Adventures in Optimism Episode 3


Well, this week has been more adventure than I planned!

Have I mentioned that at ye old day job we have been going through a strategy process and planning a restructure of my team? This has meant about 6 months of living in limbo, which is always somewhat stressful, but we’ve gotten through it pretty well and were very much looking forward to it being OVER.

Then came the note that all of my team’s jobs will end on 30 September. Including, of course, MINE!

There will be some new positions created, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be a good fit for those.

It has certainly created the opportunity for a reflective pause.

Or, I should say the vital need for a reflective pause, since my days now involve trying to get my urgent work tasks done, and commiserating with co-workers who are scared and confused, and trying to process all the information about what my future looks like now. Completed most of the urgent stuff today, so I HOPE to have some open space tomorrow and Friday to be more attentive to my co-workers and to the reams of information on What Next?

Since my possible move to the great Pacific North West is largely dependent on both HAVING A JOB, and also on having a job that I can do from home, my trip is now effectively complete. I simply can’t make decisions about a long haul move until things are settled at work.

On the upside, I got to all the places that I think are realistic options for a future move, and I was very much encouraged that it might be possible to live here within my limits for a reasonably frugal life.

It will be very hard leave here, where we are currently heading into low 70s / high 60s and rain, for my hot and sunny home, but even in that I feel more ‘ready’ and okay about it than I would have anticipated. And goodness knows HOME is always my favourite destination, even when that home is not in my favourite location.

Tidbits from the Journey:

Once of the great joys of this last weekend was getting to see another dear friend from Grad school! I had warned her when we started to set up a date that I was a still bit mental these days, then when we got to the day of meeting I had just gotten the news about my work, so I was REALLY a mess. Sarah, as always, was like a cool drink of water in a parched land.

GORGEOUS countryside. WOW. I spent a significant part of the holiday weekend driving all over western Washington, and it was SO beautiful. I have to keep reminding myself that it is summer.

A full night’s sleep!! I actually got it both dark enough and quiet enough to get one full night’s sleep! It transformed me! Now, alas, the following night, on the road trip, I had a HORRIBLE night with only 3 hours of sleep, but hey, one night is better than none!

Tom Petty. I have heard more Tom Petty on the radio since I arrived here 2.5 weeks ago than I have probably heard in the preceding 2-3 years. I finally had to look him up and see if he grew up here. No. I have no idea what it is. Nothing wrong with it, it’s just odd.

Gratitude. I’m scared and distressed about this new wrinkle with my job, but I am also grateful. I am SOOO grateful this didn’t happen in the middle of the LifeWreck. That would have been beyond my capacity. I am also grateful it didn’t happen until I had begun to get my trust in God back. I’m not at 100% yet, but I am FAR better able to weather this new crisis than I would have been a year ago. And I’m sure grateful that it didn’t happen the week AFTER I moved to a completely new community – and a rural one at that!

I had to think about it at first, but I decided I’m even grateful that the job crisis happened AFTER I started off on this research trip. Though I’ll head home sooner than I had planned, I really got the main information I need, and I would not have even considered this trip if I had learned about the job beforehand. I don’t know what will happen now, but I feel at peace for this point, at least, and that is pretty amazing.


Be well. 



Monday Motivation: The Moment We Come Alive

Happy Monday!!

How are you?

I hope everyone is well and safe on this Independence Day Holiday!

I’m doing all right. Still having ups and downs in this little moving research adventure I’m on, but I’ve survived thus far.

In the spirit of this adventure – which this weekend included a northerly trip to check out the last of my ‘possibles’ areas, and an afternoon with one of my dearest friends from grad school – some excellent traveling music is in order!


I am LOVING this song just now. Not that you can go wrong with any combination of Road Trip + RED.



Be well. 


And of course, if you like your Mondays a little more energetic, there will ALWAYS be: 😀

While we are on the topic: Congratulations to RED on the tenth anniversary of The End of Silence! Thanks for all the blessing you have been!

Adventures in Optimism Episode 2


This is a strange, strange place.

The children here… they act … like children. I see them riding bikes and walking to the corner store and playing what appear to be completely unorganized sports with groups of their friends. They even mostly dress like children, rather than like miniature supermodels.

I remember this from my own childhood, I’ve seen it in other countries, and I’ve read about it even in modern media, but it’s my first real experience of it in many, many years.

Maybe it’s just that kids can go outside here without bursting into flame, unlike in the southern desert regions I’ve mostly inhabited, but it is kind of heartwarming to see children out of doors, and even frequently looking at and talking to EACH OTHER rather than staring at cell phones. It is especially odd because this is a fairly good sized city and I’m in a fairly affluent part of it – the last two places I’d expect kids to be kids!

Then there is the fact you CAN go outside in June without bursting into flames!

I know I’ll get used to it, but it’s a work in progress.  A friend mentioned yesterday that it was 7pm and 97 degrees at his home. MUCH more what I’m used to. Here it is cloudy many mornings EVEN in June, and on the weekend I’m headed for an area that is still regularly in the mid 60s for temperature! IN JUNE! Now JULY!!

Of course that’s why I’m here testing this place to begin with, but it still astounds me. My native friends are appalled at the recent heat, since even here climate change is visible and the current US heat wave is shoving its nose in, but from my desert perspective this is pretty darn good!

Tidbits from the Journey So Far

For sale by owner.  I have never seen so many houses for sale by owner before. I don’t know if they have odd realty laws here, or a dearth of realtors, or what, but I’m not just talking tin-and-cardboard shacks – there is a neighbourhood near my hotel with $600,000 homes in it and two of those babies are For Sale By Owner too!

UL campus. Okay, I am a dork, I know it. That is the only excuse I have. I am staying about 5 miles from the UnderWriters Laboratories campus and I just think that is SO COOL. It’s also quite a campus. Looks like a very high end park from the street. They have signs up all over that it’s private property, but no fences and it’s hard for me to believe that all the people I’ve seen using it as a lush walking space are UL employees.

The not-100s. This has probably already come through, but I just have to give it its own space. While I’d rather it were fall or winter or spring, to be outdoors in SUMMER and not miserable from the heat is SO EXCITING !!

Quiet. Not in my hotel at 5am, alas, but on the streets it’s QUIET here. People hardly ever blast their stereos in their cars, they seem to mostly keep their dogs in line, they even sort of speak quietly.  After years of sensory overload in Ca, I’ve really enjoyed the quiet.

Distance. I have lived the last ten years in California. Most of them in a county that is larger than several states and a number of countries. Washington is so … small. Now, to be clear, when I say ‘Washington’ I mean only land from the Cascades to the ocean, so we’re not talking the state’s longest diagonal, but the simple fact that I could drive from the Oregon border to the Canadian border in a very, very, reasonable day’s trip is amazing to me.  You can spend more time in traffic on a southern Ca commute than that trip takes!

Sense and reason. Because I’m in this extended stay place the housekeeping folks only tend to my room once per week. Last Friday was to be my first ‘housekeeping’ day, and I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally they knocked on my door, long after I had assumed they forgot me, and said that they had been completely slammed so they couldn’t get to me that day, and could we reschedule? I work in an organisation where people apologise for taking an hour to get to your email on a Sunday while sitting at their father’s deathbed, so I found it completely heartwarming that someone would say ‘We simply can’t get everything done, I’m sorry.’ And it wasn’t even as if they were neglecting me! They STILL took my trash and my used bath linens and offered me any other things I needed.

But not from Google Maps. Google Maps is NOT sensible here. I started off thinking maybe they had a lot of one way streets or construction blocks or something. No. Google Maps just has a twitch here. It will happily take me half a mile out of my way to avoid a simple left hand turn at a minor traffic light. Thankfully I am getting a feel for the area and starting to note probable ‘more sensible routes’ on the map before I start out.

Grit. I met a girl who lives – with her nine-year-old son – in a studio apartment she is pretty sure is smaller than the hotel studio I’m in right now. (And she cleans the hotel studios such as I’m in for a living, so she has a pretty good feel for their size.) Her kitchen she is certain is smaller than my hotel kitchen (and trust me, I’m not staying in a penthouse palace here) and only fits a mini fridge with one of those semi-freezers that doesn’t really freeze enough to be safe. “But at least we can’t keep ice cream around” she said happily, “so that is good for us. If we want ice cream we have to walk to the corner store to get it!”.  This girl is tougher than I’ll ever be, and she has a much better disposition!
Now of course grit is not unique to here; I just like to celebrate it whenever I find it.

All in all it’s been a good week.

The poor sleep is taking a toll, but it’s still manageable, the abject terror is fading, thank God, and so far none of my research has revealed hopeless failure.

This weekend I’ll take a trip to the most distant areas I am contemplating, and then I shall be ready to start making some decisions and narrowing my focus – God willing.



Be well.