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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party Time!

Greetings, gentle readers.  This is Katie, Sara's gracious and often described as "stunning yet humble" friend with whom she is staying in NYC.  Sara is currently in the shower and I have commandeered the mic, so to speak.  Won't this be a pleasant surprise for her? hehe  I was going to post detailed accounts of our wacky hijinx, but I'll let Sara tell those tales.  Instead, I'm going to compose a little ode to my homegirl.  Ahem....

I hope when she (and the world of bloggerdom) reads this she'll know I am sincere and earnest.  It's been a few years since my Sar-Bear and I have hung out and our time together now is bittersweet.  I know tomorrow she'll be heading off to new adventures and who knows when our paths will again cross? During her brief time here Sara's reminded me that old friends are the best kind.  She's FUN and sweet and likes to have a good time.  She's sensitive and caring and supportive- qualities that make her a good person and a great friend.  After I'd had a particularly long, draining day at work she made me dinner and we watched TV and she asked "who's taking care of you?!"  After a long hard year and her own crap to wade through, Sara is still the one asking ME what I need.  I'm not sure how her huge heart fits into that little body.  Thanks, sweet friend....

Of course, there's also the side of Sara that starts fights in bars ("I'll take your eye out with a shiv!") and lets her friends try on her new underwear over their clothes in public (alcohol may have been a contributing factor to that event. Pics to come...) and is spontaneous and independent with a killer sense of humor... which is why we are on our way now to see Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party, a show off Broadway that promises to be ridiculous and fun- just like us!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, google it.  I doubt my description would do it the justice I'm sure it deserves.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Welcome to New York. We do crazy shit..."

In February, I was going through a particularly hard time.  I remember I was working on the annual marine oil spill exercise.  It was an awful day; the rain was cold and unrelenting and I had a week of particularly bad news. I was sitting in one of the work trucks just staring out the window.  Evan, a wise (well he would probably laugh at that!) workmate was in the truck with me, sort of uncertain about how to help me through what was going on.

"Evan, look, I have no husband anymore, no family here and my career is just...well...yeah not going the way I had planned.  In every area of my life, everything seems like its turned to shit and I just don't know what to do. I have nothing."  In that moment, I wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear forever.

He looked at me with sad eyes and said, "Sara, sometimes all you have is your life."

His words pump through my brain as rain and wet confetti pour over me, Brazilian music thumps loudly.  People are screaming and dancing. My heart pounds, I'm soaked to the bone and suddenly a bell goes off in my head.   He is right, sometimes all you have is your life.

New York.  What can I say about this place that hasn't already been written?  Its a crazy place.  There are 12 million people in the city; three times the population size of New Zealand, in such a small space.

Katie and I slept in and headed out in the city midday to soak up the city.  We head to Time Square, which is packed with tourists.  The streets are lined with walls of glass and steel; a testament to man's ambition, greed and innovation.  Its warm and the sights start to all meld together.

The Plaza Hotel, Central was all a bit of a blur and rather overwhelming.  We witness what can only be described as a mob wedding at St. Patrick's Cathedral, complete with men dressed in renaissance costumes and trumpets.  We head off to find a little hole in the wall to eat and we find Prime Burger.

The place is like an old 1950s dinner, with booth like chairs.  Let me break this place down for you.  The seats are comfortable with tray tables that swivel in and out.  The food is good, basic dinner food and we eat burgers, of course.

After walking the city, it was time to go to a show.  Katie had purchased tickets to see Fuerza Bruta; a Brazilian performance art thingy.

The show was in a theatre without any seats, just a large black room.  As we are herded into the room, the lights go dark.  Loud bangs, lights and wind machines start the show.  A gigantic treadmill appears at the centre of the room with a man in a suit walking alone.  He starts running.  The show progressing to adding more people who fall off the treadmill repeatedly.  Suddenly, a wall of boxes appear and the man crashes through them; a cloud of confetti and dust fly into the air.

Katie leans over and says "Welcome to New York.  We do crazy shit."

The show is... indescribable.  There is no singing, just dancing.  Different set pieces come out including a  movable stage, gigantic sheets of shiny fabric, and an overhead swimming pool.  The pool is used to good effect; we all look up at the four women who are dashed about by the water, which is almost tidal.  The pool comes down to just above our heads and we can touch its plastic; at times almost able to touch the performers.  I relate to the woman's experience in the water...I feel like I am being tossed to and fro right now by the tides of my life, without anything grounding me.  But it feels wonderfully nothing can stop me from floating through life right now.

The real stars of the show are the technical crew, who move at lightning speed to move sets, herd people away from the set pieces and manage the wires.  Its an amazing feat.

The show ends with a gigantic dance party.  In the centre, water pours out of the ceiling like rain.  I look at Katie and we both know we will get soaked if we go in the centre.  We do anyway, dancing in the rain like mad women.

Nicole (one of Katie's friends from Chicago), Katie and I proceed to the Blind Pig for a platter of fried food.  Nicole leaves us to the night and we end up in a place called the Beauty Bar.  Someone was really thinking when they created this bar; we sipped on Cosmopolitans while getting a manicure.  This is, quite possibly, the best concept for a bar ever.  Katie and I rock our new green sparkly and purple nails (I'm sparkly green, Katie know, the Joker colours!)

We wandered home but stopped at a palm reader, who was somewhat accurate but tried to swindle three hundred dollars from me to get a cursed removed.  I politely declined.

The night ends with a conversation with Katie's neighbours on their doorstep. The night is warm and people just hang out on their porches talking with neighbours.

The city so far has been a lesson on survival and enjoying the moment, living in the now.  Sometimes, all you have is your life...and what a life it is.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Church of Mike

I spent the next two days really just hangin out at the shop, listening to music, organizing Mike's files (his filing system is only slightly better than mine) and just generally chillaxing.  Our constant companions were his blue heeler, Zoe and Vern, a cat named after our contracts teacher in law school.  Vern Davidson was OLD SCHOOL, hard core Socratic method type guy, who also like to through blackboard erasers as students and once told me that my writing resembled a "non native speaker".  Thanks.

Mike is sort of my hero in a lot ways.  After years of being a lawyer, he worked nights for 3 years as a waiter (whilst still working full time as a lawyer during the day) in order to save enough to buy his own bike shop.  And Mike isn't a stranger to personal loss or set backs, so we understand each, although Mike is further along than I am in a lot of ways.  But the coolest thing about Mike is that he worked for his dream and lives it every day.  I would be hard pressed to find anyone else who is as alive and happy as Mike is.  Its a good reminder that even if the road is rough, if you keep your eyes on the dream it is worth it.

One night I make Mike my classic "spaghetti ala sara" which is pretty much me improvising with garlic, olive oil and whatever I can scrounge at the local supermarket (in this case, capsicum, capers, basil, parsley, lemon and Parmesan cheese).  Its my favorite summer pasta because its light and fresh and I can just improvise the whole thing. Later that evening, we drive out to Shaker Heights to meet Mike's brother Jeff.  Shaker Heights is an incredibly wealthy neighbourhood; large colonial houses and ancient oaks abound.  For so many people, this place represents the american dream but for me, I would rather live in Mike's church, a place of character, than live in a huge place in Shaker Heights.

Mike's brother is a really nice guy and he has a lovely home.  We sit around, chat over beers for a bit and then go back to the Church of Mike.  I've been a restless sleeper and wake up, looking at the gilded dome in the middle of the night, with the moonlight streaming into the old church.  It's an almost magical feeling to watch the light change through the windows throughout the night; from the moonlight to sunrise.  I feel calm and at peace.
Being with Mike is great; it reminds me of a much more innocent and kinder Sara, who hosted murder mystery parties, cooked soup for sick friends and once dobbed in a school mate because he resembled a local serial killer (true story; sadly the class mate turned out not to be a serial killer, that would have made the story a lot more interesting).  
I walked around the neighborhood of Bedford, where Mike lives, and saw a deer and her fawn munching on an apple tree in the front yard of a house.  The whole area feels like a mix between western openness and eastern architecture.  I sort of fall in love a little bit with the area (Cleveland, who knew?  For the kiwis, its like falling in love with Waimate...the SHAME!).

In the shop next door to Mike's is an old grand piano.  I ask the shop keepers if I can play it and they say sure.  Poor guys, I played it for about an hour each day, writing new music and playing with old tunes too.  Some of the yellowed ivory keys stick a bit but she plays beautifully.

My time goes by too quickly and before I know it, Mike is dropping me off at the airport.  I am sad to go but as always, excited about the adventure that awaits...what awaits is NYC and Katie!!!  The flights are easy as and I spend them in silence. One thing I notice is that everyone here is distracted with I-Phones, I-pods or mp3s or talking to someone.  No one just sits and thinks while waiting.  I do.  I don't read a book or distract myself; I just sit and think.  It is a wonderful feeling to be at peace with your own thoughts.

Anyway, Katie was my maid of honour when I got married and has generally been my rock for years.  I love the girl like a sister (shhhh don't tell her!  I don't want that cow thinking too much of herself).  Katie left the island of Oahu for New York about three years ago.  She lives in Brooklyn, a very charming place although less so at 1 a.m., which is about the time my taxi pulls up.

We catch up briefly, make plans for then next day...adventure and the city call... 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Every trip around the world must include Cleveland...

Leaving the Tri-Cities was a bit of mixed bag.  I was ready to go but I felt sad to say goodbye to my family.

My brother Christopher came to the airport with my family and he stood in line waiting with me to get checked in.  He put his arm around me and whispered that no matter what, my family would always love me and be there for me if I needed them and that blood was thicker than water.  What a wonderful gift, to know that no matter how imperfect you are or what mistakes you make, there are people out there who will support you and love you no matter what and come to rescue you if needed.

For a long time, I felt that I had no safety net and that I had to shoulder the responsiblity and pain alone, which is stupid because I know I have people there for me.  But now I know that my family, all of my family, are there for me.

After the emotional exchange came the humour (as usual).  Chris told me the story of how my mother came to own a pot plant.  She was given a pot plant by two teenagers who were patients of hers and she didn't realise it for about six months, until one observant doctor pointed it out to her.  Hilarious!

Then it was time to say goodbye to the family.  Afterwards I boarded the plane, which had propellers as opposed to jets.  We flew low and we were able to get very close to Mt. Rainer towering above Seattle.  The sun was setting and the pinkish light was reflecting off the glaciers.  In that moment, I felt like the luckiest girl on earth; i have fallen madly, completely in love with my life.

I landed and was greeted by my cousin Amy.  Strange loops, detours and other such shenanigans took place as we tried to find Jeff and Meaghan.  Jeff and Meaghan have been friends for years and I have literally known Meaghan since she was born.  We caught up on good times over a good meal.

Amy and I returned to the hotel and tucked in for the night.  The flight to Cleveland was fairly quiet and easy; after you have been on 15 hour flights, a four hour flight is a piece of piss.

Now, planning isn't always my strong point.  I came off the flight, realising that I didn't have Mike's cellphone number or address or actually any way to contact him.  We hadn't even made arrangements about where to meet up.  i took a chance and took my heavy suitcase outside, where Mike just happened to be driving past.

As we caught up in the car, Cleveland was flashing past.  It is very green, lots of trees and big old houses.

I went to law school with Mike and even though we hadn't seen each other in about 9 years it didn't feel like that much time had past.

Mike has walked away from the profession to open up a bike shop.  He is a trained bike mechanic and a generally friendly guy to pretty much everyone.  The change clearly suits him; the shop is a happy place with wonderful quotes about bikes painted on the walls.

He lives in a converted old Russian orthodox church, which is pretty much the coolest house I have ever had the pleasure of spending the night in.  There are three large gold gilded domes, a spiral staircase, a lovely library and a vintage Elton John Captain Fantastic pinball machine.

Its been a relaxing time just hanging out at the bike shop, catching up with Mike and walking down tree lined streets.  It is a very friendly place, everyone you pass on the street says hello.  There is a definite lightness around here, despite heavy economic times.

The only disturbing thing is my accent.  Despite my best efforts to keep my non regional dialect in tact, I have apparently been slightly "kiwi-ised".  Bugger.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Oasis

In my family, Sunday has been a day of church and rest.  However, after church, Mom decided it was time to go exploring.  We hit the road north, to visit Palouse Falls.

The Palouse area was formed by a series of lava flows from a large volcanic fissure, somewhere north (possibly Montana; scientists aren't sure).  However, during the Missoula floods. canyons were created.  New Zealand is not short of waterfalls but these falls, even in late summer are specatular. 

The area surrounding the falls dry; surrounded by tumbleweeds and sage brush.  But here, in the middle of this dry, desolate place springs life.  Tall trees line the lovely river and the air feels heavy with humidity.

There are a series of pools above the falls and people were swimming happily, escaping the summer heat.  The desert is a place of calm, subtle beauty but here, life springs everywhere.  We see a baby coyote dash across the path quickly and little prarie dogs scatter into the rocks.  This area almost has a magical quality to it.

We returned from Palouse Falls feeling refreshed.  The next day was a day of planning and packing (I always seem to be doing one or the other).  My friend Amy Cherry drove from Portland to visit, to catch up and tell each other stories about our lives.

Later, my brother Chris, Michele (his wife) and little Vincent came to visit us.  We ate babyback ribs, corn and blue berries with rice crispy treats for dessert.

The day continued on with a nice soak in the hot tub and good discussions with mom.  The next day, Dad and I ventured out to complete the last of the shopping for the trip and had breakfast at a Tri-Cities institution: Shari's.

We then traveled to the retirement homes.  My parents own 5 assisted living facilities, which have between 6-8 patients each.  I was 16 when my parents poured all of their money and time into the first of the two homes. I remember the first several years as being rough for the parents; the rules and regulations of Washington State were almost crippling to businesses.  However, my parents persevered and the little Legacy Homes empire has expanded to include fairly advanced facilities, with exercise and beauty spa rooms, physical therapy suites and other deluxe facilities.  What touched me was to see all the good work my parents do, everyday, with a full staff and Chris and Michelle happily helping along.

Finished the day with a nice cactus salad (which I had never tried before but YUM!) and...more packing.  I'm really looking forward to my next jump to Seattle, where I get to visit with my cousin and other friends for ONE NIGHT ONLY and then Cleveland, to visit my long time friend Mike.  And then NYC...And then...sigh...too much to think about!

My time here has been healing, with plenty of rest and reflection.  I didn't realise how much I deeply needed to return to my roots before taking off again on my journey.  They say that the things you run away from persist and I think there is truth to that.  For a long time, I did feel like I was running away from here; but now I feel like I have made peace with this place, my family and the desert.  I can now close this chapter of my life and look forward with excitement to what lies ahead.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Walla Walla, Warshington!

Walla's name is so famous, most people think its almost a joke; a non place.  But I promise you, it does exist!  Walla Walla was one of the first settlements in Washington State (or Warshington State, if you pronounce it the way they do in Walla Walla, different from Kiwis, who have always been economical with their r's).  It was started by Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife in 1836.  The Whitmans wanted to "tame the wild native" and bring the teachings of Christ to the Cayuse Indians.  

They did not have a good time of it.  Narcissa Whitman's only daughter drowned as a small child in a stream just outside their house.  The Whitman's opened their home and mission to new settlers on the Oregon trail.  They lived in relative peace with the Cayuse Indians until an outbreak of measles hit the community and the Cayuse had no immunity to the disease.  With half the tribe dead, the Cayuse were, shall we say, suspicious of all the non-dead white folks living happily in their mission.  

After weeks of tension, the chief of the Cayuse came to talk to Dr. Whitman and well, it all went downhill from there.  Both Dr. Whitman and his wife were killed.  Mission residents, the ones that weren't killed, were held for ransom.  Then the U.S. government came in to create a territory out of Oregon and Washington and well...the rest didn't go so well for the Cayuse.

Mom and I visited the old mission; none of the original buildings stand but there are artifacts and other interesting stuff to look at.  The Park Rangers looked pretty bored in the hot sun...but there was a Cayuse man there who was doing a demonstration on dancing.  His brightly colored costume was covered in beads and eagle feathers.  He showed us a wonderful, full War "bonnet".  

It was wonderful to hear him tells stories and share his experiences; the U.S. has a whole different type of relationship with its native peoples compared to New Zealand.  While you simply cannot separate Maori culture from New Zealand's identify, the same cannot be said for the U.S.    It was great to take the opportunity to learn more about the Cayuse and the Plains Native Americans as a group, if only a small window into their culture.     

Walla Walla itself is a wonderful little city of 30,000 souls with old Victorian style mansions lining streets. The whole place is pretty chillaxed; its also a foodie/wino's paradise with lots of local fare to choose from.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxing, just hangin out with Mom and soaking up the sun and making plans for my next few jumps.  

Saturday, August 21, 2010


 Outside there is a thunderstorm thats been raging for the better part of two hours.  One thing that happens a lot here is dry thunderstorms; no rain but lots of lightning and thunder.  But outside my window, I can hear a few small splatterings of rain, rare in this desert.

I've always had mixed feelings about the place of my birth but now I've come here to recharge for a few days before continuing on my journey.  Over the past few years, I let the hits and immense responsibilities and resentment take away my fun and drag me down.  I've come back to reconnect with that part of myself, the fun part of me, the carefree "I have no one to answer to, no one I'm responsible for" me.

One thing I am really happy about is reconnecting with my old friend Tim.  Tim and I were friends since elementary school (primary school for you kiwis), but we lost touch after high school, as good friends often do.  By shear luck, we were both in town at the same time and got to hang out for an evening.  It was really cool to just chat and see how things had been for the both of us.  There is a part of me that will forever be drinking slirpees at 7-11 or hangin out at the park during school and its good to be around people who remember what that was like.  With Tim came the awesome Mark Harper, also a friend from school.

Got to see some good live bands at Jackson's, a local pub.  Some excellent local music that would be what I would call satanic country music that Tom Waits vomited up after a night on the piss (booze).  Bob Wayne (a local boy) and the Outlaw Carnies (could there be a better name for a seedy country band???) are a three piece band with upright bass, rhythm guitar and electric lead guitar.  Outside, their stretch Cadillac limo with steer horns as a hood ornament waited outside for the end of their set.  A true Tri-Cities moment.

On a different note, another thing I got to reconnect with is my grand piano.  I hadn't played her in years and my Welte was a beautiful as ever.  Recently I started playing again, reconnecting (ooo see the theme??? aren't i a clever chicken???) with music.  Music gives me real joy in life; I tell all my secrets to the piano.

Being with family, seeing my little nephew and regaining energy from my roots here has been a fantastic experience.  I feel more rested, more at peace than I have in several years.  It is good to be home, if only for a few short days.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Strange Loops

After the big fishing trip, we spent the night in Westport again, eating more chowder from the One Eyed Crab (and, could there be a better name for a seafood resturant than the One Eyed Crab???).  I was pretty tired and spent most of the night coma'd on the couch.

We carried on our way to Mt. St. Helens, my favorite of all volcanos.  In my excitement, I slammed the car door on my thumb.  I waited for the pain and realised, yes there was pain and yes there was blood.  More blood than I had seen in a long time. I surpised myself by not a)swearing like a shearer/trucker and b) being calm enough to tell my mother where my first aid kit was and what bandages to use (which was pointless because she is, of course, a nurse practioner). The rest of the trip was spent with my thumb encased in a gigantic bandage.

We arrived at the mountain, walked around for an hour or so, lost dad completely (no suprise there) and then began, what I like to call, the "Strange Loop akin to that Star Trek episode that one time that I can't ever remember the title of).  So we go down the highway, make one turn and promptely return the way we came.  And then we tried a different route...which took us again to the mountain.  It took about four attempts to actually leave Mt. St. Helens...after much cursing...

We drove through White Pass, a place I hadn't spent much time at but wouldn't mind having a strange loop expierence in.

As trees gave way to sloping, dry hills, a sense of calm washed over me.  The desert is a barren place, void of green but it is strangely serene.  For the last nine years I have never really looked at my home with anything but comparring the beauty surrounding me in New Zealand and found it wanting.  But now, I find the hills, which always looked liked dinosaurs lying on their sides, comforting to me.  I forgot how I missed the long shadows in the evening, the warm nights, the sunsets.  The big sky, with nothing blocking the views.  The dry thunderstorms.

I thought about the strange loops. Almost nine years ago to the day, I travelled to New Zealand for the first time and despite my assertation that I was only there for "six weeks", I left many years later.  Life takes us on strange loops that return back to where we started. 

But finally I can see this place with very different, kinder eyes than before.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The one that got away

Seattle was scorching for two days and my parents picked from my cousin Amy's house.  We  made our way for the coast, where it was 20 degrees instead of 35.  Westport is a small, beach community famous for its seafood and salmon fishing.

Dad and I booked a salmon charter, which was interesting because I had never gone salmon fishing before.  We had a nice long walk on the beach and ate at the One Eyed Clam.  Fantastic seafood; I had a bowl of seafood which looked like something out of Star Trek, with limbs poking out of the bowl.  Actually, despite it looking fairly disgusting, it was delicious.

The charter left bright and early in the morning at 530 a.m. so we woke up at 4 to get ready.  The conditions were bumpy and three people became seriously ill on the boat.  The fishing was slow and hard work, constantly reeling in and reeling out.  On the third cast of the second set of fishing, I felt a slight tug on my line; I started reeling in and it became extremely difficult.  I called out the famous words "fish on!" and it was all on.  The deck crew scrambled around me and we moved around the boat, trying not to tangle up other fishermen.

The action continued for about five minutes as I fought the fish.  It was very tiring work; until finally, the fish was on the boat.  I let out a little shriek of delight; my fish was large, about 14 pounds.  I was happy with my catch.

The rest of the day continued on until I had another fish on my line; again the scramble, the screaming deckhands.  The fish was a surprise to me; I hadn't been paying attention.  The deck hand brought up the net but missed the shiny fish and it flopped happily back in the ocean, taking my bait with him.

Secretly, I was happy to see the fish go back to sea.  I had my big fish; did I need another?  And this got me thinking about regret and how we obsess about the job, the person or that thing that slips through our fingers.  Dad was upset with the deckhand but I saw no point; what is gone is gone and you just can't get it back again.  Sure I might get lucky and catch the same fish again but that's a long shot.

After all, there are plenty more fish in the sea...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Damn Sarah, you one crazy bitch!

Auckland was amazing; Kiri is a wonderful friend and we spent a great deal of time talking, eating and generally getting messy.  As I made the last of my less than sober phone calls, I realised it was time to get off the islands and go on my way.

After a pretty cruisy 12 hour flight, I arrived in the maddest place on earth: LAX.  Everybody was angy, the flight was delayed for 3 hours to San Fran.  It felt so bizarre to know that I had no one I needed to call, no work needed to get done and no bills needed to be paid.  Everything was tied up in a nice bow and it felt really, really weird.

I was picked up from the airport by my lovely Aunt Dominque and spent a lovely day with her, talking and walking around. She lives in San Jose, near the famous Winchester Mystery House.  Now, those who know me well, know my love of ghost stories, the macabe and anything slightly weird.  I had always wanted to visit the house that Sarah Winchester built over the space of 38 years.  Despite my pleadings with my auntie, we couldn't go as we had to meet with my brother and his partner for dinner.

It was a lovely evening; San Jose was cooler than expected. 

In the morning Auntie and I went for a lovely walk around the hills.  Tina, my friend from Hawai'i, who I hadn't seen in five years picked me up.  She aksed what I wanted to do and I said, of course, the mystery house.  She jumped out of her seat and screamed "Oh my god! I thought that too!  Wahooo!!!!

We proceeded at a quick pace to the crazy, 160 room mansion.  Sarah, in an effort to avoid more than her fair share of pain and suffering on this planet, consulted a psychic regarding her future.  The psychic told her that the reason she had expierenced so much loss was because the ghosts of all those people killed by the Winchester rifles had come to haunt her.  In order to break the cycle, she would have to move to the west coast and build every day for the rest of her life.

Which she did.  The Winchester house answers perfectly the eternal question:  what can you do if you have bucket loads of cash and are absolutely insane.  Sarah built until the day she died for 38 years.  She built crazy shit like stairs that went no where, doors that opened into walls and rooms that had lots of 13 windows.  (Oh wait, did I forget to mention that 13 was her favourite number?  And we visited on Friday the 13???)  OOOOOO SPOOKY!

Anyway, the house was full of crazy.  Tina and I spent the rest of the day catching up on life.  We picked up the Dave (her husband) from Apple and had dinner at the Auntie's house.  Then visited my brother (hey, wait, are you guys getting bored yet???)

Flew to Seattle in the morning (the plane, as predicted was an hour late).  Seattle is...HOT.  Like 39 degrees hot.  And dry.  But I am enjoying spending time with the cousin and meeting up with people I haven't seen in a decade or more.

I think it brings up the eternal nature of some friendships, where you can sit down and just start talking like no time has past (even if 5 or 10 years have passed)....those are friendships (like Tina's) that I treasure with all my heart.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Angels in my apartment

As tears ran down my face from packing up my wedding dress, Fiona climbed up my staircase.  I burst into further tears seeing her; she came just in time.  Boxes, bags and clothes were everywhere and I just wasn’t coping with the enormous tasks ahead of me AND dealing with my past.

She looked at the mess and decided to tackle the kitchen. In 30 minutes, my kitchen stuff was packed up in boxes, organized and sorted.
Louise was shortly behind her, vacuuming up and sorting through items to give away to the Sallies, as I tackled the back room.

Fi left my kitchen spotless.  We stopped, smiled, laughed and David walked on.  Fi tagged him in and walked out.

David, the fashionista that he was, sorted my wardrobe quickly with a "that's outdated" "that looks like a table cloth" or "ooo LBD; you HAVE to take that!"

By the end of the day, my life was sorted into different rooms : one to take to the sols, the other give aways, the last in storage or take to the states.  It was time for the saddest of all the tasks; taking Mr. Dot Dot, my loyal and loving kittie, to the cattery.  After his brief stay, he will be adopted out to friends.  That was very hard, to say goodbye to my wonderful kitty.

On Monday, Antony came in and we sorted more until the rooms became empty.  He was wonderful and I couldn't have done the move without his help.

On my last day of work and living in Christchurch, my coworkers thought it was a good idea to have tea and scones and make me cry in public (BASTARDS!). Lovely speeches by Mitch, Mick, Murray and others.  Very moving and it was amazing to think that four years have passed by so quickly.  Goodbyes, hugs and tears were shared and promises to stay in touch.

By 7, everything I owned was either living in other places, packed off to the Solomons or in two suitcases.  I said goodbye to Carlton Mill with sadness; a lot of things went down in that place.  But I could see it was certainly time to move on.

Had a morning of errands and said goodbye to the lovely Gaynor.  It was a beautiful, sunny day in Christchurch and as I flew over the snow capped mountains, I said goodbye to the place that had been my home for the greater part of nine years.  

I feel very grateful having all these lovely people in my life and all the experiences, while some have been very painful, I value.

I left my heart in Christchurch...

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm a blue person on a map!

Check it out:

Click on the Solomon Islands...go to Guadacanal (am 3rd blue person on the map!)

9 days till I hop on the plane...