Tag Archives: moving

I’ll be darned and happy new year

Dear readers,

According to our year-end stats, people are actually reading my blog, and that has inspired me to get a little more active here in my virtual journal-land. Thanks for your continued interest and encouragement during my big transition to living in California!

San Francisco, my new home


My head has been spinning since first arrived in California on December 5th, returned to Seattle, attended meetings in Spokane (to wrap up work), and returned to California once again, all within a two-week period. In the last month, I signed a lease on an apartment, broke said lease, ignored Christmas and celebrated New Years Eve at a fun dance in the Castro, followed by midnight hitch-hiking and hysterical laughter with Kytha, have attended numerous yoga classes and dharma talks, seen every movie of interest, started the new job, was laid off the new job, signed a contract to work for the Santa Clara Mental Health Department instead, made a few new friends, and am preparing to move to a flat in San Francisco, right in the heart of the city’s Mission district, across the street from the women’s building. Whew! 18th Street is a thoroughfare for the annual dyke march and Critical Mass bike ride, among other political and social activities. Talk about culture shock (honey, we’re not in Kansas anymore…or Bainbridge Island, for that matter).

Critical Mass, monthly in San Francisco


I’m finding it easy to connect with the lesbian community, thanks to the internet, friends, and “Meet Up” groups. My roommate teaches yoga, and through her, I’ve made some nice connections which led to activities such as eating dim-sum on Christmas day and attending a cheese-tasting party at a local goat farm. I enjoyed Christmas dinner with Terri and her co-housing neighbors and family. Cousin Joe and his handsome gay friends took me out for a night of dinner and live music at the Rrazz Room, a small dinner club located at the ritzy Hotel Nikko in SF. I spent a glorious, sunny day at Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park with a new friend. It appears that I’m going at a rather frantic social pace, however, and I’m admittedly packing a lot in before work starts again, and I’m back to parenting when Jack joins me. My spirit is thriving here, despite the unexpected upsets along the way – the abrupt ending to work after only 7 days on the job, thinking I moved here and would now be unemployed, losing my deposit on the new apartment, losing my wallet, having my bank-account frozen for a week, and missing my son and Island friends, among other things!

Kim Nalley, singer extraordinaire, Rrazz Room


All of these trials and mis-steps have pushed me to the outer edges of my emotional limits. One day, when I thought I was unemployed, my bank account was frozen, and my wallet, missing, I had a major meltdown. Sitting in the parking lot at DMV, wondering how many hours of torture I would have to endure to obtain a California driver’s license, the phone rang. Even before I could answer, I burst into tears, seeing that Jillian was on the other line, and would know just what to say to help me put things in perspective. Five blubbering minutes later, I was giggling at the absurdity of my situation, and had braved the long line, waiting to have my picture taken with bright red eyes and a swollen face. The photo was horrible, but I was miraculously out of there in 35 minutes, even with having to take the written exam! Things improved from there – I found my wallet, I got a new contract, and my assets were freed up by Wells Fargo (whereupon I immediately closed my new account).

Friends and loved ones have spent hours on the phone and emailing me (you know who you are). Attending dharma talks and practicing Buddhism have also helped me keep perspective, and to stay focused on gratitude and what is working (I’m making great new friends, getting a break from work and parenting for the first time in years, I have a terrific place to live, I’m getting the luxury of socializing to my heart’s content, and getting to focus solely on taking care of myself, among other things).

The Women's Building - across the street from my new apartment


Ultimately, this experience has illustrated that even when we are stripped of our work, our money, our belongings, all that’s familiar – even our identification, what hopefully remains are the loving relationships that sustain us, along with our faith. Of all the things I could lose, the most painful would be the love of my friends and family. How lucky am I, that in the midst of all the drama and uncertainty of the last month, I knew my friends were there for me in any way I needed, day or night. And really, what was the worst that could happen?

I’m also reflecting on my own progress and personal growth. A year and a half ago, during another very challenging time (my mother dying, among a list of other things), I reacted in a self-destructive way that only inflicted more pain and misery upon myself. This time, I’m staying connected with others, taking care of myself, and reaching out, rather than giving in to momentary fear and overwhelm. Everything passes, even misery. We must remember that, and never give in to the momentary pain that life will inevitably cast upon us.

Happy New Year, everyone. Aren’t you glad we made it through 2010? Here’s to a little more lightheartedness and joy this coming year. What are you most grateful for?

Dedicated to Gracie, I still miss you, my little friend.

Gracie

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If you ain’t scared, maybe you ain’t livin’

Well, at least this is something I tell myself as I delve into my new life here in the Bay Area, after a relatively mellow run (work wise) in the Pacific Northwest. I am incredibly nervous about my first day in the office tomorrow, knowing there is a great deal of political and other pressure on me to make the project I am to lead, succeed.

The move has not been without its drama. My subleasors have decided, after 3 days in my old place, that it needs major work which my landlord isn’t willing to do (like servicing the furnace after a 13 year hiatus and cleaning out the nasty duct work and moldy windows…As a result, I may lose out on the return of my sizable deposit should they leave, and I feel badly that my new tenants are so unhappy and will likely move out, due to unresolved problems. I’m also mad at myself for living in those conditions for a year and a half, and not insisting the work be done when the landlord ignored my requests or asked me to deal with it myself.

All this said, I’m loving California – the sun was shining today and there was a warm breeze outside the open window. I slept in a bit, worked all morning, then took a break to go buy a printer and have lunch at the Emeryville Market, and to purchase an audio book to accompany on my new commute to San Jose, starting tomorrow. My temporary roommate is warm, welcoming and accommodating. I feel fortunate to have found such a great temporary housing situation, however, I miss my kiddo and girlfriend terribly…who am I if not a partner and mom? Oh, yeah, career girl! I asked for it, after all. Yes indeed.

Oakland sky today, December 6, 2010


I have to be patient and loving with myself and just trust that I’ll get through this state of ambiguity…being away from my friends and loved ones, living with a near-stranger, living in a city that I must reacquaint myself with, and the uncertainty of a new job and all its expectations. (What if I fall on my face???)

Yet this is exactly what I’ve been dreaming about – a challenging new direction, living in a sunnier, more urban climate, and I just have to go through (and embrace?) the transition period. A year from now, I will feel settled once again…reacquainted with old friends and family, established in my job, newly acquainted with co-workers and associates, and Jack will be with me, hopefully enjoying own Bay Area adventure. And with any luck, Noel will be here, too. So much trust, so much patience, required for this larger-than-life move.

I realized today that not since 1986, have I made a move of this magnitude, alone. I’ve always had a lover helping me with all the little details, comforting me in bed at night, pitching in with all the little details like setting up the cable. It’s hard to do all of this alone and I do find myself waking up at 2am, heart pounding, and palms sweating. But then I talk myself down, remind myself this scary feeling is part of any big, positive change, and keep moving forward. I remind myself of all the times I made big changes in the past, and how afraid I was – to attend graduate school, to have a baby, to move to Seattle 5 years ago…all huge and wonderful changes, that I don’t regret, but which terrified me at the time, as does this change.

Breathe, Alisa. Just breathe, and take it one day at a time.

I’ve been reading through numerous documents related to my new job. Feeling there’s an awful lot of bureaucracy and verbosity involved, and that it could all be much more simple than it’s become. Maybe that will be my contribution to the project….applying my motto of, “KISS”. Hopefully, I won’t just be dealing with a bunch of egos, but with people who sincerely care about the educational and psycho-social needs of young children and infants. I’d love to be a part of something meaningful, with a lasting legacy, that I can truly believe in and promote. I hold a high vision for myself, hoping to make a positive and constructive contribution to what is about to become my 24/7 life, at least for a while.

Here’s hoping for a good nights sleep, sweet dreams, and keeping the faith, when I find myself asking myself, What the hell was I thinking?”

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