well hello! no, i haven't abandoned the dear little blog. i will absolutely continue to write, but i've been a bit snowed under. read all about it...
way back in april when i started this post, just as i was enjoying the pattern of my routine settling in and realizing suddenly (with some surprise) that i wasn't unhappy, it all began to change. i knew my long housesitting stint would come to an end, but i was doing a creative job i really enjoyed three days a week (photoshopping) and getting lots of other stuff done on my looong weekends, while half-heartedly looking for other work. i was cooking a lot and getting crafty every night. life was marvelously simple.
the sequined brooches i was making.
my life at the first housesitting house.
playing with hair extensions.
as order falls towards chaos, so does life fall away from simplicity. i started having an ongoing choking/pressure sensation--understandably distressing. i wondered if it was just stress, so i went for a hard run which usually forces my muscles to relax and always leaves me physically "new." this time the choking feeling still hounded me, which was compounded by my distress: pounding heart, tightness in my stomach and chest, anxiety. i just didn't know if i was psyching myself into it or not, but eventually decided to go to the doctor. he listened very carefully and was reassuring; we did a few tests and tried a medication for acid reflux. while the sensation got better somewhat, it still comes and goes.
in the midst of this haze, i found out i'd be losing my job because the place i worked was going out of business. terribly sad all around, and terribly sad for me because it was one of the very few jobs (or only one?) i've had that was creatively fulfilling. that did nothing to ease my hair-trigger panic. as i fumbled around in my brain trying to figure out what kind of work i should try to find, another amazing housesitting job dropped in my lap. sigh of relief. at least i wouldn't be in dire straits for money and a place to live.
the strawbale country house was like a two-month retreat. it smelled like desert sage constantly (perhaps due to the fact that i was conceived less than a mile from there, sage smells like home); Chama the dog was a sweet, smart, comforting companion (this from an unrelenting 'cat person'); and i had ample time, space, and friendship (hi Miki!) to deal with the job transition. mom and her brand new back injury could visit me without too much trouble, and (shh, don't tell) i had all my earthly possessions in the spare room. not typical housesitter behavior, but i didn't want to put it back in storage again after just finally getting it all cleaned up again.
the beautiful house
breakfast overlooking the river
the Great Book-Airing of '11
my earthly possessions had increased quite a bit because the incredibly generous owner of the previous house basically gave me all the furniture that was left there: a comfy bed and sofa, dresser, and kitchen table! he also hired me to paint the entire interior of that house to prepare it for selling. i enlisted the help of my friend candace, and we worked our asses off trying to finish that job. it was epic, but i was proud of the job we did. white hydrangea, i love you, but i don't want to see you again for a long time.
after that, i found a temporary summer job doing merchandising for a greenhouse that ships plants to Home Depot. that means i was at Home Depot, but i didn't work for Home Depot. it was wonderful to arrange flowers in the hot sun for 6 hours, but my job mainly consisted of telling people i didn't work for Home Depot and didn't know how many cubic feet the 50 pound bags of mulch covered, etc. i knew it was going to get brutal as the summer heated up, but because we had an incredibly slow spring, i was only getting one day of work a week and couldn't plan another job around that, so when i found a job perfectly suited to me a month later, with a subtle look, i exited.
i returned to the fold of crema hounds; i re-became a barista. i'm the manager of the drive-thru satellite of a coffee shop where i worked seven years ago, yeah! actually, it's been really fun doing something that doesn't require bleeding in the brain to come up with some activity that jaded 5-year-old japanese children will want to do. bonus! the customers have been great, and it's super interesting interacting with people in their cars because they pull up a bubble of their space next to a bubble of mine: they listen to music, talk to their friends, pet their dogs, smoke, eat, etc. i like seeing a little section of every person's life.
i work the place alone; with two windows for cars and a third for walk-ups, it gets hairy sometimes, and i love it. i fly around stirring espresso into chocolate, toasting bagels, blending smoothies, heating burritos, and chatting with everyone i can. the day flies by, and by the end, i actually feel like i've accomplished a lot. i hope it lasts, because it feels like exactly what i need right now.
i found this new job a week or two before i had to leave the 2nd housesitting gig, but i didn't really have a place to go. my mom's next door neighbors offered to let me housesit for 10 days, but there was no way i could put alll my stuff in their house, so what should i do with it? answer: take it back to the first house! all freshly painted and uninhabited, the owner agreed to let me keep my stuff in the garage for a few weeks until i found a place to live. so i started a new job, was living out of boxes next door to my mom (hilarious), and then two weeks later, i moved in with my mom...for four days. after which i moved again, to my final resting place: my current apartment. i should note, i didn't move alone. my mom was out of commission with her now well-worn back injury, so an old friend named alex helped me move three times in three weeks. do they make IOUs that big? (more on alex later.)
when i saw the crapholes some people in this town are trying to rent for more than i paid in a big-city suburb in japan, i was scandalized. get real, or get real estate, i should say. slumlords have apparently united, so i was thrilled to find a spacious one bedroom with a beautiful view and all but the electricity included. honestly, my first thought was, "i could have a kotatsu in here!" and i will! the building is amazingly quiet (yay for living near old people!), but apparently half the people also smoke (quietly), so there is secondhand smoke in my apartment almost every hour of the day. ick. but tonight, for some reason, there is only the smell of rain-washed night air, so i'm happy. after 6 months of living half a life in other people's spaces, it has been wonderful to finally unfold.
my kotatsu-ready living room.
the morning view.