Archive for the ‘In Our Own Words’ Category

Just Tell Me Your Story

June 3, 2013

What ever you feel comfortable with, just let me know, start where ever you want and tell me about yourself.

A little while later I realized that it had been a while since anyone had heard the full story.

And I had not even given him the full story, I did a damn good job, but there were little parts left out here and there and I tried to keep things relevant to my creative process and the work that I do writing and how I got to where I am at, writing every day, blogging every day, attempting to take photographs every day, even when I believe I need that extra space in my messenger bag for groceries and not my camera.

I still take photographs every day.

Street Art

Street Art

This for instance was a stencil on a sidewalk outside of Duboce Park Cafe where I was headed to my third coffee of the day, but I get ahead of myself.

I met with my friend today at Boogaloos on Valencia and 22nd and we got caught up.

I had the tofu scramble with home fries and ranchero sauce and sliced tomatoes instead of the biscuit, coffee with soy milk, and great conversation.

All of which was vegan.

Two months.

I realized that today, I have been vegan for two months.  This may mark the longest stretch of time that I have ever gone vegan.  I have done vegetarian a number of times, but neither flavor for longer than a few weeks.

Not that I was super meat centric, until I was in Paris, shocker, but I do feel good with it.

And, again, shocker, it’s a lot easier being a vegan in the Bay area than it may be anywhere else in the world.

We caught up and discussed a little bit of the project that he was doing and what it would entail, taking some photographs, doing a video, answering some questions, a basic interview, and telling my story.

We took a load of photographs in front of the corner building on Hill Street, which is a law office in yellow brick.

Thank God for digital.

I joked with my friend that I could never be a model since I have no idea about how to present myself, or how to work my angles.

I am usually looking off into the distance or making a face or my mouth is wide open in laughter.


There were a lot of those photos in the group that he took; however, with a little patience and some gentle coaching, “inhale through your nose and exhale, relax your face, look to the right, then at the camera,” I was able to take a few shots that I believe may be flattering.

I had dithered around this morning trying to figure out what to wear and I realized as I was sifting through my slight wardrobe, that it did not matter, dress in what I normally would wear.

Leggings it was, a short teal t-shirt dress, a screen print t-shirt with a bicycle on it from an arts collective in Oakland, and my hair in pigtails, with yes, heart-shaped earrings in blue sparkle.

Add my messenger bag to the mix and my bicycle and you have me.


After taking photos we retired to Ritual Coffee Roasters and scored the back couch in the rear of the coffee-house.  It may be my favorite spot to settle in, with a book, or a friend, or a confidant.  I realized that I have made a lot of important life decisions on that couch.

In fact, I was able to describe to my friend exactly the conversation I had with John Ater when I made the decision to quit the bicycle shop and travel and take photographs and write–it was on the same couch.

I have sat and cried on that couch, caught up with friends over shots of espresso, sipped lattes (when I was still drinking milk) with girl friends, made life altering decisions, read important big books on that couch, done intense writing, taken suggestions.

I have lived a great deal from that coffee shop.

Calvin and I have had lattes on the side-walk in front of the shop window blasting old Michael Jackson on a boom box.

I have played dominoes there, snuggled with one very cute boy in the window, drank spicy sweet chai with Shadrach there, when I still was imbibing sugar and Shadrach was still around to drink coffees with.

I was glad to have a comfortable forum to retell my story.

The Americano went down smooth and I got into the details.

My life, so many details, so many words.

Again and again, as I look at how my life has unfolded, from leaving the Bay Area when I was a little girl to traveling back, once, twice, and now thrice, may this third time returning be the charm (and the last time I leave), to all the adventures I have had along the way, I am amazed.

One that I am here at all.

So many things conspired against me to even be here at all seems like a sort of miracle.

If life was fair, I would be dead.

I ain’t dead yet and I don’t plan on going that way anytime soon.

There are no mistakes.

A little Asian girl with a pacifier in her mouth, bright yellow daisy flowers, pink rim, wide dark brown eyes, toddled over to me and asked to explore my bag.

Her mom, not her birth mom, came over and explained to me what was going on.

I smiled and nodded, and said, “I know what she wants, I am a professional nanny, she’s fine, she’s not bothering me at all.”

I wanted to tell the mom it was going to be all right, but I don’t know that for her, I just know that for me.

I let the little girl explore my messenger bag and look at my water bottle and we chatted, well I chatted and she nodded at what I was saying, while my friend wrapped up the notes he had been taking about my life and my story, discreetly taking out his camera and shooting a few more photographs.

It does not even feel like my story, it’s just an experience, a living, a lust for saying yes and allowing myself to be authentically me.

That is how I love myself, I let myself be myself.

Whether that is flirting with a beautiful little girl and talking to her with a smile on my face and acknowledging her curiosity or allowing my own, it does not matter.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and that is why I get to continue to tell this story.

It’s yours as much as mine.

And I know a great couch to sit on while we get caught up.

Escape From L.A.

June 27, 2011

Today was a long day.  A trying day.  A day in which I was further gratified to know that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I was never happier to see the toll plaza to the Bay Bridge in my life.

There is a moment, a moment that I will always remember, that I was reminded tonight as we wound down toward the toll plaza– when you have been driving for a long time,the first was when I drove out here almost nine years ago from Wisconsin, and you have been looking at dead burnt grass and hot landscapes, then suddenly you are lifted up into the air and you come over the freeway and there she is–San Francisco.

The fog is curling lightly around the spires of the Golden Gate.  I can see the Trans America building, there is Coit tower.  I can tell you just from the apartment buildings perched on the top of the hills where I am in the city–where I actually live, you can see it from the freeway since it’s one of the higher hills (you want my ass, get on a bike baby and ride up and down Taylor Street).  It is this gorgeous thing of glass and metal and water and soft light and I always am moved.


Perhaps more so today as it really was a long ass day.  I joked with Pell that I was going to write a screenplay and call it Escape From L.A.  Because I apparently could not.

Really, I know that it was my first performance in L.A. and I was truly judgemental of how I performed, but apparently, L.A. thought I was great, because little heathen that she is, she kept me there far, far longer than I had any desire to be.  It was Ground Hog Day all day long.

I was up again early–between Friday and Saturday I believe I may have gotten a cummulative ten hours of sleep.  I am now highly aware that my inner alarm clock is set fairly well.  I went to bed around 1:30a.m/2 a.m. and was up again by 7:15a.m.  I used the bathroom, drank some water, then crawled back into bed.  No use, it was not my bed, it was occupied by another person–I got the experience of having to swap out my bed last night.  Not exactly happy about that, but I tried to roll with it.

Note to self, note to self that I made all day long: there is being accommodating and flexible, then there is being steam rolled into doing things that you don’t want to do.  Give up your private bed, albeit in a room I was sharing with two other people, to sleep in a room with another person whose gear smelled, that’s a nice way of saying stank.  It fucking stank to high holy heaven.

Side bar–wet suits should not be hung in communal spaces.  They fucking stink people.  Oh my god.  I just about gagged.  I am sensitive to smell, so I usually don’t make a big fuss about it, what bothers me does not normally bother other people.  But I was knocked out by the smell of that wet suit.  I don’t think I ever can go surfing now that smell may remain with me for the rest of my life.

I also agree to ride with people back to San Francisco who don’t realize that you actually are on a bit of a time constraint.  My fault here, I take full responsibility.  I was to go back early today and I said I could be a little flexible with my time–I did not properly communicate my needs.  I did not have to be on the road as early as the person had been told.  But when I said that I meant, hey, we don’t have to be on the road by 7a.m.; 8 a.m. will work,or 9 a.m.  Especially as one of the people who was to be sharing the car was still asleep at the hotel.

I had heard nothing by 9:45 a.m.  Despite texting and attempting to make contact.  I had been packed, eaten breakfast, had coffee, done my morning writing pages, and was sitting twiddling my thumbs.  I find out later that another set of people have stepped in and are taking my spot in the car.  Had the director not intervened, I may still be on the road, something else to be grateful for.

The rest of the house was making a move to go hang with fellowship in Pacific Palisades.  So I make the decision to join them, will probably do me good to get a little of the solution into my morning mix before hitting the road.  I tell the director I can be flexible with my time and she arranges to get me where I need to go with another group of the cast members.

However, the timing is still a bit skewed and he and I end up in a camper trailer being driven down the Santa Monica highway at noon by another set of cast members to a hotel by the LAX airport where the next set of drivers is waiting for us to get there so we may leave from L.A. to San Francisco.

By this time I am in tears.  I am hours behind when I thought I would leave.  I am hungry.  I am tired.  I am angry.

Uh oh.

Then the driver and his “navigator” spend a lot of time conversing/bickering/discussing, opening and closing various maps, and trying to figure out the proper way to get to the motel where the other cast members are waiting for us.  They succeed in getting us lost and then, oh yes, stuck in Santa Monica beach board walk traffic in what is now the middle of a Sunday afternoon beach day.  Oh my god.

I start to cry.  I can’t help it.  I call Barnaby, who is supposed to come by the house and drop off a cruiser bike for me and I need to hand over the last payment on the tattoo, and tell him I will not be getting back when I thought I would be getting back.

He talks me from the ledge and I breathe deeply and watch the strip malls float by.  We are going so slow and everything looks the same, it is as though we are not moving at all.

It takes some time, but we make it to the hotel.  Transfer all the luggage from the camper trailer to Ralph’s car.  I mention to Ralph the neither of us has had a chance to eat lunch, there’s an In-N-Out Burger just passed the way we came, can we hit it?  I find out later, Ralph has some hearing issues.

I have some dietary restrictions and In-N-Out is probably my best choice.  Had I known what was to happen next I would have gotten more stuff at the Whole Foods I popped into yesterday on Wilshire.  But I did not know that Ralph would whirl us passed that In-N-Out, past another, and only to get us on the highway to pull off over an hour later at a gas station/deli/tackle and bait shop.

McDonalds was the other option.  I would rather eat my foot than McDonalds.

I have to say.  The deli guy was very nice and I was able to get a little sustenance for the road.  But the walls of bait and tackle for fishing next to the deli counter was a bit off-putting.

Just a bit.

Of course we hit traffic.  Because that’s the way we roll people.

I just gave up at one point and closed my eyes.  I actually napped on and off the whole way back.  Only to wake up briefly at gas stations to use the restrooms and buy a bottle of water and once a piece of fruit and  a Naked smoothie.

We finally get back into the city and although it has been mentioned a number of times as we are about to exit off the highway that it is Pride and the Civic Center will be closed off, guess what we drove straight into?

But I got home.   I am home.  And tomorrow, maybe even a little later tonight, the whole experience will be a laughable thing.  I survived.  My cats were quite happy to see me and Barnaby will drop off the bike tomorrow and I will pay him out the last bit on the tattoo as he prepares to leave for Paris.

And I have the first episode of True Blood Season Four down loading.

Let’s hope it’s not set in L.A.

Hot Mess

June 26, 2011

Today’s performance, my performance, was just that, a hot, greasy, mess.  I felt like left over sloppy joe with american cheese melted off the side.

I kid you not.

I can pin a number of things on it, or place the blame directly where it belongs, on my shoulders.  I did not sleep as long as I needed and I got up way too early.  I wanted a hot shower.  I got one, but at what cost?

I can function on five hours of sleep, I did today, I have done so in the past, but what I cannot do is function on not enough food and hydration.  I did not keep pace with my water today, but I certainly did with my coffee.  I think I totally depleted my reserves.

I drew a complete and under blank during the run through this afternoon.  It was hideous.  It is not a feeling I ever want to experience again.  I got a hefty dose of humility today.  I had to lean heavily on my cast members.  Fortunately they were there for me.  I don’t know how we all came together, but we did.

It felt like we were plodding through the production.

I take that back.  I cannot speak for anyone else’s feelings, only my own.  I felt like I was plodding through the production.  However, we still got a standing ovation.

The audience was kind.  The cast was a bit more judgemental, but gently so.  I think we all were feeling tired from the journey.  I did have some lovely moments of bonding with the cast and I am supremely grateful for that.

I am my own harshest critic.  I know that, so I will take my performance with a grain of salt.  I know that last week was better.  I know that I can actually do better than this week and last week.  I am actually looking forward to doing it again.  And I would like to have a good nights sleep when I do it.  I would like to be in my normal eating routine and not piecing together weird hodge podge food.

I will say this, no offense folks, but I saw some way creepy body shit in this town today.  Women that were so tiny and sucked in and skeletal that I actually gasped audibly a few times.  Fake boobs I was ready for and saw, plastic surgery, botox, enhanced this and that.  But the teeny tiny skinny women and young girls I saw freaked me out, I was actually shocked.  And I suppose I knew, but I did not know.

I am so glad to be a different place.  I am so grateful for the beautiful body I have been given.  Even with its “flaws” I have accepted myself and I do not think I could actually do what women do to compete in this town.  I just wanted to hug a few of the girls and let them know they really did not have to go to such lengths.  It was really disturbing to be honest.

L.A. is not my town.  And that is kind of a relief to know.  I got to trash the few fantasies I had about being “discovered” and realize that I have absolutely no desire to live here.  I was even told by a professional SAG actor that I am a natural, but I don’t think I could pursue a career here in L. A. I love me some San Francisco.

And, maybe that’s all that I needed to see about this trip and this experience, once again it has been affirmed the San Francisco is my home.  It is the place I will keep returning to.  It is the place that I belong.  It is the place I want to come home to.

San Francisco, I hella heart you big big.  Can’t wait to see you tomorrow.


Long Day

June 25, 2011

Nine hour work day, two grandparents, one father working from home, two toddlers, 6.5 hour long drive after work from San Francisco to L.A.

I deserve a nap.

Currently sitting in a rental house in Santa Monica with two guys crashed out in the living room a two gals in the room behind me and the room I will be occupying has some guy I’ve met once sleeping on the floor and another woman sleeping in a bed a foot away from where I will be resting my head when it is time to rest my head, snoring.

I sort of miss my apartment right now and my cats.


But I am pretending to be at camp.  It’s not really a slumber party as there is no one up being silly or watching a John Hughes movie.

But it is an experience.  And I get to sleep in tomorrow.  Not that I will.  Not that I can imagine actually doing that.  Two other people in a teeny tiny room with me, one bathroom for let me count, seven of us, yeah, don’t know that I will actually be sleeping in.

And there will be no late night run on the bathroom naked thank you very much.  And I will be sleeping in pajamas which sucks as I like to sleep in the nude.  Again, oh well.

The snoring is not such a big deal, but I’m not a fan of the stale cigarette smoke that lingers around the edges of some of my housemates. Then again, at least they are not smoking inside.

It’s an adventure.

Tomorrow I don’t have to be to the theater until 2 p.m.  Hoping to find a place nearby to get a manicure and a cup or fifteen of coffee and maybe get my eyebrows waxed as I realized that I forgot to pack my tweezers.  Damn it.

Actually, is probably a good thing that I am the late arrival and all the other house mates are already fast asleep, or close to it.  By the time I get up, let’s keep our fingers crossed on this, I should be able to have a shower all to myself.  Hmmm.  Or maybe what I’ll do is shower before I go to bed.  And that way I don’t have to battle it out for the bathroom in the morning.  I can just get up, brush the teeth and do a quick wash up.

That is something to seriously consider.

This is the most boring blog I have written all week.  Is there any one interested in my morning toilet?  I think not.

How to spice it up.  I could rant about the fact that I had both grandparents today and the dad in the house and yet, I could be let go early because I had to feed K.  Really folks, it wouldn’t hurt if maybe you all had a family dinner, I bet she would develop some better eating habits, just a thought.

The drive up was also interesting.  Dan does not have a radio in his car.  No music.  Which was truly depressing for the first moment or two of being in the vehicle and then we started talking.  He’s a good egg and easily the most talented person of the play.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for him that he is discovered down here and given some juicy opportunities.  He’s truly an amazing actor.  I have to be careful watching him though, because he’s also mad good at improvisational comedy and there have been more than a few times that I have caught myself absolutely crying with laughter.

I don’t want to miss my entrance and exits because I am watching him perform.

I’m looking forward to the seeing Santa Monica tomorrow and maybe wandering down to the pier.  But really, I am just here because I was asked and I have been taught to say yes to certain experiences in my life.  I’m grateful I get to be of service and learn about a new fellowship.

Must remember to pick up a post card and send it to myself.  Anybody else want one?  Send me your address and I’ll write you one.  I left my address book at home.

Oh!  And this just in, I got somebody in the cast to help me move Shannon and Alex’s love seat next weekend!  Yay!  My furniture needs for my apartment have just about been met.  House warming party to be set as soon as I get back from L.A. adventures.

Popped My Cherry!

June 19, 2011

I got to perform in my first play tonight, In Our Own Words, in Sebastopol.  Wow. Wow. Wow.  It was amazing.

I was nervous all day long, but it really hit when we pulled up into the parking lot of the theater with just twenty minutes to spare, traffic was bad, before the director lined us up to go over the stage notes.

I exaggerate a tiny bit.  I was in a high school production of MASH, I think I had four lines.  I think it was a musical?  My high school seemed very tuned into the musical–and it was nothing like Glee, tell you what.  And had I been a singer,  well it  might have been cool.  But since I am not much of a singer I never really got into it.  I don’t think my school ever put on a theatrical production of anything.  I can’t recall.

I do remember going to a few shows in Sun Prairie.  I had a friend from elementary school in Madison that I stayed in touch with when I moved to DeForest and she and her mom relocated to Sun Prairie.   She was into theater.   And I sort of hung around the outskirts of a few of their productions.  I think mostly because I had a mad crush on her friend Matt, who later became her boyfriend.

I never really got bit by the theater bug.

I may have tonight.

It was a rush.  I will admit, however, that it was extremely, and I do mean extremely helpful that there was a very bright spot light on us.  I could not see the audience to save my life.  For whatever reason, that made it a lot easier.  It was difficult in rehearsal to do my lines when I could see my fellow cast members watching me.  I got really nervous.

I also have to give enormous props to the lovely Nikki, who ran lines with me on the drive up.  I have been off book for a week and a half, and saying that, I should also throw some accolades to S. and K.  who have heard me practise my lines at work for the last month.  But just going over them again in the car with Nikki made me feel really comfortable with the material.

In dress rehearsal I had gotten a bit flustered yesterday, between watching the other cast members and actually admiring the hell out of the woman I was performing a piece with, I lost track of my lines and had a huge and I mean huge, pause, and then I said “fuck” before I remember where I was in my lines.

Thank god that did not happen tonight.

It went off without a hitch.  I did make some mistakes, I was on stage late for a line.  The line was delivered just fine, I just was meant to be on the stage a bit before I went on.  The director materialized out of thin air and said “oops, you missed your entrance, just stay here and I will tell you when to go on, and now,” and then she pushed me out onto the stage and I said my lines and then got right back off.

I think I was actually more nervous about that section of the play then the monologue I performed or the other character that I played.  It really was an incredible experience.  I had to be careful to not laugh too loud at some of the performances, there are some excruciatingly funny people in the play.

I also had to keep my emotions under wraps.  I found myself in tears more than once before the performance.  It was just amazing to see all the people who came out to see it.  I was blown away.  Nikki caught me at one point, and waggled her finger at me with a smile and told me to watch it with my makeup!

And L.A. is next week.  That is enough to make a girl break right back out into a sweat.

Especially as one of the women that I am portraying will be in the audience at the show.  I am not going to think about that right now.

Just going to enjoy how this feels.  And enjoy the fact that my hands have finally warmed back up.  My fingers were absolutely frozen.  That’s how my body reacts to ‘stress’ I get sort of hot in my core and my extremities get really cold.  My fingers started to chill off noticeably when I saw the exit for Sebastopol, and they proceeded to get colder and colder and colder.  And then the rest of me was hot and sort of sweaty.

Such a nice combination.  Not really.

At least I know that this is how my nerves manifest themselves.  I did a lot of work to stay in the present moment and I feel like I did pretty darn well, all things considered.

What a neat, I know, I hate that word, but really, it was neat, experience.  I got to be a part of something rather amazing.  I even got to sign a program tonight.  I could not believe that some one actually wanted me to sign the program.

Really?  Me?

Aw shucks.

What stupid fun.  I am now officially excited for L.A.

Nervous too, I won’t deny it, we played to about 250-275 people tonight.  L.A. will be double if not triple that.  Scary.  My fingers got a little chilled typing that, oof.

I am counting on the stage lights being just as bright, I mean, it is L.A.


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