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The Dinner Party
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Five years ago today, I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon.

Many of my wonderful friends in California and my family members as well, asked WHY. I had a pretty good job at a law firm in Mountain View (Silicon Valley). I had a wonderful group of friends in the ukulele playing world which I’d joined around 2010 after my friend gave me a ukulele — and other friends as well. Though my older son and his girlfriend had moved back to Oregon just the year before, all the rest of my kids and my grandson (the other grandkids had not arrived yet) all lived in California. My youngest daughter Megan, who was around 23 at the time and still living with me at the “yellow house” which my grandson Jeremiah called it, a three-bedroom mobile home in North San Jose. I liked the mobile home park where we lived and it wasn’t too far from work most of the time. I felt safe in the midst of twists and turns there, an older mobile home park that existed long before any of the buildings around it such as the main Samsung offices and so many other tech companies.

There were many trees and a nice park in the middle, and I’d walk our dog late at night feeling perfectly safe. For the first couple of years we lived there, my son, his girlfriend and my grandson all lived with us there because they were having trouble finding a place they could afford, which was kind of a universal issue in the Bay Area and most likely still is. It was just a little crowded, but not too much, and I loved having them stay with us because I got to see my Baby J every day. He was around 3 then, and he’d run into my bedroom and wake me up every morning and gaze at my shell collection in a tin, and even put my flower berets into his hair and admire my JOhn Lennon doll. He’d impress people by knowing all about John Lennon and the Beatles and he also knew a lot of their songs because I taught him. We’d have walking adventures every day at some point with our dog Sydney whom he knew how to walk on his own. My son’s dog Jerry also lived with us along with my poor cat Guinness, who still lives with me here in Oregon, but he was too big for Jeremiah to walk. Sydney was only 12 pounds, perfect size for a little boy. We’d have adventures and usually walked the same route where he’d stop to climb on a structure, and stop again to swing at the tiny playground and then we’d play in the park. We would look at everything in front of the various mobile homes such as Buddha and flowers and even a spot where the butterflies would land.

But they finally found a house rental in Hayward, CA and moved away. Megan and I were sad to see them go, especially me. Now I wouldn’t see my grandson as much, but at least he was just a 30 to 45-minute drive away. After that, I had to get at least one roommate which I wasn’t keen on because the rent was kind of high, well not too high by 2015 standards, but high for me. I rented to the Vegan “crazy” lady who used her own microwave and fridge, but she paid me $800 a month regularly, and I needed that.

So why did I suddenly feel like I needed to move away? You’ve got me! I wanted an easier life, yet I still needed a full-time job. I didn’t want things to be so expensive. When I visited Stevie and Liezl, Liezl seemed happier and was painting and drawing more, though she still worked full-time via telecommute. I found myself wishing I could telecommute. Who knew that a year or two later, I would actually telecommute after that State job with the Justice Department failed — I could not go back to micro-management. I was depressed and things didn’t start off as well as they should have when I moved to Oregon. And I felt sad and very guilty for leaving my daughter Megan behind, who was 23 at the time. I ended up moving into a three-bedroom in Keizer, Oregon and doing a roommate thing again which also didn’t work out. I was homeless for seven months crashing with my kids before moving into a one bedroom apt in Lincoln City, Oregon on the beach. Then I finally found love at the age of 62… who does that?

Now I am living my best life in some ways, but mom guilt still plagues me.

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