the Saturday Market wouldn't have been amiss either.    But alas and alack, I rarely ventured out of Bonney Lake on the weekends and now I wish I had.

Less realistic Northwest Bucket List items included the Queen Charlotte Islands of Canada (above Van Isle), Banff & Lake Louise in Alberta and the Kootenay Rockies region of Eastern BC.

On the other hand, I am now returning to a place that I never fully appreciated during the first 24 years of my life, before I fled to the west coast.  Over the years I have kicked myself for not traveling more in New England and the Canadian Maritimes, and I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to see these places. 

I'm going to miss the west coast so much, but my squeeze and I can always travel back up here in the future, and visit the places I didn't get to see yet.  It's going to be a lot of fun (and a novel concept) to have someone who actually likes to travel and spend time seeing things on vacation with me, instead of holing up in the hotel room, reading and not wanting to sightsee, and complaining because I take too long to line up a photo or ask to stop at every scenic overlook.  This is why I have traveled alone the last 6 years.

It's been a blast but it's time to move on and start the next chapter.

June 24, 2011

Seattle Center

Outside EMP was a small collector car show, of lowriders with hydraulics.  I, personally, find those cars annoying and obnoxious and a little too "East LA" for me.  Still, these were pretty fancy and I couldn't resist shooting a few pics.

A Betty Boop-themed VW Bug.

The owner of this car was clearly into orange.

Duck Tours

I love this paperweight.  I love, and desperately want, any and all items by Glass Eye Studios.

This is the food court at Seattle Center.  Mostly chains, like in mall food courts, but ten times more expensive.

More Glass Eye Studio paperweights.

I especially covet the planet and space series.

Awhile back, I treated myself to Rings of Saturn, which is the one in the center of this photo (middle row, 3rd from the left)

I also have a couple of their ornaments, made with Mount St. Helens ash.

June 23, 2011

EMP: Experience Music Project

While in Seattle Center I also visited Experience Music Project and the Sci Fi Museum.  I have to say, I was kind of disappointed.  EMP does have a lot of cool stuff if you have the time to sit at every music station, and I didn't go into the music lab either.  That would be fun to do with friends.  Axe and Madi would have gotten more out of EMP than I did, because I'm not a musician.  Still, I would have regretted not having gone at least once.  

I was also really disappointed to find out that the Lost In Space robot was no longer on display.  Apparently it had been there for 7 years and the sci fi geeks were pressuring the museum to change the exhibit, so I got to see Battlestar Gallactica.  Not having seen the TV show or movie (if there was one...was there?), the exhibit had no meaning to me.  Still, I got to use my favourite line from the TV show, "The Office":


Honestly, this sculpture of instruments was my fave part of EMP.

EMP was pretty much devoted to mostly Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana.  Flash photography wasn't allowed so my pictures are blurry.  This is one of Jimi's outfits.

Eddie Van Halen's guitar.

If you want to really experience the music, you can go into the sound lab and noodle around.

In the Sci Fi Museum.

This was the only thing I recognized in the Sci Fi Museum, as being one of the miniture domes used to film one of my fave movies, "Silent Running".  It was also, apparently, used for Battlestar Gallactica.

Some other thing from Battlestar Gallactica.

And early pressing of Hendrix's "Hey Joe".  When I worked in San Francisco, my boss represented the songwriter who penned this song, Billy Roberts.

One of Jimi's smashed up guitars.

60's rock poster art.

The pink side is my fave.

June 21, 2011

Playing Tourist in Seattle

Scored a sunny Sunday morning so I jetted up to Seattle to visit the Space Needle.

This used to be the old Rainier brewery and had a giant R on the roof.  Now it's Tully's Coffee with a giant T.

Safeco Field from the highway

Pacific Science Center at Seattle Center

The globe spins and it says "It's in the PI", i.e., the Seattle Post Intelligencer paper.

Looking down on Experience Music Project.  It's supposed to look like smashed up musical instruments.

Inbound & outbound ferries arriving at the Port.

These are water bottles.  I didn't buy one; the souvenirs in the Needle were prohibitively expensive.