Thursday, October 31, 2013

Charlie Arrived

After a rather stressful journey across the first half of the USA, Charlie arrived at our house in Iowa at about quarter to two in the morning. He'd had a check engine light go on and off while he was driving back which caused us a bit of concern (he had it looked at on the way here and they didn't know what was wrong). We have an appointment for the car scheduled on Friday morning at my honest and trustworthy Iowa mechanic. Hopefully they are able to sort it out and we are roadworthy to get back to Oregon on Tuesday.

It was so nice to sleep together again. :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Iowa, the land of quiet happiness.

Flying in early yesterday morning, I pressed my nose to the window enjoying the view from the plane. It was the first time I've flown into Iowa. All other times were by car. It looked remarkably like North Dakota- squared off farmland, in shades of tan this time of year. A stretch of river. A lake. The flat horizon sparsely populated by trees. Mostly a bunch of blue sky. I liked it. 

Trudging from the gate to the exit overburdened by heavy carry-ons, I noticed the security checkpoint and continued walking, wondering how far it was to the exit and where my mom would be waiting for me. I saw a large group of people on the right, kept walking, then did a double-take- it was Mom, Chuck, Molly, Hazel, Claire and Lily! All there. I didn't even know I'd left the terminal. Lily and Claire ran up right away. Then the braver Lily gave me a hug with Claire behind her, followed by hugs from everyone. Then Claire snuck up again, grabbed my left hand and kissed it. We all walked out to the mini-van, seven of us strapped in, me between two car seats in the back row. It was a full load. The sun shone down, and we got home to North Liberty within twenty minutes. 

Later that day, we participated in a Halloween costume party. Originally just the girls were dressing up, but when I tried on my costume I borrowed from Auntie Carrie, they wanted me to wear it too (had to talk myself into it a bit). It was pretty fun. The dress was uber-short and when I was trying to get Claire out of her car seat, I said "I think I might be flashing people." Lily jumped up and yelled, "I'm blocking you! I'm blocking you!" It was quite a sight, I'm sure. I appreciated the effort. 

Last night Lily tried to stay over, and was very sweet, laying in bed, holding my hand. She did very good actually, but at about 9:20 ended up having to go home. The phone rang and she was still squirming around a bit and decided maybe she wanted to be by her mommy. There were a few tears, and grandma drove her home, telling her that she had to pick up Molly at all hours of the night for many years, and it was no big deal. Josh was happy to see her home, having just arrived himself after a night of call. I was actually pretty tired after two hours of sleep the night before on the red-eye, and crashed immediately again, and didn't wake up for nine hours. 

This morning, Claire came over and played with us. Little Claire is the old Czech lady, and washed dishes by hand with her sleeves rolled up. She toodles around the house keeping busy and hanging out playing with herself wherever we were sitting, dragging in whatever toys she wanted to play with. I sliced up an Asian pear Auntie Carrie sent and she liked it. Later Molly and crew came over for a bit and they went home when everyone was too tired to play anymore.

So far so good. Justin is on the road, and will hopefully be here on Wednesday. We plan to have a big early birthday party for him. 

Friday, October 25, 2013


I got a bad review from a patient. Online. At a fill-in place that I'd done some work for this summer. The patient called me an "optician" and said I was "rude" and "unprofessional". After reading this, I felt like throwing up and running at the same time. I want to crawl into myself. Actually whenever anyone is mean to me, I want to hide inside myself, crawl in a hole, cover myself and melt into the earth. Anything to make it go away.

It was at a high maintenance place, one where the patients make you feel they are too good to be there. I always have a hard time dealing with people like that, and tend to blabber along trying to feel adequate and prove myself. But maybe they are right, maybe I am terrible.

Why is criticism so hurtful? Is it because you feel inside inadequate anyway, and now someone called you out? Why are people mean? I don't know. I have been the target of meanness from various people in my life pretty regularly, some who are very close to me. Some of it is ongoing right now in my life. I've always reacted the same way- balling up inside myself. Saying nothing. Shirking away, like I was the one who did something wrong.

I get tired of trying to please everyone all the time. I work in a field where I have to try to figure out twenty different people a day in twenty to thirty minute increments, make them happy and do a good job. Who would like to trade places with me? If they don't like what I've done, they come back for a "free re-check" and demand it be fixed. I would like to see these same people try to do this job for twelve years. It is not easy.

Of course I want to run off and hide in the woods. My answer to everything is to run off and hide somewhere. Hiding makes everything better. For a while. Then you realise you are still alive and still have a life to live. And can't hide forever.

Lately everything feels like a failure. I'm still living in my sister's attic. I can't buy a house. I ended up having to go through the whole financing application again because they deleted my original approved application. And now I am running into glitches. Failure.

But I'm about to run off. Fly off to Iowa. That's some comfort. Even if only thirteen days long. And I get to bring Charlie back.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Swirling and going nowhere

Attempted to quit Facebook. Failed. Realised it was too intertwined with my knowledge of local events, business meetings and social connections. Instead, I've increased the list of people who I am "hiding" and unliked some organizations. Probably need to also reduce the total friends list again, but that is a lot of work for another day.

I took out my sweet orange road bike, newly re-arrived to Oregon by Kathy-Chuck delivery. Flying down the streets with barely an effort, I forgot how smooth and tight and fast she rides. And the beauty of the orange and aqua perfectly fit in with the orange leaves and blue skies of today. I really was happy.

I'd been planning to go to continuing education Thursday and Friday in Seattle (but had not yet registered). As the date loomed nearer, I was wondering if I'd overscheduled myself, seeing as I have to work tomorrow and Saturday and Seattle is about a three hour drive (if you don't get stuck in the traffic jam). I'm a hateful, despising, despairing driver, especially on the I-5 between here and Seattle.

So today a house came on the market that I might make an offer on, and I ended up back in the trenches of applying for financing (they had deleted my prior application). I was supposedly able to re-submit the application and achieve a new letter today from the lender, but have since run into more glitches. I'm starting to think I should just live in a damn van. Maybe one of those big-ass conversion vans painted some putrid color. At least I could buy it outright without a bidding war, or the anxiety it takes to procure a house. At this point, I feel rather hopeless. It was never this hard the last three times I bought a house. I am starting to hate the idea of homeownership. The whole thing gives me enough anxiety to stay awake for days on end. It's all a big nightmare.

I'm looking forward to a vacation in my mom's basement and finally sleeping with Charlie again... Just the simple things.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Half Cross-Country Road Trip Take 21 Planned for November 2013

 [The Charlies: Insane-o Traveling Folks]

Come October 26, Sara Schultz will be taking the Red-Eye flight to Chicago, Illinois with connection to Cedar Rapids, Iowa arriving at 8:42AM. She will likely be rested and cheery, anticipating a joyous reunion with her three sweet nieces and the other nice folks in Iowa including Baby Sister Molly Rose & Josh and Mom & Chuck.

What was to be a short trip to assist boyfriend, Justin, in his drive cross-country from North Carolina to Oregon has extended into a thirteen day vacation. After months of working extra she decided she deserved some days off. Then she decided she deserved some more. So they will have ample time to complete their journey to the West Coast before work calls again on November 8th.

As well, she is looking forward to celebrating Justin's 39th Birthday on November 7th. The last year of the thirties! Spooky! Also spooky is a Halloween with the nieces who have decided to be the Strawberry Shortcake Clan. Is it a coincidence that Middle Sister Carrie has a Strawberry Shortcake costume which also fits Sara? I think not. Auntie will be twinning up with Miss Lily for a night of evil fun! Hopefully they dole out lotsa fruit for the trick-or-treaters.

Speaking of Hurricanes, Justin has been working up a storm out East. Selling the camper, helping a friend staff his new business, repairing the house (bathroom overhaul and a couple new appliances, as well as new rugs, bedding and more), fixing his truck, buying a new used Suburu, visiting relatives, attending a wedding (today!), renting out his house on AirBnB, and developing a continued rental plan for when he returns West. All in under three months. He'll be hauling a carload of stuff and Mr. Bailey out to Oregon, picking up Sara in Iowa.  *She has volunteered to maneuver the Suburu through the snow and mountains should weather conditions become precarious.

Sara is not sure how many trips she has made across the USA. She could try to count.
Here is a rough guess:
  • North Dakota to Texas and back
  • North Dakota to Colorado and back
  • North Dakota to Oregon/Washington and back (either direction, one time driving back through Canada on Hwy 1) - 6-7 times
  • North Dakota to Missouri and back
  • North Dakota to Pennsylvania and back 
  • Up and down the West Coast
  • Iowa to Virginia
  • North Carolina to Pennsylvania and back
  • North Carolina to Florida and back
  • North Carolina to Iowa and back- twice
  • North Carolina to Oregon 
She thinks that is about 20 half-country trips. Or so. In a nutshell, pretty much an insane person. But Justin knows this, and likes her anyway. They are both very independent people looking forward to their long-awaited reunion and sleeping in the same bed again. They are hoping to settle in soon enough into a house with a Mother-In-Law suite where relatives may visit for extended periods, including moms and grandmoms and any other stragglers who have long yearned for the beauty of Oregon.

Example of Grandmoms who might visit Oregon:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kathy & Chuck's Seattle-Astoria Road Trip with regression to Portland before they arrived.

I found this in my recipe book- one that I used when I lived in Germany. I loved this poem. I think I mostly understand it. It's funny, because often now I wonder, "Did I really live in Germany?" "Did I really live in New Zealand?" "Did I really do all those things?" They seem like distant memories.
I've been working a ton of extra days- sometimes nine or ten in a row with only one off. I've been fortunate to work in different locations, which allows me to explore the city a bit. These few pictures reminded me of my first freedom, when I was freed from my relationship with my first boyfriend, who I had not so much in common with other than attending the same school. I bought myself a red paddington bear coat from JCrew shortly after he left. I normally don't even like red. I remember thinking I didn't even know what I liked, or who I was. I had just been doing what everyone else did or what he liked for so long. It was an interesting experience to realise I loved live music, and records, and hiking and the city.
Oatie is a treasure. I keep worrying that he is going to die. He turned eleven on September 16th. Every day, I feel grateful to have him around. So sweet and loving and in the moment.
How I spend lunch. At a coffee shop. Writing. And sipping something. Maybe a treat or an apple or a banana to accompany the coffee (which is often decaf).
 Oatie walking in the Pacific.
 Cannon Beach.
 The Shipwreck at Ft Stevens.
 I never knew that anyone drove on the beach but apparently it is free here in Oregon.
 My crappy camera wouldn't focus on the horses.
 Also at Ft Stevens.
 Running back to the car.
 Astoria Sunday Market
 Arrival in Seattle.
 Pike Place Market
 They had good stuff here.
 Beecher's Cheese
It was crazy sunny
 Beecher's Cheese
Glass sculptures at the Space Needle
My mom and Chuck left this morning about seven AM- the sun was rising and the car was loaded. It wasn't long enough for any of us, but at least I'm coming home soon, and Carrie will be there in December.We all had a pretty good time together. As well, we visited Mike and Tammy Larson in Seattle but somehow forgot to take a photo.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dropping Facebook

I'm dropping my Facebook presence. I'm not sure if it is going to be permanent. But I've found that Facebook is a time suck and generates more stress and anxiety as of late, with comments and things that would be best left unread. More than once, I've gone to the page to click the "deactivate account" button but have yet to actually take that step. Maybe soon.
It's my goal to divest from the wasted online life. This blog is more creative than any shallow Facebook post I have made. I may post articles but decline to log in and see what people "like" or comment on. Or just forget about it all together.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."

Rainy day. Coffee and conversation drift through the air. The clank of saucers stacking. Electronic music. The ceiling fan in my side vision. A yellow & blue Trimet bus on Albina. The man next to me leaves with the newspaper and his backpack. He was writing with his left hand in a large unlined notebook. Oatie sleeping on my lap. 

I'm waiting for my mom and Chuck to arrive this evening. The house is ready. My mind is calming. I look up writing workshops. Request library books. My soy latte nearly empty. Searching for houses again. Not the right one yet but getting closer. The girl at the grocery store told me not to give up- keep going. It's wet- the buyers aren't so hungry. Houses sit sadly on the market, prices drifting down. Less anxiety. More civilized. Less frantic. Less impulsive. Thoughtful. Pensive. Like fall. 

Justin bought a Suburu. He's wanted one forever. It's used but new to him. Less miles than my mini. But one year older. We can sleep in the back. It came with a plug-in cooler. And racks and heated seats. He's a cold weather wimp so they will serve as weather therapy. 

I bought a one-way ticket to Iowa. Overnight through Chicago on October 26th. I plan to take a week and a half off. Go trick or treating with my nieces. Hitch a ride back with Justin and see him through the mountains and the snow. He's still green in both areas, having only lived on the east coast. He wanted me to ride with him. At first I thought, he's a big boy, he can do it himself. Then I thought, you can be nice, you know. So why not

After months of working extra days, I can take two off. Besides I like driving the Wyoming to Oregon part. If we could delete Nebraska that would be nice. But not likely. I have a lot of friends from Nebraska who might get upset. So I think that it's perfect. Even though I thought I didn't want to. Drive back that is. We will for the first time, enter Portland together. Enter the west on the ground, a pair, taking a chance on a real life together.

Monday, October 7, 2013

not spotless

i cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.
i did what i was told.
vacuumed all the floors- the bathroom-
under the couch-
hiding everywhere.
the kitchen, a mess from their dinner
and mine-
wiping and washing and drying.
yesterday, the yard-
mowing and pruning and picking weeds.
three loads of laundry
hung out to dry and folded.
carefully cleaning
the toilet, the bathroom
none of this matters-
the house all clean
does not make up for the disorder

Friday, October 4, 2013

REvisiting Seattle

Backpedalling to Seattle. We were up there for Bumbershoot, which is an arts and music festival in the Seattle Center area, near the space needle. It was the third time I've attended (all with Carrie) and it's been sort of dwindling away into an event which I would skip from now on. I think it's become more mainstream and probably oriented to families and people from the suburbs and it's less about art and ideas and installations than it used to be. They totally dropped the "words" area, which is of course, books and writing. In other words, it's just another festival like all the others. Oh well. 

I still like to visit Seattle. But I'm not moving there. It's too big for me. :)

Elliot Bay Bookstore in Capitol Hill area
Next door, a shop where I could not even afford to look!

Bumbershoot--- poster area
Vegan food
Alt-J in the Seattle Center
Recycled art. Pretty cool.
Strings being blown onto a ladder.
We had good weather.
Here starts the EMP building obsession. (Experience Music Project Museum)

Ewwww!! Did not try.
Justin Townes Earle. Awesome.
Goodbye and goodnight!