April 2019 – Developing Nor-Cal Routines

Hike, hike, hiking in Henry Cowell State Park.. Those redwoods, the doggos and horses on path…I coveted it and was happy to get it on a regular basis. Hitting the Santa Cruz burner happy hour wasn’t my thing once the EDM started but I was happy to make it over to hang with burners for an hour or two. What was my thing was going wine tasting in the mountains and for a couple drinks at of course our local dive, Monty’s Log Cabin. Routines sounding familiar yet?
Dinner with Brigit & Aaron at Casa Nostra, an Italian restaurant that was becoming a routine, was quite a treat as was Svet and I enjoying White Russians at Morgan Hill’s dive bar M&H Tavern both in celebration of our late friend Wren and to say goodbye to the little town before she moved out.
The siblings were annoying me with the sis being all about her body and getting six-pack abs for her 40th birthday the next month (though I got it at the same time) and the brother with messages about studding out his purebred dog. Superficiality and breeding dogs, especially when I had seen so many in trouble during my travels, were topics that didn’t sit well with me. They knew that.

Highlight of the month: I got my ticket to Burning Man! Or should I should say that Brigit did. We both sat on laptops plugging away the second they went on sale, each facing error messages that weren’t all too unexpected until she finally got through. Yay! True to a burner’s heart, her and Aaron even gifted me with covering half of mine as well as our friend Melissa’s. B kept saying that she had been gifted in her earlier days and now it was her turn. I love, love, love our community. And them. My little man-made family.
Sad to have to cancel a flight home for my brother’s birthday and Easter, the reason was happy as it was to save money for Sint Marteen for Big Red’s 40th! Instead I got to celebrate the holiday with Brigit and Aaron where she, in her smirk of dark humor, carried on a tradition of cooking rabbit.
A couple more hangs in Santa Cruz, meals in San Francisco, hot tubbing under the stars with Brigit, Aaron and even Melissa finished off the month. That along with finally making it to Muir Woods for a hike (Pelican Inn is a cute place to stop to eat but I wouldn’t recommend the stew) and signs of the second time having grand-mal seizure/s (first being years before) when waking up on the 25th with a majorly bit up tongue. I may have been stressing my body out by working too much for the sister’s birthday trip. Whopsie-doo.
It was a short and sweet month in Nor Cal enjoying the peace and pals. Not my norm and not so bad. Probably overdue, actually.

Feb 2019 – my 41st birthday month

Starting the ‘ol birthday month with my grandma in LA was a nice way to warm up. Always getting to her house late for initial arrival, that particular time was due to hanging with burner buds in Long Beach the night before. The next morning started with her making brekkie, something she was sweetly stubborn about doing, and even the repetitive nagging of wishing I visited more while at the same time on repeat about the effort it took to do so added to the Grannie magic. Of course it drove me crazy (duh) but it also warmed my heart to see her being amped about my being there. She was getting used to my coming around on a semi-regular basis. That made me happy.
After breakfast I took her out to run errands and for lunch, took her to a place in her neighborhood called Zankou Chicken that a podcast I had been listening to called My Favorite Murder had talked about. It had been covering the story of how the founder had killed members of his family. Delicious food with only a hint of murder.
2019 was a year with more traveling back and forth within my home state as opposed to the overseas tornado of 2018. Something I was especially enjoying given that I was planning on being overseas for just about all of 2020. Going home to SD on the specific date I did this particular time was for the purpose of watching the dog of my homie and old roomie Jewels. Poor baby had cancer, as had her other pup who had passed a few months before. It already wasn’t hard to get my help with doggos and the year had been turning out to not have quite as much time at home as I was comfortable with (though was loving my second home) so I was happy for the push to come back for a couple weeks.
2019 had been, and would continue to be, a year of family. Probably the most of my entire adult life up to that point. Of that, Kati, Nik and their families were lower maintenance than my blood family. Not to infer that my blood family was high-maintenance in a bad way, we were just close for the first time and when I saw them they were usually all together. Mostly because they lived on the same estate (the Satterwhite Sanctuary) and it was a half an hour away. Even more challenging, totally outside of the central-coastal bubble I lived in. Yeah. Not easy. Going to their property was the hardest of all the time we spent together as it meant an entire day of different stages. All of us together, Mom and Dad in their house, my niece’s at the pool, my sis at the bar, socializing with their friends, my bro on the couch in front of the TV…it was a family circus. And something I didn’t want to miss. I’d eventually learn to give up on accomplishing anything else on those days and to just plan on spending the night but wasn’t quite there yet.
On the opposite, going out to eat was a norm with them and maybe the only way time management stood a chance. It was super fun being able to take them, especially my parents, to places in SoCal I had always thought they would like. For instance, taking them and their dogs to Julian for the town’s famous pie. Special times that would always warm me up to think about later on.
Being a traveler and living in NorCal part-time sometimes magnified the ticking of life’s clock a little too loud. I never felt like I had enough down time at home in the comfort bubble of my small community beach town. Not being home all the time did make me especially love my routines more than ever though. Even doing laundry was fun and something I looked forward to. For example of how, the $10 burger and a beer lunch special at our local dive, The Stick, was directly next to the laundromat and something I always paired with it.
Home when my birthday once again hit on Feb 8th, for once I wouldn’t have made a big deal about it given that it was coming on the heels of the big 40. Sis wasn’t having it though. She arranged an awesome fondue dinner with the Kid (little bro Sean) stepping up to have her back to make sure we fondid it right. Even Grandma surprised me by being there! I wasn’t the most thrilled that Wendy invited her ex-husband knowing that I had strong mixed feelings about him given that he was usually super cool but also a leach on our family and would once in a while would go getto. Something I had no tolerance for even from someone who was usually super cool. Otherwise, all happy sparkles.
It didn’t take long after that for me to be back up north in Felton with a stop along the way to visit the peacocks at Casa de Fruita. Back to work right away, the sightseeing of driving for Lyft was part of the fun and something I enjoyed getting back to. Every once in a while, the destination of passengers would even take me by the house I grew up in that my parents had only moved out of a couple years before. I, of course, used those opportunities to send photos to the fam though I didn’t miss that city in general at all.
Besides using rideshare to sightsee, socialize and network, there was also the usual stuff of my NorCal life to keep me happy. Hangin at Cafe Gratitude in Santa Cruz, visiting my pal Renee in wine country and small lingering birthday celebrations such as Svet getting me shoes I emo-loved thanks to their raising money for doggos being a few examples. Of course I accidentally rubbed part of the heel off from driving within a couple weeks of wearing them non-stop but that just made them rep me with all the more accuracy.
The big event of the month, and why I was back in Nor Cal so fast, was Brigit and Aaron’t party to celebrate his being done paying alimony. Money to Burn was the name and it was a 1920s theme that was the absolute bee’s knees. Fabulous as the parties she threw always were, I got a huge kick out of their goal being to use the budget of one month of what the payment had been. They even flew out a friend from Hawaii to cater the food and hired a fan dancer. It was full of bohemian-spirited people and a level of the cat’s meow that would be hard to match.

For the perfect ending to my 41st birthday month a week or two later, I went for a low-key hang at Monty’s that started with my walking into dogs abounding, a fresh couple dancing to “Magic” by Kenny Chesney (love!) and ladies from Hawaii chatting away. It was one of those enchanted moments that made time slow down for a minute. Something that didn’t happen as much at home as when I was traveling. You better believe I grabbed onto it when it did.




Jan 2019

With the plethora of holiday parties over, I finally got a chance to chill out at home in San Diego. Something that included details like binging on a podcast called My Favorite Murder that I found out about when dropping some women off at a live recording of it. It kept me sane driving so many long hours even though one of the two women hosts (yay for ladies!) drove me bananas by sounding dumb as dirt and the other, while I liked her in private recordings, sounds fake as fuck during public ones. It would eventually be why I stopped listening but hey, it was great while it lasted and I probably couldn’t have come close to their over all magic. The simplified psychology of the murders and humor mixed in was indeed a great formula and their ratings showed it.
It was great to get back to my roots in Ocean Beach. A local dive bar called The Tilted Stick had a delicious $10 burger and a beer deal that I loved to take advantage of while doing laundry next door. While still only on my “to do” list, driving by donation-based yoga on the beautiful Sunset Cliffs further down the main street was also awesome. So was writing on the back patio of a restaurant called Breakfast Republic. It reminded me of a couple cafes I had gone to in India with Alexandra which made it even extra special.
Hangin at the beach meditating with my mala beads and reading Playa Dust for my third time was something I had been dreaming of and was finally back to doing. Juliette was forever pulling me over to another of our fun local dives called Lucy’s and unfortunately sometimes also pulled me into hangin with her soon to be loser boyfriend. Sweet dude but had too many problems to count and would later try to hook up with me while also trying to spin it to make it sound like I was coming onto him AND his friend. Knowing I would never do that, she saw right through it (helped that I had his attempt in writing) and I did my best to hold back on bitching about lowlifes. Made me extra thankful for my type being slightly nerdy sweethearts that have their shit together. I mean, one of us better, right?
Back to the love, visiting Jewels and snuggling on Sugs made me happy when I got a chance to do it. She was always a ray of sunshine even though really upset about something that happened involving her friend on that particular time back and I was happy to be able to dog-sit. Yup. My life was thankfully still where I had left it.
Still in my bubble though in a neighboring art district called Liberty Station, a swanky movie theatre called The Lot offered discounts for members on Wednesdays so I took my pop and then to a burger place called Sladers 50/50. It was a great daddy daughter day. Something we would soon do again but farther away when I took him a couple weeks later to a casino called Barona for a $45 lobster Wednesday buffet and a few hours of gambling. The half an hour to pick him up, popping into the Satterwhite Sanctuary (hurray to be able to love on the four pups) and another half an hour to the casino was a somewhat painful trek but I was happy to be spending time with him. Not knowing how much longer we would have him given his health was always haunting. Especially with the idea of going overseas for more than a year.
Gig work was still a hustle, especially catching a cold for a week and a stupid BS delivery company I was thinking of starting with threatening me when telling me I had to return their equipment since I didn’t sign up for a shift fast enough. Unregulated gig work was such crap and the class action lawsuits hadn’t begun to roll out against them as they were to a few months later.
Heading out with the roomie for a drink was fun and a good bonding experience before heading back to the Bay. Kicking my time off back there with a fun night at a Star Wars Bar called 7 Stars Bar & Grill with the homies from high school Nick, Ant, Leilani and a couple more, of course Nick started a conga line. Of course.
Dropping my phone in a toilet a few months before = no audio but you get the idea…

India creeping into my subconscious once again, I came upon a spot in a parking lot of the seedy East Side of San Jose littered with garbage in a way that reminded me of my time there followed within a day or two by also being transported back to Thailand when getting a cheap massage at a spot called Life Reflexology. Little reminders that I may be taking a breather at home but I was happiest when also on the road.
I loved spending time with my little Felton family of Brigit, Aaron and sometimes Melissa. Just like home in SD, I was forever humbled to be able to call such a magical place my second home. During local hikes in Henry Cowell Mountain State Park, I would watch deer feed in fields, people ride horses, dogs walking with their human family and got to say hi to my horsie friends at the neighbor’s cute and quaint corner house. Lady’s night with Brigit and Melissa at Henflings was super fun and felt extra great to have cheaper prices even though only being half an hour from the Bay. Something I was painfully reminded of at lunch a couple of days later when a Korean place double-charged me for a lunch by serving it hot instead of cold without telling me first that there was a price difference. It was extremely rare for me but I was definitely not leaving a tip there. $20 lunch my ass!
Catching up for my few short weeks in Nor Cal, Svet and I screwed around trying stuff on for the Money to Burn party Brigit and Aaron were going to throw to celebrate his being done paying alimony (Brigit always threw great parties) and then it was back to driving Lyft all over the place up there with SF, the mountains and Santa Cruz being my favorites. Already time to drive back to Southern California, I visited Grandma for a couple nights also driving for Lyft in LA (no bueno) and even managed to meet up with my burner buddies Angelique, Sid and Ash. Back and forth, back and forth…there was always plenty of good times and adventure even in my quieter moments. My personality may not have allowed for a life that had much of it but it was at least more than average at that time. I was soaking it up.


December 2018

Deciding to stay home in California until after Burning Man 2019 by no means meant that the adventure was about to slow down. December exemplified that as it gave me plenty of opportunity to do what I loved to do best. Celebrate!
Santacon, a pub crawl started in San Francisco in 1994 in which everyone dresses as Santas (with a few relating exceptions) has evolved into a tradition that different cities around the world have continued on. Brigit was heading the charge for Felton and I wanted to stick around for it. My buddy from Spanky’s, Blackbird, even came down from SF to join and we had a blast. Adding additional entertainment, a server from a local restaurant, Creamer House, (where Brigit and I frequented for tuna melts) was one of the twenty or so who joined in and not only managed to leave with a crush on me but also with the big, furry cape my momma had made to keep me warm when I had been working in matchmaking in San Francisco. Long story short, even though I wasn’t all that interested, he still managed to give me a guilt trip about leaving to go home to San Diego and pissed me off by not getting the cape back to me for months.
After Santacon but before I headed back to SD, I got my hair did for the first time since Layla died in 2015. Something that may seem as boring and mundane as getting a pedi at first mention but, as had happened with many before, it had taken on some sort of right of passage. Even though I was disappointed with the result, probably my fault for not communicating clearly, I was happy I did it. To me it symbolized making an effort to take care of myself in the ways getting my bohemian lifestyle off the ground had been beating me up. A graduation to the next level of sorts. It’s funny how little random things so often end up being what marks moments of growth and change in our lives.
Heading home to San Diego within a couple days thereafter, I staycationed for an event another friend put on called Naughty or Nice. It was a weekend where a social group I had joined years before stayed at a local resort and did all kinds of local activities with the main attraction being a Christmas-themed pub crawl (not a Santacon though) in one of our local beach towns. So, so many pub crawls…
Svetlana had flown out and I met a cool guy from Denver who became my event boyfriend. For any of you burners, travelers or festies out there, you probably know what that’s like. It was great to catch up with old acquaintances and friends. Svet and I had a room right by the event’s main suite, making it even more fun. One of the nights of the event was also Sea World’s annual Christmas pub crawl where trainers, new and old, reunited for some fun. I had been around a lot when Nik was a trainer so it was always fun to join even if it meant that I was jumping between both of the events on one of the nights. It was good times to be sure but I was definitely ready to take a break from partying by the time it was done. For a few days at least.
Speaking of Nik, while I was always happy to be back in general, hanging with her and Kate was what what always made it most feel like home. I even managed to dive right back in with their kids when giving myself a black eye throwing Kate’s youngest, Audrey, up in the air in just a way that landed her chin right onto my eye socket.
Christmas celebrations still pouring out everywhere I turned with more party plans that hadn’t quite being fulfilled, Wendy and I thought it would be funny to utilize that shiner at champagne brunch in PB for a photo opp before getting drunkenly stuck in neighborhood Christmas parade and block party. The high of the day, something I still proudly chuckle at, being when we successfully crashed a random work Christmas party at The Grass Skirt tiki bar and successfuly pretended to be employees. The low of the day later being when I grabbed a dude’s cock while telling him to do the dishes at Nikki and Brent’s Christmas party. To be fair, Nik had only told me about the party a few days before so I hadn’t had time to rearrange boozy brunch. I stood no chance. Thankfully the dude and his wife were super fun, cool and also rowdy, though it still wasn’t exactly fun apologizing to her a couple days later. God. I still get embarrassed thinking about that one.
JerseyJ’s Christmas party was the last of the holiday tornado. It was fun with her awesome Italian cooking and big warm and vibrant personality that fit especially great with the holiday but it was also awkward thanks to her roomie being pretty much done with her after all the drama she had put her through with her then recent ex. Also because the rebound she had there at their party was an obvious loser, no doubt added fuel to the fire. It also caused Jersey J’s other friends there to “WTF are you doing” and her to get really upset about it. Beyond those who cared about her just being concerned, she never seemed to acknowledge how the people she put in their lives affected them. I was far enough removed at the time to find it interesting to compare behavior patterns and reflect on my own. In the end, even though I didn’t agree with her, I had her back. I didn’t want her to feel alone and she was the only one responsible for making the decisions of her life. Especially when she was spinning in all kinds of different directions from her breakup. I’d end up regretting it but you’ll have to wait to find out about that…
At some point over the month, Wendy set up family pictures at a stupid department store (so 1995) in which I looked horrible. Something that made sense when I got hives an hour later. Probably because I hate those cheesy pictures and thought it was especially lame given that we lived in a beautiful place full of great photographers. Well, just maybe it was also because I had been to about five million boozy Christmas celebrations. Over all, she wanted to make sure we had a recent picture because of how sick our dad was. That was pretty rad.
Just like Thanksgiving had been, Christmas day was mostly a bust. Still not comfortable going over to the family’s house, my parents met me for brunch on the OB Pier and that at least ended up being a pretty awesome high given how much they loved it. I then spent the rest of Christmas alone with hives. Again.
Even if it wasn’t to last as long as I wanted, I loved being home for a minute to catch up with my people and little beach town. Alas, NYE was on our toes and I had plans for it that were about to lead me back North. More specifically, a campout with Mia and Los Angeles burners in the LA mountains. Fun but it was too damn freezing! By the time I had found a warm communal tent on the second night, I wouldn’t leave it. Between that and a couple of dudes I managed to smooch out with, I did manage to find my warm and fuzzy for saying goodbye to 2018 after all.







Svetlana

Yes, Svet is originally from Russia.
We met when my dog Layla died in 2015 and I had rainbow hair.
A man who we had known online had invited a few of us together for happy hour to get me out of the house for what may had been the first time since losing my girl.
Her being a sweet and shy accountant (though with a secret wild streak), others often tease about how opposite we are and show confusion about how we could be friends. Among other similarities and bonds they couldn’t see was that we had lost one of the women in our small and close group of friends when she jumped off the Golden Gate bridge in 2017. She had been the heart and one who pulled us all together yet Svetlana and I had managed to find a way to continue it on after she was gone. It was actually when we finally got close

Brigit and Aaron

Brigit and Aaron are two of the first people I met my first time at Burning Man. Brigit is a nanny and semi mountain hippie with a love of the wilderness and great ability to throw a fantastic wvent while Aaron is a sweet and quirky NASA engineer who grumbles but is happy to get pulled into the burner and hippie ways.
They are OGs of my burner family and, despite our 18 year age Gap, some of the first people who I ever felt I could relate to in many of my outside of the box ways.
They host me to live with them sometimes in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz mountains. I love them and they help me to not feel alone in ways that I had for most of my life.

JerseyJ

JerseyJ was a nurse practitioner who had the full-blown Jersey Italian thing going and I loved it. She was loyal, loving, generous and nurturing in a way that was special and hard to find.
We knew each other through the boating world. Something I was a part of because of the boat I lived on and and because her ex-boyfriend owned one.
We were close for a time but her social, dating and partying choices (and the way they effected my own) became too much of a problem. As did her burning the relationship with my roommate and the repetitive lecturing and essentially telling me that my problems were BS and that she wasn’t going to deal with them after all she went through at work. Understandable to a certain level but she had put me through the ringer not so long before that with the things she had me do when losing it during her recent breakup with the boat dude. I guess you could say that I was her rebound.
I played more than my part as well. Of course. Relationships and being a pain in the ass are never one-sided. Especially when being a strong woman who likes other strong women.

Kati and Nikki

Kate and Nik are two of three sisters I’ve known since high school and are the two closest people I’ve ever had in my life and the most support I’ve ever had.
I started hanging with Kati when one of my high school besties introduced us and the three of us would hang. We got close when I would later visit her at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical School in Arizona. She was a pilot at Skywest and is currently a stay at home mom to two little girls with new aeronautical endeavors in the works.
Nik was a year younger and my sister knew her better than I. She dated a guy I hung out with a lot and we became close when both moving to San Diego around the same time in 2000. Her to become an animal trainer at Sea World, which she did. A senior dolphin trainer. She is now a stay at home mom to two little boys.

They have a younger sister Debbie (AKA) Doozer who is a doctor and lives in a different state. Dooz is more of her own person, which I love her for, and someone I also consider a part of my family.

These women are some of the best people I have ever known and probably the most important people I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve thought of them as angels, at least my Angela, for the close to two decades we’ve become close enough to consider each other family.

Wendy. AKA: Big Red

Wendy is my sister. We are 18 months apart and fought like cats and dogs until somewhere on our mid to late thirties.
While I am the oldest, others almost always think she is. Where I am the bohemian free spirit and hot mess of the family, she is mainstream and had taken over as the head of our family.
I’m 5’10”, she’s 5’8″. I’m a blond and she has curly red hair. Our brother is brunette. An oddly common combo in our family.
While our brother Sean and I both moved to San Diego in 99/00, the rest of our family came in 2017 when our mother, Theresa, retired as a pedi-ICU nurse at Stanford.

November 2018 – A quiet month of daily life…mostly.

Being a foodie in California, especially when in San Francisco a decent amount of the time (and double that when constantly on the road) can be a little slice of gluttonous heaven. Especially when finding good prices by focusing on lunch specials, happy hour and Restaurant Week. Being all over the place and checking out these new culinary spots is about more than just food, of course. Aptos St. BBQ in, well, Aptos had a blues vibe with live music and Summit House in the Santa Cruz mountains (on the 17) combined a great mix of a calming scenic view while also being full of bikers. It was a lot of daily-life fun with a lot of appreciated diversity.
Besides chowing down, life in Felton also continued to consist of the hikes I adored in the redwood tree-infested Henry Cowell State Park and I even managed to finally meet the retired equestrian park ranger neighbor who lived in a picturesque house across from the park with his two horses in the front, Buster and Dandy. I had always wanted to love on them and jumped at the chance to say hello when he was outside one day, asking if I could share some of the many apples falling off a tree at Brigit and Aaron’s.
Even though I was driving 60+ hours a week for Lyft, I still semi-managed to take advantage of other opportunities that popped up, like stopping in and drinking Russian vodka with Svetlana when dropping off a passenger by her house late enough to justify calling it quits. Moments like those were great when I actually pulled together enough energy to rally myself to take advantage of my Bay Area bucket list. Still, reality was that driving so many hours, sometimes until 1 or 2 am, often left me waking up the next morning dizzied, disoriented and in an exhausted mental fog that was sometimes so strong it took a moment to remember if I had taken anything to sleep. There were nights of insomnia where I would finally take a Tylenol PM at 5 AM, sometimes from being too amped from a really good day and others from the stress of it going the other way. By the time I was ready to start driving the day after these rough nights it would be mid afternoon (so much for working out) and by the time I really started to feel awake, the sun was going down. Of course, and as was a constant concern, I knew I’d be more successful if I slowed down and had more balance, but I had always been terrible at that. Constantly scolding myself, the story played on repeat in my head about how I was setting myself up for failure and losing happiness by working too much like that. By late November I had given 5,576 rides and was getting less and less bummed about my time driving for rideshare likely coming to an end. Well, for the moment. I knew I’d still miss it.
Even with those days of being floored by Lyfting too much, I was proud of myself for managing to take care of little things. I stayed aware of and looked into money-making side-hustles I came across and dealt with micro-stresses like figuring out how to refill my meds at a new pharmacy when the label on my current bottle had all but worn off (thanks to my most recent travels), called about the microphone on my phone not working (after dropping it in a toilet at Nikki’s birthday), dealt with a call from the social security office about possible identity theft, looked into what I had to do to get medical (what ended up being to pay $200 a month for Medi-Cal) and about setting an appointment to get my hair did in order to help me feel a little less like a raggedy hippy.
November was a quiet month for the most part. Except for, you know, the deadliest wildfires California had ever seen. I drove for Lyft on the day the air quality was the worst in the world and could only see maybe half a mile in front of me. Even though I had worn a mask, I was still not-so-surprisingly laid up on the couch the next day feeling horrible. It had been scary enough just experiencing that much, and I had been worried for the people in real danger, but I was also still selfishly bummed about missing a fundraiser for Black Rock Roller Disco (the roller rink camp at Burning Man) being held at the Church of 8 Wheels. Going there was one of those things on the SF bucket list. What the smoke did do that I appreciated was eliminated out ability to play “out of sight out of mind” and forget about those poor people literally in the line of fire. It must have felt like Armageddon for them. I donated a little then for the people and animals in trouble and promised myself I would six months to a year later when most had forgotten the need that would still be there.
Moving on to later in the month, Thanksgiving was next to non-existent. Brigit had originally said she was going to make a meal for the holiday for the little family of herself, Aaron and I but later let me know that she had made other plans by asking me if I had plans. What it did turn into was a night of kicking off the holiday weekend at a bar in San Jose called Britannia Arms with my late-teens BFF Nicki to celebrate an old tradition, complete with a reenactment photo of us trying to be “hard” to be cool. She had brought a bunch of her people I didn’t know, or at the very least wasn’t close with, so it didn’t have the nostalgic feeling I was hoping for but I was still glad I made the effort and was pretty content as far as the actual holiday went (with only a few pangs of hurt and self-pity). It was a glorious and rare day alone with string bean casserole and snuggle time with Meowlie for most of the day until Melissa came over later.
As far as work went on that holiday weekend, Wednesday and Sunday were a bust thanks to being TOO busy. AKA: the nightmare of just inching my way around in airport traffic instead of getting anywhere in a productive time frame. Sometimes I couldn’t even get into our waiting lot at SFO to be in the digital countdown, though I did luck out once in a while with random long rides that took me in the right direction. What seemed to happen more often, though, were long rides that took me in the wrong direction toward the end of my shift. For instance, getting one at 11:30 PM from SJO all the way back up to SFO. AKA: away from home which added at least an extra hour to bed time, making it after 2 AM. Not great for how I would be feeling the next day.
There was a lot of the beautiful mundane that is so much of what life consists of. Well, maybe not my kind of life quite as much but you get it. I was happy that I managed to meet up with Wendy and her friends one night when she flew into town to drop off my niece. Once again, they weren’t my people so I was a little uncomfortable despite crashing with her sweetheart of a friend, Sara. I quit the show I had been watching, the Good Wife, feeling like I had wasted those moments of my life, at least after the first season, and caught a cold as I seemed to do once a month. Thanks, no doubt, to the sanitary conditions and germs of those around me both when driving and at home. There were little treats like taking advantage of $5 movie days at the local Cinelux movie theatre to see Fantastic Beasts, grabbing a beer every now and again to sit with around the fire at Monty’s and $8 lunch specials at the local Chinese restaurants. The food wasn’t great but the prices couldn’t be beat.
Driving down the streets of our amazing mountain town, waving back to locals filled my heart and gave me amusingly paranoid moments of wondering if I was acquainted with any of those people or if they were just randos saying hello. Driving over the hill from the mountains into the Bay, I made mental checklists…scrub the car seats, yoga, hike, write…by the time I hit the beautiful but dangerous winding highway 17, my analytical mind had graduated from the warm-up of the lists and even further into the creative imagination that I had lived in as a child. I’d think about how I had a lot of good things in my youth, especially once moving to San Diego, but the main words I’d use to describe my life up until my mid twenties was pain and rejection. Finally finding Lamotrigine in my mid-thirties was the first thing that had really changed all of that but also took away some of the things I identified with and loved the most about myself. Then I’d analyze about whether that was really true or if it was a chicken or the egg thing. Following that train of thought and falling even farther down the rabbit hole, I thought about how I had been a happy and inspiring human drug to those around me when on one of my natural highs of charisma, adrenaline, happiness, love and empathy. How I had been able to live in my imagination and the way that inspired my writing. I thought about how different I was compared to the “normal” people of society and how I got it from my mom. Then I was thinking about her. How she would get upset when everyone around her was happy because, I thought, it maybe fucked with her self-worth and sense of direction to not have anyone to take care of. Plus the (for her) anxiety-ridden and upsetting chaos of the excitement that happiness brings. There was, of course, also fantasies about winning the lottery, being discovered by someone who wanted to work on this blog and the book I wrote, travel funding and (cringe) falling in love.
As my mind wandered six ways from Sunday, the beauty of that nature I was so in love with still managed to pulled me out of my imagination for small moments too magical not to notice. My favorite at that time being the steam that burned off the trees in those mountains as the sun hit in the mornings. Unfortunately, I was also pulled out for not so magical moments of having to focus on that scary road. Especially during a super rainy year of driving a Prius down a freeway where so many crashes took place. I had already hydroplaned once or twice, once knowing that I would have been in a crash if anyone was driving next to me. Not fun.
As those tedious moments that make the day to day continued, I felt happy and high when finally kicking the cold and extra great when it happened to come on the same day of a great 11+ hour working day of making $300 (before $85 + taxes overhead). Good timing before managing to take three days off driving. Something I hardly ever did.
Maybe the most fun I had all month was making it to the Dickens Fair with Brigit and Aaron for the first time followed with the relief of getting my hair did. Being at the salon for 5 hours, though, with the stylist’s kid playing on the floor wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. It was cheap at a total of $100 ($50 Groupon and a $50 tip) and I rarely did the “take care of myself” grooming so, even though the outcome wasn’t what I was hoping for, I was still gratefully happy.
So yeah. Over all, it was a month of the mundane day to day that is, I reiterate, so much of the beauty of life and something I hadn’t had in a long time. I had learned to appreciate it so much more and tried to hold on before the craziness of my adventures returned.

A travel & lifestyle blog about the messy pilgrimage of adventure, body-positivity and personal growth. Real and authentic. All the way.