Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yoga Is A Four Letter Word

There seems to be a lot of competitive yoga out here. Everyone I knew from my past is either a yoga teacher now or studying to be a yoga teacher or was a yoga teacher and have moved beyond yoga teaching to simply being a yogi. I have studied yoga off and on for the last 10 years and practice my own discipline which goes something like this:

I wake up and I think to myself, oh god, I should do some yoga. Then I roll over and ask god why it so damned cold in Seattle and making it so easy to stay in bed and then I roll again over onto my back and practice shivasina. For those of you who do not know the pose, it is the final pose in yoga where you lay flat on your back and are still for five minutes. Most yogi masters say this is the hardest and most important position to master, and that is why I have been practicing it. I do it in bed because I've been doing that visualization yoga where I imagine myself in all the poses and going from move to move and then just finish the practice in my bed, on my back. My yoga practice is no where near performance level. But I can go so deep into shivasina it almost appears as if I am sleeping but the trained yogi know that I am simply deep in my kundalini chi and rebalancing my karmic wheel using deep, slow breath and it only looks like sleep if you're doing it right. If I start to drool a little, well, that just shows how far "into" my "meditation" I can go.

I've tried a couple different disciplines of yoga: Hatha which is very hard and disciplined not to mention painful and Vinayasa which is slow and easy and focuses on the smooth movement of breath and body. I stuck with studying Vinayasa yoga or flow or sometimes called Vinay yoga. I don't respond well to pain of any kind. Vinayasa is about synchronization of the breath and the movement; slowly integrating and challenging the body to stay in breath during each sequence of postures. It is not competitive.

Have you heard about "hot yoga"? Hot yoga or Bikram yoga is taught in a hot room (about 100 degrees) and the practice jumps from posture to posture completing 26 poses in 90 minutes. The man who created it, Bikram Choudhury is a self-proclaimed yoga champion. I don't know of any yoga Olympics or even amature competitions around the world so how do you become a yoga champion? Who judges these events? What kind of award do you get and how can you compete against a personal practice?

Beware of the self-proclaimed yoga champion.

Maybe it was a stroke of genius to decide to turn the thermometer up to 105 degrees and jump through a bunch of poses and I am sure as hell that there is a rush from doing it. I've been in a sweat lodge and when you are in intense heat for a specific amount of time, all sorts of stuff comes up and out of your body...emotions, toxins, memories. But I've found the people practicing hot yoga tend to be those who are not interested in doing the interpersonal journey that evolves from yoga but are more focused on results. You can get a smoking' hot body from practicing yoga, don't get me wrong. You can get a smoking hot body from just about any kind of physical practice, but yoga and pilates are practices that challenge the body the way that incorporates physics and the physical. A secrete for really great abs aren't doing crunches, it is practicing yoga using Pranayama breath or yogic breath that asks you to exhale deeply pushing all the air out of your diaphragm thus doing a natural crunch and holding that for a moment until it is uncomfortable pushing yourself deeper without breath. Plus you will increase your intake breath doing this practice. And it's a great way to get high.

I jest about my rolling over and practicing shivasina in the morning, but truly, there is a lot to be said for being able to sit in whatever is coming up for you and allow it to be. Eckhart Tolle says that the creation of space around the unpleasantness will naturally shift the emotion into acceptance. That the resistance of what is, is where the problem lay thus deepening the "pain body" and that is what ever is causing us pain. Identification with the pain body is where misery lay. My tendancy is to resist the negative thoughts...decide I don't need them and stay in denial of them then I go into mental arguments with my thoughts. The thoughts can be anything but typically sound like this: "I should be___________!" It doesn't matter what the blank is...it can be anything: thin, successful, rich, married, blond, naked. It doesn't matter at all what the self-judgment is, simply having the thought of being less-than is enough to cause a spiral into other negative thoughts.

Thoughts create emotions. It's not the other way around. Having a practice to stay out of the thought and into the moment is what my work is now. So some days it will include me doing shivasina in bed on cold rainy spring Seattle days. Sometimes that is the most I can do.

So much love,
All the way from over here...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

VW Camper Guide

I am a romantic woman. Living on the road is not for everyone, but if you have ever wanted to abandon your life and move into a VW bus and live on the road I say do it. It is an incredible way of life. The beautiful thing about having a VW camper is that you don't have to stop at a campsite to camp. With a camper you can simply pull over and park, put up the privacy curtains and then you are good to go for the night. If you have traveling companions and you need to pop the top, then you need to find someplace where you won't be hassled by the police. That is one of the risks owning a vehicle with a "hippy" connotation. Police don't like hippies. Nobody does anymore. Poor hippies.

Okay. You've decided you want to take the plunge and purchase a VW camper. You have had your head examined and your doctor releases herself from all responsibility for your decision and you are ready to go. What do you need to do first? Find a mechanic. Yes. You need to have a mechanic first especially if you are buying a VW bus that was built before 1990. After you have a good mechanic, then you need to join AAA. Get the deluxe package. It's only about $20 more a year and includes unlimited towing. You will need it. I became great friends with my tow truck drivers in and around the Seattle area.

There are three generations of VW buses. The first is considered the only choice from VW gear heads the type II air cooled engine. The pictures below are the second generation type II buses from the 1960's. The pop-top and nickname "Westy" comes from the camper manufacturer that VW collaborated with to create the ultimate RV. Westfalia created the pop-top design and interiors. The center pop-top was one of the first designs and then it went to the angled pop-top. Here is an excellent example of a 1960's bay window Westfalia pop-top camper.

And here are a few more pictures of the 1960's to 1979 varieties.

These are the first generations of VW Westfalia campers.

Disclaimer: People, I am not a mechanic. I am a novice. I may make a few mistakes here and there describing the engines and parts. I am not and never have been a gear head but I have slept with them. I know that the VW community is as full with nerds and geeks as intense as the software world. In fact, many of the software geeks of this world own VW bugs and buses, so please don't start spamming my email with all my mistakes. Okay?

The Malibu Stacey Funtime Camper was not of this generation, rather she was born in 1981. Picking a good bus is like buying a fine wine. Every year there are grapes does not mean that is a good year for wine. Same thing goes for buses. In 1980 VW changed the design and engines of their Westfalia Campers coming up with a bigger living space and these buses are called Vanagons. The advantage to the Vanagon is that there is larger living space, roomier and more creature comforts which is especially important to those of us over six feet tall. You get a few extra inches in the bed so you can really spread out...such a nice feature in the woods too. But be warned if you choose this type. 1980-1982 were the worst years for these engines. They are still air-cooled but some are oil-cooled with a little catheter on the side of the bus and oil cooled engines are really not a good idea, especially if you want to go into the desert. It's hot in the desert. Oil gets hot and likes to catch on fire. I learned that from watching Operation Desert Storm. What will happen is that your engine will over heat crossing some mountain pass and you'll be on the side of the road for a long time waiting for it to cool down enough just to put it in neutral to coast down the side of a mountain. Be warned...only buy this engine if you are prepared to do a lot of work on it....wait. That is the same warning for all the buses, so forget it! If you love it, buy it!

This picture is a 1984 Vanagon. Very sexy, if you ask me. Malibu Stacey was sky blue, not this Tiffany blue, but very sexy just the same. Ooooohhh lalalala! This is the second generation and the birth of the Vanagon. These campers were made until the early 1990's and then they kept a similar design but put in a different engine like the Sciricco engine. The thought was that it could be faster than the Vanagon but I heard a lot of grumbling from the VW gear heads about this engine too, so I don't really know if it was a winner. I will say the interior designs of the Vanagon are my favorite. I've owned two buses: Stanley the Manly Westfalia was born in 1976 and he was sweet pickle green with a new engine but I let my 21 year old gear head put the engine in instead of using my awesome mechanic and it was never a good vehicle.

Malibu Stacey was a stubborn bus and fickle too. So when she wanted to stay in one place for a couple of days, she just wouldn't start-up. That's part of the fun too. That would mean that she wanted to stay wherever we were and there was more exploring for me to do. Once it meant sitting by a fire pit for two days in the back woods of Idaho writing poetry next to a stream. You do what god tells you to do when in a camper.

Below is the Eurovan...considererd a piece of shit from all true VW affeciandos. Oh sure it's great if you want to go over 55 MPH or have AC and be able to travel on a schedule. If you want to have some kind of dependiblity, I guess this would be a good choice, but be prepared to shell out about $25/K...even for this one below! Look at its dents and it doesn't even have a kitchen!
Let's review what you've done so far:
  • You have a mechanic
  • You have an awesome towing package from AAA
  • You have had your head examined
  • You have unlimited resources...oh didn't I mention that this was going to waste all your savings? Well it will so you better have a lot of cash stashed because this thing bleeds money not to mention the lousy gas mileage and unexpected mechanic bills while on the road...just be warned. You need a ton of cash.
  • You picked the van of your dreams and are in love. You should definitely make this an emotional choice and not a practical one since love will get the bus going when you are out at some rave in old growth forests and you are done praying. Love will be all you need.
  • You have a storage unit filled with back-up parts. I didn't mention that either? Well, time to get familiar with the temperature sensing unit that tells the thermometer what the engine temperature is because when you blow through one of those, trying to find one in Bumfuck Montana is a true test in patience. Especially when the mechanics won't believe you that you have an extra one ready to install.
Now it is time for the naming ceremony. All buses need a name. If you don't believe it, then you are not listening to your camper. It will tell you what his name is or her name. They are gender specific and respond to having their name called. Building a psychic personal relationship with your camper is half the fun. It gives you someone to talk to while you are on the side of the road.

Oh, I also recommend buying a lot of old panties or just saving those from your old girlfriends. I've recently discovered that many men have drawers of old girlfriends panties. If you happen upon a boyfriends drawer, clean it out and put it in the camper. I use the old panties to check the oil on the side of the road. It is a sure way to get a stranger to stop and help you. It works too! State troopers are much nicer if you are using old panties to keep your hands clean when you are reattaching the fuel-injection lines that popped off while flying down the mountain in neutral.

Here are a few things that you do not have to do if you decide to own a VW Bus:
  • You do not have to listen to the Grateful Dead. I've never been a dead head and really hated that people expected me to only have on that boring, monotonous music. It is totally uninspiring in my book so feel strong people. Walk away from the Jerry Garcia. It is okay!
  • You do not have to pick up hitchhikers. Unfortunately, all hitchhikers will expect you to stop for them, but you are not required to by law. Luckily, fewer and fewer people are hitchhiking because of crime so the obligation is less than it used to be. However, if you are traveling between towns in the backwoods of Colorado like between Gunnison and Crested Butte, there is only one place the stoner skiers are going and if you are inclined to pick-up a hitchhiker there, you'll be pretty safe.
  • You do not have to smoke pot to have a camper. Remember that everyone will assume that you are a pot smoker if you have a bus and will expect you to be holding out on some bud. Don't fall for the pressure kids. Drugs are bad, m'kay?
  • You can have a job and own a bus. It is just rare to find the two combinations together.
Thank you for reading. I must say it has helped me through my wilderness urge. I don't have enough money today...but boy, she was a lot of fun.

So much love,
All the way from over here,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears...oh my! Part II

The idea to spray paint my shoes silver came in a dream. When spray painting your shoes be sure to do it outside, preferably in a rest stop or McDonald's parking lot. I choose McDonald's because they usually have clean bathrooms and they are easy to use. Most McD's have side entrances near their restrooms and you don't feel guilted into buying anything. I've been asked why not use the truck stops? Truckers are our friends and some of them don't take kindly to spray paint so it is best to keep your shoes pretty in other places, plus the impression the paint leaves on the asphalt makes your mark. In my case, in size 12 shoe silver prints. Karen's were size 9.

It is a very subtle form of vandalism; painting your shoes on asphalt.

Having silver clogs in the camper was very handy too for quick trips in and out of the vehicle. Everyone wanted to put them on too. Something very enticing about metallic silver wooden clogs.

Back to the retreat center...I was cleaning out the camper on my third day, mid-afternoon following lunch and a walk. It was a beautiful sunny, warm June day. I had quite a bit of food with me, fresh fruits and vegetables that I gathered to bring as a donation to the kitchen at the center. Blankets, clothing, pillows, towels were everywhere as I liked to get messy before cleaning. Having been parked for a few days and in no need of personal ID or keys, things were not organized or easy to find. That is part of the fun of camping someplace for a few days; the letting go of all personal identity.

I took a break from cleaning, opened the back of the camper and installed the screen and lay down to take a nap. A while later I was awakened by someone rocking the camper. It felt like someone was standing on the front of the bus, like a kid looking inside. I hadn't put up the curtains since I was so far into the woods so I jumped out of bed and rushed forward to the front seats. I didn't see anybody outside, but I heard foot steps on the driver's side of the bus so I looked out the pop-top, unzipping the flap and didn't see anyone.

The footsteps quickened and I looked out the back of the bus and there was a bear! A brown bear about six feet tall, an easy 400 pounds with huge paws was looking right inside of the opened end off the back of the bus. I yelled at it, "Don't come in! Don't come in!" and he backed away moving to the passenger side of the bus which was also open. He stopped at the open door and I grabbed a bunch of bananas and waved them under his nose and said, "Want a banana? Go get it!" and I threw the bunch as hard as I could about 20 feet away from where I was parked. He looked at me in the eyes, then over at the bananas then back at me and he trotted over to the fruit.

Here's a fun fact: A bear does not eat a banana the same way that you or I or even a chimp would. He didn't pull it off the bunch and peel it. He kept the bananas together and peeled the fruit from the bottom, eating it and then taking his 5 inch long claw and scraping the inside of the peel...which is an excellent source of potassium.

Note to self: remember to start scraping the inside of the banana skins with a spoon after eating the fruit. Yummy stuff in there!

Being in nature and having spent such lovely time in the Redwoods, I went into my Mother Earth Goddess mode, praying to God and the universe in gratitude for bringing me this beautiful bear; witnessing the life and the symbolism. Bear medicine in Native American teachings reminds us that we all need to hibernate, allow for space to unfold around us to have our creativity marinate...allow time to let the messages unfold. I stayed in prayer thanking God for this beautiful reminder, that I welcomed it and was grateful.

About that time, a car drove up and saw the bear and the open back-end of my bus. The woman pulled up close and with her window rolled down said to me, "There is a bear right there and your back is open!" I said, "Yes. I'm afraid to open the door and get out to close it." She nudged her door closer to the back of my van and carefully closed the back of the bus telling me to be safe and drove away.

I resumed to prayer and observation of the bear. Then I thought, "Damn. That's a pretty big bear. He's not gonna be satisfied after a few bananas." and I started looking around at what other food I could offer him. And I was right. He finished the bananas and came back to the side of the camper, which was now closed, and put his claws on the side of the bus, looked inside at me with a quizzical look that said, "What else you got inside there lady?"

I found a cucumber and unzipped the top flap and tossed it out about the same distance as the bananas and the bear went after the item. Here's another fun fact: Bears do not like cucumbers. Giving him healthy greens was an insult after those tasty bananas. He wanted something sweet and delicious and an English Cucumber didn't cut the grade! Now he got pissed, returned to the side of the van and with both paws on the side pulled the passenger side towards him.

The bus moved down and that was when I lost my Earth Goddess crap and fell into City Panic! "OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD!" I yelled. "WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO NOW?" I start crying in full panic. I rustle through the camper and found some almonds. I threw them at the bear, but all strength had failed me and it was like a sprinkling of nuts at the side of the van. I ducked back inside and found some prunes and the same thing happened. As I tried to throw them it was as if I were a two year old with a Nerf ball...poof. Right there, next to me. The harder I tried to throw them far away from me, the less strength I had. The dried fruit simply landed next to the van for the bear and he casually sniffed and picked them up as fast as I dropped the fruit.

The bear liked the prunes and almonds and scavenged around as I hit full-blown anxiety attack. "WHY GOD WHY GOD WHY?" I cried. I found a camera and decided people should know how I died and took pictures of the bear. I thought this is it. I'm gonna die and I said to God, "Well God, this is it. I am a dead woman! Might as well let people know that yoga didn't kill me. A bear did." And with my disposable camera I snapped a couple of shots of the big boy next to the camper just as he came up for more fruit and nuts.

"NOOOOOOOOOO!!" I yelled.

Then off in the distance I heard a voice. It said, "ARE YOU OKAY?"

I yelled back, "YES!" rising to peek out of the top flap to see who it was. The retreat center leader was about a city block away with a group of people with him, about half a dozen or so. He said, "ARE YOU FEEDING THE BEAR?"

"YES!" I yelled back.


Stop feeding the bear! What a good idea I thought to myself! Why didn't I think of that! Stop feeding the bear! Right! Stop it!

"Okay!" I yelled back. "I HAVE STOPPED FEEDING THE BEAR!"

"GOOD" he said. "NOW DRIVE AWAY!"

Ah ha! Of course! Drive away! Why hadn't I thought about that? Yes! Drive away! That's what I was supposed to do! I pulled the popped top down and started the frantic search for the keys! Where the fuck were the car keys? Why was this camper such a mess? Why didn't I keep it tidier before taking a nap? The keys! Why didn't I leave them in the ignition? That would be a good place after all since it is safe out here...EXCEPT FOR THE BEARS! HOLY SHIT THERE IS A BEAR WHERE ARE THE FUCKING KEYS? WHERE ARE THE KEYS?

I found them in a cupboard drawer, threw the mess behind me and started the engine. As soon as the Malibu Stacey Funtime Camper spurted out her black-smoked hello, the bear ran about fifty feet away and scaled a tree. I drove over to the director and he jumped into the passenger side of the van wile the rest of the group headed back to the retreat center. He was a kind, smart man who was concerned about my emotional state following such an experience and he did some therapy on me. Then another therapist came out to the bus when we were back at the center and she sat with me for an hour or so while I cried and pulled myself together.

"Mountain Lion! Why wasn't it a Mountain Lion?" I asked over and over. I was ready for a lion. I didn't stick around for the bear lecture. Then I would have been ready. In the over thirty years of operation at the retreat center, on the beautiful wilderness land, there had never been a bear encounter with a guest of the center. They knew there were bears out in the woods and sometimes they visited the residences but never had a guest had an encounter. Another first!

My silent personal retreat was shot after that. I became the "Bear Lady" and I was asked to tell the story over and over during circles, after afternoon prayer times, in the evenings following dinner; I became that person all the guests wanted to sit with during dinner and lunch to hear the story so they would have a good story to tell their friends and family when they finished their vacation. My private, quiet retreat had turned out quite to be quite the opposite. I didn't find my courage to sleep back in the woods during my stay there choosing to "camp" in the parking lot under big florescent yellow lights.

When I got back to Seattle and shared my tale, I received the same two questions from men and women. The women asked me, "Didn't you have a cell phone?" No. No cell phone and what good would it have done me if I were in the middle of nowhere? The retreat center operated mostly off the grid so who would I have called? 911?

The men asked me, "Didn't you have a gun?" No. No gun. And what was I supposed to do with that? Shoot a bear? On sacred land? That seemed as crazy to me as a cell phone!

No, feeding the bear. That was the only thing that made sense at the time. It must be from all the culinary training...feed the people, feed the bears. Just keep feeding them. Today, when I look back on this story it is a great lesson that I had to learn the hard way. When faced with a bear you can do a lot of things. You can feed the bear and keep the fear and panic around or you can find your keys and simply drive away.

So much love,
All the way from over here,

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears...oh my! Part I

After graduation from the University of Washington narrative non-fiction writing program, I felt in need of a little break into the wilderness so I loaded up the Malibu Stacey Funtime Camper and headed to an ashram outside of Nevada City, CA. I went to Ananda which was inspired by Yogananda (that guy who wrote Autobiography of a Yogi) and the retreat center was built by Kriyananda. Here's the web site:


I decided I would take a personal retreat in the camper. The retreat center is located on 770 acres of privately owned forest and there is an intentional community in addition to the retreat center. Daily life during the retreat was fantastic. Up with the sun (or a little before), outside to do yoga and sun salutations then inside for silent morning meditation and breakfast in silence. Then there was more meditation and yoga time, followed by vegetarian lunch. Afternoon free time then yoga and meditation and dinner. Free time after dinner and off to bed in the woods.

Pretty sweet set-up. My intention was to take as much quiet/personal time as possible. On my drive down, I meandered through Highway 1 which weaves down the coast of Oregon and Northern California hitting the big Sequoias. Sleeping with the worlds largest trees is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their lives. I've been blessed to have done it half a dozen times or so. My first time sleeping among the giant redwoods was when I first drove across country to move to Seattle back in the 80's. I drove out with a girlfriend and we decided to leave Hyde Park, NY and to go the long way to Seattle which meant going south through Atlanta, then down to I-10 through Texas and the lower southwestern states, stopping in southern California to visit friends at UCLA and then up the coast through San Francisco and the big redwoods up the coast all the way to Seattle.

It was the first of a dozen drives across this big country of ours. God, I love to drive. I drove just about the whole trip too. I get into a meditation zone once I hit cruising speeds and time just doesn't matter anymore. I drift in and out of this and that and hit a near euphoric state by just staying in that zone. I am transformed in time and space behind the wheel. There is no other thing like it for me.

That trip, I was still an East Coast girl through and through...tough on the outside, so tough on the inside. Street smart and cocky as hell. It took a couple of years for me to loose that NY edge and adjusted to Seattle and the West Coast vibe. Those were also the days when I rolled out of bed to light a cigarette and pour the black coffee; not eating until late afternoon and living on caffeine and nicotine. Good times!

We were grads from the CIA (not that one, the other one...the Culinary Institute of America) and I had returned from an apprentice program in Italy and then completed a Fellowship program at the CIA which were rarely awarded and highly coveted by all the best students. We felt invincible and inspired. I was a city girl back then and I considered hiking the walk from the parking lot to the registration desk of the hotel. Camping was not an option in those days. I was not interesting in sleeping outside with bugs and bears.

Ain't transformation grand?

When we arrived in the giant redwoods, we stayed at a hotel in the woods that looked like Ted Kaczynski's Unabomer's Retreat Center; thin moldy walls, no TV, no room service, tadpoles in the sink in the bathroom. Wilderness everywhere. The silence and energy of the huge trees scared the crap out of me! I was light-headed from all the oxygen and had severe culture shock in the woods. I didn't sleep a wink and insisted we leave at first light. If someone had told me that following morning that I would buy a VW camper ten years later and live out of it for nearly a year urning for back-country National Forest roads, I'd had told them to put down the crack pipe! They were wacked!

When I returned to the Redwoods many, many years later following my studies at the U.W. I took a couple extra days to just be with the trees and enjoy the nature all around. The park service offered evening lecture programs at the campsite I was staying at and I learned how to fight off a Mountain Lion. Just in case you ever need to do so, remember to make yourself big like a Tiger; expand your chest and spread your arms out and up near your head or higher and hiss and spit like a wild cat. Make yourself as big as possible. Don't lay down and play dead because they'll just sink their big 'ol claws into you and take you home to the pride for dinner for the cubs and papas. You know the males are too lazy to hunt. It's the woman's job to bring home the bacon, especially in the wild.

I was nice and relaxed when I reached the beautiful hills and forests outside of Nevada City, CA. Having my own accommodations, I picked a secluded area about 1/2 mile from the main retreat center where meals and workshops happened. There were forest roads and hiking trails everywhere. I felt safe and at home.

After a few days in this wilderness, I decided to do a deep cleaning of the Malibu Stacey Funtime Camper. This was one of my favorite things to do with the camper. I always felt like Lisa Simpson playing with her dolls. There were so many little chubby holes and cupboards to put all the much needed accessories. You have to bring the usual things like flashlight, matches, pocket knife, rope, ax, tarps, pots and pans, cutlery. I also traveled with a French Press coffee pot, several tarot decks, a full set of essential oils (just in case I needed to create a special blend for someone on the road), silver spray paint to paint my clogs. This was a ritual I started on a road trip with Karen Sevenoff. Several times a day, wherever we were, we'd take beauty breaks.

A beauty break must include the following: moisturizing your skin, refreshing your make-up (or at least brushing out your eyebrows if you chose not to wear make-up), brushing your teeth, reapply your lipstick, checking your personal scent and give your shoes a fresh coat of paint. I love clogs. I have since I got my first pair when I was 15 years old. Maybe it is some psychic connection with the people of the Netherlands, maybe it is because I like to be over six feet tall, maybe it is because I like the extra weight on my feet to keep me on the ground. Whatever the reason, I started wearing silver shoes and kept them looking good by buying spray chrome at an auto parts store....which is also a great way to meet men.

Note to self: Start hanging out at Pep Boys.

We got the idea to spray paint our shoes in parking lots to leave our mark across country. I liked the silver paint. Karen went with either silver or gold. She could swing like that. I'm still the same...a silver girl. Heck, my name is Silberman...originally Silverman in German, so I guess it is just in my blood.

Spray chrome dries pretty fast too, so you can leave your mark and be on your way in less than fifteen minutes...especially if you spray paint your shoes first and then do your make-up.

To be continued...
So much love,
All the way from over here,

Monday, April 21, 2008

What to do, what to do

I have a magical oracle online that I use for advice when making decisions. Here's the link:


Now, I know what your thinking, "It is official. Linda is off her rocker." I don't deny that statement, but who hasn't wanted a second opinion on the decisions you have to make in your life?

There are a lot of types of venues you can use at www.facade.com like tarot readings, I Ching, Biorhythms and of course, my favorite the Yes and No oracle. It is good to get some clarity on what is going on and to see what feels right in your gut.

Karen thinks this is an absolutely hysterical way to make life decisions. Carl, an old neighbor of mine, used to say that he would flip a coin for me and give me an answer instead of using the oracle, but I gotta say, neither one of them have given this venue the proper respect it deserves! There is a method to my question asking. Here's what I do.

I ground down, settle myself and get comfortable...I typically have a beverage in front of me such as a coffee or tea. I put on good music in and listen to them in my awesome headphones (before heading into bankruptcy, I splurged and bought a pair of the Bose headphones...oh god it was worth it but I am afraid I have some pretty serious hearing loss now because I keep the music pretty loud) and I ask a series of questions. It took me a bit of practice to get used to asking Yes/No questions because it is my human nature to want to ask "why" questions...like "Why god is this shit happening?". That is not a Yes/No question so it is of no use here.

After I've grounded down, I think about what I need to ask or what I am feeling uncertain of and I ask the oracle if they are ready for questions.

"Are you ready to answer questions?" I'll ask.

"No" it says. When this happens I will do one of two things...I will ask a follow-up question like, "Are you sure?"

If it says, "No" then I will proceed with a secondary question like:

"Am I drinking coffee?"

"No" is the answer I just got when asking the oracle and I am drinking coffee, so I take that as a sign that if I continue to ask questions then I will get wrong answers. If it had said "Yes" then I would proceed but cautiously.

I know, there is only a 50% chance of accuracy but those odds are pretty good...especially when you are feeling out of sorts in your mind, not trusting any of your own decision making...which has been my case. Since all of this and that has happened, my whole foundation has been shattered.

I'll ask again, just to see if I should be asking any questions at all.

"Am I drinking hot coffee?" I ask.

"No" it says, and it is right! I am drinking Iced Coffee not Hot Coffee!

Rebuilding a life from personal ground zero is just another part of life. I look to other dynamic Leo women for inspiration and guidance. Marta Stewart, for instance...I don't want to be like her but she has been through so many personal transformations and careers. She has somehow found the inner strength to keep moving forward. That is what I am looking for...my inner guidance and determination to keep this life moving ahead and not let the shit that comes my way knock me down.

I'll ask the Oracle...
"Does Martha Stewart have struggles with low self-esteem?"

"Yes" it says.

See, that makes me feel better! I'll ask another question...

"Am I like Martha?" I ask.

"No" it says.

That answer doesn't resonate with me, so I'll ask it a follow-up question...

"Really? I'm not like Martha?" I ask.

"No." it says. And the oracle is right. I am nothing like Martha Stewart.

I wonder if I should be using another Leo icon like Madonna...she's reinvented herself a thousand times over the last 20 years. I've never really liked her music (except for that one Euro-club CD) but she and I have a lot in common except for that torrid affair with Warren Betty. I said no to Warren. No hard feelings baby...but I did fall in love with you for a couple of minutes there after I saw you in "Heaven Can Wait" but I think it was the character you portrayed and not the inner you that attracted me. So let's go back to the oracle.

"Am I like Madonna?" I ask.

"No" it says.

See! This thing is spot on right! All the time! Because I am nothing like Madonna! Not at all! I'm not a good dancer, I'm a good singer, I have brown hair, I haven't slept with Guy Ritchey, I don't speak with a fake British accent (anymore) ...and on and on! This thing is so right! You gotta try it!

"Will it be fucking freezing again today?"

"No" it says. And it is right! It is supposed to go up to 50 degrees today! That is outrageously hot for here, especially since it's been raining and snowing and sleeting. 50 is practically summer in Seattle. In fact, in the summer it rarely gets into the 80's so keeping it all in perspective is important.

So my last question for the Oracle for today is:

"Will anybody read this blog?"

"Yes" it says.

See...dead on. I suggest you use it when you are stuck or don't know what to do or just want another opinion. Karen and I used to give out free advice back in the day and I'm pretty sure I've written about that before. If you don't recall I'll give a brief recap. She and I would sit down at the Pike Place Market one day a week with a sign that said, "Free Advice". People would come and ask us questions about their lives and we'd offer them a piece of fruit like a strawberry and we'd ponder their questions and give our advice. We had phone books with us and would give different agency names and numbers if we thought they needed professional help but we would always have two different opinions about what people should do. I think about resurrecting that but calling it "Second Opinion". Who doesn't want a second opinion about a decision that you are trying to make?

The reality is that there are no decisions to make. Echart Tolle says, "There is nothing to decide." What he means by that is that all things will work out in their own way and the answers will reveal themselves when it is time.

So if you are struggling with a decision and don't know what to do...try the Oracle. Or email me if you'd like a second opinion. Or better yet, don't decide anything. Wait until you hear the answer from God. That is the best decision of all.

So much love,
All the way from over here,

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday ,Sunday, part II

The snow has changed to freezing rain. I've had three cups of coffee and am still at Cafe Ladro in Fremont. I parked several blocks away and can't bring myself to take the urban hike to the car to get back to Anne's place to gather my things to move over to Lisa's place to live with the dogs, so I decided to post again. I've not posted enough this week anyway.

I had my astrology chart read this week, hoping for insight and direction but getting more of the same lesson that all have given me: you know what to do Linda, so just do it. What a lame message. Robert did an aspect on my chart that I wasn't expecting but really enjoyed which was a reading on my karmic path. he said it was my karmic destiny to be in relationship with someone and that if I truly didn't want to reincarnate anymore I needed to take on a partner; that the time was right for me and partnership and that it was time I did it.

Well, talk about a kick in the pants! Shit! I had really gotten used to the idea of a solo existence and personally like the idea of it but he said I had way too much happening in my Venus and that men couldn't help but be attracted to me. Yikes! Oh shit Robert! Stop it! So then he said that I was stopping all of it. I was stopping the flow and chi and that I continued to attract alcoholic men because I was trying to get my father's attention.

I hadn't told him anything about my childhood, father, mother, sisters...nada. I guess it's not hard to figure out that I am a child of an alcoholic, but I wasn't really ready to hear that info so directly...not that he was wrong, mind you. It's been a challenge for me to meet people (I like to lie to myself and here's another one...) because I don't want to do it in a bar. I've gotten a handle on my drinking and don't want another drunk.

Poor Karen and Sculley. He's getting out of Rehab today and she's put all this time and energy in helping him since he's been hospitalized and then into rehab. God only knows what's gonna happen now that he's out and has to live the life outside a structured environment. Plus she's put all this energy into him, helping him in hopes of what! I ask her, what is she looking for? Why is she putting herself in this situation so fast after the whole Dr. Dave incident? She don't know.

Robert went on to tell me that I have so much watery influences from my Pisces moon and I guess Neptune is in conjunction with my sun...whatever that means...he says it explains why I have such low self-confidence and that Neptune is the all embracing influence on universal love; the removal of the self to be of service to others and it is in deep contradiction to my Leo sun.

Yada yada yada yada

It's sleeting now.

Robert went onto say that I was an artist and it was time to embrace that...not a manager. Not a business leader (I get that now! No more nervous breakdowns needed to learn that lesson!) and that it was time to come into my own.

Talk about pressure!

He also didn't believe me when I said I hadn't been in relationship with anyone for years. Oh sure, I've had my psychic relationships with Jay but he was going through his divorce and all and couldn't imagine me in his suburban life with his awesome kitchen. Too bad. I really, really like Jay. Dearest Jay...I hope you are well and healing nicely.

So someone new, Robert says. He says my issues with commitment are all fear based. What a fucker. So on target. So accurate. So affordable. Oh, I didn't mention that he was quite easy on the eyes. Thank you Anne Rainbow Shepard for the referral.

What now? More ads online? More doing what? How do people meet people? Dance classes? Gyms? Coffee shops?

Oh lord, I don't know. It is so intimidating and I feel really out of practice. Plus there are a lot of men that I am not interested in at all. I mean I got to have the intellectual/creative/music connection not to mention the physical attraction and chemistry. Is it possible?

I was talking with my sister Lisa about this. She's been married twice and really wants to be in partnership too. She does all those things that people say to do...she takes dance lessons and is quite the dancer now, she is open and friendly; has a willingness to be connected and she hasn't found anyone yet either. I told her how the physical thing is important to me and she challenged me on my ideals asking me, "Couldn't you meet someone who you aren't initially attracted to and as you get to know each other learn to be attracted to him?" I said "no." I think that is bullshit. I think both people need to have a physical attraction; that the physical is a big part of the intimacy of relationship.

I believe that as we get to know each other deeper, the attraction deepens. I say why limit yourself and why not find someone you are attracted? For me the intellectual attraction has to be strong...and there has to be a lot of laughter too because this world is too full of suffering and if all the Mayan calendars are right then we only have a couple more years anyway, so what the fuck are we waiting for?

What if the Mayan calendar is right and that all life as we know it ends on May 5th, 2012? That is just four years away! Hell, I could finish a degree by then and then what?

You know, thinking about this possibility; the end of the world on May 5th 2012 brings a lot of relief. What if I just focus on that...on those dates and live it up until then? It helps me deal with the IRS audit and all my paperwork faux pas as of late...hmmmm.

Anne, I'm sure you've got a take on this, being a Coast to Coast producer and all. Maybe that is the way...focus on the Mayans. Maybe I should head back into the jungle.
I'm sure Robert would say that was not the right course of action. Salsa lessons is what he suggested. I would, I tell you, but I have such a hard time learning how to follow...and I need a really great pair of shoes to do that kind of dancing. But it would be nice to be moving my hips again.

Okay, I'll consider Salsa lessons again.

Dear God,

Please help me find a really awesome pair of shoes to Salsa in and maybe a class that is on the bus route so I don't have to worry too much about being out late at night in dance halls and may I find what ever I am looking for to get this Karmic wheel moving forward and in the right direction. Thank you for all the lessons as of late and all the wheat-based treats. I especially have loved the beer and bread, but seriously, let's take a break from it all. It's doing nothing for my figure and skin.

And God, sorry about the write-ups and Memos. I know that was a harsh step for me to take but I really felt like I had no choice in the matter, so you know, I did what I did. All's forgiven? I will accept an answer in sunshine.

You know I love ya god and am willing to do whatever you say...

Hey god! The sun just came out! thanks man! Okay...I'll go on my way.
Ashey. Namaste.

So much love,
All the way down in this cup of coffee,

Sunday, Sunday

A tan Prius is parked in front of a fire hydrant outside of Cafe Ladro in Fremont. What does that say about the ecological people of this area? That it is good to drive a hybrid and screw the rest of the world if there is a fire because I will use less carbon to start my engine so I deserve to park here? Yikes! I see what happens to me when I am cold. I get jaded, judgmental, pejorative. Oie Vey!

Yes, god. I hear you. I hear you. I hear you.

It is bitter cold again but the sun poked its lazy head through the ominous clouds so maybe we will be blessed with temperatures above 40 today. I have been suffering from self-absorbed boredom. Anne is much better but still on pain meds and she wants to do the transfer where I give her her car back and she starts to live alone again. This is a good thing and I am glad she is feeling strong enough to do so. I'll be moving over to Lisa's place which is more centrally located than Anne's place which is way out there in nowhere's land. It is nice and quiet, but it is a tiny one room with bathroom...no kitchen, no internet, no TV, no this and that. I told my astrologer that I was living like a Monk and he reminded me that it would be a Nun, but I do feel more like a monk.

Identifying as a Nun means marriage. A nun is married to God. That's what the ceremony is. A monk is a devoted servant of god. That feels right. The idea of a marriage to god means that there could be a divorce. I've witnessed that...people divorcing god. I've felt divorced from God, from feeling devoted to a supreme force that is able to remove my self-imposed suffering and watch what happens. Turning my woes over to god was a favorite pass-time of mine and I've fallen out of grace with that reality.

The reality is that there is no suffering except self-inflicted suffering. Oh sure, there's suffering. Don't get me wrong, but focusing attention onto the suffering and not the joy; the other aspects of life, that the situation or circumstances that surround us are only temporary...that is where wisdom comes in.

Years ago I was a dining room manager for this incredible upscale vegetarian restaurant called Cafe Flora. They're still opened and it was a revolutionary place when it opened back in 1991 where the idea was to offer health insurance to all who worked there, have profit-sharing, vacation pay for servers (unheard of in the industry still!) and provide a strong sense of community by investing in the neighborhood and people. The restaurant was built in a very questionable part of town and it was a converted laundromat that the architects created; one of the first "green" buildings in Seattle. They were forward thinking capturing energy from the hood system and rerouting it to preheat the hot water to use less energy...we had a garden for herbs and flowers. Recycling and composting were a part of our daily routine. It was and still is a beautiful oasis.

The people who were drawn to work there are still connected today. I tell ya, it was a magical project. It was the place where I learned how to change from being a manager and into a collaborative leader. Part of my job there was to write the schedule.

Schedule making for a group of highly independent, forward thinking people who all want the best shifts possible was a terrible thing. I hate scheduling...and I still hate this task. I mean, I believe that a schedule should be made by all looking at the needs and everyone contributing and making adjustments as needed. Unfortunately, that wasn't how all the servers saw it. There were many fights, whining, complaints...you know how servers can get. They are like prima ballerinas all believing that they should be the star of the show.

I wrote two pieces of wisdom on the walls of Cafe Flora that are still there today.


This is very true. Toast does take time. Remember that people when you are making breakfast, start your toast first, then your eggs. I can't stress this enough! When we started to serve Brunch at Cafe Flora timing toast with the breakfast was always a challenge and this was the way that I helped them get through this obstacle. When I see friends from Flora today, at some point in our conversation someone will say with a cocked head, "Toast takes time!" like a little piece of wisdom that this too will pass or don't be so impatient with whatever is bothering you.


The Buddha has a quote that says, "Nothing is permanent" I just expanded on that a bit more to bring it back to today. I mention it now because it has started to snow again. It isn't pretty, let's go skiing snow either. It is freakish April snow in Seattle. It is cold and my coffee addiction is back in full-swing.

People are in huge denial about the weather here too. I know because I have lived in that state of denial too Oh well. Nothing is permanent, especially the weather. Global warming my ass. I say it is global freezing!

I send you warm thoughts and hopes for bright, sunny days again soon.

So much love,
all the way over here...freezing my ass off.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Embracing Mediocrity

“Mediocrity is self-inflicted. Genius is self-bestowed.”

Walter Russell

I have felt completely uninspired and mediocre in my writing as of late and know that it is self-inflicted. There have been many personal issues that have been happening in my immediate life that I have not wanted to share online, especially since installing the hit-counter last week. I am amazed that over 100 people have visited my tiny blog in less than one week and I think I've gotten a bit shy about sharing.

The reality is that I have no clue at what I am doing; what my next step is in life. I've visited shaman, medicine women, acupuncturist, psychotherapist and they all say I am to simply sit and wait. Wait for what? I do not know. Being a woman of action, I find this simply allowing life to unfold to be unnerving.

I am living in Anne's tiny one room in a boarding house, sleeping on the floor on top of two twin bed egg-create foam paddings. My body hurts all the time because my old sciatica nerve has been acting up since I've returned to Seattle and I have been stopping breathing again in my sleep. These are old patterns of mine that I developed as a child that I believe are related to my healing old trauma. What I find most fascinating is witnessing the pain come and go in my back.

It is debilitating at times, sending lightening bolts of pain down my right leg at any time for any reason...getting in and out of the car, standing, sitting, it doesn't really matter. I had a pretty intense session with the psychotherapist this week. She practices Hakomi techniques which is similar to shamanic soul-retrievals. She says I am a natural at it and I feel it working. What is most interesting with this technique is how much better the physical body feels after the session. I noticed that all my back pain left completely following our session for several hours..and then I received a phone call from a friend who told me they were jealous of my life and my back started hurting again.

The Hakomi technique uses breath and supervision to speak with the emotion that is overpowering the body. The idea is that the person has been hijacked by an emotion that is stuck in time and space. It is a way of time-traveling to identify and nurture the old pain that is being triggered by a certain situation. Really incredible stuff too. What I find most interesting is that I have no idea what the emotion is until the therapist starts to ask it questions and we start talking to it. Essentially it is recognizing, acknowledging the emotion and asking it what it needs.

I am a survivor of server trauma of all kinds; physical, sexual, mental, emotional. The memories that have been coming up are old and are from my early childhood. I have many "missing" years from my youth due to the severity of the violence and when this technique is used, it is to heal these old wounds.

Not a roll in the hay to say the least.

But it is important to heal and I am grateful that I have been given this time and space to do so. Naturally, a lot of issues have come up around my sisters since we are all together again for the first time in a very long time.

I am often asked, what it is like having twin sisters. I guess you can say it is good and it is bad. My sisters are mirror image identical twins which means you cannot get more identical than what they are. If you looked into a mirror, one is right handed, the other left. I look at it as them each having their own point of view, however each is on the extreme. Now, as adults, they are still opposites and yet they are able to live together...temporarily at least, while Anne heals from this surgery.

My mother was very overwhelmed when we were growing up. My father was a violent alcoholic and there was much brutality on his part towards her during my early developmental years. That in addition to her being overwhelmed with twin toddlers and my birth left little room for my being. I learned early on how to take care of myself and developed a very strong "inner guidance" or voice. This higher voice taught me a lot and I had an imaginary friend, George, for may years. He stayed with me until I was eight years old when one night I looked up at the night sky, saw the stars and realized that we were apart of something much greater than ourselves.

That was when he left and I started to see tiny particles, like the size of atoms but smaller, and I became fascinated with science. I told mother that I could see atoms if I closed my eyes just so and focused my attention not straight ahead, but peripherally. I could see the reality shift and the illusion of this reality in another dimension. I began writing NASA and asking a lot of questions about flight and science. My mother did not know what to say to this and told me I had an active imagination and none of that was real. Many, many years later I learned to develop this technique to shift into altered states of consciousness. Working with John Two Birds helped me to understand this shifting of realities. Shape-shifting happens in this reality, lucid dreaming, witnessing ghosts, spirits...all that "crazy talk" happens in this space. It is a powerful reality and I do not practice it alone these days. I have not felt in my power enough to insure my personal safety.

So why do I write about it today? Because I have been feeling like I am holding back. It is time to not do that anymore. It is time to embrace this spirit world. The land is so powerful here, I hear it calling and lulling me into deep sleep to be with it privately. How great are the spirits that dwell in these massive trees. The native spirit is strong here and I hear it calling.

Will I study with this new shaman? He says I do not need to and that I already have the answers but if I want his guidance, that he is there for me.

I do not know.

What I really would like, God, is another camper to go into the woods to hear spirit speaking again. It is so loud in the city and I know it will be cold again soon, but I am willing to camp in the wilderness with you to hear you calling me.

So if it is to be and if it is for the highest good for all the people, everywhere, another camper will manifest itself for me to be with the trees. For now, I will settle for my mediocre writings and tell my inner critic to take the day off. I've done enough for one day.

So much love,
All the way from over here,

Preparing for freezing rain

It is cold here. I know I may have mentioned that before...and there is an ounce of hope for warmer days for me. I registered on Housecarerer's.com which is a housesitting website connecting those who are traveling with those who need a place to stay. There is a housesitting gig I've applied to in Hawaii from early June until mid-July and baby, do I need it!

My bones are cold! My body aches in this weather and all my old physical health problems have resurfaced. This is fascinating to watch and I am really trying to stay in observation mode, not get too caught up in the story, you know. While my time in South Florida was one of the most isolating, lonely times I can recall, the weather had its good parts. However I am not called back there. I think there is more work to be done here...as much as I'd like to flee to someplace warm and sunny today, it isn't time.

So I ask you to kindly take a moment to send warm thoughts to me and my freezing companions in Seattle. The people here are so adapted to this weather they walk around in shorts and tank tops on days like today where the predicted high temperature is 53 degrees. That is roasting Baby! Oye vie!

Hawaii...I've never been there...I hear they love my favorite vegetable and candy: Pork. A magical beast with so many delicious flavors trapped inside its crispy skin. The housesitting gig is on the big island near Honolulu...is that Oahu? I hope I get this gig...five weeks would be sweet in the sun...

Okay. Time to sit quietly and visualize. Please join me. I would like to make my way around the planet westward to return to Miami...through Australia. What you think? Take a vacation? It is long over due!

So much love,
All the way from up here...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Wealthy Kid: Skeeter Brown

The Wealthy Kid: Skeeter Brown

I am a proud momma...if you would like to see what my kid is up to, please check out his new and improved blog. While we come from different blood, this kid is mine through and through. We met at Whole Foods Market last year when he was hired and we had an instant connection. We adopted each other and have a loving kinship that goes beyond family.

Please read his blog. He's smart as a whip...just like his momma.

So much love,
All the way from over here...

Well hello Dalai II

Here's the thing about seeing the Dalai Lama that I wasn't expecting...the Christians heckling me and my 44,000 other like-minded people. There were lots of Christians standing around Quest Field and on the sidewalks all around Pioneer Square heckling us as we entered and exited and walked saying things like,"You are going to Hell!" and "Save yourself from these false prophets you don't' have to go to Hell!"

I stood on Occidental Ave wandering past my old place of employment, The Grand Central Bakery. The memories of me arriving at 6 AM on foot from the bus tunnel, walking past city workers power-wash the vomit from the cobblestone streets every morning flooded back to me as I waited to cross the street. A Christian man came up next to me holding a modified broomstick with signs of protest in the shape of a cross, started yelling right in my ear. "You are a heathen and are going to HELL!" he yelled as I waited for the light to turn green. There were cops everywhere ticketing people for jay-walking and I didn't want to risk the $51 fine for walking against the light, so I took a deep breath and asked myself, "What would Jesus do?"

I looked the Christian straight in the eye and said, "I love you and know that Jesus forgives you for your ways." Just then the light turned green and I walked a way from him. I can only meet that kind of hostility with love. What is the point of creating more anger and violence in the world? And why do it in the name of Christ?

I have a problem with someone who says they are Christian and their way of showing Christian love is through violence, anger, hostility, harassment. I love Christ as much as I love the Buddha as I love the baby Krishna, as I love Moses and all the other religious action-figures in the world. Pick one and go to heaven? Pick the wrong one and go to hell? That doesn't seem right.

Especially with all the proof in quantum mechanics and physics that support the notion of multiple levels of reality all in existence at the same time. The number of similar-typed Earth planets is too great to know which one hosts the true Jesus Christ.

Back in the Malibu Stacey Funtime Camper days, I went to the Rainbow Gathering in the Oregon wilderness. The Rainbow Gathering is huge hippy festival that lasts for a couple weeks before and around the fourth of July. On Independence Day everyone drops acid...that's like 30,000 tripping out at the same time! I don't do acid and never wanted to try it, so on the 4th I was the only sober one around. I started a bunch of paranoid conspiracy theories to amuse myself. I told people that the acid they were passing around was distributed by the federal government and that taking it would be a part of a huge government experiment. I didn't think the rumor I started was wrong either....I was listening to a lot of "Coast to Coast AM" at the time and big into government conspiracies.

Everything you need at the Rainbow Gathering is done on barter. No money is allowed. People make camps and feed each other. Having the camper, my pad was really sweet compared to some of the kids I was hanging out with...wild poets. At the time, I was performing a lot around Seattle with Spoken Word. A really great, interesting group of people...

The main area of the Rainbow Gathering was located a couple of miles from our camp. We were in a national forest and there was a huge gathering circle where people ate, visited, traded stuff, had drum circles. Pretty much anything you wanted to do in the woods. It was hot and dry outside and there was a large group of Christian Youth Ministers with big army trucks trucking the Hippies back and forth from various camp areas, fifty at a time like in war movies. Except the soldiers were in tie-dyed shirts, skirts, pants. If you got into the truck you were given a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a lecture on Jesus and how there was time to save your soul and not go to hell.

I had recently completed a five year vow of celibacy and was traveling with my darling companion, Daniel. He was a 21 year old poet/massage therapist/yoga teacher/software guy...and an excellent choice for ending a long bout of celibacy, I must say. I was just 35 at the time. It was at this gathering that I introduced Daniel to his first skirt....I love men in skirts, kilts...you name it...but not like the cross-dressing type...no, more manly. Like Russel Crowe in Gladiator. He wore a sky-blue tee-shirt dress for the first couple hours of the film and it drove me wild. I saw that movie a few times in the theater for just that reason. And a man in a kilt? Forgetabouti!

Note: I applied to do a month-long housesitting gig in Scotland this summer just to see the men in kilts! I am not kidding about this people!

Daniel was/is quite an outspoken young man. He wanted to ride in the truck, so we did and being a Taurus, he went toe-to-toe with the Christians regarding the eternal damnation lecture. He really believed that he could change their minds. I possess too much wisdom for this type of encounter. Daniel was really frustrated that they weren't listening to his point and kept bringing that back to the youth ministers attention. The good part of that experience was that his conversation kept the ministers off my back, and somehow Daniel got what he needed from the conversation.

Exiting Quest Field and having the same type of zealot lecture me about my spiritual ways reminded me that none of it matters. It does not matter who/what/where you believe. It matters how you behave. What matters is what you give in the world. If you give love, you receive love. If you give anger, you receive anger.

I'll keep that message alive with me today as I go visit the shaman.

So much love,
All the way from over here....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Well hello Dalai

It is hard for me to be in Seattle and not playing a piano...especially on such gloomy, rainy cold days, like today.

I've booked a mini-trip to Ft. Lauderdale at the end of the month to get all these pesky documents to all these government agencies who are threatening me...the Florida DMV is threatening me with a suspended license because I didn't turn in the tags when my old car was repossessed; the IRS is threatening me with a twenty-eight thousand dollar debt and fine because of errors I made when filing my 2006 income taxes; the department of social services are threatening me with cutting off my financial support because I did not send them my 2007 income tax returns.

Document this. Document that. Paperwork. Pesky painstaking paperwork. Prove you were where you said you were when you said you were there doing what you did when you did it. This and that this and that this and that...

And I know, all I have is this moment, right now. Right here.

Seriously, with all this gloomy, cold weather...I can see why I returned to school so many times. Seattle is a nice place to stay inside. Inside libraries, inside bookstores, inside movie theaters, inside government buildings, inside shopping malls. I find myself wanting to see movies again, just to have something to do inside. I haven't had the desire to go see a movie since the Simpson's Movie came out last summer. Now I remember why everyone is such an avid reader. Reading is a distraction to pass the time before you can be outside.

Once the sun does shine in Seattle, there is enormous pressure to be outside doing something, even if you don't want to! That was one of the things I learned how to do in Florida: how to be inside when it was nice outside and not feel guilty. That was a hard lesson for me too, but I am glad I learned it.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much. It was beautiful out on Saturday when the Dalai Lama was here...sunny, 75 degrees, blue skies, puffy white clouds occasionally passing above. It was surreal experience...seeing the Dalai Lama in a football stadium that holds 55 thousand people.

It would have been a bit more fun if the Seeds of Change foundation promoted the event like a Mariner's game handing out Dalai Lama bobble headed dolls and autographed prayer flags to the first 2000 people through the gates. Maybe if they had done that, there wouldn't had been 10,000 empty seats.

Quest Field is built on top of the old Kingdome and I hadn't been there since it was erected. We went through extensive bag searches and pat-downs to get into the doors, but no one collected the tickets so once inside, people pretty much went where their seats said they were supposed to be. I did too, for a little while. My seat was considered "prime"seating for most native Satellites; it was in the shade. I was impressed with my self-discipline sitting in the shade while watching the sun embracing the thousands of people who faced west. I took it for as long as I could, at least an hour, before having to rise and run into the sun. People were running from their seats complaining about the "heat". I laughed to myself. No humidity and a gentle breeze and the people were complaining. No, I'm not in the right geographical position...but it is okay for today.

The strangest thing about being in this venue for such a holy event besides watching people flock in and out of their seats holding trays of nachos, garlic fries, Ivar's clam chowder, was listening to the Dalai Lama over the stadium PA system. It was odd hearing him speak and the echo of his voice without him saying things like, "There's the pitch" and "Ball one" or "This holy event is brought to you today by the fine people at Lake City Motors. When you need a new truck or van, come to Lake City Motors. We're there for you! Now hitting for the Dalai Lama is Edgar Martinez coming out of retirement just for this holy event. Stick around for the Seventh Inning boat races. Go yellow Boat!"

I have too many memories on this land. It is hard to imprint new ones with such energy surrounding the seats.

The Dalai Lama was on Jumbo Vision in his sacred red chair. He took off his Rolex for the occasion. If you've ever seen him in photographs with dignitaries and political leaders, he is usually wearing a Rolex. I am sure he got it as a gift when given the Nobel Peace Prize or when visiting Switzerland. I don't think he has any credit cards or pockets for that matter in his robes. I haven't seen any pictures of him shopping at Macy's or Nordstrom's. But I guess he could have gotten it online at www.PropertyRoom.com. That's where I got my awesome Swiss watch. And I didn't pay the $1500 retail price either...I got it for a fraction of the cost. I bet the Dalai Lama is a smart shopper too.

What was his message? Compassion. The Dalai Lama didn't realize until just recently that children were mistreated on this planet. That idea is so far removed from what he was raised with; it is only within the last 10 years or so that he's understood that there are crimes against children everywhere. His message focused on keeping the children strong and planting seeds of compassion for the future.

A nice message.

He also suggested it was time that women take over....that we become the leaders of the world. That men had done enough and it was time for the women to take the driver's seat. Naturally, I am paraphrasing, but that was the essence of his message.

A nice thought. Is the world ready for that though? No. But he planted the seed. After my experience in leadership, I don't know if I want to be leading the women or anyone else anymore...especially if I have to report to a man. Seems wrong somehow. But if I reported to the Dalai Lama? Well, I might do it again.

So much love,
All the way from over here...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Memo To God II

Date: April 11, 2008
To: God
From: Universal Life Force and Energies
Subject: Seattle Weather

Studies have shown that disciplinary action can be quite motivating, and clearly God and your subsidiaries are responding well. We would like to acknowledge the progress that you and your team are making since our memo dated April 8, 2008.

Experts agree that the steady stream of sunlight has been much appreciated by not only your direct report, Linda S. Silberman, but to the millions of inhabitants of the Metro-Seattle Area. There have been reports of "jaunty" steps from Fremont to Capitol Hill to Bellvue to Edmonds. There have even been reports that the Tacoma Aroma has subsided due to sunlight! While these reports are not yet confirmed, we take this as an excellent sign.

We are concerned, however, about the recent retaliation practices from one of your many direct reports (the IRS) towards your supervisor, Linda S. Silberman. Was it necessary for you to issue a third IRS audit towards your supervisor? Was this the best timing for this? Are you aware of the repercussions following your actions?

As always, we will not micro-manage you, but keep in mind that we are watching. While this memo is not disciplinary action, you are on notice.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Memo to God

Date: April 08, 2008
To: God, known creator of Earth and its inhabitants
From: Universal Force and Life Energies
Subject: Weather in Seattle, WA, United States, Planet Earth

Through extensive market research and analysis, it has been discovered that human beings in the Pacific Northwest find fleece and rain gear sexually attracting for mating. This element in conjunction with caffeinated hot beverages has proved lucrative for not just you and your team but for the thousands and thousands of child labors in Singapore joyfully working to keep up with the demand. The economic success locally for retailers and manufacturers has been impressive.

However, it has been brought to management's attention that there are complaints regarding the recent incorporation of Arctic Winds to the local weather, particularly in greater Seattle proper. R&D located the cause for this resent plunge in temperature to you and your team. We are holding you directly responsible for this unacceptable condition.

Past communication with you through our human being and your immediate supervisor, Linda Silberman, have fallen on deaf ears. We considered this a result to your creating deaf people in your image, but realize that you hear prayer in all forms be they verbal, visual, written or fist-shaking.

Consequences for your actions have been increased napping, increased tolerance for mediocre movies and increased food consumption. Independently, these are not terrible but combined they can prove fatal to the ever fragile state of well-being. Our market research team, located at the Center of The Universe in Fremont Washington, suggests not only disciplinary action but a new approach to increase the general feeling of depression that blankets the Emerald City. We expect you and your team to saturate this area with "Abundant Sunshine".

Our research suggests that an increased level of sunshine directly impacts the spirit. While the use of light boxes has helped some, it is no substitute for the earths primary light source, the sun. We also notice that as this memo is being written, you have broken through the clouds to provide "sunshine". Do not be mistaken. This action will not be considered "abundant" until there are at least three (3 or III) consecutive days of sunshine in a row. We expect temperatures to rise as a result. Failure to do so will be considered insubordination and further disciplinary action will result up to and including termination.

Consider this memo as a the first of your written warnings.

If you need assistance in executing this plan, please do not hesitate to call. Our goal is to keep everyone happy.

Well, Hello Dalai

I'm the luckiest girl on the planet. My acupuncturist, Dr. Jordan, gave me a ticket to see the Dalai Lama this Saturday at Quest Field. It will be an intimate gathering with me and 39,999 of my closest friends. I've not seen him in person before and I think it will be an awesome experience. You gotta respect him, walking around in a dress and just pushing compassion everywhere. That's my goal. To wear dresses again...in red and orange.

It will be a nice break for me too. I've been working my tail off for the family doing the cooking, shopping, laundry, walking the dogs, etc...for three weeks straight now without a break in addition to doing my own healing work so a lot has been going on for me. For someone who hasn't worked in a conventional sense since November, I really need a vacation.

I've applied for a housesitting gig in Kauai, HI for seven weeks. Golly, wouldn't that be nice? Warmth again? I am so cold all the time here! It has been unseasonably cold since I arrived. I have been living in either North Carolina or Florida since 2001 and have developed a taste for warm weather in those two places. I suppose this is a good reminder of what weather elsewhere is like and where do I really want to be. If I seriously consider relocating to NYC, I have to be prepared for not only the cold, rainy, damp weather but the hot humid summers that are without coastal winds.

See how easy it is to think about the future? It is not a good thing for me...but a vacation....that would be a good thing.

Dear Sweet God,

Thanks for the ticket to see the Dalai Lama this weekend! That is awesome! And Amma is coming soon too! So I'll get my mother and father spiritual teachers in the same location in no time at all!

Thanks for Dr. Jordan. He is so kind and has a good touch with the needles. I can see how much he really loves to heal the people and he is at his best when the community room is full of us needled patients all poked up relaxing in the multicolored lazy boy recliners. I take back my hatred for the lazy boy, God. I can see that there is a good use now for this hideous recliner.

God, can you share with me the lesson behind this terrible weather? What is up with that? It makes my body ache everywhere and brings dreariness to those everywhere. I know you created everything, but did you need a boost to your R.E.I. stock? I can see that Eddie Bauer and you are thick as thieves and that's great and all, but seriously now...Arctic Winds? That seems a bit extreme just to get in some late spring skiing.

I know I'm whining a lot lately, but I'm one of your most favorite children, remember? And I am cold! And when I am cold I am not the best of company unless if I am snowed in a beautiful chalet stocked with all my favorite ingredients and a handsome companion to do this and that with...you know what I mean, god. That kinda of stuff. And snow is a different story to dreary cold drab wet weather.

God, I don't think you've been listening to my requests and I have had to take other action. I hope you understand and forgive me for what I have done. I know that it is for the best interest of everyone and that you and I will be fine...I mean our relationship will be fine. It's just that I have noticed that things need a boost and sometimes I need help.

Anyway, don't worry god. Everything happens for a reason and I am sure we'll be back on track soon.

Amen. Ashey. Namaste.

So much love,
All the way from over here,

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Just Another Saturday Night

Typically, I'm not attracted to men with four hoop piercings in their lower lip, but Bobby was different. The tattoos he sported on each wrist were Tibetan characters. LOVE on the left wrist and COMPASSION on the right. He said he did that on purpose; the compassion on the right, because if he were ever in a situation where he had to hit someone, he would naturally use his right hand. He was right-handed. "And if I had to hit someone" he said, "I would remember to use compassion instead."

That was when I decided to order a second beer and see what else this guy had to say. I had been watching the final four half-heartily when Bobby came in and sat down next to me. He looked like a typical Seattle-goth-punk-rocker: Black straight hair, faded plain black sweatshirt, plain black tee shirt, black jeans, black converse tennis shoes. I could tell was different somehow. Maybe it was his freshly shaved face and perfect skin. There was an inner glow to Bobby that I could see through his hard, dark exterior. He was noticing the reading material in front of me.

I had a compilation book of the best headlines and stories from the Weekly World News open to an article about bible prophecies having just finished reading about the secret marriage between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein complete with pictures of them on their honeymoon, Hobie Cating in the sun in Kauai. They looked so happy together. I had no idea what excellent shape they both were in! I guess they had a lot of time to work-out and they clearly missed vacationing on the ocean waves. I am happy for them.

Bobby cocked his head towards my reading material and asked me a couple of questions. "Do I believed in the stories from the Bible? Were you raised as a Christian?"

Golly...this is gonna be an interesting night, I thought to myself.

"Yes and no." I said. "I was fortunate to have been raised by a woman who did not want me to be raised as a Roman Catholic, as she was, so she took my sisters and me through many, many religions....most of them Christian." I said and went on, "I consider this to be luck because at the age of 11 Mom got us into meditation, Transcendental Meditation...like the Beatles were doing so I learned at an early age about other worlds, how enlightenment and religion were not the same thing. We spent a lot of our time on weekend retreats and Mom always was frustrated because she wasn't levitating yet. That was her goal, to levitate....not enlightenment, but to fly around the house checking on me and my sisters....to see what we were up to, I guess. After the TM practice was integrated into my daily life, I started studying other religions on my own, without her...so I ventured off into Judaism and the Brethren (a radical branching off from the radical Amish community) Hinduism, naturally because of the TM, and about 14 or 15 other religions before the age of 17."

"So for stories of the Bible?" I stop, take a quick sip of my Manny's Indian Pale Ale (IPA's are my current favorite beers...smooth, sweet, hoppy...God Bless the Northwest Beers!) I smile to my attentive handsome bartender and nod in appreciation of the fresh brew, his recommendation, and finish answering Bobby's question.

"I've read the first chapter, Genesis. I love the creation stories, especially since all the religions agree pretty much, on how the universe is created. You know the Native Americans believe that there was another first wife before Eve named Lilith, and that Eve was the second wife. After the creation story, the bible gets so violent! Cain killed Abel. There are so many stories about violence and brothers fighting and all of this and that. Then comes the flood and most world religions believe there was a huge flood, and god decides to start over but only with Noah? And soon enough enough people are born and fighting again. Then that whole situation between Aaron and Moses?" I take another swig and continue. "So sad! I mean how can the bible inspire anyone?"

I look Bobby squarely in his twinkling slate gray eyes and he is smiling and nodding. He is encouraging as he says, "And? Go on."

God help the man who's pick-up line to me is "Have you read the bible!"

"Well, the whole Jesus story. Where's the truth there? What is the real story between Mary Magdalene and Jesus? Wouldn't it have been considered a sin for someone like Jesus to not have taken a wife by the age of 30 back in that day and time? And wasn't he considered a zealot and terrorists among his community? What about John the Baptist? Wasn't he a religious freak performing crazy ceremony out in the desert? What the fuck is that story really about?"

Bobby is hanging on my every word, so I wrap-up my long-winded answer with the book of Revelations. I say, "I really love that last part of the Bible where all the colorful ponies show up doing all this and that spreading terror in the world. Gosh, what a happy ending! So much to look forward to!"

"Yeah, it's quite an ending!" Bobby agrees and goes on saying, "Well if it weren't for my Christian upbringing, I wouldn't be the well-balanced, good person I am today."

"What are your spiritual beliefs today?" I ask.

"I follow the teachings of the Dali Lama. He was asked if he always had been the way he is and if he ever had any bad thoughts, he said he might have once killed a mosquito. Can you imagine? Just a mosquito?" he shakes his head in disbelief. "What's that gotta feel like, if that is your only regret?"

"Well, you have to remember that he was raised in a very protected environment from a very early age meditating and in studies to be the man he is today. That influencer from being a toddler has got to make an impression." I say. "We are born with a blank slate and learn how to hate and pass judgment."

Gothboy is a Buddhist. Cool.

He supports himself as a foreman for a construction company and admits to being a terrible carpenter and having no real talent at all to speak of except being able to figure out what people are good at and putting them at the right job. He is hoping to tour this summer with Warped Tour for two months which is a Punk Rock music festival that tours around the nation.

Go Gothboy. Follow your dream. Tour and live on the road. I remember how much I loved living on the road and hope to do that again soon.

Bobby asks me if I've studied the Book of Mormon. I tell him how I got through about the first hundred pages or so but had a hard time with the how they ranked women on the same level as cattle and how anyone who wasn't white wouldn't be allowed into the kingdom of heaven.

"Oh wait." I said. "I'm getting the Koran and the Book of Mormon confused." It could have been the second IPA.

""I like the way the Mormons believe that there are many gods and that there is this god watching this sector of the universe....this planet. It reminds me of the movie Contact. You seen it?" he asks me.

I nod and say, "Its one of my favorite movies. What part specifically does that remind you of?" I ask.

"When Jodi Foster's character and her dad are looking up at the sky and he says if there weren't intelligent life up there it was a waste of space." Gothboy is a philosopher too.

"Oh dear." I say. "Now you are opening up a whole can of worms. this is an area of quantum physics that I could discuss all night long!"

Bobby believes in a white male god. I believe in energetic forces ad that man was just another creation just like hybrid tomatoes...apes and the scientists from another dimension experimenting on making a new species and we needed to be careful...look at cloning and genetic engineering. Look at the leaps we've taken in science in the last one hundred years. Who knows what we are really capable of. Hadn't we already created life in the test tubes?

My handsome bartender checks on me and if I need another beer. Bobby goes to the bathroom and while he is gone, asks me if Bobby is bothering me. Another seat had opened up at the end of the bar if I wanted to finish watching UNC get their asses kicked, I could do it down there. How sweet. I say no and that I'm okay and thank him for the concern. I love it when men get protective. It's such a good feeling. Had the bartender really been listening to our conversation, perhaps he would have offered Bobby the open seat at the end of the bar. We make so many assumptions based only on appearances.

Bobby comes back and I it is time for me to go. Two NW beers are enough for most humans. You have to build up a tolerance to drink anymore than that. I thank Bobby for his company and genuinely appreciate him for our conversation. These are the encounters that I had missed so much from the Northwest.

Thank you god. It was good for my soul.

So much love,
All the way over here...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Elephant Paints Self-Portrait

There is this video on YouTube that shows an elephant painting a self-portrait. It is pretty amazing and it is a bit discouraging too. I've been sumi painting for the last 15 years and can barely paint one lousy flower and this elephant whips out in 8 minutes an incredible self-portrait including him holding a flower! Naturally, he took a couple of tons off his figure, but other than that, the portrait is incredible.

I suggest checking it out:


It is another dreary day in Seattle and not much to do except watch my sister's scar heal, witness the rain, think about drinking beer and watch obscure videos online.

So much love,
All the way from up here...

Pigeon Relocation

Mom is having the old pigeon coop torn down. It is sitting in a pile of rubble in the back yard, so I guess it is already torn down...now it will just be removed. It was falling apart when we moved into the house back in 1975. When we moved there our neighborhood was considered nearly rural Pennsylvania exactly half-way between the capitol city of Harrisburg and the chocolate paradise of Hershey. Farmland, rolling hills, streams, creaks and freshwater ponds were my playground. I embraced this natural wilderness and became an inspired expert explorer.

We didn't get any pigeons with the house, only the coop. The back yard had three levels built into the hillside with stairs descending down to each level. The first level was a pretty normal suburban sized lawn just off the back porch. The second level housed the pigeon coop and had enough room for two tennis courts end to end. The third level was a huge overgrown garden and the descending hillside was a beautifully landscaped rock garden with many, many plants. Today it is "wild" but mom added a huge swing-set, like at a community playground. Solid and sturdy. Now she swings pushing herself with her cane.

If we were the gardening type of people, this would have been an awesome yard. But we'd moved to PA from the inner city of Decatur Illinois, soybean capitol of the world. The elementary school I'd gone to was 90% African-American. Coming from this urban setting, I was fascinated with nature but had no idea what to do with it. Take the bus downtown...that was something I could figure out at 10...plant a tree? Forget about it!

Anne, Lisa and I were discussing our mother and her latest shenanigans and now the old pigeon coop will finally be torn down. Part of mother's inspiration to get the house in order was my offer to take care of her estate when she died. Lisa took care of Dad's affairs when he died and it is only fair that someone else take care of mother.

Here's the plan I proposed to mom. She dies, I notify the family. We move forward with her burial plans. After the wake I go to the gas station, pick up 1 gallon of gas and 1 box of matches. I take one last walk through the house cleansing it with the gasoline and set it all ablaze as I say farewell to Harrisburg PA.

She decided that Lisa would be the executor of the will...not that there'll be anything to inherit. My offer still stands, so Lisa...if you don't want the responsibility, I'll take care of everything. I've tucked $5 US Dollars away in a special envelope just in case.

So much love,
All the way from over here...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A sad day for Toddlers

Toddlers can no longer get married even with their parent's consent in Arkansas.

"I say you, I cain't marry you baby!"

What's happening to this world? Babies can't get married now? What other kinds of sanctions will the government put on us? First babies can't get married then what? What will become of our nation if we don't encourage the babies of this world to marry and procreate? Marriage is the foundation for the meaning of life!

If I had been married off as a toddler it is unlikely that I would fine myself here today sitting idle in some random coffee shop in Seattle writing drivel about this and that...but no...my mother had to be "progressive" and instead of getting me married at age 3, she insisted on piano lessons.

Look where that got me. Sure I can type 120 words a minute but I got no husband. And isn't that what life is all about? Getting married and having children?

That bitch!

I didn't get register at Toys-R-Us or BabyGap or Potterybarn Kids. Had I been married as a toddler I could have avioded that whole awkward teen-age dating scene. What an injustice! I hate how the federal government thinks they know what is best for the children of this world!

And what about the babies that are engaged right now? What will happen to them? Who has the terrible job of telling them that the June wedding is off? Do they even know when June is?

I'm too angry to even comprehend how outrageous this is! I say Fuck the Government! Let the babies get married! If they can play nicely together as babies that is really all it takes to have a good relationship, am I right? You gotta get along! Share your milk and cookies...that's what it takes to have a good relationship and the sooner you figure that out baby, the better off everyone else will be!

What will the government tell me next? That Ketchup isn't a vegetable?

So much love,
All the way from over here...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spring is here...

I was running some errands near Phinney Ridge yesterday and when I got into the car, there were two bugs doing it on the windshield...end to end. My first thought was, "Golly, that's an interesting position. Get it on sister!" I watched for a minute or two, fascinated at the live-action on the Nissan window. "Well, that's nice that someone's getting laid." I said to myself.

Not wanting to disturb the procreation of the insect community, I waited another moment or two and they didn't stop. I waited another minute...then another. "Geeze! These guys are really getting it on!" I thought while watching the thorax move in time with the abdomen. Watching the clock now, I noticed that 4 minutes had passed since I arrived in the car. They were having a good time! I needed to get going and to my sister's house and walk the dogs, so I started up the car thinking that the bugs would fly away or at the very least, disengage with the force of the vehicle, but no! They kept at it! I slowly started to drive up the hill on Phinney Ridge towards Lisa's place.

Birds do it.
Bees do it.
Even educated fleas do it.

My inner scientist took over. At what speed would the bugs disengage their sexual encounter and fly off the windshield? I decided to not go directly to my sister's house choosing a longer route which included higher speed limits. I accelerated to 20 MPH and the bugs kept at it.

"Good work insects!" I said out loud. I was cheering for them! As I drove on, I wondered if they were even aware of the their surroundings. Did it feel different for them doing it on a parked car vs. a moving vehicle? I know I've done it in a parked car and it wasn't very comfortable, but it was an experiment back in the day and we didn't get to try it with the car moving.

Did these bugs live in Phinney Ridge and would they notice that we'd move towards the zoo? Do they have any family at the zoo? Did these bugs have a community? I know the ones that live in hives do and ants do too, but these bugs I couldn't identify. They looked a little like lightning bugs, winged creatures, but different. Plus there aren't any lightning bugs out here in the Northwest. That was one of the things I always missed about the East coast. I love lightning bugs...like watching a star-filled sky in the trees.

I increased my speed. 35 MPH. Bugs still going at it, right in the center of the driver's side windshield! Man oh man! Did they have a bug's version of Viagra? Or is there Viagra in the water that these bugs have drunk from giving them extra endurance? I know a lot of men who could learn a few things from this little ambitious bug! The female looked over her shoulder at the male with that all too familiar look of, "Are you done yet?" And he looked back at her, raised his wings, adjusting his tiny legs and with his footing strong, kept the motion in the ocean going.

10 minutes had passed now since I started timing this lovemaking. We were nearly in Ballard now. A cruel thought came to me to turn on the windshield wipers and put them both out of my misery. I was feeling jealous of these bugs and the action! What the fuck?!? How sad, I thought and I quickly banished that thought from my mind. I stop at the light and decide to turn north on 8th Ave and head towards 85th street. I needed to buy a juicer and I could spare a few more minutes before the puppies really needed to be walked.

4 minutes later and I am pulling into the Fred Meyer in Greenwood. I park and the male bug looks up at me, relieved that the car has stopped and with renewed enthusiasm continues pounding his lady. "This is crazy!" I think. 14 minutes has passed since I got into the car and now the bugs were several miles away from our starting point.

I start talking out loud to the bugs through the windshield. "Do you guys intend to do it all day long? I've got places to go and things to do and now you are in Greenwood. Do you even care where we are?" I ask them. They don't reply.

17 minutes has passed and the male stops his humping. The female detaches and flies away. I tell the male I'd give it a cigarette but I don't smoke anymore and he looks at me, twitches his antennae and flies away.

Where he got the power to fly after that action, I don't know. Most the men I know can't even get out of bed to fetch a glass of water after 20 minutes of coitus. Imagine if they had to fly following having sex on top of a moving bus.

I say a loving prayer for the bugs hoping that they now had great stories to tell their friends and continued on with my shopping. The encounter I took as a good omen that in this world of Seattle-liberal-perfection, that there is space for a couple of bugs to get it on...maybe there is hope for me too.

So much love,
All the way from over here...