Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

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.

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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.

 

Speak To Me

September 26, 2018

In the language of trees.

Specifically.

In the whisperings of God dropping through the boughs of the giant avocado tree.

Said tree that I stand next to at times, times of the day when I am alone at work, out on the balcony to the world staring down at the bowl of San Francisco from my perch.

A  perch just on the cusp of Glen Park.

Borderlands to Noe Valley.

A perch of privilege, a deck of wonders.

Who knew there was such a view?

Or that God would choose the avocado tree to teach me of my love for you.

For a moment I could not even remember if you liked avocados.

Then.

The memory of the first time I cooked you breakfast.

(You requested, something simple, like avocado toast, which you got, as well as prosciutto and asparagus fritatta with pecorino and grueyere and fruit, all organic and curated, and granola parfait, said toast dusted with sea salt collected by the soft milk white hands of virgins under the new moon–at least that is what I told you,  as it cost $58 a lb)

How I wanted to please you.

How I wanted to make you happy.

How I wanted to impress you.

And yes.

How I wanted to show you how much I loved you.

Although the words had not been uttered out loud.

They were there.

Lingering in the cast iron skillet I sautéed the asparagus in.

Late spring asparagus I had culled with much discernment at the market.

Everything needed to be just so for you.

You may see how mad I was to impress you.

See.

Here.

Here are my list of skills.

Cooking, obviously.

Did I tell you that I know how to make pie crust from scratch?

I know I must have enraptured you at some point with tales of apple pie and vanilla custard ice cream in the house in Windsor, in Wisconsin, with apples that I picked myself from the Cortland tree.

Apples that to this day I can taste faint, sweet, crisp, with a wicked whisper of tartness that reminds me of you.

You flavor my ways and days and the memory of you wicks through me some times with terrifying speed.

I digress.

Apples.

Apple pie.

Apple tart kisses, my bonny boy, my blue-eyed one, my love, my love, my ardent heart.

I digress.

Where was I?

Oh.

Yes.

Skills.

Cooking, cleaning, pie crust making, massage, poetry, recitations, love-making.

We were oh so good at that last, weren’t we lover?

Digressing again.

I shivered, it felt like withdrawal, in the car tonight, on my long drive home, waiting in line on Lincoln Avenue for the light to finally turn green so that I could turn on to 19th and head to Crossover Drive, to float down the hills, rolling and soft, like a asphalt veld, to the sea.

To 48th and Balboa, my new digs.

You were the first person to see it.

Just the bones, you know.

Just the bare walls and the wood floors and the oh so, oh my God, is it really all mine, deck.

I almost kissed you there, in the shadow of the house, I wanted you to kiss me there, in the corner of my heart, in my new home and cement yourself even further into my heart, is that possible?

It is I think.

You managed somehow.

And though I did not kiss you, I stopped, startled, stunned that I wasn’t allowed to kiss you anymore, momentarily forgetful of this whole grown up thing we are doing, the no contact thing that we keep breaking, like my heart, trying to find our way through the morass and the mire to that high road of love, I wanted to.

I wanted to kiss you.

And I did.

Later.

But I am not at later yet.

For.

I digress.

The digression too becomes a part and parcel to the piece.

Does it not?

Where was I?

Oh yes.

I was shivering.

Shaking with need, a good addict response, what had triggered me?

Aside, not digression, I hate that word, trigger, so banal, so trite, so overused and misunderstood, excuses to act out on desires, I was triggered, I could not help myself, what was it that pulled my focus, that made me shiver.

The damn car wash.

Remember that one?

You know the one, when we were on holiday, what a horrid way to misuse that word, from our sexual appetites, trying yet again to figure out how to be and not be with each other.

We’re just “friends” now.

I knew then, but did not say it, there is no going backwards.

So when we were just supposed to be going for a ride, just supposed to be talking, how we ended up at the gas station with the discount gas if you should happen to buy a car wash.

No overheated teenager ever made out more furious with passion than did we.

I do not know how long the water pelted down but it was not long enough.

It was never long enough with you and I.

And then I’m turning, the light is green, it is time to go, and I let the yellow and orange and white lights of the gas station melt away in the rear view mirror, but the song is still there and I still feel you in the air inside my car, some sort of ghost in the machine.

Deux ex machina.

And I feel you seeping under that layer of skin between muscle and sinew and I cry, out loud, your name in the darkened shell of my car, the dashboard lights the only witness to my pain.

I half expected you to text me immediately.

You do always know when I am almost there on the ledge of love waiting to leap and always wanting you to catch me when I fall.

But you didn’t.

Text me, that is.

No matter how much I may want you to.

You’re not allowed.

I am not allowed.

We are not in that place.

Yet.

And.

I do not know the place exactly that we are in now.

So.

I talk to the avocado tree at work.

I pace the back balcony, the view of the city spilled out before me like a sumptuous private banquet that only I shall eat at.

The clouds, high, and tight in the sky, flick past, but are not big enough to blot out all that wide open blue.

That sky that does me in.

You had to have eyes the color of the sky, didn’t you?

Eyes so blue, so deep, flecked with green and gold and burnished with love.

Like the leaves of the avocado tree.

Leaves that when ruffled against the blue of the sky remind me of when I fell, headlong, heedless, and in absolute knowing, that I was irreconcilable in my love, into the blue of your blue eyes, straight through to the sea of your soul.

I launched out upon that sea and I have never looked back.

And though I am so far from shore.

I know, I really do believe.

That if I can just decipher the secrets that the avocado tree is whispering to me I will unlock the key and bring you back.

Back.

Back.

Down to the sea.

Where the driftwood bonfires burn brightly on the edge of the ocean and the mermaids sing each to each.

Do not make me wait to be old, a Prufrock figure, with trousers rolled, feet bare to the sea-foam, pushed about by incoming waves of salt sadness and sea bream.

Come back to me my love.

Come back.

At least please see me in my dreams.

Where once again I will fall for you with nary a regret.

Never a regret.

Over.

And over.

And.

Over.

Again.

Always.

Will.

I fall.

For.

You.

 

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.

20,650 Steps

June 27, 2018

That’s how much I walked today.

I wasn’t even sure I was going to write this blog.

I just got out of a bath at the Air BnB I’m staying at in Brooklyn and I laid down on the bed and closed my eyes and I could have stayed there all night.

I mean.

I think I was lying there for at least five minutes, maybe more.

I got up though to put on lotion.

My skin has been changing a little, getting a little dryer as I get older and I don’t like how it feels, so I got up, slathered on some lotion and figured I would at least make an attempt at writing something.

I really did walk that many steps.

I actually walked more than that, I didn’t carry my phone with me all day, so there were a couple of flights of steps not counted and some pattering around the house exploring, but mainly, I was on the move today.

From flying out last night to landing here this early afternoon to strolling all over Brooklyn, I had quite a day.

I am pretty damn beat.

I got about three hours of sleep on the plane.

Not my best showing.

But I am sure I will catch up on that tonight.

And since I’m not on a schedule I can sleep as long as I like.

I have two plans for tomorrow.

The first is the Brooklyn Museum to see the David Bowie Exhibition and the Judy Chicago show.

The second is to see an old friend from SF who moved here years ago and go do the deal tomorrow night at 7:30p.m.

He and his girlfriend started something up a little while back that apparently is like what recovery is in San Francisco.

I had to laugh, since I’m a regular attendee at a spot that models itself after recovery in New York.

It’s always better where you got the message first.

So I will get a little piece of San Francisco tomorrow night, which is sweet.

It’s nice to still be connected to friends 13 years later.

I don’t foresee as much walking tomorrow as I did today.

The walking was actually not really planned.

I decided to walk around the neighborhood a little after I had gotten settled in and had taken a nice shower to wash off the airplane travel.

One block lead to another and another and another.

I like the neighborhood.

Very residential, lots of row houses.

God, I love the brown stones in Brooklyn.

And I love the culture of sitting on the stoop or in the front part of the brownstone, what would be a yard, but is just a square of cement patio.

I loved seeing so many people sitting out on the stoops and watching the neighborhood go by.

I felt like I fit in.

I could see living in Brooklyn, this part of Brooklyn anyway, I’m not quite as much of a fan of Williamsburg, which is quaint, but doesn’t have the row house appeal of this part of Brooklyn.

Bed-Stuy, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill.

Gorgeous houses.

They get fancier and fancier the closer to the water you get.

By the time I had walked to the Brooklyn Heights promenade I was pretty in awe of the houses.

So pretty.

Of course, I’ve only been here when it’s warm, I don’t know that I could deal with the winters, I know they are vicious.

I had enough winters being in Wisconsin as long as I was.

It’s warm, the day was warm, not too hot, it will get warmer as I stay.

Today was about 80 degrees, by Saturday it’s supposed to be low 90s.

It’s going to be hot, hot, hot.

But I will enjoy that too, when the sun goes down and I’m still outside walking around in a light weight dress.

I wore my bibs out today and got lots of compliments on them.

I also got lots of compliments on my tattoos.

I was actually surprised to not see more folks with tattoos, could just be the part of the city I’m in, who knows.

I had a conversation outside a coffee shop on Lafayette Avenue with a youngish girl who wanted to pick my brain as she was planning her first tattoo.

We had quite the conversation.

I like that I can just fall into talking with people, it feels nice.

I did have a moment of feeling a tiny bit lonely tonight when I was back at the Air BnB having procured food from the Whole Foods three miles away.

That was the last stop on my walk, and I have to say, I was a bit out of it by that point.

But.

I did manage to wrangle up breakfast food, coffee, snacks, cold brewed coffee, bottled water, and fruit for the rest of the week.

I plan on eating breakfast at the house and then other meals out.

Although I only ate one meal out today, and it wasn’t with much fan fare, though I have to say, it was nice to eat it outside on the patio at the joint I went to in Fort Greene.

Dinner I didn’t have it in me to plan, cook, or go out for, I was too tired after getting back from the grocery store.

I made oatmeal and a hard-boiled egg.

I’m sure I will eat out plenty the rest of the week.

Anyway.

I’m happy to be here and excited for sleep and to see what the rest of the week shall bring.

Here.

Let me at least leave you with a few photos:

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And now.

Now.

It is time for the rest.

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.

 

Emotional Attachment

June 12, 2018

I woke up a tiny bit off.

Not a lot, but just enough to notice.

I felt a little flat.

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

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

You know.

Routine.

I can check out a little in my routine.

But.

It all came clear when I peeped social media.

Oh hi there.

I wasn’t expecting to see that.

But.

I should have.

I have been sensing it in the air.

I thought about it a couple of days ago.

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

And yes.

Thanks social media.

There it was on Facebook.

Hi papa.

Happy birthday.

Today you turned 69.

Sigh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I bought it for my dad.

I left all my information in it.

My phone number.

My address.

My email.

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

I told him I forgave him.

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

And I asked him to forgive me.

He wasn’t always the best dad.

I wasn’t always the best daughter.

And I let him go.

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

He never did.

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

I had to take care of myself.

I kissed him on the cheek.

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

My eyes welled up with tears and I left.

He woke up about a week later.

On my birthday of all days.

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

I answered.

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

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

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

Sigh.

Happy birthday.

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

He’d been in the coma for two weeks.

Then he cawed at me.

“Caw! Caw!”

Like a crow.

Like a raven.

I teared up.

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

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

I felt big crashing waves of emotions.

And then.

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

And accident that was propelled and fueled by his alcoholism.

Those were the last words I got from my dad.

I wondered about him today.

I felt a similar feeling last year around this time.

An urge to reach out.

An urge to connect.

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

It was disconnected.

Just like I was.

Detached.

Removed.

Far, far, far away.

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

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

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

I lit that candle tonight when I got home.

Kona coffee scented.

Seems apropos.

My father was born in Hawaii.

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

I won’t reach out further.

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

Rather.

Today.

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

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

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

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

Then I loved hard at work.

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

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

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

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

And.

Oh.

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

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

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

It was the most heartbreakingly sweet thing ever.

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

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

And I’m ok with that.

They did the best they could.

Besides

I have such amazing family in my life.

My family of choice.

And for that I am beyond grateful.

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

 

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.

A Tire Swing

June 2, 2018

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

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

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I adore a good tire swing.

This was one of the better ones I have seen.

If not the best.

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

I did not go for a ride on the swing.

Though I was sorely tempted.

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

It was such a pretty day.

Sunny and warm.

Not typical San Francisco weather.

Then again.

I wasn’t in San Francisco.

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

San Gregorio is tiny.

Population 214.

There’s a general store and a post office.

And then just beautiful rolling mountains.

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

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

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

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

On a goat farm.

Yes.

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

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

I love animals.

And I am good with them.

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

Especially knowing that where we were going was warmer.

Ha.

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

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

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

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

It made me laugh though.

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

Sidebar.

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

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

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

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

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

Done.

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

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

Anyway.

Like I said.

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

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

And he did.

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

Such joy.

It filled me up.

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

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

It was my savior.

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

The tire swing.

It was safe.

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

I was in that swing every day until we moved.

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

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

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

I was happy in that swing.

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

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

Now.

And.

Always.

 

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.


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