Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, green sunglasses, and blue shorts.
This post might not be a very good one; I’m writing it late at night, unable to sleep, after a day of flying across the country to visit my parents in Illinois. It’s such a long day of travel that always leaves me simultaneously buzzing and completely exhausted. I am not a good flier.
I was coming from Seattle, where Gabe and I were for a few days visiting friends. It was crazy to be in the city again after becoming such country bumpkins over the last year. Okay, Gabe was never really a city person to begin with, but it has been a big change for me, though a surprisingly easy one. It turns out I am a country person; I just never lived in the country before.
But as we drove into Seattle, I felt a sense of anxiety start to build, just looking at all the cars and buildings. I usually feel a little thrill when I get to the city, but not this time.
(Though I was still pretty jazzed to have not one, not two, but three grocery stores within walking distance of the apartment where we were staying [as opposed to having one tiny one that is a 15 minute drive down the highway away]. And I got to visit a fancy coffee shop and get served a great latte by a hipster instead of the hippies that I am used to.)
But my day of travel left my tired as always, even though I was actually able to work on the plane and not just spend the whole time trying to remind myself that thousands of flights happen every day and the pilot is very good at his or her job, etc etc.
It was pretty therapeutic to spend the time writing and planning instead of worrying.
These last few weeks have been really busy and crazy, and I am looking forward to some downtime while I’m with my parents. Here are a couple of things that have gotten me through these busy weeks:
Romeo is my constant. On a particularly stressful day last week, he found our front door and let himself inside. Then he hopped into my bed and made like a rolly-polly.
Can you believe this place is real? Gabe and I stopped on our way to Seattle to visit friends who live on a farm outside Salem, OR. This is in their back yard. It is a lake with a dock with a picnic table on it. It was…perfect.
Oh yes, it’s on. The star of my blog and I are getting full-on married next year. So that is a pretty great thing that has happened in the last few weeks too. 🙂
Today Gabe is wearing a green t-shirt, khaki pants, and brown flip flops.
This week my post is late because I transitioned back from Central Time to Pacific Time, and I guess that laid back West Coast spirit took over and caused me not to realize how quickly Friday morning would come.
Or maybe it’s just because at some point in the last few days it became fall, and my fingers are so chilly I simply can’t bring myself to type.
Or maybe I just lost track of this week.
Either way, I’m back in California after narrowly escaping the first snowfall in Illinois this week. I flew out Wednesday and got a photo from my dad on Thursday showing me the snow on the ground in their backyard. I’m going back in December to visit for Christmas, so I guess I should prepare myself for the fact that I may actually be interacting with snow for the first time in like 3 years.
Do I even remember how to make a good snowball?
Last week, while I was in Illinois, I had a week off — an actual vacation, where I didn’t work (that much) and I spent lots of time going on walks, watching crime TV shows, and making soup — and now I am back in the real world. And the real world is cold.
Even as I type, I am huddled next to a wood stove at Gabe’s parents’ house. It’s raining. Gabe is lecturing me on the virtues of patience and the art of building a good fire. I am thinking quietly, “Yes, but warm fingers are a nice thing too.”
But I take his point.
While I was at home visiting my parents, the following things happened:
To put these photos into words: I ate all (and I mean ALL) of the leftover Halloween candy, and I watched Law And Order with my dad and his faithful sidekick, Apache the cat.
It was very nice. Although the full day of three flights getting there and back is long and not that great, I’m looking forward to going back in December too.
Do you want to hear a joke? You’ll probably have to read it out loud for it to be funny, but here goes:
What do you call a deer with no eyes?
Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, khaki pants, brown boots, and green sunglasses.
“I don’t want to be here anymore.” I shook my head to try to shake this thought out of my mind, since, at the time I was thinking it, I was in an airplane 30,000 feet above Iowa.
I wasn’t always a nervous flyer, but once I started having to do the 3-flight trek between a small town in Washington to a small town in Illinois every holiday season when I was in college, I got the fear. Oooh yes I got the fear.
I started seeing signs in the days before my flight that I was convinced were warning that my plane was going to go down. Once on board, I’d jump at every little noise and bounce, even while the plane was still on the ground. I was really not a good flyer.
Then, a couple of years ago, I got it together. I learned about the trick where you just stare at the flight attendants, and watch how completely bored they are by every aspect of the flight. I started showing up at the airport imagining (seriously) that I was a serious business traveler who just couldn’t be bothered to care about “just another flight”.
Did my palms still sweat during turbulence? Sometimes. But I just forced the fear down, and it went away.
Well, it went away until earlier this week when I had the feeling that people who have *serious* fear of flying describe: the feeling like you absolutely have to get off the plane right now, this second. It was really the worst. I tried to tamp it down, but of course with this kind of thought, once you think it you can’t un-think it.
I was on my second flight of the day, and still had one more to go before I was at my final destination of my Illinois hometown. I was starting to feel like I wouldn’t make it.
So we circled above Chicago and I felt my palms start to sweat. I tried to remember my yoga. “Unclench your shoulders. Breathe a deep sigh. Close your eyes.”
My eyes popped open and my shoulders met my ears as we bumped down through the clouds.
I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my third and final flight. After 8 hours of travel, I worried I might just cry for the whole 30 minutes of the third flight I had left. I worried I might never be able to leave once I actually made it there, since I have another 3 flights to do in order to get back home to Humboldt.
But on the third flight, I told myself to get it together. I closed my eyes, and turned on a podcast. I held a book in my lap, gripping it lightly with both hands. I focused on every single word the host of the podcast was saying. And if I ever got distracted and felt tempted to peek out the window or think about how amplified turbulence is in a tiny plane (which it happened to be that night) I took a huge, sighing breath and listened harder to the podcast.
And by the time we landed, 30 minutes later, I was over it. I was on the other side.
My mom fed me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and vegan cookies, and my dad let me rattle on about this new podcast Serial I had been listening to all day. It was good to be home.
A few photos of things enjoyed pre-flight:
Today Gabe is wearing a brown t-shirt, khaki pants, and his outdoor slippers.
Yesterday, I touched down in Seattle at 11am and looked out the airplane window at the pouring rain splashing down on the tarmac. I wondered why I bothered to come back.
The day before, in Peoria, Illinois, it had been 80 degrees. The day before I had been watching Jurassic Park with my dad. The day before I had been sipping a latte in an alarmingly hip coffee shop downtown, in a city that hasn’t had anything close to hip in it since…ever.
So why did I come back to Seattle, land of rain and cold? I am not sure.
But luckily, it’s sort of registered with me recently that I don’t have to be here at all, if I don’t want to be. I have a job where I work from home, and my cofounder Kate recently made the remark that I could work from Bali if I wanted to.
So…why am I not taking advantage of this?
Well, money, for one thing. I recently wrote a post for popforms about why I work a job where I get paid less than I am worth, so part of the trade-off for getting to work a job I love is that I get paid less than is necessary for jetting off to wherever I feel like whenever I feel like.
But besides that, there’s not really a good reason for not doing some traveling right now. Gabe and I are still planning on moving this year, though recently I’ve been making a push for — not California, as was previously mentioned — but FRANCE, because why not?
Gabe is French, I speak French, I can work from anywhere, so…this is self-evident, no?
Plus I think it would be great for the blog, since if Gabe were a resident of France, I think he would be required by law to start wearing a lot of horizontal stripes and tight black pants. And now that this blog has been live for almost a year, it’s really about time to shake things up, don’t you think?
Today Gabe is wearing a beret, a mime’s costume, and two baguettes as shoes.
So anyways, this blog might start coming to you live and direct from a few random places around the Pacific Northwest, since I am bound by finances to stick close to home, but am not bound to stay exactly at home.
It’s exciting! I love possibilities.
Oh and one more thing I love:
Today Gabe is wearing a green t-shirt, red shorts, and brown flip flops.
Today I am back in America! I made it home from France and I’m only a little bit sad not to be there anymore. It’s good to be home, moving freely about the space, getting reacquainted with things like doorknobs and faucets that always seem to be in a slightly different spot than where I expect when I reach for them.
As I move about the space, I’m sending a million thank you’s to Past Kate who cleaned the house so thoroughly before she left, so that Present Kate can live in a luxurious non-smelly environment today.
Despite being hideously jet-lagged yesterday (why yes I did watch Netflix all afternoon, willing myself to keep my eyes open until a reasonable bedtime, thank you for asking) I am bravely attempting to get back to work today. There’s a lot to do, and I’m feeling alternately overwhelmed and inspired by it all.
The amount of content I’ve produced in the last few weeks is kind of nuts. It’s felt really mechanical at times, which doesn’t feel so good, but other times it has been a real blast.
For the last few days, we have had a friend copyediting a bunch of the stuff I’ve done, and it’s been really fun to see the work through someone else’s eyes and to get to read it all over again myself.
It’s still kind of incredible to me that I happened into an assistant job one year ago that turned into not just a writing job, but one where I’m even allowed to be funny sometimes, and that sometimes the things I write actually *are* funny.
While incorporating notes from our editor this afternoon, I re-read one of the pieces I wrote over a month ago, and parts of it still made me laugh out loud. And it was clear from the editor’s notes for this piece — as opposed to his notes for more recent ones I had written — that he was having more fun reading it too.
And it was so fun! To remember how much fun I had writing that, and how it made me laugh then, and how much I knew a reader would enjoy reading it too.
Recently, I have been so involved in just “getting things done” for deadlines, that I think I have forgotten to have fun in the process. I’ve been productive, yes, but I’ve lost a lot of the whimsy that made my earlier stuff so much more fun.
And while I get really sick of people saying you shouldn’t go to work unless it’s fun and there’s no reason to do a job except for extreme passion (which I don’t think is true), it is true that there is a lot of fun to be had when you’re doing a job that you really really like (maybe even love). But you also have to work hard for it to be fun in the face of deadlines and productivity goals, and you have to remember that having fun sometimes actually makes you better at your job, which is just as good if not better than being really productive.
So gosh, I guess that’s what I think about work today.
And even as I type this, in comes creeping that sneaky jet lag. Hmm..is 5pm too early to go to bed today?
Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, a white t-shirt, red shorts, and brown flip flops.
And today is also my last day in my little French village. At times this trip felt endlessly long — I was here for three weeks, after all — but now that it’s nearly over, it seems like it went by in a flash. In just a few hours, I’ll be boarding a train for Paris, spending a few hours strolling around and eating crepes, and then I’ll be saddling up for the epic journey back to the United States.
I’m going to miss a lot: the smell of the thick, country air. The long, meandering dinners and the many smelly cheeses available for sampling. The pasture full of sheep who, over the last three weeks, have come not only to not be afraid of me but to almost almost almost eat out of my hand when I feed them leftover lettuce and baguette.
But I’m excited to be going home too. I like my house, I like my bed, I like instituting quiet alone time whenever I feel like it. I like having stores around, and the beach, and normal doorknobs, and the million other little things that make being at home so comfortable, even though you’d never notice them before you left.
When I go home, there will be lots of work to do. But it’s work I’m really excited to be doing, and it will be nice to have so much uninterrupted time to take care of business.
I’ll be less rugged when I’m there. Have you noticed how much stone is in all these pictures? I mean, everything here is made out of stone (because everything here was built in like, 1200) — including this wall that made a great venue for view-looking and down-climbing, since it overlooks a huge expanse of land perfect for hiking around in.
But I’m okay with being less rugged. I’ll be a little less rugged in Paris today, and even less rugged in Seattle tomorrow. By the time I get back to my house, this trip will feel weirdly distant and almost like it didn’t happen. But it did happen.
So au revoir, France. It’s been super real.
Today Gabe is wearing blue sunglasses, a maroon sweatshirt, a green jacket, khaki pants, and brown shoes.
“Boy we sure are reminiscing today, aren’t we?”
“Well. What else are we supposed to do? We’re old guys.”
A group of self-proclaimed old guys sitting in a coffee shop in my little hometown in Illinois were talking about the best place to buy a hot dog in town when they were all dating their wives. It was boring and endearing.
I just flew back to Seattle from my undisclosed hometown location and boy are my arms tired.