Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Everyone within earshot of me over the past three months knows I moved. Three weeks ago. Between two of my children's weddings.

Even though this move was not my choice in either timing or location, now that the act is done, I am seeing the positive aspects. I am basically a sociable person and where we were living was not a sociable place for various reasons--we had few neighbors, being on a one way, one lane street with major Los Angeles train tracks running next to it, we were in the middle of a semi light industrial area, we had razor wire across our back fence and tall iron gates in the front of the house (trust me, these precautions were necessary). So living where we do now, I have enough neighbor and coworker interaction to satisfy my social self.

I am also a person who needs a sense and place of safety. The other house certainly did not provide that sense. Break-ins and attempts always left me feeling vulnerable and on alert even in my sleep. So being in this little house behind another house and having a dog (and it's not mine and I don't have to feed it, walk it or clean up after it) in the yard, and living in a "safer" neighborhood is helping to heal that raw edge of stress.

The most challenging part of this move (besides the timing) has been decluttering, downsizing and simplifying our possessions. For many years, I have supported the idea of simplicity and in general I have lived a life of material simplicity. It helps that I don't enjoy shopping and I don't like knick-knacks around. But this move has pushed me into facing daily, in every room in the house, the need to remove more items and belongings. I am looking at every dish, book, sheet, towel, picture and saying, "Is it useful, do I love it, does it have a happy memory?" If I can't answer yes to all three questions, I am getting rid of it.

Moving provides an opportunity to redecorate. This little house is really a cottage and it is full of light. I am choosing colors and styles I have never used before for the curtains, throws, tablecloths, towels, and futon covers. I would never describe our style as "cottage" but it seems to be working with our Danish modern furniture. Never fear, there is still enough cobalt blue around to satisfy even me.

We have been recovering from the financial surprise of paying for a wedding, three receptions, a rehearsal dinner, lodging, and transportation to two states in six weeks. So we are looking for ways to conserve our income. Not commuting to work by train and car will certainly help, a smaller house equals smaller energy bills, and creative ways to save on internet access will save a little. The kitchen here is inviting and has a window so I enjoy cooking more, so we save on restaurant food. And last but not least, we are farther from Starbuck's.

Over all, I've been enjoying the challenge. Which surprises me. Although there was a time last week when I wondered if one could die from stress.

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