All posts by Bohemian Babe

Feb 2020 – 4 Blog Posts in One

Want to help support the cause? Donate here!
One month in my Nor Cal home and it was already time to turn around and head back to the one in So Cal. That wasn’t going to happen, though, without one more misty-eyed hike in those beloved mountains, eating a yummy vegan polenta at Cafe Gratitude in Santa Cruz while getting some writing in and then some hang time with Brigit and Aaron.
On my way out of town the next day, I picked up some photos I had laminated for a ladder I was making for one of my Burning Man campmates, Ish, after a touching story he had shared about his having carried out a ladder to the temple the previous year and how he planned to do every year after. It was my first piece of art for the playa and, even if it didn’t end up moving him the way I was hoping, I was quite proud of it.
Home and already back in for an oil change within 24 hours. Taking advantage of the location of my mechanic, I decided to get Korean food for lunch as a trial run, which ended up being quite the foreshadow of how I was to feel about the food it S Korea. Especially the banchan. I didn’t know what most of it was and didn’t like a lot of it, either. I had already been dreading all the seaweed and seafood but that made me even more nervous. At least there was BBQ. Heading home from there, it was time to put up flyers on neighbor’s doors for the block party that weekend that just so happened to fall on my birthday. That wasn’t the original reason I came home, though. It was because a lover was coming to visit. He had even mailed a fun card to me and Jenny about being excited.
The card was super cute but it didn’t stop the feelings of being back and forth about his coming that had been going on for a while. I was overwhelmed with everything regarding S Korea (my recruiter had been upping the stress level x 10) and, more than anything, I had mixed feelings because of the lame way he had given me shit for coming to his hotel and the imaginary drama he had created between me and others during his last visit. At the end of the day, we met in the middle when he still came but got his own hotel. It was fun at first; I really did like a lot about him. Right away I took him to Wonderland for the great sunset but it was the next day when I took him my favorite, our local farmer’s market, that I really felt like I was showing him my world. I don’t know why it’s so entertaining to watch someone who can eat a lot but it was a blast watching him try so much different food. I left him to do his own thing most days while I worked and took care of other business. Also so I didn’t get overwhelmed and panic, as I tended to do. We were together, though, from the evenings on. Our grand finale of a last night started out fun. Meeting up with a friend of mine, acquaintance to him, at the hotel in Liberty Station that she worked and was hooking him at, we took advantage of the free happy hour while waiting for her to get off and then headed to Stone Brewery for a couple drinks. Hot tubbing back at the hotel after that, we then wandered the streets aimlessly with us ladies dancing, sharing a bottle of wine and shaking a tambourine as he sang with that Midwest accent while playing his mini guitar. It may be the closest I’ll ever get to being in a glam-rock music video.
Things took a turn when my girl initiated a threesome. It wasn’t necessarily where my head was at but I thought it would be a cool experience for him since he was so much older and had never had one. I knew he had been married for a long time but still…he was a musician. Most of the other creatives and free spirits I knew had a similar mentality to mine of being a little bit more…adventurous in bed. I supposed being a white male of the baby boomer generation who hailed from the Midwest, all flags that came with some good, created a different scenario. My already being someone with limited patience, something that had been shortened not only from the shit he had pulled previously but even beyond that from exhaustion, I had next to no tolerance for any screw-ups. That meant that I was extra pissed when he left me in the bed to follow my girl into the other room when we were done where she was going to pass out. Still, he was a newbie to it and it wasn’t an uncommon new blunder so I decided I would tolerate it. What I couldn’t tolerate was when he then proceeded to lecture me as if I was in the wrong after he had been shocked to see me start to get dressed. After 7 or 8 minutes of that, I couldn’t take it anymore and I bailed. I would have earlier but I didn’t want to leave her passed-out when she might wake up and freak about my not being there. Which she did an hour later when he tried to snuggle up on her. Well, I went and picked her up and we had our own damn slumber party at my house. Fucking clueless, man. Exhausted and feeling all kinds of negative emotions about his actions the next day, his calls got no love.
It was time for me and my daddy to head to Barona Casino. It was always fun to watch him at the casino, even if I didn’t like to gamble. Constantly having to remind myself that I wasn’t just throwing away money, it was really about spending time together doing something that made him happy, it was worth it. The day after that was my and my neighbor’s low-key block party with just a few of us, my birthday being a sidenote. Well, it was supposed to be but it ended up turning into major drama with others unfortunately. Enough to need it’s own blog post and for Nikki and I to stop talking for God knows how long. *face palm*
Uncomfortable as ever, I headed to the fam’s a couple days later where Mom proceeded to give me the birthday present of a big jacket, boots, gloves and other things she was worried about my having what with me moving somewhere it snowed. It was cute.
With Ishe’s ladder done and packed, it was time to head back up north three days later on the 13th for what may have been the shortest turn around between my two homes to date. It was once again time to meet up with someone coming into town. That time there were no mixed feelings, though. I was excited! A friend from the burn two years before, Minty Crash, had just arrived for her 40th birthday celebration and boy was it ever that! Planning to stay with her the whole time, I joked that her boyfriend and I were the birthday backup dancers (it was also his around the same time) as well as my goodbye. Whatever it was, it was also one hell of a staycation that was much needed and DEFINITELY it need of it’s own blog post. Stay tuned for next week! I’ll tell ya, I’ve never seen a birthday blowout like that. Shit, I’m not sure I’ve experienced that level of party intensity outside of festivals or on the playa. Even in Vegas. Love that crazy gal!

Brigit had told me that it was time to put Meowlie (Molly May Underfoot being her full name) down when Crash and I had spent the night at the house. I felt terrible not being there for it the next day but made sure to jam back on the 23rd for the funeral after dropping Crash at the airport and a quick stop to pick up the King Cake mix B had ordered. The way B put flowers around her body reminded me of burying my Layla. Brigit and Molly had been together for a couple decades. I don’t recall ever seeing her tear up much but she did that day.
The next day was back to the norm of a morning on the deck, writing at Treehouse Cafe and work. Not the day after that, though. It was Mardi Gras and Brigit was throwing a dinner party. First,though, I was determined to take advantage of the good weather by getting out instead of sticking myself in a car. That began with heading to Gilda’s on the Santa Cruz wharf for their prime rib lunch special. I didn’t even dig prime rib but my daddy did, the place reminded me of my parents in general actually, and it had been family-owned for generations so I liked it. At the beach after that, I took advantage of the chance to use the throw my sister had made out of a picture of me and my nieces for my Christmas present. I was mostly doing it to send her pictures but also because I was struggling to figure out what to do with it. I didn’t like the way I looked and it weirded me out that I was on there at all. It felt kind of, I don’t know, douchey to be sporting a throw of myself.
Still having a couple hours to kill, I didn’t know what to do with myself after that. I was so used to working all the time (I had tried but failed that morning) that I didn’t know how to handle free time. Well, kind of didn’t know. There was a place I had seen that looked cool on Yelp so I headed over to write. The place, Roxa Hammock Cafe, worked out great as it ended up being in the same center as where I was picking up fried green tomatoes where I was picking up fried green tomatoes for Brigit’s New Orleans dinner party that night. Besides not having much of a view, it ended up being super crazy cool in general. I was even digging the dude who worked there.
The party was pretty fun. Besides B yelling in my ear at dinner to talk to Rupert on the other side (I’m not the only one with some lungs on me), it was pretty laid back. Rupert, our charismatic and colorful Brit of a neighbor and fellow burner, held most of my attention for the evening as his was mainly on me. I was bummed I hadn’t had a chance to dress more in theme but he represented enough for the both of us. For all of us, actually. Luckily he helped to make sure that wouldn’t happen at the next theme party for me as he gave me a wedding dress that he then helped me ruin for his upcoming Donner dinner party. The day after that was lunch at Henfling’s and then a hike in a different/new part of Henry Cowell. Even though I found myself ill-equipped and wanting to strangle Brigit for leading me to believe it was much more chill than it was (I had switched from my hiking boots to flip-flops) I loved it.

B and A went out of town on the 28th which meant that I had the house to myself for the weekend, the original intention being to watch Meowlie. *tear* I had invited Svetlana and her son up but never got a response so I was on my own. It turned out OK, though, as I ended up hitting Henfling’s for an hour and then having way too much fun staying up drinking whiskey and mending that dress for Rupert’s party while watching Drunk History until 4:30 AM. Who would have known.

Crashe’s 40th – Riding until the wheels fall off.

Want to help support the cause? Donate here!
Then there was Crashe’s 40th birthday. Oh lordy.
With mine having just been on the 8th and her ex’s in Feb as well, we ended up being birthday backup dancers also with undertones of it being my last hurrah before a year abroad. Well, for what was planned to be a year. As long as the health issues I was semi-hiding didn’t get me booted. That or being a wild child in a conservative country.

My original plan had been to spend a few hours a day with her and work around it. To stay in San Francisco at the hotel she booked as my own little staycation and because it would make it easier to be in the thick of it with her.
It was a struggle to be back and forth across the state so much in such a short amount of time but I managed to jam back to SF from San Diego on the 13th. Driving through the beautiful snow-covered overpass on the San Gabriel mountains and getting texts from Crash and her man as they started painting the town red kept me entertained during the long drive at least. They were cracking me up as I made that nine hour journey, him giving me the play-by-play of her chatting everyone up at the bar after the drinkies had gotten her nice and lubed.
Finally making it to our friend Eve’s in Petaluma (actually about an hour north of San Francisco) for the first couple nights, it was the beginning of what was to be the biggest event with burners outside of the actual burn that I had ever been a part of. I was going to have a damn hard time keeping up through the whole thing but it meant a lot to me. Besides the reasons already mentioned, because it was likely that I wouldn’t make it to the burn that summer. We didn’t know yet that it wasn’t going to happen anyway thanks to Covid.
I was exhausted though still excited to see my friends when finally getting there just after 10 PM. Doing my best to follow Crash as she told us booze-fueled stories and occasionally went on confusing rants about not telling her dude anything about Thunderdome (she wanted to keep it a surprise), it was already chaos. Good times and lots of laughs regardless of feeling shitty physically. Years of insomnia were working in my favor for once.

Not quite refreshed the next morning, it was still relaxing to wake up to the beautiful rolling hills of Eve’s neighborhood. Taking a video of the ladder I made for Ish as my first piece of playa art, our crew was soon to head out for lunch and sight-seeing. Originally thankful I didn’t have to be the driver, I soon regretted it as I got carsick sitting in the back seat of the truck while Blackbird drove. It also wouldn’t take long to be cringing about our inadvertently stopping and blocking other drivers throughout the day.
Later that night in the middle of nowhere, we got pulled over for expired tags and rolling through a stop sign. The cop didn’t give us too hard of a time though. Blackbird had probably indulged in one too many but was still more chill than the rest of us. He looked older than the three of us in the back (he had white hair and I still looked like I was in my twenties) so I was guessing that the officer figured him to be the responsible one taking care of us. That or maybe he decided that it wasn’t worth dealing with since there were five of us. Whatever the reason, we were going back and forth after between reprimanding ourselves and cracking up as Crash made jokes. I can’t remember her exact words but something along the lines of “oh, you’re all doing body-bumps and tequila shots without seat belts, have expired tags and blew through a stop sign going 30 miles over the speed limit? That’s no big deal. So sorry for pulling you over and wasting your time, sir. My bad.” The worse the scenario she made up, the funnier it got.

Back to the day before that happened, Eve and Blackbird took us to lunch in her quaint little town and on a gorgeous (albeit windy) drive along the lush seaside cliffs, ending with a stop at a lovely spot at the beach. I was still so tired (and a little carsick) that I stayed in the truck to nod off but at least got an occasional peek through the window. Then we headed to a dock where one of our campmates that Crash had a special bond with snuck up on her dressed in the disguise of a crotchety old man that we would after tease him had looked like an aged version of a member of Motley Crew. Excited to go out on his boat, we at least made it for sunset before it started smoking and we had to go back to get the ‘ol girl docked with help from the neighbors. The symbology to life wasn’t lost on that one.
After that, it was time to finally make it to the hotel in SF for the packed pre-party and to get ready for one hell of a big night complete with the beginning of Crashe’s campaign to ensure that my cat-eye eyeliner was always on fleek. An odd obsession but it would keep me pretty entertained and give me a little of the warm and fuzzies of someone actually paying attention to my small details.
Then there was our night out. Holy shit. Somewhere around a dozen of us went to the Big Booty Mashup where even more joined for a fantastic show that was a mix of performers somewhere who were a mix of drag queens who were amazingly trained pole dancers, singers, aerialists and I guessed at some point a member of dance troupes. Some of them were so good, I thought them to be on the level of Cirque Du Soleil. I missed a lot of it, though, thanks to being so overwhelmed by the packed hyped crowd that I was hiding at the bar. Chatting up the bartender, I didn’t realize that an Aussie with a big ‘ol smile who excitedly came up to say hello was our friend. Not recognizing him without facial hair, I had thought he was just some random hot guy being friendly and fun. It was the vibe, after all.
Usually a sweetie of good standing, it didn’t take him long to make out with a chick in front of another in our group who he was then seeing at the time. He had been pretty devastated after recently separating from his wife. Not cool but it could be forgiven considering. What I could have killed him for, however, was my ending up being the one to take our gal in all her jaded glory (abrasiveness and aggressive personality, as she will proudly tell you) under my wing to calm and comfort until sunup. Thanks, buddy.
Six of us “slept” there but we didn’t get in trouble until the next night when our buddy snuck his dog in after Crash had given the green light. I talked to the manager who was sad-upset, making me feel like a lying asshole when saying so unconvincingly that the pup had just stopped by. Life goes on but it would be a long time (if ever) until I stopped feeling like an jerk for that one. Rough reminder that I wasn’t a liar. Another way I tried to pitch in was by paying for all the Lyfts throughout the week. It felt empowering since I was usually the broke one, though ouch. Expensive enough on it’s own, I was tipping fat for drivers putting up with our crazy-asses and because I didn’t want bad ratings on my account. I deserved them but somehow still lucked out and ended the week without my passenger account in jeopardy. It would be a surprise but maybe the drivers actually found us to be full of chaotic amusement. From my end, it was pretty funny to think back on all of us clowns crammed into those cars we had turned into our clown cars, me trying to chill everyone out with no success.
Our friend Goat hosted a party the next night at the house of burners she was watching (with their permission) before and after going to an event in Oakland. She loved the opportunity to be queen and I loved the friendly kitten at the house, Tyrone. What I didn’t love was the packed event with EDM pumping in every room. Then there was Disney karaoke. We had started it as a fluke at our friend Bacon Daddy’s own birthday party not too long before and had so much fun there that we were giving it another go. Alas, as I more than half expected, it had lost it’s magic. Especially after Crash earned her name when crashing into a plastic kitty box and a random chick, insecure and slightly arrogant, began bragging about her singing abilities along with how she did it for a living before taking the mike and clearing the room. From then on, Crash would be belting out “Let It Go” at the top of her lungs as tune-deaf as she could.
The next day was her actual b-day. Later laughing about how Goat told us to do a moop sweep the following morning and then talked Crash and her man into doing yard work she was going to get paid for, I helped for an hour and then took off to work and get some de-stimulation time in for a couple hours. F all that nonsense.
Feb 18th
Date Day Hoax! Probably my favorite day. Well, maybe not the first half when I had to go to Oakland to take care of paperwork for the teaching gig and to get a car window replaced that had been busted out on a cute street lined with shops and restaurants by our hotel. Lame but at least nothing got stolen and I got it taken care of pretty fast. Not fast enough to get through traffic and over the bridge in time to say goodbye to her man before he flew out, though. It was just the two of us for the first time from there. Instead of Sex The City, we were the Duo of Destruction.
After some beautiful nature time hiking in Golden Gate Park, we headed to the Haight. Walking the streets stopping at countless thrift stores, we then went to eat at my sister’s favorite SF spot, Cha Cha Chas. For me it was the warm memories of taking a French burner crew there a couple years before when they had just flown in and we were getting ready to leave for the burn. We made a new favorite memory there, though, as Crash had everyone in the restaurant thinking we were on a romantic date. Awkward and embarrassing for me at first but it became more and more entertaining as onlookers started cooing over us. She was so confident, I just went with it and it worked like a charm. So funny and so much fun.
The next day we ate at Queens Louisiana Po-boy Cafe on the Warf and then headed out to Napa and the surrounding wine country, including to see our sommelier buddy, Ish (the one I made the ladder for) at the private winery he worked at where we were treated like gold and in love with the wine. We also made sure to continue our “couples” photo shoot since we were still cracking ourselves up with it. Then we drove to a darling Italian restaurant in Santa Rosa named Rosso to meet up with Jo Jo and his dog again followed by a fun bar he picked that had a creative and edgy vibe that once again fell right in line with the world we knew.
FEB 20
On Thursday, we drove south. First to Testarrossa Winery which I’m not too much of a fan of given high prices, snotty attitudes and wine that I don’t even like. The grounds are impressive, though, with the tasting room being in a cave and having an interesting story that included how the property was leased from monks. I had written an article about it for a magazine in the past which always created sentimentality. North of that was my second home in the woods. Oh how I loved those forested mountains along with the wineries hidden within. Way more than the area better known up north. My favorite was MJA Vineyards, so I was determined to take her there. The tasting room attendant was awkward unfortunately and there was a woman with two cute dogs who wouldn’t stop chatting our ears off. As seemed to be a constant theme, annoying then but later it was comical. After we were off to meet Brigit and Aaron for one of their cocktail hours, first with a quick drive around Santa Cruz. Brigit was finally about put her cat Meowlie (as I called her) down within a day or two, so there was an importance to making it over beyond introducing different people in my life. Poor thing had been dragging her back legs around like a zombie for a couple months but she was was a fighter so she had stuck in there for way longer than I ever would have thought. I couldn’t believe how long she had lasted, actually. We all spent a little time together and then, with Crash being more warn out than me for once, we decided to sleep over. Not surprising to any of us as I wasn’t about to drive through those windy mountain roads with a buzz and we all knew we’d be having a couple.
I was pretty conflicted leaving Brigit the next day but it was Crashe’s last full day in town and we had to get back to SF. After meeting up with my colorful British burner bud Rupert at Spanky’s Cafe to pay homage to our camp’s name, we headed back for a picnic in Dolores Park. Crash seemed to be pretty recovered but I was dragging like hell. It had been one crazy staycation and I, feeling like Meowlie had looked, had officially hit the wall. I was only used to dealing with that level of intensity on the playa and I barely even survived then.
No one we had invited was able to make it in time for the picnic but Goat did join us for Irish coffees at The Buena Vista after and later on JoJo as well at a gigantic and very touristy tiki bar/restaurant called Tonga Room in the Fairmont hotel. Sharing an expensive group drink called Siren’s Song, I spent most of my time trying unsuccessfully to get Crash and Goat to stop acting rowdy (kind of stuffy high-end hotel) while JoJo just laughed.

Goat stayed back at the hotel after that while JoJo, Crash and I wandered around The Castro looking for a bar. Showing that maybe she had hit the wall too, Crash was being sassy with people, thinking they were being smart-asses with her (they weren’t) and using the word “retarded”. Meant as a slang word that proved we were teens in the ’90’s, it had since become a derogatory word (rightly so) that the folks of SF would not take kindly to if they overheard. Especially in the Castro. I was pissy about it regardless of knowing that the way I felt was more about being burnt the fuck out. Poor JoJo. Poor, poor JoJo. We were spent. No one had continuously rallied with us the entire time, which made us the only two champions crawling toward the finish line on bloodied knees.
The next day was goodbye. Even though we had nothing left in us unless we were going to a R&R retreat or, I don’t know, somewhere we’d be hooked up to IVs, it was bitter-sweet. It had been the most epic birthday celebration I had ever been to and probably ever would. It had been an honor and privilege to not only be able to celebrate my girl but also to ride her coattails with my own birthday, burn and goodbye. Happy 40th, Crash. You sure knew how to bring it in with one bodacious never-to-forget bang.

January 2020

Want to help support the cause? Donate here!
I couldn’t tell you what happened on the 1st. I was probably a sleep-deprived zombie driving other folks around on what I liked to call its own holiday at the National New Years Hangover Day. Who really knows. On the 2nd though, oh man, I slept until 2 PM. Talk about being disoriented. If I’ve ever done that before, I sure don’t remember it. Our friend Melissa and her man were out on the deck with Brigit after shucking oysters by the time I emerged from my cave. I remember feeling awkward, disoriented and embarrassed, for what reason I don’t know, as my wits started coming about me.
December had financially become all about the holidays so it wasn’t until January that I started forking out dough for the teaching gig. That meant continuing to drive for rideshare way too much for way too little while it made me more physically unhealthy day by day. I did so love it though. All the people, places and coffee shops it introduced me to. Sighseeing and getting writing in on a somewhat constant basis, errands being easy and always being able to avoid the BS that doesn’t have anything to do with the job but comes from working with others. The hard parts were indeed hard but I didn’t take the good ones for granted.
Going to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed on the 6th was the first example for the month of the errands that the flexibility of my work made so much easier. Relieved to finally stop putting it off, that particular day wasn’t the best choice, though, given that I had a bad insomnia night. It didn’t exactly leave me with my best “look” for a new pict. Also not the best day because there was a burner couple visiting who I would have enjoyed seeing. They hadn’t been up yet when I left though. I would have stayed if I had known it was them but I thought they were a woman going through a gnarly breakup situation who I regrettably didn’t have the stamina for thanks to the lack of sleep.
The next day on the 7th was the last time I would see Svetlana before leaving the country. Still being a little frustrated after having to redo paperwork for a FBI background check, it was an extra relief of a treat to end the day with her when a ride took me close enough to give her a call, her telling me to come over and grab some wine on the way. Just like I expected. Walking in to the usual of her pushing delicious Russian cooking at me as soon as I sat down, we then had fun with a breathalyzer while drinking wine. Her making me blow again and again (insert joke here) while she got pissed that I was only blowing a .04 after 3 glasses. Acting like teenagers and thoroughly enjoying ourselves just like always, I had forgotten how funny the show Drunk History was until her son left it on for us to continue cracking up at even after he went to bed. It being especially funny when having my own buzz so I stayed up watching and laughing until the wee hours. Right after I had finally given in and gone to bed, somewhere around 2:30 AM, my last memory of seeing Svet was when she came out in a t-shirt and panties to throw a pillow at me with the look of a little rascal on her face.
Another midday errand driving for rideshare allowed me was the first big expense of working on my visa. It was to go to UPS in Scotts Valley to get get fingerprinted for the FBI background check. Around $70 for that part alone, at least I got some entertainment out of it when the guy doing it ended up being really nice, funny and cheesy. Case-in-point when he made a dad joke about my getting fingerprinted because I in trouble as people came in and looked. We were by the front door. That was the first of a ton of hoops to jump through with paperwork and a lot of expenses I didn’t know about. As in around $2,500 all-told by the time I was settled in on Jeju Island. The recruiter wasn’t clear about a lot of it and got frustrated if I asked. I wasn’t even told that I wouldn’t get back the paperwork I was paying for after turning it into the Korean government. Yeah…he ended up being the recruiter that I had been warned about by one of the expat leads on
One would think I was all socialized out after December. Nope. Well, not completely. I still needed some sprinkled in here and there. Brigit joined me for walks in the woods every once in a while and on the 12th Aaron even joined us. I also made it to a happy hour put on by a Spanker in Oakland on the 13th where Bacon Daddy gave an impromptu spanking lesson. Not my thing but lots of fun. I managed to fit my own hikes and walks in there, too. My favorite for the month being on the 14th when the All TrailsAll Trails app lead me to the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve in the Los Altos Hills. It made for a mucho happy day regardless of a teenie bit of sprinkles.
One of my goals in life had been to get out of my own head and do something notable for someone else at least three times a week. I had a long way to go but was proud of myself when managing a happy success for the gal mentioned in the beginning of the post when taking her to dinner. She had been going through a very dark struggle from a recent breakup both in partner and community. Trying to be more than just supportive at B&A’s, I made an effort beyond that when to her to a place called Crow’s Nest for a treat. Well, she happened to know of a special they had there that night anyway and I had been wanting to go so it may not have been exactly the most selfless act. I couldn’t afford it but she was barely working and could use the TLC so I justified spending the money anyway. It didn’t feel very good when she didn’t seem to notice, though I did think about how that itself could teach me bout doing things for the right reasons.

Dancing on the deck in a hail storm the next morning, I got to check out an exhibit called Glow: Festival of Lights later that night at the SF Exploratorium and even squeeze in a couple drinks at Henfling’s when back in the mountains. I was proud of myself for getting better at the balance of a work/life combo. If only I could figure out how to squeeze some more sleep in there, it would be the trifecta. Part of that balance over all, I was learning, included going with the flow with the ever-present unknowns. Not something I had a history of handling well but was finally getting better at. Case in point, I hardly worked at all on the 19th due to sharp stomach pains and needing to recover from a couple days of making below average earnings. Well, not working except for an hour before Aaron treated Brigit and I to dinner at Cowboy. My food was unfortunately disappointing , which we thought must mean a new chef, but the atmosphere was still great and I was happy to be taking a break to go out to dinner with them.
The days from there were to continue with more work and hanging at local haunts. Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, a quick drop in at the Santa Cruz tasting room of MJA Vineyards to say hi to a gal I knew, Brady’s Yacht Club, Joe’s (though I wasn’t feeling the crowd so left quickly), Henflings for live music and Monty’s to sit around the fire for a chat.
It was then that I was asked about what qualifies me to identify as a traveler. I thought about how the reasons reminded me of the same as to why I identified as a writer. It was just who I had always seen within myself. Where I connected. I didn’t have to “do” anything, I had been born that way. My response, though, was that I focused my whole life around it, even when at home in CA. Fair enough but it didn’t feel right to be exposing only the tip of the iceberg like that. More than to myself, it wasn’t fair to others who could be impacted by my words when it came to their own passions. Showering later (one of the best places for replaying conversations), I wished I would have shared some of the details that made blanket comments like that show more of a reality. Things like how I had ended relationships, said no to good job offers and tolerated attitudes from those closest to me acting as if I was making the wrong choices in life when I needed their support the most. How painful it all was and how much it made me wonder, not only if I was taking the right road, but also if it was worth it. Yes, though. It was. If for no other reason, because we can’t magically change ourselves into different people. Starting to think back with a wish that I could have found the mentor I had desperately wanted, I also wished that there was some way to go and convince Younger Me that I didn’t need any of the “on paper” stuff to to make me who I was. For a minute, I was lost in the past and feeling a little melancholy. A mourning for all the happiness lost.
My mind kept wandering. I started to think about all that had happened since and how I liked to joke that I had nine lives because of all of the different ones I’d already lived. I never talked about how sometimes I could feel myself dying at the end of one and being stuck in a dark abyss before starting the next. The end of who I’d been and what my world had been. A goodbye and mourning. Then the purgatory that came before I could be reborn into the next. It felt like death while my heart still beat. Was that part of having a writer’s spirit? To need more adventure and culture? I wondered if I would ever slow down and be content enough to settle in. A thought that both worried me for fear of dimming my light and also sounded comforting in that maybe it would make life less hard and painful. Less full of loss.
Life goes on. A happy ending to my month happened when Mia became the first friend on one side of the state to join the other. Originally on her way up from SD to move to the Bay as a traveling nurse at Stanford, the hospital called her on her way to retract the offer before their last stamp of approval because she had refused to waste her time to go in for a second drug test when it was there error for what they hadn’t taken care of the first time. Talk about a sucky situation, I would have been a stressed-out mess. She being more kick-ass than me, was able to hold herself together and turn it into a vacation by the time she arrived.
I was excited to have her there whatever the reason. That meant that when she got there on the 21st, I was determined to meet up with her in the China Town neighborhood of San Francisco for lunch. The next day I joined in again at her friend Gosha’s there in the city for a supurb dinner they had put together. She was tired after that, though, so I went out by myself for one of my favorite evenings in SF ever.

Short but sweet, the place I went, The Saloon, was the oldest bar in SF and happened to be where a fabulous elderly pair were dancing with some old-school razzle-dazzle I wouldn’t forget. It was cooler than cool. For some reason I kept thinking that they were only friends, him being gay, and that they had been dancing together for years. I wanted their story so bad but sometimes it’s better to leave the magic of our imaginations be. Leaving soon after, still with a smile on my face from watching them, I was almost talked into karaoke by some Korean fellas as I walked back to my car. If I wasn’t already, I was definitely smiling all the way home after that.
It was already almost time for me to head back to SD. First I managed to fit in a few other nice moments, though, despite catching a cold. Both Mia and I caught it actually, her a couple days before me. Still, we managed to see each other one more time for lunch in Santa Cruz before I left. An odd feeling given that she’d also head back within days. Maybe she was even first. I don’t remember. On a different day after that but also in Santa Cruz when I was getting some solo time, I found a lovely walk and a cute little restaurant called Cafe Brazil. A score in finding it but a fail in getting a run of the mill acai bowl in an effort to make the healthier choice instead of something more authentic. Can’t win ’em all.
Finally managing to get the FBI background check back on the 29th, what shocked the hell out of me with quite a few laughs was that it made it look like I was arrested for drugs on 12/04/2015. Well, I did get taken in but it was for booze and an officer I spoke with later said it looked like it was for my protection because the cops were worried about some guy trying to get me in his car. Whoopsie. It had been years before and from what I remembered, had been after my drunkenly ditching a date when I suddenly felt unsafe because of his plowing me with so much alcohol. It didn’t help that I couldn’t remember my new address. Anyway, add it to the expensive, stressful and time-consuming headaches to take care of for my visa. Why not. I’d already lost count by then. For what it’s worth, I later found out that the guy I ran out on was an ex-military sniper for hire and I was pretty sure he was running drugs across the border. Never trust a redhead.
With a couple more scores of awesome cafes over the next couple days (Harbor Cafe‘s frittata being my favorite brekkie in town), I had already known that 11th Hour Coffee in Santa Cruz was a cool spot for one of my last writing stops but was surprised by Backyard Brew in Palo Alto when it turned out to be a hidden gem full of diversity in people. After that, I only had two more days left on that side of the state. I swore I had just gotten to Nor Cal but oh well. That’s the life of a California gypsy.

FEB 8 2020 – Angel Fallen

Want to help support the cause? Donate here!
I’d had a rough time with my birthday for as long as I could remember. Kind of like how the holidays hurt once having lost someone. I had always fought to make it princess special but the older I got, the more that was because it was what I “should” want without even knowing how I really felt. Ironic when all it did was trigger associated pain from the past. Something amplified for that particular year by the way the ITP was hitting and the way it had started making everything go sideways. I was deep in the stages of grief. Somewhere between anger, resentment and bargaining. A lot of the anger and resentment against myself. The realities of how much I had pushed everyone away and tried to isolate as I had reached the stage in life of finally fighting back while struggling with all the negative emotions that came with. The bargaining came in when analyzing why the majority of the people I considered friends had been MIA and how to stop that from happening again. I was still too frozen for those thoughts to really formulate yet though. Especially with the stressors of getting ready for S Korea.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
A lot of the details from the past were hazy but I’d never forget how it all felt. Plans not working out and the birthday spotlight shining on what I didn’t like about myself and my life. Worst of all, all of the times people hadn’t been there for me. Note my brother trying to attack me the night before I left for my solo 40th birthday trip to Costa Rica after so few friends had been interested in the cruise I had been planning in order to make their lives easier. Also note that my sisters, biological and honorary, along others in a small group of friends majorly did come together in other ways, so it wasn’t like I wasn’t getting love. Maybe the worst trigger about my b-day was the childhood days when my parents did less for me than my sister and Mom canceled my parties because I would get too excited and act bananas. I’d been a difficult person my whole life. I was aware of that and understood to a certain extent but at the end of the day, the people who were supposed to be there tended to drop the line when it mattered most. It was a recipe for a foundation of dark clouds and short-circuiting instead of happy celebration.
Regardless of everything, my 42nd was the only time I remember ever genuinely wanting my birthday to go away. It was nothing but a headache given how overwhelmed I was between the recruiter stressing me out, working nonstop to come up with the funds for the move and dealing with all the ongoing ITP drama. Also because it was the 40th of others and it felt weird to steal any of the birthday sparkles from them. The only importance the day of my birth did actually carry for that year was that it was a reminder of my still being alive. Holy shit. The reality of that almost not happening froze me in my tracks. I almost hadn’t made it to 42 years. The whole thing hit harder than it had up to that point. I suddenly felt like I had parachuted into the sky, both spinning in slow motion and too fast at the same time.
I fought it but Nikki insisted on doing something to celebrate. She kept throwing out ideas, lightly starting to plan. Finally giving in about the third time she brought it up, I told her that we could just combine it informally with the block party my neighbors and I were already planning. I also offered, despite my financial situation, to pay her band to play there. My neighbors were excited about it. Especially the woman who also had a history of playing in bands.
A chick named Angie (or as Team OB called her, Skang) who had been living in Temecula for years had planned her 40th on my actual birthday to cater to her friends there. Think Real Housewives of fake tits and CrossFit (insert silly and immature jab here). She had been one of those who was a nurse and hadn’t contacted me even once after accidentally seeing me when I was going through my scare. We weren’t close anymore but I still thought it was pretty shitty given that she had actually seen me and had plenty to say about it when she had. For her celebration, she had apparently taken note that it was on my birthday but decided to go ahead anyway. No biggie given that we weren’t much more than acquaintances. What was super fucking lame was that she hadn’t even mentioned to Kate and Nik that they do another celebration on a different day. Even after my having mentioned doing a champagne brunch for her the next day. I thought for two seconds about moving my own, one that wouldn’t had been happening if Nik hadn’t insisted, but instantly got resentful and pissed at the idea. How often do birthdays fall on a Saturday? And it wasn’t even her actual birthday! Nikki made me feel more like garbage when bringing up the idea again. I mean, I hadn’t wanted to celebrate in the first place but she had insisted and now was the one making me feel worse about it. Really though, the way I felt didn’t have much to do with my birthday. It was about my having been made to feel like my life didn’t matter as much. That my literally managing to stay alive was an afterthought to one of the two most important people in my life. And if she felt that way, it could almost guarantee her sister as well.
Kati and Nikki were insisting on swinging by earlier to hang before going to Angie’s birthday. Talk about heightening already bummed feelings, it threw the feeling in my face of what a side-note swing-by I had become. I also didn’t appreciate being disregarded when I told them repeatedly that I didn’t want them to come by for that very reason, not to mention that it was an evening adult thing and that I was busy during the day. Kati still swung by regardless with the same LED light-up shoes in my size that I had bought for her along with her daughters and a cake they had made. Totally not playing fair. Nikki continued making me feel worse not only by denying having been the one to push doing something but also for having never bothered to get back to me about booking her mom band. The most I got out of her was a happy birthday text, though it was more of an unintentionally sarcastic jab by that point. What I did get later as the perfect little present was when I accidentally saw pictures of the two of them with Angie on social media. Unfollow.
Nik tried to call to talk about it a few days later when I was driving back to Nor Cal. Exhausted from a rough night of insomnia that left me with only two hours sleep, let’s just say it didn’t go great. Both being horrible verbal communicators who had a tendency to run from confrontation hadn’t exactly set us up for success either. The strain of it made me come off as cold and detached while making her spazz out. I didn’t want that but doubted we were going to get away from it. The difference was that I got the impression she seemed too defensive to hear anything I said while, though it was hard to take in the moment, I always thought about it later. A lot. I didn’t hate myself the way I had as a kid but I was still critical, especially when I was in such a bitch phase. Triple that if it was anything either of the sisters had to say. They were good people. Way better than I was.
I understood what she said about how my reaction came off as being a selfish brat who wanted all the attention. It upset me that I had been so bad at delivering how untrue I believed that to be and even more that she grown so far away as to know so little of me. I just didn’t want to feel like my life was second and didn’t matter as much, not anything about my birthday. It was frustrating to lose that understanding but I doubted it would have mattered if I could have explained it better. She had no interest in hearing what I had to say. Instead of communication, I was under an emotional freakout spitfire attack. I knew her type of reaction happened, just as I was sure she knew how cold and detached I could be in mine, but I couldn’t recall it having ever been directed at each other. Even though we were different in that sense, I had always thought us more similar in emotion than not. And yet there we were, on opposite sides of the battle field.
Constantly and harshly saying “I’m not going to let you talk to me like that” in a condescending tone I heard come from her husband/my bud every once in a blue moon, it became obvious pretty quickly that she wasn’t willing to hear or understand where I was coming from. She had called to lecture with her mind already made up, even if she hadn’t realized it yet. Typical thinking of those being influenced by the suburb world. At least, that’s the way it felt to me.
The shit hit the fan. I may have understood where she was coming from but her saying that I was being selfish made me feel even more like my life didn’t matter. Also like I was being punished for the ITP situation finally hitting with so much vulnerability, confusion and hurt. An extreme emotional reaction in the moment but it hadn’t happened yet and it was hitting hard since it finally was.
Then she thew it in my face how much her and her sister had done for me. Heartbreaking as doing so just watered it all down and put up a wall that made me unsure I could ever trust either of them with being so intimately vulnerable again. I instantly and angrily resented that she did that not only in general but also to my relationship with Kate. Yes, they had indeed done a lot for me. They had also been the closest people I’d ever had in my life along with the only ones I could always count on. Absolutely. It tripped me out how they had been my angels for a couple decades without falling. The love story of my life. I had always thought about how I wished I could be there for them the way they had been for everyone else. Kate especially. She had been the lead as a mother figure and source of healing power, even when we were kids. She had always been the one setting the sails.
What Nikki had failed to see was what I had done for her for years by enduring the suburbs. A place that triggered torment and darkness and I’d have chosen to stay away from forever if I could. Though the requests were spread apart, I had continuously asked if we could do more in my world, far away from that of the stay-at-home suburban wife life. Great if it made her happy but it suffocated and scared the hell out of me. Also, had she made an effort to be a part of my life and who I was? Had she ever even read my blog? Or thought about going on one of my adventures with me? She’d had good intentions to honor my requests, of course she did, but it hardly ever happened. In fact, she’d go out of her way to do it for others but it was almost always back to her house for me. Don’t get me wrong, I was full of gratitude and love for being considered part of the family like that. Also the way her and Brent made their house the gathering point for family and friends in a way that I dreamed of doing myself. So much of their community, though, was in the typical kind of suburb world that I had a lot of childhood scars from. I had managed to endure it for years, going back to that hell over and over because I knew they were worth it but it had finally started getting too heavy for me over the previous six months. I had been able to feel the strain starting to seep in. It wasn’t much, especially after all they had done for me, but I consoled myself with the thought of my own little sacrifices after she had made me feel like I had been such a burden.

The last thing I remember saying to her during our fight was to thank her for not even bothering to get back to me about trying to do her a solid with her band. Well, the second to last thing. When she said the last words I would allow of her rant, to not call her, I said “OK, buy” and hung up. No problem. I’m good a that.
There you have it. It had to happen eventually given that we’re all human and I had her on way too high of a pedestal for way too long. Honestly, I had known it wasn’t fair for a long time. One thing’s to be sure…it was the ride of a lifetime. For then at least, I was to get through those dark times (that were about to get a lot darker) and start a new life without her. At least at the beginning of it. It had taken twenty years but my angel had fallen. And just like that, I no longer believed in angels.

Satan’s Suburbs

I can’t stand the suburbs. It’s where people go to die.
Let’s backtrack…

Just like residual feelings of being raised in the Catholic church, I was aware that I had plenty of bias from too much associated pain. The middle-class suburbs of the ’80’s and ’90’s hadn’t exactly been that of a culture that excepted me. Being more than a little bit of a challenge and having an outside the box personality, I had constantly been told that who I was at my core was wrong and that I needed to change. So I tried. I tried really hard. I was desperate for love.
All I ever saw of that world was close-minded conformity that was full of underlying expectations to live in a little box that got smaller and smaller. So did the thinking of the people in it. Well, if it could be called “thinking”. Sheep “thinking” where people turn into little more than a channel for what was being pumped into their brain. Work consisted of being a number in some company where someone else was getting rich for the work others were killing themselves to do. Hey, you earned $5MM for the company this month? Here’s a plaque and a $200 bonus.
It was a culture full of stay at home wives and mothers whose husbands took them for granted and were MIA most of the time. If they weren’t working 80 a week they were off with some mistress while the Mrs. was home nursing sick kids and chasing antidepressants with a bottle of pinot gris while judging others who were doing the exact same thing. Judgmental (note the irony that I call that out while writing this), narrow-minded and superficial two-faced people who couldn’t understand why they weren’t happy. Outside the box people like me were a threat. Why? Because we made them think for themselves? Or look at themselves? I kind of get it. I also kind of don’t.
Of course, that wasn’t always the case. It just was way too much of the time. The few people I did find to love me during those dark days literally saved my life. I struggled with suicide.
Saying I didn’t like the suburbs was kind of like how I would say that I didn’t like kids. It wasn’t as simple as that. Some kids really were little assholes. Some, though, were so cute it hurt. The real problem was that I didn’t like being expected to swoon at the sight of every one and that I was “supposed” to have them just like I was “supposed” to follow the other rules of that society. A society that misogynistic baby boomers hadcreated after a history that was already racist, sexist and treated those like me as witches. Sorry, no. All that world represented to me was giving up on myself. Captive to a society that didn’t even want me and for my voice to disappear again when I had only just found it.
Back to the kid thing, my mom accidentally said once that if I had them, my family wouldn’t live a traditional life. Her unintentional help with that realization put enough peace in my heart to stop thinking it would be the end of the world and that maybe I wouldn’t have to join the suburb BS if I got pregnant. What about the chemical imbalance that was a genetic monster in our family though? How could I live with myself if I brought someone into this world who I loved more than anything only to watch them grow up with the kind of pain I did? A nonstop struggle of not only being cruelly blacklisted from the world around them but also having to survive it while the demons inside were tearing them apart. I hadn’t seen any signs that my sister and brother had taken that into account when having my super rad nieces but I sure would. I was the one who went through it though and I resented it all.
I could have bet that most from the world of my past would have been shocked to find out about the community that made me feel accepted and supported for the first time. Getting away from mid-level middle-class and to the top 1% of New Money, those who had made their way through creativity and innovation, they had been the people who first seemed to understand me. More specifically, while I had found some of it in San Diego, it had been those I met working and hanging in San Francisco and later on, in the Burning Man community, who set me up to fly. They seemed bewildered by the people of my past. My ideas and the way I thought, it made sense to them. My dreams were big and plenty realistic. Even my way of thinking was indeed on the right course to make those happen. People did it all the time, so why not me? I may have never found the mentor I had so desperately preyed for growing up but I had eventually found them. It took until my thirties and a couple seizures accidentally getting me on the right meds, but I finally started to really live.
Maybe I would get over the hurt and negative associations I had. I wanted to. If I did, though, it wasn’t going to happen for a very long time. Getting older, some of the people in my life had gone back to that world and at one point had started pulling me back in. It hadn’t been too long since I had found my way out of the dark abyss that had imprisoned me for so long and it was back. I resented them for it. Not only for that but also for becoming that kind of person. I felt abandoned and betrayed. We were already understanding each other less and less, the intimacy we one had getting farther and farther away. It was only a matter of time until they started seeing me as “wrong”. I suppose until we both did.

December 2019 – Ho Ho Hoing it more than ever before. It’s that Christmas spirit, baby!

Want to help support the cause? Donate here!
I don’t know how it happened but let me tell you, that was the most festive Christmas season I’ve ever had. Maybe it was karma making up for my being alone with hives most of the year before or that I was likely to be overseas the next year. Who knows. Whatever it was, it was rockin!
I’d have to say that it started when I picked Danno up from the airport for a wild weekend event called Naughty or Nice. It was put on by my old friend Meghan for a national social group I had been a part of years before. Dan and I had bonded at the end of it the year before (I was there to support a friend) when he had walked up with messy hair, playing a tiny guitar and rocking painted toenails with star designs. He was my people, despite his being a Baby Boomer with a Minnesota accent.
We had been in touch since then and he had debated coming out for Burning Man. I hadn’t thought much about our connection being romantic but it became pretty clear that he had when I picked him and a few others up at the airport. Driving them to the Paradise Point Resort and Spa in Mission Bay, I didn’t really know what to do. I didn’t have any interest in being a part of the event and didn’t want to overstep when it came to being around it. Still, he knew the rules and was a participant so when he asked me to hang in his room I hesitantly said yes. Trusting he knew the rules and boundaries, I half-thought I could avoid drama in a group so full of it that most of the participants eventually stopped participating. Nope, nope, nope. The first issue, and the one I wasn’t likely to forget, was that he kept on inviting me over and then lecturing about my needing to be careful about starting drama from being there. No matter how much I told him that it had been years since I was a part of that scene, also that I could care less about a bunch of gossips not in my life, he argued against me on every account. I resented the hell out of it. Especially once there was real drama when a woman named Dee who was collectively disliked and considered the the queen of drama in a group already infamous for it, started running her mouth. Also because I was upset with Meghan for being one of the many who was MIA for the ITP thing when I would have thought to be one of the first ones to show me some love and support in at least a message.
There was some fun moments but over all but our time together would end with some major mixed feelings on my behalf. It was worth tolerating in the moment to hang with such a fun-loving man who ran circles around everyone. It was also nice to experience being taken care of as a woman by a strong man. I wasn’t used to it. He was the stand-in boyfriend who was actually really “there” without freaking me out. I imagined that to be due to age, being from the Midwest and having been married for a very long time. There were even a few times he came out into my personal world. The first being when a friend who went by the burner name of Angelique came down from the OC and the three of us went to Polite Provisions. Such a cool spot that I had been wanting to go to, it was full of class and old-world charm as well as being decorated as if Christmas had vomited everywhere.
I was able to squeeze in an impromptu birthday cerebration for Jewels of lunch at Hugo’s Cocina and pedis in between my time going back and forth between the resort and working. It was nice as, while we kept in tough virtually, we hardly ever actually hung out. Time well spent though everything had a bit of stress to it given that I was trying to squeeze it all in at once. Later that evening I even cut out of work early to go to the Sea World trainer Christmas party with Nik that we had been going to for years. Taking consolation, at least, in it being at Sunshine Co in OB for once, the thrill was gone. I barely knew any of the trainers anymore.
Our local Christmas parade the next night was a lot more fun. It was one of the biggest social gatherings in my little beach town for the year and I was proud to having given a smashing success of a pre-party. Danno played the boyfriend for a bit while a well-known local friend who stood about 6’9″ also there seemed to think that we were an item. Making me feel like I was in an impromptu polyamorous situation, I was relieved when Dan took off for one of the events he had committed to and the rest of us headed to the parade. Stopping at a pottery shop to join a local party the owner put on every year, it was then back to my place for an after-party. It felt good to give something back to Team OB. Really good. I had always felt tolerated by a lot of them at best. Them coming to my place made me feel better about how they saw me.

There were plenty more holiday shenanigans to be had. Danno didn’t leave for a two more days which meant that I made it over to the resort a couple more times after the event had ended for some fun in the sun. Saying goodbye to him, I was onto the next event on the evening of the 9th when I made it to a rowdy Hash House Harrier fundraising event at the Kensington Club where a very sexy Mia was auctioned off to raise money for a good cause. Thursday the 12th was a relaxing lunch out with the folks and the 13th was out with the owner of the car I was long-term renting, Tavian, for our “company Christmas party”. Working that night in the glasses I got to help with night vision, a fail given that I didn’t need glasses, things were going pretty damn good. I even put in a little drive north to grab lunch with a cool dude, Ian, who I had camped with at The Swan my first burn. He was driving at least double the time to meet up with me. Opting for my boobies instead of a handshake when we finally got to the restaurant, he gave me a laugh and a cheap thrill before he heading back to L.A. an hour later for a Christmas party. I went right back to work myself, desperately trying to pay for all the Christmas presents I was buying and couldn’t afford. It was in the American Christmas handbook after all.
I could have killed Tom Hanks a couple days later when going to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by myself and I ended up crying like a baby. I knew the movie would be set up for that, dammit, and yet still fell for it. That night, I made my favorite gesture of holiday spirit for the the year when heading up Newport Ave to some houses that put on a show of Christmas lights playing to music synced to a local radio station. Taking advantage of $10 pizzas offered right before closing at Surf Rider Pizza, I jammed the half mile to pick up some to offer for those watching the show. A failed effort given that the show shut down for the night soon after my return. Even better though, I headed over to the homeless crowd who always gathered at the end of Newport (where the ocean is) and gifted the pizza to them. The whole next day was sucked up by taking my papa to Barona Casino. Our special thing and it was the last day of their Wednesday lobster buffet. I don’t know why he was so fond of it given that neither of us were big lobster fans.

Putting my Christmas party to shame, Clif and Matt threw their own on a yacht in Coronado. I thought I had heard that they won a few hours at a fundraiser or something like that but it was still a wee bit expensive. Worth it though, my favorite part when a group of the girls dressed in snow bunny suits (you know they were sweating) had a Zoolander style photo shoot. Funny in contrast was when we went out to a dive bar called The Little Club on that stuffy island where I ended up carrying Nik out after Kurt had shoved me out of the way for nagging him when he had been ignoring a sick Kati’s requests of telling him that it was time to go. When you gotta go, you gotta go.
The presents kept growing and growing under my tree. (Insert pervy joke here.) I had never made that happen before. A little present for me was when a couple friends from The Swan of the 2019 burn, Disco Inferno (AKA: Brett and Lori), came to visit for a couple days. It being my duty as a San Diegian to take them to South Beach for beers and what were arguably the best mahi tacos in town, I squeezed in a few hours of work and we had a bonfire. We headed to their other local burner friend’s house the next night, a family with a refreshingly out of the ordinary social structure, before the whole lot of us went out to a cool speakeasy in UTC (upper-scale mall) called Raised by Wolves.
It was the last of the holiday shenanigans before finally being time for Christmas Eve and Christmas. Spending the first of the two at the Brick House, partly to save Nik from her cool but controlling sis-in-law, I hadn’t even been invited to the Satterwhite Sanctuary, so it had been an easy choice. Christmas itself was kind of boring. I was happy that Grandma was there, though half frozen in discomfort as I always at their property and bummed about the more traditional menu of the day after having heard about the one from the day before. I consoled myself, though, by making the string bean casserole that was my favorite and the pineapple cake that our Grandma Jean always used to make before she passed away. It was touching to see how much it meant to Mama. It also felt great to see how excited everyone was about the presents I had gotten them and to hear their comments about how I nailed it for the year. The final win during a holiday season of wins as it winded to a close.
Exhale man, finally getting cleared by Dr. Vlad on the 26th to be OK enough to head back to Nor Cal, I celebrated by joining Mia that night for drinks at Kilowatt Brewing before hitting the road the next day after the second time I was cleared, though that time being for the snowy mountain overpass opening back up. It was time to celebrate NYE with Brigit and Aaron. Well, half celebrate.
Getting there at 10 PM on the 27th, there was already a peppermint martini waiting for me along with the glow of a beautifully decorated Christmas tree that couldn’t have felt more like a postcard if it tried. I had a couple days after that to get settled back in. Driving all over the Bay for work, eating at local spots in Felton, hiking and writing. NYE was my biggest holiday fail, though. Well, not exactly a fail. I got to spend it with B&A who I hadn’t got to spend any of the holiday season with up to that point. Adorned in a blue sari, I was excited to be going to the party of some burners in Santa Cruz with them. Unfortunately a little too excited (and tired) as I had already set myself up when overcompensating with my pre-game. I did still manage to get some dancing in and a few more cocktails once there, thouhh, thinking that I’d at least be able to enjoy the countdown even if it wasn’t destined to be an all-nighter. That was until I was thrown a major curveball when B announced that we were leaving right before midnight. Aaron’s head had been bobbing as he sat on a chair out of the way due to one of his nights of not sleeping and Brigit, wanting to avoid the drivers after midnight, didn’t seem to feel the need to wait until either right after the countdown or early enough for me to be able to make it to Monty’s to be a part of it there.

Not able to afford an insanely expensive NYE Lyft, I flashed back to a night in my early teens with Nicki when countdown back then had ended up the same way. I wasn’t only pissed when the clock struck midnight in the car but also felt a little betrayed. I could have stayed home and celebrated with friends. Though that very easily could have ended with me alone at the bars or somehow roped into a house in the suburbs with a bunch of kids running around. Having them drop me at Monty’s in a last-ditch effort for some NYE magic anyway, it quickly became apparent that that ship had sailed. It was one great chuckle, though, when thinking of how confused anyone would have been who saw a snockered almost 6 foot tall woman in a sari walking up a wooded mountain road on my way home. They wouldn’t be getting that memory out of their head any time soon.

November 2019 – Rocking Recovery

Want to help support the cause? Donate here!

November back in Nor Cal. It was the better of the two homes to find peace and recovery. My primary home back in San Diego always had so much fun going on but there were times when getting away from it was necessary. Not just to recover myself but to be with Brigit and Aaron after her heart attack. Add to it that her cat Mollie (or as I called her, Meowlie) was about a million years old and on her last legs…well, actually dragging her last legs, and we were quite the threesome. That kitty had a scrappy little soul, though, so was going to end up sticking around for months. As much as I wouldn’t have wished the situation, it was nice to not be the only one in rough shape. Me, a kitty on my lap and Brigit all trying to survive physically while poor Aaron was doing his best not to loose it while two of the main women in his life nearly died at the same time and were in the process of trying to recover. He wasn’t worried about Meowlie, though. He was convinced she was the devil. I just thought she was a zombie cat who liked a warm lap.
B booked us up at a local hippy spa in those mountains that we called our beloved home not long after my return. It was super cute with doggos everywhere, though a little less relaxing when the woman giving me a massage talked the whole time. Also when my broke-ass ended up forking out $30 more than expected for both of our tips and a book B wanted with the “I’ll pay you back” that’s more of a “thank you”. I didn’t pay rent when crashing with them so, besides being taken of guard by spending what was supposed to be food money, it certainly wasn’t a big deal. I actually wished I could have done more and was happy to be able to do it at least a little here and there. I missed having money to take care of and treat people with.
Focusing on recovery didn’t take over most of our time. My biggest ah-ha moment for the month was when a big Scooby-Doo mystery was solved about my having been seeing turkeys all over the place and wondering why people were letting them roam freely. Then there started being too many for me to think they belonged to one or two people. Turned out they were wild turkeys! The neighborhood was crawling with them. I never would have expected that in a mountain town and got a kick out of it. The little things, man.
In addition to that ah-ha moment, I was proud to have finally started meeting the goal of taking advantage of being all over the place driving for rideshare and enjoying what the different areas I was taken to had to offer. That included stopping one night for live music at the 7 Mile House in Brisbane and Levi and I going to see an art exhibit in Oakland called No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man. An ironic name given that he thought our culture was being made a commercial spectacle of. I was also ecstatic to see one of my favorite bands of the moment, Hirie. A San Diego band! She was such a wee thing that I felt like I could barely see her and didn’t think she was a great performer. Her voice was what it was all about, though, so it was fine enough. Her band did decent to make up for the showmanship anyway and the opener had been just short of spectacular. The whole thing was pretty great minus so many people smoking weed in that venue called The Cat (in Santa Cruz) that I was a little stoned from the cloud in had created. Being a lightweight with the Mary Jane meant that I was kind of hazy by the time Hyrie had taken the stage. Makes me laugh now but I was pretty frustrated in the moment.
Aaron was turning 60 and I was torn about my plan to make my way back to SD right before. I wanted to spend Thanksgiving with the family. Something I’d kind of regret but also be thankful for given the holidays I had missed due to their living with Sean and probably would in the future. Brigit and I came up with a great idea, though. I took pictures of myself all over the property in different action poses. Hanging with Meowlie on the couch, plugging my nose while looking over the toilet, looking over his shoulder in his art shed, shaking my finger at him at his desk to stop working, having one of his cocktails and spying into the house from outside. I had frames delivered to her and she hung them in the right places on his birthday for him to find, video recording him as he did. It was the best and I’m sure the two of us had even more fun with it than he did.
There I was already heading back down south on the 26th, picking up Grandma in Glendale along the way with a sleepover at her house in order to get back to SD in time to meet the fam right by my house at Corvette Diner in Point Loma. My pop’s kind of place and also what had ironically become the same neighborhood where my nieces went to school. After lunch, it was back to my place solo. It didn’t take long for me to get back to the beach, of course, and for a visit at the Brick House the next day. It was wild how smooth the transition of switching between the two homes on opposite sides of the state had become.

Using the excuse of a holiday to wear my yellow sari at Thanksgiving, I had always been looking for a way to rationalize adorning myself in one of the four I had, always wondering how I had ended up buying so many in India when I only wanted one. Typical me. Well, typical me with Alexandra in my ear. It was nice spending the holiday with them, though I had felt frozen and uncomfortable at their place since Sean’s attack the day before I had left for my Costa Rica 40th birthday trip.
The rest of the month was back to the little things like getting glasses to help see at night (which didn’t really help because I didn’t need glasses), tripping out on the snow-covered mountains that I could see from the beach, being frustrated (like I was every year) that I couldn’t see the ocean from that beach because of sand-walls put up in the winter and going to a movie and sushi with Kati. She and her sister being the family that mattered most and the only one always there for me without the occasional disappearance.

October 2019 – Nikki & Nicki turn 40! And, uh, a heart attack…

Want to help support the cause? Donate here!
October started with a bang when San Jose Nicki (not to be confused with Nikki) came to town for her 40th birthday. As a reminder, she was one of my besties in my late teens/early twenties when the two of us and the Lugo sisters all went to high school together. Kate was already friends with her back then which and how we had been introduced. A couple decades since Nick and I were close, we only saw each other two or three times a year despite my living half an hour away when in Nor Cal. We brought it back with a bang, though, when she threw my 40th celebration for that side of the state and was coming to celebrate hers with us. She had said that she understood my needing to work during that time but as soon as the 1st arrived, I was already distracted and justifying skipping out on hours enough to be blowing off my morning shift to wait for her. It was a fun few days albeit probably close to a $600 one if including that time missed behind the wheel.
After a morning of waking up to drink coffee on my patio and do some yoga while waiting, her flight arrived and it was time to head out for the always delicious Mexican food of San Diego at Miguel’s in Old Town. It lucked out that another friend from San Jose was also in town for work and Leilani, was able to join in the fun for the whole day as well. Also Wendy and Kati for lunch and Nikki later on for the beach dive bar around the corner from me called Lucy’s. First, though, with an impromptu show of weirdos getting agro with each other at the seedy motel across the street from mi casa called Ebb Tide. That’s OB, baby!
The next day being her actual birthday, Nick and I headed to Barona Casino with Pop and holy hell did that place spoil her. So much so that it became a happy joke. Not to mention a note for self in the future. Hanging at the Satterwhite Sanctuary when getting back, later we made our way to Nik and Brent’s for dinner followed by her spending the night there while I went home for some much-needed quiet time. The next day, we had a BBQ and sleepover back at the fam’s to celebrate one more time. A night that ended with the two of us drunkenly watching Post Malone videos as we came up with different scenarios about his history (so much better than looking up the real story) and commented about how we couldn’t look away from the talented train wreck. Cue plenty of ammo for future jokes.
Alone and left to spin out on my own thoughts once again, I was back to feeling plagued by the mixed feelings I was having about not just her but everyone. I enjoyed and was thankful for our time together but also resented feeling more obligated than I could financially afford (which I tend to do to my own damn self), the ways I had been unhappy in our relationship, her flakiness (a hot spot for me) and how I never saw her in the Bay. I tended to feel both sides with most people, though, which I believed was being real to and for them as well as in our relationship. A newer challenge to consider was how the whole almost dying thing was starting to take its toll on the way I was thinking and how I was feeling. I didn’t know what I could trust in the ‘ol noggin. Processing the experience was still new and it was going to be a long journey.
It was a month with a couple big 40th birthday bangs that had a lot more of the normal day-to-day in between. Farmer’s market, being a foodie with too much going out to eat (what with always being on the road working), took Pop to Barona again, Balboa Park, the beach, treating myself to pedicures, making it to another more my nieces soccer games, car maintenance, Barona with Pop and occasional hangs with friends when meeting up with Kate and and her friend at El Perez (Pacific Beach/PB) and a night out when heading out to a venue called Music Box with Mia when we went to see some violin-playing DJ who went by the name of Govinda and was going to be spinning EDM. I also went to Oktoberest with Jewels but that ended much earlier than expected when I half blacked out from smoking weed. Yes I knew better but I was trying to be one of the crew like I was 15 all over again. Hey, don’t judge me, man. We all have our moments.
There were a few things that weren’t back to normal. Brigit had a small heart attack on the 6th. My Brigit. The friend/mother figure who had become one of the most important and supportive people in my life. The world slanted just a little bit and got hazy. Of course I wanted to leave right away but Dr. Vlad’s response was something along the lines of “it’s better she has a heart attack than you die”. I don’t think it was those exact words but it was something close and enough to jar me back into reality. There were also a few medical scares of my own related to the ITP and steroids I had been on. Feeling horrible one day and shaking like hell, I was determined to still make it to Bar Pink where Nikki and the band full of moms she was in were playing, her being the drummer. Well I made it but felt so horrible that I had to leave early. Turned out, as doc Vlad would soon let me know, that I was crashing off the ‘roids. My blood pressure was super high and I was having heart palpitations. More side-effects of the treatment, though Dr. Vlad didn’t seem to have any interest in hearing me when I stated multiple times that I hadn’t had any major problems in that area before. Adding insult to injury, he was too stubbornly set on it being because of my weight.

Back to Nikki, it just so happened to be her turn for a 40th birthday celebration on the 25th! Giving her a tortilla blanket a few days before as an inside joke, we went to go see a Queen cover band at, for the second time that month, Music Box. It was her choice but I wasn’t happy about it at first. She had started talk months before about all of us renting a house that came with a private chef in Costa Rica. A much bigger celebration and I thought she deserved it. True I also was a traveler who loved Costa Rica, but that was secondary. I had seen too many who originally started with a big plan for their 40th only for it to be shot down by people around them. Well, turned out that I was totally wrong and it was awesome! The singer was amazing, though he seemed to be an ass when I watched the way he talked to his band from a few feet away. Hopefully he was just having an off night.
Over all, it was a night of splendid entertainment. Because of the show and also because of being back together with so many friends. It was great to be have Team OB running around being ridiculous like old times as was seeing the Sea World trainer crew from our twenties. Alas, the steroids were still getting to me so I wasn’t feeling my best. Still, I managed to hang in there for the show and even managed to make it back to the Brick House (Brent & Nikki’s house) for a rowdy after-party that continued the flashback to our twenties. Good times with my favorite part being when it ended with me, Brent and another friend (Rachael) talking until almost sunrise.
Getting the OK from Dr. Vlad about my numbers being decent enough to leave a few days after, I jammed back to Nor Cal on the 29th as fast as I could to be whatever support I could be after the heart attack and to spend Halloween with Brigit and Aaron. Something that ended up scary indeed as it turned out that the trunk-or-treat event we crashed in a parking lot was actually for the church attached to that parking lot. They tolerated us joining in with letting kids trick-or-treat out of all the decorated cars but weren’t thrilled. I could have killed Brigit if the two of us hadn’t already “been there, done that” recently. I totally have the kind of religious PTSD that comes from being raised Catholic. Churches give me hives. I really didn’t need to deal, on top of that, with a priest who came off as a sexist (and likely racist) small-minded man from a small mountain town who thinks he’s a god himself. Maybe I’m overreacting, maybe not but I got through it and at least got her to go with me to Henflings after. We both liked that bar and it was rare to get her to come out so I was happy enough in the end. Plus, once again, ammo for something to laugh about in the future.
What a trip (pun intended). I had planned to be living and teaching in S Korea by the end of the month but instead had ended up covered in huge bruises, almost dying and on steroids. My goal hadn’t changed, the timing had just been pushed out. That always seemed to be the case for one reason or another. Still, I didn’t know what to expect with such a big new shift. It was just so…I didn’t know the answer to that. I didn’t even know how I felt.

September 2019 – Bleeding Hearts

Want to help support the cause? Donate here!
I had just returned from being gone for two weeks on the pilgrimage of Burning Man 2019 When days before leaving for it, I had gotten out of the hospital. All I wanted was some down time to finish my damn California burrito in peace, snuggles from Sugs in that tropically decorated house Jewels had decorated like a true beach babe with my same taste and 20 hours of sleep. What did I get instead? Some tweaker showing up like a cracked out tornado as she talked even faster than me about how she had been the one dog/house-sitting and needed to grab the laundry she still had in the dryer. I didn’t know a thing about her and was not only completely overwhelmed but also uncomfortable as hell. Not to mention frustrated with Jewels for trusting someone like that, regardless of her being nice. Fucking bleeding heart, man.
My first instinct was to call Jewels to make sure everything was OK with the situation. I really didn’t like the woman being there at all, let alone having her car. Thinking better of it as I looked at my phone, I stopped myself. JerseyJ had bitched me out for being too overprotective with a call in the middle of the night on the 4th of July when her ex had been throwing a party at her pad when she was out of town. I didn’t want a repeat of that. Not to mention that I knew I’d be sending Jewels’ anxiety through the roof, possibly ruining the rest of her trip. So instead I spent the next three days miserably and uncomfortably dealing with the woman and feeling terrible for her sweet tween daughter. All the while trying to recover, survive a wretched cough and labor away on getting my stuff gathered, cleaned and put in storage before getting back to work.
Recover…yeah right. I had known the steroids weren’t working when my bruises had returned within the first couple days on the playa. That meant I pretty much expected bad news from a physical scheduled for the 5th. Not as bad as it turned out to be, though. Waking up on the morning of the 6th to multiple voicemails, the doctor’s office had been calling to say that it was urgent for me to be checked into the ER. My sister too since they had been calling her as my emergency contact. Whoa. I was in a serious enough situation for my emergency contact to be called. It may have been then that it was finally able to click. That it wasn’t just a passing fluke and was serious. Life slanted a little. My platelets were under 3,000. As a reminder, the normal range for Americans is 150k – 450k.

Going in for a platelet infusion, I argued with the ER doc that I also needed help with my cough. I was never going to be able to sleep in order to get better if I was constantly hacking so badly that my eyes were watering and I was almost throwing up. He blew me off. That is until he could hear me hacking up a lung for two hours from outside my room. That’s when a nurse came in to tell me that he was prescribing me cough medicine with codeine and that I had a respiratory infection. What I didn’t think about until until a week later when the infection was mostly gone was how coughing that hard could have possibly caused something to burst in my brain given my super low platelet count. Crikey!
Once again, I didn’t expect good news at the appointment with Dr. Vlad the day after that. My numbers were so uncommonly low that he had my blood taken twice to double check once there. His response was, saying with raised eyebrows and a surprised Eastern European accent, “well, you didn’t die”. That was followed with how I was to be hospitalized immediately, maybe for days. He let me go home for a couple hours first to get my affairs in order since I wasn’t showing signs of internal bleeding. That was let me go with nonstop and adamant comments from him, his staff and anyone in the health profession who heard my number to be careful to not hit my head. Nonstop to the point of making me WANT to hit my head.
Thinking about calling Jewel’s mom to watch Sugs as I drove back to pack up, I worried about asking it of her when she lived kind of far. Jewels already had that other woman doing it before me so, as much as I didn’t like it, I asked her to cover. Lord how I wish I would had just called her mom. Only going so far as to send her and Jewels messages to fill them in, I regret not being more outspoken about how I felt. I also wish I hadn’t left the cough syrup with codeine there. Especially after Tweaker Lady told me excitedly that people she knew would pay good money for it upon my return. Flash back to being a teen with friends drinking their parents booze and filling the bottles back up with water.
Back in the hospital, I received an IVIG treatment on top of the steroids that were still being used as a form of chemo. Coincidentally, that’s when my cough really started going away, too. My family didn’t come to see me. Parents because they had a cold and Wendy because we thought I was going to be in longer and she kept pushing it off. Sean…he was a lost cause. Besides the 10 minute ride I asked of him that was on his way home after picking up my nieces from school, I wasn’t even to get a text. Even after he was so upset upon dropping me off. Taking pictures of the two of us together and talking about how serious it was, he also commented about how one of his dogs had recently passed from the same thing. It’s what I expected, which was what hurt the most. What was newly painful and surprising, however, was when I found out that he was planning to buy his neighbors who had just lost their dog an expensive puppy from a breeder. He couldn’t be bothered to give a crap that I was fighting for my life but was doing that. Wow. I could at least find a little solace a couple months later when he told me that he was having a major mental break at that time and was in and out of touch with reality. Though that was a whole different kind of heartbreak.
At least I had friends that would come through. Well, a handful of them. Mia surprised me the most, coming once or twice and even talking about coming back to spend the night. Nikki and Kati came of course. I could always count on them. Nikki with lots of fun pampering stuff like facial masks, Kati with a book and a burrito. Not to mention finding the time to make it when she was dealing with major pain in the ass paperwork, calls and other setup stuff for starting a kids school for aeronautics. To make it even harder on her, she showed up when I had a bloodied IV in my arm and was being surrounded by nurses poking and prodding for too many different reasons to count.
Always the weirdo (and probably still in shock), the experience was new, exciting and even a little fun. I wowed all the nurses and staff with positive energy. They commented another two or three times about how I didn’t seem like a patient and how it was the happiest room they’d been in. At one point, I had a dance party with myself and even had a stationary bike brought into my room for a teenie bit of exercise. It was great to brighten their days albeit a little somber given that the reason for what they were accustomed to dealing with cancer patients. Over all, it was the best time to end up there if it was necessary. I was exhausted and in desperate need of de-stimulation as well as getting away from the sun.

Getting out of the hospital and back to my beloved home-sweet-home (and sweetie of a roomie) once Jewels was back, it was time for the last round of unpacking, cleaning from the burn and putting the rest of that stuff so far into storage that I didn’t have to see it until the next burn. Having drinks with one of the besties at her local dive soon after, it was nice to be back on the supportive side of things. She was understandably hurt by the reaction of her husband during an already stressful remodel of their house while living in the middle of it with two young boys. He had been so wrapped up with the project and work that he was too stuck in tunnel vision to remember that they existed. It was the second round of the same thing as they had done the same thing with the same result on their first house only a few years before. Que a weird form of suburban sadomasochism and drinking too much. Speaking of the suburbs, I made it to a movie and a drink with the other bestie and a couple of moms she was friends with. I connected fine with them (they seemed to be “cool” moms) but it was still weird listening to them talk with rolling eyes about the PTA and other scary suburban stuff. All-in-all it ended with me thinking, once I stopped being oblivious to one of the women disregarding my girl, that the suburbs still sucked.
Life was back to the norm almost instantly. I was proud of myself for making it to one of LanaBell’s soccer games within days of getting out of the hospital, though it was surreal (and a bit of a struggle) to be in a hot and sunny park while still on the roids. Smiling as I stole glances at her big sister under a tree with her boyfriend (aha young love) while talking with her mom, she commented on how her and her nurse colleagues called someone like me a career patient. Man did that hit, but life goes on and so would I. Beyond that, it was nice to participate in a few other “normal daily life” things over the course of the rest of the month. Dinner with the fam at Sienna’s favorite for her 11th b-day, Old Spaghetti Factory, Pop’s favorite Barona Casino followed by hanging with the family at their estate (though never comfortable there), hanging with Mia in OB and Jewels at her pad. Then there was writing the sentimental thank you note to Dr. Vlad for all his help with the ITP and continuing to be proud of Kate as I watched the progress of her aeronautical school for kids, trying in vain to think of a way to help.

There was more than enough to make for a happy month. Lots of walks along the beach, finally finishing up cleaning off the bike I borrowed from Jenny for the burn and getting the tent back to the folks, yoga at home (shout out to Yoga With Adrienne), dinner with the family again (including Grandma who had come down from L.A.) for Restaurant Week at La Bocca in Little Italy, driving around to see Halloween decorations and, I’m quite proud to say, hosting a local burner happy hour at THC. I had gotten frustrated with not seeing anything going on around me in our burner community so I went ahead and empowered myself to make it happen with a reminder of the “doacracy” mentality that had been taught to us. Go me! Another thing I was proud to have ponied up with and taken care of right away was when a palm tree fell on my car and busted the windshield. Well, Tavian’s car really as I was just the long-term renter. He didn’t think insurance would cover it, but seemed to be guessing, so I decided to do my own research. It’s amazing how much being broke can inspire when it comes to potentially lowering a bill. Getting past the overwhelmed anxiety that would have stopped me in the past, I called the insurance company and jumped through the hoops there to find out that it actually WAS covered with a $100 deductible. Someone was sent out to change the windshield and it didn’t affect the policy because it had nothing to do with my driving. Beyond that, we even got to celebrate Grandma’s birthday at the end of the month. Yep. Life was back to normal and changed forever all at once.

Before Grandma’s birthday, it was Sienna’s turn. Though right before that was when the beginning of what would be a long and emotional roller coaster about the ITP hit. How fragile and temporary our bodies were, not showing any symptoms beyond bruising to warn me, the reality of most of the relationships in my life…it was like a bomb went off, exploding in too many different directions to keep track of. I told Wendy about it. Specifically because I was worried I was going to start acting weird. Isolating and getting really dark, pushing everyone away…when things were really bad, I got nasty. It’s not something I’m proud of. I’m just in so much pain and unable to grasp what’s going on…I can’t get away from it. The picture of a wounded animal cornered, snarling and biting at someone trying to help has always popped into my mind.
Wendy had asked me to handle the decorations for Sienna’s b-day on the 21st and I had been excited to do it. Balloons and live flowers I had gone to get at the market – whatever I could think of to make my niece happy. True, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off the morning of, but the level at which I was already disoriented and exhausted by the time I arrived at their house didn’t make sense. That’s when it happened. With Dad standing on one side of me and Sienna on the other, my being seated, we all worked on the decorations as they excitedly chatted away. Feeling it come on, I calmly called out to Wendy, her ignoring, as the first episode I’d had awake in years started. “Episodes” as in short mystery sessions I’d had for over a decade, both mental and physical, that gave very little clue as to what was happening to witnesses beyond my becoming a bit distracted, disoriented and starting to sweat. At first, and after being screened with nothing showing up, the associated medical team had blown them off with my main doctor’s response being “we don’t know, probably anxiety attacks”. Years later, after a witnessed grand mal seizure, the medical professionals involved at that time thought them likely somehow related to that. Whatever the case, I was totally whacked out after and needed time for my mind to reboot and exhausted body to recover. More time than I had.
Missing the beginning of the party to at least rest for a couple hours, I pulled myself together enough to go outside and join the festivities. That’s when, in my whacked out state, a little bit of the underlying resentment I harbored for my sister snuck out when I said something snarky about her to one of the kids moms. She felt justified in not talking to me for weeks after that. Regardless of how the ITP or episode played a roll or how I had told her only a couple days before about how I was just starting to get to fall into a dark place where I needed support. It didn’t need any help getting worse between us from there but it did. I felt abandoned when I needed her the most and when I tried to talk to her about it, she made it about her. I messed up but did I deserve that? I don’t know, maybe I did. But I still wasn’t going to accept it.

2019 – Bye Bye Burn, Hello Reno After-Party

Want to help support the cause? Donate here!
I was a loony-tune exhausted, overheated and upset mess once finally done with packing up and sending my stuff off with an aggravated driver. Trevor, always being the gentleman, told me to go lay down in his trailer and drink some of his signature mixture of ice, OJ and vodka, both of which I desperately needed (minus the vodka). Seeing ripped condom wrappers on the ground, I was relieved to see he had gotten laid before shutting my eyes for an hour or two, of course not really able to sleep, before heading back out to wander. Finding friends I hadn’t spent enough time with and sharing essentials during a quick hang, I soon headed off to Spanky’s to catch my ride off the playa. I would say happily but I couldn’t feel much beyond miserable exhaustion.
Kelsey and I had made plans to ride back with Levi/Pepper Jesus in his packed rental car to the hotel in Reno. Pepper Jesus was the one who was going to give me a tent but his car had broke down last minute before the burn. Close to leaving, I could have asked him to pick me up at The Swan but I instead headed to Spanky’s with the goal of trying to help moop. An unsuccessful attempt unfortunately as I couldn’t find much to do besides a wee bit here and there and the Admiral was too upset about so many bolting without helping to give much direction. I kept trying to find something myself and was asking others but after a couple hours, I gave up. Having thrown in the towel, the three of us took off with the Admiral getting a little upset with Levi for not sticking around longer to do more. Such a bummer to not having successfully figured out how to navigate the whole thing but that indeed was a constant of the burn. I made a big-fat note to strategize better for next time with step one, as always, being to figure out how to get some sleep. Then I did my best to let it go.
I thought making it to GSR, the hotel in Reno of the burner after-party, would make me feel relieved but I was too much dreading having to get out of the car. Then having to check in. Then eat. Then get up to our room. Then shower. Then put myself together before crawling into bed. Watching all the burners there in happy moods with the celebration of having made it through another year, I was bewildered (and a touch resentful) at how they could be so fresh when I was so beat up. Even so, I was thankful to meet some really cool folks. One of which Mia knew who connected with Kelsey by the end of the night and the two of them becoming inseparable from there. A lucky thing for her as after Mia and her friend left a couple nights before us (the four of us were sharing a room), she didn’t have to be kept up all night by a cough of mine that was progressively getting worse. She double lucked out when I misquoted her on our share of the cost that I would go ahead and pay. Made me feel better anyway since she was never in the room anyway so ~shrugs~.
Floating around in cool water at the pool party for burners the next day had been heaven the year before but I just wanted to get home. I still made it there, though, as well as to the annual Spanky’s dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant called Sardina’s. With luck that never lets me down, I ended up being stuck there with the guy handling the bill for all of us (and all the drama that came with) until everyone but the two of us were left. At least it got me out of going to a club where one of our guys was spinning EDM.
I was so done, I headed to the airport hours early the next day so I didn’t have to be around happy, rejuvenated burners. A decision that made me extra relieved when finding out by the time I was to board that people were missing flights because of all the folks flooding the airport at the time I originally would have. Flying back to San Diego, the plan was to go straight to house and dog-sit for Jewels. As much as I just wanted to go straight to my own home, it didn’t sound half bad considering I could dive right into cuddling up with her doggo, Sugs, and not do anything for a couple days. Just stay tucked away from the sun, chillin with my furry friend until I had to go pick up my stuff. Self-conscious about coughing up a lung as I flew home, I grabbed a Lyft from the airport and got the driver to go through a taqueria drive-thru so I could get a California burrito. My ritual when first getting home, no matter where I had been. I had finally made it. Not in one peace but I wasn’t dead. Something I was about to find out was pretty surprising.

2019 Burning Man Art