Monday, June 22, 2015

A Year Goes By Just Like That

Roger and I have been in Arcata for a year. I'm pretty sure this is the fastest a year has ever flown by. Not sure how that happened, but perhaps we have been in some time-space-vortex thing, and in a blink of an eye, here we are one year later.

Here's how our life has changed in that year.

We have gotten to know the grandkids and watch them grow and change and become themselves.

We have had more lovely conversations with more people and more neighbors in this one year than we did in all the four years we lived in Grass Valley.

We go out for walks more often. Arcata has a temperate climate. There is no snow in winter and no excessive heat in summer. We're learning how to put up with the persistent fog and wind, and get out of the house for a couple of miles everyday.

We hardly ever use the car. In fact, our new Prius (the one we bought last December) has less than 6000 miles on it. That does put us at 1000 miles of travel per month, BUT in those six months we've gone down to see my mom three times. That is a total in round trips of 4200 miles (seriously), which means we've driven less than 1800 miles in six months.

We have watched a neighbor grow from her state of deeply grieving for her much-loved husband, who she lost just before we moved here, to embracing life again.

We fell in love with our student neighbors who lived across the street. We watched sunsets together and photographed rainbows. We talked about the plight of the world and our planet. They've been slowly moving out over the past few weeks, like all students do at the end of the year, but not before their house was robbed on Sunday night (6/21).

We had lovely talks with a neighbor down the street whose house we passed whenever we walked into town. He often sat outside with his menagerie of ducks, chickens, and cats- and typically had some critter sitting on his lap. Tom always had a ready smile and something nice to say. Back in April we noticed that he wasn't out much anymore, but didn't think anything of it. We later learned that Tom died of pneumonia at the end of March. We brought a lovely yellow columbine to plant in their beautiful front yard.  He was only 56 years old.

There's a wild man who plays his electric guitar in his doorway in the early evening. There's a young couple who walks their very, very old dog named Buddy by our house everyday. They're having their first baby in September. Our favorite dog Chloe rolls over whenever she sees us and lets us pet her belly for as long as we like. The neighborhood cats still come in the yard to visit with us (and poop). 

Can it really be that we've only been here a year and the earth has traveled a full rotation around the sun? Yes, life with all its beauty and all its pain has unfolded on each of those 365 days. Love and renewal, life and death. We still haven't found a house to buy. We've had our ups and downs about it all, but we're here ready for another four seasons to unfold.

PS-- That's a whole big mountain of fog that often sits between us and the sky! I photographed it on the trip home from visiting with the kids and grandkids for the father's day.


  1. So great that you are in place where you feel part of the community. Some places have it, but many don't. The events of your year sound a little like some in mine - I'll get around to writing about that sometime soon. The inescapable cycle of life. Maybe this will be the year that you find your house.

  2. It's great that you can finally adjust to the rain and moderate temperatures. I like not having snow, and I definitely don't miss the 100+ temperatures I use to experience when I lived in California.

  3. I love to read your wonderful writing, I'm happy that you are happy, and your prose is poetry to my ear.

  4. Sweet synopsis of your sojourn!

  5. Some years draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag, and others race past us. I'm glad this one has been so good to you both. ♥

  6. Bev-- This is one of the few places we've lived that has the potential for community. I think it's why we're staying despite the bleak possibilities of finding a home. I'm looking forward to your posts about community. I've often wish we were your neighbors.

    Loren-- We are definitely adjusting. One of the things that drove us from Port Townsend (besides being so far from our families) was the high latitude light. I am very sensitive to seasonal light changes, and those dark winters and crazy long summer days were too much. Where in California did you live?

    Steve-- Thank you so much. That is such a kind thing to say.

    isabelita-- Thank you. What a long strange trip it's been.

    Val-- We are settling into the area, and the year has reminded us of what a community and a neighborhood really feels like. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  7. So happy, Robin, to read this and see how happy you are there and that you guys have adjusted to the changes in climate! I had missed that bit of news along the way and thought you were heading back to the Santa Cruz area to permanently settle in. Have you considered building your own home? The year has really flown, but time has been flying in every way - I can't believe you have been away from Port Townsend 5+ years!!

  8. Does not sound a bad year nor a bad place to live. We got new neighbours this year and they seem very nice & friendly. The place is less noisy now as well.

  9. It makes a difference being in a neighborhood instead of a large piece of property with few surrounding homes. Our new neighborhood is more inside than Santa Cruz unless they are walking dogs!

  10. I think you may have found your home if not the actual house yet. Neighbors make all the difference and you seem to have an interesting and endearing lot. Keep enjoying.

  11. Robin Andrea: A fog bank like that is often sitting off the coast of San Diego when we visit Kali's brother.

    You and Roger have such a wonderful, upbeat view. I wish I were temperamentally more like that. Your positivity is a little bit infectious; I'm glad I "dropped by" today, even if it only lasts for a while. A day or so ago, a friend of mine stopped by and I said, "Boy, you're in a good mood today!" He replied, "What's the alternative?"

    When you're waiting expectantly to retire (like Kali and I are), time just seems to drag. We need to be more thankful for the nice, interesting things around us daily like you are and stop living so much for the future (which might never come to pass, anyway).

  12. Buddy!!! I like your neighborhood, and reading this makes me want to jump in the car and drive for hours to get there! I could trade our heat for your fog for a few days. Today, though, I'm driving to your old haunt, GV, to visit with my friend from Australia, who is visiting.

    The other blessed thing about Arcata: being near the grands.

  13. Sky-- I would move back to Santa Cruz in a heartbeat. That is my true-love town. But the median home price in Santa Cruz right now is $775,000. Seriously. It is simply outrageous, like all "bay-area" housing. So, we're definitely making a go of it here. We left Port Townsend in 2008! It's been a very long time.

    Bill-- It really is a lovely place. It has some downsides, like how hard it is to actually get here from anyplace else. But it sure is beautiful. Glad you have new, quiet neighbors!

    lindaj-- I like an outside kind of neighborhood. I remember seeing you and Jerome outside all the time! Ah, the truly good old days!

    Arkansas Patti-- We're definitely trying to settle in here. I think we've learned a lot in this past year, which may help us make the right choices about which house to buy, if any ever come on the market! Thank you so much for stopping by!

    Scott-- I was really struck by the mountainous view of this particular fog bank. Pretty cool looking, even if it is what often sits between me and my much-loved sky. I have to say, I am not really such an upbeat person. These past few months have seriously kicked our butts, while we try to figure out what we should do (rent a bigger house? expand our search area locally? move further south? north?). But I took a look at the year that past here and remembered the things we love about it.

  14. Tara-- We feel pretty lucky to be in a neighborhood that has such nice, friendly people. We know all the doggies and kitty cats, and the ducks and chickens too. I have to say fog and heat are my two least favorite weather conditions, but if I had to choose between them, I choose fog. I said to Roger just the other day, "I don't think people ever die of fog stroke." LOL. Say hello to GV to us. There are things I miss about it, but not much.

  15. You are living a life that should serve as a model. I am glad you two are enjoying life; that's as it should be.

  16. John-- I was definitely concentrating on the positive aspects of this move.

  17. Beautiful fog bank, especially because it doesn't cover that entire splendidly clear sky.

    Feeling that I belong to a community is a large part of why I have stayed in Bellingham so long. Not being able to afford to move is another reason. A third reason is that I have grown to love this place even though it isn't my first true-love place. It is hard to believe that a year has passed since you and roger moved to Arcata. I agree with what Arkansas Patti said, that you have found a home, if not a house yet. Maybe, as you wrote, expanding your search area locally will reveal more options. I've been noticing that when I expand my area of options in anything, I make room for being surprised by something right in front of me.

  18. am-- I love knowing that you feel a part of a community in Bellingham. We have found over the years that it is not easy to integrate into a community when you have no children, are retired, and don't belong to an organized religion. The effort to create community is just that, an effort. We're not joiners of any sort, but we do get out and walk. Some of our neighbors hug us when they see us now. We think that is the beginning. Yes, expanding may be the way to go!

  19. How wonderful to have such varied and friendly neighbors. Our community is far too homogenous. But that's a price we pay for living in a private gated community. The benefits outweigh the negatives. But still I would love to have more variety among our neighbors. You are blessed.

  20. NCmountainwoman-- It's one of the reasons we moved to a college town. Just the other day we met a woman who had waited 13 months for a long crazy escrow to close on the house she just bought. It was a house we had noticed on realtor dot com for a year, always marked as PENDING. She is a lecturer at the university and a therapist/counselor. She warmly introduced us to her dog Leo. We had a lovely conversation about Arcata and real estate. She had been looking for a house for FIVE YEARS. Yes, her story scared us, but her presence is one of the reasons we like it here and are trying to figure out how to stay.

  21. It's funny how the old saying is true -- time flies when you're having fun. When I first quit work and started as a consultant, I didn't work much, but I did a whole lot of stuff, traveling and what not. At the end of the first year, I looked back and it seemed like it just flew by, but then I thought of all the things I had done, and it was just a year full of very enjoyable things.

    It's great that you are finding Arcata so agreeable. Summers that aren't hot sound very good about now, since we've been having 90+-degree days for the last couple of weeks.

    I like the fog bank.

  22. It cannot possibly be a whole year! But glad Arcata is working for you; glad you get to see those sweet babies so often; and also it sounds like you have great neighbors, including the canines.

  23. I like the idea of a fog bank; if the weather gets too hot, withdraw some fog and block the sun for a couple of days!

    My house is taking the builder such an unconscionably long time, I'm wondering whether renting might have made my life easier; but with renting, you could have the rug pulled out from under you after years of living somewhere. I'm not sure there's a perfect solution, unless you're rich enough that you can afford anything.

    Community is priceless. The universe has been good to you before; I hope it sends you the perfect home again, within the embrace of a caring community of neighbors.

  24. Mark-- My two least favorite weather conditions are heat and fog. So, when we had to choose between them, we chose fog. I have noticed over the years, it's much easier to escape the cool than it is to escape the heat.

    kathy-- It's been a crazy fast year. We do feel lucky we found a nice little old neighborhood to rent in, while we wait for our dream house to magically come on the market.

    CCorax-- Ah, I love that perspective of a fog bank. It's true. We saw the massive mountain of it hanging off the coast last evening, and we just knew the promise it held for a cool night of great sleeping weather! I'd love to see pics of your house in progress. Sorry it's taking so long to be built. Wonder why that is.

  25. It was alway great to see you and Roger watching the sunset, wine glass in hand. Good reminder of simple pleasures. I'm thinking we should get a dog, for a couple of good reasons, one of them being it's a great way to get some excercise and meet people!

    1. It's almost hard to believe but it's been 20 years since we first bought that house across the street from you and Jerome. I sometimes wish we were still there, and still your neighbors. A dog is a wonderful social creature. Fellow doggie-lovers are instant communities.