Better Crypts and Gardens: Gothic Nesting, New York Adventures, Planning, Texas Adventures, Updates

Once Again, Things Change

Changing Leaves, 2016. NYC

Life is change. This is an undeniable truth to our existence. Change is necessary for growth and a deeper understanding of self, whether we like it or not. The last four years have brought immense changes to my life: my beautiful Momma died, I finished my dissertation and graduate studies, I moved three times — the last time to Texas to take a new full-time teaching gig at Texas A&M … and now I’m bracing for yet another huge change.

All Decked Out for the Holidays, 2016. NYC.

It’s no secret that Ed and I don’t like Texas. Don’t get me wrong, the job and Texas A&M are great, but Texas … let’s just say that we aren’t fond of it. We’re middle-aged New Yorkers who are used to a certain level of convenience that NYC provides; and we desperately miss the beauty of the East Coast, especially that of New York State and Massachusetts. Ed will tell you that he misses pizza and bagels, and the ability to go to a shopping mall or Trader Joes without driving over an hour to do so. And when we do travel an hour or two to get to New Hope, PA or New Paltz, NY there are things on the way to see and do. Unlike Texas, the majority of the TriState Area is a sprawl. You don’t feel like you’re traveling between islands with a huge expanse of prairie in-between like you do here in Texas. This has been the biggest barrier for us in Texas because Ed hates to drive, I don’t drive, and you quickly find out that there’s really not that much to do in those individual town-islands. For us, Texas’s quaint charm quickly got old, fast.

Snowy Weather, 2016. NYC.


Me, I miss the ability to get on a train or bus and be anywhere in the TriState area within minutes or hours. I desperately miss hopping up the subway stairs, walking everywhere, and running to catch this or that mode of transportation. NYC kept me healthy and fit because walking, running, and climbing stairs are part of everyday life. Here in Texas I get no “ambient” exercise. We need to join a gym just to walk the amount that we want to. It’s too hot here to do much of anything outside and you need to take a car everywhere.

A Spring Day, 2016. NYC.

I miss the big stuff like the museums, NYPL, Metropolitan Opera, and wealth of cultural offerings. But, it’s the little, everyday stuff that I miss the most … like the changing seasons, gardening, and curling up on the couch to watch the snow fall. I miss fiddle heads in the spring, zucchini in the summer, and apples in the fall. I desperately miss the bodegas and delis, a slice of Roman pie from Villa Monte, and delicious water from the tap. I never realized just how much my happiness depends on the small, mundane rituals of everyday life like getting a good, hot cup of coffee in almost any deli, or walking down Madison Avenue or 5th Avenue to unwind after a particularly difficult day.

I never realized that the intensity of Manhattan fueled my brain and heart, while the

Spring in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, 2016.

bucolic landscapes of the Hudson River Valley and the Catskill Mountains healed my soul. I took a lot for granted in New York, and it took a move to Texas to really come to appreciate everything I ever had … how it makes me who I am, how it fuels my research and teaching, how it keeps me sane in this insane world.

At 45 years old, I refuse to compromise my happiness for the illusion of stability. I watched my Mom grow increasingly depressed because she hated her life. I watched her become her ailments to the point of letting them kill her. I watched her wallow in the “what ifs,” the “should haves” and the “one days.” I know deep in my heart that she eventually died of a broken heart. In these past few months, I have been following in my Mom’s footsteps. I complained about arthritis, — Goddess, how much my joints hurt here in Texas! — how much I hate it here, how much I wish I could be back in NYC. I’ve been angry and depressed. I have a full-time gig, after all; — the Holy Grail of academics. I’d be crazy to give up a full-time teaching gig because I’m miserable.

Beaverkill, NY. Our last camping trip before we moved. 2016.

Do you hear how UTTERLY STUPID that sounds? Yeah, I do too.  So with that said, Ed and I are moving back to New York in June. “What about your job, Curious Professor Z?” Things are in the works … that’s all I’ll say at the moment.  For now the big news is that we’re going home. Home to our family and friends (though we did make some awesome friends here). Home to pizza, bagels, delis, and bodegas. Home to summer camping, apple and pumpkin picking, and day trips to New Hope, New Paltz, and Sleepy Hollow. Home to weekend trips to Salem and Washington DC. Home to everything that makes my heart sing. Yes, we’ll need to sell our house. Yes, we’ll need to pack and move our stuff halfway across the country again. Yes, this is going to be exhausting. BUT, in the long run we’ll be home and happy … and I’m never, ever going to take New York City for granted again!

The Path, Beaverkill, NY. 2016

Onwards and upwards, my friends! Here’s to new adventures!



26 thoughts on “Once Again, Things Change”

  1. Very happy for you! This really resonated with me too – I’m in exile like this in a foreign region of the country, and longing so much to return to my own roots for all those kinds of little quality-of-life and soul-nourishing reasons you mention!


  2. I’m sorry that your mother was so unhappy — but how wonderful that you can learn something so important from her example. Yeah, you got the Holy Grail, but you’re miserable! The grail isn’t supposed to do that! 🙂 And I totally feel you on the culture and food thing. Moving to Idaho from New York (and California before that) was a huge change for us. First thing my husband told me when he came out to interview was that there was a bagel shop near campus!


    1. She was miserable because she was in constant pain and life didn’t turn out the way she envisioned. She lived on Advil; and I recently realized that I started to pop Advils like they’re candy. Couple that with how miserable I’ve been and my anger issues, I realized that I am quickly turning into my Mom … the bad part of Mom. I’d rather celebrate the good stuff I got from her, like knitting and cooking.

      Anyway, it’s time to go home.


  3. My home is the other coast. I’ve been in Oklahoma for over 5 years now. I didn’t leave the West Coast until I was 23. Every day I miss it. I miss the smell of pine. Even in the summer, the smell of pine is in the air. Walking through Home Depot or Lowe’s during the holiday season, with all those pine trees out, leaves me in tears every time. The other day, I was walking through the new grocery store (good ol’ Winco, a NW staple), I came across a taco sauce I haven’t seen since 2009, when we left home, and it brought me to tears (to the intense amusement of my daughter).
    I dream of the day when I will return home. I miss the mountains (not these shitty hills). I miss the pine. I miss the rocky beaches (especially being landlocked). I miss the Bull Run watershed, which is some of the best water in the country. I miss public transpo, bike lanes, and sidewalks. I miss good coffee and fresh seafood. I keep hoping that Oklahoma will feel like home, but I know that I’ll never be truly happy until I can go back home because my heart is still there.


  4. Well Congrats on your decision! So many people stay in situations that they are unhappy in. Things will always work out!
    Take care! ❤


  5. It really is a slap when you move to somewhere so very foreign. You could not have picked a better opposite from NYC. I am glad you are following your heart(s) and chasing happiness. I hope this will be a good upturn for your mental stability as well (since I realize that HAS to be in question what with the politics, etc of Texas.)


    1. Oh my gosh! The POLITICS!!! Ugh. And the religious conservatism is mind blowing, especially the amount of churches in one, small town. I’m used to Starbucks or bodegas on every corner, not Baptist churches!!! And we have some mega-churches, too.


  6. I grew up in a red brick Victorian house on a suburban street in Birmingham, a much maligned British city. Of the girls I knew from our neighbourhood growing up, I am the only one who didn’t finish Uni and go off to Asia or Australia travelling or move straight to London.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m an odd one out, and somehow parochial because I love my city and never want to leave, and then I remember that none of them spent 3 years in exile to the countryside as teenagers! I hated narrow-minded (and downright racist) village life (and because we didn’t have a car I couldn’t even get to a riding stable or visit the nature reserves and national parks).
    Home means more to me because I lost mine. Their parents all still live in the houses they grew up in, they can go home any time. For me, being back in my city is the closest I can get.

    I hope you have the best year you can in Texas and that your move back home goes smoothly. I’m so sorry that you’ve had such a horrible 4 years- but you are so so strong and will come back fighting from this. You and Ed now have the chance to make a NY home on your own terms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Josie. Part of me wishes I could buy back my parents’ house … how cool would THAT be? Technically then, it would be MINE and not my parents, and I would be able to do the repairs and changes that I always wanted to do. 🙂

      Sometimes going back home is truly one’s greatest adventure. I’ll be ok, don’t you worry about me. 🙂


  7. Well, I guess I’m gonna have to do the summer NY NOW show instead of the February one then, aren’t I? I’m so happy for you both. 💜


    1. When is the summer show? We should be there at some point in June. I have two conferences in July — one at the beginning and one in the middle — and then it should be a camping trip or two and then Salem, finally. I’m ready to start packing now! That would be awesome to see you!


      1. We’ll see what happens this coming summer. Who knows, we might be hunkering down and painting walls. SQUEE! We haven’t done any painting here because I just don’t feel at home. We’ll meet up when you come to NYC for the shows!


  8. It makes me so happy to hear that you are putting happiness first and I hope the job part of it works out for you as well! I am one of the lucky ones where a move across country (north to south in my case) actually helped me thrive. Hopefully, at least knowing you have a light at the end of the Texas tunnel will make the rest of the school year more tolerable.


    1. Aw, thanks!

      I find myself saying things like, “You know, it’s probably *like this* in NYC right now.” “Oh look, the leaves are starting to change in NY State!” I’m feeling incredibly homesick and seriously need to get back home. And yes, we’re counting the days.


  9. I know exactly how you feel, Franny– all of this resonates so loudly, and so identically.
    When I first moved from my hometown in Canada to Arizona, it was a major shock– I went from being completely independent with a wonderful public transit system, clean water, loads of amenities… to the vast and empty desert landscapes, trapped inside because there was nothing to go to, or it was hours and hours away.
    I would cry everyday it felt like, I was utterly homesick.
    When I moved to New Mexico, things started feeling better, I made a family there in the place I worked at, the light was dim but I started seeing it… but it was so short lived. I was ripped away and landed here in Texas, where the same empty trapped feeling resides. I live in San Antonio– supposedly one of the largest cities… doesn’t feel like it. The air is dirty, the streets are too, stores are alike, and the stigma of simply taking the bus makes me grumpy and bitter of Texans. I feel dependent… and I hate it.
    My move to Washington feels more like a prison break, I am so excited!
    Sending you love and virtual hugs, Franny! We’re going to be free! =D


    1. OH MY GAWDS! I forgot, you’re heading somewhere civilized, too. Hey, (when I finally land in NYC) do you want to co-sponsor a blog event with me for next fall? How much fun would that be!!! And yes, Texas makes me grumpy and pissy. It’s too hot … and can we PLEASE have a cloudy day once in a while. I woke up this morning to threatening storm clouds and got excited. Now the damned sun is starting to break through. Don’t get me wrong, I like a nice, sunny day BECAUSE we get a break from it in NYC. sigh … Soon, my friend. Soon.


      1. I think a fall blog event sounds convivial! =D
        I would love to!
        Heh we got the same thing here, a little cloud cover… but that sun sure decided differently.


  10. This post really inspires me ❤
    I think sometimes it's easy to fall into this line of thinking that happiness is childish, or selfish. As if we should feel guilty for wanting to be happy, or we are somehow being immature if we forsake a bit of stability or "normal" life for excitement or creative expression :/
    Sending wishes for a successful, seamless move and job search!!


    1. Thanks, Ivy. I have to be honest, I do hear the voices in my head telling me to keep my stability … but then I leave my house and travel around town. It snaps me right out of it. So much of our everyday life dictates how we feel while working (and how much we end up doing). I can’t live somewhere that makes me utterly miserable.


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