Thursday, April 05, 2018

20 days

I've been on the ground for 20 days.

For 20 days I have been asleep in my own bed.

For 20 days I didn't board a plane.

For 20 days I saw the dogs.

For 20 days I ate what I wanted to cook.

For 20 days I saw the people I cared about.

Around day 9 I felt the itch. The "what am I doing here".

The ground confusion.

The stable confusion.

The why am I not going confusion.

Love the dogs, take a shower, workout, eat the food, see the people. Repeat.



Is this what it is always like this like. The day in and day out, the one place, the one thing, the one time, the ground, the ground the ground.

Feelings around me and I look at myself in the mirror and I feel most exhausted and most offput and mostly on the ground and I want to

The dogs are so cute, in bed snuggles and warmth and I fall down around them all snuggles and warmth and I look out the windows all chill outside making the snuggles and warmth more snuggly and warmly and I

2 days.

It is 2 more days and I am gone again.

2 more days and up and down.

2 more days and movement.

2 more days and it is coming.

And no dogs.
and no bed.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Strong Emotions

The one thing that has become more challenging for me as I've gotten older is strong emotions.

Mastery of bottling my feeling, level 100.

There is no emotion here. I am nothing.

An unfeeling creature.

Logic and reason. These are things I can fully embody. I feel nothing. For this. For that. For me. For you.

For you.

For you.

All of this is a lie of course. The reality is that I feel so intensely that there are times when it is absolutely overwhelming. I cry alone in a bathroom and hope you don't notice a slight swelling to my eyes or the rasppiness to my voice from choking back tears. All of this is contained in all moments, but contained. Contained.

The world is a tidal wave of strong emotions and I am cresting on the surface, riding, sometimes riding with, sometimes crushed beneath.

My outward appearance is nothing.

When you say you love me, I die inside and I want to bury my head and deny it. I want to grab your clothes and pull you against me and make mad, fierce love. I want to hold you in my body and in my arms, pull your hair, pull your lips between my teeth, pull your tongue into my mouth, pull your arms around me. When I come I want to roll away and cry and lose myself and forget my name until you grab me and whisper my name in my ear and tell it will be okay and hold me until the shaking has passed and I know you are not leaving.

You will not run away because I am broken.

And I will not be any less worthy of your love because I am broken.

I am broken.

And brokenness is worthy of affection.

The world was dark and grey today and full of wanting, and missing, and fretting and dark emotion, and the tendrils of love riding on the tips of the wind slapping the trees and in the fullness of the raindrops that crash against the window pain making a spattering sound that makes me think of what it must be like to hit my heart when it is breaking.

Broken hearts are real, and yet I do not shy away.

And I love you, and I feel the strong emotions, and I don't bend, or break, or run away in the face of them.

I don't know who that makes me.

Sunday, April 01, 2018


The loud-quiet sounds of panting are filling the room as we pull apart from each other, sweat cooling suddenly in the room; the space between us seems suddenly so vast and the light in the room so bright.

Cord dangling from my hand and I pull and pull, lifting up the blind that blocks out the night sky, an evening free of obfuscation and clouds, an evening full of talk, laughter and embrace. 

"Here come hold me, look."

Arms wrapped around bodies, back to front, front to back, and the moonlight in the window shining down on both of us, throwing blue light that combines with the candles to suddenly make the bed feel bright. There is no darkness here now. 

Warm breath against my neck. 

"A full moon."

"Yes, making love under the full moon, surely there is lunacy in that," I respond and snuggle into a warm arm. 

A small laugh. 

"Have you ever wondered why the moon gets such a bad rap. Lunacy and lunatics and the madness of the full moon. Beware the full moon, for it brings out the crazies." 

"Because it changes. We don't like change."

"That's true."

"You can see it changing, going and coming back, and going again. Predictable but changing. Never quite the same."

"I suppose that is true. The sun is constant."

"The sun never changes, never leaves us. Maybe that's why the sun doesn't go hand in hand with madness. We are used to seeing it float there all the time. Always watching, never letting us get away with anything."

"Which explains why there is so much madness when the sun does change."


Lips against the back of my neck, and arms around me. Eyes closed and the milky white moonlight presses against the thin membrane, making shadows that dance against the pressure of my closed eyes. 


And here, in this evening I am changing again, and it is lunacy, and it is madness, and it is terrifying and full of the ever oppressive fear and risk of change. And the hands around me, and the quiet conversation, and the laughter, make it all the more interesting to embrace the change. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Business Carding

I'm walking down the street lost in thought, working through the anxiety that comes with the appointment I'm about to have. There is always anxiety in anything that involves body contact I cannot control, even if I have facilitated and asked for it.

I'm on the street, it's cold.

Gym leggings wrap around my lower half, a hoodie tucked into a leather jacket as I walk against the wind up the street to the office I am looking for. I'm not paying that much attention to what is happening around me. Walking around in my gym wear is one of my least favorite things. My bag contains a sweater dress and after this appointment I will quickly change into that and take myself to dinner, part of my healing ritual.

My lack of paying attention didn't prepare me for the sudden intrusion of a pick up truck cutting across a lane of traffic to pull up next to the sidewalk.

Knowing how difficult it can be to park in Chicago, I figured this was just a case of a driver trying to get an open spot, and I kept my head down in the wind to keep walking, the office being in the middle of the block. Horns are blaring and there is angry yelling at the pick up driver, and I take this all in with a sweeping glace.

Head down, go to doctors office.


I turn back and see the windows are rolled down on the passenger side and the late fifties black man is leaning over the seat. Perhaps he is lost, is what I think to myself.

"Yes, can I help you?"

"I hope so."

I wait.

"You are just so fine. Promise you will call me, promise."

He brings up his hands, and I'm actually braced to see a gun in the window. It's not outside the realm of possibility here.

"Just call me, please promise, just call me one time."

In his hand is a natty looking business cards, he presses forward, straining against his seat-belt to stick it as close to the window as possible. I take the card. I have to take the card, I know that not taking the card means that he may leave the truck and chase me down the street. He could start the truck and try to come after me in it. He may still have a gun I don't know about. Ever inch of me doesn't want to take the card, but all of my rational reasoning self knows that the minor annoyance of taking the card avoids the larger potential grievance of not taking the card.

"Just call me, beautiful. You have to call me. You are just too beautiful. Just one time. Promise you will call me just one time."

"Okay, okay, sure."

"Thank you, thank you beautiful."

I force a smile.

He pulls away.

I walk into the appointment and I stand there. I'm not shaking, but something is wrong. The receptionist looks at me.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm not sure." I tell her the story. The card is in my hand and I hold it up to her, hold it out to her. I can't even see the name. My mind is chaos and I'm not thinking clearly. I feel dirty, I want to go home and shower, I don't want to do this appointment today.


She takes the card. "I'll shred it for you, will that help. I think so. Are you ready, here it goes. Now you don't have to worry about it anymore." The sound of blades turning is satisfying and I do feel better, somehow, but still strangely disconnected from reality.

As I stand there, the sun setting behind me, listening to the blades whirl, I am overcome with wonder about how much I am to blame for this. Internally, I wonder how I would feel if an accident had actually been caused, if someone had been hurt because of this. The disassociation is alarming and I feel pushed out of who I am.

"It's okay now." She smiles cheerfully at me.

It is okay, and yet, their lingers as sense of the obscene as I try to reconcile the absurdity and awfulness of what has just happened.

Somehow, I manage to make it through the appointment without a nervous breakdown, but I can feel it, almost see it, like the blunted edges of an old card.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Video Calls

My journey into the heart of small town America east coast was full of any number of odd conversations on the periphery. 

Most of the journey being as expected, but with they rides I had taken the previous day I figured any interaction with the locals could be a toss up. It's not that I am that much of a snob being genetically a city girl, but apparently I do have my moments. 

In the bar the night before a very clear "old timer" sat down next to me. There were five seats between me and the next group of guys at the bar, so this was very clearly meant as a way to easily engage me, even though I was sitting in front of my computer doing a last minute tear down and rebuild of the work I would show off in the morning. He asks questions about whether they play music and then asks me if I play an instrument. I want to be polite and engage, but I also really need to do the work and I'm exhausted. I am polite, I say yes, then point the screen to indicate the work. I could almost feel his sigh of sadness walking away. 

The next morning I'm in the hotel having coffee and finalizing the tear down and rebuild when the gentleman, also on the road, next to me starts having a very loud conversation on his phone. I look over and realize he is on a video call and for some reason this strikes me as strange. There is this moment when I have a flash from my childhood and it is as if I am watching the future on screen, a scene out of Demolition Man where everyone calls by video...the future...the now. I try not to listen but he is so loud. 

"Honey, honey, did I tell you I was talking to Paul yesterday?"

Her answers are inaudible to me, so I only have one side of the conversation. He continues. 

"Yeah, I'm talking to Paula and he won't put his camera on, you know. And I'm talking to him like 'Paul, what's up man, I can't see. You, right? And then, it's Paul, you know how he is, right. So I'm like Paul, how you been, how you doing man, and he's like 'I really can't talk right now, I've got a situation."

I try not to lean in to listen, but at this point I'm not sure if care that the speaker may notice. 

"Situation, Paul? And he's like 'Yeah, I've got...look, can I call you back, I'm sort of covered in lotion and it's everywhere, you caught me in the middle of something here.' And that's when I realized he was in a porn store again." 

To prevent myself from laughing I employed every Bene Gesserit body control breathing trick that I new how to employ. 

The conversation went on, but I had lost too much focus to follow the rest of it. 


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Pick Me Up, Put me Down

Thanks to modern technology, I find myself more often waiting for cars while staring at my phone tracking their movement than standing on a curb hoping like hell to wave down someone passing by on the street. There are pros and cons, yet a year and a half in, the ability to have someone come and get me has become so ingrained that I cannot, nor would I want to, recall the time of desperation standing on the street at 4 in the morning hoping to flag someone to get me to the airport. Technology is novel and wonderful, and I plan to continue to embrace it.

There are some fascinating side effects of jumping into cars with strangers, including the randomness of the conversations one might have. The last trip, which included a stay in the upper portion of Appalachia, provided a better opportunity than most for unusual car talk.

"Are you "

"Yes, yes, thanks so much."

"No problem." I hand over a bag with one hand and it almost slams into the ground when he takes it from me. "Wow, heavier than it looks." He gives me that up and down look that I recognize as one that says, holy fuck your strong.  I smile and get into the backseat so we can head to our location.

"This is a great area. Are you from here?"

"No, just passing through. I'm hear for work."

"This is where I want to be. I'm doing this driving right now so we can save up, so we can move out here soon."

"Where do you live now?"

"Well, you see, we live in this town, about 20 miles from here, but like, all our neighbors are like criminals and, it's just kinda awful, you know. Like my next door neighbor, right. He's about to go to jail for maybe 7 years, right. Robbery. But here is the thing. Here is the thing. It's like, this hairdresser the guy he couldn't afford presents for his kids, she was free cuts for Christmas, you know, since he couldn't afford anything. Just doing a good deed, and this guy, when he goes to get the cuts he sees all the presents she bought for her kids and I guess it just pissed him off. He broke in later and stole all the presents and it didn't take them very long to figure out who did it. And now, what, he goes to jail for 7 to 10 years over something like that."

I sit in the back and listen.

"Then, then there is the guy on the other side of me."


"Yeah, he invited his mistress over and I guess things got heated cause he ended up strangling her with an electric cord."

Somehow I manage to react not at all.

"It's like, I live in this neighborhood where everyone's idea of a good time is just like having a fight and shooting things. I go to a bar here in town, I can have a drink, talk politics, have a good night, you know?"


"But like there, man, I was at this bar, you know, like right before the election and all, and this guy...I was just talking to this guy and he was saying something and I said to him, like 'Well, maybe Bernie Sander's isn't that bad a guy.' And this guy just loses it at me. He grabs like the two bucks he put on the bar for his beer and just throws it my face and screams at me 'Here, take my money you commie son of a bitch since you are just going to take it anyway!' and then he, like, stomps out and even the bartender there was a little surprised. Yeah."


We pull up to my stop and he gets my bag and the door.

"Well, good luck with the work towards the move."

"Yeah, yeah."

He turns and drives away and I stand there thinking and head into work. Later I offer to take a car to get real coffee since whatever it was being served was something meant only for the strongest, and most concrete of stomachs.

The driver in this car speaks with a long slow drawl that reminds me bit of Stuart McLean from the Vinyl Cafe, with a voice that is somewhat nasally and a bit of a draw.

"Yeah, I've been here twenty years. I drive all day to get me out of the house. I love my wife and kids, you understand, but I also love being away from them."

"I imagine."

"I make good money driving, though. The other day I drove to New York City."

"Really, that must have been some fare."

"$400 dollars. That is the maximum allowed. And I said to them, I said, 'If we are going to go to New York, let me change over to my other car, a Mercedes, and we can go faster. And they said yes, so I take these two Chinese students and I drive them to New York. I drove trucks you see, so I know how to drive 80. I used to make that run all the time. I asked them, 'Do you mind if I drive fast?' and they kept saying faster, faster. Three hours and 30 minutes. The map said it would take 4 and a half hours, but I used to drive that stretch all the time. I know where all the cops are, you see, and I was able to take them right there."

His speech amuses me, the sort of drawl and lift to the end as he tells his story.

"Do you mind if I book you as a round trip, I'm just running in to get coffee and then I'm right back out."

"No, you don't have to do that. I'll take you for free. No reason for you to pay 15 dollars just to get some coffees."

And he does give me the ride back for free.

"It's not so bad, this place. Been here since I got back from Afghanistan. Here is a picture of me, 1984, when I was a gunner. I had another gunner in here the other day. It was good to talk about it."


"That's why I'm glad about our president right now."

I stay perfectly still. I know for the area, this is to be expected but there is always sort of a shock whenever anyone admits voting for the current administration.

"I see."

"Well, it's the Korean situation you understand," he says, looking at me in the mirror. I think to myself, you have no idea.

"But you know, if it wasn't him, if it was her, it would just be the same situation. But honestly, now, old Kim doesn't know what to do. I mean, he's totally unpredictable and I think that's a good thing."


"And here you are."

I thank him again for the free ride and grab the coffees and head into the hall wondering about the small towns in America. The conversations are reflective of the macro and micro needs all explored between the pick up and the drop off, and most likely repeated a hundred times a day until all there is the reality of the stories to strangers and passerbys who can only sit and take it all in.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Sweet Girl

I’m heading into the bathroom at LAX and I notice them standing on the side. His hair is white and he talks to her slowly, and calmly, pointing down the hall to the Ladies room.

“You just go down there. I’ll be right here.”

“Just go there,” she asks and she looks at him lost. Her hair is done up in the soft familiar curls that women from her generation seem to favor. She is dressed smartly, like Lucille Ball as a grandmother, standing with a man who is almost certainly her son.

“Just down the hall. I’ll be right here.”

“You’ll be okay?”


“And I just got down there. Are you sure that’s it?”

“Yes, I’ll wait for you. It’s okay.”

“You’ll be here?”

“Yes, just down there.”

I know what is happening here. I queue for a stall when there are three standing open and I wait for her.

“This one is for you right here.”

“Oh, no, you go first.”

“It’s okay, there are lots of open one, you go ahead in here.”

“Okay, thank you.”

I rush into an open door and finish quickly, washing my hands. A line has started in truth.

A the end of the hall I find him standing there, waiting.

“Is she going to be okay on her own? Can she get back out?”

“I really hope so.” A small sentence. His voice barely breaks but I hear it there. Heartbreak, love, life, dedication, pain, so much watch and care after someone you love and watch them now, in their decline. Four words, an entire life in four words.

“Would you like me to go check on her?”

“Do you mind?” The relief washes off of him in waves. I can feel it. He doesn’t say anything else.

“What’s her name, so I don’t frighten her.”

“Pat. It’s Pat. Thank you.”

I smile and walk down the hall and find her washing her hands.

“There you are, Pat, are you ready to go back to that handsome gentleman?”

“Oh, you, you are so sweet. That’s so sweet of you. Do you know where he is?”

“Yes, he’s right there, he’s waiting.” I hold out my arm and she looks down at it. Up at me, into my eyes.

“It’s okay Pat. We can go together.”

“You are so sweet. Such a sweet girl.” Her hand on my arm, my hand on her frail hand, her thin skin under my fingers, the pulse palpable on the surface.

We walk arm-in-arm up the hall.

“Here you are.”

“She is just the sweetest thing.”

He whispers thank you, I can hear the shaking in his voice.

I smile and I walk away.

The hallway to the exit is long and a light shines at the end. I remember the grandmother I never got to morn, I remember so much and suddenly I am overwhelmed by everything I remember and everything I have loved and everything I have lost. There is a moment of realization.

I have no one in the world to even know me.

And what if I forget who I am?

What does it all mean if there is no way to remember it at all. Just the floating, tangents of the day that one tries to connect to make meaningful when meaning continues to flee.

I cried.

And then I collected my bag and exited the door into the uncomfortable warmth and late afternoon sun.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Nor'easter 2018

"The weather is going to be hell today. My flight is already delayed, I'm trying to get out to Atlanta and then go from there."

"Everything is going to be grounded."

"It can't be that bad already."

The other professional travelers staying at my hotel were talking about the weather in daunting terms and I really hadn't paid that much attention to it since I wasn't going to be traveling on a plane for the next seven days. Just trains and cars for me, and I figured since I didn't need to fly I didn't need to worry about thy weather.

Standing by the door and watching thick, wet, flakes of snow falling out of the sky I realized that perhaps I should have paid more attention to the weather.

Coworker: I'll be there in 10.

10 minutes later.

Coworker: Should be about 10 minutes now. Traffic is bad.

10 minutes later.

Coworker: Almost there.

Our first meeting was set to go around 10 and we would be lucky to get on the road by 9:45 a.m. at this point. I waited and watched as the snow started to stick.

"It's sticking, I told you."

"But not to the road," the front desk manager responded to the janitor she clearly had a bet with.

"Makes for bad driving. And snow like this can bring down power lines, put everything off."

My co-worker pulled up around this time and, walking into the hard, fast, wet pelt of snow I realized all I wanted to do on a day like this was not be out inside of it.

"We should be able to make the first meeting."

"With snow like this it can pull down power likes, throw everything off," I found myself parroting.

"We should be fine."

As it worked out, about 20 minutes into the 50 minute drive to the first school we get a call requesting a schedule change. The power was out at home and the director wanted to go deal with it. Fair enough.

"You think the other meeting is on?"

"Let's get breakfast and make a decision."

The weather managed to decide for us over breakfast, as the winds stared peaking at 65 mph and the cold and wet was making it all around miserable. With the second afternoon meeting moved, it was decided that getting a train to the city made the most sense, and we could do so if we could make it one town over in a hurry.

The white knuckled drive was not fun, but thinking about what should be a relatively smooth  traan ride made it bearable. Sitting in the lot, drying off from yet again being exposed to the deluge, we talked and waited until the train time came. Looking up, waiting, listening for the sound of the train, nothing.

"I think something is wrong."

She looked for information on her phone and I cracked the window to make it easier to hear announcements. At roughly the same time we discovered all trains on the line were suspended until further notice because of a tree downing power lines.

Plan B.

"If I get you to Secaucus that should do it. It's pretty much the biggest hub."

We managed to slide through most traffic as anyone who could think of a reason wasn't on the road. Pulling into Secaucus I managed to find the platform get my ticket transferred and get to a train, just in time.

Announcement: The train will depart in 8 minutes.

Announcement: The train will depart in 5 minutes.

Announcement: The train will depart in 8 minutes.

Announcement: The train will depart in 11 minutes.

Announcement: The train will depart in 5 minutes.

Announcement: The train will depart in 8 minutes.

This went round and round for the better part of an hour until, miraculously the train finally arrived.

New York was cold and wet but the trains worked well once I was in the city, spiriting me off to the arms of my lover for the weekend and giving me a chance to at least try to warm up and dry out before I would need to rush off and do it all over again.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Milk Room

"I hear the cocktails make people cry."

"Well, then, we should do it."

Calembour made reservations for the Milk Room that would work for me being slightly between trips for a few days in Chicago. An extension of our regular exploration of cocktail places in the city, I was curious to go to what is a very small bar inside of the Chicago Athletic Association, which is more hotel than gym and more bars than hotel, and regardless a place for an experience.

Exploration into the aesthetic tells me that the place has eight seats, dim lighting, good bartenders and old spirits. Whether the age of the spirits is literal or figurative can be debated, as the room, once entered, has the feeling of the type of bar where it would not be out of place to see Anasazi drinking with Oden, while Helen laughs in the corner sipping a drink made of liquid gold that glimmers on her lips and flickers in time with the candle lighting about.

"So, I made a down payment for the reservation and it all goes to the bill," it is explained to me. I might have complained had I known, but we even out the cost between us before the night is over. The prices are high, but then we are also paying prices to drink liquors that were bottled in some instances before either of use were born.

"And how do you come about the collection?" Calembour asks the bartender, in the way he has of being able to causally chat up people. A skill I possess, but one that flags when I have spent too much time working. I'm a nervous and anxious tonight, a tension is building up and I cannot quite place it. I'm exited to be in this room, with this company, with these drinks...I feel wholly inadequate here, as if there is a measure of worth I have not achieved and I am lacking.

There is always the sense that I am lacking.

"It changes over time, you know. The way that culture changes. There was a time that everyone had a bar because that was what you did. You had a bar and it was very well stocked. My uncle had a bar, man barely ever drank a drop, but the bar was fully stocked with liquors he never drank. We seek out estate sales, auctions, you know. That's where you can find things."

There are liquors that were made before companies changed hands, before the formulae were different. He explains the historical difference between the mezcal we are drinking in our drinks and how the mezcal from the city of Tequila became the Tequila that we know so well, as at some point (in the same way of the French and Champagne) someone realized there was enough of a distinction to name it and make it their own. Staring with our good Jose Cuervo who knew a thing or two about the mezcal from Tequila. Sauza, Herradura, they all knew Don Cuervo at some point before the families went off on their own.

"What have you been playing with" is a good conversation starter and one that Calembour uses to good effect. We both start with different mezcal based drinks. Mine is a take on something invented in a New York bar called the Naked and the Famous.

The title seems in some way apt to how I am feeling that night, perhaps how I am feeling in general. Three weeks ago I was in the state of Texas and a young woman walked up to me and started her conversation with "You are S- aren't you?"


"You don't remember me, but-"

These stories are always strange to me. This is not the first time I have been stopped in a hall, in a room, at a train station, in an airport. The question always the same, followed by the story of my profound impact. I stand there, in the height of my infamy, my fame, the thing that I have done to myself in this world and listen in startled awe about how a moment with me changed the life of another, feeling stripped away by the impact on someone else's life journey. Wholly unworthy of being the person who sparked that change.


"What are you thinking of next?"

"Tell him your story," Calembour suggests. We have been trading stories of our wild times with various spirits. I think of the time I brought a bottle of Jose to anything. So many wild ways in which  line of shots landed in a place you don't expect. Once, in the Lonely Hearts Club, Hyun and I drank the better part of a bottle of tequila with a Kiwi while listening to Duke Ellington records until roughly 7 in the morning on a school day. Work was hell the next morning but I regret not a single thing about the night.

"I'm the type of girl to drink it straight out of the bottle."

"Sometimes there is nothing better. I remember once, my ex, bought me this bottle of whiskey. Really good whiskey, you know." He points to the bottle on the shelf, the name escapes me, but the sentiment is understood. "And we are walking across this bridge, and I have this bottle in my hand, and I just think, you know, fuck it, I'm going to drink this whiskey right of the bottle, brown bag and all." And he relieves twisting off the top, and walking across that bridge. I imagine the water than runs beneath his feet, never the same water, always changing, like the moment he describes where he is, and is not, back in that place, drinking whiskey with an ex he loved, but who for the variable reasons that human exists, is no longer in that space in his life.

"I really don't like sweet drinks."

"How about we just do a flight of tequilas then?"

I feel like I am giving up in some way, by doing a flight that I am disappointing my cocktail companion, but the thought of having a chance to really experience these rare liquors unencumbered is something that also appeals. Finally, with reluctance I concede.

The Herradura is possibly the smoothest tequila I have ever had, being fond of the current blend and I can see the subtlies of change in the formula, with the modern having more of an edge of impatience, as if they cannot wait to get it in a bottle. The urgency is missing from this one I sip tonight. The Sauza is remarkably like caramel and butterscotch, as the bartender had pointed out. There is a feeling of being hidden in a cave and watching the rain fall outside, the openness in a desert that is almost always dry. The warmth is exquisite.

Flipping through the menu, knowing how the bar comes across its various wares, I notice the stamp over and over again, describing the thing that is beyond control: once a liquor is used it will no longer exists, it can never be again. The stamp reads "gone but not forgotten".

I sip my small flight of tequilas and feel this in each inhale before sipping and each exhale after sampling. This is how life has always been, like the red stamp filling up pages. The warmth is both sweet and soon to be gone, but not forgotten.

Thursday, February 22, 2018


“I know what you like my love, I’ve always known.”

His body seems familiar, as do his lips as do his words. We are a tangle in sheets Trying work out between each other how this has become so familiar in so short an amount of time.

“I love you.”

“I know. You always loved me, we were always in love, don’t you remember?”

We are solid beings thinking about time and memory. We have been here before, in this place, in this time. We drank wine after a long day together, as we had always done, as we will do again in the future. We placed our bodies close and I rested my head on his shoulder in that old familiar comfort that I knew, I had always known, I would always know.

We are at a moment in time that is an intersection of all the universes, totality of things. In this timeline we remember each other so well, the laughter we shared, the jokes that were as familiar to us as old shoes. We slipped into the quiet routine of old friends and lovers in minutes.
But it wasn’t old, it was eternal. It was the always now and the always had been and the always will be. The ascension of all the perfect moments in the cycling loop of the variety totality.

A hand in my hair, that knowing touch of his flesh on mine, his body tastes as I always remembered it tasting, his fingers moved as they always move, knowing where to find the spots that make the reaction that much more powerful to me, that moment of the in-between time is complete lost and we are bound and we are bonded and we are who we were always going to be together.

I see fluidly down the timelines of our hands and our hair and our touch intertwined, my chin burns from the scruff of his chin, my lips red and raw and aching from kiss and suck and sup and sensation that has overwhelmed all things.

I see in this timeline all the things we create together: we are lovers and artists, we make music together, and laugh and explain words while he studies, he teaches me French, I cry in his lap, we have fights and plan for the future, a home, we share a life, and all the infinite wondrous moments of the life.

I cry out, small sound in the night, as we move about in bed.

“Did I hurt you, my love?”

“You always hurt me.”

“I know. I tried not to this time.”

Only time.

“Pain was always pleasure.”

“Your pleasure, our pleasure. I missed you.”

“I missed you.”

“I always knew you were there.”

“Of course, I was. We only just lost ourselves for the moment but we have always been here. We are still here. We stay together, you remember. I remember it now.”

“Yes, but not without heartbreak.”

“It was sad, that time.”

“But it was happy, too. There were the happy times.”

“Yes, there was that as well. It was always in motion.”

“In motion.”


“In movement.”

“You’re losing yourself again, you know. Like you did the last time.”

“But remember I found myself, too. I never get lost for long.”

“Of course, my love.”

We are entangled and in touch and in darkness and in motion and emotion…

“Did I wake you, my love.”

“No, I was awake. You being here, being now, it brought me back.”

“I’m never leaving.”

“You are always leaving.”

“But it never mattered.”

“It always mattered.”

“I will miss you my love.”

“Of course, but we always miss each other.”

We embrace at a door and the rain is pouring down and I am going to work and I am looking into his eyes and we kiss.

“I meant it all, you know, every word.”

“You always meant it.”

“It means everything.”

“And nothing.”

“I love you.”

“Of course.”

I turn and put my bag in a car. Looking away for a moment. I look up, back to where he was,, where he is, where he had always been.

Now, nothing but the stairs and the rain.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


"I mean, I get on well with pretty much anyone, really."

"Unless they have a history."

"Yes, you know, not that."

I'm sitting at the counter in a little bar that I have become fond of in the city. It's not Lonely Hearts Club, but I find that I enjoy going, reading, writing, drinking there. Sometimes there is an Argentinian guitar player and this brings me great joy. Sometimes it is just me alone, thinking about my history. For I am a woman full of history.

The chatter that is drifting from the conversation next to me had mostly been filtered out and was going unnoticed, the story is one of living a life of wonder and privilege that doesn't feel like enough: the new houses they want to buy, the IVF treatment they or friends are going to undergo, the kids they currently have, the relationships they are engaged pretty, a life full of things and desires that go beyond needs and wants.

Having needs that went unmet for long swaths of time would most likely put me right up there in the "has a history" column. For this, I am grateful.

The pain and turmoil of my early life, the constant challenges in love and loss, the never ending fight with my own self worth and visions of who I am inside of this world, all of this building towards a pile of undeniable, unedited, history. My past has made many of the trappings of normalcy difficult to attain, given me an edge and sometimes anxious behaviors that I have no ability to control; creating difficulties and schisms in my psyche that live there with various patches. These are things that cannot be mended. These are the things that have made my history.

This record here, thousands of pages up on pages of trying to unpack and understand my own life and my own history, glorious and depraved, and written full of laughter, joy and tears. Dreams that have been both a blessed release from the challenges of the day and also a cursed reminder of all that I have lost to find this place where I am now.

Glasses clinking on the table as the women talk and insulate themselves from history and I smile and sip my wine and think about what it would be like if my history could be manifest: a great hulking cloud of all the things, all the pasts, all the knowledge and experiences...I smile a secret smile as I think about all the amusements in my history; stories that have helped me mercifully overshadow all the pain.

These women who talk want nothing of the past, it's the future, the acquirement, the perpetual chase for the next thing they want, and fulfilling their wishes for more want, and more normalcy and of course, more life that does not contain a history.

My history is my future and my past. My history is all of me.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Many, many dresses

I made five dresses, fixed two t-shirts, and edited five additional dresses.

And, somehow, I still feel like I was a lazy sloth this weekend.

This was an edited dress. When I started with it, it was basically a mu-mu. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Sewining, 2018

It happens a lot in my life. Me and my machine.

This time, me and my machine wrestled with 100 dollars worth of fabric, that is barely half of what I could have gotten for the same money in another country.

Doesn't matter. It was exquisite.

I sewed and I sewed and I sewed.

Three days, five dresses, two fixes, five edits.

There was an Anne Taylor dress that was practically a mu-mu when I started with it. I turned it into a tart little date night dress. Then there was the splatter paint print.

Or the one that looked almost like a Van Gogh.

I feel most real when I am in front of my machine. The act of creation is just...something I cannot explain. In the machine there is life, and I breathe through it and into it and when I am finished I look at all the things that I have wrote and I exist in that moment for a few more years.

I have things I made over 20 years ago tucked away in closets somewhere.

A different kind of art. A piece of me. A kind of art.

Someday, maybe, if I am found worthy as an artist, maybe these things will be. Who knows.

All I know is I took advantage of three snowdays to make so many wonderful things and it was exquisite.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Snow Day

A dog being sick managed to sideline me from my usual February challenge.

Chicago is cold. Last night a minor blizzard rolled through and dropped about 5 inches of snow.

That lake is exquisite.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Pretty People, Doing Very Fun Things

Yesterday was a strange day and my head felt as if it was not quite on straight. Partially facing down the breadth of mortality again, partially being on the road for so long, partially because my neck continues to play merry hell with my body and no amount of grinning and bearing is really effective at this point.

With all that on mind I decided what I needed was a movie. Being on the road and paid to entertain others all the time, I thought it might be nice to pay someone to entertain me. That and I wanted popcorn, damn the consequences and the carbs.

I managed to get into clothes and pour myself into a cab for the only 5:00 show I could find, which also happened to be the movie Jumanji. I looked at the potential offerings for the big box theater and also the Music Box before settling. Horror, as entertaining as it can be, didn't feel quite right. The coming of age complexities of a young bisexual male felt like it might push a bit too much in the other direction. I didn't want to rewatch something, leaving only two children animated movies and Jumanji. Since I enjoy Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and actually find him entertaining to watch, well, then yes. Settled.

Snow had been falling all day but the skies cleared as I got out in front of the theater. It was quiet on this Sunday afternoon, as I thought it might be, since the rest of the country was watching some ball game that I had no interest in. The theater had a total collection of two families with small children, one older gay couple, and me. In many ways, if you can't have an entirely empty theater to yourself, this was a good way to do it.

Popcorn achieved, I went to get my phone scanned, to get my ticket, to enter the theater. I enjoy this particular big box theater as it has clearly worked on an initiative to employ a variety of ticket handlers who are wheelchair bound, and super polite and cheerful. I always enjoy seeing people who want to work awarded with employment. It makes me smile to say hello and participate in the chit chat.

This particular older fellow was outfitted in a leather vest and rather a large assortment of LGBTQ flare which pretty much queued me into to his orientation and social politics.

"And how are you today young lady?"

"Well. Just here to see a movie." Scan.

"Oh, Jumanji, good choice a surprisingly entertaining film."

"Is it?"

"Oh yes. It's not very complicated. But..."

He looks me over for a second. I don't have any easy to spot flare that might designate my particular social leanings. Wearing black jeans with alchemy patches, Docs, a leather jacket, and my usual cloud of wild, black and brown hair, with leather bag strapped across my chest like some ancient warrior, I think he managed to figure it out.

"Well," he winks conspiratorially, "It is a movie that has some very pretty people, being pretty and doing very fun things. I think you'll like it."

He pats my hand and we share a smile.

His summation is the best overall review I can make of the film.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Death comes...

It's a strange thing to wake up and read about someone you know who has died. I think in my head as I read the message "again".


Someone I know has died.

And this is not the first someone I knew. Not the first someone I cared about. Not the first someone I've had to think of in the past tense; full knowledge that they do not walk the earth any longer. Their energy, capture for a time here, is released. Now they have gone back into the ebb and flow of the universe.

With this I can't help wondering when my particular matter will rejoin the earth and the universe. Mortality always lingers near death. As does the desire for vitality and anything which can be opposite of the end of all things.

This death, of my friends, is perhaps the most complicated. The person was a known antagonist and had managed, in the last few years life, to alienate completely from many who would have called said friend ten years before. So it was, growth, life, change, in both thinking and personality and situations and so we go through life.

Well do I know that those I love deeply now may have no love for me in a year. That those who I have spent so much time and energy and joy with, could, tomorrow choose to cast me away forever for a word, or a deed, or a thought misspoken. For a hurt I cannot correct.

I have no doubt I have hurt people.

I have no doubt I have helped people.

The only thing I know for sure to be true abut me, is that I make an effort to be what I think of as good: conflicted, difficult, proud, strong, weak, scared, and good in the only ways that I can find it.

I'm always sad to see people go. It feels me with weird trepidation and emotion and dark things low in the center that I can't completely explain. And yet, the only thing that anyone can be fully sure of is eventually, death comes.

Saturday, February 03, 2018


"I love that you think oysters are a "snack"."

"They are a snack."

"A rich person's snack."

"I'm not rich."

"You are not poor."

That much is true. I do enjoy eating oysters when I can find places that have them. Now they make me think of freedom, life, salt, water, the earth and the cycle of my travels spinning around and around with no fear of settling.

Mountain Passes

The Company already has me on the road and hard. Some days I weak up feeling fully used and we are barely out of January and into February. Gods I want to complain, but I love it far too much. Strange places, strange hotels, strangers to meet, strangers to entertain, and me, somewhere in the middle of all of that being me. Being strange.

I think I've embraced the strange at the center of who I am with more vibrancy and less shame as I've gotten older. It's freeing, really.

So it was on a very fast strange trip that I found myself descending into Salt Lake City just before the sun set over the mountains.

I like mountains. I see them all the time, really, and rather enjoy them when I can be in them. Perhaps my favorite up to this point are the Andes, which are truly awe inspiring set of mountains to be in. I recall a moon over pink clouds shining down on me feeling close enough to touch. Perhaps a favorite memory, having a car full of locals who speak Spanish to me, with me answering back in pigeon Spanish and Korean; all of us piling out of the car to just stare at the  moon as it stares back at us.

Excursions to Latin American had not really prepared me for the Rockies. I recall being in the Rockies a very long time ago. There are at thousand miles in the backseat of a car when I was very young. Before the bad got very bad, when it was only a little bad but I was too young to know that it. So many late nights listening to adults talk in the front of the car as we drove through various winding roads, a quiet chatter to avoid waking the children. Staring at my own reflection in the night-mirrored window and wondering what magical mysteries would be exposed as we continued on the road.

On one of those trips, there had been the Rockies. I vaguely recall driving from the heat of the desert below and going up, up, up until the car was on the side of the road and the children piled out to see the snow in the summer time. Wet and icy and chilly, so surprising in the summer time, but still cool enough at the heights to allow the ground to maintain it's chilly covering. Old memories that linger far longer than the should, but among the few of those I have from childhood.

So it was that I found myself, then, descending into resplendence that is the Rockies. I don't know what else I can say about it. Driving about in the valley, shadowed all around  by the mountains presence, constant, daunting, a minute by minute reminder of how small one is in the world.

My companion and driver sat next to me as I commented on it.

"I'm sorry, I wasn't listening, I just...the mountains never stop," I said as I observed the mountains behind the capital.

"Yeah, I once worked with a guy, and he said after awhile you just don't notice."

"I don't know how that's possible"

"I wondered about that, too. I asked him. He told me that after-while you just forget to look up."

Perhaps if you are in it all the time. I'm not sure I could forget.

Friday, February 02, 2018


I'm smart enough to make sure I always travel with batteries. The reason for this should be, of course, obvious. However, here I found myself, on a trip, without batteries at all.

This particular trip has been so busy I have been unable to rectify this particular situation at all. It's been, in short, a bit tragic.

Last night, I found myself eating dinner alone at a nice little restaurant next to a grocery store and I thought, yes, I shall get batteries here.

After dinner, and some wine, this fully left my mind and so I ended up, yet again, back at my hotel without batteries. I realized this as soon as I got out of the car that dropped me off.

Being an intrepid traveler, I shrugged and went to the desk and asked if I could get AA batteries.

"Sure we have those in the store."

I checked the store before I ask.

"We appear to be all out."


"Let me call engineer."


"Can we bring them to your room."

Thank the gods, I thought to myself. "Sure."

And so I went to my room and I got comfortable as I wound down from the day and sure enough about 20 minutes later there was a knock and a very happy to see me gentleman stood outside my door.

"You wanted batteries?"


"Do you need anything else?"

The look was mildly suggestive and mostly I was amused because I choose to be amused at this point. It's easier.

"No, thank you."

It took me far too long to get out of bed this morning.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Stephen King's It

At the moment I'm only half way through the reading of this book, and yet, I already understand why it was forbidden to me. It makes good sense now, and there is something terribly freeing in the flick of pages, passage of words, and growth of characters as I continue to pass through the lives of people in Derry, Maine.

It was probably somewhere near the mythical 1985 that I first read a book by Stephen King. I was around 10 years old and I was a ravenous reader. I went easily from Scholastic book of the month selections, to Tolkien, to King. When dragged along to things I didn't want to go to I'd find the place free books could be found and I would stock up on everything good I could get for whatever small change I had in my pockets. I was fairly good at this. How I came to read King, I couldn't tell you but I still remember Carrie and the Gunslinger while I was at the bright and shiny young age of 10 or 11.

Carrie taught me about orgasms, the Gunslinger made evil real and from there it was all Misery, and The Shining, and collections of short stories of gypsies, tramps, thieves, children adults. I was aware of the book It around the age of 12. This was the only story that was forbidden to me. El diablo Madre told me in no uncertain terms I was not allowed to read the book.

In all the things I fought her on and outright defied her on, for some reason, I gave her It. Oh, I read the Stand, and I would read the next three Gunslinger books, I'd hunt down old copies of King. My friends who were also readers helped me uncover his titles publishes as Bachman, and then puberty was well into full swing and I got a bit distracted by Johanna Lindsey and trying to survived my last few years at home.

It was forgotten.

Perhaps because there is a remake of the film that is rather everywhere, perhaps it was because King mentioned that "you could always read the book to see how the story ends", perhaps it is because I have been mentally working through a variety of things lately, that I decided I can/should/would read It now.

Half way through a thousand or so pages I suddenly found myself understanding exactly why this had been forbidden to me as a child. Goodness knows it's not the scary or erotic content. I was easily given Carrie, for goodness sake, not to mention a pile of Dean Koontz that did a lot more for my nightmares. I'd thumbed through the copy of the Joy of Sex more than a hundred times by the age of 10 and those good decision makers of my upbringing let me watch Fatal Attraction with them when I was 8.

No, it's wasn't the content, it was almost certainly the characters. Children who become adults in the most realistic way that you can see the connection between the child they were and the adult they would become. The line between making decisions, taking control, defying parents, doing the thing they needed to do to grow and become humans who, later, might have to make very difficult decisions as adults after having already made very difficult decisions as children. In short, the story of it (mind you I'm only half way through) is almost certainly a roadmap for autonomy written in clear, precise language and executed brilliantly in a way that I most certainly would have connect with. Living in a home where the need for complete subjugation, be it through fear, drugs, or alcohol, any kind of path to autonomy would be have been anathema.

Fortunately for me, I developed a strong path to autonomy anyway and managed to avoid the drugs and the booze that was easily supplied in the household. Unfortunately, I'm not without deep scars from the various other types of manipulation and control. In the end, it didn't matter, I found freedom and have never been blase about what it cost me.

This is, perhaps, the connection I have with the story I read now. A young girl how was forced to do adult things, an adult woman who sometimes is so very haunted by a past she can't quite recall despite all her other successes. I cannot say. What I do know, is that I'm glad I have finally put to rest a wall that has stood in my mind for over thirty years. Let those old barriers continue to fall away.

Let the peace on the other side stand taller and stronger.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dig Deeper

Since 2004, a part of my almost daily life is exercise. It was a hard thing to start at first but it has remained a constant. I work out hard. It hurts and I’m rather in a constant amount of pain because of some of my routines, but I will do them because of all the benefits.

Being able to lift 200lbs, for example, or not being a constant basket case of emotion, thanks the increased serotonin and the endorphins I get from a good workout. It’s not easy but I love doing it. 

When I started traveling a bit more constantly, I had to work to reprogram myself from the gym to the workout video. Flexibility was the key motivation for this switch and it has been a worthwhile switch. My first workout video love was Billy Banks and Tae-bo was a wonder to me. 

After about a year, feeling less than challenged and wanting more, I stumbled upon the Insanity series, with it’s lead Shaun T. That was that. I love the series, even if on the first day I realized I couldn’t do half the exercise. 

Push-ups? Nope. 

Jumping Jacks? Nope. 

Straight leg kicks? Well, thanks to Billy I could kick without to much trouble. 

The reality, though, was the first three months I spent doing Insanity I could barely do Insanity. My first goal: be able to complete all the moves. It took about three months, but eventually I got there. Then I completed the series, then I looked for me. 

Through it all, I fell madly in love with Shaun T. As a coach and am motivator, I find him to be inspiring, thoughtful, and even through the punishment, honest about what he is trying to help others work towards. I still get angry at Tania though, she always seems to get all the praise. 

I found out at some point last year, that Shaun T was visiting Chicago in January and decided to get a ticket to go. Everything that could possible go wrong managed to, but I showed up at the event, which was half therapy sessions half speaking, and all very much about the book Shaun T had just written exploring transformation. 

This is all important and useful stuff, and as an instructional designer while I could have provided some modifications to make the self reflection stations work a bit more smoothly, overall, it was excellently well done. 

It was just before the event that I read the jacket cover for the book that would be released, where it is made very clear that you will learn about Shaun’s early years, his own struggle with weight, and how he came to be the person we know today. It also makes it very clear that Shaun T was sexually abused as a child. 

In the event, waiting in the downtime, I read the better part of the book, and the part that was in so many ways relevant and painful for me to read. There was so much in it that mirrored my own life, my own childhood, and my own abuse that I found myself being completely overwhelmed by emotion. As I listened, an audience member rather than a stage presence, I found myself consoon the verge of tears. They why for me is simple: I know what I’ve been through and I know not only did I come out the other side of it but I have, in many ways, excelled. Here was a man who had been through similar things and come to similar achievements. Here was another soul proving that it’s possible to be on the recieving end of some of the worst things a person could ever experience and be okay. 

When I find others who suffered daily, systematic abuse by people that were supposed to be gaurdians, the experience always resonates. When those others have also managed to come through it and be stronger for it and good examples of how possible it is to carry on, I feel such a sense of overwhelming camradire. A need to gather together all of us, successful, thoughtful intelligent people that had to turn inwards and rely on ourselves to escape, to bring out all our stories and show the world loudly: it is possible to be more than the sum of that experience.

At the end of the even there were pictures and a book signing. I held my book open for the signing and Shaun looked up, signed walked on. I couldn’t speak. My heart was in my throat. I wanted to hug him, hold him, tell him that he’s been the man in my life at 5 a.m. for so long I can’t imagine a world without it. Tlel him that I know what it was like, the thing he went through, because I went through it, too. I wanted to thank him. I wanted to say anything. 

He walked on. 

No faullt of his. I was choking on words and had no way to express them. I tried to turn on my public persona, the mask that I step into when I have to do difficult things, the shell that can be fully without emotional response. This allows me to be very good at what I do, but I couldn’t hold onto my normal public self and I was on the verge of sputtering and fading out. 

I rallied as best I could for the picture taking. I said what I needed to say. “I was an abused like you. Five years. I really appreciate you sharing your story.” 

We hug. I manage to choke back tears. 

“You keep at it. You keep working through it. Don’t ever give up.”

“I’ve lost a lot of weight,” I respond. 

“That’s not what I meant.”

I wish I’d had more time to tell him that I did more than hear him, I felt it too my soul. He was right, I was doing a thing I let myself do for a long time; hiding behind the fact that my body is big as the root of all evil, the reason for all the work, and the source of the most pain. 

Here is a thing about constant systematic abuse, the abuse is difficult to deal with so many of us find other ways to hurt that we can manage. Weight, drugs, booze can all be shields that we wrap around ourselves when it gets to be to real. 

Shaun T didn’t know me from anyone, I was just another fan girl, but with those words he cut right to the core of it and I knew. He knew. I made eye contact and turned and fled to the bathroom to cry because I couldn’t control it. There was so much emotion. 

“The first step is embracing being uncomfortable.” 

This is one of the truest things, regardless of the goal. Success requires being willing to be uncomfortable. Uncomfortable is so much more than a bodies pain, the weight, the pressure of a thousand bad memories that sometimes want to take the spotlight way from the millions of good ones. 

Trust and Believe is probably one of the best known Shaun T-isms.

And I do. I trust and believe in my ability to keep working on being me, working on getting through the hard things and the dark days, and keeping up the push-ups, no mater how much pain there is. 

I can be uncomfortable. 

I can dig deeper.