Feb 212009

Our first winter in the house has been quiet and contemplative and turbulent so far. I feel very nurtured by this place, even as personal economic and emotional storms mirror the Pacific weather patterns that have been coming through, dumping rain, and leaving chilly mornings.

In the outer world, I’ve been laid off from my job as a software engineer for Sun Micro. The layoff happened just as I completed the remodel of the townhouse down the street for my mother, so I spent the first few days packing and moving her, finding out how disoriented she really is, then living with her full-time while finding resources to help care for her. I cannot leave her alone, she will wander in seconds, and walk fast enough that we have to engage the police. Today (February 8th) I finally have a support network set up, people are staying with her 24×7 (and it cost$) …and am at last spending an evening at home. I’m so tired I can’t think. More later.

(I left this unpublished for several weeks. Now it’s late February.)

It’s been two weeks since I started this, and there is great news and not so great news.

The great news is that I’ve found a full-time live-in companion for my mom, and she is working out really well. We’ve worked out an agreement and finances, she has moved in, and together we seem to have my mom and her household under control. I can’t express how relieved I feel. I didn’t realize how completely stressed out I have been since moving her.

The not so great news is that the job market is awful, the worst I have ever seen in my 30+ years as a software engineer. I write and rewrite my resume, seek out potential contract opportunities, sign up on job boards, reach out to my network, download some of the latest new technologies and become familiar with them. There have been a couple of days where I know I feel really depressed. Other days I just put my head down and work, imagining that I’m making progress by sending resumes and cover letters, even though responses are rare. At least I’m having some fun programming solutions to puzzles on Facebook…and keeping up my familiarity with C++ and Java. Programming is like any skill: it gets a little rusty without frequent use.

But the house and the land continue to nurture. Mornings are often beautiful. Here is one frosty sunrise morning that I managed to capture out the window of our bedroom. How amazing to live here.


We’re in a typical winter weather pattern, with big Pacific storms coming in out of the west, pounding us with rain, then leaving a few days of very chilly weather before the next storm system. Our house faces west, so we get the full force of wind and water, sometimes all night. Our home is reassuringly solid, taking it all in stride without any problems at all, no leaks at all through the new windows, doors and roof. Blessed be the contractors, for they have done well.

A couple of additional pictures will perhaps convey the quiet solidity of our new house. The first is a morning shot of the deck railing, right after a rainstorm left little jeweled water drops catching the light. The second is the view out our living room on a cold foggy morning. It’s so still here, I can relax in ways I can barely remember from my childhood in the Arizona desert.


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