pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: June 2015

20 June 2015

On the festival trail

So I can only give you a trailer.

But, trailer!

15 June 2015

Bath and breakfast

Malibu Lagoon State Beach
Malibu, California
15 June 2015

I rarely venture as far north as Malibu, mostly because it's an extraordinarily painful drive from where I live (left at 6:30 this morning, arrived 8:45). But the spouse had a meeting in Malibu this morning and needed carpoolers, plus we had a house guest, so going to Malibu for breakfast sounded like a good idea.

The daughter, my mother and I breakfasted, and then wandered across the street to the state beach. Lots of neophyte surfers, lots of birds, lots of fog.

Monday morning in June in So Cal.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000. I used to go to Malibu a lot. A friend's father had a house on the beach, and we'd visit. I know: sounds quite ooolala, but I was usually writing term papers. Yeah, on the beach. Okay, sort of ooolala.

13 June 2015

Change my life again


New Orleans, Louisiana
22 May 2015

Friday morning, the morning after the daughter's graduation, I got an email from one her counselors.  "Preparing for empty nest syndrome," it read.

I sent the son off to university three years ago, which has been fine most of the time. Yes, I worried when he was locked in his dorm during Hurricane Sandy. Yes, I worry when he is stressed or ill, but so far, things have mostly gone well.

I was preparing for an empty nest as the daughter's college acceptances started to roll in. In fact, I was already highly involved in my own personal happy dance--travel! Piano lessons! Deferred maintenance on my house! Move to Ireland!--when she announced that she'd decided on the college closest to home.

So I adjusted my expectations slightly to include the idea that I'd probably be in Orange County for another 4 years. Not my idea of a great time, but after 17 years...

(I was horrified to realize that I now have lived in Orange County longer than I have lived anywhere in my entire life. I still feel like a stranger here. I always will be a stranger here.)

Like me, the daughter is practical, and it's practical to save $15,000 a year on one's college education by living at home. I can't fault her on this and I don't. In fact, I will rather enjoy having her around. It's the state-enforced bondage from K-12 that drove me berserk. I always rather liked my children.

And it's possible to take piano lessons in the OC.

She asked me tonight if I would go back to work. I know that she is rather concerned about what I will do next. I think she is afraid I will miss her. I think she is afraid I will abandon her. Her perspective on her growing up is, of necessity, different from mine, and she doesn't understand yet that this is a process. That I have been pushing her out the door, letting her run out the door and missing her for 17 years, and college is just another step in that process. I've told her that while it's unlikely I will walk her to the door of her first college class, I am not averse to meeting her for coffee on campus periodically if she'd like to.

Will I go back to work? I don't know, I told her. Maybe I'll write short stories all day. Or take photos every Wednesday. Someone will still have to cook, grocery shop, do laundry and clean. It may not be me. I need to find a surgeon who is committed to putting me back together again before it's too late. All this remains to be seen. I am open to possibilities.

I haven't yet found it in my heart to be sad about any of this. I've watched the son become very aware of how precious and unique his family is as he's lived away from us for years now. Perfect parent? Hell, no. I've made plenty of errors including, I'm sure, the ones I don't even see. But we all survived. I think they'll do okay.

Empty nest syndrome? I've always maintained some semblance of a life of my own (see also Week in Texas and Louisiana), and I'm really ready to make that my full time job.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000.

10 June 2015


Last trip
Santa Ana, California
10 June 2015
The whole drive down, I kept telling myself, "FOUR YEARS. It's OVER. You won't have to do this again."
I tried to feel something. Elation? Regret? Maybe I'll miss it a little?
But nothing, really. I suppose it will sink in later. Or perhaps, in the way of my life, I will simply move on to the next thing, and this will just be a memory.
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. The odd part is that I don't remember it being so cloudy, so maybe there was sunshine in my brain.

01 June 2015

Part 1: What do you think you're doing?

Hiking trail
San Antonio, Texas
15 May 2015

So, last week started here.

I looked at the tour schedule, and hey! Show on my birthday! Time to run away from home. D. and I conferred and a series of increasingly hilarious emails between the two of us ended with this:

That week looks clear, so we could do Austin, Dallas, Houston and Nawlins. What a hoot. And L is screaming that she wants to go to NOLA. And I'm screaming NO. And I just found out she has the day off because it's a four day weekend. *eye roll* 

But dayyam.

I wouldn't mind some time without my beloved family.

I didn't just say that.

As D. pointed out, I went there, and it was all over. Four shows in a week. I was leaving home for eight days. Unprecedented. That was in January.

Just a few problems, of course. We had tickets for Austin. She had tickets for Dallas. No one had tickets for Houston. And I'd gotten some pretty awesome tickets for New Orleans (seriously, birthday luck, because I couldn't even pull up tickets for most of the shows I wanted to see). And typically, we're both swamped with work and family and stuff. Then it's suddenly April, and I don't have airline tickets, hotel reservations, a plan. Or tickets for Houston. Or Dallas.

Or a PLAN.

Right around May 1, we start planning. Which leads to hilarity and me authoring threats like this:

I was planning to drive back to San Antonio with you on Monday so I can bake you a cake on Tuesday. I can keep you awake by singing loudly for two hours. Unless, of course, you don't want me. That's okay too.
San Antonio to New Orleans is an 8 hour drive. I know you like driving and all, but driving. I just checked Southwest, and they have a round trip for $200. Or I could stay put in Houston and sing to you for FIVE HOURS from Houston to New Orleans. Lucky girl.

So our escapade was shaping up. Except that come May 8:

I still haven't figured out Houston or gotten a return ticket.


And I was in the midst of mounting panic with end of the school year things looming like parties I was supposed to be planning for the conservatory, and workflow I was supposed to be coordinating. Stuff.

And all I wanted to do was leave.

Finally, May 14, rolled around and I was the picture of controlled disaster as I packed and did laundry and sent emails and left directions. I pretended that I'd be on a conference call the following Wednesday, knowing it was quite likely I'd be in Houston, even if I didn't have tickets.

(There are ways. I've been going to concerts since I was 12. There are always ways.)

I woke up, sheer panic, at 3 am on May 15. I had the alarm set for 4 am, but there it was and I was awake--on two hours sleep. I showered quietly, fed the cat and waited for the car I'd hired to arrive.

I got to the airport and did airport things, which included getting a cup of milky coffee. I stared blearily out at the lightening sky, and thought about all the times I'd watched the sun rise from this airport--and from airplane windows and other airports.

What do you think you're doing? I asked myself with something that might have contained a tinge of despair.

Though, of course, the answer is that I was doing the same thing I've been doing for the last 13 years. Carving out a small amount of time for myself in a world full of crazy.

Just before they closed the plane door, I texted D.

"On plane to San Antonio. See ya soon."

And off I went.


Today is June 1. It's Monday. That means there is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Then Saturday (ugh. But. Last. Time. Ever.)

Then comes Tuesday again, and Wednesday.



Miles to go and all that, but afterward...I don't even dare think.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.