Posts Tagged ‘The Essen Haus’

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.

I Have Been Having A

September 10, 2016

She’s too fat for me moment.

Fucking polka.

Fucking Essen Haus and the obnoxiousness of the cd player with a six carousel disc changer that had this album on repeat.

All the days and nights of listening to the oompa loompa music and the polka bands and the swing ladies with their ruffled panties and square dance crinolines.

The men, boys really, who hooted and hollered and goosed your ass and knew all the words to the She’s Too Fat For Me Polka.

I’m not shitting you.

It’s a fucking polka.

I don’t want her
You can have her
She’s too fat for me.
She’s too fat for me. She’s too fat for me
Oh
I don’t want her
You can have her
Please do that for me
She’s too fat
She’s too fat. She’s too fat for me.
I get dizzy
I get numbo.
When I’m dancing with my Jum-Jum-Jumbo.
She’s a twosome
She’s a foursomeIf she’d lose some I would like her moresome.

A polka that got stuck in my head today and I just wanted to shoot myself from it.
I have a date tomorrow.
It’s a bit of a blind date.
He hit me up on Tinder months ago and it turns out that he’s in my club, my secret, wink, wink, nudge, nudge club, and well, fuck you’re hot, but I don’t date guys with less than a year’s time.
Well.
Guess who got a year while I was at Burning Man?
Guess who texted me today and guess who has a date for tomorrow?
Um yeah.
And.
Ugh.
He might be at my yoga class in the morning.
I was like.
Noooooooooooooooo.
I mean, sure, that’d be fun, you’ll get to see me for the first time about a half hour after I wake up in the morning and my hairs in a bun on top of my head and no make up and I’m in crazy yoga pants and I’m not that good at yoga, and you’re like a fucking firefighter who surfs and is like cut and ding, ding, ding.
She’s Too Fat For Me Polka.
Bright and loud in my head.
I could slap myself.
THANKS BRAIN.
And the thing is.
Who the fuck cares?
I might not be this guys type.
But.
I am some guy’s type.
And.
I have another date on Sunday, with a guy I know who knows what I look like and so, whatever brain, I’m fine, this guy doesn’t like how I look in yoga pants, who gives a fuck?
Not I said the too fat for me polka.
“Excuse me, sir,” my manager said to my table, a big booth, B-7 I remember it well, at the Essen Haus, “I’m the manager and it appears that you’ve been harassing my employee.”
“AH, we’re just having a good time,” one of the guys laughed and snorted and guzzled some more beer.  I remember it running out the side of his mouth and getting stuck in his beard.
“That’s great, and I encourage a good time and I’m also going to encourage you to leave your waitress a 20% tip or you’ll get cut off and asked to leave my establishment,”  my manager looked the guy in the face who was turning a deep shade of brick red.
“And an apology,” she added.
My manager was a tough cookie, she couldn’t have been more than 23 or 24, fuck I ended up being the god damn GM at the place not soon after at the ripe old age of 22.  I look at 22 year olds today and I just can’t believe I was 22 and running a place that fucking big and busy.
Anyway.
I stood there just about as miserable as the table and wanted to sink into the floor.
I got a mumbled apology from the table and returned to my job.
“Don’t you ever let the fuckers grind you down with that “She’s Too Smart For Me” polka, fucker needs to be taken out who penned that shit,” my manager said fishing the pack of cigarettes out her cleavage.  “I’m gonna take a smoke break, they give you any more shit let me know and I’ll get rid of them.”
She flounced away in her pastel purple dirndl and I went to the bar to refill the boot of beer the table had ordered.
They did leave a good tip, a little over 20% and I kept on keeping on with the job until it was real obvious it was time to go.
It was a hard place to work.
My best friend asked me on the day she trained me, this was before she or I knew we were going to be friends, why I was working there.
“I mean, are you working here because there’s a cute pair of shoes you want to buy at East Towne Mall or are you working here because you need to pay rent?”  She asked me bluntly on the first day I was her service assistant.
“I owe my boyfriend two months back rent,” I said quietly.
“Fantastic!  You’re going to work out just fine,” and she got on with the training.
She was right.
She had a point.
No one works that kind of job for the good times and fun money, they work it because they need the money.
It was a hellish place to work.
Too hot in the summer, freezing in the winter, horrible management, myself included, I mean, come on, who the hell expects a 22 year old to properly be a General Manager of a top 500 company?
People were trashy, red necked, asshats, who tipped for shit and ate a lot of pretzels and wiener schnitzel and prime rib and fuck me, all the good damn Friday night fish fry you could eat, ALL YOU CAN EAT FOR  $8.95.
And boy howdy did they eat.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I burnt my arms on the pretzel trays taking them out of a convection oven that was over 500 degrees and walking them through the kitchen, around the expedite line, through the line of fire that was the kitchen door swinging open and shut, “coming through, HOT TRAY,” to finally dump the pan of pretzels in the warmer and then shove the hot tray off into the dish pile.
It was the job where my arches in my feet fell from being so constantly on my feet, running, literally running because it was so busy.
It was also a fantastic place to make friends.
And friends I made.
Friends I still have, twenty years later.
Pretty amazing.
Friends, I’m pretty sure who would say fuck you polka, fuck you too fat for me, she’s just fucking perfect.
And I am.
The date is just another experience and another step toward whomever I’m supposed to be with.
God’s got me.
I ain’t worried.
And I’m certainly not too fat for a mate.
Thanks for sharing head.
Now fuck off or I’ll sick my manager on you.
She’ll be back from her smoke break shortly.
Heh.

Impromptu Dance Party

May 14, 2016

My date cancelled.

And then.

I got my period.

It’s a Friday night.

And.

I’m at home.

AND I DON’T GIVE ONE FINE FUCK!

I finished my Clinical Relationship paper.

It’s done!

Done!

Done!

Oh sweet Jesus, the relief.

Excuse me, I just had another impromptu dance party in my chair.

Happy, happy.

Joy, joy.

11 full pages.

APA format.

References, title page, all the things.

Proper like.

3,744 words.

Thank you.

Thank you very fucking much.

Lucky one.

I am two.

Lucky three, the one for me.

One, two, three I’m on my knees.

Oh my god.

I’m in tears.

This music.

I get high.

I was listening to Masters of Reality, Sunrise on the Surfer Bus, twenty years ago.

Twenty.

In that house on Franklin Street in Madison, my roommates were my boyfriend Justin–he and I shared the big back room–we had a couple of Bengal leopard cats and a tabby (Mia, Tiger, and Porkchop)–and a king size water bed (giggle), Matt, Justin’s best friend, and Naboja–the heroin junkie from Serbia.

God we were wild.

Pot growing in the closets, cats running ruckus throughout the house, Matt’s girlfriend and I were arch nemesis (why?  I have no idea, but something to do with drinking the last of my milk and leaving the empty container in the fridge), Justin playing chess and smoking bongs, Naboja running in and out of the house with nefarious friends and black tar (God I was naive).

Justin cheated on me twice in that house.

And I stayed for five years.

(five years of no writing, no poetry, no words, no journal entries, note to self you die when you aren’t writing)

Oof.

The things I put myself through not knowing there was a way out.

However.

It was not all bad, there was sweetness and light and just as I introduced him to classical music and Blues and jazz (he became a total jazz junkie) he introduced me to Soul Coughing and Jeff Buckley, we saw them both in concert together–Buckley touring for Grace at the Barrymore and Soul Coughing on tour for Ruby Vroom at the Eagles Ballroom.

He made me listen to Sleater Kinney–saw them too, at the Union South of all places on campus, tiny little space and they slayed it, fucking killed it dead on the floor revived the bitch, then killed it again.

We saw Annie DiFranco at the Civic Center.

I think Justin was the only man in the audience who was straight.

Although his hair was so long from behind he could have been a girl.

We saw Primus, fucking loved Les Claypool so hard; he turned me on to Sepultura, although I had to be in the mood, once in a while, well, I was.

We saw Beck, Morphine, Cake.

So much good music.

He found a stained glass artist at the Farmer’s Market one sunny Saturday morning, I had closed the Essen Haus the night before, a crazy German restaurant and brew hall I worked notoriously long hours for, and he’d bought a pair of earrings from her.

They were long, almost a tear drop shape, navy blue, with small striations of sky blue and robins egg blue and white at the tips.  I eventually found that artisan again and asked her to make me sets of those earrings.

I don’t have any of them anymore.

Maybe I should look her up again.

They were gorgeous in their simplicity and when I wore my hair up and the sun hit them.

Magic.

That was what there were to me that day.

Magic.

Sex and love and passion and music and youth and beauty.

God.

I was so beautiful

(and fat and ugly and ugly and fat and you better do something about that or you’re going to grow up and be alone forever)

I had no idea.

I woke up tangled in the sheets on the water bed, Porkchop meowing at me, rolled out of bed and took a shower, I smelled like beer and cigarettes and rinder rouladen gravy and weinerschnitzle and schnapps and dirty dirndl.

Justin was not there.

There was no note, it was late, afternoon already, past noon, past one, heading into the golden bright light bouncing off James Madison park and the lake and I supposed that Justin was out throwing a frisbee at the park with the guys.

I showered and enjoyed having the apartment to myself.

I put on my favorite A-line skirt and a leotard, navy blue, and dried my hair into its big mass of curls.

I went into our bedroom and turned on Masters of Reality and began dancing, barefoot, to When Jody Sings (how interesting! I just realized my professor’s name for the Clinical Relationship is “Jyoti” is it odd?  Is it God? Is it counter transference?  Read my paper and find out), the skirt a soft, small print, I mean tiny, it was such a tiny print you almost couldn’t tell it was a print, of navy, red, and green plaid (it had been a house dress of my mom’s that never quite fit me in the bodice, so I ripped off the top and reconstructed it as a skirt) flaring out around my calves.

I love a skirt that flares when I spin.

I danced in the sunlight streaming through the windows, singing the song and delighting in my own self.

Justin was standing in the door way.

Smitten.

The look on his face.

I won’t soon forget.

I can still see it twenty years ago like it was this morning.

“Did you find your gift?” He asked me, smiling, his head tilted, bright eyed (high, oh so high) and lit up.

I paused in my dance, flustered, but pleased that he’d seen me in a moment (a rare one at the time) when I felt truly myself, truly beautiful.

Oh do I ache for her.

(yes, I know, I’m emotional, I got my period, roll with it please)

He walked across the wood floor, that odd way he walked sometimes, high, on the balls of his feet like he was cantilevered forward always rushing off into the future where things were brighter, higher, more rare and real, and he took my hand and led me to the window.

“These,” he said pointing at the earrings.

I had not seen them.

Hanging from the window screen, blazing in the sunlight like the ocean at sunset tonight when I rode my scooter home, thank you God for letting me live in San Francisco and see the fire of the setting sun on the water, thank you, dancing alive and dappled with shade from the oak trees rustling in the breeze.

“Oh,” I said, softly startled, inordinately pleased.

“They are so beautiful,” I took them off the screen and put them in my ears.

“So are you,” he said and kissed me.

The afternoon melted into evening and I wore them that night to work, they matched my dirndl.

And oh.

How far this woman has come.

So very far, across the country, through valleys and peaks and the lowest lows.

My voice broke tonight.

Sitting in the front row, the low lights hiding my face, the sudden tears, but nothing could hide the break in my voice as I described how grateful I was to be there.

Sitting there in that chair there, still not done with my paper (had to do the references when I got home tonight), but almost, the writing was done all 3,744 words, and though I was tired, up at 7:30 a.m. to do the work before I went to work, I was so profoundly grateful.

Who knew I was going to be this woman?

When I scootered off after school on Saturday night I snuck through Minna Alley.

It’s a one way.

There were needles and shit and homeless people and tents and crates and a woman smoking crack out of a pipe, the scent sweet, rotten, rotting, aching with the need to fill that hole that just cannot get whole.

“I was that woman, twelve years ago, sitting on a piece of cardboard smoking from a crack pipe, and now, now, here I am riding my scooter, that I paid for in cash, brand new, riding home from the graduate school that I go to around the corner,” I paused, my heart broke open.

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the fucking world.

And my paper’s done.

And my heart.

Well, once again, it is on my sleeve.

Exactly as it should be.

My love.

Exactly where it belongs.

Just there.

Love.

Just there.

 

 

Sounds Like Soup

February 13, 2014

Which does not sound like sexy, but trust me it is.

I really like to have some soup bubbling away on the stove while I write.

There is just something homey, and comforting, and yes, sexy about it.

How many of you are cooking for yourselves?

Cooking it seems, is a bit of a lost art.

I really like to do it and wouldn’t mind it at all if I could give myself a little more time to it.  But I get by with what I do and I am happy to have some simmering away right now.

Self-care is sexy, is what I am alluding to.

Not waiting for someone else to step in and care for me.

Currently on the stove is some red lentil soup with chicken and onion, garlic and tomatoes, and carrot, salt, pepper, a smidge of chili powder, and lots of cayenne.

I am going to cook it down a little bit longer, basically as long as this blog takes to well, blog, and then pull it from the stove to cool and then “can” it up in some single serving Mason jars I have in the house.

I also made a nice pot of brown rice.

It is going to taste like a spicy dhal with chicken and I will top it with some sliced avocado, should the mood strike, or even a little yogurt.

Yum.

I noticed the trending stats on my blog tonight and thought, well, shoot, looks like it’s going to be another low reading night from the constituency.

It appears that unless I am really writing about sex or dating or men or something of that ilk, my stats drop pretty quick.

Then again, out of nowhere, there are days when suddenly they shoot way up, someone Googles my blog and the person reads through a bunch of them.

I always wonder who is so curious about my life.

Who are you, stranger?

Friend?

Foe?

Ex-lover?

Possible future friend?

Some one who wants to hang out romantically?

Come on you can tell me.

Then I will feed you some soup.

Soup is sexy, I swear by it.

I make a mean chicken soup, no more noodles though, or dumplings, since I gave up that flour stuff, but my chicken soup is still pretty damn killer.

I also make a great French red lentil with spinach and broccoli and carrots, it’s vegan and you would never freaking know, it is so good.

I once gave my manager at the bike shop a jar of it, he’s a vegan, and I have never seen some one lavish as much attention on a bowl of food.

He told me later that he had to stop himself so that he could save half of it for later.

That is nice to hear.

I make a pretty good chili, it’s Wisconsin chili and my mom’s version, pretty much, where she got it, I am assuming is from my grandparents.

She also made a fantastic chicken soup–her version with the dumplings might be my all time favorite–and an autumnal vegetable soup that always made me happy to smell and be glad for fall.

I remember working at the Essen Haus and the soups there made me squeamish to even tell a table.

“That comes with soup or salad, house or small caesar, what may I bring you?” I would ask a table.

“What kind of soup do you have tonight?”

“Our soup today is beer cheese or liver dumpling.”

The looks on people’s faces.

Priceless.

The liver dumpling was apparently really good and I had a girlfriend who swore by it when ever she was on her period, but I never did try it.

I can still see the globes of liver floating in the brown bath of broth though.

Yick.

And beer cheese?

What the fuck is beer cheese?

Actually, beer cheese is pretty spanky good.

I wouldn’t eat it today, aside from the base being beer (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, alcohol cooks off, but you know, it would be just my luck.  Oh, did you hear?  She relapsed on beer cheese soup, said it tasted too much like the real thing and she went out for a lager which lead to an 8 ball) the base is also made with a flour roux.

But fuck me, if it’s done well, it’s extraordinary.

My boss at the Angelic, Woody, probably made the best version of it I have ever tasted.  It was creamy smooth (no lumps, and yeah, depending on the cook, there would be lumps, which is not so elegant, but hey, who is looking for elegant in beer cheese soup?) done with the Blonde Ale and sharp Wisconsin cheddar, kielbasa slices, onions, diced carrots, and bits of potato.

Jesus Lord it was good.

On a cold Wisconsin winter day, nothing better, with a couple of bread sticks to sop up the bottom of the bowl.

Amaze balls.

And yes, there was also another soup that he did well, and my God the first time I heard the name I just about barfed, but again, Woody pulled it off, Cheeseburger Soup.

Basically the same as the beer cheese soup, but with sautéed ground chuck instead of the kielbasa sausage.

It was damn skippy good.

Not soups I will be making any time soon, but they do bring back the memories.

I don’t know that I could have ever suspected the last time I had a bowl of beer cheese soup that I would ever be the type of person who would be cooking a pot of lentils on the stove, I hated lentils.

At least I hated the way my stepfather made them.

Although, come to think of it, it might be his chili recipe that I base mine off of.

No matter.

The soup, it is good, and I can smell that it is also close to being done.

As am I for the evening.

Time to wrap it up and attend to the rest of this evenings self-care needs.

Like putting up my soup for winter.

Ha.


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