Terminal N

Down two flights of stairs, a ride around the airporter, and a dosey-do around the Starbucks and the Seahawks bar depending on your gate. You can choose between Starbucks and Burger King coffee, get a massage or a manicure, and no matter where you go you’ll never be out of sight of blue, lime green or a Seahawks logo.

Terminal N is much more familiar to me at the end of 2014 than I ever imagined it would be at the end of 2013. And here I am, sitting through my 16th pre-flight sequence of the year, wishing I was on the ground. I love traveling. I love flying. I think I love traveling partially because it usually involves flying. I love airports. And luggage. And while I could do without the germs and the pressure of packing, I especially love sunrise and sunset flights.

But tonight the beauty of the lights is no match for my desire to be comfortably connected to the earth. I’m not even completely committed to where I would like to be, but the stomach churning g-forces are far too inline with life’s transition. (Also, I’m tired of crying and I’d like to wash my face.)

Without question, this was an amazing trip. Dinner at Purple, the Seattle Symphony (better than the SF Symphony), cooking with Nik, exploring the Base and Olympia. Today we went on this beautiful hike along the waterfront at University Place. Small coffee shops and errands and exploring the Commissary (no taxes!). But when will that luster fade? When will this turn into a repeat of our past and my friends say “I told you so” – when will my cynical self say I told you so?

Or has each of us grown up enough to have the relationship we set out to have? One of our biggest issues has always been that we both have led big lives, with little room for each other. And now, can we intertwine those lives? Can I let him in? We always joked that we knew how to be married but couldn’t figure out dating. How much longer with those ties bind? Or, will he get shipped off to Afghanistan as soon as we fall into our rhythm?

Regardless, I’m moving to the state of Washington in January. It’s happening. I need to stop being afraid of this and start preparing for it. Renting, moving, packing, applying. Most importantly, planning my going away party.

This begins tomorrow. I’m counting on my memorial trip to the beach to set me on that path. I simultaneously can and can’t believe that Wednesday will mark eight years without my grandfather. Eight. It seems like a lifetime ago, but when I think about those final moments, it still hurts like it was yesterday. Nonetheless, Grandpa J wouldn’t have much empathy for this cloud I’ve allowed myself to be sucked into. He’d expect his granddaughter to have her plans thought out, documented, operationalized. I’m exceptionally thankful that even eight years later he can still set me straight.

Today, I’d much rather have my feet on the ground instead of sailing 30,000 feet above the twinkling lights.

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galileo

Today is “Marooned without a Compass Day” according to JeanGrab.
In response to this occasion, I simply replied, “this is fitting.”
She said, “You may get distracted, but you don’t get lost.”

I formally resigned from Gamma Iota’s CAB yesterday. Sent it out to anyone and everyone up and down the sorority food chain who would’ve been otherwise offended at their omission. I charted this path weeks ago, but the growing lump in the pit of my stomach had prevented me from sitting down to and hitting send.

My hesitation was well founded. I immediately got a barrage of text messages from an otherwise loving sister, devastated by my decision. So self-involved in her own discomfort, she couldn’t see that I was quietly crying at my desk as I let the third largest part of my identity go. That this is hard for me.

On the flip side, my National advisor immediately emailed back asking if I wanted to join UW or WSU’s CAB, and did I want to stay at her home over the weekend while I was visiting? National HQ staff have responded with love and praise, none of which was requested, or even deserved as far as I can tell. I guess all I want is to know that in my three years with our women, I didn’t screw up too badly.

So often I lacked vision. So often I made decisions founded only in my gut reaction and commitment to the development of college-age women and not in rules or procedures. So often I looked over my shoulder wondering if I was doing okay and whether those women were going to look back at their time as a collegiate and smile, or whether they would have the same disdain for their advisor that I did.

I think the sadness is a distraction. I know I’m not lost. This isn’t a made for tv movie where I’m supposed to be the sad tragic martyr needing saving. I know where I am and who I am and where I’m going. But it’s still hard. Looking forward to next Tuesday at the beach, spending a moment in the sun with Grandpa J. Missing him especially much right now.

 

they call me annie

The last week has really grounded me in the faith and lessons of my upbringing. The good natured, loving, hard working, humble lessons that one learns in a town of 3,612 people who all have the right to discipline you or call your mother and let her do the job.

It got cold this week. Walking Winston early one morning I was reminded of the early morning feedings at the farm; the smell of wet dirt and damp hay, the bleating of hungry sheep, the squealing swine who knew the sound of the combination lock being opened. Our night walks reminded me of soccer practice: cold air with just enough moisture to penetrate the outer layer of clothing and force your hands in your pockets.

I miss agriculture. A lot. And fresh air. And humble, hard working, salt of the earth people who honor their heritage by carrying on the traditions of generations. I miss the Friday night lights and parades. I miss the crappy hot chocolate at FHS basketball games.

I had breakfast with a wonderful old friend this morning. Perfection. I saw Joe at Jodi & Steven’s wedding, but before that I hadn’t seen him in years. Somehow we just existed in the same space without ever crossing paths. Last week while on the train back to the Valley I was thinking of the trips we took from the Bay back home. Best carpool ever. As we talked about our lives, catching up over a wonderfully gluten free breakfast (thanks Hobee’s Mountain View!) he said, “I had a choice to make, so I made it.” He didn’t realize how much that spoke to me. I saw his new place, we talked about struggles, there was a long hug and a promise to not let so much time lapse before the next occasion.

My first real crush was a boy who wore his socks under his shinguards on our soccer team. He wrote only in cursive and was a beautiful musician. He was quirky and funny and quiet and very good at multiplication tables. He’s still one of my closest male friends. My Didi. He’s got a few music videos out now and it’s been a really neat experience to support him in this journey. Hard to pick one song – though I relate most to “Making the Best of It” – especially as I contemplate a move back to the Valley.

Here’s hoping for a strong Midterm result – especially in CD 21. Certainly would give me something wonderful to look forward to.

today.

Four hours of conference calls.
Editing political mail while getting a pedicure.
Text-resolving a family dispute during a google hangout one-on-one.
Fifty-three emails sent with the signature line denoting the drafting of mobile messages.

-and-

A mom that brings me morning tea.
Lunch with the new female cohort of our nuclear family.
Dinner with my best friend of twenty-four years.
White wine and Gilmore Girls in a hotel room in my hometown with my best.

Somehow this is the most relaxed I’ve been in a month.
Now tomorrow…let’s hope there’s a wedding.

manifest destiny, circa 2009.

I can’t imagine my life without you, but the path forward [for us] is so unclear.

I should be packing or campaigning right now. Shoulda woulda coulda I guess. Instead I’m thinking back on my day with a cup of tea and a certain pup at my feet. The house is finally quiet.

My mentor and I met for breakfast this morning and he read me like a book. After leaving the conversation with affirmation and permission to accept that this chapter of my life has come to a close, I walked back into the disaster that yesterday was. That’s dramatic, but it was significant. Significant to me and my story. Significant to our community. The close of this week or the beginning of next week will allow for one more job opportunity to reach its finale. Positive or negative, I have this very strong feeling that it’s for naught. That its not my moment. That there’s another place in the world that is calling to me.

He said – your biggest anguish is rooted in the potential that cannot be reached in your current role. You’re too big for this place.

I don’t know what that means – to be too big for something at the age of 28. Really, I think its that I just don’t fit. That some other opportunity is a better fit. But the anguish…thats real. Very real.

“Its a big bad world full of twists and turns. And people have a way of blinking and missing the moment. The moment that could’ve changed everything.”

time for homecoming, but we can’t stay here

Last week Kimberly and I visited West Gate’s new campus near my house. I was hoping for lightness. A lift. Comfort. I walked away with peace and a feeling of being grounded and founded in something. But it wasn’t what I had hoped for, and thats okay.

So often we’re looking for an opiate. A cure. A magical fix. I spend hours every week flipping through recipes and pinterest posts searching for something insatiable. Something that will qualify me to be a magnificent chef, tasty, but that won’t add a single calorie or gram of unsavory fat to my waistline. That special trick that will preserve me to be cancer free and running marathons at 82. You know, magic.

I made the mistake of going to church – an imperfect institution led by imperfect but well meaning people – looking for a sign that I was going to be okay. The sermon was titled, “We can’t stay here” and I thought – BAZINGA, this is going to be good. The good Lord has made this part of my experience today because he is going to bestow upon me a sign that everything is going to be okay. Hallelujah!

Wrong. The sermon was about acting more Christlike, which really means “stop being judgy in front of the non-believers”. A good message and a necessary one – except for the reason to do so was that the Church was being seen in a poor light because its followers were jerks. Didn’t much care for that extension.

All of this taught reminded me that I already know what I need to know. An affirmation of my own capacity to be discerning, strategic and trusting. As nice as church on Sunday morning was, I didn’t need to sit in hard chairs to be redeemed – all I had to do was rest in the relationship that I started long ago. I didn’t need to chant along to songs about “bowing down” to the being that I’ve grown to know as someone who is more of a Jiminy Cricket than a Tritan. I just need to create space to listen and trust.

At this time next week I’ll be slowdancing with my tuxedo clad nephew at my brother’s wedding. This whole journey has made be both crazy and homesick. October usually brings nostalgia to the forefront. The sunsets and the chill in the air and the friday night football games do that to a small town girl. Ever thankful for our small but mighty clan, I wonder if I’ll make it past the sight of my grandfather’s flag carrying the rings without tearing up.

I’m feeling a bit more lost than usual, but beneath it all I know exactly where I am.

A Return Trip

Sunday marked a return to an old routine: sustenance sunday. Beautiful weather, a cuddly pup and a day that started with a growing friendship. We went to an old church in a new location, and there were lots of moments of comfort without the hallelujah chorus. But more on that later.
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Every now and then I freeze mixtures and individual ingredients hoping that when I need them they’ll come in handy. This week is that week. Thankfully there was chipotle butternut taco filling in the freezer and some grilled Fresno State sweet corn that I barbecued and cut off the cob over the summer. I finally figured out the pesky mixture of masa flour and water and salt and lime to make corn tortillas that reminded me of the taco truck at Manning and Hwy 99, sans lard.

This morning I visited the farmers market with the intention of buying cherry tomatoes and rainbow chard (which I did) but I also found these darling little eight ball squash. Steamed and stuffed with quinoa, roasted tomatoes, zucchini, onion and garlic, topped with parmesan, these little babies will make for a very cute meal.

I love roasting tomatoes. They’re so much better than store bought tomatoes laden with oil or packed with silica (gross) and they make the house smell so autumny.

Adding my rainbow chard to the base stuffing from the eight balls and roasting pine nuts on the parchment paper from the tomatoes, we have quinoa salad with homemade cannellini beans.

Perhaps later this week I’ll use the rest of my rainbow chard to make these polenta pizzas. But for now, the sun is still warm and this kid is looking forward to a w-a-l-k.

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It’s good to be back.

To Lee

I’ll never forget your encouraging words.
They weren’t really encouraging – they became a mandate as soon as those syllables left your lips. And when Lee issued a mandate, the world complied. 

I haven’t quite felt this way since my own grandmother died. This vulnerable. This sad. 

When I came to you with the early endorsement process, you said I had to do it. I came for affirmation and I left with your mandate. When I left the DAWN Board, I left with your love and appreciation. Tomorrow, I’ll move forward with your work, but today – today I am sad. 

They named the Woman Warrior award after you, you know. The woman that fought in the Senate. Fought in the Assembly. The woman who didn’t put up with slick politicians or women that wouldn’t stick up for other women. They named it after you…and days before they did that, the chose me to honor with it. 

Now I have huge shoes to fill. I guess I have my final mandate of yours. I lost my cool when they told me. Held it together all night until Darcie let me know. But in the moments that followed, sadness and honor and awe took over and the tears washed upon the shore. 

I don’t quite know what it means to be a warrior. I know what it means to hustle, to fight, to stick-up-for. But I’m clueless on what it means to be a warrior. Part of it sounds like a requirement to be unrelenting and unapologetic. Part of it sounds like a requirement to be calculated and brazen. None of it sounds like me, but I promise to work on it and to recognize the talents and strengths of others as I learn how to do that. 

Darcie and I toasted to you tonight. To who you were to us, to who you were tonight at the Central Committee. To who we were going to become as we carried on your legacy. 

Thank you for making Santa Clara County seem more like home, Lee Sturtevant. Thank you. 

intertia

Lots of feelings right now. Lots of introspection. Lots of connections. 

A text from my mentor asked, “what are you searching for?” 
I replied, “Inertia”

Because blessings can also be roadblocks if you allow them to have a role other than stepping stones and it’s time to stop being afraid of whats ahead. 

You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.
 
– Steve Jobs

Growing Pains.

In the summer of 2008 I grew a lot. People grow everyday, but there was something about that time period that stands out six years later. Perhaps I’m suffering from some emotional-memory congruence, but that growth spurt didn’t seem so painful. Along that path from yesteryear, I came across a southern gentleman named Chad, who confronted every passing crossroads with a single question; “What did we learn?”

Meant for teenagers at the time, but applicable now – and probably always. This has been a hard stint, but a blessing nonetheless. I learned and am learning. The challenge now, is remembering the lesson.

1. Balance is impossible, but parameters are a great equalizer.
2. When focus is an issue, prioritize reflection.
3. A shared vision is necessary to enter into the implementation realm.
4. I have a very wise gut and I should listed to it.
5. Comparison is the thief of both joy and excellence.
6. Perspective and confidence are symbiotic.

7…this still isn’t home. If traveling around this fair city and talking to residents of every walk of life didn’t make this feel like home, nothing is going to. It’s time to stop waiting and hoping for this area code to click into place for me.