I made her wait three months longer than originally intended and that was unfortunately three months too long. Well, excepting what my mother went through. I've spent the last week paring down my possession's (even more) and hauling what's coming with to her in preparation for my departure. I'm really glad to be finally leaving the city at long last; I hope to stay away from one as long as is possible. I do feel a little bad for my beagle since she's about to have her happy little routine nuked yet again. She's been through this at least six times and to her credit handled it like a trooper each time. 

There is something that's bothering me about this departure. My sister is going thru a rough patch in her life and I simply don't know how to help her. To the point, I don't have it in me to help her at this time. Honestly, I want to but I'm spent. I take solace in her doing all the right things to help herself but also has a group of friends who are supporting her through it. Instead I'm putting on puppet shows for my nephew using his stuffed toy dinosaurs. Not much, I know, but it keeps the little guy giggling and entertained while mommy works stuff out. 

Today is the eve of the Chinese New Year, and I'm hoping that things start turning around for the better once the clock ticks over. I'm over what the Snake year has brought, and looking forward to what the Horse brings. It's supposed to favor me being not only a Horse native, but the right variation. Soon!


cabin fever

In the midst of my ever increasing urban claustrophobia, I've been giving a lot more thought towards how I might build my remote New Mexico getaway cabin. Before I go on I do realize that my plans tend to jump around a bit. Since I have no itinerary or agenda to speak of my mind is free to wander anywhere it wants. Geographically speaking I haven't budged, but being able to adjust plans before leaving allows me to take advantage of any changes. Anyways, planning the cabin is how I kept myself occupied while we waited on mom's biopsy results last week (which, for anyone who missed it, turned out to be benign). I figured it was also a good time to decide on what to do with my piece of land here in CA. I want to sell it but not if it's wash or at a loss, so took the first step and got in touch with the agent who sold it to me to find out what it'd go for. I'm still waiting to hear back from her but if it's not worth much now, I know it'll be worth more with a cabin on it. During our convo we also caught up with each other and I learned that there are quite a few jobs in the area. Especially in my new chosen field. I started entertaining the idea of moving there to work and earn enough to build a nice little getaway cabin on it. I'm going out there first to spend a little time and suss out whether the idea is feasible or not. From what most of the locals have told me there isn't going to be much of a problem with me living in a travel trailer on my own land.

While I've been stuck here, I used the time to shift some funds around for easier access later. I also won't have to return or have mom forward me my W-2 to where ever I might've been at. I filed my taxes this week and am queued up to be one of the first to receive their tax returns in February. I'm ready to roll outta here but am sticking around an extra week (yes, it hurts) to say goodbye to an old friend whose moving to NYC. I haven't seen him in a while and want to be around to send him off on his next adventure.

I'm equally anxious to start mine.


the dark spot

This started a little over two weeks ago. New Years was a week behind us and I was just getting over a stomach bug. Mom went in for a regularly scheduled checkup and had a mammogram due. The first scan was botched and she was called to return a few days later to do it again. The second scan found something. This is where mom started freaking out a bit. Her mind, and ours, ran thru all the possible scenarios of what this could mean. We did our best to calm her until she went in for her biopsy. We did our best to remind her that the likelihood of her having cancer was minimal due to there not being a history of it in her family and that she had always taken steps to live a healthy lifestyle. However we were still secretly unnerved at the thought of it taking her from us. Time and the perspective one gains from it was the only thing that eventually calmed her (and our) nerves. A few days later they called to inform her that it was benign. She was in tears, but very very happy that her worst fears were now behind her. Mom has been able to resume her life and is still keeping busy.

Any of you who have gone through this with loved ones understand how much this changes everything. I don't know how you managed to cope, but have a great deal of respect for those who stuck by them.


my old school

On the way back from my FCU I was passing the old neighborhood and decided to stop by. The first stop was a little outside the old stomping grounds but a very necessary one. I needed to drop in and visit a friend I hadn't seen in a while again.

A childhood friend we lost almost 20 years ago. He was on his way to Lake Havasu and lost his life in an accident. There were three other people in the truck with him who escaped alive with only minor bumps and bruises. I'm really not sure how to write about this since it's so very personal to me. Adrian was a great human being. He was probably one of the most caring people outside of his brothers that I've known in my life. I miss the guy and wonder how all our lives would've turned out were he still with us today. Needless to say we were all deeply affected by his passing, but none more than his mother. His father and brothers, well lets leave it at they all have done the best they can given the circumstances. The family as a whole seems to have healed but none of us are the same.

This is the house I grew up in. Technically it was the sixth place I had lived in because we started moving and didn't stop from the time I was six years old until we landed here when I was eight (about to turn nine). We moved five times in the span of four years. By the time we got here I finished out the last few months of third grade. My parents tried moving two more times a few years later but I fought them on it tooth and nail. I just wanted a place to call home without having to start all over again. I got to live here into my early 20's with a few move-outs along with move back-ins before finally leaving the nest. My parents owned this house for almost 30 years before relocating to where they currently live. After how things started out for me it was a welcome relief to have somewhat of a normal upbringing in one place.

My alma mater motto.

The next few stops were to my elementary, junior high, and then high school. The first two were still in session so I couldn't stop in and take pics. I got to the old high school right as the final bell had rung and took a walk around campus. I spotted a few new buildings and remodels on my stroll but no familiar faces. I guess I was hoping for too much given that it had been more than 30 years and most of the teachers were my age or older. It wasn't until I stopped by the main office to make sure it was ok for me to be there that I spotted a former classmate who was now working there. Yes, one familiar face! And it was like time hadn't passed. We caught up briefly before he had to leave since it was the end of the day there. I could never do it, but do admire him for staying there and giving back.

This was the site of where, for some inexplicable reason, my locker was located for three of my four years there. It's the batch of lockers on the right. Most of the time it was dead middle, but I had one year where it was on the bottom. I even attended class in both rooms (health class each time) in said building. I didn't remember which one specifically it was much the less the combo. That's the fun of old age as it creeps in. You don't lose it all at once, just bits at a time. The school cafeteria is still at the opposite end of this courtyard. I learned to eat some of the most vile dishes ever concocted there. I have a running theory that there's a job prerequisite that all cafeteria personal must not have taste buds.

So I wandered around reliving all kinds of memories. It was fun for what it was but I'm so glad to be on this side of things now. High school can be a great and brutal place depending on your social stature. Mine was alright. Sometimes life is creepy. I had the strangest thing happen when I got back to the truck and started it. "Don't you forget about me" by Simple Minds was playing on the radio.  Was it life's way of giving me a welcome back message from the same era?

I know I've been MIA but it's been with good reason. I'll explain in future posts but for now I'm due to hit the road very soon. I've been busy preparing while tying up loose ends before I leave. My blogging will resume now that the worst of things are behind me. Stay safe!