Friday, April 26, 2013

Adjusting to a New Life

There's a saying "be careful what you wish for" and for the past decade, all I have wanted is to quit my full-time job in Los Angeles and write.

When my husband's job moved us to Portland, Oregon in January, I was over the moon. At last my dream was coming true but somehow, things didn't quite work out how I imagined.

This is what I imagined: Getting up at a decent hour (I used to wake at 4.30 AM to write before work) with a leisurely cup of coffee followed by a few hours of serious writing. Ideas would pour into my mind. I'd type away with a huge, contented smile on my face—possibly working on two or three projects at the same time.

I'd make a healthy lunch and lose 10 pounds because I wasn't tempted by office snacks. Afterwards, I'd take a leisurely walk along the river (it's beautiful here) or perhaps an exercise class. I'd be thin. Toned. Radiant. Gorgeous.

I'd spend another couple of hours at my writing—rattle off a few emails, play on Facebook, phone my mother and the friends I never had time for whilst living in Los Angeles. At 4 PM I'd stop for a traditional cup of English tea and read a book for an hour. After that, I'd cook something absolutely fabulous for supper—possibly French—greet my husband at the door like a 1950's housewife and we'd share our day.

How wrong could I be!!

First of all ...I've discovered that without a rigid structure to my day, all my self-discipline has flown out the window.  When I worked full-time my days were ruled by panic and the fear that I would never turn my books in on time. It was what got me out of bed at 4.30 AM.

Secondly ... I really really miss my work people. Being part of a crazy advertising environment was actually a lot of fun. True, it was insane and very stressful but a true mine of inspiration when it came to devising murder plots and selecting victims.

Thirdly ... it rains. Okay - as I am typing this, it is day 3 of sun which is apparently really unusual. Yes, I'm British and I should be used to the weather by now, but after twenty years in sunny California it's very hard staring at a gray sky day in—day out. Apparently, Portlandians (and do check that series out because Portland is exactly like the show) say that summer officially begins on July 5. I have to find the funny though because last year when my husband and I were gripped by the American TV version of The Killing, I would say "Good God. I can't imagine living somewhere so dreary where it rains all the time! I'd kill myself." And here we are ... months later living exactly where it rains all the time. Of course, I miss my little feline friend, Mr. Tig so I suspect that hasn't helped.

And as for exercise. Honestly. Up until yesterday I would have said I didn't care but we just enrolled in "Full-Tilt Spin" classes at Firebrand. I'll say one thing for Portland, it's pretty innovative. It's probably a good thing because the food in Portland is amazing.

Oh! And I missed out a vital fact that although I have essentially given up full-time work in high-rise office, I'm still available "remotely" 24-7 to my Los Angeles boss ... and believe me, he takes advantage of that ... and I don't mind! I'm starved of conversation.

But grumbling apart, I know I'm lucky and as my mother would say, "only you can change your attitude." So ... that's what I'm going to do. Right after I've eaten the last slice of chocolate cake.

If anyone would like to share their moving-to-a-new-city story with me, I'd love to hear it!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rainbow Bridge

It's been nearly three weeks since my darling Mr. Tig passed over to the Rainbow Bridge. I guess he never really adjusted to life in Portland, Oregon although - two years ago - he came close to leaving us so I try to think of having those extra two years with as a wonderful gift.

Nothing prepares you for the loss of a beloved pet but what has absolutely touched my heart is the amazing support from other animal lovers through countless emails, Facebook messages and phone calls.

Mr. Tig started his journey with me when I moved to California. He was a rescue cat and it was only by chance that my daughter Sarah and I saw him that boiling hot Saturday on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, California. We weren't looking to adopt a cat but there was something about him that made us change our minds. Mr. Tig's cage was on top of a little Spaniel and every few minutes, he'd push his paw through the grill and tap the Spaniel on the head and then, retreat and hide. It drove the poor dog crazy because he couldn't figure out what was happening ... so we took Mr. Tig home.

His name wasn't always Mr. Tig. The rescue society named him Flipper because he could turn somersaults... but we thought that a little unmanly so we called him Tiggy. It was only when the wonderful Ben Scuglia, pet psychic extraordinaire said Tiggy disliked that name and wanted to be called Mister Tig that we did as we were told.

Mr. Tig stayed with me when my daughter returned to England to go to college; he comforted me through the loss of my Dad ... and he fought for my affections when I first met Jason who became my husband (and Mr. Tig won Jason over, too). And finally, he stayed with us for the 1,000 mile drive to Oregon, making sure that all was well before saying goodbye.

And a huge thank you to Susan Van Hyning and Carolyn Hart for telling me all about Rainbow Bridge.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. 
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

Author unknown... 

Till we meet again ... R.I.P. my dearest boy - April 24, 1996 to March 25, 2013.