Experiences: looking back, moving forward


2006 comic from Natalie Dee

This is almost a random thoughts post.  It’s likely to be rambling, because it’s more about processing my ideas about where I’ve been and where I’m going in the near future than reporting on any specific event.

I’m also staying focused on the last year, and the year ahead.  Things have become more immediate now for me, mostly because as I age, I feel time rushing by me at an ever-increasing rate.

Today I saw a Groupon code for 95% off.  There’s this glass fusion class I’ve been wanting to do, but it’s an hour away, and almost $50. Well, it’s $19 with the Groupon coupon, and I’ve pretty much decided to go.   In a couple weeks, I’m going to my first paint night party (you know, wine and a painting).  It’s something I always thought would be fun, if I had anyone to go with, but this one is at my church (so I know people) and it’s a fundraiser (so I don’t feel so bad about spending the money)

Now this all brings up a couple issues for me:  first, that spending something like $60 has given me a lot to look forward to, but that $60 is very often out of reach for me financially.  Second, that I really DO need a little more variety in my day to day activities, and that I tend to become so focused on one thing, I throw all my energy into that.

It’s mostly what’s keeping me in Los Angeles county right now: it’s about being an aquarium docent and a whale watch naturalist.  A year ago, I couldn’t tell you what a piddock clam was or how many species of whale lice live on a gray whale.  Now stuff like that is part of my every day discussions. It occurs to me that I don’t talk so much about cochineal and yucca root, which is what I spoke about in the years leading up to my move here.  Every time I move, I leave more behind than an apartment and friends. I end up burying a part of me, squirreling it away in my memory box, to be taken out and looked at on rare occasion with a sense of wistfulness.

Part of me knows I don’t want to age here, and that Petaluma still remains the better choice for an older me, a me I’m rapidly becoming.  I’ve put off moving this summer for the job, a job that’s causing me huge headaches with social security, medicaid, and housing, but may help me get a little furniture in this apartment, pay for my glasses (which medicaid no longer covers) and help fund the future move.  And because I see the inevitability of a move, I’m still strongly drawn to the idea of the Farewell Tour, which I’ve yet to start.

In two days I turn 58.  I plan to be in Petaluma by 60.  That means I’ve got two years to get an apartment and move, no small feat in this economy and with the state-wide housing crunch.  But it also means I want to be prepared to move whenever an apartment comes open, and that may be sudden.

Friday, on my birthday, I intend to kick off the Farewell Tour in earnest with a recreation of my birthday 11 years ago.  While it hits some of the interesting places I’ve wanted to see, I also feel a little sad and empty thinking I’ll be doing it alone.  I may skip dinner at Hop Woo’s, and do China Town on a different day.  If I were back in Santa Fe, I’d take the kids, or Georgia and Karen.  Here, I just haven’t made the friendships yet.  Part of it is being sick, broke, and busy, but the other part is the knowing that I’m planning on leaving.

There are things I want to experience here, either again or for the first time.

Here’s my list of “to do” before I go:

    LA zoo
    Museum of Natural History
    Huntington Library Gardens
    South Coast Botanical Gardens
    China Town
    Little India
    Watts Towers
    Descanso Gardens
    and POSSIBLY Universal Studios (for the wizarding world of Harry Potter)

Now looking at this list it seems tiny compared to other Farewell Tour lists.

The other part of this is that I still have 75 lbs of New Mexico micaceous clay sitting here, and am thinking of taking a fall class at LBCC in ceramics. I’ll be meeting with the department head next Monday. That might delay the move until after Christmas, give me more time for a Farewell Tour, and, if I can sell any of the pieces, give me more resources for a move.


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