I'd love it if you joined my readers. It's nice to know I'm not just typing into a black hole.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


We are flawed. We all express our worst self at one time or another. I'm not talking about the bad days, where we say something stupid or trip over some common failure. I mean the big stuff. The dark truths that we don't want to admit about ourselves and don't want to believe exist in our beloveds.

Mother... father... lover... child.

It would follow, that most of us will be bitterly disappointed by, or will disappoint, someone we love. It happens all the time. We've either experienced it or witnessed it. We've either been devastated, humiliated, appalled, or deeply ashamed because of it.

So, when the bomb drops, and if it hasn't yet, it will; what's next?

At first it's quiet. Almost numbing. You're there, seeing it, hearing it, but this must be someone else. This can't be MY story. And it sinks. Deeper. Spreading like hot lava through your veins. Suddenly, you long for the mundane. You long to just have to unload the dishwasher, study for that test, do a grocery run with your sole concern being what's for dinner.

And, though you'd like to disappear, you are there. In it. Left with choices. How do I get through tomorrow? Today? The next five minutes? What do I say to the people? The ones that care, that don't, that are hurt, are angry, are cruel? Will they condemn? Will I? Forgive? What the hell does that even mean!? What does that feel like?! Will I feel better if I punish? Am punished? Will I recover?

Choices... Questions...

Flawed beings that we are, we tend to love in terribly flawed ways. Sometimes we truly love, but hurt our beloveds anyway. Other times, we hurt others in the name of love but are void of it entirely. It can become confusing. It fosters the need for walls. Safe-havens from the potential disappointments. Yet, as flawed as our love is, it is still our life-force. We need it.

What is love really? What role does love play in this mess? Is it really love before they've seen your demons and you've seen theirs? Before you know just how ugly they can be behind the beautiful? To love when the darkness sets in. To see it through. When it is received as well as given. This love heals. It provides hope; recovery. It is not used as a ploy for change but persists in spite of it.

Truth is, profound growth can be born out of our flaws. The exposure which results from failure is raw and honest. It throws hands in the air. It is an opportunity to surrender to change; to decide to live and love with the full knowledge that people are broken, imperfect, habitual, fragile, and insanely...


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oh Very Young

I wrote this to my baby girl just before her second birthday. She is now 13...
You are this beautiful being.
I want to breath you in deep and hold...
Never forget
Right at this moment.
You are a million gorgeous details~
A portrait you are creating
On a canvass
Formed from my bones.

**I couldn't figure out how to attach this video so I linked it. It takes a minute to load. It is from me to my babies.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dirty Fingers

I'm feeling pretty fatigued and uninspired right now. I want to write but the well is sparse. So in an attempt to boost my spirit and creativity, I played in the dirt a little.

When we decided to move from a house to a town home, I was afraid I would feel a big empty hole where my garden used to be. Initially, I did. But I have been learning that balcony gardening can be very nurturing. I even found a fun blog on Balcony gardens for inspiration.

This before picture (left) isn't the best, but sort of shows the lack of life that my balcony started with.

I've since added, let's see.... Gardenias, Geraniums, Hydrangeas, Dahlias, Impatiens, Jasmine, and ... hmmm... I forget the name of the little blue drapey ones.

I have really been wanting to grow a vegetable garden so, even though I got a late start, I decided to add some

Romaine lettuce, Cauliflower, Spinach, Chives, Basil, Sage, Blackberries, and YES! That is a RED STRAWBERRY!!! I am very proud of it.

I'm fairly certain I don't know what I'm doing. And that I'm not done doing it. I just know I NEED the green around me and the dirt in my fingers. So I play...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day Trip

Wednesday was doctor day again. About every six weeks I make the pilgrimage to Chico to meet with my Lyme doctors and evaluate the progress of my treatment.
I tend to drag my feet leading up to D-day, knowing that it will be long and exhausting. It's a three hour drive both ways. But, I like road trips. Always have. Provides an excuse to do nothing
but sit and watch the world go by. So I forced myself out the door and, after a necessary stop by Starbucks for a Venti-sized cup of motivation, I was off.

I listened to loud music on this trip. Had to change stations three times along the way in order to keep the groove going. There was a lot of angry chick music, which I found exhilarating. Even sang along. This is note-worthy because, over the past several years, I have not tolerated the sound of music well. Not just music, ANY noise. I find all of it agitating. It is just one of my many 'Princess and the Pea' idiosyncrasies courtesy of Lyme disease. So my recent ability to find pleasure in rocking out to Pink is a welcome milestone in my treatment.
On my first visit to Chico I discovered the best grilled veggie sandwich EVER at a Bakery called The Upper Crust. It was very upsetting when I stopped by the bakery on my last trip only to find that the grill was closed. Ended up eating a substandard replacement and vowed never to make that mistake again. So, on this trip, I made plans to leave early enough to allow plenty of sandwich time.

The problem with high expectations, of course, is the potential for not meeting them. The bakery was as I remembered it. Glass case full of delectables and a long line of locals. When the sandwich arrived, it was
beautiful, but, at first bite, my heart sank. Disappointment. It wasn't BAD, just not the best EVER like it was before. The bread still melted in my mouth but the peppers were too crunchy. I didn't even finish it.
Maybe certain pleasures are only meant to be experienced once. Sealed in the memory with all of the other spontaneous moments that we treasure and ponder now and again. Not sure if I'll return to The Upper Crust on my next visit. Guess I have six weeks to think about it.

With a bit of extra time on my hands, I decided to tool around downtown Chico. Being a university town, it's littered with trendy vintage shops and used bookstores.

Dreadlocks and bohemian apparel are definitely the mainstream. I love it. Although, I have to smirk at the notion that they actually seem to think they are rebelling against fashion. They ARE the fashion in Chico. They set the standard and all the new-comers clamor to fall in line.

But let's not get distracted by my tangents. The purpose for my day trip was to see the doctor. It's an appointment that could probably be done over the phone but they feel it is important that I sit in their depressing waiting room with all the other damaged mortals and then be transported to a quiet, sterile, cave to be left alone with my thoughts.

It's always unnerving when the silence is broken by the chatting hallway nurses, laughing about their recent outings or exchanging salon information. I usually try to keep myself occupied by reading a magazine or playing Scramble on my phone. This time I thought I would play with i-photography. I titled this pic of myself, "Reflections in A Doctor's Office."

The appointment was typical. Went over my improvements and current complaints. The night sweats have stopped, the sound sensitivity seems to be lessening, and I am much less aware of my foot pain. Doctor was encouraged and decided to add a new med to my list. This one is a hard-hitter and will probably knock me on my ass for a while but I only have to take it for 30 days. Doctor was a little concerned about the new growth pattern of my fingernails. They are turning up, away from the nail bed. He also thought my skin looked a little off. So, I'll be donating more blood this week just to make sure my thyroid is in check, etc.

With new scripts in hand, I was done and ready for the journey home. I had a pounding headache and was keenly aware that my Venti motivator from the morning had not done an adequate job, so I really felt a carmel frappuccino was necessary. Along with several Advil.

I took it slow on my drive home. I loved all the trees, farms, orchards, and hand-written signs advertising produce and flowers for sale.

On my way in, I had passed a cemetery along the 99. I didn't want to miss it on my way out. It wasn't a sad place. It was peaceful. It touched me. I don't want to be buried when I die, but there is something very comforting about a cemetery for those left behind. It's a place to visit. To feel like somehow you can still connect with that person that used to fill a tangible space in your life.
It was a long, exhausting, GOOD day...

Just for me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In the Clouds...

This is my perch. One of them anyway.

I love to open up the windows, feel the breeze, and listen to the outside.

Cars swooshing by, kids squealing, dogs from the near-by dog park reminding me that I still have to fit that outing into my day...

This is what surrounds me when I'm perched. It's a comforting space.  So comforting that I sometimes find the hours of the day escaping me without my awareness. This is, of course, when kids are at school and dogs are asleep, leaving me without the necessary external cues to go and do.

While I find the practice of "being" to be healthy, I'm told that regular physical activity is vital as well. I am also aware that a fit and healthy body has a better chance of fighting off the bad bugs like Lyme.

I felt optimistic, when we chose to move into a home with six flights of stairs, that I would be kicked into shape by merely performing the day-to-day necessities of life. Let me tell you, it's quite a feat to unload a van-full of Costco groceries into our third floor kitchen!

However, my scale and mirrors have assured me that this plan of mine is not living up to it's potential. So, I have been forcing myself out of my cozy place and down the stairs to join the sounds outside.

In truth, I have always loved walking/jogging. For a while I was even going on daily bike rides. I'm not talking fitness guru-type stuff, just pleasure riding. I love being out there, alone, quiet, but among everyone and everything else. I like it best when it's overcast and cool. Clouds seem to bring out the colors in all the earthy things. And the smell of rain... It's healing.
I take my iphone with me when I go. I feel an ounce safer with it on my hip. Because, if assaulted, I can... call? hit? stab?... my assailant with it. There's also that nagging paranoia that the one time I leave without my phone will be THE time some unspeakable tragedy takes place and I cannot be reached.

Anyway, the real beauty in wearing my phone on my hip is my ability to capture all the images that I just can't stand leaving behind.

Ya, there's an app for that...

Friday, September 11, 2009


It's a curious thing how people grow into each other.
I actually feel them inside of me.

I feel them. I know them. They're there.

Family, neighbors, childhood friends, soul-sisters, old flames and lost loves. They live inside of me.

They're in my soul.

Even if they're gone.

I love them. They are all my beloveds.

Where do you go when you die?

You are carried in the souls of your beloveds.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's A Dog's Life

Meet Annabelle.
She's a Boston Terrier. She somewhat resembles a bobble-head. As the photo might suggest, she's a bit larger than life. Always on the move, always in the center, ALWAYS in your face. Probably the most aggressively playful dog you'll ever meet. We love her dearly, but her life-long issues with intestinal distress have earned her the nick-name, SmellyBelly.

This is Oliver.
He's 8 pounds of pure man-dog. People at the dog park refer to him as the little general. He has claimed Danny as his human. He is the dog that finds hours of entertainment in a roll of toilette paper or one of my favorite magazines. Since he was neutered in June, he is no longer LORD OF ALL, but, his big sad eyes win him the affections of almost anyone he meets. His size is the inspiration for his nickname, Smalliver.

The Grand Dame: Gracie
Gracie was our first fur-baby. We brought her home, Christmas, 1999. She was such a playful puppy. Took us about 3 years to potty train her. "Make, Gracie, Make!" Now, she likes to sleep. Her favorite perch is on our striped ottoman in the family room. She rests there most of the day. I watch her and wish I could slow the clock a little. She's 10 years old this month. How many more years do we have together. I'll cherish every one. For no reason what-so-ever, her nickname is Gracie-Facie.

Living in a town home requires daily outings to the local dog park. We make quite a statement when we arrive on the scene. Annabelle usually bolts in, runs a few dogs over and freaks out a few unsuspecting citizens. Oliver mends the fences by winning over everyone's heart with his charms (and unsolicited mouth kisses). Gracie does her business and then slowly meanders over to a spot under one of the benches, or at some kind stranger's feet for a little love.
We follow this routine every day. Most of the regulars at the park have become familiar with our crew.
We often

remark how well we all know each other's dogs but none of us really know many of the human's names.

My kids join me from time to time. Noah loves to run all of the dogs around the park. He's always making new friends. Completely uninhibited. Sometimes Bailey ventures down for a while, but he prefers to keep his interactions to a minimum. Occasionally I can pry Kinsey away from her tweenage preoccupations long enough to come with me and see some sunlight. She's always glad she did.

I've always been more of a cat person. Never thought I'd have three dogs. They love me. They want to be with me all the time. They're at my feet when I cook dinner and clean up. They soak in the sun when I plant flowers on the balcony. They cry for me when I walk beyond their reach. The world could be against me, but not them.

I'll do my best to deserve it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tick Talk...

I attended a boarding academy for high school. The campus was located down the coast from Santa Cruz and was amazing. We were nestled between a serene private beach and a lush wooded area. We had a dairy (complete with aroma) along with strawberry and kiwi fields.

As you might imagine, the potential for teenage escapades was huge! My memories are full. Sliding down the ice-plant bluffs on cardboard remnants, beach fires, romps through the woods to secret forts... I fondly remember hiding in the brush on Zill's (Zell's?) road with my best friend, waiting for our ride for some off-campus play. Some of my most treasured memories are of my close-knit group of friends (we called ourselves the Ferts - long explanation). We loved climbing out Dawn and Allysa's window at night and ferting around the campus. We inevitably ended the night, or morning, with a "Bitch Fire", our description for our girls only beach fires.

Early in my senior year I was hit with the most unholy of head pains. I sincerely thought I had a brain tumor or an aneurysm of some sort. I remember sitting in the nurses office, begging for relief. The headaches continued throughout the year and joined forces with extreme fatigue, episodes of blacking out, and anorexia. The nurse took me to the local doctor who just figured I had migraines and sent me home with a prescription for Cafergot.

The headaches, and prescriptions, continued to plague me over the years along with other mystery ailments. I even had surgery in 1995 in an attempt to find relief. None was found. Doctors labeled them as Severe Episodic Cluster Headaches with a Migraine element. Many doctors were seen and tests run. TOO MANY. They said I had some sort of idiopathic dysautonomia. It means my autonomic nervous system isn't working properly and they don't know why. They offered me little that helped, but I eventually discovered that antibiotics seem to keep the headaches at bay.

Over the past few years, my dear friend, Leanne, has been encouraging me to go see a doctor in Chico who, she thought, could help me. I've been to many doctors over the years and have developed a deep cynicism in regard to the practice of medicine. I was attempting to manage my mystery illness on my own, but in the midst of another flair of symptoms, I contacted Leanne for that doctor's number.

After some long phone interviews, I made the trip out to Chico and donated some more vials of blood. The consensus? Lyme Disease. Apparently, Lyme Disease is endemic in Santa Cruz County. It would seem that, at some point during my campus rompings, I picked up a small tick. A tiny little speck of evil which proceeded to steal huge portions of my youth away from me.

I remember a classmate of ours giving a presentation to the school about the dangers of Lyme Disease and it's presence in our own beloved woods, and yet, it never occurred to me or any of my doctors over the years.

So now, I'm attempting to kill the beast. Many shifting antibiotics and other meds are at play. They, and the Lyme, make my life... well... entropy. Doctor wants me to go on IV antibiotics. He says it may be the only thing that will do the job since I have many neurological manifestations of the disease (after 20 years of hosting it's party). Of course, insurance doesn't want to cover it because, turns out, Lyme and it's treatment are highly debated issues in the medical and insurance communities. Great.

Frankly, I have my doubts that I'll ever get better with these treatments. I've had this for so long and have tried so many remedies... just don't know anymore. All I know is, I'm 36. I'm too young to be this old. So, I'll take the magic potions and hope...

Was it worth it? All the misadventures which seem to have paid off in 20 years of ouch? I don't know. I guess I'm still glad I didn't behave. I figure, I could have just as easily picked that tick up on a nature walk.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stairmasters are for Sissies


... are the 4 flights of stairs which I climb up and down many times throughout each day.
They get me from my front door to the entrance of my actual living space. This is not a feature I ever desired in a home. Still surprised ANYONE thought this was a good idea. Alas, I did agree to pay money to live here, so there's not much more I can say about that.


There is a pay-off to this insanity. And no, it's not the hot-mama legs I should have acquired by now (again, a subject for a future blog).

It's the air up here...

One of my favorite views? The soft fog rolling over the hills.

The Fog
The Fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

- Carl Sandburg 1878


Of course, should a fire ensue while I'm taking in the view, I can always run down the 5 flights of stairs in my fire escape.
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