In the beginning, I wanted to be Perry Mason. Well, maybe not Perry Mason the man, but I wanted to be clever and determined lawyer, drive around in cool cars, have Paul Drake at my beck and call, and solve impossible murders every week. Then I learned that you have to study a lot, go to college for six years, take an incredibly hard test that almost everyone fails the first time, after all that you can finally be Perry Mason.
Next, I wanted to be a creative genius in the big shiny world of the San Francisco Advertising Agency. I graduated from the School of Journalism at the University of Oregon. I moved to San Francisco. I did a few informational interviews and a few real interviews. When a classmate who studied economics, and whose mother was a minor celebrity in the local news scene, got the job I wanted I decided that maybe the advertising world wasn’t my world. Everyone told me I had to start as the receptionist and work my way up. That is not how I roll.
Then, I decided I was going to be a famous fashion designer. I would have my name both in lights and on the label of thousands of garments as they rolled off the production line. I suppose this made a bit more sense, I learned to sew when I was five years old, and I always loved fashion. So I spent two years in the hell called Los Angeles, completed my degree in Fashion Design, then I returned to San Francisco to make my dream a reality. Within a few years I had a warehouse, three industrial sewing machines, two dress forms, a three-panel work table, and labels that read: Sheila Moon. I fumbled around for a while in my first love, Designer Fashion. I grew disillusioned. I began racing bikes. I launched Sheila Moon Athletic Apparel, against the advice of all my friends in the bike industry, and a legend was born. Maybe just a legend in my own mind, but the mind is a powerful thing!
Being famous was so much fun! I got to travel to exciting places: Las Vegas, Sacramento, Los Angeles, New York, Richmond VA, Austin, Portland OR, Indianapolis, Boston, Chicago… I got to meet really cool people: Robin Williams, Gary Fisher, Thor Hushovd, Thomas Frischnecht, Ned Overend, Mario Cipollini, Miguel Indurain, Daniele Pontoni… I designed beautiful clothes. I was the genius creative director behind all the Sheila Moon promotional material. I suffered through stupid fun races such as the Single Speed World Championship in Napa CA, and the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships in Portland and Seattle, finally bringing the race home to my beloved Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. I was The Sheila Moon – and it was good… until it wasn’t.
At a certain point my wheels began to spin, no matter how hard I tried, how many long nights and stressful days, I just wasn’t getting any traction. I discovered it was ok to quit. I could walk away from my dream before it became a nightmare. But in true Sheila Moon fashion, I could not just walk away. I converted my Honda Odyssey into a home on wheels, loaded up my faithful companion, Luna, and we headed south, Way South. Mexico Guatemala Honduras El Salvador Nicaragua Costa Rica South.
Almost one year to the date of our departure, we rolled back into the Bay Area. Strains of Hotel California were running through my head, especially the line, “you can check out any time you like but you can never leave.” I was so afraid I was going to get sucked back into that California lifestyle, and I did, but only for a year. One dark and stormy night I was crawling through a dumpster rescuing a small library of discarded books and I stumbled across the Moon Guide to Baja. Sun! Sea! Freedom in the new Wild West! (Baja) California here I come! I fell in love with Todos Santos, Baja California Sur on that first visit. I bought property on my second visit. I turned my back on the USofA on my third visit and now call Mexico “Home.”
I’m no longer The Sheila Moon. Contentedly, I spend my days playing with my four dogs, running, riding bikes, tending my mango orchard and organic garden, cooking up a storm in an effort to keep up with my bountiful harvest, writing the odd word or 1,000, sipping afternoon cappuccinos at my favorite cafes, and relaxing at the beach. In truth, being plain old Sheila Moon is pretty darned sweet.