Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wagging my tail

On the road again.  We have taken another generous friend up on the offer of a cool basement in which to unpack our bags and rest our weary heads.  We have officially (and temporarily) moved out of Flame.  Turns out the septic issue was bigger than we hoped and she must go to the shop.  Coupled with the extreme heat that sends the dogs into the wrong kind of tailspin, it was just too much.  So here we are at Jessie and Jairo’s where the dogs have been coming for years.  We met this lovely couple many moons ago when they were recommended as the perfect people to watch our house when we travelled – even more importantly, they would treat our dogs as their own and take care of them better than any 4-star doggy daycare ever would. 

Last night over dinner, we reminisced.  Jessie and Jairo have known all our animals, beginning with Jaxson, then Darby and now Roscoe and Tigger – and of course our cats too.  The dogs have stayed here many times and have their routine with the two canine residents.  Now, we have interrupted the routine a bit as they sleep in the basement with us – and we don’t rise quite as early as our hosts who wake before the dawn and are out and about taking dogs to the dog park or on strolls along one of the many fabulous trails that wind through these neighborhoods.  How is it that in the heart of the suburbs there are more trail options than we have in the boonies?  We took second shift dog walking and our two showed us around.  See that tree mama-papa?  We have peed there many times before.  See that squirrel?  He is my nemesis – I must eat him.  Now they lounge in this cool basement as we begin our workday. 

Jessie and Jairo loaned us a wire drawer unit that I am officially in love with.  Unpacking in Flame was such a relief, so moving yet again and living out of bags makes me a bit grumpy to say the least.  This drawer system is amazing.  A garage sale find, it now holds all my pj’s, underwear, bras, shorts and t-shirts.  I had to force myself to share it with David.  I believe it to be the answer to all my problems.  How will I ever say goodbye to it?  We will have this lovely resting place as a home base for the rest of July until we head south, and the dogs will stay here until we return at the end of August.  They have a good life here.  Built in playmates, loving stepparents, room to roam, couches to lie upon, toys to play with – and they can escape the scorching heat.  Again at Flame yesterday, Tigger was not happy.  I soaked him with water a few times but each time he would dry he would obsessively pant and try to locate any patch of shade to no avail.  Again, he took refuge in the car, this time mountain climbing over a pile of stuff to access the back of David’s truck.  We simply cannot do this to our dogs.  When the heat breaks, we can try again.

Flame will go to the doctors sometime this week and they will hopefully fix her up good as new.  I keep my mind from wandering down the path of “we f-d up majorly…” or of lamenting the blind faith I had in the lovely couple from whom we bought her.  As two separate repair people have said, it is highly unlikely they did not know about this very large problem. Evidence of years of leaking in the underbelly with corrosion and gross stains – as well as the unmistakable odor once the tank has anything in it, especially noticeable on the road.  Maybe they were unknowingly handed a can of worms and merely passed it along.  Who knows?  We know that the buck stops here and she will have a new tank and a new underbelly. 

I pause for a moment to consider my day.  A meeting with a new client then a large block of time to write and settle before my author group tonight.  Tomorrow, no plans except to celebrate the 4th of July sans fireworks with most of the rest of our parched state.  I plan to enjoy “city life” for as long as we have it.   The proximity to retail heaven is a nice change.  Whole Foods, Costco, TJ Maxx, Home Depot and even IKEA are all within 15 minutes.  Nothing is within 15 minutes where we used to live.  I can pop out to a store and come back and pop back out again.  Us mountain people just don’t do that.  There is no “popping” anywhere.  If we forget something at the store, it stays forgotten until the next trip “to town”. 

We will make trips back up the hill to visit our friends, do more work at the property, meet our builder, tend to Flame before her trip to the doc.  And, down here, we will visit the enormous Farmer’s market on Sunday; we will explore the trail system as our dogs become urbanized – and who knows what other pleasures of civilization we will find.  I feel safe from any forest fires here.  Even though the Waldo Canyon fire proved to all of us that even a city might not be safe, I am fairly certain we are out of forest fire danger this far into the ‘burbs.  We can breathe a sigh of relief on a deep level that hopefully will penetrate our over-tired, ragged souls.  Friends have given up the niceties and now just tell us we look exhausted.  Circles have formed under the circles under our eyes.  We desperately need to unplug and have the mantra “one more month, one more month” and then we will be on a plane to Florida to begin some seriously needed R&R time.  We will temporally turn our back on all the reminders here.  We will revel in the sun, wind and sea.  We will sail into the horizon and possibly fall off.  Interestingly, we still have not booked any return flights.  If it weren’t for those dogs… hmmm. 

In the meantime, we will have moments of escape like joining in Jessie’s guilty pleasure of watching the Bachelorette.  Yes, I was sucked in.  Who will she choose?  What will she do?  Are they in love?  Never having watched this show before as we don’t own a TV, it was a great end to our hectic day.  I wish I could say that dreams of sugarplums danced in our heads after but alas that is not the case.  My worrywart mind took over again and I tossed and turned for a while. 

As I watch my dogs snooze soundly after their morning walk, I attempt to glean some wisdom.  Snooze on a cool floor whenever I can, take every opportunity to chase a squirrel, fart at whim, and most importantly, always wag my tail.   

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Writing my way through

All I want to do is write.  I want to lock myself away with a big table, spread out my computers and files and papers and write my ass off.  When I am away from my computer, my mind spins and whirls with words to write and things to say.  It’s easier to write than to speak at this point.  My friends ask how I am, and before I answer, I ask if they have read my blog.  It makes it so much easier.  We have a starting place versus having to catch up on so many places and spaces.  I appreciate that it could be annoying but these are the friends who I know will be there thick and thin so they are willing to take the 10 minutes and read my words.  Otherwise, the energy expenditure feels immense.  I beg: please just read it, and then ask me, ok?  Mostly, they say ok.  My world has gotten smaller at the same time my words are reaching more people.  I haven’t spent “social” time with more than a handful of people.  It’s normal in times like this to retreat.  In retreating, I am not isolating.  I am re-grouping, re-gathering, re-forming.  And, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you.  I am conserving my energy.  It is a primal need to do so.

These days, I enjoy the quiet.  I like the times where it’s me, a dog or two, my computer and the breeze.  Not the wind, mind you, but the breeze.  I still don’t like the wind as it gusts and howls like crazy as it rattles the scorched trees.  Erratic is what it is and that leaves me feeling raw and vulnerable.  The dogs don’t like it either.  I took Tigger on my stop over at Flame the other day.  He got out of the car, ran around a bit, then hopped back in the wayback refusing to budge.  The mice are taking over sans human interference, and apparently they have nightly raves.  They shred any paper in site, making confetti or completely vanishing it from where it was.  They have been eating through the hard plastic lids of Costco’s mixed nuts.   These are dedicated mice!  We have declared war again, and return periodically to remove carcasses that have begun to stink as the sun cooks the trailer.  Each time I think of any of this, I doubt my choices.  I didn’t want to make the “wrong” choice as we proceeded through this maze of chaos.  Someone reminded me about hindsight.  It is always easy to judge looking back.  I just keep adding up the dollars we have spent and subtract them from our house budget.  There goes the granite counter, lost to fixing the leaking septic on Flame.  There goes my tiled entry… There goes my…. I could go on and on.  And, I won’t.  I still want (and plan) to return to living in Flame.  I still love her sleek silver silhouette.  I have to look forward, not back.  Adding regret to my pile of angst is not in the best interest of my mental health.

Yesterday I held a writing day with my clients.  These days morphed from my own personal writing time I blocked in my calendar.  I extended an invitation to write with me and this became a regular offering of my author coaching programs.  Since the fire, mostly I have facilitated the calls and not written myself.  Yesterday, I wasn’t sure of my plan as my 5 authors created their goals for the day.  Then, the muse arrived and I dug in big time on my re-write.   I haven’t made much progress on this project.  The May deadline came and went and my patient publisher gave me space to breath.  Obviously, I am writing regularly here, but the re-write of my book keeps falling to the wayside.  It is a daunting task – yet I have enlisted help.  I began with a call to my editor/coach Ellen who challenged me to stop writing here for 2 weeks to focus on that.  The idea was so absurd that I could barely hear her.  There is no way I can do that.  Seriously, this keeps me sane (if you be kind and call me sane…).  But to start every other morning working on the re-write and blog later in the day if I am so moved?  Well, ok.  As I tell my peeps, no matter how much I wish it, it simply will not write itself. 

I got in the groove for a bit – enough to recapture some excitement and a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel as well as to make a new promise to my publisher to turn the manuscript in before we unplug and go to the Bahamas.  In this process, I am melding the old with the new.  My inclination is to throw out everything and start over but that is not what is being asked.  So, I am keeping what I really like about my book and updating it with current stories and experiences.  How could it not have a fire metaphor running throughout?  And, my views on ‘waiting’ have changed – or are transmuting.  What is emerging is a new respect for the incubation period that might appear as waiting. 

I am evolving and will not emerge a moment too soon.  This is uncomfortable for some.  We have a ‘quick fix’ society.  Slap a Band-Aid on it and jump back in the game.  Shift your context and perform.  Create something new and get into action.  No.  I will not do that.  Not now, not yet.  I don’t know when, either.  In the first iteration of my book, I spent a lot of time looking at the difference between ‘waiting’ and ‘patience’ and this seems to be something else.  Maybe it’s patience – but it feels more primal than that.  Patience is a choice where this stage feels like a necessity.  Very few people lay their advice on me to create something else but it has happened – and when it does, I feel a deep rage rush up.  “NO!” I want to scream.  No, I will not.  I am not ready.  I do not have to.  No!  Just what do we call this stage? 

There are times to jump into life.  We know when we need to do that.  Often it’s when we are stopped by garden-variety fears such as lack of worth.  Jumping in these moments feels invigorating and inspires a new level of performance.  Jumping from my chair to grab the $100 bill out of Jack’s hand was the beginning of a new and transformative phase of life.  After that moment, everything altered.  It didn’t all change on the spot, but it became a metaphor for me.  Don’t over think it, don’t stop, and don’t wait.  Jump into the unknown and see.  Say yes!  That action lead to many more which lead to writing my book, becoming a radio show host and all sorts of other very cool things.  The flip side is sometimes I thought I needed jump at times when my system cried “NO!”.  Was I failing myself in these times I didn’t jump?  Was I chickening out?  Was I loosing my edge or my game?  Was I missing out? 

There are clearly times when to jump is the best thing.  Then there are times when patience pays.  I have never been great at patience.  Being an Aries and born in the year of the Fire Horse, patience is not a strong suit.  Then, of course, we must factor in my addict nature of wanting what I want, when I want it.  Like I said, this current stage feels deeper than patience.  This is not the time to jump, although there have been a few times I have jumped and it has paid off.  I jumped in to the stand up comedy workshop and loved it. 

So as I grapple with what to call this, I will keep writing.  Maybe it will emerge in my words and maybe it already has.  Certainly, I am clear that I am claiming this place.  I demand to be allowed to be here, to stay here as long as I damn well want to.  To whom am I speaking?  I am not really sure.  Clearly, I need to remind myself during those times of self-judgment.  But I am speaking to you too.  Not just to allow me the space but more importantly to allow yourself the space.  Should you be a sensitive type, I speak to you in particular.  Give yourself space to be.  See how that reconciles with waiting and patience.  Then, grant it to others.  Don’t rush to fix anything.  Don’t rush to form.  Don’t move too quickly. Let the smoke clear, the ashes settle. 

Then wait for a while after that.