Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hello Again

As so often happens, hellos and goodbyes go hand in hand. Tonight I bid adieu to 2011 and expectantly greet a new chapter in this Big D adventure. This year Trav will complete law school and we'll sink our roots ever deeper into this fertile Dallas soil.

Seven hours ago we were basking in the warmth of California sunshine and the love of my precious family. How quickly the week flew by! Jack Frost was foiled by unseasonal summer sun. Glorious afternoons were spent luxuriating by the sea, savoring the beauty of flora, fauna, sand and surf. Friends and family gathered to delight in meals and memories. What a gift this week was.

And now we are home.

Our little experiment is a new way of life; a new home, new friends, new surroundings, a new vision. And with the start of a new year, we bring a new focus - a new determination to heed the pioneer's call that beckoned us to come here. A hunger to engage with our work, our community, our goals in newer, deeper ways. As2012 peeks around the corner, we see we've miles to go before we sleep.... and we are anxious to keep moving forward.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dallas or Bust!

I awoke at 4:30 this morning with a swarm of butterflies swirling in my stomach. Excitment...fear...anticipation of seeing my precious husband and of starting our new life.

The car has been expertly packed (thank you Adam!) and my Dad and I will start off on what is certain to be a cozy journey in t-minus thirty minutes. Coffee cake is baking in the oven and the tears have already started to flow; this part of the adventure is nothing if not bittersweet.

As I lay awake this morning I thought of all the years I spent in that very room, staring at that ceiling, drinking in the scent of jacarandas through the open window, hearing the sounds of children playing and dogs barking and parrots squaking... all the sounds of life and joy and the things that will continue after I have gone away. What treasured memories in that room, in this home, my precious parents just a room away on this lovely, tree-lined street, just moments from a wonderful church and family and a community of people who have known and loved me my whole life.

My job wrapped up yesterday afternoon in another bittersweet ending.... I was saddened to leave my surrogate work family and the dear friends that I have made there, as well as the career niche I have carved for myself over four years of hard work and determination. But I was excited, too, for the opportunities that lay ahead and the new adventures that await. We had a fun, albeit somewhat somber, lunch at Izzy's Deli. The butterflies had just arrived and competed with my reuben for real estate in my tummy. The afternoon barrelled forward until 4pm came as a shock, when I bid my Blind family farewell and journeyed home one last time. For now. I am certain that journeys home will become regular occurrances.

Last night we had a wonderful family meal, little Ethan humming his contentment, and me holding back my tears. As Erin and Adam pulled away at the end of a rich evening I sincerely regretted my decision to leave for the first time. The regret was fleeting, but the sadness remains in not getting to live this part of our lives together; of the necessity of taking this journey apart from them. Who knows what is in store for the coming years, but the family goodbyes are a tough pill to swallow.

Time for breakfast.... tonight we lay our heads in Albuquerque, and Dallas awaits!

Friday, August 20, 2010

1st Day Jitters

Today is Trav's first day of classes at SMU. Wow. Congratulations Travis! You did it! You made it! You are a 2L at a top tier school, and I couldn't be prouder of your hard work, determination, dedication, intelligence, wit, skill and bravery in leading us into a new life. Today our transition has become very real, rather than some cockamamie fairy tale that I worked up in my imagination.

I gotta admit, it has started to feel that way as I've made my way through four weeks of limbo, living a gypsy life, neither here nor there. You can't imagine my consternation when the Enterprise agent asked me for my address. Hmmm.... I stammered....I suppose you could say it's in Dallas..... Well, is that your mailing address? He asked. For some things yes, for others, no. Gotta catch up on that this weekend, seeing as I have less than a week left as a California citizen.

Can it be real? Is it true that I will not be sleeping on other people's sheets for the rest of my life, using other people's keys and microwaves and scouring their catalogues? That in one week I will be just miles away from my new home?

The initial thrill and anticipation of leaving has crept away, and in its place is a dull ache for all the people I will be leaving, mixed with the fear of the unknown. Will I find a job? Will I like it? How long will it take me to find? Will we make new friends, get involved, find a church, develop a community, feel at home, feel at peace?

The answer to all of these questions is inevitably, yes. These things have a way of working themselves out. They just take time. And diligence. And being present.

Travis had his first interview for summer associate work yesterday, as well as his orientation. I could tell through the phone that he was beaming. Excited by how well the interview had gone, buoyed up by the wonderful new relationships he is forming, and hopeful that this law school experience will exceed the expectations that he had, and did not have met, at his last school. I am so happy for him. And so confident in our decision to make a change. Just this morning I had a colleague tell me that sometimes the best things in life come from major life changes, and I have to agree. I know good things are coming. But I can't help feeling a little afraid... especially as I work through the challenges of wrapping up my old life on my own. I need my husband's hand to hold, his arms to soothe my aching heart, his words of wisdom to bring me back to the present, rather than letting my thoughts run away into the far distant future.

I'm proud of you, T. I can't wait to join you on our adventure!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Special Gift

Last night I had a lovely evening of drinks and nosh with two of my esteemed colleagues at Blind. It was great to get away from the daily grind, and just enjoy each other as people, especially since there won't be many more opportunities like this.

The night before last, my precious sister drove up from Long Beach to meet me in LA for some one-on-one time. I was of course running late and flustered when I got there, resenting the demands of my job which had stolen precious seconds from what was a much-anticipated time of togetherness. But Erin was unphased; she was relaxed and happy to see me, no matter the time, and instantly calmed and lifted my spirits.

We shared delicious mushroom-chicken crepes, oozing cheese and screaming indulgence, and if that wasn't enough, we capped our lovely meal with a chocolate souffle. The rich, airy delight tickled my tastebuds and delighted my senses.

After dinner, I was presented with a beautifully written, heartfelt card and a gorgeous necklace, both of which I will treasure for the rest of my life. It reminded me what a special gift I have in my sister-- of whom I can say that my biggest complaint is that she is making it incredibly difficult to leave. We spent the evening laughing, crying (me), and just enjoying each others company. How precious it is to have your best friend in your own family.

Sweet Erin, you have been for me a playmate, a sounding board, a source of laughter and fun, an inspiration as a worker, a wife and a mother, and a giver of tremendous joy and meaning in my life. You mean the world to me, and no distance will ever loosen the bonds that are between us. Though the physical distance may be great, you are forever in my heart. I love you!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Are We There Yet?

That familiar refrain was ringing in my ears this morning as I braved two hours of traffic to get from my parents' lovely home to the last full week of my job in Santa Monica.

The scent of fresh-baked oatmeal-cranberry cookies was still clinging to my nostrils as I left the quiet comfort of my childhood home on Homeland Avenue. As I pulled down the tree-lined street I was reliving precious memories of my bouncing nephew, covered in cake, reveling in the joy of his first birthday. Where has this year gone? Wasn't it just yesterday that I held that precious newborn, just moments old-- all spindly arms and legs and light as a feather? And now he is one, eager and adventurous, gingerly taking first steps and hungrily exploring the world around him.

As we sat in the Hoag waiting room a year ago, two lives were being born; Ethan's and the law life that has swept me and Travis up in its wake. As we anticipated precious Ethan's arrival, Travis plopped his first law book in my lap and encouraged, "read this." The article was about living with your law student; it made suggestions about not expecting too much out of your 1L in the way of companionship on social outings, or housework, or good-naturedness. "Be patient with your law student," it beckoned, "they are under incredible amounts of stress."

I am happy to report that the article did not prove all that useful over the last year, although I could use an article about dealing with moving for your law student. I've got your stress right here. I'm so ready to just be there. To jump into my new life. The party this weekend was such a wonderful time to see those I hold near and dear and to say my goodbyes. Now it just feels like a bandage that is being slowly pulled away from my heart; I'm ready to just rip it off and get on with the healing.

I'm not gonna lie... today has been a tough one. The demands of my work on my energy and time, compounded by the toll of being separated from my husband and the prospect of being separated from my family just seems like too much today. I am longing for that place where troubles melt like lemon drops, if it even exists in this life, or at least a little reprieve. I am swiftly approaching that light at the end of the tunnel, and I am ready to bask in the sunshine!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Write On, Cupcake, Write On

Travis woke up a true 2L today as he braced for the start of the SMU Write On competition. From thousands of miles away I could feel his nervous excitement, emanating through the phone last night in a two-hour conversation that left my hand numb and my heart aflutter for all the exciting things in store for my honey!

For the uninitiated, "Write On" is a mandatory competition for any students seeking membership on a law journal. Being on law review is a pretty prestigious resume-maker, not to mention a fantastic forum for new research in the field of law. Trav's grades automatically gave him a spot on his former school's journal, but at SMU he starts the process of distinguishing himself all over again. I know he can do it.

So I decided to celebrate with a cupcake. And not just any cupcake, mind you, a cinnamon-sugar Yummy Cupcake the likes of which my blood sugar has never experienced before. I was first introduced to Yummy Cupcakes on a warm summer afternoon in 2005, while strolling along the streets of Burbank where Travis used to live. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven-- a blissful paradise where butter is calorie-free and candy and cookies are heart-healthy staples. And then I woke up.

Travis doesn't really like sweets; he's more of a meat-and-potatoes guy, so a trip to Yummy.... that was a real treat.

I'm starting this kick of trying to experience all of the things that I won't get to have in Dallas. Yummy Cupcakes, In-N-Out, Trader Joe's... the indelible delicacies of socal living. I suppose it's a feeble attempt to bring a little piece of them with me (on my hips anyway!). Don't get me wrong, Dallas is not without its indulgences. SuperSonic Cheeseburger and Cherry Limeaid, anyone? But somehow, it just isn't the same. It's kinda funny how I'll have to shop at a different grocery store. Seems silly, but it's further evidence of my comfort in the familiar, and the personal stretching that will inevitably take place. I'll be doing a lot of yoga. Ha.

So Travis is writing his buns off, and I'm on a carb kick; I ate half for Travis. I think it'll give him good luck. Not that he needs it. What he needs is his Dana-free man-cave, a freezer stocked with Hungry-Man TV Dinners, his blue book and his brain. He's all set.

Can't wait to hear the outcome....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Every Day, It's A' Gettin' Closer....

Last night I dreamed that I was in a theme park.

Thinking back, I seem to have a recurring dream about being in a theme park, running around, looking endlessly for this one, elusive roller coaster that I just know is my favorite and will give me an incredible thrill. In my dreams I know it's out there; I know it will be sufficiently terrifying and ultimately satisfying.

Last night, I actually made my way onto a roller coaster. I don't know if it was THE roller coaster, but I felt content sitting in its shiny, brassy car. I sit down and gear up for the ride, and who should I see ahead of me, but a director that I worked with a few years ago who I recently contacted about a position at UCLA. In my real life, she graciously passed my resume along to the department, despite the fact that we do not regularly communicate.

In my dream it was as if we were old friends. The ride started, but I didn't notice the peaks and valleys because she was turned around in her car, chatting to me about various subjects and asking me about the job at UCLA. It was a genuinely pleasant conversation, and I was glad for her company.

If I can be permitted to "shrink" myself, I see that elusive roller coaster as a symbol of the life I have been searching for-- the adventure that looks so satisfying, but is always just out of reach. The challenges of my real life make me hungry and nostalgic for the rhythmic clicking of anticipation, and the sudden butterfly-stomach drop; the interplay between terror and safety.

Now it seems that I am on a roller coaster, but not necessarily the one my subconscious invented and perpetually hid from me. This one is real. This one has real thrill, real excitement, real terror and real consequences attached to it. And I couldn't be happier to be riding this ride.

Meeting the director in my dream was also symbolic.... I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and assistance from many unexpected places as I make this transition. People who have made it before, people whose friends and family are on the receiving end of our journey, people whose kindness bolsters my heart and strengthens my resolve. As the click-click-click of my car approaching the top of the hill rings in my ears, and with the freefall now in sight- just two weeks away- I feel so blessed knowing that there are hands and hearts there to catch me; that my creator will never forsake me... but is instead making my way ahead of me. Already this is so much better than I ever dreamed!