Archive for the ‘Memory’ Category

The Jumping Off Place

August 1, 2018

I was talking to my therapist about all the things today.

All the things.

My God.

So much to cover.

It’s been a busy few weeks since last I saw her.

The buyout happening.

Looking for a new place to live.

My upcoming interview with another private practice internship.

Relationship stuff unfolding.

Going back to work.

My PhD program starting in less than a month.

Paris.

France.

My relationship with Paris and France and how I have always looked for something there, something intangible, but with a similar feel for what I have looked for when I have gone to Burning Man.

That I’m not going to Burning Man this year.

And.

That I don’t feel at all bad about that, it feels right.

There is so much transition happening.

I am grieving the loss of my home.

I love my little home and it’s unfathomable to me where I am going to land next and things will be very different wherever that is.

The packing up and putting away of the life I created in this space will be hard.

Saying goodbye to it will be hard.

Thinking about it is hard.

You and I together, together in this room.

I have so many memories of this space with your face all over it.

Your body there, in that corner, on my bed, sitting, sleeping, everywhere I look, there you are.

And you are no longer here.

Removed.

Away.

Gone.

And like the feel of you in my bones, you are here in these walls, on these walls, the photos of us together, that will get packed up in a box and put away.

They won’t go up on the new walls of the new home and when I think about that.

Well.

I am sad.

I thought of it this morning and I cried.

Good thing I was on my way to therapy.

Ah.

Love.

How I shall miss you.

I miss you already.

And there is something terrifying and exciting about this next part of the journey as well.

I feel like I am at the pinnacle of a mountain about to leap off.

But instead of falling.

I see myself flying.

I just don’t know where I am going to land.

I do know.

It will be where God wants me to be and I do know that I won’t be dropped.

I will soar.

I will sail.

It doesn’t mean that I am not afraid, I am afraid.

I don’t know what to do without you.

I have believed, shit, I still believe, that we are meant to walk through this world together, hand in hand, side by side.

The ease I have with you.

The attachment I have for you.

How will I be without you?

I keep listening to this album by Herbert.

British electronic pop house music.

I got turned on to Herbert by a clerk at a record shop in Noe Valley back in 2007?

I was enthralled and for whatever reason, the music has seemed so apropos to what I am going through.

Tears fall down my face when I least expect.

Staring out the window at work looking at the avocado tree and thinking of you and all the other times I have sat and watch the wind ruffle through those leaves.

When I used to be so antsy with anticipation to leave work because I knew I was coming home to see you.

The feel of you on my skin, in my bones, against the line of my neck, the touch of breeze on my skin a whisper of where your mouth would soon be.

Gone.

But not the memories of  you.

I fear that those memories will fade when I move.

I won’t see the shadow of the bamboo blinds on the back door slatted with sunlight splayed on my bed, just that one spot when I rode astride you, my hair full of sunlight, your face golden, and your eyes, the pool of them that I fell into without having any idea of the ocean of love I had dived into.

How will I be when I can’t hold those memories of you within these small four walls?

Different.

I know.

I maybe, well, I don’t know yet, but I know it will be different.

Perhaps I won’t cry as much.

I can see you everywhere in this studio.

There is not a place your presence hasn’t touched.

You are everywhere.

Sometimes it is unbearable and sometimes it is sweet, although, truth–it was never bitter and I suspect it never will be.

I have no regrets my love.

I have none.

Nary a single thing I would have done differently.

It all carried me here.

You and I together, together in this room.

And I am at the top of the mountain and I cannot see through the fog and mist to the valley below.

I cannot tell where I will land.

Where I will go.

Only that go I must.

Only that.

I must leap.

I must leap.

I must.

I shall kiss the sky.

I shall pinion upward.

I shall.

But before I go.

I will take these last few sweet moments to hold you dear.

Darling.

Love of mine.

To hold you momentarily just a bit longer in this room.

Which really.

Is just another reflection of the room in my heart.

That room where you will never exit.

I promise.

Even when I cease to live here.

You will always live in me.

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Trolling Craigslist

July 31, 2018

It has begun in earnest.

Me looking for a new place to live, that is.

I dropped off the signed paperwork to the law office today that my landlady is employing to navigate the buyout.

I have officially been bought out.

I turned over the paperwork and in return I got 1/2 of the payment we agreed upon.

I will receive the other half when I turn in my keys.

I will have until October 31st to find a new place to live.

I actually looked at a place last night, but it wasn’t a good fit.

It was also a room-mate situation and although the price was great and on paper it really looked good, I realized that I was going to have to be really conscientious about what I am able to accept or not accept in a room mate.

I mean.

I have lived alone for the last five years.

I am really used to going to the bathroom naked.

For starters.

And two.

I am clean.

I am not a neat freak or obsessive, in fact, I could stand to sweep the floor a little more often, but I am tidy, my place is nice and I keep my things well.

I make my bed every morning, I wash my dishes after every meal, I like things a certain way.

I realized well I was looking at the place that while I liked the master tenant I noticed that the standards were different and for me to be comfortable I would end up cleaning a lot more and also that I suspected I would spend a lot of time in my room.

So.

I passed.

In the past that would have freaked me out a little bit.

A perfectly decent place, less rent than I pay now, good size room, laundry on site, parking.

On paper, it looks fabulous.

Not so much in person.

And I don’t want to denigrate the place I saw, it just wasn’t a good fit.

I do suspect I will end up with being on my own wherever I move to next.

I’m just so used to it and well, I have a PhD program starting soon, I am going to want and need quiet.

So I have been searching craigslist.

I don’t have to be super on top of it right yet, I do have time.

Part of the buy out was to get myself a little more time to move out, originally I was asked to move out by September 1st, which would have been over the five-day intensive in Pacifica that I have to attend to start my PhD.

Now I have until October 31st.

Which is nice and thus not too much pressure to begin the hunt, but it is there.

I know that there will be a time when I see the place and I am going to want to make a big move on it.

Grateful that I have the first half of the buyout payment to put down a deposit and first months.

And I decided to leave it in my checking account rather than put all the money in my savings.

If I need to I will be able to plop the money down immediately if something comes up.

I am also hoping, really so much so, that I will find my new place by word of mouth or referral from a friend, from my network, which is usually how I have found places.

I haven’t had a ton of luck with craigslist in the past, although I have found a couple of places.

My first being the two month sublet I had in the Mission at 22nd and York when I first moved to San Francisco nearly 16 years ago.

$650 a month for a big room in a big four bedroom house with a back yard and laundry and three levels and a big kitchen and lots of bathrooms.

Even then, I remember being told I was getting a great price for a room.

Rents in SF have never really been low, not after I lived in Madison, Wisconsin (though truth be told rents in Madison are always higher than elsewhere because of the high student population attending the UW), god I remember this one house I lived in, a house, the bottom of it at least, and how much space there was.

Oh.

God.

So much space.

Big bedroom with a walk in closet that had a window.

The closet had a window, in SF that closet would have been someone’s bedroom.

The bedroom had six windows.

Six!

I don’t have one where I live now.

Then the dining room with three big windows, the living room with a huge bay window and a screened in front porch that I alternatively rented or let friends crash on after I had broken up with my boyfriend, I needed help covering rent.

And the kitchen, which was huge, the bathroom was good-sized and yes, had a window.

There was a full basement I didn’t ever really use, except to wash laundry.

A back yard.

And a garage.

A fucking garage.

I paid $750 for this palace and that included utilities.

And I thought that was expensive.

I can’t find a studio in-law in the city right now for under $1600.

And the ones that are that price are shady, nasty, basement dwelling things.

I know that I need light and air and space after living in my little studio for the last five years.

I want a bathtub.

My god it would be nice to have a bathtub again.

I want laundry on site, wood floors, high ceilings, light, lots and lots and lots of light, windows, and yes, I know I’m crazy, a place to park.

I don’t necessarily need a garage or a driveway, I just need to live somewhere that it is relatively safe to park my car and I can park it close to where I live.

Which means.

The Tenderloin is out and that is where most of the “affordable” studios are, $1700-$2000 a month, and I am not, repeat, am not, living in the Tenderloin.

My car would get broke into every other day.

I would be dealing with rampant drug use and homelessness and crazy.

I like being out in the Outer Sunset at this point because it is quiet and though there are homeless folk, there’s not rampant drug use.

I need serenity where I live.

So yeah, not Tenderloin for me.

And before you ask.

No East Bay either or Pacifica or Sausalito.

I need to stay in the city proper.

My schedule is just too tight to navigate anything further out.

So.

The search has begun.

If you hear of anything.

Let me know.

Seriously.

Random Images

July 8, 2018

Daydreams and revery.

Blues songs on the radio station you programmed in my car.

The blue of the ocean in my rear view mirror and the trembling thought of wild-fire in my heart.

You like a car in a meadow filled with flowers and tall grass.

A car with the windows open and soft snow falling inside it.

I saw that car today.

Barbara Lewis on the stereo.

A soft kiss of nostalgia.

I wanted to climb into that car in the heat of summer, to cool off, to be dusted with that soft snow.

I would open the door, climb in and settled down.

No need to change the channel on the radio station.

Just lay my head back against the seat and let the snowfall of memory engulf me.

I could ride around all day in that car.

Eyes closed.

Leaned back.

Checked out in the glossy remembrance of your embrace.

Your smell would wrap around me like a chambray shirt.

I want to curl up there.

On that seat.

In that car.

Drive forever.

I would look up at the ceiling and realize that the roof top was open and the snow fell from the heavens above me.

And then notice that it was not snow falling.

But stars.

Soft and cool.

Stars dusting my shoulders and glittering in my hair.

Star shine.

Moon shine.

Love shine.

I would hold your hand.

Press it to my mouth.

Wanting only to drive down the night into the sunset of my never-ending always longing desire for you.

I don’t know where that meadow is.

Full of flowers and light and monarch butterflies.

Birdsong.

Love song.

Heart song.

I don’t know where that car is either.

Yet.

I sense it there.

In the whispering of my psyche.

In the skeins of time.

Waiting.

Just waiting.

For you to pick me up.

And.

Drive me home.

 

Sunshine

June 14, 2018

And tan lines.

Yeah.

I have some of those.

It was a rare San Francisco day of sunshine with no fog and a perfect mid-seventies temperature.

I actually wore a sundress and sandals.

I did not wear layers.

I even left the house with only a light jean jacket, though, I will admit, I was a touch nervous about that, I usually go out and about with a sweatshirt and the jean jacket and tights under most of my dresses.

“Where are your clothes?!” My little lady charge asked me today.

She meant, where are my tights, I don’t think that she has ever seen my bare legs.

Not many folks have!

It’s not often bare legged weather here in the city.

Which is why I’m so excited for New York.

Where I will work on my tan line for sure.

I jest about the tan line.

I have no need to lie about in a swimsuit, I just find amusement from the obvious demarcation of white skin next to brown on my cleavage.

I got a touch more sun today than I thought I would and even though I wore sunblock I definitely picked up a lot of color.

It’s nice though.

So nice.

To be outside for work.

I’m not always, but I got to take the baby to music class today and then to the Upper Noe Valley Rec Center for a while.

The park was packed.

Everyone was out.

The weather, like I said, was spectacular.

It made me feel buoyant and uplifted and happy.

Sunshine makes me very happy.

Especially on my face, on my body.

I like being warm.

Not super hot, but warm and toasty.

I got plenty of that today.

I also mostly just had the baby which was nice too.

We spent time in the back yard as well, hence the additional sunshine that probably tipped me over into the obvious tan line arena.

I love that they family has a nice back yard.

It’s not overly styled or groomed, but it is sweet and has trees and grass and it’s well maintained.

I appreciate being able to be outside and just sprawl on the lawn.

Sprawling on the lawn is something I think of from living in the Midwest.

I don’t often miss Wisconsin, but when I do, it tends to be summertime.

The warm, soft air at night, the lakes around Madison, the farmer’s market around the capitol building, hanging out on the terrace at the UW.

Or taking the ferry-boat in Merrimac to Devil’s Lake to go swimming.

Floating on an inflated rubber tube and staring up into the endlessly impossible blue, blue, bluest eye sky.

I wouldn’t mind a week of that.

But no more.

Maybe not even that much.

Maybe four days of Wisconsin, like a long weekend.

My best friend from back home left me a message yesterday about how we need to get together sometime this upcoming year, but family, etc. gets in the way.

I know the feeling, although for me it’s school and therapy clients.

I don’t know when the next time I will get to the Midwest and that’s ok, I do love it here in San Francisco and it’s really where I belong.

I was quite happy driving into work this morning and grateful to allow myself the perspective of how lucky I am that I am still here.

And how much certain times of year and qualities of light remind me of my childhood.

I believe I sought solace in the landscape and in the sky and there is something about the blue sky next to the ocean that seems so interwoven into my being.

I feel comforted by that sky and I was today.

And warmed.

And toasted.

I felt happy for no particular reason.

That was nice too.

Just feeling present and alive and happy.

Not worried about what will happen next.

Just doing the next thing in front of me.

There’s quite a lot of relief in that.

And!

Oh!

I got a message today from my school.

My diploma is in!

I can go pick it up from the registrar’s office.

Tomorrow!

My boss told me I didn’t actually need to be in until 11 a.m. so I will take advantage of that extra time and go downtown and pick up my diploma.

I am very excited.

I recently took a print to get framed at Cheap Pete’s and I was ogling the certificate frames and there was one I really liked and I was fantasizing about framing my Master’s Degree diploma in it.

I had no idea I would get it so fast.

It was lead to believe that it wouldn’t be available until July.

Then again.

I made every possible effort to get my graduation materials in early and on time.

I roll like that.

I figure when I get the call to pick up the print I’m having framed I will bring my diploma in with me and get the pretty certificate frame there.

I don’t know that I’ll hang it on the wall here.

I don’t know how long I’m going to be here.

But I will hang it.

And having it framed, for me, honors the work that I did to get it.

It’s a big damn deal.

It deserves a special frame.

I can’t wait to get it.

So yeah.

Today was full of sunshine.

It was just what I needed.

Seriously.

 

Emotional Attachment

June 12, 2018

I woke up a tiny bit off.

Not a lot, but just enough to notice.

I felt a little flat.

Sometimes when I feel this way it’s because I am trying to avoid feeling anything.

So I disassociate a little, go about my day, do my things, make my bed, get dressed and do my hair, make breakfast, get lunch ready for work, look at my calendar, make coffee.

You know.

Routine.

I can check out a little in my routine.

But.

It all came clear when I peeped social media.

Oh hi there.

I wasn’t expecting to see that.

But.

I should have.

I have been sensing it in the air.

I thought about it a couple of days ago.

There’s a birthday coming up, isn’t there?

And yes.

Thanks social media.

There it was on Facebook.

Hi papa.

Happy birthday.

Today you turned 69.

Sigh.

I haven’t seen my father since he was in a coma over four years ago.

I ceded responsibility for his health to the State of Alaska.

I sat by his side for four days and cried and talked and held his hand.

I wrote him a long card that I had bought at a gift shop in the Anchorage Museum a friend had taken me to one afternoon.

“Enough, you’ve had enough time in the hospital, come out, get some air, let’s do something not related to the hospital and the ICU.”

I found a really cool card with raven totems on it.

I bought it for my dad.

I left all my information in it.

My phone number.

My address.

My email.

I said I loved him and hoped he was going to get better and be safe and be happy and get healthy.

I told him I forgave him.

I’m actually not sure I wrote that in the letter, but I told him that.

And I asked him to forgive me.

He wasn’t always the best dad.

I wasn’t always the best daughter.

And I let him go.

My last  night there before getting on the plane the nurses encouraged me to talk to him more, that thought that he might wake up to my voice.

He never did.

I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to come back to San Francisco, I had to go back to work.

I had to take care of myself.

I kissed him on the cheek.

I was surprised by the warmth of his face and the softness of his skin under my lips.

My eyes welled up with tears and I left.

He woke up about a week later.

On my birthday of all days.

I saw it was the number of the hospital in Anchorage.

I answered.

It was one of my dad’s nurses, “your father’s awake and he wants to talk to you.”

“Hi ___________________ I said softly, I call my father by his first name.  A psychological defense of distancing that I learned at a very young age.  My father ceased being papa when I was six although there were a few scattered times in my adolescence that my father reclaimed the moniker, he’s always been known to me by his first name.

He said, “my balls itch and the nurse won’t let me scratch them.”

Sigh.

Happy birthday.

That really wasn’t what I wanted to hear from my dad, but then again he was awake and that was something else.

He’d been in the coma for two weeks.

Then he cawed at me.

“Caw! Caw!”

Like a crow.

Like a raven.

I teared up.

He’d gotten my letter and either he’d read it or someone read it to him.

He understood and he was letting me know that he’d gotten the message.

I felt big crashing waves of emotions.

And then.

The nurse had to get him off the phone, for he kept trying to take off the bandages around his skull where the craniotomy had happened to relieve the brain swelling he’d had as a result of the accident he was in.

And accident that was propelled and fueled by his alcoholism.

Those were the last words I got from my dad.

I wondered about him today.

I felt a similar feeling last year around this time.

An urge to reach out.

An urge to connect.

I tried a cell phone number that I thought might work.

It was disconnected.

Just like I was.

Detached.

Removed.

Far, far, far away.

I checked in with my person today, I told on myself about my father’s birthday and some guilt and shame that was coming up.

I got lovely perspective and calm soothing words and an invitation instead to get a candle for my father and light it and that it be a scented candle, a smell that I like.

And when I smelled it I would send a little prayer up to God for my father.

I lit that candle tonight when I got home.

Kona coffee scented.

Seems apropos.

My father was born in Hawaii.

I miss you papa and I hope you are well and happy and content.

I won’t reach out further.

There is too much illness and disease and dysfunction there for me to get involved in an emotional imbroglio.

Rather.

Today.

I reached out to those who are my chosen family, friends that have seen me through rough stuff with my parents, friends who love me.

I called an old friend from Wisconsin from my undergrad days.

I got a hold of a friend of mine from high school.

And I reached out to my two best girlfriends from my graduated school program.

Then I loved hard at work.

“I think we are all emotionally attached to you,” the mom said, so sweet, with such tenderness and vulnerability.

I am a soothing presence in their lives and that was sweet to hear and much appreciated.

I got to help put the baby down for a nap when he was super upset.

I got to hug the little lady and make her all sorts of her favorite foods.

And.

Oh.

The oldest boy just crawled right up into my lap today at the dinner table.

He wasn’t feeling well and he just wanted me to hold him and scratch his back.

He put his head on my chest and asked me to sing him a lullaby.

It was the most heartbreakingly sweet thing ever.

Having this eight year old boy curled up on me listening to me sing “Hush Little Baby.”

My family of origin may not be the family I wanted to have in my life.

And I’m ok with that.

They did the best they could.

Besides

I have such amazing family in my life.

My family of choice.

And for that I am beyond grateful.

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

 

A Tire Swing

June 2, 2018

Floating in the air over the dense thick grass of a lawn between a thicket of trees and a few farm sheds and cabins.

A hammock in the background that is almost as tempting, an invitation to loaf, snooze, to fall upwards while laying back, high into the blue skies and the clots of cream fluff clouds drifting lazily by.

2018-06-01 13.37.08-2

I adore a good tire swing.

This was one of the better ones I have seen.

If not the best.

The swing was rigged from a line of rope strung between two trees, not from a tree specifically, so it drifted back and forth on this kind of clothes line, swinging in loopy circles and ovals.

I did not go for a ride on the swing.

Though I was sorely tempted.

I could feel it in my body, the desire to climb in, push myself up into the air and drift through the warm breezes ruffling through the trees.

It was such a pretty day.

Sunny and warm.

Not typical San Francisco weather.

Then again.

I wasn’t in San Francisco.

I was outside of a small town to the south of Half Moon Bay called San Gregorio.

San Gregorio is tiny.

Population 214.

There’s a general store and a post office.

And then just beautiful rolling mountains.

It’s close to the coast so the drive in was gorgeous and breathtaking.

I am always so stunned when I get to drive down the One, it’s just such a tremendous gift to live next to such beauty.

I am in awe of the Pacific ocean, the sunlight, the green mountains, the twisty curving roads.

The family I work for have friends staying in San Gregorio and they were moving back to Finland, so there was a drive to meet them for lunch at the Air BnB they were staying at.

On a goat farm.

Yes.

I got to go hang out with some kids, not just the ones I work for.

It was precious and sweet, and the sound of the baby laughing in my arms as the goats crowded around me melted my heart.

I love animals.

And I am good with them.

I am not afraid of them or of getting messy, though for a minute I was like, damn it man, had I known we were going to a goat farm I would have dressed differently.

Especially knowing that where we were going was warmer.

Ha.

I was all in black, black leggings, black therapy dress, black, black, black, and the dress is long-sleeved.

It’s a super comfy, but professional little jersey dress I got from the Gap last year when I started seeing clients, it works for nannying and with a simple switch out from my nanny shoes to my “therapy shoes” I feel like I can be very professionally attired to see my clients in the evenings after I finish my nanny shift.

Though perhaps a great outfit for in the city, not necessarily the best for a goat farm.

Three times I had to take the hem out of the mouth of a goat.

It made me laugh though.

And after the week I have had up in my head about the whole 90 days to move thing it was a relief.

Sidebar.

Phone call message from the Tenant’s Union confirmed that my landlady does not have just cause to ask me to move out.  I got the message while I was in transition from nannying to my internship, so I missed the call, but the woman left me a lengthy message addressing all the points I had brought up and she confirmed that legally my landlady does not have the right to ask me to move out.

She encouraged me to get my copy of the Tenant’s Union handbook when I go into my drop in session tomorrow, and that I was protected despite not being on a lease and living in an illegal unit.

That was a relief to hear and also a bit like, ok, here we go, this is really happening, what do I need to do next.

I spent some time talking out loud in the car on my way home, how would I say it, would I write it down, would I ask another person to be there with me, what would happen, I could tell I was getting scared, I don’t like conflict, but also that really I just need to take the emotional bit out of it and be business like.

I have rights, here they are, make counter offer.

Done.

And of course, more will be revealed tomorrow when I sit down with the counselor and see exactly what my rights are.

No need to have the conversation before I have all the information.

Anyway.

Like I said.

A relief to be outside, in the fresh air, in the sun, getting to play with the children and push my oldest charge on the tire swing.

He had trepidations at first, but I had a feeling that once he had a ride he would fall in love with it like I did when I was his age.

And he did.

It was the sweetest thing to watch the simple pleasure on his face as he floated through the air up high, against the bright green of the trees.

Such joy.

It filled me up.

There was a house in Wisconsin that we lived at briefly in all our transitions from here to there (I told my therapist how hard it was to separate this thing happening with the notice to move out with the shame and fear and running away in the middle of the night my mom did on more than one occasion to avoid getting evicted by the police for not paying rent.  I am not my mother, I have paid and I’m not doing anything wrong, but that voice inside that insisted, you’ve been bad and now you’re being punished, took a whole lot of talk to calm down) when my mother had moved us cross-country from California to Wisconsin where she had grown up, in Lodi, a small town 30 ish miles to the North of Madison in Columbia County.

I don’t remember the house very well, we were only there for a brief time, I think she was crashing with friends on the couch until we moved into a small apartment in Baraboo, but I do remember the tire swing.

It was my savior.

This succor from the trauma of running away in the middle of the night, the constant moving, the constant uprooting, the wondering where I was going to sleep next, if it would be safe, was there anywhere that was safe?

The tire swing.

It was safe.

Although it was exciting to go high, really, I just like being held secure in the middle of the tire, arms wrapped around it, swaying back and forth in slow swoops and circles, staring up into the leaves of the old oak tree that it hung from.

I was in that swing every day until we moved.

I can still feel the rope in my hands and smell the faint rubber smell of the tire and see the smooth patch around the rope where many small hands had worn the treads smooth.

My childhood was not one I would wish upon another, but it was mine and to say that there never was joy in it would be a lie.

I was a happy kid when I was allowed to be happy.

I was happy in that swing.

2018-06-01 13.37.22-2

And I was happy pushing my sweet little boy charge in the tire at the goat farm for his first time ever, quiet and sure that he would be as safely held as I was.

The light dappled down over me and the warm smell of hay arose in my nose and I let my eyes close for a moment as I pushed his small weight towards the sky, remembering again and again that I am loved, safe, and perfectly held.

Now.

And.

Always.

 

When Did You

May 25, 2018

Fall in love with me?

I asked you.

Recently.

I mean.

I know when.

Or whereabouts.

I remember.

Yet.

I needed to hear you say it.

The pause as you thought, all the memories of our first “I love you’s,” tumbled in between the breath of your response and the beat of my heart.

“When you started writing me poetry.”

My heart stopped.

I knew.

And yet.

I was not expecting quite that response.

For days now.

Poems, pieces and bits and images, meander through my head.

I must write him another poem.

I must.

I want him to still love me.

I know you do.

(please don’t fall out of love with me)

What do you want to do?

I asked.

You paused.

“Keep on kissing you and making you happy.”

My love.

You make me so happy.

It’s been such a journey and it’s not over yet.

Has just barely begun.

That first I love you an inscription.

A quote.

The beginning of the preface.

Let alone the first chapter of a book.

Our story.

Well.

The narrative, all pink and purple blush, like a Victorian house at sunset with newspaper hearts strung across the front porch, Valentine paper dolls hands entwined, it marches on.

I did not burn down the house.

Thank God.

No.

I did not.

Not at all.

Even when I tried to break up with you.

And I did try.

You just wouldn’t let me.

Or I wouldn’t let me.

Or God wouldn’t let me.

“You never really broke up with him.”

My therapist.

A wise woman with knowing eyes, told me recently.

I never really did.

I could not disentangle the threads of you in the woof of me.

I never wanted to.

I never want to.

I want to be touching noses with you like kittens do for always.

I want to be in the crook of your arm forever.

It is home.

And when you are away.

I am homesick.

I get homesick for you so fast.

I miss you now.

Even though we were just talking.

I was thinking about you as I drove home, down towards the gloaming sunset and grey blue haze hovering over the twilight ocean.

Thinking about you and the poem I wanted to write you.

The love beating in my heart an infinity bracelet of desire and longing that has no end.

Thinking about you so hard.

That.

You.

Call.

You felt it.

You knew.

You know me.

I am known by you.

This means everything.

I have known and know great love.

You are my greatest love.

My moon.

I will watch for you again through the back window of my studio tonight as I lay down to sleep.

Waiting.

For.

When you fall from the sky and shine your love light on my face.

I will lay dreaming.

Dreams about.

Serenading.

The mermaids to the beach.

Each to each.

Waiting.

Waiting again.

For you.

Your embrace, the dunes, the sea, the warm husk of your breath on my neck.

And the oft-repeated, as you wish, whispered into the shell of my ear.

My love I never could cut asunder.

My only wish to be now and always.

Your.

Babygirl.

 

 

 

 

Like A Kid Again

April 28, 2018

I have no idea how, but I suspect a mix of ego and curiosity, led me to being talked into giving my five-year old lady bug charge a lesson in turning cartwheels a half hour before I had to leave for my internship.

I was not dressed for cartwheels.

I was dressed, am dressed still, to play at being a therapist.

Not that it was really playful, man the session I did tonight was a doozy.

But.

I got into the spirit of doing it.

The mom asked me if I knew how to do cartwheels and I said yes and the next thing you know we’re all tramping down to the back yard to have a lesson.

I wasn’t even nervous.

I was actually a touch excited.

Could I still do a cart-wheel?

It turns out I can!

And I did a great cart-wheel.

Fuck, I impressed myself.

I landed much softer than I thought and it was thoughtless, effortless, easy, I just did it.

I had to break down the steps of it to the young lady, who tried valiantly and ended up hitting her head.

Then her knee.

Then her other knee.

I had a heap of five-year old in my lap for a few minutes crying.

But.

She’s resilient, children really are, and she got back up and asked that I show her again and I did and then I did a round off for fun and then a few more.

My arm pits starting sweating a little and I got quite warmed up.

It felt really fun.

Good to be in my body.

And also, sweet and silly and goofy.

I asked the mom to make sure that she didn’t tell any of my therapy clients that I was busy turning cartwheels in her back yard before my session.

We both giggled.

It was cute.

I don’t know why  it tickled me so much, but it was a very sweet moment to share with the family.

And I like that I was willing to take a risk and try something I haven’t done in years, that I was willing to fall on my ass.

Turns out I didn’t.

Turns out I still have a pretty damn good cart-wheel.

Not bad for a 45-year-old woman.

I mean.

I’ll take it.

I remember really well teaching myself how to do one.

I was in kindergarten, five years, maybe six years old.

I was very determined and I taught myself in the span of an afternoon in the back yard of my Aunt Teresa’s duplex that my mom and me and my sister were staying at until we were back on our feet.

I think that we lived off and on with this particular aunt a few times.

I know both my aunt and my mom were separated and/or divorcing from their husbands.

We had lived with my aunt for a little while in Columbus and then again on the North East side of Madison before moving into some section 8 housing that my mom finally got approved for.

It was a tough time at my aunt’s, when I look at it with perspective, there weren’t enough rooms for all of us and I had my “room” in the basement.

It was dark.

It was full of spiders.

And I didn’t like it at all.

But I taught myself to steel myself to the darkness and make myself sleep and when I think about it I’m surprised I was able to do so, but like I said, children are resilient, they can get used to a lot of things.

I spent most of my time outside while we lived with my aunt.

I spent a lot of time in the woods, I spent a lot of time wandering around the nearby farms and the outlying housing developments that had not been built yet, but just had the streets with empty lots waiting for the houses to be built.

It was on the very edge of what was Madison.

It was farmland across the street one block over and woods, granted not a huge forest, but a big woods none the less, on the other side of the foot path that I walked to school.

I loved those woods, spent a lot of time playing imaginary games in them and looking for jack in the pulpits and climbing trees.

Although I also sensed there were places in the woods that weren’t safe, I can almost now feel a certain kind of darkness or heaviness in between the thickets of trees in some spots that I recall quite ardently avoiding going into.

But I was quite happy on the edges, near the prairie grass meadow that flanked one side of it and the abandoned farm just over the top of the hill.

The farm that I liked to explore.

Including the silo.

I climbed up it once.

I was six?

I climbed the rungs on the outside, all the way to the top, I let go at the top and almost fell, startled by birds, pigeons I think, that flew out as I peeked in over the top.

I lost my mittens.

They were red yarn mittens.

My mom was miffed.

I couldn’t tell her that they had fallen into the top of a tree.

That was how high up I was.

My mittens fell from my pockets when I startled back and landed on a tree below me.

I was an adventurous child.

I was also not monitored very heavily.

Some would say that was neglect.

Heck, I would probably too, looking back.

But at the time I was free and happy to be free, wild, a child in the woods, the grass, collecting leaves, laying on the hill, looking at clouds, walking to the horse farm down the road and letting myself into the stables to pet the horses.

I was feral.

Now that I think about it.

A wild little thing.

With ambitions.

I really wanted to be in gymnastics.

Not just out in the hinterlands, and I’m not sure where I got the idea, maybe from watching other little girls at school, but my mother made it crystal clear that there was not money for that sort of thing.

There never would be either.

But that’s another story for another time.

So.

I taught myself.

I watched and learned and spent those hours that summer, turning cart-wheel after cart-wheel in the high backyard grass that was full of dandelions.

By the time they had turned from yellow gold saffron to balls of white cottony fluff, I could do perfect cartwheels, text-book.

Then I taught myself how to do them one-handed, and yes, once or twice I did them no handed, but that was hard and I didn’t always have the courage, and then I taught myself how to do round offs.

Never flips though, they alluded me.

And today, forty years later, give or take a month, I was doing cartwheels with a five-year old girl in the setting sun and laughing like I was five years old myself.

It was a pretty happy way to end my week.

Cartwheels.

And.

Laughter.

In the golden light of Friday.

Hold That Thought

April 18, 2018

I was supposed to register today for my fall semester in the Transformative Inquiry PhD program.

But.

Nope.

Holds on my registration.

My first thought, “but I don’t have any over due library books!”

Literally.

Second thought, “or videos!”

When I was in my undergraduate program at UW Madison Four Star Video was affiliated with the UW system, I don’t really know why, but it was and I had a video that was over due.

By like a year.

And the school wouldn’t release my financial aid funds until I returned the video.

But I had already.

Or so I thought.

I had given the video to my boyfriend, my first boyfriend, now that I think of it, Rob, to return to the video store.

He said he did.

But as it turns out, he did not.

I hadn’t been dating him in a while, a while for me at least, six, seven months, and had barely seen him around the campus, he wasn’t a student, but his father was a professor in mathematics at the school.

I was so broke.

I remember it so distinctly.

I really needed my financial aid and I had to pay out $90 to the video store to replace the rental.

It was “Gone With The Wind,” I have no idea why they hell I had rented that movie, although I do like it, though the book is so much better, and was astonished that to replace the video it would be $90.

Partially because it was a double cassette movie, two different cassettes.

I am so dating myself.

I couldn’t track down Rob, but I could track down his father.

I went to his office and I waited until he had office hours.

He remembered me fondly and asked after me and I was suddenly shy to say why I was there, but I needed that money and the financial aid office refused to let it go, I mean, I reasoned, wouldn’t it make sense to just give me the fucking money and I pay the fine?

But no.

I had to pay the fine first.

I girded my loins and told Rob’s dad and he was so sweet, he opened his wallet pulled out the money and wished me the best of luck.

I ran back to Four Star Video, which was a haul, UW Madison is a huge campus and Rob’s dad’s office was on the other side of Bascom Hill, it was probably a two-mile hike, but I feel like I did it in twenty minutes.

I paid the fine.

I got my financial aid.

As it turns out, I don’t have any outstanding video rentals or over due library books, note to self, I do have a book I need to return next class session.

LAST CLASS SESSION!

I can’t get too excited yet.

I am not there.

I still have two papers to write.

I still have work to do.

My therapist and I talked a lot about it, how it feels surreal, how it doesn’t feel like it’s actually happening.

I’m having my best friend over for dinner tomorrow night to do party planning and catch up and I have to say it feels weird to be planning the party as it’s not really hit me yet that I’m going to graduate.

My therapist look at me at one point in the session and said, “you’re going to graduate.”

I’ll take her word for it.

Therapists are supposed to hold the hope.

heh.

Anyway.

The hold seems to stem from the fact that I am not yet graduated from my Master’s program and I can’t register online for a PhD while my grades are still out.

I have been provisionally accepted.

Which means I have to graduate before I can be in the program.

But.

I can register for classes.

I just have to go to school and do them via hard copy.

Hard copy!

Shit.

That sounds like craziness.

I remember when I went for my undergraduate the school had just switched from the stand in line and hand register and hope that you can get to all the classes you want to get to, to using the phone.

And man.

It was so important to call ASAP.

Once your time was up it was a hustle.

I remember waiting with my booklet of classes and the phone, dial-up, though at least not a rotary phone (although, yes we did have a rotary phone in middle school and high school, a big yellow one that hung of the wall in the kitchen nook in the house in Windsor, that had a super long curly cord that my sister would stretch tight so she could have phone calls in the bathroom without anyone overhearing her), and I would have to put in my student id pin number and then punch in the code for the class.

Sometimes I was lucky, especially by second semester Junior year and most of my Senior year, and I would get right into the classes I wanted.

But often.

So often.

I would not get what I wanted and thus began the negotiation of what class to pick up that would fulfill my schedule needs, I worked full-time (nothing’s changed, well, that’s not true, I don’t work in a bar anymore), my school requirements for my degree, and whether or not I had any interest in the class.

Sometimes I would get home from work and comb through the class lists, looking for an interesting class that I might have overlooked, sometimes I would sit on the phone, continuously dialing and re-dialing the number.

I was persistent.

Persistance paid off.

Someone would drop the class I wanted and I would be having one of my twenty-minute or half hour tries at getting into a class.

It was always the best feeling when I would dial-up a number for a class that I had been trying for days, sometimes weeks (happened a few times) and suddenly there was a spot open.

And it was tricky.

I would not be able to register for the class and then drop the one I didn’t want, I’d have to take a leap of faith and drop the class first, knowing someone might grab the class I’d drop or that someone else might be trying for the class I wanted.

It always worked out.

I remind myself of that now.

Things will work out.

I will get my papers written.

I will get it all done.

I will get registered for my PhD.

And I will have a party.

All the things.

They will happen.

I have faith.

Thank God.

Sick Day

February 22, 2018

Oh all the poor, sweet, sick little monkeys.

I had a long nanny day.

Both my little charges were sick.

It was a day of snuggles and naps and a lot of videos.

I had to constantly be holding the baby, he just wouldn’t have it any other way.

At one point I had him down for a nap in his stroller and he kept waking up, feverish and upset, I took him out, brought him to his favorite little play area and sat on the floor with him.

Floor time is super important, just getting on the same level as a child, being there, he’s so much happier, even if I’m not super interactive, with me just being there, down on the floor with him.

I had a bunch of his favorite little snacks and got out his favorite toys and just sat in the sun with him and he ate a tiny snack and played a little bit, then he just turned and crawled up into my lap and lay his warm little head on my chest and hugged me.

I cuddled him up and hummed a little tune and the next thing I knew, he was sound asleep on me.

It was super sweet.

I mean.

I was sort of trapped, but it was a good kind of trapped.

I probably sat on the floor in the corner of the room for about an hour.

Fortunately it was in a sunny patch and there was a cozy braided rug underneath me to sit on and a wall to lean against.

I was happy to be holding him and be in the sun.

Especially considering how cold it’s been.

I just got in from my Wednesday night commitment and the walk back was hella brisk.

It is cold out there baby.

I could use a warm snuggle.

Or a hundred.

Or a thousand.

I could use a lot of warm snuggles.

Just saying.

I snuggled a lot with my little lady charge too.

We watched lots of Curious George videos and I made her homemade chicken soup with alphabet pasta.

I roll like that.

I peeled her apples to nibble on and made cups of tea and made sure she stayed hydrated and when she was sleepy I rubbed her back and petted her hair, tucking the long strands behind her small, sweet shell of an ear.

She fell asleep underneath my hand and it was such a tender moment.

I am very grateful for it, for the job, even when I was pretty wiped out by the end of the day.

The little lady bug has been sick all week and the baby has gotten it and by the end of the day, even though I’m not sick, I was pretty tired out from it.

It takes a lot of a person to constantly nurture and in one way or another I do a lot of care taking.

That is what my job is and what my internship is.

My chiropractor told me after listening to me talk about what I do, that she really wanted to help me because people in the helping careers don’t get taken care of well enough and it was obvious that I helped a lot of people.

There was a woman tonight who asked me how I do it and honestly, I’m not sure.

I pray a lot.

I try to get eight hours of sleep.

Which like never happens.

I manage six to seven most nights.

I eat well, that helps.

I try to get some fun in my life now and again.

I turn up the heat when I get home from work to take the chill out of the air in m studio, I try to keep it clean and pretty, I like to surround myself with beautiful things.

Not necessarily expensive things, but things that reflect who I am and where I have been, my little travels and journeys.

Fuck.

I forgot to send myself a postcard from D.C.

I always send a postcard!

Oops

Oh well.

I have so many amazing memories, I am sure they will suffice.

Plus I have the ticket from the Phillips House Museum, a notebook I bought at Kramer Books and Cafe off Dupont Circle and a book that I got there as well.

I picked up The Princess Bride.

My friend had never read it or even seen the movie and I got so into telling the story of it one afternoon that when I was at the bookstore looking for a souvenir notebook, I had to pick it up.

I have not owned a copy of it in sometime.

I remember well the first time I had read the book.

It amazed me.

It was such a powerful love story for me to read.

I must have been seventeen when I read it.

I had seen the movie in the theater and didn’t even know that there was a book.

A friend’s mother mentioned it in passing and then when she heard I hadn’t read the book, she loaned it to me.

I ate that book.

I read it so fast.

I was so enthralled.

I remember being in a romantic relationship, my first and only long-term relationship, and our first Valentine’s Day I gave him a copy of the book.

I was so excited.

It meant so much to me, that book.

He never read it

I used to fantasize that one day I would read it out loud to the love of my life while stroking his hair while his head rested in my lap.

I made a lot of romantic gestures in that long-term relationship that were never returned and I suppose at some point though I realized that it was going nowhere I would still try.

Eternal optimist I suppose.

The story still means a lot to me.

Stories do.

I like to tell them.

I like to write them.

I like to believe that narrative has the power to heal.

That the love shines through the words and that whenever I am in doubt I can return to the thread of the story, know the truth of it, the strength of it and lean in there.

Old fashioned romantic.

That’s me.

Wishing you, now and always.

Happily ever after.

Always that.

Always.

 


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