Posts Tagged ‘Madison’

Musings

July 17, 2022

From COVIDlandia.

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

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

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

But.

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

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

I have these thoughts once in a while.

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

Oh.

Such sad plants.

I felt so bad.

Poor babies hadn’t been watered in nine days.

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

Just my sad little plants.

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

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

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

I do hope to test negative tomorrow.

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

Yeah.

I don’t know about that.

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

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

I’ll go for a walk.

I’ll prep food for the week.

I will dream about all things Burning Man.

Yeah.

That thing.

I am going.

I haven’t really written about it.

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

I mean.

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

Oh.

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

OOPS.

I mean.

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

Which is also why Burning Man is on my mind.

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

That is when I will officially matriculate.

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

Anyway.

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

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

It will get published and I will matriculate.

At the end of summer.

Which means.

I get to graduate.

Again.

And this time.

I’m going to do it my way.

At Burning Man.

Yeah.

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

I left Burning Man that year distinctly altered.

I quit the job I had been working.

Got a different one.

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

I got in and started in the fall of 2015.

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

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

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

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

I mean.

I managed to go even when I moved to Paris.

I still do not know how that happened.

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

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

The PhD work was too much.

Not to mention working full time, plus.

So, I missed 2018 and 2019.

And then the pandemic.

Knocking out 2020 and2021.

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

But.

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

This year I had been prepared to go months ago.

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

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

And the looming paying back of student loans dissuaded me.

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

Except.

Well.

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

Like hot.

Like 93 F.

San Francisco rarely gets hot.

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

But it got hot that day.

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

Without a sweatshirt.

Without layers.

In a sundress.

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

Oh my, my, my.

Speaking my fucking language.

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

Sigh.

This day in SF wasn’t like that.

It was more like Burning Man.

Hot.

Dry.

Warm wind.

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

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

And like that.

Like that.

I decided to go.

I reached out to a bunch of folks.

I asked after tickets.

I received more than a few offers.

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

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

And like that.

I had a ticket.

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

Like fast.

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

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

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

This was definitely meant to be.

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

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

And maybe a few flowers to stick in my hair.

Like you do.

Or, ahem, like I do.

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

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

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

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

But.

Ahem.

A girl likes her clothes.

And also, unobstructed views whilst driving.

So.

I agreed to the van.

Which I think will actually come nicely in handy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOLY SHIT.

I can have a graduation party.

At the best party in the whole fucking world.

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

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

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

I’m going to graduate on playa.

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

Oh yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

“Burning Man,” she replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believe me.

I have seen some things.

Anyway.

We did not go that year.

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

She wasn’t wrong.

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

One who just graduated from highschool.

What the hell?

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

Where I will graduate into my next level of life.

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

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

But I’m down for it.

I’ll be there.

With flowers in my hair.

Seriously.

And maybe a glow stick.

Heh.

Random Thougts

July 14, 2022

From COVIDLANDIA.

I should hashtag that.

Do people make money off hashtags?

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

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

I got really tired.

Napped a little on the couch.

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

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

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

Oops.

Sorry dude.

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

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

I mean.

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

Ugh.

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

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

Creepy good.

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

Aside.

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

I mean.

COVID.

Anyway.

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

But I did.

And I made progress.

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

I bounced out of bed.

I felt GREAT.

Holy shit.

The headache finally fucking went away.

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

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

ASIDE.

Like what the fuck HULU?

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

Hello.

What?

WHATTHEFUCKINGHELL?

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

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

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

Anyway.

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

Now that I wrapped Atlanta, I’m out.

Until Handmaid’s Tale comes back.

FUCK.

Hits a little close to home doesn’t it?

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

I can’t get away from it.

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

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

STOP.

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

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

HELLA LIBERAL BITCHES.

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

I also.

I didn’t.

I swear, I did not do it.

But, fuck, I really wanted to.

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

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

I didn’t.

But, the temptation.

Fierce.

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

Side note.

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

Did the cafe next door burn something?

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

What is that smell?

Oh.

That’s what it is.

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

MOTHERFUCKING GROSS.

Aside.

I used to do a lot of cocaine.

ALOT.

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

Good grief.

Thank fucking god I’m sober.

Also.

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

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

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

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

But I took it and felt “better”.

I got the Mucinex delivered the next morning.

Aside.

WHAT THE FUCKING HELL INSTACART?

HOLY GOD DAMN.

A BAG OF GROCERIES SHOULD NOT BE $94.

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

SADDEST FUCKING AVOCADO IN THE WHOLE GOD DAMN WORLD.

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

SERIOUSLY.

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

I told the lady, “I have COVID.”

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

Lady, look at my wrinkles.

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

Fuck lady.

I’m 49.

50 this year.

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

SORRY.

Other random COVID thoughts.

I should start an Instagram page of my cats.

Because.

They are cute.

And because, cats.

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

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

Psychoanalyze that shit.

Nah.

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

They are cute.

Also.

Thank goodness for Zoom meetings.

I mean.

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

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

Anyway.

I am toggling through day six.

Watching B movies.

Hustlers yo, damn JLo.

And Better Call Saul.

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

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

Aside.

FUCK YOU KEEPING MY BURNING MAN GEAR.

ahem.

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

Can I um, get that shit back?

One of my friends said.

How much will it cost to replace?

I threw out a number.

Sounds worth it to avoid the drama.

But.

Uh, shit.

I like drama?

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

Keep my dusty ass shit.

I wanted to buy new boots anyway.

So.

YESSSS MAMA.

I upgraded my tent.

Aside.

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

I upgraded to a six man black out tent.

Yeah.

Six-man.

I mean, I like some space.

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

And yes.

l did get new boots.

Heh.

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

Heh.

I got some platforms from Demonia.

Yeah.

I am that bitch.

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

BWAHAHAHAHAAHA.

I’m already kind of tall.

I’m gonna tower.

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

So.

Yeah.

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

So.

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

And honestly, I am pretty set.

I’ve been eleven times, twelve?

Eleven, this is time number twleve.

I know how to do the deal.

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

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

I already have a makeup kit.

I already have the crazy hair.

Hella aside.

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

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

Except.

I’ve never posted a story before.

Yeah.

I know.

Shaddup.

I have never been on Tik Tok or Snap either.

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

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

FUCK YOU LOOK AMAZE!

ALLHEALEDFROMCOVIDANDHELLASASSY!

Um.

No.

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

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

There is no sexy going on over here.

And aside.

Why didn’t we have a second date?

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

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

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

Or.

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

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

Anywho.

Day six.

That was fun.

When Jody Sings

January 10, 2022

I remember dancing to this song from Masters of Reality in a red and blue gingham check skirt that I had made from one of my mother’s old house dresses.

I was wearing a navy blue leotard body suit with long arms and had a black sweater or cardigan tied around my waist.

I remember the sun shone through the windows of my bedroom on Franklin Street in Madison.

The light dappled through the trees and I was wearing blue stained glass earrings in the shape of elongated tear drops.

My boyfriend of two years, at the time, had hung them in the window from the screen so they caught the light and put me in front of the window with his hands over my eyes.

It was likely the best gift he ever gave me.

I felt beautiful wearing those earrings with my hair down and long and curling.

I was twenty one.

He had introduced me to a lot of music that I had no clue about.

I also introduced him to a lot of music he had no clue of–jazz and blues mostly and some classical.

The music I had grown up with, my step-father’s much played genres.

My boyfriend at the time, the blue stained glass earrings boyfriend, turned me onto what I would now consider classic alternative music.

Jody Sings is from an album called Sunrise on the Surfer Bus by Masters of Reality.

I had never heard anything quite like it and I loved the album.

He also introduced me to Soul Coughing, Jeff Buckley, Beck, Cake, Morphine, Annie DiFranco, Tori Amos–all of whom we saw in various concerts.

To this day I get some kind of sneaky cred for having seen Jeff Buckley live in concert on his Grace album tour.

I will never forget his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” it blew my soul open.

I broke down into tears when I heard of Buckley’s death weeks after he had passed.

He introduced me to Phish as well, not that I ever became of big fan of them, and a lot of heavy metal, Pantera, Sepultera, and the like, as well as Primus, who I wouldn’t call metal, but I was fucking blown away by when I saw them in concert.

I don’t know why this week I thought of Master’s of Reality, it just popped into my head.

Listening now, fyi.

And I suddenly remember that girl dancing barefoot on the warm summer sun wood floors in my bedroom.

I didn’t know that my boyfriend was in the doorway watching me dance.

I spun around with my skirt flaring out and caught him staring at me in the doorway.

The look of love in his green eyes still haunts me if I think about it too long.

He loved me, more than I think he even understood, especially after I broke up with him five years into the relationship.

He never really knew me though.

I was nascent.

I was incandescent in my beauty and I never knew it either.

And as the relationship went on, painfully, unhappily, co-dependently on years after I should have left him, I gained weight and gained weight and suffered deeper and deeper depressions.

I had no idea I was depressed.

That 21 year old girl had no idea how dark life was going to get.

My boyfriend cheated on me, twice.

He got caught growing marijuana in our house.

We both wound up with felony charges.

Mine got dropped.

He went on probation.

He went bonkers when he had to stop smoking pot.

He started drinking really heavily.

I realized I was in love with another man.

Who, now I can see, oh can I see, quite clearly, was unavailable and the love was always going to be unrequited (though he told me once quite drunk how much he was in love with me), which was my way of staying safe.

The love of the unavailable man.

My music, blue stained glass earring boyfriend, lost it when I broke up with him.

Lost it.

Hit me.

Spit on me.

I ran off into the night.

One very cold January, Wisconsin night, dark as sin, snow piled so high, no cars driving down East Washington at that late hour.

I ran out of the house in my flannel nightgown and made a phone call to the police from the payphone in front of the grocery store a block away.

I was terrified.

It was a long, scary night, and a story for another night of blogging.

He stalked me for a few years.

I got a restraining order.

He broke it and because he was on probation for growing pot he went to prison.

He’s married now.

Two kids, wife–former classmate of mine in high school, my how the world is small.

House in Sun Prairie, I looked him up a few times years ago.

I don’t wish him harm, he was in a terrifying place and lost his mind.

I grew.

And I also stopped being available to available men.

There are many other reasons why.

I needn’t list them to underscore how the things I did to protect myself came back to haunt me later.

Oh siren song of unavailable men.

It’s been one year today, one year since I saw you last, my love.

My former lover.

And things.

Well.

They are a changing.

New therapist.

New year.

New PhD.

New dating attitudes.

New healing.

I’ve had three dates with three separate men this past week.

I have a second date with one of them tomorrow.

I don’t know where any of it’s going to go, but I do know, that I am moving on.

So when I hear this album, it’s still playing, but we’re almost to the end.

It’s only 45 minutes long.

I can still be that beautiful barefoot girl with the long hair in the long skirt dancing on the warm wood floor, my hips swaying, my arms in the air, ecstacy.

I’m 28 years older.

28 years wiser.

I have been to hell and back.

I have put myself there.

I have rescued myself.

I have had so much help.

I will never repay it no matter how much service I do.

I feel like I am breathing again.

And the grief that once choked me has finally lessened it’s grip.

Maybe it was the warm green eyes of the man on the date last night who said, “I would follow you to Wisconsin,” maybe it’s just God, maybe it’s the music.

Maybe it’s love.

The love I have chosen for myself and the realization that I can hold space for that beautiful girl because I finally belive.

Really believe.

That I am a beautiful woman.

Worthy of love.

And.

Worthy of an available man.

Jody Sings

Lucky one
I am too
Lucky three
The one for me
One, two, three

I’m on my knees
Jody sings
I get high
When she rings
Clouds roll by
Jody sings
I get high
When she rings
Clouds roll by yeah

Lucky one
I am too, yes I am
Lucky three
The one for me
One, two, three
I’m on my knees
Yeah, yeah, yeah
On my knees
On my knees
On my knees
On my knees

Jody sings
I get high
When she rings
Clouds roll by
Jody sings
I get high
When she rings
Clouds roll by
Yeah

When Jody Sings, Masters of Reality, 1992

Bullshit

January 15, 2019

I keep expecting someone to say that when I say, “thank you for 14 years.”

It sounds so surreal coming out of my mouth.

How the hell did that happen?

Really?

Fourteen years.

Nights and weekends, nothing in between, nothing to take the edge off.

As if anything really could.

Using or drinking for me over an issue or a problem would just be pouring gas on a bonfire.

I would burn it all down and I don’t actually think I would die.

That would be the easier, softer way.

No.

I think I would live a miserable, dire, soul less, ugly life.

I have so much in my life I cannot imagine ever going back.

I do see it happen though.

So here’s to having more commitments and suiting up and showing up and doing the deal no matter what.

My life is really wonderful and it was with much sweetness that I picked up some metal last night in front of my community who witnesses me with so much love.

It really awes me the amount of love I have been given access to.

Most of all, the love I feel for myself.

The level of compassion and forgiveness I have for myself really is so vast.

I didn’t have it growing up.

Occasionally I would have a moment where I thought I might have something worthy in me, I was certainly smart, but how many times does it take for a person to hear that she is “too smart for her own good,” before she begins, I begin, to think the same.

I used to also wonder.

How come if I’m so damn smart I can’t figure out my life or what I want or where I’m going.

I mean.

I had some idea.

I knew I wanted out of Wisconsin and after multiply failed attempts I made it out in 2002 to travel all the way across the country and cross the Bay Bridge in my little two door Honda Accord.

I still remember what it felt like crossing over that bridge.

I was definitely crossing a threshold.

I had no idea.

Sometimes I think it’s a good thing that I didn’t know all the things that were going to transpire.

Who knows if I would have made it out.

I do certainly remember that.

I had a feeling of dread that my time was soon to be up in Wisconsin and I needed to leave, there was a constant low-level thrum of anxiety, a beating drum of doom that throbbed just below everything.

I was in constant fear.

I had no name for it though.

I had no idea the anxiety I was under.

I knew the depression.

That I had at least been seen for, once when I was in my early twenties and when the therapist wanted to medicate me as my insurance wouldn’t allow her to continue serving me unless I was prescribed meds, I bounced.

I didn’t understand then what depression meant.

All I knew was that sometimes it was terribly hard to get out of bed.

Or bathe.

I remember my boyfriend once made a comment about it, that the sheets needed to be changed or washed and I knew I had to get out and wash the bedding and myself, but getting into the shower was so damn hard.

I can remember how sunny it was too and we lived really close to James Madison park, literally just a few blocks away on Franklin.

I can count the number of times I went to the park on a sunny summer day on one hand and have more than a few fingers left over.

I could not get myself out of the house.

I knew it would pass.

It always did.

But it started to get longer.

And longer.

I might have a day of it once in a while and then nothing for sometime and then it would just snake back in.

For some reason it happened (and can happen for me now, there’s sometimes a feeling of dread during the longest days of the year) during the summer when there was lots of light and no reason to be caged up inside.

People think depression and they see rainy days and grey skies.

I saw sunshine and couldn’t bear to be out in it.

I worked nights.

I slept days.

Sometimes, in the dead of winter I would not see the sunlight at all.

Unless it was the sunrise coming up as I was coming home from closing the bar where I worked.

I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in undergrad.

Turns out that some folks, about 10% of the population that has the disorder, actually experience the depression in the summer.

I remember one year that was really bad.

I was in between jobs, I had just given notice to the Essen Haus where I had been the General Manager and was transitioning to my new job at the Angelic Brewing Company as their Floor Manager (still the worst title ever, how about Queen of Doing Everything, that seems more apt).

I had two weeks off.

I was supposed to have taken those two weeks off to go on a road trip with my boyfriend, but it didn’t come to fruition due to the Angelic needing me to start before the trip had been planned.

I postponed it and planned on doing it the next year which never happened either, but I digress.

My boyfriend went to work in the morning and I sat in the living room of our apartment in a rocking chair.

I sat there all day long.

I might have read books.

I would sleep as long in bed as I could, then get up and sit in that chair until he came home.

Part of me suspected that there was something very soothing about the rocking of the chair, I used to self-soothe as a child when I was upset by rocking back and forth, I can still slip into it if I’m really freaked out.

I don’t remember much of that week, but one particular scene is always in my head and that is of the shadows growing longer and longer in the apartment as the sun set.

They would crawl slowly across the floor and I would watch them inch up the walls until the apartment was muddled in twilight and I would only get up to turn on the light five minutes before I thought my boyfriend was going to get home.

There were many nights of sitting in that chair in the dark by myself alone.

I told no one.

Wowzers.

I had no idea that was going to be what I wrote about tonight, but hey, there it is.

In addition to the SAD, I have depression.

Hahahaha.

Sigh.

Major Depressive Disorder is the clinical diagnosis.

I managed it once in early sobriety with antidepressants but after a few years I got of the meds and deal with it through writing daily in my morning journal, I use a light therapy box every morning, I write affirmations, I get outside as much as I can, I eat really, really, really well, I do my own therapy work, I cultivate relationships with my fellows and I have good damn friends.

And I don’t drink.

Alcohol is a depressant you know.

I didn’t.

Not for years.

And for years I have been pretty free from that great ocean of doom and for that I am so grateful.

My life is lovely.

Challenging, sure.

But absolutely lovely.

Thank you for 14 years!

You know who you are and I love you, very, very, very much.

Rendered Speechless

December 27, 2018

I don’t often look at old photographs.

I just did.

Work photos from over sixteen years ago.

Longer, perhaps, though not much more than eighteen years, I’ve been in San Francisco for sixteen, so they have to be at least that old.

There’s a private Facebook page with photographs of a place I used to run for six years.

1996-2002 I was the Floor Manager at the Angelic Brewing Company in Madison, Wisconsin.

A lot of the photographs are ones that I took myself.

Although I don’t have the album that they are located in.

I used to take a lot of staff photos.

Before Facebook and camera phones.

I kept a photo album in the office and I would put it out during big staff events.

Most usually the annual holiday party that I was in charge of organizing and running.

We got silly.

I remember one year I bought a bunch of disposable cameras.

Oh the pictures on those cameras.

Many stories.

I was rendered speechless though when I saw a photograph of myself that may have been at my heaviest weight when I was working there.

I don’t actually know what I weighed.

I didn’t like to use the scale.

But I do know that the shirt I was wearing was a size 26.

I now wear a size eleven.

So much has changed.

I just sat on my couch before logging onto my computer and I had an abstinent meal.

Abstinent for me means no flour (of any kind–almond, oat, coconut, corn, wheat, etc) and no sugar.

I do eat fruit, so I get sugar that way, though I tend to not eat fruit with my dinner.

I will.

Just not always.

Fruit is a sort of desert for me.

For dinner tonight I had about a 1/2 c of sautéed broccoli with a cup of brown rice and a roasted chicken leg and thigh.

I had some bubbly water and I listened to jazz.

When I think about the way I ate when I ran the Angelic.

Oh my God.

Freaks me out a little.

Sort of like how the picture did.

I almost want to post it here but I’m not actually sure how to do that and I am also not really sure I want to post it anyway.

I am grateful though for the changes I have gone through and for the good reminder that although my body doesn’t look the exact way I want it to, it looks a hell of a lot better than it did.

I mean.

I used to have a double chin.

I haven’t had a double chin in a long ass time and I am hella grateful for that.

The amazing thing about the photo is that I’m doing the splits on the bar.

I was a lot more limber then than I am now.

I was also studying to get my black belt in Kung Fu.

That also blows my mind, that I got a black belt at the weight I was.

I wonder sometime what it would have been like if I had lost the weight sooner.

But really that doesn’t do me much good to think about that, it’s just fantasy and speculation.

I also had to have some recovery under my belt before I could get abstinent, recovery, therapy, self-care.

A lot of that.

Self-love.

I am really quite proud of myself when I see how very far I have come.

All things considered.

I shouldn’t be where I am at today.

I am very, very, very grateful.

I’m also grateful to have gotten through Christmas.

Three gay boys, two movies, and one sushi dinner.

It was an official San Francisco Christmas.

Matinee at the Kabuki, hanging out in the Castro, then the Metreon in the evening.

I am grateful too for the people I spent time with.

I am grateful for San Francisco being my home.

I am grateful for all the lovely gifts I was given.

The biggest one, always does seem to be perspective.

That’s why the photo hit me so hard.

Just how far I have come.

I’m 46 now.

I look so much better at 46 than I did at 26.

I may have been a little older in the photo, but my weight would have been about the same.

It got bad there for a bit.

But then I think, I needed to be the way I was, to feel safe.  I ate to feel safe in a body that was not a safe place to inhabit.

I ate because I had been hurt.

I did not want to hurt anymore.

I also ate because it was a compulsion.

There were times when I would find myself in the dark raiding the desert fridge at work– shoving an entire piece of Irish Cream pie into my mouth, one, two, three pieces in under five minutes.

I hated it and I couldn’t stop it.

I also didn’t realize that once I put sugar into my body it was sort of on.

Sugar is just as addictive as many narcotics.

Sugar activates the same place in the brain that cocaine does.

I loved cocaine.

And before I had cocaine.

I had sugar.

I had a lot of it.

God.

Just thinking about how much soda I drank too.

Ugh.

I mean.

I worked in the service industry for two decades.

I did not drink diet soda ever, I scoffed at it.

I drank straight up Coca Cola.

I drank vats of it.

When you work in the service industry you usually get free soda.

And because I was in management, I got free meals.

French fries dipped in sour cream.

Fried fish sandwiches with buckets of tartar sauce.

Pasta with chicken and mushrooms and cream sauce and parmesan and bread sticks.

OH bread sticks.

Idaho nachos–cottage fries instead of corn chips–with heaps of cheese and chicken and black beans and guacamole and sour cream.

Pizza.

Pizza.

Pizza.

Beer cheese soup.

And it was a brewery, so yes, lots of beer too, many, many, many pints.

Ex-employees used to joke about how they would lose the “Angelic 20” when they stopped working there since they weren’t always drinking the beer.

Which was not light in any sense of the word.

Oh.

How things have changed.

For the better.

I might have a nostalgic moment once in a great while for something.

But not ever looking like that picture again?

That will kill any craving I might have.

Fact is.

I don’t crave food, when you don’t have it in your system, the urge goes away.

Hella grateful for that too.

So here’s to not having to make New Years resolutions.

I am resolved every day.

I am happy.

Joyous.

Abstinent.

And.

Motherfucking.

Free.

 

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.

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.

 

Fingerprints of God

June 8, 2018

If I look closely I can see them.

They are there in the unexpected places, incidents, life re-arrangements.

The “oh my God I feel in love” moment.

“We don’t choose who we fall in love with,” my boss said to me today.

It’s inevitable.

Or.

I think of all the things in my life that seemed inconceivable and then what happened when I walked through them.

I think about my boyfriend of five years when I finally broke up with him and how he hit me and how I ran away into the night.

In January.

In Wisconsin.

In a nightgown.

Without socks on.

I ran to the Sentry Food Store on East Washington and used the payphone outside the grocery store to call the police.

I remember how the sound of his car turning onto East Washington tumbled into my ears as he went out into the night to find me, driving right along the road in front of me but not seeing me squashed into the phone booth.

I remember huddling in that phone booth, panicked and scared and crying on the phone with the operator.

That needed to happen for me to get out of that relationship.

That had the fingerprints of God all over it.

And I’m grateful for it, in my own way, I learned a lot, I learned how resilient I was and I learned how to better take care of myself.

I also learned how I act when I am in fear.

I have made decisions based on self and I have stepped on the toes of others, they have retaliated.

I decided to live where I am now because I thought it was a better fit for me than the other house that was on offer.

Sometimes I wonder how that would have worked out.

I would be living in the Bayview and paying much less rent.

Would I have the same jobs, relationships, friendships, fellowship?

I have no idea.

I made a decision to move here though it was double the rent I would have paid at the place in Bayview because I wanted to live by myself.

And I thought this place was nicer.

I am sure that house is lovely now, but at the time it was under a major reconstruction and I would have been in the middle of it.

Yes.

Paying $500 a month rent, but in the middle of a demolition and rebuild.

So I picked the more expensive and I moved in here.

And here’s where I acted in fear, here’s where I have realized in the last day what is my part.

I made a decision based on fear.

When the landlady didn’t offer me a receipt for the deposit.

I didn’t say anything, but man it felt funny.

But hey, look at my place, it’s great, and it’s all mine.

When the landlady didn’t give me a lease to sign, I didn’t say anything either, though that felt really weird to.

But I stuffed that feeling down.

And every month, every freaking month, I have wondered, is the shoe going to drop, is she going to raise the rent, is she going to do something, am I ok?

And every month she would cash my check and I would feel a little relief for a little while.

I realize, or I have completely admitted to myself and to another, that I have been under this yoke of fear ever since I moved in and there was no lease to sign and there was no receipt made for the deposit.

The only thing that was said, in regards to the deposit, was that it would be put into a bank account where it would accrue interest, which I would get back when I moved out and please give at least 30 days notice when I decided to move.

Sure.

And I didn’t ask for the lease.

I didn’t.

I didn’t want to make waves.

I didn’t want to be pushy.

I should have and now I’m getting to repair that and try to do the right thing now.

Which as uncomfortable as it is, is showing up and walking through the discomfort of the situation.

It’s like walking up a steep hill.

I don’t want to do it, but I bet the view will be amazing when I do the work to get there.

I had some council last night and I found out that I do actually have a lease!

In legal terms it’s called a “de facto contract.”

Which means that every time my landlady cashed one of my checks she was acknowledging that I was paying rent for the in-law.

What a huge relief to hear that.

I got a lot of sound advice and some next directions and I was told, once again, that she doesn’t have just cause to ask me to leave and a verbal notice to vacate is not legal.

I was told to keep paying the rent.

So.

I’m going to keep paying the rent and see what happens next.

I’m sure something will happen.

I was also told to watch for whether or not my checks were getting cashed.

What do you know.

My rent check for June, that I gave to my landlady on May 25th, has not been cashed.

I will most certainly not be foolish enough to touch that money in my account, it stays put and all other monies that would be directed towards rent shall also stay put.

It’s going to be ok.

I tell myself this again and again.

I am being taken care of.

Focus on solution.

I did that today, I went to hang with my fellows after seeing my client tonight instead of coming home, even though I am working early tomorrow.

I have to focus on the solution rather than the problem.

For me that solution is spiritual.

And when I heard that God’s fingerprints are on those big things that happen out of the blue, when you’re least expecting it, well, it fucking resonated.

There is beauty here if I allow myself the discomfort of the unknown.

There is opportunity.

There is growth.

Therefor.

There is gratitude.

So yeah.

My landlady went on my gratitude list this morning.

And she will everyday until this has been resolved.

I am grateful for this opportunity to learn and to grow.

Seriously.

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.


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