Tahoe 2018

We returned from Tahoe last Sunday. As usual with my family on vacation, there was a lot of alcohol, so we became a little weary of that, but overall, it was a fun, bonding time. We went out on the boat twice, ate some delicious grilled hamburgers and smoked ribs for the Fourth, played a lot on and around our dock, and had a rockin' dance party with the kids. A few other specific highlights I want to remember:
  • Making pie filling and decorating for Fourth of July with my oldest niece J. She is 10 now and tends to be very independent, so it was nice to have some time with her.
  • Getting up early and kayaking one morning with RC. The water was fairly smooth, the air was cool, and the view of the lake and mountains was expansive. I love kayaking because it brings you down onto the surface of the lake, and it's really fun and easy to paddle and move through the water.
  • My sister and brother-in-law brought these huge inflatable lake toys: a big, pink flamingo, which J enjoyed paddling around, and a huge, several-person raft-type inflatable with an area to lie on adjacent to a circular seating area with room for several people and round open area in the middle so your feet could dangle in the water. We tied the big inflatable to the dock and had several dock chairs, as well, so we had a great place to hang out. The kids (and adults) loved jumping off the end of the dock when they got hot or needed some excitement.
  • Chatting to my nephew, E, since he tended to be up earlier than anyone else and would hang out and eat breakfast while R and I made coffee.
  • Seeing the changes in my littlest niece, D, and what a happy, engaged, and adventurous little girl she is becoming. Loved holding her hand and playing with her in the sand on the hotel beach where we went to visit my sisters friends one day.
  • Sipping bloody mary's and watching a world cup game at a nearby resort with my sister and her family. They got us into it, and we are looking forward to watching the finals this weekend.
  • RC and I being a team and getting along throughout the trip. He supported me at one point when I had some family "less than" stuff come up, was great with the kids, and generally fit in great with my family. At one point my sister asked me about marriage (which we've talked about a little lately!) and looking at me in a meaningful way, communicating her approval. Very cool and moving to me.
Next post will be about our upcoming fertility procedures. It's getting real, folks!


Holiday Trip! And sleep struggles...

First, some fabulous news: I got a new (used) MacBook!! I didn't realize how much I missed having a laptop computer until I didn't have one for a month, when I had to return the other one to my school. It's my precious and I love it. lol

In other good news, we leave for Tahoe early Tuesday morning. I'm starting to look forward to it. We have our meals and snacks mapped out and are going shopping on Monday. It's a longer drive from here - about six hours - but it will be worth it. Looking forward to seeing my nieces and nephew, playing on the water, and going out on our dock and out on the boat. We usually go out on the boat at least a couple of times and anchor it in a nice spot so we can go swimming, listen to music, eat lunch, etc. Really looking forward to kayaking this year, too, with both my oldest niece and with RC. We will watch the fireworks off the dock again, which is always fun. Hopefully we can get the radio station tuned to the right channel from the get-go this time and not be scrambling. Fireworks are definitely enhanced with the choreographed music.

In relation to this holiday, I want to mention that I am aware that our government is currently engaging in acts and creating policies that I am very much against. I don't associate Fourth of July with all that; I think of it as an opportunity to gather with family. But I am talking to friends, signing petitions and looking for ways to take further action to express my deep disapproval. I'm also starting to look forward to Michael Moore's movie about our current president...

I also wanted to bring up a topic and hope to hear feedback from some of you who are currently in relationships or have dealt with this in the past. So RC and I have been navigating blending our lives and daily routines. I have mentioned my frustrations with not currently having much going on in terms of my own activities. I'm noticing how much I need to feel a sense of purpose and meaning in my life or I start to get depressed or sometimes feel a lot of anxiety. I have taken this out on RC at times, which isn't really fair, but we are talking about it and working through it together. Additionally, he sometimes gets attached to his routines, so he is looking at that and trying to be a little more flexible. This comes up around cooking and eating, but especially around sleep patterns, as sleep is something he seems to have struggled with ever since we started dating and beforehand, as well.

Yesterday, I got mad because it seemed like he was blaming me or our relationship for his getting less sleep, when, in fact, I know it's been a constant issue for him from long before I came along. I think my anger really stemmed from the fact that I have adjusted my own sleep and tv-watching patterns quite a lot to meet his needs around bedtime and sleep (in general, I'm watching way less tv, which is good, but has also been a source of relaxation for me). I am usually a night owl, going to bed around 11:30pm or midnight. Now, we start getting ready for bed at 10:30 or 10:45 and are in bed or asleep by 11. I usually ask him about his sleep and sympathize with his struggles, as well. So when he sounds critical of me or like he's blaming me at some level, it hurts my feelings and frustrates me.

Have you gone through the process of integrating different sleep patterns in a relationship? How did you do it, or what did you find helpful?


Looking forward

Well, I guess I would say things have improved though I continue to feel a little stuck around creating a routine and daily flow that works for me. I think that comes with having a life of my own, which I don't have here after three weeks. RC has mostly come out of his funk, for which I'm grateful.

I'm looking forward to two upcoming trips. The first one is the family trip to Tahoe over the Fourth of July. We're just going for three days, but I'm excited to see everyone and play in the lake, boating and kayaking and swimming, etc.

The second trip is the one RC and I are taking for the first round of treatments at Cal IVF. It turns out the trip is just a little over four hours, but RC has to be there for the sperm extraction surgery at 8:30am so we're going over the night before. While he's in surgery, I'm going to get the required saline sonogram, so I get to have some fun too. lol Even though they are uncomfortable medical procedures, I'm really excited to move forward on our fertility plans!

Oh and I did hear back from the university, and I did not advance. Boo. I'm continuing to search and apply. Yesterday, RC and I made a list of fun and interesting activities we want to do this summer, so I hope we can start getting out and playing more. He does have an interview tomorrow for a weekend job in a local wine tasting room. Fingers crossed for some badly needed savings income. A friend also contacted me out of the blue for career counseling support. I love it when work comes in without even trying.


A Bumpy Time

I've arrived and gotten mostly settled in RC's place (I guess "our" place now) on the central coast.

Honestly, it's been a mixed bag so far. I don't regret it, but there are challenges. To begin with,  Introverts living together 24/7 is a recipe for some frustration and irritability to come up at times. I have also found it hard to create my own focus and flow, and have realized I do not feel satisfied when I'm in his flow or routine. It seems like he's always puttering around cooking something, taking supplements, or trying to solve a technical issue with the computers. I'm trying to set some goals each day and develop my own routine.

He's also been waking up in a foul mood, lacking sleep the last few days, which sucks because I tend to wake up in a good mood and enjoy being playful. We've been talking about finances, which brings up stress, and this week he decided, and I agreed, that we should cancel our trip to Texas to see his family because we need to continue working on financial health, especially considering we want to move forward with fertility procedures later this summer. He's understandably sad and disappointed about that, and we've had several conversations about it. I feel helpless to make it better and his negative mood is starting to wear on me. How long should it take to grieve and move on from something like that? It's been a few days.

He's especially disappointed that now he won't get to spend Father's Day with his sons and grandkids, which he was envisioning as a healing experience after many years of getting little recognition on that day. I guess his sons are not great at holiday gifts and gestures. Anyway, I understand that but like I mentioned, his depressive state is wearing on me.

On a positive note, the animals have adjusted well and are more comfortable hanging out together and are even playing a little together in funny ways. It's nice having a cat in my life again. And RC and I have had some meaningful conversations and nice walks and meals together. We had a lovely afternoon last weekend doing a little wine tasting, then sitting on the patio listening to a great live singer, sipping wine, and eating charcuterie.

I still haven't heard back from the university in Oregon, which sucks. I'm still trying to remain hopeful. I kind of miss working, which is strange to say, but it does give a sense of purpose, and I enjoy meeting with students/clients.


Saying Goodbyes

The next time I post, I will likely be with RC in Atascadero! This time is filled with significant endings, mainly in the last week and upcoming week,  that I want to share...
  1. Spring semester at my school came to an end. It was a big push with a couple of my students to get their work completed to graduate. Also, we had online courses that were "self-paced" (translation: "nightmare!"), which had to be crammed to completion, as well. So I spent a lot of time herding cats, but graduation on Thursday was special and meaningful, and we got through the semester!
  2. Related to the end of the semester, I will be giving notice at the community college in the near future. I feel less sure of that, since I was given an abundance of classes to teach in the Fall and went through three interviews before I was offered this job. It's a great school, great area, and a tough one to leave. But having a partner and a family takes precedence, and if I can find employment with the university in Oregon, that will be even better. I applied for unemployment on Friday, based on receiving no summer assignment, and will give my notice as soon as that is established.
  3. After all the intensity of celebrations and goodbyes on Thursday and Friday, I had my last Chalice Circle group gathering at the UU church I've been attending in Petaluma. The theme was goodbyes and OMG y'all, I was so exhausted I was falling asleep in the initial round of sharing. It didn't help that everyone was sharing about the most impactful deaths in their life. Normally, I would be fine and in my empathic counseling mode, but I was not. up. for. it. that night. I apologized and luckily the next round was a little lighter. I'm glad I went for closure and hope to keep in touch with one or two of the women in the group. Through the course of our group meetings and discussions, I did realize that I am more God-focused, even more of a very progressive/liberal Christian, than the general culture of the UU church, so I will probably look for a Unity or other similar-type church wherever RC and I end up.
  4. Now, comes the last of this series of endings: leaving Petaluma and moving out of my house here. Everything has been in disarray since RC was here a week or two ago and we completed a first round of moving stuff into the pod. He arrives again tomorrow for the final push. We will have the guy who helped us last time come again on Wednesday to get everything else out. Then, left with only a blow-up bed and a few necessities, we will sleep a last night in this place and drive down to Atascadero Thursday morning, with Zoey of course. Zoey will be in for a big adjustment time learning to live with RC's cat, Calvin. Luckily they've spent time together already, so we won't be starting from ground zero. I'm a little sad to leave Petaluma, as I really enjoyed living here, especially being in walking distance to downtown and all it's restaurants, shops, and community events - not to mention wine tasting which I did for a last hurrah yesterday late afternoon/early evening. As far as this too-small, funky little townhouse, situated in a too-loud, messy complex? No sadness at leaving that in the rearview mirror.
My last topic is related to beginnings not endings: we are thiiiis close to making a final decision on the three egg donor choices we need to provide to Cal IVF! It's been quite an interesting and fun process, not unlike my process of choosing a sperm donor way back when. We identified and honed the parameters most important to us and made a comparison table with all the relevant data. We had multiple conversations, both in-person last time he was here and over the phone in the last week, mulling over the pictures, genetics, health, and personality/essays of the several candidates in whom we were interested.

All of our current final three candidates, like me, are reflective and thoughtful, are focused on a career in psychology, have a passion for music, writing, and/or the arts, and are active and athletic. The looks side of things was interesting... I wanted women who shared my family traits in terms of hair and eye color as much as possible, and we wanted to feel warmth or "drawn to" their pictures. One of the candidates doesn't meet the warmth factor to the level we would prefer, especially for RC, but she was attractive and everything else is great, so overall she seems like a good choice.

We had one bump in the road when we were told our top choice was no longer available, as she had just been chosen for her final (6th!) donation. It's disappointing but out of our control, so I choose to believe the donor we end up with is the one we were meant to have.

Our next steps are to have the couple's psychological consultation week after next and then RC will go for his sperm extraction procedure in July. At that time, I will also likely undergo another saline sonogram, as unfortunately the one I had before was too long ago.

Please send good thoughts for my move and settling in to RC's  place for the summer. I'm praying it goes relatively smoothly!


Over the Hump

It's been almost a month since I posted! I've been pretty occupied with gearing up for this move. The Variety Show I organized for the students went pretty well. We didn't have a huge turnout for the show, but I considered it a success that most of them did actually perform something and have that success and added confidence going forward. My program Director also posted the show on FB so it got out to more folks and was positive for the program.

RC has been here for the past week supporting me to prepare for moving lots of my stuff into the pod yesterday.  We ended up hiring a guy from Craigslist to help us with labor, as there were a few things that he and couldn't have moved on our own. We are now on the other side, and I feel super relieved! My place has emptied out and now just has necessities to get through the next 10 or so days. RC is coming back in about a week, next Monday, for the final load-in, and then we head down the coast to his place. Crazy!

We have had some tension this week, because he had expectations of how the week would go with him being here - that it would mainly be about him physically moving stuff. But for me, and I tried to communicate this to him but not clearly enough, the initial task was providing moral support and provide energy/encouragement to get some challenging organizing/packing steps done. A big challenge was that I had to work last week, so he was at my house feeling frustrated during the day  because he felt he couldn't move forward on that much.

But to me, it was hugely helpful to do certain things, like: move the boxes out from under the stairs so I could sort through them and repack some of them; buy more boxes and packing stuff at the store; repack a storage bin that had collapsed and take apart the crib and desk, etc. I had a little energy left when I got home to do a few things, but then I needed to rest and recharge for the next day of work. I knew tasks were moving forward in the way they needed to though, whereas he couldn't see it as much because it wasn't his stuff.

Anyway, we ended up talking it through Friday evening and Saturday morning I got a bunch of stuff done for when the moving guy came at 11:30. We had a wonderful walk around the lake that we like to do and a nice dinner where he actually broached the topic of marriage (!), so the week is ending well. I'm going to go make him breakfast before he has to drive back. Feeling a lot of gratitude and excitement about future possibilities. I also had a phone interview with that university in Eugene this week - more on that later!


Big Changes

Sunday morning, April 22...beautiful day here in Northern California. Feeling grateful for the weekend and catching up on sleep after a hectic week, including a tech rehearsal for the Variety Show I'm producing for our program as drama club advisor, and the show is coming together, though I have felt like I am herding cats for much of the process. After next Thursday evening, the show will be complete, and I will have a lighter load.

I've been spending some time this weekend planning and thinking through action steps to prepare for moving in with RC at the end of May. We came up with this new plan after he had a mini-breakdown thinking of moving up here right now. He has lived in his place much longer than I have and will be getting rid of lots of stuff in the move. Also, he has a strong support system down there, and he just started an intensive 12-week online program to become a fitness trainer.

As we talked through it more fully, it does make sense that I put my stuff in storage and move down there. I have no work up here - he can work some part-time concert event hours down there at a winery - and I can get unemployment wherever I am located. Also, I am seeing it as an opportunity to really focus on creating my online introvert/professional career transition program.

The negatives include: his place is not very nice, as I mentioned earlier; I have pack up all my stuff again after doing that just a year ago; and we will be living on the Central Coast in a location that is less desirable than my current neighborhood.

I think the positives outweigh the negatives, though, and include: saving money through paying less rent and his additional income; simplifying my life so I can really focus on creating this online program; he and I spending quality time together this summer in-between both of us focusing on completing online programs - he from the student side and me from the counseling/coaching side; and giving him more time to sort through his stuff and decide what to get rid of, keep, or store.

The negatives are mediated by the fact that it will be time limited - two or three months at the most - after which we plan to move closer to family in Eugene or Austin! We have been talking about this since we met and will likely be taking a short trip in June to visit his family and check out Austin. At this point, Eugene is looking much more likely because he really liked it there and my family has the athletic club business where he could work part-time, to supplement his retirement income. But I'm open to falling in love with Austin and switching gears if both of us feel that way and see a positive future there. As a side note, I have applied for a job at the university in Eugene, which could definitely be a factor, as well.

Spending some time on the Central Coast also has perks in that I have a couple of friends to spend time with down there from when I lived in the area (where we met), and it really does have some beautiful hikes and state parks, some along the ocean. His friend has a winery, as well, which might be a benefit and a fun place to visit.

I guess overall it makes sense, but it's a huge pain in the immediate time frame of May when I will be packing up! He's coming down to help in a couple of weeks. I'm going to get a pod so that we don't have to unload the stuff into storage and can just move it up the coast to Oregon, if that's where we decide to settle, or to Austin if the ship turns in that direction.

Of course, my priority remains having a child through the California ivf donor egg program, and a big reason to save money is so that we can go forward with that in late July or August. It makes sense that we stay in California through August so that we can drive to complete the treatments there, versus having to fly. In the meanwhile, I have started working out and taking supplements and will continue to work towards being as healthy as possible before the transfer. Our next steps are my getting all the fertility tests done again, and he doing some tests then going through sperm extraction and freezing, probably at the end of June or beginning of July.

How's that for some big changes?