Saturday, September 8, 2012

Opening Night

We opened.  We did good.  It ended in a love-fest party at the Taki Tiki Bar.  According to my dear wife, I have found my tribe.

Perhaps. One thing I think we all share is the slightly shameful knowledge that our hold on any particular reality is tenuous.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer's End...Another Birthday

We're celebrating the end of summer today, and also my birthday.  Tomorrow--Tuesday--will be the first required day back on the job--morning meetings, and we'll supposedly have the afternoon to ourselves.  Of course, there'll be a lot of confabbing since many of us haven't seen each other for eight weeks or more.  My actual birthday--Wednesday--it's all day at work and all evening in our final rehearsal before the next night's opening performance.

There was fog over the sound and low clouds above when I woke up this morning, but by brunch time they had dissipated.  Then it was the sun doing what the sun does best.  The bright beginning was undermined however, by the scores of neatly trimmed shrubs that surround our buildings picking today to be trimmed by hard-working latinos with power tools.  The noise and fumes have been incessant as these trabajadores have been crowding our windows to smoothly plane all the bristling greenery.

I'll go for a power walk later, straight down to the pier and south ten minutes along the marina to a beach at the point.  I've found a spot there in front of a sign that identifies the mountain peaks on the peninsula across the sound.  It would be a good place to shoot the shifting sequence of sunsets from solstice to solstice, beginning this December.  I need a better camera, and I've been puzzling over what kind to get.

After the power walk, back here for a light lunch and then the gym.  Before we go out for the evening, I'll go over my lines with Ki.  Then she takes me to that tiny bar everyone says is so great, and dinner at The Loft.  And then???

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Settling In

We finally got all moved in to this small town just north of Seattle.  At this time last year it's not at all where I was expecting to be (do you hear the sound of mariachis?), but now, after a couple of weeks, Edmonds seems like a natural fit.  We live just a few blocks from both the cool little downtown in one direction (which means it has a blues club, tiki bar, several coffee shops and good restaurants, and a gym), and the beach with its marina and fishing pier, in the other.

Our sunny garden apartment even has a peek-a-boo view of Puget Sound and the islands and mountains beyond.  About once an hour we hear the ferry blow its deep horn, or the Amtrak blast its warning as it rattles up and down the coastline.  This reminds us that while there may be only languid strollers up town, down by the water people are moving with purpose.

There's good variety in the dozen people living in these apartments, in two low wings facing each other with a lumpy patch of browning grass, and vain attempts at beautiful shrubbery, in between.  Adrienne--a nervous and friendly Chinese American lady--is the "manager," driving up from Seattle Saturday mornings to puzzle strenuously over the plantings, and pass along earnest messages about us all being a family.

This place not only had everything we were looking for, but it was also the first place we looked at.  And talk about the stars being aligned:  Minutes after we rented the apartment, a block away I noticed the rehearsal annex for the Driftwood Players.  My audition a week later was successful, and I landed a small part in a play we're doing in September.  I'd always had it in the back of my mind that when I retired to a place such as this, I'd become attached to its community theater, and here it was!

K will be volunteering at the senior center here; beginning next month she will also be feeding the poor and homeless, both in Edmonds and Seattle. For trips into the city, it's a quick, cheap ride on the commuter train that stops nearby.

I've become a walking-fiend, exploring the folded and platted landscape as if driven by some colonizing force, all the time mumbling or declaiming my lines in a Scottish accent.  And every day, late afternoon, K and I walk down to the beach, sit next to the pier and bask in an expanse of views over the water.

One joy of living here comes from the outstanding flower beds tucked around the street corners in our old town center.  Hanging pots overflowing with flowers are everywhere, as are comfortable iron benches, and views down to the water.  More than once, the past few weeks, words like "blessing," and "paradise" have passed between us.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

This it it: Moving North, Not South

We're moving next week to that little community just north of the city,  a few blocks from the leafy fountain at the old town center, and a few more from the ferry landing and beach.

K has been retired now for a little over a month.  In anticipation of her free time, she attended a social activist meeting preparatory to a spring protest offensive.  She participated in a May Day march downtown, and a demonstration for better treatment of the homeless. 

The past few weeks she has been packing and arranging our move.  She's excited.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Second Thoughts, Again

Right now, a month after our return from the latest south-of-the-border idyll, the common wisdom is that we--or at least, I--will put off retirement for a year or two. The thinking now is that we will move this coming summer to a little community just north of the city, right next to the Sound and a ferry to the Peninsula, but still convenient for me to work. It's odd how our Mexican retirement plan has been eclipsed.

The first doubt in that direction came from the emotional and political jolt of Occupy Wall Street. For us, it restored a lot of the hope we've had for years that something akin to good sense and humanity could actually come to inform our governing, and a wonder at what, together, we can become. We were inspired and invigorated to hang around here in the States for a while longer.

For me, there was also the realization that I've got a lot of invested in my work. I feel like I'm just now, after seven years, hitting my stride as a teacher, even though there are weeks, like the one just past. It was a struggle to make up for lost time from four snow days the week before. And all the time, in the back of my mind, has been anticipation of next week's 28 half-hour, mid-year conferences. Then, there's this long season of getting up in the dark, and coming home 13 hours later, also in the dark.

On the plus side though, I feel the heart-warming satisfaction of one of my ten-year-old students finally having four days of focused learning, accompanied by a steep decline in disruptive behavior. A couple of weeks ago, I confronted him privately about his habit of stealing and then denying it. Maybe that served as a catalyst to him becoming less self-destructive.

And then, there's the money and health care angle. I'm not sure we could have a decent life here in the States, so, if we stay here a little longer, I can bank more into retirement. BFF can carry the torch of our revolutionary flame, while guiding us to a more sustainable way of living, and working on better health.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Back Home

We came back from Yelapa, Mexico two days ago, after ten relaxing days in the sun. This was our third December in Casa Ana Rosa, managed by the matriarch of one of this isolated fishing village's leading families. The only way to get there is by water taxi, half an hour from Puerto Vallarta.

The bottom floor of the triplex-sized building is Sra. Lorenzo's home where she lives with her husband Ronco, and, during holiday times at least, an extended family of two grown sons, and a daughter, her husband, and their two girls.

Joining this nucleus for Christmas Eve dinner on the patio were a number of aunts and uncles and cousins. We were also invited to the feast, along with the half-dozen others staying in the building, all presided over by Ana Rosa's stern-looking mother, Dona Antonia. At least, this small, elderly and intimidating woman gave me a stern look when I arrived some minutes after she had been seated.

From the core of the family, though, we were treated as good amigos, especially since BFF and I had just given a charity to a couple of the relatives present who'd had some bad luck. It was much appreciated. The last few years have seen tough economic times in Yelapa, following a decade of growing prosperity. This past year, unfortunately, was following the trend--still fewer tourists in the village, and especially on the cash-cow beach. Even so, our welcome was warm, as usual. One of the pleasures of being in Yelapa is the friendliness, or, at least good-humored tolerability, of the people.

Our balcony overlooks a cove (half surrounded by twinkling lights at night), and out into the huge Banderas Bay. Just below us is Cafe Bahia, run by an ex-pat female chef, refugee from NYC. This cafe is fronted by the pier (el muelle), where virtually all the people and goods come and go, to and from this small village.

We had a plan to spend the winter portion of our upcoming retirement here in Yelapa, while the rest of the year we lived somewhere higher, away from the coast, and thus cooler and not so prone to excrutiatingly sweaty summers--somewhere like, but not, Guanajuato. But things seem to be moving in another direction.