Posts Tagged ‘Hudson’

July

March 2, 2018

It’s going to be a good one.

I am going to have a lot of time off.

A LOT.

The family is going to be traveling for.

Wait for it.

FIVE WEEKS!

And.

They are not bringing me with them.

They are enlisting some friends and family in Europe and I will not be doing any travel work for them.

On one hand I was a little let down, it would have been pretty awesome to go to Finland, Sweden, Portugal.

On the other hand.

Five weeks off!

Paid.

Granted I will have things I am accountable to, my internship, for example, but I get five weeks off!

Five.

It’s amazing.

I can hardly believe I’ll have that much time off.

I could actually do a couple of trips now that I think of it.

I have a credit that has to be used by October and I really don’t see any other better time to travel than the month the family is away.

I basically have all of July off and it looks like the last week in June.

They haven’t gotten their tickets yet, but we sat down and talked about summer schedules and I got the go ahead to book my ticket to Paris.

July is not a super busy month in Paris, it’s hot, August even less so, May and June are the big travel times, that and September.

July will be hot.

But.

Fuck.

I won’t care.

It’s Paris.

I’ve message my dear friend in Paris and I’m awaiting her response on when is the best time to come for them.

Considering that my friend and her husband have twins who will be just over a year old, they have a lot on their hands.

I promised her that I would have the information by the end of the week.

I am thrilled that I found out today and chomping at the bit to book a ticket.

The ones for the dates I was looking at last night have jumped up by $300.

I was for a moment disappointed that I hadn’t grabbed the tickets when I first saw them, but I hadn’t confirmed travel times with the family and it was still up in the air as to whether or not the family was going to have me travel with them.

Now that I know.

I can manipulate the best travel dates for the best deal.

I also recognize that I am willing to sacrifice a little extra money to find a flight that best works for me.

I.e.

I want a direct flight.

I don’t want to have to transfer flights.

It’s just so much easier to fly direct.

And the time it saves is super worth the extra cost.

If I book soon I think I can get a flight for around $850.

Last night and this afternoon I was seeing flights for $760.

But those are gone.

And the dates I looked for are now substantially higher.

I’m sure I’ll get something good and fingers crossed I’ll have a ticket booked before I head into my chiropractor’s appointment tomorrow.

I am super psyched.

And once I have that ticket booked I’m going to think about whether or not I want to book some other travel too.

I could go see friends in Wisconsin–that was the original ticket that I bought, I was going to visit my best friend from Wisconsin and her brood up in Hudson.

At Christmas time.

It would have been hella cold.

Now July in Wisconsin isn’t exactly a picnic, it will be hot, but my friend has a cottage in the family and they spend many weekends up North on Lake 7.

Yes.

That is the name of the lake, Lake number 7.

Tickles me every time.

Some swimming, some hikes in the woods, some telling tall tales on the balcony that over looks the lake, sleeping in, not that I would, not that I think I could, three boys in the family–14, 11, and 7.

That’s a lot of big energy.

Blueberry picking.

I did a lot of that the last time I was there.

So that’s an option.

My other flight options with this particular airline are: Tampa, Orlando, Fort Meyers, Minneapolis (which is where I would fly in to visit my friend in Wisconsin, Hudson is just across the river from the Twin Cities), Miami, Dallas, New York, Cozumel or Cancun.

Though truth be told, I’m not super interested in going to Mexico in July.

If I didn’t go to Minneapolis I think I would lean towards Miami, which will be fucking hot as hell in July, but also, Miami.

Or

New York.

Again.

Really hot and humid.

But New York.

I have no desire to go to the other destinations.

Miami has some appeal, even though, again, hella hot, because I haven’t been since I was 19 and I feel like I owe the city some living amends.

Smoking crack in the city will lead one to wanting to right some wrongs.

Although, technically, I was not in Miami, but a suburb, Homestead.

I have no desire to go to Homestead.

At all.

NONE.

A teensy tiny pull towards the Keys, but I had some horrendous experiences there as well.

Miami I just sort of did a dreamy pass through, never really stopped, never explored.

Granted I was 19, homeless, and broke as fuck.

I was certainly not in a place to revel in the culture of the city.

I do like the idea of hot sweltering nights.

Long sun dresses and sandals.

Oh my god.

I am going to have a god damn summer.

I am going to Paris in July, which will be warm, as opposed to cold and foggy and dreary here in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco.

And I will either be in New York or Miami.

Truth be told as much as I love my friend in Wisconsin, the call of the city is alluring.

Culture, graffiti, art, beaches, museums, outdoor cafe people watching.

I am so excited by the prospect.

I love to travel.

EEK.

My friend from Paris just messaged me.

It’s 8 a.m. there.

I’ll have my travel dates nailed down soon!

I’ll keep you posted.

 

I Don’t Know

June 9, 2016

And I mean that with every ounce of my being.

I don’t know shit.

But.

I’m showing the fuck up anyway.

Doing the deal.

“What are you going to do?” She asked me two years ago this July, we were just pulling into the Caribou Coffee shack on my way to the airport in Minneapolis.

I had been having a rough couple of months.

I had a severe, like ridiculously severe, in an air cast, out of work, in bed, crying like a baby, unable to do anything for myself, except put on funny stripe socks to bolster my mood, ankle injury and I was heading back to precarious work and the not knowing.

The constant not knowing.

It could have killed me.

Or not.

In the end, it didn’t.

I do remember telling her, my friend who doesn’t have my disease but has some sense of it, she’s a smart cookie, that it ultimately doesn’t matter.

I have a purpose.

I have one primary purpose.

And as long as I take care of that I will be alright.

“I just really want to use heroin,” she wept into the phone.

Well fuck that.

We got together.

We sat over tea.

We did the deal.

We hugged it the fuck out.

And I feel like stellar motel in the sky with lucy and diamonds on the soles of my shoes.

I could dance party until dawn and work a full shift with my boys and be absolutely spot on.

It does not matter what I do.

Well.

Ok.

There are some things I need to do, help others, be a good friend, show up, share my experience, strength, hope, the good stuff, the what works for me stuff.

I don’t advise.

I just give some suggestions and let it go.

Sometimes it is heady and intellectual, but tonight, for me, it was all heart and love, unconditional love for a woman who’s name, ha, I just realized, I don’t know her last name.

If this was a lover.

I might, um, a, be you know.

I tiny bit ashamed of myself for not having his last name on the tip of my tongue.

But this?

Fuck no.

It’s not important.

What is important is that I made myself available and I mainly just listened.

I’m not a doctor.

I’m not a therapist.

Yet.

But.

I have a special set of skills and with those and some experiences to share, some working knowledge of a basic text, I have a purpose.

I have a point.

I was just reflecting on this as I was looking over air fare to Wisconsin for July 4th weekend.

Yeah.

I know.

Am I fucking nuts?

The Midwest in July.

Do I want to die?

The mosquitos will be big as rescue helicopters.

The humidity will make my curly hair a wild mess.

I will get some stares.

I have a few tattoos.

And though they are more prolific in the Midwest than they used to be, I guess folks be watching LA Ink or something, there are still few women who have neck tattoos or chest tattoos or partial sleeves, let alone all three.

Plus.

Heh.

My hair will be pink.

Which.

Whatever.

The last time I was there it was half purple and blue.

I got a few looks.

I got proselytized to as well outside of the ice cream store in downtown scenic Hudson on the river.

Nothing like a young girl, a teenager, somewhere between sixteen and eighteen I would guess, talking to me about God.

Oh doll.

I know God.

And I know God well.

Do I understand God?

Fuck no.

Does God understand me?

Yup.

Do I need to know what God is or does or how God works or doesn’t work?

Nope.

I just have this deep, unshakeable belief in this entity that absolutely and completely loves the fuck out of me.

Who also has a wicked sense of humor.

And.

Never, ever, ever.

Ever, ever?

Never.

Has failed to take care of me.

Ever.

I don’t always get what I want.

But I have never not gotten what I needed.

And so often.

All the time really.

I am surprised, blown away, beleaguered by the love I am given.

All I have to do is turn and shine that love on someone else.

And I am taken care of.

Taken care of in the best sense of the world.

Sometimes I imagine, my small, petty, limited mind.

That my God is a gigantic sunken living room with white fur carpet everywhere.

Hella plush.

Big old pillows everywhere.

Warm soft fuzzy

There is a fire pit.

There are big, huge, gigantic floor to ceiling windows with let in oodles of warm gold light.

I am held in this luxurious love.

Sometimes God is a memory.

A sense of flying.

A swimming through the aqua blues and greens of the pool at the high school in DeForest, swimming laps back and forth in the last lane, the one by the windows, when on a quiet Sunday the pool was empty, the parking lot empty, and no one in the pool be me swimming in and out of patches of aquamarine love.

Held.

Perfect.

Serene.

A float.

Sometimes it is the emotional, melodic beat of drums.

The pounding in my heart that echoes a song.

A rhythm.

My body moves without thought and dance.

Dance is God.

Music is God.

Love is God.

All of it.

I am all of it.

Subsumed.

Taken.

Ravished.

Overtaken.

God is art.

God is standing love struck like a bulldozed girl on Valentines day who finally gets the red carnations call over the loud speakers in school from the principal’s office, come get your flowers at lunch break, to find out that it was her secret crush who had a secret crush on her too, in front of Kandinsky’s “Accent en Rose” at the Pompidou when I moved to Paris in my 40th year of life.

Cold.

Wet.

Miserable with the rain and the getting lost and the hungry but not sure for what.

The aching legs from walking lost in the Marais, the wet socks, the squish, so un melodious, of my Converse as I stepped onto the escalator up to the fifth floor.

Sacre Couer in the distance.

The towers of Notre Dame.

Montparnasse.

The sky mottled with grey, purpled, black, silver lined rain clouds, the bent heads scurrying through the courtyard underneath the flimsy arms of tourist stall umbrellas.

Wondering down the hall.

Wonder (ing) in wander.

Wander (ing) in wonder.

Awed and overcome.

Constricted with the pleasure of art unfolding around me.

Then I turn and see the Kandinsky and I am rose flushed.

Flashed out in love.

High on art.

Stranded in the wilderness of my romantic heart.

Bereft and beguiled.

Beatitudes battering my breath.

Caught.

There.

High in my throat.

Tears welling up and sweltering onto my fevered face.

God.

Is in the details.

In the ellipses between the frames.

In the pause before the eruption of fireworks after the rocket has launched into the sky.

God is.

Or God.

Is not.

What is your choice to be?

I already made mine.

Love.

Always there.

Always holding me.

Always this.

Always this.

Always this.

Love.

My love.

Just.

Love.

 

Sit The Fuck Down

April 22, 2016

And write.

Martines.

Jesus.

It ain’t Friday yet.

But it’s so close I can taste it and I am so ready for the weekend, it’s been on my tongue for days.

Confirmed date tomorrow night.

Confirmed will be shaving my legs.

Wink, wink.

Nudge, nudge.

Yeah.

Like that.

I was going to go on a blind date with a gentleman and hit a dance club, but I was pinged yesterday by a lover who I would rather hang out with than someone new and well, I already know how the date will go.

REALLY, REALLY, REALLY.

Fucking well.

Not to put too fine a point on it.

That being said, I was looking forward to dancing and this specific paramour does not strike me as the dancing type of guy.

Although he does remind me of the slightly sad, Russian dancing bear in a John Irving novel.

I don’t know that I will ever tell him that, he’s got a lot of swagger and bravado.

And sexy.

And well, most guys don’t want to hear that they remind me of a morose bear.

I don’t know that he knows quite how sad he is.

However.

That is none of my business.

He is also hella fun and we hit it off and yes, hit it, the last time we hung out.

So.

More of that, yes please.

But the dancing had to happen.

My energy is high, the moon is full, and I am all yoga’d up.

“You must be really flexible,” a possible date messaged me after I mentioned I was heading out the door to the yoga studio.

Thank you God for the yoga studio on my block.

REPEAT.

On my block.

So freaking convenient.

Seriously.

I had such a great experience with it today too.

I had reverie at that end of the class when I was in the last and final resting pose, after doing a terrific heart opener and I had this epiphany and massive amount of gratitude overwhelm  me.

I realized that this man, a friend of mine to this day, my first love, my first crush, unconsummated love, unrequited love, disaster of a best friend, but the best and longest friend and someone who no matter what or where, I am still connected to, I realized this man saved my life.

I mean literally.

When I was not able to check out via drugs and alcohol, when I didn’t have a solution that was stuffing substances down my throat or up my nose, I was in need of some sort of relief or I might have died, I am not kidding, and this man was my relief.

I loved him and in that love I found a kind of solace and comfort that I couldn’t find in myself.

Never mind that it was fantasy or unrequited.

One, it was safe, it was unrequited, he wasn’t interested, able, or other, to engage in a romantic love with me.

Two, it was a way to check out and not be present in the horror of what was happening in my life when I was in highschool.

The house wasn’t burnt to the ground.

But there was definitely a scorched earth policy happening in my home.

And as it got worse I found myself escaping into what ever I could and often that was books and or fantasy.

It was a few more years before I was able to find relief in alcohol and drugs from the disease of discontent that I was absolutely full blown in, although it would not be without much time, work, and perspective before I reached that conclusion.

Today on the yoga mat I had a sudden vision of myself as a ballet dancer and I remembered my friend and how he impersonated me my second semester freshman year at UW Madison.

I think the statute of limitations is up, so yeah, um, ha, I defrauded UW Madison for the grant and scholarship monies due me and my friend, a guy friend, my best friend, went to all my classes and got away with it until someone from our high school busted him.

He was a great actor and pulled it off until that point.

And when he had to leave, well, I didn’t drop out officially, so I just took some more failed grades, except.

Ha.

In ballet.

My friend pulled a C in the class.

He told me later the teacher had a crush on him.

Yeah.

Like the whole world at the time probably did.

He was improbably attractive then.

Not that he isn’t now, just, well, different.

So.

Here I am in yoga having this reverie about floating through the air like a ballerina and also some cross dreams of floating in blue green water-I was a swimmer in highschool–and I am blasted with love and gratitude for my friend.

He loves me.

We love each other.

Haven’t seen him in years, five maybe, but we still are connected.

And in that moment, in the yoga studio, on my back, breath flowing in and out of my lungs, my heart just blew open with joy and the realization of how much I owe this person for letting me just have those great big love feelings.

They, the feelings and the fantasy, really did save my life.

They buoyed me up through very trouble waters and times.

They got me through.

And for that I have unlimited love for him.

Not unrequited.

Not needing to be fulfilled, just this deep special, enduring awareness of love for this man and how affecting it has been and how lucky I am to have had it.

To still have it.

We talked earlier today as he was leaving the house on a beautiful spring day in Minnesota with his twin girls heading to their first music recital as first graders.

I could hear how joyful and happy he was and it made me happy to hear it.

I had him on my mind after the yoga class and then something else reminded me as I was at the park with the boys and I called him out of the blue.

“You will let me know if you get to Wisconsin, I mean it, I will drive to see you,” he emphatically stated on the phone.

He’ll be in Madison for family late June early July.

I’ve been thinking July 4th weekend to go back and visit my best friend who lives up in Northern Wisconsin in Hudson, across the river from the Twin Cities.

“I’ll drive to Hudson, it’s actually closer than Madison,” my dear friend said.

“I haven’t made a decision and I need to see what my summer is going to look like, but yeah, since I’m not going to Burning Man, well,” I paused.

And said it.

“I’m feeling a big pull to come to the Midwest, I’m not sure why, but it’s been there for a few months and I feel like it’s time,” I smiled up at the trees, the playground swings full of children, I felt full of joy.

“You come and I will drive to you, I got to run, one minute warning,” he chuckled.

“I’ll keep you posted,” I said and hung up the phone.

I didn’t say I love you.

It’s implied.

He loves me.

I love him.

It’s all just love, love.

And once and awhile it’s making love to a man who reminds me of a sad Russian circus bear, who really, when it comes right down to it, reminds me in a way of my friend.

If that means having my cake and eating it too, who am I to analyze it?

I’m just here to have fun.

And my God.

I’m this much fucking closer to Friday.

And the music is good.

So excuse me.

I have a little more dancing to do under this full moon before my night is through.

And my weekends begun.

See you Friday y’all.

Or.

Ha.

Depending on how my date goes.

Saturday.

Heh.

 

18 Lbs Later

July 2, 2014

We went strawberry picking today.

18 lbs of strawberry picking.

I don’t think either one of us thought we were getting that much, there was the overwhelming urge to truck along the fields, bending and plucking and searching out underneath the green leaves for the sweet, fat, juicy berries, and the desire to fill the box outweighed everything else.

Until we took them up to the register.

Whoa.

I blame the size of the box and the glee in the fields.

Eyes bigger than our bellies.

And the bellies of three boys and one papa.

So as I type my friend is putting up strawberry jam.

The kitchen smells like heaven and as the night closes in, the warm scent lush in my nose, seduces me to dreaming of Wisconsin living.

The green, oh, the green.

The rain has been heavy here and by this time in the summer the temperatures should be higher, but it’s been cool and damp and wet.

Not raining so much as just overcast and thunder blue clouds thick with moisture looming over the country.

Makes for intense green, the verdant hills and trees and bushes rich in chlorophyll a back drop to memories and flashes to my grandparents in Lodi and my growing up in Windsor Wisconsin.

My friend and I stopped at a garden shop on the way back from strawberry picking and as we hopped out of the car I was overwhelmed with a scent I can only recall from my grandmother’s back yard.

I think it was the trumpeter vine or a kind of lily.

Whatever it was, I smelled it, and I had not smelled it since the last time I saw my grandfather alive in Lodi before the family had to place him in the assisted care home he eventually passed on in.

I was transported to the back yard of my grandparents home in Lodi and all the time I spent running around that back yard; the times spent with my grandmother picking raspberries off the vines in the garden, forefront in my mind.

I had raspberries all last week before I left for the trip, so grandma was on my mind, and now, being here, though it is not the land of my family, it is still Wisconsin, and it is not all that different.

The difference is the accent in the voices.

There’s a little more north in it.

Then too there is the unfamiliar and yet deeply familiar look of the land.

The trees, the grass, the rolling hills.

I wish I were more mobile.

In fact, slight sidebar, I am a little concerned about how not very mobile I am.

I got exhausted and perhaps in that exhaustion, the memories surfaced faster, thicker, harder.

I broke into tears on the down town walk back from pursuing a vintage antique mall and meandering through down town Hudson.

I don’t know that it was so much from the walking, but more so from the lack of sleep.

I realized after some time sitting still and elevating my ankle, that I have not slept that much the last two days and that added to my hobble about.

I am also wondering if perhaps the time for the boot has come to be removed.  The boot seems more a hinderance at this point than a help.

I shall see in the morning.

I suspect I will go to bed earlier than the 2 a.m. I lay down last night.

I suspect I may sleep longer than the 7:30 a.m. I got up.

Granted.

I did drift in and out lazy like for an hour and then joined my friends brood in her bed where we all cuddled and snuggled and drank some coffee planning out the day.

It was a good day.

A lovely day.

Lunch on the back deck area of the restaurant we went to was overlooking the St. Croix, the rain spat down  a few times on us, but the view was more arresting than the rain.

The company damn good too.

The town is gearing up for Booster days, the carnival opens tomorrow at 4p.m.

Not certain what the days plans are for the morrow.

I just plan on sleeping a bit more.

Eating more strawberries too.

I suspect I will have more memories from childhood dance around in my head as I catch the land rolling past me or smell the remnants of a late-blooming peony bush, these are lovely things.

My friend asked, as I suspect she always may, if I would consider moving back, or if San Francisco is my home.

I always feel the same thing, a mix of nostalgia, a deep need for the smells I associate with my child hood growing up, and also a desperate need to return back to the city by the Bay.

I could move here.

Were I laden with money to buy a house and a car and maintain them, a career of sorts that I could do here that would sustain me.

Perhaps I might.

The houses are beautiful, the land is comforting.

But.

No.

I am spoiled.

I love my San Francisco and don’t know that I could bear to part with her.

For despite the memories, of which there are many, and despite the depth of my love from my friend, (the depths are deep) I have too, an abiding love in my California roots.

I was born there and my first memories are from the Bay Area.

If memory serves than and home is where the heart is, San Francisco’s sweet lulling song will continue to wile me into its bosom of fog horn and sea air.

I will always be a Californian girl with Midwestern roots.

I get to have the best of both worlds.

Fortunate for me.

Both places have strawberries.

 

 

 

 

Minnehaha

July 1, 2014

Say it again.

Say it again.

I laughed as my best friend repeated the word.

She has a certain way with word.

It was so good to hear and so good to reconnect and to make jokes and know what she was referring to.

Not many folks know me so well or for so long.

It is a blessing to have her.

Plus.

Her boys.

Oh such boys.

And I miss my boys, who I cannot wait to see next Monday and be reunited with and hear their voices and get back into the thick of being a nanny.

Which also means getting back into the thick of preparing for Burning Man.

Sidebar.

My boss sent me a text asking me what I would like my job title to be, she threw out a few suggestions as well as asking if I was still going to be MFP.

Mary Fucking Poppins.

Yes.

That’s the name.

And my job title?

“Not your Nanny.”

I have been asked a few times to nanny others, not just other children either, but that’s another blog entirely.

I sent off a quick e-mail to my boss with a photograph and I will have a laminate for the event, as well as a leash (radio, which is why I need a playa name to be on communications with my family) at the event.

The Burning Man preparations will begin in earnest once I return.

But until then.

Back to the boys.

The tow headed trio of brothers that I got to sniff and kiss and hug and squeeze and tickle and hold and share stories with and oh.

Did my heart so good.

And the eldest now has me on his Instagram and yeah.

The love palpable.

I am not Auntie Bubba to them, that is my family moniker, I am Auntie Bubba for my nieces (“Auntie Bubba, what is your real name?” My eldest niece asked me when she was twelve.  “You know my name,” I said and smiled, pushing the bangs off her face and away from her rich hazel eyes.  “Carmen,” she said, with just that little uptick at the end that was more question than statement of fact. “But can I still call you Auntie Bubba?” Always my love, always.), rather I am Auntie Carmen.

Which is really quite wonderful and made me just swell with a sort of familial pride that I know is not exactly blood related, but some friends, well, they are more family than family and my friend has seen me through a lot.

To be considered an auntie for her brood is an honor indeed.

I just wish I was more capable in my body to run around with them and play and hold them and tumble about.

There will be more walking boot in my future than walking, while I am about the boys though, I realized quite quickly that I would be protected better if I continue to wear it.

Though I would love for that part of my story to be done, that walking boot is going to get a burial at sea if I have my way, I will be keeping it about for the duration of my visit.

And boy howdy am I grateful that I took everyone’s advice about the wheelchair.

First, SFO was packed this morning, long lines, folks leaving from Pride weekend, just a lot of folk up and about and checking in.

I went to the agent and I saw an elderly couple getting ushered inside via wheelchair and for a moment felt like a complete fraud, then the ticketing agent saw my foot, and radio, “bring another wheelchair out to the gate.”

“Have you checked in?” He asked.

I handed over my identification and he printed off my boarding pass, “go sit inside and they will come and get you and bring you right to the gate.”

That was exactly what happened.

By passed the line.

Sailed right on through, got my stuff through the x-ray machines, but I had to get a personal pat down from the security team, a woman, who was quick and thorough, plus having my palms swiped for chemicals and they swabbed the walking boot too.

After that, straight to the gate and right to the front of the line and the first person on the plane after the flight team boarded.

Nice.

I did not up grade to a different seat, the flight was booked, but I was able to rearrange myself and use the bathroom facilities before the rest of the plane boarded.

I was deep into my book before I even realized that the plane was boarded and heading out to the runway.

A quick flight.

A few videos.

A few chapters in my book.

A nap.

Then landing.

And upon exiting the plane, again, no need to ask, there was a member from the airplane company standing by with another wheelchair.

He waved me over and I got settled in.

I told him that they had decided to check my bag and I needed to go to baggage claim and right then and there you might as well have crowned me with my own princess tiara, I got to ride in the cart to the baggage pick up.

It was awesome.

I would have been way overwhelmed on my own.

The distance would have been really challenging and it took about five minutes in the cart to get there.

Walking it would have been twenty, even with the little conveyor belts scattered throughout the terminal.

I was able to get my bag, and sit for a little bit with a coffee and read another chapter in my book, then my friend got me and we just drove around Minneapolis, went through Uptown, Tangle Town, Hennepin, Grand Ave, and the nearby environs, drove around Harriet Lake, and even went to Minnehaha Falls.

Lunch at Sea Salt and dinner and coffee at Wise Acre.

Plus the best company on earth and then the return to Hudson, crossing the Mississippi and the St. Croix rivers to Wisconsin.

A tumble on the kitchen floor, lap full of boys eager to tell me about the homemade welcome cake they had made in the afternoon, hugs from the papa, after I disentangled from the three boys and then more hugs, tea with the boys, and they had cake, then story time on the couch.

My heart feels full and fat and heavy with love.

And it’s just day one here in Hudson.

I still get to have another four days.

Huzzah!

Do You Have A Swim Suit?

June 30, 2014

Pack it.

Already packed.

My friend’s text arrived via a flurry of getting the kids ready for bath, bed, and beyond, and what do you want to do?

Duluth?

Minneapolis?

Stockholm, Wisconsin?

Kayak.

Canoe.

Swim.

ARGH.

I want to do it all and I want to be wearing my sassy sandals.

Which have been banished to the corner of my closet as I was so tempted to pack them anyway, they are so cute, when am I going to have a week of sandal wearing goodness in San Francisco?

Never.

And I certainly won’t be wearing these beautiful shoes to Burning Man.

Oh well.

I knew it was too much to put my ankle through, so in the closet they stay.

I am otherwise just about packed.

I wanted to be proactive partially because I feel better having it all ready and partially, well, the lady moves slow like still.

I am getting around a bit better and last night for the first time I took some tentative and slow steps from the bed to the bathroom.

Woohoo!

Ten steps indoors without the walking boot on.

Huzzah.

Sigh.

I could probably swim, but I will most likely just float.

I won’t be doing some nice steady, smooth, strong kicking, not yet.  I don’t want to move it around that much.  But I can probably still do a crawl stroke, I’ll just let my legs go dead behind, sort of like when we used pull buoys on swim team.

The buoys were held between the legs for, yes, you guessed it, buoyancy, and one did not kick ones feet while swimming laps.  They were to help perfect your crawl stroke.

I would like to say that I will be doing lots of active things on my summer vacation.

But perhaps it will be the inactive ones that I get to enjoy the most.

There’s a possibility of going out on a pontoon boat.

PONTOON!

I can’t remember the last time I was on a pontoon boat.  Maybe when I was ten, twelve?

I recall a summer Lake Wisconsin pontoon trip outside of Okee.

Okee is a teeny tiny town outside of Lodi, itself pretty small (2,500 pop.), on Lake Wisconsin.

If you were headed to the ferry driving towards Devil’s Lake State Park or Baraboo, you would bypass Okee.

It was on the wrong side of the Lake Wisconsin for the ferry.

But it was where an aunt of mine lived for a while and briefly, if memory serves, my mom and sister and I stayed with her too.

I remember the hammock in her back yard.

I also remember that the part of the lake she lived on was shallow.  I could wade out thirty, forty, fifty yards, and the water would only come up to my thighs, my eight year old thighs, so it was super shallow.

I got tall, but well after eight.

I don’t know what the occasion for the pontoon was, but it was definitely a party, it’s pretty much an excuse to drift slow and lazy on the river or lake and drink a lot of beer.

Hell, any gathering of my family in Wisconsin seemed to be a ocassion to sit by a lake and drink a lot of beer.

I don’t think my family is anything special in regards to this.

Pontoons are great for picnicking on too.

They just move so slow.

It’s sort of like being on a parade float, except it’s in the water.

Speaking of parade.

Pride was today and the hooligans were out early.

I had an errand to run up to 7th and Irving and the packs of champagne swilling, mimosa monkeys in rainbow colors flying their freak flags high were huge.

One particular group of teenagers, twelve, thirteen of them, on the back part of the N-Judah at 11:20 a.m. had the bottles of champagne going round, the Gatroade bottles going round, the flasks of cheap vodka already having been dumped into the sport drink bottles.

Nothing says good times like smell of purple Gatorade and vodka in the morning.

Blech.

They were having a great time and all of them had on body paint and net shirts and rainbow striped headbands and wristbands and of the entourage, one guy was gay.

The Pride part of the party was underscored by the “party” part of Pride.

San Franciscans don’t need much excuse to bring out a bottle and some bright neon net t-shirt action, be it Bay to Breakers or Pride, or Tuesday afternoon for that matter.

It was quite amusing to watch the faces of a few tourists who didn’t know what Pride was and were out at the beach and heading in to the city to go do tourist type things.

I was not going anywhere past 7th and Irving.

I had a moment of desire to hop further up and drop into Cole and Carl–grab my nanny clogs from the house I work out of for my trip, but the amount of people already on the train was just too much for me.

That is a side effect of this whole thing that has surprised me a little.

I have gotten a bit overwhelmed by crowds on recent excursions.

I suppose that it’s a bit of being extra cautious about my ankle and also having spent a lot of time by myself over these last few weeks.

This trip to Wisconsin will be a nice easing back into the human world.

It’s a little slower in Wisconsin anyhow and slow is great for me at the moment.

I will sit on the porch with my friend and drink coffee in the morning and look out towards the lake and perhaps see an eagle fishing for breakfast.

I will sit in the car and happily go on mini-car trips to the wilds of the North woods of Wisconsin.

Or perhaps I shall meander along with her through down town Hudson and procure an iced coffee at a cafe.

I will enjoy whatever happens, I’ll be with my best friend, even if I can’t keep up with her three boys, I will bask in their energy and be happy to be a guest in their home.

Off now to finish the packing.

And try to get to bed a tiny bit early.

The alarm is set for 4 a.m.

My flight out of SFO is at 7:30 a.m.

Eesh.

Grateful for the travel pillow.

And with that.

I shall see you tomorrow from the bustling metropolis of Hudson, Wisconsin.

 

 

T-Minus Sunday

June 29, 2014

And counting.

One more day before I fly home to Wisconsin.

Not really home, this home.

Wisconsin ceased being home a long time ago, almost twelve years ago now, and I am not going back to the part of Wisconsin that I grew up in.

I am going to Hudson, Wisconsin where my best friend and her skulk live.

I am excited to see them.

And I realized today, anxious.

A feeling I am not particularly fond of and one I would prefer to not feel and also one that it took me a minute to identify that I was having.

Oh.

Hi.

I did not know that was what was happening.

This is actually astounding progress for me.

First that I identified that I was having a feeling.

And that the feeling was not “shit” or “fat” or “fucked.”

“Fat” is not a feeling.

Nope.

Inadequacy.

Oh.

That’s a feeling.

Some shame.

Yeah, there’s that too.

And then the anxiety.

The nice thing about feelings is that they pass.

By the time I was finished with my commitment for the evening it was gone.  I got to check in about it with someone and talk and of course there’s anxiety.

Duh.

Traveling is an anxiety inducing affair, even if I am excited about the trip.  Sometimes, too, I will confuse the excitement for anxiety or vice versa.

And I am not one hundred percent me, ankle stuff and all, and so yeah, this is all a different kind of travel than I am used to.

I also am feeling a bit of anxiety about returning to work.

Will I be ready?

Will I fuck up the ankle more?

Will I be able to handle the kids?

I believe yes to the former and not the latter, and I believe that the free-floating feeling of “there’s something wrong” is just a tendency of an ill mind to try to get me to fabricate a crisis where there is none.

There’s nothing wrong.

My bills are paid.

(Thank you friends again and again and again.)

My ducks are in a row.

I even have a TSA approved travel toilette bag.

And.

I investigated getting the wheel chair today online, to wheel me through the airport on the way to the flight.

Turns out that SFO won’t do it for you, per se, you have to contact the airline that you are traveling via, itself.

Basically I will request it when I pull up to check in for my flight.  I won’t go inside and print of my ticket, I will go curb side to Delta and request the wheelchair at that point.  I will also check into my flight there as well instead of checking in at one of the kiosks.

I may ask my ride to actually come and get me just a tiny bit earlier to make sure I sail through on time.

I don’t believe I will actually need more time, but I would rather have it than not.

Needless to say I will be requesting it, “the chariot” as a dear heart said I should think of it, and I will ask to be seated outside my assigned seat if I can be made more comfortable.

I don’t think I can get the extra leg room in the cabin by sitting in the exit row, you have to be physically capable of assisting others, and well, I would love to play hero, but perhaps not on this flight.

I have a feeling though that the flight won’t be packed, it’s an odd time of day to fly out and it’s a Monday flight to Minneapolis, I think it will be fine.

It feels fine anyhow.

I don’t have much to do tomorrow.

Take care of packing my suitcase, doing a little laundry, taking a shower, having a normal day, whatever “normal” looks like.

Today it was have tea with a confidant for an hour on the back porch and do a lot of inventory.

I also called a lot of folks just to check in and say hi and see how my friends were doing.

I got some sun.

I sat and flipped through a Vogue magazine.

I ate nice meals that I cooked for myself.

I drank lots of tea.

Oh!

I edited more of my book.

It feels good to have done some work on that and to be moving forward with it.  I can see the piece getting cleaner and the showing, not the telling is happening.

I also love seeing the comments from my friend, it’s great to have a reader who can point out, this doesn’t make sense to me, this works, this doesn’t, try this not that, this is awkward, this works, but not so much this here, “you’re showing, not telling” is a big one and it is a pet peeve of mine to be told rather than shown.

I want the experience to be like watching a movie, so the more I can show what is happening the better that feeling will come across.

It feels quite satisfying to have had some distance and some time and perspective away from it and to be reading it bound, my friend bound it for me when he edited the manuscript, I am making notes in the margin and finding fresh ways to retell it in the details rather than in the use of adjectives and superlatives.

Extraordinary too, to relive the story.

Because it’s not just a story, it’s my history, it’s my interpretation, really or my history at that time in my life.

My perspective on the time has changed seismically, however, in just a sentence or two, I can be right back there, in the meat of it, in the city, on the Lake, where a lot of the action takes place, down in the Florida Keys, in and around Homestead, Florida, I am right there participating in the action.

And I see it.

Now I just need to have you see it.

I don’t want to describe that feeling.

I don’t want to say I am anxious.

I want you to see me sitting and bouncing a leg or wringing my hands, re-tracing the lifeline on my right hand while holding a cigarette in my left, over and over again.

I want the description of the action to be palpable and thick so you don’t have to hear the feelings, you can see them loud and clear.

Show.

Don’t tell.

I wrote a book.

Anyone can write a book.

Now I want to write a book that is readable.

I want to tell a story that is consumable.

I want you to want more when you are finished.

I want to inflame the appetite.

Of course going back to Wisconsin is going to arouse anxiety.

I am heading back to that place where I vowed to leave twelve years ago to become the next great American novelist and I shall return not having published or finished writing that great novel of mine.

That is ego.

That is not why I am going.

I am not going back to prove a point or be anyone other than myself.

Because my friend wants me, not the idea of me.

The idea of me can stay home.

I have better things to carry onto the plane.

Or wheelchair on to the plane.

As the case may be.

 

Another Day

June 21, 2014

Another bag of peas.

Actually, it’s the same bag of peas, constantly recycled back to the freezer to get good and cold again.

Peas porridge hot.

Peas porridge cold.

Peas porridge in a pot.

Nine days old.

Some like it hot.

Some like it cold.

Some like it in the freezer.

Fourteen more days to go.

Ugh.

Midway between crazy and crazier.

But grateful for the care and support I have been getting.

So many wonderful folks who have helped with the group funding–people I barely know, to people I love and respect and know well, to anonymous donors, so much help–so much so that my rent is nearly covered.

That’s what the amount was for–rent, phone, utilities, and the gentleman who set it up added a little extra to cover the costs of the platform.

Today he asked me if he could swing by and have a cup of tea with me this weekend.

“You’ve got some awesome friends, and clearly lead an interesting life, I’ve gotten responses from Paris, from Iceland, wow!”

Then he said I would like to find out more about you, let’s hang out.

And it’s not in a seedy kind of way.

He’s gay, folks, and older.

Not that either of those things have stopped me in the past.

Ahem.

However, he’s just being of service.

To the point that he has also asked me to keep him anonymous, except for a few close friends who helped him organize the funding site, I have told no one.

It’s not my place, and again, I am so glad I am not doing it, I would muck it up, or make it out to be something more, or less than it is.

I explained to a lovely lady who was here this afternoon doing some work with me that I can’t even go on the site, it makes me feel crazy and uncomfortable–clear signs that it is the right thing to be doing–and that it is still hard to accept that so many people want to help.

I really am so blessed.

The least I can do is entertain my support network with a cup of tea and tell him of hijinks in the desert, Burning Man, or on the Continent, Paris, London, Rome, or just about Wisconsin, which is another world in and of itself.

“Let me know what you can do, or can’t do, if you can walk, or if you have any interest in doing, this, this, or this,” my best friend said in a voicemail to me.

My fervent hope is that I will be out of the boot, and though not running, I will be mobile and able to walk without it.

I am looking forward to seeing my friend and her family and having some Wisconsin summer, although, the weather here has been pretty lovely, truth be told, night-time in the Midwest is an amazing experience.

As long as I can out run the mosquitoes, I should be alright.

And of course everything she said sounded fantastic, mostly just because I will get to hang out with her, wherever we go, whether it is to traipse, slowly, about the Twin Cities, or it’s a trip up to her family cabin on Mud Lake.

Or Lake 19 or 7 or what ever lake number it is.

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes.

Wisconsin is home to 15,000.

So, yeah, lots of bodies of water.

I wouldn’t mind going for a dip.

I don’t believe I will be pulling out my butterfly stroke, too much effort involved in the dolphin kicking, believe me, but I wouldn’t mind a lazy float in the water, that would be spectacular.

And silly as it sounds.

I am looking forward to Hudson, Booster Days.

Carnival.

I can get behind that.

Fireworks, Midway rides, Tilt-a-Whirl, the smell of popcorn and cotton candy, the lights, the Zipper, and most important of all small town carnivals, the ferris wheel.

I’d like a ride on a ferris wheel, in the warm summer night with the Midway lights below flashing and the air busking me with kisses, the smells, buttery, salty, hot, sweet billowing underneath the carriage, the wheel of love spinning against the horizon.

Something beyond romance in the archetypical wheel at the carnival, a kind of Americana mythic symbol all of its own.

I also never, my one regret, really, did go on the gigantic ferris wheel at the end of the Tuileries in Paris, by Place de la Concord.

I wanted to go, but I wanted to go during the summer and with someone, you know, not alone, not by myself.

There goes that old romantic fantasy again.

Sigh.

She still pops her head up now and again, and you know, darling girl, Paris, well she’s not going anywhere and we can go back, ok.

Ah.

Well.

Paris is another day-dream, another time.

For the being, time being, I am here, in San Francisco, getting very intimate with my room, with the back porch, with the sounds of the birds at different times of the day and the ocean.

How during the day I don’t hear it, but now and again, and then as the light fades, the traffic slows, the time between MUNI trains barreling down Judah eases up, I suddenly hear it more and more, until the whole studio seems engulfed in the thrush of sound and I am swaddled in the waves.

Sound waves.

During the day it is the warm sun that draw me to it and at night it is the cool rushing sound that assures me that every thing is fine, easy does it lady, you’re taken care of.

“Now that your rent is being taken care of,” she said to me, mocking with love, “what do you have to worry about, quick let’s manufacture something!”

Exactly.

There is nothing to worry about.

There is nowhere to go.

That might be the most exciting trip indeed.

Not to the playa.

Not to Paris.

Not to LA, Rome, or London.

But inside.

Inside to that cool, calm place of serenity that beckons with the lush seductions of ocean waves and steadfast compassion.

Sigh.

That’s the real journey.

The one to the interior.

My own little heart of lightness.

 

Sconnie Girl Makes Good

April 23, 2014

Or the prodigal daughter returns home.

Something like that.

Or nothing like that at all.

Suffice to say, from my title it may be hard to interpret, unless you have been to Wisconsin or are from Wisconsin, what that means.

It means that last night after I wrote my blog and caught up on the MadMen episode I missed on Sunday (saved Game of Thrones for tonight) that I went online and I bought a ticket to go back to Wisconsin and visit my best friend and her family.

They live in Hudson.

Which is just across the river, on the right side of the river, if you ask me, but I am biased, on the Wisconsin side of the river, if you prefer, from the Twin Cities.

I have been chatting back and forth with her for a bit, trying to suss out the best possible dates for the trip back, what will work for her schedule, my schedule, her families, the families I work for, and finally settled on a date.

I will be in Wisconsin the week of the 4th of July.

I will be in Hudson for Booster Days!

Huzzah.

Now, if you’re not from the Midwest or don’t know about living in a small town, the 4th of July is a big deal holiday.

There’s usually a fair, there’s usually a carnival, geez Louise, I hope so!

I imagine that I will be out on the midway, under the stars, in the warm night air (perhaps laced with more mosquitos than I should care for) without a layer or three, without my scarf (because July in San Francisco is scarf weather, don’t be fooled by it being in California) queuing up for a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl or a the ferris wheel.

I sure do hope so.

I may also be laying beside a lake, or paddling around one with my friend in one of the canoes at her families cabin by the lake.

Holy crow.

If you don’t have a definition of heaven, I offer you this, a cabin by a lake in Northern Wisconsin.  There will be swimming in the water, which is far different from swimming in the ocean, there will be canoeing, there will be, farmer’s markets with fresh sweet corn, ripe tomatoes, oh Wisconsin vine grown tomatoes, gimme, there will be bald eagles–they nest near by and fish the lake–there will be my best friend and walks in the woods and perhaps yes, berry picking.

There will be sitting on the porch in the morning, when it is still cool, drinking a big cup of coffee and watching the sun light up the lake and glow through the north woods like a beacon from God.

I can’t wait.

For summer vacation, I might actually have a summer vacation.

I don’t typically (unless you count Burning Man and considering how hard I work when I am there it’s a working holiday at best) take a vacation during the summer.

Shit, I don’t typically take a vacation at all.

But a friend pointed out that perhaps I should and then I started talking with my friend, and it’s been too long since I have seen her and then the seed was planted and it took root and I just couldn’t shake that it was time to go back for a visit.

Especially since the last time I went back it was January about five years ago.

Yah.

Not quite so nice.

Still lovely and awesome and sweet to see my best friend and her husband and their amazing boys, but damn, January in Wisconsin is cold, lest you’re a polar bear.

Actually, I just realized, the last time I went back, it was summer time, June, to be precise, I went back for my high school 20th reunion.

That was in Madison though and I didn’t have the time to go up to see my friend and her family in Hudson, it’s a good four-hour drive north of Madison, if not just a touch more, but I have a lead foot when I drive, so hard to be accurate.

And this will be in July, I need to remind myself.

The days will be warm.

No, scratch that, the days will probably be sweltering.

Humid.

Hot.

Sticky.

But, an admission, I don’t mind that so much.

I miss the Wisconsin winter right around Christmas, but I miss the summer the whole time of summer.

Summer in San Francisco is chilly, you may have heard a quip or two about his from Mark Twain, and there is always a day or thirteen so locked in fog and chill that I cannot really believe that it is July and wish mightily that I was in Wisconsin where it was warm.

Hell, I might even eat a brat.

Sans bun.

One not soaked in beer.

Hmm.

Maybe I won’t have a brat.

But I will have corn on the cob and thick sliced tomatoes.

Yes.

And big glasses of cold water and probably all the iced coffee I can get my hands on, iced coffee when it’s hot has to be my favorite beverage of all time.

But, it’s got to be hot.

Iced coffee when I am not hot through and through gives me the chills.

I rapidly become an old lady before your eyes wanting to nest in a crocheted afghan and sit in the sun in her rocker.

The smells of Wisconsin in July too, so good, cut grass, the aforementioned grilling of brats, hamburgers, chicken, all things that need to be grilled over hot charcoal, the smell of a lake, the lilacs, peonies heavy-headed and thick with luscious syrupy scent, the smell of hot pavement and the way the wind feels whipping over your arms and shoulders when you drive out in the car, rolling through the greenest green on Earth.

Can you tell I am looking forward to the visit?

Just to capture all the sensory magic of it.

To see fireflies.

Oh, I haven’t seen fireflies in years.

And to see my dear, sweet, wonderful friend who has known me for the last twenty years.

Twenty.

Whew.

I just realized that, this summer will mark our 20th year knowing each other.

‘Bout time I went home.

I have to continue to cultivate this relationship.

I am going to want her around for the next twenty.

And, selfishly so, I am going to want another invitation to come up during Booster Days and to go for a day or two to the cabin by Lake Number 26.

Yes, that is the name of the lake.

Mud Lake was already taken.

 

More Will Be Revealed

January 10, 2014

She told me many years ago, perhaps seven?

Yes.

That feels about right.

More has been revealed and I am sure there is more revelation to come.

I am thinking about my imminent trip down to Florida.

I fly out on a red-eye in a couple of days, leaving SFO at 11:56p.m. on Saturday night to fly to Atlanta, brief layover, landing in Orlando, Florida at 9:30 a.m.

“Get up really early on Saturday so that you sleep on the plane,” my friend suggested to me.

Yick.

I will try, but I am doubtful that I will get up earlier then I have already planned.

I have a few things to take care of before I fly out on Saturday.

First is to get that photo from PhotoWorks tomorrow.  They called me up earlier this week and said that they needed more time to work on the restoration, it would be ready Friday evening.

Tomorrow.

Which is perfect, I end my work week in the Castro at 4:45 p.m.

I also have another errand to run tomorrow.

I have $1350 in cold hard cash in an envelope in my wallet with Barnaby’s name all over it.  He will be in the Castro tomorrow at the tattoo shop he does work out of when he is in town and I will be walking up to it at some point in my day to hand over the money.

I am super happy to have it and I am super grateful that I will get to repay it and then go back to having no outstanding debt.

Well, except for my student loans, but they, though they count, don’t really count.

ACS Student Loan Services is just a nameless entity that I send an automatic payment to every month.

Not a personal face with a history that I have to, I mean I get to, engage with.

It will be nice to see Barnaby and not feel that I owe him anything besides gratitude for the experience and the promise that I too shall  play it forward when the time comes.

Take some one in, help them on their adventure, buy them a meal in a cafe, help someone else with a dream.

I also want to talk to Barnaby about a small tattoo I would like.

In a few days I will have to add a few stars to my neck.

At least that’s what I am thinking, two more to go with the seven I have.

Hard to believe that 9 years ago I was heading back from London preparing to go on my last crazy cocaine run.  I was just going to meet up with a friend at Blondie’s No Grill and Bar in the Mission, down on Valencia between 17th and 16th.

I was just getting away from the week of being with my mom in London.

I was just going to have one.

Oops.

As was the case I had more.

More always being the magic number.

More last three days.

Until I did not have more to give, could not take anymore, gave the fuck up and asked for help.

I got it.

In spades.

And I have not turned back since.

It has not been easy, but like anything worth having, hard-won, and I do not regret a single day of the work, not a one.

My life is pretty outrageous when I look at it.

Oh, the places you’ll go.

Fuck.

What about the places I have been over the last few years?

I can’t imagine what comes next.

This Florida trip will be my first for the year.

Other places I will go are Minneapolis/St. Paul when I fly into the airport on my way to Hudson, Wisconsin to see my best friend this summer.

Don’t have the ticket, but it’s not far in coming and as I await the best dates for my friend I am happy to sock some of the money away that I would have been channelling to the debt I owed Barnaby into the plane ticket back to the land of dairy, cheese, and currently bone chilling temperatures.

But that’s ok as I will be there in the summer.

I will probably fall over from the humidity, but I will welcome the warm nights and the hanging outside without three layers on in July.

I will, of course, be going to Burning Man.

It was fun to watch all the silliness as the theme was finally announced.

I loved getting excited for my friends who will be going for their first time and I will get to go for my 8th year in a row.

I am also thinking about going to Coachella.

Not sure how, but I have always wanted to go and I never have.

I don’t have experience with Indio, California, how to get there, what to do when there, or whom to go with, but I feel that if it’s in the mix, and it does feel that way, that it will happen.

Just putting it out to the Universe, I am willing to go.

That’s three little trips to look forward to this year.

I am pretty ready for the Florida trip, only a few things to do to prepare.

Get the photograph and the prints I had them make from Photo Works and frame and wrap the ones for my mom and sister.

Get a manicure and pedicure.

That I always do before travel anywhere.

Even if it’s cross city travel.

Ha.

Then figure out my way to the airport.

I think I am just going to MUNI train it to the BART.

I will of course, have to pack, but since it’s a short jaunt, the packing will be quick and I will do it same day as travel.  In fact, I have the majority of what I am taking already going through the wash cycle now so I don’t have to worry about doing laundry right before I leave.

Really, like so much of my life in recovery it’s just about showing up.

Show up.

Take the next action in front of me.

More will be revealed.

Lovely.


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