I haven’t written a blog post since my birthday. It’s not like we haven’t been eating… one look at us confirms that we have. A bit too much in these days of pandemic…

Meals have been nothing noteworthy… mainly grills and throw-togethers. It’s just been about using up stuff and getting ready for the big move west!

Nineteen years and eight months. That’s how long we have lived in Pennsylvania. We never planned for it to be this long. When Victor was transferred back here in 2001, we thought it would be for a few years and we’d be back west. Funny how life has a habit of getting in the way of things…

We were the relative youngsters when we moved into the neighborhood back in 2001. It was mostly empty-nesters and grandparents back then. The only kids in the neighborhood were the twin boys next door. Now, we’re the old farts with babies and toddlers and kids everywhere. The neighborhood has come full circle.

I had been working in Nutrition and Dietetics for about 13 years when we moved here and figured I could get a job anywhere – even if I went back to hotel F&B management. Victor was in corporate travel – and we had some great perks. Life was definitely good.

I had been denied unemployment, originally, because it was determined I had quit my job without reason. Even though we lived together and owned a home together, we weren’t ‘married’ in the eyes of the California Unemployment Office, so quitting to move with Victor was considered different than a spouse quitting for the exact same reason. I appealed and a judge ruled in my favor with a pretty scathing court order. It was awesome. Thirteen weeks of checks arrived in one day.

In the meantime, we were remodeling our kitchen, so I stayed at home to manage that – looking for work, of course…

After our kitchen remodel and my California unemployment was coming to an end, I took a job at Trader Joe’s just for something to do until a real job came along.

After about six months at Trader Joe’s, I found a job as a Nutrition Services Director – and lasted three weeks. I hated the job, I hated the commute, I hated everything about it. I quit, went back to Trader Joe’s, and my temporary job lasted almost 17 years. I have some great memories of Store #632.

19 2/3 years. It’s longer than either of us have ever lived, anywhere – including with our parents and the ancestral homes. I led a pretty nomadic life for years in the hotel business. Victor moved from east to west to east to west to east a few times, himself. Somewhere along the line, we just settled in…

We travelled. London and Paris and Italy and Sicily… One year, we went to The Cayman Islands, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Rochester. Up to Boston and across the country to Las Vegas. To Los Angeles…

I really can’t count the treks to New York City on Amtrak – or the treks to Washington, DC. The number of Broadway shows… I think we still have some serious Amtrak miles accumulated.

Through it all, we got comfortable. We got fat and lazy. But comfort or not, the call to the west coast was always there. Sometimes louder, sometimes softer – but pretty much always there.

We had started seriously talking about moving back west right before Victor’s mom had a stroke. We thought moving her in with us would be for a few months at most and we’d be on our way. Those few months morphed into seven years.

Everything works out for a reason and we were both able to retire, relax a bit, and plan a move a bit more carefully. And then a pandemic hit and threw everything into another uproar. We went from thinking about Clear Lake, California to Vancouver, Washington, and, finally, Portland, Oregon. Contrary to what you see on the news or what the occupant of the Oval Office says, Portland is a great city and ANTIFA hasn’t burned it down. On a side note, the first time I was teargassed, I was 16. I don’t really remember the last time, but I know it’s been more than 35 years.

And now we do the divesting… We sold the truck. I bought it brand new in the fall of 1992. We gave away our huge kitchen table and lots of kitchen utensils, plates, pots, pans… Donated tons of clothes and books,.. It’s ridiculous the amount of stuff we have accumulated over the years. Totally ridiculous.

I have excel spreadsheets about what is going where – what’s in the car we drive, what’s in the car we ship, what’s dropped off at my sister’s house with the dresser we’re giving our niece… My brain is a sieve. It has to be written down.

We’ve been asked what we’re going to miss about the east coast…

Not the weather. The heat and humidity of summer and the freezing winters are going to be a thing of the past. I am going to miss how pretty our area is. The trees, the 2-lane roads leading to shopping… the changing colors and the fresh buds of Spring.

And I’m going to miss a lot of people. Family, definitely, but also some neighbors – and the totally awesome people I worked with at Trader Joe’s for so many years. Fortunately, the online world means we’ll still be able to keep in touch.

We’re in the calm before the storm… Thursday we sign the final papers on the house. Friday we pick up the rental car and the junk haulers arrive. Monday, the packers arrive and Tuesday everything is loaded onto the Bekins Truck and we head west.

We’ve been in serious purge mode for months, now, but it’s really hitting the fan this week. The kitchen cabinets are empty – old herbs and spices tossed. 12 kinds of vinegars dumped. The liquor cabinet dumped – a collection of practically empty bottles of creme de menthe, Sweet Iced Tea Vodka, Anisette, Apricot Brandy – all the things I used for cooking and baking… Marsala – sweet and dry – sherry, port…

Anything unopened will be packed. Anything opened is trash – and there’s not a lot opened. We’ve been planning this and using things up, accordingly.

We’ll be moving into an Extended Stay while we house-hunt. Great location – 2 miles from Trader Joe’s 5 miles from Zapans where my nephew and niece work, a few miles from Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer. And 4 miles from a huge Asian grocer and less than 5 miles from 6 Mexican grocers. And a few blocks from an Italian Deli.

You notice the priorities – good groceries! Real ethnic foods.

My stomach is smiling…


To all of our family and friends along the way – don’t take it personal, but we’re not stopping to say Hi. We have a time crunch and are driving straight through. We’ll wave out the window as we speed by on the interstate! And do know that we want to do a leisurely drive one of these days… We’ll catch up!!

We’ll definitely do pictures along the way…