Monday, June 23, 2008


I've always been a great fan of music, especially music with lyrics. My life has a soundtrack that only I know - it's not some great secret it's just that I couldn't write it down like a box set of greatest hits. Rather, I'll hear a song and think back to a very distinct time, place, or instance. Funny how music can do that - define and entire generation or a 10 second event in one persons life. It's transcendent. Now and then a song comes along whose melody haunts you and lyrics define what you have longed to say but couldn't find the words for. There is this song called Jailbird by a guy named Jim White. It took a while for this guy's style to grow on me (mostly, this is because Tim played one of his songs over and over again until I threatened to put my head in the oven). Then about 6 weeks ago we saw him play at the American Music Hall - it was a great show and now I'm a bona fide fan. Back to my new favorite song, you can hear it below. The video is from the movie "Spirit of the Beehive" (I prefer the song with out the video). One stanza in particular speaks to me. It goes like this:
But in time, as sorrow showed it's face,
in kind I learned to ache for grace.
To work and pray to one day be
delivered whole, alive, and free.

Delivered whole, alive, and free. That sums up the quest of my entire life. If I could wish for one thing that would be it. In that peaceful state I could be anyone. Without being a slave to judgment I could be any weight, any degree of coolness, (un)healthy, poor or rich, smart or stupid, a mother or not...everything would be a circumstance and nothing more. I've read books about various religions (conventional and not), and tried and tried again to reconnect with the catholic church, which I grew up in. I don't know where else to search for this kind of spiritual intervention. Is that part of what "grace" is? You can't earn it or ask for it - it's just given to you like a gift. You receive it and are (hopefully) thankful. Once that sea change happens, it's an integral part of you forever. Until that time you wait and yearn...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Show me the money!

I got a raise yesterday. I suppose this means I've passed the probationary period. It's a relief to have the notion that I have a steady job be validated, especially since I've been feeling the bite of impermanence lately.

The other kind of validation that is really nice is that it seems they think I'm doing a good job - coworkers, clients, and patients gave positive feedback! Plus, I feel like when I'm working, I'm REALLY working. For anyone in my field it comes as no surprise that my hours are so long, I take no breaks, and am utterly depleted at the end of the day. There is no time for anything else when I'm working. My friends who are vets are fairly nonplussed when if takes me a couple of days (or a week) to return a phone call - they are in the same boat! However, to any other person it is practically inconceivable that a J.O.B. can be so all-consuming. I'm not trying to win the "I have it worse than you" award - it's just nice to have your hard work and dedication acknowledged. I think everyone feels like that to some extent regardless of the "job".

Finally, I'm excited about what this mean financially. I think we will be able to reach our financial goals for the year! And we might even be able to buy some furniture! I think we will start the 401k program at my work - imagine that! Savings and investments! Perhaps I am working toward the stability I've been craving.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Licensed and stable?

Tim found out this morning that he got his CA medical license. At last! I'm so happy for him - he has been more stressed about this than I've ever seen him in 10 years together. Hopefully, he can relax a little bit. This also translates into at least 3 more years in San Francisco and, I should think, all the stability that comes with permanence.

It's been an interesting few years for us. About three years ago when we were both in our last year of med & vet school the big looming decider was match day in March. I remember clearly how out of sorts I felt then. I'm a planner. I like to know what is likely to happen well in advance. We didn't know where we would live, be licensed, have jobs, etc. It was unnerving for me to be 2 months away from graduation with the full knowledge that we would be going somewhere but having no idea where that was.

Then we were in Jax for a year. That was interesting b/c we knew it was for a year - nothing more, nothing less. We could still go back to Gainesville when we wanted to revisit our old life. Just as we were settled into our home, social life, routine, etc. it was time to leave.

Then came SF. We purged our belongings and prepped for a brand new life. Once we found an apartment there was a host of other things to tackle: call schedules, my travel schedule, CA med and vet boards, me finding (suitable) employment, marathon training, city exploration, trying to make a baby and finding out all sorts of stuff along the way.

I realized something a few weeks ago: we don't have a lease on our apartment, my job contract is "at will", we are up to our ears in high-interest debt, Tim is at the mercy of his program, and we still don't have much in the way of stuff. We still have very little in the way of stability (or at least the kind I seem to recognize as comforting). I can't explain how weird it is for me to live like this. There is a constant undercurrent of anxiety. I could be fired from my job tomorrow (or when/if I get pregnant). We could be told by our landlords that they've decided to rent to a family member so we need to leave. The likelihood that either of these will happen is slim. Nevertheless, I feel like I need to start stashing cash in my mattress and formulating "plan B". Beyond that I don't know what will make me feel like I have finally achieved stability. Will owning a house do it? Finally getting (and staying) pregnant? Positioning myself so that I am indispensable in the work place? Having even the tiniest cash cushion? Having a social network that can act as a safety net (like we had in Gville and I so depserately now miss)? Perhaps I need to go revise my goals to reflect some of this.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Where we live

Our families are probably the ones most interested in this topic. This is the space we occupy.
We moved to San Francisco June 2007 and lived in a temporary apartment for about 6 weeks until after countless hours on Craigslist I found the gem we now live in. Our apartment occupies the first floor of a 1908 Edwardian house. Parking is easy and we actually have our own laundry, which was a huge thing for me! If I told you our rent, anyone would think we were insane for paying that much, but it's the norm here.

I have painted almost the entire apartment. The only room I haven't tackled yet is the kitchen. Tim wants a blue color. Our cabinets and counter tops are a yellowish hue so I haven't found the right color yet.
Moving on, the living room has great windows up front. When we moved in there were no blinds so it was like living in a fishbowl. Plus, we have only one heater vent in the whole house so lots of heat gets lost through our old, single-paned windows. I bought some honey-combed blinds (not cheap) so that was a substantial part of our furniture budget.
Oh yes, there's that. The furniture. We sold everything we owned before we moved here - it was incredibly freeing to not be weighed down by stuff. When we added it up (literally) it wasn't worth moving it all. Tim's mom warned us that it was going to be more expensive to replace everything and she was right. We ran out of money pretty fast. The largest purchases being the bed and the couch. I heart my Crate and Barrel couch. It brings me hours of satisfaction. Nevertheless, we are slowly getting things that we really like.
Some of you may notice an absence of a TV. Yep, sold that too. Before I was employed, we couldn't shoulder the cost of cable anyways. Besides I think cable merely gives the false impression that you might find something worth watching, which never works out to be the case. But I do miss HGTV - it's like crack to me. We have found that we like not having a TV. The color is BJM Copley Gray. I almost cried when I finished because I thought it looked like the inside of a paper bag. Now I love this color.
From there you go into an adjoining room that was meant once to be a dining room, I think. We have the computer (stereo, movie-watching device) in here. We also sprung for a high-end futon for guests to sleep on. It's more comfortable than our bed. The room does close off entirely so the guests can have some privacy, but I have to warn you that the cats HATE closed doors. You can see Beta making use of her incredible "carpet-stay" powers. To the right of the closet door you can see our one heating vent in the floor. Color is BJM Audubon Russet.
On to the bedroom. As I mentioned, the bed was another high $ purchase. For years we have slept on taco mattresses. No more. We love the bed that Joe DeB. has - the best night of sleep. Ever. So when it came time to buy a mattress I didn't even want to eff around. Well, now that is the only thing in the bedroom. All of our clothes are in boxes and bags on the floor of the closet. I have my heart set on the Giselle collection at C&B, but of course it will be about $5000 for that furniture so we are waiting....and waiting. The paint was an interesting experiment. I like a dark bedroom. For one thing, it's cozy and you're sleeping so why not? Secondly, I think it can mysterious and sexy. Thirdly, since we both work overnights sometimes it is good to have a dark room. So I painted the ceiling BJM Branchport Brown and the walls are a gray (with a lavender hue). It reminds me of a color combo used in the late 40's a lot (it will go with the style of furniture I have my eye on) so I plan to decorate with this theme in mind. When it's done the colors will make more sense.

Just off the bedroom, separated by french doors, is a sunroom. We have made this into an office/library. We found the desk on the street (score) and had the bookshelves made special since our textbooks are pretty big and since they fit under the windows the cats LOVE to sit on them and stare at the birds etc. Frances has claimed the spot she is sitting in (on top of the shelf on the far right) as her place. Now we call this "Frances's room". I spent a solid 4 weeks in here studying for CA vet med boards. Luckily, at that time our downstairs neighbor was on vacay. He listens to reggae music only, all the time. I can dig it, but there is no sound barrier so it sounds as if the reggae is in the room with you. That isn't very conducive to study or concentration. When "jamaican mon" is home it renders the entire back half of the house useless. The color is BJM Great Barrington Green. You can see Frances is in her place and Paka is looking on in his tender, gentle manner.
Finally, we do have a view. From the window above, on a clear day, and if you stand on your toes, and the trees aren't moving too much you can see the ocean. You can also see Sutro tower on Twin Peaks, which is visible from anywhere in the bay area (like a homing call). When you leave our house and go into the street you can see the UCSF cathedral, which is beautifully lit in the night, the tops of the Golden Gate bridge, and the north bay beyond all the way to Mt. Tam. when the fog rolls in you can watch it hover just over the water and channel in under the bridge. It really is beautiful. Since we live at the top of the hill you can also watch it roll down the street. It's like living in the clouds!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Why is she blogging?

Since we moved to the west coast it is pretty hard to keep in touch with people on the east coast. For example, here I am...I have the day off tomorrow and my man is working the whole night long. It's the perfect time for a long phone conversation with one of my girls or to catch up with the parents. But it's 12:30 am there. Email is cool, but sometimes it takes so long. And let's face it, some people are better at keeping up than others (I am one of the others). Facebook is good too but still not everyone is on it and it has all these funky applications etc.

So blogging -I'll give this a try. At the very least it will help me organize my thoughts a bit. Besides, I'm a bit curious to see what picture of me emerges from this. I'm going to pick colors, and a playlist, post pictures, and try to summarize my life, my thoughts, etc. Stay tuned...