Tag Archive | Personal

Hello Again

Hi… Remember me?

I’m a blogger… I think.

I went from 100+ post a year to 5. As in, one, two, three, four, FIVE posts last year.

With a blog named “the Adventures of Anne K.”, the lack of posts would imply that I don’t have any adventures. That’s not the case. I’ve had quite a few adventures. I simply didn’t feel like sharing.

{GASP!}

What?! Did I actually say that?

Or let me be accurate, I didn’t share them here. I  facebooked and tweeted to a select group of family and friends.

For years, I shared my life with Rob.  Post-divorce, I wanted my privacy for a while. With so much of my life out in the open, people felt compelled to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do post-divorce. Some advice was good; some bad. Most of it was unsolicited.  Worst still were the judgments and recriminations that came. I can’t believe she got divorced so quickly. She didn’t give the marriage a chance. She ditched Rob and moved across the country. It’s too soon for her to start dating again. She’s having too much fun. Shouldn’t she be doing something more meaningful with her life? 

I don’t care what most people think. However, it was all so annoying. I didn’t feel the need to defend myself. It was unnecessary and futile. So, I went radio silent.

So, here’s what you missed…

2011 was a good year.

I traveled. I will blog those trips, btw.

I ran… A LOT. I got my first marathon in the books. That is quite a story as well.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what came next. My first year post-divorce was spent reveling in my newfound freedom. It was like the summer post-high-school, pre-college. Lots of fun, no responsibility.

The second year post-divorce was a rude awakening. I sacrificed a lot to get out of a bad situation. I left my home and was now living with my folks in my childhood bedroom. That is as awkward a situation as you might imagine. I am in my mid-30s living like a high school kid. I gave up city life for the suburbs. The stationery business that I put so much work into building was almost non-existent. I had a few potential clients back out. I applied for design job after design job with no response. I have no web design experience, which is in demand. I was now employed as a caregiver for my grandma, which I enjoy, but doesn’t pay enough to cover the debts I incurred during my marriage.

It’s not all bad. By no means am I complaining. Like I said, I was out of a bad situation. However, I was floundering.

To get my career and the rest of my life back on track, I decided to go back to school to learn web design. I enrolled at my local community college. There was a lot of paperwork and A LOT of adjustment. College had changed radically since I attended 10 years ago. Despite the differences, I am enjoying the learning experience. {Hi, Mr. Clement}. Let’s hope this means I’ll be at a job that I love and pays well by the end of the year.

In the meantime, I’ll be blogging again 🙂

For Bill

I met William “Bill” R. Walker and his lovely wife Evelyn in the fall of 2001. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, it should. They are my best friend Cicely’s parents. Meeting them was like meeting the real-life cross of the Huxtables and the Cleavers. I was instantly envious that Cicely had such great parents. They had come to Virginia Beach to visit Cicely and me in our rented condo, the condo which we now refer to as the “Argo Ct. Experience”. Bill and Evelyn were warm and effusive. They instantly whisked us off for shopping and dinner. I remember that first dinner distinctly. We went to Bangkok Garden, a local Thai restaurant. The food was so authentic that Evelyn and Bill were instantly transported back to when they lived in Thailand. Bill even spoke to our waiter in Thai, which delighted and startled him. If that wasn’t funny enough, Bill declared he was going to drink the sauce directly from the bowl of his Ginger Chicken. Evelyn was mortified. Cicely and I laughed. He didn’t do it. Although, he was “this close”. It was a wonderful evening – the first of many unforgettable times spent with the Walker family. It goes without saying that Bill and Evelyn became like second parents to me.

Bill worked in North Carolina after having spent a few years in Kuwait. Evelyn split her time between NC and Nashville, TN where she was caring for Cicely’s grandmother. Cicely and I would frequently visit Bill in NC. We would go to get mini-escapes from college work and our jobs as waitresses. It was serene and peaceful. I nicknamed their home the “Fortress of Solitude and Naps.” As a bonus, we were able to do our laundry, too. As college students who hated laundromats, this was the epitome of luxury. We once arrived while Bill was at work, loaded up our laundry, and fell asleep. Bill woke us proclaiming that he thought he’d been burglarized, but burglars don’t do laundry.

Cicely and I celebrate her birthday during one of our many visits

I relished these short visits. They were mostly spent relaxing, enjoying meals and having movie marathons with Bill. He’d regale us with stories from his work overseas and embarrass Cicely with stories from her childhood. Because Bill was also a photo enthusiast, we would “talk shop” about photography while Cicely read. We would make plans to go on photo safaris. Bill was very athletic and we’d trade adventure stories. Even in his 60s, Bill was still an avid cyclist and tennis player.

During one of our visits, Bill was considerably less energetic. He dismissed it and stated his doctor diagnosed him as being anemic. In March 2002, Bill was headed back to the doctor because he was feeling worse. That visit brought the worst possible news. Bill had Leukemia. It was a shock. How could someone so healthy and vibrant get so sick? Bill immediately began chemotherapy. We were all hopeful he’d pull through. Bill was a fighter. He had been a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War and followed that up with government work in many of the world’s hotspots like Panama and Kuwait. If anyone could fight Leukemia, it was Bill.

I was wrong. Leukemia had gotten a head start with Bill. Even with the chemotherapy and other treatments, Bill deteriorated quickly. By the summer, Bill was physically half the man he used to be. He was frail and thin. It was heartbreaking. All the while, he was very upbeat and determined. The months and treatments passed quickly.

Before we knew it, it was Thanksgiving. Because I knew Bill loved pie, I had found a local pie maker and brought an extravaganza of pies.  I bought 6 different pies – all his favorites. He cried when he saw all the pies. I told him that pies are not supposed to bring tears and that they must be terrible pies if they made him cry. He laughed. We had a pie party. By then, Cicely had moved back home to spend more time with her dad. At Thanksgiving dinner, I announced that I was moving to California. Bill and Evelyn were both very encouraging. They told me it was time for me to have my big adventure. It was the last time I saw Bill.

Between the holiday rush and packing up to move, I didn’t get another opportunity to visit Cicely, Evelyn and Bill in NC.  In January 2003, I arrived in Southern California. Shortly after that, Bill passed away surrounded by his family. I was unable to attend his funeral.

I knew then as I know now that Bill’s positive influence in my life cannot fully be measured. At the time, I was estranged from my father and had broken up with an emotionally abusive boyfriend. I was on the road to being what one might call a ball-busting man-hater. I’m not kidding. Bill doted on Cicely and was the kind of father I always wished I’d had. Bill and Evelyn frequently teased one another and “drove each other crazy”, but you could still feel the love after 40+ years of marriage. He actively volunteered and was an upstanding member of his community. Bill reminded me that there are good and amazing men in the world. If that wasn’t enough, he treated me as well as his own daughter. Bill’s time in my life was brief, but it left an indelible mark on my heart.

Because I was unable to attend his funeral, I wanted to find some other way to honor Bill. Initially, I thought I’d participate in the MS 100, which was an event that Bill regularly participated in. I quickly scrapped that idea when I discovered that I was in no way shape or form a cyclist.

My awesome friend Ben

My friend Ben trained for the L.A. Triathlon with Team In Training. Helping him fund raise and seeing him train inspired me. I was all set to train for the Nike Women’s Marathon with Team In Training. Then, life got in the way. I had a career that took all of my time. I stopped being active and put on weight. Years passed. I got married. I got divorced. I moved back to Virginia. I forgot about Team In Training and fundraising to commemorate Bill.

Regina and I after the Rock N Roll Denver Half

It wasn’t until last year that I thought about Team In Training again. I ran the Rock N Roll Denver Half Marathon with my friend Regina. Seeing her with the rest of the Team In Training Denver chapter convinced me.

Newest member of Team In Training

Here I am. After 8 years, I think it’s time I finally honor a man who meant a lot to me. I’m raising money for an organization that is fighting to find a cure for the very disease that took him far too soon. I don’t think any family should go through what the Walkers went through.

Please support me as I train for my 1st Marathon. It’s always been on my “Bucket List” to run one. I’ve tried to lotto into the Nike Women’s Marathon twice. This felt like my year.

Of course, donations will be greatly appreciated. I’ll have several fundraisers in the months coming up.

For those that would like to donate now, here is a link to my Team In Training page.

This will be quite an adventure. If you’d like to follow along with my marathon training, please feel free to read Anne K. Running Away.

Progress Report

A year ago today, I took the first big step in starting my life over. At 9AM last year, I boarded a Virgin America flight from Orange County bound for Washington, D.C. I had 10 boxes in tow – 1o boxes that held most of what I hold dear.

I was leaving the life that I had spent 7 years building, a relationship that I had been in for nearly 6 years, and the dog that I had raised for 5 years. I cried most of the flight. I have never been filled with so much uncertainty and heartache as I was on that day. Despite this, I knew that leaving was the best thing I could do for myself.

Staying in a relationship where I was miserable and stressed to the point of physical illness would have been lunacy. I gave new meaning to loving someone until it kills you. Make no mistake, I loved Rob. However, sometimes love isn’t enough… especially when someone doesn’t love you nearly as much in return.

So, I ended a marriage that wasn’t working and had no hope of surviving. I received a second chance and a new lease on life that many people never get.

I could not have done it without my support system.

I have an amazing family – both immediate and extended. My immediate family drives me crazy sometimes, but I know that when I need them they’re there. I would not have even considered leaving Rob if my parents hadn’t generously invited me to move back home. Both of my siblings Cathee and Nate stepped up and assisted me at crucial moments. My grandma has been my cheerleader and source of consolation. In addition, I have a multitude of Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins that have been there for me in ways that I hope to repay someday.

I have a plethora of friends who rallied to support me. My best friend Cicely counseled me and drove with me cross-country. My other dear friend Neleh helped me transition back to Virginia and threatened to remove me from my folks’ home lest I keep hiding in my bedroom. Of course, I had countless other friends who offered advice and stories of encouragement. The most amazing part is that I have not met many of these friends in person. Many are people who I chat with on Twitter or are blog friends. In essence, they were total strangers.

Where am I a year later?

I’m healthier than I’ve been in years. As I have exclaimed all over this blog, I am now a runner.

This hasn’t been the easiest year. There have been a few setbacks. I’m not entirely where I want to be, but there has been progress. Even a little progress is better than where I was before.

I took a hiatus from The Paper Stylist to focus on the rest of my design and photography work. This has given me the opportunity to restructure and evaluate what I want to do. I have been able to expand my portfolio. I’m excited about the projects I have on the Horizon.

Just when I thought I would hate living in Virginia, I had two fortuitous breaks. One is that I started contributing as a photographer and writer for AltDaily.com. While working with them, I’ve become very involved with my community and discovered there is much more to love about this part of Virginia. The other thing is I made local friends courtesy of Twitter. I’ve been to more birthday parties and “just because” gatherings than I can even count. These folks have made my life here more than tolerable, it’s been downright enjoyable.

Traveling has once again become a hobby of mine. I have been making up for lost time. I have flown and driven many miles to visit new destinations. While I haven’t gotten any new stamps in my passport, I have seen so much of this beautiful country.

In the state that I was in a year ago, I had sworn off men and relationships. For 6 months, I hid at home. Then, I re-entered the dating arena. It was hilarious and disastrous. I was ready to swear off dating when I met someone who I ended up liking a lot. Yes, D, I’m talking about you. We went on a few dates. Somehow, a few dates turned into several. Several dates morphed into spending lots of time together. Now, we’ve been “together” for a few months. I like where we’re at and that’s all I’m going to say about it. 😉

My life is immeasurably better than it was a year ago. It’s nothing like I thought it would be and I like it.

You can start over again. Life really isn’t over until you’re dead.

Where did summer go?

photo by Darius Daniel

I admit it. I’m a terrible blogger. I go through short phases where I write with exciting frequency which are then followed by droughts of silence. I can’t help it. Sometimes I disappear because I am so emotionally spent that I don’t have it in me to share my experiences. Other times I don’t write because frankly it’s a lot of work. I treat each blog post like a magazine editorial complete with perfectly retouched photos. Lastly, another reason why I don’t write is because I’m just too damn busy living my life. {Cue “Live Your Life” by T.I. & Rhianna… LOL} This has been the case as of late.

This summer has been the busiest summer I’ve experienced in years. There was no way that I could keep up with the blog posting. The best that I could do is post photos to Facebook and let me friends decipher my goings-on.

So what have I been up to?

There have been birthdays to celebrate.

Grandma’s 103rd Birthday

Auntie Fely, my sis Cathee, Me, Mom, and Grandma

The Birthday girl - can you believe she's 103?

Jacqui’s Birthday – Lady Gaga-themed Party

Jacqui The Birthday Girl and her main man Dan

the Birthday girl and me

I’ve seen A LOT of live music. Here are some of the shows I’ve seen.

Passion Pit at the NorVa

Rogue Wave at the NorVa

Interpol at the NorVa

Interpol at the NorVa

Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun at HK on the Bay - photo by Darius Daniel

Vinyl Headlights at Backstage

Public Enemy at the NorVa

There are more shows that I’ve seen, but didn’t get around to photographing.  A good portion of what I’ve seen are local bands. You gotta support your hometown music. After all, they gotta start somewhere.

It’s also be a summer filled with art.

Chalking of Ghent

My sis Cathee and my nephews Ethan & Franky

Art Everywhere Closing

National Gallery of Art – Washington, D.C.

My bro Nate hanging out at the National Gallery of Art

Self-portrait

photo by Nate Kabaitan

Lollipops and 45s – Phoebus Gallery

Last Tuesdays at 45 degrees Lounge – photography by Neleh Sawsiengmongkol

Style.With.Pull – Phoebus Gallery

I entertained some houseguests.

My cousin Jovan

My best friend Cicely

I did A LOT of eating and running, but I’ll save that for their very own posts.

With all these activities, can you understand why I haven’t posted?

Becoming a local again

I’d be lying if I said that when I initially considered the prospect of moving back to Virginia Beach I dreaded it. All I could think about was how small the area felt and how suburban life would suffocate me. It sounds dramatic, but that’s how I felt when I left Virginia for Los Angeles. I was so disappointed about moving home that I spent months hiding out and sulking. After being forced coerced to join the rest of the world, I realized that I could either whine about being home or make the best of it. Keep in mind, I have in my DNA the ability to be a champion whiner. However, I decided that it would be more beneficial and fun to make the best of my situation.

I’m on a mission to rediscover this area and its charms. This means attending festivals and frequenting local restaurants and bars. I’m trying to see this area with a fresh perspective. It helps that I have a few new local friends {Waves “hi” to Michelle, Nay, Darius, Charley F., Ron, Jacqui, James, Jini, and Matt} and some old friends {Waves “hi” to Neleh, Jay Mc, Rosie, Jen S., Kipp, Jodi, and Brandon}. These folks have kept me company on my exploits. Luckily for me, as the temperature rises, the more events there are. And the more I go out, the more I realize that perhaps being back home isn’t as bad as I originally thought.

Here are a few photos from the first of many local events.

May 1, 2010
Art | Everywhere Opening

From the Art | Everywhere website:

For eight remarkable weeks, empty storefront windows along Granby Street in Downtown Norfolk will be transformed by art. The corridor will be one monumental gallery. The windows and facades of vacant properties will be the walls.

Imagine a Granby Street with no empty store windows, with no boarded-up buildings, but instead a series of large-canvas public art projects that garner national attention. Imagine a Downtown Norfolk celebrated for its color, vibrancy, energy, and support of the arts.

May 9, 2010
3rd Annual AT&T Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival

From the Spring Wine Festival website:
.. the Elizabeth River …a blissful afternoon in early May… sipping and swirling a glass of Virginia Wine! It’s the only way to celebrate spring and close the door on winter! The Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival, features over 20 premier Virginia wineries, gourmet foods, specialty wares for purchase, and incredible music to complement the perfect spring afternoon. All wines presented during the festival are available for purchase by the bottle or the case throughout the day.

In a Fog…

NYC -Times Square - 3.12.10 {photo by Cicely}

I took an unintentional blog break. It wasn’t for lack of activity. March was a whirlwind – Jay-Z concert, Trip to NYC, and other tidbits. Despite all the exciting activity, I’ve felt like I was sleepwalking through a fog. I would love to say that I’m doing unbelievably well since I’ve moved. I should be honest. I’m not.

Since November, I’ve been jetting between L.A. and Virginia Beach. This, of course, was disorienting and kept me from fully acknowledging what was happening. Mentally, I knew that moving cross-country, getting divorced, and leaving Dottie with Rob was momentous.  I thought I had prepared myself. I read books, talked to divorced friends, and prayed. Then, it hit me a week after my NYC trip… I’d lost my life as I knew it.

There are things that I’m glad to have lost. L.A. Traffic and my awful landlords. In all seriousness, I am relieved to be out of marriage that wasn’t working and couldn’t be salvaged. The stress of the situation was really taking its toll. I am grateful that the divorce is amicable. I believe that given enough time Rob and I could be friends.

What I didn’t fully comprehend was that by moving I was losing a lifestyle. I had gotten comfortable with city life. Diversity. Late night. Creative Resources. A plethora of eateries. I loved it all and now miss it all. I especially miss the fast-paced indescribable energy that you find in a city. The slower pace and homogenized community in Virginia Beach is safe and comfortable for some, yet stifling for me. I am not trashing the place. It’s just not my style. The resources that I became accustomed to are nonexistent here. It’s hard to find alternatives without having to spend a lot of extra cash.

In case it wasn’t apparent, my living situation isn’t ideal. After living on my own for 12 years, my financial situation dictated that I move back in with my parents. For years, I have reveled in my independence. For a good while I was taking care of myself and Rob.  I had my household. My own home. To have to depend on my parents again is demoralizing. For as much I love my family, there was a very good reason why I lived 3,050 miles away. I like having my space. Being in the midst of a busy household is tough. I feel as though I never have a moment to myself. If that wasn’t enough, I’ve traveled back in time. I’m 16 again and have a curfew. I’m 34 years old! I’m divorced, not a child.  My 26-year-old brother doesn’t have a curfew, but I do. The thought alone makes me want to cry. I’m not out late {nothing’s open!}, but I’d love to have the option. I’m convinced this is karma biting me in the butt. A few years ago, I teased a beau when he moved back in with his parents. I joked and said we could pretend we were in high school again. He was hurt and I laughed. Now, here I am in my old high school bedroom {which has been redecorated at least}. Dear E, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I was jerk. If it’s any consolation to you, I’m receiving my comeuppance in spades.

With this in mind, it’s difficult to transition. I am humbled. I am upset. I am depressed. I am not getting any sleep.

I AM NOT defeated.

I’m still fighting and forging ahead. I’m a feisty gal. It’s what I do. Beneath this emotional fog, I still know that I have been presented a unique opportunity. I got a “Do-over”. By losing so much, I can start from scratch. Move to Paris or NYC? Maybe. Go back to school? Strong possibility. Travel as much as my little heart desires? Sign me up. Rethink my career choices? Most definitely. I just have to figure out what it is that I really want. This is tougher than you can imagine. I’m a sky’s-the-limit-kind of gal. The choices are overwhelming.

Please don’t call the guys with the coats just yet. I’m very emotional, but I’m still here. I just wanted to vent and explain where I’ve been.