I am 22 years old and covering the Billy Graham Crusade at the Cow Palace. Kids surge, wave, cry. Billy himself looks frail through the fire. Our photographer was warned: only five minutes of flash photography. Any more might cause a seizure. Wouldn't God protect him?
I just heard from the vet -- they were pleased with the results of the ultrasound and EKG. There is a slight enlargement of one of the heart's chambers, which can be managed through medication. This is what I wanted to hear! I'm THRILLED!
It's been almost a week since I've been home, and that week has been both wonderful and stressful. The wonderful: getting to see my family and friends and sharing my KHN experience with them -- not to mention seeing how my garden's grown!
The stressful: Bills, work, money, and taking Oliver to the vet TWICE in the span of days. Yesterday was particularly bad as I waited for the results of his ultrasound and EKG (which won't be in until today, but I didn't know that then). I felt as though there were wires running through my arms and legs.
That said, I was able to parse out what was stressing me out, and to separate it from life in general. I spent much of yesterday afternoon on Piedmont Avenue, where I lived for eight years. I love that place. Yesterday it was too much activity and noise for me -- but I was able to recognize that that was me, not the place itself.
Oliver fell in love with Adam before I did. He would sit on his lap, digging his claws into Adam's legs, until Adam finally discovered the trick of sticking a pillow on his lap before the cat got to it first.
Adam takes care of Oliver in the sweetest, most thoughtful ways. He knows how to put him at ease, to make him take his medication, and to discipline him (though how that works with a 20-year-old cat, I have yet to figure out).
Today Oliver went to the vet for an ultrasound and EKG to diagnose the gallop sound in his heart. To say today was difficult would be putting it mildly, and we won't get the results until tomorrow. But my kitty looks great, and it is in no small thanks to the man I married.
I have high standards when it comes to reaching out to people. I'm prompt about returning emails, text messages, and phone calls. When a friend is hurting, I want to be there for them. When they celebrate, I'll be right there at the party.
I'm very stringent -- some might say hardcore -- in my standards for others when it comes to this. I get really pissed when people don't get back to me or fail to show the interest in me that I show in them. I'm not too interested in changing those standards, but I hope to feel less anger and hurt when they're tested.
I snuffled with pleasure when we touched down at SFO on Friday. Adam came bearing Ali Baba's chicken, and we fell upon it when we got home.
Saturday and Sunday were paradise. On Saturday we roamed downtown Berkeley and the Farmer's Market, donated a couple of old bikes, and saw a movie before wrapping up the evening with Yogurt Park. On Sunday we went to the San Francisco Free Theater Festival and I gloried in everything that is the city.
Then today came and -- whammo. Routine. Ouch.
I love my life. I'm so glad to be home. But the time and freedom of KHN ... oh, I want that. Bad.
Now I'm a lucky fucking bitch. I work for myself and I have a husband who says it's okay if you didn't make enough to cover rent this month, I've got it, put this-and-that on my credit card, I can use the miles. I appreciate it and I'm also a little scared by it. I want to be able to hold my own and to contribute my share (or ideally, more) to the household.
But I also recognize that this is a transition time. The opportunity cost of what I'm leaving on the table is nothing compared to what I'm working to complete.
This toilet makes farting sounds and holds hellacious beef jerky. Of course that's where Anthony and I had to get our picture taken! This will hang on the wall at KHN along with the rest of the residents' pictures ... but ours will be the best.
I'm guessing that one reason this story can have a mass audience is that so many people were made fun of for some aspect of their looks at some point. So although the degrees would vary dramatically, it's easy to emotionally recall the pain of being left out/pointed out. Childhood, when people are weakest, is when they're most likely to lash out at others -- little daggers and they drink yr blood.
What a gift tonight: We got to listen to Anthony's music. Spooky, thought-provoking stuff. I loved listening to him explain it. I'd never even heard of the Golden Mean before.
I love seeing what everyone else is working on. It's one of the most intoxicating parts of the residency. At home I'm surrounded by creative people, so I'm hardly bereft of that -- but when you live with them day to day, you sure see some awesome stuff. I'm damn lucky, and I've been saying that a lot lately.
I've come to a place of peace when it comes to the rift with Adam's family -- in particular, his mother. She has not spoken directly to me for more than six months and has had barely any contact with him as well.
She's missing out.
This all came about because I wrote her an email regarding what I saw as a growing rift. The basic jist of the email: We may never be best friends, but can we work together to be comfortable with each other because we both love Adam?
Her response: Stop putting a wedge between him and his family. When I got that response, I practically threw the computer across the room. I couldn't imagine how a response like that could come of what I'd written. I felt as though I'd extended an olive branch and been beaten with it.
I've been largely silent with it on a public level (blog, Facebook, etc.) because I felt anything I said would make things worse. I don't feel that way any more. I just hope that Adam has the relationship with his family that he would like to have, whether it is now or in the future. As for me, I have a family of my own and while I would've loved to be close with my in-laws, the only thing I care about now when it comes to this is Adam's happiness.
Tonight I bribed Naomi, Emily, and Anthony with some popcorn and grapes, and they were kind enough to listen to my work.
Later we were discussing what I was hoping to do with The Project. "It opens the conversation," Anthony said. He's exactly right. Who the hell talks from a first-person female perspective about excess hair, male-pattern balding, and infertility?
I hear thunder, lightning. The way you love me is frightening. Not sure how well it comes across in this picture, but right now at 10:38 a.m. CDT there is a cool-ass thunderstorm going on. Tons of rain. I love the energy and could sit here observing it all day by the open window.
After checking out a cardio video and an old-school book (Cashelmara -- loved it when I was a kid) at the very cute Nebraska City library, I came back to the center and sliced up some limes for flavored water while listening to a random Toto CD I found in the living room. Then I came out to the front porch to do some work.
Here I had a feeling that I remembered, but hadn't experienced for a while: I was lonely. I wanted someone to talk to.
It's a welcome feeling.
I've become more antisocial than ever in my life while working on this project -- and I don't like it. That slight pinch of I wish the rest of them were here feels great.
I'm having a damn grand old time. My fellow artists at the center kick ass and I'm editing like hell. The work isn't all cake, of course. Editing can be a son of a bitch. But you know -- you hit that moment, that note, tap into the vein, and it's gold.
I can't believe how much rewriting I'm doing. It's not new material -- it's making the current stuff tighter and more readable. Of course, last night I sent snippets to Adam and he had critiques, so I'm going back and fixing those. It's a slower process than expected, but I think it'll really show in the completed work.
Sitting at Long Home Coffee right now, listening to the Eagles on my headphones. Take it/to the limit/one more time. Indeed.
My story doesn’t start in darkness and emerge into light. If anyone ever tells you life’s linear like that, kick them in the balls and run. Who ever promised you consistency? Since when could we count on the world to move forward with the logic of a scientist?
Those you trust can still deceive. The sky and sea will pound you with storms, tsunamis, then change back to clear blue before you’re finished blinking. Why? you ask. Because, life answers. I can.
I have arrived, and am so glad to be here. Right now I'm sitting out on the balcony of my apartment listening to the crickets and watching the lightning bugs. Today started in Kansas City at Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue. Somewhere along the way I cried and laughed while seeing Adam off, along with pushing my groceries home in a shopping cart along the cobblestone streets. Here's a few images for now.
I'm feeling very California as I pack for Kimmel Harding -- making mint lemonade with fresh mint from my garden, saving the scraps for compost, the sun shining into the windows in that golden California way. Steely Dan's "Bodhisattva" is on the radio and I understand what the title means, which makes me particularly Northern California.
We took Oliver to the vet for a minor ailment yesterday. While we were there, she suggested we run yearly bloodwork since he's not a young dude. She also detected a galloping sound in his heart, which she'll be checking out a few months from now. She didn't seem too concerned thus far about it, but of course I've got it in my head.
Adam came to the appointment straight from work. He sat in the chair, picked Oliver up, and kissed him on his head. Family.
I will always have the joy of knowing I've given Oliver a good life. And that he's returned the favor.
The train waits on the platform and I wait inside it. We've been warned that bad weather may throw us off, but I have some snacks and my fiance. I'm content. We're headed from Vienna to Budapest, another stop on the foreign-language tour. I've been sneezing and coughing and in love the entire way.
We had a wonderful party yesterday, with friends and tons of food and laughter, so much laughter my stomach aches just thinking about it. At one point I wound up rolling around on the couch laughing as Carl kept insisting that "Even my father loves my (meat)balls!"
Who'd have guessed that I woke up with a panic attack at 6 that morning?
I'm so outgoing and bombastic that it sometimes hides my social anxiety. I've got it, though. I felt as though all I wanted to do was hide out with Adam and Oliver ... and no one else.
Eventually I found myself crying. Oh shit. I'm also scared about going to Kimmel Harding.
New environment, new people, expectations. 92-degree heat with 1600 percent humidity. And I'm going to be away from the people I love for two weeks.
It's not that I was braver in the past. It's that I didn't admit this shit. I do now.
A party with a ton of food (thank you, everyone, for complying with my draconian It's-A-Potluck edict), six-packs overflowing the fridge, and a hearty debate about a matzoh-ball porn movie called Sinkers and Floaters. (The Sinkers are the butches!)
And a freaking awesome day was had by all.
Sean, Carl, Warren and I. You know something's up when I'm the normal-looking one. Something made Sean extremely happy. Warren and Carl want to overturn Prop. 8. Please don't ask. Sinkers vs. Floaters. Mike, Chris, and Angela babysitting Puppy, who somehow found her way out of the shot. Way more than anyone can eat, but we tried. I told you, don't ask!
The recession has treated few people kindly. That said, I've been fortunate these last few months to have some of the most easygoing and flexible clients ever. These people all pay on time and are extremely reasonable, and I'm thankful.
I met Sadie, a 10-year-old Tibetan Mastiff, at the Berkeley Humane Society where I volunteer. Her former owners gave her up because they wanted a puppy, and Sadie was too old. (Insert my absolutely disgusted rant here.) She just narrowly escaped euthanasia and has now found a home.
I would've adopted her if we weren't a one-pet household. I adopted Oliver when he was 9 and I had no idea how much more life and love he had in him. He is now 20 and he continues to make Adam and I happy every day.
I teared up watching this video. Older animals have so much to give. I'm so glad somebody out there agrees with me.
I'm a writer and performer in Berkeley, Calif. I'm married to a big Jew nose and together we have a fantastic little boy, two gorgeous dogs and the afterlife of a beautiful cat. I am represented by Miriam Altshuler of Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. Life is good!