24 May 2010

Misty Thoughts

I woke to find a light fog this morning. It filled in the spaces between my neighbors houses and created a veil for the trees out back. It was so beautiful. For a long while I stood at the window, watching it slowly disappear.

It felt like home. In the valleys of Oregon it's common to have fog for days on end; thick fog, a thin barley there fog, fog that burns off by afternoon, fog that refuses to burn off and stays for a week or more. Fog in every imaginable form.

I love the mysteriousness of fog. Seeing car headlights approaching long before the car becomes visible. Friday night football games where, like clockwork, the fog rolls in at the end of the third quarter creating a dreamlike scene. Trusting that the ocean waves I'm hearing are really hitting the beach despite the fact that I can't see them through the thickness of the mist. The low moaning of a fog horn singing me to sleep on a camping trip. Secretly wondering if the house across the road will still be there when the fog burns off and it is once again visible.

We need more fog here.

16 May 2010

I miss family.

There it is. The #1 reason I want to leave here. I miss family.

Craig and I are the outcasts, the rebels, of our families.

Craig's parents and siblings all live in the same state. While it requires a 6 hour drive (or a quick flight) for them all to be together, it happens. It happens for holidays and birthdays and long weekends.

My family are split between two states, but are all within 1.5 hours of each other. They travel amongst each others homes on a regular basis.

And here we sit. 1500 miles from our nearest relatives.

On more than one occasion we've found out several months after the fact that someone moved or was in the hospital or took a new job. Everyone assumes that someone else told us. Then we feel like jerks for not knowing what goes on in the families.

We have very quiet holidays. There is no big family get-together for Christmas or Easter or Mothers Day. Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day don't feel special at all--more like an extra Saturday. It's usually just us, hanging out at home, barbecuing.

We have no grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins to fall back on. No where to drop the kids for an occasional night out (or, dare I dream, a weekend away). No one to help us cover double or triple scheduling. In fact, it's not uncommon for our children to go a year without seeing one (or more) of their grandparents--often it stretches close to two years.

I know there are lots and lots of people in the same situation. But this isn't how we grew up or what we would wish for our kids. This would not be our first choice.

We both grew up surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins. Every holiday, birthday or special occasion was an opportunity to gather. Our extended family attended our sporting events, concerts, baptisms. There was always someone around to fill in the gaps.

The thing that really gets me--we could (in theory) live anywhere. Craig works from home. His employer doesn't care where he lives. And I'm afraid we're not taking advantage of that opportunity. I'm afraid that by the time we can sell our house he'll have moved on to a new job that requires us to live at a specific location. And we will have missed those years when we could've been near family. That's why it hurts so much.

15 May 2010

My love/hate relationship with New England, part 2--THE HATE or "Why I miss the West"

Dear West,
I miss your wide open spaces. Sometimes I get claustrophobic here in New England and want to be able to see more than 200 yards around me. I also miss your mountains.

I miss freeways. Yes, we have interstates here, but we pay to drive on them, thus there's no free part. And so, unfortunately, they are known simply as highways.

I miss your rugged coastline. How I love the dear Pacific Ocean and it's gigantic waves. I also appreciate the fact that you offer your beaches to the public at no cost.

I long for your beautiful campgrounds--run by the county or state at affordable prices.

I miss large states and unincorporated areas. That's right, everything here is within a town or city limit (I know!).

I miss dry summers. Humidity is for the birds.

I miss big trees. I mean really big trees, the kind that take only three to fill a log truck. Heck, I miss log trucks.

I miss the public's commitment to recycling and responsible stewardship for the land.

I miss hippies. And cowboys.

I miss you.

With much love,
A Native Oregonian

14 May 2010

My love/hate relationship with New England, part 1--THE LOVE

New England.

What do I love?

I love the history.

I love American history, and have since I was a child. It doesn't matter how many times I walk the Freedom Trail in Boston, I still marvel at the historic sights. Old North Church, Bunker Hill, the USS Constitution..... I am humbled by the idea that I can walk where great men and women who fought for freedom walked. I feel these are hallowed places.

I love the old cemeteries. I like to walk amongst the thin gravestones, looking at the names and death dates from nearly 400 years ago. I like to imagine how those people lived....how brave they had to be to come here, to a land they knew nothing about. I wonder how on earth they survived the frigid cold of a New England winter without our modern conveniences.

I love the landscape.

There are lots of trees here. Lots and lots. I love that. I love the rolling hills. I love how green it is. I love the ocean .

I love the architecture.

Cape Cod, Colonial, Victorian, Federal.... There's so much variety here. And, it's authentic. These are buildings that were built during their historical time periods. It's beautiful.

I LOVE autumn.

There is nothing like a New England fall. I am really, truly convinced of that. It is stunning. The colors are indescribable. I know, I know-- you've seen pictures. It's a million times better in person. Not only are the colors amazing, but New Englanders know how to do Fall. There are harvest celebrations and fairs and apple picking. They decorate beautifully. And the food. They truly eat fall foods here--squash and pumpkins and apple cider. I adore fall. I'm sure you've heard me say it before, but if it could be fall year round I'd live here forever.

Right now you're probably saying, what's the problem? Sounds good. It does sound good. But really, that's all the touristy stuff. It's the 'living here' stuff that gets me.

13 May 2010

I'm swear I'm trying

I'm trying to like where I live. I really, really am. Really. But, here's the thing--mentally, I thought we'd be out of here by now. When we moved to New England we planned on Craig working at his new job for 20 months, then we'd move on to an MBA program for him (we were aiming for either MIT or Carnegie Mellon). That would take two years, then we'd be off to a new job. That time frame would have us out of New England in the summer of 2009 at the very latest.

Baby #3 made us re-examine our plans and decide against MBA school--a decision which neither of us regrets since good things have happened in Craig's career and for our family as a result of that decision. We decided to stay put for a little while and bought a house.

When we bought our house the real estate market wasn't at it's height, but it had just started declining. The housing prices were crazy, so we were fortunate to qualify for a state grant toward the down payment on our house. The stipulation: stay in the house for 48 months or pay the grant back when you sell it. I made a time frame adjustment; I would stick it out until January 2011.

Here it is, Spring 2010. I should only have a year left here....but inside I have this horrible, sickening feeling that I have more than a year left. I don't think we're going to be able to sell our house next year without losing money. That stinks.

And I'm not prepared to stay here longer. I'm trying to adjust to the reality of the situation, but I'm having a hard time. I'm just ready to be done here.

I miss the West.

I miss family.

(posts to follow on why those are the two big reasons I want to leave)

07 May 2010

Mother's Day quilt

For my mommie.
Made with one layer cake of Nostalgia by April Cornell.
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