Tag Archives: relocation

“You have an old soul.” “It’s just mature for its age.”

  • Boogity shops visited: 2.5
  • Stops at Fry’s electronics: 2
  • Outraged public rants about suddenly, unnecessarily gendered Nerf and Lego toys: 1
  • Farmer’s market: 1
  • Tours of current complex: 0

(for the unfamiliar, that’s a Daria quote)

The bug Mike and I caught was much worse for me today – sore throat, need to sleep but can’t quite, and a nasty, persistent cough.  On top of that, I seem to have this weird thing where my body is jettisoning energy. I’m not sure how to describe the physical sensation – it’s not pain. But something feels like it’s shooting out of me. I wish I understood the metaphysical sensation stuff better; unfortunately I once swallowed a line of crap about how tracking physical responses and experiments was “amateurish” and I am paying for it to this day. On the bright side, my sciatica has mysteriously faded to bare, minimal discomfort.

After breakfast – and what seems to be a situation where eye contact with a server is so refreshing you end up with a friend for life – we determined to pick up some electronics Mike forgot to pack in our 30 days stuff, and then we proceeded to visit the San Jose Downtown Farmer’s market. Before that, however, I insisted we go to Walgreen’s and buy sunglasses. Despite a line behind us, the kid behind the counter fetched scissors and cut the tags for us. In Minnesota, such a request would be met with “sorry, don’t have any,” whether or not that were true.

After that, we went to the Holding Cell because I needed some sleep. Of course, the weird shooting sensation out of every limb on my body made that hard, but I tried my best. Two of the problems I have developed with this cold is a)a cough and b)my allergy meds mask a lot of my cold symptoms. This means the only symptom besides the cough – which can be an allergy symptom, too, since I have allergic asthma – is dizziness/tiredness. This is also a metaphysical symptom. Since I can ignore metaphysical symptoms without consequence I end up very surprised when I crash out of nowhere because of actual illness. But since Mike caught the bug first, at least I had a frame of reference for the symptoms.

Also, coughs suck. Most over the counter medicines do not treat a cough like this, and doctors generally just give you codeine so you sleep through your own coughing. This necessitated me finding an herb shop since the best treatment I’ve found is herbal medicine. Over my years of practice, I’ve found the following remedies work best:


For most people, just hyssop works fine. For severe asthmatics like me, however:

  • hyssop
  • mullein
  • mugwort

This calms our panic down – and helps us use our corticosteroid inhalers without overusing them.

My other remedy:

2)thyme and rosehip infused honey

takes a minimum of one month to make. I need relief for that godawful throat itch NOW.

It took some sorting – Chinese herb shops with the same herbs are inaccessible because I don’t speak or read Cantonese OR Mandarin. I don’t even remember which one is more common or which one is more common here and I’ll look that up when I can think more clearly, thank you. There was one western-enough herb shop in San Jose, so Mike drove me. Only one person was working and it took us a few minutes to understand each other – she wanted me to know she could help me but she needed me to be patient. I thought she was telling me she could get me the herbs, but only if I had patients – when she was asking me to be patient. Oddly, the other customer got annoyed with her telling me that because he wanted to see me get served first. This made for a weird inversion of the culture I’ve lived in for the last 18 years.

We then wandered over to a New Age/spiritual shop in Willow Glen. It wasn’t promising, but as the closest such shop to where we were, I had to give it a try. It didn’t have what I needed – it was one of those crystals boutiques in a fancy neighborhood, more about the pretty things with jacked up prices to cover the store rent. The women that ran it seemed friendly and relaxed, with that glow some get when they’re really peaced out. Sometimes I envy it. Today I didn’t – it wasn’t what I was looking for and it wasn’t what I needed. I needed the things I understand, the magical tools of concreteness and practicality. What I was seeing was the joy of privileged enlightenment. I could have it. I am a white woman who has been shot into their socio-economic sphere because I married well (and it has given me such a fucking complex – it may explain why I was so determined not to marry at all when I was younger, before I got sick…) I could tell someone sent me reiki after I left the shop. Yeah, that’s not okay, but try to tell that to someone insisting – with no regard to your feelings or experiences – that “it’s universal life energy.” Whatever. Did not improve my cold any.

That being a bust – there were lots of spendy things there but nothing for someone who practices straight up witchcraft – Mike and I went to my favorite go-to: a botanica.  The one we went to was in a rundown part of San Jose. I didn’t feel unsafe, particularly, but I might go with Mike a few times before I’d consider going alone. When I walked in, I asked for the herb I was looking for in Spanish. The guy running the botanica said he didn’t have it, and I shrugged – I really did need a few other things. There was a huge Santa Muerta shrine in the back room with candles burning, and she was there. I said a polite hello to her as she stared at me through her idol, realized this back room was for darker dealings I try to only use when I feel my hand has been forced, and found the more benign things I sought in the front room.

Two seven day candles and an oil for $13.75. In Minneapolis the same stuff would cost about $25, even though it all comes from the same supplier.

I said a polite goodbye to the guy, who I assume was the acting priest/Santeria/Brujeria guy. He was friendly, but through the entire transaction had this incredulous expression on his face. Apparently white women don’t walk into botanicas and calmly pick out what they need on a daily basis. I didn’t even giggle.

Truth is, even with the obvious cursing action going on, I felt more comfortable in that botanica then I did in the fancy crystals and privilege store. I am privileged but I just don’t resonate with its trappings. I like my witchcraft down and dirty, perhaps because I myself can be quite physical. I’m sure there’s some psychologically complex reason for it. All I know is that the enlightenment found through white light and rose quartz is not the only kind of enlightenment out there, and it’s not my wavelength. The enlightenment I seek is all about candles, oils, messy hands, roiling earth, and skin on skin. I’ve met God so many times that way, and I plan to keep on meeting Him AND Her that way until it no longer does it for me.

We stopped at the Safeway on the way home. The aisles were too tight, and one woman who had actually blocked the entire aisle with her cart startled when I simply moved it out of traffic and went about my business. I had a friendly chat with a guy in the stationery aisle about notebook prices – he was on his way to his air conditioning and heating repair class and had to make a last minute stop. I have a lot of weird “I’m attractive now?” moments in my life, and Safeway was one of them – a gorgeous dreadlocked man kept sidling up to me in multiple aisles until Mike appeared at my side. In my twenties no one ever made those approaches. I am a year from forty and they seem to be increasing. It has got to be the culture change in favor of larger women. I so wanted a full dance card when I was young. Right at this moment, I want a nap. Of course, not only can I handle it now, the guys that approach me actually keep their specific thoughts about any body parts below my nose to themselves. I had so much trouble handling that when I was younger – and my trust has improved, since usually any compliment from a man I found attractive was assumed to be a prelude to mockery and humiliation, since that’s what usually happened.

On the way out, I saw a woman wearing hijab, standing at the edge of the lot, holding up a sign that said “Please help, I have two kids and no job.” She made sure everyone who made eye contact with her saw her exaggerated, long-suffering look. Now, I know everyone’s situation is different, but when I read that sign, my first thought was “It doesn’t say she has no husband, and given the neighborhood she’s in, she’s probably really bored and he’s probably at work.” Pan handlers induce skepticism in me, rather a lot. In Minnesota I have never, ever seen a Muslim begging. When I looked at this woman, there was something indefinably American about her. It was just a look in her eye -  I wish I had a more concrete explanation of her, and one of my mistrust of her.

Again, back to the holding cell where I have sort-of slept around energy bursts and we have started to assemble a list for tomorrow’s apartment hunt. I worry – a lot, actually – about what I am going to do with myself on Monday, while Mike’s at work. Explaining that I don’t have a job is awkward around here and it only gets worse when I admit that I’m a writer. I will have a car, but I don’t know the area, and my T-Mobile plan has been choked within an inch of its life sine I repeated Mike’s streaming mistake.  This means San Jose, but no navigation. I suppose, depending on the pollen count (which I am just as allergic to here, and the pollen counts are equally high)  I can find my way to the train and just wander around at each stop. See if I can leave any more botanica employees incredulous…

In California now

Moving losses to date:

  • 1 yoga block
  • 1 can suntan oil

I suppose I could go to yoga classes with a coconut scented block, but the grease marks might prove deadly to myself and to anyone else on the studio floor with me. So my partner got a job with a Silicon Valley giant. He says I can post about it publicly, but until I know what their blog policy is for employees and family, I am not identifying it here. Moving is daunting. It’s always daunting. It makes me wonder how in the hell I managed travel in a foreign country. I think that the secret is, at some point, you just embrace the stumbling. Right now we have a corporate-housing apartment. It’s part of the me and the Giant vs. me and California dynamic I need to figure out. California – the Bay area – seems to welcome me. The minute I got into San Francisco airspace, a psychic event happened; the land and city together had a request for me. It’s like California itself invoked me. Omens welcomed us:

Yet every time I get into Giant-space, I feel like a non-entity. Like the brand-spanking new corporate housing we are staying in until we find a long-term place. It’s clearly meant for Mike – but no consideration was given to a life partner. A roommate, sure. Either that or this is a weird land where couples sleep in separate beds a la 1950s television. I’ve nicknamed it the Vinnie Van Lowe suite because everything – everything – is black and chrome. For some unknown reason, we got a “complimentary upgrade” to a two bedroom two bath. There are exactly two of us. It is a furnished apartment – so there are two beds here. Maybe excessive bathrooms are now part of my karma? I have zero understanding of the logic behind said upgrade. I am assuming that they just had to give away the designated one bedroom in a hurry or something.  There is only one desk/workspace which Mike claimed (going back on his promise to let me have home workspace precedence, though perhaps he just meant that for the permanent place) and when I attempted to order pizza, the place around the block didn’t recognize the address because it’s too new. The complex it’s in is sort-of heavily gated, with interior walls, and a combination of interior and exterior hallways. None of the windows have screens, which is weird to me. But then, aside from a lone housefly I saw at a Jack in the Box in June, I rarely if ever see insects around here.  I’m told Southern California is a different story. It’s fine with me. Bugs squick the hell out of me. Six legs squick me, even butterflies, so that’s fine. I’ve driven by places like this in the Twin Cities, Northwest Indiana, elsewhere and wondered at them. I’ve wondered at the packaging of them, how they always seem to have a slight, sterilized swank to them, how they always come with upper middle end chain stores and high end boutiques on the bottom. Now I’m in one. That’s going to take me time to process, even though it’s not permanent. This is so far from what I expected from my life that I need some time to reframe a lot of things.

Because the holidays are terrible and I’m changing that now

Moving boxes boxes2 Moving boxes 2012The move date was scheduled without my input – as was the mortgage signing and  closing date. All three fall on some date of significance to me, two religious, one both religious and personal. Our moving date… is on Solstice. That means that once I clear my writing minimums today (including this post) off I go to pack, pack, pack – and as you can see in the photos here I’ve already done quite a bit of that.

If I’d raised enough of a stink we might have rescheduled. People that knew me back in my “flaming Pagan” days probably wonder why I didn’t. Religion is one of my fundamental personality traits. I am a religious person. So why am I doing something as sacrilegious as moving on one of the most sacred days that the land I love on knows?

It has nothing to do with whether the world ends. Maybe the world as we know it will end – but the Earth will still be rolling around in the sky, laughing and farting and burning birds alive.

It also has nothing to do with being in a hurry. It has to do with two things:

Probably secondary, but first here: my neurological inclination towards religion ((I believe that being religious is similar to being gay: it has more to do with your body chemistry than it does with any virtue or non-virtue))  involves a series of adjustable values I carry within me that I refer to while considering the kind of world I would like to live in and the Big Picture part of being in the world.  In other words, I care more about being a good person than I do about being a good Wiccan. My values are not shaken just because I’m not sitting vigil with the sun – and there’s a chance that I may end up performing vigil as a byproduct of moving anyway. If someone tries to revoke my Wiccan membership card over that it says more about that person than it does about me. I’m very much a Big Picture thinker – I already have some ideas about how my observances will play out in the long run.

Most of my adult-life friends have already heard these horror stories. These are my holiday stories, the ones that make the hauntings, the nightmares, the people I loved that died seem… manageable, by comparison? Death at least has love in it. Love as I need it is a desire for me to be in the world, to live in the world, to stay in the world.

For me, family does not have love in it. My family doesn’t love me but they sure do put on a show for the rest of the world. In childhood, Azrael would see some act mother or sister put on, feel my disgust, and whisper in my ear, “Sorry, kid.”

It just hit me

The other kind of moving in.
The other kind of moving in. (Photo credit: diana_rajchel)

The new home will be better. Its layout actually fits in with my morning routine in such a way that it will help me maintain the discipline I’ve established since 2008. While I lose the protection of a large, anonymous apartment building I gain certain freedoms by simply having less obstacles between going in and going out that door.

I will wake up in southern light. I can get up, do my morning ablutions, and go to what Mike insists on calling the library ((because he needs no man cave he doesn’t really grasp my need for a priestess cave))  – my ritual room – and complete my morning pages. From there I may speak morning prayers, do any light setting and meditation, take a moment to check my chakras. (Perhaps I should obtain a writing desk – it goes with the library motif.) The first flight of stairs, breakfast, and then further down to our office to work. Once we get the treadmill – or at least set up the Wii downstairs – I can take periodic breaks to exercise in bad weather, and in good weather I can ascend those stairs, launch myself out into the world for a walk with or without the camera and return without having to duck past the apartment manager. I am choosing to remain optimistic that our new neighbors are chill and mostly responsibly aging hippies. I suppose we’re the new neighbors. They’re probably curious/nervous about us.

The living room has adequate if not perfect dance space – I have ambitions of a proper stereo or at least some kind of surround sound system. The kitchen has what I need to work with it – I am already grudgingly warming up to the gas stove despite my own strong preference for electric stoves.  (Perhaps we can just have the electrician remove those stupid phone jacks, fix the security system somewhere that makes sense and doesn’t deny the kitchen an outlet.) The fireplace and living room space gives Mike and I the sense of companionship we seem to gravitate towards everywhere we live – and still allows me the deep privacy I need with the library upstairs. I’ll tell you just about anything I’m thinking, but by gods, I need some time alone where I don’t have to explain anything.

Part of my resistance to moving is that it’s winter. I’m not bothered by the “oh crap, there’s snow” part of the move. That was going to happen sooner or later. I had really hoped to permanently move someplace that it doesn’t snow – Mike talks a big game about liking the seasons, but that’s crap. Early humans gravitated towards the equator for a reason.

But it’s also that I have really enjoyed living in this apartment. Its flaws could be worked around. Its modern conveniences freed my hands to write. Its skyline view has long been a point of pride, a prize, something wonderful we found in a much overlooked space.  While I will miss the convenience of all life being on one level, I could spout off something virtuous and annoying about the exercise the stairs can give me. Really, the laundry being on the bottom floor and the clothes storage on the top is the only major flaw of the place. Of course, the closets will need work – that’s more my own flaw, my acquisitive tendency with clothing, my interest in the body as a color palate. Fuck that – it’s no flaw. My interest in fashion is one of the most intellectually subversive and powerful aspects of my personality.

I’m a little disappointed that we’re not changing neighborhoods – Mike is too. We’re both explorers and now we have nothing new to explore. The far end of Northeast does not change as rapidly as Uptown or even Dinkytown. This neighborhood needs a botanica; right now the Carniceria does a sort of half-hearted job of selling candles and loteria games but that’s it – and I find I prefer botanicas to white person occult supply stores. Less crystal bullshit, zero historical or academic posturing. More about direct needs. I’ll have to look at why the one resonates with me more than the other – perhaps because I’ve experienced more direct survival issues than most people at my place in the socio-economic pyramid. I’m not anti-intellectual; I thrived in academics. I think it’s just an aversion to the twee and pretentious.

I’m also trying to decide whether to blog about the safety magic I’m performing on my home. Dion Fortune would tell me to keep it all a secret – and I have pissed off a few magically inclined people that have never understood that anger isn’t power, it just feels like power. The ego as a magical tool is great when you clean it regularly but in most cases it has a really short battery life. Sadly, it still spits when it recharges and addiction to it alone can keep some folks alive. Not good alive, just alive.

The bathtub is also a feature I’m looking forward to, even if I’ll only use it once a week to keep the water bills down.

This will be good. It also sets me up to plan ahead for buying a condo somewhere warm – snowbirding is always insanely expensive, but perhaps I can work around it by planning far, far ahead.


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