Sunday, June 6, 2010


“What happened to my wonderful life?”

Ti’s Story:

4:00 PM and it’s already dark. It’s been pouring rain and near-freezing for days. The wind is howling in from the southwest and at high tide, the surf breaks over the rocks and into the yard.

I’m scrounging deadwood for the woodstove. The woodstove, the oven, and couple of old electric heaters make a small dent in the cold in the 100-year-old, uninsulated building we live in.

The rusty wheelbarrow is piled high with deadwood and its wobbly wheel is stuck in the sucking, ankle-deep mud. Rain is dripping off my nose.

A raven peers at me and gronks. Great. Even the ravens find me funny.

I looked down at my battered blue coat and rubber boots held together with duct tape and start laughing. Sling a pole across my shoulders with buckets at either end filled with “night soil” and I’d look just like one of my old Chinese aunties.

A month ago I was meeting with library-media specialists discussing how to use streaming video in K-12 classrooms. I had a cute little city apartment, the job I’d always wanted, no debt, and the life I had wished and worked for since I was a kid.

Why was I back out in the woods? What happened to my wonderful urban life?

If there’s anyone who knows what I’m feeling, it’s Kristi, a colleague of mine from my city life. She was the ultimate urban gal to me: politically aware, passionate about the causes she believed in, well-spoken, and with the house, kids, job and life she thought she wanted. But she had fallen in love, re-married, packed up her family, left her urban life and moved to the mountains a few years before.

I called Kristi up: what happened to our wonderful lives?

Kristi’s Story:

Excellent question! By the time you called I had been living in a remote valley in North Central Washington for five years and still didn’t have the answer. Impetuous as always, I had decided over a long weekend to chuck my sanitized, rush-rush, high tech urban life in pursuit of a dream of simple country living and more time with my kids. What I got instead was anything but, because as it turns out, simple living can be very complicated…..

About the Title

Neither Kristi or I are entirely happy with the working title of our book. "Urban Gals Go Feral" is certainly funny, but not entirely accurate.

I started out living 'way...'way...'way...out in the woods and made myself over into an urban-ite, only to find myself back in the woods. Kristi, on the other hand, started out and was still a city gal when I first met her.

We're open to any other title suggestions! (ti)