Monday, March 31, 2008

Everybody Squint

The sun is shining. The people of Seattle are squinting and sneezing as they enter this unfamiliar world of blue skies with puffy white clouds. The pasty white people of Seattle still wear double layered fleece...fleece turtlenecks with fleece jumpers over them, coats on inside...still freezing.

I had dinner with old friends last night and it was as if I had just stepped out to pick-up a bottle of wine for our dinner and we resumed our conversation right where we'd left off seven years ago. Thank you god. That was exactly what my soul needed. Naturally they are proponents of me returning to Seattle permanently reminding me how well I connect with the land and of the powerful healing work to be done here and my role with the community. They moved here from San Diego and still struggle with the Northwest weather but have started vacationing in Costa Rica.

We met back in the day when I was performing in the Spoken Word venues of Seattle, back when the poetry slam was born. I never did the slams because they had judges and I didn't (and still don't) believe that poetry should be judged by anyone. I don't remember exactly how I met Scott, but somehow we both started going to the SPLAB (spoken word lab) in Auburn WA. We started carpooling and he drove a Westphalia twin to the Malibu Stacey Funtime Camper. He and I became fast friends and he kept saying to me, "You gotta meet my wife!" and once I did, she and I became better friends than he and I ever were.

What I love most about Scott and Laura is that they proved to me that men can be married and have women friends. They showed me that a couple can be independent and yet connected...stable, not jealous of other men/women in each other lives. I have no tolerance for jealousy.

When I left Seattle in 2001, they had just founded their yoga studio and now it is in full-blown operations and successful in Fremont. Laura is a yoga master focusing on teacher training and she worked for Deepak Chopra back in the day....before he became all consumed with the all mighty dollar. She has some great stories about working for the man.

Over dinner, I was complaining about the latest past-time, and they laughed at me, saying..."Oh Linda, you used to go out in the camper and sleep in the woods in this kinda weather!" Scott said, "Remember how you used to run off to the Wenatchee Forest to just be with the Cedar trees?"


Well, yes. I do remember. Thank you for the reminder. I also had the camper decked out with a feather bed, angora blankets, and fleece and wool everything. I was prepared for the cold weather. I just don't think I'm willing to do that again, at least not today.

We'll see what happens. For now, the sun is shining and I am off to see Dr. Jordan, my acupuncturist. I'm doing these radical treatments to get me back on track...three times a week. I wonder he has any needles that can be inserted to improve my writings...I am uninspired here and quite critical of my work lately.

Let's blame it on the weather.

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

Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's easy to see why Kurt Cobain killed himself

I used to blame Courtney Love for Kurt Cobain's suicide, but after being here a couple weeks in Seattle...I can see why he did it.

I notice that without the sun and even with the light box, that the weather and the social pressures are high standards to live up to. Perhaps I am experiencing culture shock. It is so different from South Florida. I am thankful for that and yet there is an edge to the East Coast that is missing here. There is an honesty in the people and how they express themselves so freely. I am glad about the recycling and that the caring for the environment is happening with such consciousness. I wish that philosophy would spread to the South East, but the energies here are in such opposition from where I've been for the last 3 1/2 years. Yes, I am sure I am experiencing culture shock.

I remember when I first moved to Seattle in 1986, coming from NY and going into a 7-11 to buy a pack of Newport's. I was a menthol smoker back then. It would take me a few more years and a love affair with John Coltrane before I started rolling my own cigarettes. I walked into the convenience store and said, "Newport's. Hard box." And the clerk said, "Well good morning! How are you today?" I looked around me to see who he was talking to and saw it there was no one else there but me and I gingerly replied ala Robert De Niro like 'You talking to me?' and said, "Fine? Why?"

The clerk replied, "Well, you must not be from around here! That's just how we are!"

It took me 2 years to get used to that attitude and it took about 20 minutes of working in Boca Raton, Florida to raise those walls around me again.

Once those walls came down, Seattle really became my home. And once you move away from home, it is hard to go matter if it is beautiful, green, recycling, liberal, coffee soaked, delicious beer paradise.

I talked to Karen about it this morning. I was in a funk and had yet another headache...the same headache that I wake up with everyday. I was uninspired to write and I was delighted when she called.

I asked her, "How did we do it here? How did we not kill ourselves? I remember we were so happy when we lived here. How did that happen with all this horrible weather?"

She said, "We were drunk a lot, remember?"

"Oh yeah!" I said. "That is the secret of living here!"

Karen remembered, "You know, I had really bad self-esteem there too...the beautiful people having perfect, little babies and feeding them all the perfect food, recycling everywhere, perfect jobs, perfection is hard to live up to."

I nodded and watched how my fragile self-esteem had dwindled since my arrival in this beautiful city. This city is packed with energy and old memories too that I wasn't ready to relive.

Thus the need for all the great beer and necessity for excellent coffee. Living by beverages is what it takes to be a survivor in this area. I have had a few beers since I've been back and they are delicious indeed. But the lack of sunshine? It makes it harder to exercise frikking cold!

I have the light box on now. These are boxes that many Seattlelites use to keep depression at bay. They are supposed to simulate natural sunlight and I guess, give you the will to live.

There are a lot of social pressures here in Seattle too, especially to vote for Obama. He is the leading candidate here and there is a lot of support for him here. I am not convinced that he is the best person for the job. I'm not convinced that Hillary is right either, and if it falls into the lap of McCain...god have mercy on all our souls. But mention that you don't support Obama and then you are in a heated conversation and feeling pressured to vote for him. That ain't right. I believe that there is so much support for Obama here because Seattle is so segregated, still, in this day and age, that the white upper class here feels responsible to support Obama as if it takes away the passive-aggressive racism that is rampant in great Seattle.

I notice that there are many Asian women with white men and have yet to see an Asian man with a white woman.

People are not able to walk in public without a 16 ounce cup of coffee. You will be ticketed if you don't have one.

Maybe all I need is a hot sauna and a couple shots of bourbon to get back on track.

Will the sun ever shine again? Pray for me and my pathetic whining. I am so lucky and so fortunate to be alive that this little cold distraction will too pass. I am so grateful that my sisters are both alive and well and that the little dogs that live in this house have stopped barking at me for 20 minutes every time I arrive. I am grateful that I am not called to relocate here. That is the best feeling of all. I know I am done with Seattle and that I am lucky enough to have found an awesome acupuncturist and am doing great healing here...and that this is just a part of my healing.

Thank you god. Thank you thank you thank you for the freezing cold, the pretentious people and the return of my coffee addiction. All thoughts of smoking are gone since I'd have to do it outside and that is inspiration to stay away from all cigarettes. A blessing for sure.

So much love,
Freezing, over here...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fremont Morning

I am at Cafe Vita in Fremont, just down the street from Market Time, near the old place where I used to live above the drum shop of American Music. I can't get on WiFi just yet, so am writing the old fashioned way...pen, paper, scratches, spelling errors. I don't really care about being online today either. I'm taking the day off.

Hip rock stars come in hung-over, smelling like last nights gig, chaotic hair pointing in all directions and in need of strong black coffee and top pot donuts. There are band meetings happening here as the musicians return equipment rented from American Music Rentals next door. Or they are waiting to pick-up equipment for tonights' gig. Extra mike stands, amps, drum kits, chords, lighting equipment, dolly's. You can rent most anything you need here. The baristas look like musicians and finally I get to hear new innovative music. I was afraid that Seattle was trapped in the classic rock/hipster rock era from way back.

Here the tunes are interesting techno-rock-import-jammering in cosmic time. I love it. It feels right. Hundreds of Subaru's wagons fly down Fremont Avenue loaded with dogs, children, sports equipment. People desperately rushing to relax on a cold, overcast Saturday morning. Some stop in leaving the car running while fetching the hot beverages we all need to keep warm.

Across the street is an empty store front. Above is an apartment with bay windows. A black haired man, kelly green sweater, black turtleneck, sits writing at his computer. Occasionally we both look up at the same time. Is he writing about me sitting in the Cafe Vita window? What would he write? Dark haired woman with a laptop at her side, throwing tarot cards dressed in black turtleneck sweater, black skirt, black tights, black socks, black loafers, purple scarf drinking hot coffee writing about nothing in general. I am dressed the same way as when I lived here so many lifetimes ago and playing with jazz trios. It is as if I have been in a time machine and returned only today I feel different.

Eight rings adorn my perfect fingers as I write. My favorite is a large skull and cross-bones with yellow stones studded around the skull's forehead and top of the bones that I wear on my forefinger. It was a gift from the place where I got my latest leather jacket.

More people enter the cafe. A cold gust swoops in as a reminder that summer is a long way away for the people of Seattle. No sunny skies today. No cabana boys employed here. Only blustery winds and strong black coffee.

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

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dr. Spaghetti Sauce

My people are Italian and you'd have thought that growing up in an Italian household that there would be a magical recipe for spaghetti sauce, but we were not the Corloeones! Mom is first generation born in America and my grandmother and great aunts worked for a living...they didn't stay at home cooking all day long serving the men of the family. The women in my family were workers. We still are...I'm listening to "The Busy Woman's Blues" while writing this recipe. It is the way we are in my family...busy busy busy...this and that, that and this, here and there.

Everybody's got different comfort foods and one of mine is this pasta sauce. It doesn't take as long as I describe it in the recipe, but it is a good excuse to relax and take a bath...just like how I make brown rice:

1 cup brown rice
2 1/4 cup water
bring to a boil, turn heat to low. Take a bath. Rice will be ready when you feel relaxed. Simple. Any recipe that I can take a bath is a good recipe.

It is freezing and cold again in Seattle so this recipe is a good way for me to relax and take a bath. Plus as Anne starts getting off of all these drugs, she's super hungry and this is a good thing to have ready to go for those who get really hungry at odd hours of the day.

Anyway, this recipe is inspired by the busy woman's blues.

2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce
2 onions
4 stalks celery
6 cloves garlic smashed and chopped fine
1 pound ground meat...ground turkey or sausage or ground beef...whatever you're in the mood for. I like to mix Italian sausage and ground turkey.
1 28 oz cans crushed or diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 TBS tomato paste
red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 TBS olive oil

Brown meat in a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Remove meat from the pan but leave the oil and brown bits. Add onion and celery and brown for 3-4 minutes over medium high heat. Add your garlic, herbs and tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste with the veggies for a couple of minutes. This adds more flavor to the tomato paste and will make your sauce sweeter and richer. If you like a spicy sauce, add red pepper flakes now.

Return your meat to the pan and saute for another minute or two, just until incorporated. Add your jars of tomato sauce. Add your diced tomatoes. Add about 1/2 cup of water to the jars of sauce and swirl out any remaining tasty parts. Do this for the cans of tomatoes too so you'll be adding about an extra cup or so of water.

Bring to a high simmer and then lower the temperature to medium and let simmer for about 1 hour. Take a bath. This is the bests approach to a good spaghetti while it is cooking, or clean up the kitchen. You know those pesky tomatoes will splatter over your stove and leave little spots everywhere, so you can use this time to tidy too, but I really recommend the bath.

Taste and add salt and pepper. You may not want to add to much salt since there is a lot of sodium in the jarred sauces, so I don't recommend salting until you've reached this stage of the cooking...but if you want to, go ahead. If it is too salty you can always more diced tomatoes. You can add more meat's up to you.

The sauce will taste better after a day or two of resting, but is good the same day. I like to serve it over spaghetti squash. Pasta is great but its nice to have an alternative too.

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

Ham and White Bean Soup

Leftover "Christ Has Risen" spiral ham with bone
1 pound white beans soaked overnight or quick boiled for 1 hour (instructions to follow)
3 32 oz boxes vegetable stock
2-3 onions diced
6-7 stalks of celery diced or sliced thin
1 TBS herbs de Provence
3-4 Bay leaves
2-3 TBS Olive oil

Saute onions and celery on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes. Add the herbs and bay leaves and saute a few minutes longer. Meanwhile, dice up leftover ham and add to the pot once veggies are done. If there is any fat from the ham, throw that in too because it tastes great. Who cares about calories? Add ham meat and brown slightly, add 2 boxes of vegetable stock and the ham bone. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add white beans and third box of stock and continue to simmer additional hour. Salt and pepper to taste. I

I really recommend adding red pepper flakes as an extra punch. Oh, and if you are looking for extra veggies in your life, add a head of Bok Choy sliced thin about 20 minutes before you serve. You'll get the extra veggies you need and you'll add some much needed iron to your life and you will be able to say that you were able to cook with Bok Choy. Very hip ingredient and not many people do it will add to your cool factor.

White beans: rinse and pick out any stones or ones that don't look perfect to you. Don't get super anal or else you won't have any beans left. Just pick out the ones that are imperfect you would pick-through old friends. The ones that don't fit anymore, simply let them go. New beans will be there for you. Once they're rinsed, bring to a boil in about 8 cups of cold water and keep a kettle of hot water on the stove to add as the water boils out. Keep boiling for an hour or so. Here's the secret: Don't salt the beans. They'll get tough. That may be okay if you are having Hell's Angles over for dinner, but for beans in general, salting is a bad idea until you are ready to serve them. The skins don't do well with the extra salt.

Salt is pretty incredible commodity. I think if you aren't investing in gold right now, you may want to consider salt. Without it, life's got no flavor. There are a lot of interesting salts out there too. Let go of Morton and use something more interesting for a change.

Salt of the earth...the people of Seattle are the salt of the earth...unpretentious in so many ways and kind. There is so much kindness here, it is alarming. There is also a lot of soup. It is so frikking cold and miserable outside. I can't really believe that it is nearly April and there is snow to pass the time I make soup. It is good for the soul, helps the body heal and it will keep you warm.

So much love,
All the way from here,

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Before and After

I've been asked by a bunch of people for a picture of me and it really kinda scares me, so I figure I should do it....

So, here's my before picture about 168 pounds ago....

And after...I'm still loosing weight too...

Okay...enough exposure for me for one day.
So much love....
All the way from here,

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dearest God,

Thank you for bringing me back to Seattle, even though she is cold and rainy. Thank you keeping my sister alive. May she heal quickly and keep the emotional damage to a minimum.

God, I know you got a sweet ass, because I do too and I'm made in your image, so I'm assuming that is still true. Thanks for the visit with Richard last night. Boy, he almost has me convinced that I should consider dating men older than know how most of them are so boring and stale, well...I gotta say, you've done a good job with him. I couldn't believe he's 55 now! He looks the same as when I met him at age 43. He's such a good man, god. Thank you for bringing him such an awesome partner and helping him through so much life we all got. And God, don't let him hit his head on too many low ceilings while he is in Japan next week. He's a tall man and may forget to look up. May he enjoy many shrimp treats while there and have a safe flight to and fro. But the ass thing, you think you could find one for him while he's out of the country? He's lived so long without might be nice for him to get one. Just a thought....

You know god, I don't think I've thanked you for every beautiful coffee bean you've brought here to Seattle. I am having the best americano ever at Victrola and let me tell you, I love it! Thank you for the small coffee roasters and free wireless internet everywhere. It is a real blessing!

God, I did want to make a request about the know this freezing rain you've had happening here? No? Oh...I guess you're not a micro-manager, well let me fill you's been fucking freezing and raining, thus the term, freezing rain...for days now. The locals are used to it and perhaps that's why it's still happening. When I mentioned to my barista today that it was fucking freezing outside, he said.."yeah, guess so." That means they are in denial that there is anything wrong with this weather, god. It sure is pretty here but seriously...the weather? Yikes. Thanks for helping me find the awesome new motorcycle jacket in Atlanta. Without it I'd be lost and I have the new painting all worked out....just need for it to be warmer to have it painted.

What is that plant you have blooming today god? You know, the one that keeps one side of my head throbbing and the snot pouring out of my nose uncontrollably? I'm sure it is a beautiful flower or tree, but it's been a long time since I lived with so many blooming plants. You know in Florida we had the palm trees and grasses and all those pretty plants, but oh man god, something is doing a number on my sinuses. Can you help me out with that? Those drugs you got in the stores are all packed with crap that doesn't agree with I ask that you help me find a great alternative today.

And thanks for all the job offers. It's nice to know that somewhere I am considered an asset to a business. It's good for my ego, although I am in no way interested in working in restaurants ever again...but it's nice to be asked....and we both know I am not ready to return to work yet.

Oooohlalalalaa...thank you god for all the eye-candied men. So many to look at...and so metro-sexual. Many, many sexy men in Seattle. Thanks for reminding me that all my parts are up and in working order.

So I really am in gratitude today god even thought things have been super hard and I haven't been posting. Please bless and protect all of us and surround me with an extra layer of white light. I need it...oh, and keep a watchful eye on my perfect black child. He's had some real challenges lately and let's make sure he's got an extra layer too.

Bless us all....Ashey. Namaste.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Christ, I feel like I've been dead for 3 days...

Me too Jesus!

I just woke up from a 15 hour nap. I felt pretty bad for Lisa (Anne's twin and both our sister) because she's been with Anne for so much more of this journey and I just arrived, exhausted. The transition that I've been making for this move cross-country, the whole work thing, my health in addition to Anne's surgery and recovery...well...who wouldn't need a nap after all of that?

I certainly did.

I visited Massage Envy in Northgate, and had an awesome deep tissue massage yesterday afternoon. After my massage all I could do when I got back to the house was say hello and go down for a little nap for 15 hours. Sound asleep. I think I could sleep for another 10 or so hours today too.

It is perfect Seattle napping weather: cold, rainy, damp. The kind of day where you stay in your jammies and watch movies drinking hot tea or cocoa and rest. Since it is Easter and all, Anne and I are watching "The Ninth Gate" a Roman Polanski film. Little Johnny Depp is so just wanna put him in your pocket.

Lisa is headed to church this morning so we've decided to watch the film while she is out. We don't want to offend. Lisa has a great sense of humor too but unleashing the devil on Easter? Well, that takes a certain kind of funny...not for the weak of heart. But Anne swears she's up for it so let's unleash the gates of hell. Just this once.

"Fight Club" is our Christmas movie.

Anne's feeling much better but the pain pills are running low. She'll be out by morning and there's no refill. The doctor told us to use Tylenol, but that seems a little cruel to me. I know people who have gone into the doctor and gotten ton of percocets. What the fuck is up with that? I'm not a pill I've said, my addiction is smoking. So those of you with pill addictions, I could really use some of your expertise on how you get the drugs quickly and cheaply. Remember, we got no insurance.

When we were getting ready to check out of the hospital, I met with Anne and her doctor to reviewed her drug treatment when at home. It took a good 20 minutes to review the 13 prescriptions. I asked about the drug combinations and how they were to be taken etc... Then I took the prescriptions downstairs to the hospital pharmacy and asked about how much it would cost for these two weeks of drugs.

The unfriendly pharmacy clerk did a quick estimate and said, "It'll be about a thousand dollars or so."

I asked, "Can we add it to our hospital tab?", you know, like at ClubMed or when you're staying at the Marriott.

She said, "Oh no. You gotta pay for it now!" she said as if I should have known this information.


I grabbed the prescriptions and went back to the room to find the social worker to help us get these drugs for free. Alas, no social worker was to be found and we paged her several times. But we are very lucky. Anne's attending nurse was kind and attentive and took care of the situation making sure the drug order was sent down with the proper paperwork and she got us our drugs for free.

So today I will trust that the right thing is in motion and we will find more drugs. I'm staying close to Aurora Avenue and there are lots of friendly prostitutes close by. Prostitutes tend to know pimps. Pimps know drug dealers. Drug dealers know where the drugs somehow something will workout.

Wake up Jesus, time to start a new religion!

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

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jesus Gonna Be Here...

Jesus is gonna wake up soon. He likes to rise around dawn on Easter morning. That's tomorrow people. You ready?

Jesus likes marshmallow peeps and jelly beans for breakfast. He was homeless for a real long time and one of his favorite foods was hard boiled eggs so be sure to make them pretty and put them outside somewhere he can find them, maybe away from the dumpster, but in the yard so when he's peeking in your windows checking-up on what you're doing, he can have a protein snack. Jesus studied with Santa Clause and that's why he's such a voyeur. Men. What's up with that...the to watch, I guess.

Once Jesus has had the peeps, jelly beans and hard boiled eggs, Jesus likes to give a big "FUCK YOU JEWS" to his mother, father and former clan by eating a whole spiral don't forget to pick that up either. You can get them anywhere nowadays, but if you can't find ham, he likes bacon too...but only on the side. Don't put the bacon directly in front of him or else he goes into a blind rage. A lot of people don't talk about this side of Jesus...the rage...but when he wakes up, he remembers the whole Judas thing and then Mary his girlfriend runs off with Paul. Anyway, it brings up a lot of old issues for him, so just be aware.

Another thing about Jesus...he's gonna be a bit groggy tomorrow. He might have a hell of a hangover so talk in hushed tones, okay? And for the love of god, give him a glass of wine! He'll need it! And don't ask for too much forgiveness first thing when he gets up. He's gotta get outta town before those pesky Romans find out he's away, so give him what he needs. And if he's looking for a place to lay low for a little while, send him to India to learn how to meditate already! That's the real secret to life!

As a conversation starter tomorrow, you might like to try, "Some party, huh?" or "Dude, you were wacked out of your mind!" Wait until he has a cup of coffee before you tell him about how he was tripping out and then hanging on that cross. He's gonna laugh his ass off!

So get out there and buy those peeps people!

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

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sexy Seattle

I'm into full-figured cities. Seattle has put on a few hundred thousand properties since I moved away from here in 2001 and she is more beautiful than ever. The way she has grown is lovely. The new architecture has a real Frank Lloyd Wright feeling, clean lines, interesting curves, recycled building materials. Usually, I respond with disgust when witnessing urban development but in Seattle I can understand it. I see why everyone wants to live here. Seattle is a strong city, beautiful city. She can take it.

What I love most are the grocery stores. As a classically trained chef, the grocery store is where the culinary creativity lives. In South Florida there are only two choices where to shop: Whole Foods or Publix. And when you have a personal commitment to eating only natural and organic foods, the choice is only Whole Foods. In Seattle there are so many choices and the food is so much more affordable (only by comparison, mind you.) It will be hard to keep me out of all the Co-ops, Trader Joe's, Rainbow Grocery's and many choices! And they all have Komboucha!

Note: I am addicted to Komboucha. I know I said I didn't have any addictions but this one is a really good one. But it is not for the weak gotta be ready to drink down this live cultured raw "tea". It is an acquired taste. It balances out your blood sugars, is packed with B vitamins (keeps you sane!) and has all sorts of excellent healing properties. My favorite part about it is that it aids in digestion and when you love wheat but can't digest's a real life saver (and then I don't have to be that freak at the dinner table with all those food restrictions.) Once at Cafe Flora, I had a customer tell me that he was vegan and he couldn't eat wheat, garlic, nigh-shade vegetables (tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant, zucchini) and most starches. Then he wanted me to have the chef make something for him. I came back with a glass of water and said "Bon Appetite!" I will never make my food restrictions on another person's responsibility!

Seattle...the men are tall, there are creative people everywhere, people exercise outside in the rain, they take alternative forms of transportation, they eat their vegetables, and lord have mercy...the food is fantastic here! Why did I leave you again?

Oh yeah...the rain.

It's been sunny since I arrived. People look at me funny...I don't fit in with the look, especially since I've taken on this "rocker-chick" persona. My new look includes fitted black leather biker jacket, short hair, interesting rings on every finger, good posture, tight jeans (I got a good booty...or so I am told,) and my color of choice these days is black. Being 6 feet tall and having swinging curves doesn't hurt either. I'm a head turner and I have only recently accepted that fact. Having had my body transformed with the 150+ weight loss has been quite empowering but having my Hashimot's disease under control is the best part. However, I don't "fit in" with the Seattle look. Which is fine, but people have looked at me quite a bit since I've arrived. Maybe it's the silver lame over-sized purse? Maybe I should get a new hand bag.

The new look is part of my healing process. It reminds me that I have the power to speak-up when something is wrong or if I am in danger. This is important since I am a victim of violent crime, so part of that is me knowing that if I have to defend myself, I can...physically. People have always assumed that I could fight someone off if I needed too, but my history has proven with me that I do not respond with fight or flight. I respond with paralysis. Deer in the head lights. I freeze up. I was raised in a violent home and developed an unhealthy tolerance to anger and rage...that's no good.

When I was hanging out with Leslie at our neighborhood Starbucks in Pompano Beach, she talked quite a bit about guns. In Seattle, I've not met anyone who has a subscription to "The American Rifleman", the NRA magazine. Remember, this NRA is not the National Restaurant Association...and when I told Leslie that I was a graduate of the CIA she perked right up...but that was disappointing to her since it was the Culinary Institute of America. She was raised with guns and not only is she skilled with her little guns that she carries with her, she told me stories at how she punched men. She hit men! Man abuse!

I think man abuse, happens more often than spoken about. Anne's old boyfriend, SS and I remained friends for long time after they split up. They did too until he got married...his feelings of love for her never changed and the wife was jealous so their friendship had to be on the side. Don't get me started about my feelings on is one of my hot buttons and I don't tolerate it! It leads to deception and all sorts of problems and that is exactly what happened to their marriage.

SS and I did business together and we visited often when he relocated to the Southwest. He hired me as a consultant several times for his businesses and we were a good team and he made a lot of money off of my creative ideas (although he never paid me in full...he was an asshole that way, but I love him like a brother.) He and his wife were my friends. When their marriage ended we talked quite a bit. It was hard for him to tell me how she used to hit him. She was a husband beater. She was much smaller than him but she was very physically fit and she could throw a punch.

It broke my heart to think about this and I am sure he felt an additional layer of shame and humiliation because it was a woman hitting a man. I guess if I watched "COPS" this wouldn't have come as such a surprise...women beating up men...but it is out there. Leslie told me how she hit men and left bruises too. She said it with pride; that it was a good thing to be able to defend herself. Plus she always carried a gun...

It is important to be able to defend yourself but I do not think I would feel good after hitting anyone...for any reason. Even in self-defense.

When did women start beating men? Where did that come from? Is it hormonal? Is it all the Tai Bo? Is it Freeda Foreman wining all those boxing matches? Is it in the drinking water? Is it a karmic response to their partners? I don't know.

I'm happier with my new "don't fuck with me" look. I wish I had it when I was held against my will for 3 1/2 hours in November, but it is how it time for regret.

I just finished Gene Wilder's autobiography. I always felt he was a kindred spirit and when I read his birth name was Jerry Silberman, well...then I knew we were somehow connected, be it in perspective or spirit. What I loved most about his book was his remembering that if it weren't for the bad thing or perceived bad thing that happened, it wouldn't have led him to where he was now which was a much better place. It is kinda a 6 degrees to Kevin Bacon sort of know, how all things in life can be measured back to Kevin Bacon? Remember that?'ll need to go into more details on that, you're the "Entertainment Weekly" reader. A great reminder to keep all things that happen to you in perspective, so here goes:

If it weren't for that fateful 3 1/2 hour meeting that changed my life forever I wouldn't have started writing again, I wouldn't have gone to my writing workshop to make new contacts with literary agents, I wouldn't have met Dr. Paul and done so much healing, I wouldn't have been able to be here for Anne and Lisa during this critical time in our lives, I wouldn't have had so many wonderful friends and people reach out with love and many great things wouldn't have happened to me...

So I rock on. If you see me on the street, don't be intimidated. Or better yet, be intimidated. That's your issue. I won't hit you. I won't hurt you. I just look like I might.

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Seattle Arrival

People are so much taller in the Northwest...all that Nordic/Scandinavian/Dutch influence. As I disembark from the plane I feel at home with "actual sized" people. The East coast is great and all, but the people are so much smaller what with all that little Italian blood and the little French. They have to be small to fit into all those small buildings they built back a couple of thousand of years ago! These tall people of the Northwest are dressed in the layers of Gortex and rubber lined shoes to keep the pesky rain out. And the sun was shining for my arrival! A good omen.

I'm headed to the hospital. Anne gets out today and there is a lot of information to review with the doctors and nurses about care, movement, healing, visiting nurses, and all of that sort of thing. The hospital has been great with her treatment and she is looking so much better than she has in years.

There is much for me to do today...I will write more later.

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

Saturday, March 15, 2008

First Tonado to Ever Hit Downtown Atlanta

Golly, I'm lucky!

I am staying a few blocks from where the first ever tornado to hit Atlanta, GA hit last night. It was quite exciting and witnessing the aftermath is the best part. Streets are closed, there are downed power lines, events canceled for this evening. Nothing like being in the center of a major natural disaster...not that this is what it has been declared, but when the CNN news building is hit...well, then everything that happens here is major news. News around the world!

I love that the tornado hit the CNN news center! It was on my list of things to do today if I had time. I have wanted to visit the center and see how the propaganda wheels worked. I wanted to see the robotic cameramen for the Headline News Center, witness the Columbia University interns surfing the internet gathering the latest word on world events. I'm not a news junkie, but my sister Lisa is. She is a news anchor and reporter on KOMO AM in Seattle and like all of us Silberman women, she is stellar at her job. Fantastic voice and passion for news, she has the drive and intuition for a hot news story. And if she weren't away from her job today due to Anne's surgery, I am certain that she would be calling me to do a live remote interview for this latest breaking news on this natural disaster. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if she called me today with contact and time for me to be on the air in Seattle.

See, that's a gift I have...being at the right place at the right time for these disasters. I am a A Live Action Unpaid News Reporter! When I lived in Durham NC and the ice storm came through keeping hundreds of thousands of us without power for weeks and in sub-freezing temperatures, I was there! I was there to do live reports for her on the air and it was kinda fun for a little while, that is until it was too cold for Raoul to live. Abdul Raoul Silberman...the first Islamic/Catholic/Jewish cat to ever live. He was already 19 years old when the storm hit and had congestive heart failure and his breathing became so compromised and he could never get warm because of the chilling temperatures...well, I had to put him to sleep. That part didn't make the news and that was the worst part of living through that disaster.

The ice storm was mighty beautiful, I must say. The tornado...not as pretty. It touched down sometime between 9:45 and 10:00 PM last night. I was in my tiny hotel room watching the "Damien" on A.M.C. I don't have TV anymore and when I am in a hotel room and there is a remote control...well, I'm a bit like a junkie at Cortney Love's housewarming party. Bring it on baby! And honestly don't see how people watch TV together. How do you decide on watching just one thing especially when there are so many is an invitation to test your patience and see what else is out there.

Here's a picture of what it looked like outside of the CNN Center last night...

I will see if the Coca Cola tour is still up and running today...that was the real thing I wanted to do. I've visited Atlanta many, many times and have never had the time to go do the tour and today was the chosen day for me. I hear they have a tasting room for all the formulas of Coca Cola around the world. I want to taste what Coke tastes like in China, India, Peru. I'm sure it will have a weird flavor and all those tiny Middle Eastern countries...they have guava coke and all sorts of crazy flavors. Sugar rush! High Times Baby!

Alas, my day may be limited to wandering the streets, visiting cool stores and looking for a new jacket that I lost at the Atlantic Airport yesterday while managing my 4 bags and hailing a cab.

I will find a good coffee shop though...the coffee here in the hotel sucks, but that's okay. It gives me more reason to be out and about.

More later...

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

Friday, March 14, 2008

God Bless Ft. Lauderdale Airport

There are many great things about leaving South Florida...saying goodbye to the smells of the elderly, for instance. They have a distinctive scent that sets them apart from other humans under the age of 75. There is a secretion that begins at age 72 for the elderly to identify each other. I'm not exactly what this scent is but some of the smells are easily identifiable: grocery store rotissary chicken (past expiration date), Poligrip (with its unique patented Ooze-Control tip to control the amount of goo to control excessive oozing), regret and disappointment in the children that do not call or visit (these two things smell quite similar and only a trained professional can tell the difference), and of course soiled underpants.

At the Ft. Lauderdale airport sun-scorched tourists hug hefty jackets while their sunburned shoulders keep them temporarily warm in the over-air conditioned boarding gates. I am waiting for mt flight to Atlanta to see my second family before heading to Seattle.

Anne is out of Intensive Care and in a regular hospital room. The doctors and nurses are aggressive with her healing and expect her to be out of bed walking by tomorrow. She is in a lot of pain and I wish I had a magical wand to remove the soreness she feels in her body...all normal and expected following such an invasive procedure. Rib cage bones readjusting to being back in the proper place, shoulders and neck sore from the over extension. The heart, her over worked muscle, recovering from incisions and new valve inserted.

The doctors said she may be home by Saturday...which we cannot believe. She does not feel ready to leave and I wonder if they are pushing her out of the hospital since she is uninsured. There is not much for us to do at this point and I will be there soon enough to help is still hard being away from her and Lisa.

All my things are packed away in storage and what didn't fit got donated today. I have lost my attachment to my possessions...leaving only 1 bag of clothing...all else gone...too big. I do not know what lay ahead for me but I am ready.

Dearest God,

Please visit Anne today and help ease her pain. May you provide her with the most excellent morphine drip and bring it in a hurry! Release her pain and fear about the hospital bills. You know we can't get any blood from stones and she's bone dry! We all are! So...somehow god, let this money thing work out...we'll do what we can but let that be the last of our worries about money. It is so unnecessary.

Thank you for all the great snacks today and the help that arrived on time to move this and that and for the lovely housekeeper to leave the property in excellent condition. And keep an extra eye on my son, Michael. Keep him strong and healthy and may he find the community he so desires. Bless him and his birth family as they transition into a new home. And thank you for our relationship. I am so lucky to have found him.

Bless the little people of Pompano Beach and may they enjoy their lives in good health. While it was one of the most isolating, horrible places for me to live, the pool was very nice and I am glad to have swam so much. That was a real treat.

Okay god...I'm not sure I have much to say but thank you for all of this and that and please help Sculley...he's been hospitalized again from his latest bender and fired again from a fantastic job. God..send him to Betty Ford for a long time so he can get well. Enough with the Schnapps already!

Peace and all that good stuff...protect the plane and all its peoples and may we have a safe take off and landing. Ashey. Namaste.

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

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Final Farewell

The last of my possessions are being placed into a storage container today...what's left-over is being donated. As I finish my this and that of moving I realize how much I will not miss being here. I think it is the looking at all the stuff I've accumulated that have no meaning at all compounded with the experiences I had at Whole Foods and the consequences that is good to be going.

I will miss Michael My Child, Father Damien, Christian...but I am already so connected to these three men that I will be with them again. Anyone else I will miss? Puff. Poor sweet Puff...she's been so close to me and trying to pack herself into my suitcases...she is so soft. I so love the kitty much unconditional love. What a gift.

So I continue to pack and finish up. I will look for something interesting or inspiring to write...I can't seem to find the words today...too many tasks at hand and my heart is sore. After 3 1/2 years in South Florida, the friends who I really thought were my friends have all faded away and it is true what they say, "In times of need, you really find out who your friends are." Now I get that.

Anne, if you are up and reading...praise the squid-bodied Jesus. Is this your card?

I love you so...

All the way from here...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dr. Dave Drama

Love and drama seem to go hand in matter how hard you try for it not to, somehow drama unfolds.

Karen has lived true to her word by being Dr. Dave's friend (no hanky-panky) and spending intimate time with Mr. Sculley. Sculley has a fat cat that he adores, named Zamboni. Karen called around our usual coffee time and I asked what she was doing.

"Cleaning up vomit." she said.

"Oh god, no....not again!" I said. "Is Sculley drinking that hard again?"

"Maybe, but it's not his puke, it's Zamboni's. He's taken him to the vet." Karen replied.

"That's a relief. It's probably a hairball, you know..." I say, the kitty expert.

"Yeah, but he's such an over protective father and they love him at the vet's office, and it's good to get the cat out and about especially on a pretty day." Karen said.

"True. What cat doesn't love a car ride after throwing up?" I said. We laughed.

Sculley came back and Zamboni had eaten too much and it is probably a hairball. That's what the vet said. Karen and Sculley settled down for an afternoon movie and he passed out. Karen noticed that he smelled like alcohol again and took a peek into his car and sure enough, he'd downed a bottle of peppermint schnapps. She called me back on her drive home from his place with this news.

"Poor guy," Karen says. "He really is drinking just to feel drunk. How easy is it to drink a bottle of schnapps?"

"Well, it's probably easier than eating a tin of Altoids. The schnapps are sweet, but it's so sad. How long are you gonna watch him do this?" I ask.

"Oh, I don't know..." she drifts off in thought.

"Well, you know now that he's gonna drink even when you are around. You can't stop that." I say.

"Yeah. I know" Karen replies. "Dr. Dave had a bad week too."

"Really? What happened with the good doctor?" I ask.

"Well, one of his patients jumped from a 5 story building and died." Karen said.

"That's gotta suck for Dr. Dave. That's bad for business, him being a psychiatrist and all." I say. "And that has to be bad for his ego too...I mean, how many patients have died now under his care?"

We laugh for a couple of minutes adding jabs at Dr. Dave.

"But look on the bright side, he has room for new patients now and he was complaining that he was too busy." I say. "Maybe he should have them sign a waiver before he tells them his new hourly rate of $300!"

We laugh some more. But I really don't think he is a good shrink. Heal thyself, doctor.

Karen goes on, "Maybe Mary [the psychic] is right. Maybe both of these guys are not right for me."

I do the happy dance in my living room. Finally, she may be getting it! Dump these guys and move forward...wasn't that the advice she gave me with my love for the unresponsive man behind Door Number 1? I took her advice...why does it take so long for her to take mine?

Matters of the heart are so tricky.

"Seriously Karen, you are worthy of a man who doesn't need to get drunk everyday to be with you and if you marry a doctor, may he be one that is really able to help a plastic surgeon." I say.

We laugh some more.

We love to laugh together and this men stuff sucks. So rare is the connection between two people, where it hits on lots of levels. Does it really exist?

"I was talking to some friends of mine, they're a married couple and have been together for 35 years. If she doesn't want to do whatever he wanted to do, he changes his plans to meet her needs and she does the same for him so that they are always together." Karen shares.

"That sounds like a terrible relationship to me!" I say. "I believe that two people need to be themselves and it is impossible to expect the other person to be interested in everything that I am doing and that doesn't leave much room for individuality in a relationship. What about being who you are?" I ask.

"Well, it seems to be working for them. Married 35 years." Karen declares.

"That doesn't feel smells fishy to me. I am not looking for that kind of married-at-the-hip relationship. Is that what you really want?" I ask.

Karen ponders. "Well, maybe not. But it is a nice idea, isn't it?"

"Yes, a lovely idea." I agree.

Later on when Sculley was cooking Karen dinner, she took a call from a male friend who takes her out every month to the Opera, or a museum or the symphony. A great friend to that has tickets to places. She discusses plans for the symphony and Sculley gets irate. When she hangs up he tells her how hurt he is and that he is devastated that she would make plans with another man while he was cooking her dinner. He accuses her of flirting with him on the phone.

That is probably true, Karen is like me....a big flirt. We can't help it. It is something we both were born with, a gift to make men feel at ease and ponder mysterious thoughts of "later on". I doubt if she is really conscious of it and this is a good time for her to bring some attention to it.

"When the fuck did you two make the 'exclusive' arrangement?" I asked her when she called on the way home from his house.

"We didn't." she said.

"And a ring?" I ask. "Has he produced a ring?"

"No." She said.

"Hmmmm." I am pissed off. Nothing makes me more angry than a jealous man. So unnecessary.

"What you gonna do now?" I ask.

"Oh, I don't know." Karen says with a big sigh. "Maybe it was rude of me to make plans with him at his house, but I take all kinds of phone calls when I'm over there. What? Am I supposed to start sneaking around with all my friends, be they male or female?"

"Karen, I don't want to tell you what to do so I will." I say. "Maybe you shouldn't see the Sculley anymore. He's too vulnerable and obviously possessive, plus the drinking? I don't see how this is in your best interests."

"Yeah, you might be right." She says.

We hangup and another day ends. What will she decide? Hard to say. I suspect she will continue on this same path until something else happens and she reaches her limit. Or maybe someone better will come along. It doesn't matter really. She's not in love with the Sculley and even if Dr. Dave got his shit together, she probably wouldn't move in with him either. She loves her space and the path her life is taking, so why choose? That is society knocking at the door... insisting on a 'choice' rather than staying present in the moment.

The best part about this situation is that it is happening to Karen and not me. Sorry dear. I couldn't put up with all that as you do...and I love you so much. Carry on! Carry on for the rest of us so we don't have to. And please, call anytime. I so love our chats!

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

Monday, March 10, 2008

Inspirational Quotes

I collect quotes for inspiration. A lot of people do this but most people don't find their own quotes. They buy anthologies and simply open a book when they need a splash of inspiration. Not me. That is good sometimes but I gather mine from people all over, or things I overhear that I find inspirational.

So in the spirit of reviewing my old works, I've decided to add some quotes here for inspiration.

NOTE: I have done my best with giving credit to the true author. Some of these quotes are mine too.

"If your head is up your ass, you can't eat your dinner."
Lao Tsu Shona [or maybe Linda S. Silberman...hard to say]

"I'm sorry. I was just pondering what drifter's corps you stole those shoes from."
Fancy Lad Nathaniel from the movie Cabin Boy

"He talks like a man with a paper ass."
Peter Sevenoff (Karen's father)

"Hey gang, let's have a quaker meeting"
Jack Silberman (father)

"I am completely safe whether I am in control or not."
Taryen Whole Body team member WFM, FTL

"Nothing is too wonderful to be true."
Michael Faraday

"How do I converge at the center of my longing, leaving behind the petty and trivial demands of senseless and hollow agendas?"
Edmundo Bargosa

"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on
Your knees for a hundred
Miles through the desert
Repenting. You only have
To let the soft animal of
Your body love what it loves."
Mary Oliver

"We sell no wine before its time."
Orson Wells

"Forgiveness means me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me."
Anne Silberman (age 10)

"Relax people, we have enough peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone."
Linda Silberman

"The future ain't what she used to be!"
Selena Filappone

"Forget the Why, people. Let's focus on vision and meaning."
Linda Silberman

"Live and die in your destiny. Be at peace with your river of destiny."
Linda Silberman

"Release the hounds!"
Monty Burns

"Love the Earth, the Sun and the Animals."
Walt Whitman

"Truth is stronger than lies."

"All you need is love."
The Beatles

"Pollen count high. Kleenex stock up."
Linda Silberman

"Linda is the Goddess of Beauty and Love. And so am I."
Anne Rainbow Shepard

"Genius: An eye to see nature. A heart to feel nature. The courage to follow nature."

"If in his mind, the greatest Humiliation she could cause him was Love...than so be it."
Linda Silberman

"You have to remind yourself to let other people take care of you."
Geoffrey E. Peters

"Here's to alcohol! The cause of and solution for all of life's problems."
Homer Simpson

"What if all this time I thought I was a spoon and really I am a fork?"
Selena Filappone

"Prayer works. Use it wisely."
Linda Silberman

"Great love and great achievement require great risk."

"Is this your card?"
Jesus to Grandma

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Cancun Christmas Part III

"The only problem with doing nothing is it is hard to tell when you are done"
Rob Brezney said to a bum outside of San Raffial CA

"I humiliate myself so you don't have to!"
Linda Silberman

"Shake your Bon Bon"
Rikki Martin

Dear God,
If I never hear another Rikki Martin song, I will live a happy life. Thank you for this paradise and I really appreciate the Salsa lessons, but seriously God, I've heard enough Rikki Martin. Thanks for the trip to paradise. Amen.

I seem to be the only person who takes advantage of swimming in the warm, beautiful pool late at night. It is at my own risk and I feel much safer when all the others are fully engaged in their discos and I am alone in the pool. For as much rain as we've had, the nights are clear, warm, perfect. I love being in the pool under the stars. The pounding beat from the disco is in the distance and sounds like a hyperactive heart beat under water.

Today we were able to go horseback riding. I've been on this kinda of excursion before, but not in Mexico. Cindy is so happy being around all the horses. I don't have a relationship with these kinds of beasts so I try to do what I've seen in the movies. Sit up straight, knees together, don't kick, be calm, relax, the animal can feel you, hold the reins gently, stay at ease. A lot to remember!

Cindy assists me as I need. She is at home, her face is so relaxed and full of bliss. What a treat to see her in her element. She is such a lovely woman. She came prepared with the appropriate clothing...she booked this trip knowing we'd be out on the horses. I think she wanted to spend more than one day here in the jungle on horseback. Such is weather. Cindy takes it in stride and enjoys each moment on her horse.

The plan is for us to stay in formation and ride the few miles out to the beach where we can get onto another horse and ride it into the ocean waves. I decline. This seems too crazy to me. Why would I want to take a horse into the ocean? I mean, us riding on the beach, north to south...that makes sense. But riding a horse east to west into the ocean? And then you just sit on the horse for a couple of minutes while the waves are shoulder high on the animal? I don't get it. The horses seem used to it and there is a Mexican guide who walks the horse and you into the ocean and stands there, but the water is nearly at his head. Several other guides try to persuade me to have this experience and I refuse. I am happy to be on the beach with the horses and enjoying the sunshine.

After the ocean waves, we ride for several miles on the beach in the sunshine. It is a beautiful day and this is lovely but my butt is pretty sore now. It is a different kind of stretching. My horse, Pansy, is unlike the first horse I rode in the Poconos, Bunny. Todd and I met there for a romantic weekend right before the end of our 7 year was the thought that count, but it wasn't enough to save the relationship. Bunny and I did not hit it off and she took off during our excursion into a full gallop breaking away from the group. The tour guide caught up with us and slapped me in the face saying it was my fault that I lost control of the beast. Perhaps if I had more than 5 minutes of instruction I would have known what to do with a horse at full gallop...and the slap? Bitch. Oh does not matter, just a memory.

Horses...the most important horsepower for me is in my juicer.

After our excursion I took another Salsa dance class. Anne felt better and joined me. We are working on a little routine that the guests will be performing in one of the nightly shows here. It is good to be with Anne and have her up and around although she is still weak and so pale. We are dancing a routine to Rikki Martin's "Shake your Bon Bon". I am doing my best to enjoy the spirit of it all...but you gotta move your hips in such a way and I don't know if I'm built for that! I keep working on it but the teacher tells me to stop looking at my feet.

Salsa is hard. But Anne and I just keep laughing. Who cares, anyway.

We prepare for our performance and we don't stay in step, I am off beat and don't remember all the moves. Anne and I stay in the background and laugh. I stop dancing at one point and then start doing the basic step I learned over and over. The teacher is dancing with us...thank god, or else the people would have nothing to look at. I remember why I am not a dancer now. I'd much rather be singing or playing or even drinking right now! Maybe alcohol would have made us time we'll get drunk first. That would probably help.

After the talent show there was another "celebration" at one of the clubs. Anne declined to go with me so I ventured off solo. The celebration was the 50th anniversary of ClubMed. Every week they have this celebration for the guests. The banners flying are faded and tattered. So many of these events look like after-thoughts and the props are either over used or purchased from thrift stores. Since it is nearly the end of the year, I figure they are just over used...but it wouldn't surprise me if they were bought at some Tahitian thrift store somewhere.

Following the celebration there is yet another Congo line going into the Disco where people are gathering for a New Year's Eve celebration. They do this every week too. Because it is the holiday season they have brought in some big snow-making machine but it isn't blowing snow, the floor and the air is circulating with this stryofoam like substance. I sneeze, get a cocktail napkin and blow some of this substance from my nose. That's when I decided to leave this disco and go for a swim...a much better choice. I hear the count down from the pool...after "Auld Lang Syne" the music switches to every Michael Jackson hit that you never need to hear again. Time for bed.

Last Day

Anne and I sit with 80 other guests all New York bound. The guests look depressed watching the last glorious sunset behind the crocodile infested lagoon. We are scattered throughout the main bar area. You can tell us from the other guests since we are all wearing jeans and closed toed shoes. Sadness is in our eyes. Suntan lotion washed from our skin, ocean water out of our hair. We wait for our chartered bus to take us to our chartered plane back to cold, cold New York.

Proof of our being here is in our red, sun scorched faces and by our faded magenta wrist bands. These bands identified us as belonging to this ClubMed, and the security staff kept all others off our private beach. Now we fondle our badges like mental patients reluctant to return to the outside world not knowing how we will adapt when requested to pay for things or pick out our own food in the grocery store.

There are a few French tourists who are in our group and they are complaining that they had to eat dinner too early. The French complain a lot. I really would prefer their country if they did not live there...they fit in much more with the ugly Americans all around us. I ask Anne to encourage them to move to the United States and we will go take their apartments in Paris and return balance and beauty to the glorious country. They do not deserve it. She laughs.

Ryan shakes our hands as we get on the bus and thanks us personally for our visit. I take a long, lingering look and say farewell to warm tropical breezes and unexpected thunder storms. I kiss Brien and Cindy in gratitude for brining me along and thank them sincerely for their lovely company. It has been fun.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, Egyptian Exhibit

Our flight got us back just in time before 16 inches of snow fell onto this beautiful city. One phone call and Brien had us booked again at the Club Level of the Sheraton in Time Square. We ordered room service late and woke up to this beautiful snow everywhere. Anne and I took a swim in the glass enclosed pool and it feels so much more natural for us to be in NYC rather than tropical paradise.

Anne is feeling much better and now we have extra time in the city so Cindy suggested we take a beautiful walk through central park up to MOMA and we are all game. I now sit in the Egyptian Exhibit, a huge room with glass walls, slanted like a pyramid looking out onto Central Park. All flights are canceled today and we are stuck in this glorious snow.

Snowball fights everywhere! Little children riding in buckets down snow banked hills, wrapped up like tiny stars, arms and legs covered in dozens of layers...parents watching laughing. Everyone is happy. We are happy and tan!

This glass room is so big, so full of marble and granite. It has beautiful energy. Pools on either side are filled with pennies and quarters; wishes made from the many, many tourists. In the water surrounding the exhibit is a reproduction of a sargophogus. I want to crawl inside but restrain myself.

Little children approach the wishing pools, handful of pennies, they hold their breath and make a wish. The coins sound like hungry fish coming up for snacks as they hit the water.

A prayer for the little children:

Grant all these honest wishes to the thousands of tourists and museum appreciators of New York. Thank you for such a glorious day. You are the coolest and the best...Mighty Isis...Isis...Isis...Isis..Isis...Isis

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

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Cancun Christmas Part II

Christmas Day, 2000
ClubMed, Cancun Mexico

I wake up at 8 AM to the sun shining and warm tropical breezes. I dress in my black and white bathing suit with matching sarong. Anne, Brien and I are the first up and mosey down for breakfast. We are greeted with Mimosas by the General Manager, Ryan...a very tall, Tom Selick looking man with mustache and a loud booming three languages no less.

We take the drinks with us to breakfast. I take one sip and place it on an empty table. Cheap champagne and orange juice from a powdered mix is a recipe for a horrible day. I do not want to spend today sick or hung-over. It's the thought that counts, I guess. I wonder why they do not use real orange juice especially on a holiday that the resort is celebrating and I am sure Brien has paid at least $2500 for each of us for this week's visit...couldn't they find fresh OJ? No matter.

The breakfast buffet is becoming predictable after three days. Pancakes, crepes, French toast, scrambled eggs, pastries galore, croissants, danish, fresh fruit, pineapple, honeydew, watermellon, bananas, oranges, grapefruits and every cereal you can imagine is available for consumption. I settle with three minute eggs, dry toast, hash browns with a touch of real maple syrup (thank you God!) and the world's best bacon.

Bacon. Natures' perfect candy. Thank you god for this beautiful bacon. It makes all the powdered drinks disappear in shame. God bless the magical bacon and its beautiful powers to transform a vegetarian into a carnivore. Forgive me friendly Jesus if I upset you...and thank you for the glorious bacon on your birthday! Amen. And seriously Jesus...thank you for the bacon. Amen again. I really mean's awesome!

After breakfast, the rest of our group arrives and we relocate to a large outside bar/cafe pool-side. The staff makes us "cappuccinos" but we laugh to ourselves being all Seattle coffee snobs, at the sugary milk they float on top of our beverages. It is no cappuccino! It is more of a cafe con leche with lots of sugar. Anne and I love them and we drink them regularly at 10 AM, 2 PM and 4:30 PM. It is a ritual we enjoy and the staff is surprised that we get excited over coffee and not the free mixed drinks. There seems to be no caffeine in these sugary drinks either since we do not feel jittery after having a couple. I guess this is paradise.

Anne is still sick and Nathan, her brother in-law, is a doctor. Medicine arrives today from town for Anne to take and she seems a little stronger during our gift-opening ceremony. We had rules: no gifts over $10 and they must be packable. Brien did all his shopping at JFK and we each got a paperback John Grisham book. Cindy gave us girls scarfs that are beautiful and cost much more than ten dollars...she really shouldn't have...they are so beautiful and she is so kind and generous. Anne and I feel unworthy of their affection and I marvel at how a family can behave with kindness and no fighting, especially on a holiday.

Anne gives art. Her work is always spectacular and appreciated. I made body lotions (after sun care) and I got Brien some Bay Rum (the kind you slap on after a shave.) He loved it, saying he had some years ago and loved how it smelled. It is a refreshingly manly scent. They receive gifts so well. We stay gathered for an hour or so chatting about things we want to do today. Anne is going back to bed. Cindy and I are going horseback riding.

We have dinner reservations tonight in the fancy restaurant. I am surprised at how easy it is for all of us to enjoy each other's company. Conversations are easy. We discuss politics and we are all good liberals. Brien and Cindy donate tons of money to the right organizations and people. They are involved in their community and give a large percentage back to helping others. It is kinda what I think being with the Kennedy's is like, less the football and accents. I am honored to be here. Alice (Anne's sister) and Nathanial are good NYC liberals working in academia at the New School...I forget where Nathanial has said he works and I am embarrassed to ask him again. I think he has told me a couple of times already. Should have written it down.

The ClubMed theme is always playing in the background. It is a smooth jazz version of "Baby I Love Your Ways" by Peter Frampton. Anne and I think this is hysterical. You have to be careful when and where you walk here because at any time there may be a Congo line going and you will get swept up in it and cha chaed to a place you hadn't planned on going.


The bar manager, Benny, has taken a shine to me. He tries to buy me drinks when he sees me. He is handsome, thick black hair, semi-sweet chocolate brown skin, his heritage is Bengali and he is a Hindu. He is in his mid-forties and has been working for ClubMed for 26 years. He was just transfered here...this makes his 33rd location. The organization has 130 sites.

Since it is Christmas, I decide to have a Manhattan on the rocks. Benny asks me, "What are you like when you are drunk?"

I say, "This is pretty much it. I don't get drunk anymore...or at least I try not to. I may get tipsy or a little happy. Then I am done. I'm not a good drunk and don't like to be drunk."

This is a conversation stopper for Benny. He doesn't know how to relate to the pretty women here who don't get drunk. ClubMed is a little like being on a cruise ship whereas the employees are expected to "party" with the guests when they are "off duty". God. What a terrible job! Thank you God for keeping me away from working for these kinds of places!

The skies turn dark blue and the torrential rains return canceling our horseback riding excursion today. Back to pottery painting for me...Cindy is disappointed. She misses her horse when she travels and we make plans to try again tomorrow.

Christmas dinner is a quiet affair in the high-end restaurant. We have beautiful fresh seafood and there is a decent wine list, so we share over priced California chardonnay with our meal. Anne stays in bed...her fever got higher and I take her soup from the restaurant back to our room. Poor thing. It sucks being sick in paradise.

Boxing Day

It is Boxing Day...a holiday Americans do not celebrate. I decided to start celebrating Boxing Day back in 1992 when I was working at Cafe Flora. We did not celebrate holidays there (at least not Christian holidays) but we did recognize the obscure ones and Boxing Day is a great day to rest and look at all your boxes from Christmas. I know, you're supposed to box everything up and return it I think, but I just like having an extra day holiday after Christmas. It is not celebrated here at ClubMed.

It is really windy and stormy looking out again. Courageous fools go para-sailing or wind surfing in this weather. Cindy and I will try horseback riding again today. Anne's fever broke and she is feeling a bit better. She decides to join me for breakfast at the buffet.

This place is packed with French tourists. They don't smell too bad since there is so much water around, they can jump into a pool or the ocean or the lagoon to release the stench. I know, I know a negative stereo-type, but seriously...the b.o. thing...I got no tolerance!

The seating at the breakfast buffet is open so people share tables. Anne has more energy and brightens up around other people. Being in community is such a good thing for the soul and Anne is such a smarty-pants. She is conversing in Spanish and French this morning. I can follow most of the conversations and can reply slowly in Spanish. French is not my language. I failed it 3 times in high school...let's hope I find a handsome Frenchman who can translate for me during my next visit.

Anne was speaking with a French couple who are perfectly dressed, thin and have excellent posture. They told her they bought old apartments in Paris and renovated them, then sold them for big money. Just like the Americans I think to myself! Anne told them how much she loved Paris and that she was looking forward to her next trip there ad the French woman said, "I am sorry but Paris is closed."

Anne asked her to repeat what she said and she said the same thing. Then Anne translated for me and we started laughing our asses off. God damned French Bastards. Closed? Seriously? The whole city is closed now and we cannot visit? Fuck the French!

Wow. Closed.

The French couple did not understand why we were laughing and we finish up and excuse ourselves wishing them a lovely day laughing all the way back to the room.

Tulum Ruins, Mexico

I am sitting on the back steps of a small pyramid in Tulum. I have visited here before and love this coastal Mayan ruin site. It is well excavated and there is beautiful energy in the land. I feel very at home in the Yucatan Peninsula. I am certain that I was a member of the Mayan tribe in a previous lifetime. I have found the only peaceful spot. Many tourists are swarming around. American, Mexican, Germain, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian...all languages yelling the same thing to their partners..."Take a picture of me standing here!" They seem to follow me and all want photos taken in front of a palm tree, where I am sitting.

Florescent stickers identify the different tour groups. The ClubMed group is ultra pampered. Air conditioned bus from the compound with movies playing and a bathroom, a tram to take us from the bus to the entrance of the site...cold beverages available for us on the tram and in the bus. Cindy asked our guide if we could walk from the bus to the entrance, about 1/2 mile, and the guide thought we were crazy! The guide said it was dangerous saying there were mosquitoes and water puddles because of the rain. We smiled and said we'd brave the threats and walked anyway. The tram arrived at the same time we did. It feels good to walk.

There are many local people who speak English and offer American tourists guided tours of the ruins. I experienced this several years ago when I visited here alone and the guides can be quite pushy.
Cindy asks our opinion on taking a tour guide. Since it is her first visit, she decides to splurged for a guided tour.

Alex, our guide, is a handsome young man who speaks perfect English. He is of Mayan descent...round face, caramel colored skin, big brown eyes, brilliantly white teeth. He takes us in front of the ruins and holds up picture post cards of the sites we are looking at and seems to be reading from the back of the cards. Maybe they are his notes, maybe he just bought the cards and is looking for a quick twenty bucks. He explains how advanced the Mayan people were not only because of their architecture, but because of the calendar and planetary knowledge. They designed their buildings to have a beam of light, in the shape of a serpent during certain equinoxes, full moons and some sun rises.

I want to ask about alien sitings but Anne is not with me and I am afraid that Nathanial and Cindy might think I'm crazy, so I keep my questions to myself. I excuse myself from the tour since I am familiar with the site and find a beautiful pyramid overlooking the sea and I meditate, then write. I am in bliss sitting here with the energy of the old peoples. The Mayan energy enters my cells and I will always remember this place. Thank you God.

Tomorrow...part III
So much love...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cancun Christmas Part I

Dear Readers,

I was fortunate to vacation with my dear friend Anne Rainbow Shepard over the Christmas holidays with her and her family in NYC and then Cancun Club Med. It was one of the most memorable holidays of my life. Here are my journal entries from NYC and ClubMed during that time.

Please enjoy!

December 21, 2000


I feel so cool. Sam, Anne and I just shot a roll of film of us on the roof tops of Brooklyn. NYC skyline in the background, east river. On so many levels, things are perfect today.Subway rides, coffee shops, walks on the east river, photos on rooftops, brownies in the West Village. Beautiful big-nosed, brown eyed, olive skinned men everywhere.

Hafiz graffiti scribed on bathroom walls:

Five Thousand Times
You loose your treasures.
Do not go in search of them,
Do not climb the nine
Mountains in ten days
You will get
Them Back.

Yes, I am where I belong.

I am sitting at a SoHo Starbucks, next to Balthazar Restaurant. It is supposed to be hip. I ate a falafel at a Greek stand and it was fantastic. Now I sit in an overstuffed plush black velvet chair drinking ginger tea. Sam and Anne had a fight and I am chilling while they do their thing. This is my 4th cafe since 11 AM this morning. Sam told Anne he didn't want to see her anymore. Too painful. They had been together since 1996 and she left him because she felt isolated in NYC. She thought she was going crazy. Maybe she was. They spent most of their time fighting about money, smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, making art, looking for work and they were always talking about the movie they were going to make together.

That's what Sam does now. Makes movies. He didn't want her to leave but she did. They fought all the time and she couldn't take it so she moved back to Seattle.

Today we had a good day drinking all kinds of coffee and taking pictures and Sam remembered how much he misses Anne. I believe him. His old wounds are open and exposed to his empty existence without her in the illegal flat he lives in above the meat processing plant.

The men in NYC wear cologne. Too much perhaps. There are vans covered in graffiti. It is very cold. Fur coats, fur hats, fur lined gloves, fur cuffs. People race by 2-stepping to keep the blood warm under their furry jumpers.

Tomorrow I will be in another kind of paradise.

December 22, 2000
NYC to Cancun

It is early morning. Soon we leave for JFK for our direct flight to Cancun. I am excited and nervous. I am afraid I won't be a good traveling companion...this is unfounded since Anne and I have traveled many thousand miles together in the Malibu Stacey Funtime Camper. But now we are with her family. God will help, I hope.

Anne isn't feeling well but she won't discuss it. She practically denies her health is bad when asked but she kept me up most of the night because of her coughing. She is not dying, but she has a bad cold. She is the person you don't want to see boarding a plane. Nose dripping, coughing up goo, sniffling and sneezing...she is run down. The fight took the last bit of life out of her.

It's been raining in Cancun. This is supposed to be the driest month in Mexico. I am listening to Joni Mitchell's "Hissing of Summer Lawn". "Edith and the Kingpin" is my favorite track. It is so well orchestrated. Joni Mitchel's phrasing is magical. So smooth. It sends me to a very happy place. Music does that to me. I am lifted and moved to this magical world. My cells dance joyfully. Blood reaches my warmed, tender heart and sings out in happiness. And it lasts for three minutes, twenty-eight seconds.

Three minutes has passed...

I hearing the question, "What am I feeling?" in my head. I just don't really know, so I will listen to the music. Watching Anne interact with her family makes me feel so grateful for my fucked-up, whacked-out family...I know. That's crazy. There is no fear in expressing ugly emotions in my family. We specialize in it. Mother is uneducated and highly opinionated. This makes for great conflict. She makes racists comments and then justifies her position based on her experiences. This leaves no room for disagreement.

Yet mother is well-breed. She knows how to behave in public, socially, manners and all. Mom. I'll call her on Christmas day before she heads out for a movie.


I am waiting with 50 or so ClubMed goers. We're being taken to our privet, chartered plane. Americans...all of us..wealthy ones, everywhere. All shades of white are represented here. I hear the over-exercised white women talk about how much more exercise they will do when they arrive at the resort. Others are concerned with the water in Mexico.

"I hear at ClubMed all the water is safe to drink," the platinum blond says with a thick New Jersey Accent. "it is when you get off the compound that you have to worry." She goes on. "It's the ice cubes that get you." Another blond woman nods in agreement.

"I feel naked without my cell phone!" another woman chimes in.

Hard bodied women stretching in the tram car using the bars to entertain the men: a preview of the string bikinis to come.

December 24, 2000
ClubMed, Cancun Mexico

The charter flight is unlike a regular trip. The flight attendants are in resort-wear and the free drinks are flowing. It is a party plane. I am not too interested and Anne is not feeling well so we don't participate in the raffles and party-games for the 3 hour flight.

When we arrive at ClubMed, the staff rushes outside to meet our bus. They stand in lines on either side and they clap in rhythm and smile and cheer as if we were an all-star basketball team returning victorious from the state championship tournament.

The buildings are shaped like Mayan Ruins. Painted in Fresco style in tangerine, sunshine yellow, sky blue with white and honey mixed in too. I wonder if Chitzinitza, the most excavated and popular Mayan ruin, was once just a ClubMed for the Mayan people and not a sacred site.

The general manager, Ryan, led us in our orientation. There are 23 different countries represented here on vacation. All announcements are made in English, Spanish and French. Everyday there is a huge schedule of events going on that you can or cannot participate depends on what you want to do. So far I've kayaked, floated in the ocean and taken salsa lessons. today I will take a massage.

It is Christmas Eve day. There is a plastic Christmas tree with blue and gold garland and a few stray bulbs: red, green, gold. Lights flash in chaotic order. The announcement this morning warned of a holiday show at Noon out by the pool and at 5 PM the "Giant Cocktail". I have no idea what that could be, but is happening today. It will be followed by a buffet...naturally. There are a lot of buffets here. All meals are buffet unless if you make a reservation for the fancy restaurant. Anne's parents have made our reservations for us tomorrow.

I passed on the Noon event and was taking a swim for the "Giant cocktail". An enormous stage was set in the open-aired theater with five stations: Pina Colada, Margaretta, Mai Tai and Brandy Alexander. Were these the drinks the Virgin Mary had before accepting the Christ-child? The fifth cocktail is Champagne. Not a cocktail, I think to myself, but why start complaining now. God Bless Christ and his birthday. "Happy Birthday Jesus." I think to myself.

Each cocktail is introduced by a woman in costume to represent each season. These women models are employees who work at the front desk or gift shop. The costumes are thrown together from scraps of fabric from other shows they have here, tied around their wastes with belts and wires. Underneath they wear thong bikinis. They do not spend a lot of money on costumes here. If you have a bikini, then it can be scantily clad and all will be happy. ClubMed style...

When each drink is introduced it is passed out to each of us watching the show...5 sugary drinks in less than an hour. Most of these taste like packaged mix watered down with cheap rum. You have to drink a lot of sugary, flavorless drinks to get drunk here and I can see why people do is pretty depressing without the booze. But getting drunk on Christmas Eve...well, that is an American tradition in many people indulge and celebrate. I fell isolated and out of place. Anne has been sick in the room the whole time we've been here so I am left on my own to do as I wish.

As a surprise, the staff at ClubMed had a live nativity scene set-up in the ping-pong table area, next to the basketball courts. I love this kind of stuff. More employee humiliation. The life guard is dressed as a Shepard, waiters are the wise men. There are two donkeys, several chickens, a lamb, a turkey and a rooster. Just like in Jerusalam. Isn't that how Jesus was born? Pool boys and waiters...Good Bless them, please.

Tomorrow...Christmas Day...
So much love...
All the way from Cancun.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Up and Running Again...

Michael fixed my computer today so I am more fluid again....Thank you my child! I am mighty blessed.

I've been watching a ton of "Squidbillies" on and it is HILARIOUS! Before I decided to get rid of my TV, I remember finding this show and loving it. Anne turned me onto the direct video links on Adult Swim.

It is exactly like living in the south. The best episode that is on there (in my opinion) is where the Grandma is talking to Jesus. Since this show is about the life of Redneck Squids, Jesus has a regular Jesus face and a squid body. Jesus is doing a card trick for Granny and he is going through all the cards in the deck saying, "Is this your card?" and the grandma says, "No Jesus." and Jesus says, "Is THIS your card?" And she says "no Lord." Jesus pulls another card and says, "is This one your card?" And she says, "Oh lord, no." You can see how this can go on for fifty-one questions until the 5 of Diamonds comes up. Very, very funny stuff!

Note: It is ALWAYS the 5 of Diamonds. This is good to remember in case you ever meet Jesus and he does this trick with you too!

Anyway, watching all this Adult Swim is prepping me for my trip to Atlanta next week. I'll be hanging out with my friends who have a band and burlesque show. They have a huge Cartoon Network fan base and there are all sorts of cute geeky guys who go to the shows, so it will be fun to hang with the peoples before I head back out to Seattle.

This last round of dating for me has been so enlightening...and the whole upsetting the coffee is just a reminder for me that I am not with the community that fits me. I am really looking forward to reconnecting with the people in much more liberal and open-minded. That is so important.

As I prepare to leave, I am really looking at why I want to return to an area that does not fit me I want to be here just because of the weather? Seems like it. I mean, if things worked out differently with me and the man behind Door Number 1, then I would consider coming back, but that isn't gonna happen. It takes two to participate and he isn't communicating with me anymore so I accept that it isn't supposed to be and am moving forward with my life.

Dr. Paul was talking to me yesterday...and my psychic, Tricia, and both were warning me that I had to be careful that a baby might be trying to come through for me and I had to consider carefully if that is what I wanted. I thank you. It is interesting...I think that if something had happened with us that I would have gotten pregnant and I do not want that...especially this late in my life. Or it is early. Who knows?

Today I do not feel particularly philosophical and my body is sore from the 15 miles I rode and 3 miles I walked the work I did with Dr. Paul was quite physically challenging, in the most excellent of I am going to rest.

It is crappy out again...cloudy, humid, gray. I'm gonna buy a steak and potato to fuel my body and watch more cartoons. Today is an official vacation day.


Vacation Day begin!

I hope you have a beautiful day today and I send you so much love...

All the way from here...