.... of driving back and forth to Portland every week.

It's 4 hours.

One way.

But will be so worth it.


This latest trip ... a job interview ... a new "favorite" restaurant (of which there will be oh, so many) ... and the discovery that our new ceilings are vaulted ... to the moon.

So delicious.

Cheryl thought so, too.

How to take pictures of an apartment? I do not know ... this is a talent I surely don't possess. After wiggling, laying down, squinching, angling ... this is the best I could do. Maybe more later. Once boxes are unpacked. Maybe not.

Time for a nap.

... I'm introducing her just a tad more. She's the one on the right.

Slightly out of the norm for me, as I generally keep my family, my friends and any charming young men I date tucked carefully close to my heart. Facing me.

But we're moving in together, and so my stories become her stories become our stories become your stories ... kind of ... those of you who read this.

I've got sisters.

I've got a sister Liz who's older, married, has 4 children and lives in a town close to Portland.

I've got a sister Hannah, who's 18 years younger than me and lives not near Portland but in the same state.

(Ok, in all fairness, I have a brother, too - Greg, whom I can't NOT mention, even though this posting is about sisters.)

And then there's Cheryl. Who's been my sister the longest (blended family). Who knows how deeply family dysfunction can run and knows how hard we all fight to keep above it. Who has fought with me and borrowed my roller skates and had the better Barbie house and played hide and go seek with me and loved horses while I was deathly afraid of them and used to watch "labyrinth" in my room (much to my chagrin) almost every day and went to Pebble beach with me and went snorkeling in Oahu with me and sang duets with me in the bathroom and watched Ghostbusters with me when we were kids (and didn't laugh at me when I got scared) and loved the cartoon "gem" and made up dance routines with me.

Cheryl will be going to the same school, undergraduate, finishing her degree in biochemistry (she's a smart one). We will drive each other crazy, fight, make up the next day and drink a lot of Starbucks together. We'll go through periods when we'll only shop at organic markets and then go through periods where taco bell seems like an incredible idea. We'll make a million plans and follow through with two and a half with them.

She'll finally introduce me to Korean food (she's fluent! ~ in the food and the language) and maybe even teach me to run. I'll stick by her side as she starts yoga with me.

We've worked hard at being "family", Cheryl and I. No doubt due to our peripatetic upbringing (I just learned that word 10 minutes ago! :D ). My dad was in the military, and the four of us that were the family at the time lived in Europe until I was 9, and then we went to the Philippines when I was 11 (short stay there due to extreme political instability). I started to get to know my extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.,) when I was 18.

So stay tuned. Once you know her, you love her.
I think I'm having one. Will somebody please come motivationally interview me? (That was a terrible social work play on words. I'm almost embarrassed enough to remove the question. Almost. ;))

Some of you know me personally, and I think it's fair to say that I can be easily described as a type A, get things done, detail oriented type of personality. In other words, I take care of my business, all along so arrogantly thinking it's no big deal.

I'm dedicated to my job and to the children I represent in court. I care about the volunteers' reports and making sure they're perfect (they become part of WA Superior Court record forever, after all). My house is {normally} clean. I know where my money is and where it's going.

Sure, I love to have fun and relax, but usually not at the expense of everything else.

Only, lately .... wow.

Case in point: I have 4 minutes to get back to work from lunch. And am I super motivated to do so? Absolutely not. Am I making it to the office by 8 in the morning? Not exactly. Is this incredibly unusual for me? Yep. Will it last forever? Absolutely not.

And work? It's becoming a joke. I'm trying super hard to stay motivated and ensure that I'm providing appropriate clinical supervision to my staff, but .... some things ... are starting to slip. I'm also delegating a LOT more and letting go of that (their) final product ... it will, after all, be somebody else's responsibility in just a few short weeks. {I'm also having to work lots of random evenings and weekends, which, no doubt, is making it worse.}

But, oh, how I'm ready for this move.

Is it time yet?

1:01. Better get back to the office.
... moving for one person can be so complicated.

Every time I get something checked off my to do list, two more things sneak up behind it and plant themselves on the list.

Moving notice. Electricity notice. Internet notice. Car insurance. Change of address. Reserve moving truck. One last glass of wine with this friend. One last weekend of house sitting here. Packing / organizing / listing (I'm not a wait until the moving van shows up girl). Apply for jobs. Apply for more financial aid (thanks again, Maria). Register for classes. Wonder how all of this is going to work.

I'm not in my new city yet, but already I've learned a couple of things (real life lessons!) about what life in the city is going to be like. So smart I'm getting already:

* The person who has not showered today WILL sit next to me on the bus.
* If there is a homeless person in a 2 block radius of me, they WILL find me and ask me for money. Just me. All the time.
* I attract mentally ill people who look for radio transmitters in parking meters.
* I can walk from 6th and Taylor to 5th and Harrison in a little over 7 minutes.
* If you are trying to figure out where, exactly, the line 4 bus stops are (because they're really not listed that well under trimet.org), do not follow the bus, because it will pull up to you downtown and the bus driver tell you you can be arrested for suspicious activity (even with city and campus maps spread out, even with a screaming infant in the backseat, I guess I really do look like trouble ...)
* Moving to a bigger city invites lots of comments from well meaning souls like, "Oh, that's a great city. You'll have no problems finding the man of your dreams there."
* You do not have to wear shoes to graduate school.
* It will rain the one day I'm not carrying a jacket.

More to come...
Just for a minute.

Just for a weekend.

The Fourth of July always has always been my favorite holiday, when the weather is warmer, and the days are lazier and tensions are down ...

(compared to other holidays ...)

It's just been one of those seasons where work has been political and overly complicated. I don't know whose work environment isn't at least a little political; yet, when you add the actual element of social work done for county government with many types of elected officials overseeing work and money and policy ... sheesh. (Remember when I used to tell endearing stories of kids in lock up? I so wish I could tell stories like that again. But. Now all of my work is tied up in the courts and ongoing dependency cases that, much of the time, are also wrapped up in some sort of on going criminal investigation. No more stories.)

I've spent the weekend hiding in the Northern corner of the state, cementing some new beginnings, meeting some new friends, broadening my understanding of many things and letting go of the stress. The food, the fireworks, the view off this deck and the cool of the beginning of the Rockies have all been very welcome.

I'll take one last big breath before plunging into a week of reports and elected officials and conflict resolution and goal setting and driving 16 hours this week to and from Portland for grad school orientation and Cheryl's school orientation.

But, first, maybe a nap ...