Talk about culture, climate, environment shock!! After a month in Tallahassee I headed north again stopping in Weaverville, NC, for a wonderful day with Lynda. Then the 10 1/2-hour drive to Lords Valley through some snow, arriving home to a volume of snow unlike any I’ve ever experienced. Fortunately, my friend Sue met me at the top driveway and helped me empty the car. Many trips up and down the 40 stairs but unloaded everything into the house and turned up the thermostats to counteract the frigid temperatures. This morning it was below zero when Sydney and I went outside. She wasn’t too pleased and when we got home and she needed the yard, she looked at me as if I was crazy for coming back to the snow, ice, and cold.
Visiting Tallahassee was wonderful. Catching up with friends and colleagues in a way that was relaxed and allowed me to explore some opportunities for consulting. The weather was glorious and staying with cousin Jill was so much fun. Our Tallahassee book club met for dinner and for the “formal” book club meeting and what a treat it was to see everyone, catch up, share a meal and wine, and even discuss the book.
By the time I got to Weaverville, though, I was ready to be home. I made the decision to move north to be closer to my children and I found myself missing them a lot and even missing being in my own home. However many times I question my decisions, I come back to the fact that this is now my home and I missed it. What I didn’t miss so much was being alone and not sharing small things with someone else (other than Sydney of course!). But, there are ways around that too. Email, Skype, phone calls all help enormously. My current focus on finding consulting work in Tallahassee and perhaps up here too is encouraging and exciting. It is, I think, just what I need to get back to a conversation that I enjoyed so much — I loved my job and my work so this may just be the perfect solution for remaining flexible while having something worth doing.
So, here I am again — bemoaning the cold and snow but thankful to have a place to go in February — Jill has already reserved my room for next year!! I am a lucky person to have friends who made my time away so incredibly special. Now I’m back, planning to see my children and the fabulous Riley. Even I wonder what there is to complain about!!
I feel somewhat a traitor to my friends and family in the north. As you can see from the photo, Tallahassee has been absolutely glorious with perfect weather (at least as far as I am concerned), flowering trees (just starting), and wonderful opportunities to catch up with friends. This morning, I went to the university to meet with a long-time friend and colleague and it was so comfortable. Parking hasn’t changed at all, but the campus has as has the area surrounding the campus. I amazes me that things can happen so quickly. After all (1) I left here just under 2 years ago; and (2) I was HERE in October!! Some changes happened slowly, however — the demise of the Tallahassee Mall which was the place to shop when I moved here in 1974, the closing of independent and nationally-known bookstores. One thing really spoke to me this trip.
When Gayfer’s Department Store opened it was a really big deal in Tallahassee. I shopped for everything from baby clothes to china to Speak and Spell (anyone remember that?), not to mention decorative prints that I still have hanging in my new home. Even though Gayfer’s closed decades ago and the store became a Gayfer’s (gosh I hope I’m using the apostrophe properly or Robin will be calling) Maas Brothers clone for a short time, it has been unoccupied for many years. It is a sad commentary I think and itmakes me sad to see it. I remember going there with Michael when he was quite young and Mickey Mantle was there signing autographs on plastic baseballs. He wasn’t very nice actually but we were happy to get his autograph. I still have random mugs and platters that I got at the Trash and Treasure annual event. While this may sound like misplaced nostalgia for the good old days, I maintain that it is more than that — it is commentary on how we all have our own ways of remembering time and place.
In contrast there are so many new apartment buildings, restructured main roads through town that are lovely, trendy mid-town, and college town — no need for students to drive anymore — everything right at the edge of campus. My friend, Beth, and I went to Collegetown yesterday to check out Madison Social (a bar/restaurant), the Mexican restaurant, Urban Outfitters, clothing stores, yogurt shop and the Brooklyn Water Bagel restaurant. Not sure what’s original about this but they do serve bagels among many other things. I’m pretty sure the most important thing on the list for students is beer, but that’s for another blog!!
Tallahassee sure has changed, but here are some things that haven’t: A feeling of real hospitality, the spectacular weather, the gorgeous redbuds, magnolias, azaleas, and everything else that I don’t know what they are, Publix, and the people. How lucky I am to have a place to stay long enough to re-appreciate all that Tallahassee has to offer. Now it’s time to get back on the road and appreciate all that there is in my new home not the least of which is proximity to my amazing children and grandchild. By the time I get back, there will be a new grand-cat to welcome and Riley will be almost 6 months old.
While it is winter in Tallahassee, for me it has been a wonderful relief from the brutal cold in Lords Valley. As usual I am eating my way through Tallahassee with good friends and former university colleagues. Past visits have been short and rushed and relaxing a bit, spending time with my cousin, getting errands done where it’s easy to shop and get around — all these things make me thank my lucky stars! The Tallahassee Book Club has planned a dinner and changed the meeting date so I can participate; I will join Roxanne and Kim for our Virtual Book Club meeting next week. Wow! How will I ever readjust to my quiet, mostly solitary, life?!
So far, I have visited many restaurants — old favorites and new places — Kool Beanz of course (twice), Taco Republik (I don’t understand why it’s spelled with a “k”. Does that mean I undestand the “K” in Kool Beanz, not to mention the “z”?), Hopkins Eatery (both locations twice), Sage (awesome mussels and an amazing wine list), Siam Sushi, Bella Bella, Olive Garden, Gordo’s, Mikey’s Burgers, Seminole Grill, Black Dog Cafe, Chicken Salad Chic (really!), and fabulous meals at cousin Jill’s and at Robin’s! So much fun and still weeks to go!! I think I will be visiting the fitness center a lot when I get back.
Tallahasseans complain about the cold and rightfully so — they aren’t used to it — but, by my standards, the weather is glorious! There was that little bit of ice — people made snowmen — but take a look at the size!! Every moment seems filled with positive energy that Sande Milton expanded on yesterday when we had coffee. What a gift it is to have a friend who seems to be able to get to the heart of the matter, identify issues, share common ideas and fears about retirement, and who knows your history so can make meaningful comments!! That seems obvious, doesn’t it? However, it is something I am learning to revalue as I reflect on being in a new place with a lot of time on my hands. In the meantime, I have to get ready for yet another lunch out (Hopking again — love their salads!) but need to get serious about actually being productive today (do I HAVE to?). To my friends and family in the northeast I hope you are staying warm and safe and I think of you every time I just go out the door without a jacket!! Oops — gloating again!