Monday, January 30, 2012


Traversing backroads paths
Solitude mocking loneliness
Searching out sunlight
I wander into him.

Monday, January 23, 2012

One big neighborhood: Raleigh, NC

Traipsing along the Eastern roads this weekend led to Raleigh, NC, a meandering town which felt smaller than its stated size of 400,000. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill form a triangle which is about 1.1 million folks. I've long wondered about this part of North Carolina, as quite a lot of arts and writing come out of the area, enough that it had burrowed a spot into my brain.

With big universities anchoring the area, it's no surprise that used books, records and excellent coffee abound. Along with Flying Caterpillers, excellent art museums (a Rembrandt exhibit at the NC Museum of Art), Raleigh was a plethora of people watching areas. I'd live here!

Home again, to Virginia. Feels good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Outer Banks of North Carolina

Orville and Wilber were from Dayton OH originally, but moved to Kitty Hawk for its ideal weather conditions to conduct experiments in flight.

A model of their plane in the visitor's center. I'm happy to be exploring the US again, being reminded of the greatness of American dreamers...
Me and Orville.
The first flights took off from here, and those two buildings were where the brothers resided during their stay. 
Sunset on the Dunes of North Carolina. Otherworldly.
On the way down the Outer Banks, which is really a strip of sand off the continental US, a few lighthouses poke up into the clouds beckoning wanderers to break for a few.
The little guy is no longer of this world but I saw beauty. 
Trees are wispy, wind-swept structures.
Several long bridges connect the sandbar land masses which make up the Outer Banks.

Blowing snow can confuse a midwesterner into thinking it is the real white stuff. But this can sand the paint off your car if you are not lucky. I was lucky. 
Looking up. Life is good. 

Friday, January 13, 2012


Two weeks into Virginia, I've waded through the emotions of moving. It's been a shallow wade, nothing strenuous, but the necessary steps were followed.

My succession of thoughts:
First: "I'll never stay here. No one should bother to visit."
Second: "It isn't that bad. I can handle this."
Third: "I like it here, maybe I'll stay a while."

Suffice it to say, I am doing fine.

Questioning the VA system at first, I wondered in orientation why the emphasis seemed to be on the probationary periods of employment, after which, "You cannot be fired!" I've always considered my job security as a basis of my ability, production, and attitude. So I wondered what sort of folks were looking for this type of job. I had some concerns.

After an adequate yet not excessive period of orientation to the VA and the computer system (five days), I entered the trenches of patient care. Every time I'm away from my profession, I get this feeling that I've outgrown it, that I need to find something new. Yet I find when I'm actually doing my job, thinking and working, and making connections, I'm filled up in a way that confirms this was a good choice in career for me.

The first couple days were fairly hairy, feeling overwhelmed at the complex patients and computer charting. (Every job has a different computer system, even if the last place I worked was the Army.) But it was a fairly steep learning curve. The kindness of the patients, coupled with that of my staff, has made the transition rather seamless, and fun. I've enjoyed my two weeks of service and look forward to learning more in the upcoming months.

The glitch is, I don't know where I will be come April. This is exciting and fearsome. I feel that my days of wandering aimlessly are numbered, as I wouldn't mind to be in a more settled place, both emotionally and physically. The wanderer is inside me forever, and will resurface. I am certain I'll live abroad again. (I would bet my life savings.) But I think maybe a period of contemplation, repose and reconnection is upon me.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Rolling up and down by day
My mind wrapping around this
Most recent move

Writing expels grief
A hole where my family was

Seeking connection with the world
Reaching out
But it slips through my fingers

So I keep moving
Waiting to run into it
Perhaps an accident of fate
Will make it stick
Bound together like two cars wrecked
In love

Alone not lonely
But longing
For warmth pressed
Behind me
As close as the peel of a banana
To its fruit
Melded and almost one
But separable

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Impressions & Adjustments

I went out last night in downtown Virginia Beach. It's small and easy to navigate. It took about three minutes to find parking on the street. Coming home afterward, I actually felt like I was at home. A rather short period of adjustment, and I'm sure that I'll continue to have different feelings about the move. Virginia Beach is not really my style, as in, I'm a northwesterner/midwesterner at heart and the east coast is very different (as well as the south)... but I think I'll enjoy my time here. 

With a high of 68 today, I headed to the coast for a run on the boardwalk. I picked up a map of the area at the info center and was directed to the lots which are free now, but $10 in the summer. I'm glad to be here in winter for so many reasons, but mostly for crowd avoidance. The boardwalk was full of people strolling and biking. Seeing the ocean on the side reminded me of my time in New Zealand when I used to run up the street and down the stairs to the oceanside promenade. I love the ocean hair, soothing and moist on my face.

Virginia Beach is lacking in hippie-type shops (no surprise there), and overloaded in strip mall Dollar stores, but there's a Trader Joe's on the way to the beach, which will have to suffice for my alternative food tastes while I'm here. It was excessively crowded, and I tried to get through the store without being nailed by a cart or having an anxiety attack from the massive quantities of fellow customers. I loaded up my cart and filled my trunk with enough food to fill my section of the fridge. 

One of my friends said today, "I would imagine you both settle in easier than most.....and flee with your hair on fire sooner too!" I think he's spot on. I'm off to a hopeful start. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pictural review of journey and arrival to Virginia


[Somewhere in Illinois or Ohio] It rained most of the way, the sun dampened by overcast grey, which brought me happiness, since I love grey skies, and prefer not to drive in bright sunshine. 

[Charlottesville, VA] I stopped since I was starting to feel droopy and had about three hours remaining on the road. I'd seen a sign for "Historic Downtown" and decided to take my changes. It was full of cute artsy, hippie shops, a food co-op, so I felt right at home. I later found out it was a college town. I seem to have a major affinity for college towns. 

[Virginia Beach] VA Clinic where I'll be flipping dials for three months. It's 
a small satellite clinic from the main VA, which is massive.

After this beautiful sky, swirls of snow came down. None
sticking, of course. It was pretty but I can do without the snow.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Inaugural post from Virginia Beach

After two eleven-hour drives, split by one day at my brother's house in Columbus, OH, I arrived into Virginia Beach last night just after 8PM to Walt's house (my old friend/roommate from optometry school in Oregon). Having friends and family dispersed around the world carries its advantages, as it seems I'm never too far from a friendly face.

Walt has a lovely wife, twin boys, and one more on the way. Quite the departure from the single guy with whom I shared a house, along with three other optometry student males, back in the spring of 2001. I ran into Walt at the Academy of Optometry conference in Boston this fall and he mentioned his friend needed maternity leave coverage, and that I should apply. So here I am.

Today I spent the day touring Virginia Beach. By touring, I mean inspecting places posted on Craig's list as living possibilities. I further investigated by phone and email, ruling out quite a few including one who stated, "I've got two dogs and four cats." Sounds like hell to me! The second house I visited, a toothless navy retiree answered and said he was one of the other roommates and showed me around the dark house. I knew right off I'd never eat if I lived there, which may be a great diet plan, but was not what I was looking for. Another woman showed me the room she had for rent in her house, leading me up three flights of stairs to a room where the previous tenant lived, which included a dorm fridge and microwave. I have no intention of hiding in my room.

The finale was 41 year old woman from Seattle, who was nice but seemed old for her age, a bit stodgy and jaded, and lived down an alley, which made for a quiet area, but wasn't so good for parking or lighting. I am big into lighting, and purchased both of my houses, and selected most all of my rentals based on lighting. I've been told I have a color fixation (which I do not deny), and one cannot properly nurture this without good lighting!

In the end I chose a the first place I visited- a girl who I clicked with right off the bat- who had a dual master suite condo 3.3 miles from my work, with a dedicated parking spot, bedrooms upstairs, good lighting, a spare bike she'd bought herself and never used (and said I could take it to work and whatnot). She has two tiny dogs about 10-15 lbs each who go to daycare when she is working. Both were casual and I felt affinity for them.

After seven months of visiting people's homes and living in hostels and loving the company, I wanted to stay in a roommate situation. I also think it is important to stay tolerant of other people, something that can get away from me when I've been on my own too long.

As we were parting ways, she said, "We are the same age!" I said, "You look good!" She said, "You do too!" So it will be Sara and Sandy, high school class of 1994. She is from rural Michigan, and I from North Dakota. It's nice to have found a midwesterner. It is the first time in a long time that I've met someone who is exactly my age. I'm hopeful.

Tomorrow begins orientation for my first official day as a government employee. Perhaps the start of a very long career!