Wednesday, December 31, 2008

year end inventory

he's putting on his coat. he's saying his goodbyes. he is preparing to leave the party. (is it my imagination, or has he had a little too much to drink? will someone please call him a cab?)

usually, i can't wait for him to go. i count the minutes, kiss him goodbye and shove him out the door. his exit now, though, is bittersweet. i hate to see him go. i do. no matter how far away he gets - this long, hard, joyful year - he'll linger long here ... in notes and pictures and smiles that take me by surprise and memories that erupt with little provocation.

and as this year gives way to another, it should be easy to spot the things that are missing ... the things i want ... the people far away ... that which i've been denied. but i just can't. not this time. nope.

there's stock to be taken, for sure, but this year, the year-end inventory is all about the things i have. good. bad. in between. they're mine. and they're (finally) all that i can see ...

what do i have that's all mine?

i have a cold. that's a lie. i don't have a cold. i have bronchitis. and if i keep coughing like this, i'll also have a concussion.

i have a job i love and can be quite good at. and i get to spend my days surrounded by lovely things and lovelier people.

i have finally voted in an election where my candidate won! and as a result, i finally have hope that the world might become a better place.

i have a jones for wii bowling. i love it! and i can be quite good. i am also a gold medalist in pool and in the shooting game. i am wicked fast. do not ask me to play anything that requires that nunchuck thing, though. it's the devil's tool.

i have a talent for inventing 'wii' wii-lated words. in fact, in the near future, i'll be publishing a 'dictionar-wii.' (for instance: where would you go to treat your injur-wii? the emergenc-wii room.) okay. perhaps it's not so much a 'talent' as an obsession. (i'm capt-wii-vated.)

i have a parking place for the night, just outside my door. a space where there is no street sweeping or hourly restrictions of any kind. a space that allows me to sleep in on my day off for as long as i can. which will be until 8 a.m., because ...

i also have an early morning pancake date with the two most adorable little girls you'd ever want to meet. their curiosity, their bottomless joy, they call up the same thing in me and i am powerless to resist. not a day off or a warm bed or great parking will keep me from those pancakes.

i have a handful of perfect days. i'd never had what i considered to be a 'perfect' day until this year. 11.1 was the first. it began and ended with a cup of coffee ... and in between, there were 'watermelon wonders' and the hollywood sign and jason mraz singing sweetly under an autumn sky. i've had a few more 'perfect' days since. and they surprise me every time. as much by my ability to recognize them as by their arrival. (who knew perfect days were like stars? ... once you discover one, you see the whole sky is filled with them. )

i have lost the ability to appreciate microwave popcorn. coffee made by an automatic drip. or pasta from a box.

i have a mother who is loopy as hell. she is also generous and silly and strong ... and completely unable to complete a conversation with only ONE phone call. (really, mom? was the call to talk about dwarfs on the learning channel completely necessary?)

i have a sister who is awesome. (no more explanation is necessary. laurie t. is awesome. period.)

i have a good understanding of the things i will never have, whether by choice or chance. i will never have small hips. or shoulders. or ideas. i will never have lots of money. or a boat. or fame. or a job i hate. i will never have fake fingernails. or breasts. or friends.

and i have really good friends. and it's not just that i have 'good friends;' i have genuinely good people in my life. good people. genuine people. they're smart and skilled and brave and funny. they teach me things. they let me be strong. and encourage me to be weak once and awhile and they hold me up when i can't stand on my own anymore. they celebrate the little things. and the big things. they warm my hands and bring me chocolate and lunch and tell me i'm beautiful. and when i get all twisted and twirly, they point me back toward the light. i have jenni and christopher and laurie t. and amy and meg and michael and corrine and lynda and tri and robert and maria and katharine and elizabeth and shannon and lindsey and brian and grace and isabella and ...

i have found friends from long ago, or rather, they found me. they're crushes and lovers and boys i loved who didn't love me back. they're castmates and teammates and soulmates. they're friends, turned rivals, turned friends again. they are people who meant the world to me, before my world got in the way. people who liked me long before i liked me and with whom i am excited to share this older, wiser version. for better or worse.

i have discovered that all it took to save myself was to 'ruin' my life. has that ever happened to you? do you know what i mean? this year, i battered down the walls of my life and let in the sun, and the wind, and the ice and snow. and i believe it was worth every drop of pain it's brought me. every time.

i have a desire to get another tattoo ... some little symbol to remind me of the light inside me; the light i shouldn't let go out ... a reminder of life and a reminder of how i was brought to life, not just once, but many times this year ... a reminder that the rough parts are a part of being alive and must be felt fully in order to experience joy.

and i have love. and not just the really, really big try seafood because he asked me to; let him eat the last piece of cheesecake; hold a radio over my head outside his window kind. no. it's also the sit quietly in the same room and read while he works; let him win at scrabble - 'cause when he wins, we both win; drink manhattans, watch 'mad men' and stay up all night kind. and the go ahead and say the things that need to be said no matter how afraid we might be of the outcome; believe him when he tells me i'm sweet and beautiful and not like anyone he's ever met; snuggle under the covers and read bedtime stories with the girls' kind. but mostly, it's the never saw it coming; wouldn't trade it for the world no matter what; i'm the best version of myself in his presence kind.

i have a sneaking suspicion he loves me, too.

and i finally have a pretty good view of 'forever' up ahead. if i start running now, i think i can make it.

see you there.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

yes, virginia. there is a santa claus.

was there ever something you knew for sure would someday be yours ... to have ... to experience ... to be?

was there ever a day you admitted to yourself that it wouldn't materialize? and were you lucky enough to find peace in that admission?

and were you luckier, still, to find one day that it might finally come to pass?

today was such a day for me and i am impossibly grateful for even the possibility of it.

and so i go to sleep tonight, knowing morning will come far too soon ... work will be hard and long ... but with this 'hello kitty' stamp on my hand and these braids knotted by tiny five.year.old hands ... i couldn't be happier if i tried.

Monday, December 15, 2008

... until then ...

hello, dear friends. happy ten days before christmas.

i trust that you're rushing about, enjoying home and friends and the warm texas sun.

it's cold and rainy where i am today. i love the rain here. the clouds, like everyone else in southern california, are polite, bringing themselves as close to the ground as they can so that the drops, plump and newborn, won't have far to fall. everything gets all shimmery and fresh-smelling and i get lost in the green and beauty of it all.

it's strange, still, to think of you, half a day and what feels like half a world and another season away. but still, from opposite ends of the earth, we get to meet here.

there is much to say ... tales of retail anthropology, my injur-wiis and my blinking reindeer nose ... of parking woes and new favorite things and giant leaps of faith.

but, the new day has already arrived and i should stock up on sleep before the real rush begins. (aside from holiday madness, i am in sale prep again, flipping our floor and racing headlong into 'spring.' and in the midst, days off will be few and far between. still, it will help me appreciate the rest when it finally comes down, no?)

but do tell ... where are you headed today?

i imagine you're immersed somewhere in sunshine and shopping and (hopefully) the relaxation of home and the holiday there. and i wish i could be nearer somehow.

and yes. i know i owe you a letter.

until then ...

a kiss. and another. i miss you.

... la

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

right, right away

over and over there has been this question for me ... what does it mean when you meet someone and you feel something - this shininess coming from them, some kind of glimmer of recognition about them you can feel all the way down to your stomach? is it desperately important? a missed opportunity if you don't catch it?

i've missed many. they came at me when i wasn't looking; when i wasn't remotely ready; when i just wanted to be left alone. and they never looked the way they were supposed to look or the way i thought they would.

and so i stood there, immovable in my fear and my embarrassment ... blinded by supposition and intimidation ... made mute by uncertainty or history ... and always by my own decision.

i let them go by. one after another. until i couldn't feel them anymore ...

... until the day a half-smile and a lopsided-gait threw me to the ground and knocked the wind out of me.

and in these days that follow, i've made the choice not to let the things i don't do define me. i've stopped being embarrassed of myself, hiding bits of me away, being 'hard to know,' playing 'hard to get.' and i've never been so happy.

though, it's harder than i thought it would be. and what makes it hard is that it comes so easily. and everyone knows (and are only too happy to remind me) that it isn't supposed to be this easy. or this soon. or this right. at least not right away.

and, sometimes, against my better judgement, i listen to 'everyone.' i measure my experience against the 'should be's' and the 'supposed to's.' and knowing my luck the way i do, i wonder if there will come a day when the other shoe will drop ... if fate will step in and tell me it was only kidding. i wonder if the next time will be the last time and if, in the surrender, i'll be the thing that has to give.

but i wonder, more, if i haven't finally lived long enough, hard enough, sweetly enough, that this is my reward. i wonder if this is what i've been waiting for. or rather, if this has been waiting for me ... to catch up, to figure it out, to finally deserve my happiness ... and not just deserve it, but finally reach out and take it.

maybe that's what everyone's supposed to do. maybe it's just that easy after all.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

the maker's mark

friends don't let friends write drunk.


there are no footprints marking the place where she stood. there is no warmth. there are no markers. there is not a trace.

still, he carries her, like the weight of the world. he reeks of her, like scotch and smoke.

he gave her love. he gave her loyalty. she gave him daughters and doubt ... until he couldn't see himself - with her or without her.

still, he knows exactly who he wants to be ... who he is ... with me. even if he can't get there. yet.

and so, he sinks into the smell and sight and touch of me, letting himself be wooed again. feeling scars heal, bones mend; he walks the tightrope of his own happiness.

i am the music he hears; the girl who fills his eyes up and makes him want to trust again ... and still, i can't unbreak his heart.

but if i could, i swear, i would kiss him softly - no, passionately - and breathe into him liberation and certitude - so that all things would be as they should. and i would love him more than she ever could.

and i would stand still. and tall. and strong. and without fail ... in the spot where she stood.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


i see them all the time. the wounded girls. in their summer clothes, bags in hand. wandering the streets with their hearts on their sleeves, their heartbreak on their faces. i walk among them, moving in the same direction, but apart. separate. above.

or so i thought.

it drifts in, you know ... the doubt, the insecurity, the fear, the ache ... like the ocean you can't see, but you can smell. it drifts in ... creating a storm in my brain. making me angry and sullen. i breathe fire.

it drifts in ... when the things that are momentous to me are of little moment to others. when i catch a glimpse of the life that was slapped away. when the ghosts climb in my buggy. when i realize i'm a ripple, and not the tidal wave i'd hoped to be.

it drifts in ... and the words won't come. or come in fits and starts, like my breath. it drifts in and my tongue dissolves into a pillar of salt. i close my eyes and put my guard up. i practice not loving you. to keep it at bay. i sting as i lick my own wounds.

i walk home in the heavy evening air. a long walk. unwelcome tonight. my eyes, bee-stung from crying and aching with the newness of it all.

(i have to admit, i find my own weakness embarrassing.)

i come upon another wounded girl, parked too far from home and waiting for the light to change. (aren't we all waiting for the light to change?)

'break up with your boyfriend, too?' she asks.

'he's not my boyfriend,' i say.

and she laughs. loud. long. surprising us both.

and just for a fleeting moment, like lightning hanging in the summer sky, i am myself again. the girl who makes people laugh. the girl with the perfect hair who holds hands and listens to sad stories and who makes things better.

and the corner girl, she'll never know me any differently. which is good. because as she walks away, laughing still, i feel you catch in my throat. and i can smell the ocean again.

Monday, September 22, 2008

all about eve

i love eve ensler. i do. especially now...

Eve Ensler, the American playwright, performer, feminist and activist best known for 'The Vagina Monologues', wrote the following about Sarah Palin:

Drill, Drill, Drill

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares.

I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears.

Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women.

I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country choose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, 'It was a task from God.'

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes. Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking.

From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing.

It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, 'Drill Drill Drill.'

I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

Eve Ensler
September 5, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

when it don't come easy

this song used to remind me of the person i wanted to be. i listened to it this evening and it occurred to me that it's about the person i've become ... that best version of myself ... the one who revealed herself the day i met you. how lucky for us both.

patty griffin - when it don't come easy

Friday, July 25, 2008

what if?

over and over there's a thought that stays with me ...

what if everyone else got it wrong? what if 'the way it's supposed to be' isn't the way it's supposed to be at all? what if it is just this easy and we're the only ones in on the joke?

wouldn't that be funny?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

make it yours

this is my favorite song. watching this might just make it yours, too. (i dare you not to dance along.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the edge

after running circle after circle, i am standing somewhere i've never stood before ... right on the edge of everything i want.

over my shoulder is the long road i took to get here ... winding and rocky and paved with the best of intentions. and up ahead is a grove and a voice whispering in my ear and for the first time, my excitement is greater than my fear.

tomorrow is the day i take the first step forward ... out of my head and on with my life.

what am i gonna wear?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


the first time you fall in love, it changes you forever.

i know.

his name was e. he was tall and funny and i loved him more that winter than i've loved anyone since ... strong and true and completely without fear or guile ... the way i hope to love again someday.

when he ended things, it was over the phone. it was vague. and i was undone. i never knew the reason for the split and it was there, i think, that my imagination began its marathon ... running far and fast ahead of me, dodging logic and running circles 'round reason. i assumed he'd found someone more beautiful, more intelligent, closer to home ... more of everything and less of me. i figured - no, i knew - i wasn't enough.

i wasn't entirely wrong.

i saw him one last time, in a hallway. he was standing with his back to me and she was leaning into him. it was she who saw me first and when he turned, he seemed embarrassed. sad, too. he shrugged, a meager attempt at an apology, i imagined, as the girl revealed herself and my world skipped a beat.

her name was k. and she was my arch nemesis. (when you're sixteen - all elbows and lip gloss and drama, it's okay to have an arch nemesis. it's expected, even.)

she was tall and blonde and beautiful ... cool, in that effortless way the wealthy seem born with. she was the opposite of me in every way. we knew each other, though not well, through competition; always finishing first and second, always wanting to best the other.

she smiled, then, slyly and looked down at me, heavy lidded and pleased with herself ... smug and victorious ... and held him, tightly - the way she'd hold any other trophy.

i didn't know what to do, so i did what it turns out i now always do when i hear my heart start to break ... i smiled, as warmly as i could, took a few steps backwards and walked away. and i never looked back.

i almost never look back.

that cut was deep and the scar remains ... thick, though softer now with age, and fading slightly. it manifests itself in my overdeveloped fear of rejection. unwarranted, some say, but still, i am who i am and i do what i do. and in the beginnings of things, or in the middle (when i'm happy and my guard is down), i am certain that it's waiting around the next corner, at the end of the hallway, leaning against a wall.

it goes away. it does. it burns off, with heat and light, like the fog outside my window and i like to think it keeps me humble, grateful, present. but mostly, i think it means i miss the simple joy of things ... of a compliment, of a conversation, of a meal ... and i don't want to do that. i think it means i push when i don't mean to and race ahead when i really would be content to walk ... and i don't want to do that. i don't want to make it easy for people to walk right in and out of my life. not anymore. i've had enough.

i want to give myself a chance to feel in this moment - as this moment - and not with any eye to yesterday or tomorrow. i want to just be ... for myself ... right now. there is time. there is always time.

i know.

because e. and i found each other again and are friends, now. the best kind. (the kind who keeps the connection to the person i used to be - that earliest version of myself, when the whole wide world was open to me and all i had to do was choose a direction, pick my path. the kind who represents potential and possibility in their purest forms - before heartbreak. or doubt. or envy. or vanity. before responsibility. and obligation. and compromise. before. the kind who knows my history and keeps my secrets and who understands the power of gravity.)

and last night, he told me the story of the hallway. from his side. and how he's never been more at odds with himself than he was in that moment - one girl wrapped around him; the other deep inside him. and how, when he needed them most, his words failed him. how, in that moment, and in the days and weeks before, he was the one who wasn't 'enough.' it was never about me at all. not everything is about me.

and suddenly, everything looks a little different. and the fog is burning off. and so is the fear.

yeah. the first time i fell in love, it changed me forever.

it's changing me again.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

independence day

i can take a punch as good as anyone, but this one's gonna leave a bruise.

Monday, June 30, 2008

mad woman's lib

sometimes, i am so obtuse. or as my friend, mylinh, says, 'oblong.'

i am so oblong.

i've let my imagination get the best of me ... racing forward as if life were one giant mad-lib - hurriedly filling in the blanks all by myself, when they might best be left open for awhile ... or given patiently, graciously to another to fulfill.

i, in all my oblongitude, pretend i have all the answers when i don't, really. really, i don't.

as hard as i try, i can't conjure them, can't tidy them up - they will arrive when they wish and they will be fragile and messy and they will be misspelled. they will be perfect in their imperfection.

and i will welcome them when they come ... when they tiptoe in behind me, slide in close and quiet as i sleep, crash into me full stop ... whether by text or by tongue.

the discovery, after all, the 'not knowing'... that is the real adventure - and the remedy itself ... to heal us all and make us wise before the fall.

someone bless us fools.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

molten marrow and the face of joy

there was an unusual man who wandered into my store on occasion. to use the restroom, to sit in a comfortable chair and listen to the conversations going on around him, to drain the last drops from the abandoned starbucks cups customers leave on tables and counters. he was always polite and friendly. his smile - warm and porous. and when he laughed, which was often, his tongue stuck out and between his teeth. in those moments, i think he defined 'joy.'

he made people nervous. but he almost never spoke to anyone and he never stayed long. and he always cleaned up the bathroom a little and pushed in his chair when he was finished. and he always took his empty paper cup with him. (which was more than i can say for anyone else who ventured in.)

despite protests from staff and customers, i never asked him to leave. in fact, i was likely to hover nearby and help him keep his peace. (sometimes, i'd slip him a bottle of water or sneak him a doughnut from the kitchen. it was the least i could do, he was quite generous with a smile.) we never spoke, until one day last year, just before i moved away.

as i passed by him, he reached out to me. his touch tender, despite the roughness of his hand. and when i turned to him, he looked directly into my eyes, like he was looking for something in me ... i'm not sure what, but i could hear my heart slow as he did. and when he'd found whatever that was, his hand squeezed my hand and he said, 'you used to be ... and people still mistake you for ... a comet. but really, you are a volcano. and your eruption will be powerful. and beautiful. and true.'

and then he was gone.

and i couldn't quite move. i felt suddenly undone. i couldn't, in that moment, completely grasp what it meant, but i knew that it was important, for a million different reasons, not the least of which was that he took the time to look at me ... look inside me and through me and to connect. to give me this little gift of his insight. unexpected and curious.

it's been with me for awhile now. i turn it over and around in my head as i move into my new life, wondering what he meant and when i'll feel what he felt in me. i've been waiting. and a whisper in my mouth, in the deepest, darkest part of the night finally convinced me he was right. i was a comet ...

a small body, something out of ice and stars (cold and painful), orbiting the sun. my layers melting and evaporating; my tail of dust illuminated by someone else's light. i would appear out of nowhere in the sky and gradually vanish out of sight.

and now, maybe i am a volcano ...

an opening in the surface of the earth where the plates, like thoughts, have shifted. coming together, pulling apart in an erratic dance of history and mystery and magic. a head in gold tipped clouds. steamy pillars rising into blue skies. smoking green lakes. the wild play of colours on the walls inside, once dormant, now showing signs of unrest. heat rising, steam seeping, turning, rolling, spitting, grinding, laying bare my insides. the molten marrow, undiscovered deep below, breaking free into the boundless sky and landing softly on new ground bourne of fire.

unimagined, unspoiled beauty. unbound power. perchance, and weather permitting, the sole true power you want to surrender to.

and i'll never let anyone tell me differently.

Friday, June 27, 2008

just like riding a bike

it's been a long time since i've ridden a bike. a very, very, very long time.

even as i love everything about it ... the sweat, the heavy breathing; the way it messes up my perfect hair and makes my thighs ache; the adrenaline rush, the fatigue, the speed at which i feel i might come apart ... still, i haven't been able to bring myself to climb aboard.

why? fear, mostly. and i don't know the neighborhood. there's a lot of traffic. and i don't have a helmet. or a little bell to signal i'm coming. and i don't know the hand signals or the etiquette and i'm afraid of falling ... of crashing ... again, actually ... and of acquiring new scars. (for a girl of such hardy stock, i am a remarkably fragile little egg. reparation would take at least all the king's horses and all of his men.)

but in this last week, i found myself having trouble walking where walking was once easy and so, when a bike was offered, i climbed on board. and now, it's something i can't get enough of ... like sugar. or music. the sheer joy of it, stealing away my oxygen ... taking me to a place where there are no words and no need to use them ... where hours pass like minutes and i feel the old instincts take over.

and everything aches. my muscles simultaneously rebelling and rejoicing ... from the motion, from the effort, from the absolute excitement of it ... and from the uncertainty of never knowing how far i'll go or how long i'll be gone or exactly where i'm headed.

there is no map to get me from here to there ... there is only instinct. and overwhelming desire. and hope. faint, but powerful.

i'm riding my bike again.

god. i hope i don't fall.

(and if i should, wish for me a spectacular crash - the kind that leaves me shattered, wonderfully, and with only the most interesting of scars.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

a long day's journey into night

hello, she says softly, brightly.

today is the longest day of the year...summer solstice...the day we are as close to the sun as we'll ever be, and it brings with it a delicious and unexpected heat. i revel in it, bathe in it, let it swirl over me and into the pores of my skin. tomorrow, we can begin creeping toward winter. but for today, the sun shines high and hot and long, the birds sing loud and late and life is full of goodness and light.

i am certain i will smile in my sleep.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


can you see the moon from where you are?

she's making an appearance, just now, outside my window. bright and lovely and completely full of herself. and why shouldn't she be? the sun's been chasing her round and around all day ... just trying to light up her face.

the night is slowly rolling in. everything covered in a thick blanket of fog. fog, which i'm told is actually 'the marine layer' ... the sea reaching all the way to the hills. it is the highest of tides, i suppose, and always a lovely excuse to burrow in for the evening.

you wouldn't know it now, but today was the most beautiful of days. i have a pink nose and twenty-three new freckles to prove it.

i spent the morning on the beach, enjoying the smell of june, walking through the waves and watching kids play in the sand - every one of us all sunsoaked and shimmery. i followed the shoreline up to the museum and lost myself in the exhibits there (as i'm wont to do), though, if i'm honest, it was a different sort of display that captivated me today.

he was tall. and she was not. they started together in front of a painting, not speaking, just enjoying the art and the nearness of one other. and then she leaned into him, ever so slightly, looked up into his face, and slipped under his arm and away to another piece. in another room, he came up behind her and touched the small of her back and she melted into his hand. he folded her into him and kissed her softly on the top of her head.

that's how it was. they'd separate to follow their own interests and then they'd pass one another and touch ... kiss a hand, run fingers down an arm ...

i saw them one last time, before they were leaving, i suppose. they ended up on opposite sides of the gallery and she looked past me, over to him and he smiled in such a way it made me blush. they started to walk toward one another and when they met, inches from where i sat, they spoke in a hush and though i couldn't hear, i imagine he breathed, 'i missed you.' and she whispered, 'i'm here now.'

i was trespassing in a moment that wasn't mine.

i tried to pull my loneliness around me, invoking its cloak of invisibility, but it was of no use. they redefined the force of gravity and i was overcome ...

... by their heat and their easy intimacy (reminding me what it is to be so close to someone that there's nothing between us but our breath and our skin) ... by their confidence ... by the idea that love like that can exist in a world like this ... by the absence of these things in my own world ...

when i finally stepped outside again, an hour had passed, and with it the longing and the melancholy (is there nothing sunshine can't undo?), and i began the long walk home, moving forward with a sense of responsibility for the life i've created, the life i've always wanted.

no part of this is easy, nurturing this life i want to live into being. and the resulting chorus in my head is loud and painful and sometimes sends me back into my shell. i have to force myself back out into the open, back toward the light. it is never easy for me - no matter how silly and positive and carefree i am. it's a choice i make everyday.

and so, i become penelope - weaving and unweaving, getting restless and longing to display myself to my suitors, fan their hearts, inflame them more and wondering when it will feel right.

and i wonder ... when the ending is done, where do you begin?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


i am drunk ... with desire. with joy. with nyquil.

i don't know if it's an attack of hay fever, of spring fever or simply a good, old fashioned cold, with the attending rib-rattling cough, but i am feverish and can feel my pulse in my head. and my libido is in overdrive.

i thought sleep might give it pause, but the half-drowsy, half-aroused (or should i call it 'adrowsed') state, has only delivered the most delicious of thoughts ... and so i awake, flushed and freckled, to the sound of this ancient ceiling fan and to the idea of muscles moving beneath my hands and soup for two.

this rush of pure glandular energy will surely subside soon and in its place? ... clear breathing and peaceful dreams.

but what if it doesn't?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

the french kiss

i cannot resist the call of champagne ... the way it whispers to me from the glass, the bubbles tickling my upper lip and sending my heart racing as in the split second before a kiss.

this evening, the glass was raised (repeatedly) in honor of my dear friend, megan, on the occasion of her commencement. she has left me alone, now, bottle in hand, having left the table to take a tumble with the boy du jour ... and who can blame her? delightful as the champagne's french kiss is, it cannot best the buss of your best boy.

i bid her adieu and wish her well - even if i am beyond envy.

'hap'py father's day

i have a friend who has two beautiful daughters. and when he speaks of them, it's as if he's lit from within. there is a color of light in him only they can make shine.

it is a joy to experience, even vicariously, that particular brand of love. i can't get enough of it, even if, on occasion, it breaks my heart.

i never knew my dad in any real or measurable way. i know some details:

his name was stanley frederick, but everyone called him 'hap' because, as a friend of his wrote, 'he was so goddamn happy all the time.'

he was a born leader, i'm told. had a beautiful voice - sang tenor in his acapella group. he studied philosophy at the university of chicago. he was a beta theta pi.

he was athletic and funny and loved to laugh. he was a good writer. he wasn't afraid to let his voice be heard and always had something nice or positive to say. he looked out for friends and took good care of strangers and made them his friends.

he loved music. and hunting. he loved his little town. he loved his dad. and his wife. and his baby girl.

he died when i was forty days old ... killed in the vietnam war. (which is why it sickens me that there is new generation of children who will learn to say, 'my dad died in the {fill in the blank} war.')

i have his cheekbones. and his eyes. i have his smile, his small hands, small feet. i have his 'bubble butt.' i hope i have his kindness and his generosity and his spirit, too. and i wish i had him here. even if only for the day.

i'd ask him to sing something. and tell me a story. and then we would just sit on the steps leading to the beach and watch the stray cats come close and enjoy the smell of the ocean and the closeness and the late light from the afternoon sun.

it would be enough just to see my eyes looking back at me and my tiny hand in his ... and the color of light in him that only i can make shine.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


it's right, you know. that saying ... 'you can't go home again.' i know. i've tried. 'home' as i used to define it, doesn't suit me anymore. it's sad and true and enlivening all at once.

still, some days, 'home' comes to me - in the form of a phone call or a letter - from friends there.

today, it's elizabeth ... with all her sweetness and second-guessing. she is the only person i've ever met who loves everyone she loves wholly and without condition. except herself. but she's figuring that out. and when she gets stuck, she calls on me. it is an honor and a pleasure, indeed.

too, there's 'm' - the daughter of a woman i used to work with. she is small. and loud. and smart. and kind. and she is having a bad week. she broke up with her boyfriend and fought with her best friend and is trying to forget that somewhere in between was the anniversary of her father's death. she is a beautiful mess ... as all sixteen year old girls should be. she hates her hair and her height and her mother and, for reasons which defy logic, wants to be 'just like' me when she grows up.

she saw a photo of me and texted me to say, 'wow. you look hot!'

'hot?' i asked. (on the one hand, i'm tempted to ignore her sixteen year old sensibility. 'hot' is not a word usually used to describe me. 'cute' - i have cornered the market on cute. on the other hand, though ... who am i to deny my heat?)

'perfect.' she said.

of course, i'm not perfect, and i wouldn't choose to be, if i could. but that one word and its sentiment are still ringing in my ears ... reminding me how easy it is to forget how we look to others.

i look in the mirror and i don't immediately see 'strong,' 'confident,' 'beautiful' or 'perfect.' i see 'silly,' 'confused,' 'older,' ... a hundred different things. i look in the mirror and see that where others are made of blood and sinew, i am tempered glass - bulletproof, but shattered quietly and out of sight.

so, i think i'll tell her that if she truly wants to be 'like' me, she'll have to forget about being perfect; just jump in and make the big mistakes; she should remember the rules and not hurt anyone else; have fun and bring others along if she gets the chance. and, above all, just be real.

life, i think, demands authenticity. and kindness. and cheesecake.

Friday, June 13, 2008

luck is in the eye of the beholder

it's friday the 13th and i'm wondering ... what are you afraid of?

for me it's lizards and stage mothers ... having my car towed again ... tori spelling ... calamari ... never escaping a past i did not help create.

yesterday was the first in my long line of very early mornings. rising with the moon, feeling the weight of my job as i pour myself into bed later. (i love this time of year. i do not enjoy the actual waking, though ... looking at the clock in the dark and knowing i need to leave the warmth of my dreams hurts my feelings a little.) and the morning was especially dark.

the events themselves are not important. when viewed independently, they are comical almost - their depth and breadth not nearly as heavy as their collective weight. they will make great stories ... next week ... and i will almost be unable to tell them, laughing so hard in their midst i will have to pause for breath to continue. but i was crushed under their weight ... crushed under the wait for that kinder, gentler, easier sort of day. the kind others seem to pass through with ease and without knowledge that it could ever be any different.

as it turns out ... i didn't have to wait long.

i sent out a distress call and before i knew it, that bitter adrenaline taste in my mouth was replaced by hot coffee and cinnamon toast, delivered by a good friend who traveled a long way to get to me.

the things i worried most about, never came to pass. work sorted itself out in my brief absence. (what a joy it is to know i've not only taught them how to walk ... i've taught them how to fly!) the line at the dmv was nonexistent and the fees, smaller than i'd dared to dream.

there were other tiny joys ... a good hair day ... the soft and familiar feel of my favorite tshirt ... lunch with the girls ... getting a part in a play that i really wanted ... the warm summer sun in a big blue sky ... a cold, cold beer ... and finally lighting the candles in my new space and enjoying the sound of nothing at all ...

it's friday the 13th, and what i'm really afraid of ... are the things i miss when i'm afraid. afraid to ask for help; afraid to trust my instincts; afraid to believe that there is nothing to be afraid of.

and those butterflies? as it turns out, they haven't settled. they've just left for greener girls. and in their place there is warmth and peace and delicious possibility.

i am a lucky girl, indeed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


the universe has come at me full stop in the last few days, bringing with it a cruel reminder that what goes up, must come down. energy. good fortune. hope.

(i never gave much thought to the weight of those butterflies tickling my insides until they settled, lead-footed. only now, do i truly understand the power of gravity.)

my world feels like a snowglobe, shaken for universal amusement. it's dizzying and stomach-turning and beautiful ... glitter swirling about, settling for a moment and moving on.

i wish it could stay in one place a little longer, though. i like it when i'm all shiny and happy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

a good day

the night is coming down around me. encapsulating me and trying to enforce sleep with its cocoon of darkness and humidity. in its wake, i've been sitting on the steps leading to the shore, watching the ocean - black and green against the coming dawn - and feeling the fog roll in. my hair, my skin, my clothes are damp, my smile is wide and i smell of the sea.

i am restless tonight, but strangely, not tired.

i know better - now - than to fight sleep. it comes when it wants - like the stray cats near the beach - to feed and be allowed to lie awhile.

it's cool tonight. which i love. cool enough that it would feel nice to sleep next to someone. feel him lying next to me, around me, keeping me warm and listening to me breathe. (it is an image perhaps more intimate than sex and one which resonates.)

'cool' never stood a chance at the bottom of the lone star state. summer, like the people there, was greedy ... grabbing at everything, with its heavy, humid hands, fogging up the windows and sending us back indoors. and so i find myself awake, long past my bedtime, happy for the 'chill' and for the change of scenery. there is a color of light in me that only shines here.

it was a good day, to be sure. 'fabulous' new shoes, a visit from home, the early chapters of a good book ... a day filled with the lovely ... the unexpected ... the hoped for.

maybe that's why i can't sleep. i don't want it to end. i'm fascinated by what the outcome will be. and running away to the heart of the night, i'm not afraid anymore. i know the morning will come, the light bleeding through my window, a mixture of blues and greys and a new adventure will unfold, or an old adventure will continue, and there will be finally be time for the north and south to engage in the most civil of wars ...

i've been pragmatic and intellectual - i'm ready for giddyness, ready to fall off the earth again.

and here i go ...

Monday, June 9, 2008

well enough

i don't give up easily.

i keep looking back, holding a place in my heart for ages and ages, believing, with no evidence at all, that a connection still exists. so even if my love letters lie somewhere, torn and dusty and forgotten, i am still here, offering you a remnant of something i think is beautiful.

it's painful, this tenacity, this inability to leave 'well enough' alone.

so, today, i'll try something different. today, i'll give up easily.

my hope is that it will lessen the sting. my fear is that it will lessen the girl.

songs for the day: you give me something by james morrison and a beautiful mess by jason mraz

Thursday, June 5, 2008

belief, choice and the promise of love

darling lizy ...

my life, up to and including now, has never been easy. and, as far as i know, it has never been envied.

i was the grown-up in my house before i had grown into my own skin and as a result, i have spent my whole life ... my whole self ... moving between what was necessary for others – to keep them safe and stable – and what they expected of me. and the times i’ve stepped outside those bounds, whether set by friends or family or lovers, i’ve been rewarded with judgment and what has felt like insurmountable pain.

i am pavolv's daughter.

or at least, i was.

and until not so long ago, i had a man who loved me. a lot. or at least he loved the idea of me, the person i tried to become for him. and i realize, now, i loved the idea of that. and i liked our life. it was simple. uneventful. and i wasn't unhappy. but not 'unhappy' is no way to go through life.

it had become clear that i what i had seen as compromise and the natural order of a marriage was actually a bargain i made with myself. (don’t we all, at some point, make bargains with ourselves?) i had been living my life in the best way i knew to keep him calm and happy. i realized that i'd been finding ways to stand still for him. and along the way, i forgot who i used to be, who i wanted to be. and it wasn't until i was here, standing alone, that i truly understood that standing still doesn't suit me.

too, i learned that as hard as it is to be the one who is left, who is no longer loved, it is harder, by far, to be the one who leaves, who stops loving first ... who realizes that in order to fix herself, she'll have to break someone else.

and it makes me wonder if i'm worthy of all of this ... this great, grand, good fortune finally coming my way. and i have to believe that i am.

i have to believe that it's okay that i finally love my life ... that i might actually hit a homerun my first time at bat ... that i am finally truly happy, almost incandescently so.

and as for the promise of love, well, i have to believe it's okay that i believe in that, too ... that i believe that love can’t be planned, that it won't arrive when it's 'supposed to' or look the way i think it will, and i'll just fall into its arms because my belief undoes my disbelief.

it's a lot, i know. and it's not so very neat, i know that, too. but it's my life. as i chose it.

and so, no matter how envious you might be, how broken hearted, too ... just know that whatever you want for yourself is possible. happiness, is worth working for in a million tiny ways - and it will never look the way you think it will, but it will always be worth the effort. measure it in centuries and in inches and never question whether you're worthy.

you're worthy.

we all are.

as long as we choose to be.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

turn around

today was one of those days that both surprises and delights.

i awoke to darkness, both inside and out. angry at the alarm clock and the theft of sleep ... still licking my wounds from an evening of pointed questions ... and cursing the brides for their early morning appointments to buy egg timers and champagne flutes.

but as i opened my door, and into the quiet house, my first step brought me to a warm spot - one where my cat had clearly spent the night, protecting me, listening to me cry and loving me as only she can.

it's funny, isn't it? that in those times when we need comfort the most, we forget that sometimes all we have to do is open the door.

and it was there the day started anew.

work was ... not as much work as it usually is. the people there constantly surprise me and the sales floor is often filled with laughter and music and more than a little dancing. on this day, though, joy came from some of the most unlikely places.

jenni made cupcakes for breakfast because she understands that there isn't much chocolate can't fix for me. paul brought be a cup of coffee the size of my head - just because i looked as if i needed extra. meg invited me to sit with her family at her graduation, because i'm 'like family anyway, only cooler.' robert bought me a corn dog for lunch, just because he thinks it's fun to watch me eat it. and david, he said he noticed there's been a bit more sparkle in my eye than usual of late and that i should tell the man who put it there to thank his lucky stars that he'd won such a prize and robert said he wasn't sure it was a man that did that for me ... it was probably the corn dog. and we all laughed. loudly.

after work, i went for a run on the beach ... pink and orange to the west, an arc of deepening blue hovering above. (in that light, my freckles, my skin, take on a golden glow, as if i've been covered with sparkling confetti.) and all of a sudden, i couldn't believe THIS is MY life. how did i ever get so lucky?

of course, it isn't luck, really. i chose this. i woke up.

i've done the hard work. i've weathered the winter of my discontent. i've worn the weight of the world on my hips. and through it all, what i've carried around, is the idea that, one day, it would all begin again here. at the end.

and in the midst of all these hormones and uncertainty, i am reminded of all that i am grateful for ... off-the-cuff compliments, freedom of the press, artistic license, licking whipped cream right out of the bowl. thinking caps, adjectives, unconventional lullabies, pale pink light tumbling into morning, conversations on paper, the impossible encounters that live in the imagination and somehow become reality, the kissing part.

i'm off, now, to meet some friends for an impromptu party where i trust there will be much dancing and laughing and perhaps a cocktail or two ... and you know what that means (she says with one eyebrow raised ...)


i woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

(though, to be fair, after reading my post from last night, i may have gone to bed on the wrong side and this morning's mood is simply its leftover.)

still. nothing can shake it. not cinnamon toast. not hot coffee. not my favorite blue shoes. not a good hair day. not even tiny kisses from a little grey cat.

i cannot sparkle. i will not try.

actually. that's a lie. i will try. it's just what i do.

Monday, June 2, 2008

what i'm doing with my summer vacation

maybe i should go away for awhile. maybe i should go away somewhere safe; someplace where you can't be lured by my sweet smile or seduced by my vampire ways.

there should be room for me in the carnival side show, i think, sandwiched somewhere between the fat lady and the siamese twins. look for me there ... corralled in an iron birdcage, delicately scrolled bars separating me from the normalcy of the masses ... seated politely in a chair, beneath a tiny, hand painted sign that reads:

nice girl.
speaks well. smells good. smiles often.

freak show material if ever there was any.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

the first breath

good sunday morning to you. i'm still using too much sugar in my coffee.

i was awake at three this morning. i know - i should have been asleep, but instead, i wrote for a bit and then wandered down to the beach ... embracing my darkness, entertaining my fears and enjoying the near silence and the feel of the spray on my face.

the birds couldn't sleep, either, it seems. they swooped near, teasing the ground and soaring high again. i have been a bird all weekend, turning over and over my sad stories, tackling topics at dizzying heights, aiming for a soft landing and enjoying the flight.

and this morning, my coffee is hot and sweet, the sun rises through the haze and the darkness has gone, save for a hint here and there - hiding out in the shadowy corners of me - tucked in warmly next to scraps of hope. and of insanity. even knowing it's there,though, i still feel a great pleasure to be alive, awake and present.

i think i'll make breakfast.

and for a little while, i'll sit here, fingers and smile sticky from the syrup ... listening to the sounds of traffic, shivering under my armor and looking for ways to calm this storm raging inside my head.

this mash-up of guilt, regret, stoicism and fear is completely avoidable. i can talk myself into anything, including an elevated state of aloofness. i can choose not to care … but if i've learned anything about choices, it's that this would be a bad one. possibly the worst of all.

and so i fight hard against this willful anaesthesia and move forward into the day with discretion and sensitivity ... and a sense of responsibility for my own happiness. it won't be easy. even for a happy girl like me.

when you've been drowning, the first breath is always the most painful.

the weight of the wait

i am home again. out of the shower and smelling of sea salt and peppermint. wanting to feel warm ... satisfied ... strangely feeling neither. we all know that i can think myself dizzy ... and i am spinning ... twisting ... the images, the sensations of this secret dance, they stick to me. i can not shake them ... nor do i want to.

there will always be shadows i can't run from ... ghosts who brush their cold fingertips across my skin ... but they aren't you. they aren't us. and it's foolish for me to suppose or second guess at a time when i should be content to wait ... and see how things unfold. i ought to be, i can be, i am ... content. to wait.

so the question that begs is how to make peace with something too good to be true? and once we do, can it be explained?

i don't want to wear my heart like a girl in a hurry. i want to enjoy the flicker and know i'll be warmed by the flame. i want to be shattered wonderfully. but you'll have to forgive me if i don't know how to do this. my skin is painfully new.

the question of meaning is for you and i to answer. are we a beginning? or a deep and dying breath? i think i know the answer, but i can't quite reach it. 'use your words,' i think, but it doesn't help. the evening has gone straight to my lexicon.

what i know for sure is that i am happy. the last few days have been blissful and i'm keen to see what happens next.

and i am completely unnerved.

and at this i smile.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

of faith

have you heard the story of wendy darling and her hidden kiss? the last kiss in the corner of her mouth, the one that her children and her husband all wanted, the one that only peter pan could get?

for me, that hidden kiss has always been faith. and no one could get it. not family nor friends, not even myself. a hundred thousand chances to give it away, but no, i've kept her tucked away-safe from old lovers and new mistakes, so no bitterness bleeds through and the memory of her stays true and dear.

it's ironic, then (or is it fantastic?), that i chose this year to introduce her to the world. this year - the one where i went to war with my heart; this month - with its weeks stained with melodrama and temperance. i have held her up, like an umbrella, protecting me against these extremes of temperature, this folding and pounding; we've stood, hand in hand, as life twisted itself inside-out, and we are laughing loud and long as life is finally displaying the gold hidden within. the excitement, the surprise, the sudden beauty of the everyday has made faith possible.

she is newborn, my faith. fragile and sticky and wet. and yet, in this moment, everything inside me climbs upward. and with her arrival, i find i exist in a perpetual state of hope.

i no longer worry about being broken. a lovely, lovely life is sprouting up from between the cracks and crevices. now, you ask, how does my garden grow? wild and loud and lush.

i no longer wonder how it is i've gone off in eleven different directions from where i began and where i thought i wanted to be. i know, now, that we're not supposed to live with an iron control that excludes those different directions.

i am no longer blind to the series of small miracles that keep me alive. miracles of timing, of impulse, conversations left unsaid, people seen or not seen, opportunities and mistakes lost and grasped. and i've come to not just believe, but to really trust, that sooner or later, good will come to those who do good; joy will be the reward for those who bring humor to others; and opportunity will present itself to those who persist.

in a funny kind of way, the events of the last days are leading me to believe that i can actually will good things to happen. i don't expect immediate results, of course, i just throw my hopes out there into the open air or onto the page and let the universe work its particular brand of evolutionary magic. and in the midst, i find i am calm and comfortable with my settlement. i am happy, high flying, idealistic, looking for beauty and, as always, just a little messy.

and i wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

the ghost of the old eagerness

thomas wolf speaks of 'the ghost of the old eagerness.'

the ghost has awakened in a way that whispers to me in the final moment before sleep comes, when the barriers have fallen. faint, but powerful. i feel something stir inside. something deep and old...making me curious and want to follow its lead.

in those moments, i can feel a tiny wisp of time that hangs in the air, like lightning in a summer sky. and i know something is coming. only, i can't see what it is because it's as if my eyes are adjusting to the sunlight outside.

maybe it's something i want. or something i thought i'd never want, but suddenly find i need. a feeling...not yet fully formed. a part of myself i have never seen. it is not, i am certain, a question of possibility, or of opportunity, or of luck. it just is, in a way i quite like.

i have no expectations, save for the fact that i expect it will arrive - and not according to my whim or wish or timetable. and that one day, i will look back and say, 'there began the thing that would change me forever.'

Thursday, May 22, 2008


there is a spot off the beach at doheny where the waves break big and early and often and where, at the end of the day, the sun sits a little longer in the sky, turning the water, the waves and its audience the most brilliant, glittery shade of gold. i like to stop there on my way home from work sometimes, watching the surfers who dare paddle long and hard and deep to reach the swells, watching them race both the current and the sun and listening to their whoops of joy above the crash of the waves and the crush of the wind.

i must look so odd sitting there, in the sand, in my fancy work clothes and my perfect hair. but i don't feel 'odd.' i feel calm and comfortable (though sometimes slightly chilled) and i find the idea of following someone else's joy can almost always lead me to my own.

i haven't stopped there in awhile; everything's been such a whirl. so this evening, if i had my way, i'd steal away to watch the night come down and to give the voices in my head free reign. it's nice having a safe, soft place to land, a place where i don't have to be strong or able or nice, where i don't have to be a good daughter or sister or citizen ... a place where i can just be.

nice. strong. good. of course these are labels i've chosen to wear. i know that. but it's nice to stand naked sometimes. even if someone is looking. especially when someone is looking. thank you for looking.

in my friends, some old and many,, i have found comfort and warmth and genuine affection. and as a result, i find a certain light and lightness turning and returning and so i will heed their gentle reminder that it is not only good, but right, to be someone's first thought.

even my own.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


there are things to say, but i am tired. tired of being the girl things happen to. tired of being leaned upon. tired of waiting for the break in the clouds that doesn't come. tired. and i'm hating this sixth sense of mine - knowing the answers to things before the questions have been asked, but never the right things or the happy things. nature's way of preparing me for the onslaught, i suppose. still, i find it to be a pain in the ass, in the head, in my heart.

my mother has breast cancer. it's early and the tumor is slight, but still, there are questions that beg and long, long road ahead. this makes a few generations for us, and i wonder what this means for me. is there an altered gene somewhere and if so, which one - the gene for breast cancer or for bad luck? are they one and the same?

i've spent a great deal of my life rearranging to suit others - their schedules, their whims, their burdens. it's a choice i make, sometimes out of love, sometimes out of necessity. it requires a lot of me - patience, strength, faith - and it is not always to my benefit. it is not, a friend reminds me, who i am - it is something i do, something i'd pledged to do less of. still, old habits die hard and i suspect these next few months i will behave no differently, though i wonder how much more weight a girl, even one with freakish strength, can bear.

(my mood is dark, it would seem, despite the lightness of the day. too, i have a cold, with the attending rib-rattling cough, and i can feel my pulse in my head.)

with as many difficult choices as it seems there will be ahead, i think it's a good sign that i can at least see that far. who knows? maybe this is just the way it's supposed to be right now. (lucky me!) the universe will eventually perform its magic trick and an entirely new adventure will reveal itself; until then i write with wide hope and a loose wrist and live with the fury of misfortune and delight.

and if that doesn't work - there's always ice cream.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

where i'd like to be tonight

no matter where i was today, i wanted to be someplace else.

i thought it had to do with being awake when i could have slept so much longer. i thought it had to do with driving so far to work when i'd like to live just a few minutes away. i thought it might have to do with being stuck inside the store on such a beautiful california day when i'd rather be at the beach.

at the very least, i thought i might be able to shake the feeling loose, once i made my escape and was on the way home.

i was wrong.

now that i'm here, there are a hundred other places i'd rather be:

drinking coffee and laughing -loudly- with tri
at a bar in newport beach, dancing - wild and silly and carefree - with em & m
at the jason mraz concert at the troubador in la (which sold out online before i could even log in.)
drinking hot chocolate and waiting in line for the matterhorn
hiding in a box and waiting to scare someone with amy
watching shannon sing 'goldfinger' at spotlight karaoke
anywhere with laurie t.
in a space of my own
november, 1983

in this moment, though, none of these things are possible. there are too many unknowns, too many things to say, things to settle, and it feels i'm miles away from any of the above.

how do i get there from here?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

the truth about boys and girls

em. & m. ...

sitting and talking with the two of you, whether it's whispering over cake in the kitchen or shouting over the jukebox and cold, cold beer at the huddle, well, it's just about one of my favorite things about california. more than the weather. more than disneyland, even.

in your presence, i can almost see myself through your eyes - strong and beautiful and wise - and in those moments, i actually believe i'm close to becoming the person i've always wanted to be. i will never be able to thank you fully for this particular joy, but i will do my best to help you both find your way to that same place, wherever it may be for you.

your stories on friday night, hearing the pain and doubt and fear in your voices as you told those stories, opened some old wounds. i understand the struggle because i've been where you are and here's the truth of what i've learned (it's a wisdom hard earned, i assure you):

boys are stupid.

it's a lesson i wish i could go back and teach my younger self. the girl i was way back when ... the girl with the flat stomach. and hope.)

i understand what it is to love someone who won't or can't or doesn't love you the way you want him to love you, they way you 'need' him to love you. it's awkward and soul-crushing and completely avoidable. the truth is, we don't get 'burned' by men. we burn ourselves. we know what will hurt us and we reach out for it again and again because we're used to that particular pain and it's easier to take than looking for something new.

i want better than that for you. for all of us. (there's no reason we girls must be stupid, too.) so, look for something new!

it's okay to be afraid and to feel unloved ... it will happen a lot and will never last. there is a certain wild joy that comes from simply not going under. once the soul begins to awaken, there is no stopping it. it can be resisted. it can be denied. for a while. but 'awake' holds so much potential and delicious possibility - even as it can be a fearsome sort of thing, i think. it means taking responsibility instead of letting things happen. it means letting things happen when there is nothing that can be done.

and i won't tell you that it isn't painful as hell, and scary too, nurturing a life you want to live into being. it's harder than you think it will be, happier, too. i promise you that.

and in the midst, you will make mistakes and say the wrong things and ache with the constant newness of it all. and when you're unsteady or insecure, don't be afraid to reach for something to keep your balance. but try not to make it a boy. (and reaching out for support when you truly need some, you should know, doesn't make you weak, it just makes you wise. it also makes you feel better.)

i don't know if i help at all. i hope i do. and even if i don't ... at least today is a new day.

you're ready to make all kinds of new mistakes, new friends, new flights, new enemies and new revelations as to why it's good to be alive. the most important thing to remember is to embrace everything with enthusiasm and respect. a wrong turn, a bad review, a difficult relationship ... well, it's never the end of the world. there's nothing good music, duct tape or a letter from a friend can't fix. life is good like that.

and with the two of you in mine, life is quite good, indeed.

Friday, February 29, 2008

fucking february

february is a wretched, wretched month, indeed. no good can come of it. i have grown weary of its bounty of hardship and illness and death. how can 29 days seem so long? (i'm not entirely certain the extra day this year isn't just to spite me!) i am ready for this month to end.

in its short run, february has delivered death and heartache, parking tickets and projectile vomiting, but still, it couldn't resist taking one last run at me, delivering my last straw on this, the final day, of this god forsaken month ... my paycheck is wrong. to the tune of $500 wrong. no small thing, $500. of course, with the run of events, i should be lucky i was paid at all. still. february cannot end fast enough.

only two more hours.

come on, march! you can do it! big money, no whammies!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

where's the fairy godmother when you need her?

i think i understand, a little, how cinderella must have felt in those hours after the clock struck twelve. how, in the early morning after the ball, having awakened to life's delicious possibilities, catching a glimpse of happiness up ahead and running as fast as she could to keep up with it, the wheels came off the pumpkin. she was back, too soon, to real life, the past striking out at the potential (but by no means negating it).

i know, because last night was my first 'girls night' out in california. it was nothing i'd expected and everything i could have wanted. lovely new girlfriends, boy scouts and laughter; hand warmers, big words and oddly pleasureable conversations ... and somewhere in the midst, there were cocktails, a corn dog and lots and lots of dancing (can there ever be enough?).

but with morning came the inevitable blast of reality, the wheels - literally- coming off the pumpkin and shattering any ideas i had about the day. (no matter how freakishly strong i may be, i am no match for lug nuts secured by pneumatic drill.)

it's helping me remember, though, that even when the days rock me in too many ways, everything i live my way into will be exactly what i need for my strength in my future. i can never know what lies ahead and it's the 'not knowing' that is the real adventure.

i'm pretty sure my story is going to be a good one. a happy beginning with no end in sight.

(p.s. emilie and meg - thank you! you sure know how to show a girl a good time.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

a soggy valentine

hello (she says sweetly).

i was hoping to bring you a bit of the coast, all dressed up in its thursday best, but it is not to be. the day has been one of clouds and cold and my favorite kind of rain - the kind that blows in sideways and seems to fall upwards. it has been a good day for sleeping in, snuggling with the cat and dreaming the day away. and that is precisely what chutney and i have done.

it seems slightly incongruous, though, that it should be so blustery outside; it is, after all, valentine's day. the 'dreaded' for some, though never for me. and while i prefer my declarations of love to be more spontaneous and creative than this day normally allows, i do enjoy the idea that there is a place on the calendar set aside to remind us to revel in our affairs of the heart - of every sort - celebrating all the delicious and infinite ways two people can fit together.

so, maybe this is a good day for rain coming at me sideways and upways and swirling about, messing up my perfect hair and making my feet cold. that's what love is supposed to do, isn't it? surprise us and envelope us and soak us to the bone.

i believe in big love. i do. right down to the gooey center of me. (i am not the badass i pretend to be.) with my rose colored glasses, half-full as always, i marvel at the strange luck that brings people together. how is it that we are borne into this family, welcomed by these friends, adopted by that pet, desired by any lover? under our ignorance and along side our real lives, i wonder if there isn't some mindless certainty, humming blithely along, ensuring we'll come together. maybe it's just dumb luck.

doesn't matter.

all i know is that i'm grateful for whatever brand of evolutionary magic has brought me to these people in this place at this time. (my letters are heroic attempts at conveying a gratitude that is impossible for me to voice.)

of course, it isn't only lightning-bolt love i'm talking about ... you know, the kind where electricity passes between two people, charging the air and lighting them up from the inside. it's also friends, near and far, checking in and holding your hand, even if it's only over the phone. it's a song, written by a stranger who somehow knows you completely and has set you to music. it's the cat in your lap trying to type on the computer, too, all the while purring in your ear. and, maybe most importantly, it's recognizing glimpses of the girl you thought you'd be, pulling her close and finding a way to make her stay.

i don't know what the future holds for me. for any of us. but i'm going to stand in the middle of it all and let the rain fall where it will. i will leave no puddle unsplashed.

happy valentine's day to you, dear friends. go get wet.

Friday, February 8, 2008

one more day

have you met leroy shakespeare? maybe you know him as 'roy' or 'big boy.' he loves boxes and making bread in your lap and hiding from strangers. he meows so small and loves so big. he is my oldest friend. and tomorrow is his last day on earth.

i am heading to texas in the wee hours of the morning to be there to celebrate it. i can't bear not to be there as he begins to leave his life.

we'll have some milk, i think. and take a nap. and sit with sophie and elvis and john and do nothing special. just being there will be enough. as if there could ever be enough.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

everything i am

today is 'super tuesday,' but i don't feel super. instead, i feel empty and turbulent and small and my heart aches for the mess i've made. i know i've said i want to feel the edges of things...well, today, i do. sharp and cold and skeptical. the butterflies have left for greener girls.

the time will come, soon enough, for the placing of blame and the taking of sides and when it does, know this: i am everything you think i am. i am the breaker of hearts, the killer of dreams, the speaker of that which should remain unspoken. i am not the kindest person you will ever meet. and i am so, so sorry. and i am hoping forgiveness will find me somewhere down the road.

Monday, February 4, 2008

a blog or a bore?

i know better, now, than to fight sleep. it comes when it wants, like the cats in my old backyard, to feed and be allowed to lie awhile. tonight, it's hesitant to show its face, i guess. instead, it's sent a few friends ... nagging thoughts, begging questions, useless tidbits of information ... emptying them out onto the page may help ...

1. the greatest super bowl moment ever? peyton manning jumping up and down with excitement for his brother. it was awesome!

2. why do people spend piles of money to dress like they're homeless?

3. if your state celebrates 'super tuesday' tomorrow, for goodness sakes, VOTE! (need a good reason? do your homework here.)

4. everything's better when you have a sister.

5. boys are stupid.

6. one month in and i have yet to break a new years resolution.

7. i can no longer say all my best friends live in texas. i now have some best friends here, too.

8. since when is 'speed 2: cruise control' the best thing on tv?

9. when did i get so old?

10. a female ferret will die if it goes into heat and cannot find a mate.

oh, what do you know. head's empty. did it help? sort of. i've bored myself to sleep.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

sexiest man alive

if there was ever any doubt, it's now official. matt damon is the sexiest man alive ...

there's nothing like a boy who can make you laugh until your sides ache ...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the way the world works now

citizenship in this country is broken and the questions loom large and beg furiously ... how did we let this happen? who was supposed to protect it and hold it dear? was it me?

of course it was me. but it wasn't only me; i wasn't alone in this dilution of democracy. and i certainly wasn't the one holding it up as a savior, all the while sculpting it into a scheme to preserve my personal wealth. and it doesn't matter who's to blame; blame holds no interest for me. but i need something more than silence and vague promises.

(and i know my political voice is 'beginnerly,' at best, but still...even i know there's things to know. there's a dialogue to be started here, a discussion to be led, and it makes me profoundly angry to find that those in the position to do so seem unwilling to put forth the effort.)

i need some inspiration, i think. i need to know i'm not the only one who believes a woman not afraid to consider her power, find her voice and embrace a sense of urgency isn't to be ignored or feared or silenced. i need to know one of these candidates believes a woman who doesn't go to church, who doesn't have children, who makes decisions for herself about who enters her head and her home and her womb still has a voice here.

if i can find that, i think i'll have hope again for the new beginning i hear tell of. of course, it begs the question as to whether we, as a nation, still have what it takes to undertake that beginning. too, i wonder if we'll even know what that looks like?

i'd like to think that those of us who are tired of the way the world works now will create this new beginning through our choices, but, i can't make up my mind - i'm still waiting for a candidate to speak to me with his or her vocabulary of faith. maybe i'm not reading enough.

still, i take comfort in the idea that the world is round, and the place that may seem like the end may only be just the beginning. and i really hope that's true this time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


whether by accident, by error or by design, i have the ability to be wildly inappropriate. i will, on occasion, say things to strangers i would never say in real life. does that make me brave or an idiot? and who's to say those moments with strangers aren't my 'real life' and all the rest is just make-believe?

must sleep now. surely sleep is what i need. what else could it be?

the leftovers of belief

i feel like i want to say something, but the words blazing to the tips of my fingers freeze in the cool night air. ideas come to me - in the shape of a mouth, in the form of a body, in the construction of fantasies and the breaking down to make something that is beautiful - and i'm struck by my unwillingness to control my feelings and my inability to articulate them.

i've seen this memory and i'm a little tired, i guess, of stumbling around in the dark, entertaining ghost lovers and listening to the creak of this ancient ceiling fan. i pass my days driving, moving like water, and at night, breaking like waves.

as difficult as it is to negotiate the space and time and silence, i'd like to believe that proximity won't negate the possibility and someday, we'll sit close, laughing or talking over one another or just enjoying the silence from inches - and not hours or miles - away.

there's a certain magic in the idea i can't quite let go of; a belief left over from another life, perhaps. maybe i'm wrong. maybe i'm not.

my vocabulary of faith remains.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

britney watch - day 3

there is much to say about the coming of the new year ... of sunsets and sea life and all manner of good things, but in this moment i must pause, before going about the of my day to say, 'hallelujah!'

it appears britney is out of the hospital, accompanied by none other than dr. phil himself. at last, his powers can be used for good. if i were britney i would ... (well, if i were britney, i'd do a lot of things), but if i were britney, i'd work overtime to get well, just so dr. phil would shut the hell up.

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