Friday, April 23, 2010

Quote book

I find myself slapping some long quotes and poems up in various places these days, mostly because I like them, and they're more than 1.5 sentences long, and I have lost the art of pulling out a pen and paper or actually adding to my quote book.

This one is from Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, she of Eat Pray Love fame. I haven't bothered to get the new one, Committed, yet, but my mother sent me an excerpt. It's all about making peace with the sometimes-unsettling idea of promising to be with one other human being until the end of your earthly days, and in this particular section she talks about loving someone enough to want to protect them, even from yourself, if necessary. So she makes a list of what she perceives to be all her horrible faults, a "prenuptial informed consent," she calls it. This one, I'm just going to have engraved on some nice business cards and pass out to prospective friends and suitors.

"I have far more enthusiasm in life than I have actual energy. In my excitement, I routinely take on more than I can physically or emotionally handle, which causes me to break down in quite predictable displays of dramatic exhaustion. You will be the one burdened with the job of mopping me up every time I've overextended myself and then fallen apart. This will be unbelievably tedious. I apologize in advance."

Monday, April 19, 2010


Oh soul, you worry too much...
Look at yourself,
what you have become.
You are now a field of sugar canes,
why show that sour face to me?

...You say that I keep you warm inside.
Then why this cold sigh?
You have gone to the roof of heavens
of this world of dust, why do you worry?

Oh soul, you worry too much.
Since you met me, you have become a master singer,
and are now a skilled wrangler,
you can untangle any knot
of life's little leash
why do you worry?

Your arms are heavy
with treasures of all kinds.
About poverty,
why do you worry?

...Oh soul, you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less,
why do you worry?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spare Change

I realized recently that I've lived at this house longer than at any other address (2 years 2 months) and in LA longer than in any other city (4 years 3 months) since I graduated from high school. Until I got laid off, I'd been at that agency longer than any other job (3 years). Apparently I like change, but I appreciate that it's increasingly on smaller terms.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cheesy, I know...

... but whatever else the next 6 months bring, I am so, so, so, so grateful this Thanksgiving for amazing, wonderful, dear friends. I spent the entire four-day weekend with various people I love, who make me feel loved. And I do not take that lightly.

Tonight I fell asleep on the couch watching Elf. I am full on sausage, cranberry relish, and the sweetness of knowing that at the end of the day, even if I am alone in my house, I am not alone in the world.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dear Diary

I got a letter back from Washington today. They accepted my hours, and approved me to take the licensing exam. If I didn't want to, I wouldn't have to do another minute of therapy in California in order to be licensed and work in Seattle.

So, if I just got the news I thought I wanted to hear, why do I feel kind of like throwing up?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Home is where the stomach tells you that it is

Why does it always happen that just when you threaten to leave a place, you start to feel more at home than ever before? What is it about the act of turning to move on that highlights every wonderful thing you'd be leaving behind?

Yeah, that's my big secret. I've been thinking quite a bit about heading home (which is causing me to see LA a little rosy-tinted, but that is for another post). It's a secret, because I always leave space to change my mind as new information arrives, and what if I tell you all, and then I don't go home? Oh well.

I can't go yet, I have a bunch of inter-state license wrangling to do, but the idea of going back to Seattle keeps surfacing, strongly, whenever I'm in a period of massive transition. I felt this way in Berkeley four years ago, but missed SPU's application deadline by 9 days. I didn't want to wait a year to start grad school, so I decided to go to LA "just for two years, then I'll go home." Four years later, I'm still here.

I guess, on some level, I just want to be somewhere that when everything else in life changes (as it probably will always continue to do, every few years), I don't think about taking off. I can't promise myself that home would be that place, but I'm getting closer to wanting to take a chance that it could be (and hey, if not, I seem to be on four-year cycles, so I'm taking suggestions for 2014). I don't want to start over, personally or professionally. And I have no regrets that I moved here, or that I stayed here for a boy, or that I then stayed here for myself. But I keep trying to get myself to decide to just keep staying, to call it home, and my stomach's not entirely OK with that (ever since I hit 30, my stomach is the place I feel it when my heart hurts). I'm nervous about taking a full-time job. I canceled plans to move that would require me to sign a lease. I'm happy here, for now, but when I think about a few years down the line, I don't know that LA is where I want to be.

I don't know what will happen in the next six months. But whatever comes, the staying or going, the strange thing about all this is that it gives me a totally different perspective on, well, the source of the primary topic of my blog for the last year. When my heart was freshly broken, I couldn't understand when G said that there was nothing wrong, everything was "fine," but that he just couldn't go forward. Which sucked, because there wasn't really any way I could respond to that. But how I feel now, about LA, must be what he felt like. It's great, I'm happy, there are a number of really amazing things in Los Angeles that I couldn't get anywhere else. Sure, it's far from perfect, but I've gotten used to its quirks. I would even say (who thought this day would ever come?) that I love LA. But I can't commit. I can't promise I'll be here in the future. I'm trying to tell myself to just stay and be happy, because that would be a lot easier than starting over. And if I felt it, in my stomach/heart, that would be different. But it's just not what I want. It's not personal. It's not even about LA itself; hell, a lot of people would be lucky to live here and call it home. It's just about what feels like home to me. I can date this city, introduce it to my friends, bring my parents to meet it, play house, make a life here with it. But if push came to shove, if LA needed to know where my heart really was, I don't think I could pretend that I didn't sort of always have one toe out the door.

Well, I could lie, but then it might find out that in August, I picked a Google Voice number in area code 206.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 3

Dear Diary,
Today was Day 3 of unemployment in LA. Today is The Day I Did Not Get Out Of My Pajamas. I figure everybody needs one of those.

But I think one is plenty.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,
Today is my first day of unemployment in LA. I got up and went for an early morning bike ride. With Lance Armstrong. Then I came home and ate leftover birthday cake for breakfast. Now I'm going back to bed.

I think this is going to work out just fine for a little while.


Saturday, July 25, 2009


Gah. So, I have to admit that my plan for the late evening was to be plopped on my couch, watching what really amounts to vampire soft-core porn (True Blood) (but dang that vampire is hot). But my neighbors have decided to throw another loud party... which means I can't even hear myself think, and I'm mentally counting down the minutes until I feel justified calling the police and making a noise complaint. I mean hey, who wants to be the lame neighbor who calls the cops at 10pm? I think maybe I can hold out until 11:30 or so. They always know it's me, anyway, although I have no idea how I am the only one who cares enough to call. I live in a canyon, so pretty much the whole neighborhood gets to hear their music until 3am.

Anyhow, on another, random note, I don't know when this song came out, but it makes me happy. So give it a whirl. It will have to suffice for tonight, because the Mexican dance party across the street precludes actual pensivity.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stealing this from Addie over at The Softer Side of Cynical - it made me happy today, too. Mostly I really liked the guy whose gun turned into an ice cream cone...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

White and Nerdy

View LA Social in a larger map

Because I am a nerd, I created a Google Map to approximate the general circumference of my life in LA, hopefully to help me discern where I should look for a new place to live. I am the big house in the middle, blue is work, red are my girlfriends, green is Ultimate. (If you live in LA and are not on my map yet, sorry! Doesn't mean you're not dear to my heart. It's an early version that doesn't account for anything not on my radar on a weekly basis). As you can see, basically I am at the hub of a non-trivially-sized wheel. Central to everything and close to nothing.

Now, perhaps, I need someone nerdier than I to write a program weighting the personal value and traveling frequency of each point on the map, accounting for negative values such as locations that would add traffic, and giving me a geometric weighted average location of where I should move, to maximize my geographic happiness.

Volunteers? Anyone?

Or, I could recognize that every decision involves loss... that to move towards something means moving away from other potentially valuable things (literally and figuratively)... and that eventually (though I'm not sure if I am there yet) I am going to have to just choose a side of town and get on with my life.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Ah, finally. Getting a bit of my groove back after a long spring.

I became a part-time case manager, watched one of my clients come very, very close to dying at his own hand, went to Utah, went to Berkeley, injured my ankle, spent a weekend at a tournament with both of my exes, went out on a few dates with a guy who was 6'10" and drove a corvette, biked a century, went back to church, went back to therapy, went to an 80s party... and cried through almost all of it.

It's nice to be back on an upswing!

I think I'm realizing (again) how sensitive I am to social connection. Something as simple as my roommate being pretty much MIA for two months and counting has made a huge difference in my outlook. Coming home to an empty house, ending the day alone, doesn't do good things to my psyche. I'm managing work stress enough these days to go out and do things in the evening, which is helping immensely, but I think my long-term strategy needs to be to find some communal living.

Yes, your bad. Your very very bad.

I just had words with a hospital social worker who was supposed to get my client (who has a habit of wandering three cities away without shoes) into a locked facility, but sent him home instead.

Her response?

"Oh, sorry. My bad."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Talking to Strangers

I'm trying to be open to the world these days, to put out into the universe what I hope to get back from it... you know, little things like smiling, patience, silliness, and general friendliness. Some days this is harder for me than it should be. But I don't like who I'm becoming and I'm out of excuses. However, if I'm going to pull some sunshine out of my butt a few times a week, I've gotta figure out a way to de-stress. New work responsibilities are derailing me. Seriously, I've cried so much in the past month that if there wasn't Absolutely No Way it was possible (immaculate conception notwithstanding) I would have guessed I was pregnant.

I recognize I've developed this weird way of being friendly without really being real. Or, when I don't have to be friendly, I kind of wear this "stay away" look on my face, as if to let the world know that the account where I store my soul is overdrawn until further notice. Unfortunately, I seem to sometimes pull the chatty version of this bankrupt ATM out on dates... because she's good at talking and making conversation but really, really bad at actually giving anyone a chance. I mean really, I talk to people I don't know for a living, and make them feel comfortable. I could go on a blind date in my sleep... basically I just turn it into an intake, minus the part where I ask when they met their developmental milestones, or about their family legal and drug histories. But to really be open to people? That's asking a lot these days. I suppose some people compensate for their anxiety by talking, I compensate for mine by asking questions.

Anyhow, this is not who I want to be. I'm trying to be more mindful about being real when I meet people. Mostly it's working so far, or at least I recognize the days I'm totally maxed out and just go home instead of bothering to fake it. I think "two strangers a week" is a good starting point. That means I have to have a real conversation, that I actually show up to, with two new people every week, and work doesn't count. Mostly I just realized (after telling my clients for three years straight... and because I work with surly adolescents, I can say it exactly like this) that sitting around whining, waiting for things to change with little effort on your part, seems like a really fantastic idea, until you realize it's a really shitty one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


If you are a boy, could you explain to me why boys like to talk so much on dates?

As in, tell a 15-minute story about themselves, ask you a question, let you get two sentences into your answer, and then remember another 15-minute story about themselves they need to tell?

I actually got to the point where I wondered if "looking interested" was a bad idea, possibly encouraging this pattern to continue. I caught myself wondering what would happen if, mid-sentence, I interrupted and said "OK, now we've come to the part of the evening where you pretend to be interested in me."

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tina Fey rocks my world

How is it that I have about 50 movies that I thought I was really interested in watching in my Netflix On Demand queue, and all I ever watch is 30 Rock?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Spring Cleaning

As my roommate and I are both expecting multiple rounds of family in town during the month of April, and as I may have a sliiiight tendency to make nice neat piles of crap all over the house when I don't feel like looking at it in my room any more, we decided to have an official spring cleaning day today. We put on some good music and got very wrapped up in the whole thing. And if there was a camera around, which, thank god there wasn't, there might be photographic evidence of me riding the vacuum cleaner around like a wooden pony, feather duster in one hand, margarita in the other.

And no, I wasn't posing. That's just how I clean.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I had one of those deep, dark moments again last weekend. The boo hoo, poor me, this sucks, why-doesn't-he-realize-what-he's-missing moments of sheer emotional turmoil (over the first breakup, still, which I seem to have gone through another round of mourning after my rebound ended) in which I realized, finally, that am choosing to die here, alone, at my own little pity party. While making a great show of going through the motions of moving on, but really, going mostly nowhere. Or maybe I just put in an order for new feelings, but they've been on serious backorder. I have spent the last nine months content to be defined as The Girl With The Broken Heart. I am the cliche. And I'm kind of tired of it.

I finally got enough perspective to actually listen to the things that were coming out of my mouth when I was sad, and realize how ridiculous I sounded. I wish I could have gotten here sooner, and without doing some of the embarrassing and unhelpful things I have to admit to, but I'm here now. When I was sad, I listened to all those voices that told me I missed him, and we were so great together, and I'll never meet anyone like him again, maybe nobody else will ever love me like that, and after all this time apart maybe we should talk again (which I told myself was for closure, but I was lying, I wanted him to want me back). And I'm throwing up a little bit in my mouth realizing how long I thought those voices were rational.

I'm pretty embarrassed about this, but keeping secrets to look cool hasn't been getting me anywhere. I was on his side of town recently, and was trying to drive home after dinner with a friend who lives a few blocks from his place, but somehow pointed my car his direction. I'd seen him that day, and he was all nice to me, and invited me out to happy hour afterward, and asked about my family, blah blah blah. And I resisted going out, keeping plans with my friend, but the siren call of reconnecting was soooo... strong... tractor beam... kryptonite... cannot... resist..... I was newly single, and really, why bother learning how to miss someone new when missing someone old is so much easier, more familiar? "I'll just go talk to him," I thought, "tell him how stuck I am and maybe get more closure." I parked outside his apartment. But then I thought about walking up to the door, unannounced, and what I would say. I sat in my car for a half-hour, playing out every possible scenario, every possible conversation, every way it could go. And I realized there was no good answer. No possible conversation was going to give me what I wanted. He can't give me what I wanted. So I just drove home. In the immortal words of Heather Armstrong, it sucked, and then I cried. Although, really, looking at it from this rational place I am in today, wearing my pajamas at 2pm on a lazy Sunday, enjoying my totally cushy life, she had a baby and clinical depression, and I just had one giant pity party that I was starting to realize was coming to an unceremonious close, as I was the last one standing around in a room full of dirty dishes and stale chips.

I went to the library and checked out this, and this, and even this. I checked them out from the old lady librarian, of course, because I only check out smart-sounding titles from the Hot Librarian, but I brought them home and bolstered my self-respect by gladly allowing the author of He's Just Not That Into You to tell me stories about women who've done much more psychotic things in the wake of a miserable breakup. I mean really, all I did was have a hard time dealing with losing someone I loved.

And I planted my tomatoes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Plan B

I am now taking recommendations for books in the category of "memoirs and wisdom-in-the-form-of-humorous-anecdotes from people who have realized that life does not turn out the way you planned."

Even though I never really started with a plan, that part, too, seems not to have gone much as planned.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I used to be... ummmm... chunky. No, really. Ask anyone who knew me from ages 10-15. My dad used to put me on diets. Long legs, big belly. I was hott. Maybe that's why I got called Big Bird in middle school. Anyway, I know I'm not fat now, but I live in the world capital of oh-god-please-make-me-look-like-Barbie and I'm still a big advocate of learning to love the body you're in. Mostly because I know mine is probably, realistically, beginning its long, slow downhill slide and I anticipate needing to remind myself to love my wrinkles and moles along the way. Anyhow, that all came to mind tonight because I saw a video of Kelly Clarkson. Who I love. The woman actually has hips.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In which I look like the Jolly Green Giant...

I bought an absolutely ridiculous jacket at Goodwill. I mean really, green fur?! It's fabulous, in a totally I-can't-imagine-where-I'll-wear-it-but-I-needed-it-in-my-closet sort of way.

Something about it reminds me of a long-lost friend. The one and only KC Lynch, from my college newspaper days, Daily photog extraordinaire, funky and spunky, artistic and creative and brilliant (no, really... she started college at 14) and one of those people who made you feel more alive just to be around her and twitterpated just to know that she counted you among her friends. We worked together for a few years, spending countless midnight hours in the darkroom and slaving over the light table in the orange-walled newsroom. She helped me execute a staggeringly huge fashion guide one year, covering for me when I lit the curtains on fire in that sorority house we were shooting in, trying to jerry-rig a diffuser. When she moved to New York, I spent a week in Manhattan with her, staying up all night, smoking on her fire escape, just blocks off Times Square, and we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. She knew herself and spoke her mind, and she made me want to do the same. That was 10-plus years ago. Then she moved to Chicago and disappeared. I've used all the old emails I had, googled her... but no luck. Hope she's out there doing well somewhere... here's a shot from the Daily days of KC with her artsy-fartsy-fab boyfriend.

Hmm... ooh, I think this is what we were shooting when the curtains caught on fire...

Funny what a jacket brings back...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ashes and Updates - in which I continue to blog my heart on my sleeve

It's Ash Wednesday. I gave up Facebook, I went to church, and remembered that for all of my angst, "De polvo soy, y al polvo volvere" (I am from dust, and to dust I will return). I was happy for the ashes on my forehead, and sad that church is still a lonely place for me after 3 1/2 years in LA. From college on, up until LA, it used to really be the center of my community and social world. Now I go, I sit by myself, and I try to find things to get plugged into but somehow, I haven't put much energy in to the right place at the right time yet. So I sing, and think, and enjoy it for what it is, but it feels somehow grey and lifeless compared to what I know church can be.

I frequently wonder what I want out of church anymore. With work being exhausting these days, and having too many cases that feel hopeless and overwhelming, I think what I want is a place where people gather to celebrate and hope. Where I see (relatively) healthy families. Where people work in community with a sense of hope (even when it's naive) that Yes We Can! make a difference. But sometimes I don't want to spend time thinking about anything big or grand. I just want to keep embracing the community I have, and dig my fingers into dirt, literal or figurative, and live. Read, play frisbee, walk with friends, grow tomatoes, waste time on facebook, do crossword puzzles. I used to want big, grand, idealistic Life all the time. Now I kinda just want normal.

In other news, I'm single again. Sans heartbreak this time, but certainly still bittersweet. I think we were two people trying to fit each other into a space left behind in the shape of someone else. As far as rebounds go, I think it was a soft landing. I have no regrets. He was different from Goat in a lot of ways... some of them were really healing, like realizing that I do not, in fact, have overwhelming emotional needs and that, say, wanting to know where a relationship is going after two years is not asking too much. But he lacked some things that really helped me connect with Goat, and when I felt disconnected from him I just found myself missing Goat more. I had inklings that he was going through something similar, and they were confirmed in a kind of painful way, but interspersed with the usual getting-over-and-readjusting to single life, I find myself excited, once again, about having a life in my own life. Not living out of a bag and traveling to another county every weekend. I may want to be an old married woman - sooner than later would be nice - but not at any cost. I'm not opposed to dating again, but in the meantime I want to play frisbee and get on my bike and go to church and see my friends and plant those tomatoes.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Night Plights

I'm not sure when I became a person who gets really excited about staying home Friday nights and having the house all to herself... maybe shortly after I bought a kitchen table and started listening to NPR.

Anyhoo, here it is Friday night and I've been wandering around the house in circles for hours, doing what I love to do, but rarely do: going on a rampage of cleaning, straightening, recycling, Goodwill-ing, and generally feeling like I have some small measure of control over my space. I called a few friends who both had plans tonight (OK, so they were both sick, one from being pregnant and one going insane from having a crazy boyfriend 3000 miles away who puts off making plans for weeks and then announces he's coming 10 hours before his plane lands), so I've actually been relishing the chance to spring clean. While listening to Neil Diamond.

I saw the old boy this week, too. We got a beer, and chatted on our own (i.e. not in front of hordes of mutual friends) for the first time since break-up therapy. When people ask how it went, I have to classify it as good/hard/good. Good to catch up, hard to remember all the things I love about a person who was my best friend for most of my time in LA (and who I did so much growing up with, in many senses of the word), and good to remind myself that no matter how wonderful someone is, it would be masochistic to be with someone who isn't ready to jump into change with you. Perhaps the best part of it, strangely, was being able to talk about things that were hard and sad, and not to feel responsible for each other's feelings, or for making each other feel better. It was hard to tell him about the new boy, though, and to hear him say that it was hard to hear it.

Despite crying all the way home, I still felt like moving foward is moving in the right direction. The only way I can describe it is to say that it has started to feel like my sadness is about something lost in the past, no longer something lost for the future. I have had very few plans for my life, but I thought I was going to marry him; it was the first time my ideas of the future ever had a common thread. And when we broke up, my entire picture of the future disintegrated, as if I had been hiking up a mountain and the trail had suddenly ended in a jagged, barren chasm. But it doesn't feel that way anymore. I can see options and trails again, and I don't know where any of them go to, but I'm cool with the fact that I'm wandering through the woods again. I'm OK that the common thread right now is just me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Office Spacey

me: I need a band-aid... do we have band-aids?
Office Manager: In the first aid kit.
me: Where's the first aid kit?
OM: I don't know, check the disaster plan, it should be listed there.
me: Where's the disaster plan?
OM: I don't know.
me: Ummm.... thanks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bruce Almighty

I think this quote may sum up a good chunk of what I've gleaned from the past couple of years:
"Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is uniquely your own"
- Bruce Lee

Friday, December 12, 2008

Let there be light

The lightbulb in my bedside lamp just burned out. For the first time. In SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS. I have a spare, somewhere... which I have moved with me, SIX TIMES, waiting for this day.

I have no idea where it is.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Well hello there... why yes, it's been a while. Life has not been boring, I've just been sorting through things that I seem to be very guarded about, and have found that somehow, even the blog has not been a place that's felt entirely safe.

Truth is, I'm doing well. Very well. But the older I get, the more I realize that "doing well" is not always equated with feeling good, or understanding everything. I'm wrestling a lot. Crying some. Trying to equate it with the idea of giving birth... that it is painful and joyful all mixed together and that hopefully the end result is something hard-earned and very worthwhile.

A few posts ago, I mentioned a new crush, and was feeling quite upbeat about the prospect of letting go of the past. Turns out, it's not always as easy as I would like it to be. The crush became a date which became a world traveling companion which became a boyfriend. All very well and good. He is, by all accounts, incredibly genuine, and kind, and generous. And he's actually doing pretty well in the area of emotional intelligence. As in, able to talk about his own, and able to roll with some of my more overwhelming ones without needing to try to make them go away.

But the problem seems to be that the process I was so glib about in my last post -- making space for someone new and letting go of someone old -- just doesn't feel as good as it sounded when I wrote about it in the rose-colored light of a new crush. The problem is that along with this round of wonderful seems to have come another bout of grief, like a shadow. Is that normal? I mean, I kinda think it is, it makes so much sense that part of the reality of saying goodbye to someone can't start to be real until you find someone worth giving a chance in the space they left behind, and you can never be "ready" for that before it happens. But part of me feels like I'm cheating on the new boy even by being sad about the old one still. Although I recognize that a lot of this is exacerbated by having had to see the old one every week during the fall beach league... I think a little less social overlap is in order.

In any case, like I said, doing very well. Trying very hard to just relax, keep being honest, and enjoy the potential.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

brief, unsatisfying update

I am not dead, I am in fact, very busy, but also doing very very well.

As in, proving-to-myself-that-life-does-in-fact-go-on well.

More soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fire rant

It's time again. Out of the east, the Santa Ana winds tear through the valley, like clockwork every October, a hot desert wind. It's just the way things go here. And yeah, I complain about it, because my allergies kick up, and besides, it's October, for cryin' out loud, and I just bought a new sweater, and I'm tired of it being 85 degrees because I want to wear it, whine whine, but I know what's in store and I choose to live here.

And it's fire season. The winds leave a wake of smoke and destruction. The San Fernando Valley is burning tonight, about 10 miles up the road from my office, and thousands of people are being evacuated, and it's all over the news. So I'm reading the story tonight, in the LA Times, and I notice a few of the "comments" people leave after the story, and I can't believe the response. "These winds are so predictable," they say, "why doesn't the city do something to stop this from happening every year when they know the winds are coming?" Over and over in the comments, people keep complaining that every year, we have fire.

Do I really have to spell this out? What, exactly, do these people hope that the city does to stop a force of nature from time immortal? Fire is fire, people, it's a fact of life. If you're gonna build a house in the mountains, in the path of hot desert winds, and in the vicinity of oh, maybe one or two adolescents and/or sociopaths who think it's funny to set a fire when the winds come just to see what happens, just what exactly do you expect the city to do about that, other than knock on your door at 3am and kindly tell you to get the hell out before you go up with the place?

I think this kind of stuff ticks me off so much because it's just part of the general American M.O. to think that we are capable of being completely, utterly safe from harm. I'm not sure where, in our survey of human history, we came up with this idea, but as a country we seem to have done a decent job of propagating the idea that we can buy our way out of the consequences of everything from germs to terrorism to acts of god.

And even within that genre of complete hubris, I think the "fire" uproar pushes an extra-special button of mine. Fire is such a necessary part of the ecological world. The landscape gets decimated, the landscape recovers. Whether we do controlled burns, or leave it alone, it will all burn, someday. Even the canyon where my house is. Someday. And while I feel deeply for the losses of the people who are affected by it, I'm still irritated by the assumption that we might have superceded the laws of nature just because we needed to sprawl.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Three months

Zoinks, last week was one of those weeks. I went from 2 clients to 13 pretty much overnight, and added 8 students for my other job, and discovered that trying to keep track of 21 people other than yourself is do-able, but only if you don't stop to think about your personal life during the day. Or, really, any point during the week.

It's been over three months now; I don't know where I expected to be three months down the road, I just know that was the timeframe I gave myself initially to get over the worst part of a broken heart. Right after breaking up, I told myself I would wait at least three months before I made any major decisions, like to move to Kansas or quit my job or get another tattoo. I'm three months in and none of those things sounds remotely appealing, so I guess I'm glad I didn't make any rash decisions. I'm still settled, I still like my life, I'm still mostly content where I'm at. Even more so, in some ways, because losing the cross-town commute and double-life-mode has deepened my roots in the life I'm in. But doing "mostly well" possibly makes it harder when one of those days sneak in, when I still feel like my heart has been partially carved out with a dull grapefruit spoon. They're not frequent, but another one recently hit. And when they do, I feel like everyone must surely be tired of hearing about it by now, so I mostly keep it to myself, until I can't anymore, and I find a safe place/person and lose my shit for a half hour or so, then I pick myself up and move on for another month. All in all, I'm not too worried.

Dating has been interesting to throw in the mix.... mostly I've been meeting people that I didn't end up being interested in (was that Transformers tee-shirt supposed to impress me? It made an impression all right...), but then out of nowhere I realized I had... gasp... a crush on someone. It's been almost three years since that happened. I knew I was crushing, I suppose, when I realized I'd passed up a chance to go to an REI garage sale just to see him at a party... and if you know how much I love REI, and how much I love a good bargain, then you know I must have meant business. And I flirted, the perfect combination of shamelessly and tastefully, and it appears to have actually gotten me somewhere, and good god when did I learn how to do that? But it seems that while going on dates was easy (which, up until now, mostly involved having a drink with men I say goodbye to and never really think about again), liking someone involves a different kind of letting go. Because to even think about making real space for somebody new you have to start to let go of the missing, and the regrets, and the what-ifs, and all the other things you've been hanging onto to try to keep a piece - however scant and hollow - of the person who's gone.

In fact, I am coming to think that "letting go" is not so much being able to shake our hands clean of the thing that we're moving on from, but rather just loosening our grip - with every new conversation, every "yes" to an invitation, every "what the hell, why not drive to the next county on a Friday night to talk to someone who intrigues me?" - so that we put ourselves more directly in the path of something new coming along out of the blue, and bumping us, and perhaps a bit more of what we'd been holding onto goes flying out the window.