Monday, March 26, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: The Lasts

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Over the weekend, I took the Beats on one last hike at a favorite local wildlife area. The March weather combined with chilly temperatures resulted in the place being fairly deserted, giving us the opportunity to explore.

As part of our hikes at this preserve, the Beats would cap of their exploration with spending some time on a lone set of swings located close to the parking lot. Over the last 2 1/2 years, they've gone from toddling to the baby seats, begging to be picked up and placed in, to independently getting themselves situated in the normal swing seats, asking to be pushed higher and higher.

Yesterday was their last time on this swing set. Just writing those words leaves me heavy with emotion.

The March/April transition is a hard time of year for me. 6 years ago, I was in the middle of a second miscarriage, fighting to hang onto hope only to later learn all had been lost. And even though a year later things would change, I would still be reflecting on those last moments of what could have been.

Last night I was reminded of all of this again while dealing with phantom pain at the site of my Caesarean. Pressing down on the scars, I marveled at how grateful I was to even get the experience of carrying the Beats for as long as I did. But I also allowed for the pain of knowing all that was lost due to that journey.

There's so much focus on the firsts in life, from first steps to first kiss to first adventures. But equally important is recognizing the union that exists between those firsts and the lasts. That one cannot exist without the other, despite the fear surrounding closing the doors on certain chapters.

This week the Beats say good-bye to friends and teachers. The excitement of moving back to the West Coast is being tempered by them having these lasts. Already He-Beat is struggling, lashing out and being extra clingy as he fights to make sense of these emotions. The urge to completely shelter them both from this part of the process is high. And yet, I know that they have to learn to navigate this process, with Grey and me guiding them through this process of happy/sad that comes with transitions.

Being excited for the firsts and all the new while also honoring the lasts.

Friday, March 23, 2018


It's moving week in the Grey/Cristy household.
On Sunday, we picked up the rental car and began packing. Start death-cleaning style process of sorting what will make the trip. Decide to part with beds, bookcases, computer desk and futon. No other drama to report.

Monday: Lenny was picked up to begin his journey to California. He'll likely be meeting us there.

Monday was also started with me realizing that the car seats wouldn't fit in the rental car (sidenote: Chevy Transverse is a designed for people who are more concerned about their comfort than actually transporting small children). Cue multiple phone calls to rental car company with being told there's nothing they can do. And apparently Cristy is not allowed to drive the rental as she's not listed on the agreement. In addition, moving pods arrive unexpectedly, cueing neighbor (landlady's aunt) to freak out about accessing the garbage bins and her launching in about hating having an extra recycling bin.

Cristy attends lecture with puffy eyes. Death-cleaning/packing continues.

Tuesday: trip to airport to get Cristy on rental car agreement. Quickly learn to not trust people on the phone as 1) being married negates the need to add me and 2) the people at the office hear about our situation and immediately act to rectify it. We leave airport with a Dodge Minivan and a $50 refund for our trouble. City makes fun of neighbor for being stupid about recycling bin. Neighbors happily accept the recycling extra bin (normally they cost $100 for the ticket, so it's a win for them). Ramp up on packing.

Wednesday: Grey and Cristy watch weather, packing while praying. Projected 8-10 inches of snow never happens. Wondering how universe will screw us tomorrow.

Thursday: An extra light dusting of snow. Finish packing. Moving crew comes and loads moving pods. Watching these guys work, filling everything in 3 hours leaves me realizing what an amateur Cristy is. Moving guys finish by taking half the stuff we planned to donate (read Ramones cassettes, blender, various hand tools and electronics), which we are happy to supply them.

Evening ends with my students giving their final presentations to PreK-12 educators (and getting a TON of valuable feedback on their project).

Friday: wake to find moving pod company on site to pick up pods. Cue ever child (ages 2-78) on the block glued to their windows to watch the guy driving the forklift. Donations picked up. Toddler beds sold. Friday ends with promise of take-out and Cristy bullying Craigslist respondents to pick up futon.

I loved Tetras as a kid. But all the moving pieces from this week has left me utterly exhausted, wanting to sleep the sleep of thousand deaths. And it's not over: Monday is vet visit for annual exam and to get meds for trip. Tuesday is final walk through and last day at schools. All leading to Wednesday, which is when we say good-bye to Boston. Still lots to do.

But one thing I am loving is seeing all the pieces come together. Waving good-bye to the pods felt really good. Watching furniture disappear has felt even better. And this final divorce with the rental from hell is something both Grey and I are looking forward to.

Just need to figure out how everything fits together in this short stretch of time.

Monday, March 19, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Over the weekend, Grey's former roommate and very good friend came up with his family (in-laws included) to visit. It's become a running joke that he's only interested in seeing us during coast-to-coast moves (last time we saw them was 2 days after our arrival to Boston). The morning was spent taking everyone to the Natural History Museum followed by a tour of campus, resulting in two extremely happy former roommate in-laws but 3 kiddos who were deeply bored and in need their own adventure.

To rectify the adult-centered morning, Grey, former roommate and I decided to take the kids to an indoor playground. But the first order of business was getting lunch into the preschoolers. Hence the stop at Friendly's, when former roommate realized that Grey and I had never been and declared it was his duty to initiate us.

There's so much about this place that left me cringing. But the ultimate was during the walk to the restaurant when we realized the entrance was blocked by a male Canadian goose who was hissing and chasing people away. It was only when we managed to get around him and inside the atrium that we noticed his mate sitting in a nest pressed up to the glass, clearly incubating her eggs.

"That's Ozzie and Harriet" said one of the regulars as Grey, former roommate and I caught our breaths while the kids marveled at the continued geese drama happening outside. "They've been coming here for the last 7 years to lay their eggs and raise their young." 

Apparently no one has thought to build them an enclosure to rectify the ongoing drama. 

Then again, maybe this is just a weird revival of the 1950s TV show, except being an audience member is a bit more of an experience.

Monday, March 12, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Preparing

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Grey found a rental: a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath townhouse-style end unit that has recently been updated and looks sound. Cue sign of relief.

Follow by both Grey and I springing into action. Today we've arranged transporting the car, arranged for moving pods, established new utilities, gave notice to close existing utilities, bought plane tickets, set up vet appointments (fun fact: Jaxson and Daisy need no documentation to fly domestically, but we want sedatives even though last time they did NOT work at all), dropped off old vet records, mailed signed lease, updated mailing address for USPS and contact the school district for IEP transfer and enrolling both Beats into Kindergarten.

I also had a phone interview #3 and Nor'easter #4 is scheduled to hit at 1 am. 

In short we're preparing, whether the universe likes it or not.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Famine to Feast

My job search did a 180 last week. On the heels of a rejection letter, I got an email from a newer contact that he was leaving his current position and wondering if I was interested in his job (and if yes, he would send me the hiring manager's information). One day latter, one of my pain letter contacts (on the heels of applying for a job posting) connected with me on LinkedIn, resulting in me getting an email from the hiring manager. Minutes later, another newer contact reached out, requesting a meeting about a new position the company is creating as we speak. The bow on top is was an email yesterday evening with an interview request for a position I applied for and then followed up on to inform them that I would be relocating to the area at the end of the month.

As of right now, I'm two phone interviews in with the pain letter company. There's been a lot of back-and-forth about whether I would even be a good fit given the work they are doing is not in my wheelhouse. But my skill-set is, especially with team management for tackling unusual problems and so far they keep talking about the next steps. In the meantime, I'm scheduling an interview with the company from last night while responding to the other two with updated information about when I actually may be back on the West Coast.

All of this is weird. I'm not use to having multiple potential options surface all at once, giving the illusion of actual options. The idea that I may get to actually chose an employer is something I haven't allowed myself to think about given that as of this minute no offers are in hand. But given the weird, I've definitely been trying to clear the fog that has been rolling around in my head; remembering that it's my job to also interview these potential employers as the match isn't just about me pleasing them but actually about fitting into the team (meaning I have to be comfortable with the team too).

But I guess I should get use to the universe screwing with me. Even when that means going from famine to feast.

Monday, March 5, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Aftermath of another bomb cyclone

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

On Friday, Grey and I ventured out grab the Beats early from school. Even though we hadn't sustained any damage, we had concerns with the wind and didn't want to chance finding ourselves in an impossible situation.

About 30 mins after we were all home safe, the following image popped up on my phone from the local neighborhood group.

For anyone wondering, this was only 10 blocks away. I would later get messages from family asking if we were okay given that this same image was being used by national news outlets.

Over the past few days, doubt has been creeping in about this move. Is this truly the best thing for us and the Beats or are we just over reacting to our situation? Maybe we just need to try harder? 

Looking at this image though, knowing that all of those power lines we actually just installed a few months ago, and following on the heels of news about us experiencing two weather events that are usually only experience generationally (if that), it's hard not to see all the signs as pointing that we need to get out as soon as possible.

On Tuesday Grey flies out for the West Coast with the hopes of finding a rental, all with the blessing of his new manager and all the higher-ups at his company. Once that is secure, he will update the moving companies of where we'll be landing. And though I have no illusions that life will be without hardships in the future, it's hard not to hope that things will get better.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Finding Asa Gray

Yesterday, after hitting the "publish" button for my humdrum post, I decided to pack up my laptop and venture over to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery to find Asa Gray. The cemetery itself is lovely, filled with extremely ornate grave makers and landscaping. It's no wonder that this place is also a bird-watching haven.

Now I know what you're thinking: who is Asa Gray? Why spend a lovely day like this hunting for the grave of someone most people have never heard of? Instead of giving you a link and letting you do some reading (I'll do that below), I can give you a summary. The question is which part of the summary to focus on.

You see, I could spend time telling you why Asa Gray, a professor at the Harvard Herbarium, is considered one of the most important botanists of the 19th century. How he was instrumental in unifying the taxonomic knowledge of plants in North America and how his extensive study of the morphological similarities between many eastern Asian and North American plants is still the foundation for ongoing work today. 

But I already know I've lost most of you there.

Instead, what I'll focus on is that despite being a Harvard professor, Asa Gray was deeply religious; fitting the definition of modern day intelligent designers. But how Asa Gray differed from other intelligent designers is that he was also a very close friend of Charles Darwin and believed in evolution via natural selection.

In fact, Darwin's modern-day fame is due to Asa Gray. Asa Gray and Charles Darwin had an ongoing correspondence with Gray's observations and beliefs helping drive many of Darwin's theories. But what really sealed the deal was that at the same time Charles Darwin was developing his theories, another colleague named Alfred Wallace also independently developed the same theory of evolution through natural selection. Why Darwin instead of Wallace got the credit for being first is because when Wallace's manuscript was read at the Linnean Society on July 1, 1858, so too was a letter between Asa Gray and Charles Darwin that outlines Darwin's theories on the origin of species showing that Darwin had outline all of this prior to Wallace's manuscript.

Asa Gray would go on to promote Darwin, receiving one of the first published copies of "On the Origin of Species" and then by arranging the publication of the first American editions, making sure that Darwin received the royalties. The pair remained close friends throughout their lives.

I've been thinking about Asa Gray for many months since I first learned about him this past autumn. With the ongoing divide in this country where people continually separate themselves from one another based on their beliefs and opinions, the relationship between Gray and Darwin is a shining example of how that doesn't have to be. Asa Gray firmly believed that religion and science were not mutually exclusive, something that modern day leaders in science like Francis Collins echo. Yet the myth remains that you either believe in God or Evolution and one has to wonder what underlying political forces are at play to perpetuate this false message and how they benefit from creating such fear.

There's another level though; one that I've been witnessing from bloggers who have resolved their infertility but are not parenting. The question posed of end of life issues but also whether they would even be remembered. It's a common fear that many are quick to brush aside with the belief that having children rectifies the problem as they will become the caregivers and the memory holders. And yet, I can tell you with utter confidence that I know next to nothing about my great grandparents. My own grandparents are also a bit of a mystery to me, so at the end of it all they have become lost in the masses.

And why I thought about that as I stood in front of Asa Gray's grave is because Gray and his wife Jane never had any children, despite a well known desire for them. Gray was very parental with his younger brothers, housing and caring for them and it is believed that he was well-loved by his mentees. In short, Asa Gray's legacy lives on due to how he lived his life.

I drove around Mt. Auburn Cemetery for about 30 mins before I located Holly Path. Walking on foot among the old stones, I swear there was a hush from all the birds as I located the site. 

Standing at the foot of the grave, marveling at the beauty in its simplicity and how white the stone was despite being over a hundred years old, I found myself overcome with emotion. After all, what does one say to the dead, especially given my own belief that we don't just live a single lifetime? What I found myself asking and reflecting on out loud was that given all the change on the horizon is did I had the courage to continue to stand by my convictions and pursue what I believed in. To live the type of life I believed to be full and good; to take all the knowledge and lessons gained from the past 3 years forward with me as I begin this next chapter. Something that I'm very scared I'll fail at.

Yet seeing this physical evidence of someone who seemingly lived a life I admire gave me renewed courage to try, even though I know failure, disappointment and pain are certainly ahead. Because finding Asa Gray wasn't simply about learning more about a part of history; it was also about uncovering something about myself. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018


It's one of those days. The type where I'm feeling less than motivated to get out into the world and tackle the challenges in front of me. Part of this has to do with the fact that I already have my meetings scheduled for the day; another part is I've been hitting the pavement very hard for the past couple of days. But another part is feeling once again like I'm in limbo. The initial adrenaline surge following rejection only propels one so far.

Right now I'm living in the humdrum, aware of the tidal wave of change that is about to hit my life. Grey has renewed his search for rentals with plans to fly back to the West Coast soon to secure a new home. Once an address is secured, everything else on the list can be checked off. All racing against a ticking clock in hopes of our new beginning.

But in the meantime my body is telling me to rest. Even though my mind screams out in panic of the humdrum, it seems unavoidable.
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