Category Archives: Uncategorized

Putting the ME in Menopause

I sit here in a room of clutter, packing paper, some filled boxes and a lot of chaos.  I have a hand made 60 day calendar up on the chalkboard pantry doors where I usually write myself reminders or put up the menu for a party so I won’t forget to serve one of the dishes.  I’m moving.  After 22 years, I’m pulling up stakes and getting out of Dodge.  (how did Dodge ever become the term for leaving?) after 61 years in Southern California, I’m emigrating to Oregon.

Back when Dan and I were married, we talked about moving out of LA someday.  He leaned towards Yucca, but I was pulling for someplace cooler and greener.  We never arrived at a consensus, but it didn’t matter.  He didn’t live long enough for us to have a real serious conversation.  After he died, four and a half years ago, I sought to stay put, so stay as close to my memory of happiness as possible.  The truth is, I rarely left the house for a couple of years.  Well, maybe not rarely, but I really clung to our home, to my backyard, to the hot tub, our bedroom.

About a year ago I started thinking more seriously about moving.  I thought seriously about the truth that I am a widow (it changes my dynamic with EVERYONE – and that’s a story for another piece), a nearly empty nester, and I was developing a serious aversion to heat and traffic.  I don’t exactly know how it happened, but I realized, if not now, when?  I’ll only get older.  61 struck me as the perfect time to make a new life.  I’d been reading Realtor.com religiously every night, and it might have been seeing a Treehouse that jumped me into action.  That house was just stunning, unusual, artsy, windows to the trees of southwest Portland and an attractive price.  So, I started putting the pieces together to explore.

My Mom friends and I went up to Portand to visit a friend in December.  Carmen had lived here, and we had talked about the allure of the PNW, but she did it.  Being there in December, it was cold, sunny, and fantastic.  I had a great time.  Then between Christmas and New Years, my newly high school graduated daughter Milly and I went to Bainbridge Island. I wanted a lot of winter weather to confirm that I could take it.  It was glorious. It had snowed the days before we arrived, but just lightly. I remember standing at the shore, with the misty rain and the fog and cold, and holding my arms out welcoming it all.  I felt like the girl in The Shape of Water, as though I’d opened my gills to the mist and wet and belonged.

With those experiences, I decided I should start the process, see what would hold. I met with a realtor here, a woman I’ve been friends with in my Moms circle.  We didn’t sign anything, but she gave me a idea of what I could sell for.  I made a date to go to Portland for 5 days, meet a realtor and just LOOK.  I’d been considering Monterey and Santa Cruz, but you really don’t get enough for your money there.  Plus, Portland is a perfect blend of fabulous urban and glorious nature rolled into each and every block.

Carmen made my visit utterly divine!  She had researched everything in my price range, she scoured Open Houses the weekend before my visit, she visited the Treehouse, she even made sure I had some good old legal Portland weed to make me feel welcome and she put me up.

I spent all day with Carm and my new Portland realtor and by Saturday afternoon, I’d found my home.  What a rush!  The whole in and out of that process maybe the subject of another post, but by the time the airplane doors closed on my return to LA, I had made an offer on the house and been accepted by the time the plane landed.  It was on!

I am on that train to true independence.  I’m moving to a place where I knew a few people, but not enough to make a life.  That will be my mission.  I will make a new community of souls, I will explore a new hiking trail, I will be in a home that I make and that will be the place where my children can come and go, bring their friends, their children, their cats, their dogs, their hopes and we will all exist in a new and evolving form.  I want them to know that when we bring our selves genuinely and hopefully to something new, we can thrive.  I hope to.

Now I just have to put my life into boxes and go.

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Wait. WHAT?

My evening routine is to do all the things I need to do in the house after dinner; clean, launder, dust, make more mess, or unglue my butt from the TV couch, then kiss the baby goodnight and get into bed. I’ll spend the next few hours downshifting from 5th to 1st.  If I don’t…Continue Reading

The Tale of 2 Seniors, 42 Years Apart

Milly and I both became seniors this year.  I turned 60 in August, and she entered her senior year of high school.  This is more monumental for her than for me.  After 15 years of school, each of them almost worse than the last, Milly will finally be done.  While she’s been blessed to have…Continue Reading

Super Hawk

I spent yesterday, Super Bowl Sunday, with the people of the Dan. Being there, amongst his closest friends, makes me happy, nostalgic, sad, and perplexed. I love each of them, but wonder if I truly have an ongoing place in their lives. Does seeing me make them think of him, and is that too sad,…Continue Reading

What is humming for you?

I’m poised inside a glorious flower. All around me are the pedals of friendship. They cushion me with, multiple colors and textures. The closest ones will close in on me when I need to feel that I won’t fall off the bloom, at night maybe, when I quiver and doubt. Every morning the petals open…Continue Reading

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And I don’t even like turkey. What I love is the gathering. I love that we have family to celebrate. I love that every year my uncle (my father’s brother) would place the family on the living room fireplace hearth, set the camera timer and snap our portrait. There…Continue Reading

Women’s Weekend With Men

While the wind is still fresh on my face and my abdomen is still aching from laughter, I have to take a moment to recollect what was. A rock hop on the beach, with the waves lapping slow on the shore, Marta and Dan on either side of me as we shared a collective experience…Continue Reading

My version of THE CHRISTMAS SONG

Who roasts chestnuts on an open pit Jack Daniels nipping at your throats Annoying carols being sung by the kids Why are they dressed like eskimos? Everybody knows the turkey and the pumpkin pie Help to make your stomach burn Tiny tots with their fists full of junk Will find it hard to stop their…Continue Reading

That’s the thing about being Specific

My favorite movie of all time is Out of Africa. One of my favorite lines (and I have many, including “Sh, shoo, shooooooot her!”)is “When the Gods want to punish us, they answer our prayers.” I should have paid attention, as that same kind of prediction has come along to bite me on several occasions.…Continue Reading