Monday, March 27, 2017

Oh Shit, We Have Two Days Til The Movers Come

Two days.

This pic looks still.

I do not feel still.

Snapped it in an anxious moment of thinking, "Ohmigod, I only have two days left in this house. And look at everything we need to do. And oh hi, this is real. I need a drink. Let's remember this bathroom. Don't forget all the good times in this bathroom."

Sinking in.

We have a babysitter for two hours this morning and I'm supposed to be packing upstairs for our four-month sublet. Figuring out which clothes and books and pots and pans we'll need from now til July.


Snuggling up with my laptop instead after a wonderful week of constant movement and very little alone time. Feels like medicine to just be quiet and hiding in the closet. (Writer's medicine, that is.) Need to knock out an offer letter as soon as I throw this quick post up.

We flew to Boston a week ago. Stayed at a lovely hotel right by Berklee School of Music and spent several days feeling out neighborhoods, opening bank accounts, touring a preschool, and the like.

It was so great.

The sun came out. Several days in a row.

I didn't realize how much I missed the sun until it decided to come out and stay out. Go figure.  

(Love you, Portland, but the rain's got me all "enough, already.")

You know what else I found, and had missed?

Diversity. So much diversity.

Languages and races and countries of origin and you name it.

So excited about Boston's urban, academic, international vibe.

Universities everywhere you turn.

Public transport up the wazoo.

Ethnic food every day.


Discovered Somerville and Cambridge and Brookline and you name it. Went to four different libraries in four days. The Meyer Family Library Tour.

But, shit. Ever tried to buy a house in Boston?

It was humbling. An SF-level real-estate wake-up call.

Never expected to see so many tiny shitty peeling-paint homes going for upwards of $800k. Like, 900 sq ft shitty peeling-paint holes-in-the-wall no-yard no-parking going for $50k-over-asking tiny flats.

It's crazy. Literally unbelievable, sometimes.

We were all over the board, driving from downtown to Lexington to the 'burbs and back. Even the burbs are outrageous. Tiny overpriced homes with lead paint and no closets. Kind of bleak.

We were like: should we just move to the beach and drive in for work? Buy a glistening home right there in Marblehead and walk the ocean every morning and suck it up with the daily commute so we don't have to live in a glorified closet from 1835?

Thought about it.

But when all was said and done, we ended up realizing we want to land right where we started: Cambridge and thereabouts.

Yesterday, right before we headed to the airport, we toured a sweet flat just north of Harvard Divinity School (7 minutes!) and First Unitarian of Cambridge (6 minutes!) and Cambridge Public Library (7 minutes!) with a fab park up one block and a delicious vegetarian Indian restaurant down the street and reclaimed-wood hipster breakfast spot around the corner and so much more within walking distance.

Super stoked. Reminds me so much of where I lived on Nob Hill in SF. Tall, hundred-year-old buildings with classic style.

So we'll put in an offer today and release all attachment because, damn, there are a lot of well-heeled people bidding on houses out there. We have a temporary place in Somerville (to give us space to land and close on something permanent), and I'm so glad that's where we sort of accidentally ended up. Robb shared an article with me that called Somerville "the Brooklyn of Boston," and that was so much the feel we got.

I dig it. So we'll give it a shot.

Who knows.

Back to the present moment.

We're here in Portland for just a few more days.

Today we throw some shit in boxes and try to eat what's left in the fridge. Tomorrow we return the 57 library books stashed throughout the house. Wednesday the packers come. Thursday the movers load the truck. Friday we paint and clean. Saturday we fly to Boston, and stay.

Two more sleeps in this sweet house of ours, pulsing with so many memories of the last couple of years.

Feeling all the feels. Joy. Grief. Mostly, just trying to be right here in this just-right moment.

Last week was like a big vacation-adventure in a beautiful old-school Boston hotel.

This week: it gets real.

Here we go.

Oh hey, impermanence. Nice to see you again. Let me just carry you around in my pocket for the next few days. We're gonna get to know each other reallll well. 

Love to you from these final few days in Pacific Standard Time.

(Now, where was that box again?)

Friday, March 24, 2017

How Not To Raise A Little Sh*t

I wrote this new article for The Washington Post, partly in response to the cray-cray elite competitive sport that parenting has become.

"I see no need for personal chauffeurs, overpriced tutors or hardcore chess tournaments. As a child of the heartland, it’s important to me that my son realize that not everybody’s family flies a private plane or uses 'summers' as a verb."

But I still want to raise a kid who's not a little shit. So here are five things I do every day to be an okay parent, without getting caught up in the curated-childhood craze.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Two Classes Left In Portland

Back in Portland, with two classes left before I go. See you tonight and Weds at YoYoYogi. 🌷

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Spring Newsletter

Just sent out my first newsletter in nine months. (Been a little distracted by politics and presidents and apocalypses, yo.) You can read it here, or click on the upper-left corner to subscribe.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Surprise! We're Moving To Boston

Surprise! We’re moving to Boston.

(Holy shit.)

What’s the story? Simple, really.

Robb got an epic job in Cambridge. A once-in-a-lifetime job. The kind of job that will take us to Europe. The kind of job for which you pick up and move your family 3000 miles across the country to a place where it snows — a lot — and people have strange accents and root for the Red Sox and use “wicked” as an adjective.

I am so proud of him. He’s knocked this one outta the park. Grand Slam. Papa Bear in the HOUSE.

So here we go.

Life comes at you in unexpected ways.

Who’d have thought, 15 years since either of us lived within spitting distance of I-95 and or cursed (erm, traversed) the New Jersey Turnpike on a regular basis, we’d be moving back to the Eastern Seaboard?

I mean, weren’t we West Coast/Best Coast people for life?

Gah! Life.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from yoga, Buddhism, meditation: it’s that everything changes. Impermanence, baby. You try to cling to what is, and you’ll always, ever, be sadly disappointed.

The timing makes total sense, actually.

I’d been flush with this feeling of happiness lately, the kind of “profound okayness” Tara Brach talks about, looking around at my life and appreciating its sweet balance of work and family and school for Duke and hiking and libraries and favorite brunch spots and music class with cousins and you name it. Feeling really settled, really pleased, quietly content with our lives here.

But as the vinyasa reminds us: the dance that is life just keeps flowing. Just when you hit a really sweet spot, things change.

Whether you’re thrilled or tortured in a particular pose (read: moment of life), it always passes. You hold that Revolved Triangle for 5 breaths and are relieved when it’s over and you can exhale into a Chaturanga. You lift up into that deep backbend for five breaths and thrum with the vitality that comes with opening up and creating so much fearless space, and ease back down into a bittersweet sadness when it’s over. You fold forward into that comfortable old friend Janu Sirsasana and feel like you could stay there forever, it’s so right and good and familiar and effortless.

But then it passes.

So here we are. The vinyasa has shifted. We held the pose, we breathed into it, we were in it all the way, to the best of our abilities, knowing it wouldn’t last forever, and now we turn to the next.

This is life.

This is yoga.

My final class here in Portland will be Weds. March 15th. We’ll put our house on the market and squeeze in a week of East Coast house-hunting after that. The last week of March, the movers will load the truck, we’ll ship our cars 3000 miles, and board a one-way flight to Boston.



So much excitement. I am uber-stoked to live just a few minutes from Harvard Divinity School. To attend nerdy theology lectures and take Duke to libraries and explore the corners and crevices of Boston itself. To visit Cape Cod and Walden Pond and take kayaks up to New Hampshire. To have Duke's grandfather on the same coast so we can see him more often. To live close to Bernie Country and reconnect with old friends up and down the East Coast. And Google tells me the closest Unitarian church is parked right there on Harvard Square itself. How cool is that?

Perhaps most thrilling? Having feisty progressive truth-teller Elizabeth Warren as our hometown Senator.

My Bronx-born baseball-player Yankee-fan husband is stoked to hit up games together at Fenway Park. (We’ll arrive just in time for Opening Day.) We’ll take the train into New York City to catch Broadway shows, to see our dear friend and mentor Dorothy, and to visit old friends in Brooklyn. We’ll ride Amtrak to Delaware to reconnect with old college friends and kick it at Rehoboth Beach.

All of which translates to: JOY.

So much joy.

But on the flipside: Sadness. Grief. Of course, right? Nothing in life is ever black-and-white. Only so many varying shades of grey.

We imagined we’d live here in Portland for a good long time. Far beyond anything else, having to leave my sister, my brother-in-law, and our two nieces, whom we joined here in Oregon at the same time, is the ultimate in heartbreak. There’s no papering over that disappointment, that sense of loss. It has been the joy of my life watching our kids play together, laugh together, sing together, celebrate holidays together. It has been a revelation and a grace to have my sister and brother-in-law here to share meals and stories and snow chains. And I know we will ache for their absence for a long, long time. My heart is heavy even writing that.

Not to mention YoYoYogi. My marvelous YoYos: thank you for welcoming me into your home. Even though my chaturanga-filled California-style vinyasa may have felt different at first. ;) You made our family yours and I will be ever grateful for the sweaty breaths we shared. Students and colleagues, please join me for my last few classes before I say goodbye on the 15th.

Professionally, I’ll be postponing a few events we had planned for this spring and summer, given all the house-buying and stuff-moving and job-starting and school-finding action going on for the next few months.

But hear me out, West Coast: you’ll always be my first true love, and you won’t be able to shake me.

Stay tuned for a rescheduled Point Reyes yoga/hiking retreat sometime this fall, a special yoga class benefit for The Anata Project in SF, and maybe a few Oakland philosophy workshops, too. Details to come once we unpack our Vitamix and find the box with our toothbrushes and figure out how to get Duke to go to bed three hours earlier than he’s used to.

(Pacific Standard Time, I’m gonna miss you.)

Finally: I don’t know a goddamned thing about Boston, so those of you with history and/or family and/or experience there, please feel free to pour out your knowledge upon us. We’ll be leaning on you as we fumble our way through new accents, new neighborhoods, and new transit systems.

(Hang tight, Senator Warren. We’re on our way.)

Love to you. Love to this life. Love to the unexpected adventures it brings.

I am grateful you are along for the ride.