Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Deal

On Thursday, my husband will be sitting for the Construction And Evaluation Of Actuarial Models Exam C.  The who, the what? Yeah, I know.
At one time, we were happily rolling along with him working in finance at a local natural gas company.  It was a good job, but not very exciting or challenging.  O.K. so actuarial work has a reputation for being purposefully UN-exciting, but as for the challenging part: most definitely. 
Well, about four years ago, my husband realized that all signs were pointing to the fact that the gas company he was working at was ripe for a buy out.  Thankfully, he saw this about six months before the word became official.  This gave us time to think about what he would do in case of said buy out.
As my husband pondered the possibilities, he started talking about doing something I had never heard of.  He wanted to become an actuary.  He told me that this idea had always been in the back of his mind.  He had sometimes wondered if he should have pursued this.  But he had a math professor in college that made him promise he wouldn't go any further in the field of math as he wasn't the ideal math student.    So, being the 'rule follower' that he is, he figured he had given his word and that door was closed.  Not so much, it turns out.  After all, he married me and (especially after I turned 30) something in me just yearns to break the rules.  So, as soon as I knew that he had a dream to try something other than what he was currently doing, it was on, baby!  (Besides, maybe he doesn't churn out math like a machine, but he was a Math and English double major at an Ivy League school.  So he's no slouch.)
Once the decision was made, my husband quickly moved into a position at a property casualty insurance company and began the process of working through actuarial exams.  To say that these exams are difficult is an understatement.  There are nine of them, each requiring at least 300 hours of study.  Only a small number of people ever bother to even try taking these suckers.  And among those who do take the tests, the pass rate is about 30-40% for each one.  So in essence, if you can pass about one a year, you're golden.  This is what is expected for the industry, as many people are weeded out along the way.  So far so good, my husband has been at this for about four years and is on his fourth exam.
Now hang in here with me just a little bit longer.  This is where it gets interesting.  Over time, the two of us have realized some key ingredients in a much better pass rate for my husband.  (So he doesn't have to take each exam more than once.)  These things are not what we would have expected.  It doesn't seem to matter how many extra hours he studies.  It doesn't matter which study aids he uses- flash cards, books, study guides.  The big surprising key is this:  It matters that I stay interested and present in this process with him.  We have found that although I do not understand math or statistics at the level he must perform at, I do know how to keep my husband's spirit up and positive.  I know what it takes for him to focus, but not burn out.  If I just leave him to study and 'put in the hours', the hours don't add up to nearly as much learning and true understanding of the subject for my husband.  There's more than just the sum of all the parts going on here.  Some of the parts carry more weight than others.  And the cool part is that I get to be an integral part of all of this.  The end result is going to mean more because we are in this together. 
So, to get through this process, we've made a bit of a deal.  We both give up some time and energy for the total cause and in the end we'll both reap the benefits of a lot of hard work.  This really isn't anything new.  Families do this sort of thing all the time.  I just never saw myself with a stopwatch and an answer key that looks like Greek to me...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Texas?

Just when I thought I had some kind of hold on what might be happening on the job hunting front- nope, not so much.  After the excitement of finding out that two employers are interested, there has been no word on the actual upcoming interview dates.
So, I do recall saying that it would be fun to spend Thanksgiving in Texas this year.  I meant that it would be good to have Thanksgiving in Texas because I was hoping that we might be lucky enough to get all settled into a new place before the start of the holiday season.  Not that I wanted to be hanging out in a hotel in Texas during Thanksgiving week.  I guess you have to be careful what you ask for...
In the meantime, we're hosting a great big Halloween costume and pumpkin carving party.  Should be a great time.  And most importantly, my Nephew's latest custody hearing went very well for his father.  There is now serious progress in the quest to get that little boy some real stability in his life.  I have to admit that I never believed that fathers have a tougher time getting custody of their kids if the mothers were unfit, but I have to say I was so wrong.  Over the last three years I have seen my sisters life go from bad to horrific and no one seems all that worried about what happens to a child in her care.  I have actually heard a judge declare that a mothers drug use doesn't necessarily affect her kids.  Please...what planet do you have to be living on to think that kids don't hurt when their mom puts drugs before them?
For now, I'm grateful for the important stuff getting closer to a resolution.  I'll enjoy some of the lighter side of life and I'll try waiting patiently for some news on the job opportunities in Texas.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vows & Whispers

Last weekend, I went to the beautiful autumn-themed wedding of a long-time family friend.  (What a great opportunity to put one of those dresses in the back of my closet, with tags still on them to use!)   I was there on behalf of the bride.  Her oldest brother was one of my best friends in high school and his sister became a little sister to me.  These people have been in my life for about 15 years. 
This bride is very blessed.  She comes from an absolutely fabulous family.  I remember hanging out at their house as much as possible, just drinking in the acceptance and love that this family offered to everyone that came through their door.  This family is not what you would expect from their outside image.  Their stats don't speak for who they really are. 
Upon meeting these people, the first thing you notice is that there are more of them than in an average size family.  There are eight children, making them a family of ten.  The next obvious thing about them is that the father in the family is a pastor of a church.  These two aspects alone make most people jump to certain stereotypical conclusions.  These people do not fit the mold for a typical church family.
Over the countless hours I've spent with this family, I learned many surprising things.  I found out that the mother is seriously funny.  She is a spitfire.  She loves beer and pizza, especially while playing Rummy.  She puts her family first, but never loses herself.  She blew off her college graduation ceremony to run off and get married because she felt that it wouldn't be right to wear white for the ceremony if she waited much longer!  It turns out that this family ended up with eight kids, not by design but, because they had some serious birth control failures which they have joked about on occasion.  Each of these eight kids was given the mental and physical room they needed to become exactly who they were meant to be, not a carbon copy of one another or a part of a generic brood. 
While they are not a perfect family, their kids are loved and have always felt safe to say or ask anything.  I have spent some of my best times as an honorary extra family member for road trips and other events.  It's a marvel to see any family that runs well and really cool for it to be one of this size.  This family knows how to make you feel truly accepted and it's fun to watch peoples faces when you file into a restaurant or campground as a family of 16, our 'mother' proudly claiming all of us.  I've recently found a blog that reminds me a bit of my family friends over at Table For Nine.
During the wedding celebration of my 'little sister', I noticed a few very striking things.  The first thing: Having her father be the one to marry her to her new husband was so awesome.  It really changed the dynamics of the ceremony for me.  This is the oldest daughter and first to be married.  You could just feel the bond of a father laying out his love for his daughter and entrusting her dreams to the man she marries.  It was as if a torch of respect was being passed between them, for this woman that they both love so much.
The second thing:  This one was sad.  There were whispered rude remarks about the man that this woman was marrying.  He is somewhat older than the bride.  He has a fourteen year old son who served as best man during the ceremony and gave a funny heartfelt toast that involved a mad lib treatment.  Not sure whether the new husband has been married before or not.  I didn't ask about any of these things because it doesn't matter.  I had spoken with the bride several weeks before the wedding about how she was feeling during the preparations.  We had a great conversation.  Although I don't personally know her new husband, I trust her judgement and the family that she comes from.  Her family was obviously very happy for her.  That's all that should matter to anyone. 
The last thing I noticed: the new husband seemed a bit shy and somewhat overwhelmed.  He reminded me of my own husband in some ways.  They are both men who are quiet when you first meet them.  But I'm sure that like my husband, there's a lot more to him once you get to know him.  I made a point to go over and talk to him when he was alone.  I said, "You did the same thing my husband did.  You married the life of the party."  He replied in a satisfied tone, "Yes, I did."  We both laughed at that and then quietly watched his new wife work the room for a while.  I left him with this, "You're going to have a great life."
I'm going to ask them over for dinner in the next couple of weeks.  I want to make a point of getting to know my new 'brother-in-law'.  He is lucky to be a part of a wonderful family and I want to help welcome him in.  I know a good thing when I see it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Peeking Around A Corner

Just a quick little tidbit, because I have to say something to someone about this...
My husband got news from a recruiter last night.  News that means that he should be interviewing, in person, in Texas, within a couple of weeks!  I know this could be something real or nothing at all.  Still, my mind can't help but wander through the possibilities.  What this could mean...
There is one thing that this news definitely means.  I told myself that as soon as it got to the point that we needed to go out for a real in person interview, then I would tell people in my work world that there is a possibility that I could be leaving.  I would do this as a courtesy because in the work that I do, it would be nice to give them at least a month to start looking for other options.  As soon as I get an actual date, I will go through with that.  (We needed money to help fund this little endeavor of moving across the country, so it was imperative that I not say anything until we had a bit saved up for this.)  My friends have known for about four months now and that has been interesting to see how that changes up the friendships, in ways good and bad.  Putting work on early notice will be a brand new leap of faith for me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Is Home?

When I was 17, my mother got divorced again and we moved for what I noticed was the seventeenth time.  I thought that was pretty impressive until I realized that meant that I had moved 16 times by the time I was 9.  I was just coming off of what was for me a fairly stable 8 years.  I had never moved across the country (yet) or the world like some people have, for jobs, etc.  I have lived in the same region of the U.S. all my life.  So all of these moves were pretty local, but did usually involve school changes, etc.  My mother would tell everybody it didn't matter because I was a smart kid.  (Smart enough not to tell her things: like that I had known how to spell for much longer than she had been spelling stuff out over the phone to hide things from me.)  Naturally my sense of 'home' is not so traditional.

At different times, as I was growing up, the place where I lived would change so quickly that I didn't even have a chance to say goodbye to classmates or neighbors.  We once had to leave within a few hours because my mother's boyfriend was getting out of jail and she didn't want him to come after us again.  We moved everything we could get out fast, and ended up in a whole new city by that night.  I suppose if I had come to think of home as a place, I would have ended up pretty messed up.  I did have some strong connections that stayed in place with several people over time and I think that helped to keep me sane.

Our houses or apartments were never great for most of my life, but they were clean and fairly well maintained.  Then when my mother married her last husband, that all changed.   It turned out he was extremely obsessive compulsive and a chronic hoarder.  It is still hard for me to say which is worse- a household ruled by the chaos of domestic violence or the weird world of having stuff slowly close in all around you.  One day you look around and there's just no home left.

For many people 'home' is where their parents still live or the place they were born.  Obviously, not so for me.  I have a friend who still lives in her childhood home.  Her parents both died early.  She is very attached to the idea of  home as a place.  She hasn't truly changed much about the house she lives in since she inherited it, and had never spent much time living out on her own before that.  To me, it feels like that house is not really her home at all, but a tribute to her parents.
I have another friend who is so good about giving everything a 'homey' touch.  She likes to feel at home wherever she goes.  She even brings beautiful scarves on trips with her so she can drape them over lamps in hotel rooms.  I have helped this friend move several times over the last few years and yet she demonstrates the best example of what home really is to me.  I have grown to love this idea that home can be anything or anywhere as long as you have people that you love in your life and maybe a few familiar or meaningful things.

I have been told that my house is very peaceful.  I hope that I always make people feel at home.

Monday, October 18, 2010

In Appreciation Of An Attorney

True enough, attorneys often get a well deserved bum rap.   But today I am thankful for one particular attorney who has taken interest in the life of my beloved nephew, Nathan.  Without his pro bono work, my nephew's life would not be headed in a positive direction.  Honestly, there might not be much hope for him at all.
As I have mentioned before, I am not a mother.  So, from the very moment that Nathan was born, my nephew has been the embodiment of love in its' rawest form for me.  That love that you never knew you were capable of- instant and endless.  This had made the fact that he has to endure an upbringing that is so heart wrenchingly close to my own all the more difficult to watch.  My heart just aches for him.  Over the years I have been known to meddle too much in my effort to save him from the pain.  Only recently I have had the peace of knowing that I  have done everything and more that any reasonable person would do.  As I have  made the calls, written the letters, and fought the system in general I have never had the privilege of working with someone who actually gets what is going on as much as the attorney who has begun recently working on behalf of my nephew.  There is now someone else in the world who seems to be in Nathan's corner as well.  I believe he forgives me for for my initial mistrust and knows that my heart means well.  I thank this man most for the fact that I can begin to release some of the heavy weight of responsibility to save Nathan that I have felt for so long, instead of bearing it all alone.
This is the 'thank you' that I sent to Nathan's attorney today:
I am so thankful for those that step up and do what they don't have to do, just because they want to.  Because it's the right thing to do, not because somebody made them do it.  These are the people that make a real difference in this world.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Got a great new pastime.  It's loads of fun and involves loads of unloading.
As my husband gets bites from recruiters and signs are coming my way that this move to Texas is really going to happen, I get busy anti-hoarding. 
My husband's part in supporting this move is to find a job and pass a test while he's waiting to find said job.  My deal is to get rid of stuff.  (And eventually find a new place for us live in.)
I try to figure out what I could possibly live without.  And then I whittle it down some more.
So far, I've got a primo pile of 'moving sale' stuff going in the guest room and I've had some tremendous trips to the dump.  In one load I managed to rid myself of an old plastic swimming pool, a bent up bike, sun-rotted patio chairs, broken flower pots, a non-working vacuum cleaner, and a dead barbecue- and then threw in the neighbors ruined screen door just for kicks and giggles.  What is it that causes us humans to keep stuff around way after it has reached it's end of usefulness?
I don't have a clue.  What I do know is that right now it's fun to dig in and get rid of stuff.  I like to get some good music going and go at it.  I get down with some Eminem or Nickelback.
I actually look forward to coming home after work and working some more, at getting rid of junk.  I've been inspired by what I've seen other bloggers accomplish in their clean out efforts.
I now happily admit that I never use the bread maker, or the rotisserie.  Nor the cutesy dishes that I moved from the last house and still never used.  I get satisfaction from giving things to neighbors that I know they'll enjoy.  I have fun using up good stuff that I like, but don't want to haul.
I get a sense of accomplishment when I can get a room to echo. 
Ah the simple pleasures of preparing for a long distance move...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Free To Live

A conversation with a friend, brought on by the story from Chile, inspired today's blog posting.
We spoke of pleasant surprises.  Like the fact that those men all seem astonishingly well, considering the ordeal they have just been through.  I am so happy and thankful for all of them.  What strength from within they have demonstrated for the world.

Do you ever surprise yourself?  It seems I do that a bit lately.
I never used to.  For years & years I thought I knew myself so well.  I liked to say that I felt as if I had been the same person with the same thoughts since I was about 12 years old.  I thought, 'Well, I guess I'll feel and think this way even when I'm 90.'  I know that's kind of weird.  I mean, people are supposed to change over time.  And even though it's true that I was a pretty precocious kid, I now know just how ridiculous that idea was.
So one day, I turned 30.  No, seriously.  It was like a light switch got flipped.  I realized, in what seemed like one giant flash, that maybe I wasn't quite as familiar with myself as I had assumed.
This person that I thought I knew so well suddenly had entirely new perspectives and desires, that either changed what I thought I knew or expanded certain aspects of myself in directions I never saw coming.
I like to think that I didn't go through the gradual changes that most people do during adolescence and early adulthood because I didn't feel safe to do so.  So it all came on with a flood of startling surprise. 
This rapid process was interesting to say the least.  Within a few weeks it was as if I had met myself for the very first time.  Definitely an odd sensation.
Some people were amazingly happy for me.  Others got left in the dust.  I wish I could say I was sorry for that because it feels like I should have been sorry.  But I wasn't.
I was just so free.
Free to have my own opinions and actually know why I have them.
Free to pursue my own interests without having to explain them to anyone, unless I wanted to.
Free to make my own mistakes.
Free to live my own truths.
Free to belly dance, free to take gourmet cooking lessons, free to explore old childhood loves with completely new eyes. 
Free to live bigger than I ever imagined. 
I never knew how small my world was, until I allowed myself to outgrow it.  My husband got a whole new wife.  Good thing he liked her!
So it looks like the winds of change are bringing more than just Autumn this year.
I've heard it said that people's tastes change about every 7 years or so.  Looks like I'm right on time...

My friend and I ended the discussion that brought on this entry with these thoughts:  Do you ever really know what all could be hiding inside yourself?  Does it scare you or does it make you feel free?

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Last Hurrah

Halloween is descending upon us.  That means only one thing- the Holidays are right around the corner.
Now in my perfect world, I should be in Texas by the end of this month.  That would mean that I would be in prime position to take advantage of a lot more sun than we get here in the Great Northwest for the above mentioned impending Holidays.  And I would have maximum time to get used to the heat that comes along with that sun that will make me feel as if I might just be living on the sun by oh, say, next August if not sooner.
Chances are better than really good that I'm not going to be in Southeast Texas by the end of this month.
In fact, I may not be there in time to hang Christmas lights on a palm tree (or even a cactus if I must) as I have planned.  No, I don't care if that's the first thing my new neighbors will find strange about me.  Whoever my new neighbors end up to be, they will just have to get used to the idea that I could very easily end up as their latest form of free entertainment.  In these times, free is good.  Besides, I'll be from out of town so I'll have the perfect excuse to be weird.
Some of my friends have said that it would be great if we don't get to move until next Spring.  Now I understand; they have a dog in this fight.  They would like to have one last hurrah.  Our house is the place where most of the fall/winter events end up at and change is hard to deal with.  So for the time being, I am going to accept that this is where I am supposed to be and enjoy it as much as possible.
It's been great lately, doing all kinds of things that I don't always make time for.  I am also using this time to be sure that my friendships are good and solid.  I will need these people to get through this move and beyond.  I have no intention of losing touch simply because of distance.  I realize that things will naturally change, but I want to do my best for those who are here with me in the now and yet may still have space for me in their lives in the future.  I am grateful for the chance to be able to reflect and appreciate the people I love while receiving their support for my future dreams.
So here's to a wonderful last hurrah, whatever and whenever that turns out to be.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

To The 3rd Power

This post is about three people.  Three unique females who have stories that make me grateful for life and help me to learn so much about myself, in three very different ways. 

The first person is a relatively new friend, an acquaintance who I really hadn't connected with until just recently.  When I first met her, she seemed like someone I didn't have much in common with.  To be totally real, I felt like she was kind of socially out of the loop.  Not that I'm so altogether with it all the time, but she just seemed odd.  Over the past year, I had reason to see her many times.  I began to realize that we have strikingly similar family experiences.  We talked more often and I started to hear about her brave battle with colon cancer.  I really began to admire who she is.  I started to see this woman in a whole new light.  My reaction to her told me a lot about how others sometimes react to me.

Now, she is sick once again.  The colon cancer is back and she is stage 4.  She has had to go through more surgery and changes to her body than I can even image dealing with.  Through all of this, she is an amazing balance of fight and grace.  She takes things one day at a time and never gives up, even when the news is really bad for her.  She is honest and upfront about her feelings without letting those emotions eat her alive.  She lives every day doing whatever she can to function 'like her normal self' as much as she possibly can.  What an inspiration and wonder that I would have missed out on if I would have stuck by my original snap judgement of this person.  I am so glad that she makes me better just by getting to know her.

The second person of my three is someone I have known for a long time.  She is the mother of a family that I was a nanny for, for nine years.  During the time that I was seeing her daily, she went through a long bout of illness and then began dealing with the permanent changes that illness left her with.  She comes off as a real pushover.  She doesn't have a lot of fight in her.  If you're not careful, you might see her as weak.  This woman is not weak.  She gives to her kids and husband so unselfishly.  She uses what energy she has to make sure that the people she loves are truly happy.  This is what makes her happy.  This woman is a true force when it comes to demonstrating quietly what a mother often sacrifices for her family.

She has shown me a side to mothering that is awe inspiring.  I never saw this with my own mother.  To be fair, I don't think this type of mothering is for everybody.  Through her, I have learned that I am a true nurturer, but not a mother.  At least not the type that I would have wanted to be.  I am often questioned about my choice not to parent, with the usual "but you would make such a great Mom".  This woman has given me a more concrete grasp at what I've always known in my own heart.  On top of all that, she helps me understand that some people don't lose who they are when they become mothers.  Instead, like this woman, they fulfill who they were actually meant to be.  I saw her again the other day, after I hadn't seen her in quite a while.  She knew that my husband and I had gone through some difficult times over the last year.  I could see in her eyes that she was so happy that we had come out the other side with our health in tact and our hearts and minds in the right place.  It was all she needed, and everything to me to be loved like that.

The last of my three people is someone who hasn't even been born yet.  This little woman is going to be coming into the world with a bang.  She is going to be born with a birth defect.  To quote her mother: "I hate the term birth defect.  She's NOT defected!!  She's perfect!!  She's beautiful!! She's my little girl!!"  Through the already shed tears and pain that I have shared with her mother, I can see the good that is coming through this beautiful new life.  This baby will bring more love to an already fearfully and wonderfully made, fantastic family.  She is already teaching those of us around her what it means to truly love unconditionally.  I look forward to what this will mean to her mother, her sister and her father.

I will leave you with the lovely poem her father wrote on the night her family found out:

New Dreams
I had dreams for you that would one day come true

Dreams which now may be whittled down by a few

I’m lost, in despair, all but driven to madness

Denial, anger, depression and sadness

I weep and I cry and I come to the conclusion

I need to escape from this dreadful delusion.

Your life’s not been lost but perhaps altered a bit

Like a breath of fresh air I dare to admit

I’m not okay with giving you less than the best

A life to be envied by all of the rest

It will be a fairy tale of which you'll be the star

I know my dear daughter that you will go far.

Nothing is going to stand in your way

I’m anxious to meet you come your delivery day!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bubble Bath & Spice Packets

What's so different now?  Now that our household lives in active limbo, waiting and working towards finding the right job, the right timing to take us where we want to go? 
I've never been one to be comfortable with the 'in-betweens' of life.  I don't like long engagements or long goodbyes.  I pride myself on being decisive.
So why am I suddenly so willing to happily go along with this new (even self imposed) 'in-between'?
It seems I've stumbled upon something that is entirely fresh to me, and maybe not so new to others in the blogosphere out there.  I'm late to the party, so to speak.
I'm newer to the idea of living for today, not waiting for the right moment or special occasion to use and enjoy the nicer things in life.  Somewhere along the line I got into the habit of saving my fun side for others and putting aside my own enjoyment of the moment. 
I think I might have been afraid of losing control.  Oh how that control stuff can get in the way!  You think you're in control so you never allow yourself to live outside of a sure thing.  Then one day, the fact that the sure thing is holding you back comes right up and whacks you in the face!
I really do try to learn from others.  I've been around people who have nothing and also those with a lot more.  I've noticed that no matter what a person has, you can always tell when someone shares a generosity of life and spirit.  It simply emanates from them.  We've also all seen the flip side of that.  People who just swim in material stuff and don't seem to enjoy any of it.
Over the last year, I've gotten better at letting the good stuff be mine, as well as there for others.  I've enjoyed help when I needed it and a much more honest life altogether.  I've realized that while I was holding back on myself, I ended up inadvertently holding back on those that I love so much.
So during this time, between knowing that I will be moving pretty darn far away and the actual doing of said moving, could be a weird time between me and those that I will be leaving behind- in terms of distance.  But since I don't just believe that the 'pie' of life is boundless in size, but also in shape, I am taking this time to grow my relationships and learn something rather than just let them drift away.
As I'm going through stuff- as we often wait to do until we move, my new found feelings of not wanting to waste the good stuff find concrete examples.  With every sadly unburned lovely scented candle or dress with tags still on it at the back of the closet, I see that I want to change this.
Not only have I recently relished in serving friends a fabulous roast made with those little spice packets I always buy at craft fairs and save for a special occasion, but I've luxuriated in bubble baths while waiting for those friends to arrive instead of worrying myself over every last little detail.
My surprising satisfaction at this particular juncture comes from knowing that I'm not just in the process of changing a physical place, but a fundamental part of who I am.  And for the better.

Friday, October 1, 2010

You're Moving Where?!

Having lived all my life in one of those places that many people seem to believe is ideal, you get used to certain attitudes and assumptions- that the seasons here are the 'real' seasons, that there is only one temperature range that human beings can actually survive in, that here is normal and all else is well... crazy.
People seem very comfortable with the idea that where they live is superior to all other options. 
Then one day, if you dare to challenge that and do something like oh... say that another place might be an interesting and/or good experience, boy do you get an earful.
Now that I've really settled into 'it's not an if but a when' we will be moving away, I'm getting a real taste of what it might be like once I become an 'outsider'.
Apparently, I will lose IQ points upon crossing the border of our state and even thinking about staying away for any extended period of time.  I will also encounter mad, rabid, gigantic animals of all sorts.  I might even pick up some sort of strange accent that could be very hard to shake, like some kind of chronic disease or something.
With the horrors of huge bugs and hurricanes looming, one might be tempted to just stay put and never leave the cocoon that is 'the ideal place'.  I've even been asked if I'm worried that my dogs might get heart worm.
Seriously, no place is truly perfect.  But some might suit certain people better than others.  And there's really no way to find that out without just biting the bullet and going for it.
So I understand that there is much to where someone comes from.  But I never want to be one of those people who refuse to experience something different and admit that it's good.
I've been attached to one place for a very long time and I've only just begun to embrace the idea that I might actually want a change.
So I'll take my chances that I might regret the day that I ever left, knowing that something wonderful is just as likely to be waiting for me.
What's the worst place you've ever lived?  What about the best?
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