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because there's forty different shades of black
dearanxiety
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july 13 - return from world travel
september 5 - jen and jason's wedding
september 25 - carla and drew's wedding
october 23 - my neice or nephew's due date
thanksgiving - florida for jonathan's bar mitzvah and turkey

* = i have a ticket (or reservation), sucka! otherwise gotta get one.

that'll do for now.

past stuff i didCollapse )
dearanxiety
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Ian and I rang in 2013 in bed. I was so sick, and so long asleep, that the midnight hour passed entirely unnoticed. It seems like 2013, so far, has been a lot about hospitals, failing health, and loss. I'm hoping that this is a trend that starts changing soon. But I feel the need to purge this and put it all in one place.

My Great Uncle Ellie died on January 8th. He was 92 years old and lived a long and full and happy (I think) life filled with family and love. We were all very close to him. Up until a couple of months ago he was exuberant, hilarious, tequila-drinking, lady-charming and very much alive. His health failed quickly, and the truth is, I'm grateful he didn't suffer for a long time.

My 17-month-old nephew, Lex, who has Cystic Fibrosis was admitted to the hospital on January 23rd because he had a horrific cough that hadn't cleared after a couple of months of extra treatments. Luckily, he is doing better and will be released, it looks like, tomorrow. It was scary and a wake-up call for me. I try to not think about Lex's illness and what it could mean for his future. This forced me to think about it. As a result, Ian and I have signed up to the Great Strides Walk which is a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Feel free to support me by going here.

On that same day, Ian fell off of his skateboard and broke his wrist.

In the process of making plans to go visit Ian's 96 (I think) year-old Grannie in Vancouver, we heard from many family members that her health seems to be drastically declining. I don't know how much worse it'll be (we go next weekend) from when we saw her last, but I have a feeling it will be shocking. The timing of this visit, which will surely be upsetting in terms of her physical and mental health, fits into the overall theme of our life lately.

My sister-in-law, Ian's sister, has had issues with drugs and mental health for as long as I've known Ian (she was about 14 when I met Ian). She is now 23 years-old and not doing well. She has spent much of the last several months in and out of a mental hospital and I don't really even have the words to talk about this.

Last night, sometime between January 31st and February 1st, my Uncle Brian died. He is...or was, I guess....my dad's brother. It is complicated. He was somewhere on the autism spectrum, or had some other sort of major developmental disability that was never dealt with or diagnosed. He was also diabetic and had lost both his legs and one of his eyes to infection over the past couple of decades. He lost his wife just over a year ago. His life is sort of sad to think about, but in the last year, we saw him more than we had in the previous decade. He didn't have a mean bone in his body. I feel glad that his last year had him surrounded by family and living somewhere where he had a religious and social life. I also know that had this not happened, his loss would have hit me far less hard. Bittersweet, I guess.

I will end by pointing out that it is now 2013 and I am still no closer to being a mother that I ever have been. My life is filled with medical centers, doctors, vials of drugs and needles.

Enough.
dearanxiety
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I still read through everything y'all are posting! And even comment sometimes. And love you all! I just, since I've been so focused on Fertility Treatment stuff, have been primarily blogging about that elsewhere. If you wanna read it, you can find it here on blogspot.

My life has basically been swallowed by IUI and home buying. Ian and I close on a gorgeous craftsman in Alameda on Friday. I am in love with it. I can't believe it's mine!



And that's about it. I cut my hair, so I have super short bangs. I feel pretty fat and icky and need to get back to exercising. I am excited that I get to see lele in a couple of days. I spend all my spare time looking at furniture and home accessories online (and in person). I have been in introvertville.
dearanxiety
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heya peeps. so, i started another little blog where i plan to chronicle this journey of infertility stuff. it's not very interesting to most people, i'm sure. and a lot of people say things that make me feel terrible (unintentionally of course), which is why i've been mostly not writing about this all. so i don't want the blog to be as public as lj. it's not gonna post to my facebook or twitter. but it will exist. so if you feel like you'd maybe want to follow it, let me know, and i might send you a link.

now i can't stop singing like tina turner. if only i had her legs.
dearanxiety
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it's been like 1000 years since i've written anything on lj. haven't been super inspired or motivated to write much, but thought i'd give an end of the year/beginning of the year mini-update at least. basically, everything looks pretty identical right now to how it looked a year ago, in spite of all kinds of potential change and excitement that never was to be. so that is just not super inspiring or motivating or interesting.

so, yeah. on the babymaking front, we still haven't made one in spite of many many many months of trying. we are now working with a reproductive endocrinologist (aka a fertility dude) who will attempt to merge the semen of ian with the egg of sharon in the creation of a new life form - the shian. i don't expect to talk too much about the process as we go through it. suffice it to say that ian mostly masturbates in cups while i get poked, probed and prodded. on the plus side, i really dig my doctor and feel good about starting on this journey with him. you can presume that if i get pregnant, you'll hear about it when it's at the point that it's time to tell. in the meantime, it all feels a little raw and personal and boring and tmi. although i do like hearing from other people who've gone through the process.

what else? i was asked to be on the newbery committee, then not able to be (they made a mistake). i was given a super rad acting promotion that i loved, then had to leave it (there was a union grievance). i went on anti-depressants then went back off of them. i got excited about buying a house and moving to alameda but did not buy a house or move to alameda. i don't think i left the country even once. actually, january of last year i went to canada. friend stuff and family stuff is aok great.

i did get a bad ass tattoo in 2011. so there's that, at least.

here's to 2012! bring it.
dearanxiety
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the new library on 81st avenue opened. i can't begin to explain how exciting and inspiring and empowering and amazing this is. i love oakland so much sometimes it makes me almost cry. sometimes i really remember that my job is a job in public service and that there is no other public i can imagine serving right now. and this investment, right in the heart of east oakland, is just happymaking and beautiful. the birth of a library in this economic climate is a huge triuph. it's a triumph at anytime. and giving the people of this community and the two schools that will use this as their library the largest branch in oakland (second only to the main library), the most advanced technology, and an AMAZING staff is such an investment in the future, and such a contribution of hope.

some things that happened, that made me smile, above and beyond just the fact that this library exists, and that i was there with friends who are coworkers and coworkers who are friends, and above and beyond the fact that hundreds of people came out for this event, are as follows:

1. one of my regular patrons at my branch (elmhurst) was at the opening. i saw her amidst the hundreds of people and she rushed over and gave me a hug. you can see her below in the photos. she's the one standing up and dancing in the crowd (when the rapper was performing).

2. the library director also gave me a hug. and thanked me for coming back to oakland. this made me feel good.

3. i came back to my branch and helped a gentleman (he is an older guy, is deaf and does not read lips or sign language and he also does not speak) and he was so happy i understood and was able to get him what he needed that he grabbed my hand and blew me a kiss.

4. mini-cupcake with my lunch. delightful.

5. my favorite brothers just came into the library. the 13-year-old is the one who told me, "but you're too nice to be a boss!!!" when he found out i was the manager. LOVE HIM FOREVER.

here are some photos of the day:


the staff prepping for the big day


barbara lee


crowd shot (see the patron i mentioned above!)


speeches from the children of EnCompass Academy and ACORN Woodland elementary schools (the two schools on the campus with the library)


moments before mayor quan cut the ribbon


clifford! duhs!


a quiet moment.


and a less quiet one.

watch this video. watch it to the end. watch my friend derrick (and know that i laugh and i cry everytime i watch it).
"Students mobbed the truck that delivered the first shipment of books and materials to the library in mid-December. They couldn't contain their joy when librarian Derrick DeMay opened up a box and showed them the new stuff inside."

here are some articles about the library opening.
sfgate
oakland north
inside bay area
oakland tribune/san jose mercury news

***

"The new library represents a commitment to the East Oakland community and the young people who live there."

"EnCompass Principal Nguyen also hopes the surroundings will send a positive message to students. “When you surround children with beauty, they start reflecting that,” she said. “When they think of themselves in the hood, they don’t get that message.”"
dearanxiety
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Ok, people have been incredibly generous in their support of 826 Valencia and my spelling bee team, Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe. But I am still just about halfway to my goal and the team as a whole has a ways to go. You have no idea how badly I want to kick the butts of Lemony Snicket, Adam Savage, Thao Nguyen, and Michael Chabon raise money for 826 Valencia to help them help as many children as possible!

So, here's what I'm offering. You will receive some incentives if you donate, depending on how much you donate here:
http://tiny.cc/826valencia4sharon

$5 = a shout out on facebook

$10 = a shout out on facebook AND a personal heartfelt compliment posted on your facebook wall (or somewhere else if you aren't on facebook).

$15 = both of the above PLUS a handwritten handmade card in the real mail

$20 = all of the above PLUS either a copy of my hai-cooties mini-zine (a book of haikus i wrote - one for each person i've kissed) OR a set of 3 mini 1" badges handmade by me (we can discuss possible designs, but some ideas = old maps, old yearbook photos, text and illustrations from old children's books, etc.)

$30 = all of the above PLUS a handmade just for you mix cd designed for your enjoyment (or playlist on youtube or rdio)

$40 = all of the above PLUS either a print of any of my photos on flickr (flickr.com/photos/dearanxiety - i recommend the travelgasm photos) on 8x10 high quality photo paper OR a miniature owl plush ornament handmade by me.

$50 = all of the above PLUS either i take you out to the bar of your choice for a drink and you can make me wear ANY OUTFIT YOU WANT no matter how horrific (as long as butt, boobs, vagina, gut don't show) OR i'll cook you dinner (give you a choice of a couple of meal options) OR if you aren't local, and you don't want to wait until we see each other next, we can discuss a suitable mailed treat to go along with all of the above. One for each fifty dollars donated.

EDIT: I HAVE ANOTHER ONE! ok, at the rate of $15 hour you can pay me for babysitting services, dogwalking services, or other such services (as agreed upon) via donation.

For those of you who have so amazingly already donated...let me know if you'd like to cash in on your deserved incentives! Just send me an email or post here or let me know somehow all the info i need - your choices, your address, etc etc.

Thank you again so much for helping me support this amazingly worthwhile organization!

Donate Donate Donate! It feels good!!!

http://tiny.cc/826valencia4sharon
dearanxiety
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Hi all! I think that this is the first time I've participated in an event for charity that required me to fund raise, so I'm sorry if I'm not very graceful at it. But the cause is really important to me, so I decided to get past my awkwardness and give it a go!

(Here's the link, but there's more information below!)

I'm trying to raise money for an amazing organization - 826 Valencia. San Francisco locals mostly know it well, and visitors may recall checking out the "pirate store" on Valencia Street that is part of 826. For those of you who don't know the work they do, let me tell you a little bit about it. 826 Valencia is a non-profit that supports students in their writing skills in San Francisco. They do all kinds of workshops and events for children and they send volunteers into the schools. They are supported by your generous donations. A lot of these young people don't have other opportunities to participate in these sorts of programs and of course, as a librarian, I know the importance of getting children excited about writing! This is the future, guys!

You can read more about all the exciting things they do by going to their website, here.

So, what does this have to do with me? Well! I'm participating in a Spelling Bee for Cheaters! I've joined a team (of mostly librarians) and we plan to whoop the butts of such luminaries as Lemony Snicket
and Michael Chabon (who are participating on other teams). The more money we raise, the more we are allowed to cheat. And while I may be a bit of a grammar snob, you should all know I'll take all the help I
can get when it comes to spelling! We haven't yet reached our goal, but we are currently in first place and want to stay there! My team is called Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe (get it? huh? huh?) and we want
to WIN! We also want to raise the most money for 826 Valencia and every little bit helps.

Please donate, if you can, even just a couple of dollars. I'll appreciate it, my teammates won't kick me off the team, 826 Valencia will appreciate it, and of course the children and their families will
appreciate it. All donations over 25 dollars are, of course, tax deductible.

Use this link here to read more about the bee and to donate for me and my team! And please spread the word to anyone else who might want to help!

xoxo
Sharon

http://tiny.cc/826valencia4sharon
dearanxiety
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i've done this a few years in a row - i found the last two year's and couldn't find the previous. but that's ok. here it is again.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
i've learned to live within a budget - saving large amounts of money. i traveled to new places. i became an aunt. i got a tattoo. i learned how to run and even enjoy it a little bit!

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
i didn't make any resolutions last year, but i had a lot of ideas about how to live my life and i think i've done a pretty good job with most of them! ian and i had a date last night to go over our life constitution and to see how we're doing with it so far - to re-evaluate all those goals. i'll post some of those results later.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
babies like crazy! closest is my sis-in-law, ali, who gave birth to my niece, reese. my next closest baby is baby solomon, who belongs to my friend, sheri. but there were lots more! and more coming!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
no, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
israel, palestine, jordan, ghana, kenya, uganda, rwanda, south africa, australia, new zealand

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
i would really like to find myself pregnant by the end of this year. i aort of feel like 2010 had it all...it'd be a hard year to top, otherwise. but if not 2011, then 2012!

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
07/13 - came back from our travel
09/25 - carla got married
10/22 - my niece was born

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
coming back to the bay area, and going back to my life successfully, but while implementing so many life changes in a pretty natural way. saving money more than i ever have managed to do before.

9. What was your biggest failure?
haven't finished my book. wasn't able to stay off anti-depressants.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
yeah. had a nasty kidney infection at the beginning of the year and ended the year with a burst ovarian cyst.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
got a new car. lots of plane tickets. and some beautiful bookshelves.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
family and friends the world over.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
i can NOT believe that vanessa and zac broke up!

14. Where did most of your money go?
for the first half of the year - travel travel travel. since then, stuff for our apartment, i guess...rent etc. and still lots of visiting travel.

15. What were you really, really, really excited about?
coming back home!

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
rome - phoenix, pursuit of happiness - kid cudi

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?
eh. neither, i don't think. different year, different struggles, different excitements, same sharon.

ii. thinner or fatter?
thinner.

iii. richer or poorer?
richer.


18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
creating


19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
wasted time on the internet and watching bad tv


20. How did you spend Christmas?
flying to hawaii with a recently ruptured ovarian cyst and a bottle of vicodin


21. How many one-night stands?
0

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?
stayed in love

23. What was your favourite TV programme?
how i met your mother, big love, dexter, hoarders, intervention, obsessed

24. How will you see in the New Year?
i flew home from hawaii and then watched the ball drop on tv with ian.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
no

26. What was the best book you read?
i shall consult goodreads. these got 5 stars:
life of pi - yann martel
when you reach me - rebecca stead
palestine - joe sacco
one crazy summer - rita williams-garcia
dark emperor and other poems of the night - joyce sidman


27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
this is like too impossible a question for me. kid cudi? best coast? the like? robyn? local natives? jenny and johnny? young the giant?

28. What did you want and get?
a cute apartment in a cute neighborhood. a niece! my job back.

29. What did you want and not get?
a pregnancy. a niece/nephew from my sister. all of the cute boots in the world.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
uhhhhhhhhhhh uhhhhhhhhhhh i can't think of a really good one. oh! i liked scott pilgrim! duh. and easy a.

31. What did you do on your birthday?
i slept in AND took a long nap. then i went bowling and drinking with work friends (and ian) and to late dinner after. i also had fondue dinner with some friends the night before AND ian cooked me a brunch.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
less cold weather!

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
1st half = hippy same clothes every day girl.
2nd half = trying to dress slightly more grown up but really mostly still always wearing the same things i always have! brown, tan, grey, navy, black, white, layers, boots, chucks, jeans, owls, bright pink occasional dress and tights.

34. What kept you sane?
ian and bella

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
the singer from the national

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
same as always - palestine/israel, civil rights for all peoples, health care

37. Who did you miss?
at some point during 2010 i think i missed every single person

38. Who was the best new person you met?
you

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
it's sort of easy to make change you believe in, if you set your mind to it.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
turn the light out, say goodnight. no thinking for a little while. let's not try to figure out everything at once.
dearanxiety
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i've been having some complicated thoughts lately. during our travels, and in the time leading up to them, i had such a yearning to start a family. a yearning would be an understatement. i think while traveling it became even more urgent feeling. it was the thing i had to look forward to after such a huge trip. something that was going to make coming home ok. exciting even. and don't get me wrong. this is still what i want and i'm still excited and i know i'm going to love being a parent. but ok, i'm starting to freak out a little bit about life. like about permanent decisions. i love my life. my city my work my friends my husband my family my niche in this great big universe. but suddenly i'm a person afraid of change? maybe? afraid of things that limit my choices? definitely. i'm turning into a dude who can't handle commitment? what? it's so hard to put it into words, although i'm glad that i've started to figure it out a little bit. because i was just feeling off and wrong inexplicably, but now i can explain. and once i can explain, i can work through it. so here i go. working working through it.

what if i want to go back? what if i want to change my mind about who i become? what if i want to listen to more punk and less twee and put back on my combat boots and converse and flirt with boys who are destined to break my heart? what if i'm not ready to be ready for kids, family, true love? ok, i need to stop working on this at work because i'm about to cry. i sort of hate myself right now. is this too much honesty? i've never been really good at not being honest.

i feel like i've spend my life torn between the desire for an untraditional life...the need to stand out from the crowd and do something special and the desire for stability and traditionality (not an actual word). ian and i were amazing together running around the world. but i don't always want to run around the world. but then where does the excitement come from? argh. want/don't want/want/don't want. do you hate me yet? if you do, i understand.

i don't believe in soul mates, i believe in choices. i believe i have an almost infinite capacity for love and to fall in love. fuck, i fall in love all the time. but i get to choose how to love each person in my life. and i get to choose who i spend my life with. and this goes so along with my whole philosophy of life. i believe in taking responsibility for our choices. i believe in being proud of what we've done with our lives. i don't believe in being stuck, because i believe we've chosen to be where we are. and if you aren't conscious of that, you are missing out on a great deal of props you should be giving yourself for a life well lead and decisions you could be making. in a way, this makes the lifelong commitment of marriage easier because i know it's a choice. it's a choice i make every day. if i have fluttery butterflies about someone else for 2 seconds or 2 days or 2 decades, i don't have to think, "maybe THAT person is actually my soulmate. maybe i was wrong." because that person is not my soul mate. nobody is my soul mate. i am my own soulmate and i made an amazing perfect beautiful decision about who to spend my life loving. i don't have to question it as a misinterpretation. as choosing too soon and having not waited for the RIGHT one. but at the same time, there is a flipside to this. that's the side where i also know that i could love others. of course i could. of course i can!

i told ian the other day that it's like i'm getting those cold feet people get before getting married, but NOW. not about ian. but about a narrowing life. and i know i know i know it doesn't have to narrow. or at least, that i usually don't see it as narrowing. but my brain is a little broken right now. anyhow, he...ian....told me that he feels like this in a mild form all the time and that it's ok and normal. but that when it comes big and strong it's bound to feel really bad. maybe because i'm usually super glass half full everything is great feeling, it just hits me harder when it hits like this. i don't know.

i'm getting off track here. it's now a couple of days later and i've done a lot of thinking and a little bit of talking and i'm feeling more settled in terms of what is going on with me. first of all, i think that i've been fighting depression for months. i've sort of known it, but it wasn't bad enough to be super concerned. and i can usually kick its ass on my own, especially when i'm aware of it looming. which i have been. but for me, when my body is like "enough! get help!" it tends to send that message via anxiety. and that just kicked into hyperdrive this week. it's not ignorable. depression can be comfortable - sleepy and lazy. anxiety is like a punch in the gut. so i'm getting help, ok? ok. i'm getting help in more than one way and i'm waiting waiting to feel a whole lot better.

i think this has officially turned into a friends only post. or maybe anyone can read it, because i don't have secrets (#oversharon). but i kind of don't want comments that'll make me feel worse. and nobody knows what might do that. not even you. not even me. be gentle. this is me coming out. my name is sharon, i get depressed sometimes, even when i know life is beautiful. it's gonna be ok.

if you read this far, you must love me lots. so tell me so. that is always the right thing to say.
dearanxiety
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dearanxiety
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in honor of wearing purple today, i'll share with you this playlist i created awhile ago on rdio.

even more exciting than the playlist itself, though, is the fact that i can share this playlist with you thanks to the hard work of my husband, ian! this feature (embedding things in your blog etc) is BRAND new and was made by ian. YAY IAN!



if you are an rdio user you should be able to listen to the whole playist right through here, as well as subscribe to it etc. if you aren't a user you can listen to 30 seconds of each song, i think. enjoy!
dearanxiety
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this is actually a really hard question for me. what do we count as love, in this case? i can work backwards and say that ian is my first love. ian *is* my first love. he's the first person that i have loved so well, so long, so perfectly and that i plan to love forever. it was almost instantaneously different from any loves i have had before - simpler, easier, and obvious. we are not the world's most romantical couple, i am not a girl who requires the kind of romance that many people crave. but in terms of my love for ian, it's the biggest and the best ever. the first.

but if you want to know about earlier love....different love. well, i can certainly talk about that too. i have been relatively well boy crazy my whole life. i don't ever remember not being interested in boys. i also was SO shy that i never even could talk - like not a word - to the boys i had crushes on. so it was a little pointless. anyhow, i remember a crush on a boy named chad in kindergarten. then it was craig r for a few years. this is super funny if any people i know from my hometown click over here from facebook, but whatevs. haha. i remember josh ross being my boyfriend when i was 3 or 4 years old. maybe he should count as my "first love". jarrod is another genre of first love. that was the first time i thought "i am in love". started in about 4th grade and lasted until he left ohio after 8th grade. he was actually my good friend - a family friend - who i wasn't afraid to talk to. so that was different for me. we were never an official couple for very long - although he had lots of other ladyfriends. but we did play truth or dare a lot and have varying degrees of make out sessions (depending on age) and we "went together" a couple of different times. i still have a letter somewhere that he wrote me when i went away to camp the summer before 7th grade telling me that he loved me. i truly and deeply believed that we belonged together. it's funny to think back that my definition of "belong together" absolutely involved going to prom together and off to college together and so much else that was super cute in retrospect. i still remember how my heart felt broken when i heard they were moving. i cried and cried. it wasn't just losing the dream of jarrod as my future prom date and life partner, but i think i felt like he would protect me in high school...that with him on my side i was a little cooler, a little less dorky, a little less shy and a little worth talking to. i don't know. but i also knew it would be a huge change in my life in general to not have his whole family as a part of my life in my hometown. and that, i was not wrong about. anyhow, now jarrod is married to a wonderful woman who i adore and has two beautiful twin boys and we are still friends. i see him rarely, but it's always like no time has passed when we get together, which is super nice. saw him last at my sis's wedding just over a year ago. my parents see his parents more often, which makes me happy. they are basically family to me, and i think always will feel like that. seeing any member of that family feels like home.

my first real real boyfriend was junior year of high school. michael. we were a couple for like 9 months and it was super "first love" stereotypical with all the hopes and expectations and exploration and insane cheesiness that goes along with that. oh yeah, also with the broken heart that goes along with it too.

so yeah, that's my first love, in great detail. i love love!!
dearanxiety
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i was inspired, in writing that intro post, to find the beginning of my blogging life.

so here it is.

a lot of the code on that site is messed up now and most of the images don't work anymore. but i am still friends with the lovely lady who designed my diaryland layout for me! and with some of the other folks i met in that old blogging world where it was read by a small group of strangers in various parts of the world and not seen by most of the people actually in my real life. ahhhh the freedom. so different, being online back then! anyhow, i was clearly an angsty girl full of things to say. it's funny for me to go back and read....
dearanxiety
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so, there's this meme going around lj and i really like it. i'll post the details at the bottom of this post, but basically every day for 30 days you give a detailed description on the topic of the day. i can't promise i'll do it every day, but i will try to get through them all in order. it's a good exercise in writing, remembering, storytelling etc. and i enjoyed reading the ones others posted (if you did it, i read it!)

maybe you'll learn a little something something about me that you didn't know before. so now, onto day 1.


Day 01 - Introduction

ok, so an introduction. that's so broad. but ok, here goes. my name is sharon. i used to be sharon tracy senser and now i'm sharon tracy mckellar. i tried to make my name sharon tracy senser mckellar with tracy and senser both being middle names, but the lady at social security wouldn't let me/just sort of didn't do it. but i felt weirdly unconcerned, so senser isn't there anymore. if you google for either of my names (without the tracy) you'll find a lot of things on the internet. most of them are actually me. but the one that is a caption contest winning entry from a beagle website - that's my aunt sharon. people are often surprised i changed my name when i got married, being the young liberal feminist that i am. but the truth is i did it for two reasons: 1- because i'm not into the hyphenated thing, and i like the idea of my immediate created family (me, ian and our future babies) all having the same family name and 2 - because i like an adventure and i like change, and it was a fun one. also, i'm a bit of a traditionalist in a lot of ways. and my breed of liberal feminism is a lot about people being free to make the choices they feel are best for themselves, their bodies, their families etc.

as you can tell from above, i have a husband. his name is ian. we've been married for just over 3 years and we've been a couple for just over 5 years. in typing this i just realized that we've been a married couple longer than we were an unmarried couple. crazy! anyhow, ian is 2 years younger than me. that makes him 32. i'm 34. my birthday is in december.

i grew up in a town called lexington in ohio which is sort of a small town suburb of a little city called mansfield. it lives halfway between cleveland and columbus, for those who care for details. my parents still live in mansfield. i have a younger brother in columbus who is married to my amazing sis-in-law, ali, and with a wee one on the way (baby reese). i also have a younger sister who lives outside of cincinnati and is married to my lovely bro-in-law, brock. my parents are still happily married and adorable. anyhow, after high school, i moved to washington dc to go to college at the george washington university. then a couple of years after i graduated i moved to nyc and went to grad school at queens college. pretty much the day that was over i moved to san francisco and i've been here ever since!

i am jewish all the way back on both sides of the family and was raised going to the one synagogue in the area where i grew up. it was conservative and then reform. i liked it better when it was conservative, strangely. as an adult, i consider myself an atheist but the jewish roots, traditions and culture are still incredibly important to me and a huge part of my identity. i think that a lot of people don't understand what it's like to be raised jewish in a place with so few jews (i was literally the only one in the entire area in my grade at school after the one other moved away in 8th grade). it becomes an almost visible minority with everything that can go along with that.

this is getting long. a couple more things. i'm a librarian by profession. i just got back from over a year of traveling with my husband. we've been home just over a month now and are getting settled in. i am pretty well obsessed with music. i like making things, even though i'm not very good at making anything. i require a lot of quiet time and am finding myself more and more happy in smaller groups, or even alone, as opposed to larger social occasions. i've been blogging since 2000. and i'll leave it at that for now.



Day 02 – Your first love, in great detail
Day 03 – Your parents, in great detail
Day 04 – What you ate today, in great detail
Day 05 – Your definition of love, in great detail
Day 06 – Your day, in great detail
Day 07 – Your best friend, in great detail
Day 08 – A moment, in great detail
Day 09 – Your beliefs, in great detail
Day 10 – What you wore today, in great detail
Day 11 – Your siblings, in great detail
Day 12 – What’s in your bag, in great detail
Day 13 – This week, in great detail
Day 14 – What you wore today, in great detail
Day 15 – Your dreams, in great detail
Day 16 – Your first kiss, in great detail
Day 17 – Your favourite memory, in great detail
Day 18 – Your favourite birthday, in great detail
Day 19 – Something you regret, in great detail
Day 20 – This month, in great detail
Day 21 – Another moment, in great detail
Day 22 – Something that upsets you, in great detail
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better, in great detail
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry, in great detail
Day 25 – A first, in great detail
Day 26 – Your fears, in great detail
Day 27 – Your favourite place, in great detail
Day 28 – Something that you miss, in great detail
Day 29 – Your aspirations, in great detail
Day 30 – One last moment, in great detail
dearanxiety
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so, here i am...sitting at my new neighborhood coffee shop. it's funny how little i wandered in this direction from the places i've lived in san francisco before - i'm barely 4 blocks away from my first apartment in this city and it feels like a whole new neighborhood to explore!

we got the keys to our new place on saturday and today we have movers getting all our stuff out of storage (in fremont) and moving it to our apartment. it's going to be interesting to see what we have! we don't really remember what all we kept. and i can pretty well guarantee we won't want some of it. we've learned a lot about downsizing our lives. and we don't want our cute new apartment bursting at the seams!

so, this coffee shop is right on our corner and it's aok. it has a library of books for reading or buying, delicious coffee (taking another sip now), pleasant music (hi r.e.m.), friendly baristas, and wifi with tons of power points. there's one corner with a couple of couches. and it's completely non-pretentious, which is unusual in my town. they also have bagels, so i'll test those another day. ooh and two adorable little girls in amazing outfits just came in. i'm in noe valley now!

our apartment is just across the street and down the block from where i sit. it looks like this:


i love how kind of non-san francisco it is. i also love that it's on a hilly street across from some very cute san francisco style homes. so if you look at the building - the two left-most sets of windows are ours - the lower set. the far left is the kitchen and the bigger one is the living room. around the side of the building you can see where a silver car is parked - it's sort of hard to see but there are wooden stairs leading up to the door on the first floor there (2nd floor i guess by the way we describe here in the states)...that door goes straight into our bedroom. cute!

tomorrow we'll get our cat back and start sleeping here and then it's the fun of unpacking and waiting for our furniture order to be delivered and finding bookshelves and dressers and the things we need and slowly putting our place together into a home. it's really exciting because it's such a fresh start - the first home ian and i are really putting together together, not just from bits and pieces of our past homes.

can't wait to have you all come visit!

and now i'm going to finish my coffee, and take a walk to the neighborhood pet supply store (1 block from the apartment) and see if they carry bella's food and litter. wish me luck! see you soon!
dearanxiety
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hi world! so we have been back in san francisco for just under two weeks and are starting to settle in. in addition to this, i am working on a sort of round up post with some photos and statistics from the trip. let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to see in there and if i have the data, i'll do my best to make it happen.

so being home has been an adjustment. i have to say that it's gone smoother than i thought it would for me, emotionally. i haven't felt it a challenge, so far, to hold onto the things i've seen and learned on this trip. but there have been a few things that have felt a bit strange.

when we first got back it felt sort of like the trip had never happened and this was overwhelmingly sad for me. it was as if we landed just back where we had left and gone back to a life so similar to the one we had left that it just felt, in my heart, like the last fourteen months disappeared. i feel like getting a little more settled has actually helped this. as i can see more of the differences in myself and in my relationship and even a little bit in my surroundings, the influence of this trip becomes clear and feels more real. the shock of return - like jumping into cold water - is fading and i can merge this life with that life and have it all feel like my own. which, of course, it is.

so, we were gone for a certain amount of time - 14 months. but i think that this time passed far more slowly for me than it did for my family and friends. it makes sense. i ran around a lot more and saw so many many things. and life is just slower without routine. so returning and catching up with everyone has felt a bit like time travel. i feel sort of like i went back in time - or like i had gone forward in time - or maybe just like time moved differently for me. it's an odd feeling. it's ok. i don't know how else to describe this feeling. i just feel like a time traveler. luckily i love science fiction.

(as an aside - read the newbery winner from this past year - just do it! it's called "when you reach me" and is by stead. especially if you love "a wrinkle in time" or maybe also if you love "the time traveler's wife" but really in general. i read "when you reach me" just about as soon as i got home and it was perfect.)

the pace of things is a huge adjustment. this life we all live is tiring. having a list of things that need to be done, places to go, people to see, tasks to achieve...this is new for us. it's familiar, but unfamiliar. it's been a long time. our life until two weeks ago was entirely up to us minute by minute day by day month by month. we didn't have bills. we didn't have chores. ian and i were together virtually 24/7 and our decisions were all made as a team, down to what we were going to eat for every meal and which way we were going to turn at every street corner. now ian is at work and he is tired. and i am trying to pull our lives together (house, job, car, doctors, stuff, immigration for green card etc etc etc) and i am tired. we have so many ideas and so many dreams and plans and aren't quite sure how to fit them in. but it's all a work in progress.

this is not meant to read as a list of complaints about this beautiful life. it's just a description of some of the big changes and more complicated feelings that i am going through. it'll be interesting to see how i feel in two weeks or in two months. or in two years, for that matter. in the meantime i have loved seeing everybody, i have fallen in love with san francisco again, i have made fresh starts with people, and i have been able to apply some of the lessons i've learned in that great wide world to a life here in my little city. i expect more goodness to come.
dearanxiety
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i fell in love with this song, skinny love by bon iver, on first listen.





i sort of felt inspired by this little piece of the lyrics:

I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind


they've been sitting on my facebook profile for ages, hopefully inspiring others, but if not, just serving as a reminder to me. i want to be patient. i want to be fine. i want to be balanced. i want to be kind.

so, i guess this is my reaching out to you all with the knowledge that i might need some of that in return.

ian and i arrive back in san francisco in just over a week. and i am filled with mixed emotions. i am most importantly super excited. i can't wait to see my friends, to be able to pick up the phone and call the people i love, to have my own bed, to look for an apartment, to be back in san francisco, to get going on all these creative things exploding in my brain, to meet my niece that'll be born in october, to go to some weddings! but i am also trying to be realistic about the kind of adjustment that i'm in for. and i don't know how i'd do it if ian and i weren't in it together.

we have talked and talked and talked about what we expect and how to handle it. and about how we don't know what all to expect.

what i do know is that this'll be one of those big life adjustments. that in addition to the things i've seen and learned having changed me in ways both subtle and not that will mean a strange re-entering into a familiar place, i will also miss life on the road, i will miss the kind of time i've been able to spend with my husband, and i will miss being free of the exact things that i currently am missing proximity to (work, friends, schedule, home, commitments, familiarity etc). aside from all of that, i am not just walking back into my old life because i quite literally can't afford my old life. we want to have a baby and buy a house. we can't afford to live how we lived before and still reach the goals we have set for ourselves in the timeframe we want. these are the choices we made, and this travel is a piece of that choice. i don't know how it'll feel for me before i'm back at work and how that will affect my sense of self-worth. this is a start to the kinds of things i'm thinking about. so, i have this idea of the life i want to build and live and it might not be what you are expecting - it might be different than it was before - and maybe i won't fit back in the way i used to. like a puzzle piece with a bit broken off. i don't know.

so, i just sort of want everyone to know that it may be hard for me at first. for ian too. that it's not you, it's us. so please, be patient. fine. balanced. kind. i look forward to seeing everyone. i can't wait to have fun and laugh and catch up and talk and walk and drink coffee and dance and eat and drink and play!! but if i'm not in the mood, or i seem wrong for a minute, understand, please.

<3 <3 <3

I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind
dearanxiety
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just made a new post on my baby-making blog, harbinger of birth.

it also has a livejournal feed if you, like i, like reading most of your bloggy stuff here on lj still.

harbingerobirth
dearanxiety
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hi hi. i thought i'd post a bit of a random update here trying to keep livejournal alive. i am sitting right now on a couch at ian's brother, colin's house that he shares with his girlfriend, maimbo. they live in port hedland which is up top toward the northern part of western australia. port hedland is mining country and colin and maimbo are lawyers who work on aboriginal land rights stuff in regards to using the land for mines.

oh, here's a map of australia that has hedland listed along with some of the other places we've been.


so, down in that left-hand corner is perth and we have mostly been in and around perth (and margaret river, which is a 4 hour drive south of perth). just as an fyi, the state of western australia covers about a third of australia and so it would cover an area almost as big as 1/3 of the usa as well. you can see port hedland about halfway up the coast.

anyhow, we have been pretty immersed in family stuff. ian's dad got married and his sister had some intense things going on that we were happy to be around to support her through. it was also our first trip to australia since ian's stepdad passed away a couple of years ago and his mom has since moved to a new town, so it has been really good spending time with her there. and we hadn't seen colin in almost 2 years or met his girlfriend yet! once we get back to perth we'll be staying with claudia, ian's sister, and trying to spend the week doing some long overdue friend catch-up.

anywho back to the now...so our plan was to spend 2 weeks in the kimberley with colin and maimbo and then have a week on our own in the pilbara. the kimberley is further north and is tropical in climate and the pilbara is the region that port hedland is a part of - more of a desert region.

ok, so we flew into broome and colin and maimbo met us there and we spent 2 nights in town. went to see iron man 2 which was exciting for colin and maimbo since port hedland doesn't have a movie theater! had some good food and relaxed some. then we headed off to cape levique. ian's parents were relief lighthouse keepers there for a month or so in the 70s, so the guys were excited to see it. we camped and generally had a great time. it's beautiful country. then we set off for derby (you can see it on the map above) which was about an 8 hour drive. it was a little rainy so we got a hotel room for the next 2 nights and mostly just hung out in the shitty little town. we saw nearby sites and were waiting out the rain. it seemed like it was going to clear up a bit so we headed further into the kimberley. rain rain rain rain rain. it was a lot of rain. we got stuck on a dirt road that closed on either end when we were halfway through and spent hours driving through mud sloshing and slipping all around. it was adventurous but actually a little bit scary...we didn't want to get stuck. anyhow, when we saw, after another night in an expensive but extra-crappy hotel, that the rain didn't seem to be letting up, we decided to escape the kimberley and head back to the deserts of the pilbara. it is supposed to be the dry season in the kimberley, and all of this rain was really unexpected and out of season.

oh yeah! also we saw freshies (freshwater crocodiles - not nearly so scary as salties, which we didn't see) and a king brown snake (poison meanie).

anyhow, we had a very very long day of driving back to port hedland and rested and regrouped for a day or so before heading to the amazing amazing ningaloo reef where we spent two nights in one town and one night in another town. ian and i went on a whale shark snorkeling trip that was incredible. whale sharks are sharks, not whales, and are the biggest fish in the world! they are completely harmless and eat plankton, similar to whales (hence their name). beautiful creatures and it was incredible to swim right next to them. we ordered a dvd and if there's a way to post some clips or images, i'll do that once we receive it. but for now, this is what they look like:


the ones we hung out with were between 4 and 5 meters (that's like 13-16 feet).

anyhow, so we did that. we also did some snorkeling along the shore and in coral bay did a glass bottom boat trip with an hour guided snorkel where we got to swim with turtles who were so adorable! we also saw some sting rays, a shark, and a bunch of amazing fishies. i used to hate snorkeling but i'm loving it more and more. here i am with my turtle buddy!


ok, so yeah. now we're in port hedland and tomorrow ian and i will take off and head to karijini national park where we'll camp and hike and see more pretty things and do more swimming. we'll be there for 5 days. then back to hedland to fly back down to perth on the 31st.

so, that's the current "where in the world are sharon and ian..." update. we have just over 7 weeks left of our 14 month journey. seven weeks should seem like a good long time, but it really feels like we're winding down. we have a few more weeks in australia (1 week here, 1.5 weeks in perth/margaret river, 1 week in melbourne, 1 week driving btw sydney and melbourne, and half a week in sydney) and a couple of weeks in new zealand (mostly in auckland but with an exciting welington visit to carolinenow). then back to san francisco. ian has a job lined up and we have a place to stay for our first 3 weeks back in town. we're hoping to have an apartment to move into by then. i'm hoping to get all my friends and acquaintances with babies and kids to let me babysit on occasion so i can make some money while figuring out job stuff for myself. and in the meantime i'm just enjoying this time of relaxation and visiting.

savoring our last adventures on the road and preparing for our new adventures at home. and that's the that for the me for now.
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because there's forty different shades of black
Name: because there's forty different shades of black
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