Somewhere, I bet, in your home, garage or basement…is a box.  A box of things from your past, collecting dust, until such time you move where it will then be relocated to a different spot from which to be ignored.  While packing to move a few months ago I came across my box, and since I would never pass up a chance to procrastinate, I decided to peruse through it.  I found some pretty cool things in there….the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls my grandmother knitted me, my first teddy bear (completely hairless with a single eye looking like it had been through an apocalypse), my collection of Archie comic books (note: check eBay to see if I’m rich).  But mostly in that box, was writing.  Hundreds of notes, letters, diary entries….apparently I didn’t start blogging last year, I started when I was like six.  So thanks, mom, for saving everything I ever wrote, cause I was really stuck on what to do for my next blog post.



Hey little brother…I’m still waiting for an apology.






Mom, you’re always harping on me for having laundry everywhere…well, look who was backed up on laundry in 1979!  So much so that your kid had a write you a letter about it.





Wow…I totally forgot about my ESP.  Yes, there was actually about a three year period of my childhood when I fully believed I was the original Long Island Medium.  This is only funny if you know that I actually lived on Long Island.







Geez…don’t remember being such a Negative Nellie.








Ok, that takes Negative Nellie to a whole new level.  I sure hope Rachel, Pam S. and Mrs. Wade don’t read my blog.  Yikes!








We moved to this island about nine months ago in search of a change of scenery and boy, did we get it.  I am thoroughly enjoying the slow pace of the island (the slow drivers, not so much) and the rural life.  Living here feels a lot like stepping back in time with its little main street town, no big retail stores, no mall or chain restaurants, country tree-lined roads with no sidewalks and really bad cellphone reception.  Now, as much as I love it, I realize this island life is not for everyone.  If you like to shop, you should not move here.  If you like to be out of your house past 8:00 p.m. at night, you should not move here, because the town is closed.  If you like your car clean and not covered in pollen, pine needles and road dust, you should definitely not move here.  When my parents visited a couple of weeks ago, for example, we spent four of the six days they were here exploring various other cities because my mom didn’t want to be, I quote, “stuck on that island for a week.”

Some things I’ve noticed as I go about my daily life that are a little different here:

In Orange County they have “speed bumps”….









On Bainbridge we have “road humps”….











On a nice day in Laguna, finding a parking spot near the beach can be a challenge….








On a nice day on Bainbridge, finding a person on the beach can be a challenge…








Signs I might pass on the way to the grocery store in Orange County…









Signs I pass on the way to the grocery store on Bainbridge…









Our town in Orange County was built in 1999 so all the homes, schools and shops are brand new…








Bainbridge Island is just a bit older…


This was our post office in 1890.






Bainbridge016This was the high school basketball team in 1919!





Yes, there are many little differences I have found between our old and new locales.  But the absolute single, most dramatic difference I have found here is…the DMV EXPERIENCE.  So as some of you may know, I recently lost my drivers license on a trip to California and had to visit the DMV (see March 3rd post THE CALIFORNIA DMV).




So here’s your average afternoon at a California DMV.






I was originally told that if I could not produce a valid California license, I would have to re-take all of the licensing exams in Washington, including the road test.  Which would include parallel parking.  Which pretty much looks like this when I attempt it….







So, clearly, that was something to avoid at all costs.  But then I found out that the DMV here could request my driving record from the California DMV and issue me a Washington license, no tests required!   We don’t have a DMV on the island but there is one in the town over the bridge about 25 minutes away.  I called to schedule an appointment.  The first surprise was on the second ring, a HUMAN picked up.    After recovering from the lack of an automated message, I asked her if I could make an appointment to come in and request my driving record.  “Oh, honey, you don’t need an appointment” she chuckled, “just come in anytime!”.


So the next day I drove down there and this is what I find…







Was I in the Twilight Zone?  Is there really a DMV in America that is this empty, clean, personal and efficient?  I filled out some paperwork and the guy tells me, “Ok, I’ll fax this over to the California DMV.  With them it could take two hours or it could take two days to get a response so if you want to wait here, it’s up to you.”  Uh….thanks, but I think I’ll go home and wait.  He gave me a number to call to check back later.  I called the number a couple of days later, spoke once again immediately with a human, but no driving record had come in.  Shocker.

Mind you, I had now been driving around for two months with no license AND thanks to another debacle with the California DMV, expired registration tags.  “Uh, sorry, officer….I have no driver’s license and uh, no registration either” was a scenario playing frequently in my mind.  Finally, after a second request and another week, it came in.

The next day, I went back and here is my daughter in the waiting area…








There is a machine that says “take a number”.  There is no one around but I take a number anyway.  Exactly two seconds later I hear, “calling number 31” which is my number.  I walk up to the counter and tell the guy that I am here to get a new license and that my driving record had been sent over.  “Oh!” he says, “So you’re the one who’s been calling!  Last name starts with a “D”, right?”  Excuse me?  I’m the ONE person who’s been calling the DMV?   Now, I know it’s a small town but this office is serving their own town of 9,000 people plus our island of 22,000 people which is a lot of people and I’m the ONE who’s been calling?  I only called three times!  But he pulled my record in a jiffy, filled out some forms and a minute later asked me to step in front of the blue screen for my photo.

He takes the photo and then calls me up to his computer and turns the screen around.

“What do you think?” he says.

“About what?”  I reply.

“Your photo.  Do you like it?”

“Umm…are you saying if I don’t, I get a re-take?”

“Of course!  I’ll take as many as you want!”

What IS this place?  I leave, about seven minutes after arriving, with a temporary license and the best damn driver’s license photo I ever took.  And so I have decided that even if we ever do move back to California, I will always, always, have a Washington driver’s license.  Because I would rather get on a plane and FLY up here to renew it than to ever go back to a California DMV.  Seriously.











IMG_1039 I was looking through a box of old photos and came across this Christmas Card with a picture of me when I was about four years old.  FYI, there is no disputing this is a picture of me.  I might’ve thought “Oh, cute!”….had I not read the signature line at the bottom of the card.  As you can see, the line reads “Harry, Jane, Jeff and Pam”.  Which would be no big deal except that my parents are Ron and Lorraine and my name is Janene.  Or is it?  This photo begs many questions….just who the hell are Harry, Jane, Jeff and Pam and why am I in their Christmas card?  Am I really Pam and I have three parents named Harry, Jane and Jeff?  Or if I am Pam and Jeff is my brother than why isn’t he in the photo?  Am I a twin and my sister Pam went to live with Harry, Jane, and Jeff?  So, mom and dad, IF that’s who you are, care to explain this little piece of history I unearthed?




My car has a “range” display which tells you how much farther you can go with the gas you have left in the tank.  I’ve always wondered how accurate it is as I reluctantly pull into gas stations with 15 or 20 miles left in my range.  But recently I reached “0” (oops) while frantically headed toward our gas station which was still two miles away.  But…good news!  You have more gas than you think…I totally made it!  I was actually relentlessly lectured as a teenager and young adult by my dad to never let the tank fall below the 1/4 full mark.  Sadly, that was not one of my parents doctrines that sunk in.  But hey…I said “No” to drugs and isn’t that way more important?




The other day I got a little something in my mailbox…my first formal rejection letter!  I submitted a couple of articles for publication to the Funny Times (whatever the hell that is) but apparently I’m not a “good match”.  I was surprisingly excited to receive this letter because it made me feel like a real writer.  Better to be rejected than to not try at all, right?