Monday, October 28, 2013

Tree Value

Walking home from an aborted blood test -- I had to be fasting, the place was mobbed on Monday morning. Without an appointment, after waiting more than an hour and having set out kinda late, I had to eat the protein shake I had brought to gulp down after the test. So I have to go back tomorrow. No big deal. It's about a kilometer round trip. A good healthy walk. Plus I pass Whole Foods and it is always fascinating to see the latest hip and trendy foods. Today I discovered chia chocolate peanut butter but I am going to make it myself.  Sounds yum to me. Besides, the brand on sale of chia choco peanut butter is not organic -- only the chocolate is organic. That seems bizarre to me.

Anyway, walking home, I found a sticker on the sidewalk that read I can't find such a website so I did a google. Turns out there are all kinds of websites with names extolling the value of Trees. They tell you how much your Tree is worth. They are talking about trees in the ground but I kinda see myself as a tree, with roots deep into the earth and branches stretching into eternity and swaying in the world. I have high value.  I am a Tree.  A fun little thing.

I picked up the sticker, to be sure I had the right website, but it is not in the bag. Huh? Did I imagine it?

There is a website named and  I should start a new blog dedicated to me but I am attached to thecultureoflove.

It's gorgeously sunny today, the sky is blue here and I am happy.

Tomorrow, after the blood draw, I'll walk to the Ashby BART and return to the Hockney exhibit at the DeYoung. That show is so rich that I am going to have to go many times.

And I have a friend who has agreed to go to Yosemite with me!  It's more fun to do stuff with friends, right?

Color me happy.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fukushima radiation, fracking, GMO seeds and food: Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch's Scream paintings capture my take on what I see unfolding in this world.

I vaguely recall a musical, that I never saw, that had as its title (I think, fuzzily) "Stop The World I Want to Get Off."

I think of Ray Bradbury's brilliant short story (or was it a novela?), "Something Wicked This Way Comes".

I keep thinking about the documentary Hannah Arendt I saw in early August with someone who has severed our connection.   The severing is cutting me really hard in this moment but it will pass. Time doesn't heal wounds, in my experience, but it does make them more bearable. Losing him is going to hurt forever. So I can't think of the documentary without thinking of losing the man I saw it with. Not a lover, not a friend after all.  The documentary was as much about this time on earth as it was about her analysis of the rise of totalitarianism in Nazi Germany. A German Jew who escaped a death camp, who studied philosophy with Heidegger and was his lover at times, and a woman, no less, she became a super nova as a philosopher. Her brilliance was such that a female, immigrant philosopher could not be overlooked.

Arendt covered the Adolf Eichmann trial for New Yorker magazine. Eichmann was the main architect of the deadly efficient system the Nazi's implemented to slaughter 4.5 to 6 million Jews and a few million others, like lots of Poles, that tend to get overlooked. After watching him insist that he did not hate the Jews, that he had merely done his job well, done what he was given to do, she said she believed he did not hate the Jews. That he personified the banality of evil.  Evil is banal because evil is what happens when human beings dissociate from their own humanity. Cut off from one's humanity, which involves caring about other humans, one can do anything. One can destroy the world economy by engineering a real estate price escalation, selling securities build on the shifting sands of fraudulent mortgages, investment bankers selling the shit securities to their clients and then covering their asses by betting (investing) against the crap paper they were selling. Is it less evil to destroy millions of lives so one can get richer, when one is already rich than it is to kill millions?  The question seems loaded. Many would say killing is worse than anything else. And maybe it is. But I am so unsure about this.

Nuclear reactors are evil. Didn't they have their start in the bombs we dropped on Japan? Unleashing radioactive danger for hundreds and thousands of years to make money generating electricity using antique nuclear reactors that should have been shut down long ago is also a way of killing people. Is it better if you kill people slowly, torment them with miserable lives and blame them if they don't just suck it up and figure out a way to be happy after being screwed over?

I don't want to live in this world. I don't want to be.

I am the person screaming in those Munch Scream paintings.

And I don't think suicide is any kind of escape. I have a strong sense that it is impossible to escape the cosmos. That if I kill myself, and I often long to, I'll just come back with an even suckier karma and the world will be worse. As ugly as the world is now, and yeah, yeah, I know many believe in unicorns, miracles, prayer and that we can co-create a more beautiful world, I don't want to live in the future, which I am positive is going to suck worse. For a long, long time.

the true Golden Gate is light

©Yesterday, on the water in the Bay, the sun shining at its best, the Golden Gate Bridge and the water beneath it and behind it was golden. Not yellow gold but shimmering gorgeous light. Mysterical magic quality gorgeous light.

I saw why it was called the Golden Gate into this beautiful, gigantic Bay which spreads far inland, down almost to San Jose and up Northeast of Berkeley.

The gate into this beautiful bay was always golden.

The public officials and civic leaders who gave us the bridge known as Golden Gate were inspired. I can't imagine just a brilliant public project being done today. I can't imagine such an exquisite design being adopted and built as a government project in today's political climate. Thank goddess better men were running things when the Golden Gate Bridge was built.

And thank Creation for the light coming from the Pacific Ocean into this beautiful bay for making the natural golden gate of shimmering light.  I am that light. You are that light. That light is a portal to the Grail Kingdom, to Heaven within us and without.

Praise Allah. Amen.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

went to 'the city': San Francisco is 'the city' in these here parts

I left my home around noon and just return, spending the whole day going to the city, being in the city and coming back from the city. With three other people, a double date.

I've had a bee in my bonnet about seeing Land's End. I learned today that I have seen it before. A friend named Kenoli took me there the first time he and I hung out in the city. We were headed to the DeYoung but I had brought a picnic and as he drove along the coast to decide where to eat, he saw the Land's End area and pulled in saying "You want to see this."

It is easier to hang out with one person. At least for this introvert.  It is hard, for me anyway, to make endless decisions with three other people that I don't really know.  It was stressful when I kept wanting to have fun.  I didn't really care what we did. Just decide already.

I am reminded of a guy I knew from college. I was pals with his best friend, who got married the week after graduation. The pal, his wife and best friend were from Chicago, as I was. They'd call me to go out occasionally.  It never occurred to me until this minute that maybe the male best friend came along as a kind of fix up. Nah.  But maybe. I have been told I can be blind and clueless.

Anway, once the four of us were deciding where to eat and this guy, whose name I don't remember (I do remember the name of my pal and his new wife), said "How about Taco Bell?" All the rest of us gasped in horror. Then he said in a quiet aside to me, "Watch. All I have to do is suggest Taco Bell and they will make up their minds fast to make sure we don't end up at Taco Bell."  Even in 1975, I guess I had some friends that knew junk food when they tasted it.  And he was right. I don't remember where we went but it was not Taco Bell, not fast food and we decided immediately.

He pulled the same trick another time and it worked that time too.

One of the stresses of not having a network of close friends in my watershed is that I often end up socializing with acquaintances, people I don't know well.

I have many old friends that I have current relationships with, people I have known ten, twenty and even thirty years but they all live far away. That demonstrates I can form lasting bonds, right?

Not here.  Friends suggest maybe I am not where I belong but I reflect, meditate and, geez, I like the Bay Area. The city scares me -- not physical fear. The skyrocketing real estate prices that is rapidly turning SF into a center for only rich people scares me.  Economic balance is healthy. The rich need a servant class but when the servant class has to commute really long distances to afford rent, the whole culture is imbalanced.

Corporations, publicly held ones, concentrate wealth. A franchise like Taco Bell siphons money out of local cultures and pushes it up to the exeuctives of the company and some to the shareholders. No responsibilty to the local community.

Boring reasoning. A tale as old as time.

So. Did I have fun today?  Not really. It was nice not being alone but I did not have fun

I did get to Land's End though.Again, as it turned out.  My friend Kenoli showed it to me years ago. I love him.

Friday, October 25, 2013

We were never friends. We're just two people who met at a conference."

©"We were never friends. We're just two people who met at a conference."

Someone that I have wanted to be my friend for a long time said that to me just about a year ago. It cut me like a hot knife cuts through soft butter. We were walking from Costco, which is nested underneath a freeway and the walk to BART was in an unfamiliar neighborhood and seemed a little sketchy to me. I don't know if it is sketchy. I don't know SF well. But it was winter so it was dark and I had asked this man I had met at a conference to walk me to BART when we made our plan to go to Costco.

I wanted to see if I wanted to shell out $55 a year to join Costco. And found out that I do not. We bought a pair of free range organic feed frozen chickens and split the price. And something else. Mushrooms?   I forget.  That' s not enough incentive to shell out $55 a year.

After he said "we were never friends" I did not want to walk down the dark streets with him. In this part of the city, the only thing open late in the evening was bars. Doors from bars would open, light spilling out, noise from the drinkers spilled out. It felt unsafe for a woman walking alone but after he said that, I asked him to let me finish walking alone. I told him he could get on his bike and I'd be fine.  I kept saying "you don't have to walk me, I changed my mind, you can go" but he doggedly walked me all the way.  He had apologized.

One sad truth about me:  I forgive but I don't forget.  My hurt needs to form a blister, and the blister can take a long time to go away.  How could someone who has also told me he loves me tell me we were never friends? or ask me to never contact him again? And what is wrong with me that I keep holding on to him as much as I can?

I did say to him "Are you aware how unkind you are being to me?" and he changed his behavior.

I think he spoke a truth, one of those inadvertent moments when someone unintentionally but unconsciously speaks their truth. He does not see me as a friend. He's never invited me to his home, never shared a holiday with me, never introduced me to anyone in his life. He moved last year without telling me and wouldn't tell me where he lived for 8 months while all his real friends got to see the new place.

This is not how a friend behaves.

The worst part is he thinks I am a rogue lion, savagely unsafe. He said the idea of me knocking on his door in his high end San Francisco neighborhood was 'horrific'. And yes, that is a quote, a direct quote. Me showing up at his place is a horrific thought.

The worst part, though, is he thinks I am the rogue lion, that I am untrustworthy, unsafe, dangerous.

Here is one of life's great truths:  never trust someone that tells you they don't trust you. That means they are untrustworthy; otherwise why would they even be thinking about trust. He assumed I am as trustworthy, or put more accurately, as untrustworthy, as he knows himself to be. He does not speak his truth, evading answering questions, withholding truths (like moving without telling me).

He was right. We were never friends.

So how come I am so sad?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

same therapist for 12 years

I saw Jane, PhD psychologist, every Monday for about ten years over twelve years. Jane moved to Alaska for  a couple years. That's why there was a gap. While she was gone, I met with lots of therapists but I had felt an instant connection with Jane that never wavered. Basically, she loved me.  She told me she thought I was a lot smarter than her. She told me she never had to push me to do my work. She said once in awhile, she'd start thinking "I wonder if I should suggest we move on to something else" but before she could say anything, I would have moved onto something else. She said she didn't do 'anything' but listen.

Listening, really listening, was what I needed. She remembered every story I told her, every character from my whole life and their importance to me.

I told an acquaintance, Marc, about her early in our acquaintanceship, and he scoffed and said "In other words, she charged you to be your friend."  I said "I have never had a friend who listened to me for one hour every week, never asked anything of me, never expected me to care for her needs, who just gave to me. Would you listen to me talk for an hour a week?  I've never had a friend give me what Jane gave me."

I think people who really need therapeutic help find ways to put therapy down to reinforce their fearful choice to avoid therapy.

Geez, I open up blogger with an idea of what I want to write and then I just start writing and forget what brought me here. I wanted to tell a specific story. What was it?!

Oh, I remember.  In all those years, I called Jane outside of session twice. Once I called to reschedule an appointment.  Once I stood her up without calling.  But she was so sweet about it. I had just started working for a big shot divorce lawyer. He called a staff meeting at the last minute and he was a bully. I only seem to attract male bullies into my orbit.  My boss herded his small staff into the conference room. I had planned to leave for my therapy session but I had not told the boss I was in therapy and I did not want to say "I have to cal my therapist, she's expecting me."  I felt awful. I am a little obsessive about being prompt. This instance is the only time I ever showed up late for Jane and the only time I ever stood someone up.

As soon as I could get away and phone her, I apologized profusely. But Jane said "You are always so prompt that when you weren't here by 9:01 I knew you weren't coming and I just did some work in the house." Her office was in her home.  She had tried renting a separate office but, she said, when she worked in an office building, she couldn't start dinner, or toss wet laundry into the dryer. If she had a hole in her schedule, she could not do household stuff. She just sat around in an office building when she had no clients. This, keep in mind, was before we all lived online. this was the  eighties. Well, when we started.  But I don't think she owned a computer even when I moved away in 1998. I never saw one in her home but I did not see her entire home. Veering off course here.

I guess many therapy patients call their therapists sometimes in between appointments, especially if they are in the midst of a life crisis. It never occurred to me to do that. Sure if I had a genuine emergency, I would have felt okay calling her but I guess lots of patients call just to talk about their therapy issues in between sessions. I never did that.

But once, late on a Saturday afternoon, I called Jane. I don't feel like feeling the pain of the incident that prompted me to call Jane in a panic but it suffices to say it was something really big, painful and hard. I was crying so hard I could barely talk. When she answered, I began by apologizing for disturbing her on a Saturday and she cut me off. She said "every patient I have ever had calls me a lot for unimportant reasons. This is the first time you have called me while upset.  If you are calling, you need to call. You must be experiencing something awful. Forget about bothering me and talk to me, tell me what is going on."

Gosh, I love(d) Jane.   She listened to me a long time that Saturday. Didn't charge me for it.

Yeah, she charged me to listen to me. She never hurt me.  She loved me. I have always thought Jane was a surrogate mom, giving me the kind of unconditional love I did not get as a child. 

I'll tell you what had happened. Katie had been visiting my mom and mom and I were going to meet in Madison, split the drive, to swap Katie back to me.  Mom showed up four hours late and when I voiced feeling upset, she said something abusive. I don't remember what she said but I recall that one of her favorite put downs for me was this "This must be why mental illness is often referred to as madness."  The way she said madness usually made me want to kill her. Whatever she said to me, I spit on the ground in front of her to show my contempt. She said "I am going to take Katie back with me and never let you see her again." and she drove off with my daughter, headed to Chicago. Katie and I lived in Minneapolis.

I knew, of course, that my mother could not just take my kid. But it was particularly cruel cause I had to fight Katie's dad for custody for years. My mom knew that. She knew that threatening to take my kid away from me was really abusive. Well, my mom probably never thought anything she did was abusive. Abusive was not in her vocabulary.

I drove back to Minneapolis and called Jane. This was pre-cell phone life. Plus where should I have gone?  Mom didn't live in Chicago. I didn't know where she was headed.

Mom eventually called and we made another drop off meeting for the next day and I drove all the way back to Madison and got my kid.

It was so traumatizing to have my mom tell me I would never see my kid again, that she would be so mean.

That's the only time I called Jane outside of session. I don't count the time I called to reschedule as a call.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

almost misssed a doc appointment today

I had a doc appointment next Thursday. I have one every day next week. Well, one of next week's appointments is dental. Close enough. Yesterday one of my clinics calls to say the health care professional I was supposed to see next Thursday had to post pone. They couldn't find an appointment for several weeks. I said this particular appointment had already been scheduled several times and I had bad blood tests last time and the health care professional (a nurse practitioner) had said I had to see her in one week and it had already been several weeks.

Suddenly the guy found an appointment for Wednesday. Today. I wrote it down correctly but in my mind, it was next Wednesday. I have doc appointments on the brain cause I have so many NEXT week.

So I awoke this morning thinking I had nothing scheduled today. I almost never look at my calendar. I remember appointments. Today at 9:50 I had the impulse to double check on the rescheduled appointment and, of course, it was today at 10:30. I had not dressed but I got dressed, ran to the bus and walked into the clinic at 10:30 on the nose.

Self care in action.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I was going to do a short, solo camping trip to Yosemite on October 2nd. Our crazy politicians shut down the government for 16 days and now its 43 degrees in Yosemite.

I'm not up for a chilling camp out.


Dang Dang.

Every day, it is colder and colder. Most parts of the country think it is warm all over CA but it is not all that warm in the Bay Area. We have some warm days, a very few hot ones and even when it is 'only' in the fifties, it feels like it's freezing, at least to me. The fog, the humidity in the air, or something, has the cold bothering me more here than it ever did in MN where it can stay way below zero for weeks and weeks.

I'm cold all the time. Wear wool socks all year, two pairs in window. It rains all winter and it is windy. The rain rarely falls down straight. Winds blow it into your whole body.

Once I was walking down Market in SF to go to a workshop. The wind was blowing so hard that I had to fight not to get blown over. Seriously. It was the hardest wind I have ever experienced.

And the workshop sucked. So I left as soon as it got started and it felt like the facilitators were preocupied and would not be distracted by my departure. In fact, one of the facilitators was freaked out that I had shown up and I suspect he was relieved when he figured out I was gone. Fuck. Who cares. Old shit.

Two weeks makes a big difference in the temperature this time of year.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

a job interview around 1985

When I got divorced, my daughter's father did not want me to remove our minor child from the jurisdiction -- to put it the way lawyers talk. Custodial parents cannot just up and move without petitioning a court for permission because moving kids away from the noncustodial parent is a serious thing. You aren't supposed to do it for spite, right? You have to have a good reason.

Well, I got permission by convincing my divorce judge that my ex had poisoned the well of legal employment for me in the red state we lived in. And he had. The jerk had copied my therapy journal, on the sneak -- I trusted my husband and did not keep it locked up, I just put it in a drawer. There were hundreds of pages, single spaced and typed. My therapist had suggest I try writing about my feelings because I was unable to feel them. He was the first person who ever said "i think you might be a writer". I think he got a clue the first time I handed him 30 pages single spced typed in one week. I poured myself out on those pages. No one had ever been interested in my feelings and suddenly someone was. And I could feel how it was healing me.

I wrote from a very specific perspective:  my own narrow experience of feelings, my feelings. I made no effort to tell objective versions of any story from my life. I wrote about my marriage and wrote things like "i'd kill him if I could, I hate him so much" but I didn't mean it literally. I had been told to write about my feelings . . . and I did. It was a release to write about my anger. I also wrote about childhood incidents, again from my totally narrow, self-referential feelings. No one was ever going to see it. It was like talking to my shrink -- only for free. Cuase I wrote so much he would read them during the week and give the old batch back to me and take the new batch. The first few weeks, when I only wrote a few pages, he would read them and talk to me about them but when I started bringing in novelas worth of writing, he read them outside session. Nice of him.

It was a good therapeutic tool.

Then my ex gave copies of them to colleagues, friends and family. It was such a violation of privacy, on such a deeply intimate scale. And later, when he subponaed my shink file -- and it is a typical misguided belief that a therapist's files are sacred and confidential. Not true. Any time a party puts a person's mental fitness into the litigation, a judge has  reasson to justify ordering the therapist to provide their private therapy notes. and then my ex copied those and handed them out.

I don't know who he showed them to or who had the bad grace to read them. I like to think a few folks had some class and did not read such private stuff about a person. But it felt like everyone everyone I went had invaded my most private thoughts.

And it got worse but the point of this post if a job interview around 1985.

When I petitioned to remove our minor child from the state where we got divorced, her father fought it, renewing his bid for custody but I had convinced the judge that my husband had violated my privacy and made legal employment impossible for me. The judge gave  me six months to find a job in MN, where I had goneo to law school and was licensed. I was also licensed in Illinois but I had a strong instinct to live far from my family of origin -- definitely a right choice for me.

So I hit the ground running. I had to have a job by August 15th of that year, so my lawyer could file papers within the six months. Or maybe it was eight months, cause I moved back to MN in January. Or maybe the deadline was June 15th. Whatever.  I job hunted hard, I did two information interviews on any day I didn't have an actual job interview, networking to find job openings. and it had to be a legal job to justify removing the minor form the jurisdiction. I could get a dog job in the jurisdicton.
Like McDonald's.

I literally got a staff attorney job for a real estate developer on the very last day my lawyer said was the absolute latest I could go. Literally the last day possible.

But I just remembered an interview for a job that sounded awful. It was to write private placement memorandums for a small firm that offer private placement securities. Detailed security work that really requires some specialization in securities. I had no such experience and zero interest. It is very dry, cerebral work. Lots of the legal work hot shot law grads get at hot shot firm is very tedious. They don't do dramatic trial showmanship like on the legal TV shows. They do very dry, arcane, cerebral, boring work like document review. Nowadays, I hear, computers scan and do document review, reducing the already overcrowded job openings for lawyers. Lots of unemployed lawyers these days.

I had applied for the securities job cause I heard about the opening, it was a legal job. They had called me in, the awful man who interviewed me, solely so they could say they interviewed a female so they could not be accused of being prejudiced by clients. They had zero interest in my resume. They were covering their ass. They must have been attorneys, huh?! Who else would run a business doing private placement securities?  It's not always lawyers that do that work but such businesses always have lawyers. Only lawyers can write the private placements   . . or a very very very seasoned self taught expert but I vaguely am thinking you actually need an actual licensed attorney to sell these private placement securities. Maybe. maybe not. Who cares.

So first the guy tells me "we only brought you in because you ewre the only female who applied." and then he said "So tell me, why do you want to come to work for us?" and I said "Because I need to pay rent, buy food, put gas in my car, I need to earn a living."  I wasn't being difficult or rude. Maybe he thought so but I just went blank.  I had no answer. I could not think of any reason why any sane human would want to write private placement memorandums, or do any kind of securities legal work --- I'm talking about stock offerings, not security guards, right? Investments, private, non-public offerings still have all kinds of legal hoops they have to cover. They can't represent them as securities without the hoop jumping only a lawyer can do.

When I said "I want this job cause I need a job to pay for the things I need to live" I only said that cause I could not think of one bullshit reason why I wanted the job. Clearly there was no way he was gonna hire me but I don't think that's why I said "I want this job cause I need a job, duh!"  I didn't say that literally but close.

He burst out laughing and said I was a delight, that I was absolutely charming and for a panicked moment I thought "oh my god, he is going to hire me and I am going to have to work here or move back to the jurisdiction where I got divorced"  (I don't want to say the state, hiding others privacy --- not so much in this post but on this blog I have never mentioned my ex's name.  He was intensely abusive and he's still out there and 30 years later, I am still afraid of his impulse to be cruel to me, altho it is an irrational fear, as all fears are.

The guy burst out laughing and said "I think you are the first person I had ever interviewed who answered that question honestly. Oh my goodness, you want this job because you need a job. How charming."

I saw he was laughing at me, not charmed at all. He was irritated that he had to waste time on me and plod ahead with a perfunctory interview. It was a quick one though. I want to say I might have ended it but I don't really remember.

I remember this story. This guy was a multi-millionaire and whatever young, hungry attorney he hired would have gotten paid at the very lowest possible wage and the guyw ould have made gobs of money fof the legal product. It was a tedious job that only someone driven by income could do.

In fact,I also had a job interview once where the guy asked me if I was income driven. Before I could answer, he said "I ask because it is a tedious, boring job and you have to be income driven to do the work. You have to care about making a lot of money cause the work is really boring."  I didn't want that job either, but I liked the guy's candor. He was just being practical. He didn't want someone to bullshit their way into a job and not being able to gut through the tedium.  Only men were in hiring positions in the eighties, I guess!!! I can't recall ever being interviewed for a law job by a female.  Whatev.

For some reason, that private placement security guy laughing at me for saying I wanted the job I was interviewing for because I needed a job pops up regularly.  "What a refreshing thing to say. No one ever said that before when I asked that question."  He wasn't kidding. I wasn't kidding.

And I had always had a snow balls chance in hell of getting the job. But I would have taken it if offered, until I got permission to permanently remove my minor from the red state's jurisdiction.

I don't know what I had been thinking when I agreed to move to that state. I was such a ninny when I married him.

Why does anyone want a job? Because they need a job.

I know that ideally you say things that segue smoothly into describing exactly what the prospective employer wants in their new staff attorney. And I eventually got one guy to hire me to be his staff attorney. He also was blunt. He said he was hiring me because he could pay me a lot lless than any male, even younger males right out of law school would have wanted more money.

I hated that job and that guy and I agreed to part ways. But I explained to him that I had to keep the job until after my final hearing to be able to stay in MN. And that he had to pay me, cause I couldn't go to court and lie under oath. I had to be actually employed and getting a paycheck the day I had that hearing. The guy and I split up soon after the hearing. He was actually nice, all things considered.

I hated that job too. Loan documentation for multimillion doillar construction loans for multifamily housing is boring work too. And that's what that job was all about.  He specialized in real estate work outs. Banks would have multifamily projects go into foreclosure and hire my guy to repackage the project, market it, get the bad loan off their books. Typically he would create legal cooperatives and sell units. These were all badly built junk properties. Lots of them in Florida. And we shared office space with a private placement securities business that built junk condos in Florida by selling private placements.

There was a female MBA student from Wharton interning with that private placement firm. She spent all day all summer cold calling potential buys of her crappy shares in crappy but brand new buildings. The buildings would fall apart in a few years, go into foreclossure and my boss would be creaming in his pants hoping to get the work out job.  Lots of money to be made on multifamily housing gone bad. Banks pay fat fees to get them off their books.

What a sucky job.

I hated every legal job or legal work I ever did. I liked having my own general practice but I liked repping women small business owners and I was always more interested in their businesses than in their legal problems. Repossessing things that customers had defaulted on was dreary work but building a chain of cinnamon bun shops seemed interesting. Maybe I was just interested in the cinnamon rolls, huh?

Why do you want this boring job?

Because I need a job.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

you don't know what I feel

Why by genius Annie Lennox

a cool breeze blowing out the flame of you: annie lennox

Monsanto Roundup Weedkiller confession & protecting my checkered lily

I have a confession I need to make. I used Roundup Weedkiller on some pernicious weeds in my yard when I owned a home. Not the whole yard. Most of my land was cultivated with flowers, trees and small patches of vegetable gardens. The house was towered over by a 100+ year old elm that made most of the lot deeply shaded so I could only grow vegetables in tiny little patches that got decent sun. So I did. I would plant just a few vegies in little spots here and there, for as the years passed and I owned that place, I got to know where the sun shined enough to grow vegies.  I also learned a lot about shade flowers -- I had a truly awesome, overgrown patch of columbine (a great shade flower) and trillium (boring most of the time but when its white blossoms did take a bow, it was so lovely).  I worked hard to find bulbs that would flower in deep Minnesota winter -- competing with my next door neighbors to have snow drops breaking through the winter-long snow-cover that MN always has -- but it you planted those bulbs in just the right places, they would pop up in the Jan thaw. such a thrill, a snow drop in bleak midwinter. In deepest winter, I would bundle up as soon as I awoke and patrol around my lot to see if anything had broken through and often met my next door neighbor patrolling to see both his and mine. He took as much interest in my winter flowers as his own. And then I discovered this magical thing: a checkered lily. A bulb plant that would also break through the snow crust in bleak midwinter. A checkered lily is gorgeous and not really cultivated. You have to dig them up out in the wild but somehow I scored one. Ty, my neighbor, took as much pride in my checkered lily as I did. And when I sold the house, I gave it to him. He also spend lots of time with my duaghter showing off his much larger (he had a double lot and all the lots in our National Historic Register develoment were microscopic but Ty crammed his empty tiny lot with flowers -- he grew vegies too but he loved flowers. He would explain their names and provenance to katie and one year for Christmas he gave her a flower press. It was so lovely to have neighbors (Ty and his partner Dave were both very kind to Katie) that shared our garden love. How I loved running into Ty with his flashlight on his deep midwinter flower patrols.  I only learned about flowers that broke through the snow crust from him and then eagerly joined the friendly competition to get the first one. Once I found the checkered lily, I always won cause it came up first every year. Often Ty would spot it before me but he used a flash light and I never did.

Anyway, my confession. close to the house, where unused flagstones had been dumped and some broken class scattered before I lived there, pernicious weeds would grow. I always thought if I could get rid of the weeds, I would do the hard work of getting rid of the flagstones and glass. With the stones and glass, how to get rid of the weeds? So I used round up weedkiller. Made by Monsanto. I know the goddess forgives me. I hope the earth does. I imagine the poison I poured into the ground that entered the water table of my community is long gone. but I regret what I did. I even knew it was poison but justified it.

How many of us justify individual wrong acts, esp. ones no one 'sees' and then excoriate the evildoers like Monsanto?

I have read several times lately:  every time you spend money you are voting for the world you want. Everytime a farmer uses Monsanto products, she is voting for the world she wants, often to benefit her profits. Everytime a consumer buys a genetically modified food product or eats processed foods that are essentially denuded of nutrition by the processing, they are voting for crappy nonnutritious food and perpetuating the system.

I don't think a single calorie of processed food ever enters my body now but I ate a lot of crap for years. I hang my head in shame, most of all for that Roundup weed killer that I used, I am ashamed to say, heavily. And the worst part?  I never put a dent in those weeds growing up between the rocks.  I should have dug out all the rocks, fed the soil compost a couple years, healed the soil. I would do that now. Back then, I only thought of compost as food to get better tomatoes. Now I know the soil itself needs to be fed.

Live and learn, eh? I'm sorry for this and all my sins.

One thing about the Catholic confession sacrament:  it is a nice, albiet delusional, practice to beleive one can be absolved of sins by a priest with that magic power. Now I know we have to absolve ourselves of our sins.  I forgive myself for that Roundup shit I used but I need to represent, to confess.

Thanks for 'listening'.

P.S. I can see, thanks to google maps, that the towering elm tree that guarded my house from the hot summer sun and prevented me from using my lot to grow lots of food (if I had that house now, I'd have every inch planted with food and only a few flowers. I'da kept the columbine for it was wildly out of control and I love that wildness).  My front yard used to be wild and appear unkempt to the untrained eye but it emulated a forest floor. I had only shade plants and deliberately let them be unruly, as in a forest. I never much cared for carefully maintained lines for gardens. I like an unruly garden. how about you?

How I miss having a patch of land to plant in. I have applied for all the garden plot programs I can find in the east bay but, so far, no luck.  My building has a container garden and a garden club that I used to belong to but I couldn't deal with the crazy shit. Like one guy moved in and without consulting anyone, pruned back our two year old persimmon trees. What two year old container tree needs pruning? He cut off all the blossoms so new blossoms can't appear cause new blossoms need old blossoms to generate. He has been banned from the garden after destroying our persimmon tree. And he did the same thing to the lemon tree but the scalping not quite so severe.

And the new management has turned off the water. They are young and eager to lower the water bill but you can't grow vegetables without water, not in this climate. It doesn't rain in the main growng season. You have to water vegies.

And the garden club does so many stupid things. We could grow two dozen tomato plants and have enough tomatoes so every household in the building could have a few but they planted three tomato plants this year.  maybe four. What are they thinking? And they filled most of the vegie tubs with flowers. The whole roof is covered with flower beds and only a small fraction were for vegies and now they grow flowers in the vegie tubs?

When I was a part of the garden group, I planted beans along the fences so the beans, which need something to grow on -- sticks, trellises, fences but since I quite -- and everyone saw the fences when they were covered with my beans -- they stopped planting beans along the fences. Now they plant beans in the middle of tubs far from the fences and guess what? the bean plants don't thrive so they say "let's just do flowers".

Instead of the joy of gardening, the garden club broke my heart.

Remember Virginia Woolf's famous 'A Room of One's Own'?  I think most humans need a patch of earth of their own to try to grow what their heart needs to grow. I sure do.  I need lots of things I don't have. Mostly I need loving companionship and to have someone pay attention to me -- I love my far away friends who write me loving notes but I need a couple loving friends right here and I have none.  I have not spent a holiday with friends since 2000, the last time I spent Xmas with my daughter. I even used to go around asking people to include me and they all have reasons. "Oh, our family only includes family". "We have a set crowd and it wouldn't be right to invite a stranger."

I see 'new friends' (I use the word friend sarcastically) invite people newer to their live to me to share Thanksgiving with their family but they don't invite me. I have a former friend who for 11 years said, many times throughout every year "you are family" but she never invited me, not once, toThanksgiving or Christmas or new Year's dinner, not even when we lived in the same place. Now, sure, it's not easy to invite me. She's a bloviating bible-belching Christian these days but, thus far, has felt no need to behold the Christ in me and, um, treat me like family. If her actual family asked to visit, I feel quite sure she would welcome them. Not me. She grimaced, even tho she was in a big house with several extra bedrooms and said "I'll have to talk to honee" and that was the end of that. These are people who spout their devotion to their newly discovered Christianity. I sometimes have to suppress a laugh as I listen to her talk about God like she just invented the discovery of God. having been raised in an intensely religious Catholic home, Catholic school K-12, I know all about Episcopal faith. It is not really different, the theology, from Catholicism except they do not recognize the pope but this friend bloviates about God as if I am a newborn moron and she the wise Christian sage. What she really likes, I think, about her recent conversation, in her sixties, to Christianity is just making other rich friends at church. I choke resentfully when she lectures me about God. She never just let's me talk. I say something I am struggling with and she lectures -- which, sadly but funnily, fits my expeirence of most Christians. They only listen to you until you pause for breath and then they rush in to tell you about their God and talk down to you and never just give you what you need:  a caring listen.

I'm unhappy. And feel unloved. Not entirely.  I have three friends who have loved me unswervingly, even tho I am grossly imperfect, definitely have a mental health disorder, and yet, miraculously, love me. Love me.  It kinda reminds me of my checkered lily.

In the wild, a checkered lilly might spread out and I might have seen more of them as years passed. But my tiny front garden was crammed. I had to protect my one checkered lily every year. I would wait for it to die back for the year and then tenderly remove the plants crowding it. Too much plant crowding and it would have been snuffed out by crowding. I would try to leave space for it to expand but never got it to expand.

The tiny bit of love I feel in my life these days is like that checkered lily. I know love exists in this loving universe in wild abundance but my personal soul is so crowded with heartache that, like my old checkered lily, it seems I can barely keep the few loving friendships I have alive. Seems I have to work hard to give these friendships a bit of light and air to keep them alive. This love matters to me. If you are one of my three friends who love me, don't be offended if you read this.  I am not criticizing you.  I know I am the one who allows the garden of my inner life to be crowded with pain, analogous to weeds.

What is the parallel to roundup weedkiller? What am I doing to stop love from growing in my life?

I am so unhappy, and hurting so much.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Anger is a feeling.  Most people confuse how people behave when they feel anger with the emotion of anger. Anger is just one emotion among all the many emotions people feel. It is perfectly possible to feel and voice anger without being abusive.

Most people do not freely voice their emotions, suppressing anger the most, and so the anger builds up and when they do voice anger, it often comes out powerfully. And I think people feel fear or resistance to their own emotion of anger and they behave fearfully and unkindly because they have adopted this culture's poor understanding of emotions.

Anger is just one, among many, human emotion.

Recently, I had a hard fight with an acquaintance. He wrote angry emails and did things I consider abusive.  I still think he behaved abusively.  I don't feel like recounting what he did so if you need a story for proof he was abusive, you aint gonna get it. Not today, not from me.

Instead of calling me, he emailed my closest friends. When I became aware he had emailed my closest friends -- who did not tell me about his behavior and their behavior angered me -- I called this guy. He was angry. He shouted. Loudly. He criticized my behavior. I got it. He was very angry with me.

But his anger was clean, even pure. I did not feel scared, threatened or insulted. I just got what he needed to convey:  he was angry.  He didn't criticie me. He wasn't abusive. He was just angry.

It felt good to experience clean, abuse-free anger. I ended up thanking him for his clean anger. And a few days later, I thanked him for telling me what I had done to piss him off. Instead of being mean, or passive aggressive, or abusive, he was just clean angry.

He's an anger artist, if you ask me. Thanks, acquaintance. I would like to be your friend, I think.  But you'd have to invest time getting to know me and understanding my disability.  My disablity isn't obvious, like someone whose legs are paralyzed. I don't need a wheelchair:  I need something else and all my friends give it to me. You aren't a friend cause you have never bothered to know me and learn what I need.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

don't tell me not to want

It is wrong to demand that a person want nothing.

I was raised in that attitude. My parents trained their babies, before we could even hold up our heads, much less roll over and think in language, to suppress our needs. I knew, by a few weeks old, that crying out when I was hungry was a burden and that I should pressure myself to want nothing, to need nothing.

It is abusive to tell someone not to want. Okay, don't give me what I want. Fine. You have that right.

But don't tell me not to want.  It is over the net to order someone how to feel and what to want and, imho, it is abusive to tell someone not to want. Keep your comments on your side of the net and say "I don't want to give you what I think you want from me".  I get to want.

All humans have a right to want. And a right to want to get one's needs met. No one else has to meet our needs, although a healthy society cannot exist without mutuality and collaborating to get all needs met.

NOTE:   I wrote this a couple years ago.

poem by Bertoldt Brecht

in the dark times
will there still be singing?
Yes, there will still be singing'
They will sing about the dark times

Friday, October 04, 2013

Faithfulness by Rudolf Steiner

Create for yourself a new, indomitable perception of faithfulness. What is usually called faithfulness passes so quickly. Let this be your faithfulness:

You will experience moments.... fleeting moments.... with the other person. The human being will appear to you then as if filled, irradiated with the archetype of his spirit.

And then there may be.... indeed will be.... other moments, long periods of time, when human beings are darkened. But you will learn to say to yourself at such times: "The Spirit makes me strong. I remember the archetype. I saw it once. No illusion, no deception shall rob me of it."

Always struggle for the image that you saw. This struggle is faithfulness. Striving thus for faithfulness, we shall be close to one another, as if endowed with the protective powers of angels.

Rudolf Steiner
If anyone knows where this quote is from, which of Steiner's books 
or lectures, please tell me in the comments. I've loved the quote for 
about twenty years but have never known the source. 
Well, my source was a bulletin board in a friend's house.

A Brief for the Defense by Jack Gilbert

The Californians

Is anyone reading (I don't think many, if any, read my blog  . . oh well!) famliar with the Saturday Night Live sketch called 'The Californians". It is only mildly decent. The main joke is lots of blonde hair, tans and talk about traffic and freeway routes. 

The traffic route talk is real enough. One time I met a friend in Palo Alto after he taught a class a la di dah Stanford to drive into the city to see the totaly awesome Anselm Kiefer retrospective. Why didn't I get to be a visual art genius like Kiefer in this lifetime? I went to see the show at least once a week while it was up and I lived a 2.5 hour, each way, trip into the city. since I don't have a car, it took a long time to get there but I knew I'd never get to see all that visionary art again so I went over and over. And it was one of the best investments of my time ever. The show is still alive in me.

Anyway, this friend pulls up to the train station in Palo Alto where he had agreed to meet me, in his adorable, antique (seriously, it counts as an antique) red BMW. When he was getting his doctorate at Stanford, he rented a room in a house with what he refererd to as 'this oild guy'. For a twenty-something, that could have ben, what, forty years old and up? Anyway, the guy took a shine to Marc and gave him his ancient beamer. Marc got hid PhD in 1995, so he got the beamer before that. I think it is about forty years old now. He has told me fifty times since I met him 8 years ago that he's going to sell it but he loves it. And it fits him perfectly. Both he and his car are absolutely adorable.  Stanford's color for sports teams red, hence the red BMW, I think. 

I don't own a car and have driven very little in the Bay Area.  This means I don't know anything about the names of the freeways or bridges, although, of course, I know about the Golden Gate. And now I know about the Bay Bridge and the Dumbarton Bridge. But when Marc picked me up in Palo Alto, as soon as we got seat belted and heading into the city, right away he began to discuss our traffic options. I bet a local would have contributed to the discussion, debating the pros and cons of which way to drive to the city. I didn't know anything so it was just noise to me. Marc was cute though, debating the pros and cons of various numbered routes and a few roads known by names. I recall, and could recall wrongly, that he decided to take the Embarcadero.  I still have no idea what that means.  I didn't tell him he could skip the traffic talk. I love Marc and I am happy to listen to him tell me about the traffic on the 480 or is it the 580 or are there both a 480 and a 580?   I have no idea.  I hadn't seen him in awhile and I was happy to listen to him say anything.

So I guess the sketch is based on an accurate stereotype: Californians who drive talk about driving routes a lot.

One thing that keeps surprising me about Californians is really about me.  I am regularly surprised when a Californian wil use a colloquialism that I learned growing up in Chicago. I guess my being expects people who grew up so far from Chicago to have different colloquialisms. There are a few local things. Berkeley has its hella. Hella good. Hella hot. Hella cool.

Mostly, however, I find our language homogenous.  Once, while having a picnic under Rodin's Gates of Hell, which are at Stanford, Marc told me something he was suppose to keep secret (that a friend of his was being audited by the IRS, I think) and when I said "I didn't know about that" he shrugged and said "Well, I guess I let that cat out of the bag."

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

accept the things I cannot change

When my marriage ended, I did not suffer over the fact that my marriage ended. I did suffer, a lot, over my ex's petition for custody alleging that I was an unfit mother. He based his declaratin that I was an unfit mother on the fact that I was in therapy for depression. I was in therapy for depression because I was being abused. Our marriage counselor eventually testified, because, duh, he had treated both of us so he knew my ex, that he thought my ex was the cruelest person he had ever met in 20+ years of marriage counseling.  I found out that when being accused of being crazy, having a therapist and a professional diagnosis and opinion is a good thing to have. Turned out having a PhD psychologist know both of us in a professional capacity, having administered psychological testing to both of us, treated both of us was actually very handy. I started out terrified that going to therapy would cause me to lose my baby but going to therapy turned out to make me look like the sane one in the marriage and the only one competent to parent our daughter.

As I wrote, I suffered a lot worrying about losing custody of my baby but I never suffered over the end of the marriage. I was relieved it was over. 

Right now, someone in my life has ended our relationship. He was never a boyfriend, never a lover. I am unwilling to say he was ever a friend. He was someone in my life, someone I met at a conference but never a friend -- as he once put it, actually. He said "We aren't friends, we are just two people who met at a conference."

I wanted to be friends with him. I used to want more. I wanted a romantic and sexual relationship. I fantasized he could become my life partner but he told me years ago he had no such feelings for me. I kept interacting with him. He kept interacting with me. He was regularly sadistic. All my friends told me he was sadistic and it hurt them to see me choose to hang out with someone who hurt me all the time. but I did make that choice.

Now, I am hurting in every direction I look.

curses -- foiled

If the national parks in San Francisco area are closed, then Yosemite must be. Damm. I was going to Yosemite tomorrow, car rented, tent borrowed, food packed.


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

What He Thought

WHAT HE THOUGHT: Heather McHugh.

We were supposed to do a job in Italy and,
full of our feeling for ourselves (our sense of being Poets from America) we went from Rome to Fano, met the Mayor, mulled a couple matters over. (what’s cheap date, they asked us: what’s flat drink)

Among Italian literati we could recognize our counterparts: the academic,the apologist, the arrogant, the amorous, the brazen and the glib. And there was one administrator (The Conservative), in suit of regulation gray, who like a good tour guide with measured pace and uninflected tone narrated sights and histories the hired van hauled us past.

Of all he was most politic -- and least poetic -- so it seemed.

Our last few days in Rome I found a book of poems this unprepossessing one had written:
it was there in the pensione room (a room he'd recommended)
where it must have been abandoned by the German visitor
(was there a bus of them?) to whom he had inscribed and dated it a month before.
I couldn't read Italian either, so I put the book back in the wardrobe's dark.

We last Americans were due to leave tomorrow. For our parting evening then
our host chose something in a family restaurant, and there we sat and chatted, sat and chewed, till sensible it was our last big chance to be Poetic, make our mark, one of us asked

"What's poetry?

Is it the fruits and vegetables and marketplace at Campo dei Fiori or the statue there?"
Because I was the glib one, I identified the answer instantly, I didn't have to think --
"The truth is both, it's both!" I blurted out. But that was easy. That was easiest to say.
What followed taught me something about difficulty, for our underestimated host spoke out all of a sudden, with a rising passion, and he said:

The statue represents Giordano Bruno, Brought to be burned in the public square
because of his offense against authority, which was to say the Church.
His crime was his belief the universe does not revolve around the human being:
God is no fixed point or central government but rather is poured in waves, through all things: All things move. "If God is not the soul itself he is the soul of the soul of the world."
Such was his heresy. The day they brought him forth to die they feared he might incite the crowd
(the manwas famous for his eloquence).
And so his captors placed upon his face an iron mask in which he could not speak.

That is how they burned him.
That is how he died, without a word,in front of everyone.

And poetry --

(we'd all put down our forks by now, to listen to the man in gray; he went on softly) —

poetry is what he thought, but did not say.

precious, eternal and infinite

So this guy is an abusive jerk towards a woman for nearly 8 years. Then when she complains about his abuse, he breaks off from her and he writes to tell her he loves her and he likes to think he gave her gifts that were precious, eternal and infinite.  What maudlin glop, eh?

I love you, please don't ever speak to me again and I like to think the gifts I gave you were precious, eternal and infinite.

Shouldn't I get to decide if he gave me gifts and if they were precious, eternal and infinite.

the most dangerous time for a borderline

the most dangerous time for a borderline is when they lose someone they love.  I have just lost someone I love and I thought loved me and I am in danger. Danger of what? Everyone that knows anything about borderline personality disorder knows the danger I am in.  I hurt so much. I don't want to feel all this hurt. I want to end my pain.