Homegrown Texan

Born and raised in Texas, I've found the home of my heart and soul in the Pacific Northwest. I love trees, cool weather, and rain. I'm a back to basics kind of gal just trying to raise my family and find a bit of time to slow down in this hectic life.

My older son's 1st grade class gets to help take care of the chickens at school.  As a reward, occasionally they get to bring home an egg.  Michael brought an egg home a couple of days ago, and today he gets to have it for breakfast.  He said it's the best egg he's ever tasted.  I buy local, farm-fresh eggs, but they're never *that* fresh.  So cool!!!

When I got off work, everyone was exhausted (Jim had a rough day, too).  We didn't feel like going out.  So I scrounged up something.  Frozen chicken strips (from Trader Joe's not great, but they're ok), pasta with homemade pesto (me; I needed to make up the pesto or was gonna lose the basil), mac & cheese (Jim & kids), and broccoli (which was gonna rot if I didn't use it soon).  I really wasn't in the mood, but I know we got through dinner sooner than we would have otherwise.  Plus I saved money and kept food from going to waste.  An added bonus is that I now have a huge batch of fresh pesto in the freezer, waiting to use with a nice meal.  Woot!

Oh, and I even cleaned up all of the dishes (today, for some reason, must have been Small Appliance day, as I had to clean the juicer, a small crockpot, and the food processor).  Now it's time to relax.  Ahhhhhh.

Work today was a bitch.  We have partially working code that I have to get converted to using a different kind of UI (TreeView replacing a ListView, for anyone who cares).  So step 1 (which has taken me for-freaking-ever) is to get all of the ListView stuff that's implemented working in TreeView.  Step 2 is to add in all the stuff that wasn't even added in for the initial phase yet.

I was determined to get step 1 done today, just because I'm sick and tired of it looming over my head.  I'm close.  I have code *written*, and it compiles, but I haven't tested it yet.  But at least I have something to work with.  This project overall has been taking me way to damn long and I need to get through it.

Now I'm tired and brain dead.  After a day like today, I barely have the mental capacity to pour myself a cold one, let alone make dinner (especially since I only have something pseudo-planned).  Looks like we'll be getting take-out, even though I really don't have the energy to do that, either.  Can't the kids skip dinner for just one day?

My dad used to sing this old Stones classic to me when I was  a little girl and wanted something that I couldn't have.  This used to piss me off immensely, but now I just chuckle.

This post is going to be about me sorting things out "out loud" if you will.  Probably a lot of rambling.  Feel free to move on, but if you care to read and care to comment, I'd certainly welcome it.

I know I've complained before that I don't like living in Arizona, I miss my parents, and I really want to live in the forest.  I know those last two things are mutually exclusive; my parents live in central Texas, not even in the hill country, but on what used to be flat farmland.  Compared to here it's a rain forest, but really, I have to admit that living near them would not satisfy my craving to live amongst tall trees.  You know, the kind that are so tall that you can hear the wind in the tops of them while the air hardly stirs down below.  I *love* that sound.

When I'm in an environment like that, I feel like I'm complete, like some piece of me that is normally missing has locked into place.  I yearn to have that feeling all the time, but does that mean that I *need* it?   Probably not...I've never lived in that environment (aside from a short stint in New Caney, Texas, when I was 3-4, which I barely even remember), and I seem to have survived so far.  In my more dramatic (read: whiny) moments, I can imagine myself living my life, never fulfilling this dream, and what a tragedy that would be.  People could write sad poetry about me and shed tears for the woman whose life dream was never fulfilled.  I could die a martyr, sacrificing myself for the wants and needs of my family.  Bleh.

And then there's my parents.  This desire/need is probably more realistic, certainly something I can ascribe more validity to, although I don't always feel it as strongly.  I really, really miss them.  Especially my dad.  I get back to visit twice a year if I'm lucky.  I could possibly make it more, but what  I really miss is being able to drop over for a visit on the weekends.  They still work a lot, so when I do go back to visit, I really have to stay a long time to get to spend much time with them.  Fortunately, at least for now, I can telecommute from their house almost as well as i can from mine (I do have phone issues, but nothing I can't work around), but there's only so much time I feel comfortable spending away from my children, and that I feel comfortable asking Jim to stick it out alone with the kids with.  Sure, he *can* do it, and plenty of people put up with far more (I'm specifically thinking of my friend who has two kids and a husband who is deployed in Iraq).

So, what to do.  Jim doesn't really want to move to Texas.  I think if I really put my foot down, I could make it happen, anyway.  Realistically, he doesn't have a valid reason to say no.  I haven't wanted to live here for several years now, so it's only fair that i get a turn to get what I want.  But it's hard for me to want to play that card; I'm not generally that assertive and I'm not so sure it would be good for the relationship.  And then I have this "live in the forest thing" always hanging around in my head, and lo and behold, he tells me he's willing to try living in the Pacific Northwest.  This certainly meets my forest need and is something he says he can live with.  The down side is I am no longer  a day's drive (and I'm a *long* day's drive now...16 hours minimum) from my parents; far from it, in fact.  Plane tickets are increasingly expensive, and to take all 4 of us or even just me and the kids is a substantial expense.

While I was laid off in November, I interviewed for jobs in Seattle.  I absolutely loved it there...everything just seemed to be falling into place.  I *really* thought I was going to get one of the jobs.  And I really don't think it was just a matter of  me wanting it (even though I did), everything just felt like it was coming together.  Then it didn't work out  and I almost felt like the universe was just toying with me at that point.  To let me get so close to escape, and then rip it away from me.

But the truth is, it's a terrible time for us to move.  Our house isn't ready to sell or rent, and I'm not even sure if we could rent or sell it in this market.  We *cannot* afford two house payments.  And I'm adamant that my kids go to an alternative school.  This is not at all about me getting them away from certain types of people, and all about the fact that I have huge issues with the format and methods of mainstream public education.  My point being I don't necessarily want them in a private school, not only because of the expense, but because it almost automatically brings along a certain amount of snootiness for the ride, which I *don't* want.  But if my choices were regular mainstream public school or private (a private school that I agree with), I'd do my damndest to get them into private.  I've had a strong feeling since Michael was small that I needed to find something for them.  And you know, I've found that here in Phoenix.  I have them in a public charter Waldorf school.  It's not perfect and there are some things I'm not crazy about.  But overall I like it.  My children seem to be thriving there.  There is a wonderful community there.  I feel good about sending them there every day.  And that is really the huge thing...my other options in location  would require (based on my personal requirements) that I pony up and send them to private school.  Jim could get more work to pay for it, but it seems silly for him to generate more income just to throw it at a school.  We both agreed that if we moved that's what we'd do.

So that's my conundrum.  My choices are:
- Texas (Austin): gets me closer to my parents, housing is more affordable, it's possible for me to live some place wooded and beautiful there.  But I'd have to do the private school thing.
- Seattle: gives me that whole forest thing I want (need?).  I think I can eventually get a job I want there (my current one allows me to telecommute, but I don't know how long it will last, so I have to think ahead).  Jim would be happier here.  But I'd be further from my parents, and I'd have to do the private school ting.
- Portland: again, gives me that whole forest thing.  I could telecommute from there now, but I'm not so sure I could find a suitable job for myself if I needed to (no worse than here in Phoenix; when I looked at the end of last year I wasn't happy with the options, either).  Portland *does* have a Waldorf charter school, which is a huge plus and the only reason I'd choose it over Seattle.  And again, I'd be much further from my parents.
- Stay here: probably the best decision financially, simply because we don't have to incur a moving expense and/or deal with changing housing.  Kids get to stay in the school that they love and that so far we are happy with.  Still far away from my parents, but closer than the NW.  The real downside here is that I feel smothered and it feels so lifeless here.  When I put it down on paper, it just seems like I'm whining.  But the feeling is very real, and it's bothered me for years, so I'm not so sure I should just ignore it either.  Edited to add:  The other huge thing about staying here is that I have family and a lot of friends here.  I know some people in Austin (besides my parents) and Jim has a brother in Seattle, but it would definitely be a huge deal to leave our circle of friends.  At times that seems unbearable; at other times I think that I would miss them dearly, but I would also make new friends.

Some days I have the most difficult time just getting started.  Once I get into it, I'm fine.  But it's like I need my time tooling around on the internet, accomplishing nothing.  Am I really just a slacker, or are other people this way?  I always thought I had such a strong work ethic, but I'm beginning to wonder.  I've tried setting goals for myself, such as "I will get such-and-such thingie that I'm programming working".  The problem is there are a lot of things that could take 1 hour or could take 5, and I don't always know before I start.  So then I'm setting unfair goals for myself.  I suppose that would be better than setting no goals at all.

Yeah, it's been a while since I've posted, and I feel totally lame starting back up with this. But I saw it on a friend's blog, and just wanted to do it. And it's my blog, so I can do what I want. Nyah! ;)

Highlight the ones you have done
Come on you know you want to do it too!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort (well, I tried, but there wasn't really enough snow)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (in a rock gym)
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen (I don't remember if it was specifically soup, but I did serve food at a homeless shelter)
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter (air evac, when I was in premature labor and bleeding)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt (partially; I never finished it)
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (with my dad when I was a little kid)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (well, almost; ended up settling out of court, which was fine with me!)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day