Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Round the world and home again
That's the sailor's way
Faster faster, faster faster
There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining, is it snowing
Is a hurricane a-blowing
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing
Is the grisly reaper mowing
Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing
alas I digress... but really- how hard is it to get hot in the middle of a heatwave? frankly non-potable water will seem to quench your thirst coming out of a desert draught like the one i experienced after having my darling daughter. To the contrary, thawing the frozen walls of a heart tenderized by years of stone cold neglect- that is the sign of a real man arriving on the scene.
This notion of a Real Man, an adult male, versus say Peter Pan or the perpetual boy, has been a big theme not only for me as a single mom / serial monogomist but for my girlfriends too. Staring down the barrel of 40 years old (please note, I am EXCITED to be 40...wouldn't do or change anything about 20's or early 30's again!) you wonder if you being single is a terminal condition.
By now you would think that a MAN would not be something new. You would think that I could count at least ONE man among my exes whose ages range from 22 to 50...BUT NOOOOOOO... not a man among them, and this i know because yes friends and neighbors, i have recently identified and even connected with the GENUINE ARTICLE. A tremendous blend of who, what, where, why, when and how he is provides all the evidence. He is brave (emotionally, socially, physically...), aware of himself in the world, responsible, thoughtful, conscientious, professional, ambitious, creative, emotionally available, willing to look at himself and be open to myriad possibilities for life and living. He is NOT totally self-absorbed, unable or unwilling to walk and chew gum; he is not afraid to interact on a variety of levels, think about other people, be a source of support as well as an open, honest friend with a GIANT capacity to accept you/me for who/how you /I am as a mother, professional, friend, woman on and on and on past the break of dawn with consistent regularity. This is like breathing fresh, clear mountain air for the first time. it's crazy i tell you!
This iteration is a logisitical nightmare if you require conventional arrangements. For me it is not only be careful what you ask for- the specifics anyway- but a great method of relationship titration- or avoiding a long standing pattern of jumping in the deep end and holding my breath for as long as possible before i figure out i am forced to admit i don't want to swim or something like that. There are distance, timing and obligations issues. That said, the chemistry is INCREDIBLE and i feel like i am acting and interacting with a grown up for the first time ever. If this is the only way i can make myself move forward one day at a time, well the universe knows best.
Who knows where this will lead. Despite my checkered past i find myself trusting and living the questions, making room for the answers to reveal themselves. Like a puppy who has grown to be a shy and scary middle aged rough around the edges dog I am being coaxed out of the corner where i have been secretly trembling and snapping at passerby in order to defend myself against being hurt again. Maybe i'm a fool, but if all i get is the sensation of now, i will take it. the only way to win is if you play and there is nothing wrong with building positive evidence and taking a chance by being loved, right?
Thursday, November 27, 2008
instead of surrendering to the impulse to blythely insert cristicism empty of any action motivated intention, i prefer to sprinkle humor, or to take somethin good, make it your own or totally ignore it altogether! it seems as if there is something irresistable about complaining, something that keeps you from moving forward if you hold on to nothing but your fear of joining the group that is moving toward a greater good...rather to whine, grumble, complain and dance around what happens when you are in the world with everybody else.
i am happy to report i am getting cleaner everyday! somedays cleaning includes a stumble back but some thorough scrubbing was endeavored this evening, and appropriately, i am thankful. one more time i am also reminded of the phrase, radical incompatabilities! i really need to give the people in my life a chance to reveal themselves in a few iterations before i release them from the beta phase. keep the marketing for the industrial efforts, not the romantic ones!
remember that this period is brought to you by writing- by pushing forward with where you are and making sure there is room in the event you are interested in an interested party coming into that space. seems as though my track record is getting the better of me...time to start looking and moving inside- get your process on young lady!
i suppose one of the reasons i am a writer is my unwavering curiosity about stories and perspective: how do we get where we are? i saw a woman the other day who looked as anxious and pensive as any homeless drug addict...i wanted to take her aside and ask her what was her story? when did the lights go out? or when you see a really obese person, their size imposing mobility issues-- how did you get THERE? apparently i am not the only one who wonders, a friend brought up the same inquiry over lunch at Crossroads- what is the back story?
this is a looking i like- looking outside your own box. i suppose some would save it's brave to do that. it's part of evolving, growing and taking on new tools. tonight i grew my brain a bit at the symphony- the seats were real nose bleeds but the music was incredible!it really gave me goosebumps form the inside out. some sorts of bliss activating pieces of my brain were engaged. i am so glad to be reminded of the world i have been fortunate to grow in and around me. i am so lucky. there is a lot of joy out there to make and enjoy- revel in it!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
DRAT! the FACEBOOK withdrawal is very real right now. i had sworn it off with relative elan, as if that could be authentic. no it is sn't and i have these darned notices alerting me in the corner of the monitor- FACEBOOK is calling! it'll feel good and won't take but a minute and if you miss something important you night take heat for it! and here i had planned a couple of blog entries, an ode to books right after i caught up on the soul inventory- another reason to set the mood here to dig in! and another thing i've been activley resisting with the profound Rilke musing static status! i could go the route of don't look until the morning- that would be big- but i tell you what i don't want to start my day like that everyday. i don't want that to be the first decision i am making every morning.
honestly it is the thing that makes me think twice about pursuing a career focused on social networking and technical marketing. (so i am going to look but not browse...). i browsed- pictures and old friends from iceland...
rather than combing through the detritis that is FACEBOOK (my own not only included but at the top of the list) i want to spedn my time remembering that if nothign else it would be the mnost healing exercise of all to write my memoir as if were david sedaris with a sex change. or channeling david sedaris. or what would david sedaris say? and maybe leave out anything that has to do with my parents- though they do add a lot of glue to the story. oh well just get started- use it as my warm up. hell- blog it!
okay so i folded some clothes, soothed the child, scrubbed a few years off of my face and had an idea- my memoori- i like the kismet in that mispelling- a sort of BEING JOHN MALKOVICH in episodes and snippets from a if they were my memories being filtered through a creative non-fiction david sedaris voice over machine in print.
now if that isn't something that gives me the freedom to write straight from teh heart at a moment's notice- well then i don;t know what does!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Up there in the high summer heat, something kept me procrastinating about that cleanse. My period was late too, so i seized the opportunity to visit the neighboring community of Burney to buy some shorts that fit and a pregnancy test. I knew they would make me take one when I visited the OB and the acupuncturist to get my cycle back inline. Fast forward and SHAZAM! I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if that damned + sign didn’t just show up. So I took another test because certainly after all these years…
After long deliberation I was determined to not only raise my child on my own but on my terms. For me the first order of business, not negotiable is to do everything in my power (and I am not shy about the fact that I have a lot of power) to see that my child not only benefits from the lessons I have had learn, but that she enjoy a childhood and life superior to mine. It would all start with the pregnancy- I swam, did yoga and ate as best I could (somehow Crumb Donettes and 7-Upwith a lot of ice were forgivable) considering how nauseated I was for 14 weeks. I devoured books, websites, and re-read every posting on Berkeley Parents Network. No Lamaze for me, I signed up for no less than 5 Kaiser seminars and a Birthways class that was cancelled. What a blessing! For the same price I got a private class in my house with my two birth coaches.
I have to back up here. I gave birth as a terminally single mother- working freelance, no father in the picture at all, with health insurance because my friends were kind enough to add me as an employee to their small business account. The main resource was my own resourcefulness. Though I knew my mother would be a huge source of support, I mandated that she be as far from the labor as possible and that anyone else had to be a mother. This was not an easy decision for someone who has a large group of amazing and supportive friends. I chose my best girlfriend Heather and my sister-in-law Molly. Everybody had a hellish birth story. It seemed to be a rite of passage, probably contributed to my determination and realism about my daughter’s birth.
My birth was full of chemicals and medical mismanagement- my mom had pre-eclampsia and hallucinated from the drugs they prescribed. My due date was Christmas- despite her dangerous state of health or lack of- they refused any intervention until after the holiday- I digress… her story and my history ever in the back of my mind, I knew that my dreamy home birth fantasy would remain just that, no matter how hospital phobic I am. I opted for the best birth center I could find, where I would not be rushed or wrangled. I loved my OB and was thrilled by the team of residents. Best of all was the volunteer doula program.
When the auspicious Wednesday came- a week later than hoped- I was prepared with my 3 page birth plan- I heeded the advice I had devoured like a craving and made sure there were copies on file with the hospital staff as well as in my medical records. I labored at home for the first 24 hours with my team of moms, that somehow came to include my own mom… I lowed like an Elk in season, contorted my swollen like a tick body however I could to find the sweet spot of relief. After one especially excruciating contraction left everybody slack jawed and ghost white (it lasted almost 6 minutes) we left for the hospital. Somehow the waters of early morning commute traffic parted for us and we made in record time. I dodged a bullet and managed to skip the waiting in triage. A private room with my scrub donning doula was waiting for me.
Though it took me another 2 shift changes and 24 hours to dilate to 10 cm (including the most pain I remember of the whole ordeal, my OB having to move the scar tissue on my cervix from a botched cryo -procedure in the 80’s) I was given the option to stay and labor there. The stars aligned so that most of my time in hospital was during my OB’s shift. As the resident rockstar on staff, my OB handed down the word and I was given kid glove treatment. Not because I was a charming single mom, but because my doctor knew I had done my homework and had culled any unreasonable requests from my birth plan in advance. I labored for 48 hours with no IV drip, hydrating myself with electrolyte endurance drinks and a secret stash of sushi rice.
When the 49th hour rolled around I was sooooo exhausted that I demanded some action. According to all monitoring the baby was fine but I was still only at 7 cm. They suggested Pitocin. I promptly punched my coach friend and told her not unless I was given an epidural ( a last ditch request according to my birth plan) because I couldn’t do anymore, and was having bad thoughts about the baby. One epidural and 2 hours later, Heather and Molly had finally ducked out to take disco naps before the real party got started. The monitor was shrieking that the baby’s heart rate was dropping. The staff honored my request that no action be taken immediately until a crisis situation mandated it. They roused me from my half-wake state to tell me that they were wheeling me into the OR for a c-section; the baby’s heart rate had been too low for too long. Of the two people present, my mom and the doula, I could only take one. I chose the doula without question, my mom’s panic stricken face screamed “I can’t be any real support to you right now honey!”
I was too relieved about making progress to be scared that my destination was the operating room. They probed my crotch and prepped me for surgery. Turns out the reason her heart rate dropped was because I had finally reached 10 cm! Time to push! Doula Regina somehow rallied my mom, Heather and Molly. Two residents, the attending physician and the anesthesiologist were also present. Despite the oxygen I secretly suffered through an asthma attack-secretly because I had not come this far to have a c-section now! There was some sort of scuffle between my diligent, on target sister-in-law Molly who was not going to let them cut me, as per my wishes, but that too was abandoned when I howled about make this f-ing baby come out! At 11:27 am on Good Friday I delivered a 9 ½ pound healthy beautiful baby girl names Xoxa Antonia Zahara Bell. I was so exhausted that I completely flatlined and had no emotions until she began nursing- lucky it was within minutes.
Everybody else I know got the hell out of dodge as quickly as possible. Not us; I stayed for 2 more nights. I knew that the minute I landed home that mommyhood and the mess that comes with it were all mine. I opted for the loving support and hands on training and full time staff that included such unforgettable 4 years later stars like Eulah the LVN.
My parents brought us home on Easter Sunday. Xoxa wore her Very Hungry Caterpillar outfit. My mom bought me $50 of sushi to eat before my milk came in. We were home and I knew I had finally met my truest love.
Monday, November 3, 2008
yes on 1A- high speed rail SF to LA
yes on 2 - animal cruelty
no on 3 - children's hospital bond- proposed by special interest hospital groups- money only goes to construction, not health care.
no on 4- parental notification
yes on 5- prison reform - rehab & treatment fornon-violent crimes
no on 6- fear mongering for more prisons
no on 7- good ads but bad bill- too many ways to get out of actually providing the renewal energy. or not? need to do more research
no on 8- duh. it's not your business unless you are trying to get married. even then it's not your business who anybody else marries.
no on 9- more prisons is not the answer
no on 10- not clean technology- diverts resources & attention from real clean and renewable sources
no on 11- redistricting that is too funky to be able to support
yes on 12- there are better ways to support the vets but support this since it is the only game on the ballot
NO on 8- why? it seems to me that gay marriage is a way of conforming to the status quo- but more to the point- it ain't yer damned business! it has no effect on anyone except those getting married. as an ordained reverend i hope to be able to marry lots of people of all persuasions. the bottom line for me is that i do not want anybody to tell me what or how i should be doing things as long as they are not hurting anybody against their will. WORD.
yes on 87- tax on big oil to support alternative energy research and usage incentives
yes on 86- health care paid by tobacco tax
no on 85- parental notification re: abortion
yes on 10 - energy future
no on 90- landowners reimbursed for lost opportunities despite laws or other negative impacts of development
yes on 89- campaign finance reform
***Obama is hopeful so we need to stay involved after November 4***
Sunday, November 2, 2008
it was even better this time. yesterday it was great but a little hard to take in the sense that my defeated rejected heart was a little raw- today i am a hair better and curious so i had to take the extra look.
i take back what i said about Elizabeth Banks character really tipping the scales away from Seth Rogen's dumpy guyi. It's so not true- i applaude the screenwriters and casting etc. for bringing in the convergence of seemingly pretty girl who can have it all. the subtley that you don't catch if you're not looking is the fact that girl has no family- she doesn't have a lot of self esteem- her ambition is to score a revenge fuck somebody who was an ass to her in high school. the flip side of nobody to disappoint is nobody to be ambitious for, nobody to make proud. regardless of how cute she is (and she isn't all that in this movie, her hair is bad, she works at a yarn shop but seems to be pretty loveless. sad. sad that i saw her as a pretty girl and not much more.
i am still not happy with the Peter Pan thing- maybe well, let's get off of the disgruntled singleton topic...I am tired of the glorification of the Peter Pan boy- what i am quite pleased with is the notion that maybe they need to figure out what their thing is in order for the kindling to strike- it wasn't even getting laid by the girl of his dreams (i kind of like the idea that despite the years between them, Seth Rogen's character respected and genuinely cared for her- no nerves about not being a stud but about really being true to their friendship) it was about making something happen. really turning things around for them- coming through as a team. That is about as anti-Peter Pan as you can get.
again kudos for stripping the taboos away and showing anal, adult sex as something that everybody does, it's not weird or funky but just as important as paying the water and light bills- why not embrace and enjoy what you're going to do anyway.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
i enjoyed it. a lot. it really captured the mood and was not apologetic about sex, any kind of sex or the industry and they avoided judgment. they were absolutely politically incorrect without being offensive. is the key in really authoring an authentic experience by refusing to be even one hair less than the real mccoy and not taking your self too seriously.
all of us have some piece that is laughable. they seemed to grab a bit of each of ours- couples, old friends, the sexual parts of us that we all have so why is it such a big deal? i was impressed with the humble, we're just not really sexy vibe that managed to remove the sting of taboo that is often an unintended residue in sex scenes. in another way it was Kevin Smith's way of taking a really hot topic, not trashing it or making it a bigger deal than it needs to be. add just enough absurdity and you've got funny shit that everybody can relate to.
that said, i am not convinced that Elizabeth Banks is not tipping the scale of gorgeous woman way out of the usual league of Seth Rogen's flannel wearing, frizzy red beard donning, dumpy fat guy. It does serve the storied end of the lumpen guy getting his dream girl. you don't get to know much about her except that he is not holding up his end of hte bargain. why does he get as an actor and a male - why is it okay for him to not be so good looking? or why didn't she fart or do some other not so fantastic gorgeous woman thing? during her one sex scene she just goes where no man has taken her before- which is fine but i don't any sex that was as pretty as their first time and in public and on camera. at best we see her on the toilet a few times or she is emotionally unavailable and doesn't communicate her real feelings. it's not unlike GREASE from 30 years ago (that's a whole other post!) that she is reserved for the traditional spots - he breaks the mold with his actionsin the end, but damn it really gives us women who are not making decisions based on the rule book tucked in our pocketbooks.
that is the obvious derision to pursue though- i digress- my true intrigue lies in the reaction from a solo fellow on the staircase at the theatre. for context Dashiell- my giant-tall son-friend and i were whooping and hollering throughout the film. we were not disappointed with the credits and i want the soundtrack. the dude on the stairs asked us what we thought of it-- we immediately accepted the role of converts evangelizing -- turns out this guy walked out of it. he was with his girlfriend. he didn't seem to have much to say about why he walked out but his curiosity about our experience led me to believe that the reason he walked out was his girlfriend's choice. how sad that there isn't much conversation or that there remains intact such a gross need for the conversation. the discussion about sex.
let's be clear, this is not thinly veiled plug for women who love porn- i am not an avid consumer card carrying member- that's not the point. i am all about taking it a step back from there to dispell the notion that being hung up is necessary or-- and how we can all get off, in peace.
All of that said, it is difficult for me to imagine embracing any person with so many disparate attributes. I take this seriosuly as I understand it is no easy thing to ask somebody to love you. I am a single mom, i am an artist, i love travel and business and managing projects and making new connections. the list wouldn't be complete without at least an honorable mention of my freaky gene (this will likely get its own blog entry- that being said, spoiler alert here, it won't be any over tell, more like a discussion of how difficult initmacy and compatibility are). and have i mentioned what a great friend i am? i work my ass off, i have a lot going on. i am a lot. i am learning that i am not for the faint of heart. Anyone unsure need not apply. i can't say i know exactly what i want, but i do know what i don't want. the tough nut these recent moons is all about finding and sharing and learning with someone who is so many of the things i do want- closer than anyone has been to date- but who doesn't have the bandwidth to be engaged and involved in a relationship with me. It hurts. I am sad. I really hate missing the person who was in a lot of ways a best friend. i don't know how much of it was mutual, i suspect a lot. for now the trajectory is to wax and wane between mournful tears and rockin' on being me.
I have love. it's the partner, lover and friend to share it on a daily basis that i long for. for that is another blog entry... meanwhile here are the lyrics that are helping me through this morning...
Erykah Badu and her Billie Holiday style yarn... my eyes are green because i eat a lot of vegetables...i'm insecure but i can't help it. my mind says move on, my heart lags behind, but i don't love you anymore, i'm so insecure, never knew that love did this. i can't remember the last time i felt this way about somebody, you've done something to my mind and i can't control it... i'm so confused...never knew that love could hurt like this...makes me feel so sad and hurt inside, feel embarrased so i want to hide...before i heal it's going to be awhile, it's going to be awhile chile...feeling insecure , love has got me sore...at first when you was cool you told me you loved me too, and then you lost your love...i'd go away but i can't...i can't believe it's too late...just make love to me, one more time and then you'll see! I can't believe i made a desperate plea...Don't you want be strong with meYou told me we could have a familyWant to run to me when you're down and lowBut times get tough and there you goOut the door, you wanna run againOpen your arms and you'll come back inWanna run cause you say your afraid, afraid. Never knew what a friendship. Never knew how to really love. You can't be what I need you to And I don't know what is up with you I know our love will never be the same But I can't stand the growing pains...
Saturday, October 4, 2008
let's see...there might not be any soul music. perhaps ia m such a soul music freak because The Impressions, The Fleetwoods, Al Green, Etta James, Jack Johnson, KT Tunstall (okay so maybe i already lost a bunch of you with the last two- anyway if you can't handle a genre slip technicality, FYI nothing here for you...) and i am not tlaking about R & B here- totally different in my estimation.
***this post was continued months later***
musical masochism is a term that happened on me in the early 90's when my BF at the time ran off to Vegas with a friend and got married in an Elvis chapel on a dare. it broke my heart though true to habit of mine there was no commitment in the relationship- only my secret resolve to ditch my Tinkerbell Pixie pants for Wendy's chicken broth nightgown and take Peter Pan down to earth with me...back to the tale at hand- while BF du jour was off in Sin City with rocker babe there i was with the other man- Jim Beam. My roommate didn't feel the need to respond until Patsy Cline or Glen Campbell were spun one too many times. he told me, this musical masochism has got to get to the next level. he scooped me up and delivered me to Murphy's on Mission where we matched tears for beers and threw back shots of Beam in between- the dark velvet black out ensued somewhere around Johnny Cash moaning out Kris Kristoffersson's Sunday Morning Coming Down.
Today i am licking BF wounds again. this time music is really wrecked for me. i am going to have to carve out some new playlists- everything i love closest to my heart of hearts keeps echoing through the halls of memory and meaning associated with you know who. there are a few untouched, but the song remains the same my friends...post-break up music is mostly like a ghost poking you or a breeze from no where come to scratch you in your fresh road rash. once the scab forms, lifts and then itches like hell, then you can look at it and you have to rebuild in order to get a vivid remember of the pain. This is my favorite part about it- you don't lose those memories- that's how each love gets to live for allways, better or worse- stamping time on your heart.
Friday, October 3, 2008
I think I will have to go to Tahoe or Amsterdam or New Orleans. Scratch that, reverse it- there will be no alone bike night riding and now i am super duper bummed because my night rider buddy is on ice. reason number 172,893 that it sucks to be a woman in the bay area. i don't live in an urban well lit or populated area where being a target might be less of an issue- i would have no problem riding through San Francisco- is that dumb? i don't know why, it's just different.
this really pisses me off. that there are activities that would make my life richer are not available to me without having a boy in-tow. Boys are great and I love having them around a lot- my favorites to share with BUT sometimes I am better with some adventures alone to bring to the table.
why was it okay to ride my bike in New Orleans? i didn't do it much, not after dark anyway. not in the Garden District or really downtown either. in Mid-City it wasn't such a concern- and hell in the neighborhood where i grew up- no dice babe, my brother had more bikes stolen- everytime while he was riding- than i think either of us can remember.
i think it is such a crock of shit that i have not felt safe in most of the places i have lived. no matter where it has been there has been the look over your shoulder some stupid ass man could be coming up on you with an alterior motive. it's this shit that makes me want to move to Denmark. (My Ice friends will have my yankee ass for that comment i promise) Probably the safest i ever felt was in Reykjavik- i won't ever forget being stumbling drunk all by myself in the cemetary behind my friend's flat-- some under 18 punk in black wool pulls a butter knife on me and mumbles some disgruntled words that resembled backward audio projection to my ears-- like he was gonna rob me. i grabbed it out his hand an scolded him. i saw in teh bar later that night too. you collide with everyone twice in a calendar day in Iceland, i guarantee it. the had a female prime minister in the early 90's.
nobody who isn't going full retard uses the n-word, fag has been out for awhile and even gay is only enjoying a resurgence in the peter pan comedy set absolutely because it is accepted as wrong. but nobody sees anything wrong with a woman being a bitch. damn it- seems like the countdown to a female president here really is about 150+ years off.
i'm not rough and tumble feminist who renders men obsolete- oh hells yes we are all built different- we bring different chemicals to the formula. i simply abhor the rub in the face that my upbringing bandies about when something really would be easier if i had a god damned man around to help me. why can't we all just get along? or at least me and whoever you are... i don't NEED man per se, but i sure would like one...
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Is it an age thing? I was late twenties to early thirties when my someone called out naked people- as in she was not one of them. Select scenes flashed through my mind- annual trips to the only clothing optional National Park in the country; full frontal in an independent film; working as a dancer; membership to the women's bathhouse -- not to mention countless hot tubs, saunas, nude beaches and the exhilirating shreiks of high altitude skinny dipping in an alpine lake- nipples as sharp as the icicles floating by on the crystalline water...
The first clue that inhibitions were setting in was a recent trip to the beach with a an old friend and his new friends. Fast forward from the aforementioned frames to a body that has morphed to resemble a human tick, given birth, endured dry spells that stretched way beyond allowable let alone desirable limits-- not to mention boobs that suddenly remsembled dripping pizza dough at the right wrong angles. oh hell no i wasn't getting naked in front of the kids who had no ideas about gravity and how each birthday knocks your skin's elasticity down a notch. i am no botox queen but i know when to keep my shit on! and granted, it was the girls that set the balance, were i the only female there- how the boys' look has no bearing- they are for the most part- the younguns anyway, in no great shape themselves, too young to have any kind of perceptive handle on the fact that life is harder when you take shit care of yourself. back to the point- there were other female figures along, none of them getting naked or sharing their wobbly bits- i sure wasn't gonna debut as the stretched and striped older lady...jesus chrysler ia m nearly twice their age!
***this prologue written months later***
i went back to the same beach by myself. it is a clothing optional beach. i have since lost a lot of weight, the relationship with the friend formerly known as my date has all but disolved into something unremarkable for the good of all involved-- and the freedom of a borderline sweltering day at the ocean in late October with little more than a journal to write in-- was one of the most liberating days i have enjoyed this year. far too infrequent are the days that find me as free as a leaf in a breeze-- time and space where the thought to watch my back is so wildly inappropriate as to evaporate all together. and topless on a Bay Area beach! i ventured to the right of the cliff descending staircase and settled between two clusters of gay men. i wrote, they cheered me on in my black sand walkabout. a good time was had by all and i felt so good. so good.