it’s a new day, it’s a new dawn

 

“Goodbye, Hell Hole!!!!!!!”

That’s what I shouted – because I’m mature and grown-up – as I drove away from my tiny, sweltering ex-studio. I was putting it behind me. Literally.

it's a new day

I’ve been living in my new place for three weeks now. I find myself smiling uncontrollably. I can hear sheep, cows, horses and chickens out in the distance. The most consistent sound I hear is of leaves rustling in the wind.

It’s all music to me.

blackberriescherry plums

I’m currently visiting my folks and packing my car with all of the things that wouldn’t fit in my old place. [I just checked the manual and yes, your parents’ house is supposed to act as a storage unit. Thought so.]

I’m excited to be bringing more personal items and much more kitchenware. My new place is inspiring and full of promise, and I am motivated to step up my game to expand into and embody the possibilities.

The past six months have been a mixture of stress and joy, of limitations and discovery. I still haven’t been sleeping well; I wake up at 4am, 5am, 6am and my mind starts whirring, but this time in a good way. There is so much to do, so much to make happen.

strength

I’ve always had difficulty figuring out where I was going: Where do I belong? What am I doing? Am I making the right decisions? But I think I understand The Force now. You can’t always use your eyes to see. If you know yourself, trust and have faith in yourself, you do your best to feel your way through while remembering to R-E-S-P-E-C-T yourself. You recognize rightness in your bones and you go where they lead you. Dem bones be smart.

I’ll continue to stumble, to doubt, to hope, to practice gratitude. And I’ll try and hold it together if I need to juggle all of those things at the same time, but I make no promises. If you go to your local grocery store and happen to witness a small Asian woman sitting down in the middle of the potato chip aisle, alternately laughing and crying, please don’t disturb me. I mean her. She’ll be fine. It’ll pass.

It’s a grand ride, this life. Full of unruliness, stillness, sudden twists and turns, and the potential for laughter in the face of fear and joy. Better hold on tight. Or loosen your grip. You know what to do for you: The Force awaits.

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ” ~ Pema Chödrön

home

 

 

 

dropping the stick

 

Things were going wonky.

a visual example of wonkiness

a visual example of wonkiness

I moved in February of this year.

The duplex I’m in hasn’t worked out.

I couldn’t keep biting on the stick that kept me from complaining about my neighbor (who is also the landlord’s son) and the paper-thin wall we share. Let me amend that: I didn’t complain much on my blog, but my friends heard plenty. (But it was difficult to understand me with a stick embedded between my teeth: “Dat pun ash bish iza poh-smokeen idit.”)

chewing the stick

I didn’t look this cute biting my stick. I slobbered a lot more.

I’m convinced that finding a place to live has a lot to do with timing and pure luck. The search can be intensified by a tight housing market in a very desirable area. Add to that my unwillingness to settle for just any old place.

A planner like me would be sweating bullets if she found herself without a place to live with seven days to go before her move date. Luckily, that sweaty girl has lovely friends who offered to let her housesit and also stay an extra week if she couldn’t find a place by June 30th.

I was feeling – I mean, SweatyGirl was starting to feel a strange mix of panic and calmness. Sometimes things don’t work out in your favor. Life is like that. Take what you’ve learned, pack it in your trunk and carry it away with you, wherever you may go.

ohmm…ohmmm…

On that seven-days-to-go day, SweatyGirl got a response from an ad she had answered days before. She spoke to the property owner of a small cottage in the country. He asked if she wanted to come by and see the place. SweatyGirl hightailed it over there, fell in love and activated all of her superpowers to try and convince the couple to rent their space to her. She left encouraged, yet she knew that several more people were scheduled to look at the place.

Later that evening, the husband called me. (By the way, I’m SweatyGirl.)

“We’re calling people to let them know that the cottage isn’t available.” He said.
“Oh, I see…” heart sinking…
“We canceled the other appointments because we’d like to offer it to you.”
“Reeeealllly??”

#happydance #sweatierthanever #lucktimingsuperpowers

the view out my window

the soon-to-be view out my window

What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice turned out to be a color of the sky.
 
~ Tony Hoagland, “A Color of the Sky”

real {tiny} estate

"oceanfront property with plenty of great light. perfect for one very, very, very, very small person. act now!"

“oceanfront property with plenty of great light. perfect for one very, very, very, very small person.”

Friend: “How big is your new place?”
Me: “Um, the size of a hotel room?”
Friend: “So it’s about 300sq feet?”
Me: “…”
Me: “…smaller.”
Friend (politely): “Oh.”

Tiny houses are the new rage right now, so people who live in these small spaces (and even smaller) might call my 250sq foot studio a luxury.

I’m not complaining. I do have to share a wall with a 25 year-old who is going on 15, so if I sound muffled, it’s because I’m biting down on a stick right now to keep from bursting out in language that I only use when I’m alone in my car.

But I have the space all to myself. Hallelujah.

I am incredibly lucky to be able to live in a city I’ve been wanting to live in, be in my own place and have the opportunity to transform it into a nest, a place that represents me and the peace that I crave. It’s been a long time coming.

For years, I shoved my needs into the shadows and misguidedly threw them under the bus in my personal relationship.

The Dark: It’s pain I can never forget.

The Light: It’s made me strong and soft at the same time.

I am part of that population for whom trust and faith in oneself takes time to revive, renew, and restore. And our work is never done. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be done. I don’t want to stop learning from, growing up in, and experiencing the billions of moments in this dazzling, unpredictable life.

For now, I’m home.

I can’t say it any better than the incomparable Joseph Campbell:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

 

reunited

wine country

We were together for six years.

We had an on-again, off-again relationship the following thirteen years.

I’ve been looking to move back to Sonoma County ever since I went to college here. Now we’re together again. Finally.

I told you that one of my never-ending proposals would come through. It’s a numbers game, right? The more proposals I make, the better chance I have at one of them saying yes. I’m pretty greedy, so I don’t expect to stop anytime soon. I’m building up to asking a human one day. Or a robot. Which one is better? I can’t decide. Can I have both?

They say “you can’t go home again” and that is most likely true. I have to get to know the area again because it has changed and so have I. But after all of these years, I’ve never fallen out of love with this part of the country.

Let’s see where the romance takes me this time ‘round…

Home

My parents' house

My parents’ house

Los Angeles was my home for over ten years.

Now my home is where I spent the first 21 years of my life.

The differences between the two cities are immense.  The city of Los Angeles has well over 3.8 million people living within its domain.  The county I’m living in now has about 450,000.  The town I’m in?  About 15,000.

But this isn’t a lesson on demographics, it’s a lesson on how to adjust, and I don’t have the answers yet.  Instead, all I have are questions:  How come there aren’t any store employees checking my receipt as I exit Home Depot?  Why are cars stopping to let me walk across the street?  Where will I get my milk tea fix?  Will I lose my edge, my street smarts?

Okay, I have to confess, I never really did have street smarts.  Maybe I’ve always been small town all along.