About crh

I LOVE MY CATS. I like British humor, pomp, and glamour; Latin color, passion, and weather. I love to dance, and I love being a redhead. I want travel and life-long learning. Cheers, crh

8.2020

I didn’t forget you on the 20th. I was busy learning a new skill!

My landlord – you know, my problem child, Rich – is a home renovator. He’s working on the property a friend has neglected damn near to death. It’s in Bear Lake, so I figured while I’m unemployed I’d learn some new skills and earn myself a free vacation.

I invited Galen, to mitigate the sexual harassment I could expect from Rich, with whom I drove up Thursday night, in order to get a head start bright and early Friday morning. Galen would join us Friday, and play on the lake all day. I planned to wile away the hot hours of the afternoons there, and work again ’til sundown.

California’s fires blew into the valley and, I’m telling you, you could hardly see the lake! Galen decided against the two hour drive. If he was going to paddle around in smoke, he might as well stay close to home.

Oh shit.

Rich vacillated between begging, whining, groping, pouting, and the aggression we know so well, when I repeatedly said no.

He’s a full-grown raging man with the mentality of a 5 year old. He’s the biggest victim I’ve met in all my life. Besides incredulous, I’m beyond feeling. Well, irritation. This again? It’s such a hassle. It’s more work than painting an entire trailer!

I hate baby boomers. I didn’t understand that it’s pervasive. I knew only my father, a good Mormon, and Marko, an extraordinary exception who simply never saw anyone as anything other than equal.

I made a dangerous assumption that Marko’s friends were like him. I really did not understand that these men do not understand festival ethos and culture, and don’t care to learn. The open-hearted exchange of energy that builds there is not an invitation to bodies. For grizzled voyeurs, however, it’s precisely that: a panoply of scantily-clad bodies on display like a pastry counter, theirs for the choosing to tickle and niggle and grind and grab. These perverts cannot be made to understand that women’s bodies are not theirs to manhandle. No means no, not keep badgering me. Coercion is not consent. Women are not coin slots you put alcohol in and tits-n-ass come out.

Someone said, “The loss of privilege can feel like oppression. It isn’t.” These rapey, infantile men just scream. I hate them.

In fairness to Rich, he didn’t block the exit of a 14 year old girl and “talk her into” having sex with him. I have no doubt Zafod’s been doing so for decades. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. His rape charge was reduced to sexual misconduct with a minor, with a kidnapping enhancement. I know exactly why he chose a child. Grown women make noise or make an escape. Barely, in my case. In 2011, he got caught. Poor young girl. Probably affected her so deeply, she couldn’t hide it. Makes me so sad and angry.

(Incidentally, this week would have been Burning Man. As you know, I give myself a year off of my traumas. It resolved relatively on its own, a while ago. We’ve done a little work on it in therapy, but generally I’m interested in healing the deeper traumas that have led to the inability to trust my gut, build boundaries, or value myself. Not being raped and abused is not asking too much. How ’bout that?

It’s a matter of learning to listen again to my intuition and believe it, without guilt. It’s hard for victims of childhood abuse to trust their instincts. It’s too complicated to understand how your caregiver can attack you while claiming to love you, so a child turns off the ability to protect herself. The message is I’m not worth my safety.

EMDR has done a lot to heal my brain. I recover faster. Also, I had that satisfying experience last year of using my words and finding exactly the right ones. I owned that room! He couldn’t leave, and I didn’t require him to stay. I didn’t even raise my voice. My tone alone stopped him, dead calm and in charge. He didn’t say a word. I accused him face-to-face of lying, entrapment, and sexual assault. His shoulders slumped with a sigh and he nodded. And still, he remained seated. I excused him! It was so empowering.)

****

So Rich threw fits when I asked for instruction and feedback.

“I’ll just drop what I’m doing inside then and do this!”

“I’m not asking you to do it. I’m asking for guidance. I’ve never painted before.”

“You paint all the time!”

Art. Years ago. I’ve never painted a house.”

When I got the instruction I needed and got rid of him, I enjoyed great music and being outside. We only went to the lake once, for an hour. I told him I wanted to hit the water once a day. He wholeheartedly agreed. Not surprisingly, he lied.

I did not enjoy painting the minutiae. For three days, Rich had me on window sills and edge trim. I saw the trailer in its original state, when I went to Bear Lake in July with Zack. I made Rich promise not to paint the exterior without me. I really wanted to experience that exciting reveal. I had told Rich that I wanted to finish the entire exterior that weekend. Did he think that was possible with just the two of us? He said yes.

In other words, he knew darn well what I was volunteering for. It was on the drive that he informed me we’d paint only the deck side exterior wall. The rest would be back[neck]-breaking tedium. I expressed my concern, that that would take skills I simply didn’t have. Anyone can get the basics of painting a flat-ish surface and be trusted not to ruin it entirely. I am not a construction worker. I’m a volunteer. I needed guidance to do the job he roped me into, and I wanted the high of that WOW transformation.

I was anxious that I was making all kinds of mistakes. I don’t have a frame of reference for what “right” looks like, or even good enough. And it isn’t mine to experiment on! Mistakes are costly and time-consuming. I don’t know what I’m doing, so I continued to ask for reasonable progress checks.

“You’re doing fine!” he barked, angry.

“I think so, but I’d like you to double check.”

Annoyed as possible, he hardly glanced at my work. “It’s fine!” he shot back. “I can’t hold your hand!”

“I’m not asking you to. I want corrections. It’s not mine to ruin.”

I got punished for checking my work, so I didn’t. He can’t say I didn’t try.

I did the best I could, and unknowingly dripped all over the underside of the innumerable angles I painted. You have no idea how many! Oh my god, these tedious boards took THREE days to paint, and fix, and paint again. Do you know how much labor and time goes into sanding latex off of a long, fine edge? He’s such an idiot!

painting minutiae

Reco’nize what a Princess can do!

window sills 2
window sills 3
window sills

Finally, on the last day, I got the satisfying reveal I longed for! I’m so proud! I have to say… TOTALLY WORTH IT! I learned the hard stuff the hard way on someone else’s project, and have no doubt that I will be involved in the learning and labor of crafting my own someday home.

Next weekend, I will drive up with Galen so as not to get trapped with that old, angry, sexist, presumptuous manbaby. I will work in the cool hours of the day and play in the afternoons. I will paint the exterior, as promised, and assist where and when I’m able, if I desire it. I don’t care what he says. I told him all along I considered this a working holiday. We didn’t holiday at all. We hardly ate. (I didn’t lose a pound!)

I told Rich what I was available for. He tricked me. As for sexual harassment, I hold myself responsible for putting myself in any kind of situation with him. I know what to expect. He took advantage of me. It’s what he does. I can’t hope for anything else.

Free labor, for the love! Be gracious. In what way can you make yourself a victim in this? That’s entitlement for you. Stuck in permanent mindset of mine, mine, mine.

I adjusted. I made it an opportunity to confront fear of the unknown, flex new muscles, and gain new knowledge. We’d been unable to build a temple for Element 11 this year, since burn events worldwide were cancelled. I saw right away what this weekend was going to be, in spite of what I’d communicated and Rich agreed to, and saw an opportunity to gain confidence for the build crew next year. Maybe even come in stronger! It had been very intimidating to volunteer last year, when I had no skills.

And look what I did! IN ONE DAY! In the end, I’m glad I only painted one side. The juxtaposition with the janky remainder makes it all the more satisfying. Weeee!
exteriorpainting exterior

I love painting houses! I want to play with a paint spray thingy!

I’m Derelict

I blew it! I wanted to write on the 20th of every month for Hindsight 2020, and I totally forgot July. Covid furlough has a way of running days into weeks, and all sense of up and down and time and place are skewed.

I realized two days later that I missed a post, but then got busy in catastrophic and bizarre ways and couldn’t get to you by now.

My friends’ house burned down!

I was on vacation in Bear Lake, and called my landlord the night before going home, to ask her to check on my Penny. She informed me that Robin and Maurice’s home was destroyed by electrical fire. They were lucky to get out alive! Their pup did not.

It was quick, devastating, and total. Robin was out running errands but Mo, works works late, laid down for a nap, as he does when the teenager naps, which she did that day. It was she who awoke and saved her father. Confused, they walked out of the back, to find the living room consumed by fire that hungrily gnawed at the ceiling. At that moment, flames burst through the front windows, enveloping the roof. They were still inside!

Last week, I went over to help empty the basement of their business inventory, for insurance. It was an overwhelming, emotional job that Robin couldn’t have done alone. Thousands of garments filled dozens of bins. We counted every piece.

It felt good to have purpose! It feels good to be useful. It feels good to do good. I love being idle, I can’t lie. But, lord, how blurring it becomes.

bear lake

I can’t believe I grew up in Idaho and Utah but hadn’t been to Bear Lake, which straddles both. The Caribbean came to the farm!

 

farmland at sunsetsunkissed

Oh. My furlough turned into a firing. I saw it coming. Donation is backed up in a way the economy is not. Everyone wants so badly to get back to producing, earning, spending, consuming, but we have such a backlog it will be an age before we return to home pickups. And as the generation of folks dies, who call for appointments as opposed to scheduling online, my redundancy was felt more with every passing year. I figured it wouldn’t be too long before they noticed I’m not needed. 😉

It was a good job, a good crew. We were a team. And though mine was the most menial of customer service jobs, I did it well. It mattered deeply to be a tiny cog in the wheel of an organization that does good for our community and in the world.

And I worked with drivers. I outswore them all. It was a huge hit for the fucking lady to brandish the filthiest mouth in the room. God, I love cursing.

On days when I grew weary of the same, unrelenting donor queries and frustration, I would hear that wavering senior voice and remember that she might have very few people to visit with anymore. Why shouldn’t I let her catalog the quality of every beloved item? Or this person was newly widowed. Or children lost a parent. Was I going to rush this need?

I was reminded of my stint answering phones for a hospice. It was a temp job that included assisting the Bereavement Coordinator, and I learned that I have enormous space and comfort in the mourning of others. I became an intuitive and caring listener.

Still, impatience crept in, as it does. But 9 times out of 10, my caller was elderly and I remembered my grandma. The thought of anyone being short or dismissive with her so filled me with indignity that I found I liked to listen. You learn a lot about personalities and values by the way a person describes things. Priceless, inconsequential things.

Sweet Sixteen

My sweet Penny is SIXTEEN today. This calls for a fancy hat party!

lady penny

A very elegant senior lady ~

seriously mom

“One indignity wasn’t enough?”

fuck my life

“My mom’s an asshole.”

6.20.20

Happy Summer!

happy summer

And so begins the neurotic battle between craving and fearing delicious SUN!

A couple weeks ago, I went up the mountain to a friend’s property. Day one was sun; Overnight, violent mountain storms woke me once. In the morning, we rose to the scent of fresh, newly-drenched SAGE! It’s better than any high.

I love green. I love it best in late Spring. On overcast days, it’s so lush and verdant I nearly cry. We drove to The Pinnacles, but it was too wet and slippery to hike around. Just taking pictures of the place, I got a sense of gathering. Gathering. Gathering. Ancient gathering. From all directions, I imagined people cresting bluffs and joining to gather.

These towers are huge and appear as though they’d stand out in a landscape, but they’re buried deep inside a mountainous convergence. They come out of nowhere! This place could have been unknown for awhile after the arrival of settlers.
pinnacle

It wouldn’t take much to research exactly what kind of congregating went on here, but I really think these landmarks were undiscovered by Anglos and remained either a community meeting space or a place of assembly for native warriors.

On the way out of the canyon, my friend pointed out… Whadya know? Pictographs. All over the place!

How do places hold such energy? I cringe to hear myself talk about what I felt there – So much pretense comes from the Land of Woo, you know? – but it’s not the first time. When I climbed in Escalante a few years ago, my friends and I heard ancient flute music in a narrows! No one else was there. It was getting dark. We were late hiking out.

If I’d been alone, I wouldn’t trust my memory today. I’ve asked those I was with, more than once, if it really happened, and their eyes get as big as it I feels to me. Magic!

This weekend in the mountains was magic, too.

I’m still in it, this state of well-being. Even with all that’s going on in the world, I’m well. And I’m grateful. Just as easily – and so recently – I might not be.

I feel as though I’ve been standing for the last two years on a rotating platform, turning from the first half into what comes after it. In the last month, I’ve felt the turntable stop and myself step off, into that unknown future.

I remember so clearly the feeling of blank space my future held when I moved to Salt Lake. The difference is unbelievable. What was then a terrifying, suffocating void – blinding, flailing, screaming, ROARING – is now equally empty, and so beautifully full. Promise, joy, success, beauty, laughter, love. THE WHOLE WORLD is possible! What a delicious shift to smile ear to ear when Young Christie could only glare. I will always hold space for that girl. I love her. Imagine if someone had loved her well from birth!

Well, I do. I’m the adult in my life.

The training wheels are coming off. I have a sense of myself. I’m beginning to trust this woman. The evidence is there. There’s been plenty of upset, and I’m just not responding like I used to. I’m powerful, in way that feels a lot more relaxed.

I’m ready to launch! Til then, I get to lap up my sweet kitty for all the time we have left.

I continue to hope for a better world and look forward to a day when I can stand in solidarity with those who continue to suffer, and VOTE for the changes I wish to create. With some trepidation, I still believe in them.

As I realize that next weekend would have been E11, I’m struck by how much I haven’t missed. I’m sure there are many who rue that, by now, we’d have spent months building a temple – or any number of art installations – but I’ve scarcely thought of it. I’m exactly where and how I want to be. I feel serene, and it’s fucking amazing!
love
dreaming lizard

21 Days of Meditation

I swear! The Universe is conspiring to benefit me!

Penny’s no better, but life is life is life. Love is hard. Love is good, and life goes on.

Last night, my betches called a double/triple birthday party. The Twins and Natalia just got older! It surprised me how hungry I was for company. I’ve been enjoying my solitude, but it was a breath of fresh air to get out of my house and the angst of the last weeks.

We danced alternately to Everly Brothers and Metallica. Talk about Gemini variability! And yes, I moved. My back is relenting, praise Whomever!

gemini

My girlfriends are identical Gemini twins! 41 years ago, ultrasounds weren’t so clear and Mom didn’t know they were TWO. She, singular, was supposed to arrive in Leo; Instead, she doubled in Gemini! WHOA.

And today, a girl from the book club I joined started an online guided meditation with The Chopra Center. Today’s mantra is I AM, and our task is to create a list of 50 people who’ve influenced our lives (and to put energy and intention behind our gratitude to them). Off I go!

Y’all! Do new stuff! Why did I wait so long to join a book club? I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO.

Duh. (There’s Jeffrey, haha! He’s Top Three.)

Just what I needed. I feel supported. Embraced. I feel like I inhabit a loving, if inexplicably random Universe.
om

5.20.20

That Hindsight high lasted a good minute. That was a solid period of bonhomie.

The last two months have been hard, starting with that migraine in late March, followed by this ever-loving BACK! which I pulled three days before my birthday last month. Little did I know it would go on for a month, and longer, I now expect.

Still, I felt good. Positive, happy.

Thankfully, the back pain is livable now, making its ownership of my body known mostly upon rising, of course. I ease into standing, and go about my day. Unfortunately, predictably, it’s triggered a massive fibro flare. I’ve taken it all with a sense of humor, resolve, and purpose.

I fell out of yoga after the cheilectomy (big toe surgery) in November. It’s a long, slow recovery. I passed an important date on May 11th: Six months. I can expect final swelling to be gone anytime in the next two. I did notice a nice improvement in late April. It’s consistently more comfortable, albeit just a little, and I’ll take it!

My body is so tight and resisting! This back debacle has got me back to my mat, in the privacy of my own home. The floor was always there, but I’m lazy. What can I say? I’ve been doing baby stretches every day, regardless of pain. Sometimes I just lay there, feet up, if that’s all the back will permit that day. The strain was going along, recovering nicely if slowly, when BAM! Three weeks into “getting better,” I reverted to the inability to stand, for another three days!!! At that point, my mood began to plummet. What the fuck?

It’s one thing when you can identify a cause, but I have done NOTHING in quarantine but study Spanish, stretch, and practice the guitar. Not one thing warranted this relapse, and here it was. I was immobilized.

I was fed up.

In all my complaining, I’ve avoided the real reason I couldn’t take it anymore. Penny up and popped an aural hematoma. Remember Cricket’s cute cricky ear? It resulted from surgery to correct aural hematoma! And now Penny? What the actual fuck?!

cricket in the er

“My dandruff is out of control, because I’m terrified in the emergency room, and I puffed it out of of my undercoat like a scared chicken pops out its feathers, but isn’t my cricky ear adorable?”

The tech at Banfield was stunned, having never heard of the condition in cats. It’s more common in dogs, but both my girls get to have their go at it. The kicker is that Penny’s heart murmur – rated 4 out of 6 – prevents her from having surgery. All we could do was drain and fill it back up with steroid, hoping that would reabsorb and treat it. It didn’t. Blood rushed back, darker, bigger, and angrier. Our only recourse was repeated draining and filling. My poor kitty was traumatized.

She had three appointments in a week-and-a-half. The second course has done better than the first, and I’m encouraged by that. We had a follow up appointment yesterday, that I expected would be a sign off of sorts: Continue to watch and hope the small pocket that’s left finishes draining and retreats permanently.

During Covid, I instructed Penny repeatedly not to get sick right now. I’ve kept my sense of humor about that, even while it forces me to drop my baby off all day – separated from her mom, stuck in her carrier, terrified – for a brief treatment that otherwise would have been done in-room, where I could be with her and take her home straight away. She hides under the bed now. This is so devastating for me. I’m fighting tears! My kitty doesn’t trust me. Everything she’s ever known is unsure now, and she doesn’t feel good!

(Being cooped for so many hours in her little carrier has aggravated her arthritis to a point that she won’t put weight on her front right paw! What had been, with one medicated treat per day, an almost imperceptible limp upon waking is now a heart-breaking hop!)

Penny’s old age is harder than Cricket’s. Cricky had thirteen years with one emergency that gave her the silly ear that so suited her funny offishness. Finally, there were three months at the end, when we fought but never got the better of a disease that ended her sweet, gentle life. Penny is falling apart piece by piece, and it’s brutal! A bad heart precipitates teeth that hurt, because she can’t have her annual dental cleaning under anesthesia (and I didn’t know pets need their teeth cleaned, until mine were old and started having dental problems). A mistake I made – using essential oils to freshen the air – gave her chronic bronchitis! (This was another moment I was grateful not to mother humans. The guilt is unbearable.) And now she can’t step on her front paw.

And the ear condition her sister wore so well lingers, frightening and uncomfortable.

God in heaven, let her passing be soft and beautiful like Cricket’s. Let me sing and hold her in my arms. Please. With Dr. Kpat and the beautiful Banfield team that’s taught me as much as my two girls have. They love Penny. They see more of her, because I just didn’t understand until diabetes took Cricket that they have to see the doc throughout their lives, just like we do. It seems so obvious, but I just didn’t know. They’re my first. They’re my only. They’re my world.

The team at Banfield all tell me how sweet and affectionate Penny is, how they love her little chirp. Elise delivered her to me curbside after one appointment and confided, “She’s my favorite lady.” I believe her. Penny’s the best thing on Earth. I tell her every day.

Yesterday’s appointment was to be 10-15 minutes only, thank god! Unlike the previous appointments, I could wait at the curb for her and hope to put this all behind us.

Enter Rich, my landlord. He offered a ride. I was so grateful! I hadn’t quite known what I was going to do. I couldn’t ask an Uber to wait indefinitely, could I? I imagine I would have asked for Galen’s help. But Rich offered.

I asked the night before if he was still willing . “Yep,” he assured me. “Remind me an hour before.”

“I will. Thanks so much!”

I did as instructed, and yesterday I tore my poor kitten from under the bed, shoved her in a dreaded cage, whereupon she started crying, and I ran next door to grab my ride, who wanted me to sit and watch the end of a game show! Not only would this potentially make us late, but my baby was alone and terrified right now! He rolled his eyes at me.

I sat and waited, just dying inside. When the program didn’t end but went to a final cliff-hanging commercial break, I pleaded with Richie, “We’re gonna be late!”

HE LOST IT. Rage!!! He was up and screaming. Violent, red-faced, vein-popping, murderous, immediate RAGE.

I left. He chased me. “Fine!” he screamed. “Let’s go, then! I’ll miss it cuz you can’t wait two goddam minutes!”

I went home, locked the door, and canceled the appointment. He kept screaming. I shut the windows, so he banged on the door. I got off the phone and stepped out. I couldn’t subject my already traumatized cat to that hostility. “It’s okay,” I reported, breezy. “I’ve rescheduled. Don’t worry about it.” Nothing irregular here.

That made it worse. Now he’s pacing to the garage and back, to his truck and back, to their door and back. “I emptied my whole day for you!…” (He just finished a job, and would have gone to the lake today if not for a days-long high wind event he knew was coming. He’s a Navy man with a boat on the Great Salt Lake. He knows the forecast. He was staying home.) (And he offered.)

“I’m sorry I got impatient.” Neutral face.

Still screaming, he didn’t hear me.

“I’m sorry I inconvenienced you.” Neutral tone.

“No, you’re not!” he shot back, venomous. “You enjoy it! You did it on purpose!”

I went back inside. I tried. He raged on, inside, up the stairs, to Molly’s office and kept her from working for more than an hour, screaming blame and hatred of me.

I never matched his energy. Not once. I did try briefly to break through but, having done all I could, I removed myself. This had nothing to do with me.

I did everything right. In the past, his behavior so closely resembled the dynamic of my childhood home that I’ve fallen into ineffective battles. This time, I walked away.

I’ve told him before not to treat me like this. This time, he won’t. He’ll never get close enough. They’re my landlords, not my friends. They don’t have access to anything but my apartment, with my permission.

In time it will blow over, but I’m finally permitting myself to cut Rich out of the deepest warmth of my heart. I’d already removed Molly, the true homeowner (who makes it known to both of us all the time). She’s passive-aggressive and demeaning. When held to account, she excuses herself as “blunt,” a lie that only fools her.

There’s a difference between truthful and blunt. Honesty says, “I esteem you enough to say the hard thing.” Blunt doesn’t care if it hurts you. Indeed, the right to wound is an entitlement of the rude. “Just sayin’.”

And Molly’s not even blunt. She’s cutting. I hold passive-aggressive people in utter disdain. A healthier response would be to dislike passive-aggression, but it would be dishonest. I hate the people, and I confess to feeling superior. I think it’s the weakest, most cowardly, selfish, juvenile, deluded interaction. And who do you think you are, some arbiter of everything that’s right and good? You’re an asshole. That’s blunt.

You said it. Own it.
It doesn’t take long for me to remove those who pretend away petty meanness.
Gone. Outta my heart.

The thing I hate most about passive-aggressive people is that they don’t think they’re aggressive. IT’S IN THE NAME, YOU IDIOT.

The irony is that she’s totally pleasant company. I like her! I’ve never had a relationship like that, in which there’s little regard but I enjoy the person. I take what she has to teach me (landscape architecture), and retreat when her ugliness rears its head. It makes me feel broad and open-minded, to enjoy someone I find basic and cruel, haha! Until she says something triflin’ again and then I hate her. Then I don’t care. Cuz she’s triflin’.

Rich, on the other hand, goes longer between periods of abuse. I get lulled into the friendship anew. Until the next time. And there will always be a next time. I did nothing to deserve this. There was no extra stressor, in particular, to precipitate it. (All the others I could see coming.) Out of the blue: Rage, blame, hatred.

Thankfully, we pretty much keep to ourselves most of the time. I’ll stay invisible for a good long while with this one, then reemerge eventually. I’ll weed and maintain the flowerbeds and share the garlic I planted when it harvests.

Penny is not long for this world, bless her. I’m preparing myself, tearfully. (Yesterday, not surprisingly, the dam broke. I sobbed, loudly, for half an hour, quietly on and off for the rest of the day.) Life goes on as usual, nothing that hasn’t happened before.

There’s a part of me that so desperately wants to leave, but I promised Penny I wouldn’t do that to her again, and I don’t want another roommate. I love living alone. I’m so self-entertaining. I have my little to-do lists. I’m keeping up with my 2020 goals, except stretching daily. (Thank you, back strain from hell, for keeping me on task.) I think I’m hilarious. I laugh all day long, and I have krcl. Best music on the planet!

And my tiny apartment is so pretty. So here I’ll stay, unless Molly kicks me out. I live in fear of that. It’s why I don’t push back any harder than I do. And I’m glad. I learned a lot. It makes no difference to abusive people what you to say. You don’t matter. So fuck ’em.

I couldn’t learn that in the context of my family. There’s simply no objectivity. I’m so conditioned to make room in my heart for people who harm me. (It’s a Taurus thing, too. We hold onto relationships longer than any sign. We’re loyal to a fault, staying by your side long after others would have left. If you cross that final line, and we make it very clear, you don’t exist. That’s it.)

I feel lighter having taken back their capacity to hurt me. They don’t matter. They’re exacting, insensitive people and I don’t fucking care.

I’m getting better at responding in healthy ways. I’m cutting out so many people! The time to launch is ever closer. I can feel it happening, now!

The friends I chose while I was sick and acting out of maladjusted habit are getting fewer and fewer. I get to build a community of friends who support each other, forgive their own and each other’s shortcomings, apologize and mean it, and live happy, consistently, for the love of all that’s holy! Everyone around me is as fucked up as I was. (Imagine.) How is it that I’m the only one who sees it and wants to change?

Well, I will. I am. Someday soon, my circle will mirror that back to me. How wonderful!

Molly will raise my rent again this summer. It will officially get me into the range of “house poor,” but such is life in Small Lake City anymore. Who do you think you are, SLC? San Francisco, with rents like these? Fuck you, too, while we’re at it, haha!

When Penny goes, I GO.

You know, when I realized I was going to have to do the big scary thing: Become a globe-trotting, amazing, dynamic, fearless woman of a certain age (rather than the Chief Lover and CEO of a family unit, which is what I actually thought would happen when I talked all big), I started to panic. I didn’t mean it! I didn’t mean it! I just wanted to be a mom!

Now, I’m laying the groundwork for a future I’d considered empty swagger. Instead, what I said for two decades – “If I don’t have kids, I’m moving to Bolivia and teaching English” – became my instructions to the Universe. I will teach and take a leap into the unknown, and I’m getting excited for it. Scared as hell, and so excited!

And someday, someday off in the near future, my fucking back will release, the world will reopen safely, and I will go to yoga, never to neglect my beautiful body again!

And my cat will live for a few more years, and I’ll love her so well while she’s here.

Today is hard. I feel like crying a bit, and curling up in blankies. Instead, I’ll go stretch and make a warmy soup to enjoy on this cold Spring day the wind blew in.

penny's hematoma

“My ear is full of blood and I feel lousy.”

I feel better having written this. I was in danger of having another rainy day mood. Match the weather and wallow in it. Instead, I feel empowered and… fine.

Thank you, 2020! You really are working for me! What was a playful resolution to post on every “20” became a fortuitous rescue this month from a shitty day.

Pray for kitty? Thank you.

(P.S. I’m reading Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way.)
(P.S. Fuck is my favorite word.)
(P.S. The sun came out. It’s a bright, crisp, beautiful day out there, and I’m smiling.)
fucking lady
Later that day… soup
I made rainy day soup! I even used filtered water for the base. The whole thing is from scratch, and I made it all up! Turns out, I’m a good cook. I just didn’t like my mother. That’s sad, for real, but whadya gonna do? Figure it out later!

(We passed another six-month benchmark in May: Mother hasn’t spoken to me since November. She didn’t even call after my surgery. None of them did. They’re so fucked up.)

Oh, and did I grow my own cayenne peppers, dehydrate them, and pulverize as needed in my own mini mortar and pestle? Of course I did. Fucking overachiever.

Hindsight 2020!

copper mule

I make a fine cocktail, too. I don’t have fresh limes, but I have lime juice. And why not? #drinkingsolo #pandemic2020

Happy Birthday To Me!

my street in Spring

🎶 It’s the most! wonderful daaaaay of the yeear! 🎶

april 27

Decades ago, I found a beautiful antique German calendar, in very bad condition. The dials don’t work anymore, so I popped the back off and forced it to sit permanently on the most wonderful day of the year. I’ve tried to adjust it since, when hosting others’ birthdays or New Year’s. It won’t budge. So we’re all agreed then (according to jenky objet d’art). That Freitag was the one true day. 😆
freitag

This year is the first in many that I haven’t thrown a big party, got more drunk than my guests, held court, and talked about myself all night. Even my landlord, with whom I share a birthday, is out of town, so it’s just me, Netflix, and my Penny. 🐾 Coronavirus is teaching me to birthday like an adult!

Good job, Christie! You get a gold star!
happy birthday

Fun extra:

For my birthday this year, I pulled my back. Y’all, I’m damn near incapacitated! I’m in so much ever-loving pain. Adding insult to injury, I wasn’t even doing anything worthwhile. Gardening, yoga, dancing, hiking? Oh, no. I adjusted my big, dimply ass on the couch for a murder marathon on Saturday, and *twinge! You’re fucked now!

“Oh and, by the way,” the Universe seems also to say. “You are circling 50. Yesterday, at 46, you could claim ‘mid-forties,’ but there’s no denying it now, bitches! The woman ain’t young.” (And maybe stop watching snuff porn, yo.)

I’m careening! And when did we start double time?!

Man, when this heals, I’m getting the steel core my vanity always wanted (that indolence would “get to later”). It’s NOW OR NEVER, for real! I’ll do anything not to get here again. Holy shit, I’m in pain!

(Migraine was worse, but I’m freaked out.) (Oh wait, did I not write about that last month? No joke, I’m still traumatized. It was TERRIFYING! I was down for ten days, and had to go to the emergency room! I felt so unworthy during Coronavirus, but goddammit, I AM WORTHY, already!) (I would have continued moaning and panicking if sweet Galen hadn’t taken over. How I love him.)

So, new Affairs of Aging notwithstanding, I’m fine. I’m happy. I’m on the verge of the rest of my life, and it’s so good! It’s palpable. I can see it! I feel it already – the power, joy, and success of my future. I enjoy it now! It’s so cool.

(And I love that the joke’s on me but, at midlife, I’m finally in on it!)

Life is GOOD. Happy Birthday To Me!

Blessed

angel in the backyard

Y’all… That’s my backyard!

angel at sundown
I’ve been feeling fortunate and peaceful during this strange thing that’s happening to us. I don’t know why! I’ve been prone to worry and unease but, for some reason, I feel BLESSED. I was laid off Wednesday! Still blessed. I feel protected and joyful.

I’m so grateful for it, and it makes me sad that so many loved ones and others of our extended human family don’t have that currently. I’m sorry. I love you. I feel grateful and honored to hold space for you in well-being and abundance. I’ve been supported by so many. It’s my turn.

4.20.20

What a different world we inhabit today than the one we knew a month ago!

Though Coronavirus was spreading last month, it had just begun in my neck of the woods. My hours hadn’t been cut yet. It was new-ish in the States. Even New York, though alarming already, hadn’t been locked down. It didn’t feel real to me, quite.*

Now it’s weird and sad and singular. Not a one of us has seen anything like it. Pandemics occur about every 100 years, they say, so there’s no generational memory to inform us. It’s crazy. I feel prayerful and humble, and quiet.

I’ve enjoyed feeling like a secret assassin. I figure with all the stress, tragedy, and uncertainty in the world, a gingham ninja of glad tidings can’t hurt anyone. People chuckle when they board the bus. It feels good, less in a class clown kind of way than an incognito arbiter of random bonhomie. It’s so fun!
happy

I take real comfort and pleasure in how quickly our beautiful planet is rebounding while we shelter in place and practice social distancing. The timing is poetic, with Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary this week.

earth day

Galen made a commemorative stencil for Earth Day’s 50th.

I do hope the waking of long-dormant flowers, returning of animal populations to overrun land, and a marked improvement in air quality prove the deleterious effects, once and for all, of human environmental irresponsibility. Or if not, that the Mother at least gets a decent break. Perhaps this will stem the tide until the last of those governmental rapists retires or dies. Perhaps we can come back yet from the damage we’ve done.

Is it too late? Are we past the tipping point? Are we already in the event horizon?

I’m not circling the drain. I hope you’re not either. It’s soul-saving, I think, that this happened in Spring. Anxiety plus isolation plus cold, short days could make this fraught time far more difficult to bear.

How I love Spring! I’ve so enjoyed being outdoors, taking more walks, working in the garden. Every year when the trees are in bloom, I feel like the whole world is giving me flowers. “For ME?!” Why should I be so lucky?

Always at the end of April, those blossoms fall on a breeze like confetti. Just in time for my birthday! Like the whole world is celebrating my arrival. “You’re HERE! You’re here!” I LOVE MY BIRTHDAY. I know it’s silly for a woman nearing fifty to be so enamored of her birthday still, but what are you gonna do? I’m a silly girl.

Happy birthday, Earth Day! I’m right behind you: 47 on Monday. Happy birthday to me!

taurus redhead

I love me some earthy Taurus woman!

* Though I feel very strongly my connection to the global community, I have, in truth, quite effectively distanced myself from current events. At first, I felt the sting of complacency and privilege, but then I considered that my mental health matters, even if it’s just my tiny, advantaged bubble. It matters for each of us for all of us to stay apprised but well. When Trump is gone, trust that I’ll return to my rabid commitment to equity as far as my [often unwelcome] voice can reach. I can’t help myself – let’s be honest – and I’m not apologizing anymore for impassioned advocacy.

Quarantine Freebie!

Fender offered THREE MONTHS FREE online lessons!

I joined today, and already I’m better than I started. In fact, I took a couple steps back; My hold was problematic. During Rock Camp, I struggled. I was probably the weakest in class. It was surprising. I did really well at Boise State. If only I’d followed through!

Well, I’ma give myself a big fat break on that one. I was the state of Idaho’s key witness in a stalking case that put my attacker behind bars for three years. I also was a young, young woman just leaving the trauma of sustained childhood abuse, with a future of mental chaos ahead of me and no coping skills whatsoever for weathering the storms of life, big or small. It’s a bloody miracle I survived, so there’s that.

So here we are! Starting anew in midlife, like a fucking rockstar!

At camp, I kept asking the “right” way to hold my guitar. The answer was always the same: “However’s comfortable.” Yes, there’s truth to that, but there’s also proper technique. (And I was too new to feel comfortable!) When you’re five years old in piano, they teach you to make your hand the shape of a bear claw. What’s correct on guitar? I’ll start there, and grow into my comfort. It was very frustrating for me not to have time to work through communication differences to get the information, as I need it.

In the FIRST lesson, Fender showed me proper hold. (Was that so hard?) So I’m backwards for a bit, reluctantly pacing myself on fingering exercises, rather than skipping straight to easy songs and learning their chords, like yesterday. (Jolene! Jolene! Jolene! Joleeeeeeeeene!) It’s funny how different brains set us up for gaps and gaffes in processing and understanding. So odd and diverse, the human animal.

I’m SO GRATEFUL! FENDER! This is just what I was asking for at camp! The link was posted on the camp Facebook page, so I’m still considering this part of that wonderful experience. This is camp. I’m still there. Yay!

Fortunately, I’m so beginning beginner yet that I don’t have far back to go to work the basics. This is, in truth, just in time. I needed to be thrust into the fire to break through my own barriers of precious ego and loss of control. I’m ever grateful that I gave myself that gift, and I dearly love my camp instructors. The girl who kept answering the same, despite endless rephrasing and efforts to find another reply, was such a beautiful person, with the kindest, most patient demeanor. I was tremendously grateful for her attention. She kinda became my personal tutor as class outpaced me (all day every day.) (I was really behind.) She’s statuesque and breathtakingly beautiful. I was intimidated by her on sight, and she’s among the most gentle energies I’ve encountered. Her name is Snow. She feels like a soft storm – big fluffy flakes – in a dense, quiet wood.
snow falling