Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I hate the California DMV

My Driver's License Renewal was mailed to my parents house last week - my current license expires October 16. Great - I can renew it online. WRONG. After 13 years of driving and mailing in my Renewal, having them send me a new license without a visit to the DMV, I finally have to go in. Unfortunately, the timing couldn't be worse - I won't return to California until the weekend before Thanksgiving, long after my Driver's License is set to expire.

So, mom sends me the phone number and I call to see if there's any possibility I can get an extension. After all, I don't really want to be traveling back and forth across the United States with an expired Driver's License. Especially one from California. Police in other states LOOOOVE to pull over people in cars with California plates.

Do you know what the wait time is to speak to a human being at the California DMV? 1 hour and 45 minutes. Ewww. I patiently waited for half an hour before my call got disconnected. Now I'm on hold again, and the 30 minutes I already waited are gone - I get to start all over.

So, I think, while I'm waiting, I should be able to send them an email requesting information on the possibility of an extension on my driver's license. Nope. The only option is to wait on hold for an eternity on my day off.

That's right - today is our day off, and I am on hold with the California DMV.

Makes me want to switch to a Wyoming Driver's License. No lines, no waiting, someone to help you right away. I guess that's what comes with living in the least populated state in the Union.

But no, I don't really want to switch my residency - I'm a lifelong resident of California, and at least for now, irregardless of the stupidity/bureaucracy that is the DMV, I'll stay that way.

But seriously? This waiting stinks.


Since I've been doing a ton of gardening lately, I've also been doing a ton of thinking, and my thoughts are often wandering to friendships - old, new, healthy, dead - and how they got that way.

There's something about Actors, especially, people who move from project to project, working with new people all the time. It's a bit of a bubble, an intense sort of experience that can make dear friends out of people you work with for only a few months. What generally happens is that you move on after the project, get busy, and rarely keep up with those new amazing friends who you connected with. You make new friends, and the cycle continues. I have a million friends like that - people who I genuinely care for, and would go to the wall for if they needed me to right now. But have I talked to them in years? No. Do I still love them with all my heart and wish them the best? Yes. Do I stalk them on Facebook occasionally to find out where they are and see if they're making their dreams come true? Yes. Yes. Yes. Will I ever see them again? Who knows? But they hold a very special place in my heart, and I think about them - not every day (unless I'm gardening and stewing on friendships) - but often.

There are the friendships that you choose to let go along the way - the ones that are really unhealthy - the people who you dread seeing their phone number pop up. Who, once upon a time, you were so close with, but now... their friendship feels like a sinking ship, or one-sided, or too much work. There's never any FUN in the friendship, it's all doom and gloom and me,me,me. I've had a few of those, and (despite my guilty conscience), have chosen to let those go along the way. Realizing that life is WAAAAY too short to waste any more energy on someone who sucks everything right out of you. Have you experienced one of those friendships?

Then there are those "lifetime" relationships. The kind where, no matter how long it's been, no matter how much you've both changed or how much "life" has happened during the in-between, you pick the relationship up right where you left it off. Most of us can count those friendships on one hand. I'm blessed - I can count them on two. And because these are such unique, special friendships - they understand when I haven't called them in months, as do I understand when they've been MIA, living their life. And I know that when the time is right, we'll connect again and it will be good, so good.

As I get older, I realize that I have fewer and fewer friends that I keep up with regularly. But the quality of the relationships that I still have is so much deeper, even when we don't see or talk to each other often. And you know? I'm okay with that. I'm okay with a few good friends.

You know what else? It's time to put in a little more effort with the ones I care about.

Friday, August 26, 2011

What's next?

It's been five months since we started our adventure, in another two months we'll be done.

So... What's next for Jason and Erin?

Well, I'm so glad you asked!

Our original plan was to be here in Wyoming only until the end of August. In May we found out that there was a mistake in the dates and that we'd be here until "sometime" in October. Right now, that looks to be somewhere around October 24. What this meant for me was the loss of my caroling season since rehearsals start in September. What this meant for us was that we'd be able to save even more money!

Since we don't have to rush back to California so I can get to caroling rehearsals (don't get me started, every time I think about the fact that I won't be singing this season I want to cry), we decided to go with the original plan and spend some time footloose and fancy free on vacation.

From Wyoming, we'll head to Orlando, FL to spend a couple of weeks with Jason's family. How quickly we'll drive there depends on how late in October we finish up here at the ranch. Nov 5 we board a cruise ship for a week in the Eastern Caribbean (this will also be our One Year Anniversary Celebration, a month late!).

We'll come back, spend a few more days with Jason's family and then head back across the United States, arriving in LA the week before Thanksgiving.

We'll spend Thanksgiving through Christmas with my family in LA, where hopefully I'll be able to pick up some sub work, both caroling and teaching, and Jason will pick up work of some kind.

After Christmas? It's BACK across the US to Florida (with Indy in tow). We'll go on ANOTHER cruise, this time in the Western Caribbean, for Jason's Aunt Irene's 80th Birthday Bonanza!

After the cruise, we'll fly to Paris (leaving Indy in Orlando with his Grandma and Great Grandma) for a week of Museums and Food and Photos. From Paris, we're off to South Africa and Bridges of Hope (click the link and go check it out!) to spend two weeks working in any way they need and visiting with my dear friend Steph!

We'll fly back to Florida, pick up Indy and our car, then drive BACK across the US to Los Angeles for a few weeks with my fam before we....

....come back to Wyoming for another Season at the Hawkeye.

Obviously, these are just PLANS. Plans change all the time, but I thought it was time for an update. :)

Hope all is well where you're at!

And here are some photos from the last week or so at the ranch!

Harvested onions curing before they can be used.

Yukon Gold Potatoes, fresh from the ground.

Indy, as I found him in our bed.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Pack Trip that Almost Wasn't

For months (literally since April 1), I've heard talk around the ranch of, "When we go on our pack trip, we'll..." The pack trip was supposed to leave at 4:30am on Friday. At 5:30am, when Jason woke me up - again - and dropped off his suitcase in our cabin, I knew that something had happened. You should go read his account of it, because it really was a no good, very bad day.

It was even bad for me. I was happy to have Jason around for another day, but really, I was totally bummed that the boys weren't gone, might not even go and I would lose the chance for a couple of days of peace and relaxation which I desperately needed. (WOW - talk about a run-on sentence!)

Fortunately for me (and Jason who REAAAALLLLY wanted to go), they finally left on Saturday morning after a drastic change of plan and shortening the trip by two days. They rode out from the Ranch about 10am, headed up the Deer Creek (aka Widow-maker) trail into the Thoroughfare, where three rivers meet and flow down to form Yellowstone Lake - at least to my understanding.

Me? I saw them off, and then hauled butt to get ready and go to town for a haircut, which I desperately, DESPERATELY needed.

Then I proceeded to HULU myself (and Indy) to death for the rest of the day and this morning, catching up on the last four weeks of So You Think You Can Dance (which I love). Indy was not as enthused about the dance show as I was, but I think he enjoyed the snuggle time. :) And when he wasn't snuggling, he was chasing flies, so I'd say he's pretty happy. Personally, I took a break to Skype with Solange and to sleep. Otherwise - it was about 8 solid hours of dance. Love it. :)

Me? After a day and a half off, being totally irresponsible and watching WAAAAAAAAAAAY too much TV, I feel... GREAT. :)

Back to work tomorrow!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Approaching 30

We made it through the madness and to a day off today. :) Things will be quieter from here on out, although we still have a few groups of guests coming through. This last group of guests was great - really friendly - and the party was a big success! One of the guests handed me a couple of her magazines as she was leaving for my "day off reading". This afternoon, I dived right in.

In the August 2011 copy of Glamour, I read THIS ARTICLE on Turning 30 - what a big deal all of us women make about it, and how stupid we all are to do so.

I'll be honest - I have one year and two months left before I turn 30, and in truth it has made me very nervous. I've always thought that 30 was this magical age where I'd have it all together. That I'd have made a success out of myself and could say, "See, I did it!" But, if I turned 30 tomorrow, I wouldn't have achieved half of my teenage dreams. And let me tell you - at 18 I could really dream big.

You see, I'm still figuring it all out. Waiting to see what my place in the world will be for the next ten/twenty/thirty/forty years.

You know what? The fact that I haven't yet accomplished those goals I set at 18 doesn't make me unsuccessful. Along the way I've done so many other things that have been worthwhile - things that were never a priority for me when I set my goals at 18. And truthfully - What the heck did I know about life at that age?

So yes.... my husband and I do not have a home. Instead we're living in a borrowed cabin on a ranch in Wyoming where I work as (GASP) a gardener and housekeeper. If only my 18 year old self could see me now! I certainly never planned on this.

But you know? This is so much better than anything I had planned. We have each other. And guess what? We've paid off our debt (except those pesky student loans), and we have money, (real, substantial money) in our Savings account. That's a hell of a lot better financial standing than most couples our age have.

We'll never look back at this time and say, "What if...?", because we jumped at the opportunity to make a change others only dream of. After all, life is FULL of surprises.

If I can't appreciate that as I approach 30, then I'm delusional.

Besides, who says we have to have it all figured out by 30? The husband, the home, the kids, the career... I have the husband, and he's amazing. The rest? It can wait until the right time. Forcing it now wouldn't be right. Plus, it gives me something to look forward to in my 30s and 40s and 50s and 60s. (And hopefully 70s and 80s, too!)

So, watch out 30 - I'm coming for you. And this next decade is gonna be GOOD.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Buried in Tomatoes

Yesterday I opened up my email to find the sweetest message from my dear friend Jessi who wrote, "I hope the blog absence means you're just crazy busy and off having adventures, and does not indicate that you've been burried under pounds of beautiful tomatoes or lost in a sink of sudsy water in dirty dish purgatory." I just started laughing since I actually have been buried under pounds of beautiful tomatoes and lost in dirty dish purgatory.

All that goes to say that the last three and a half weeks have been INSANE here on the ranch. We're exhausted. And that's the truth. The good news? We're in the home stretch of madness, with a party that starts tonight (Friday) and ends in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Yes - you read that correctly. This is a 36 hour party. Needless to say, our bosses can throw a serious shindig.

But after that shindig? This group of guests leaves on Sunday, and then we have a couple of guys trickling in slowly throughout next week, getting ready to leave on their pack trip next Friday.

What am I going to do when all the guys head off for their week long pack trip? Sleep. Water plants. Clean slowly. Get a massage and a hair cut. And spend some quality book time in a hammock.

Can't wait.

In the meantime? I offer this as proof that I am actually buried under pounds of beautiful tomatoes. I harvested two HUGE baskets of the suckers today. Here's one of them:

Thank God Tony likes to use lots and lots of fresh tomatoes. :)

My snack break is over and it's back to work I go with the help of another cup of coffee. (Hi-ho!)