Author Archive

A God Damn Christmas Miracle!

December 25, 2022

I was not expecting that I would get my suitcase back today.

On Christmas.

ON CHRISTMAS!

Come on.

That’s like a stupid rom/com movie trope.

I mean, I can just envision the script, tired American in Paris for the holidays wears outfit four days in a row and cries in tepid bathtub after multiple delays and flight cancellations, losing baggage at Charles de Gaulle, battling with weary agents at Lufthansa who don’t give a fuck and just keep handing over a piece of paper with directions as to how to file a claim, buys wrong toiletries at Franprix (damn it I know better French than to buy sugar scrub instead of face wash), finally understands that French je ne sais crois of messy updo (fuck my hair is trashed after cheap toiletries and not being able to use a real blowdryer), no makeup (cuz was in suitcase that was lost) and world weary look-tres chic, tres sexy. Meets cute in a cafe when the regular notices same outfit on the third day in a row and falls in love when he takes her out clothes shopping in the Marais.

Well.

All of that was true except the last sentence.

I just took me out clothes shopping in the Marais.

But back to movie.

I mean, my life.

I mean.

Hmmm, what if my life were a movie?

What if the love of my life is just me?

What if I just keep falling in love with my own damn self?

An ex reached out to wish me Merry Christmas this morning.

Signal perfect teardrop rolling down face.

I am tired of this particular Christmas tradition, frankly, time for a new one.

I am ok with being alone on Christmas.

Not always, not for every moment of the day.

Not for the seven hours I waited for my bag, but you know, I wrote a lot, I watched Lady Chatterly’s Lover, I paced a bit.

I gave up the ghost around 4:30p.m.

I remember looking at my watch and thinking, well damn, there goes the day as it started to get dark and the suitcase had not arrived.

I sighed, thought about what I would make for dinner–I had planned ahead and grabbed a poulet roti, rotisserie chicken, from the frou frou boucherie on the block, so I would have a nice meal, yesterday.

So I was shocked and delighted when just after 5p.m. Paris time, my phone rang and it was the delivery driver!

I ran out the door (thankfully I had the keys in my pocket, I had a nightmare thought about running out the door and locking myself out, another movie trope, no?) and down the steps, opening the door to the courtyard just as the delivery service pulled up.

I have never been happier to see a suitcase in my life.

It looked like it had been dropped out the plane and dragged down the runway, but it was closed, and upon opening, all was there.

Thank goodness.

Makeup!

Bras and underwear!

My blowdryer!

My new boots!

My jean jacket I had just bought a month ago.

My favorite sweatshirt.

Note to self.

I over packed.

Of course.

I didn’t know I was going to wear the same outfit four days in a row, so there is that.

I put on some makeup, swept my hair up into a messy up do, I mean, I will fix that tomorrow with proper products and a good blow dryer, and bustled out the door.

Christmas night in Paris is not a real big night out, but I needed a walk after staying inside all day.

It was a lovely night, I caught the sliver of the new moon climbing over the rooftops of the Marais, walked by Hotel de Ville and smiled at the kiddos riding the carousel, I walked over the Pont Notre Dame and circled Ile Saint Louis, remembering all the many times I have crossed that bridge.

I have crossed quite a few bridges in Paris.

I have lived here poorer than a tit mouse.

I have cried in cafes here.

I have struggled.

Even with a little money in my wallet and my Air France credit card, Paris is not easy, the bureaucracy, the time it takes to get things done, it wears you, I mean, me, down.

My time in Paris has never been easy.

But.

It has always been beautiful, and perhaps those things most beautiful are not the things that are most easy.

I thought I was going to have an idyllic return, a victorious, sexy return to Paris, ten years later, turning 50, and eating at some fancy restaurant with my Parisian friends.

I was sitting in SFO instead waiting for yet another delayed flight to load.

I thought I was going to wear chic shoes and pretty clothes.

Not my Vans sneakers all week long, but hey, I still have two days to rock some heels (fyi, how the fuck does Emily in Paris totter around in those heels all day long? No fucking way) and will perhaps tomorrow night when I take myself out for a fancy dinner.

I did, however, master the messy bun, the scarf (grabbed at COS in the Marais), and the side bag swagger, and the no makeup look, except a red lip–the only makeup I had in my possession, a red lip crayon.

It’s been a trip.

Things I have figured out.

-How to turn up the hot water heater in the flat, sorry Air BnB person trying to save on utilities, I paid an arm and a leg for this place and I deserve a hot bath, I’ll return it to its lukewarm setting when I leave.

-I speak better French than I give myself credit for. Many, many compliments and looks of surprise when I say I am from the US.

-I still don’t speak French as well as I want, like, um, hahahaha when I told the delivery driver he was tres jolie (smacks forehead) and then quickly changed it to tres gentile (jolie is pretty, gentile is nice).

-I love the Metro, well, most of the time, there were some strikes and driver shortages, so it was rather packed, but it is simply an amazing train system, and off all the places I have been, probably the easiest to use.

-I don’t need to do the Louvre again, this time I skipped it, I went to the Palais de Tokyo, the Centre de Pompidou, Musee D’Orsay, and Musee de l’Orangerie. Those are my favorites, I don’t need to kill myself drowning in tourists trying to take a selfie with the Mona Lisa.

-Palais de Tokyo has the best book store and cafe hands down, of any museum I have been in anywhere.

-Saying please and thank you and have a good day and using manners gets you really quite far, I sort of already knew this, but I find it rather comforting the little formalities, the have a good day, have a good night, Bonnes Fetes, et al, makes things a little more human.

-I don’t like how much time people spend on their phones here, I was surprised, phone culture here has caught up with America, and in some ways, seems worse. Maybe it was the pandemic. It made me a little sad to see it, but there are still people on the Metro reading books.

-I don’t want to come back to Paris alone.

Yeah.

Your read that last one correct.

In my many times of traveling here I have not done it with a true partner and though I am my own good company, I am a little tired of being the solo lady traveler in Paris.

I’m not going to quit traveling, but after time number eight, I think I want a different experience with the city.

And with myself and with someone else.

I had an ex reach out prior to my trip on WhatsApp, a different ex than the one who caused the tears, (the only platform he’s not blocked on, but is now, thanks) and wish me a happy birthday and hopefully I’ll be enjoying a romantic time in Paris, and how I deserve to be with someone who loves me–can’t argue that, but please, stop.

I am my romantic time.

I’ll draw a bubble bath, watch a movie, have a snack.

And plan my last couple of days as a single lady in Paris.

The rom/com trope is that I am happy and ok single.

And that I can have complex emotional feelings and experiences and long for a partner too.

I have had some very intense dating experiences this year.

And I forgive myself for that.

The change now is to surrender, like I did my lost luggage, not look for it on apps, or dating sites, to not project myself as larger than life, to be vulnerable and let myself be approached.

I tend to have men project (and some former female friends) on me a certain fantasy of who I am.

Because I live grand, I write this blog (though, honestly, not always the best reflection of me it is sometimes taken to be a completely accurate picture of my life, when it is just a montage of snapshots) and I live with my heart of my sleeve.

I want to be gentle, be approachable, and maybe soften up the makeup and glitter (a little, not doing away with it all), wear my hair up messy, and be ok with being human and older and still not having it quite altogether.

I think it’s tres chic this.

Thanks for the lesson Paris.

I am not sure when I will see you again, but until then, thanks for teaching me all the things vulnerable and how to turn up the hot water heater in French.

Trop gros bisous.

Go Out Dancing

December 5, 2022

Is my new favorite acronym for God.

Others I like are:

Grace Over Drama.

Group Of Drunks.

Great Out Doors.

Good Orderly Direction.

But for the moment, go out dancing is my current fave.

I have made a new friend and she has gotten me out twice now in the past week.

We went out to the Polyglamorous party “Left Overs” last week, Thanksgiving weekend, with Dee Diggs from Brooklyn at The Great Northern, and to date myself, I hadn’t been there since it was Mighty, so, like, um, fifteen or sixteen years?

A very good friend and I used to go there in early recovery.

The sound system there was out of this world.

I don’t even remember who I saw.

Once I went there with a room mate to see a famous rapper, who, I really didn’t know, I had never heard of the guy before, but my room mate had a hard on for him and an extra ticket and so I went.

Much to her chagrin, I got pulled up on the stage at the club to dance with him.

I don’t remember the artist’s name, but I do remember my room mates look of incredulity as I was on stage.

Heh.

Sometimes when I went with my good friend and the acts weren’t that great and we’d just go hang out by his car.

He had a ridiculous sound system in his car, a convertible Mercedes Benz that I don’t even want to know how much it cost, and he’d pop the trunk and we’d just dance around the car.

I can remember more than a few times when the best party was not what was going on in the club, but what was going on out in the street.

We weren’t alone dancing around the car.

Last night I went with my new friend to Public Works and saw John Digweed and his opening set DJ Kora with Set Underground.

Kora was beautiful.

It felt like a glorious sound bath.

There was this gorgeous alter with disco ball lights and lanterns and incense that the DJ was playing behind.

Now.

Normally.

I’m not into this kind of spiritual hoo ha.

But.

His music was lovely, deep, soft trancelike house with some Middle Eastern Influence.

The crowd was diverse, older, dreamy, community.

I saw people I knew from years and years ago.

In fact, I told my new friend last night that I recognized the way that she danced, she has a unique style, that I know I must have seen her on various dance floors and clubs in San Francisco back in the early 2000s.

And later when Digweed came on and the floor got too crowded for her, she bounced out to the Mezzanine, and I found her dancing with an old acquaintance, that I knew from back in the day.

In fact, I used to be in awe of this man.

He was the best club dancer I have ever seen, and twenty (fuck my life, really?) years later, he is still a marvel on the floor.

I remember being in the back room at 1015 for Tiesto? Donald Glaude? Scumfrog? Jonathan Ojeda?

God, only knows, I wasn’t sober then, but I had danced like a crazed person and was taking a break with a drink and my friend who had come up from San Jose to dance that night with me, also a very accomplished dancer, and I saw this gorgeous African American man and a white guy with dreads dancing across the club room.

They were dancing so hard.

Enthralled I watched for a while and then got up the nerve to join.

It was magic.

And I was blown away by their beauty and prowess and grace.

I think I held my own for twenty minutes, they were going so, so, so hard, before I had to bow out.

Literally.

I bowed out.

And they both smiled, and bowed back.

Every time I have seen said gentleman since, his dark eyes always smile at me, and he bows.

And sometimes, still, we dance, before my knees give out.

He is tall and slim, almost slight, well dressed, in his own glorious interpretation of club clothes, and last night he had an afro mohawk.

Seeing him and my new friend dancing behind the sound booth in the mezzanine, I knew, I knew I had seen her before.

She was surprised when she realized that I knew him.

Ah, the club world.

So big and sometimes so, so small.

And I don’t know how it’s twenty years later and I’m suddenly back in the scene and dancing.

Granted, I go much earlier than I used to.

I gobble Ibuprofen.

I only drink water.

I’m completely sober, spiritually centered, and drowned in the ecstasy of dance.

I get lost.

It’s exquisite.

It doesn’t always happen, but more often than not, it does.

I love music.

I listen to music all day long.

When my ex in my twenties and I broke up we discovered something interesting–he owned the tv, stereo, VCR, and most of the cds (mostly because for five years when I didn’t know what to gift him, I gave him stacks of cds for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, which bit me in the ass when I realized he owned most of the music).

I owned the furniture, bed, and all the kitchen ware.

He moved out.

And I had no audio visual.

I was a broke student working at a brewing company getting by on student loans and suddenly faced with paying double the rent I had the previous month.

I had enough to either buy a tv or a stereo.

There was no debate.

I bought the stereo.

I have not owned a television since.

(“I just realized something!” A friend said to me recently as we were hanging out and drinking tea in my living room. “You don’t own a tv, your living room is arranged so that people can see each other when they talk, not a tv!”)

23 years now.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have HBO Max (pandemic buy) and Netflix–I do watch videos on my laptop, but music, music is where it is at for me.

I dance every day.

Not always for very long, but every day, mostly in my kitchen.

I was dancing before writing this.

And I will go out dancing again this upcoming Friday.

Dimitri from Paris at the Great Northern.

I could even go out Saturday night too, a friend offered to gift me a ticket to a show at the MidWay.

I’m not sure I can do that, but I am tempted.

Go out dancing more, I tell myself.

Between six and a half years of graduate school (three years in my Master’s program and three and a half in my PhD–yeah, I got that faster than the average bear) and the pandemic, it’s been a long while.

I am happy to be back.

My knees are sore.

And I’m a lot older.

But that’s ok.

I plan on dancing until I die.

Music is one of the many ways I connect to God.

And thus, it is paramount to keep listening, keep dancing, keep drowning in the love.

“I love you,” he shouted in my ear, “I saw you up there, you kept it moving, you didn’t stop, you are beautiful.”

He hugged me.

Some stranger in a sweaty t-shirt with a happy glow on his face last night at the club who grabbed me before I left the dance floor.

Grateful to be seen.

Grateful for music.

Grateful for dancing.

Grateful for this rich, full life.

Even when my knees hurt and I rue the nights I danced for hours in platform heels for six, seven, eight hours, when I was young and anesthetized on cocaine, even when I can’t drop it like it’s hot, or even like it’s lukewarm, even when I can’t stay out late or all night long like I used to, or that I have all sorts of laugh wrinkles around my eyes, even when my hips hurt (gah), and I can’t believe I’m weeks away from turning 50, even then.

I am so grateful

So, I’ll continue to go out dancing.

And if you want.

You should come.

I’d love to see you on the dance floor.

Although I might not see you right away as I will be standing in front of the DJ with my hands raised to the heavens and my eyes closed shut in my own private ecstatic moment communing with God as I understand God.

Go out dancing.

It’s good for you.

Seriously.

Longings

November 7, 2022

I have been sitting with this topic for a little over a week now and really contemplating what I long for.

Last Friday, not this weekend, but the one prior, I had a pretty revelatory session with my own therapist.

Who clearly stated something that I have never been able to articulate.

That I am afraid of my longings.

As soon as he said it, it threw light on so much of my life.

He asked me, “what happened to you when you were younger when you longed for something?”

“I was shamed, humiliated, made fun of,” I answered immediately, there was no pause to think.

My therapist went further, “you were striped naked, you were beaten,” he introjected. “If you longed for something you were going to get hurt.”

Tears filled my eyes.

Fuck.

Of course I am afraid of my longings.

I was also taught a lot of other not so great things.

I’m not enough, I’m ugly, I’m fat, I’ll be alone forever, I’m not lovable was basically the message I got.

I had to earn love, achieve love, work for love.

And so often, I still did not receive it in a way that was healthful for me.

I was eviscerated for my achievements as well.

Mortified by achieving, yet also pushed to achieve.

I have to do everything myself, take care of myself, and defend myself.

Things I learned to do well.

I also have to take care of everyone around me.

I am not allowed desires, dreams, hopes, longings, and if I should voice them I’ll just be ridiculed for those longings.

One of my longings is for romantic intimacy.

Partnership.

Shit.

I just teared up.

That old story, here, right now, I’m not even allowed to talk about that.

Or write about it.

Dare I even post this blog about it?

I think so.

Because.

I am trying something different.

First, that re-engaging with a former ex this past September, a few weeks after Burning Man, was me falling back into the pattern of not letting myself long.

It didn’t work and I extricated myself.

With a lot of help from my people, sitting quietly, listening in to my body–all the reflux flair up that I hadn’t had for years came right back with a fucking vengeance.

And of course, my therapist, “the question is, why do you want to be with someone who is not honest?”

Ouch.

And why?

So I stopped and it ended as it was going to anyway, I knew it wasn’t good for me.

Moving on.

Doing work.

Doing the therapy.

Writing a lot.

Letting go.

Surrendering.

And when I said no to making myself small, all these kinetic, beautiful little miracles started happening.

I got my diploma in the mail the next morning.

I got unstuck with my book project and started a process journal.

I reached out to a photographer and asked to collaborate and got a “I’m very interested!” response and a “let’s meet for coffee.”

I saw a friend I haven’t seen in nearly two years and took her out on her birthday to breakfast.

I started writing the epilogue to my book.

I started blogging again.

I started, trying, I’m not always great at it, but trying, to lean into my longings.

I shifted my schedule a bit to open up my Friday nights so I can socialize more.

I’m digging into really old, deep, entrenched stuff with my therapist.

He said some very interesting things, he usually does, thank god for him, he’s the best therapist I have ever worked with, receently.

Like in my session this Friday.

He reflected that people are drawn to me, but that I project an image and instead of that, what would it look like if I was a magnet instead?

I knew what he meant.

I can have a big personality, I have presence.

For instance.

Dating.

I usually do the asking out, I think I have to, that no one is going to be drawn to me and that my longings will go unseen and that I have to ask, so I do.

A friend told me about this recently, “you come across as boss lady, soften it a bit, no body is going to ask boss lady out.”

Ok then.

Soften.

Draw to me rather than push away.

No more asking out guys.

Wait.

Let myself be asked out.

Actually, I have always, always, longed for this.

I have so infrequently had it happen, it seems a dream to have someone ask me out.

But, I think that it’s because I come across as unapproachable.

And I pine for that which is unavailable–not so much anymore, I am leaning, thank you–which is to say that my action is to focus on what is not really there so not to be hurt if I long for something.

Remember, I was shamed for having desire.

And I’m not talking erotic desire, I’m talking desire for affection, love, conviviality, joy, awe, wonder, laughter, closeness, honesty, play.

And.

I won’t sneeze at erotic desire either.

I am a sensuous being.

I long for touch.

The pandemic was rough yo.

Plus, the surgeries I had last year made it tough too, hard to feel sexy when you’re in pain.

Anyway.

Dating.

It’s back on my plate.

But this time no apps, no asking people out, no projecting out to the world.

Just a softening into the longing, articulating vulnerability, being ok with being messy, messy hair, no make up, well, not all the time, I do love me some lipstick, letting go of the crazy hair (hell my hair is crazy enough on its own) and going back to my natural color and yes, letting it go gray. I am of a certain age, it’s ok.

Just leaning in.

Soft, warm, sweet, longing, Coleman Hawkins on a rainy November night, with misty fog encapsulating street lamps, the heat turned on, the cats cozy curled up next to me, hot, homemade soup in a bowl, and looking out the windows at the darkening sky with longing that soon, yes please, there will be someone sitting next to me, who will put his arm around me and listen to the music with me, kiss the top of my head, and be absolutely ok with just me.

No striving to prove myself or be different, bigger, brighter, shinier, faster, more fabulous.

Just me.

That’s it.

And that is all that I need to be.

Warm, vulnerable me.

Book Project

November 5, 2022

So.

Here I am again.

Thinking about publishing a book.

But this time it is different.

This time I am ready.

Ten years ago I moved to Paris.

I moved to Paris to “become a writer.”

The truth was.

I already was a writer.

I had been a writer for decades.

I was on the cusp of turning 40 when I moved to Paris.

I am on the cusp of turning 50 now.

If you had told me that I wouldn’t really be looking at being published for a decade after moving to Paris.

Well.

Fuck.

I would burst into tears and likely thrown myself off the cutest nearest bridge.

Good thing I didn’t know.

Hell.

I had no idea ten years ago that instead of becoming a published writer, which, by the way, I am published–my dissertation was published on ProQuest on August 8th–I was to become a therapist.

I had no idea what Paris was going to hold for me.

It was terrifying, cold, heart breaking, wet–it rained a lot, and it snowed!

I got lost all the time–sometimes literally, often figuratively.

I spent a lot of time in churches–they are heated to a nice toasty warm that I would often find myself seeking reprieve from the weather in.

I wrote.

All the fucking time.

I wrote three, sometimes four, times a day.

I edited and re-hashed and re-organized a memoir.

I wrote short stories, poemss, blogs.

I wrote in my journal (s).

There ended up being many, many, many journals–all of which I still have.

I wrote in the morning.

I wrote in the afternoon–in cafes, my favorite being Odette & Aime.

Which was just around the corner on 46 Rue Maubege, I lived at 18 Rue Bellefond.

I would sit for hours in the cafe and sip at tap water and a cafe Allonge–which is basically a black coffee.

I was so poor.

Tit mouse poor.

Starving artist poor.

Hemingway in A Moveable Feast poor.

But like, Hemingway made it sexy.

I was not sexy.

I couldn’t often afford a cafe creme–thus the Allonge–I would eat lunch from the Monoprix–basically a Walgreens with a bit of a supermarket in it.

Lunch would be a single serving piece of cheese and a packet of peanuts.

Often accompanied by an apple I would buy from the Friday market around Square D’Anvers.

Once I treated myself to sausages, heaven, at the Friday market but only once–they were rabbit and to die for.

Breakfast was apple in oatmeal and milk.

Dinners were often from the roti chicken place down the street by the Metro entrance for the Cadet stop.

Not the fancy place up the road that was Monsieur Dufrense.

But the Halal place, the owner was sweet, the chicken was cheap.

I could make one of those last a good four days, sometimes five.

I worked under the table, nanny, dog walker, baby sitter, English tutor.

I took French classes that a friend in Chicago wired me money to go and do.

I walked everywhere, when I wasn’t on the Metro, which I used frequently as I had a Navigo monthly pass.

There were times, especially when I was doing baby sitting outside the periphery, that I realized, no one, not a single person, not a soul, knew where I was.

I was baby sitting in the ghetto, the low income housing, taking three trains to do an under table gig that basically paid 8 Euro an hour.

I walked past drug deals, prostitution, gambling places.

I walked briskly like I knew where I was going.

Irony.

The place was located on Rue Victor Hugo.

Sounds hella romantic.

Was hella sketchy.

I remember once taking a picture of the street lights reflecting in the rain, once, on a very early morning commute from my place in the 9th arrondisement to outside the periphery, at like 7a.m.

It was a gorgeous shot, the light, the reflection on the sidewalk, the darkness, the sheen.

I got so many comments on social media after I posted it….so pretty, so Paris, so exciting, lucky you, living the dream!

Sure.

The dream.

Which was actually a nightmare.

Scary, cold, intense, broke as fuck.

Taking an elevator up 9 floors in a tenement in the ghetto outside of Paris.

The kids were sweet, but they didn’t have books, they like to watch the Mickey Mouse Club.

The tv was their babysitter, except when I was there, I insisted on taking them outside.

The park in the middle of the low income houses.

I would watch them race around on their cheap plastic little scooters and stare at the clouds in the sky.

What the hell was I doing with my life?

Query another agent, send off another book proposal, watch my thin stash of Euros in my wallet slowly get a tiny bit bigger, after baby sitting, or tutoring, or house sitting, quietly buying my apples and peanuts and Halal chicken, and then have to pay a week’s rent where I was staying–in a one bedroom lofted apartment where I slept in the living room on a fold out futon that must have been 25 years old, it was so hard.

I didn’t usually have the month’s rent.

But I would pay week to week to week.

Living on peanuts and apples.

Like I said.

Hemingway made it much sexier.

So.

Ten years later.

Many adventures since.

So many adventures.

I am sitting in my very cozy, very pretty, one bedroom apartment in Hayes Valley in San Francisco.

I have a successful private practice therapy business.

I own a car.

A new one.

I have traveled back to Paris, and will do so again in December to celebrate my 50th birthday with a new tattoo from my favorite tattoo shop–Abraxas on Rue Beauborg in the Marais, where I will also be staying a beautiful and hip Air BnB, also in the Marais.

I will buy myself dresses this time instead of packets of peanuts.

I will buy notebooks from Claire Fontaine.

I will go to many museums.

And not on the free days.

I will have a lot of cafe cremes, and not a single Allonge.

I will eat a chicken from Monsieur Dufrense and an actual meal at Odette & Aime.

Also.

I will eat my birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant La Cantine du Troquet on Rue de Grenelle.

I will celebrate a dear friend’s wedding anniversary the day before–having become amazing friends in my Master’s in Psychology program, I have stayed at her family home in the Marais and as she will be celebrating, I will be at my Air BnB just a five minute walk from her home.

I will go to my favorite cafe, Cafe Charlot, which is open on Christmas.

I will be there for Christmas as well as my birthday.

I will take photographs and write, like I always do.

Although.

Hopefully I will not be writing agents to query them about a memoir, just writing in general, after scoring a few of my favorite notebooks, a small stack, at least five, maybe more.

I will instead be querying agents now about my book proposal.

Not exactly a memoir, but in a sense very much so, but with a different scope, seen through the lens of my dissertation, with beautiful photographs not take by me on my phone, but by the professional photographer I am meeting with next week for coffee in Petaluma–Sarah Deragon with Portraits to the People.

She did my headshots for my website and I adore her work.

I queried her if she would be interested in collaborating with me and I got a yes.

I’ve got some work to do before I see her.

Sketch out the book better, mock something up.

Cut and paste and write.

See.

I keep coming back to the writing.

Which is what I am doing, here, now.

Practicing.

I’m not exactly out of practice, I still journal every day, did it today, I’ll do it tomorrow.

But.

I haven’t been blogging in a while.

Time to polish the chops and sit at the keyboard and see where my meandering brain takes me.

I had not thought that it would be a time travel back to Paris ten years ago, I don’t often know where this page is going to take me, but take me it does.

I figured that the best way to put together my book proposal and manuscript was to open my blog and write my intentions and start from here.

I don’t know how exactly to get an agent.

But there’s Google for that.

I do know my dissertation is a mighty fine academic piece, but it’s not a book ready piece.

No one, well, my dissertation committee did, wants to read my Method and very few people are going to be interested in my Lit review, but there’s some juicy stuff in there.

Dramatic.

Traumatic.

Sexy.

Sad.

Transformative.

Pain.

Story.

There’s story and it’s good story and it’s got scandal.

And who doesn’t like scandal?

I’m going to risk it all and put it all out there with transparency and honesty and integrity.

And hopefully, someone will bite.

I want to do a kind of coffee table art house photography book with my poems, essays, blogs, memoir excerpts, and pictures of my transformation alongside the story of what I discovered with my research in my dissertation.

I also will write an epilogue with new insights.

The transformative tattoo; Walking towards joy.

Coming to you soon.

Fingers crossed.

It Was The Best of Times

September 10, 2022

It was the worst of times.

This Burning Man was the best and the hardest and the most magical and connected and hottest and Jesus fucking christ on a pogo stick, the worst entry and exodus I have had.

And.

I can’t wait to do it again.

Next year I will have all the things.

And do many of the things differently.

First.

No more tenting.

I’m figuring out a better way.

I just can’t do the dust coffin again.

I’m too old, and frankly, for the first time, truly ever, I can afford better accomodations.

I’m not saying I’m about to go out and buy an Airstream.

But I think I can swing a little camper trailer.

This burn I literally put up and took down my camp three times.

It was a disaster.

Fortunately.

I had a lot of lovely neighbors at my camp help me out.

And that was a learning lesson in humility.

I do not like asking for help.

I like helping.

I am really fucking good at helping others.

But asking for help?

Not so much.

I had to ask.

And ask a lot more than I was comfortable with.

I also had no choice.

Like.

When I got sick and had to go to the medics.

I had severe heat exhaustion, vomited, had hideous stomach cramps, dizziness and lightheadedness.

I knew I wasn’t doing well, but until I threw up I thought I was muddling along ok.

This literally happened my first day.

I still can’t believe I wound up in the medical tents on the first day I was there.

And thank god I let myself be taken.

I joked that my first “gift” on playa was a bag of fluids.

But really, thank God.

I didn’t realize how sick I was until I was in the tents.

And the beautiful, sweet people who took me there and sat with me there and helped me get back to camp were angels.

The next day I got to experience a playa miracle when a person who I barely knew magically provided a new tent for me.

Oh, wait, I left that part out.

In a nutshell, I land on playa Friday night at midnight, in a white out dust storm, Gate is closed, I sit for four hours before I finally get to Will Call to pick up my ticket and vehicle pass.

Then I spend an hour finding camp because none of the signs are up and I keep missing it.

Find camp around 5a.m., sit on the corner waiting for anyone to stir to find out where I am located, around 6:30a.m. some folks start getting up, figure out where I’m supposed to be camp, get somewhat situated, connect with the friend I’m setting up camp with, help him get settled and get shade structure up, start to get worried around noon as I haven’t gotten my own tent set up and it’s getting hot and I feel a dust storm coming (enough time on playa you can sometimes sense that shit in the wind), unravel may tent and start crying.

The “upgraded” new tent I had splurged on was a mesh top.

OHMYFUCKINGGOD kill me know.

I bought a dust coffin.

But with no other options.

I set up said dust coffin.

Storm sets in.

Sequester in dust coffin, try to nap, in a my dust mask and goggles and basically I could have just been on the open playa, there was so much dust, I was covered.

I might have slept an hour.

Maybe.

Which is why when I got sick, I got so sick, I had’t really slept in 36 hours, that and not enough food (I actually had been drinking a lot of water) led to the heat exhaustion, plus, well, duh, the heat.

So.

I’m telling my story about the multiple vans I had cancel on me, three separate reservations that all canceled on me and how I had to take my tiny Fiat and make the drive and basically halve the things I was bringing and I didn’t stage my tent and fuck my life, dust coffin, and the folks I was sitting with the next day commiserate, they’d had van cancellations too, and then.

HOLY SHIT.

My friend’s boyfriend goes behind the magic curtain and comes back with a tent, the same tent I used to use, so I know how to set it up, and it’s weather proof–no mesh top, no dust sifting down from the ceiling, “I’ve got a spare, you can use it,” he says.

So, I tore down dust coffin, and set up a new tent.

Two camp set ups in two days, extreme heat exhaustion, long wait to get in, not even on playa a day and a half and I thought, wow, this is really intense.

And it got wierder.

Harder.

Dustier.

And, as always, more magical in ways I could never expect.

I met and connected with new friends.

I reconnected with old friends.

I missed seeing a bunch of folks I for sure thought I was going to see.

I randomly bumped into someone I hadn’t seen in 8 years as I was pulling out on my bicycle from one art piece to head to another.

I got to go on an art car I have always dreamed of getting onto and rode one of the amazing mechanical carousel horses on it.

I danced.

One day, lost in a dust storm, shocker, I know, dust storms, I found myself so far beyond the area I was looking for that I just tried to find shelter to ride it out and stumbled upon a very, very, very lavish camp.

They had amazing music, and, holy shit, A/C.

I mean.

Fuck.

A huge common tent with A/C being piped into it.

There was also a lot and I do mean, A LOT, of drugs being very openly consumed.

I did not give a fuck.

I was sheltered in A/C dancing to amazing music.

I was never offered anything and I didn’t want anything and I didn’t care that there was so much wealth on display, all I did was, every once in a while, stop someone who was cavorting to ask for a water.

I was kept well hydrated and I danced for over three hours until the storm passed.

Then merrily took my tired knees back across playa on my bicycle.

I got to see my original poems hung up in the Museum of No Spectators, that brought big walloping tears to my eyes.

I had secret dream when I was young to see my art in a museum.

I was blown away by that.

Later in the week, with friends and family-an uncle on my father’s side of the family, I walked in my cap and gown and had a dear friend and the architect who designed the art piece, hood me in a graduation ceremony.

It was profound and moving and it meant an awful lot to me.

I also, promptly, got lost on the way back and wound up taking over an hour to find my way back.

Surreal to get lost in a place that I have been to so many times.

I star gazed in deep playa.

I cried in the middle of an art piece that moved me beyond words.

I danced in line waiting for ice.

I met a lot of international folks.

I got to know folks at my camp on a deeper more meaningful and intimate manner than I have ever experienced.

I don’t know how to write about one of the things that happened at camp that profoundly affected me without making it about me and I have been wondering for days about whether I would even write about it, or write a blog at all about Burning Man this year, though I have wanted to process it (my damn therapist had to cancel this week) but I do want to mention it lightly with respect and grace over drama.

I witnessed a death.

I was a first responder and performed CPR.

I was not a hero, but I was present and I am so very grateful that I was of service in the moments I was there.

I was also in shock at what had happened.

I leaned into people at my camp.

And I let myself cry when I could.

I only told a few people about what had happened.

Most of what I talked about was very minimal.

There was one person who heard the whole story, had been there when I walked out of the trailer stunned, held me as I shook with silent sobs and took very kind care of me.

I witnessed the camp come together in a way that stays with me, and I suspect, will always stay with me, to honor that person who passed and hold space for all those affected.

I told a woman who was there in the depths of the experience with me that this camp, which I had camped with twice prior, was now my camp for good, I was a member and I wanted a service position, I would be attending the business meeting and picking one up, commit to coming back, camp with them and be of service.

She welcomed me and suggested something to me and the next day I was elected to that position.

So.

I am going back next year, and every foreseeable year I can.

And I stayed, of course, I stayed, for the Temple burn.

Man burn was amazing and fun and I love me some pyro, yes, yes I do.

Temple was sweet, a touch sad, but not as forlorn as I have experienced it the few times I had been prior.

Honestly, I have only seen two Temple burns.

This burn was soft and sweet and though tears slid down my face a few times, it was not the horrendous vomiting of grief that I experienced after putting my best friends ashes in the Temple my first year.

Sidebar.

Yes. I do, now, know, that ashes are not welcomed there, but I was not aware of that at the time I went in 2007 for my first burn.

I can’t take those back.

And my best friend is always out there for me.

As I packed up my tiny car and got ready to sit in exodus for 6.5 hours, had I fucking known, ugh, I heard music from the camp next to me and I burst into tears.

You always get me at the end Burning Man, don’t you?

It was my friend’s favorite song playing.

It was like getting a soft kiss on my forehead, like he used to do, as I left the burn and headed home.

Tears wet on my face.

Gratitude for the intensity and the humility and the deep connections I made.

Shit.

I didn’t even tell you about the sauna in an Airstream I got to have, but I’ll save that for another day.

It is late.

And I have sleep to catch up on still.

I’ll see you in the dust next year.

You can’t get rid of me.

Seriously.

Burning Man, you got me for life.

Damn it.

A Banner Day

July 28, 2022

Actually.

The last two days have been pretty stellar.

I was reflecting on one of the nice turns of events that happened for me yesterday–I went from owing taxes to getting a tax return–and I thought, hmmm.

How interesting that I was in deep acceptance about paying the unexpected tax bill after an enlightening couple of conversations with a friend and work on my scarcity mentality.

And then.

Yesterday, when meeting with the final accountant before my 2021 taxes were filed, did it finally come clear.

I was right!

Fuck.

I mean.

I don’t often dance about going, I was right, I was right, but when one is unexpectedly looking at dropping another 5k towards taxes, when inside you’d been secretly hoping you’d get a return, well.

I WAS RIGHT!

Ugh.

It was a slogging walk through a lot of discomfort though.

Last week, after a bit of prompting with the accounting firm I use, I finally got a set time to go over the return, sign it and file.

When I got the draft of the taxes I was aghast, upset, angry, and in tears.

How was it possible that I owed money?

Ugh.

Again.

Here I was being really diligent about making my quarterly payments and being on time with it all, and aside, doll, it is your first time doing taxes as a private practice and there’s so much to learn about being a business owner, but still.

Fuck.

I really had been crossing all the “t’s” and dotting all the “i’s” but I still owed.

It was baffling.

Especially because in April the accounting firm had dropped a bomb on me and said, oops, hahahaha, looks like you have to pay more in then we realized, and you only have three days to do it before penalty this and penalty that.

It was $9,302.

I wanted to vomit on my laptop when saw that.

I was beyond aghast.

I emailed the accountant and I asked for clarification and I expressed what a devastating thing it was to have just made the quarterly tax payment, and then less the twelve hours later I was being told I owed another 9k.

I was flummoxed.

I got a sincere apology from the co-founder of the firm, who I had cc’d on the message back to the accountant, an explanation for why it happened and they refunded the $900 I had paid for the service.

Great.

And, I still had to pay the money.

So I basically emptied my savings and did that.

Which was why I had turned down the original Burning Man ticket I was going to get.

I can’t go to the event and be there for two weeks and work on playa and help out and miss two weeks of work after taking that kind of hit.

So.

I gave up the commitment, gave up the ticket, and resigned myself to not going.

Things changed over the next few months.

I had a really stellar month in May and a strong month in June.

July, not so great since COVID happened to me and I had to take a week off, but I had secured a new ticket and gotten my gear sourced and I was ready to go.

Then the tax bill arrived.

I was so upset.

Fuck.

I thought I was going to have to bow out completely from going to the event.

I spent some time thinking about it and decided to just pause, lean into the discomfort, think about what I wanted and act like I had the money to pay the bill.

Which I did.

Even if it meant wiping out the savings I had just rebuilt after the April tax kerfuffle.

I even asked the CPA who had drafted my tax filing about the April payment and got a brush off.

So.

I had done a bit of inventory, a lot of breathing, and got very into acceptance, I’ll meet with the accountant with the firm and just fucking sign and pay the fucking taxes.

And.

Oh.

This is good.

I was right.

The firm had missed the payment.

The IRS had not.

The IRS had a record of it and I accessed it, shared it with the accountant and I went from having to pay in $5,761 to getting back $4,340.

Fuck yes!

I was over the moon.

And the week of work I missed with being sick was now made up for and I’m ok to go to the event and.

Woohoo!

Then.

Today.

I got back the final dissertation draft with all the edits properly executed and accepted.

There was only one.

One fucking edit I could not fix myself and I had to chase after help, but I got it and it was returned complete and done and perfect this morning.

So.

I logged into the ProQuest portion of the publication process and I fucking finished the deal.

I chose how I wanted to publish, Traditional versus Open Source, which means I could actually get royalties (though I will not bank on it), my dissertation.

I filled in all the blanks.

I paid for my own hard cover copy to be sent to me.

And I hit the upload button.

It does not immediately get published, the school will gate keep it one more time and make sure all the edits are correct, then once those final edits are affirmed, they will publish it an I will get a link to a copy of the dissertation on ProQuest.

Holy fucking shit.

This last piece has finally fallen into place.

And it was a harrowing last piece of work.

I cannot even begin to talk about how intense it was to deal with the lapse in holding the administration at my school had.

I will tell you what I did get, however.

First, I got an apology from the head of the Writing Center, then my dean, followed by a profound apology from the Provost, in a 45 minute Zoom call where I went over everything that happened and how the program and the school dropped me and publishing my dissertation.

I contacted the provost when things were fucking falling apart in a bewildering way and she helped push through some admin bullshit that was once again damaging to have to walk through.

She also affirmed what I had experienced, did not gaslight what happened, and noted what I had accomplished, the depth of the work I had done and gave me a beautiful, “Congratulations Doctor _______________”.

She promised to make sure that I would matriculate.

And, once the publication happens I will be matriculated at the end of the summer semester.

Considering how batshit the administration of the school is, I won’t expect my diploma until this fall, but for now, all the things that I needed to do are done.

I just need the manager of the dissertation portion of the Writing Center to confirm I did the final edit and send to ProQuest.

I did follow up with an email, although he gets an automatic email from the upload. I saved it anyway, which I have learned, I needed to do with the school.

Which is how I was able to show where they had dropped the ball and how, I hope, they will not for future cohorts.

I really am ready to be done with the institution.

And.

I am ready for my own damn version of graduation.

Back in May when I walked, when I had gotten the approval to graduate, despite the fact of finding out later that there were things missing, I was also missing part of my regalia–the god damn hood.

The one piece of the graduation outfit for doctors that signifies the degree.

The way it works is that your committee chair hoods you at the graduation ceremony.

My graduation was virtual and though we had a little in person reception at the school, it was weak sauce.

And the outfit responsible for getting my regalia to me never sent me my hood.

I got my hood in the mail this Monday.

Two months after my “graduation.”

The Universe is funny.

So.

I am going to have a graduation ceremony on playa, at Burning Man, at my friend’s art piece, the Museum of No Spectators.

I think Wednesday or Thursday of the event.

The art piece has a stage.

I’m not sure how I’m going to organize it, but a little hooding ceremony, a walk out to the Temple in my regalia, and then laying it at rest there.

It feels right.

I had a kind of dark night of the soul on playa in 2014 that led to me applying to graduate school to get my Master’s in Psychology.

This feels like the closing of a circle and a celebration of all the freaking hard work I did to get here.

From playa nanny to Doctor.

I am beyond grateful.

Like I said.

It was a banner day.

Seriously.

Musings

July 17, 2022

From COVIDlandia.

And what I am hoping is my last day of quarantine.

The COVID test I took this morning showed the barest, faintest of lines.

I flirted with saying, I’m all good, and running out willy nilly.

But.

I figured one more day in quarantine and taking care to not infect others might be the ethical thing to do.

As opposed, to, oh, I don’t know, randomly licking people and running away saying, “I have COVID!”

I have these thoughts once in a while.

I did go outside briefly today, masked, of course, to go to my office and water my plants.

Oh.

Such sad plants.

I felt so bad.

Poor babies hadn’t been watered in nine days.

No one is at the office on the weekend, so I figured I was safe and I still wore my mask inside just in case and no one was there.

Just my sad little plants.

I gave them all a good watering and then shut the office back down.

Next week I will be doing all my sessions remotely, I figure, just be safe.

I don’t need to expose my suitemates to anything.

I do hope to test negative tomorrow.

I had a moment of thinking, ooh, I’ll go swimming tomorrow if I test negative.

Yeah.

I don’t know about that.

Sounds great, but considering the amount of congestion and aching lungs I have experienced over the past nine days, maybe swimming laps is not the course of action to take on my first day back into the world.

I’ll get up and stretch again and do minimalist yoga.

I’ll go for a walk.

I’ll prep food for the week.

I will dream about all things Burning Man.

Yeah.

That thing.

I am going.

I haven’t really written about it.

I’ve been tied up with all things FINISH YOUR FUCKING DISSERTATION.

I mean.

It’s finished, I mean, finish jumping through the hoops that your school forgot to tell you to do even though they approved you to graduate.

Oh.

You’re missing something and we forgot to tell you?

OOPS.

I mean.

The profound apology from the provost helped, but like, dude, I’ve not actually graduated yet.

Which is also why Burning Man is on my mind.

I “graduate” eye roll, at the end of summer.

That is when I will officially matriculate.

I returned the dissertation with the few edits that the writing center indicated needed to be done; for the pain in the ass y’all have been, you could have just fucking fixed them and moved it along, in 274 pages there were five things that needed to be attended to.

Anyway.

I’ll be connecting with the guy at the center who is the last gate keeper to getting it published on ProQuest on Monday.

Pending his final stamp of approval I will then upload it and that’s it.

It will get published and I will matriculate.

At the end of summer.

Which means.

I get to graduate.

Again.

And this time.

I’m going to do it my way.

At Burning Man.

Yeah.

Where my graduate school journey started back in 2014 when I had a dark night of the soul.

I left Burning Man that year distinctly altered.

I quit the job I had been working.

Got a different one.

And applied to graduate school to get my Master’s in Psychology.

I got in and started in the fall of 2015.

I managed to go to the event in 2015, 2016, and 2017–somehow figuring out how to balance full-time nanny job with full-time graduate school.

I graduate from my Master’s program in May of 2018 and went right into my PhD program in August of 2018.

I could not manage the event whilst doing my PhD program.

My first year missing the event since I started to go in 2007.

I mean.

I managed to go even when I moved to Paris.

I still do not know how that happened.

But my PhD program started each semester with a week long intensive and it was the same week as the event and the amount of work that I had to do to get ready for the intensive was too much for me to even think about going up pre-event.

The year I went in 2016 I didn’t even go for the event, I was up for in the desert for four days and left before the gates even opened.

The PhD work was too much.

Not to mention working full time, plus.

So, I missed 2018 and 2019.

And then the pandemic.

Knocking out 2020 and2021.

Although I had people who asked if I would consider going to “Plan B” the unofficial event last year, you know that one that was not sanctioned by the org, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

But.

I was too close to defending my dissertation, I had also just had the first of my two major surgeries, and it was too much.

This year I had been prepared to go months ago.

I was going to help run and manage a kitchen on playa for an art project a dear friend of mine is builidng.

But an unexpected tax bill, what the fuck accountant?!

And the looming paying back of student loans dissuaded me.

I hung up my apron and prepared to sadly not go.

Except.

Well.

There was this day three weeks ago, a month ago, I don’t know, time is wonky for me still, when it was hot out.

Like hot.

Like 93 F.

San Francisco rarely gets hot.

Even now, in the middle of July, I am wearing a hoodie, and it’s not because I have COVID, it’s because I live in San Francisco and fog.

But it got hot that day.

I remember a couple of last minute client cancellations led me to having a leisurely lunch and left enough time for me to go for a long walk.

Without a sweatshirt.

Without layers.

In a sundress.

And bare legs, I wasn’t even wearing leggings.

Oh my, my, my.

Speaking my fucking language.

Only thing about summers in Wisconsin I really miss–warm nights without having to wear layers, sundresses all day long, hair upswept in a messy bun, humid wind kissing your skin.

Sigh.

This day in SF wasn’t like that.

It was more like Burning Man.

Hot.

Dry.

Warm wind.

I was walking down Laguna crossing Fulton, and I was just drenched in sun and hot wind and I sighed, “oh, this feels o good.”

“Just like Burning Man,” a little voice in my heart whispered.

And like that.

Like that.

I decided to go.

I reached out to a bunch of folks.

I asked after tickets.

I received more than a few offers.

Some of which I couldn’t quite comply with the asks, pre-burn, build week, nannying, work duties, etc.

But one of them I could take and so I did.

And like that.

I had a ticket.

And plans began to brew and things began to fall into place.

Like fast.

Sometimes when I know that I’m supposed to do something, everything just falls into place.

If it’s meant to be you can’t fuck it up.

If it’s not meant to be you can’t manipulate it into happening.

This was definitely meant to be.

And although the loss of revenue missing a week of work being sick with COVID has definitely stung, it hasn’t made it impossible.

My ticket is paid for and my vehicle pass and I’m accruing all the gear that I need.

And maybe a few flowers to stick in my hair.

Like you do.

Or, ahem, like I do.

I got some boots, a new black out tent, a folding camp rocking chair, a new cooler, a new parasol, a new bicycle (I miss my old steed, I was looking at old phots of the event and I will miss that ride, but hopefully my new bike will be up to muster), a new queen size air mattress.

I’ve rented a cargo van with a friend that will be traveling in from Utah and I’ll be picking him up in Reno.

He’s got stuff in SF that I will bring up for him, so right now we are splitting costs on the rental.

I almost thought about stuffing my little Fiat with all my things, mounting a bicycle rack on the roof.

But.

Ahem.

A girl likes her clothes.

And also, unobstructed views whilst driving.

So.

I agreed to the van.

Which I think will actually come nicely in handy.

Provide some shade for my tent as well as be a place to hole up in if there is a dust storm.

And plenty of space for my friend’s gear, plus another if we wanted.

Originally a mutual friend from Marin was going to ride up with me, but he’s bailed.

In all the preparing and list writing and chatting with a good friend of mine who has graciously accepted to take care of my cats, I suddenly had an idea.

Perhaps it was a vestige of COVID fever, perhaps divine inspiration.

I realized, huh, if I matriculate at the end of summer, that means I’ll be “graduating” on playa.

HOLY SHIT.

I can have a graduation party.

At the best party in the whole fucking world.

With all the friends I couldn’t have come to my graduation.

Because I was only allowed three people at my weird ass hybrid zoom graduation reception at my school in May.

I contacted my dear friend with the art project and he’s going to help me plan a ceremony at his art piece!

I’m going to graduate on playa.

I am also going to walk in my full PhD regalia–robe, funny hat with the pom, and my hood.

Oh yeah.

Then I am going to burn it at the Temple and leave the institution behind and move into whatever next phase of life I am supposed to be having.

This year is special too as it marks my 20 year anniversary of moving from Madison, Wisconsin to San Francisco.

My best friend from Wisconsin rode shot gun with me in my little two door Honda Accord packed to the gills, rode I-80 all the way to the Bay back in 2002.

We were gassing up in Nevada getting ready to go through the Sierra’s and she said, looking at some dirty hippy with literally a cardboard sign, begging for a ride to Burning Man on the exit ramp to the gas station, “we should go.”

“Where?” I asked, toggling the nozzle of the gas pump to get every last precious drop into my tank.

“Burning Man,” she replied.

I looked at my car, stuffed full of my life and the soft pack of a super sized duffle strapped to the top and thought, no fucking way am I taking all that I own out to the desert in this car.

I laughed and got back in the car and we started to drive towards Tahoe.

My friend tried one more time to convince me, “this might be my last chance to go!”

______________ “I’m not going, it’s impossible, I can’t take my car out there with all my stuff, and I have to pick up the keys to my sublet in the Mission,” I replied.

And then I remember pausing and thinking, how do you know about Burning Man?

I had read about it in a 1995 issue of Spin magazine.

And yeah, I was definitely down with going, just not right then.

“What do you think Burning Man is?” I queried my friend.

“It’s a radical feminist movement where they BURN THE MAN!”

If I could have fallen out of my seat laughing I would have.

In some ways, my friend is actually right, Larry Harvey and all that he is and that they burn a man, yeah, but there is a very heavy lift that the women in the organization have done quietly behind the scenes for a long time.

Believe me.

I have seen some things.

Anyway.

We did not go that year.

But every since I started going, my friend gives me shit, that she missed her time.

She wasn’t wrong.

She got pregnant just after leaving San Francisco, literally that weekend, and then had three boys.

One who just graduated from highschool.

What the hell?

And here I am, almost 20 years later, all excited about going out to that thing in the desert again.

Where I will graduate into my next level of life.

Or just have a quiet spiritual experience while I ride my bike far out into the edges of the playa to look at the stars.

Who knows where this life is going to take me next.

But I’m down for it.

I’ll be there.

With flowers in my hair.

Seriously.

And maybe a glow stick.

Heh.

Random Thougts

July 14, 2022

From COVIDLANDIA.

I should hashtag that.

Do people make money off hashtags?

I felt so much better today than the last five days.

And then this afternoon, it kind of bitch slapped me back down.

I got really tired.

Napped a little on the couch.

I was like, wait, why am I in shoes, put on the bunny slippers now girl.

Bunny slippers, Ziggy the cat and read the last pages of Mike Doughty’s memoir I Die Each Time I Hear the Sound.

Which had fan girl bought like, um, two years ago and never read.

Oops.

Sorry dude.

(by the way, read this, it’s very good and it was pleasing to think about where I was in my life listening to Soul Coughing, or when Mike went out on solo tour and a bunch of us from the Angelic Brewing Company went to see him at Cafe Montmarte in Madison, and one of my girlfriend’s, fucking high as shit, announced to the crowd how much she was in love with Mike and that she was “high on mushrooms” and then he heckled her. Fuck that was great.)

I got busy with a dissertation and living through a pandemic.

I mean.

I managed to get pretty far when it comes down to it, two years, four months, but it still got me.

Ugh.

I have slowly been catching up on the reading, pleasure reading that is.

I finished Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House right before the plague drop kicked me.

Creepy good.

Also, was before the back and forth bullshit with my institute of higher learning.

Aside.

Aside to the aside, there’s going to be a lot of asides, there will be asides to the asides ad infinitum.

I mean.

COVID.

Anyway.

I got an email from the dude at the Writing Center with the final edits to my dissertation that needed to be done and it took me a minute to look at them really today.

But I did.

And I made progress.

And fingers, crossed, now I really am in the final stretch.

I bounced out of bed.

I felt GREAT.

Holy shit.

The headache finally fucking went away.

I took the trash out, the recycling, the compost, I got dressed, like in clothes that don’t scream lounging around the house, I put on sneakers, not my bunny slippers.

I ate breakfast at the table, not in bed watching Atlanta on Hulu.

ASIDE.

Like what the fuck HULU?

Here’s this glorious, witty, sarcastic, pointed, intellectual, insightful, amazing and painful, sad, deeply poignant look at the black experience in America and y’all keep playing that hideous Amazon Prime video with a black man crooning about “coco butter” (or is it cold, cold butter?) and dancing around in a bad 70s disco throw back. I mean, WTF? It was like this very meta, hella meta, am I just woozy with COVID fever? frame to watch Atlanta through. Black man dancing around encouraging everyone to go buy some camping gear?

Hello.

What?

WHATTHEFUCKINGHELL?

I’m sure there’s a Reddit somewhere about this, but it made me sick.

It reminded me of being in undergrad at UW Madison and watching Spike Lee’s Bamboozled in the theater and how people kept laughing at really creepy ass shit and it got more and more uncomfortable and people started walking out.

I think I’m one of thirty people that saw that movie come out in the theaters.

Anyway.

Next time, note to self, if I get Hulu, buy it without the commercials, I think I just back doored this shit to skip paying and get “one month free”.

Now that I wrapped Atlanta, I’m out.

Until Handmaid’s Tale comes back.

FUCK.

Hits a little close to home doesn’t it?

I’m very apolitical on my social, but I can’t get away from it at work, everyone, every single one of my clients, male, female, straight, bi, queer, trans, BI-POC, every one, has been talking the politics.

I can’t get away from it.

And sometimes I get a little paranoid, like, yeah, I got some views, but if you can pointedly target me with cat litter ads.

STOP THAT SHIT PLEASE. IT’S BAD ENOUGH I GOT TO LOOK AT THAT SHIT ONCE A DAY, WHEN I CLEAN THE DAMN BOX. LITERALLY. STOP IT IN MY FEED MOTHERFUCKERS. I KEEP THE CATBOX CLEAN I DON’T NEED THE AUTOMATED ONE, IT WOULD LIKE SCARE MY CATS AND THEY WILL SHIT ON MY BED.

STOP.

Maybe, you can, like figure out my political leanings and be noting that data somewhere.

Like, if you can target me with Cynthia Rowley frocks, yes, I bought one in New York, motherfuckers, you can probably reverse engineer that shit and figure out which way I lean.

HELLA LIBERAL BITCHES.

Maybe I should write from a COVID standpoint more often, I can just be like, I was hallucinating, listening to Big Freedia, and blogging, what?

I also.

I didn’t.

I swear, I did not do it.

But, fuck, I really wanted to.

I, um, donned a double mask, KN95, yo, and washed my hands, and sanitized and went outside to move my car for street parking and on way way back there was like a gaggle of teens in front of the fancy ass boba shop around the corner from my house and there was like a herd of them and I was like, fuck, move, move, move.

I almost yelled, “I HAVE COVID, MOVE BITCHES”.

I didn’t.

But, the temptation.

Fierce.

They must have sensed I was not fucking around though, cuz the tweenage waters parted and I thought, oh, that does smell kind of good, is that creme brulee? Do they make creme brulee boba?

Side note.

Yesterday I kept smelling something weird and I was like, did someone burn something cooking in one of the apartments, though I’ve never had cooking smells before.

Did the cafe next door burn something?

Wait, it’s Tuesday, I think, yeah, Tuesday, it’s closed.

What is that smell?

Oh.

That’s what it is.

This morning when I felt better and blew my nose, I realized it was blood, I was smelling my own damn blood when I was blowing my nose so hard so I could breathe through one of my nostrils.

MOTHERFUCKING GROSS.

Aside.

I used to do a lot of cocaine.

ALOT.

I totes forgot how bad my nose used to get stuffed up from it.

Good grief.

Thank fucking god I’m sober.

Also.

Do you know you have to show an ID to get Mucinex?

I had a wee panic attack, hahahahahahahahaha, fucking freak out, on Saturday when I went from mild symptoms, to oh shit, this got serious and I can’t breathe and my nose is so stuffed up and I can’t breathe and shit god damn.

I tried to InstaCart Mucinex and it was too late to order.

I got some off brand knock off Walgreens that probably only had a placebo effect for all the good it seemed to do on my symptoms.

But I took it and felt “better”.

I got the Mucinex delivered the next morning.

Aside.

WHAT THE FUCKING HELL INSTACART?

HOLY GOD DAMN.

A BAG OF GROCERIES SHOULD NOT BE $94.

AND WHO THE FUCK THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA TO GIVE ME THIS AVOCADO?

SADDEST FUCKING AVOCADO IN THE WHOLE GOD DAMN WORLD.

My buyer must have took pity on this vegetable, cuz there is no reason why I paid $7 for this sad thing.

SERIOUSLY.

When my Mucinex got delivered, and that cost a tidy $40, remember when coke was $50 a gram and my dealer would deliver to me and it was in less than 20 minutes anywhere I was in the city, mostly the Mission, like let me be honest, but shit, he didn’t ID me for the bag.

I told the lady, “I have COVID.”

SHE HAD TO SEE MY ID AND MATCH THE DATE OF BIRTH TO THE INFO ON MY INSTACART ACCOUNT.

Lady, look at my wrinkles.

I put the card down on the step and walked six feet back whilst she gingerly picked it up and compared it to the info on her phone.

Fuck lady.

I’m 49.

50 this year.

Just like say I’m of age and don’t touch my COVID covered ID.

SORRY.

Other random COVID thoughts.

I should start an Instagram page of my cats.

Because.

They are cute.

And because, cats.

But then I had a thought, like what if my clients found my cat page?

And saw that I wear bunny slippers and have a pink couch.

Psychoanalyze that shit.

Nah.

I’ll just annoy my close friends with my cute cat pix.

They are cute.

Also.

Thank goodness for Zoom meetings.

I mean.

I was hella tired and super stoked to see people in person.

Until the person secretary’ing up at the spot had COVID and did I get it from you dude?

Anyway.

I am toggling through day six.

Watching B movies.

Hustlers yo, damn JLo.

And Better Call Saul.

Dragging that one out slow though, it is so good.

And keeping myself up at night planning what to wear to Burning Man.

Aside.

FUCK YOU KEEPING MY BURNING MAN GEAR.

ahem.

My gear is in the garage of guy I had gone on a few dates with who wanted to date me, but well, um, I was not having the passive communication, drove me fucking bats and I broke it off and I wasn’t interested in poly anyhow, not that there’s anything wrong, get your love on people, I don’t judge, just not for me and no I am not going to a sex party, I have hella tattoos and prolly someone’s fucking metamour of a client is gonna be there and yikes, and hey, yeah, thanks for storing my Burning Man gear.

Can I um, get that shit back?

One of my friends said.

How much will it cost to replace?

I threw out a number.

Sounds worth it to avoid the drama.

But.

Uh, shit.

I like drama?

So I reached out and was treated to the same passive communication that drove me crazy last time and then I was like, dude is avoiding me and I hurt some feelings and cool, cool, cool.

Keep my dusty ass shit.

I wanted to buy new boots anyway.

So.

YESSSS MAMA.

I upgraded my tent.

Aside.

One day I will upgrade to a trailer but I ain’t got that kind of cash yet.

I upgraded to a six man black out tent.

Yeah.

Six-man.

I mean, I like some space.

And a new queen size blow up mattress, cuz girl likes her sleep.

And yes.

l did get new boots.

Heh.

I almost don’t know if I can, but fuck, fuck it, why not.

Heh.

I got some platforms from Demonia.

Yeah.

I am that bitch.

They are platform, reflective, purple blue leather (vegan).

BWAHAHAHAHAAHA.

I’m already kind of tall.

I’m gonna tower.

And since I can rock a platform I will have no problem stomping all over the playa.

So.

Yeah.

After a little written inventory about the last cryptic text I got from dude I realized I did not indeed want the drama, and as per my person’s suggestions, I blocked him and I have wrote off my playa gear.

So.

I’ve been a little like a feverish kid in a candy store stalking the inter webs for all things Burning Man.

And honestly, I am pretty set.

I’ve been eleven times, twelve?

Eleven, this is time number twleve.

I know how to do the deal.

I gots a new tent, new cooler, new parasol, new boots, new googles.

I already have closets with out there clothes, what I wear to Burning Man is basically what ever is in the closet and dresser, with my funky playa boots and maybe some fishnets.

I already have a makeup kit.

I already have the crazy hair.

Hella aside.

My stylist posted in her Insta that she would give anyone 5% discount next time they came in if they tagged her in their post with a pix of colored hair/style she’d done.

I was like, hells yes, cuz expensive and give me discount.

Except.

I’ve never posted a story before.

Yeah.

I know.

Shaddup.

I have never been on Tik Tok or Snap either.

Yes. I have seen a TIK TOK, I don’t live in a fucking cave people.

So, I post this photo I took like three weeks ago, but not realizing how to do it and it gets out and I didn’t tag her, she saw it anyway, picked it up, re-posted and hey, girl, discount, and like now it’s on all the social spots and everybody be like

FUCK YOU LOOK AMAZE!

ALLHEALEDFROMCOVIDANDHELLASASSY!

Um.

No.

I took a selfie I was sending to a guy I went on one date with three and a half weeks ago, lying on my bed with full makeup on.

I haven’t put makeup on since last Thursday, my hair is in messy buns like a six year old girl, I’m in fur covered leggings cuz one of my cat’s is white and likes snuggling and I’m in bunny slippers.

There is no sexy going on over here.

And aside.

Why didn’t we have a second date?

Oh wait, you’re still living with your ex.

I got to stop trying the apps, they fucking suck.

I’m down to like, seriously, just get picked up in a grocery store right now, cuz you now I won’t be instacarting any more avocados yo, whilst perusing the produce.

Or.

Maybe, when I’m at the park reading a book.

When I’m not contagious, I won’t be out in the public till I test negative, save the lecture.

Anywho.

Day six.

That was fun.

This Long, Strange Journey

July 12, 2022

Is almost at a close.

Guess what?

I have not graduated.

Surprised?

Me too.

I have been excitedly waiting for the diploma in the mail.

Thinking, in the back of my head, when is it a good time to reach out to my university and ask, “hey, when’s that paper gonna drop?”

Mindful of the continuing weirdness that is the pandemic.

Oh.

Yeah.

Hey.

I got COVID.

CONGRATULATIONS!

What a weird ass virus this is.

First, thank fucking God I was vaccinated and boosted.

It was not a fun time.

And it was kind of fun at the same time.

At least the first couple of days.

It started with some ennui, which honestly I thought, oh, this is classic countertransference, exhaustion whilst working with a narcissist.

Look it up, I’m not kidding.

But in hind sight, I think that’s when things were starting to cook.

My brain, that is.

Later that night, last Thursday, my voice was scratchy, but I chalked that up to screaming in my kitchen.

Like, at the top of my lungs, hurt my throat, scare my cats, kind of screaming.

Why?

Well, like I opened with, I haven’t actually graduated.

Let me back pedal a moment here.

Cue June 22nd.

I am in session with a client on video, wrapping up my morning sessions and thinking about a walk and a lunch break, when my dissertation budding sends me a photo of himself holding his PUBLISHED DISSERTATION.

WTF?

I mean, seriously, I felt like I was in a nasty Twilight Zone episode.

My colleague had defended his dissertation in March, I defended last year, mid-October.

I knew that it was too late in the semester to graduate with the fall cohort and that was fine, Spring is a fine time to walk, if you can call the wierdo hybrid video and reception my school had a graduation.

I did it anyway.

I applied to graduate, turned in all my forms, did all my things, or so I thought.

Yeah.

Ha.

It turns out that there was a missing piece.

The writing center, had not received my dissertation.

I did not know this.

I had somehow, don’t get me started on that, I know exactly how I slipped through the cracks, cue a very emotional conversation I had with the Provost this past Friday, yeah, that’s right, when I was on day two of COVID, but hadn’t tested positive yet (albeit enjoying the mildly delightful low grade fever I was running and doing online shopping for Burning Man. Yes! I am going, but that is another blog), my dissertation, had somehow not gotten turned in.

In essence, the last thing that needed to be done, was not done.

I lost my shit when I saw my friend’s photo.

I texted him immediately, how did you do that?

He told me.

He told me information I had never been given despite asking, oh so many times, for information on what are the next steps, please let me know.

Please.

I have a folder of emails, back and forth and back and forth, of weird little lapses that I kept catching and sending back out to the department, hey what next? Hey, did this go through? Hey, what now?

My friend called me and listened to me angry cry and then sent me a bunch of people to contact.

I contacted them all.

I won’t go into detail all the ways I continued to be dropped, but I did, when I met with the Provost last Friday (after reaching out to them whilst continuing to be demeaned, humiliated, and shamed by the administration–amazing how cc’ing the provost finally got me somewhere), who issued me a formal apology and listened with some disgust at what happened, she also congratulated me on graduating and officially pushed through a lot of paperwork to rectify what happened.

Suffice to say.

This morning I received the final step process to get my dissertation published.

Ironically, this morning is when I turned my COVID corner.

I am feeling better.

It was mild and mellow the first two days, but day three, Saturday, it got scary.

It got scary fast.

I was suddenly congested in a way that spooked me.

I realized that I needed some sort of decongestant ASAP and I couldn’t go out, I mean, I tested positive Saturday morning, so quarantining had to continue, and what to do?

I could Instacart, but it wouldn’t get to me until Sunday morning.

And frankly, when my lips started to tingle and I could barely draw a breath, I thought, I ain’t got that kind of time.

I made a couple of phone calls and a dear heart hopped on a scooter and ran over to the Walgreens in the Castro and picked me up some stuff.

I also had a friend, very gently, suggest that if it got worse I go to the ER, and er, that you might be having a panic attack.

I did recognize that.

I was panicked.

And taking big calming deep breaths was out of the question, I was way too stuffed up, and when I panic, I cry, and when I cry I get more stuffed up.

Suffice to say, I did calm down, and it sucked, and it was scary, but I got some strong decongestant in my system, got some scary Mucinex delivered the next day–had to show ID to delivery person, how weird is that? And between Saturday night and Sunday I slept.

I mean.

All I did was sleep.

And sleep.

And sleep.

I had strange dreams.

I drank tons of water.

I would get one nostril slightly clear and breathe through one side of my nose.

My cats cuddled with me, as they are now.

I slept more on than off for 48 hours.

The last couple of days really were dream like and hallucinatory.

I canceled all my clients this week.

I was holding out that maybe, maybe, I could possibly see clients tomorrow and Thursday.

Not like in person, duh, but via video.

But I have little voice quality and I also know better and though it hurt financially, sigh, I have no COVID grant or loan or buffer with the city or state, all those ships sailed long ago, I knew it would be better to take the time off and really heal and rest.

Model for my clients too, give yourself permission to slow down.

Rest is a radical act.

And then this morning, I got back the final email from the Center for Writing and Scholarship.

They blasted through my dissertation (the one they had “never received” even though I have emails in my dissertation file with the addresses of the head of the department, my dean, the registrar, and the head admin with all the forms and things and what have you, and the head of the writing center) and got it back to me with the final check list edits done and the directions to how to upload it to ProQuest.

I am leaving out a huge chunk of what happened.

Mostly, because I don’t have the energy to replay it. It was a nasty, heart wrenching experience and if you want to know about it we can talk in person, suffice to say when this is done I will be distancing myself from the institution for a while.

And that brings me to today.

The dissertation with the email with very detailed instructions on how to proceed.

I read them a bunch.

They don’t make sense, but so much of academia doesn’t make sense.

And sometimes, a lot actually, I have to read and re-read these kinds of academic instructions, they do not come to me intuitively.

Sufficed to say, I’m finally, now, in the final leg of the journey.

And I have COVID.

But, as I mentioned, it has turned and I think I’m through to the other side.

I still sound like Lauren Bacall after a half bottle of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes.

And I don’t have my normal amount of energy, but I haven’t been compelled to just drop everything and nap for four hours.

I read the email a bunch of times and decided, I’ll open it tomorrow.

I texted a friend who has been witnessing this whole thing and he said something interesting and I realized, am I just here at the very end of the longest mile and not pushing through?

Am I scared?

I suppose.

Perhaps it is perfectionism, I was sent a message this morning that stated perfectionism is “fear dressed up in heels and a mink coat,” and, well, I had to laugh; I do love a good dressing up.

So.

I opened it.

I opened the dissertation and I found an error that needs correcting, on page 52 of 267, and I thought, wow, that’s not bad. One little error.

And I tried to correct it and realized I had only opened it in a way that could be read but not edited.

And I paused.

Not because I want to be perfect.

But because I recognized that is enough for today.

I took the whole week off from clients.

Maybe the Universe had plans for me that I didn’t even know I needed to attend to.

I am going to be gentle and mindful, again not perfect, but also, not procrastinating.

Which means that I have done enough today.

I have begun the end.

And I can get one more night’s rest before sitting down at my desk and doing the final steps.

Tomorrow I do the deal.

The damn thing has waited this long.

It can wait one more day.

I’ll keep you posted.

And.

I’m not going to bother to beat myself up about this, I already played that story out, I’m not going to judge myself, I’m just going to be grateful that I have gotten this far and there is not much left to do. I’m not going to have false humility and not talk about what happened and pretend that I graduated with smooth sailing. It’s been a hideous, bumpy, tumultuous experience, and in some way, I am very well aware that I will walk through this so that I can turn around and say to someone going through the same thing, “see I’ve been there, I got you, you can do this too.”

And as the brain fog starts to settle back down and I’m getting a little fuzzy, I’m going to stop here as well.

I have nothing pithy to add.

Just that there might still be time to take a nap.

Really.

There is always time to take a nap.

That is all.

Slow it down

June 21, 2022

Whelp.

I might have been ready to buy a house.

But the bank ain’t.

Oh well.

And actually.

Some relief.

It felt like it was moving a touch too fast.

I was beginning to feel anxiety about client’s cancelling and am I bringing in enough and how much is a mortgage payment going to be?

OH.

That’s a lot.

And fuck.

I better secure some more clients.

And shit.

I need to publish a book and can someone bequeath me some money.

I don’t really play the lotto, but maybe I better start.

Fun things the brain likes to cook up.

But, as it turns out, I am not in a position to buy anything.

This year.

I had a meeting, phone meeting, with the mortgage broker my real estate agent suggested.

And he was very clear.

Nothing to do here.

No bank is going to touch me.

I’m self-employed.

I need two years of stable income.

It’s not that I’m a risk per se, but that banks are very hesitant to loan money to the person who doesn’t have a proven track record of making money.

Cool.

I get that.

So the agent said, you appear to make enough and continue to make this much and you should be fine to get a loan.

Next year.

So.

The project is on hold and I’m not going anywhere.

Unless, yeah, some long lost relative has some money for me.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

That’s so not happening.

Anyway.

I actually felt a lot of relief when that happened, the mortgage broker saying, not this year and I’ll contact you about this time next year and then we’ll talk.

Gave me a reprieve.

Gave me some relief.

It’s not off the radar, but it’s some ways out.

And of course, time moves quick at my age, next year will be here before I know it.

Still.

Being able to take my foot off the gas and recognize that I don’t have to suddenly work more when I already work a lot, was a relief.

And.

Summer’s tough.

Folks travel.

I’ve had a lot of cancellations with people traveling.

And I’m ok with that.

There are still new clients coming in, I have a consultation tomorrow.

I picked up a new client last week.

Turn over happens.

That’s a part of my business.

Faith that things will move and taking the necessary actions and letting go, gently, of the results, is the best way forward with me.

I also hit up the MOHCD first time buyers program zoom.

Mayors Office of Housing and Community Development.

I had thought I had a chance at some of the loan programs they offer first time buyers.

And nope.

I don’t.

The city counts gross income.

EVEN for someone who is self-employed.

So it doesn’t matter that my business eats about half of what I make, the city will count all of what the business brings in.

Sigh.

So.

I make too much money.

Funny that.

Not quite enough money in some eyes and too much in others.

I did at least save a little time and exited the zoom early when I learned that piece of information.

I looked about my apartment, it’s a sweet little space, and I realized, hmm, I have plenty, I have more than enough.

I live a lovely life.

I have two cute cats.

I have a business that I run and own.

Literally.

I am an SCorp.

Well, my business is an SCorp.

I actually have 1,000 shares if you are interested in investing.

Not that I would ever go public.

Not that I even know if that’s an option.

Totally no clue, but yeah, my accountant filed the paper work for me, my business, to become a corporation rather than a sole proprietor.

Cool.

I have no idea what it means, except, that ultimately it’s supposed to save me some tax dollars.

Ok.

A lot of this is over my head.

I don’t know anyone in my family that is a business owner.

This is all unfamiliar territory.

But there are perks, so many.

I call my shots.

I schedule myself.

I still am loving the off on Fridays gig.

I love my job, that helps so much.

I am grateful for all the other jobs I’ve had as well, they have all served in one way or another–taught me how to listen, how to care take of others, how to watch for cues in the environment, having an open door policy when I was management in the service industry, all the confidences I have held over the years.

It all added up.

I shared with someone recently, that I have been groomed to be a therapist, I was built to be one.

I am grateful for it all.

It hasn’t been easy.

No.

Not at all.

But.

It has been beautiful.

And for that I am grateful.

And that house that I have built to reside in, the corporeal one this soul inhabits.

Well.

It’s damn solid and I am content.

So much so.

A house can wait.

My home is already secured.


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