There have been some moves in my life since last I blogged. Some were expected, some were not, and at least one was long, long overdue.

I’m out of the Inland Empire. As I’d noted in June, I’m not built for triple-digit heat. Living closer to San Bernardino and the mountains than Malibu and the beach meant heat, dust, fire, and desert. These are beautiful things and I appreciate them. However, living amongst them was a health challenge, and the isolation from not having anyone to talk to within any reasonable distance was starting to get to me. When the introvert is lonely? You have a problem.

Once my coursework was completed, I was free to move, so long as I’m able to get back to the university to handle various things for the dissertation. In September, I started to review my options. Returning to Chicago was my first consideration. Unfortunately, having to be in LA on a reliable basis, and the LA-equivalent cost of living, made it not so attractive. Also, many of my Midwest friends have moved away, so I’d be just as isolated out there as I was in SoCal.

I considered moving back north to Silicon Valley. Part-time work is appealing, as it gives me money for groceries and rent, but I need to reserve enough time to finish the dissertation, too. Two phone calls and that idea fell through. My former landlord can now get more than twice what he was charging me…and I could barely afford that two years ago. Unless I wanted to live almost into Sacramento, or find a bunch of roommates, or I intended to give up on the dissertation and go back to tech full-time, NorCal was a big fat no. It’s a shame. I liked it there, and it’s sad to watch a good place price its own residents out.

Finally I sat with a map and reviewed cities: close enough to LA, far enough that I could afford to live there, close to friends and family and far from the desert. Nevada and Arizona went off the table immediately (no desert). Seattle was a contender with its Tamara-friendly weather, but it’s looking more and more like NorCal, with the spiraling cost of living. After several short trips and six weeks of house hunting, I decided on Portland, Oregon: a medium-sized city full of trees and actual weather, with a reasonable cost of living (at least for now), a good number of family and friends nearby, and easy and cheap flights to LA when I need them, as well as the ability to drive there in a reasonable amount of time if I must.

After final exams in December, I packed up my apartment with the help of two wonderful friends and a magical ABF “Upack” container, and then Zigzag and I made the long drive north one state and just a few miles short of a second, to our new home in PDX. It was two years to the day since we’d driven down from San Jose to Upland, along with Ru. This trip took longer. I had to stop overnight in Sacramento because I didn’t get out of Upland until late afternoon, and I almost got stuck on top of the Siskiyou Pass during a whiteout. The whole way, I kept thinking about our missing companion. I wish Ru would’ve been able to come with us to Portland. It’s beautiful and comfortable, and he would have loved the sunny windows and the wide stair. We miss him every day.

Zigzag in a Sacramento hotel room.

Zigzag in a Sacramento hotel room.

The other out is the one that was a long time coming. That one would be me, coming out of the closet.

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Ru (2001-2015)

Ru and AnubisThis afternoon, I picked up a tiny cedar box from Inland Valley Emergency Pet Clinic. On its lid is a simple brass plate inscribed “Ru.” Inside are a handful of rose petals, and a container with the ashes of my beautiful little boy, the elder of my two cats, who left this world on Monday. It was not an easy decision to make. I spoke to three members of IVEPC’s staff and the incredible staff of the Heavenly Pet Resort kennel in Upland, and concluded that it would be too cruel to ask Ru to wait for me to get a flight back to California to be there with him. The kennel’s owner went to be with him on my behalf. I am deeply grateful to her, to Ru’s “girlfriend” on the kennel staff (Sandy, who adored Ru and he adored her back), and to the IVEPC staff, who were very understanding over a series of distressing phonecalls and eased my own suffering considerably during the awful process.

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“Book Jail”

It’s been a while. I have posted occasionally at Kemet Today – and that reminds me I need to get Theanos another installment – but otherwise, the last months have been spent continuing Daybook research/writing and completing another year of graduate school. I’m one semester short of finishing coursework now. For those who don’t do grad school lingo, that means that in December, I will be done with classes, and it will be time to do nothing but write my dissertation until it is done. The work has already started, even though, in theory, I don’t have to begin until next year when my qualifying exams are complete. I’m blessed with an incredible Doktorvater who is challenging me and supporting me in all the right ways so far. Gods willing, I won’t let him down. I’ll be presenting my first paper on a subject related to this research at this summer’s St. Shenouda Coptic Society/UCLA Coptic Studies Conference. It’s a big deal, and I’d be pushing myself even if the main research I’m working at right now wasn’t 800 pages (!) of a French-language dissertation on a grainy microfiche copy I can barely make out. Hoping I can still see my audience by the time I get up to stand in front of them. Note to budding scholars: if you go to graduate school, you will need reading glasses by the time you’re done.

Life here in the Inland Empire is hot. Continue reading

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The Ancient Egyptian Daybook – important updates

Happy Egyptian New Year (or di wep ronpet nofret, as they’d say in old Memphis). If you’re a pledge backer or have a preorder for The Ancient Egyptian Daybook, you want to see some important information about a special gift on Kickstarter, right away!


More news soon.

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…has it really been six months?

No, actually. It’s been seven since I moved. Wow.

I’ve been blogging, actually, just not on this particular site (forgive me). There are ruminations about Vodou over at imamou.org, and then I have been posting about the various things that I do in my Kemetic practice on the official website for that. It seems that Twitter fits the way my brain works a little bit better than a blog right now, probably because life jumped into high gear after the move, and has not slowed to a comfortable idle. If you want to know what I’m doing every day, that’s the best place to catch me.

What’s happened? Well, let’s see…

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Posted in Ancient Egyptian Daybook, Blog, California, Gratitude, Haitian Vodou, Kemet Today, Kemetic Orthodoxy, Kickstarter, News, PantheaCon, Website news, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments