31 December 2006


I awoke with that familiar surge of panic that inevitably crashes over my head when I am on the verge of uprooting my life. (My hands are so sweaty, I am having trouble typing!) It’s a nervous mixture of fear, excitement, and straight-up dread of the approaching 15 hour flight. Perhaps I am simply suffering from the cumulative exhaustive effects of three solid days of partying, but this morning I find myself bursting into tears at the flimsiest of excuses - a particularly dangerous disposition on a day when the news stations are determined to pluck your heartstrings with sappy retrospectives of the year’s most horrific events. Fortunately, 2006 was a relatively calm year national tragedy-wise, but I did catch myself weeping over the footage of President Ford’s funeral - not because I was so devoted to his two years of ineffective service, but I was just so moved by the way the marines glides across the room then click their heels when they turn…it was beautiful, man.

I would love to spend the rest of the morning drinking coffee and droning on about the ever flowing emotional tides that are sweeping the sands of change along the shores of my psychic beach party, but I kind of disappointed myself with that last string of metaphors, and I really must pull myself together in preparation for a long day of goodbyes, well wishes, and chile verde burritos.

28 December 2006


Q: Why are you moving to Australia?
A: Good question…let me know if you come up with a good answer.

Q: What will you do there?
A: Kevin has gotten a job doing whatever it is that he does…enterprise software consulting or some such smack…his new company sponsored a four-year work visa for him, which also gives me permission to work in Australia. There is a growing bio-tech sector centered in the area where Kevin’s company is located, and there are heaps of interesting job prospects for me.

Q: How long will you be gone?
A: What am I, psychic?

Q: What are you doing with your house, your stuff, and your cat?
A: Our friends, Robert and Holly, have recently abandoned the horrors of Simi Valley for the pleasures of Northern California and will be caretaking pets and property while they get established. This is a tremendous comfort, as the prospect of renting our house to a hill-billy family with five kids and eight dogs was unappealing at best. The stuff will stay in the house, and the cat will get her daily beatings, my absence unfolding without notice unless her food dish should fall empty.

Q: Is it true Australians drink a lot of Foster’s Beer?
A: No.

Q: Where will you live?
A: We will be moving to Sydney, more specifically to the northern suburb of North Ryde or Chatswood. We have two paid weeks in a hotel to find a furnished apartment and buy a car (though we’re not quite sure how to handle the whole money/currency/banking situation yet – check back for updates). We hope to live and work proximal to each other and to public transportation, so that we may indulge cosmopolitan fantasies of riding trains to concerts in public gardens and weekend artisan markets.

Q: What, they don’t drink Foster’s? Well, you can still eat shrimp on the barbie…
A: Another myth…I cannot express my disappointment in learning that an Australian BBQ is what we in America would call a griddle. I don’t quite see the point…

Apprehensive Anticipation

The calm indifference with which I have been approaching this latest lifestyle upheaval has been drastically pierced by the reality of leaving my beloved homestead this morning. (We are heading down to San Jose for a few nights, to visit friends and family, say our good-byes, and to eat as much Mexican food as I can stomach.) Today, the weight of separation seems tremendous as I look around my house, lovingly worshipping the banal details of my daily existence here. Waking, I savor the warm softness of my sheets as I gaze out at the rosy morning sun seeping into the valley over Mount Lassen. Sipping coffee by the woodstove, my cat purring in my lap, I kiss her hard, imprinting the memory of her supple fur indelibly on my brain. A cold mountain wind rushes through the pines, briefly drowning out the roar of the rain-swollen creek, and I strain my ears to capture the melody so that I might sing it for comfort when I find myself flabbergasted by the strange changes that are to come.

It is in the middle of these fits of sentimentality that I am overwhelmed with self-doubt and apprehension. What am I doing? What am I leaving behind? What am I facing? What should I bring?

Well, the rest of the house is awake now, invading my musings on my misgivings and disrupting my sentence structure. There is no more time for wallowing in worry…I have to go pack!

25 December 2006

T minus 1 week to departure

“You’re moving to Australia next week? Your brain must be a wreck!”

I hear this comment often and have typically responded with expressions of detached indifference, as if moving to Australia was somehow unavoidable. Indeed, I have been uncharacteristically calm about the whole ordeal. Don’t get me wrong, I am enthusiastic about the prospects of living and working abroad – I just don’t feel the surge of apprehensive anticipation that I felt before we moved to Mexico. I mean, let’s face it, Australia is not much different from the United States when it comes to the quality and array of basic services such as urban infrastructure, healthcare facilities, and reliable indoor plumbing. It’s not like we’re moving to some decaying 3rd world back water where surgeons operate with rusty tire irons. Heck, they even speak English there …or something like it anyway.

That said, with our departure date rapidly approaching, I am plagued by the annoying feeling that I should be really busy taking care of details, but when it gets right down to it, all I really need to do is throw some clothes into a suitcase and get on a plane – and I could probably make do without my clothes. I have the nagging feeling there are loose ends I should be tying up, but instead, I spend my days wandering around my house and yard, savoring the images and sensations of my peaceful mountain oasis to bring with me in defense against homesickness.

As I get older I’ve noticed (…an increasing number of my observations are prefaced with that phrase…) that it is getting harder and harder to leave places behind. I’m still excited about going to new places. I just get more attached to each new place that we call home…and it doesn’t help matters with Kevin making overblown statements of finality such as “This is the last time we’ll eat Tacos al Pastor at Roberta’s,” or “Gee, this is last time we’ll see snow.”

Of course, these statements are ridiculous. We still own our house here in Shingletown, CA and all of our stuff is here, so we will have to come back sometime.

And when we do, I will absolutely stuff myself with tacos.

22 December 2006


I’m not surprised by the total lack of surprise expressed by nearly all of you upon hearing the news that Kevin and I are moving to Australia. I am a little surprised by the outpouring of enthusiasm and support expressed by all but a (surprisingly) close few of you. I am most surprised at how surprised I am to find myself moving to Australia. I’m also surprised at how quickly I have worn out the word ‘surprise’.

I am not in the mood to dwell on the tedious events of my life heretofore (visit www.sandiablo.net for further details), but for the benefit of those of you who may not be familiar with my personal history (and in case this blog should ever serve as a reference document for my best selling biography), I feel inclined to provide a brief sketch of the events leading up to this most recent geographical transplantation.

On second thought, what difference does it make? This will be a brand new beginning, a chance to shed the past (or at least leave it stuffed in a shed 7,000 miles away). This is an opportunity to start over, to re-invent myself as a successful and dynamic woman in a warm and exotic land, where no one knows about my past work history (I swear, perform one little strip-tease at a convention in San Antonio and you get a reputation for life!). How symbolic that the beginning of our new life should coincide with the beginning of the New Year!

...but wait, we’ll be boarding the plane in San Francisco at 10:30 pm on December 31, 2006 and landing in Sydney at 8:30 am on January 2, 2007...This may have dire implications for my “new beginnings” metaphor since for us, there will be no January 1st…no New Year’s Day…no 17th Wedding anniversary…no New Year’s resolutions (good thing, since I don’t keep them anyway.)

So maybe it won’t be a whole new life, but it will certainly be a whole new adventure...so be sure to check back often...