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We’ve Arrived, now what?

Anyone else ever move across the country in a pandemic?

No?

A guide to relocating in a pandemic would be good. How to find a new dentist via email because you just can’t walk into a place and chat up the receptionist guide. Or how to get to know your new neighbors from a distance with a mask on but still seeming friendly guide. How to find your favorite neighborhood coffee shop when half of them close for the next month.

The bay at night

Luckily a lot of people here are friendly. But that’s a lot of what you get, friendly strangers. I am not sure how it moves past that without time near people. We did attend our first feast. Feast is like church for Baha’is. We hang out every 19 days and pray, go over the business of the community, and then do the social portion. Of course feast was on zoom. The social portion was in break out rooms. We did meet someone whose mom lives in Pasadena. That might be an avenue for meeting people.

But we are also a little uncertain about how long we will stay. We have a 6 month lease. But will we be able to go to Canada if it’s still a pandemic. And also, I prefer my work from home life over hospital life during the pandemic. Today Will and I were talking about hanging up art. And he said, if we aren’t staying should we even bother? I say yes because I care about what I am surounded by.

The unhung print I got as a gift in Israel for my husband

Those are the kind of questions we have when we aren’t working or trying learn how to exist in the rain. Teddy seems to be getting used to the rain somewhat. But if we take him out in it I worry about how cold he is. How do you know if it’s too cold for your dog?

I watched a video on snowshoeing on you tube. I’d like to try that out. It seems less intimidating than skiing.

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OG Blogging: Day -1

Remember back in 2007 when we were doing this and it was November and everyone was doing NaNoWroMo. Ok, I am sure people still do it, but none of this blogging stuff is like 2007 anymore. Not after SEO and BlogHer etc. None of the internet people I met back then write blogs anymore. But I am getting off track here. I think I am going to try it. Because this month, this November in a pandemic and an insane election, where I try to move? It seems like a good time to write it down.

Tomorrow is the election and are stores out of toilet paper yet? Paris is on lockdown for the second time this year. And I keep seeing posts about people getting prepped for the election. Boarding up businesses in Beverly Hills and D.C. people shopping and getting cash and filling up gas tanks. So I am just wondering, is this another toilet paper moment? Are you stocking up?

I’ve also seen the videos of Trump caravans following a Biden bus. Ive seen the videos of people being pepper sprayed so much this year, and now recently on a March to vote. It’s disturbing for sure to see people so ready for these kinds of actions. So ready to gather and follow a bus on the highway in a group. So ready to spray pepper spray. It’s definitely anxiety inducing.

We leave a week from tomorrow and the timing sucks. I wish we could have planned it for 2 weeks earlier. But escrow is escrow and I already had next week off of work. Also, I would have rather been outside of the country but this was about as fast as I good get things moving. I’ll be real. When my autonomic nervous system turns on, it’s preprogramed for flight. Years of my life growing up trained me to get the eff out when things look sketch. Also, my idea of things look sketch is different than other people. I always believe it can get bad.

It doesn’t mean I am not hopeful or optimistic. I just think I’ve seen some pretty crappy sides of people. So I have my eyes open. Are you thinking, wow, this got dark? It is what it is. We are in a dark place whether I want us to be or not.

Today though, I am keeping the news off and music on. I need to protect my energy.

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Saying Good bye in a Pandemic

8 months of a pandemic. Whew, that’s weird to write. I don’t know if this has happened for anyone else, but I have found the pandemic has really shrunk my circle of people. It makes sense because we go less places, we don’t go to events, and we spent a lot more time at home. The people we do see or talk to are people we work with, our neighbors, or our very close friends and family. For me, there are also seems to be a lower bandwidth for people. I find myself having less energy for certain conversations about certain topics with certain folks. If this talk is going to cost too much energy, I’m not engaging. In fact, not long ago I deleted my Facebook because I couldn’t stand reading the craziness on that damn website.

In the last months, we’ve had our energy spent on so much, it really makes you realize what a finite resource it is. And I need more time to replenish it these days. In the last months, I’ve spent my energy on maintaining awareness of so many issues facing us as a country, facing us as healthcare professionals, and what we have faced in our family. It’s felt like a relentless energy suck. So no, I don’t have the energy to listen to Covid conspiracy theories and fake facts about 5G. And I am not debating Trump. There’s no debate to be had.

Now that we are moving and thinking about saying goodbye to people, we realize there are people we haven’t talked to in quite some time. And they didn’t even know we were moving until we ran into them at Starbucks. Living somewhere for 20 years and then moving in a pandemic has definitely been odd. But I don’t feel too much regret for not being able to see everyone before we go. Sometimes we have to do what we have energy for.

We are down to 9 days until we move. 9 days of constant sunshine left. 9 days of amazing mexican food. 9 days of southern California mountains and chaparral brush. 9 days left to pack!

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Burning Man

Fires in the distance

Wow, this year continues to crush us. The west coast is on fire. We left home because the fires in the mountains were causing so much smoke I couldn’t sleep. The other morning my husband woke up next me in a hotel room in a pandemic 90 minutes from home and he was stressed. He turned to me and said what if all these fires mean we can’t sell our house?

I don’t know. I really don’t know. I mean, we’ve been saying things are getting worse for years but we haven’t been able to understand what getting worse looks like on an individual scale. We’ve been a bit protected in our careers and our privilege. These things that are happening are a constant back drop of dispair and now personal impacts that show up in ways we don’t always expect. On a macro level, you say of course the west coast is on fire. Of course this administration has failed us in a pandemic. But then you find yourself trying to book a hotel in a not crowded place to work from during a pandemic with better air quality without spending too much money and you think- what the fuck is this life?

Hey, I get it. I am lucky. Lucky I have a job. Lucky I had $600 to spend on a hotel for 3 nights by the ocean. Lucky I have a car. Lucky I am not sick. But some days lucky doesn’t feel so fabulous. And I can’t help but wonder, how did people survive WWII? How did people rebuild Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima? How about Vietnam after the US pulled out? I think a history of terrible things and wonder how do people recover mentally, spiritually, and emotionally?

But then when I think about that, I feel like I’d rather bury my head in good fiction or mindless television or play music loudly. Maybe that’s how people survive. Maybe other people’s art is literally how people survive. I wish I could say my faith is carrying me through. But it’s not. It’s me going through the motions. It’s me wondering how faith matters in the face of climate change, pandemics, racism, and willful ignorance.

But that’s just part of today. Today I also went through boxes of slides, photos, developed negatives, and old camera equipment with my husband. We made piles to keep or not keep. I’m taking Teddy to the vet so all of his shots are in order for a move. I am continuing on as if things will continue on. And that’s how we are getting through another day.

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Pandemic Life

Spoiler alert: we don’t have Covid-19.

We waited forever to get results for my kid’s test. 20 days to be precise. We waited so long, I let my kid out of quarantine and got tested myself to go back to work. Drive thru CVS fail.

If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that I am super over certain things about this country. Healthcare is one of them. I’ve complained about it FOR YEARS. It’s expensive, inefficient, and needs so much improvement. Over the years I’ve read a lot about about it, worked in it, and argued with lots of coworkers and friends about it. I am tired of the idea that a diagnosis could devastate us into poverty.

I am also really over grind culture. Let’s be honest, I’ve been over it for quite some time. I’ve worked very hard as a nurse and to get advanced degrees. I’ve worked very hard to give my kids a different life than I had in poverty. It’s taken a lot to get them opportunities and a college education.

Another thing I am tired of is state sanctioned violence. AKA police brutality. How many protests? How many videos? How long do we have to wait for change? Most people I know are frustrated about this.

The fourth thing I am tired of we have actually had a reprieve from. Mass shootings. I am tired of that being a normal state of existence. Staying home has at least decreased the incidence of that, especially in schools. One day I got a text from my youngest in college. I was working and she said she was sheltering in place for a possible shooter. I am so frustrated that America has decided guns are worth that risk.

So after complaining about all of the things I’ve always complained about, what are we doing? We are looking to sell our house and move. How will we move in a pandemic? We are not 100% sure, but we are doing it. ✌️

It’s Really Grand

Every day, I wake up and go to work. No really. Every day, I wake up, and I go to work. Except when I schedule a day off of call in sick or am lucky enough to be cancelled. But that costs me because I still need to get paid, only after being cancelled I will have less paid vacation hours. That’s for the weekend job (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). But M-Th, I just work. I took this teaching job knowing it meant working every day, but also knowing it would be temporary. And this week I am half way through the first semester. 5 more weeks of my grad school semester. 7 more weeks of teaching. And then I have 5 weeks off (just not from the weekend job). Is it confusing yet?

Basically what it means is I can go some more places. And there is nothing like teaching international students from Brazil, Italy, Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, and more, to make you want to get out and see the world. So I am already planning a trip AND my husband and I already have a trip to Hawaii booked.

But before the monsoon of crazy work/school schedules began, we went to a bucket list destination.

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This summer we drove to the Grand Canyon.

From LA, the drive is fairly long, which is why we did that stop in Vegas. But after Vegas, we hit the road to somewhere I had been wanting to go for a while. And the Grand Canyon was really fantastic. On the way from Nevada to Northern Arizona, we stopped at Hoover Dam for a short tour. It was HOT in July. But the dam is impressive nonetheless. DSC_0298

We also stopped in WIlliams for lunch, wine, and a little Route 66 kitsch.
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But Grand Canyon National Park…well, it really was worth the placement on the bucket list. It’s just hard to imagine how big it is until you walk along the rim, and then look back at places you were standing.

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When you try to spot the Colorado river and it looks like a small creek, but the park rangers tell you it’s around 300 ft across.

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Our short time in park was more than we expected. For example, lodging and dining options in the park are numerous, but we never felt especially crowded like some people describe. Also, we imagined the Grand Canyon to be rocky and dry. At 7000 ft up, it can be dry, but it is also surrounded by a forest. Which means trees. That was something we did not imagine in Arizona. Getting up at sunrise and watching the light change on the south rim was awesome. And then we ate breakfast by the window facing the rim at the Hotel Tovar. If you have ever asked yourself if the Gran Canyon would be worth the visit, the answer is yes.DSC_0320