Archive for the ‘Memory’ Category

Hello Friday

August 12, 2017

My God.

You smell amazing.

There is nothing.

I mean.

NOTHING.

Like coming home to a package from Chanel.

Oh.

God damn.

And even thought I knew what it was, I still unboxed it like it was a surprise.

I was so giddy.

So happy.

The biggest smiles.

And.

The most delicious of smells.

Yes.

That’s right.

I am back to my scent.

I have adored wearing Rose Flash, it’s been a nice little thing to have and I get sweet compliments on it.

But.

It is not Chanel.

It is not my scent.

My signature scent for decades has been Chanel Egoiste.

Pour Homme.

That’s for Man.

Yeah.

I wear a men’s cologne.

I never set out to wear a men’s cologne, it was a complete accident.

There are no mistakes in God’s world.

It was meant to be, but I didn’t know it at the time.

I found it at a discount store in the mall, one of those stores that specializes in products that have been discontinued.

It wasn’t in a box.

It must have been a sample from the big department store that was closing across the way.

I don’t know.

I had only been in the big department store once, I can’t even remember what the name of it was it wasn’t one that I was familiar with, then again it was in a land I was also unfamiliar with.

Iowa.

Yeah.

For a very strange year when I was 20 years old, I lived and worked in Newton, Iowa.

The short version of the story was that I was there to help my sister raise her child while her husband waited to get out of prison.

Actually they weren’t married yet, that happened at the prison a few months after I moved there with her to help her with my niece.

I swear.

This is the short version.

The long version is the book I wrote, the second in my memoir trilogy (yes I wrote a trilogy, no, it’s not published), called The Iowa Waltz.

Anyway.

We had moved there, my sister and I, as her fiancée was caught breaking bail in Wisconsin and was extradited to Iowa to serve out his sentence at the minimum security prison outside of Newton.

I got a job waitressing at Palma’s, this crazy Greek restaurant where the owner insisted that all the “girls” wear heels when working.

And dresses.

I might have gone to that department store to buy a dress, I think, in fact, that was why I was in the mall at all.

I certainly did not have a lot of extra money to spare, my sister was getting food stamps and WIC.

And I lied my ass off to get the bartending job.

My first shift the woman training me rolled her eyes, “you have got to be kidding me, you don’t know how to make a margarita?!”

It was a margarita night.

It was on special.

And.

It was strawberry.

I learned really fast.

And within a few weeks I was zipping around, tottering really, god how my feet hurt, the other bartenders and making pretty decent tips.

For Iowa, anyway.

The wife of the owner was the “bar manager” and she was a notorious Sambuca drinker and what is that Italian wine, god she drank it by the bottle and it was red and always chilled, Lambrusco?

And.

Fuck.

She smoked.

I mean.

I smoked, probably a pack a day at the time, but she smoked rings around me.

We were allowed to, oh the good old days when you could smoke while you worked.

Gagging.

Voula!  That was her name.

Shit, that just popped right up in my brain, I have not thought about that crazy bitch in a while.

Voula smoked three packs a day, easy.

It wasn’t that she necessarily smoked that much, but she always, I mean, always, had a cigarette burning in an ashtray.

And not just one, but five, sometimes six or seven.

“Do not put out any of her cigarettes, do not dump them, don’t do it, doesn’t matter if the ashtray is full to overfull, do not dump it, you will get the wrath of Voula,” my trainer told me.

She also told me under no circumstances to flirt with Voula’s husband.

Ew.

Yuck.

Why the fuck would I?

He was gross.

Balding, smoked just as much as she did, except he smoked cigars, and he had a big paunch and swinging jowls, I mean, not attractive.

“She will fire you if she thinks you’re flirting with him,” the head bartender told me, “she’s fired four girls in the last month.”

Fuck.

I won’t flirt, like I said, gross.

But.

I had drawn his attention.

And he made it clear.

I don’t remember what he said or how but it translated to I needed to buy another dress for work, and there was no mention of a clothing allowance or a uniform stipend, the money had to come out of my own pocket.

So.

The mall.

I must have found a dress.

And somehow I wandered into this strange little store next to the big department store, cheap trinkets, discounted stuff, old holiday decorations, odd toiletries and make up, junk basically.

But.

There.

On the shelf in the back right hand corner of the shop.

The bottle of Egoiste.

I do not know what compelled me to smell it.

I must have been registering it before I opened the lid and inhaled.

Oh.

Holy Mother of God.

It was the most amazing thing I had ever smelled.

Warm and spicy, musky.

Sexy.

Vanilla, coriander, sandalwood, rosewood, subtle cinnamon.

Not that I could have told you that then.

Fuck.

I was nineteen.

It just smelled amazing.

It blew my mind.

It was $19.99.

I had twenty-five dollars in my wallet.

I did not hesitate.

I bought it.

One of the best decisions ever.

I got fired two nights later when the boss lady’s husband decided to keep the bar open late and play poker with his buddies and he wanted a personal bartender.

Yup.

You guessed right.

Me.

I never once did a thing.

Nothing.

Didn’t matter.

I was fired when I came into work the next day.

“Get out of my bar,” she screamed at me, “you’re fired you fucking whore.”

Yeah.

And goodbye.

Funny thing.

I actually got my next bartending job because of her.

“Wait, what?  You worked for Voula for two months?” The woman interviewing me said, she was the owner of Boots and Spurs, why yes, I did work at Iowa’s largest country western night club, how did you guess?

I nodded, abashed, I had indeed gotten fired.

“You’re hired!” She exclaimed, nobody makes it two weeks with Voula, let alone two months.”

She laughed out loud, “hell, I only made it four days, she was one of my first employers, years and years ago now.”

“You must be amazing, when can you start?”

And so began my illustrious career in a country western nightclub.

But that’s a blog for another day.

Or you know, just read the book when I finally get it published, there’s plenty of stories there, believe you me.

Anyway.

I was hooked.

I fell in love in Iowa with a men’s cologne from Paris.

So many, many years ago.

And I got a bottle today in the mail.

Such an amazing gift.

I opened it and smiled and laughed and giggled and hopped up and down a little.

And then I opened it.

Oh.

That smell.

So good.

So, very, very good.

And just for a moment.

I was transported back to that small town mall in Newton, Iowa (home of Maytag Washing Machines!) and my 19-year-old self.

My god.

How far I have come.

How very fucking far.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Best smelling one too.

Heh.

 

 

 

Hello My Old Friend

August 7, 2017

So nice to get re-acquainted.

Not.

Fuck me man.

I got anxious today.

Now.

That should go without saying, having been diagnosed with clinical anxiety and clinical depression about a decade ago, that I would have anxiety now and then in my life.

But.

Shit.

I’d sort of forgotten.

Good grief.

It snuck up on me today.

Perhaps because I had suddenly some unexpected down time and that can make me a little tight in my chest, a little thread of something is wrong running down my spine, unscheduled down time, what the fuck will I do?

And I had plenty to do, I always have something going on.

I did loads of writing.

I did loads of laundry.

So happy the landlady replaced the washing machine, the gift of not having to go to the laundry mat next to the 7-11 on the corner of Judah and 46th is no joke.

I did yoga.

I had lots of lovely phone conversations today.

I went grocery shopping.

I cooked food for dinner.

I had a scrumptious salad for lunch on the back porch during the half hour of sun that came out in the Outer Sunset.

Man.

It has been foggy.

I’m about ready for that to be over weather wise.

I went and got right with God.

I did some meditation.

Life is great!

And.

I ordered books for school and looked over another syllabus that got published for my fall semester.

That’s when I noticed it, the corroding of my nerves, the odd feeling in my body, the small shivers of panic.

Oh.

Hello.

I had forgotten you.

And.

Oh.

Hello.

Fuck off.

I don’t need you around.

I mean.

I really don’t.

Anxiety pulls me out of the moment, catapults me into the future, where there is not god, there is nothing, there is only fear and terror and pain.

And it’s always a bad future.

It’s not a sweet, kind, gentle, loving future.

Nope.

It’s a.

YOU’RE GOING TO FUCKING FAIL SO YOU BETTER MOVE YOUR ASS NOW.

Kind of future.

And I still might fail.

And that’s ok.

I mean.

It is at least familiar.

I know this feeling, I have had it before, and I can live through it.

And I didn’t have a panic attack.

I had the scattering of one at the beginning of the last semester when I was super uptight about practicum and getting my internship nailed down.

Fortunately I was having a work day where the mom and baby were at her office and I was going to pick up the monkeys from school.

I had some down time at work to do cleaning and fold laundry and prep stuff for dinner and I got an e-mail regarding some financial aid thing and then another about registering for practicum and something in me just popped.

I got super wound up and it felt like a cement bucket of fear was riding on my chest and creeping up my throat.

Yay!

Anxiety.

For two and a half years I took antidepressants to deal with the depression and anxiety.

I stopped right around my five years of sobriety.

I came off them real easy.

I had been on the lowest dosage anyway.

But.

I felt like I didn’t need them anymore and I was riding my bicycle a lot and nannying some pretty energetic kids and I was doing ok.

I was also began eating a diet abstinent from processed flour and all sugars (except those occurring naturally in fruit, bring on the apples!) and that was a big thing too.

My diet got really clean, I got daily biking exercise, and I was out in the sun a lot pushing a stroller to and from multiple playgrounds.

The anxiety dissipated.

And.

The depression fell away.

I lost lots of weight.

I got happy.

Sure.

Shit happened.

Life happened.

When it was a dark and rainy winter the depression would slide back in a little, but for the most part.

Nothing.

Until.

I started grad school.

Anxiety nightmares.

Stress dreams.

Mild depression each winter semester.

Nothing that I couldn’t titrate with a touch more sleep or with a little more exercise and then I added some flax oil into my diet and rode it out.

The anxiety was easily the worst my first semester of school.

Now.

Today.

Not so much.

But.

It was there.

And truth be told.

It annoyed me.

It pissed me off.

I was like.

No.

NO.

I am not doing this again.

I know what this looks like and I know how to handle it and.

AND.

It never has been that bad.

It never has been the nightmare of not having enough time to do all the things and read all the things and write all the papers that my over active imagination likes to tell me it’s going to be.

Not once.

Not.

Never.

I never stopped blogging, which I told myself I would drop if it got bad.

I never stopped doing morning pages, ditto, I’ll stop if I can’t handle the writing load.

Oh.

Sure.

There were days here and there when I didn’t.

But I was pretty steady through it all.

I also know from experience, this for me is the most basic form of faith, that I always get things done.

And that there really is no need to be anxious about things.

I sent out a few messages, got some sweet responses.

Made a phone call to my person.

Wrote out a gratitude list.

And went about my day.

There are things I am going to have to do and my fall semester this year will look different from my last two as I am in practicum and I am seeing clients and I’m basically a practicing psychotherapist.

Not a psycho.

Haha.

Sorry.

Gallows humor is probably not the most attractive thing in a therapist.

Or is it?

Anyway.

I reached out to my supervisor about my schedule and I saw some openings and some things that I may have to adjust to and change-up.

But.

Overall.

I got this.

I got my books ordered.

I am still waiting for the release of one more syllabus though, I may still have to purchase a few books, but that’s fine.

I got my first text-book in the mail and I started reading it yesterday and yes, it will start traveling with me as I go about my week.

I worked through the anxiety.

I had a nice quiet talk with myself, assuaged my worries, gave myself the you can do it pep talk and basically really breathed into it.

All in all.

I can handle this and I was told that this would be a challenging year.

Haven’t they all been?

But.

That I have seen others walk through it and I know if they can do it so can I.

Plus.

I have a pretty amazing support system, fellowship and community.

I’m going to be just fine.

Because.

I already am.

Today.

Right now.

In this beautiful moment.

There is nothing wrong, and my life.

Well.

Let me just say.

It’s fucking fabulous.

Amazing really.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

All The Pretty Bicycles

August 5, 2017

I got another donation today for the ALC!

Aids LifeCycle that is.

I’m registered to do the ride next June, just scant weeks after I graduate with my Masters degree in Psychology.

That’s going to be one hell of a month, let me tell you.

I suspect though, that the riding and training are going to be just exactly what I need to not be too focused on school, graduation, my internship, all of that.

The exercise will be good for me.

Aside from fine tuning my legs and ass.

I miss by bicycle commuter legs and derrier, let me tell you.

Yoga is nice and I’m totally loving my increased flexibility, but my bicycle behind has gone the way of my one speed parked in my garage since I started doing all my commuting on my scooter.

Aside.

It fucking rained this morning!

I heard it and registered it while I was sitting and wrapping up my morning writing.

I remember thinking, “that’s weird, it sounds like it’s raining.”

But I didn’t really think it was raining.

It was raining.

I got to ride my scooter to work in the wet and I was not anticipating that this morning.

It ended up being fine and the rain ceased a bit when I got to the Inner Sunset and Laguna Honda was dry, it did rain a little bit in Glen Park, but it passed by the time I was done with work.

Thank God.

I don’t like riding when it’s wet.

I didn’t like it on my bicycle.

I don’t like it on my scooter.

I can do it on either, although I have not tried riding my one speed to my job in Glen Park.

I could.

But man.

It would be a haul.

I would have to avoid the hills, I couldn’t make it up the big hills.

I would have to go around.

Making the 6.6 mile commute to work about 8.5 miles.

This means heading all the way up Lincoln, cut through the Pan Handle, take the Wiggle, hit 17th to Valencia, Valencia to 30th and Church and I would still have to climb Chenery to Fairmount.

It would likely take me 50 minutes on my bicycle.

On my once speed, on a road bike I bet I could winnow it down to 45 minutes.

I can scooter it in 20 minutes and I am not sweaty when I get to work.

If I had a geared road bicycle, which is what I will have soon, I thought I was going to buy one while I was on break from the family, but stuff just kept coming up and the press for the bike was never very heavy on me.

Now that I have two donations under my belt and I am starting to get emails from my ALC representative I’m starting to feel itchy for a road bike.

It’s been seven years since I had my road bike.

It was a Felt 45, 56 cm.

I got it for $500 from a rider on the tour who had upgraded to a nicer ride, he totally gave it to me for such a deal.  Here is the most recent version of the bike that I had on the ride in 2010. Only about $2900. No sweat.

Ugh.

The Felt was great, sturdy, I was able to do all my training rides on it, but it didn’t have the top granny gear, which I want this go around my knees are ten years older, and there were a couple of hills on the ride when I did it in 2010 that I had to stop on and rest.

I didn’t walk a single foot.

I didn’t push my bike.

I never took the sweep vehicle for a ride to the next rest stop.

Although one time the van passed me and the driver told me that she almost pulled me out, I was in an active bonk.

A bonk is what happens when you’re on a long ride and you haven’t eaten enough to fuel the ride, it generally happens on long rides.

I remember well that it was a long training ride that day, I was some where out past the Nicasio Reservoir on my way to Pt. Reyes, it was a century ride I’m pretty sure (100 mile ride) I think, I don’t recall exactly and I was very much looking forward to stopping and eating and my brain was loopy and I was slow and I couldn’t figure out why it was taking me such a long time to climb the hill I was on.

I was totally bonked.

I got off my bike and just about fell over.

My friend saw me and ran inside the deli and got me a loaded baked potato.

I literally was sitting on a parking lot cement curb marker in the middle of some supermarket parking lot in Point Reyes with sweat and tears running down my face eating a hot potato so fast I can still feel what it felt like falling down into my tummy and when the food hit I got high.

I am not joking.

I bonked once on the ride to L.A.

Again.

Thank God for my mentor and riding partner, he saw it happening.

I had agreed to run a meeting on the beach and instead of going to dinner had hustled down to do the hour on the beach at sunset and I am super glad I did, it was glorious, but then standing in line for dinner I began to faint, like weaving on my feet as I stood there waiting for my turn to queue up to the steam tables.

And the line was long.

My friend saw another friend and hustled me over to her and told me to stick my head between my knees he’d be right back.

He came back with two pints of milk.

“Drink this now!”

I didn’t argue, just sucked down the milk, the effect was electric.

I almost threw up, then the milk sugars roared through my blood.

While I was getting re-calibrated my friend hopped back into the dinner line and brought me back a tray which was basically a pile of mashed potatoes.

“I can’t eat this for dinner!” I exclaimed.

“You will eat all of that and then you can have some protein, you have zero blood sugar, you got to get it back up or you’re going to the med tent.”

He was quite right.

Anyway.

I had a lot of adventures and misadventures.

The four flat tires and getting stung by a wasp on a training ride to Petaluma and back.

Now that’s a story.

For another blog.

The point is.

It’s time for me to get the road bike.

I might wait until after Burning Man.

I might not.

If I end up having to do the rental car, which is what it’s looking like, I may eschew the cost of getting a playa bike, as I’ll have to get a bike rack and that’s another couple hundred and I don’t know, I’m thinking maybe I just fucking walk the event like I did my first year.

The road bike has to be and I will invest in a good one.

I have done a little research and I’m getting it narrowed down.

But.

Yeah.

It’s time.

I can feel it in my bones.

Time I got my bicycle on again.

Thank you so much to my two donors!

You rock.

And if you want to donate.

Just click here.

I’ll update you as things move along.

Be assured.

You’ll probably get hella tired of reading about my bicycle adventures.

But.

They’ll be fun.

I promise.

 

So Many Things

July 24, 2017

This Sunday.

Although I did not set foot out of the Sunset.

I almost didn’t get out of the Outer Sunset, but I did manage to scooter up to a lovely little church shrouded in the heavy fog this evening.

Wow.

The fog tonight was no joke.

It was super spooky riding home and the visibility was little to none.

I went very slow.

Grateful to be in a neighborhood that was quiet and sleepy and muffled.

The few cars I did pass basically blinded me with their headlights refracting in the fog.

So careful.

So slow.

I don’t want to die.

I say that with and without tongue in cheek.

There has been a lot of death around lately.

I joked, in a rather morbid way, the other night, the God must like taking folks in July.

“What is under that fear,” I asked her today.

“Well…..” she said somethings and got closer and closer and then, “I’ll drink and then I’ll die.”

“So, you’re afraid to die,” I said softly.

I am too.

I remember the first time someone spelled that out to me.

I hadn’t made the correlation from the resentment I was holding onto to the point that I was ultimately afraid that I was going to die, that so many of my fears stem from that oh so basic fear of death.

Oh.

There’s littler fears, smaller fears, the classic ones that come to my mind are always the same, fear of being unlovable, fear of being abandoned and alone.

Always they come up.

But tonight.

Well.

It was just plain old fear of getting hit by a car on my scooter because the visibility was so bad.

I was very glad I had my scooter jacket on.

Aside from the fact that it’s a great windbreaker and it has padded elbows, shoulders, and a back piece, it is also pink and has reflective fabric sewn into it.

I’m pretty visible.

I mean, nothing is 100%, but I would say that I have more visibility than someone who is riding in a black jacket, that’s for sure.

I’m running around in loops.

Get to the point.

Today another person died.

Taken off life support.

I knew her a little while after I got into recovery, she’d been around, on and off, for at least ten years, maybe eleven of my time doing the deal.

Always a bright light, always a lovable woman.

She came in and out a lot, there were many times I saw her after a relapse and they were not pretty.

But.

She got out and she was doing well and had relocated back to the Midwest and was doing it, she had two years when she died, had gotten married, had a great job, she was a step mom and happy, and you could see it in her photographs and in her cute little quips and fuck, she just recently recommended to someone in our community who recently had a baby that they reach out to me as she knew I was a “great nanny.”

She’d been a nanny too.

We often times would commiserate about our families, and more often swap pictures of the babies we worked with, our charges, and we would share stories of endearment about them and our nanny adventures.

It takes a special kind of person to love unconditionally children that way that she did.

That’s what she was doing.

Swimming.

Teaching a child how to swim.

If I understand the story correctly.

And she drowned.

She was pulled out and they tried to resuscitate her and she spent some time in the ER, but she never came back.

She passed this morning and once again I find myself taking a big break from social media and trying to titrate how much I take in.

I did reach out to a dear friend of mine and offer some support.

He’d dated her and though the relationship hadn’t lasted, I know how very important she was to him and how much they still stayed in touch.

He was devastated.

He’s got a great support system though.

And I think of the community and support system I get to be involved with, all the gratitude I have for my fellowship.

And.

Yes.

Sigh.

I think about Shadrach.

He would have run the marathon today.

He was supposed to ten years ago today.

But that was not what happened.

Ten years ago he was hit on his scooter and though not outright killed, he was in the ICU on life support for a week, he was killed that night.

He just hung around long enough for us all to say goodbye.

And sometimes it feels like there was never enough time to say goodbye or never will be and I keep going on living and when I used to feel guilty I just feel graced now that I get to be so exuberantly alive.

I bitch about going to yoga.

But fuck.

I get to go to yoga.

I get to do so many things.

All the things that he didn’t get to do.

And I wonder about this woman too, what things did she not get to do.

I am grateful that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was at the best place she’d ever been in her life and that God took her at the peak of her experiences.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not sad.

God damn it’s sad.

She was so freaking young.

I’m forty-four.

I think she was about to turn 40 this year.

I just recall that we were close in age.

Sigh.

Shadrach would be 42.

I don’t feel the sads the way I did a week or so ago when I was walloped with emotion, but it is there, soft, and slow, and muffled, like the fog, creeping in and nestling down in my heart.

So.

I lit some candles and I will have a moment and I have looked at his handsome face today in the photographs I have on the wall.

And I will say thank you friend for showing me how important it is to live to my fucking fullest every damn day.

Sometimes it’s tiring.

But.

Fuck.

I get to be tired.

I am so lucky to be here.

If life was fair I would be dead.

I am not.

I am here and I promise.

YOU.

I will keep loving with all my heart.

Loving so damn hard.

Regardless of how much it can hurt to live.

The pain is worth it.

I get to live.

I get to love.

I get to.

I am so, so graced.

 

It’s Not Time

July 16, 2017

To write this blog yet.

But.

Well.

It wants to be written.

Even though I opened up my WordPress site and sat and stared at the blank screen and thought, I don’t have a thing to write about.

Denial.

I should fold my laundry and put it away.

I will wash my dinner dishes.

So instead of starting to write I got up and put my laundry away and I did the dishes.

I even pre-emptively filled the kettle for a cup of tea after I finish writing.

I know, hot tea, sounds excruciating to think about in July, but it’s July in San Francisco, I’m in bunny slippers and thought for a minute about turning on the heat.

It’s chilly here in July, unlike anywhere else.

Although there was some warmth in the city today after the fog lifted and I got out of the Outer Sunset, I even put on a little sunblock just in case.

Anyway.

I digress.

It was when I was filling my kettle that I realized that I was avoiding the elephant in the room.

Or the plum, as the case may be.

I bought a plum today.

A beautiful, gorgeous, fat black plum.

I’m not a big fan of plums.

I mean, they’re nice and all, but I wouldn’t typically choose to buy a plum, not really my thing.

A persimmon?

Get the fuck out of my way, I’m buying them all.

But a plum?

Nope.

But.

Ugh.

I usually buy one around this time of year.

And it’s not because it’s stone fruit time.

I want stone fruit I eat cherries.

I love cherries.

Or.

Yellow nectarines.

So good.

Not the white ones, only the yellow, and not peaches.

I know, what kind of monster am I?

I don’t like the texture of skin on a peach and the fruit is typically too soft for me, I know friends who would kill for a perfect peach.

Me?

Not so much.

But.

There I was at Gus’s Community Market on Harrison and 17th in front of the plums and I saw it and just reached for it.

My heart in my throat.

Tears prickling my eyes.

I picked out the biggest, prettiest plum in the pile.

I thought about him.

I wrote a story about it once upon a time, a children’s story, about sharing.

I called it “Shadrach and The Plum.”

It was about a little boy and how he shared his most precious treat, a big juicy sweet plum (insert some ee cummings here and an icebox please) with a little girl at school who had forgotten her lunch.

He sat down next to her with his brown paper bag and saw that she had nothing in front of her, her parents had sent her to school with no lunch, he thought to himself as he took the food out of his paper sack, “I’ll share my lunch but not the plum, plums are my favorite, she’s can’t have my plum.”

He asked her, “do you want some of my lunch?”

She nodded eagerly and pointed to what she wanted, “I want the plum.”

He didn’t say a word, he just handed it to her and ate his peanut butter sandwich and drank his milk.

I heard about her later when I read the story I had written to his family.

In hindsight I don’t know if it was the best idea, they were still grieving, it was their first Christmas without him and here I was some girl from San Francisco wearing flowers in her hair and her heart on her sleeve reading a story about lessons we learn from our friends.

Because.

Well.

Shadrach was like that.

He would give you what you needed without question.

I might get teased about it later, I might be razzed, but he always saw me so much clearer than I saw myself.

His death anniversary is coming up.

Sigh.

Ten years now.

And sometimes it still feels like I’m in that ICU at General holding his hand, or in my room on in that crazy old Victorian on Capp and 23rd, sobbing my heart out into a pillow as I prayed and prayed and prayed to God.

I knew better than to ask God to save Shadrach, I pretty much knew he was gone, I never said boo about it, I never tried to change anyone’s mind about their hopes and I certainly did not express any of my doubts about him waking up from the coma to his family, I just kept showing up and asking them what they needed, put I kept asking God to help me through it and the only way I knew how was to not focus on myself.

How can I be of service?

I was brought up that way, in my recovery community.

“How do I do this?”  I called a friend who had just lost a mentor, a man who had 43 years of recovery and who I also knew quite well, the past week.

“You show up and help his family and you ask ‘how may I be of service?’ and you help them that way, and that’s how you get through.  And through you will get.”

He told me how brave I was and how much he loved me and that I could hang in there.

I did.

And I do.

I still hang in there.

I still show up.

I saw that damn plum and almost cried, but as a reminder that I get to live today I bought it.

I did what I needed to do today and I went where I was supposed to go and when I saw someone in my community who was losing it over the recent loss of our young mutual friend tonight, well, I held her hand and I didn’t let her run out of the room.

I just held her and hugged her and hugged her more until she got all the sobs out.

“You don’t do this alone,” I told her, “don’t run out.”

“I can’t handle all this death, it’s too much,” she said and tried to break away again.

I hugged her some more and then I told her some stories.

I told her about losing my best friend to a scooter accident, my best friend who was sober, who was committed, who was about to run the SF Marathon.

The same marathon that is about to be run here on the 23rd of this month.

The signs just went up by the park and I thought of Shadrach, I thought of how beautiful he was when he was running and how strong and graceful.

I thought of the last thing that I said to him, the best gift the moment, that moment when you realize you have to say something or regret it for the rest of your life.

Although, of course, how could I know?

“Shadrach, I just have to tell you, if I never see you again you have to know how beautiful you are right now, you are just glowing,” I touched his arm.

He raised an eyebrow at me and was about to say something witty and cryptic and instead he smiled at me and hugged me to him.

That was the last thing I said to him.

Well.

It was the last thing that I said to him when he was still coherent and not brain-dead in a hospital bed for a week before his family pulled the plug.

I shared my story.

And.

I told her about another woman we both know and how she lost her best friend on the day of his one year sobriety birthday, how he was hit by a bus coming home from his anniversary party.

I mean.

Fuck.

I told her she didn’t have to do it alone and that she was strong enough to shoulder it and that she was lucky, lucky that she got to feel the depth of love she felt for this person who just died a few days ago, that she could be grateful for the time she got to know him.

I hugged her again.

I’m a hugger.

And.

Told her to call me and lean in.

It’s not easy grieving and sometimes I felt like the sadness of Shadrach’s passing would never leave me, but it did.

Well.

That’s also not true, but it lessened, or I got used to it I suppose.

Although seeing that big purple plum sitting on top of a Mason jar on my kitchen counter brought it all home.

I still miss my friend.

He taught me so much.

Not just how to love.

But.

More importantly, that I was lovable and worthy of love.

A lesson that took many years to sink in.

But in it did.

So.

Tonight.

I will raise my plum to my lips and taste the sweetness and let my fingers be sticky with gratitude and love and memory and honor my friend and all the gifts he gave me, so many years ago now.

All the love he planted in my heart that has grown and flourished and bloomed.

All the things.

All the love.

And.

Always.

The best.

The sweetest, coldest, juiciest plums for you.

Always.

 

 

Seasons Of Grief

July 11, 2017

“I know we’ve never been very close,” she said to me, touching my arm, “but how you are walking through this, I just wanted to let you know, it is brave and beautiful and there are a lot of people sending you love.”

I gasped.

I wasn’t expecting that sentiment.

She continued, “and I know it’s probably really hard to understand, but sometimes,” she paused, “sometimes God breaks our hearts so that they can hold more love.”

I burst into tears.

She hugged me and went her own way.

I see her now and again.

Here and there, in rooms of churches, on a folding chair, with a group of acquaintances, a smile, a wave, but not much else.

I saw her tonight.

I touched her arm.

She hugged me, we both cried.

Our community lost someone today.

Someone very dear.

Someone who shined very hard when he was with us.

He was taken far too young.

I have known him for eleven years, I met him early on in my days of recovery.

I kept seeing him in my mind’s eye tonight, when he was so new, so fresh, such a kid, such a little fucking punk, with this huge heart and pretty face, and dirty skinny black jeans and his punk rock attitude and dangling cigarette sneer on his mouth.

All hiding a very scared frightened kid.

All that bravado and machismo hiding vast reservoirs of tenderness.

I was thinking about a particular afternoon.

It was sunny, we were all in the courtyard of this church at 15th and Julien in the Mission.

He was in Giants regalia and so was Silas and so was another fellow and they all had their arms wrapped around each other, and the smiles, the grins, the love radiating off them was glorious to behold.

I kept seeing that in my mind today and the tears would just start and how I got through the day without telling my boss I don’t know, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, and the kids wanted to play with me and I wasn’t the most present.  I kept getting texts and messages and phone calls and reaching out to people in the community.

I had to stay the fuck off social media after a while, it was just a constant stream of his face in photographs, so many of his goofy, stupid, grinning face.

The last time I saw him I smacked him.

“Stay, why don’t you,” followed by a hug, and a “knock it off our you’re going to die.”

He laughed.

I laughed.

We hugged again.

He died.

He died last night.

He over dosed.

I cried.

This morning, literally in my oatmeal.

I got the news and I was shocked.

Perhaps not surprised, I mean, I wish I could say that it was more of a surprise, but I knew what he did, I had heard his story so many times.

“Oh, yeah, gah, shooting up with a dirty rig and piss water from a public toilet down by the Civic Center, sticking the needle in my groin cuz I couldn’t find a vein.”

I countered with, “doing so much blow I throw up after snorting a line, all over my blow, so I let it dry out and I cut it, chopped it, and snorted it.”

High fives all around.

There is a kind a levity and humor, gallows humor, that comes with sobriety sometimes.

And joy.

So much joy.

His face when he smiled, when he played music.

So much fucking talent blown.

Ugh.

I remember loaning him some money, I can’t even remember when or for what and I just told him to not bother paying me back, “keep it and when you’re fucking famous and world touring you give me a backstage pass.”

“Deal!”  He said, “I love you, I would have given you a backstage pass anyway.”

I hope he’s got the best backstage pass right now.

I hope he’s playing up there with Hendrix and Jeff Buckley, with Lemmy from Motorhead, with all his favorites, just fucking jamming the fuck out.

Happy and smoking a cigarette and woo’ing the ladies.

He was a pretty boy, he was.

It hit home today.

And I was reminded of another thing that a friend said to me when my best friend died, almost ten years now, his anniversary fast approaches, at the end of this month, that “grief is not linear.”

It does not have a time frame.

It does not have a schedule.

It does not have an end or a beginning.

It will come in waves.

I saw a man tonight who used to work with my best friend and we both just sobbed on each other, it was too damn familiar, all the faces, all the people pressed together, all the tears.

I looked at him and said, “you better stick around, you just better.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” he replied.  “I heard the news and I thought of _______________ and I heard your voice and I just couldn’t not be here, I’m so glad you’re here.”

So many hugs tonight.

So many tears.

So many friends from my early days in recovery and all the memories and joys of seeing them.

And.

A reunion.

An old friend who let me go a long time ago was there.

We’d had a falling out of sorts, I don’t even know exactly all the details anymore, but we’d been best friends after my best friend died, she walked me through so much of that process and grief and we were super tight for two or three years after that and then a misunderstanding, a communication that misfires, conflict that we tried to resolve and just couldn’t.

She saw me.

I almost didn’t recognize her.

She stood up, we hugged and we both burst into tears.

There were a lot of “I’m sorry’s” and a lot of “so good to see you.”

We exchanged numbers.

She just friend’ed me again on Facebook.

Desmond.

You little fucker.

I really did not need you to die to reunite with my old friend, but I’ll take it as a parting gift, my sweet boy, that your passing brought so many people together tonight.

There were moments today when the tears wouldn’t stop falling and then.

Then.

Oh.

There were moments, so very many, when I was exquisitely alive, so alive I almost felt guilty.

Almost.

This life is so precious.

I will not waste it.

I will cram as much as I can in.

I will live.

I promise you.

I will live.

And I will love.

With all my heart.

So fucking hard.

So.

Hard.

I promise you.

All the life you did not live.

I will live for you.

And then some.

Promise.

What A Day

June 30, 2017

A good day.

But quite the day.

A full day.

For sure.

Into work, lots of loving on the charges, family friend visit, lots of kids running around, and then quiet, a reprieve, unexpected in the middle of the day.

Snuggles and nap time with the baby and then the family and their friends went out to lunch and I had nearly an hour to myself.

It was so nice.

I haven’t had that since school has gotten out.

I ate a slow, relaxed lunch.

I looked at the skyline from the back porch, I made a few phone calls and connected with a girlfriend I haven’t seen since January, we made tentative plans to get together when the family I nanny for is on vacation.

So nice to reconnect.

I was to do the camp pick up for the middle child and I enjoyed the hell out of riding the MUNI, not having any charges, and then taking a nice quiet walk to BiRite, picking up snacks for my charge and a few things for the house.

Pick up at school was great.

My charge and I ate cherries and apricots and talked about sunshine and being nice, “I’m going to tell mom that I was kinda nice to you today,” she said and squeezed my hand tight.

I love her so much.

She is always the best.

Even when she is a handful of fierce fiery little girl.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

She has a voice and I really love how her parents let her have that voice.

I was shushed often.

There was a lot of don’t speak unless spoken to in my home.

I didn’t really know that children could engage and interact and have conversations with their parents.

It was sort of, get out-of-the-way and be quiet or go outside and leave me alone.

I’m ok with that.

I developed a big case of the curiosity at a very young age and a desire to explore, seek, find, and experience whatever I could.

I had, and still do have a great big imagination.

I don’t really escape into fantasy anymore, life is real and reality is so much more interesting, but for a while, when I was young, fantasy was my hard-core go to.

And I was, and am, dare I say it, creative.

I concocted lots of games, did relay races with kids in the neighborhood, made up my own version of Kick the Can, Ghost in the Graveyard, Ding Dong Ditch, and a plethora of other things.

The summer I watched the Iron Man triathlon on television and became absolutely mesmerized in the event.

I staged a mini Iron Man, I called, aptly, Iron Kids.

There was a run around the apartment complex, followed by a bicycle race.

I couldn’t do the swimming in the ocean part, seeing as how we were in Wisconsin and the nearest pool was miles away, but I am sure I improvised something.

It might have been running in and out of all the wading pools in the courtyard.

I found my voice in motion and then again in books and escaping to the library.

I was always reading.

Always.

I would hide under my blankets at night with a flashlight and read.

I got yelled at a lot to do that.

Now.

I wonder, would a parent yell at a kid for reading past bedtime?

Perhaps using their phone and texting or being active on social media, but reading?

I think, probably not.

Ooh.

I got a new book in the mail.

Such a gift.

To get a book.

That is not for school.

I look forward to reading it.

I don’t have much time now, but it is something that I can flip through and I will be able to enjoy it when I am off from the family in July.

I am still trying to suss out if I’m going to travel.

One of my clients who I see on Thursdays will be gone for vacation and his times overlap mine and the availability I have to travel.

Maybe there’s a long weekend in my near future.

I am open to all possibilities.

And I’m super psyched.

Tomorrow is Friday!

I have a client consult after work.

I will have a long day still.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to sneak in a little time with my fellows, if I get out of work fast enough, and then I’ll have a client at 7:30 p.m.

It’s a consult, so there’s the possibility it may only go a half hour.

So if I don’t get out of work in time I’ll see about doing the deal after seeing the consult.

Then the weekend.

Which is full, since I still have to go to my Group Supervision.

But.

I’ll have some pockets of time.

I’ll do yoga in the morning both Saturday and Sunday.

I desperately need a mani/pedi/eyebrow waxing session.

And I do need to do grocery shopping, cooking, and errands.

Plus meeting with a lady Sunday afternoon.

And still.

There will be time.

There will be time to stop and breathe and love.

And maybe.

Yes.

Read a little for pleasure.

Such a sexy thing.

Oh life.

It is so.

So.

So.

Good.

Tired

June 23, 2017

And wide awake all at the same time.

There was a moment today when I just thought to myself, I am not going to make it through the day.

Not enough sleep.

Too many hours at work.

Client that needs to be seen after work.

Party for a friends studio opening.

And I was asked to come in earlier tomorrow to work.

I thought I was just going to pass out.

The little lady was close to taking a nap and I hazarded a distinct longing to put her down for a nap and cuddle with her and sneak in a nap myself.

But.

No such luck.

I also didn’t want to super caffeinate.

Although I came daringly close I did not succumb to the temptation and powered through the day.

My thoughts kept me company and I kept myself moving around the house a lot and kept telling myself that it was almost Friday.

It still was a long day.

But I made it through work and I got to my internship and I had a really good second session with a new client.

Two clients this week and I’ll be adding another client next week.

Slowly it builds.

I felt really good doing the session and decided that I could rally afterward and go sneak over to my friend’s open house studio opening.

I really wanted to have a grown up moment that was a social, even if it was just for a little snick of time.

I hadn’t any dinner so I knew that it would be short-lived and watching the fog roll in over Twin Peaks I was pretty assured that it would be a quick visit.

But it was good and I got to see an amazing work space and reconnect with Burning Man friends and talk a little about the event and when folks are going.

I haven’t found a ride yet and there was a moment when I thought, fuck it, wouldn’t it be nice to not stress and give up the ticket and spend the time here in the city with people I love and then I was like.

Um, no.

Hahahaha.

Sure, there are people who I want to see here, but the fact is if I don’t go to Burning Man I’d just be working anyhow, it’s not like vacation, although it completely is, but it’s outside of my time frame of paid vacation and I wouldn’t just take the week off without going.

Plus.

It’s the ten-year anniversary of my best friend’s death and he’s the reason why I went in the first place.

My heart, tender, feeling that loss, but not so achy as it’s been in the past, just tender, just there and I know there will be feelings that come up.

And there will be a conversation with him, somewhere in deep playa, out past the Temple where I am sure between the Temple and the mountain range my friend still resides, just a little part of him, I didn’t take all his ashes, but enough, enough to know he’s there and there are many places that I connect with the memory of him and also with the aliveness of him, the way I live my life a reflection of the gusto he went after life with.

I am sure he would be proud of me.

OH.

Hello.

There are the tears.

I knew you were around.

I watched the fog roll in over the top of Twin Peaks from the deck of my friends studio in the Mission and it was the same height and approximate distance from the hospital ICU, General, where my friend spent a week in a coma before the family pulled the plug and harvested his organs for donation.

There is always one strong memory for me, pressing my face against that window, my fevered brow, the hotness of my heart, the tears always on and off, more so off when I was at the hospital–it was only in the privacy of my own room in the dark as I prayed to God on my knees to get me through the experience that I would allow myself to cry–the coolness of the window and the dark, heaviness of the fog rolling in over Twin Peaks.

A blanket of sorrow and felted love thrown over the entirety of the city as though we all grieved the loss of my friend.

So.

Yeah.

I might be a little tired, but I’m not bailing on Burning Man.

Nope.

Sure.

I haven’t gotten a ride together yet, but that will happen and hopefully it won’t be as crazy as the ride up was last time.

I have gotten a couple of nibbles from my post on the ride share board, but nothing solid, it always comes together, I’m not too worried.

It’s more a matter, at this point, of getting a playa bike and finding time in between the comings and goings of my life to do some preparation.

I have people I am responsible to, my own recovery to attend to, and God damn it would be nice to get in a yoga class this weekend, but yeah,  a new playa bike and some sourcing of other items that are always nice to have and I’ll make some time, find some time, create some time, and do a little shopping when I can.

Side bar.

The mom just sent me a message about my work performance and told me that I really was “Mary Poppins sister!”

I’ll take it.

Anyway, this Mary Fucking Poppins, will be riding again under her parasol out on playa again this year and enjoying the hell out of not being a therapist in training, a student, or a nanny.

Just a girl.

Out on her bike.

Riding towards the painted calico mountains with secrets and love to share with an old friend.

“I finally was the ball, Shadrach, you’d be so fucking proud of me.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

June 1, 2017

Yes.

I am aware that tomorrow is June 1st and not November.

It has been one hell of a month.

So much happening.

Amazing things truly.

I love my life, I’m lucky, I’m graced, I’m blessed.

And.

I might just being going to Hawaii for Thanksgiving!

Yup.

It will be my first time, unless something unusual pops up and I find myself in the islands, which I am not opposed to, but to tell you the truth, I hadn’t expected to hear the news today that I might be in the islands for the holiday.

My family I work for brought it up today.

I will have off that weekend from school and work, well, since it is work, will let me have the time.

It’s not a real vacation for me, I’ll be working, but, oh, the location does not suck.

Not at all.

And like I said, I’ve never been to Hawaii.

I really should go, I am part Polynesian after all.

Puerto Rican and Polynesian on my father’s side.

German and Scot on my mom’s side.

I had someone tell me once that I was a Polynesian princess mixed with white trash.

Heh.

I might have a little trashy in me.

I definitely have some princess in me, that’s for sure.

Nevertheless, I am thrilled at the idea.

I love that the family really wants me to be included in their lives and I really love working for them.

Tomorrow marks five months of work and it’s been such a great job for me and the parents really appreciate me and the kids love me.

I love my charges.

LOVE.

Both of the older kids were under the weather today and one of them stayed home from school.

Work was huge amounts of snuggling, singing every song I know from my years of being a nanny, and an almost endless repetition of a lullaby that I usually sing to the baby, and all the babies I have ever worked with and a lot of my toddlers too, to the oldest boy while rubbing his back and petting him and just sitting and crooning to him.

He is the sweetest boy and super smart and vulnerable and the request to keep repeating the lullaby and stroking his soft blonde hair, oh, my heart, I just wanted to curl him up in my arms and kiss away the fever.

He got lots of love and I got to be the Queen of Snuggles.

I also got to do some cooking while he was watching a movie, sick days get movies, and I revelled in the cooking.

It feels good to cook, I miss it sometimes, cooking for a partner or my family.

I used to cook all the big holiday meals for my family and oh, the baking, and the stews, the jams and cheesecakes and pies, the cookies and pork chops.

Midwestern much.

Aside.

I said “bubbler” today and the woman looked at me like I was an alien.

Bubbler is water fountain in Wisconsineese.

I made up that last word, rhymes with cheese, bubbler is a total Wisconsin word, there are a few more, but that one slips once in a while into the conversation, or “pop” instead of “soda.”

Once and a while my roots show.

I am, however, not so connected to my Hawaiian and Puerto Rican roots.

My father wasn’t much around growing up and though I always kept in touch with my grandmother, I didn’t have much idea about Hawaii.

I had things from Hawaii that my grandmother would send and I remember boxes of chocolate covered macadamia nuts and once a grass skirt, coming in the mail from my grandmother.

I think we had placemats too and a few books about the islands and where the family was from.

It wasn’t until I moved back to California as an adult that I met my father’s side of the family in a more concrete way.

I remember meeting some cousins for the first time and being blown away by how much I looked like them, how they looked like my sister, and how I was actually lighter skinned than the majority of the family.

“They look like me!”

It was a relief and in a way an almost instantaneous connection that I had not always felt with my mothers Germanic roots and Scottish ancestry.

I was neither pale skin nor blue-eyed, or green-eyed as my mother.

I did not have blond hair.

Nope.

I got tan.

I didn’t really burn.

Well, once in a while, after long ass days detassling corn in the fields around Waunakee during the summers when I was working the crews, I might get a shoulder burn or a heavy crop dusting of freckles.

My mom though, my God, she could burn so easily, such creamy white fair skin.

Yeah.

So coming to California and starting to get those connections to my father’s family was a revelation.

I’m still not as close as I suppose I can be, social media does most of the work for me and there’s still stuff with my father that I have reservations broaching my family about.

I ceded his care when I was in Alaska in the hospital to the head of the administrative at the hospital.

I love my father.

I have exquisite and amazing child hood memories of him.

I also have some pretty awful ones too.

But.

He wasn’t around and when he had the accident that lead to the coma that led me to Anchorage, I went almost more to settle my own heart, then for anything else.

I sat by that hospital bed in the ICU for four night and five days.

He was in a coma the entire time I was there.

I held his hand and talked to him.

I forgave him.

And.

I asked for him to forgive me.

I made friends in Anchorage and the fellowship there carried me when I wanted to collapse into the snowbanks and the cold air and just cry my heart out.

I managed to not get stuck in any snowbanks but I won’t ever forget the dark night sky outside the window of the room the hospital hospitality house put me up in, for families of critical care patients at the facility, and the roughness of the sheets on the bed and how alone I was.

No.

That’s not true.

I wasn’t alone, I had God, I was carried, but I was by myself.

I was grateful, beyond grateful, to be there for my family and to relay messages out to the world and to let my grandmother be in contact with me and my uncle and my cousins and the love seed that was planted there.

I have never talked to any of them about letting go of my father’s care, but I did visit my grandmother that next summer and it meant everything to me to say “I love you,” and in that moment, as I was leaving to get on a plane from San Diego, in my grandmothers arms, I could feel how much she loved me too.

I will always have that moment.

And I look forward to getting to go to Hawaii.

Even if it’s not with my employers, which is sounds like it might actually be, I will go.

I have some more healing to do in that corner of my heart history.

I will swim in the ocean and walk on the beaches and turn my face to the sun.

I will go home again.

Although it has never left me.

Impressed as it is on the cheekbones in my face, the wide plush smile on my face, the curls in my hair, the freckles on the crest of my nose, the wilderness of my hips, the sway in my walk.

I have not forgotten.

I always have had the islands in me.

Always.

Girl Date

May 30, 2017

I totally took myself out today.

I did it all.

First.

I let myself sleep the fuck in.

I mean, I didn’t get up until 9:15 a.m.

So sleeping in, especially considering that I am up three hours earlier tomorrow so that I can meet with my supervisor–whom I would have met with today but it was a holiday.

I totally treated it like a holiday as well.

I went to a yoga class that I used to be able to go before I started my current nanny gig.

I had lunch with my favorite, most loved person in the entire world.

Pause.

Let me just let that sink in.

I got to have lunch with the person I hold in the highest esteem, who loves me unconditionally, who sees me, who supports me without question, who witnesses everything I do, who helps me see when I am self-sabotaging, and how to change that and be better and stronger and sweeter and softer and live my life to the fullest full definition of happy, joyous and free.

I mean.

That is an extraordinary gift.

We met at Souvla on Divisadero and had great big salads and talked and got totally caught up and I revealed myself and there was no shying away from me or judging, only complete sunshine and love.

I am beyond grateful for this man in my life, I wouldn’t have the life I have without him.

He is a human, don’t get me wrong, I am not putting him on a pedestal, he shows me how to be more human myself, more vulnerable, more willing to show up and more present in the moment when I do.

He is the greatest gift and I do not know what I would do without him.

We are even talking about making travel plans together.

We have talked about it before.

We travel in a similar way, carry on only, get situated, go get connected with fellows and then walk and see and witness and art and churches and more art and museums and cafes and sitting still next to each other and also knowing that we both are self-sufficient travelers, that neither of us is afraid to say, give me space, I want to do a wander on my own or nap or whatever.

We have mutual friends in Barcelona as well as Paris.

We are talking about going to Barcelona together and maybe taking the TGV to Paris or Marseille, probably Paris as we have friends there too and I will need very much to see my Parisian girlfriend and her new family.

Next May.

When I graduate from my Masters of Psychology program, a grand European tour with my mentor, I couldn’t really think of a better gift, his company means so much to me.

So.

Yeah.

Lunch was fucking fabulous and we also dished and laughed and I talked about needing to set firm boundaries around any extra nanny work that may try to weasel its way in when my employers are away in July.

And then he went his way and I went mine.

Off to the MOMA.

I wanted to catch the last day of the Matisse/Diebenkorn show.

Of course.

It was sold out, even as a member of the MOMA I couldn’t get in to see it.

And truth be told, I don’t really care a fig for Matisse, and I’ve seen so much of his work in Paris that I didn’t feel that I was missing out.

I could have my girl date with myself just fine wandering around all the other galleries without having to stand in the huge, and I do mean HUGE, line that was queued up for the show.

I strolled through the second floor galleries and got acquainted again with one of my favorite artists in the museum–Clyfford Still–1906-1980.  I adore his work, there is one painting especially that always gets me and I did my stare in awe and wonder at it for a good fair amount of time before taking myself for a cafe au lait at the Sight Glass cafe on the 3rd floor of the museum.

I sat and dreamily dreamed and people watched while sipping my coffee–days off always included cafe breaks and nursing a coffee while people watching.

Then I hit the Larry Sultan photography exhibit, which was extraordinary.

And.

Since everyone was in line for the Matisse/Diebenkorn show, the gallery was practically empty.

Heaven.

I got my art girl dose in heavy-duty.

Then having some time and seeing that the sun had decided to cut through the fog and make an appearance, I strolled through Yerba Buena Gardens, and yes, got another coffee, this time iced, and planted myself on the sheltered terrace of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, sipped ice coffee and watched the clouds scut through the sky.

I am always so overwhelmed and grateful for the gardens and the art and the fountains and though the skyline has changed dramatically in the fifteen years I have been in San Francisco, there is still all this familiarity for the place I was sitting in.

How many times had I gone through that park high or drunk?

Smoking cigarettes and slamming extra caffeine to keep up with the high-end dining restaurant that I worked at, Hawthorne Lane, how many times had I caught cabs in front of the Metreon to go to my dealers or to have myself carried to the End Up or 1015 or some underground party.

So many times.

And the dread and the terror that was just below the surface of my skin, beating my heart with fear as I walked the paths through the garden to work, short cutting on my way to the restaurant to work a double to make up for all the money I blew on blow.

And.

Instead.

Twelve and a half years later.

Coiffed, sweetly dressed, yellow silk flower in my hair, expensive shoes on my feet, Hobo purse in my lap, having just left an exquisite show at the MOMA, I sit happy and serene, joyous and free, in that same space, quietly and consistently showing up to make amends to the area and to assuage that damage I did to myself.

So grateful I don’t have the words.

Although.

I have to say I will always keep striving to find them.

Grateful for sunshine, clarity, serenity, communicating my needs, being emotionally transparent.

For all the good things in my life.

For my life.

God damn.

Life is more than fair, you know, if it were fair, I’d be dead.

And I am so not.

I am exquisitely alive.

So.

Fucking.

Alive.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.


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