There Is No Dress Rehearsal

July 4, 2015

The tears pricked my eyes as I heard the slow Texas drawl of the man standing in front of the room.

“So live your life now, today, go, do it, what ever it is that you want to do, do it now, don’t wait.”

The tears slid down my face and puddled in my cleavage.

Fortunately I have a bit of cleavage, it can hold a few tears.

It was not the only time today that I shed tears, but it was the most profound and poignant share I heard today.  There were many great and marvelous things I heard today, miracles, and sweetness, and grace.

So much grace.

I happened upon the man with the Southwestern accent completely on accident and I was happy to sit and listen for his entire story.

To bear witness to another person’s life, to grow from their experience, to enrich my own and to understand completely that the things I have done, the risks taken, even when I fell completely flat on my face, were all so worth it.

He spoke of wanting to live in New York, so he and his wife just up and sold all there things and moved to New York for six months.

And he spoke of service and showing up and what that looks like.

It is such a small thing, this showing up, to the page, to the screen, to my words, to my experience, to my life, to show up, be present and accounted for, such a gift.

I don’t always like who I am or what I see, but I am no fool, I see the value of my worth, though I deign to accept much by way of accolades.

“You so, so, so deserve this,” she said to me tonight as we sat in the Georgia Dome counting down the minutes and waving at folks and sitting in awe of the vast number of people present.

She was talking about my graduate school program and my scholarships, my friend has just finished her 3,000 hours required for her MFT liscence and passed all her tests and went to the same school as I am going to for my graduate degree.

She admitted to me that she had wondered what I was going to do and how I was going to handle the financial burden and whether it was the best choice for me.

She and others.

Others who I love and admire and I knew the financial burden going in, but there, underneath it all, was a still quiet, sure voice, that said, do it anyway, the money will come.

And it has.

And that scares me, but also shows me that I am on the right track, walking through the wide open door and walking towards that sunlight I know so well which fills my spirit and leads me forward.

It’s bright walking into this light and I cannot see what it holds, everything is backlit and the screen is dark, I can only see vague outlines, but I can feel the warmth and I know that I am going in the right direction.

I am living my life unafraid, well, mostly unafraid.

I do a lot of acting as if.

Act as if your student loan will get paid off from your undergrad degree.

Act as if you will be able to pay for graduate school tuition.

Act as if you will be able to afford living in San Francisco while going to graduate school.

Faith.

I have faith.

In more and more areas of my life, I have faith.

It astounds me and as I hugged my dear, dear, sweet friend I knew that she was right, I do deserve these things, I do deserve abundance and joy and prosperity, and love.

I do.

I also know that I have to play it forward, I have to be of service, I have to continue to grow and change.

And live.

Because there really is no dress rehearsal, there is only this day, only this life, only this moment.

I got to talk to a friend tonight and share how much I wished he was here, even when I have thousands of people around me I can get lonely, though it was good to have some alone time today, some quiet time just for myself.

Again.

How grateful I am to have my own hotel room.

When this thing goes to Detroit I am booking my own room again, unless I am sharing it with a partner, I want to have my own space, it has been saving my butt.

I slept in today and when I did wake up it was raining, big thunderstorm, flashes of lighting, rain pelting the windows.

It felt so nice to lie in bed and listen to the rain.

I fell back asleep and let myself get the rest my body needed.

Then a nice bit of time sitting and being still and taking a knee and doing that thing and writing, doing the things that anchor me to my day, so that I can go out and experience my life.

This has been quite the experience and I am so grateful to have had it and to have another day of it.

Though, I will be playing hooky a little tomorrow and heading into another part of Atlanta.

I need to get out of the downtown area and get some fresh fruit for myself and wander around a little on my own, do my own exploring and have my own little adventure, maybe go meander around an art gallery, and hit a farmers market.  I looked up a few possibilities and I want to do that for a couple of hours before going back into the fray.

A wonderful, marvelous fray, no doubt of that at all, but a fray nonetheless.

I am glad that I can see that I live my life and take myself places and let myself explore things just a little off the beaten path.

I found a wonderful shop today in my neighborhood and they helped me take care of my humidity hair, homemade pomade with fresh lemons in it, my hair looks amazing and I smell like lemon merengue pie.

I bought a tiny jar of it and a pretty ring as a souvenir of my trip.

A little bauble, but sweet, and it matched my pants–I wore my safety orange cords and took advantage of the warm weather to wear platform sandals all day.

I had a great little conversation with the ladies there and got a great tip on a BBQ joint in the neighborhood and had an amazing lunch, yes by myself, dining alone, but smiling, enjoying the view, enjoying the continual adventure of my life.

More adventures to follow tomorrow.

More adventures every day.

I got a second chance at my life.

I get to live.

And I am going to squeeze as much from this life as I can.

Do as much as I can.

Be as present as I can.

It’s the least I can do.

Considering the gifts I have been given.

So many gifts.

So much.

Love.

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service

July 3, 2015

So how about.

No bras.

No elastic bands.

No dental floss.

No idea what I was on when I was packing.

“Seriously, Martines,” I said aloud to myself as I finished unloading the contents of my rolling suitcase–a rolling suitcase that I hope makes it through the weekend and back to San Francisco.

It’s time for an upgrade.

I have had it for much longer than I realized when I looked back and recounted all the trips it has gone on with me, beginning with my return to Paris, sober, in 2007.

I have had it for 8 years, that’s a good stretch.

And I know how to pack it, I can get a lot of stuff in it and be jamming out the door fairly quick.

in fact, when I was done with my packing last night I still had 45 minutes before I had to leave for the airport and really, that was also giving myself a generous amount of wiggle room to get through the gate and to be on time for the plane.

Not that it mattered, considering how long we sat on the runway.

And, fyi, this blog may come out strange, discombobulated, unhinged a teensy tiny bit.

I have not had much sleep.

In fact, barely any at all.

I am going to sleep so hard in my great big king size bed.

Yup.

I’m in my own room, with my own bathroom and bed and though I had not planned on dropping the big cash (and it’s not too bad, really $360 for the three nights) I am happy and grateful to have a quiet place to rest my head and to collect myself.

I am also in a perfect place location wise.

Just outside of the conference grounds enough to not feel like I am in the noise and the ruckus and yet, close enough I can walk there in a bout fifteen to twenty minutes.

Although this evening when I ventured out I took the complete opposite direction of what the navigation on my phone told me and I was so certain I was right it took me 45 minutes to walk the 18 minute route.

Oops.

I didn’t mind so much though, I got some great shots on my phone and I was happy to play photographer during the pretty early evening light and to be traipsing about in my light summer dress, my sleeveless summer dress.

It’s actually summer here and not quite as bad as I thought it would be.

I am handling the heat and the humidity pretty well.

The lack of clothing and toiletries options not withstanding.

I really don’t know what had my brain pre-occupied that I missed completely putting bras in my suitcase.

I mean, come on.

That was the discovery that prompted the out loud scolding earlier.

However, I got over it pretty fast and was grateful I have the one I am wearing and it’s my favorite and it’s black, so it will go with most of my things anyhow, but it was annoying to discover that I had over packed panties and completely spaced my bras.

I had also spaced hair elastics.

Something I never do and I couldn’t even locate one in my lip gloss bag, where I usually have one or two squirreled away.

No pigtails for me.

Which is too bad, pigtails would rock with the dress i have planned for tomorrow, or even braids.

Ah well.

And the dental floss.

That was just a fluke, I used the last without realizing how little I had left.

I suppose a run on a pharmacy will fix the majority of those things.

All except the bras.

That’s a bummer.

But, in the scheme of things, in the rough out line of my day, really nothing to be even a little bent out of shape over.

I had a great day.

I ran into someone I know from Paris.

That was awesome, and he handily pulled my suitcase around for me while I took care of getting my registration lanyard and paperwork.

I had lunch with three of my lady friends.

One of whom happens to be the lady who came to my rescue when I was in Anchorage last December and drove me all over the place and was basically the person who kept me tethered to the planet and able to do the work I needed to do to show up for my dad.

I cannot, side bar, believe I am still writing, it’s beginning to feel like an odd surreal painting of someone typing words, I’m so removed I’m sleeping on the couch.

THere’s a couch in the room too.

It’s a really big room.

It could have held three people quite comfortably–two in the big bed and another on the couch.

But, as I said, more than happy to have my own chill quiet, calm space.

I need it.

I got a little lost in the crowds today and at one point felt terribly alone, funny that, horribly alone, despite being surrounded by thousands of like-minded folks.

I was dressed up after having taken an exquisite achingly hot shower and washing and shaving and doing up my hair, lots of flowers.

You can take the girl out of San Francisco, but you can’t take the flowers out of her hair.

I milled around the convention center and when the band, a really good band, an astoundingly good band, when I recall other such dances (though none as heavily attended) that I have gone to over the last ten plus years, played “I Had The Time of My Life” I got stupid.

Yeah.

Shut up.

I got sad listening to a Dirty Dancing cover song.

Yup.

Because that is where my disease will take me, sappy land, with no one around, yet thousands present, lonely, though so not alone, and a bit maudlin.

Really.

A dearth of bras is not that bad.

Feeling lonely in the middle of thousands of people is horror though.

I muddled through, I turned back twice, then made myself go and approach the dance floor, the music was good and so what if I didn’t know anyone.

I would by the end of the evening.

And when I least expected, I did run into a friend I haven’t seen in two years.

We danced like fools.

I danced the self-pity away and ended the evening surrounded by amazing women and sweet friends.

I sweated off a pants size and got my self hoarse singing along to the band.

Then.

A late night dinner–ham and cheese omelet and a side of fruit–in a 24 hour diner downtown.

I had come full circle.

And another friend pinged me and joined me for a last-minute conversation before we both called it a night.

There is much to do tomorrow.

And sleep must to be had.

I can go without the proper undergarments a few more days.

But I need my sleep.

So, with that.

I bid you adieu.

Good night.

Aufviederschoen.

Good bye.

To you, and you, and you.

Big ol’ hugs from Atlanta.

I’ll keep you abreast, though braless, of further adventures.

Real soon.

Like after I sleep 18 hours.

Text Me No Texts

July 2, 2015

Part deux.

I mean it was an honest mistake.

Then I thought later, and not much later at that, there are no mistakes in God’s world.

I received a text this afternoon as I was heading to the park with the boys, they had been scrumptious today, although the day was long, and I was ready to be done well before I was.

I was a bit nervous about my travel plans for the evening.

As I write I am at many thousands of feet above the Earth, the empty plastic cup of orange juice testament that I am flying elsewhere.

I only drink orange juice when I fly.

I have no clue why.

Perhaps it is because it’s a treat, I don’t drink juice in regular every day life, coffee yes, juice, not so much.

The flight has already been a bit challenging, we sat on the runway for over an hour and a half before we were cleared to fly—there was a woman who dropped a cell phone and it somehow slid between the wall of the cabin and the seat and could not be retrieved. The mechanics had to ascertain whether or not the signal from said phone was going to interfere with the navigation equipment of the airplane.

That’s a new one for me.

It was an intense hour and a half as well, the engines were at a half throttle and the sound was overwhelming, I felt trapped in the a horror of metallic noise that would not abate.

I have never said the serenity prayer for so long, a constant and continuous loop.

“Wait,” he said, “and took me by the shoulders, “pray with me, say one word at a time, and breathe,” as I stood at the security check point at SFO in December about ready to fly to Anchorage to see my father, in a coma, when last I had seen him framed in my sister’s doorway in Madison, babysitting my nieces.

He was drunk.

Not obscenely so, but buzzed and he smelled of beer, a saturated smell and the soft rot of regret, cigarettes and sweat that I have long associated with my father.

Flash forward a dozen years and I was going to see my father in another kind of door way, one I was not sure he would cross over or stay, just here, on this side of the threshold.

I stood, shaking at SFO, trying to breathe, trying to muster the strength to go forward, through the fear, and out the other side, knowing only that I knew nothing and had no compass for what was going to happen next.

I breathed in and out and said the words.

I followed his lead.

He hugged me and I walked through security.

I feel now that my father’s trauma and how I walked through it were a harbinger of the end of the relationship.

Or perhaps, its mid-point.

It was never going to get better than that.

The relationship went down hill and though it was short it was intense and though it was hard, it was sweet, and though there are things I won’t ever say in my blog, I did a lot of work to work through all the things that came out and up and I kept showing up to the page, to my heart, to my self.

When I thought I was going to go mad with the aloneness that can sometimes overwhelm me and I was walking Ocean Beach crying on the phone with my person, missing my ex, or better, the theory of my ex, the company, the shoulder that I momentarily leaned on, the person who taught me to breathe that prayer, I felt as though I was always going to be alone.

That even though the relationship was never the right fit, that it was the only one that I would have, that I wasn’t deserving of more and that, was it.

It’s not it.

It wasn’t it.

I have more in me.

So much more to give and have and hold and receive and be and I can see so clear how it, the relationship, was the stepping stone to the knowledge of who I am and what I want.

Funny that.

A two-month relationship, nine weeks total, and all the things I learned.

And lo.

There is still more to learn.

The photograph popped up on my phone from an unknown number.

A couple of bunnies jumping.

And a goofy tag line.

“Ahahaha, that’s hysterical,” I texted back.

I didn’t recognize the number, “who is this?” I added.

Then I sent it without thinking anything.

Who sends me memes?

Nobody.

Oh.

Shit.

Oh.

I typed my ex’s name followed by a ?

There was a long time before there was a response.

The text response was odd and I don’t remember it, I don’t recall it, or really the others that follow, only that after a few back and forth messages, well, I stopped engaging and I deleted it—the string of messages, I didn’t want to reread them or think about them or argue about he misunderstood me.

The gist of his understanding was that I had deleted him from my life, like I had the number.

Huh?

That our relationship meant nothing to me and that I just erased him out of my life and WTF? And yeah, ok, I get it, blah, blah, blah, “it’s a defense mechanism” and a few other things.

I was sad.

No.

That was not what I meant.

And I don’t owe and explanation, so I didn’t give one, but no, that’s not what I meant.

No.

Not at all.

I did not know what to say, I know he saw some bunnies, he obviously thought of me and he reached out and when he did, well, gosh, I had forgotten him, I had just scratched him right out of my life.

I don’t suppose I ever will, I haven’t forgotten the men I have been in relationships with, though more than one of them I am not in touch with and will never be.

Jesus.

I don’t like texting.

I didn’t like it when I was dating my ex and so much of the communication was via text. It feels rudimentary, solipsistic, unformed, emotionally small, non-communicative, and overall, vague in the worst way.

An emoji is not an emotion.

I can’t read a person’s mind.

I can’t see their face or hear the tone of voice being used.

So much is lost.

So much.

I felt sad.

Sad that this man, who I do care about, from a distance, who provided such support and kindness to me during a horrific time in my life, misconstrued my meaning.

But that’s not my fault.

Texting is vague.

Easily misunderstood.

And I feel a way to engage without being fully emotionally present and aware.

It is subterfuge.

It is not conversation.

It is flat and one-dimensional at best.

I deserve more.

I want to be here, in this moment, full and alive and loving.

What I want is reality and not a one-sided conversation with a fantasy person.

It’s hard to show up and be present.

It’s vulnerable and tender and I don’t always want a person to see me.

I was shellacking my eyelids with glitter earlier, layering it on thick, I felt sad.

I was missing someone this morning, I had not been in communication with my friend who I had been talking to a lot since the LA trip and the emotion hovering just there was a touch lonely, a touch melancholy.

“I’ll miss you when you are in Atlanta,” he said to me.

I’m going to miss him, I thought, and then realized, oh.

OH.

Oh damn it.

My person was right! I do hide behind the make up.

I saw myself, pretty, yes, done up and shiny and sparkly, and who’s that hiding under there? Who’s glamming it up to not show how they feel?

I realized as I got ready, I felt so at ease around my friend that by the time the trip was over I was barely wearing make up, let alone lip gloss and yet, I felt more beautiful and more seen and more myself than I have in years.

Communication.

With myself.

Another layer and another depth of personality plumbed.

This is a meandering blog and I’m not sure how I can tie it up neatly and communicate what I want to communicate.

I want to be seen.

I want to be heard.

I want to see you and hear you.

I want to connect.

I want to love and be loved.

These are all so true and simple.

To the best of my abilities I try.

I may not understand the language God is speaking to me, but I don’t know that it will be via a text that I will begin to comprehend the totality of my person.

I don’t want to hide behind glitter or emoticons.

See me.

Hold my hand.

Walk this world with me.

And let me be.

Present.

As I walk beside you.

Get A Room!

July 1, 2015

It’s an embarrassment of riches, this.

I just got a room in Atlanta.

After all the kerfuffle with the bed and breakfast, I got a room.

I don’t know that I had mentioned it in the last few blogs, but I found out late last week that the bed and breakfast that I had made reservations back, oh, I don’t know, four, five months ago, had a sudden and very unexpected plumbing problem come up.

I was told that the extent of the issue was such that the entire facility was being shut down to address the issue, and so sorry, we don’t have a room for you, we hope you are able to find accommodations and enjoy your time in Atlanta.

Well.

I wasn’t even fazed.

I was later.

But at the time that I received the e-mail, there was a small quiet voice that said, there’s something better for you and don’t worry about it, it will get taken care of.

So.

I didn’t worry about it.

I went about my day, I did my job, I talked to my friends and I enjoyed the sunshine in Sonoma.

Although as my friend said to me later on the phone when I broke the news to her–she was going to share the room with me in Atlanta, so she was getting screwed as well, “working in paradise is not the same as vacationing in paradise.”

So true.

I like working back in the city much more.

Granted.

There were some really nice perks with being in Sonoma, but it’s so much easier for me to deal with my job when I can actually leave my job and have some private space.

I haven’t been woken up once this week by a tantrum or crying boy or a slamming door or loud booming steps running past my door.

That’s been really nice.

Plus my breaks have been a little more regulated, and that makes my work day a much happier day.

A happier day and a surprising day today.

I awoke this morning and turned off the alarm on my phone, threw off the covers, swung my legs over the side of the bed and took a big inhale of breath and broke out into a smile.

I was gifted some lovely art yesterday.

In fact, I was gifted two pieces of art!

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

I had a lady bug give me a painting that she had done herself and wrapped up in pretty pink and blue and white paper and top with a big pink bow.

“Congratulations!”  She said and hugged me.

Oh.

It’s so nice to be seen and loved.

It’s a jackalope!

On a hot pink background.

It, uh, hahaha, fits right in with the rest of my apartment.

Apparently you may now consider me the bunny lady.

At least I’m not the cat lady.

Even though I do miss having a cat, I do.

Then last night another friend texted me as it was passing the ten o’clock hour, “you still up?”

For you friend.

I’ll get out of bed.

Just saying.

“Of course!”  I responded.

“I have something for you, can I park in the drive way?”

I walked out and there he stood with a Diebenkorn in hand.

Oh dear God.

Thank you for loving me so much.

Thank you for art.

Thank you for keeping me sober and abstinent today, for not having me smoke cigarettes, for not having me eat sugar and for having me do all the work that ends up with me being given so many precious gifts.

Gifts I never.

Ever.

Ever.

Expect.

And gifts that I am learning.

Sometimes quickly.

But mostly slowly.

To accept without saying anything other than, “thank you.”

Not, “I don’t deserve this, or you shouldn’t have!”

Nope.

Just a sweet simple thank you and my heart grows ever bigger.

More room in there for more love.

Who knew it could get this big.

Bigger than the moon rising over the Castro as I stepped out into the still warm evening air and read the series of text on my phone.

It was the travel itinerary of a woman I have never met who got my number from a man I have never met who does this thing once a week in the city on Wednesday nights with a friend of mine and I was passed his information and called him as I was touching down in LA.

“Hey, __________, I’m a friend of ____________ from ___________ he said you might have a room?”

Turns out he had a block of rooms with space in one of them.

He said I could have it.

Whoop!

Then I went off on my LA adventure and had my celebration like there was no tomorrow.

The best way to live, by the way, not in tomorrow, but in the right freaking now.

That’s where the God is.

The juice.

The love.

Right here.

Right now.

In front of my beautiful new art.

As I mentioned, the other piece I was given was a Diebenkorn, Ocean Park No. 67.

It is glorious.

A print from the DeYoung that was mounted on wood and cropped such that the title and DeYoung logo have been taken out, it’s heavy and my friend is going to help me mount it up on the wall.

Right now it’s in front of me, luminous with light and blues and greens, sage, creamy soft buttery yellow, I told my friend that it remind me of the ocean, the dunes, the green grass and the way the light is at the golden hour.

I had not known the name of the piece when I told him what it looked like to me, so when I googled it, I was pleasantly surprised to see the title of the piece was Ocean Park.

It made me smile.

Seeing that painting as soon as I woke up, all the colors in my room coral and beach blue and cream and light, love again, there, against the wall, waiting for me to awaken and walk towards it.

I walked toward accepting it all.

Just like I did a few hours ago when I stepped out underneath that glowing moon.

I told the woman who got my information from the man who offered me a room, that I would take over her reservation.

Sure.

It’s more than I was going to spend.

But who knows.

Maybe a friend needs a place to stay.

Or maybe I’m just supposed to have the experience of being on my own.

I won’t be alone.

And though I may feel lonely, I can, even in a crowd of 80,000 people.

I know that I am not alone.

I am loved.

Lit up.

Surrounded my art.

My soft, sweet, bright room.

And love.

Yes.

I got a room.

A room of my own.

With a window on the world.

My view from here.

Spectacular.

Hey Good Lookin’

June 30, 2015

What you got cookin’?

Yeah.

Back to work.

Back to doing the deal.

Back to my routine.

But joyfully so.

Heart full of love and sunshine and spice and all things nice.

I got up and took a nice hot shower and washed the travel out of my hair, though, truly, my hair longs for more travel, it does, you know; ate a lovely breakfast, drank some good coffee, and did some writing before hitting the road and heading into work.

My legs were not as sore as I feared they would be what with not riding my bicycle in over a week and I got to work quite quickly, falling back into the pattern of the traffic as though I had never left.

But I did.

And there would be flurries of memories that would whirl about my head like swallows at dusk swooping through my heart and I would find myself smiling.

“Hey, hey pretty girl!” A homeless man hollered at me.

Thanks sugar.

It’s nice to be acknowledged.

I learned a long time ago to accept a compliment when given one.

I have been complemented so much recently that I feel seen, really seen and that helps me to continue to be myself and well, maybe help some one else be seen, held, touched, heard.

We all want to be heard.

I was happy and the day was off to a good start.

I arrived at work early and stretched and posted up my photographs from this past weekend, not all of them, mind you, but quite a few, and I was pleased to see them.

I wish I had some to put here, I really did get some great shots of art at the MOCA and some fun shots of the ferris wheel out on the Santa Monica Pier, but for whatever reason, my computer is not upgrading properly with my iPhoto and I haven’t been able to download the pictures.

I will have to address this soon.

I actually have a back log of photos on my phone and I would like to have them on my computer, which also backs up to my Crash Plan support and if I should have something happen to my phone I won’t lose them.

The house at work was empty and I set about getting it ready for the return of the family who came into town about an hour and a half before I left for my Monday night commitment in the Inner Sunset.

Even without the boys I had plenty to do.

Striped both beds and washed all the linen and the boys laundry that wasn’t taken care of, cleaned out the humidifiers in both boys rooms and put them away in storage.

I cleaned out the refrigerator and washed it down.

I made a list of market stuff that needed to be bought.

I co-ordinated with the mom and went off to the corner market and then made a really big trip to BiRite.

I washed, prepped, and cleaned all the goodies I brought back and proceeded to make food for the families eminent arrival: pan roasted organic chicken breasts with garlic, sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, thyme, and parsley; oven roasted garlic and olive oil brushed cauliflower; sushi rice; and then I prepped all the vegetables that needed to be cut up so the mom can make her favorite beef stew in the morning in the slow cooker.

I put it all together in a couple of containers and all she has to do is dump it in the slow cooker, and voila!

Another meal for the week done.

I ran down to Anthony’s Cookies on Valencia and 25th and bought four chocolate chip cookies for dessert and to celebrate the boys placement in school for the fall.

I re-made the beds, did the compost, tidied up, tallied up my travel expenses from the Sonoma trip and had enough time to sit for a moment and drink some tea before they pulled in.

It was good to see the boys.

Really good.

They are such sweet pies.

I got hugs and the down low on all the things I missed, not that I feel like I missed anything this weekend, I feel like I did just fine, and I showed the boys all my photos from the trip.

Just like I promised them I would.

Dinner got ate.

The dog got more than her fair share.

Cookies got gobbled with milk.

I built the boys a fort using the two high chairs, a blanket, and a bunch of pillows, then happily took my leave with a message about, what are you doing later on my phone.

Why.

I’m hanging out with you, friend.

Which is why I am getting the blog done now.

We do have a tendency to get caught up in conversation and despite having talked and talked and talked over the weekend, I suspect that there might still be more to talk about.

Let the conversation begin.

I am all ears.

And blonde hair.

“Oh!  What happened to the pink?” She asked this evening.

The daily swimming in the pool in Sonoma sucked it right out of my hair, it’s very blonde right now, and to tell the truth, I think I like it better than the pink, in its own way, it’s prettier and beachy and feels sun-kissed.

Which is what my whole day felt like whenever I stopped to contemplate my life and the experiences happening around me.

Sun kissed.

I told the boys they brought the sunshine with them from Sonoma.

But.

I suspect I may have brought a few rays of it from Los Angeles.

Just a teeny tiny bit.

Even though, haha, it rained off and on the first day I was there.

Despite the tears that fell from the sky, the sun shone through again and again.

Just like my life.

The tears may fall, happy and sad, but overall.

It’s a sunshine day.

It’s a sunshine life.

Jesus I feel like the Partridge Family here.

But it is true.

It also made me think that perhaps one day, not until after graduate school of course, I may need to go where the sun shines a little more than it does here, the fog and the grey get me down a little more than I am loathe to let on.

But.

That’s a ways away.

And I don’t want to live in the future.

Especially when I can make it sunny at any time.

In my heart.

What A Ride

June 29, 2015

In so many iterations I cannot fathom all of the ramifications right now.

I just got home from Los Angeles.

Although technically I just got home from a late night sushi dinner at Raw on 19th and Taraval.

Which was awesome, great company, fresh sushi, fast, good price, and hello, open at 10p.m. on a Sunday, and busy at that.

I know, you’re not supposed to eat sushi on a Sunday, or so the wives’ tale goes, but we were desperate, mostly me, despite not feeling all that hungry, I had a lot of iced coffee today, for food.

I knew better than to come home and not have some dinner in my body and the only other option would have been a late night run on Safeway and then cooking at my house.

I am not in the mood to cook.

I have so much on my mind, in my heart, in my soul, smeared across the windshield with golden light and thoughts and dreams and words, the touch of a hand, the constant conversation, the incessant pressing of love against my face as the sun set in the West as we drove up from the South, watching the roiling clouds of grey teeming over the San Francisco hills.

I have not had my cell phone off for so much time in years, nor, as you, my dear reader, may have notice, my computer.

There was no wifi at the Air BnB we were staying at.

I could catch some service on my iPhone, but sorry folks, there is no way in hell I’m going to write a blog on my phone.

Nope.

So.

Days without a blog.

Although not days without writing.

I did bring my notebook and I did do writing and as I was unpacking my go bag–I am damn skippy proud of how well I packed–I pulled out my new Claire Fontaine notebook, in deep sage green, with creamy lined paper, and taped the effects of the trip in the front page of my journal.

The first class ticket on American Airlines.

Man.

First class.

Thank you friend.

It was so nice.

Even for such a short trip, to have priority at the gate, to have faster check in, to scoot right through security, I felt spoiled and princess like.

So much so and so quickly did I get through that I actually had time to grab a manicure before I boarded.

I have never paid so much for a manicure in my life, but I thought, when someone you dearly adore says, let’s celebrate, I’m flying you down first class to LA, let’s go look at the Rothkos,

(OH MY GOD THE ROTHKO’S)

And I’ll put you up with me at my Air BnB in Santa Monica, it’s ok to splurge on a six-dollar cold pressed organic iced coffee from Equator Coffee and then go sit down and have your nails done.

You are officially on a celebration weekend.

The celebrating.

It was celebratory.

I danced up and down the steps of the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Gehry.

I lifted my face to the sky and marveled at the scoops and swoops and the neon lights bouncing off the building.

We walked around it and marveled at the symmetry of the building and talked and talked and talked.

There was much talking.

My friend and I had so much to talk about.

We could be talking right now.

Except.

Well, mama has to get up and go to work tomorrow and he’s got work to do too and the celebration will continue in my heart as I look at the other small pieces of paper taped next to that first class place ticket.

(OH MY GOD THE ROTHKO’S)

Should I ever have a child, a little boy, I would name him Rothko.

I was that overwhelmed, awed, blown away and just enamored with the pieces I saw.

I am speaking of the first day of my two-day party to celebrate (said celebration for the receiving the graduate school scholarships that I have been awarded over the past two weeks) and the trip to the MOCA.

The Museum of Contemporary Art.

It was just intense and overwhelming and amazing.

As before mentioned the Rothko’s were astounding, the humanness of the art, the luminosity of the paint, the spectrum of emotion I felt being in that gallery surrounded by the presence of such love and glory and art.

Art, love, God.

It’s all the same isn’t it?

I got to experience so much of that this weekend, I am still reeling with the love and kindness, the compassion of my friend, the utmost generosity.

I didn’t pay for anything.

I was spoiled and treated like a princess and ate lovely food and got driven all over the city and well, I even got to do that little girl thing that I most wanted to do but was also perhaps most resistant to ask for.

I got to go to the Santa Monica Boardwalk and go for a ride on the roller coaster and the Scrambler.

And.

The ferris wheel.

To be on the top of the circle, with some one so dear to me, to be swung high into the velvet of God’s deep indigo sky with the waves rolling in under the boardwalk and the smell of funnel cake and popcorn, or the happy screams of little kids on the roller coaster and the joy, the joy of being alive, present in the moment, so amazing.

I cannot quite even begin to comprehend all the ramifications of what this weekend has wrought for me.

Next to the MOCA ticket and the first class ticket and the postcard is my Zoltar fortune.

None your business.

Some things too sacred and special to share.

Some love you want to hold against your heart.

For fear that the bottom will drop out like it did that time you were kissed on the couch and you will never be the same again.

I will never be the same again.

And that is just alright with me.

I may have stepped off the ferris wheel, giddy and giggly and wobbly with my heart bouncy and bright and my smile so large it must have lit the sky a small bright star of love on the cusp of the ocean, the edge of the sea, the beginning of a new world view shimmers into sight.

But I am still riding high.

Still celebratory in my joy and the love I was able to bear witness to and receive, in the capacity for honest communication and appreciation of life, art, the heart, opening and breaking and making more space for more feelings and more.

Yes.

More.

And more.

Love.

I’ll buy that ticket any day of the week.

It’s a ride I never want to stop and regardless of what happens next.

I know that ferris wheel in my heart will continue to revolve.

And.

Evolve.

It will go the distance.

Five Ibuprofen

June 26, 2015

And broken blood vessels in my left eye.

“It was a long day,” I sobbed into the phone earlier to my friend.

I hadn’t realized I was hemorrhaging in my eye until after I had taken a shower and was drying my hair.

First time since I have been in Sonoma that I have dried my hair, I have been in and out of the pool so much that I just resigned to chlorinated pool hair and have kept braiding and re-braiding it.

But in hopes of not actually getting into the pool tomorrow, which I don’t think is going to happen, I feel an uneasy premonition that I will be flying to LA with wet hair, I took a long shower this evening and deep conditioned the hair and dried it off.

I was putting lotion on my face and reconciling how I was going to pack so that when I was ready to go I can just go, but if I should need anything I can also easily access it, when I noticed the blood in my left eye.

Damn it.

I haven’t had that ever.

I have been diagnosed with stress migraines before, but the broken blood vessels showed up on the backs of my eye, this is a first for me.

It doesn’t feel like a migraine, though at one point I could tell something might be coming on, I suspect it was from the sudden outburst of tears on the phone with my friend.

A friend I had to call up earlier and say, um, guess what?

We don’t have reservations to the Self Discovery Center Bed and Breakfast Inn any longer, they’ve been cancelled.

I received an e-mail this morning letting me know that the center had unexpected plumbing problems that were going to take weeks to resolve and they were shutting down the center until said plumbing issues were fixed, my room reservation was cancelled, so very sorry, best of luck finding new accommodations.

Fuck my mother.

Damn it.

I mean, I’m more annoyed now than I was at the time I received the message.

Probably because it was at the beginning of the day, I had just had lovely breakfast poolside–oatmeal with banana and chopped raw almonds, sprouted pumpkin seeds, and blueberries and the perfect hard-boiled egg, along with a couple of cups of coffee before it got too hot to enjoy drinking coffee.

Plus, I was riding high from the lovely time I had in Sonoma yesterday and a nice phone call at the end of the night outlining all the fun that was to be had in LA this upcoming weekend.

I can’t even fathom that right now.

It’s been a long day and I’m struggling to not cry, partially because I am a vain monster and don’t want my eyes to be all blood-shot and partially I don’t really want to be seen as emotionally so off-balance.

But I am off kilter.

The heat and the length of the day today, the visiting family leaving, the high emotions of the boys as they said goodbye and cried because their friends were leaving.

It all took a toll.

But.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Not that the tunnel as been all that long or deep or dreary.

It’s just been what it’s been and yes, Virginia, I have had feelings.

And I have one day left and then a first class flight down to LA to see my friend and do the museums and play.

I mean play.

I also have the biggest hugest most gigantic hug to give him.

He’s been my lighthouse in the fog.

An absolute beacon.

A steady thread of sunshine through this week and a cause, in and of himself, for me to celebrate.

Not to mention all the other things that have happened, like you know, getting a full, well almost full, ride go to graduate school.

I sort of keep forgetting that.

My friend has called every night or I have called him and we have talked and down loaded our days and each of us has been there for the other doing what friends do, being vulnerable and saying the words that need to be spoken.

And hearing what the other person is saying.

I don’t feel as though I am speaking to a stone wall, I feel like I am connecting with another human being and that is such a gift that when I stop and see the fog is burning off in the sun I am amazed that I was ever afraid of the fog at all.

It seems that sometimes it will go on forever, the lonely wandering through the mists, but the light was there, is there, and I am not alone and I can do this and hey.

Look.

Tomorrow is Friday.

And it’s going to be a sunny day.

A little perspective.

Kind words and the encouragement to speak my heart and say what is really happening.

More perspective.

Jesus.

Am I ever glad for someone else’s perspective.

I do not see myself very well, through a glass darkly you could say, so when someone, in a matter of seconds can tell me what he sees, what is the truth of the matter comes out and I am made aware that I was again have been looking at smoke and mirrors.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

I am enough.

I do a really good job.

And I work really hard.

I am seeing the fruits of my labor and they frighten me a bit, it is so easy to shy away from the accolades and the abundance and say, “no, no, really, I’m not worthy.”

But I am.

And in my heart.

I know it.

It just gets foggy in there sometimes.

My friend pulled me through and my heart feels so much better and well, thank god for friends.

Thank God.

“Keep it light and bright,” my best girl friend said to me.

Yes ma’am.

Light and bright indeed.

 Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships.

-Charles Simic

A Full And Grateful Heart

June 25, 2015

I got off campus!

I was able to scoot out tonight for a much-needed hour of reprieve.

I read some stuff.

Some things were said.

The deal was done.

Then a woman there gave me a great big hug and said, “here, take these, there’s a woman in the fellowship who brings them fresh every day, they’re obviously for you.”

“They” were a big bunch of Shasta daisies and pink freesia and Echinacea, stunning and sweet and my favorite flowers are daisies, I was so pleased, so warmed, so right exactly where I was supposed to be.

Then  a lady bug pulled up in her truck, she splits time between Sonoma and San Francisco and typically we meet in the city on Friday nights after I get done with work at the Church Street Cafe on Church and Market.

The sunset was happening.

The soft evening breeze caressed my face.

I had left the flowers on the hood of the car in parking lot and she had no clue that a gorgeous bouquet was waiting for her after we checked in and did our reading in the last golden rays of the sun setting in the West, just over Sonoma Mountain.

There was also a, I am not kidding, I do not jest, I couldn’t make this up if I had tried to, a choir practicing hymns in the Community Center behind which were we sat at the picnic table and read from the literature.

She underlined sentences.

I tried to not get choked up.

Watching her young face, framed with long sheaves of strawberry blond hair, catch the last drops of sun from the sky and glow ethereally in the light.

I was stunned

My life is stunning.

My joy and love know no bounds.

I can not believe that this is the life I am leading.

I drove back to Stone Tree with the fullest heart and the utmost gratitude for the sky, for the silhouettes of trees against the indigo dusk, for the navigation on my iPhone telling me where to turn in 1.2 miles turn left.

Thank God for navigation.

I would still be out there back tracking.

I kept telling myself that I should not listen to the voices in my head which said, “you just missed the turn!”

Shush voices.

You’ve never done me right and being directionally retarded, I was more than happy to rely on the navigation system on the phone.

I will be relying on it again as I leave Sonoma and drive straight to SFO on Friday.

I will leave here at 3 p.m.

The drive is 1.38 hours according to the navigation app and I shall drop the rental car at the place on 710 McDonnell road, where I was assured it would only take me 15 minutes to drop of the car and for them to revert the deposit of $150 back to my account.

$150 which I had to deposit since I used my debit card.

$150 which may take two weeks to get back to my account.

Whatever.

Small price to pay to have some autonomy here in Sonoma and how fortuitous when I was offered the trip down to LA that I would have a rental car under my care and all I would have to do is drive straight to the airport.

Is it odd?

Or is it God?

That is a rhetorical question, I know what it is.

I can see this beautiful design for living that I have been granted and I am charmed and loved, graced, and so blessed to have the things in my life that I have.

I mean.

I got some huge news with the scholarships.

Plural, remember.

Not one, but two.

I sent a thank you note to the head of the department letting her know how grateful I was that she had referred me to the scholarship opportunity that has been afforded me and was there any further action that I need to do.

She replied how pleased she was that I was awarded the scholarship and how much they are looking forward to working with me and that all I had to do was accept my financial aid package when it is sent to me.

Done and done.

I accept!

Then I have some one amazing and new, but not new, just never quite seen before, there all along, there doing the deal, just on the outskirts, just beyond my periphery, present in my life.

Such a gift.

This person.

Who is flying me down to Los Angeles to celebrate my success and joy and to accompany me about the museums and to look at the art and to do the deal and have some fun and then road trip it back to San Francisco.

He’ll be picking me up at LAX and we’ll be staying at an Air BnB in Santa Monica.

I think I have a date to go down to the boardwalk and ride the ferris wheel.

I have never been to the boardwalk.

I haven’t really been to LA.

I did ride into it on the Aids LifeCycle ride in 2010, but frankly by the time that adventure was done, I couldn’t care less what city I was in, I just wanted to go home.

The next time I went was about six years ago when I was in a production of Jackie B’s and I travelled down to do a show in Santa Monica.

I got done with work at 6:30p.m. on Friday, got picked up by a friend, and we drove through the night to get into Santa Monica and stay at a tiny house with 9 other people.

I got no sleep.

Did the dress rehearsal.

Wandered around in a sleep deprived haze and ate lunch at an old-fashioned diner on Santa Monica Boulevard.

I remember seeing a lot of tourists and being hot.

That’s it.

The show went off and I spent the night back in that same house, cramped, and dirty and tired and then my ride went and hooked up with someone and left me to my own defenses, leaving me to ride around in the back of someone’s camper with no concept of when I would get back to San Francisco.

I feel that this trip will be far different.

And I am so looking forward to it.

The museums.

The company.

To get to share my celebration and joy with another person and go to museums?

Please.

Who am I to say there is no God?

Or love.

If you will.

I am loved.

I am so loved.

My heart is full of daisies.

Sunshine.

And bright sweet love.

And with that.

I am.

Back on the beam.

Full House

June 24, 2015

At least it’s a gigantic house.

But there’s a lot of us here and today I had a moment of needing to be completely alone.

That is not going to happen, but I did take time to reach out to a few people and check in and do the things that I need to do to keep myself centered and sane.

I didn’t get as much sleep as I would have liked either, one of the boys had night terrors last night and I woke up to a little boy screaming.

Not the best sound to wake up to.

I wasn’t needed to assuage the dreams, but I found it took a moment to drop back off to sleep and the full impact of so many folks in a space, when I am used to my own space has made me desire the silence that I surround myself with in my home.

I am quiet in the morning.

I get up and do my deal and for the first two hours sometimes, two and a half hours of the day, I don’t interact with anyone (granted 45 minutes of that time is devoted to my morning bicycle commute of 6.5 miles through the city).

I read.

I write.

I eat a mindful breakfast.

I check some e-mails and my bank account and make a mental list of any bills that may need to get sorted and the general effluvia of the day that needs addressing.

There is not that same quiet here.

There are four parents, four boys- 2 and 3/4s, a three-year old, and 2 five-year olds, one baby–a five month old baby girl that I just want to squeeze and squish and kiss every time I see her and I cannot help myself, I flirt with her like nobody’s business.

I’m partial to dark-eyed babies with curly brown hair.

Hell.

I am partial to all babies, whatever flavor or color, they all are delicious.

There is also another nanny, a dog, a caretaker that comes by the house every evening without fail right before the boys are being corralled to the dinner table who throws the whole house into complete ruckus as he checks the swimming pool and the garden and waters the plants and does any minor maintenance that needs doing.

That’s a lot of people, personalities, and activity happening around me.

I feel that I have done a pretty damn good job with my self-care, the family has certainly helped with that–accommodating my “strange” food diet, no sugar no flour, and being mindful of keeping the boys out of my room and space.

I have stayed with my current routine, the one that I would do if I was at home, so I get up two and a half hours before my shift starts, which has shifted a bit later here than it is in the city, also keeping me working later in the day than I am used to, but as I said to the mom tonight when I realized I was getting testy, in my brain, not with the family or the boys or the situation (a gentle reminder that I am out of my milieu and my comfort zone and a deep breath) where can I best be of service?

And when I was told, clean up the kitchen.

Ok.

I did it.

I felt a bit like the help.

Then I realized.

Hello.

You are the help.

Then I remembered, I feel best when I am of service.

So I happily scrubbed the kitchen while the boys and baby all went out to the wide swath of green grass behind the house and ran around the verdant paddock, not even realizing until I was half way through, oh, this is nice.

It was quiet.

The noise is not unpleasant, it’s just a balancing act, knowing when I need to engage, when I need to pull back, when I can help the other nanny, when I can help the other family or my family.

I also know that I am not a live in nanny.

I never have been.

I don’t know that I ever could be.

I like the autonomy of my own space.

I love the going home at the end of my day.

And that’s not the case here.

I have not left here since I arrived on Sunday evening and that in and off itself is surreal for me.

Despite the house being large and rambling and the grounds wide, the house is on 13 acres, I haven’t gotten out a whole lot to do exploring.

Mostly I am getting my exercise running up and down the back stairs and hunting down the various swim suits and rash guards for the boys.

I am getting into the pool everyday and that is enjoyable.

I mean, really, how bad is it when I am getting paid to swim in the pool with my charges on a sunny afternoon in Sonoma.

The constant presence of the parents is something I am used to from working in the city, just not the presence of two other parents and another nanny.

I remind myself to take care of myself.

To stay connected with my people.

One of whom is actually going to meet me in Sonoma tomorrow evening.

I cleared it with the parents to go out tomorrow and do that thing I need to do.

The timing has not been great for getting me out to do the deal and I am beginning to feel that, but tomorrow, I get out and I get to meet one of my ladybugs who is going to drive into Sonoma to meet with me.

Thank you Jeebus.

I need it.

I actually called and left her a message telling her I needed her to call and check in with me, because my solutions are sub optimal, but when I hear someone else’s problems, I suddenly have none.

Like really?

I have any problems.

Please.

I found out twenty-four hours ago that I was awarded a second scholarship for $30,000.

Which brings me to my total awards package of $80,000.

Again, who has problems?

I called my mom and she suggested that since things were going so well my way that I should be looking at getting my PhD.

Mom.

Can I please enjoy the moment?

Just let me.

Ugh.

I know better.

And that’s when I knew I was just a little spiritually off kilter, don’t go to the dry well expecting a drink of water.

My mom means well, but I know better.

I wanted something from her, I wanted acknowledgement, love, accolades.

I don’t need to look for validation from outside sources and when I realized I was doing just that I started making the necessary conversations happen to get me out of the full house and off into the world for a sit down in a church basement on a crappy folding chair.

It’s a lot more comfortable place for me to sit then in my head.

The house may be full and I may get overwhelmed at times, but this is a temporary situation and I know I am doing a really good job for the family.

I am grateful for that.

I’ll be grateful for Friday too.

But until then.

I will continue to ask, “where can I best be of service?”

Because when I do that.

I know that I am exactly in the right place.

Full or empty house.

There Are No Words

June 23, 2015

I mean.

Really.

There are no words.

So.

I’ll let the e-mail speak for itself while I try to catch my breath and let my tea cool off enough to sip on it.

Spontaneous crying may happen at any point in the writing of this blog, FYI.

To wit this is the e-mail I opened an hour ago:

Dear Carmen,

Congratulations!  On behalf of the California Institute of Integral Studies Diversity Leadership Scholarship Committee, I’m happy to inform you that you’ve been selected as a recipient of the J.C. Kellogg Integral Counseling Psychology Scholarship. This scholarship provides recipients with $10,000.00 per school year for the 3 years of the ICP/W Programs.

The Financial Aid office will be sending you a revised Awards Package in which this scholarship will be included.

Wishing you all the best!

With warm regards, Pauline

Pauline E. Reif, MA, MFA

Admissions Counselor

California Institute of Integral Studies

I can barely breathe.

I don’t have to take out student loans.

ANY.

NOT A FREAKING ONE.

The Opportunity Scholarship I was awarded was for tuition solely, nothing to sneeze at, let me remind you–$50,000–basically paying, directly, my first four semesters of six semesters of tuition.

Now.

To get this.

To be recognized again.

I.

Oh.

There’s the tears.

Pause.

Breathe.

This means that I won’t as I said, have to take out any additional student loans, suffice to say I am still paying on my undergraduate student loans, $32,000 left on that.

Anyone feeling like paying those off, you just let me know.

It’s the only debt I have.

No credit cards, no scooter payments, no words, no freaking words.

I called my best friend and relayed the news and she said I should run around barefoot in the grass like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

She, Julie Andrews character, was a nanny too!

Nanny’s be getting it on.

I kicked off my flip-flops, tumbled down the flagstone steps and ran around the paddock of grass that encircles the back of the house here at Stone Tree–laughing, crying, sharing with my friend the news, slightly hysterical, definitely giddy.

Normally I would have read that e-mail much sooner, but I have been busy with the little boy wrangling and the swimming and the black berry picking and the wild plum harvest and the walking the dog and taking pictures and soaking up the sun.

It wasn’t until I was sitting on the back patio, all the boys fed, watching a movie with the parents, that I picked up my phone to check my messages and to have a cup of tea while the sun set, golden spiced and delicious, fingers of shadows blue indigo ripe and full of barn swallows reveling in their dinner at dusk.

I was also texting with a friend, said friend who I get to see on Friday in LA for much museum sightings and plain old celebrations.

Seriously.

I get to celebrate more.

I don’t know how to do that, I am so overwhelmed with it, but I do know how to be grateful, I do know how to humbly accept with thanks the gifts that have been given to me, I get to see how important it is that I walk through these doors and take these gifts and share them with my fellows, my community, my family.

I just.

Whew.

Lost my train of thought.

Trying to breathe and take it all in.

It’s a lot to take in.

And.

Knowing, having the faith that once I started the process that I just had to continue to show up, one day at a time, one moment, giving my best in each moment, being utterly present and myself.

Life is going to happen.

But life without more student loans is also going to happen.

I am so honored.

I’m going to work so hard.

I’m still going to work for my family, of course, I just found out that I won a full ride to school, not a full ride to live in San Francisco.

I make enough working full-time at what I do to live a sweet, comfortable life, with good food in my fridge, a snick of money in my savings account for emergencies and the basics pretty well covered.

My rent and cost of living is below average in San Francisco.

I’m going to have to work, but I won’t have to work as much.

And since the family is going to only need me part-time when the boys are both in matriculation one in pre-school and the other in kindergarten; it works out that I have the right work environment to support my graduates school endeavors.

I won’t have to take out student loans, I won’t have to take out student loans, I won’t have to take out student loans.

Pardon me.

I am crying again.

I spent the day gamboling with the dog, picking blackberries, digging trenches with the boys, playing tag, swimming, it’s a nice pool I felt so happy to be in the water, I even did a few laps and I suspect that I will do a solo swim on my own at some point.

Maybe even tonight when the families get all the boys tucked in for the night.

I will definitely go outside and watch the stars and let the tears fall and though I am alone, I know I am not lonely.

I have friends.

I have family.

I have support and love and kindness immeasurable in my life.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

And I get to go to LA?

Please.

Who is this woman?

I was talking to my person earlier today as I walked through the garden, checking out if any of the produce was ready to be picked, nothing yet, but some fresh herbs and the berries and plums, which I was happy to just pop into my mouth, and I expressed that I was so astounded by my life.

And this was before I got the second scholarship news.

I saw this arc of my life, this huge parabola of experiences that I have had and marveled, utterly marveled at how I have come this far.

So far.

From being in the back of that VW Bug when I was four, running across country, with my mom and her boyfriend, my little sister and two cats (and let us not forget the large screen television set that took up half of the back seat–which was why I was in the nook between the back seat and the window, my nest of pillows bolstering my view of the passing sky) running away from an eviction, to another uncertain and tenuous beginning for my mom back in Wisconsin.

To now.

The drive up here to Sonoma, the sun, the color of the sky, the dusty grass-covered hills, the spreading oaks and my heart, so full, so open to everything.

And then this?!

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick.

I really have no words.

Even though I just wrote a 1200 word blog.

Bahahahahaha.

Thank you God.

Thank you friends, family, community, my fellowship, my employers, everyone.

Thank you everyone.

I wouldn’t be where I am without you.

And where I’m going isn’t worth going without you too.

I heart you to the moon and back a 1,000 times.

I love you “this big.”

I mean.

THIS BIG.

SO BIG.

So very big.

There are no words.


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