Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Pedicure

In a previous post, Three Out of Three Doctors Agree, I talked about my upcoming appointment with the surgeon's scalpel --or to be more precise, my tonsils' upcoming appointment with the scalpel. The day was fast approaching, way too fast, tomorrow in fact. I wasn't ready. Really, would I ever be ready?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Synchronicity of San Diego

This is a tale of two visits to San Diego. Before this latest weekend at San Diego, I last put on my traveling shoes, packed myself and the dog up to go to San Diego the weekend before I was laid-off. I remember it as one of the most relaxing weekends I had had in a long time. I only went to the beach once and that was to go down to Ocean Beach's Azucar to get a Cuban coffee con leche. The rest of the weekend was spent outside in my sister's backyard, reading, resting, watching the two dogs (my dog and his cousin) tear up and down the lawn. I was carefree. I was laughing. I was weightless.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Leaving San Diego

Leaving San Diego is always hard. I don't know why, but I feel like I am leaving home. I don't live there, I have never lived there, but it feels like home. Maybe because my sister lives there, maybe because of the vacation atmosphere. No demands on my time, no stress, no worries. I suspect it is more than that.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Life's a Beach

I know I always say that Life's a Beach when I come to San Diego, but it never fails to be true. I seem to sleep better, I wake up feeling refreshed. I made the drive over day before yesterday, and it is more than leaving the heat of the desert behind. The air changes, becomes less heavy. The air here is alive, dancing. The air doesn't smother, but beckons, with an outstretched finger, enticing me in to the outdoors. Breathing the moist air saturates my cells, my being and I don't dread taking Marlowe out for his morning walk. There is a newness in the air.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Traveling Shoes

I have decided to take the rest of the week before the surgery, my tonsillectomy that I talked about in my last post, and head off to San Diego. I often flee the heat of the desert to the comfort of my sister's place in San Diego. I even have my own bedroom, the blue room. I enjoy the drive over the mountain. In fact I just like going for a drive, period. Marlowe likes going for a drive, too. Sometimes I think he thinks he can drive. As soon as I start packing, he knows we are going on a trip. He waits by the front door, waiting for me to open it with the first load then he'll scoot out. I'll always find him in the same place--right beside the car on the passenger's side, in expectation, waiting for me to open the door, the magic door. He loves sitting up front, looking out on the world. Getting ready for the trip is easy for me-- I keep a bag packed so I can head out to San Diego at a moment's notice. I can walk out the door and be on the road within fifteen minutes. Getting Marlowe's things together is a whole different story. I don't have that down yet. I don't have the science of getting Marlowe packed and out the door down to the last detail. But then having Marlowe as a companion is still new and we are still getting used to each other's routines.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Three Out of Three Doctors Agree

I had been putting it off, no question about it. The standard excuse, I am too busy. But the truth was, I was scared. One of the things that I was doing during the past few weeks was getting all my doctors appointments out of the way while my health insurance was still paid for my old employer. I had until July 6th before I had to cough up a whopping $654 a month to pay for my COBRA-- my health insurance--thanks to the info in my manila folder. At each doctor's appointment, they all said the same thing--isn't it time to get your tonsils out, we've been telling you to do it for the past five years.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Filling the Day

It's the beginning of the third week of trying to fill the days. I am finding that sleeping is a good thing, and I am sleeping a lot. I don't know if this is an avoidance response or if I am truly that tired. Perhaps it is a combination. I had only been sleeping about six hours a night before, and for years. So this is a chance to catch up. I am enjoying the afternoon naps, just a brief lie down. I don't know if it is because I can, because I am tired, or because I am bored. I am genuinely tired. I have been--or had been--pushing myself to the limit. Even my sister noticed it on our vacation in Kauai. She commented on my driving skills, and lack of reflexes. I was not as sharp as I usually am. Toward the end of the trip, after all the de-stressing that only Hawaii can bring, I was back on track. But then, unfortunately I was also back at work and the stress was back.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Leaning Tower of Books

Upon further assessment as I talked about in Earthquake Weather, I did have earthquake damage after this week's earlier earthquake after all, it was just hidden or maybe it was there all along. I have stacked my books up against the wall in my bedroom. First it was one stack and then another, and then another. It was this final stack to lose its internal structure and fall down Jenga-style in the corner of my bedroom. I can easily place the blame for the fall on the earthquake, but the truth is, I have no idea when the cascade of books happened. All I can say is I noticed it the morning after the quake, the morning I was cleaning out underneath my bed, the morning I decided to vacuum my bedroom.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Wide Open Door

I was thinking some more about Seattle, about traveling, about freedom. I was thinking of that lunch with my nephew and the thought that as much as I am enjoying having him home from school, he will be going back. This is not his home anymore. Was this ever really my home? I moved down here to be closer to family, to my sisters, to my nephews, to my mother, to move because that is my pattern. I don't know that I would have chosen to move here, specifically, if family ties did not pull me here.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Footnotes --or rather Pawnotes-- to The Dog Walker

Writing is as much about what you put into a story as what you leave out. After I finished yesterday's blog, The Dog Walker, I did, yep, you guessed it, took Marlowe for a walk. And as so often happens on these walks as my body is engaged, my mind is free to work out problems, plan the day, solve the world's crises, or in this case continue to write more about yesterday's story. And so to quiet that monkey chatter in my brain, here is the rest of that story...

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Dog Walker

I had to fire the dog walker yesterday. To be fair and soften the blow, I took the dog walker to our favorite hangout, IHOP. I explained that now that I am home during the day I would be able to take Marlowe out for his daily walks. The dog walker seemed more relieved than I had anticipated. I think the thought of not having to go out in the 110 degree weather anymore was a huge bonus, but then the wave of realization of the loss of income moved across his face, so I threw him a life line. If ever he needed pocket money, gas money, movie money, In-N-Out hamburger money, he could always come by and walk the dog, that door was not closed to him completely.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Earthquake Weather

"Today" by Langston Hughes
This is earthquake
Honor and Hunger
Walk lean together.

That poem, "Today", and those brief, terse words, kept running through my head last night as the jolting started. I knew that this was earthquake weather even before the earthquake hit. The birds had stopped singing -- a smothering hush like someone placing a lid on a pressure cooker. A vacuum in which no sound could exist. Even I was holding my breath for fear of creating the tipping point. But the rumbling jolt happened anyway. Living along a fault line for as long as I have, I have gotten to the point where I can almost pinpoint the magnitude and direction of the earthquake--I am beginning to be able to narrow down the fault line, too. I have lived in earthquake country almost my whole life. I had tickets to the 1989 World Series between my San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's the night of the Loma Prieta earthquake but I was late getting off work and didn't get to go. Not that I didn't feel the shaking and swaying. I was used to a few seconds of the dizzy, roller-coaster like motion, but that earthquake did not stop. I was not used to that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Where Does the Money Go

I awoke again having overslept. But in all fairness, I did sleep a full eight hours. Having finally fallen asleep at three o'clock in the morning, waking up at 11 is not terribly late. Waking up at 11:05 would have been overdoing it. I let myself read last night. I did not, as is my usual pattern, read a chapter and then turn off the light. I read, and then kept reading until the words starting running into each other. I decided I would finish Proust's Swann's Way, a rambling odyssey that has been described as a book best read by those suffering a long and protracted convalescence. I think that this time in my life qualifies. I feel like I am beginning a convalescence, that I am starting a period of healing. Like a dog sulking off into the corner to lick his wounds, I, too, am beginning to discover my wounds. The numbness is starting to fall away and the pain is rising to the surface. The protective layer of foggy sedation is wearing off. I would now have to start dealing with the realities. The realities of this is my life now, in this moment, this is my life.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Manila Folder

The manila folder was staring at me. I know it was, because I was avoiding it. Acknowledging the presence of the folder was to acknowledge the certainty of my new existence. I had taken the folder out of the car and placed it on the dining room table, in full view of my every movement. I could see it from the kitchen, I could see it from the living room. I could see it as I walked in to the bedroom. I could see it as I walked out the front door to take Marlowe for a walk. I could feel its stalking eyes, if the folder had eyes, following me from room to room. I could no longer bear the strain. I hid the folder under the phone. I had to for my sanity. I had to, because the folder made the "letting go" real. Without the folder I could still pretend that this was just a vacation, a long weekend, I'll go back to work on Monday. The folder, in its absolute silence, was mocking me. I knew that as long as that folder existed, my job did not.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

This Is How You Begin to Put the World Back Together

In the rush of the every day, the every day takes on a life of its own. The infamous "I'll get to it tomorrow" is not merely a saying but rather a way of life. I have stockpiled so many "I'll get to it tomorrows" that I find myself buried under an avalanche of dusty letters to be read, dusty Netflix movies to be watched, mail to be sorted, life to be sorted, breaths to be taken. I wanted to take this time to slow my life down, to stop the minutes from flying by and to start savoring each moment. While I knew I was not quite there yet, I knew that I had to start. And what better way than with a little help from my friends.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Seduction of All the Time in the World

The trap is the freedom-- the seduction of all the time in the world. I can see myself getting caught up in the thought of squandering time, because time no longer has a value. I woke up this morning at the usual time, the time of my usual life, the time for my usual life. I walked the dog. I fed the dog. I did some knitting. And then an overwhelming fatigue hit me. A wave of somnolence enveloped me, my eyelids were made of lead, I had to struggle just to make it back to bed. I told myself I would just rest for a half an hour. Just a quick catnap and I would feel better. I slept for five hours.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'm Not Unemployed, I'm on Sabbatical

I woke up this morning, Wednesday, the day after cleaning out my office, with a rush of anxiety thinking I had overslept. I did. But it didn't matter because I didn't need to be anywhere on time, for a change. I was surprised my dog, Marlowe, hadn't woken me up, but then he was probably relieved not to be rousted so early in the morning and grateful for the chance to chase more rabbits in his sleep. I had the overwhelming sense I was playing hooky from work and that I would be found out. The realization that I was no longer part of the working class took a bit to filter through to my slowing wakening brain.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What To Wear When You Are Cleaning Out Your Office

The next day, a Tuesday, I had to clean out my office. Strangely enough, I had previously set aside that day as the day to clear off my desk, do some filing, and, in essence, clean out my office. Two years ago I was asked to take over the job on a Friday afternoon because the previous manager had left in the morning. No warning. Just left the office, the piles of paperwork, the responsibilities and walked off into the sunset. The office never stood a chance. I never got the time to do a proper cleaning or filing. Stacks of paper were more or less piled into some semblance of organization.  And Tuesday was going to be the day I could finally conquer and vanquish the clutter and mess. Well, that I did. I finally found the time to clean out my desk. I was finally given the time to clean out my desk. The phone no longer rang, and I had no pressing e-mails to answer. I had all the time in the world.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Parking Lot Exit

I had a beer last night, the night of the "letting go". I had to go to the store to get one because I don't drink beer except occasionally when going out with friends and certainly not in the middle of the week. But yesterday was shall we say unusual, and I suddenly realized, I didn't have to worry about getting up on time, or going to bed at a decent hour. I could do what I felt like doing. In essence, last night, a Monday night, was like the first Friday night, if not for the rest of my life, at least for the immediate future. I had a devil of a time picking out a beer. Probably because this is the first time I have gone to the store to do just that. I noticed I felt incredibly numb and even though I could read the labels on the bottles the letters were really not forming words in any coherent pattern. If this is the way I am before a beer, I wondered what it would be like afterward, I thought to myself. I may have not actually thought it, but rather said it out loud given the look I got from a Bermuda shorts wearing man in the wine aisle. I treated my taste buds to a high end craft beer-- the last beer I remember drinking a few months back because the bottles had a blue label and a pretty picture of a moon.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Beginning of the Journey

I was on a cruise three weeks ago. A snorkeling, sight seeing cruise to the Na'poli coast in Kauai. A five-year-old boy sitting in the seat behind me asked the captain, "How long is this cruise?" The captain replied "As long as it takes to get back home." The journey is as long as it takes to get back home. The journey takes as long as it takes. No more, no less.

My cruise into a different set of waters began Monday at 4pm (Pacific Daily Savings Time). It seems important to note the time-- the time of departure. I was told that my position that I have held for two years has been eliminated. Sounds had the same muffled tone that I experienced while snorkeling in Kauai, the fading in and out, clear then garbled. I had to sit down, oh, I already was.

I had e-mails, and schedules, and purchase orders to complete. I was told they are no longer my concern. No longer my concern. My cruise begins now. The cares and the woes of the everyday work world are no longer my concern. I have been let go, I have lost the anchor of my everyday. I am adrift in the sea without a cruise director.

And now, what's next?

That's what I will be chronicling in this blog-- the what's next. I don't know how long this cruise will be. But it will be an adventure, an exciting voyage, finding the way out and then home again.

© pranaknits