Saturday, February 26, 2005

Must. Kill. Boyfriend.

I should never be allowed near firearms. Truthfully, guns scare me to death. But if I'd had one this morning, boyfriend might not be breathing right now.

He had promised me he wouldn't play golf today--that he'd stay home and help me tidy up the condo. My friend's plane lands at 3:00. I did some laundry last night, but I was just too spent to do much else. I told the boyfriend after work yesterday that I felt like a balloon that had been deflated. Pshoooooosh. I think it was all just too much at once. Finally leaving that job (and it still hasn't fully sunk in that I don't have to go back there on Monday...or EVER)...our sudden decision to move...and having my employer hand me an envelope as he left the office which contained a check so large I was shocked.

That's all just to say that by 8:30 last night, I was asleep. I was up at 5, but waited until 9 until I started putzing around. I didn't wake up the boyfriend, but knew the noise would eventually wake him. He strolled out to the living room about 9:30. I thought he'd be ready to join in with the cleaning, but instead he sat down at the laptop. Okay, I thought, I'll give him a few minutes--maybe he just wants to check his email. But an hour later he was still sitting there. Meanwhile, I was cleaning all around him with maximum sound effects--grunting, groaning--letting him know how much energy I was expending. Nothing. Then I walked behind where he was sitting and saw that he wasn't surfing the net or checking his email. He was in a software called Photo Impressions and he was making photo collages of fucking golf club heads. We have a club-making business on the side. But still. GOLF CLUB HEADS. By now, it was T-minus 4 hours until my friend arrives. I truly hated him. Mind you, he wasn't saying a word. We weren't speaking. He was just sitting there quietly at the laptop with a look of such intense concentration that you would have thought he was nearing a cure for cancer. But, no...GOLF CLUB HEADS. I was drinking a glass of water as I stood there behind him and honestly, I fantasized about what a satisfying clunk the glass would make if I lobbed it at the back of his head right then.

Then I moved to the bedroom to start tidying up in there. I was in the process of hanging up all of the clothes I had piled atop the seat of the exercise bike (because that is what it's for, right?) The entire time I was thinking how much I hated him right now and wanted to kill him. Just then, as I reached into the closet for a hanger, something (I still don't know what) on one of the hangers jammed under my right thumbnail. did that hurt. I've had plenty of things jam under my fingernails over the years, but NOTHING that hurt like that. I was literally doubled over for a couple of minutes--gasping, applying pressure to my thumb because that seemed to feel better, groaning. Do you think my boyfriend came running to see what had happened? To see if I was seriously injured? Nope. Just kept printing out his photo collages of fucking GOLF CLUB HEADS. Then it really WAS too much. I burst into tears, flung myself onto the bed and bawled hard for a couple of minutes--all the while holding my now-bleeding thumb. (How can our noses create so much snot so instantaneously?) It did sort of cross my mind that it might have served me just a tiny bit right for thinking such murderous thoughts, but I quickly scratched that from my brain.

Once I finished tidying up the bedroom, I moved to the bathroom. I could still hear the printer cranking out photos of fucking GOLF CLUB HEADS. As I was standing at the vanity, having just finished cleaning the entire area, he suddenly showed up. He stood extra close to me, looked at me and smiled. I pushed him away and told him I hated him. He laughed and asked, "Why?" I thought, how can he possibly be so dense? I asked, "What's the last thing that needs to be done right now?" "Wash the car." "NO! What's the LAST thing that needs to be done RIGHT NOW?" He looked mystified. "Printing out photos of FUCKING GOLF CLUB HEADS!!!" He just laughed and said, "But that's for our business. I'm trying to make us some money." "AFTER the work is done."

Then he walked out to the living room, put a tape on (which I mysteriously had never heard, but he has gazillions), pressed play and I heard, "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Rhythm Safari recording artist..." and I knew it was a show he'd done with my old singer pal. Turns out it was a show in L.A. where they opened for Steve Miller. And then he stepped outside and began tidying up and sweeping the balcony.

Don't let that sweet demeanor fool you. The boyfriend's a wily man. He knows I can't stay mad at him for too long if I'm listening to him play music, and playing music that I like. But I still hate him. Sort of.

Oh yeah, I'm on my period. But that's beside the point.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Bibbity Bobbity BOO!

Today is my last day in that office, four years to the day. Can't say I've done a helluva lot of work the last couple of days. My replacement returned to the office on Tuesday for good, having spent three days with me a couple of weeks ago. She's been doing all of the work--and hasn't wanted my help, even though I've offered countless times--so there really hasn't been much for me to do. I've been camped out at the spare desk in the front office for the last couple of days. Yesterday I spent a chunk of time reading this book (adorable). Late in the afternoon, my replacement wandered out by where I was sitting, laughed and said, "Hey, M, no reading on company time! You're supposed to be making yourself available to me." I thought, "Is she JOKING?!" I certainly hoped so, since first of all, how I spend my time in that office my last few days is none of her fucking concern. And secondly, I've lost track of the number of times I've wandered into my former office and asked, "How can I assist you? Do you have any questions you'd like me to answer? What can I do to help?" and the like.

SIDEBAR: She and the female attorney used to work together--the 'last place of employment' for both is the same place--and they're tight. When the attorney would arrive for work (always much later than the rest of us), she'd rarely say anything as she passed my office. No Hi, Good morning, anything. But since my replacement's been there? It's all (insert sickenly sweet voice that's a sharp contrast with her "I'm a bitchy, snotty wench" voice that's used with the rest of us, including our employer), "Hiiii, how are youuuuu?" to the new gal. Gag.

I do feel sorry for the receptionist though, because she's a dear woman and my pal. And the last time this woman worked there, she made the receptionist's life a living hell. Our employer has assured her that won't be the case this time--that my replacement is different than she was six years ago. I think that remains to be seen. I've already seen glimpses of the bitchiness that they said colored her previous stint there.

But all I have to do is show up for one more day. A day when the receptionist and I are being taken to lunch by my employer and one of his partners at one of the best restaurants on the island. At the end of the day, I'll get my final check. Wish me luck--I'm hoping he's gonna pad that baby!
Yesterday I took our list of sale items to work and passed out a few copies. By the time I left the office, I'd already sold half the items. The receptionist joked, "That's the easiest 'yard sale' I've ever seen!" I highly recommend it if you're moving: compile a detailed list of items to be sold, including prices, pass out copies to friends and acquaintances, and get ready to make some money. (Of course, it probably only works well if you're able to deliver the items to your workplace and/or live in a small place where delivery or pick-up isn't time-consuming.) Boyfriend and I have loaded several items into the car this morning for delivery today (one load to the receptionist and another to be dropped off at one of our sister offices). And boyfriend has already sold both of our TV's to one of his coworkers. The buyer will pick them up right before we head off-island.
My almost-houseguest retires from her job today, after 20 years of employment at the headquarters of an HMO in Portland. She boards a red-eye to Chicago at 11:30 tonight and arrives here at 3:00 tomorrow afternoon. Then it's fun-in-the-sun for these two old gals for the next week, as we chill out at the beach and catch up on the last five years of our lives.
One new development: The resident managers of the island's lone self-storage facility (which is owned by my employer and his partner) are heading off-island for a month-long vacation. They had asked me a couple of weeks ago if I might be available (once I leave my present position) to offer some back-up to the woman who staffs their office. (She works full-time--they sometimes just need an extra pair of hands.) I notified them immediately when we decided to move, since we'll be leaving before they return from their trip. They asked if I'd still be willing to help out. If it was anyone else, I'd likely have said no. But they're super-nice people, I'm very fond of them and they want a minimal commitment. I said yes for four reasons: 1) we're already way ahead of our sort/pack/move schedule five weeks out, 2) it would only be two days a week, 3) it'll pay for our plane tickets to California, and 4) I don't know when I'll have a chance to generate some income again. Plus the boyfriend will still be doing gigs, so it's only fair that I should be doing something to add to our coffers if I have the chance. So starting Monday, March 7, I'll be working there on Mondays and Fridays only for three weeks. We'll still have our last full week on-island to lounge and relax. Boyfriend plans to do his last gig on March 24.
And now? Excuse me while I squeeze my 50-year-old ass into my 501's, slip on my favorite pink striped shirt and kicky hot-pink sandals, and grace them with my fabulousness one last time.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


As if his Cabinet National Library wasn't off the hook enough, now Andrea's husband Matt and his pals at Rebar have come up with The Hidden Agenda. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

You can take the girl out of the blog, but...

So I'm out walking around the downtown shopping district on my lunch hour on Tuesday. I ring the boyfriend on his cell, since he's also on his lunch break. I tell him I've left the office to take a little walk. He asks, "Are you shopping?" "Shopping??" "Yeah, you need to buy yourself a few souvenirs before we leave here." Hmm, that hadn't really occurred to me. A short while later, I wander into a cute store called Local Color. I've found several gift items there in the past. Lo and behold, but what do I see?... Posted by Hello


"I kept trying to convince her to go out to dinner with me, because I really wanted someone to ask me about the wicked-looking incision on her neck..." ~Memoirs of an Evil Genius

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Just last week it hit you like a ton of bricks: this is why people take Xanax. You suddenly realized how frequently you’re filled with anxiety, and how much of the last four years you’ve spent feeling that way. You’ve become so used to keeping everything so bottled up here; you’ve forced yourself to be so tightly contained. There’s a tempest raging inside of you, but no one bears witness to it. If others only knew--how you’re screaming inside. Screaming. But no one hears, not even those closest to you, because you maintain such a good front. That’s always been your M.O. Keep up a good front, no matter what--until it finally collapses in on itself from the sheer weight of it. Some build fake exteriors of wood or tin. Not you. Yours is made from concrete and rebar. No one’s getting past that motherfucker. But damn, it’s heavy. And there’ve been a few earthquakes over the years that have reduced it to rubble. But FEMA’s got nothing’ on you, baby! You are the Rebuilding Queen!

But it’s not like you’ve spent your entire life hiding behind your fortified bunker. There’ve been moments, passages, when you’ve set it down and stepped in front of it. And oh, how light you felt in those moments. So very, very light. And you liked the feeling. Truly, you did. But the world is not to be trusted. Why must you keep learning that lesson over and over again? And how can you possibly be the person you were meant to be, and aspire to be, with all of that concrete blocking your view…and your light? Surely there’s a way. You keep trying to find that way, and sometimes you even get a glimpse of it. A moment, a shadow. You turn your head quickly because you’re sure you saw a fleeting image of it out of the corner of your eye. You know it’s there; you’re simply trying to get it front and center.

You told almost no one about ‘the prayer.’ Not because you were embarrassed by it, but because it scared you a little--that it might actually have been answered. You’re not one for any sort of organized religion, but you do try to keep hold of your own quirky brand of spirituality. You still don’t know what possessed you last Tuesday morning to offer up that prayer. Because that’s what it felt like--an offering. Sometimes praying feels to you like pleading. But this time, you simply offered it up.

You were in the car and had just pulled away from the condo. You flipped off the radio. You always listen to the radio during your morning commute, but you were craving quiet. You went up the little rise and back down again, went behind the restaurant and through the guard gate. It was as you drove up the little slope that leads to the main road--it was in that moment that you heard yourself offering up that prayer. It surprised you, because you hadn’t been feeling depressed or even out of sorts really. But you heard yourself say that you needed a sign. That you were feeling a bit lost--like you weren’t sure which direction to head. You didn’t know what your purpose is in this life, and how best to serve that purpose. You didn’t even know where to go to begin to find it. Should you stay here? Should you go? If you should go, where should you go? You heard yourself ask for a sign and you promised that if you got one, you’d pay attention to it. Twenty-four hours later, you got it--the email from your landlord telling you that you have to move. But how could that be? You’d only just asked for a sign the day before. Could this be it? You know that it could, and that it was. But this time there was no earthquake. This time it was easy on you. Your bunker wasn’t reduced to rubble. Instead you quietly set it down…and began beating the shit out of it with a sledgehammer.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

busy bee

I've already gotten so much done re the move it's not even funny, but I'll laugh anyway...HA!HA!HA!HA!

Yesterday I went through my dresser--even went through my jewelry drawer. I'm not one for fine jewelry, although I do have a few things. So a lot of it is/was costume jewelry. I found stuff I forgot I owned! And I tossed a bunch of stuff. I showed up at the clubhouse yesterday to pick up the boyfriend after his round of golf and asked, "Notice anything?" He smiled when he saw I was wearing a necklace he bought for me in Switzerland about eight years ago...and that I haven't worn in probably three or four years. (Bad girlfriend!)

I also went through all of my books and beading supplies. I'm giving most of the beads to a friend here who makes her living selling her beading products.

Today I did a good purge in the kitchen--clearing out the fridge and cupboards and tossing some stuff we no longer use. We're not shipping any kitchen items. We may sell a few items and will leave the rest in the condo.

I also gathered up some art supplies to take to my friend at work to give to her grandkids. I''ve got a bin full of all kinds of stuff to give away to my coworkers on Tuesday.

Boyfriend and I spent time this morning making price lists for the items we're going to try to sell: one list for general household items and one for his music gear.

That's all just a long-winded way of saying that when he heads off to his gig on St. John today, I'm not going to feel the least bit guilty if I spend the rest of the afternoon and evening doing nothing more productive than flipping through magazines and watching TV. Unless I get inspired to start tackling my clothes... But right now? I hear some ice cream calling my name.


Our landlord came downstairs to meet with us this afternoon. She's going to use our security deposit for our March rent. (That saves us a little dough, since the deposit was less than our current rent.) She wants to keep the phone service on (getting a phone turned on here can be a royal pain, as evidenced by the fact that the phone company took six months to turn ours on), so we'll transfer our number to her. She and her mother plan to renovate and totally refurbish the place, which is why she's applying our security deposit for rent. She's not concerned with any damage we might have done because she knows we've treated the place (and its furniture) as if it was our own. ALL of the furniture and linens are going to be tossed (should give you an idea of how old the stuff is), so that takes the pressure off of fine-cleaning everything.

She thanked us several times for making this so easy for her. She said she felt horrible having to ask us to leave and that she would have never asked if it wasn't for her mother's condition--that as far as she's concerned, we could have lived here forever. She said they'll miss having us here, and we told her we'll miss living here but totally understand about family coming first. It's hard to feel that this move is anything less than absolutely right when everything's falling into place so easily.

golf nut

As boyfriend was just leaving for work (he works 2-1/2 hours on Sunday mornings), he mentioned that he spoke to one of his coworkers at the golf course yesterday about his golf balls. They've agreed to buy them, at 50 cents a pop. I was like, "Woo hoo!" THEN, he said he wanted to find some more. That's right--these are found golf balls. (Thank god for bad golfers.) Keep in mind that there are two LARGE plastic tubs full of golf balls sitting in the corner of our balcony. But, no, he wants to rustle up some more "...because I only have about 800." I countered, "But that's $400!" (of pure profit). Hell, that'll probably cover our shipping (at the rate we're getting rid of stuff)...yay!! He mumbled something about "two thousand" as he was heading out the door. Two thousand balls (netting him $1,000)? If he thinks he's gonna go off gallivanting in the shrubs looking for another 1,200 golf balls while I sit here and sort and pack...well, Mister had better think again. (Why, oh why, do men get so obsessed with the unimportant things? It's like the time he insisted on spray-painting the barbecue moments before H. was scheduled to arrive instead of helping me clean the condo.)


UPDATE: When he got home from work, after searching for a few golf balls while making his rounds at the course this morning, boyfriend said he was reminded what a pain the process is--searching for them in the shrubs and brush, cleaning them, etc. So no more golf ball hunting for the boyfriend--he'll sell what he already has on hand. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2005


I remember hearing about/checking out the BookCrossing site when I first started blogging. It didn't pop into my mind again until 3 am this morning when I was wondering what to do with my books. I don't have tons of books, because I read library books when possible and give away a lot of books I buy. But I have way more books than I want to ship to California.

I could donate them to our tiny library, and they could surely use them because their selection is beyond pathetic. But the library gets so little action (I learned, having checked out many books that had been on the shelves for years only to discover I was the first user to check them out) that my donated books might never get read. We have only two bookstores--a tasty little independent and a tiny store on the east end that specializes mostly in used paperbacks, although they do carry a small selection of new books. I've sold a handful of books there in the past, but it's almost not worth the gas to drive out to the east end. I thought of selling them on eBay or through this site, but that seemed like it would require more time and expense than I want to expend. Finally it hit me: BookCrossing.

I was up early this morning and while having a big mug of decaf, I became a BookCrossing member and began registering books. I've registered nearly 30 thus far and I (surreptitiously) released five of them while walking at the beach this morning. It was fun--sort of like being a Book Fairy. I've always been a big believer in the idea of enjoying a book and then releasing it into the world for someone else to enjoy, so BookCrossing is right up my alley. I respect those who choose to accumulate large home libraries--I'm just not one of those people. (Keep in mind that I've moved dozens of times, so I tend to like to keep my load rather light, too.)

BookCrossing's site says that only 20-25% of released books are 'caught' (or registered as having been caught.) That's okay. I'll feel good knowing that five people showed up at the beach today for a day of fun-n-sun...and found a free book.


Need an AHHHHH moment? Check out Solbeam's photos of Darjeeling.

Friday, February 18, 2005

"Check...1...2... this thing on?" I've been in rehearsal mode the last couple of days--trying out California to see how it sounds...and feels. So far, so good.

My brother is making this WAY too easy for us. Because they were expecting his mother-in-law to move in with them (temporarily) at the end of this month, they repainted one of their bedrooms (although I can't imagine it really needed it--it's a nice house). When I spoke to him yesterday, I told him we'd be checking the classifieds of his local paper before we leave here in an effort to line up a used car. He said, "No! Don't buy a car! I've got cars here for you." He's got a car and a truck that he's not even using. Then he made mention of a maid who cleans their house once a week. Maid service?! Good god, I might never leave!

We got our plane tickets today. As the boyfriend said, "There's no turning back now." Yesterday afternoon I made a list of our personal effects (because I'm obnoxiously organized that way). We took a good hard look at that list and thought about what we really care about keeping, and whether or not the rest is worth the cost of shipping (because Viking has a 1,000 pound minimum.) We decided it wasn't worth it (although I was drooling over the prospect of, for once, having someone else pack my stuff). So it's back to the original pack/ship plan: we'll sell as much as we can, give a bunch of stuff away and ship only the stuff that really matters to us. We can store our boxes in my brother's garage--he said they'll make space--AND they have two storage sheds next to the garage. So, storage problem solved.

Boyfriend's even selling his (custom) drum kit. Of course, that's just an excuse for him to get a new one. :) I suppose he's entitled--he's had this kit for four years. So he'll have his buddies at Allegra fix him up.

As for me, I went for a walk downtown at lunchtime today. As I took a stroll past the few boutiques that have even remotely cute clothes, it dawned on me that one of the first things I'm gonna do when we hit California is buy some clothes! Man, I've missed having any cute clothes. There's simply nowhere to shop here--at least not for my taste. And shopping online is too hard for me. I have to try stuff on, because the same size seems to vary so widely among different designers and manufacturers. Did you hear what I just said? "Designers." Yeah. This from the woman who's purchased the bulk of her wardrobe the last five years from a store whose front features a giant red K. Oh how quickly that quirky California snobbery sneaks back in...

(In case you're wondering which "Dummies" book that is in the photo, it's "Home Recording for Musicians for Dummies.")
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

papaya, pt. 2

Looks like I won’t be enjoying the fruits of that papaya tree after all…

Yesterday morning at work, after checking the office email account, I thought to check one of my own email accounts that I hadn’t checked at home. I had a message from my landlord (she only lives upstairs but we almost always communicate via email). She’s asked us to vacate our condo by March 31. Her mother’s sight is failing rapidly and they want to move her down here from the States since she‘ll be unable to drive or live independently. They want to put her into our unit.

We certainly understand. After all, my own mother has a pretty serious vision disability. And this wasn’t a total shock--they had mentioned it might be a possibility at some point. We just didn’t realize it was going to happen so soon. I think we held out hope that they wouldn’t need our unit until after we’d headed back to the States (probably early next year).

I was shocked to get the news, and instantly felt a little teary. It's hard for me to imagine living somewhere else on this island, even though we lived in two other houses before this place. It's not so much the condo itself (although it's a nice place) but the setting, and the privacy and peace and quiet we've enjoyed here.

I called the boyfriend to break the news. He was rather quiet, but assured me it would all work out. He said we could find a cheaper place to save even more money this year. I immediately began scouring the want ads in the paper. But then it dawned on me that if we move from the golf course we'd have to buy a second car, since he'd no longer be able to walk to and from work. And we'd also need to buy a bunch of furniture, since we don't own any--we lease the place fully furnished. And of course I'd have to immediately find full-time work to help pay for all of that stuff. But I kept reminding myself it was still do-able. After all, he'd said he wanted to stay through this year. But he called me back a short while later and said, "Let's just go. I'm ready to go." And suddenly that seemed the best decision. Why spend all that money on a second car and a houseful of furniture when we'd just have to turn around and try to sell it in less than a year, and probably for a lot less than what we paid for it? Better to take those funds and resettle somewhere else. Besides, we've been here five years and we're ready for a change. So within half an hour of seeing the landlord's email, we decided to head to the States instead. Although we've been looking at other areas, we decided our best bet was to head toward my brother and his family in California. We can use that as a jumping-off point. We'll see how we feel about being in California (home for me and a place the boyfriend loves) and decide what feels right once we get there.

I phoned my mother (in California) at lunchtime to give her the news. She's beyond excited. She called back awhile later to say she'd just heard on TV that Delta had started a price war, so we might luck out on our fares. By the time I got home from work, the boyfriend had been to countless travel sites and found a very reasonable Delta fare for one-way tickets to Sacramento. (The Sacramento airport is 20-30 minutes east of my brother's house.) We decided to jump on it and bought tickets for March 31.

We called my brother's family. They're, of course, thrilled. My sister-in-law's mother was scheduled to move in with them temporarily at the end of this month. But she called my sister-in-law yesterday to say she's not moving in--she's found a place she can afford. But my oldest niece's room had already been cleared out (my nieces were going to share a room). I suppose it's no accident that my sister-in-law was in full prep mode for someone to move into one of their four bedrooms...she just wasn't expecting it to be us. (The 'coincidence' of her mother's phone call followed by ours was not lost on her.) :) She graciously said we can stay with them for a couple of months if we want/need to. They have busy lives and we don't want to impose, but it gives us some breathing room to know that we don't have to find a place right away. We can chill for a few weeks, scope out the area (an area I already know) and see if California feels right or whether we want to look at another area.

So we've got six weeks to dismantle our lives here and get ready for a new adventure. The boyfriend was pushing for us to sell most of our stuff, but then I reminded him of replacement value. Seems silly to sell stuff for maybe a fifth of what we paid for it (if that), just to turn around and buy it at full price on the other end. His idea was to sell as much as we can and then mail the rest. But having done the Priority Mail thing shipping boxes down here, I'm not anxious to do it again. Because these post offices are really funky...lord knows when it would show up. I think we've decided instead to let Viking handle it. We box it up, they pick it up and put it on a container, and deliver it to a storage place on the other end (if we so choose). That seems like the best solution. And if we have them pick up the stuff to be shipped about a week before we leave, we can spend our last week pretending we're on vacation. Remember, we live in a fully furnished place, so all we need are some clothes, toiletries and (of course!) the laptop.

I finish at my job next Friday, the 25th. My Portland pal arrives on the 26th and departs March 6th. She scheduled her trip last year when we thought we'd be moving to California (at the end of March!) She was going to help me pack...looks like she still can. :)

Boyfriend is going to give two weeks notice tomorrow at his job at the golf course. He's been there 4-1/2 years. I'm sure they'll be sorry to see him go. I don't think it's a stretch to say that he's probably their most conscientious employee.

As I've posted many times before, I often walk on the beach after work. Yesterday I asked the boyfriend if he wanted to join me. He surprised me by saying yes. We took a leisurely stroll and reiminisced about our time here. Something tells me he might be joining me more often from here on out. It's hard to believe that we'll only be able to enjoy Magens Bay for another six weeks.

I felt teary as we walked. We've been through so much here, individually and together. I thanked him for bringing me here, even though I came kicking and screaming, and told him it's been a life-changing experience. It has been, just not in the ways I would have even better ways.

I'm so grateful to all of you who've entered my life through this blog. You've given me so much friendship and support and laughter and joy this last year-and-a-half. I'll decide down the road whether to keep Island Fever going once we're stateside--maybe it'll be time for a new blog to go with a new chapter in our lives. We'll see. But for now, I'll still be here...and hope you will be, too.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


New this season is this papaya tree, which sprouted up below the landing next to our front door. As soon as these babies are ripe, all we'll have to do is open the front door to pick a papaya.

I'm feeling a bit like this tree lately. I'm growing and sprouting. I'm bearing's just not ripe yet. I've felt a bit dazed and unfocused lately. I suppose this is a cocooning stage before I emerge into the next chapter of my life. And I hate the thought of considering that job a 'chapter' in my life. But like it or not, it's now a part of my history...or herstory. And truthfully, it served me well in a way. It reinforced my knowledge of what I absolutely don't want to do with my time. And if I hadn't felt so unhappy and dissatisfied (and pissed at myself for doing it in the first place, since I knew the moment I saw the building where the office is housed that I would hate it--my initial reaction was that visceral), I might not have started blogging. And before starting my blog, I kept up a furious email and snail mail correspondence with an old friend in California for at least a year. It was cathartic for both of us and helped us both through some rough patches. And I wouldn't have started beading. I sure as shit wouldn't have found myself sitting at a Xmas craft show with a whole table full of stuff I'd made from beach glass and wire. Being so miserable from 7:30 to 4:00 on weekdays caused me to really focus on how I wanted to spend the rest of my time. I filled it by reading novels and travel memoirs...walking on the beach and swimming and sometimes just sitting in my sand chair and staring out at the bay...blogging and writing and connecting with like-minded souls all over the place...creating and nurturing business ideas with my mate. So everything is a gift in my life--I just sometimes choose to forget that.

I suppose it's no accident that another word for gift is present. I know the present is a gift...but it sure is hard to live there sometimes. Posted by Hello

Monday, February 14, 2005

Wrapped up tight in creationism...

'Creationism' doesn't have a biblical connotation for me. I think of it as the fusion of creativity and perfectionism. I fused those puppies together about 40 years ago, and I've spent the last 10 years trying to blow-torch them apart. Reading this post by Communicatrix yesterday brought the subject front and center again.

This is how bad it was: I wouldn't even sing "Happy Birthday." When I was a kid attending other kids' birthday parties, I'd gather around the cake with all the other kids, but always made sure to stand at the back of the group where it wouldn't be obvious that I was lip-synching. It seems bizarre now, since most of those kids were my classmates...and we had singing class together every day for eight years. It was technically called "music class," but most of what the nun had us do was sing. I think that's where the shame of my singing voice developed. I was (am) an alto, which is totally cool with me because I'd rather be an alto than soprano. But it was the way Sister Mary A. would say, "You're an alto. Go sit on that side (of the classroom)." She always made the four of us in the alto section feel like outcasts. I guess she thought sopranos sounded much prettier in church.

But it wasn't just being an alto (because that didn't bother me). I was convinced that the only way I could carry a tune was in a Samsonite. Even as an adult, I never sang in church, and Glide's a church where pretty much anything goes. Hell, we used to have a loud, rowdy drunk who'd come to the 9 am service and often interject drunken remarks during the sermon. But still I kept quiet. Office gatherings to celebrate someone's birthday? Birthday gatherings at someone's home or a restaurant? It didn't matter how much I had to drink--when it came time to sing "Happy Birthday," I was lip-synching. And if complete lip-synching was too obvious, then I'd sing in a sort of barely-there whisper. I made Marilyn Monroe singing to JFK sound like a belter.

Then I fell in love with the boyfriend. I'd had musician friends for years--some of my oldest friends are musicians and singers!--but I never sang, or even hummed, in front of them. It was bad enough that the boyfriend could sing. What was worse (in terms of my singing phobia) was that his ex-wife is a singer. There was no fucking WAY I was gonna sing in front of him. So there we'd be, on long road trips, flipping radio stations or playing tapes or CD's, and I wouldn't so much as hum.

Finally, three or four years (years, not months) into our relationship, I screwed up my courage. As I've written here, it's a ritual in our house to bake birthday cakes the night before and have birthday cake for breakfast. It was his birthday. I was bundled up in my zebra-print robe on a cold December morning. The cake was on the table and I'd lit the candles. I climbed onto his lap, wrapped my arms around his neck and began to whisper-sing "Happy Birthday" into his ear. Needless to say, he was surprised. He immediately pulled away to look at me and said, "You have a nice voice!" Yeah, right. But that moment freed something inside of me. It broke loose one of the 'creationism' chains I'd felt so tightly wrapped around me my entire life.

I'm blessed to have a mate who's not only extremely creative himself, but encourages creativity in others in the most gracious and patient way. So whenever he hears me say, "I can't," it's immediately met with the response, "Yes, you can." "I can't (fill in the blank)...draw, sing, design a house, etc." "Yes, you can." And you know what? He's right.


Thank you, Blogger, for finally giving us pop-up comments.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


I arrived home from work today to find this waiting for me. Boyfriend asked, "How do you like your coconut tree?" It reminds me of when we were kids and would "plant" an avocado seed in a glass of water, suspended by toothpicks. Do you think this will actually grow with it sticking up out of the potting soil like that? Maybe so. It's not like it needed any 'soil' to make it grow thus far.

It's amazing how we can grow in less-than-ideal conditions. We might seem a little cracked, but there can be beauty in the imperfections. Conditions are likely never going to be perfect. Sometimes we just have to open up, let some light seep in and allow our inner beauty to branch out.


Before the holidays, my mother sent us a C.A.R.E. package with an assortment of stuff, including a chocolate bar from Dagoba. I'd forgotten I even had it. Boyfriend's at a gig and I felt like treating myself to something decadent. But what? Then I remembered that Dagoba bar. I just opened it and started nibbling. It's forest-grown, organic dark chocolate infused with lavender essence and wild blueberries. YUM!!!


DAD UPDATE: My father finished his 7 weeks of radiation today. I spoke to him tonight; he feels pretty well. Of course, that could be due to the Vicodin, Xanax and pain patches they've got him on. I'm surprised he can feel anything. This week they narrowed the area on the left side of his neck they were zapping. I called him every weekend to check in. Weekend before last, he was having a really hard time and said, "I really don't want to go back there for any more of that." It made me feel awful. The last two weekends, he's talked about how severely burned his neck was from the radiation. But last night he said his neck has healed remarkably in the last five days. I asked if that might be due to the reduced area they were radiating this week. He wasn't sure, but said the radiologist had commented how rare it is to see someone's skin heal so rapidly in such a short time. Other effects have included damaged salivary glands and horrendous sore throats. He was on a liquid diet for a couple of weeks, and a couple of times they admitted him to the hospital for rehydration. He talked about what a saint my stepmother has been through all of this--how she's done all of the driving the last couple of months. (The treatments were done at a hospital in the next state, two hours away.) She told me last weekend that they'd had a few moments of disagreement through this whole thing. I imagine that's to be expected when you're undergoing something that stressful, and when you're spending 7 weeks cooped up in a little hospital-affiliated apartment. (They went home on the weekends.) But it's over, and let's hope that's the end of it. He goes back in a month for follow-up. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


AAAAAAACK! How did evil Wendy make it to the final three on Project Runway?! Can't wait to watch next week's show when all 12 designers sit around together and dish about each other. Hard to believe, but the boyfriend is as addicted to that show as I am.

Today is our 10-year 'anniversary.' We spent the first five years in Portland and we've been here for the second five. Who'da thunk I'd make it to the 10-year mark in a relationship? Me, the original fear of commitment gal. Even more astounding to me is that my love for him continues to grow and deepen. I don't understand the dynamic, but I definitely like it. :)

We went to dinner tonight at our favorite restaurant. It's an Italian place in a less than desirable neighborhood. Just looks like a dark, old house on the outside, but inside is an intimate room with large, colorful, funky canvases (painted by the owner/chef) gracing the walls. Great food and the service is never less than superb. Our waiter tonight has waited on us before, but I just realized tonight who he resembles. Remember the (male) 'nanny' in "Jerry McGuire"? He could be the guy's twin.

Although I'm not a Catholic (anymore), I did note that today is the start of Lent. Last year for Lent I gave up gossip. I did! No, really...I did. I haven't decided what I'll try to give up for the next 40 days this year...but it looks like it won't be gossip, based on what I just wrote about Wendy.

Once when I was a teen, my (single parent) father came home while I was on the phone with a girlfriend. He heard a few minutes of my conversation and then asked, "Don't you girls ever say anything nice about anyone?" I looked at him like he was insane. "No." Sheesh, where's the fun in that?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


I subscribe to Jennifer Louden's Comfort Queen newsletter. In today's issue, she talked about inspiration and asked readers to email what inspires them. I thought that was a good question to start my day, so I made a quick list:

* Phone conversations with my 7-year-old niece - Her 'worldview' reminds me to open up and look at things through enthusiastic eyes.

* My boyfriend's creativity - Nothing like having a creative mate to make me want to tap into my own creative self!

* Walking on the beach - Letting my mind drift while I wade through the warm tropical bay waters...feeling the sand on my feet and between my toes...and letting it ground me after a day spent in a less-than-authentic workplace.

* Synchronicity - Paying attention when things start weaving together. The World Wide Web assists me in creating my own personal web...and safety net.

* Fearlessness - My own and others''s much easier to 'leap' if there's a net (see earlier item). I feel embraced by my online community and do my best to 'spot' them, too.

* Good writing - It doesn't have to be fancy or high-falutin' just has to feel/sound authentic. Do I hear someone's truth (even if it doesn't match mine)?

* 24-hour reset button - The fact that I'm gifted with a new day...and that it's up to me whether I want to maintain the status quo or re-create my perceptions and, therefore, my reality. It's like a constant universal "do-over" option, and when I acknowledge and appreciate it, things open up.

* Nature - All it takes is a look or stroll outside to remind me of how much beauty there is in this world.

* Stars - I'm fortunate to live in a place where the night sky can be seen in all its spectacular glory...a free and painless perspective shifter.

* Compassion - I struggle to find my own vein of compassion sometimes. Often the best way to tap into it is to read/hear stories of others' compassionate acts.

The first definition for inspire in my dictionary is: "to stimulate (a person) to creative or other activity or to express certain ideas." May the wand of inspiration wave over this day for you.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Dream Life...Not

In honor of Pam, who had a frigging PIPE SAW going in her house today. Why, you ask? Oh, just so her radiators could be repaired. You know, those things that provide HEAT. Did I mention she lives in Austria? Did I mention that they had so much freakin' snow last week that...well, you'd have to see for yourself. (Check her slide show from last week's posts.) But, it's COLD. And here I sit in my flannel jammies and it's still in the low 70's. (Wimp.)

See that post below? The one that's all 'Oh, let's be spiritual' and crap. Know what I really wanted to post yesterday? This was what I originally wrote:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can
and the patience to not go up to the 3rd floor and kill those motherfuckers who won't stop with the pounding and drilling. I mean, really. Do they NOT understand that this building is made out of concrete? Do they have any idea how frigging LOUD that shit sounds? And besides, it's Sunday, for God' sake.
Thanks. Amen.

So lest anyone think that splitting your time between Austria and Seattle (Pam) or lolling around the lazy Virgin Islands (me) is all just a hunky-dory dream life, let me just say: um, not.

Just when I think I couldn't possibly hear a story that would top all of the other stories I've heard here about government corruption and ineptitude, along comes another doozy. Last week the attorney in our office had two deeds that she needed to have attested. The (ONE-PERSON) office that handles that service recently instituted "expedited service" for an additional $100 fee per document--"expedited" being defined as 24-hour turnaround. She dropped off the documents at 10 am on Thursday, along with payment of the appropriate fees, including an extra $200 (for her two documents) for "expedited 24-hour" service. She went back at 4:00 on Friday to pick them up--30 hours later. She saw the ONE PERSON who works in that department standing in a hallway, chatting up some coworkers. This woman is notoriously ill-tempered and rude and literally does almost nothing, even though the government has employed her for god knows how long. When she saw the attorney, the worker gave her a disgusted look and asked what she wanted. The attorney replied that she was there to pick up her "expedited service" documents. The government worker sucked her teeth in disgust (as only West Indians can do) and said (imagine a thick West Indian accent here), "They only 8 hours in a workday! Twenty-four hours! Three days!" Let me repeat that: 24 hour service = 3 (8-hour) workdays. The attorney went to the woman's supervisor and had her documents 15 minutes later (after explaining what had transpired). But 24 HOUR SERVICE EQUALS THREE WORKDAYS!

I'm familiar with "island time," but come on!

Sunday, February 06, 2005


"God is not stingy with His miracles; it's a pity we ask for so few." ~Marianne Williamson, "Everyday Grace"

I'm not a Christian (eight years of nun teaching cured me of that--actually, it never really took in the first place) so I squirm a bit when I read/hear someone use the whole "Him" and "His" thing. But I do have the word "God" in my vocabulary--although it may mean something different to me than to many others. I think of God as a higher power or the universe or my highest self or nature or something that's bigger than me. For me, it's not important to have a clear definition. The only precept I need to cling to in order for it to work for me is that whatever it is, it's bigger than me.

I love the idea that Marianne expresses in that quote. It's like her famous quote that's often misattributed to Nelson Mandela which begins: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." Why do we ask for so few miracles in our life? Why do we most often ask for a miracle only when our backs are against the wall? Why do we not ask for miracles to unfold in our lives on a daily basis? It's as if most of us consider miracles only in terms of crisis management.

So I'm here today to say grab the mike, people. Let's start speaking up and asking for some miraculous stuff to be thrown down in our lives as the normal course of business. If you look around your life and think you're pretty damn lucky and have a lot to be grateful for, then give thanks and ask for something that seems out of reach. Not to be selfish--quite the contrary. If there's one thing I've learned in my 50 years, it's that the best miracles are the ones that not only assist me, but allow me to assist others. Ask for miracles in your life so you can know the joy that comes from making miracles happen in other lives. The greatest joys I've ever experienced have come from being of service to others. So just know that when I'm on the mike, I'm not only going to be asking for miracles for myself, but for all of you, too.


I just threw this on the CD player. We're goin' old school now! I do love me some black gospel music. And although I live with someone who grew up playing in that tradition, this is my album. Hell, I used to own it on vinyl. Rance Allen is an amazing singer, with unbelievable range. This album takes me back to my San Francisco days... :) Posted by Hello


Yet another reason I'm loving 43 Things...

First I met the fabulous Pam. I mean, come on, who else lives her own version of a bicoastal lifestyle by splitting her time between Austria and Seattle?

And then yesterday I went to my pathetic little list of (far less than 43) things at 43 Things and forced myself to add one goal. After doing that, I noticed that 13 other users shared the same goal, so I took a glance at the group as a whole. But I only checked out one of them and, boy, did I pick a good one.

[Insert sidebar]: About a month ago, I was at home when the words "O-Lan Jones" suddenly popped into my head, because, well, that's how my head works. I thought, "Hmmm, wonder what she's up to these days?" A Google search turned up her IMDB listing and a snarky Fametracker post. (How dare they mock O-Lan?!)

So back to yesterday... At 43 Things I clicked on a link to site called Communicatrix. Anyone who not only references, but (apparently) knows O-Lan Jones is more than okay in my book. As of this writing, I have now read the Communicatrix's entire archives. Okay, she's only been blogging for three months, but still, that should tell you something. Go there. Now. Yes, NOW. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Floating on the river Link...

Another night spent surfing the 'net in the wee hours, due to sleep arriving way too early. Tonight (this morning?) I visited some sites I hadn't been to in awhile. I started at Lorianne's wonderful Hoarded Ordinaries. She had a link to Journalisimo (back to analog!) and Ivy's blog, having recently met Ivy and Beth in person. It reminded me that I used to read Beth's journal regularly, but hadn't been there in awhile. And I learned of The MacDowell Colony, where Ivy's currently in residence.

I stopped by Blaugustine, another place I hadn't visited in a good long while, and was delighted to see her Egypt photos and to read about her recent trip there. I grew tickled thinking that her experience of the country was probably quite different from the experience being had right now by the two I know who are traveling there. Let's just say that if I ever make it to Egypt, my travels would likely more closely match Natalie's. :) Go read it--great stuff. She's convinced that she was Hatshepsut...she learns of, visits and is deeply moved by Sunshine Project International...she finds remarkable beauty in unlikely spots during her caleche rides...and for a silly little fun, use's Cartouche Creator to see your name in hieroglyphs.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Mental Health Day

You could feel things slipping away from you as the day progressed. Maybe you’d even felt it coming on for a few days. But yesterday it hit. Subtle, yet so there. You convinced yourself it couldn’t possibly be hormones, unless your cycle had suddenly gone completely wacky. But then you remembered: oh yeah, you are that age. Maybe this was a preview of what it’ll be like for the next few years--unexpected and unsettling and annoying and disquieting.

When you left work, you rolled down the window to feel the tropical sun and breeze, and as you climbed the hill, you heard a report on NPR that made you feel like a self-absorbed, ungrateful shit. The one that said that in Aceh province an average of 1 out of every 1,000 tsunami victims has access to a toilet--and about the havoc that’s wreaking on people’s health, not to mention their sanity. But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to slap you out of it.

Your mate was home when you got home, and when you walked in, you mentioned you were feeling a bit out of sorts all day at work. He’d spent the day at the beach with his coworkers as a reward for work on a special project. And you weren’t even jealous that he’d gotten to spend the day that way--you knew he deserved it. He’d brought you a plate of food from the catering at the beach so you wouldn’t have to cook dinner. And then he left, because he had an early gig.

You didn’t feel like being online, or even watching TV or a movie. You felt like going to bed, so that’s what you did. You climbed into bed at 6:00 with Marianne Williamson’s “Everyday Grace.” For awhile you simply laid still…until the tears came. And it felt good to cry. Maybe a good cry was overdue. Maybe you’ve been trying to hold your shit a little too together lately. Maybe you needed to unravel a little bit, to come a bit undone. You always try to be a good mate and friend and daughter and auntie and sister and worker. But sometimes you just need to be you. And lord knows, that’s not an easy thing to be. So you cut yourself a break. You gave yourself permission to let your guard down and just feel.

You vaguely remember your sweetheart coming home and lying down next to you to see if you were really asleep. When you mumbled that you were, he quietly picked up the book you’d left in the bed and set it on your bedside table and turned off the lamp. And you went back to sleep…only to awaken at midnight. You got up, thinking it was much later, went to the living room and sat down at the laptop. And you spent about three hours sitting in the darkness, trolling through your blogroll and thinking what a gift it is to have this whole world out there that you can tap into when you want to fill your head with someone else’s thoughts for awhile.

You eventually went back to bed, but sleep didn’t come easily. You snuggled up tight next to your love and wrapped your arms around him and let his body heat warm your heart. You thought for the zillionth time how much you love him and how thankful you are to have him with you. You know you dozed off at some point, because you had panicky dreams of being chased and hunted. You were clasping a baby to your chest and doing your best to protect her while trying to avoid being detected by your pursuer.

When the alarm went off, neither of you felt like moving. But you dragged yourself out of bed to go make coffee. You moaned to yourself that it was probably going to be a long day, but you knew you’d make it through if you simply put one foot in front of the other.

You drove your man to work before the sun hit the horizon, and as you kissed him goodbye and turned around to head home, you could feel it already--that today would be a little better, even without enough sleep. You knew the best thing you could for yourself would be to wear things you love. So you pulled out your 501’s and your favorite white shirt and Andrea’s Superhero necklace and your funky pink watch and the crimson sandals your man gave you for Christmas. You stood in the shower and tried not to think, while letting your mind drift.

As soon as you pulled out of the entrance at your gate, you joined a line of cars behind a student driver. You were 8 or 10 cars back, so you couldn’t tell if the driver was male or female, but either way, they were driving very slowly. So slowly, that you had to drive part of the way in first gear. But you sort of didn’t mind. Your sunroof was open and the windows were down and the radio was off. The only chatter you wanted to hear was between your ears. And you suddenly remembered the last passage you’d read in “Everyday Grace” before you fell asleep:

From a spiritual perspective, while we can lose our earthly employment, we cannot lose the job God gave us. We are the permanent holders of a spiritual career, for it is what we are and not just what we do that represents our greatest work in the world. As long as we remain vigilant at building our internal abundance--an abundance of integrity, an abundance of forgiveness, an abundance of service, an abundance of love--then external lack is bound to be temporary.

When you got to the office, you found the visiting CPA waiting on the steps. You proceeded to unlock the office and get everything turned on, while trying to extricate yourself from the conversation he was trying to have with you about Bush’s plan for Social Security and why he thinks it‘s a bad idea. An hour later he was gone--off to audit your coworkers at a sister company.

At lunchtime you grabbed a New Yorker to read while you ate your chicken Caesar salad. And when you saw a particular cartoon, you had to laugh. It pictured a man in pajamas and robe, sitting in front of a TV, a dog at his feet. He was on the phone and the caption said, “I thought I’d stay home today and accept the things I can’t change.” It occurred to you that maybe that’s what you were doing at 6:00 last night, when you were lying still in bed: accepting that which you cannot change. Because sometimes overt action isn’t required…sometimes a little covert acceptance will do the trick.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Wouldn't you know it? We finally get our phone connection back...and my emotions take a real dive. Maybe tomorrow will be better...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I'm baaaaaack...

Yes! We finally have a working phone line at home! It's been a long 11 days...