Wednesday, January 30, 2008

To the Great Wet North and Top 10 List for the Bay Area

We are soon on our way to Seattle! They’ve had a snowy winter there (we witnessed some of it over Christmas) and I’m excited! I’m taking this moment to officially declare: My blood has thickened. Moving from Phoenix to Mexico (both dry and hot) to SoCal (mild and more humid) to NoCal (wet and cold, at least this winter) has provided the perfect acclimatization for moving to the Great Wet North. I’m ready, baby! Bring it! (The only things I still need are a hat, and some sort of running shoe dickie to keep my feet dry – anyone know of such a thing? I’ve visited Seattle enough to see that people do not, cannot, wait for nice weather to go running, or they never will.)

Some thoughts on the Bay Area. First, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This is a hella great place to live. Because it’s so fab, it’s so expensive, which is really the only drawback. Well, that and the fact that it is widely known – not just believed – known – that the next great earthquake is coming. In fact, the ones we enjoyed here were located about a mile from us on the Hayward Fault, which is predicted to be the source of the next biggie, as opposed to the San Andreas.

When we first got here it was a bit of a culture shock, but a good one. Here’s my Top Ten list of things I discovered about life in Northern Cal:

10. If you pay attention when you’re out, you will hear at least three other languages besides English.
9. Gas priced under $3.50/gallon seems like a good deal.
8. The soul food we ate was gourmet.
7. In June, July and August, I had to keep reminding myself it was summer as I donned my jacket.
6. I could count the number of pro-Bush bumper stickers I’ve seen here on one hand.
5. If a house is listed for sale at less than one million dollars, we think it's gotta be a good deal, or a bad house.
4. We can no longer be referred to as "that interracial couple" as a way of distinguishing us from others - there are as many mixed-race couples as not around here.
3. We could literally eat at a different restaurant every night and never repeat and never eat at a chain establishment. And 90% of them would have delicious food.
2. We are used to paying $10 for a cocktail. We aren’t happy about it, but we’re used to it.
1. As part of a regular exam by the veterinarian, our pets had acupuncture done. (I'm not kidding – they liked it, too!)

So we bid the Bay a fond farewell! Could we live here again? Absolutely. But after the quake clean-up.

As we’ve been on this adventure. I’ve shared with some of you my thoughts about clutter and stuff. I still think there’s a book in here somewhere, but it hasn’t quite materialized yet. We went from a relatively uncluttered but well-stocked and furnished 2000 sqaure foot home, to four large suitcases plus a small storage bin. Since we left Arizona, we’ve lived in furnished rentals, and none for more than seven months. We’ve traveled light. Some stuff has accumulated again, but not to the degree it would if we had a home.

So now, for the first time in over two years, we are taking – gasp – a full year’s lease! YES. And we will have our own furniture again. I’m delighted we’ll be so “permanent” and won’t have to move in a few months. And I’m curious to see how this will play out in our new, lighter lifestyle. Will we feel bogged down? Will we be as willing to pick up and move to a foreign country again?

I know my relationship to owning stuff has altered. From being a professional de-clutterer to de-cluttering practically everything, to re-accumulating… we shall see. What are your thoughts?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mental Margarita from January 17, 2008

I am finding myself more attracted to the abstract. Not so abstract that you can't tell what it is, but the kind of pattern-y close-up nature stuff. I started with some snow when up in BC for Christmas. (It's on the "new" page at fotos de karina.) I'm not there yet - I can tell this will be an area of growth for me because I won't get simply reply on nature's obvious beauty. This will require greater artistry on my part and I say I'm up for it! But that's the fun thing about this - I don't have to do it if I end up not being inspired or moved in that particular direction.

On another note, I had my second "assigned" shoot today. My hairdresser wanted close-ups of locks of hair to frame and put on the walls, and I was happy to do it. I'm thinking this will be a service I can offer to everyone once I figure out the logistics (the assigned shoot, not the locks of hair). I'll still shoot within artistic parameters (i.e., no weddings) and will focus on a requested subject or color or mood. So start thinking of what should go on your dining room wall!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mental Margarita from January 8, 2008

"Grandiflora" (a South American tree with leafy bunches)

For those of you receiving the "Mental Margarita," I promised on update on our adventure. (If you're behind in the story, you can catch up at the blog post from November 27, if you're so inclined.)

We are now a month out from moving up to Seattle, and although we have loved flitting about these last couple years, we are really looking forward to the deep commitment of - yes - a one year lease! Wooooo hooooooo! We may even extend it to two years. Or even buy a home. Who knows? Even though we'll be more "settled" (and by that I mean we will again own furniture) we will continue to live by the guidance we get. Living that way is at times scary, but overall has been deeply rewarding. We simply would not be doing what we're doing if we'd stayed in Phoenix and played it safe.

I've been thinking about this whole notion of security lately, and then not so coincidentally, got this quote in my email:

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature nor do the children of man as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
Helen Keller

So here we are, the beginning of new year. I know it's a human construct, the idea of a "new year," but it's one I'm quite grateful for at this particular change of the calendar. 2007 was tough. One of those growth years. One of those years that can either have you shrivel up or grow stronger. Thankfully, we did the latter. And we ended the year with a wonderful visit with family and friends in Washington and BC. I'm pleased to report we did really well with the cold and snowy/rainy weather. It really is simply a matter of having the right clothes (and being sure you have them on when leaving the house).

So what's 2008 about for you? Raymond and I wrote down some things that we're in the process of revisiting. I'd love to hear what you're creating. Please share! And let's have 2008 be the best yet for each one of us.