Settling In, Family, and the Ducks

Sorry for the long absence; it's been quite a transition period!  I am fully moved in and functioning at the new place.  I like it a  lot, and the neighborhood is indeed turning out to have much more in the way of shops, stores, restaurants and coffee shops, etc.  Zoey and I haven't found our ideal walking route yet, but we're working on it.  The commute to work is better than imagined - maybe a few minutes longer but feels similar and very doable.

It was a LOT to try and move and then travel to Oregon the following weekend.  Yowza!  I would not make that choice again.  But it was the only weekend that worked if I wanted to get a trip in before my Christmas visit.  Drove eight hours Thursday eve and arrived at 2am, then eight hours back Sunday late afternoon, getting in around midnight.  Non-stop busy in-between, seeing my aunt, uncle, cousin and family, going to the Duck game on Saturday, and spending time with my mom.  My brother warned me that she was not doing too well and became tired very easily, which was true.  I was able to pick up some lunch and grocery items she needed, which felt good.  I did not necessarily plan this to be an update about her - I will write more later - but will mention she has one more line of treatment, which is to receive immunotherapy drugs that are still being tested.  Apparently, they have shown promise with skin cancer, which has similar properties to my mom's type of cancer.  In conjunction, she may receive some sort of enzyme treatment.  I don't fully understand it and don't think she does yet either, but she had her first treatment last week so praying for the best.

The family is actually here this weekend for the Duck game with Cal (I did not know they had this planned when I planned my trip up there but it's nice to hang out two weekends in a row, especially right now), which happened last night.  The seats were apparently pretty expensive and included the ability to go to club level.  That was probably the most fun part - hanging out prior to the game at a table in the very nice club area and talking.  Many times, I don't feel engaged with the all-family conversation topics, but we had some interesting exchanges about memories, politics, and current events (talked about medical marijuana for example, and that maybe my mom should try it), as well as one-on-one conversations.  It felt more connected than usual.  The game was fun to watch, too, and the Ducks took over after the first half, wining by a large margin.  The one part I did not enjoy was when my sister dragged me and our sister-in-law up to this douche-bag's "box" in the upper level.  I think she thought it would be fancy and have lots of great food/drink but it did not.  The view was great but the company left much to be desired, as the guy was a big schmooze-y cheeseball.  Oh well, I guess we went up there for my sister, as she had a good buzz going and wanted to socialize.  After the game, I had an interesting, but nice, ride with my mom in a pedicab to a nearby hotel where our car was waiting.  Everyone else walked but it was too far for my mom, and I offered to ride with her.  You kind of feel like a big anchor on the poor guy's bike, but I guess he does it a lot and is in good shape.  Tonight, we are meeting for dinner at a steakhouse in San Jose, where they are staying.

Another piece of news to report is that I found out last night that I did not get the full-time counseling job I interviewed for in Santa Rosa.  I don't think I even mentioned the interview - yeah, that happened during the week after I moved, before my trip to Oregon!  I felt good I was one of 10 chosen to interview out of 65 applicants and was able to pull it off at the level I did.  It could have been a little stronger in parts, but overall, I did a good job with the teaching presentation and interview questions.  In retrospect, however, though I felt my rapport with the interviewers was strong, they seemed to have already made a decision.  Maybe it was one of their current adjunct counselors or someone they knew personally, or maybe someone who interviewed before me just knocked it out of the park.  In any case, I am disappointed but slightly relieved, as it would have meant finding a place up there and moving again in the next couple months.  I heard there may be a position coming up soon in Alameda where I live.

There is more to say about the house and my new housemate.  For example, he has yet to stay overnight here since I have been here, but has been coming by quite a bit and he and his boyfriend stayed here the weekend I was in Oregon.  I have had a couple meals with them and enjoy hanging out with the two of them together as much or more as hanging out with him by himself.  His partner kind of mellows him out, it seems.  The odd thing to me is that my housemate (J) has gone through chaplaincy training and worked as a chaplain, which would seem to involve intense emotions, yet he seems to have intense emotions that can overwhelm him.  Maybe that's not strange - he is human after all - it just catches me off-guard when it happens.  Like when the three of us were at dinner the other night, and his partner said something about how it was nice to go through this ritual at an event after his first partner and mother had died.  After a minute, I commented that I felt a little sad thinking about that because my family doesn't really seek out those kind of meaningful rituals or even talk much at that level.  J then became flustered and tense and said, "We can change the subject now!"  Which we did, but it was quite abrupt.  I'm guessing he still feels a lot of grief about his long-time partner passing away - I think it was a year and a half ago or so.  I'll post more about J and settling in later, as well.

I am going to sign off now to take Zoey on a walk, then head out to buy my niece a birthday present.  I have been keeping up with your blogs for the most part, though just got internet going here at the new place a couple days ago.  I will be able to post and comment more often now.  Exciting birth news from Jenny!  and lots happening with Nell and Abby and others.  Sending good thoughts.


Drama! or "Combining Households is No Joke"

Hello All and Happy Sunday!

I am procrastinating working on my lesson plan for Tuesday (though some thought and research has been put into it already), which is an important one as I'm being "observed" (Judged. Ach!).  The woman who is coming to observe me is kind, though, and I think more easy going than the one last year.  Last year's class observation was actually not a problem or "triggering" for me for whatever reason, though - it was the one-on-one appointment.  You can't plan those out; you just roll with whatever the student brings you.  I will have a different observer for that portion than for the class, and she is also kind and more easy going than last year's.  She has been at the college for a long time, however, and is detail-oriented.  Think "kind school marm" type.  I am focusing on doing the best I can and detaching from the outcome.  Please send me good luck!

On to this week's exciting and dramatic installment of the moving process!  It continues, albeit slowly and with many stops and starts.  More kitchen packing has happened this week with the much appreciated help of a friend, but my stuff is all still here at the old place.  I will begin living in the new place Sunday night, after my furniture makes the transition in the u-haul that day.  Zoey has visited the new place twice now.  The second time was last Friday, and she met the two dogs, which I will talk about in more detail in a little bit.  It was intense, and I made it more intense by my subconscious resistance to moving...

Yes, my fears have continued to come up at times, imagining potential negative impacts on Zoey with the environment change and meeting new dogs, and whether my stuff will even fit in the new place.  We have been quite sheltered here in a way, which has been both positive and negative.  I may have mentioned that living here three and half years is the longest I have lived anywhere as an adult, which shows how transitory my life has been, but my main point is that I really settled in to this place.  Even though the new neighborhood will have people I know - more than I realized - and will be walkable with many great places to eat and hang out (much more than the old neighborhood), it is still hard to let go of the old comforts.

One great thing about my old place has been the backyard - the raised beds with lots of garden goodies, the fruit trees and berries, and the expansive feeling to it.  The new place has a backyard that is nice enough.  It's enclosed for the dogs, smaller but not tiny, and has a lovely tree and bench to sit.  But it's not as open and "lush" feeling.  Not as great for Zoey to run around in.  I have sat a lot at the kitchen table here, looking out into the yard, so it's been a big part of my day-to-day environment.  I have enjoyed meditating in the yard and sitting in the sun, reading.  But part of why I have spent so much time there, as well as on my couch in the living room, is that the neighborhood is not a great place to walk and hang out.  So I think what I'm losing in backyard may be made up in neighborhood beauty and expansiveness, if that makes sense.  If I have talked about this already, I'm sorry.  It really helps to talk about all this - apparently more than once! lol

In any case, because of my fears, I have had my brakes on to some extent in relation to the move, without meaning to do so.  Normally, I would have checked in with my new housemate, J, to confirm when we were meeting Friday, but I kind of "forgot" about it and thus avoided the feelings.  I worked out Friday and was running errands when J texted asking where I was.  I let him know I was out running errands and would call soon.  When I got home, I grabbed Zoey and called to say I was headed over there.  As a side note, we had never agreed on a time, but J had "assumed" a time based on me saying I wanted to avoid traffic, and he hadn't checked in with me to confirm either...

In any case, J was quite frustrated, which I didn't find out until later when he had a minor meltdown.  It was so strange - I was feeling guilty for being super anxious about the dogs and making things worse, so I laid a hand on his arm trying to ease tension and said something about how we are just getting to know each other, too.  Well, I guess that opened a door for him to communicate, and "communicate" he did.  His emotions and frustrations kind of caught me off guard.  I may have mentioned his partner and he lived in this house for 10 years or so before the partner passed away last year, so there's that in addition to J having never been a landlord before and feeling unsure about how to handle some of the details.  Also, he apparently needs to have a renter in asap for financial reasons, which I am just finding out.  I can see my reticence and anxiety were adding to his insecurity.

So, bottom line, he has his own "stuff" going on, which I added to and triggered on Friday.  I imagined for a minute the whole situation might just blow up and was thinking, "Oh my God, where will I go?  I'll have to call my friend Elizabeth." But luckily, we hung in there and were able to talk through it.  Then we spent some time moving furniture around and putting up curtains in my new room, as well as discussing how to combine our household items, which helped us to connect and make things more real.  Whew!  And that was just the "people" dynamics...

The dogs were a whole nother layer!  We took Zoey on short walks with each of the other dogs.  The smaller one, a 6-year-old chihuahua mix named Moses, was first and it went okay except for a couple barking/lunging episodes from Moses.  Zoey does not tend to be submissive with other dogs, nor does Moses, who seems to have a bit of "small dog syndrome."  Meeting the second dog, a larger terrier mix named Rudy, was super smooth - both dogs sniffed butts and walked along fine together, no reactions.  Granted, Rudy is 13 years old and very mellow.  Then, J wanted to throw all the dogs in the backyard off-leash, but I put the kabosh on that, due to Moses' reactivity earlier.  We tried introducing the two of them again on leash at the side of the house but Moses barked/snarled/lunged.  Argh!  J thought it was because I had treats, and he hadn't had dinner yet.

So, Moses got fed, the two other dogs were put in backyard (Z was in house) - that's when the big convo between J and I took place - then Rudy somehow slipped in the dog door while we were putting up curtains (he's never done that before)!  Z and Rudy were again super fine and mellow together.  Then we decided J would get on the floor with those two, with a plan that I would let in the little one and if there were any reactions between him and Z, he would grab one and stand up.  I let Moses in the back door and quickly walked to the other end of the house, practicing my detachment.  I listened for reactions... nothing... J yelled over that everything was fine!  Thank God.  Little Moses got up on his bed in the chair, and the other two dogs just walked around the house with us.  At the end, Moses got down and was walking around too, so I think we got through the hardest part, knock on wood.  I hope to move boxes over Wednesday and/or Friday, before moving the furniture Sunday.

Yikes, here we go!