*** RYAN TATE: Shocking secrets--revealed! ***





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Anne and her Cheese Diaries





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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sent from my mobile phone at 10:20 PM:

picture sent from cellphone

Good to know my pillow is not wasted while I am at work.

Sent from my mobile phone at 10:12 PM:

picture sent from cellphone

Taro attack!

Sent from my mobile phone at 9:19 PM:

picture sent from cellphone

rl Taro and I IM with anne.

May has been a difficult month for me. The weather in the San Francisco Bay Area has been, as I used to put it, "schizophrenic," jumping from beautifuly sunny and warm to hideously gray and rainy. (My mother, a licensed clinical social worker, finally pointed out to me a few months ago that this is an incorrect diagnosis. As it turns out, "disordered" is more appropriate, as in "personality disorder" and its more famous cousin, "multiple personality disorder.")

The last three weeks have been particularly proflific at work, a seemingly unbreakable series of "page toppers," as my editor calls them. But I am left feeling ragged and worn down, a condition compounded by a series of after-work-but-really-work soirees, cruises, groundbreakings, breakfasts, lunch roundtables, tours and assorted other meet-and-greets, which teach me new social graces at only the most glacial and frankly depressing pace. Now toward the end of the month I find myself without much progress on those long-term projects I care most about and with a series of new, company-mandated feature story deadlines looming upon me.

The most difficult part of the month, without a doubt, has been the absence over the past three weeks of my dearest Anne, who has been conducting range management research at UC Berkeley's Sagehen research station in the Sierra mountain range. Anne does come home, for precious three-day weekends where we pack in as much cuddling, snuggling, talking, cooking, eating, sleeping and who-can-imagine-what else as possible amid the errands, spin class, writing group, laundry, supply-buying and gas-injecting chores.

I would like to say I have made the most of my newfound spare time, but I have not. Instead I have taken to poor eating habits and late work. This week, I did not exercise until this afternoon, with more than half the week already behind me. When I do have time to myself at home, I cannot muster the energy for my old hobbies, programming, reading and writing.

My therapist calls this "temporary permanence," since, after a return home for three weeks in June, Anne will return to field research in July, and graduate school for four days a week at Santa Cruz in the fall. She encourages me to talk about my depression, and to acknowledge it as such, but I have only begun to catch glimmers of Anne's absence as an opportunity rather than a temporary challenge. On some level, I do not want to believe she is physically out of my life four days per week, and will be for some time.

I have moved the computer into Anne's house, and spend the night here almost ever night in her absence, even though I retain my old apartment next to campus, for now. My company is Anne's family of cats, inlcuding the indoor crew of Taro, Snoopy and Angel. They are fed twice each day but are still hungry for affection. I spend as much time as possible with Taro, who is bonded most closely with Anne, but this often sets off jealous competition from Angel, who seems to have taken to me. When things go smoothly we can end up with three cats on the bed for the night, but just as often someone will storm off to the front door or spend the night on Anne's desk chair.

It is a difficult challenge, these stretches without Anne. Each night, we talk on the phone, when the lines aren't iced over, and when they are we instant message one another. But I am happy she has the opporunity to do important research in a beautiful outdoor setting, and proud that she will begin a selective science writing program in the fall, pursuing her dream. I can see that soon I will see the opportunities and benefits of this situation, rather than just the challenges. Perhaps I'll take up surfing in Santa Cruz, resume with more gusto my old bachelor hobby of cooking adventure, accelerate my Internet development -- even post more to my weblog.

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