Friday, December 25, 2009

More Like A Twitter Post

Ah, it's Xmas Day in Chicago. The Windy City. The Arctic of the Midwest. One of Santa's way stations as he circles the globe. Frigid. Blustery. And snow, snow, snow.

Well, not so fast, my fine junior meteorologists! The temperature will reach 42 degrees today, and it's raining. (Hell, we'll see a high that is only 18 degrees lower than in northern California. Maybe we should cancel our trek and spend a balmy winter right here.) It's been raining for at least 24 hours, and the forecast calls for rain the remainder of this Xmas Day 2009.

Believe it or not, many grinches around here are complaining: They want snow. They've said so in their Facebook and Twitter posts. Lucky for them: They won't have to wait long. The forecast is for temperatures to plummet by this time tomorrow and for all the rain to turn to snow. The rain-coated streets and sidewalks will become our own private Rockefeller Center skating rinks camouflaged by inches of the white stuff. Can't wait! I love the sound of my neighbors' spinning tires as they try to extract themselves from their covered garages and the same humming sound as drivers attempt to move forward after stopping at either a stop light or stop light. Mix in the chorus from "Jingle Bells" or "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer," and the resulting juxtapositon
of machine and man is enough to drive anyone off the road.

So, have yourselves a merry, rainy Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Today Is The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

As someone in the 60s said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." (And, no, it wasn't John Denver!)

Yep, it's that time again. A new beginning. A chance to start over. A day to regroup. The opportunity to walk through new doors. A moment to leave all that baggage behind and start fresh, unencumbered. Light. Free. That it's the day after the Winter Solstice is a happy coincidence. I didn't plan it that way. But I can be hopeful that there is a Grand Scheme operating here and that the sun, moon, and stars are aligned in my favor. Heck, why not?

Today is the first day after leaving a full-time job that has kept me busy for the past 15 months. Unlike most of my peers who are dying to retire, I bucked the tide and left my ivory tower (translate: my home office) to work as an editor at Loyola Press. For the first time in 28 years, I actually had to not only act like a professional but dress like one, too. To tell the truth, I enjoyed having to don some "business casual" whatnot Monday through Friday, slug down some semblance of breakfast, and drive the 25 minutes or so to the office. The structure was good for me during a time when I was adjusting to the death of both parents within a matter of weeks from each other.

But that was then, and this is now. I chose to "retire" after realizing that the Loyola Press mission and mine were not made of the same cloth. Don't get me wrong: LP does some excellent work. And I hope that I contributed in my limited way to the continued success of the company's one and only non religious project, a language arts series for kiddies in Grades 3 - 8. But the next project on tap is a revision of a program called Finding God. From time to time, I've wondered myself where He or She is. But as a Jewish gal who is not a follower of Jesus Christ, I would have been a fish out of water.

While it's taken about 40 years, two husbands, and more machinations that I could ever recall, I am finally headed to the East Bay to spend a chunk of the winter. Call me a "snow bird" if you like. The tag doesn't ruffle my feathers. I'm outta' here. Granted, it's not all warm and sunny in the Berkeley Hills, but the weather sure beats the heck out of cold, snowy, dark, dark Chicago. And there is an ocean, mountains, redwoods, wineries, Highway 1, Alice Waters, Yoga for the People, the University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco, Chinatown (a real one), museums, hiking, touring, green, and even hardy Zone 7-9 flowers. Flowers! In January and February! My dance card is already full.

So, as I prepare for this cross-country adventure with my husband and two Maine Coon cats, I'll blog along the way, detailing the good, the bad, and even the ugly (if there is any ugly). Come along for the ride.