It has been quite the busy month and no real time to write anything of any consequence. This is not a journal, so I'll spare readers the boring details of what has kept me so busy. I'll just say work and winter illness has consumed most of my time (and still is).
One thing I'll spend some time on today is the introspective nature of these winter months. Luckily, I am in one of the only places in the United States that is not covered in snow, but it is cold, dark, and rainy so much of our time is spent inside. And instead of cleaning or organizing the home, I prefer to sit around the think about stuff. There has been much talk recently about "moving home." In fact, my oldest friend is doing it which really surprised me. Then a few other people have brought it up over the past month. The idea of being in a cooler place where you have no roots or connections outside of a job vs a shitty place where you have a good network of old friends and/or family. Of course, this becomes more of a concern once you have children.
Now I despise where I grew up. I hate the look of the place. I hate the oppressive feeling that permeates the over-crowded suburbs and freeways. I hate the filth and disparity of weath within the city. I hate the conservatism and the money and status-driven culture. Conformity truly is king there and all of the "hates" are what drove me out of the place for good 14 years ago. Despite all those things and the fact that I vowed never to raise my own children in such a culture, the isolation I have experienced during my 7 years in Portland actually got me to briefly re-evaluate my decision to be here when my "network" of old friends (many of whom have young children as well), my aging grandmother, and my parents live elsewhere.
Of course, after an entire day evaluating the job opportunities for both Chris and myself, reading various school report cards (mainly AYP data), and searching home listings, I came to the conclusion that my children would go to slightly "better" schools, we would lose approximately $10K in combined earning potential, and get less home for our money. So yeah......definitely not worth it. This confirmation was nice in that I was able to pat myself on the back for doing the right thing, however the fact remains that here in Portland, we have yet to develop a good network of people to rely on who also share a common lifestyle.
So I re-committed myself to trying to cultivate this network, since it is truly the only thing missing in our life here. I went (for the millionth time) to yahoo groups and meetup only to find that most groups are: religious, very niche-oriented (west-slope scrapbooking stay-at-home moms of multiples), or are closed to new members. I think I have about 5 groups "pending" acceptance. Three of those have been "pending" for nearly a year. I have actually joined 3 groups since having a child: 2 of them fizzled out and the other one just didn't feel right. No other regular working moms there. They were all artists who married doctors, attorneys, etc and were now uber-progressive stay-at-homes who all came to the park in the same $400 strollers, wore the same designer eco-friendly clothes, blah blah blah....you get the picture.
So here I am back at square one with the whole isolation thing. I'll make sure to update if there is a change. I did "apply" to join an atheist families group that I hope works out. This no religion thing is a big part of the isolation.