Thursday, May 21, 2009


I just spent about forty minutes writing in detail about Seattle, and how it's probably the place in the world that manages to best combine my favorite things in new and unexpected ways, and then I lost it.

So here's a picture instead, which I'm assured is worth a thousand words:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Live from San Francisco: A New Beginning

Scenes from the past few days in the Bay Area:

*I read a poem at a loud, drunk, mostly music open mic at Cafe Internationale in Lower Haight at about 11pm on Friday. By the time I'm done with the poem, everyone has stopped speaking and is listening and has their eyes on me. I'm so thankful for the performance experience I've had in Cambridge. I'm not intimidated by any crowd anymore.

*Alana and Bob's friend Scott takes me to the Golden Gate Bridge, which really is up there with some of the most beautiful things I've seen, and we walk across and see the "Don't commit suicide from this bridge please," signs. The day wound down at the punk/indie/rock bar Zeitgeist, which much to the dismay of the fashionably surly bartending staff must have recently been yelped RE their kickass from-scratch bloody marys and was about 1/8th filled with out-of-their-element yuppies who kept calling the tattooed denizens of the bar "weird," out loud, as if they were in another country or something and no one else could understand them. Notwithstanding though, Zeitgeist really is all it's cracked up to be, naked lady matchbooks and all.

*I hike for five hours deep into the redwood forests and don't even realize I forgot to eat that day. The forests are the most peaceful and religious-seeming place I can ever remember being. I feel such an affinity to those ancient, auburn trees. It's hard to explain, but I never feel as peaceful as when I'm in the old-growth forests. I suppose I am named after them, after all.

*I find myself in an hourlong conversation about the human need for myth, the archetypal rockstar, fame, and the changing media with the curator of a downtown art gallery who miraculously happens to be on exactly the same page with me about all of it.

*I am told to "Have some manners in the ghetto, White Girl," by a definitively not-white man in Oakland because I have the audacity to pass two feet in front of him without saying "Excuse me." I'm sure if I had said "Excuse me," he would have had some other comment to make.

I feel as though I'm relearning to ride the current of life without trying to hard to swim against the flow. All the coincidences and positivity in the past two weeks makes me think that I might be doing a good job.

This trip has already been so centering, as San Francisco always seems to be for me. The day before I left I read my own tarot cards for the first time in two years. Back again were my old friends The Hermit, The Hanged Man, Time, and The Tower, because our issues are our issues, they really just change position. The gist of it though, was balance, responsibility, sacrifice, shattering illusions, and basically the encouraging notion that I can have all the things I want, I just need to be smart, work hard, not overdraw myself, and know what to give up and what to keep. I need to reconnect with The Hermit part of myself: contemplative, reflective, spiritual (yes, I said it). I found that part in the redwoods.

Of course, it's much easier to be concerned with interior matters when you have life's mundanities under control. I've had some good things happen the past few weeks and I'm ready to build on them.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

a little nutter-butters

I have a severe allergy (as in possibly death-inducing without an epi-pen) to peanuts, walnuts, and pecans. However, I can eat all of the almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts I want.

I have never intentionally eaten peanut butter and associate the flavor and smell with something insidious that hides in otherwise harmlessly chocolate cookies and candy waiting to send me to the hospital. Often when my allergy comes up, at least one person will look at me with an expression somewhere between shock and pity and say, "How do you live without peanut butter?"

I always just shrug, because of course when you've never had something, you can't miss it.

But last week ALMOND BUTTER was on sale at Shaw's, so I picked up a jar just to see what all the nut-butter fuss was about. I took it home and made an almond butter and organic blueberry spread sandwich on an English muffin and Oh. My. God. I get it okay, people? If peanut butter is at all like almond butter (and third parties have assured me it is), I would imagine it takes the average person a great deal of daily self control not to sit around in their kitchen all day and eat jar after jar of the stuff with a spoon.

Of course, peanut butter tends to go for about 2-3 bucks per jar, while almond butter is more in the 8-12 dollar range. That alone should help me control myself, but I'm not looking forward to this jar running out (which won't be that long from now, who are we kidding).

As I was writing this I was eating a sliced-up Gala apple slathered with almond butter. The fact that it's gone now makes me more upset than it should.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Over the past week or so, my insomnia has come back. It's a little strange, because I thought that was one of those youthful demons I had finally put behind me after something like sixteen years. All fall and winter I fell into my bed properly exhausted and by and large slept through the night.

I don't think this means I'm as fearful and dissatisfied as I was when I was younger. I guess it's always come in waves, and maybe my self-congratulations at its conquering were premature. I just hope this lapse is temporary and short.

Leaving for the West Coast in a little over forty-eight hours. Not ready yet at all.

Monday, May 4, 2009

This wild weekend started out with the biggest fight Derek and I have ever had and ended with me holding Sam and Dawn's new babies, Ada and Alice.

The Fight was pretty standard-issue mid-twenties fear of commitment stuff, but it sure did feel (as these things do) totally personal and unique and tragic especially when I thought the only possible way it could end was, well, to end it. However, just to show that life can still surprise, all the right things were said, and apologies were made over smooches in the tree-lined residential labyrinthine brick sidewalks of Harvard Square.

PS. I am apparently a dude when it comes to these things. For the two days when I thought we were breaking up, not a scoop of ice cream was eaten and nary a chick-flick viewed. All I wanted to do was lift weights, get drunk, and play the guitar.

The Babies are all different kinds of incredible. Teeny tiny. I've never held a newborn before, but I think Aunt Jade handled 8-pound Alice (who looks like Yoda) and 5-pound Ada (who looks like Gollum) impressively. Neither of them screamed at all when I held them, just kind of smooshed their faces all around and tried to eat their own fists. Derek and Sam and I all smoked the cigars I brought and talked about adulthood and fatherhood and green cards and all that crazy-serious stuff suddenly passed to us somewhat more like a marathon baton than a torch in terms of urgency and adrenaline and the vague feeling that somewhere up in the stands, thousands must me watching and scoring our performance.