First Month Update {Part One}

Dear Diary,

Kidding! But seriously... I'm actually writing this post out on the ipad because the desktop is disconnected currently. That is my excuse for a post sans photographs. I do, however, feel it is important to write down some kind of update as I don't journal much outside of what you see here and the details tend to slip my mind pretty damn quickly. If I continue to wait until I have the photos uploaded and selected I am certain much of it will become blurred. If the photos make it up to the site later, I will consider it a bonus--I'll try. Darling has also asked me if I would keep track of what has been happening these last few days. Where he has the month of August off, a lot has already happened and the future looks to promise more of the same. Here is part 1.

Can you believe it? I've lived in New York for one month. That's pretty wild. Although everything still feels new, the trippiest and hardest element to get used to is the way the city consumes time. It is the most bizarre time-warp of an experience to get things done on these islands. A day can be filled with some serious adventures, sensory overload, high and low brow entertainment, cultural soirees, and anything else you could imagine (like when I met up with these guys for lunch and we roasted marshmellows for s'mores at our table in the middle of Manhattan!). It's possible to see Renior paintings and the NY Yankees within 3 hours of each other and that completely blows my mind. But the opposite side of the coin reveals that it can also take 2 hours just to go to the bank and get back home. New York has a way of eating up time for simple tasks between all the walking, waiting on MTA, and long lines.

Sister Wedding: Aside from feeling seriously whipplashed (bouncing from Memphis, to NY, to Seattle, to CDA, back to NY in a matter of 3 weeks) and slightly anxious (about life in general) we had a great time at the wedding, everything was beautiful! I think the Inland Empire region is absolutely breathtaking. I forget how cool the nights are out West, even in the middle of summer. Although, I think our time there was exceptionally chilly. While the rest of the country was experiencing a wicked heat wave, the temperatures were dropping down to 48F in the evening and I had to keep reminding myself that it was, in fact, July. After experiencing the beginning of another Memphis summer, I welcome any break from the heat with open arms, I only wish I had packed our suitcase with that in mind. We managed by spending lots of time around a fire and dreaming up the blueprints for a rotisserie chair since we couldn't figure out the logistics for the rotating fire pit that actually would have been ideal. We slept in a sweet VW van in the backyard, we had breakfast from the garden (the garden needs its own post), and we put our hands to use where we could. It was quick and sweet, I hope to see the Mr. and Mrs. for some quality time soon.

Cash Man: After we got home from our travels, it was all too apparent that we needed to get serious with a dog behaviorist. The trainer I had previously scheduled to meet with didn't show up to our meeting (trains, and other weirdness) but in retrospect, it was the right thing--she was not the right trainer for our dog. We called a behaviorist at our vet's recommendation and have been working with him all week, completing 4 sessions. Sessions have proven to be both intense and depleting for everyone in the house. I don't know how much I have alluded to or explained here, but despite Cash's sweetness and trainability, he has some very real aggression issues that must be addressed. The aggression is fear-based, defensive, and very obviously stems from a serious anxiety. Our plan is to first address the aggression, replacing it with positive reinforcement training for correct behavior, then address the anxiety with therapy work and confidence building. I feel hopeful, that we are doing the right thing but also feel that it is going to be a long, expensive process (donations to a "Save Cash" *wink* foundation fund are totally accepted). We ARE seeing rapid progress and are receiving great feedback. A page has turned for the little man and we are ready to accept a new norm for all of us. I am broken hearted that for so many, animals are like library books, to be checked in and out at the whim of humans. I understand that not all animals are right for all families, but for us, the choice to adopt an animal is a commitment, and one that is non-negotiable once made. Not knowing Cash's breed or past history makes some of this task difficult but I'm feeling confident that we are with a behaviorist whose approach and plan for Cash is tailored to his specific needs. I am sure this is a topic that will be updated and revisited frequently.

Last Week: Last week comes back to me as a blur... I can't really say I know what happened other than we did laundry. Which, I can at least tell you a note on laundry (real quick, if you've made it this far in reading you can handle it!) So basically I hate laundry (I think this is universal truth) and Darling and I are slowly forming a bad habit of pay by the pound laundry because it may just be the closest thing to true magic that either of us has ever experienced. There is a great laundromat around the corner (we don't even have to cross the street) and for $0.75/lb (which is only a few dollars more than washing the bundle ourselves) I can drop off the basket and a few hours later pick up the most pristinely folded, clean laundry I have ever laid my eyes on. For me, total effort is a maximum of 5 minutes, and I have never seen my bath towels and underwear folded to the same size before but it's remarkable. Everything comes back in these super tidy stacks ready to put away. It blows my mind! And landry, aside from the expense, has become a totally joyful experience.

Carving our way through this remarkable city has been both wonderful and trying. It, as with all things, is balanced that way. I'm struggling most with my own confidence here. I understand that with time and meeting people and feeling like I have an established community this will change, but I would be lying if I denied to you the quiet fights with myself since arriving. I'm not sure how to field the, "How's life in New York?" question just yet, I don't have the experience to answer something so heavy although I am aware the indented response is, "It's wonderful! How are you?!" I'm not struggling nearly as much as I did upon moving to Memphis and I feel like this alone is promising and proof of strength learned. I do know that community will be essential, that having a job, a "place," will also serve to quiet my head. To do what we can, right now (because these things take time), Darling and myself are working hard to adjust our new apartment, lots of painting, cleaning and fine tuning what we need to do in order to create a comfortable and welcoming space that works in our smaller-than-we're-used-to living quarters. The progress is rapid and satisfying. We are making it our own and that is always an important part of the transition for me. It has become a personal science seeing as I have stayed no longer than 1.5 years in one place in the past 8 years. Lots of running to Lowe's, compiling a big list of items about to go up for sale on Craigslist, and browsing for new space savers--it's getting there.


To be continued.

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