Friday, April 30, 2004


We're sitting here in the wee hours watching the tape of last night's Prince special. Boyfriend's eating a pb&j, having just strolled in at 3:00. He went to the big calypso concert at the stadium tonight with his cop friend. The cops have a food booth there every year, and every year his friend invites us to go. We've always passed, but boyfriend decided he'd go this year since this may well be our last Carnival season here. I stayed home. I'm SO over calypso, having heard way too much of it in my short time here (including at the beach on the weekends when people bring huge speakers and blast it up and down the beach). And West Indians like their music LOUD. No, seriously. L-O-U-D. I couldn't imagine a less fun way to spend an evening, especially because it was also a contest...and these things tend to run long. It lasted four hours. Most of you probably haven't heard that much (or any) calypso. Let's just say it's not a genre that's known for talented vocalists. Boyfriend said most tonight were pretty bad, but that the best singer won. That's unusual! Several of the singers were from down-island.

After the concert he helped the cops break down the booth and transport it to where they were dropping it off and unload it there. And then they went to Carnival hear more calypso. Eegads. Carnival is marred by violence every year, never fails. Let's hope no one gets stabbed this year. Boyfriend said a couple of fights broke out in the Village. His friend (who was off-duty) was ready to deal with them but the cops who were on duty just stood around doing nothing. That sounds typical. Ha!

Boyfriend said the Discovery Channel is here this week filming all of the Carnival activities. It'll be interesting to see how they piece it together, because a lot of it's pretty half-assed. Some of the parade costumes are wonderful, but the performances are fairly lame. And maybe it's just me, but iI'm not drawn to a parade full of, shall we say, full-figured (sometimes abundantly so) women spilling out of racy costumes. Think about what you imagine Carnival in Brazil would be like...well, this is not that. These aren't sexy hotties shakin' their booties as they march down the street--these are (often) middle-aged, overweight women shaking not only their booties but also their bellies. I see enough of that at the beach. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2004


Last night I emerged from the bedroom where I'd been on a marathon phone call with my mother to find my boyfriend watching a show about Outkast on VH-1. That was immediately followed, much to our delight, by a half-hour special with Prince. At the end of the show, Prince sat down for a very brief interview with some incredibly lame one-name veejay (Sway?) You'll understand in a moment why I couldn't be bothered to remember his ridiculous moniker.

He asked Prince if he was coming back with all this new music now because he thought there was something missing from the current music scene. Prince said he doesn't hear a lot of musicians now. The veejay asked Prince if he thought musicianship--playing instruments--was important to bring back. I looked over at my boyfriend with my mouth agape. He looked back at me with raised eyebrows, as if to say, "That pretty much says it all." I'm either getting REALLY old or there's something seriously wrong with that exchange.

During the the Prince show, boyfriend said, "There's not a musician in the world that doesn't like Prince." No sooner were those words out of his mouth when they showed one of the guys from The Roots saying, "Prince is liked by musician's musicians. I'm a musician's musician and I love Prince."

I'm just glad that I live with someone who's a musician's musician.

What, me lie?

Right about now Bushie and Cheney should be starting their meeting with the 9/11 commission. I love how the administration is painting this as a "discussion" rather than "testimony." Well I guess it wouldn't be testimony since they won't be under oath and there will be no recording or transcription of what's said.

What the HELL is going on on the mainland? Has there been some kind of mass hypnosis? I try not to bring politics into this blog for the most part, but let me reiterate Jon Stewart's question about George Tenet last week--but this time about Bush: "What the f**k does this guy have to do to get fired?!" Clinton got impeached for getting a blow job in the Oval Office. If what Bush and Cheney have done and are doing isn't impeachable, I don't know what is.

UDPATE - 1:15 p.m.: Bush is now holding a press conference in the Rose Garden. " was...(wheels turning...there's an adjective in there somewhere...hold it is)...important..." "I enjoyed it...glad I took the's an important commission." "The Vice President answered, all...of their questions."

Watching him try to string a sentence together is often more than I can stand, but what really puts me over the edge is his constant smirk. What the f**k is so funny, pal?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

100 Things

Lynn once remarked after reading my blogs for the first time that there wasn't an "About" section. Thought I'd finally jump on the "100 Things About Me" bandwagon. Here goes:

1. I can't believe I'm the age I am...and still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.
2. I like to write...and seldom do it (in proportion to my passion for it).
3. I wanted to be a stand-up comic when I was a girl.
4. I also wanted to be a drummer.
5. I became neither.
6. I love to take pictures...and rarely do that.
7. My current relationship taught me about unconditional love.
8. I hate runny eggs. The only kind of breakfast eggs I can eat are fried eggs that have been smashed into roadkill or extremely well-done scrambled eggs.
9. I love to eat.
10. I hate to cook.
11. I love pimiento sandwiches. I should make one.
12. I drank vats of milk as a kid...and abruptly dropped it from my diet in my late teens.
13. I can be an extremely loyal friend. I have friendships I've maintained for decades.
14. I sometimes let people (like friends) get away with bad behavior...but once MY line has been crossed, there's no going back.
15. I was a straight A student in grade school and an honor roll student in high school.
16. I hated school.
17. I never wanted to go to college, but did dabble at a couple of community colleges.
18. I went to a Catholic school from 1st through 8th grades where I was taught by nuns and had to attend Mass every morning.
19. The nuns thought I'd be a good candidate for the convent. I still haven't figured that one out.
20. I had to play the organ for Sunday mass when I was nine.
21. I hated organ lessons and would never practice during the week. Instead I'd get up at 3 am the morning of my lesson and try to fumble my way through the week's assignments with the volume all the way down on the organ as my parents and little brother slept.
22. I love to watch sports but hate to play most of them.
23. I've been an insomniac my whole life.
24. Sometimes I like being awake in the middle of the night when others are sleeping.
25. I still love transistor radios. One resides permanently in the mountain of pillows on our king-size bed, even though there's a boom-box on the bedside table.
26. My favorite flowers are tulips.
27. I once spent two weeks in a hotel in Paris where I kept a bouquet of pink tulips on the mantle of the (non-working) fireplace in my room.
28. There are still countless places I'd like to visit on this planet.
29. Before I met my boyfriend I preferred to travel alone.
29. My boyfriend and I like to take road trips...but we've spent the past 4 years on an island that's only 13 miles long and 3 miles wide.
30. I still like to make forts. For several summers in Portland, I pitched a small tent in the backyard and used it as a reading room in daylight hours...and sleeping room at night. People thought I was nutty, but they didn't know what they were missing.
31. There was an overgrown lot across the street from my childhood home. My brother and cousins and neighborhood friends and I used to make our way through a tiny opening into the center of it. You could stand in there and be sheltered from the wind and bask in the sun and pick blackberries. It was the best.
32. Catholicism never made sense to me, even as a kid. The nuns would often write in the comments section of my report cards that I sometimes seemed to be staring out the window during religion class.
33. I find myself often staring out the window in my office, counting the hours until I can leave and go do something fun.
34. I hated when the Catholic Church switched the mass from Latin to English. Latin mass was mysterious--like participating in a cult ritual before school.
35. I have a very active imagination.
36. I missed several weeks of school in my 4th grade year. I had bronchitis a couple of times and then I got pneumonia.
37. I spent all of that time at home (as a latch-key kid) watching 60's black-and-white CBS soaps.
38. I desperately wanted a mother who wore shirtwaist dresses and pearls and pumps and stayed at home to drink coffee with her friends and neighbors.
39. My mother was our town's first beauty queen.
40. I look nothing like her.
41. My father was a coach.
42. I look exactly like him.
43. My parents were excellent dancers...with each other.
44. I have fond memories of my childhood even though I was absolutely miserable the entire time. But my nostalgia is for what occurred outside of our home.
45. We had a black Labrador for 13 years named Susie. We got her when I was one.
46. Labs are my favorite dogs.
47. My favorite season is summer.
48. I love all things I associate with summer.
49. I love living in a place where it's sunny almost all of the time and warm every single day.
50. But that's about all I love about this place, except for the stunning beaches.
51. I love to dance...and haven't in years. (Noticing a pattern here?)
52. I still remember my first dance lessons when I was 4. I can't remember the teacher, but I remember the room.
53. I was a ballerina in the kindergarten circus we staged for our parents. A high school friend has home movies of us dancing--I'm the one keeping the correct time. (But the highlight of the circus was the ringmaster who picked his nose while making introductions.)
53. I had a boyfriend in kindergarten named Clark. He had a crew cut and was a very bad boy. He used to get sent to the principal's office for a spanking almost every day (when corporal punishment was still acceptable). I thought he was great.
54. I'm really smart.
55. I often do stupid things.
56. I could easily give up TV if I could still occasionally watch some good comedy.
57. I love to laugh, but few things make me.
58. I love to make my friends laugh.
59. I've become a bit of a recluse.
60. I love to read and enjoy few things more now than escaping into a good book. But I didn't enjoy reading until I got sober.
61. I haven't had a drink in 14 years.
62. I have a lot of embarrassing stories from my drinking days, but I'm not going to share any of them here.
63. I love cranberry sauce.
64. I prefer white meat over dark.
65. I'm obsessed with pie. If I could eat only one kind of dessert for the rest of my life, it would be pie--just about any kind.
66. I love the taste of coffee, but didn't start drinking it until I was in my 30's.
67. My mother and I used to have a lot of tea parties when I was kid.
68. I adore my nieces and revel in their differences. In the tiniest way, it makes me understand how a parent could love each of her children equally, while still enjoying their uniqueness.
69. I'm a really fast typist.
70. I hate to type for anyone except myself.
71. Many people don't understand that what inspires me is not the talents or skills I can use in a given moment, but whether or not the matter I'm using them on interests me.
72. I have lots of ideas. Some of them, if I do say so, are even fairly clever.
73. I don't do anything to act on them.
74. I love to walk. It's frustrating to live in a place where there are no shoulders on the roads and the downtown sidewalks are teeming with slow-moving tourists.
75. My favorite fruit is the orange, but I rarely buy them because I'm not good at picking them.
76. I love banana milkshakes.
77. I was a cheerleader.
78. I'm a hypochondriac who never goes to the doctor. I just wait for the terror to pass.
79. If you met my boyfriend and me, you'd guess that I would be the high-maintenance one. You'd guess wrong.
80. I love the sound of birds chirping, but can't imagine having to listen to a caged bird inside the house. It's not the cage that would bother me, but the chirping.
81. Until I stopped drinking, I had terrifying nightmares every night.
82. Now I have wonderfully weird dreams.
83. There are few things I love more than travel, but I stayed on this little rock for 3-1/2 years without leaving.
84. I hate being pinned down, in any way.
85. I'm easily moved to tears.
86. I'm very sensitive.
87. I'm painfully shy.
88. I love to perform.
89. I have no problem saying out loud what others only think.
90. I was once in a hot legs contest. I ended up as the tease (pardon the pun) on the 11:00 news on the CBS affiliate in San Francisco.
91. I like to do thoughtful things for people, especially when they least expect it.
92. For many years, I kept a little datebook that had countless birthdays and anniversaries. I spent years mailing cards to people. Now I can barely remember to buy my boyfriend a birthday card.
93. I try to purchase gifts the recipients will enjoy, but once I've given them I could care less what they do with them. They could throw or give them away and that would be okay with me. I have absolutely zero attachment to gifts.
94. The older I get the more I become aware of my choices as they relate to my ethics and beliefs.
95. I'd love to work for a non-profit that I felt was doing some real good.
96. I think every American child should be entitled to an education that includes the arts.
97. I believe every child--and grown-up!--should be told that they're creative in their own way...and that that creativity should be nurtured.
98. I think blogging is one of the coolest things ever. I can easily lose hours to reading journals and blogs.
99. I try not to forget that I'm very blessed. I've had some exceptional experiences and have been the recipient of boundless generosity and kindnesses.
100. I've learned to forgive.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Whittling down...whiling away...

A quick look around our living room right now would lead you to believe that we're moving. In? Out? Hard to tell. Stuff everywhere. Saturday the boyfriend began searching for a particular document. When it wasn't in the third, fourth, fifth place we looked, we decided it was time to start going through all of the stacks of papers stashed in various spots. Boyfriend quickly decided that we need a shredder, so off to Office Max we went. It's not that we're COMPLETELY unorganized--we do have's just that nothing had seemed to find its way into the files in the last, I don't know, year? It did feel good to get rid of all the hidden stashes of papers. Next up: magazines. We bought two of those magazine holders. I told the boyfriend that we each need to whittle down our mag's to fit into those holders--one for him, one for me. He laughed. I think the laugh meant, "Yeah, right. That'll be the day..." Just watch me, pal.

The thought of moving next year (that's still the plan) seems daunting when I think about having to go through everything and sort out what we really want to ship. It's not that we even own that much stuff compared to most people (we rent a fully furnished place), but being limited to mailing or shipping as the only available mode of transport makes you really focus on what you really need and want to keep. (It's so different than being able to pile stuff into a car or U-Haul.)
Yesterday we spent about 8 hours at the beach. Unusual for us to spend more than 4 (or 5, max). Boyfriend's been lobbying hard for some sort of watercraft, but given that we bought round-trip tickets for my mother to celebrate her birthday here (and we'll be hosting her for 10 days) and that we just spent an exhorbitant amount on round-trip tickets (eegads, tickets in peak summer travel season are HIGH!) for his son to spend 3 weeks with us in August (and the small fortune we'll spend on the little guy while he's here)...well, we just can't see dropping another $600 (at least) on a dinghy. So to appease the old man, when we were in K-Mart about a week ago, we bought an inflatable raft for $50. He really just wanted something to paddle around our neighborhood beach. Yesterday we took it with us and once the tourists started heading back to the cruise ships, we drove to the eastern edge of the beach, inflated the raft and decided to paddle out to a side beach. This baby was advertised as a 4-person raft. Four very little people...maybe. Even more laughable are the oars that came with it. They're puny and too short and made us feel like we were trying to row with teaspoons. It was pretty pathetic. We each had an oar, but because he was doing a lot of short, quick strokes and I was doing a lot of long, slower ones, we found ourselves going in circles. Which of course led to arguments: "What are you DOING?! Which way are you trying to GO?!" It doesn't sound funny, but it was. But a few minutes later, we reached the little beach (in spite of ourselves) and lounged on the rocks and sand in the late afternoon sun. I went for a dip--the water was perfect. When we got ready to head back, he decided he wanted me to ride in the raft and he would push me, so he hung off the end of the raft and kicked us toward shore. We stopped short of the beach and bobbed in the bay for probably half an hour while we watched the wonderful sunset. It dawned on us that it was the first time we'd ever watched a sunset at our neighborhood beach. Insane! We've lived near this beach for three years! Part of it's the bugs though--we tend to be inside by the time dusk rolls around. And we did start getting bit by the no-see-um's as the sun was setting. But it was pretty...and romantic. And there was a sea turtle nearby keeping us company.

I tease my love that he's not romantic. He is--sometimes--but not in expected ways. Here's an example: He arrived here two months before me. He wanted to make sure that we could make a life here and he came down early to get everything in place. Our neighborhood beach is the most scenic, popular one on the island and his friend drove him to the breathtaking lookout above it right after he arrived. It's a stunning view--the turquoise bay below and St. John and the British Virgin Islands beyond. But my man told his buddy that he didn't want to go to that beach...until he could go with me. So for two months, every time his pals (including visiting musicians) went there, he stayed home. Awwwww. That's romantic, right??

Sunday, April 25, 2004


On this 18th anniversary of the beginning of our world's worst nuclear disaster, please read Elena's riveting photo journal of her trips in and around Cherynobyl, courtesy of Lori Joy Smith.

She's not only a cool biker chick, as Lori Joy puts it, but a heartbreakingly eloquent one, too. And in our language!

Look at Elena's photos, read her words...and then remind yourself that we consider ourselves to be the smartest and most evolved beings on this planet.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Here Comes the Sun

About 2:00 this afternoon, the sun finally peeked through the clouds. Hello, sun! We've missed you the last several days! I zipped home from work, changed my clothes in a hurry and drove down to the beach. I left the flip-flops in the car and the minute my bare feet hit the sand, it was like: aaaaaahhhh. I should have brought my suit because the water felt wonderful. There weren't very many people there--even though it was still very warm at 4:30. (Downright hot on my face...I forgot my hat.) Although you can find locals and tourists at any area of this very long beach, there's definitely a stretch of it where one sees mostly locals (as you get farther away from the amenities). That portion of the beach was very quiet today, although there was a couple getting married...just as I walked by them. "For better or worse..."

I was very happy to be walking on the beach again. I could have walked almost every day this week after work, but the gray weather had left me feeling lazy and listless. What a wuss.

G Mail

Anybody have any thoughts on Google's new email service? At first I thought it sounded great (tons more free storage? Yeah!!) but then I read that they're going to target ads to email recipients. That sounds way too Big Brother for me. An invitation to try it out pops up on Blogger (which hosts these blogs) after log-in. I'm tempted, but torn by the privacy issue. Hmmm...I'll have to think about this one...

Lou Reed

I'm watching a Letterman rerun and Lou Reed's performing. And his band includes a guy doing Tai Chi. I'm gonna have to check with my homeboy Sean on this one (he once produced an album for Lou) to see what's up with the Tai Chi man.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Old Days

Saturday night, I was watching "Nashville Star" when the boyfriend got home from his gig. He sat and watched the second half with me, and we bantered back and forth about who we think is going to win. At 11:00, we flipped over to PBS to see who was on "Austin City Limits." It was Bonnie Raitt and one of her special guests was Roy Rogers. And she opened the show with "Love Letter" which was written by Bonnie Hayes. Well, hell! I had to watch that! It was like time-traveling back to a previous incarnation in my life.

Rewind to Valentine's Day 1989. I'm at Slim's, a club in San Francisco that used to be my primary hang. The show that night was billed as the "Sweethearts of Soul" with Bonnie Raitt, Bonnie Hayes and Lady Bianca. I'm dancing in my red cowboy boots and Bonnie Raitt (who has yet to take the stage) is dancing nearby with a short, kind of strange looking, troll-like woman with glasses, long hair and big headphones on...which weren't attached to anything. Okaaaaay. Anyway, the song's over and I start to make my way off the dance floor and Bonnie stops me and says, "You're a great dancer!" I was rather stunned so the best I could come back with was, "Well, gee, I love your singing!" When she finally took the stage, she announced she had a new album coming out soon and performed several songs from it, including "Love Letter" (written by her opening act). She also dedicated one song to a guy who had danced with her and "didn't believe I was Bonnie Raitt." That album would be "Nick of Time" which would be a huge seller, win a bunch of Grammys and put her on the level of rock royalty where she'd always deserved to be in the first place. She closed the "Austin City Limits" show with "Angel of Montgomery" which is one of my all-time favorite songs she does. That zoomed me me back to 1978 where I could be found dancing to that song in my flat in a teensy town in Humboldt County, California.

SIDEBAR: Those red cowboy boots had some memories, let me tell you. I was once standing outside a Bay Area record store (when they still were record stores) when Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds walked by and said, "Cool boots!" I was waiting for my boyfriend at the time who was shopping inside. There was an in-store appearance that day by some blues guys. Later as we were walking to the car, someone in the parking lot yelled to my boyfriend, "Hey, Pinetop Perkins wants to have his picture taken with your girlfriend!" (Me? Musta been the boots...) Fast forward 12 years...and my current (and last!) boyfriend is playing in a club here on St. Thomas...backing Pinetop Perkins. My life has a tendency to come full circle like that...a lot.

But back to "Austin City Limits." One of my oldest friends was in Roy Rogers' band for a decade. So it really was like old times to see and hear Roy perform, since I've been to a countless number of his gigs. If the only Roy Rogers you know is the dead cowboy--and if you like the blues--check out this Roy Rogers. He has numerous albums (and has also produced albums for other artists: John Lee Hooker, etc.) The dude can play.

It was fun to stroll down memory lane for that hour Saturday night. I sat back and thought, "Damn, girl, you've had some fun in your life!" Good to remember once in awhile...because it gives me hope that someday (hopefully soon) I'll be having some more.

Saturday, April 17, 2004


Tonya's journal is one of my daily reads. She had a post yesterday ("Almas del Sol") with her descriptions of the sun in various spots around the U.S. Her words (as always) were wonderful and right-on. And that post got me thinking about my relationship with the sun and what a powerful impact it plays on my psyche. I've always known that I'm someone who needs sun--quite a lot of it. I just feel so much better when the sun is shining. It can generate all kinds of wonderful feelings in me--happiness, contentment, relaxation, sensuality, playfulness.

Reading Tonya's descriptions of the sun in various locales didn't conjure up my own descriptions (I couldn't top hers anyway), but it flooded me with delicious sun-filled memories. Lying on the bank of the Smith River in the peak heat of summer and then plunging into the cold, clear, green water. Savoring an after-work nap in a pup tent in my (sheltered by tall hedges) Portland backyard as the sun in the western sky flooded the tent with rays through the "door" of the tent. Curling up in a pool of sunlight under a big window in a friends' flat to lose myself in a book. Stretching out on the couch in my Victorian apartment in San Francisco in a haze of afternoon sun and nodding off while listening to a favorite album. Sitting and standing at countless outdoor music festivals while my boyfriend played onstage. Never failing to appreciate the incredible and vast sunny tropical vistas afforded by the countless hills on the islands where we live. Swimming in our neighborhood bay and then dragging my sand chair from a shady spot to a sunny one so I can feel the hot rays warm and dry me. And that's just a handful. Sun is why summer is my favorite season--and why I said for years that I'd like to live somewhere where it's 85 degrees year-round. (Be careful what you wish for.) All I know is that I feel best when I can see and feel the sun...and when it can see and feel me.

Thursday, April 15, 2004


I leave work at 4:00. It takes about 8 minutes to drive home and it's a scenic journey--up and over a big hill. Heading up the hill, downtown and the harbor (often filled with cruise ships this time of year) are laid out to my left. On extra-clear days, you can see the outline of St. Croix, 40 miles to the south. Frequently we can see Vieques (our Puerto Rican neighbor) which is southwest of us. There's a hairpin turn and suddenly the panoramic view is on my right. We have construction on the hill right now, so the road narrows to one northbound (homeward) lane at one point. Southbound traffic is detoured. During morning rush hour, the traffic flow is reversed. If I leave the house after a certain time in the morning (when the traffic snaking down the hill will be horrific), I take the detour as a time-saver. I did that yesterday and at one point I thought, "This is crazy! Look where my morning commute takes me!" Because we've gotten so used to driving (probably a bit too fast) on these very narrow, windy (no shoulder) island roads. Not your standard commute, that's for sure. But what a commute! I zip along in our dark green Honda with the sun roof open, the windows down and enjoy all of the glorious scenery offered by a tropical, sun-filled morning.

Yesterday I couldn't wait to get to the beach after work. As I was standing in the shower yesterday morning, I was already counting the hours until I could get to the beach. I thought about it all day at the office...and when I finally got there, it didn't let me down. It was a gorgeous day yesterday. I know I use that word a lot to describe our weather here, but it's just so appropriate. The bay (at the beach where I walk) was calm; the sun was bordering on hot. It wasn't even 4:30, but already the beach was very uncrowded. The cruise ship passengers have all gone back to their respective ships by that time. What's left is the occasional sunbather...a few walkers...a vacationing family here or there. But yesterday, in addition to a couple who had just gotten married on the beach and were having their pictures taken (with only two others in attendance, one of whom was the photographer), there were lots and lots of babies. Not just little kids--I see lots of those at the beach--but babies. It was almost like a "Mommy and Me" class, except they weren't together. The babies and (mostly) mommies were spread up and down the mile-long beach. And it made me really happy to see them--and to watch them splash in the water and run naked down the sand and cry in the shade and do everything that babies do at the beach.

Boyfriend's been after me that we should buy a little rubber dinghy so we can paddle (or motor) around our neighborhood bay. I agree it would be a delightful thing to do. He's been spending a lot of time surfing the internet, checking out different dinghies (rafts). I was thinking about his desire for us to do that as I was walking on the beach and when I reached the eastern end, there was the perfect raft tied to a tree. I didn't even notice it until I was practically right up on it (what with all of the baby-gawking I was doing). It seemed to be a sign, because I had just been thinking what a perfect day it would be to be toodling around the bay...if only we had a dinghy. Maybe the babies were a sign, too. No, not THAT kind of sign! :) But one that reminds me that if I can get some of that baby wonder back in my spirit (and I've gotten a bit of that in the last few years), then amazing things might happen. If I remember to experience the world from a wondrous place, then the universe just might reward me with granting some of my most heartfelt wishes.

May you find a little baby magic in your life today.

Saturday, April 10, 2004


For those of you who hear the word "golf" and immediately experience a severe rolling of your eyes into the back of your head, bear with me. This is going to sound like it's a post about golf, but it's really not.

Arnold Palmer, one of the most famous golfers of all time, played his last competitive round of golf at the Masters tournament yesterday. It was Arnie's 50th consecutive Masters tournament. It's been years since he made the cut and played all four days of the tournament, but that's beside the point. 50 CONSECUTIVE TOURNAMENTS. Think of any other professional sports figure who has competed in an event for 50 straight years. You can't, because they don't exist. Arnie played in his first Masters in 1955, the year I was born.

My father is a golfer and has been my entire life. I spent many a childhood weekend lying around our darkened living room with my Dad watching Arnie play golf in various tournaments. I have no idea where my mother was all those weekend days (reading in the bedroom?) and I don't remember my little brother watching with us many of those afternoons (maybe he was outside playing). But I can vividly recall sitting in that dark living room on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with my Dad and watching Arnie play golf on our big, boxy black-and-white TV.

In the 60's, it seemed like you were either in "Arnie's Army" or you were rooting for that young phenom, Jack Nicklaus. I always "hated" Nicklaus. Kids take their sporting allegiances seriously and I was firmly in Arnie's camp. And it didn't have anything to do with who my father liked. In retrospect, I imagine he probably had more admiration for Jack's game since he was the better player. But EVERYONE loved Arnie.

I abhor arrogance in anyone. I realize now that that must have been a big part of Arnie's appeal for me. As one of the announcers said during Arnie's round yesterday, "Through all of his fame and all that he's accomplished, we always felt like he was just like one of us. He never seemed to act like he was 'Arnold Palmer.'" In the interview immediately following his round yesterday, Arnie was quite emotional. He commented on all the tremendous support he's received from the fans over the decades. He said he looks out at the galleries and sees their smiles at him and is quite touched by it because he thinks about how much he owes them. One of the announcers also said about him yesterday how he always leaves his fans smiling, how everyone in the gallery feels that his smile is meant especially for him or her, and what careful attention he pays to every autograph seeker--how he takes the time to carefully write his name so that it's legible and will mean something to the person who asked for it.

Those of us who've been in "Arnie's Army" for 50 years joined up not because of his athletic prowess when he was at his peak, but because of who he seemed to be as a man and how he conducted himself in and out of his professional arena. Watching him play his last competitive round in a major tournament yesterday was very sad for me--he's been doing it my entire life. I bawled my eyes out during his interview. The boyfriend was playing golf yesterday afternoon during the original broadcast and then had to dash straight to a gig, so I taped the primetime repeat for him. He watched the tape late last night, and I watched it again with him. Yes, you heard right--I watched it THREE times...and cried every time. Maybe partly because Arnie and my Dad are the same age and the passage of time brings the inevitable thoughts of mortality. Hearing Arnie talk about how he still has the competitive fire but his older body won't cooperate reminded me of all the conversations I've had recently with my Dad about his frustration with his higher golf scores when he still FEELS like the good golfer he's always been. I cried over losing a touchstone who's woven his way through my life regardless of whatever crazy and painful experiences I might have been going through. I cried out of gratitude for all that he's given those of us who've admired him all of these decades and out of sadness over knowing that we'll never see another one like him. (I think it's safe to say that people won't be shedding the same kind of tears 40 years down the road when Tiger plays at his last Masters. He's a robot compared to Arnie.)

As Arnie was standing in the 18th fairway yesterday, waiting for the threesome ahead of him to finish up on the green, someone from the gallery suddenly yelled, "Thanks for all the years, Arnie!" and everyone burst into loud applause. That really said it all. Thanks for all the years, Arnie.

Friday, April 09, 2004


Check out McSweeney's "Daily Reason to Dispatch Bush"--not that we need anymore. I know someone who attended the same boarding school as "W" and I asked him once, "Did he seem like a dunce even then?" Response: "Oh yeah!"

I have a radio in my office and listen to NPR all day. Actually "listen" might be an exaggeration--sometimes it's more like white noise. But over the last decade or so I've gotten very used to having a radio quietly playing in the background when I'm stuck in an office setting. I function much better (and am much more pleasant to be around) when I have that white noise. I was surprised that NPR didn't carry live coverage of Condi Rice's testimony yesterday. I finally found it being broadcast on a local AM station which is an ABC affiliate...until it was time for Paul Harvey, that is. (They do have their priorities. That should tell you right there why I never listen to that station.) So I heard part of her testimony live and saw segments of it on C-Span's repeat last night as I was flipping back and forth (and what I was watching simultaneously escapes me now). We also saw yesterday's "The Daily Show" last night. Now that the mainland has "sprung forward," it comes on at 11:00 here, whereas during the winter months it airs at midnight...and we're in bed long before then. So it was nice to catch it the same day instead of waiting for the next evening's rerun. They had a field day with Condi, as expected.

Since we also watched "The Apprentice" last night, here's my question for the day: Who's the bigger lying, "I've got something to hide" sister? Condi or Omarosa?

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I've Been Knotty

Spending Sunday at the beach (see below) gave me a real boost in every way. I felt really good, physically...relaxed and recharged. I realized while we were sitting at the beach how much of a toll the emotional ups and down of the last few weeks had taken on my body. It felt good to feel myself realigining physically. And then...I went to work yesterday...

I hadn't been there an hour when I could feel my shoulders start to rise up toward my ears and a big ol' knot in my right shoulder get tighter and tighter...and knottier and knottier. It wasn't long before I felt the tension all the way up the right side of my neck and into my (clenched!) jaw. I SO didn't want to be there. I spent the entire workday like that: aware of the horrible tension in that spot and periodically massaging it or rolling my head and neck around to try to release it. There might as well have been a big boulder sitting on my right shoulder for as comfortable as it felt. (Grasshopper learn much too late that the secret is "letting go"...)

I was outta there at 4:00 on the dot (which is nothing new...I avoid even a minute of overtime) and zipped home in the afternoon sun listening to NPR. It was a gorgeous day and I had thought earlier that it would be a perfect day to talk a long walk on the beach after work. But as my tension level grew and the knot increased to gargantuan proportions all I could think was how I couldn't wait to get home, climb into bed and put a heated rice pack on it. Which is exactly what I did. I was lying on my side in bed with the rice pack warming my knotty volcano, when I decided to call my 6-year-old niece to thank her for a picture she'd drawn for me which I received in Friday's mail. She drew me a rainbow with a large butterfly under it, against a turquoise sky (like the Caribbean!) on a bed of the greenest grass. I tacked it up on the wall above my desk. We talked for a few minutes. She wanted to be sure that I had found the school photos she had included with the drawing. I told her that her artwork was on the wall in my office where I could see it every day at work; she seemed pleased. (Not as much as it pleases me to have it there as a welcome distraction, sweetie!)

And then my brother got on the phone. We hadn't talked in awhile. A typical conversation with him usually only lasts a minute or two, since his call waiting usually comes through and/or he's just leaving the house and/or he's in his truck and heading off somewhere. (He leads a very busy life.) But he was home alone with my niece and rigging fishing poles (my father and stepmother are spending Easter there and he plans to take our dad out shark fishing) and I guess he was in a talkative mood. We had a nice long chat and caught up on each other's daily lives and future plans. When I hung up, it was still only 5:00. I gave myself a good talking-to and forced myself out of bed...threw on some cut-offs, a t-shirt and pair of flip-flops...left a note on the table for the boyfriend...and jumped in the car for the quick ride to the beach.

I left my flip-flops in the car (there's only a slim strip of asphalt to cover before reaching the sand) and headed for the water's edge. I walked in the surf to the western edge of the beach and then turned around and walked the entire length of the beach and back to where the car was parked. It's a couple of miles, round-trip. Here's the best part: I'd been walking for probably 15 minutes before it dawned on me that I'd spent most of my day feeling "crippled" by a huge knot in my shoulder. Not only was it gone, but I'd completely forgotten about it. Don't you just hate when you realize that you've wasted a lot of time and energy MAGNIFYING something that's bothersome to begin with? Not to mention that I "created" it in the first place by my resistance at being in the office. What a huge waste of energy. I love the power of our mind and emotions to create the kind of life we want--very few things amaze me as much. I only wish I wasn't so amazed that at this age I still find myself wasting that power creating what I DON'T want in a given situation. (Let's see, you don't really want to be spending your day doing this... I know! Why don't you make yourself really uncomfortable physically, too!) It's all in the attitude, baby...and mine needs a serious readjustment.

Monday, April 05, 2004


We finally had a beach day yesterday and, boy, was it needed--for both of us. We've come to realize that spending regular time at the beach makes a marked difference for both of us in how we cope with our daily lives here. It's a much-needed balm and recharger to counteract the stifling boredom of our demeaning and mindless jobs, the isolation from family and friends, the lack of any social life or support network here, the absence of any cultural stimulation, the frustrating ineptitude of public servants (which permeates every area of public life here), etc. A beach day for me feels like I'm plugging into a recharging station to soup up my battery while simultaneously having a spa day.

We lounged and dozed and swam (the water is beginning to warm up). I read the current issue of Yoga Journal cover to cover. (I don't even DO yoga, although I have in the past--but it's a magazine I always enjoy reading.) We have very comfy sand chairs, but sometimes I like to lay my towel on the sand to make contact with the earth for awhile. Something I've really, really missed while living here has been the absence of a yard. We've been in our current condo for three years and we were in two rented houses in the months preceding our move here, but not even the houses had yards. Most homes here don't have lawns. The only place I can lie down now and feel that kind of earth connection is the beach. There's a tiny park next to my office, but once you get past the crazy homeless people and the screaming schoolchildren who like to hang out in it, it's not exactly a relaxing spot to spread out for some lunchtime daydreaming (not to mention that the grass is all brown and scraggly). There aren't parks here like we have in the States. It's something we really miss, especially coming from the Northwest where there are so many gorgeous green spaces. Our island is very lush and green (unlike some in the Caribbean), but we miss parks and rivers and lakes and streams. The ocean is gorgeous in its Caribbean colors and the white sand beaches can be stunning, but everyone needs some variety. It's hard not to take the beauty here for granted when that's ALL you ever see. I miss really tall trees and open spaces and deserts and mountains and distant snow-capped peaks. Being a Californian and having spent most of my life there, I always felt lucky to be from a state that has such a variety of geography--no matter what you crave, it's never far away.

As my brother said to me once when I was complaining about the "Groundhog Day" quality of living here, "Lobster's great...but no one wants to eat it every day." I'm ready to appreciate other kinds of beauty this blue ball has to offer.

Saturday, April 03, 2004


As the boyfriend was heading off to his gig late this afternoon, I gave him a big hug and said, "I'm sorry I've been such a slug these last couple of weeks." He laughed and said, "That's okay--I knew you had it in you." I said, "Whaaa....??" And he said, "I knew you had it in you to be a slob." "I said SLUG! I'm sorry for being such a SLUG!" And then I had to sheepishly admit, "And, yeah, I guess I've been a slob, too..."

I swear our condo is beginning to scarily resemble some before shots from a "Queer Eye" episode. Well, maybe not that bad, but there is a huge amount of laundry waiting to be done. I just haven't felt like doing shit for the last couple of weeks. I've been feeling really lethargic and lazy. Part of it could be that we haven't been to the beach (for any length of time) in three weeks. (Yeah, I know: who's gonna feel sorry for me about that?!) It really does make a huge difference in my mental and emotional health. I've also had a bunch of emotional stuff weighing on my mind, so I guess I should cut myself a bit of a break. You might be wondering why I'm expected to do everything. Well, it just sorta works out that way because I only have one job and he has two. But having to do almost all of it myself does make me not want to do any of it a lot of the time.

And it doesn't help that my lazy lethargy has also resulted in minimal physical activity. Or that I was required to do a bunch of heavy lifting at work a few days ago. So I've been a slug. (And, yes, a bit of a slob.)