About Anna

Anna and her husband Sam are trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives.

We’re moving…again.

It’s been 872 days since our last post, right about the time we bought a new nest and started remodeling. 

Since then, some other relevant numbers:

1 Cick (Eliot) graduated from college.

872 Hours Sam spent watering lawn and assorted shrubbery.

2 Times contractor made Anna cry.

60 Years Sam has been on planet.

68 Tile sample choices Anna had to peruse.

1 Medical condition Sam learned will be a friend for life.

45 Paint samples Anna had to peruse.

8 Times Sam had to move ALL worldly possessions due to construction.

1 Time Anna made contractor cry (it was worth it).

Our one and only Sylvie died.

We finished the remodel this summer. We dined in our new screen porch. We watched deer feed on our long grass. And Hudson Valley sunsets. And our local heron commuting from pond to river and back again.

All incredibly beautiful, but…there’s the house. And the house has needs. Lots and lots of needs. And is servicing the needs of a house how we want to spend this moment in our lives? The answer is, uh, life is too short to spend one more second thinking about grout.  

So, with the paint barely dry, we signed contracts to sell it and left for Scotland, a bucket list destination. 

And for the next year, or two, or three, we’ll make our nest in rentals at all of our bucket list destinations.

 Maybe we’ll hate living nest-less, maybe we’ll love it. In either case, we’ll let you know from our new blog location. We have to change the name because, you know, there’s no longer a nest to greet you from. 

 We’ve punched our Gypsy Ticket and hope to see you there

Spring cleaning…

The temperature actually rose above freezing today!  Sylvie, wisely, took the rare opportunity to hang outside and bask in the sun.

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…for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile I, inspired more by the hope than the reality of Spring, decided to embark on a little Spring cleaning.

I started with my computer’s address book which I purged, in the blink of the delete button, of many of the vestiges of our old life. Gone, instantly, were house sitters, insurance guys, tutors, trainers, someone’s mortgage broker we never used, electricians, furnace people (did we ever even HAVE a furnace?), friends of the boys who they are no longer friends with, their parents who we only pretended to be friends with to begin with, some nice French guy I met at a TED conference, camp counselors, hair dressers, great Take Out places (Good-bye Reddi Chick!), gyms, the orthodontist (but not our dentist Dr. Chin! Never Dr. Chin!), and the guy who used to deliver soda and water in glass bottles. And in the Fs, one I found especially hard to delete, a dear relative newly gone from our little spinning planet.

As I scrolled through the names, wielding my delete button freely, it felt as if our long California life was passing before my eyes.  It was sad – and sweet – and when I was done, I felt refreshed, happy to see the names of my real friends left standing, somehow easier to find.

A penny for her thoughts…

Now that we don’t have our chicks around to obsess about, we’ve moved on to the dog.

This weekend we left her with a new dog-sitter (eek!), who immediately pegged us for the psycho helicopter dog parents that we are and has kindly spent the weekend texting us pictures to let us know our beloved fourth child is still alive.

Today, we received this:

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After we established that she was, in fact, still living, we parsed the photograph for clues as to our angel’s mental, physical and emotional state.  We wondered if she was eating enough.  Were her ribs that visible when we left her? Her lack of sociability concerned us too. Since when is she a back-of-the-classroom kind of dog? And why isn’t she looking at the camera? Is she painfully shy, or did she recently go blind?!?! 

But the question we pondered the most was…

“What is she THINKING?”

Sam’s convinced it’s: “I don’t do cameras.”

I’m leaning toward: “Where’s that damn cat. I know it’s here somewhere.”

How about you? What do you think she’s thinking?

Are we having fun yet?

This morning, we left the house bright and early for the 3.5 hour drive to Hanover to visit Quinn and Eliot.

“This is fun!” I exclaimed cheerily as we headed north. “This is something we really missed out on living in California – the quick visit to college, taking the kids for a few good meals, hanging out, meeting their friends and generally get to know their life outside the nest.”

The lunch went as planned, but immediately after the check was paid, things took an unexpected turn. Engineering projects, it turned out, needed attention. And crew practice needed attending.

So we were left to our own devices until dinner…

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Himalayan travel conundrum…

We are about to fly through the Himalayas and our flight has been delayed. We’ve checked in at the airport, with its one and only terminal and one and only runway. If our flight doesn’t arrive, we face a 12 hour, 250 mile drive on a treacherous, potholes-are-too-kind-a-word-for-them filled, mountain road. Yes, 12 hours to go 250 miles.

But I find myself wondering, as I stare at my boarding pass, which trip should I be hoping for?

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Survival Essentials (Indoor version)

Yesterday we covered outdoor survival essentials (there’ll be a quiz at the end of this post). But what to do when faced with an indoor emergency? Like when you find yourself in the “luxury suite” in a remote hotel where the only luxury is the space heater that drowns out the barking of the feral dogs beneath your window?

Just remember to pack your K5 Whisky – and make sure it’s the Special Coronation Blend.

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Survival essentials…

First off, let me say that we love our guides, Bill and Tsering. They are walking, talking Wikipedia pages, their knowledge of Bhutan encyclopedic. They answer questions that range from “what is the meaning of the eyes protruding out of that demon’s head” to “what type of rhododendron is that” to “why does that phallus have teeth?”

That said, wilderness quides they are not.

Yesterday, after a bone-jarring, Bonine-not-optional, 5 hour drive on a treacherous road (alas, no pics of the sheer thousand foot drops as I was too busy trying to maintain Buddhist non-attachment to my continuing existence) the bus stopped and we emerged onto a yak-lined road with this valley beckoning…

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We began our descent through the scrubby field, following what we were told was an “ancient” path into a dwarf bamboo choked thicket, and crossed and re- crossed the same small creek until Tsering was lost from view.

Seeking peace of mind, I recalled the countless episodes of “Man vs Wild” that I watched with Quinn over the years. Bear Grylls, the star of the show, is a man capable of surviving many days in the wild with nothing more than a paper clip and a parking ticket . I was carrying a lot more that, all of it useless in the event of unscheduled camping with Yaks. Did I learn nothing from those countless hours of viewing!? Why hadn’t I brought a multi tool or a space blanket instead of lip balm and Pepto Bismol?

And then, just as panic took hold, Tsering returned and said he now knew where to go. By the time we staggered into our hotel, I had decided that, Mr Grylls notwithstanding, there really are only two survival essentials:

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