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A Visit With the Old Life

It's funny how in some senses, a year is just another year. No big thing, months passing, like they do—six more wrinkles, a few more pounds, a new country in the passport, but still the same familiar calendar page turns.

This time last year I was on the tail end of being with Susan after her back surgery. Lots of TV, happy hour cocktails at home, and as much TT work as I could handle. It was about time for the Final Four and I was meeting most of my family in Vegas. AND I was going to the Howard Lederer All In Camp. I knew nothing about poker, except that I was moving to Vegas to go watch the World Series, so I'd better well learn. It was barely a year ago. Barely just.

Tonight I'm spending the night in one of the homes I grew up in. Grew into an adult, I should say. I came to SF and took a job as a nanny for a little girl. My alma mater was the same as the mom's and the dad thought I was a jock since I'd just biked across country and spent the winter working at a ski resort. The little girl, Katie, was not even three. I lived with them for about two years, and then spent the better part of the next few years coming back. I've lived with them off and on, here and there. Now, Katie is 14. My old room is their home office, but the kitchen is the same. This is the kitchen I sort of learned to cook in, the house I sort of learned to clean. It wasn't my strong point. But I remember mopping the floor one day and thought, it's a good thing I'm learning this now, before I have a home of my own. And then, after two years of childcare, I found myself losing my hair. I was literally washing bunches of it down the drain every day. So, I stopped to think and heard myself say, I'm giving all my energy away to someone else's kids. I better stop and save some for mine. Then my journey with Travelers' Tales.

Nine years later, I'm in their home again for the weekend while the parents are on a long weekender. And I'm just as spent at 9pm as I was all those years ago. Only this time, I'm thinking, how will I ever do it? How will I give up everything to take care of my future kids. I never had more than five minutes alone to check my email this weekend. Never more than ten minutes alone for a phone call, if that. Even though all the people I'm seeing this week are such a dear part of my life, I feel farther away from my life than I have while traveling in Bulgaria or Lithuania.

I want to be home, moving into the new white house with John. I'm eager to create my new routines of walking or biking to Colorado Blvd, having lunches in the side yard on a sunny day, playing Sunday poker at the dining room table, inviting friends over for dinner. And, of course, immersing myself online in my projects. That's my life.

I'm in this really weird phase right now where I want to do it all. Books, magazine writing, podcasting, video blogging, travel/gambling show hosting, and yes, my sweet viral marketing. I want to become a Word of Mouth Expert. It's a weird place to be in. To be in the middle of your dreams changing. Lucky for me, it's not the first time I've experienced this. I'm fully aware it's just a passage. From one time period to the next. And when I weed through the projects and find the one or two on top—when I get to point C—there'll be another dream lighting my fire for the next journey. I know this. And there's nothing for me to be scared of about having kids. I mean there is, but you know, there really isn't. Everyone figures it out in their own way.

Tonight I put 14 yr-old Jackson the white lab to bed, knowing full well that when I leave on Tuesday it might be the last time I see him. I turned off the family room lights like I have a hundred times. Tomorrow 8 year-old Matt will wake me just after six, and we'll have one last full day. There's a chance this could be the last time we have this time together. But for whatever reasons, I'm not sad. I just want it to be as much fun as possible.

I'm sorry I haven't had time to blog. But I did set up the two kids with their own blogs, and they've been enjoying it.

On Saturday, John went to the Playboy Mansion for a charity event. He said the reality of it wasn't as great as your idea of it. John and Pauly have yet to write about it, but the Spaceman wrote up a fun post about the night, and CJ posted a picture of him with two bunnies. It was sweet that these guys and Gavin asked about me and sent word via John. And it's going to be even nicer to go back to Vegas next month. It will be the marking of the full year's passing. And the first day I met John. We're going to stay at the Golden Nugget, my first time in those rooms. I love Downtown. But we'll spend most of our time at the Bellagio. I'm going to be in heaven when we set foot in the Fontana Room. It is my favorite spot in all of Vegas. It even rivals the Foundation Room patio, my favorite Strip view. Anyways, I digress…I think this year has been the biggest growth spurt I've had since I added six inches to my height when I was ten. Damn my shins hurt then. "Growing pains," my Popo said. Right now it's just my heart that hurts from expanding.



At 3/28/2006 09:54:00 AM, Blogger Dusty said...

Hi Jen. Have replied to the mail. Hope you find it useful - Dusty

At 3/28/2006 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Mrs. B said...

wow - made me teary at the end. Great post Jen. You have come a long way and the growth is so amazing each time we get together. You've gone from taking care of others to taking care of yourself and are becoming successful with all of it - personal and professional. Hope you don't outgrow us all! But we could always say...We knew her when....


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