Thursday, January 31, 2008

Too hard to post

my sister anne is undergoing the first of many medical procedures today and i can't be there for her.

i am sitting in rooms full of furnishings, possessions needing to make decisions on my future and it is impossible for me to see past the next word i can i predict the future? keep things? throw them away? give them away? so many decisions...

and the less i do the more answers i receive

the less i struggle, the more energy i have

the less i plan, the clearer the steps

Today many prayers are needed for my sister...and that is what i will do, sit in prayer for my sister and pray for a miracle.

If you have a moment, please join me in loving thoughts towards both my sisters, Lisa and Anne... for the twin bond is something so great, we nontwins will never know...

please pray

Monday, January 28, 2008

Nothing to Say

I watched Natural Born Killers yesterday in honor of a friend. We've had a falling out and that is her favorite movie. I bought it for her as a holiday gift, but we have not connected and I figured if we were really going to be super-best-friends, then I need to know why this was her favorite movie.

So I watched it.

God, Woody Harrelson is so sexy! Oh baby! Damn! I love the male form!

Man. Men covered in blood...facing their demons. Good stuff.

What the hell have I been doing?

Same thing...but with no blood.

Looking the devil in the eye and holding his gaze...thus my experiences with Whole Foods...facing the smiling demon in the eye fearlessly, offering my soul if it will help heal the pains of mankind.

That's what women do for men.

Our roles have been all turned around since we have left the garden of eden. Men have forgotten how to commune together to get in touch with their demons and learn how to control them rather than having the demons controlling mankind.

Some men have learned how to control their demons, like Big Eddie. He see what triggers his demon, alcohol, and he has learned how to control it. He responds with integrity when facing his demons...oh sure, he'll still whack a guy for you, but it is with different intention. He is controlling the whacking, not the whacking controlling him.

Men learned these behaviors in the olden days when they needed to discover their own strength and this was done in ceremony and circle work. Men had community. Men went into the world on vision quests to see how they were to hunt, but they were trained and given skills to succeed. Hunting in a city requires fewer men thus, mankind has stunted its evolution. Men do not know where to learn how to become men so they look for that strength in the reflections of the womans eyes.

Through the eyes of a woman, a man can see their own strength. Through others eyes, they become stronger by witnessing the reflection. The witnessing process allows a man to feel stronger and to own that strength. It requires willingness on a man's part to face the demon that he knows is alive inside of him and growing.

The secret is that women must witness the man first since he cannot see. I must view men differently first. By changing my approach, the men in my life respond differently. This safety that is created between the union of man and woman creates healing space.

I see what they are doing...these fearless men. Facing your demons requires great strength, courage. I see your work. I see your love. I see your beauty. I see your truth. Thank you for allowing me to witness your growth. From this space you know what to do.

Time to stop allowing the demon to control you.

Time to control the demon.

And if you are not ready for that...just get an old convertible and meet me in the desert. But leave your guns at home. I got something more powerful for you baby! No blood shed allowed on my watch.

Thank you Jan for your favorite movie. It has taught me so much. I love and adore you so. It is my wish that we swim naked in warm waters very soon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oh so quiet....

Big Eddie is out of town and the Starbucks vibe is in restful recovery. Charles Mingus taunts me with polytonal chords set to rhythmic counter-time and I am in a blissful state of being. This is the time when god can be heard.

No grinding of beans.

No steaming of milk.

No frapping of cino.

Simply bliss.

Deep breath in and I see beauty.

Deep breath out and I am beauty.

Deep breath in and I see love.

Deep breath out and I am love.

Ashey. Namaste.

There are no men here today and so I thought I'd share some of my latest thoughts and what I'm looking at in my world.

Completion, endings, finishing of tasks, ending of cycles, releasing of old beliefs.

Society preaches to finish what you start. Wisdom says stay in touch with God and trust what you need to know will appear.

Both ideals are great but they do not always work hand-in-hand and it takes much consciousness to combine both philosophies successfully. The blending of allowing the ending to unfold naturally and gracefully rather than pushing the ending to happen...because is there really an ending at all? In relationships for example, when two spirits are connected, intertwined for all of eternity, how long is 20 years? Is earth time equal to spiritual time?


It is the cycle of behavior that must be changed and to do so you must have awareness of what the behavior is to know what to change...that's why you need to rise above the obvious to see what is happening from a different must witness the ideal or see what is happening to you from a higher awareness. In Native American teachings it would be identified with the Hawk. The teachings say that Hawk is calling from a higher awareness or consciousness. To rise above the drama of the present situation and listen to the higher-self. It is when you are able to witness what you are who you are, what you are doing and watch the choices you are drawn to rather than the choices you want to make.

It takes silence to rise to this level. You must stop the chatter of daily life. When the chatter arises, I watch where my natural choices are and I feel to see if they still fit. Does that red shirt still look good on me? Do I really like the way my coffee tastes or does it need more cream? Less milk? Sugar? I am looking at each choice in each moment and bringing consciousness to daily life. I ask myself questions, seeing if the response feels true and then accepting my new likes and dislikes. I stay in observations and consciously feel my responses. It is from making these choices from a higher perspective that evolution can happen.

This practice is like yoga for the brain. I breathe into my brain to expand its possibilities. I push my old beliefs on all subjects to see what the response feels like in my body. By expanding the ideas and beliefs, breathing deeply into the old visions and pushing it to a higher level is like cleaning out a closet. It is clearing space. For example, in my closet I owned 12 black ribbed tank tops. Do I really need 12 black ribbed tank tops?


Why did I have so many then?

My forgetting that I owned many black ribbed tank tops while I glided through the store, mindlessly adding another black tank top to the shopping cart added to my recent bankruptcy. My mindlessly wandering around Target contributed to the bankruptcy $6.49 each time it was thoughtlessly tossed the comforting basket. And it wasn't just the black tank tops...I had a stack of red tank tops, and white ones, and purple and yellow ones and I had so many tank tops!. I repeated this lesson over and over until I owed thousands of dollars of debt.

Shopping without awareness. Such a shame. So wasteful. So humiliating. Embarrassing really. Then sitting in those emotions, seeing where they feel in my body and then finally releasing them so I am able to have compassion, love, acceptance of the wants and feelings of this body until it reaches a point where the cycle is now broken.

And that cycle is now broken.

There is a shift. Exhilarating shift. Good stuff.

We are creatures of habit and routine. Looking at my daily habits has taught me how to end the 'self-sabotaging' cycle which naturally creates a more abundance and love in the present moment.

All the beautiful alcoholics know gotta hit the lowest point before you can rise from the Phoenix. Alcoholics pay attention to the messages the human body sends. It is obvious and easy to witness. For instance, the physical signs of alcoholism are: vomiting, black-outs, hang-overs, mysterious bruises, fights, restraining orders, bourbon at breakfast, and on and on and on. Drama is a clue. So much drama in alcoholism. I've behaved in the same way as an alcoholic in relationships. Watching your own behavior like it were on a video screen is really helpful to see who you are and to witness the emotions. It is hard because the self-criticism can be quite distracting. That is why it is important to stay fully present.

Allowing the space for change is what is critical. With so many distractions around, it is easy to want to only play with the shiny objects. Drama is the shiny object in daily life. Daily life without consciousness puts us in a constant state of shock or numbness. Either we are feeling everything...overwhelmed. Or we are feeling nothing...numb.

Do not fall prey to to shiny objects that are being waved in front of your eyes. TV is a great shiny distraction. Sometimes it is perfect, but do you need to watch 4 hours of it everyday? Some days, yes! Most days, No! Look at the distractions you are creating that are preventing the pathway to healing.

Natural healing.

So that is what I've been doing when I am not with Big Eddie and the Men. This process has allowed me to have more creative time which is another way for me to move the energy. For instance, this morning after my meditation, I sat with the idea of completion and my relationship to the Harry Potter books.

I am finally finishing the last book in the series and have found myself not very interested in what happens at the end of this book. I am interested in what happens after the book. And I leave you today with some possible book titles for the future Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter and the Filthy Whore

Harry Potter and the Angry Pimp

Harry Potter and the Itchy Crotch

Harry Potter and the Denied Insurance Claim

Harry Potter and the Awkward Phone Call

Harry Potter and the Debilitating Shame

Harry Potter and the Fifth of Vodka

Well, you can see where this is going. It doesn't look so good for Harry Potter. It is hard to follow-up childhood success with more success.

To my soul, my hope for the next chapter in Harry Potter's life be called:

Harry Potter in the Land of Bliss.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One Falls Away and Another one Appears

Jerome's taken a fall. He's not here for coffee this morning. He hasn't answered his phone in 18 hours and one of the guys saw his van outside of Pat's Place, a local sports bar. He's off the wagon and has reasons for all of his actions. He is newly sponsored by Ed and has been in the program a few weeks. Word on the street is that Jerome's got a lot of stuff happening and he met a new woman.

"Let me tell ya..." Ed says, "Only a drunk can justify everything that they're doing to convince themselves that it's okay to keep drinking. Especially if they've already started recovery."

The silent men nod in agreement. Ed continues, "It's the human condition...justification. And let me tell you, any little thing can be the reason to start drinking again. Your girlfriend breaks up with you, you meet a new girl, you got a new car, you lose a car, it makes no difference. Win or lose causes the same reason to drink. At some point you come back to the program or you die. End of story."

The somber mood stays in the space as silent men reflect. Jerome's fall could be any one of them..not answering phone calls, avoiding the guys of the program, not showing up for is the life-saving beverage in the AA community.

"It is what it is and we watch others and continue on our road to sobriety." Ed concludes. The men agree and thank god they made it in for coffee today.

"Hey, who's dat guy? I know him. I seen him." Ed asks the group. A young, thin tattooed guy with ear piece dangling orders coffee at the counter.

"Aye, YO!" Ed yells the international Italian words for, 'Excuse me, Sir!'

The skinny guy points at his chest and sleepily says, "Who me?"

Ed says, "Yeah you. I know you. Come over here and sit down. Where you going?" The young man does as he's told and introduces himself to the group.

"I'm Dave." he says quietly and stands and shakes everyone's hand in the group. I sit behind them and he looks over at me. I look up from my writing and nod and smile hello. And just like that, a new member joins the group.

"We're here everyday so come join us for coffee if you want. They open at 5:30." Ed informs the newbie and he nods knowing that he's found a safe place to go when insomnia hits at 3 AM. Knowing that Starbucks opens in another hour or so will help the time pass more quickly.

"So it's my birthday today." Ed announces to the group and the newbie. "Hey Linda, you know it's my birthday today?"

"Happy Birthday Ed!" I say. "You don't look a day over 42!"

"Fuck you Linda!" The guys are laughing and so is Ed. "Okay, okay. It's official. You're officially in the group now Linda!"

Whew....tough initiation! Thank you God for my sharp wit!

Chandler gets up to leave and stops by my table to hold my hand, as he does every day, for a few moments before he heads off to the meeting.

"Chandler, I'm leaving." I quietly tell him. "I'm going to miss you terribly but it is urgent that I leave and help my sister heal in Seattle. In a couple weeks I won't be here for coffee everyday."

His eyes fill with tears and I can see how deeply he feels.

"I will miss your beauty every morning and I will think of you everyday." he says. "You'll be alright." he adds with a squeeze to my hands. He sees that I'm afraid. My eyes fill with tears too and time stops as we hold hands and feel the resistance to our separation and acceptance of what is.

"I wanted you to be the first to know, Chandler." I say holding back tear drops. "I hope we have coffee together before I leave. You can always sit at my table if you like."

He nods and we hold hands in silence for a little while longer.

"I'll see you tomorrow." he says, opens the door and leaves without saying goodbye to the group.

Dearest God,

Thank you for all the alcoholics everywhere. These men have been a saving grace in my life and I appreciate their stories, love and acceptance. May they stay true to their sober paths...give them courage to face their demons and look them in the eye. May they see that all they fear is looking into their own souls. Dearest healing energies, thank you for Big Eddie and all his healing work. Teachers come in all forms Spirit and I accept the teachings of humility, vulnerability and perseverance with unwavering faith. Also God, thank you for the attention from a huge source of testosterone. It was long overdue! Thank you thank you thank you! Also, thanks for all the coffee and delicious sandwiches. Oh, and dearest God, please protect Big Eddie as he flies up to visit Uncle Jack in the big house....keep him warm and safe. And keep the Feds off his ass, unless if they've really got something big to pin on him, like murder, but he ain't the type God...he's the brains, not the brawn and he's doing such great work on the outside...let's keep him here. So much love for you God and all the helpful spirits everywhere. Thank you thank you thank you. Ashey. Namaste.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Matters of the Heart

"My wife says to me, 'Here's the good and bad news, at the same time.' " Ed says to the group. They hang on his every word waiting for him to continue.

"She says, 'At least your penis is bigger than all your friends.' " and he laughs like I've never heard laughter before.

We're all in stitches hearing the ultimate compliment and insult that a woman can give a man.

Wiping his eyes, Eddie says, "Seriously, if it were my wife for real, she'd tell me that after fucking all you losers that my dick is the smallest! No Shit!" The room stays laughing because he's right. I've met Big Eddie's bride and she is one tough rocker-chick from Philadelphia. You don't mess with dat!

Big Ed turns 43 tomorrow. He behaves as if he's 65. The baristas and I are surprised at his youth. He doesn't look old but his approach to life is very wise. Wisdom does not require age but it is easier to receive with gray hair.

Says he's headed up to upstate New York to visit a relative in prison. He's gotta do that for another 8 years or so until Uncle Jack is out.

"Don't cry for Uncle Jack." he says, "He's the only prisoner who gets 2 weeks vacation every year."

He says its because of Uncle Jack that he's able to have such a good life in Florida. In the deal Jack cut, Ed had to leave the North East so he came to Florida and got his shit together. I can tell he misses the NY area...Ed lights up talking about the North East and it is clear he is very much looking forward to this trip. It is so obvious how deeply this man loves. He joyfully embraces his family obligations.

Wheeling and dealing are in his blood and Eddie is good at it. He's into construction now. His henchmen are all clean and sober...they have filthy mouths but they're sober.

And they are so close to the edge....

"I heard ________ got shot the other night in some parking lot. You hear 'bout that?" Mr. Mark said. He's Big Ed's right hand in the group. He'll make sure everyone shows up for coffee while Ed's out of town.

"I don't know nothing 'bout it. I don't know nothing 'bout no shootings." says Big Eddie. "End of story."

I believe you Eddie.

"I saw my buddy on COPS this weekend." says Gino.

"I miss seeing my relatives on TV." Ed replies smiling, remembering his past. "It's fun to see what they're up to and what's going on."

"Yeah, this buddy of mine is still drunk but his wife was beating him up and it was her they was arresting!" Gino tells.

"Did he have any clothes on?" Dave the landscaper asks. A good question too since it is fun to watch cops with a bottle of tequila and have a shot every time you see a naked guy. A good way to get drunk!

"Barely, but he did have his shorts on...still drunk. Oh well. He was fun." Gino remembers. I think he really had a blast with that guy until he shacked up with that bitch.

"Hey, listen up. I'm headed to my grandmother's on Thursday and I'm gonna be fat and happy for a while." Ed says to the group.

"You'll freeze your nuts off!" Dave the landscaper says.

"Fuck you. She got a wood burning stove. I'm gonna be fat and happy." Ed declares.

I feel you Ed. I know that excited feeling about returning home and seeing friends and family. And knowing that you'll be warm even if it is cold and rainy outside.

I'm headed to Seattle for a long while. Seattle is where my family and home are and I'm going there to help my sister's heart heal. Only a woman committed would choose to leave the beautiful warm year-long summer of South Florida for the cold, gray, overcast skies Seattle in February...and it feels great to do so. There is much healing for me in Seattle for my heart too.

Anne is getting a valve's a big operation and there is hope that we can choose a different approach which will not require the surgeon to split open her chest, separate her rib cage, extract her heart, stop it keeping her alive with a lung/heart machine, cut the heart open, replace the faulty valve, put it all back and send her on her way.

Like so many Americans, she has no health insurance, and we need to be extra strong to figure out how to get this taken care of...and I'm willing to do anything. Anything it takes to help her heart, I will do...

I haven't told Big Eddie and the guys yet that I'm leaving for good. I'll return but to Miami, not Ft. Lauderdale. I've gotten quite attached to all my alcoholics and I have to plan to tell them on a morning when I don't put on any makeup. There will be no way for me to tell him without tears and Big Eddie doesn't like to see women with smeared make-up.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Naked Guy and HUD

Naked Guy has posted his ad again and quite frankly, I really wanted to live there so I filed a complaint with HUD stating that I was discriminated against since I would not watch his one-balled video and that this man is luring people over to see him naked using the guise of needing a housesitter.

Below is his link to his ad:

I'm really sick of stupid men abusing their power. But I need help!

Dearest God,

I know, it seems like we haven't spoken publicly in a while, but you know how Eddie and the guys can distract me. Thanks for all the loving energy and lessons about trust. It's all working out really well. Today I am asking for a little more guidance and trust God. See, I need to relocate before I am evicted and the kitties need a place to stay where they are comfortable and that means they need AC in the summer. It's for them God, my needs are few. So please direct my actions on the right path. Oh, and thanks for sending me an awesome Federal Judge! That was a really a nice touch! My lawyer said that he's never seen a Federal Judge offer to review a civil case! And her letting me keep my piano...well, that was a gift I never expected! Beyond my wildest dreams! Great work God! Thank you thank you thank you!!! Please, in all your infinite wisdom, guide me to my right new home be it in Pompano Beach or Miami...where ever God, I'm open. May it be a place where I can continue to heal and do the work I am supposed to do. So much love and appreciation. Ashey. Nameste.

Time to wait and see. Let's see what happens. Wouldn't it be funny if Naked Guy was court ordered to make me his housesitter? That would be a hoot!

God speed HUD.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bad Hair Day

"What the fuck is up with your hair?" Big Ed asks me at 6:01 AM.

"I know. I almost didn't make it here today Ed. I figured getting here was more important than my hair. I go to court today." I say. "Today's the day I find out when the repo man comes and takes all my stuff."

In fact it's a miracle I made it in for coffee today at all. I slept fitfully anticipating todays court appearance fearing and welcoming it at the same time. I opened my eyes at 5:36 AM threw on dirty clothes, pulled my hair back and dashed out the door.

"Well, good luck with that." He dully wishes me and turns back to the group. "Where the fuck is Teddy?"

"Doing a drive-by I bet." Gino says.

"What's a drive-by?" Chandler asks.

"A fuckin drive-by is when you got a restraining order on you from your ex-wife and you keep driving by her house to see what she's up to." Gino explains.

"I bet the fucker slept in his car." Ed says nodding his head knowingly.

"Call him. That fuck ain't gonna relapse on us." Three of the guys pull out their cell phones and it is a race to see who can reach him.

"Got him." says Connecticut Nick holding up his cell phone. "Where the fuck are you? Everybody's asking." Nick listens shaking his head and rolling his eyes to the group then hangs up.

"He overslept. He'll meet us at the meeting." Nick reports.

"Like fuck he will." says Ed. "Who's going to his house?"

Mark gets up and leaves and Ed's wife arrives. The baristas have her drink ready and hand it to her right as she enters the store. Ed pays for it when he gets here so she can get her drink and go.

"Where's Baby Huey?" she asks leaning over kissing her husband and sits on his lap in the overstuffed brown chair. The men laugh. This is a new nickname Terry.

"Baby Huey. I like it! Mark went to get him." Ed replies.

"Okay fellas, all you gotta do is give me a hundred bucks each and then you're set for the cruise in March." Ed's bride says. "We leave from Ft. Lauderdale on Friday and we'll return late on Sunday so you'll still be able to get up and have coffee on Monday. It's a deal and it will be fun." She finishes her speech, gets up, leans over and kisses her husband again and leaves Starbucks.

"Okay. Who's not going?" Big Ed asks. The men shake their heads. They're all going.

Connecticut Nick says he's not going and all eyes fall onto him.

"What you mean you ain't going?" Ed asks.

"I ain't going. That's all." says Nick defiantly.

"What. This about the cat?" Ed asks. The men laugh and start shouting out taunting reasons why Nick won't join them on their cruise.

"You gonna miss yer mommy?"
"What, you don't wanna sleep with Baby Huey?"
"Ya know it ain't so bad being with a guy."

Nick shakes his head and waves the taunts from his peers away with his hands as if he were swatting at flies.

Mark returns and reports, "He's getting ready. He ain't drunk. He'll be at the meeting."

"Oh man, I pity the guy who relapses on my watch!" Ed says and the men laugh.

It's true. I see how tightly Ed keeps watch on his flock. And part of me wishes that I were one of his sheep keeping a protective eye over me, watching the road that is unfolding ahead of me and instructing me on each step. How lucky these men are to have a shepherd to keep them on the path to recovery.

So many of Big Ed's characteristics remind me of my father. Dad was big in AA. He was big where ever he was at 6'5" and well over 400 lbs, he was a gentle giant once he got sober. Dad met his AA buddies every morning for coffee and breakfast at a little Greek place in Newport Richey before the first meeting of the day. His group came from a similar background; regular guys working to keep it together taking it day by day. Dad sponsored most of them too. And if his breakfast group hadn't driven over to see where he was that first and only morning when he missed breakfast, his body would not have been found for weeks.

This community behavior makes me look at my independent nature. Witnessing their interactions challenges my old beliefs. Sure, the testosterone levels are high but I learn so much from these guys and what I want to bring to my life.

Keep up the good work Ed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just sit here for a minute

Connecticut Nick doesn't look right. He sits down in the brown velvet overstuffed chair, stands up, moves to a hard cafe chair, stands up, moves back to the living room chair.

"What the fuck you doing?" Big Ed asks.

"Nothing. Nothing." Nick says shaking his head and waving Ed's questions away.

Gino continues with his story about Boston Mike and him going from strip club to Starbucks back to strip club and all the women they saw.

"...I swear to you, there were 4oo girls working in this joint and I'm sitting there and gotta be 2 girls for every man and I turn my head and there's this navel looking at me...right in the eye. I look up and I see the biggest fuckin woman I ever saw. She's gotta be 7 feet tall, wearing heals like that!" he raises his hand with fore finger and thumb fully extended. "I swear to you I saw God!"

"A big woman! Oh man. Nothing like it!" affirms Terry.

"That Boston Mike, man, he knows where to go." Terry picks up the story. "One time, me and Boston Mike were in NY and I swear to you they got shit going on all the fuckin time. One meeting ends and then there's a meditation and another one begins."

"I was talking about fuckin women and strip clubs you asshole, not fuckin meetings!" Gino says and the men agree. Poor Terry.

Ed's attention isn't focused on the group but on Connecticut Nick.

The men laugh and get ready to leave for the morning meeting. Big Ed stays seated and says to Nick, "Where you going?" Ed's sponsored a lot of guys and knows when one of them is in trouble.

"I was gonna swing by the house and...I dunno where then..." Nick words drift off.

"Just sit here a minute." Ed says.

The men leave shouting goodbyes to the women working and the room settles down. Ed speaks softly to Nick, "Just sit here, ain't nothing gonna happen, we're just gonna sit."

Nick sits back down in the soft chair across from Big Ed and they are quiet for a few moments.

"Why the fuck did that guy call me a woman? I ain't even got no hair for fuck's sake! Why call me a woman?" Nick says his face pained by what happened. Being called a woman hit some old pain deep inside and it rattled him all the way down to his fragile soul.

"I tell ya it's fuckin easy. You just gotta stop talking about your fuckin cat! And you gotta stop answering the phone every time yer Mom calls." Ed advises.

"Yeah, yeah..." Nick listens to the advice, eyes squeezed shut. "I need a fuckin' woman is what I need."

"You coming to the meeting today Linda?" Ed looks up and yells over to me.

"Not today Ed." I say.

"I tried to find you a woman Nick, but she ain't coming to the meeting. Now get up. Time for us to go." Ed says and they rise and leave waving goodbye to me as they hit the door.

Ed knows the struggle, the pain of the moments when your worst fears, insecurities take control of your actions. Another person's words can only hurt when they are confirming your worst fears. The courage it takes to sit in the pain and feel each second of it, allowing it to be, is what recovery is all about.

Connecticut Nick is in good hands. He'll make it through the next hour without a drink. Ed will call him several times throughout the day to check on him and I know Nick will make it through another day, one moment at a time.

That is the message for me today: Just sit here for a minute in all my pain and allow it to simply be.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Money Talks

"A hundred bucks says you can't sit there and keep yer fuckin mouth shut for one hour!" Big Ed holds a fresh hundred dollar bill up for the room to see he means business.

"I'm in for fifty!" says Connecticut Nick.

"FUCK ALL YOU FUCKS" Terry yells and storms out of Starbucks.

Laughter hits his back as he exits. Keri, the twenty-something store manager, approaches the group as we're all laughing. In her nicest way she says, "Ed, is there some way we can keep the F-bombs until after the sun rises? The language upsets the customers and it's a little loud."

"Please forgive me." he says to Keri in his softest tone.

"Linda, I'm sorry. Did I offend you?" Big Ed asks me as Keri stands in the center of the room. I am the customer she is referring to.

"All's forgiven Ed." I say.

He predicts to the men, "Watch. Watch this guy...he'll be right back."

"I'll sit here quietly for an hour for hundred bucks Ed." Chandler offers.

"I know you can fuckin sit for an hour without speaking Chandler! Why the fuck do you think I never offered it to you, you fuck!" Ed replies. Then he yells. "Sorry Keri!"

Moments later Terry returns to the group and sits off in the distance quietly. We all wait to see if he'll be able to take the money. I'm pulling for Terry. I want him to meet the challenge. Sitting in stillness has been a lesson that I've been learning while I pack my few things that I'll be taking with me on my move.

Echart Tolle speaks about the renunciation of all thought and the ability to be completely still in the present moment. This idea intrigues me. In AA they talk about taking one day at a time and that thought used to scare me. How can I possibly only deal with just one day? What about what is in front of me? How will I be able to survive? What will happen to me? What will happen if I don't plan? What will happen if I simply allow life to unfold?

Echart Tolle reminds me that there is perfect beauty in each moment and that the path to enlightenment is the release of all thought in exchange for accepting what is and that all the answers that you need will be provided in the exact moment that you require them.

Ultimately it is about trust. Trusting the divine. Trusting your intuition. Trusting your ability to make the right choice at the right moment. Trust that the right words appear. Trust that you will fine. Trust that you will heal. Trust trust trust.

If Terry were able to trust that he could sit quietly for an hour he would be $100 richer.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Big Ed and the Men II

I am a basketball woman. I love the fast-paced action, the offensive innovation, the defensive strategies, the skill required to dribble and run at the same time, the anticipation of making a shot before time runs out in the key, the challenge of making a free throw with 40,000 eyes watching...the pressure....the excitement! Yes, I am a woman of basketball.

I don't know nothing about no football.

Football attracts a different kind of man than basketball. In 1995, researchers from Georgia Statue University conducted a study to see if testosterone levels were affected in men while they watched football. The study found that testosterone levels increased 25% in the men who's team won and the loosing teams' fans had their testosterone levels decrease by the same amount. The feelings of loss, apathy and depression also afflicted the men of the loosing team while increased sexual activity and energy was associated with the men of the winning team. This study used the international sport of football to qualify their findings. I cannot find any supporting evidence that the type of game played effects the effects. I wonder if competitive chess creates the same testosterone levels as in American Football.

Big Ed enters Starbucks on fire. Over the weekend the living room area has been rearranged from its regular "L" shape to the new "conversation zones".

"What the fuck happened here?" he yells while handing white envelopes to Boston Mike, Joey the Whale and Connecticut Nick.

The men watch Ed carefully wondering if this is an example of atonement, one of the steps in the program.

"Go ahead and open 'em fellas, you're with friends" Ed tells the three softly. The Barista hands him his usual quad espresso with two Splendas.

"What you get?" he asks Boston Mike.

Mike reads from his card, "My condolences to you, in your time of sorrow. May your heart be comforted today and tomorrow. Signed Eli Manning.”

He's the NY Giants quarterback.

Joey the Whale reads, "Gentle thoughts during these difficult days…May you endure these days of loss and reach a place of understanding. From Tom Coughlin."

He's the NY Giants Head Coach.

The room is full of sarcastic sympathy interjected with boisterous laughter.

Connecticut Nick reads his card, “At times like these it is hard to find the words to say how sorry we are, our thoughts are with you. Signed The Entire NY Giants Defense.”

Ed puts his arm around Connecticut Nick's shoulder and says gently, "The team really feels bad for what they did to you Buddy but they gotta do what they gotta do. Now give me my fifty fuckin' bucks."

Big Ed says, "Man you shoulda seen me last night. I was a fuckin idiot during that fuckin game. Screaming my ass off...I shit my pants during that game. I was throwing shit across the room. The dog's all freaked out and I'm throwing shit at the television."

Joey the Whale interrupts in disbelief, "Fuckin Butterscotch? On the fuckin morphine patches? You scaring your own dog? That sick fuckin drugged out dog?"

"Yeah! That fuckin doped up Motherfuckin dog! I tell ya I was a fuckin lunatic! My wife's yelling at me from the other room to shut the fuck up. She can't fuckin be with me 'cuz I'm such a fuckin idiot! Listen up fellas," Ed leans in and a dose of wisdom is about to pour out of his mouth.

“I teach all my little sponsores a lesson in humility. For the love of God, we gotta be humble for all those fuckin losers out there!” he says. "Wide open they ran! Did you see the other dude on the fly pattern? 15 yards away. I was a fuckin basket case." he was pointing and laughing, arms raised high remembering touch downs.

The men relive moments from the game.

Chandler clears his throat and proposes to the group,"Don't you think there is something to be said for blind faith and team loyalty up until the end?" He has a strong philosophical side that longs to be understood.

"Team loyalty? Team loyalty my ass. Jerry Jones ain't got no loyalty to this team. Who you think he gonna can? He's gotta can someone's ass. Who you think it's gonna be?" Ed and the men drift off into the Dallas Cowboy team structure and delightful speculation about who will be fired following this game. The coach? No, it was a beautiful game plan. The defensive line? No, they played a good game.

"It's all that fuckin' Tony Romo!" exclaims Boston Mike.

"When it was fuckin over," Ed says, "I had ta lay down and wait for my fuckin heart come back to a regular beat! The wife was brings back the remotes 'cuz she hides them now. I broke too many of them and now I gotta watch the game in the bed room ‘cuz there’s too much shit to break in the living room. And I start thinking about those fuckin morphine patches!"

The men agree and understand the need for morphine when a team looses. Ed's wife arrives at Starbucks, gets her coffee and sits on his lap.

"He's a fuckin idiot." She says calmly to the group. Kisses him again and leaves to go do her workout at the gym behind the coffee shop.

"Yeah yeah yeah...I'm a fuckin idiot...I know, I know" he says to her swatting her butt as she walks past him.

God speed Tony Romo.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Big Ed and the Men

"YER LATE!" Big Ed yells as I open the door to Starbucks.

Shit! I think. It's 6:05 AM. I usually get there about 5:45. The group gathers by 6 AM and if you are tardy you get stuck with sitting in a hard chair and declaring your reason for being late to the group.

"You're right. I'm sorry." I say.

"Well? What's up? Why you late?" Big Ed asks in his thick New York accent. He and the crew are transplants from New Jersey and NYC. They meet every morning for coffee before the first AA meeting of the day. Ed's been sober a long time and has sponsored most of the guys in the group.

"I had a date." I say. "He kept me out past 8 o'clock so I slept a little late."

"WHOA WHOA WHOA! WAIT A MINUTE!" Big Ed addresses the coffee-drinking men sitting in overstuffed chairs.

"Ya hear that fellas? Sister had a date and didn't have him meet us? What the fuck is up with that? You go out with some BOZO and we don't get to meet him, then you come late for coffee? I ain't got a good feeling 'bout this." Big Ed continues in playful rage.

I hang my head in mock shame and say, "I tried Ed. I tried to get him here early but he wouldn't do it. He said it was too early for him."

"See? I'm right fellas! I don't got a good feeling." Ed confirms.

I nod in agreement. He might be right.

"Well? How'd it go? We're waiting." he presses.

"I think it went well. It was good." I say. "He told me within the first half-hour that he was married, he has a girlfriend and he mentioned someone else he's seeing." I said joyfully.

"I'm gonna take him out!"
"You believe this guy?"
"She needs a real man that's what she needs."
"That aint no real man!"

This news sets a flurry of outrage from Big Ed and the Men. I've seen them do this many times. When Big Ed and the Men get fired up on a topic, they can yammer on for a while so I seize the opportunity to put my things down and order my coffee and laugh with the Starbucks Baristas listening to them.

"What?!" says Quiet Nick? "Who was dis guy?"

"Ya gotta be kidding me!" says Chandler.

"You believe this guy? Want me to take him out?" says Boston Mike.

"You need a real man, sister. Get over here and talk to me. I'll set you up. Don't you worry 'bout nothing." says Larry the Harley mechanic.

The room is a buzz. I straighten my skirt as I seat myself and fish out my laptop.

"That's it!" Big Ed declares and silence fills the room.

"No more dating for you without these guys going through us sister. You got it?" Big Ed says with sincerity.

"I got it Ed. Thank you." I say.

Got it? I love it!

Testosterone. How I've missed you!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Man vs. Insect

My neighbor, Cameron, came over for a visit yesterday and I told him all about the Naked Guy. Cam is in his late 20's, returning to school for a fresh start following a serious car accident and we've been hanging out for a couple of months. He's a good guy and has recently sworn off of women. I'm sure he'll do this time and time again until he finds his true love...hang in there Cam!

I was glad to tell Cam the story since I hadn't had a male point of view on this event since it happened. I wanted the male perspective. Maybe it will help me understand these differences between these two species: male and female.

"Really?" Cameron interjected when I told him about the possibility of the housesitting gig.

"Oh, that's great!" Said Cam when I told him that Naked Guy texted me he was attracted to me. He's so supportive.

"Boy, that guy is smart!" He said, when I'd finished the tale.

"Ya think? Really?" I said. "He seems kind of stupid to me since he didn't succeed."

"But maybe he did succeed...I mean he had you sucked in..." Cam said.

Yes, Naked Guy did have me hooked. At least for a few hours. But was he smarter than me? No. Don't get me wrong, it was a good trap...the luring in of a woman in need. This is not uncommon behavior for males to display in the guise of matting. For instance, in the bird kingdom, some species of male birds build incredible elaborate nests and then do a little dance standing outside of it to attract the females into the nest to mate.

Naked Guy has a good lure to get females into his nest.

He had me at his house. His lure to get me inside worked, but he didn't do a little dance. Oh how I wished Naked Guy had done a little dance. Wouldn't that have been cute? Maybe I would have mated with him if he had bobbed his head up and down pushing his akimbo arms outward squawking like a chicken. Yes, I sure I'd have mated with him if he'd done a little dance.

And I did admire Naked Guy's courage. He had ball, that's for sure!

Some might disagree with me saying that his behavior was that of a predator. I can understand that point of view. But I didn't feel preyed upon. I didn't feel threatened. At no time did I feel that I was in danger. No violence happened to me because of the interaction. If he was a predator he wasn't a very good one (obviously!) If I felt anything, it was sorry for Naked Guy and his little naked story.

No, there had to be another reason. For peace of mind, I needed something deeper in my understanding of the male species.

I believe that all my experiences are packed full of lessons. I understand the obvious one: Don't believe everything people tell you, especially when housesitting gigs are at stake. I also understand the female bitterness that can be triggered from experiences like this...the deception, false pretenses, lying. But bitterness and hostility towards all men following this type of experience seems unfair. Not all men are predators or liars.

No, there is a bigger lesson here for me. I just couldn't see it. For clarity I returned to what works for me: prayer.

"Oh Dearest God," I prayed with sincerity, "Please help me to understand this experience and why the one-balled man has been brought into my life. Direct me towards the meaning of this experience. As you know God, I am willing to accept the lesson and walk the right path and if you provide an answer, I am willing to share my lessons with the world. You know the deal God. Time for you to live up to your end. Don't make me threaten you because I'll do it! Deliver the message and nobody gets hurt. I patiently await your guidance and I remain faithfully yours, Ashey. Namaste."

Note: God and I have a very special relationship and sometimes I need to get tough with the supreme energy to receive the messages I require. I recommend developing some kind of dialogue with a supreme energy outside of yourself. It is a way for me to receive insight and messages. And yes, sometimes I have to threaten my God but we have an agreement and this is what works for us.

I breathe deeply following the prayer and wait for insight.


"Come on God!" I think. "Let's get on with it before my cappuccino gets cold!"


"Crickets?" I think. Hmmmmmm.

Did you know that there are over 350,000 different types of species of beetles on our planet? One quarter of all the insect population, globally, are beetles. They have been on earth since the dawn of time and are as old as cockroaches and dinosaurs.

Charles Darwin said, "It seems that a taste for collecting beetles [information] is some indication of future success in life."

Here's the information I've collected about beetles:

In the early 1800's it was discovered that there are 3 species of male beetles that started to evolve with only one testicle. Scientist cannot understand why this evolutionary practice happened but there has been no decline in the birthrate nor evolution of these three species.

Beetles, like humans, are created in perfect symmetry i.e.: 2 eyes, 2 wings, equal numbered legs, 2 ovaries in the females, 2 testicles in the males.

In the Beetle Kingdom (and same with the human species) two testicles are not required for procreation.

Generally speaking, many beetles create only one generation yearly. In the insect world, this is slow evolution based on our concept of time and the average lifespan of insects.

When mating, the male beetles will fight off other male beetles to the death to have the right to mate with the strongest female.

So here's how it works with the burrowing beetles: The male finds the carcass. While it is decaying he fights off all other males until they die. After killing off the competition, the strongest male finds the strongest female beetle (who has also killed off all the competition) and together they mate for hours underneath the decaying carcass. When finished the eggs are laid and together they cover the decomposing corpse with antibacterial and anti-fungal secretions to preserve the much needed food source for their soon to be born larvae. They have anywhere between 2 and 1000 larvae and they decide what kind of savings plan they need to put the babies through Harvard.

Sounds like a Venture Capitalist to me.

That is about all I can get from this experience today. Oh, my thoughts about sexual fantasies are peaked and I promise to write about that soon. And as a teaser, let me leave you today with a picture of a man that I decided to not call:

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Welcome to Linda Land

Welcome to my new blog. I am a woman transforming from a worker into a writer. I write honest, narrative non-fiction based on my life and observations.

Please read and post comments as you see fit. I welcome all thoughts and perspectives.

If I write about you and you don't like it let me know and I'll change your name.

Thanks and let's see what happens!

Much love,