Thursday, December 31, 2009

the end of an era...

11:59 PM, December 31,1999: I can still hear the sounds of the Pacific Ocean washing up on the beach ... I can taste the salt coming in on the breeze, and hear the old cabin creaking under the weight of the stories lived within it's walls...

10 years since:
  • I've had seven addresses: five of them within 10 miles of each other.... the last one being the longest I've ever lived anywhere ever in my whole entire life and in turn being over 2500+ miles away from the one I have now.
  • 4 jobs: two in Software (it was Seattle after all); 2 health related (-care software, then public-); 2 were less then a year; and the other two went on for several years... each one has left an indelible mark on my life... Some of my nearest and dearest friends came out of three of them. The only thing good about the fourth was I was home for nearly three months of it doing nothing and getting paid absurd amounts of money for doing nothing, the other three I spent traveling internationally from Seattle to London to Vancouver, back and round again a few times.
  • My daughter has gone from a lil' bean entering Kindergarten to a young woman with self awareness, compassion, and amazing talent. I have loved her, loathed her, needed her, rejected her, lost her, found her and she has survived it all. I hope in the next 10 years I can mostly love her, understand her, be grateful for her, respect her, but most importantly let her go out into the world knowing I helped create the foundation on which she will build her dreams.
  • a very unlikely tall glass of something warm and smooth (aka my man) has stood by my side through all that and more: losing loved ones too soon; celebrating unions with friends and having them celebrate our union with us; together watched as the the world forever changed on 9/11 and clung to the innocence slipping from our child's life in that moment; did our best to soothe each other's suffering; continued to travel and drop each other off and picked each other up from the airport more times then I can count; road tripped North, South, East, and West more than once or even twice; lost two cars to motor vehicle accidents (IE. NOT fender benders) and have managed to survive them with all limbs intact; adopted our furry faced baby, yes, the dog, and raised our little puppy to be an unmanageable ball of cuteness; we have even come close to walking away, but somehow have ALWAYS found our way back; and at the end of it all we will fall asleep tonight and wake up in a new year and new decade with a love for one another like very few people are lucky enough to know!

I can't imagine what the next 10 years will hold, but I also can't imagine beginning them from any other vantage point... I have the love of my life by my side, I start a new job at the beginning of January, and I become a student of higher learning (for the first time in 17 years I've been in a classroom for my own education) at the end of January. I will look fear in the face and be the best I can be for me, so that my daughter might see that she too can be the best that she can be. And while I may have lost sight of that shore on the West Coast, there are new shores waiting to be discovered...

for all I hope you FEEL joy, HAVE health, and KNOW peace~ tirz

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Spending the holidays with family

My In-Laws, aka. Nana and Pappy.
The youngest of the human children, Bob,
and the youngest of the pet children, Callie.

Two Brothers

Nana and Pappy's furry children: L to R: Sam, Dominique, and "Little" Poppy.

Huntyr, Aunt Cil, and Michael.

Uncle Izzy and I.

(L to R) My Husband's Great Aunt's son-in-law's Mother,
My Husband's Great Aunt Cil, and Gladys (in the blue).
My Mom and Me on Christmas morning.

My mom the baker, and my uncle who is trying
to impress his big sister with all the bread he baked;
also Trudy's youngest daughter and youngest son.

My Uncle's teenagers and My teenager,
I think that makes them second cousins.
These two were born approximatly 6 months apart.
Huntyr and, Max.
Huntyr and Michael have a bonding moment at my Uncle's house.
Pictures with Gramie before she leaves to go back to Maine.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap. Ani Difranco

I have come to realize of late... that if Forbes had a list for people whose wealth was measured in sincere friendships I would most certainly be in the top 100. That isn't to say that I have the most friends in the world; but the friends I do have, well.... they are just too amazing for words. How I ever got so lucky I will never know.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

silent night

I'm not quite sure what to do with the quiet. It is sooooo quiet here.
Our neighborhood in Seattle was no New York street scene, but we lived close enough to two fairly busy roads that after awhile you become accustomed to it enough that you need noise to sleep. Me... I also need noise to tune out of my own head. There is no noise here. NONE, zip, nadda. There really isn't even much noise during the day, other then my own dog barking or the kid downstairs sewing, or the occasional Volunteer Fire Department Alarm.
This is a problem for me... I already have problems in my head... over thinking, analyzing, mulling, whatever you want to call it I overdo it. Noise is good, it's distracting. It helps me focus. I was one of those kids who needed to have the radio or tv on to study. I need to tune something out in order to tune in or even just to tune out.
I remember when I got back from Maine after picking HFG up from my mom's. I thought I was going to go insane lying there in bed hearing nothing except the "What if's..." in my head. My mom lives in downtown Portland, Maine; and although the street lights start blinking at 9:00pm on a Friday night as if there is nothing going on... trust me there is more going on there then there is here... because I literally got back here to our house and felt like I was in a black hole. It was/is so DAMN quiet. Camping in the middle of the Northern Cascades is noiser then my cul de sac.
Six months in and I am not used to this... If I get even four hours of sleep and something wakes me up... well forget about it, I am awake. Because... the thoughts in my head are LOUD, the mulling over this and that is like a full sized orchestra and we are no where near intermission...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pittsburgh Left

Why am I not surprised there is actually a Wikipedia entry ( for this traffic maneuver....

One thing I don't think I will ever get used to is the way people drive around here. And of course ever since my accident, in which someone made a left into oncoming traffic (me) I admit to being more then anxious about this practice.

When the light turns green, you go.
When the light turns red, you stop.
But what do you do when the light turns blue with orange and lavender spots?
Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

With all the regular life living (working, grocery shopping, driving HFG to the bus stop every school morning) and routines we've created I sometimes forget that we JUST moved 2500 miles across country. Sure I get it that we moved, but it doesn't always hit me that we've just done this... like less then four months ago!

but then... we will be driving over to my husband's aunt's house, or to his friends' in Greensburg... and it hits me like a ton of bricks. It took me a few times before I realized what that was about... until this Halloween when we went Trick or Treating with our friends in their neighborhood. I don't have to pack a suitcase and find someone to watch the dog and check in at the airport and fly on a plane, etc. to get to their place. We just turn on the radio, throw some food in the dog bowl and drive (about the same time/distance to their house as it was from our house in Seattle to the airport) to their house. Then at the end of it, we just drive home, climb in our very own bed, and go to sleep. I don't know how to explain how crazy that is, but to me it is crazy. Honestly, it can take me a few days to recover from that mind blowing craziness.

Here are some lovely fall photos while I freak the BLEEP out....

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I recently said to a friend, "I had HFG so young I sort of boxed up my entire teenage experience and put it away." In order for me to be the best mom I could be and let go of the life I wasn't living, that of a normal 22 yr. old, I put away childish things and fully embraced being an adult.

In some ways I was detached from her childhood as I literally went about the business of being a good parent. When she was young I left a lot of the fun and play, magic and imagination to others in our community of family and friends. Now that she is the teenager I'm finding myself to be fully engaged in giving her the best teen years I could have ever wanted. It isn't about living vicariously through her and her life, trust me I have absolutely no desire to suffer those years again... and also I love being an adult (all the power and responsibility that comes with that). For me it is about reflecting upon that box I spoke of previously and realizing that as a mother I can help HFG to have a completely different experience. Sure there will be difficult days with yelling, door slamming and general teenage malaise, but I hope in the end she will take flight out of the nest with self confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and maybe even satisfaction with her teen years. I hope someday when she is older she says to me, "I have such fond memories of my teenage years in Pittsburgh."

It is fantastically terrific that our current home lends it's self to getting off on the right foot... We've hosted two small parties and I am pretty sure both events were fairly successful. Her and her friends had the run of the main floor, plenty of food and drink, and loud music (everyone has an iPod) and while my presence was made known, I mostly stayed out of their way and kept to myself. I love hearing the noise that is them like movie style cafe background chatter. I am beyond thrilled knowing that these kids who are in the throes of becoming young adults are for the moment safe, happy, and carefree in the home that Michael and I have created for our family. I hope that over the next few years our relationship is such that she continues to invite her friends over and feel like where she wants to be is right where she is.

(the result of 8 teens and 8 pumpkins and a carving party, her's would be the XX)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get 'r done!

We arrived in pBurgh mid-summer, and here it is already fall and nearly winter... the thought of what we have accomplished in less then four months astounds me... to say we were resourcefully industrious is putting it mildly!
I finally feel like I have more down time to reflect on what we've done and even enjoy it a little. All things considered we have managed to create a cozy little corner in the hills of Western Pennsylvania where we have each other and I think we might even make this all worthwhile...

Our first priority being a place to live: at the very least a roof over us, the kid, the dog , and our sch-TUFF, instead we lucked out and found a home, a happy, fun, safe home. A space with plenty of room for everyone to do their own thing, Poppy even got her fenced-in yard. Nature (including wild turkeys and deer) surrounds us, HFG has a friend just around the corner and over the hill. I would dare say I feel more at home here in this house then I ever did in the unit we inhabited previously for five years! It required one major room(s) rearrangement, and there are still unpacked boxes, but I feel very settled in this place…

Employment also being high on the list… Michael won that race, wasting no time finding one in the first week (he did the same thing when he had first moved to Seattle with us). I languished in unemployment for two months, and then proceeded to have, not one, but two jobs in the next month and ½. Thankfully the one I have currently being the permanent one with benies and PTO; I would have loved for the temp job to have not been so temporary, but as soon as I saw the writing on the wall I made swift work of finding something else. I applied for this one thing on Monday, exchanged correspondence with HR on Tuesday, arrived on-site for an interview on Wednesday and started my first day on Thursday! I have to believe that there was something else at work in that situation, because honestly it was a miracle. All my work history in some way or another has prepared me for this job; I was “one out of 564 resumes”, or so they told me (a few times). Amazing.

The other major thing was getting HFG registered for school… things didn’t go the way we had envisioned them going, but in the end I think they worked out the best they could, maybe even better. I hadn’t known that when I was getting all worked up over the situation. I don’t know if I’ve said it before, but we have really lucked out when it has come to an uprooted teenager “ripped from her friends and the only place she ever remembers living”, and OMG what is going to happen….well… she has managed to make some friends and do some fun things. She’s even survived her first Homecoming Dance, and managed to do well in school. Really, couldn’t have asked for any more, but you know I do… pick up your room, wash your hands, let the dog out, help rake some leaves...

In some ways we have come, and we have conquered. I will admit to having been very focused on some basic needs and not doing nearly as much site seeing as I would have liked, but there is time for that. We aren't going anywhere, we have worked too hard to get here. For now I am looking forward to spending the holidays with family and all the hustle/bustle that will be....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

in case you thought to ask, "How are you?"

I would have to say, "While I can't say my life is magnificent I definitely feel more present in it and there is something fulfilling in that."

This past week was fraught with some challenges, but instead of wallowing in self pity, I took action. I recognized what I could control and I focused on that. Those things that were beyond my reach were exactly that and not worth my fretting over. And at the end of the day Friday, I knew I had done the best I could do and everything happened for a reason and it was all good; even when at first glance it seemed like it didn't and wasn't.

I will admit to being one of those people who has harboured jealousy of what others have, but I see how what I have is priceless. Above all I have LOVE in my life: in the form of an understanding and supportive life partner, a compassionate daughter, and other family and friends that are unrelenting in their encouragement. In the dark there is the light in my mother's eyes; in the cold there is warmth in my husband's arms; when my stomach is empty there is a chair at my friend's table... what more could I ask for? I think nothing, except maybe to be reminded each day of this truth.

How am I? I am BLESSED.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

of all the places in all the world....

After weeks of government preparation, various causes organizing, general populous anticipation, and a lot of local media build-up the G20 made its Pittsburgh debut. Approximately two months shy of the 10 yr. anniversary of the WTO Riots in Seattle, WA (NOV1999); where I was residing at the time. My experience with both events being somewhat removed (not actively participating), although I was reminded I do know someone who participated in a peaceful protest during the WTO extravaganza and someone who wore a suit to work and was accosted (despite his having nothing to do with the World Trade Organization, just wearing similar attire)…

In Seattle my commute involved passing by the general vicinity of the marches and riots in the downtown area, but it was easily avoidable, and avoid I did. Here in pBurgh I didn’t even have to try and avoid the action, it seemed to be avoiding me despite my best attempts at getting out to photograph it. I did see some smoke bombs and police activity from the bus on Thursday, but I was on the wrong side of a crowded bus. On Friday the People’s March which started in Oakland (the neighborhood where I spend my work hours) was blocks away from where I was and by the time I was able to leave for lunch it was long gone. All I got were some pictures of sidewalk missives left the night before and a band of ragamuffins who must have eaten a pan of special brownies prior to heading out to join the march… they didn’t really know where they were going, they became distracted by the same sidewalk missives which had caught my eye… and half of their group wandered off ahead while the others stayed behind to photograph this and that.

Most of the staff in my area took vacation days, worked from home, or worked a compressed week; which meant it was uber quiet around the office. The handful of us here went out to lunch; although I am trying not to become too personally involved with anyone in the work place it was nice to be invited along and feel l
ike part of the gang (I am pretty sure they are all mostly trying to avoid being personally involved with coworkers as well). We were let out of work early both days… which was great, except that the first day my bus didn’t come for 40 minutes… which meant I could have stayed at work and caught the same bus I normally do, and continued to dick around on-line. Ah well… luckily that was not the case on Friday and I did arrive home before anyone else and took the opportunity to crack open a beer, a bag of peanuts and listen contentedly to the local NPR coverage of Obama’s G20 Closing Remarks.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rand on "Why Pittsburgh?"

Rand on "Why Pittsburgh?"

Posted using ShareThis

I got asked that question a LOT before we left and I still get asked that question from people I talk to... I thought this piece had some good answers to the question, "Why Pittsburgh"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

diving in

Last night I participated as a volunteer in an event called Rock the Block put on by WYEP. It was nice to get out on a Saturday night (haven't done that in awhile, separate from hanging out with Michael's childhood chums in Ligonier) and intermingle. I had the opportunity to talk to some really cool people, most of whom were born and raised here and never left. Strangely in Seattle many of the people I called friends were not locals; and in fact I can only think of a handful who were! I think it says something about a city where people don't leave or if they do, they find there way back. Although I know several of my classmates who have moved away and moved back to "The Springs", I could never imagine moving back there, under any circumstance. Maybe in part because I don't have family there, which many of them do; but still....

I digress.

As I was saying.... it was great to be out and about, meeting new people, hearing good music, having tasty treats (Pomegranate sno-cone), and generally feeling like I might start to have a life again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Go figure...

You regular readers may remember me being somewhat concerned about introducing myself, and folks having trouble with the pronunciation of my name.... well the funny thing is, there is a very large contingent of biblically (as opposed to wiccans, First Peoples, Taoists) religious people in this city and for the most part I've had very little trouble getting people to pronounce my name correctly and even a few (typically older) have mentioned Ben-Hur!

Who knew... that Pittsburghians who use words like yenz and dahn tahn would find it so easy to say Tirzah.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It is easier to exemplify values than teach them. Theodore M. Hesburgh

I don’t remember much about it really, I was in the throes of being a very difficult teenager…but when I was in high school my mom went to school. Which was not an easy feat to accomplish, it wasn't like she had all the time or the money in the world to make this happen, and I am sure my adolescent antics didn't help either. But she did it, she went to school, and then went out and started making a living with what she learned.

Since 9/11 I've been thinking about going to school for nursing, seriously since 2006, but there is always this little thing holding me back: fear. Fear of what I am not exactly sure, maybe failure, or possibly success. I've always found excuses to cover for it, “We don’t have _______ (money, time, this, that, fill in the blank).” I don’t think my mom had those things either, but she found a way and she did it.

Before we left Seattle my co-workers threw me a good bye party at which my boss gave a little speech where she used the word brave to describe me. I’d never heard anyone use that word to describe me before and honestly I don’t think I ever would have used it to describe myself… but if I were to follow the example my mom set for me growing up… I would be brave and I would stop filling in the blank with reasons why I couldn't do it, and start finding reasons why I should do it.

Tonight after getting off the phone with my mom I was reminded that she gave so much and continues to give so much of her life for me. By not being the best person I can be I am squandering that love, and how, when there are people who have paid for years of therapy to accept they will never have that kind of love from their mothers can I squander the love of mine…

I imagine she will read this and tell me I haven’t squandered anything… because just by being I am being the best that I can be, but that isn't good enough for me any longer and she deserves better as does my daughter who I am in turn setting an example for…

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

back to Braddock...

I guess I am still a little stuck on the idea of this place:

Installation reflects two women's different experiences of growing up in Braddock

This is the tale of two Braddocks.

Victoria Hruska was born in 1921 and reared in the Bottoms, a neighborhood south of Braddock Avenue, in a house she shared with her parents, working-class Polish immigrants, and her seven siblings.

At 16, she dropped out of school to work at a lingerie shop on the avenue to support her family, earning a dime's worth of commission for every piece she sold. Life was hard, but she reflects on it whimsically, and her art ­­-- crafts of recycled and found objects -- reflects her modest upbringing. Few of the things she sells cost more than $15.

"I think that all people should own art," she said.

LaToya Ruby Frazier was born 61 years later, in 1982, and grew up during the height of the crack epidemic in the crowded housing project of Talbot Terrace, also in the Bottoms.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

role reversal

So.... I think everyone (who knows me) would agree I am the more social person in my marriage. In Seattle I had lots of friends, and liked to spend lots of time with my friends. Poor Michael would get dragged to gatherings and what-not more often then he liked; although for the most part I just went and hung out with my friends solo. Also... I had a friend who spent a LOT of time at our place, and when I say a LOT, I mean a LOT. If she wasn't hanging out at our place, or me at her place, I was often on the phone with her. This was status quo for years.

Well now here we are in Pittsburgh, and I have all of two people I would really consider friends, and they are busy with their lives and while I've spent some time with them it isn't comparable to my socializing in Seattle. Conversely one of Michael's good friends lives only a few houses up the street, which means he is either hanging down here or more likely Michael is hanging out up there. And of course because he is from the area he has LOTS of friends still in the area... and now I am getting a taste of my own medicine. I don't mind really. It's nice to finally see him socializing and enjoying time with someone other then me. There is a side of me that does like to sit back (be the wall flower, so to speak) and watch the hap's going on around me, and this does give me that opportunity.

Who knows? Maybe I will enter a new phase in my life where I am less social and more of a home-body, it was beginning to happen a bit in the last year or so in Seattle. I do imagine it will take at least a year if not longer for me to develop a handful of friendships here in the Burgh, regardless. Also, I don't see this as a bad thing, because having that kind of free time might also push me into pursuing things I've put off for a very long time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

enough with the choices already

If you’ve been following the story…. Well then you know the conundrums about decisions... We had to make a choice about housing… and today I’ve had to make a decision about the job situation.

I am sort of over making decisions… it's exhausting and somewhat wreaks havoc on your self confidence.

I’ve been unemployed for weeks. It’s been frustrating and difficult (REALLY DIFFICULT)… yesterday I got the call from the HR rep at the University of Pittsburgh that there was a temp position open and I was the first person she thought of… of course I jumped at the chance, and despite some absurd traffic and parking conditions showed up on time today.

While I was there, I got a call from a place I had interviewed with earlier in the week for a permanent position with benefits, but it’s a further commute, and it would certainly just be a job, not something I can see myself investing in… and they offered me the job. I will refrain from swearing… as I’ve done before, because I know my relatives read this…anyhow… there were several signs after I left the my first day pointing me in the direction of staying where I am. Granted it’s only temp…but I know in my heart I can find my way in permanently…so I suppose I will stay put on the far end of the top floor in the donut and see where it leads me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

maybe it was penance…

So sure the house we passed up was clean, but that was about all it had going for it vs. the house we chose which had everything, but being clean; and not just to my standards but honestly to any civilized human being standards. Even the plumber who had to be called in the first week had said when he had been to the house before he thought the people who inhabited the place "lived like animals". UGH, maybe I didn't need to know that much.

Supposedly each tenant needs to have the carpets cleaned upon move out, but after vacuuming up two bags full of dirt; I called the landlady to arrange for a house call by Rug Doctor© free of charge (to us anyway), which she did; even they were kinda grossed out. The beautiful subway tiling in one of the bathrooms was dingy and grey until me and my friends: bleach and scrub brush came in. And I will only say about the kitchen that I spent approx. three hours on the floor alone. Eee gads. Not to mention when I went to wipe some primer off the celing in the dining room I realized I would be spending some time Michelangelo style with a rag and some Simple Green© up there. But in the end it has still been worth it, and I am grateful that I had the time to clean and make the place shine a little brighter. Sure, it’s an older home, and will never be sparkly like some slapped together new construction, but it is solid, it has character and it suits us.

Monday, August 17, 2009

why does everything have to be so difficult?

We met with the landlady at the house with the previously mentioned For Rent sign, and while we liked it and thought "sure we can make this home" it was a little more then we wanted to pay, and when I asked if it was negotiable she lowered the price by $25.00, which was still out of our price range. But after much consternation and admittedly some arguing we filled out the application and dropped it off. Didn’t hear anything for a few days, so… we kept looking and lo and behold Michael came across a possibility on Craigslist.

So we went, we looked, we said we would take it… I think out of desperation, it was in our price range, it was clean, and it was ours if we wanted it. So we signed the lease, we filled out the check, we got the key and we waited. It wasn’t available for three weeks, which I don’t know what I was thinking considering I felt like I was dying inside due to our living situation, but it seemed to appease our desire to know that we would have a place to live at some point. We came back all excited, ready to celebrate and I called the other potential landlady and informed her; reluctantly she thanked me for my interest and I thought that was the end. I believe I even updated my status on Facebook to reflect this (which would later confuse many of my friends when I was talking about moving in, and unpacking before August 1st ). And then…

She called back… “Why did we rent the other place instead?” I told her mostly because of the amount of rent, and they were willing to sign a lease that day and she asked, “What if I match that? and you can move in this weekend?"... umm….internal dialogue: Okay, but when I asked if the rent was negotiable and you only lowered it $25.00 why all of the sudden… and when you had all that time to call us back why didn't you, and why, why, why? Why can't something just be easy for once? AAARRRGGGHHHH…. I explained that we had already signed a lease, I wasn't sure if they would let us out of it...

But (close your ears if you are opposed to foul language) F*@%ing Hell… I can move into the big house with four bedrooms, two ½ baths, and a fully fenced in back yard in the next week… for the same amount of rent,

or I can wait for three weeks to move into a two bedroom, 1 bath, back yard with no fence… I can sleep in my own bed, my dog can roam free without fear of being eaten, my teenage daughter can have her own bathroom, there is room for us to be without being all in the same room breathing down each other’s necks… and it can all happen like tomorrow… if only...

Let the negotiations (otherwise begging and pleading) began, with our barely day old landlords. Did I feel like an asshole? Sure, did I care, not really, because I knew if we continued to stay where we were for the next three weeks, I was most likely getting a divorce or killing someone, possibly myself… literally life depended on getting out of that lease and getting into the one down the street. It took some serious negotiating, even my MIL went into solution mode, but we finally wore them down … I think by the end they weren’t much interested in having us as tenants anyways.

Finally we could begin to really settle into this transition, and we could start at home....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

just passing through...

I will admit to having spent a great deal of time being transient in this life. I've slept on many a couch, floor, futon; inside sleeping bags; at airports, railroad stations, one or maybe two bus stations and occasionally a hotel room... much of that was done when I was young, carefree, but most importantly single. I’ve even made two major moves as an adult with a small child, both times though back to places I’d previously resided, hence I had a network of people (that I knew), there was familiarity and a level of comfort with the “lay of the land”.

That was not the case when I departed the Pacific NW and headed east; despite having visited Pittsburgh in May and been to the “area” for long weekends, I had no idea what it would be like. Not to mention, that I am a person who revolves in patterns… as many of us are when it comes to where you shop, what day or in what order you run errands, the way you drive to this place or that, especially if you have lived in the same place for a long period of time. There was a time after the beetle wreck, certain routes were critical to my sense of well being; some roads were off limits, others I could zip along gaily. Eventually you learn traffic patters, you even occasionally see the same car: there is a sense of control… and as those of you who know me know: I like being in control.

So when I arrived here and was staying with near strangers in a strange land, knowing not even where exactly in the city we really were, compared to the places I had seen in May or been during visits past, I will admit to letting each and everything push me into a corner. In some ways… not knowing what path to take, meant I didn’t take any path at all. In some respects I felt like I shouldn’t leave our ever so temporary home, because I didn’t want to leave Poppy in a little room all day, but we couldn’t take her and leave her in the car either. Occasionally Michael would drag me, begrudgingly, out. A few times we drove around aimlessly looking for rentals, Craigslist isn’t always the best method of finding something you need/want around here, and I think they still use the Penny Saver religiously.

It was difficult, and I begun to let fear rule me. I gave in, at last, to the sadness and grief I felt over leaving my friends, even my life and not just where I lived and worked, but the patterns, the easily met expectations. I felt that by making this decision we had ruined our lives irreparably. This, of course, did not come across well to those we were staying with. They didn't know me from jack, and I suppose at the moment I didn't want them to know me, and I didn't want to have to get to know them. As Ani Difranco sings, "I want my old friends. I want my old face. I want my old mind. Fuck this time and place."

Of course navigating their lives, including their children and animal’s lives did not help me stand up any straighter, or find my way out… in fact I felt like I had two left feet and was tripping over everyone and everything. I was NOT in control. I needed space: a room that wasn’t covered in someone else’s photos, and the trinkets of their life; a place for my puppy dog to play with her toys and laze around that didn’t smell like a gigantic dog that wanted to eat her; most importantly somewhere I could bring my daughter home to, a place we could all be together again as a family…

One day when I was willing to step outside the door into the unknown… I came across a For Rent sign, only a stone’s throw away from the corner I had gathered myself up in. But alas it wasn't that easy and there would be hurdles to jump, and choppy waters to cross before I could call the place ours.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Uncertainty, discomfort, and discombobulation and the corner they were lurking around

Last I left you; we had arrived (barely) at my MIL’s, which thankfully offered some measure of comfort and solid ground. Crazy us though: we decided to drive into the city with Nick, my brother in law, and drop off the auto-transport-trailer and drive around and look for rentals. Get a move on so to speak, be motivated and OVERLY ambitious.

I should have known the day would not go as planned, when we arrived to return the trailer, the Customer Serviceman asked me who had hooked up the trailer to the car we were using to tow it. I said my husband and his brother and he informed us that any U-Haul agent who hooked up a Ford Explorer (of a certain year) to an auto transport would be fired on the spot for liability reasons. Great, good to hear; I’d managed to forget about all those Fords flipping over a few years back. Ah well… we dodged that bullet.

We then went to meet Chuck. Chuck was a man we had been in contact with prior to leaving Seattle about rentals. We had called him while still living in Seattle and neither of us was really sure what we should expect. He was a bit strange over the telephone. So when I had to call him again to let him know we were on our way… he proceeded to ask me a million questions, while being evasive himself. Eventually he provided us with an address, and we met him at his office, which was in a teeny tiny little township. After introductions and waiting for him to meet a contractor we finally arrived at a teeny tiny little duplex that was smaller then our Seattle place, dark, dirty, and honestly dreadful. During the viewing of the apartment Chuck proceeds to wink his little eye out at me while telling me where I do and do not want to live over and over. Of course this left me a bit trepidatious about the rental situation in P*burgh, especially as we had somewhat been bankin’ on good ol’ Chuck. After excusing ourselves from his attention and getting a bit lost in this teeny tiny township we did not want to live in we drove off forlorn. Since we had time to kill before picking up Nick at their Uncle’s, we met up with an old friend, who lived in a decent neighborhood, of which we had been warned against.

After visiting with Michael’s friends, we agreed to take them up on their offer of a place to stay, and store a small amount of our stuff. Plans begin to take shape: We would head back to Ohio for the evening, unload a significant amount of the U-Haul into the garage attic of my In-Law’s. Drive both the U-Haul truck (remember we’ve only given up the trailer at this point), and the Subaru into town in the morning, unload it at our friend’s place and the best option for temporary shelter. So… that is indeed what we did. It was a bit hectic, but our friends were so kind to clean up and arrange their basement for our stuff, and “prepare” space in the spare room.

Did I mention they have three dogs and three cats? Along with the family of four, two adults, and two tweens? We made six + little dog…. We were hoping that because their three dogs were big, and our little dog usually likes big dogs… that they would get along… but no. That was a pipe dream. We tried, but frankly Poppy was too much like prey for their youngest biggest dog, so there was a lot of rotating the dogs, and maneuvering of pets, because Poppy thinks cats are prey, and I’m allergic. Sound like fun yet?

It wasn’t… but everything happens for a reason and I think all these things did too…

Friday, July 24, 2009

There is always a toll of one sort or another….

I have been asked more then once how the actual trip on the road from Seattle to Pittsburgh was… so this is where I will begin my long-winded story of the events of the last three weeks…

Wednesday, July 1: We pulled out of Ballard some time (in fact oddly enough it was exactly that time) after 4:00, with Michael at the helm. I was a little anxious about hitting rush hour on I-90, but somehow we managed to miss it (like dodging a bullet). Our ride out to Spokane was fairly uneventful; at least I can’t remember any events, Michael may recall it differently. The plan to sleep in the car was thwarted by the gigundo TV being placed in the back of the Subie, along with all my large framed pieces. So we found ourselves a lovely Super 8 and called it a night.

Thursday, July 2: After a good nights sleep we hit the road bright and early in our home away from home, aka the U-Haul; Michael still behind the wheel. We did manage to drive right into Spokane morning rush hour traffic, which wasn’t too terrible other the cavernous ruts in the road along that stretch of I-90, thank heavens Michael was able to man handle the U-Haul and keep us steady. We departed WA state fairly quickly and headed up into the Rockies: Idaho? No, U da ho came and went, but that was probably because I was napping; I awoke just in time to see the Welcome to Montana sign (and not take a picture of it). I sent Robert (since Trent does not use a tele) a text to see if they could meet us at the gas station in Superior, but alas I didn’t hear from him until we were nearly to Billings. The rain came and went and came again, which was not really welcome considering the twisty turny up and down of the mountains, but again I wasn’t driving. By now you are thinking, “Geez Tirzah, why don’t you pull some weight around here”, I did offer, but Michael being the better driver stayed put. In retrospect, when he was completely burnt out the next day that probably was not the best idea, but what do you do when you realize that in hindsight. Eventually we found our way into Billings: hungry, and exhausted and not sure which route we were going to take from there we called it done and checked into a semi decent Motel 6, although I don’t recall anyone leaving a light on for us, nature sure did put on a show when rolling up the day and putting the sun to bed. We went and got some edible grub (which makes it sound unappetizing, but that’s because it was somewhat unappetizing, they didn’t even have cherry tomatoes in the salad bar), came back and scouted out routes / times, decided to stick with South Dakota and promptly fell asleep.

Friday, July 3, which also happened to be our 13th anniversary of the day we met: After taking showers which made us feel dirtier, rather then cleaner and packing up our overnight stuff we were back on the road and headed south into Wyoming. I finally put in some time behind the wheel, although not much. Fairly uneventful until we started heading east again and came across an over turned 5th wheel (thankfully no one looked to be hurt, as there were no ambulances, and the people were standing on the side of the road), we did not stop as there were already ½ dozen police and figured they had it under control, besides it isn’t like we could have done anything for them. Made our way into South Dakota and decided we didn’t want to drive far enough off course to see four big heads carved into the side of a mountain, and eventually I took over driving again, after Michael had finally had enough, and did my best. While he did a little snoozing I made the executive decision that seeing the 100s of Wall Drug’s signs was just as good as seeing Wall Drug and drove right past it. We also bypassed the Bad Lands, but ended up in our own version of bad lands when the rain came and pummeled us, at which point my love woke up and was kind enough to rescue me from the very scary driving (I could hardly see out the windshield it was raining so hard). After an absurdly long and difficult day of driving in the pouring rain and a quick anniversary kiss at the Welcome to Minnesota rest top we chose a Super 8 in Luverne as the place to stay. What I remember most about this was the lower then low couple with two little babies running around in the parking lot at 9:00 at night in the pouring rain with no shoes, full diapers screaming their heads off, and to top it off they chose a smoking room. I have many disparaging things to say about this, but will refrain from doing so here, feel free to call me if you want more juicy bits about the couple who should have stayed at the trailer park.

Saturday, July 4: While the rest of the country was waking up to the idea of celebrating freedom by eating hotdogs, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, and shooting off colorful rockets… we were shackled to the U-Haul and the dream of making it to Ohio (destination: Mother in Law’s)… We crossed through Minnesota, and Wisconsin fairly quickly and easily, nothing exciting to report, in part because I spent much of it napping. We stopped for both auto and human fuel and I took over driving, finally for a significant stint, which included some horrendous traffic in Chicago and a bit of a meltdown (on both our parts), but we pulled through only to find ourselves needing gas (as in the light came on) badly. So when the GPS told us to exit for a gas station a mere ½ mile away we did. Here is where we found ourselves: Gary, Indiana (birthplace of the very recently deceased Michael Jackson), and the scariest hellhole of a miserable place I’ve EVER been.

The gas station the GPS suggested looked as if it had been torched with a Molotov cocktail and the fire put out right before the whole place fell to the ground, the next gas station seemed to be in working order, except for the first pump I pulled up to was cash only, and this is where we should have known this would not be the last of the issues in this forgotten place, so Michael maneuvered the 27’ of massiveness to another pump. Once filled up we did our best to find the way out, but there was no yellow brick road to be had: only an exit ramp that ended at the top of a giant sinkhole. So Michael used his mad dad skills and managed to back the U-Haul and trailer all the way down the 180-degree turn ramp and get us back on to the road, which sadly didn’t take us anywhere, and again we found ourselves turning around, thankfully we were able to actually turn around and didn’t have to back up. Having faith in the GPS led us to the next on-ramp choice, but Michael being savvy to the ways of Gary, Indiana’s construction zones realized this too was not a likely exit, and got us turned around one last time, at which point we asked a homeless man where might we find the exit, who pointed to the one we just left and decided to just keep heading east, and eventually maybe we would find our way to the turnpike. We were right, after ½ an hour of driving through and around a burnt down, run down, sad little place of a town we found our way back on the interstate, and immediately passed a service plaza a mere 2 miles past where we had exited in the first place and probably could have made it to before our little adventure in the sorriest place in America. Oh well.

Of course by the time we were back on I-80 and realized we had just escaped with our lives, we realized we weren’t going to have enough energy to go the next six hours it would take to get to OH, and we chose the Home of the Fighting Irish (South Bend, Indiana) as our destination for the evening. Staying with the pattern of Super 8, Motel 6, Super 8… we stayed at the you guessed it: Motel 6; which was right next door to the fireworks store. Thankfully we were all so beat that even Poppy only barked once or twice and then it was off to the Land of Nod for all of us, despite the fireworks going off well into the morning hours all around us.

Sunday, July 5: Awaking to the knowledge that we would most certainly be making it into the arms of family on this day, we departed with renewed energy. It was a fairly low-key drive and thankfully the only tolls involved cash. We arrived in the early evening to brothers, and in-laws and lots of love. Poppy met some of her canine cousins at Nana Rita’s and enjoyed the big grassy yard in the back, she stretched out her little legs and did lots of running this way and that.

While we hadn't exactly arrived at our final destination, we were close enough for the moment, and it meant we would no longer be spending hours upon hours by ourselves in a very large moving contraption with no end in sight. Thankfully I was blissfully ignorant of the uncertainty, discomfort, and discombobulation that was lurking around the corner....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

off the grid

since I am on someone else's computer I dont have much time. We should hopefully be back up and running on-line early next week, and then you will get the novel of an update... check back a week from tomorrow.

So the short of it is: We have a home, Michael has a job, I have an interview for a temp position next Monday. Poppy doesn't know what to do with her big fenced in back yard, silly city dog. Huntyr is still in Maine, I will probably go get her next week. We don't own a home, but we do own a fridge, because the east coast is a little different like that (most rentals you have to bring your own appliances) weird, but I love my fridge, and we are going to pick up our washer/dryer on Saturday. So when we do own a home, I will be prepared.

That's it for now. Gotta run. Expanded stories will come soon enough...

Monday, July 6, 2009

final destination

we have arrived... easy is not how I would describe this... but I am trying to be brave, because according to someone I respect very much... I already am.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In two days tomorrow will be yesteday

Yesterday seemed so far away last fall when we made the decision to leave; even two months ago it seemed like "the day" was in the distant future. But before I knew it; it had arrived and today it is yesterday already.
There are so many unknowns in the coming days... when will we get there? where will we live? what jobs will we get? where will HFG go to school?
But one thing I do know is we will have each other and we will have the support and love of so many people to lift us up and carry us through all the todays, tomorrows, and yesterdays.
For that I will be grateful, and I will honor that by being the best that I can be.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

running out of time....

I only have 8 work days left for getting work stuff done; and if I calculate about how much free time outside of that to get personal things done, I have less then four days!!!

In some ways I want it to come quickly, and in other ways I wish it would slow down.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I hadn’t really had any expectations or plans for the weekend, it had been a difficult week and I was worn down enough that I hadn't given much thought to what the weekend would entail other then some effort at packing.

It started off a little tense on Friday night with a certain hockey game. Many thought it would go one way, but I believed it was possible it could go the way I was hoping; and lo and behold it did. (As Lance so eloquently texted) Da’ Gwinz!! Stanley Cup Champions!! This of course means Pittsburgh has two national champion sports team, and not many would consider me into that sort of thing, but I will love football because it is the Steelers and I will love the Penguins because they are hockey.

Later while taking the dog for a w-a-l-k [sic] after the game I had a “stoop-side” chat with Granpa Lee, our neighbor; which ended with an invitation to breakfast in the morning. I even managed to coerce HFG into this early morning outing! We each dined on waffles “because that’s all they have at that time”; although the gentleman had blueberries with his; like someone else I know. The adults had many cups of diner coffee as we enjoyed the food before us. We spoke of lives lived long ago and yesterday; of adventures to come, and the job at hand today. We touched on war and peace, rights, and responsibilities, Reagan and Obama.

Back home we said farewell to our friend and proceeded to watch Empire of the Sun. Something we’d been meaning to do, ever since we both became fascinated with a certain Christian Bale. We even enjoyed the appearance of Ben Stiller (another of our favorites) in this sprawling movie about a British boy during the Japanese invasion of Shanghai during WWII. Interestingly Lee, and both mine and Michael's grandfathers were enlisted man during the war.

Upon completion of the movie, I resigned myself to the packing which I had been dreading most... the packing of our framed family photographs (grandparents, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, of course little HFG and Poppy). In so doing I was given to examining them and the culmination of ours and other’s life decisions which had either reinforced someone’s expectations or rebelled against the choices others had made, including instances of my own. I didn’t get it all done in one day, but by Sunday night I only had a few frames yet to be boxed.

I suppose I dreaded it for nothing; although now my walls are bare and just like that it doesn’t feel like home to me. In a way having all those images conjure up understanding, faith, pride, strength, love... for me = home. In two weeks I will be homeless, but I know that when I need understanding I can call or text my friends… when I need faith I can pet my puppy dog, when I need pride I can look across at my husband, when I need strength I can feel it within my body which packed up all my belongings, and when I need love I can feel it in my heart… and as they say home is where the heart is… and sometimes it has to be packed up, wrapped in bubble wrap and safely tucked away.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

ask and ye shall receive...

there are boxes
and then there are boxes, and boxes and more boxes (and some bubble wrap too)!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I'll get started on that after...

When Michael and I made the decision to move back east way back when (fall of 2008), I admit it was somewhat difficult to even fathom being where we are today, which is less then four weeks from getting on the road in a U-Haul filled with all our crap packed in boxes, no jobs, and no where to live.

Since then I've had little markers in my mind... once this happens I will do that, once these people know I will tell those people, etc, the most recent of "those things" being the brunch... which has since come and gone.

and now...

It's here, it's happening... I can pack anything and eventually will have to pack everything... I need to tie up any and all loose ends at work... there are people I wanted to see that I might not get to see... and in three and 1/2 weeks we will be climbing in the same said U-Haul filled with all our crap packed in boxes, no jobs, no where to live and nothing but endless possibilities ahead of us...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not the first and not the last

I started out the weekend, truly saying goodbye to my teen daughter’s childhood, by way of her first semi-formal dance and looking very grown up. Then I picked up my friend Jill and off we went to Spencer’s small gathering of co-workers for his goodbye…

Saturday the only goodbye that was said was to our Costco (I don’t think we will be buying much in bulk prior to leaving in a month).

Then on Sunday was our big “goodbye” event: a potluck brunch. It was so lovely to see the many who came to remind us that we will always have a cheering section in Seattle. I would have liked to have a lil’ more time with each of the those who spent their Sunday morning with us, but I have fond memories of the moments we have already shared, and look forward to all the hellos we will have in the future. Same goes for those of you who were unable to come… trust me I understand… life is busy. I apologize for those invites I will decline in the coming days; I hope you too can understand.

and so it is... let the goodbyes begin:

Goodbye HFG's childhood, goodbye Spencer, goodbye Costco in Shoreline, goodbye coworkers of yesterday and today, goodbye last May 31st I will live in Seattle, goodbye first day of the last month I live in Seattle. goodbye.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

eating my way through Pittsburgh

My friend Monica is very particular about the food people choose to eat; for the most part she herself eats healthy, fresh food; and she was asking me about the delicacies or specialties that one might find in Pittsburgh... I explained that restaurants usually serve salads topped with fries, and sometimes even sandwiches come with fries on top. About an hour after this conversation I received the following link from her. I am pretty sure she will be expecting reports back about each of these establishments.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I am prone

Ever since arriving back here in Seattle, I admit to being slightly bummed out. I was happy to be reunited with my family, I missed them a lot, and we’ve even had a few superbly sunny days… but still I have been somewhat blue. I couldn't figure it out… until today.

I think I am suffering Post Pittsburgh blues!! Oh yes I did! The experience of being there, where the future lies for my family, was so thrilling. I can’t wait to start settling in, and coming back to the Pacific NW was a reminder that I do have to wait, must have patience.

But there are still things to do to prepare: along with some serious purging, I also packed three boxes the day I came home! I will wait, and be happy knowing that each sunset is a sunrise closer to the day we depart on our big adventure moving from the Emerald City to Iron City; and I better get busy being as prepared as possible.

“He that can have Patience, can have what he will” Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, May 10, 2009

here, there, and everywhere

I awoke to a cup of coffee and oatmeal with my Uncle Bernhard (no one around here pronounces his name correctly either), at the butt crack of dawn. After some lovely morning chatter I headed off to spend a moment with Jeremy and start a new tradition for Mother's Day (breakfast at Ruthie's in Ligonier). After some tasty bacon, and perfect over hard eggs (yolks not broken, way to go Ruthie's), I headed into Braddock to meet Jenny and her peeps. It was a lovely day with the sun in and out behind the clouds, and I found the three gals making the most of the day: digging up the vacant lot next door. Diligently preparing the ground for a garden to grow all the makings of salsa and pasta sauce (a gal after my own heart). It was nice chatting, and having the chance to make two more friends. I am looking forward to having them over for enchiladas (they are all craving decent Mexican, and Michael makes a mean pan of chicken enchiladas) when we have completed the move and start to settle in.

After feeling like a lunp of uselessness (I wasn't exactly dressed for hard labor), I headed into the city to meet my other new friend, Michael (cause just what I need is one more of those in my life) who promptly showed my that P*brgh has decent local coffee (they even had coconut syrup!). After briefly sitting, sipping, and giving cliff notes on our lives, he, ever so graciously, offered to give me the delux private tour of where to and where not: beginning in Shady Side, a quick jaunt along Liberty Ave then back south through Squirrel Hill, a jump on the East Parkway to Mt. Washington over to the North Shore and back again to Shady Side; a true gentleman.

It was a lovely day exploring, and I am can't wait to get here permanently and do some more of the same. It was a lot, but so worth the plethora of information intake.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


In approximatly two hours I will land in Pittsburgh, something I've done before. Only this time I arrive with the knowledge that two months from now I will be calling it home.

In a way I have left home for the last time only to arrive home. Seattle is no longer home, but merely where I reside temporarily.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

remember so and so?

Tonight I watched what might be the last Scrubs episode, I'm not sure. Apparently the main character is leaving his position at the hospital and as anyone who is familiar with the show knows: JD has an absurd amount of internal dialogue about his feelings, his relationships... his blah...blah..blah, and this episode was no different. I also have a fantastic amount of internal dialoge and begin to wonder...

This isn't the first job I've ever left. Up until recently I had hung on to one or two obligatory goodbye cards (thank heavens for purging), I even got a cake party in the lunchroom once... but I must admit... this feels different. One I'm not just leaving a job, I'm leaving my whole life behind. It's not like I can still meet up with these folk for lunch, or happy hour.

To be honest the last three years (while in my current position) have been challenging years: there was an intensly negative interaction with a coworker in the first six months; three months later I was in a serious car accident that in someways felt nearly fatal, and last but not least my amazingly aimable child hit puberty and was no longer so aimable. Of course this had a profound impact on who I was at work. I wonder will they be glad to be rid of the (self proclaimed)crazy lady? or will they miss the over zealous laughter, the super chatty me? will they notice the absence of my contribution?

I "gave notice" somewhat early (like nearly five months) as the gossip mill around shop is like none other I've experienced. I was worried it would get back to certain people before I had a chance to notify them, and moving out of state with no job to move for isn't something you plan in two weeks. Frankly it was getting difficult pretending I didn't have yet another ginormous event going on after hours. Recently I've also started to inform external contacts, in part because next week will be my last chance to see them at the work conference. Of course they are always so polite and kind with their responses; I have no reason to think internal collegues will be any different, but it's hard not to question... are the people I am going to miss going to miss me? I hope that despite the fact I have been somewhat of a drama queen for three years - I have mattered in a way that in seven months someone will remark, "it's just not the same", and mean it in a kind sweet way. That in the absence of my voice, and laughter the silence will be apperent and loathed. Maybe even Larry will long to hear me sing my "Larry, Larry" ditty.

Then again... who among us doesn't hope we matter? to someone? maybe even just one someone?