My Hometown

sexburg

On and off for 30 years I’ve wondered, “Who changed the ‘R’ on the water tower to spell Sexburg, and WHY didn’t I get a picture?!”

Today, an old classmate posted a pic on Facebook of some new scrawl that reads, “Save Ferris.” The young ones still tag the highest peak in town, it seems, with a reverential nod to their parents, no less. Beuller is timeless, true, but he belongs to us. He was our charming, delightfully naughty peer.

I scrolled down the comments for ownership of Sexburg – I knew it would be there – and there it was! The shot I’ve wanted for years! Apparently, it made the paper.

In Rexburg, high temperatures made cover stories (featuring my cute little 2-yr.-old brother). While the water tower was certainly big news, I would think Rexburg too prudish to gratify graffitists with a pictorial. More shocking still was learning that it remained unrepaired for nearly a year. I don’t remember that. Finally, some woman complained to the Standard Journal. That sounds right.

So there you have it: Sexburg, Idaho. My pent-up, horny, abstinence-only hometown. Pretty funny for a Mormon village. “I wish I believed in God,” I often say. “That’s one fine, omniscient sense of humor.”

Here in His holiest city, we have Tshirts that read “SLUT,” for Salt Lake, UT. You just can’t make this stuff up! It’s one of my favorite things, that Mecca and its sacrosanct ‘burg were ripe for such wicked, delicious pun.
sl,ut

Sinte

I started drumming a of couple years ago to fill the void that leaving African dance left. The community is so joyful and supportive that I forced my body to “fight through it” far longer than Fibromyalgia wanted me to.

When I left African, I felt like a failure. I was lazy, something was wrong with me – something else, something real, something wanting in my nature, not my body. My body was always strong. I’m young. If I “can’t” do it, it’s because I’m not eating right. I’m still partying. I’m just not talented enough.

Yes, that’s all true. I’d be better at African if I’d stop all those things, but I could still rally. African dance wore me so bare, I was my authentic self. I didn’t want to let it go.

So I drum now, to keep my tie with the community. There’s just something about it that keeps me coming back for more, even when I’m not very good at it. It’s happy, and it feels good to brave failure. I can’t think of anything else I’ve found where I don’t demand perfection from myself. I’m excited by success and improvement, but I don’t need it.

It’s nice to enjoy something something authentically.

I started belly dancing. I think that’s the recipe. Drum for African dance. Move my body elsewhere, somewhere gentler, more lyrical, equally challenging. Belly dance is the perfect fit, and there’s so much room for me to level up!

I give myself permission to have autoimmune disease.

Today, we played Sinte in class. We don’t do that often, and I’m not that good. Drumming is hard! I go for the simplest background rhythm and hold on for dear life.

But Quinn pushed me. “You know this!”

“Okay!” I agreed. It was deep down somewhere, back when I was taking lessons.

I know this!

I remembered the dance. I could feel it in my body, and I did remember once – long ago – learning the rhythm in Quinn’s class.

By damn, I figured it out! It was a huge high, and I barely held on. I did well enough that when I fell off the beat, he harassed and teased me. (If I sucked utterly, he’d correct me and continue to lead.) I laughed a lot today.

It was a great break from the pain of Cricket’s emergency 2 days ago.

Cricket is at the end of her life. Of course I know that. She’s 14 years old in September, OBESE, and sick with random everything all her life, that sweet alien. A respectable, healthy feline life is 12-15 years. She’s given everything she has.

I have a vision. Perhaps it’s selfish. I just want to keep my little kitty until the first cold snap. I want to build a fire in our forever home, their last home, and cuddle with them by the fire. I want to love my girls by the hearth of our home.

After that, whenever she’s ready to go, I’m ready, too. I want Lap of Love to put her gently to sleep on her own pillow, while I thank her for spending her unexpectedly long life with me. Please don’t die under my bed tonight, in pain and frightened, blind from ketoacidosis. Let me hold you in my arms by the fire.

“Thank you for being my baby. Thank you for being my teacher. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you making me a mother. Thank you for teaching me love.”

I feel guilty. I can see that she’s tired. She used to be so grabby, I had to be careful not to get scratched when I took my hand away from a long spell of affection and sweet talk. Now, all the the strength she has to give is the flick of her tail. And she gives it.

She gave me her everything.

Hold on, sweet love. I’m not asking for long. I know you’re ready to go.

Please give me a cold snap of weather. I want to snuggle by the fire.

My Cricket is dying. cricket in the er

cricket in the er 2

best shot of her perfect cricky ear ❤

Pet Psychic

I had another appointment with Danielle Tremblay of Insight With Animals on Friday. I first met with her 2+ years ago when Penny was having some territorial issues with Ollie, picking fights and using his litter box. Basically, she ratted me out and told Danielle that I didn’t clean her litter box every day, ha! Her logic was that Ollie, being an outdoor cat, left his box unused… for her. I got her her own box – She didn’t want to share with Cricket – and she did actually let up on Ollie a bit. There were still little dominance charges from time to time, but she was much more chill.

This time I wanted to speak mostly with Cricket. We saw the vet again Thursday. She’s still not stable, which I knew, and up to 5 units of insulin now. My sweet kitty absolutely broke my heart when Danielle described her as “putting her paw on [my] face and begging [me] to get this balanced. She doesn’t feel good.” She does exactly that! Puts her paw on my face and looks at me with the most pleading eyes.

It’s so interesting when I’m speaking with the psychic. The cats go crazy. They’re so intent on the conversation. Penny meows and meows. It’s hilarious. You can hear her on the recording. Cricket locks her gaze on me, like, “Get it? Did you get it? Can you hear me?”

Yes, honey. I’m trying.

She said she understands that I’m working on it, but she told the psychic that she’s being very patient and wants me to fix it soon. She has a stomachache. She told Danielle she had a bad day 3 days before the phone call, and that was right. She was so tired her eyes were heavy and glazed, and she sat in the cat box to pee… all over herself. I still can’t get the caked litter off the back of her legs. She’s so tired of me poking and pulling at it. I’ve given up, and I asked Danielle how Cricket feels about that mess being stuck to her for the time being. She doesn’t like it but, “See, I have to sit,” she said. “I’m just so tired. Some days I feel like I’m dragging my body around.”

She did tell Danielle she was content to stay “in body” for now while I continue to figure out her dose. I spoke with Karel at Peace With My Life, who helped me feel confident about behaviors that are good indicators of the day when Cricket will tell me she’s ready to go. For now, she’s willing to stay, and my only focus in life is to get her comfortable.

From there, we moved on to the move. I’m staying in Salt Lake City. I’ll probably never leave. It’s home and I love it, so there. Get over yourself, Christie.

I was concerned about the girls going through another stressful change with Cricket’s health causing so much discomfort and anxiety for them both. Through Danielle, I helped them understand that the new apartment is only a mile away, so the drive itself will be brief. And, oh, what awaits you when we arrive, my darlings!!!

I’ve been trying to get into this apartment for years! I asked Cricket specifically to please hang on ’til Christmas, because we have a fireplace! I want her to spend potentially her last winter cozying up with Penny and me in front of our beautiful fireplace! Did you hear? I HAVE A FIREPLACE!

fireplace

My friend’s cat last winter in front of what is now my fireplace.

And windows, Penny! So many windows! (Some with stained glass!) It will take weeks to determine which is your favorite perch for watching squirrels and birds and people, cats, dogs, and the dancing shadows of leaves and green…

Cricket said, “That sounds fine, but is it our home?”

“No,” I answered, “but it will feel like it. It’s all ours, just us. It will feel like home.”

Penny’s first concern was windows, even though I’d already made such a fuss. Her focus shifted, then, to the couch. She asked if we’d have a couch! It was a clear picture, Danielle said, replete with decorative pillows. I laughed and laughed, because I didn’t bring our couch when we moved last fall. I miss cuddling with her there.

She emphasized again and again the importance of “her” couch. It touched my heart. I couldn’t believe she missed our cuddle time, too.

It wasn’t until sometime later in the day, after I’d processed the reading, that I realized was she was saying. My heart broke. I realized then what Cricket meant, too, when she asked if we were going home. They were talking about Jax’s house.

Yes, Penny cuddled with me sometimes while I watched TV, but she spent most of her time in the window on the back of a sofa that no one used. It was more repository for pretty cushions than sitting area. Indeed, it was her couch. That was the home Cricket meant. They’re homesick.

The good news is that it doesn’t get better than where we’re going. It’s the best place I’ve ever lived. It’s east of downtown. (In the SLC, that reads “desirable.”) Long-term residential neighbors visit daily. It’s the most beautiful avenue in Salt Lake, a little one-way side street you hardly see. It’s like a private, hushed, chirping village with city amenities at the end of the block. Dappled leaves meet overhead in the middle of the road. The entire road. (Have I mentioned my obsession with leaves?!)

The workmanship in this home is ridiculous! It’s maintained, CLEAN, and designed with love. It’s rich and warm, saturated. It’s exactly my aesthetic. My belongings were made for this space, like we’ve been together forever. And I’m going to stay there forever! At least until my babies pass, and then who knows?

I guess I’ll have to make good on all those threats I made to be an interesting person. “If I don’t have a family by the time the kitties go, I’m gonna hit the road!” Gah. At 50, with a stout, lazy Taurus streak, it will be hard to leave anything, much less home. I’ve never felt more at home than I do in this place, and I got it! My dream! It’s mine! I’m so lucky.

I want Cricket to see Christmas. I want 4 or 5 years more with Pen. I’m taking them home, to comfy, cozy and rest, and I want them to enjoy it for the rest of their lives.

(P.S. I have a hot tub, too!!! Cricky does need a bath…)

One Big Union

one big union.jpg

So excited to see this show today! Joe Hill was a labor activist and musician who was executed 100 years ago for a murder he may or may not have committed. This Plan-B Theatre original play contains Hill’s own songs, recently released to the public domain, and also highlights his work with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who visited him in jail here in Salt Lake, and went on to co-found the ACLU.

rebel-girl

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was the inspiration for this 1915 battle hymn.

Plan-B is the only theater in the United States that produces entire seasons of original works by local playwrights, with emphasis on socially conscious themes and issues. It’s owned by one of my dearest friends and his husband. http://planbtheatre.org/

It’s a relevant stage experience, following a week that has seen boys at a local football game chanting, “Grab her by the p*ssy!” and a white van trolling Rose Park, a Salt Lake City neighborhood rich with immigrants, screaming, “Trump is President! Build the wall!”

Don’t mourn… ORGANIZE!
joe-hill

*****

It was amazing! Very emotional at times, as they were describing precisely what we’ve been living with this week and for the last 18 months.

I have to go to more shows at Plan-B! I’m so cheap. I always say, “Next time,” and next time never comes. If nothing else, I should be supporting my friends. The real reason, of course, is that theater transforms us! It makes us think, laugh. It gives us a break from everyday and all that that entails, but it can also light the fire of our own creativity. Above all, theater connects us. This was wonderful.organize

Accumulation

In 1998, I was 25 years old without a bachelor’s degree, a husband, or a kid. A former Mormon girl doesn’t know how else to be a grown-up without one of those three markers, so I took out a mortgage. My home was the smartest use of square footage I’ve seen to this day, a little two-bedroom beauty on the west side. I called it my “Tiny Condo in Hell,” and I loved it. I miss it more and more as I realize what real apartment living is like. It was a gem! With no neighbor noise, and tons of light and space. Of course, the plants swung like pendulums when the train went by, but that’s living in the Crossroads of the West (or on it). “Location, location, location,” as they say… I could afford it.

It was brand new, clean (but for construction dust), and mine.

My former roommate, Linda, stopped by on her way from L.A. to West Yellowstone. “It’s very zen,” she teased me. And it was. Empty!

You know, I don’t remember ever feeling a sense of lack. Not ever. Today, I had to vacate my share of a storage unit that a friend and I gave up. My stuff looked small in that cavernous space. Now I feel like I’ll never get out from under it. And do you know what I hear in my mind? “I need, I need, I need! I want.

How is it that we accumulate so much useless crap?! And we need absolutely all of it.storage unit

A Homeland In The West

Utah Jews Remember

In the summer of 2009, this wonderful book caught my eye and I bought it for $20. I didn’t know why, but I couldn’t let it go unpurchased. I kept meaning to read it. “I have got to read that book!” I chided myself again and again. I thought it would make the most thrilling conversation-starter coffee table book. It’s about Salt Lake’s Jewish pioneers.

This year, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by and claustrophobic in all my stuff. How can one woman have so much STUFF, for the love of all that is holy!? This summer I participated in The Greatest Yard Sale of Time and All Eternity. I put that book up for 2 bucks. “Clearly, this doesn’t belong to me,” I thought as I imagined the true owner finding it in the library. I could feel the excitement of sharing in that magic and joy together.

No one bought it. “Huh. I guess it’s mine, after all.” I was confused. I felt it finding home.

I found her! She moved here from San Francisco and joined my African Dance class. We went to lunch and she told her story and ancestry. It was well after my Saturday nap that I remembered that neglected book. I took it to class the next week. It was Hanukkah!

Not only was it appropriate for the little gal whose grandparents helped found Salt Lake’s Jewish Community, they were in it! She looked in the index. “Oh, yep. Here they are,” she said, turning to the page with their story and WEDDING PICTURE here in the SLC!

Thanks, angels. It’s not the first time I bought something for a future owner other than myself, but it was certainly the best one. I can’t sufficiently capture the thrill and humility.

Inspired Costuming

Image

http://dreamermadwoman.blogspot.com/2012/10/san-francisco.html

Phil and I went to San Francisco and I came home inspired! We attended their Burning Man Decompression. Decompression is where the good people who revel in the desert get together post-burn to bond and party, to share stories from the “playa,” as it’s called. Or Black Rock City, the fifth largest city in Nevada for the week of our festival. Salt Lake City’s Utah Decompression was the following weekend, last weekend. You follow.

I made my entire outfit – vest, hat, bustle – in a day and a half. Then I put it on and walked out the door. Just like that! I even bedazzled a cool fedora for Phil. We were super sexy and cute. I even stitched the leafy “feathers” that adorn my shoulder shrug and chapeau!

photos courtesty Rudy van Bree

Brazilian pilot, not Phil. 🙂