Saturday, May 31, 2014

'real' bakeries in sixties and my dad

My dad loved chocolate donuts. During most of my childhood, grocery stores did not sell donuts, bakeries did. Maybe grocery stores sold some boxed donuts and coffeecakes but no one I knew bought them. Everyone went to the neighborhood bakery. And every little strip of retail shops all over Chicago had a bakery.

Once in awhile, my dad would rise early and go the bakery to get us what he called donuts. He knew what each of his kids, and his wife, wanted. We all wanted something different.

As I got older, sometimes my folks would send me out for donuts. This would be around 7 a.m., with school starting at 8:30. I had to go early so we could all eat and then walk to school, dad get to work on time.  I loved the short walk, which was two short blocks, in the early morning silence. I loved it any time of year.

For reasons I no longer recall, I figured out that if I walked through the yard of the house directly behind ours, then walked through the yard across the street from that house, and then through the house behind that one, I could get to the bakery even faster.  It felt like I was committing a crime, which I guess I was. Trespass. I would open each gate slowly to silence creaking noise. I wore tennis shoes so my steps were quiet. It felt dangerous. The whole time I was sneaking through yards of people I did not know I felt terrified. It was a thrilling feeling, also. Funny how that worked.

My mom always got a danish, raspberry if they had it. My older brother liked strawberry bismarcks and never deviated. My next youngest sibling, also a brother, liked a chocolate custard. Dad liked the chocolate donut, a purist always. Once in a great while, we'd get a pecan coffee cake. Dad hated fruit danish and fruit coffeecakes. My younger brother Tom's preference, alas, I no longer recall. Maybe in the years I am recalling, Tom, born when I was seven, did not eat donuts.

I varied. Along with worrying about getting arrestd for walking in strangers' yards, I debated within myself what I would get that time.  I tended to go with the chocolate custard, like my Irish Twin did. All the sweet rolls, which was what all the breakfast sweet things were generally called, cost seven cents. So, I would reason every time I ran this errand, I could get whatever I wanted. Some of them were much bigger than others, I reasoned further.

I would reflect on all the choices my family made, weighing the pros and cons.  I still don't get why anyone would get a chocolate donut when, for the same rice, one could get a chocolate covered custard bismarck. That chocolate custard had a lot more to it. And who doesn't like custard?  I guess my dad didn't. 

I always thought my older brother's preference for the strawberry bismarck merely an indicator that he was different.

I would struggle on that short walk, trying to persuade myself to break out of my pattern and pick something new. I would order all the family's sweet rolls before mine, each time hoping that this time, I'd go wild and get something different.

Once or twice I did. I would buy this lightly sweet but other plain roll that was dusted in powdered sugar after it had been sliced and filled with a sweet cream, not a custard. It was light, confectionary and much bigger than any other seven cent roll. But it had a boring taste. Quantity or taste?

Anna Halprin

For 34 years, Anna Halprin, now 94, a modern dance legend, has been doing a dance of planetary healing on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin.

Not having enough money to own a car is really starting to wear on me. I am surrounded by so much natural beauty, but I have seen nothing but the typical tourist sites. I've never hiked on Mt. Tam, never been to Pt. Lobos, or Yosemite. A friend mentioned he took his granddaughter to Angel Island and I said "where's angel island?"

I belong to citycarshare but it's not affordable. I pay by the hour, I need to rent a car for several hours, then pay 35 cents a mile. It costs me fifty bucks. If I spend fifty bucks on a single outing, I will not have food money at the end of this month. It's the same every month. I can't do anything, see anything, go anywhere.

I have always been a fan of modern dance. I once bought my daughter a book, which I don't think she even opened, about Anna Halprin's contributions to dance. She is a legendary goddess. And she's been doing these free dances all these eight years I've been living in California but seeing so little of it.

It's just one dance. Anna won't be around leading them forever. It's not that big a deal

when two people relate authentically . . .

When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them. ~ Martin Buber

Relating authentically is also how you get to transcendent sex, although not all authentic relationships that surge with the love of God have to be sexual.

if you think sex is nothing, think again

If you think sex is nothing*, think about this: 

If every one experienced real tantric sex just once (when you transcend space and time and your whole being is profoundly healed and refreshed from deep immersion in the Source of Life) all porn, sex toys, fixation on appearances, and misguided obsessions would be obsolete.
A friend said this.

For me, what is described as tantric sex is transcendent sex, the only kind of sex that interests me. It is when two beings meet and try to connect with one another's radiant essence.  Anything less than this kind of sex should have another name. 

I especially like the above quote because I believe transcendent sex is also healing sex. I believe sex has become degraded in this culture, trivialized. Many think sex is nothing but physical pleasure.  It is more than physical pleasure. It is sacred, should only be undertaken with people one has deep, reverent love for and with people one wishes to touch their radiance, their souls.

I have read that the proliferation of porn on the internet is damaging people's ability to have transcendant, sex. Or, maybe, just good sex.  I have never looked at porn on the internet, not once, not even a google. Geez, if I googled porn, I bet I'd get ads for porn as I surf other topics!

I heard a speaker at the OM (orgasmic meditation) extravaganza in Oakland talk about transcendent sex. She was hawking her book on transcendent sex. Listening to her was the first time I heard my kind of sex described, first time I learned that what I have experienced, and want in my sex life, happens to others.  That's what I want.   Transcendant sex. It's humans loving one in another at deep levels, an effort to touch the other's being. It is not ultimately possible to touch another being's being but it can be very pleasurable trying, to try to achieve energetic union.

Any other kind of sex amounts to animals rutting.  I've had that kind of sex. That kind of sex is nothing.

Transcendent sex can be scary because one reveals one's self and sees the other's self. That's scary. With love and trust, however, it is awesome.

If someone says 'sex is nothing', that someone is a broken being, damaged in his or her sexuality.

heaven is . . .

Hot, crisped, cut-up kale, tossed with extra virgin olive oil and himalayan salt then baked at 350 for about 20 minutes, stirring and flipping over if you can. I mostly stir.

Yum yum yum. As my friend Peggy said, it's like popcorn. Only I say it's tastier than popcorn.

And it does nothing to my glucose levels. Zip. Nada.

It is awesome hot from the oven.

It is awesome the next day.  I keep making bigger and bigger batches so I can pack some in a plastic box to take with me on my journeys from home. I'd have to put in a rigid container, a glass jar would be better, eh? Otherwise, it would crumble because my crisped kale is light as air, melts on the tongue as soon as it hits. Hot or room temp, it melts in your mouth.

Yum yum yum.

I am baking some now, a huge batch. I am not pretending I will save any.

Tomorrow is my farmers market. I'll buy more kale!  Have to make enough for my sweetie.

Friday, May 30, 2014

my soul is from elsewhere

“My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

Me, too.


My maternal Grandma, Joy, had collected bluebird pins throughout her life. They were an important symbol for her. Bluebirds represented happiness, she told me many times.

I usually saw her during my summer vacation. I grew up in Chicago. Grandma Joy lived in South Dakota. Each time I saw her, she would take me over to her hope chest from long ago, which was lined with cedar and filled with her treasures. Each summer I was allowed to choose one treasure from the hope chest.

BTW, I ended up with her hope chest when she died, much to the disappointment of my mom's sister who, it still seems to me, always wanted everything. My uncle was a truck driver. He loaded up all grandma's furniture and hauled it back to Indiana. I was in law school so I left my hope chest rest in Indiana until I was more settled. As soon as I had my own home, I asked for my hope chest. My aunt resisted. She actually said "It's been in my house several years so it belongs to me now. I have promised it to my daughter."

My mom, in a rare show of strength, stood up to my aunt and insisted on loading it into her minivan as mom drove from Ohio to my city to meet my daughter, bringing my hope chest to me.

It was very old. My grandmother had gotten it as a young girl. She assiduously crocheted the edges of bedsheets, pillowcases, knitted blankets and collected things she imagined, as she grew up, she would want when she became a homemaker. It was a used chest when it was presented to my grandma.Already an antique when she got it.

I finally got rid of it when I moved to the West Coast. I wish I still had it but it was big, heavy and expensive to move 2,000+ miles. I didn't move any furniture and unloaded most of my books. I had moved a lot and the costs adds up.

My grandma's bluebirds? Each time she gifted me one, and I always chose one of her rhinestone bluebird pins when I was allowed to choose something from that hope chest, I would wear it all the time. And lose it. The next summer, I'd claim another one until Grandma ran out.

Ever since then, but not assiduously, I have searched for bluebird brooches in used shops, especially consignment shops. I have talked to many such shop owners. They all have said they have never seen a bluebird brooch, almost as if I imagined it. I didn't. They all said that if I were to find a bluebird rhinestone brooch in a consignment shop or any used-stuff shop, I should expect to pay a high price. Bluebird brooches were so rare, no one had ever seen one.

Also, on those increasingly rare occasions when I enter a department store, I still quickly scan their rhinestone jewelry. Nordstrom usually has large displays of rhinestone pins. Or brooches. So far, I have yet to see another bluebird pin.  Sometimes I have seen hummingbirds made with blue rhinestones.  I want, and need, a brooch that looks like an ordinary bluebird. Hummingbirds are great. Mystical. Magical. I want my grandma's love pinned on me, a bluebird brooch reminding me of it.  And I want happiness. As a child, I fervently believed my bluebird pins would assure happiness. When I lost each one, I was bereft, fearful I would not be happy.  Maybe I want a bluebird pin to be happy now. I don't need a pin to be happy. Maybe I want some assurance.

I'd love to have another bluebird brooch but I am not actively seeking one these days.  Wouldn't it be lovely if one came to me, by magic? A gifted one would be magic, wouldn't it? 

I have no expectations of such a gift appearing. Not because no one loves me enough to buy me one. I think several folks who love me and knew about my bluebird pin quest actually would buy me one.  I have no expectations of receiving one because they are an old fashioned, out-of-date thing no one makes anymore.

A bluebird is widely seen as a symbol of happiness, isn't it?  I guess rhinestone brooches are out of date, although I have several. Two gifted to me by my daughter, my beloved daughter who grows more dear to me all the time.

Kiss kiss, my Rosie. 

blue is happy

When I was raising my daughter, I rarely went out at night. When I did go out at night, I would often think "I am being a grown up tonight, whoopee, out after dark!"  It was a small pleasure but one I, very intermittently savored.

Lately I am going out in the evening often. I like it.

I am happy. A grown up at last?!   

Blue is the color I associate with happiness. Bluebirds, my maternal Grandma Joy often told me, were a sign of happiness. So I used blue font to convey my happiness.

San Francisco is located in a spectacular setting

It is unavoidable for the city of San Francisco to be beautiful. There is astounding beauty wherever one looks.

When I first moved to CA, I had to live in Mountain View for one year. When I got to CA, I assumed when my one year in MV was up, I'd move to San Francisco.  I found it hard, if not impossible, to get to know the city from my carless perch in MV. I have to scrounge the lowest end of housing costs, which, quite understandably, are closely and attentively tracked by folks already in SF. I didn't move to SF because I could not find a way to tap affordable housing.

The East Bay had an abundance of affordable housing. And I got very lucky. Very very lucky.

The affordable housing building I live in had 3,500 households apply for units on the day they opened a wait list, months before the building was finished. The building had been cobbled together with all kinds of public financing, including a few housing vouchers set aside by Berkeley Housing Authority.

When property management began the lease-up process, BHA told them they had to rent the units funded by set-aside BHA vouchers only from people referred to the building specifically by BHA.  The BHA publishes a biweekly notice of housing where landlords will take housing vouchers. 

I had been checking the BHA listing site for weeks. Then, several months after the 3,500 list was closed, BHA announced their units in my building. I had to call and call and call. Then I got the very lat appointment they had open for a month. And when I showed up for the apartment, I got the very last one bedroom.  The man who took my application said that for reasons he couldn't understand, many of the folks referred from BHA didn't show up for their appointments and he wondered aloud why that might be. He said he had not expected me to show up.  I speculated that perhaps the no-shows had already found housing.   I did not point out that the location for the application was in Albany and hard to access on public transit, which might have also generated some no-shows.

Thank goddess there were no shows.

I had thought, for a long time, that I wanted to live in San Francisco. I have been spending much more time in SF lately. Whenever I am there, I keep waiting to feel more drawn to the place than I actually feel. I am content to be a tourist. I don't feel much great energy, although I know many do.

I attended a talk in the Mission District a few weeks ago. Many in attendance were young adults, fairly new to SF and ecstatic to be able to say they lived here. I wrote a bit about how they bragged about their cheap rooms. Not their cheap apartments. Rooms. They would say how much rent they paid fr a room, comment on the location and then move on to how wonderful it was to live in the city.

If I could afford to move to SF, like if I could afford to buy a home there, I don't think I would.

It is a beautiful city. It does not call me. In a way, I am relieved.

I like Berkeley. It feels right for me.

I'm happy living where I live.

Indigenous spirituality often rooted in ties to nature

It just occurred to me that most of the 'new' spirituality I have seen emerging throughout my lifetime mirrors most indigenous beliefs about what is sacred and to access then integrate the sacred in out life.

If, instead of conquering Native Americans, the Europeans who 'discovered' America, a land that was here and doing just fine without their capitalistic, Chrisitan and warring bent, we had sought understanding and common ground, I believe we would see a very different land.  And this would be true of how 'modern' humankind treats virtuallly all indigenous cultures. Instead of taking their land, herding them onto reservations and destroying their lifestyles, we had sought to find shared understanding. . . . . .

We took many wrong turns, we white Western peoples. We crushed many. We war too easily.

Just thinking.

I give my love irregardless of whether it is reciprocated

Love is defying the impulse to jump ship


turning out to be a real looker

Once, when I was 12, my best friend, who lived next door, told me her mother had said about me "She's turning out to be a real looker". Her mom was most definitely a real looker, a gorgeous woman who knew she was gorgeous so coming from her, being called a 'real looker' was high flattery.

No one in my family ever suggested I was pretty.

Once, only once, my dad said I was very beautiful as I got ready to go to a dance. Only once! Come on, dad. You were my first male love. You should have told me I was pretty all the time.

Dwelling in the past is pointless, eh? At least the negative past.

Lately, only sometimes, I feel like a real looker. As I did when I was a teen, I sometimes glimpse myself reflected in shop windows as I walk, noting my weight loss and seeing a sliver of my former self.

I want, I want, I've got the gimmees!

I want a Fit Bit Flex. Anyone feel like giving me a gift?!

When my daughter was young, and she would want lots of stuff and harangue me steadily to buy them for her, I would say "You've got the gimmees."

Well, I've got the gimmees. I want a Fit Bit Flex, some new clothes that fit after my weight loss, a good bike, new shoes including running shoes, knockaround shoes and new sandals. And I want a new, pretty, discretely floral dress. And money for more frequent haircuts.

What I want most of all, money can't buy. So gimmee gimmee gimmee. Futilely try to fill the voice within.

My little daughter mostly wanted things because of the intense marketing directed at children.  I think I have the gimmees because I  feel a void within myself, an ache, a longing that no new stuff will fill.  I don't want to feel as I do.

But I do want a Fit Bit Flex. Very much. 

a story from my lawyer past

Long ago and far away, a gay man came to me in my law office, in a very red state, in the early eighties. He had been married, and in those days, men only married women, even gay ones. He was then divorced but he had a daughter he loved. Of course he loved her. His ex-wife wouldn't let him see her, even though he had been given visitation rights, of course, in the divorce stipulation.

He came to me to get help enforcing his visitation.

I believed it was a simple legal matter. He had a court order stating he had a right to see his daughter. His wife was withholding visits. If he had been straight, he would have easily prevailed at the hearing at which I represented him. I had taken a few folks to court for withholding visitation. It was easy legal work.

I knew it mattered that he was gay. I knew some people, including judges, were homophobic. In those days, only a lawyer a short time, I still believed that people in the legal world respected the law. I naively believed any judge would let that client of mine see his daughter once in awhile.

The judge revoked all the guy's visitation rights solely because he was a homosexual. The father, not the judge. Although who knows.  I am sure there are still closeted judges in this world.

My client fired me in the courtroom and told the judge he would appeal.  I didn't blame him for firing me. I had done a good job representing him, the facts and the pertinent law. But my client was heartbroken. He loved his little girl.

His daughter was about the age my daughter was at the time. My heart rended along with his when that judge revoked all his visitation rights, something a judge, technically, does not have the power to do.

Judges can do whatever they want. It costs a ton of money to appeal judge's mistaken, or bigoted, abuse of power. It's not fair.

When I was in law school and for several years out, I sincerely believed that judges, especially U.S. Supreme Court judges, used objective intellectual rigour, that judges did not allow any personal bias to influence their decisions. I imagined objective, cerebral contemplation of the law as judges made decisions.

In practice, in reality, I saw that judges were largely political hacks, appointed initially for sucking up to politicians in one form or another, usually fundraising form. Occasionally, such an appointed judge would turn out to be a real jurist who had landed in his right work.

I don't know how judges get to be judges in CA. In the states I have practiced, judges are usually appointed to judicial vacancies and then have to run for re-election but they always win. A judge has to behave very badly to lose her re-election. 

Although technically, only federal judges, including U.S.Supreme Court judges are apppointed either for lfe or until they choose to step down, most state court judges have fixed terms that might as well be lifetime appointments. When was the last time you knew anything about the judges on election ballots you have voted on?

Heck, sometimes I don't vote at all on judges. I don't know anything about them.  And I know enough about how our legal system works to know that most judges are political partisans. Not necessarily political hacks but partisan. And they are all human and all bring their human imperfection to the bench.

I've been thinking about that man. His daughter would be in her thirties now, as mine is.  I wonder if he was ever able to have a loving, caring relationship with her, able to be her father in meaningful ways. My instincts tell me no, that his ex-wife, angry that her husband turned out to be gay, punished him by taking his daughter away from him.  I hope and pray I am wrong. I hope that Love, or Goddess, allowed that situation to shift in his favor.

This is an example of work I hated to do. Now I am flooded with memories of other heartbreakers from when I practiced law. Change channels, Tree. Be happy.

my first boss took me to a porn movie

I worked for a year between college and law school.  I didn't want any of the careers I was aware of so I bumbled home and got a job. In 1975, young woman with college degrees were mostly considered for what was then called secretary jobs. This was before everyone had computers and all the men, who ran most things, needed someone to type and file.  Such boring work. I felt doomed to a lifetime of boredom.

I wanted to get a PhD in Anthropology and/or English. I wanted to do my doctoral dissertation on an indigenous tribe in the Andes, to live in a remote village for a couple years and write about it.

My dad was horrified.  He pressured me to be practical and go to law school. Quite a lot of people who go to law school go to be 'practical'. And thus we have a glut of lawyers.  I didn't want to be a lawyer but I was insecure and malleable. Plus I wanted to please my dad, who I still love and adore.

My dad could be awful. He was like a little ditty my mom often recited to me when she was mocking me for something I had done, using sarcasm, which is verbal abuse coming from a mother to her five year old, I think, to shame me.

Mom would say:

there was a little girl
who had a little curl
right in the middle of her forehead
and when she was good
she was very very good
and when she was bad
she was horrid.

Even now, fifty or more years since my mother last said that to me, I cry a little inside as I recall the venom she imbued into horrid. I would feel so bad about myself. And mom would say this over simply normal child behavior, like giggling after mom had given me a stern look intended to silence me.

With my first therapist, who had started out as my marriage counselor, I cried long and hard with that psychologist about the time my mother brutally beat me 100 times with my dad's leather belt.  She struck each blow as hard as she could, to teach me a lesson. She actually took breaks to rest because it was hard work to beat your little girl very hard 100 times.

Yet my mom chided my dad constantly for teasing his kids. Dad did tease us. Like many teasaers, he sometimes took his teasing too far. And my dad was no angel.  He molested me, which is why my mother beat me.  You see the insanity I grew up in?  And my daughter thinks she got stuck with a lousy mother. 

Off track again.  Hmmm, where was I going? This is the kind of stuff I should edit out but editing isn't as much fun as writing first drafts. Sometimes writing freely, I have transcendent flow experiences. Editing? Not much flow experience.

There were 9 law schools in Chicago, dad kept pointing out. Go to law school.  I gave into his bullying to be practical, not that having a law degree was ever a practical skill for me to possess. I hated being a lawyer.

If everyone experienced transcendant sex. . . .

If every one experienced real tantric sex just once (when you transcend space and time and your whole being is profoundly healed and refreshed from deep immersion in the Source of Life) all porn, sex toys, fixation on appearances, and misguided obsessions would be obsolete.
 My friend said this.

For me, what is described as tantric sex is transcendent sex, the only kind of sex that interests me. It is when two beings meet and try to connect with one another's essence.  Anything less than this kind of sex should have another name. 

I especially like the above quote because I believe transcendent sex is also healing sex. I believe sex has become degraded in this culture, trivialized. Many think sex is nothing but physical pleasure.  It is more than physical pleasure. It is sacred, should only be undertaken with people one has deep, reverent love for and with people one wishes to touch their radiance, their souls.

I have read that the proliferation of porn on the internet is damaging people's ability to have tantric, or transcendant, sex. Or, maybe, just good sex.  I have never looked at porn on the internet, not once, not even a google. Geez, if I googled porn, I bet I'd get ads for porn as I surf other topics!

I heard a speaker at the OM (orgasmic meditation) extravaganza in Oakland talk about transcendent sex. She was hawking her book on transcendent sex. Listening to her was the first time I heard my kind of sex described, first time I learned that what I have experienced, and want in my sex life, happens to others.  That's what I want.   Transcendant sex. It's humans loving one in another at deep levels.

Any other kind of sex amounts to animals rutting.  I've had that kind of sex. That kind of sex is nothing.

Transcendant sex can be scary because one reveals one's self and sees the other's self. That's scary. With love and trust, however, it is awesome.

If someone says 'sex is nothing', that someone is a broken being, damaged in his or her sexuality.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I think I confused Turner with Sargent

Duh. Oh well.

Sargent did amazing work with light, too.

So many artists. It is best to focus on contemporary artists. I can't track all of them. Keeping track of old masters just doesn't matter enough to me.

I miss SFMOMA.  Sigh.  They used to show lots of fascinating movies. I miss the art, including film art.

I don't like the Legion of Honor

It is set in what must be one of the most beautiful spots in the world. It is near the top of SF, right off the Bay with vistas of Marin, the ocean, the Golden Gate, downtown SF and set in a park. The building, I suspect, is a bad knockoff of a European museum. It was built in 1894 to imitate European refinement. The galleries are small, dark, cramped. The doorways small and uninviting.

I only went there to see the Turners I saw in 2007 with a friend who eagerly sought out the Turners. He talked to me about how Turner handled light in a way that changed how I look at paintings. Truly. We saw them at the DeYoung but they have been moved, I was told at the DeYoung yesterday, to the Legion of Honor.

The Legion of Honor is a very long public transit journey for me, the final stretch a long, steep walk.

So I get there and frazzled myself serially. First I had to check my bag, which is fine but the checkroom is remotely accessible requiring a long walk through the museum and then a long walk back to the front upstairs entrance. It's bizarre where they have located the check room because they don't want you walking through the museum with a backpack but I had to walk through most of the museum to check it and then back out with it when I learned, only after the long trudge to check the damned thing, that no Turners were on display.

The good news, which museum staff didn't seem to know (no one I talked to seemed to have any idea who Turner was)

I am laughing at myself now. I was so focussed on seeing the Turners I had seen with my fiend Kenoli in 2007 that I rushed past Monet, Bonnard, Gailsworth, Rodin sculptures, Van Gogh and all kinds of masterpieces. I had only intended to look at the Turners.  I've seen several major retrospectives on Monet. My childhood art museum owns more Monets than any museum outside France.  I don't care about old art. My aesthetic is contemporary and I can enjoy modern.

Turner is special. I quickly glimpsed a lot of gorgeous art. But no Turners.

The good news: the DeYoung is going a major Turner show next summer, bringing in Turners from many European museums, most especially the Tate in London. Since Turner was British, I imagine the Tate has a lot of his work. Thank goddess I won't have to go back to the Legion to see Turner.

I was so frazzled and unhappy when  I learned my trip was for naught. As I walked back down to California Street to hop a bus downtown, a very long bus ride downtown, I saw that the locationn was gorgeous, the views spectacular, the surrounding nature nurturing.

I am happy to report we floated happily down that hill.

Then a man I seriously believe was significantly mentally ill blasted Metallica on the bus. The driver wouldn't stop him. The guy wouldn't stop when I asked him to. So I got off at Van Ness and walked all the way to the Civic Center BART. Good exercise but how I wish I had a bike, a good one, and a bike lock. I have a cheapo bike but no lock just yet.  Although no way I would enjoy riding up to that museum on my cheesey bike. Not enough gears to handle the incline. I would have walked the bike up, I suspect.

I was so glad I transformed my experience on the way down. And when the blasting Metallica grated me on the bus, I was proud that I hopped off, although Van Ness is hardly a soothly place to walk.

We made it back to Berkeley, my friend and I.  I swear I'll never go to the Legion of Honor again. I still want to walk from the Legion along the bay over to Land's End. Or bike it if they allow bikes.

No Turner's, not anywhere there

Yesterday, we went to the DeYoung. I asked a museum staffer where I could see the Turners I had seen there before with my friend Kenoli. The staffer said "we moved all our European art to the Legion of Honor".

So I went through a few galleries. I never spent more than an hour in an art museum. I go to art museums often. I always have, since childhood. My mom took me to the Art Institute once a month, seeing it as essential to my education. I took my daughter to art museums until she turned teen and would not sacrifice dance time for art museums with her mother, unless we were visiting Chicago. I have never returned to the city I grew up in, Chicago, without going at least to the Art Institute.

On my way out, I stopped back to tell the man who had told me "all the European art has moved to the Legion" that I had seen many pieces of European art in the DeYoung, plus some African artists.

It's quite a trek to the Legion of Honor on public transit

First there is the BART ride to San Francisco, then a wait for the 38L Muni bus to take me down Geary. Then I disembark at 34th Street. I can wait for the #18, which runs infrequenlty or walk. I chose to walk because the public transit trip planner indicated it was an 8 minute walk. That 8 minutes must only take into consideration when one arrives at the park land within which the Legion of Honor lies hidden, at the top of an often steep, long incline.

And that long incline came only after I had gotten off at Arguello, not knowing SF very well. I thought Arguello was 3300 because the businesses had 3300's on their doors. SF does not match street numbers to numbered streets. I don't get that practice. I know address numbering does not match street numbers but I forget.

First I trudge North on Arguello, past California, past another east-west street. Then I hung a left and came to 4th street. I kept going and came to 5th. No way I was walking all the way to 34th street, which is where the drive up to the Legion begins.

So I trudged back to California to catch the #1 which only goes to 33rd Street, but close enough, right?

Man, that walk up hill was work.

And the museum is a displeasing to me as I had remembered it. I only went to see the Turners, which I had seen at the DeYoung in, I think, 2007 with a friend. He had talked to me about how Turner painted light that shifted how I look at all paintings. I wanted to capture some of that Turner glow. Plus Turner is revered by many anthroposophists.

In my former art docent opinion, Turner was an early impressionist, although he still painted representationally. Impressionism moved into light and color. Turner got close, very close.

Yesterday, at the DeYoung, I asked an information guide where the Turners were at the DeYOung. He told me they were all now at the Legion. My interest to see Turner peaked, I went to the Legion today solely to see the Turners.

I had the design of the Legion. It is a deliberately formal and deliberately complicated design, a poor design, I think to display art. Lots of tiny rooms (galleries?), twists, turns, complexity in the layout And the bag check is through several galleries, down an obscurely located elevated and then down a dreary basement hall. WTF?  Why wouldn't a cost check be closely accessible to the entrance so disabled people would not have to walk through half the museum?

Only think I can figure is they want people to go near the shockingly high priced cafe, which is near the coat check.  The DeYoung Cafe is reasonably priced. The Legion wanted $15 for a green salad. Not an entree salad, just a side salad.  Walking through a significant portion of the museuum to check my bulky, heavy backpack and then back burned me out. I had to return to the front, however, to ask where the Turners were.

The too-old volunteer did not know how to check online to see if any Turners was up so she directed me to the wrong gallery. I went there. Returned to her. Then she accompanied me through the internecine, strange (I would say bizarre) layout of that strange museum in an absolutely stunning location to take me to some Turners. She asked two guards for Turners. Each one gave me completely different answers. The 'guide' left me. I walked through the galleries that had been suggested and there was no Turners.

So then I went to the front of the museum, walking again through the awful, oppressive, internecine layout with the walls covered with old art of often dreary topics. This time I asked one of the young women doing admissions for members to look up online and find out if any Turners were on display.


Keeping in mind that staff at the DeYoung had directed me to the Legion to see the Turners, which used to be pleasantly viewable at the Deyoung. This Deyoung guy told me the DeYoung no longer showed European or any foreign art. All foreign art was at the Legion, he said. I saw Eves Tanguy, Frenchman, a Nigerian in the contemporary section. That Nigerian piece was beautiful and thoughtful, intriguing. I saw a bunch of Europeans. So I went back to the guy who had told me there was no foreign art at the DeYoung and told him it wasn't true.

I saw Bonnard, Matisse, Caillebotte, Gailswaith (is that the right spelling?) and a bunch of old masters that don't interest me. Bonnard would interest me but the Legion doesn't seem to have any good ones, at least any good ones up.

And no Turners were up. None.

By the time I learned my trip to see Turners had been wasted, I was exhausted. I still had to trek through half the museum to get to the obscure elevator. There was one right near the entrance with signs saying it did not work but it worked fine. Then trek back through the oppressive galeries.

Oh, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, large, irritating music was playing in the museum.

One lovely sequence:  the walk downhill back to bus-land was beautiful. I could see Marin, the Pacific, Downtown San Francisco, verdant nature all around me. And it seemed like a much shorter, gentler incline on the way down.

I am spoiled art museum wise. I grew up seeing the Art Institute of Chicago once a month with my mom. The Chicago Art Institute has one of the best art museum collections in the world. NY Metropolitian probably tops it but I doubt if any other American museum does. Art museums on the west coast just don't have the depth of European artists that Chicago has.

Then I was a docent at The Walker, one of the world's leading contemporary art centers.  I was also a tour guide at The Henry, which is the U of WA art museum. It has a contemporary focus but it is a tiny museum. Chicago has SAM (Seattle Art Museum, one of those full spectrum museums but SAM does lots of contemporary shows.)

Not enough contemporary art museums for my taste. The Walker spoiled me. The Walker and the Art Institute.

Here on the West Coast, it's like in the earlier times of this country, the West Coast didn't focus on art and by the time they did, NY, Chicago and maybe the Kimball in Texas had scooped up the deepest collections.

And maybe I'm talking through my hat.

I really dislike the Legion of Honor.

SFMOMA will not reopen until 2016.

Crikey, I might have to make the two+ hours each way to go to the San Jose Museum of Art.  It's nice enough, although several colleges in Western Massachusetts have as impressive or more impressive museums. Williams College, Mt. Holyoke and Smith each have amazingly good art museums for such relatively small college.

I need to go to Chicago. Or New York. If I get to NY, I'll hop down to PHilly to see both the Philadelphia Museum so I an see Duchamp's mysterious final installation and the New Barnes.

They were playing loud, maybe live, strident music in the museum. With all its tiny rooms, the noise echoes weirdly. It was an irritant to me although some patrons seemed to be fawning over it.  I believe some folks think they should like music in an art museum even if the music is cacophonous, a distraction to experiencing the art, which is best experienced in a meditative, mindful mode.

I know a lot about art history.

Before I go . . .

I am noticing a pattern in my thinking.  I note facts and disregard them, as if I can bend life to my will through the power of thought.

If only. If I could do that, I would have a lover who was magic for me, and I for him.

off to the Legion of Honor

I really dislike the long trek to the Legion of Honor.  I have had a hankering to see the Turners the DeYoung and the Legion own. The museums are the same legal entity. My membership at the DeYoung gets me into the Legion.

I tried to go to the Legion a week or two ago, but by the time I got there, it was closed. It closes early, like 5:15. The Legion doesn't get anywhere near the traffic of the DeYoung, which is a centerpiece of Golden Gate Park, whereas the Legion, although located in a spectacular piece of the Earth, is somewhat apart. And its design is dated. I went there once when I first moved here. I remember that the trek there was quite onerous. I remember that I disliked the museum.

Truth is, I miss SFMOMA, which is closed for major renovations, until 2016.  Dang.  SFMOMA is easily accessible for me.

hablaba español ayer con un Chileño

El estaba acerca de Golden Gate Park. Se necessitaba regressar a su hotel en el Centro. Le dije, vaya con migo. Yo voy por la Muni tren.

El dijo, "No, no, necessito irme por BART."

"Aqui, Muni was como un trolley, pero cuando se va al centro, se va adentro de la calle."

I was speaking stiltedly in Spanish. My basic grammar and verb construction remains but my vocabulary eludes me.  He kept saying no buses, I kept saying "Le juro, venga conmigo. Voy al dentro. Donde va usted?"

El se vaya a su hotel en The Financial District.  Le explique como la Muni trolley empieza ser un 'subway' and vaya por los mismos estaciones en el centro como BART.

Creo que el me creia porque sube la Muni tren conmigo. Yo sali el tren a Civic Center y le dije "la proximo, or el proximo?, es su estacion. El se quiere Powell.

Era un gran placer hablar en español por un media hora.

Yo se que mi Español, escrito y hablado, ya no esta muy bien. Pero como un Alemano me dijo una vez en un aeroplane (sp?), "Es divertido" apender y hablar otras lenguas. Ese tipo tenia unos cincuenta años, hablaba Aleman, Frances, Inglez y ya estaba aprendiendo Español porque era divertido."

Y si, es divertido. Cuanto me gustaria aprender una otra lengua. ¿Pero cual? ¿Y por cualquier razón?

Aunt Bea from Mayberry

Years ago, I met a man at a conference. We began an email correspondence.   It was not 'romantic'.  He was living with a woman and gave no indication that he was attracted to me as anything but a friend.

In that early correspondence, he said something that I experienced as deep insult. He said I reminded him of Aunt Bea. I heard him comparing me to a fat, asexual, all-nurturing woman. In that old tv show, every once in awhile, Aunt Bea would remind viewers that she once had a sweetheart, it didn't work out and she still pined for that guy.

I am sure when he wrote that I reminded him of Aunt Bea, he had written with innocence, even feeling a platonic love for me. I doubt that he had any inkling that comparing me to fat, asexual aunt Bea, all-nurturing but unloved Aunt Bea, would come across as a painful insult and dismissive of me as a woman.  But that was how I experienced his Aunt Bea comparison.

I am very nurturing.  I try to be thoughtful and attentive to people I care about whom I believe care about me. I am not asexual.

Fat women are not asexual. Fat women have all the same feelings and desires as other women. It is culture that stigmatizes fat women. And it is culture that leads most men to reject fat women, at least publicly.

I know a fat, single woman who registered with Ashley Madison. If you haven't heard of Ashley Madison, it is a dating service for, supposedly, married men and women who want to have extramarital sex discreetly.  My friend registered indicating she was married, although she is not.   Single women who registered as single on Ashley Madison tend to get a lot of negative flak, which, if you think about it, is funny. Married people can seek noncommittal sexual relationships but single women can't?!  People are odd, eh?

The Ashley Madison crowd gets to sex pretty fast. Two people meet for coffee and often retreat to a hotel room or, if feasible, one or the other's home, to have sex. Discretion. Privacy. The man is not seen with the fat woman.  With such restrictions, and all the men saw my friend's photo on the dating website so they all knew she was fat, she had many men pursue her. She has had a lot of great sex, found some loving connections. But it's all on the downlow.  As long as it's a secret, plenty of men find fat women sexy, desirable and lovable.

In this culture, however, it's not just women who are judged negatively for being fat. Men who date fat women are also judged negatively.

I'm not Aunt Bea. I am lusty, sexual, desirable, lovable and a blessing to any  man lucky to win my love.

love recognizes no barriers: maya angelou

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.  -Maya Angelou

This reminds me of Shakepeare's sonnet 116:  love around all impediments.  Leaps, hurdles, jumps, penetrating walls. Love stays. Love loves.

a successful parasite is one not recognized by its host, like the ruling class in USA

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I am a phenomenal woman: said Maya Angelou

I am also a phenomenal woman. I am a goddess. Any man blessed to be loved by me is a very lucky man indeed.

Rest in peace, Maya. Your works deeply moved me, repeatedly. I reread few writers but I reread many of her works.

this is awesome day and it's not over

I've been trying to have wonderful times all the time, to deeply appreciate the endless beauty and love in my life and the world.  I guess such thinking (or is that praying?) yields positive results. Maybe such thinking just helps me reorient myself.

I kicked off this great day at my writer's group which I love love love. The people are lovely.  I enjoy them all. And when I get up the nerve to read, they are very nice about what I read. I love giving feedback. The main thing I love about the group is that it focusses me whole week around my writing.

So I had that.

I came home to an invitation to socialize today with a friend. For the first time in a long time, I had to tell the friend I had a full day.

I went to the DeYoung with a friend to see the Turners, only to find the Turners are not all at the Legion of Honor. I hate getting to the Legion of Honr on public transit. It's not very accessible. Once I have cash and can buy a bike lock, I'll BART over to the city and then ride to the Legion of Honor to see the Turners.

Some attendant at the museum said "all our European art is now at the Legion". I toured 2/3 of the museum. I skilled 'Art of the Americas', not to discriminate. I just don't like to spend more than an hour in any art museum. I go to art museums often and rarely spend more than an hour, unless whichever friend I have invited wants to do things their way. Typically, when  friend dawdles in a museum and spends a lot more than an hour, it is someone who only goes to art museums infrequently. I have tried to go to an art museum once a month my whole life. My mom took me to the Art Institute of Chicago once a month. I took my daughter to an art museum once a month until she disapeared into adolescence and would go with me.

Speaking of her disappearing into adolescence, when she was a teen, I was a docent at one of the world's preeminent contemporary art centers. They gave us tons of training in art history. Then deep training for each show they exhibited. So when they did Andy Warhol, who my daughter was really into, I think I actually knew more about him than she did. Not only did I have the docent training, but I was a lot older than her and had been an art devote since childhood. I knew about Andy Warhol.  I offered to tour the Warhol show but she scoffed at my offer, telling me, in true teenage attitude, that there was nothing I could tell her about Andy Warhold.

When I drove her to college, the first time,  I went out of my way to go to the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburg. She only agreed to go if I agreed not to say anything about the art. Asking a art docent not to share any of the often interesting things she knows about artists that the general public rarely know is cruel.

I digress.  And I'm not done. But I have a dinner date. This day is as shining inside me as the sun has shined all day outdoors. Even in SF, it's been a sunny day.  I half feel like I am lit so the world is lit.

taking in others' toxic energy

Toxic energy:  warding it off

Long ago, around 1990, I saw a psychic in Santa Rosa.  I didn’t ask her any questions. She didn’t ask any. She went into her psychic trance, or whatever she might have called what she did. When she came out of it, without me having told her anything about myself other than how I had heard of her, which was through a NYTimes bestseller writer I used to know (so she had reason to believe I was a writer) she said “I got two things.  One is that when you are in  a room full of people, you are drawn to the most damaged soul in the room. Always. And you take on that damaged soul’s gunk as your own. The other thing I got is that you should be writing. I don’t necessarily get that you would publish this. I get that  this is what you need to be doing. You need to be writing about your life.”

I went back to see her a second time, with my then eight year old child in tow.  Katie was supposed to ignore us, play by herself, but it was impossible not to feel her energy. The psychic couldn’t focus on me.

My daughter has powerful energy.  I remember feeling her strong presence, even though she was in another room. The psychic couldn’t get past it. End of reading.

In that first session, the psychic advised me to protect myself more when I am around others. She advised me to take note when I felt drawn to damaged people. She said, and she was right, that if I paid closer attention to the information I was receiving, I’d know when I was drawn to a damaged soul.

And I do know when I am drawn to damaged souls. I am not very good about blocking them out. I still am drawn to the most damaged souls in a room.

I flash hot and cold in my ability to block out damaged people. If it is an attractive man, I tend to crush on him instead of avoiding him. This always ends up causing me suffering. I know it. But I do it.

I’d like to find a support group for empaths.  Hmmm. Start my own?

on being highly sensitive

Being highly sensitive is not exactly the same as being an empath. Similar but not the same. I believe I am more of am empath. I know a lot of stuff about people from picking it up supersensibly.  I might also be highly sensitive. 20% of people are believed to be highly sensitive. And nearly as many are believed to be empaths. In our mostly rigid educational system and parenting culture, few adults encourage children to be different. This culture tries to stuff all humans into boxes, even if those humans are round pegs and the boxes are square.

I've never been to Burning Man. I am unlikely to go, although I would love to. Can't afford it.  I would like to go to see what I have heard is people being more freely who they are. I'd like to live in a world in which people were free, really free, to be who they are, even if who they are does not fit into a job category in the capitalist oligarchy.

Here's an article about highly sensitive people. Empaths, highly sensitive people and sensitives are each different. Sensitives, fyi, feel and sometimes see the dead but don't usually feel and know things about the living the way empaths do. Highly sensitive feel things, don't necessarily know. I am writing overly broad generalizations. Each person must discern who they are for themselves, ideally with the help of parents as they grow up. I failed my daughter in this regard but I didn't know about this as she grew up. Sorry for letting you down, my Kitten Cat.


It is a gift to be highly sensitive. It can be a challenging, painful gift if one does not identify the gift and consciously work with it.

more on empaths

empaths and healing

I wish I had not turned to the mental health profession to deal with issues stemming from being a high empath.

I did turn to a hands-on body healer long ago.  Those sessions were great.  Now I can't afford them. My goodness, I've been out of money for almost a week. Since I only buy fresh food now, I don't have cupboards full of processed food to carry me over when I run out of money. I haven't been to a food shelf since I lived in California but the few times I did go to food shelves in Seattle, they never had anything I could eat and manage my diabetes. Oh, I take that back. Once I said I needed sugar-free food and I was given a box of sugar-free jello. I don't want to know the chemical crap in jello, although sugar-free jello is glycemic neutral.

I walked by some kind of free food giveaway in the SOMA district last week. When I go to Rainbow, I usually walk to Market to catch BART home. I don't understand how the streets are laid out and I usually end up walking very long distances and walking in the wrong direction. I could not find the food giveaway location again because I was lost.

There was a lot of food stacked in cartons, free for the taking. Most of it was bread. Likely stale bread. 

Not many people realize the low quality of food handed out at food shelves. And many, if they know about the low quality of food handed out at food shelves, would say that beggars can't be choosers. Yet it affects us all to feed any humans processed, food-like food that has been denuded of nutrition. Hungry people, especially chronically underfed humans, need nutritious food more than most. Not that I am in that category.

I ran out of money this month because I bought a pound of organic cardamon, which will last me a very long time, likely more than a year, and raw organic cacao powder. I don't spend money on anything but real food. Real food is expensive.

Gosh, rambling. Time to hie myself to the #25 bus and get to my writers' group.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I first heard the word pixilated either in the movie Harvey, that great Jimmy Stewart movie in which Steward had an eight foot tall invisible rabbit buddy.  I vaguely recall that the Steward character referred to some well-meaning, aging relatives who were worried about his invisible, very tall, rabbit, pixilated. They were pixilated, not the character and certainly not the invisible tall rabbit named Harvey.

Or else, when the Cary Grant character in the film version of Arsenic and Old Lace realizes his two sweet aunties have been killing men the aunties deemed lonely and not living a life worth living, then burrying them in the basement, maybe Cary Grant called them pixilated.

I am pixilated about something.  Maybe it is psychotic but I don't think this thing that happens within me is psychosis. If it's psychosis, this psychosis has lasted more than eight years.  I feel something. I feel very sure of what I feel. And very little thngs can reinforce my certainty that what I feel is real.

It's crazymaking for me but I don't think I am crazy.

More like cursed.


Walk-ons are, in my understanding, athletes that did not get recruited to play for their college but they 'walk on' for try outs and get a spot on the team.

Walk-overs is vocabulary from my childhood in what was, back then, considered one of the most rigidly racially stratefied cities in the country. There were clear lines which blacks and whites did not count. Back then, Latinos did not figure in. Now, all the business signs in my old neighborhood are in Spanish.  Back then, relationships between blacks and whites were nearly always tense. One rarely saw a black in a white neighborhood and vice versa. At least on the South Side.

The North Side did not really have many blacks. It was the more expensive side of the city. The West Side was mostly impoverished and black. Lots of pockets of poverty in Chicago back then, lots of poor blacks, although not all.

Michelle Obama's father had, I am pretty sure, the same job my dad had with the City of Chicago. Both of them worked

while apart

this is from Dharma Comics on Facebook. All her work is great, imo.

love can come to anyone -- for free

because the best things in life are free.

The song, the best things in life are free is floating in my being today.

It's sweet, kind. . . and loving.

I keep hearing it in my head and love when I get to the line 'love can come to anyone, because the best things in life are free."

do you trust your brain to the Department of Defense?

There's a story in today's Chronicle about the deep brain stimulation research being funded by the Department of Defense.

Do you trust research putatively related to treating mental illness to the Department of Defense?

I am chilled. 

Does this frighten anyone else?

A team of scientists at UCSF that includes scientists from UC Berkeley, Cornell and NYU is workiing on 'deep brain stimulation' to heal mental illnesses. Another team at Mass General is working on the same thing.

And both teams have been funded by "the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency". Doesn't that sound like the military is funding mind control?

Whether this work is about the military gaining the ability to assert control inside our brains or whether this is an effort to help people, would you trust anyone to stimulate your brain?

This is some scary shit. I just read about it on the SFGate (the Chronicle) website as if they were reporting a commonplace science study.

What is science but collective hunches?  I don't trust science.

Many cultures around this planet have survived for hundreds or thousands of years without modern medicine, corporations, pesticides, mining, fracking.

"The Defense Advanced Researach Projects Agency" is funding deep brain stimulation. That should frighten everyone.

Melancholia by Lars von Trier

My thoughts keep returning to Melancholia, a film by Lars von Trier.

Von Trier is known for movies that have a lot of sex that degrades the female lead. Melancholia is a fascinating departure. 

In this film, Earth is threatened by another planet that appears to be heading for a crash with Planet Earth. If it hits Earth, both planets would be destroyed.

I think the film is a metaphor for what humanity is allowing to be done to our home, our commonly shared planet. We are allowing destruction in the name of corporate profit.

An acquaintance works, or he did the last time we interacted several years ago, for a climate change think tank that focusses on climate change.  Trained as an attorney and an economist, he has spent his whole life studying climate change. He told me, in 2006, as we walked late at night around Lake Merritt in Oakland*, that even if humans took climate change seriously beginning in 2006, it is already too late to avert mass environmental disaster.

I keep reading all the new age hopefulness that says we humans are going to magically stop the plunder of the Earth, stop the injustice playing out around the globe, stop war, etc.   I want to believe we can turn things for the better but I don't believe we can. Even worse, I don't believe we will.

*It was very hot in Oakland, I was trying to exercise daily and mentioned I was going to walk around the lake late at night so the darkness would be cooler than the sunlit daytime. This man said he did not think it would be safe for me to walk around the lake after dark so he would accompany me.  We walked around the lake several times while I rented a room from his household for one month.

an honourable human relationship

An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love” — is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.
It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation.
It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity.
It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.
From prose by poet Adrienne Rich

Monday, May 26, 2014

the naming of love

The act of loving itself, always becomes a path of humble apprenticeship, not only in following its difficult way and discovering its different forms of humility and beautiful abasement but strangely, through its fierce introduction to all its many astonishing and different forms, where we are asked continually and against our will, to give in so many different ways, without knowing exactly, or in what way, when or how, the mysterious gift will be returned.
We name mostly in order to control but what is worth loving does not want to be held within the bounds of too narrow a calling. In many ways love has already named us before we can begin to articulate what is occurring, before we can utter the right words or understand what has happened to us or is continuing to happen to us: an invitation to the most difficult art of all, to love without naming at all.
©2014 David Whyte
Excerpted from ‘NAMING’ From the upcoming book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

That's what I say too. (me, Tree)

a photo of my then-fourteen year old daughter

A male acquaintance visited me in my last apartment, several years ago. He was about 50. He looked at everything, like an inspector, so he saw the single photo of my daughter I had pinned on the wall next to my armchair. It was there for me to see when I sat in the chair, not quite on display.  He looked all over everything, uninvited, as if snooping for indicators about me. He read every title of the very few books I owned. Even after I asked him not to read the titles of my books because most of them were weird books gifted to me -- I had gotten rid of my extensive collection of books long ago because moving a lot of books is expensive. He insisted on reading them all and even remarked that I couldn't get excused if there were some weird titles by claiming they had been given to me (even tho this was true).  People had gifted me some strange books. I kept them, tis true,  but mostly I kept them until I had an opportunity to donate them to an organization having a garge sale or something. Or a library book sale.  And who cares what books I happened to pick up as odd freebies?

When he saw the photo of my daughter, which was a photo of her dressed for her first homecoming dance in high school, as a freshman and age 14, he said "Nice bod". When I had noticed he was scrutinizing her photo,  I had said "that's a photo of Katie at her first high school dance." This guy is brilliant. Most would realize they were viewing a photo of a child.

An almost fifty year old man seeing a photo of a friend's child for the first time (we were posing as friends then) saying "Nice bod" was  creepy. A fourteen year old girl's body should not be subject to the dominator cultural standards that define females value by their appearance, right? A child, for gosh sake.

She looked gorgeous in the photo. She was wearing, literally, a couture, private, custom-made dress by a famous designer for Hollywood stars. I am not into fashion and don't remember the designer but when I saw that dress at my neighbor's garage sale and saw it was couture, I figured it was worth $2 to see if she would wear it. I didn't think she would. She hated the idea of touching used anything. She wouldn't read library books because they had been touched by persons unknown. The dress, however, was perfect for her. Sleek, like she was. Dark off-white, perfect for post-Labor Day. And the dress fit her as if it had been made for her, for her already-full hips, her already-full bosom and her thinness everywhere else. That garage sale couture was one of my all time best bargains. She hated to wear used clothing but even she could see that the dark off white and the perfectly fitting dress was gorgeous on her.  I had it dry-cleaned, of course.

I had suggested we buy above-the-elbow cream gloves, which were bought at one of those cheap accessory stores.  She said the gloves made her arms itch all night so they were made with lots of chemicals on them but she kept them on because the look was so beautiful.  We had searched high and low for the gloves and bought  the only ones we could find in the Mall of America in October.  The ones we bought were super cheap.  I would have spent more but they were the only ones we found. It made sense that they itched. At the next big dance, one of her friends wore over the elbow red gloves to go with her red ball gown. That girl looked absurd in the puffy red dress and the flashy red gloves. The gloves on Katie worked because the dress was so minimalist:  a sleeveless sheath, perfectly fitted could handle the glamor of long gloves. A red dress with red gloves, not so much.

Her date told her he was going to homecoming with the hottest girl in the school.

The shoes were the hard part. We went shopping for shoes many times, each trip for shoes taking up whole days. I thought I had the patience of a saint. No one was selling off white shoes in the fall but it took her a lot of shopping before she accepted that. If you couldn't get off-white, what to do?*

She has impeccable taste, as do I. I did, after all, find that smoking hot couture dress for two bucks.

She settled on a pair of faintly silvery, a bit of bronze tone, as close to a  neutral color as we could find after many, many shopping trips. I hate shopping but regularly shopped long for her..  They had a thick heel, not too high, and buckles on the front. Sixty bucks in 1996. And a lot to spend on shoes she would only ear once.  I didn't mind, not so much, spending sixty bucks on a pair of shoes she would only wear once because the dress was so inexpensive.

We had a spiral staircase. As she descended the stairs, dressed for homecoming, her body had to turn on the spiral stairs. The dress was formfitting, her bosom already quite full. Large bosoms run in my family. She already had hips too. So as she turned to walk down those stairs, dressed in that sheath, above-the-knee, sleeveless number with the long white gloves, her hair done up for the dance and heavy party make up on, her body was curved along with the curving spiral stairs, perfectly displaying her body.

It was how beautiful her body looked that moved me to choose that photo for the only photo I had on display of her.I love that photo because it showed off her whole beautiful self, including her beautiful body. Of course I was proud of how beautiful she was but a mother being proud of her gorgeous daughter is not the same as a man who has never met her seeing a photo of a fourteen year old and saying 'nice bod'.

I have not seen her since 2002, when I dropped her off at Cornell. Back when this acquaintance said 'nice bod, in 2008, I was dealing more painfully with the loss. I don't keep photos of her out anymore. And that photo was ruined for me when a male acquaintance, looked at a photo of my fourteen year old  child and made such an inappropriate comment.  I had said "She was dressed for her first high school dance, she was a freshman" so he knew she was a child. Whenever I see that photo now, I see a sexist man drooling over my child, saying 'nice bod."

I cringe as I try to imagine what he would say when with male friends about fat women if he would say 'nice bod' about anyone's daughter.

Does anyone else think it inappropriate for a man in is forties, seeing a photo of a female friend's child for the first time, saying 'nice bod'?   I think he slipped, letting out his slitherin, dominator male to be seen, one who judges women by their looks.  He never introduced me, in 8 years, to his friends or family. I have always thought he kept our relationship tightly restricted because he was ashamed that anyone he knew would see him out with a fat woman. That 'nice bod' comment confirmed that. Fat women just have no value, you see? Not to a man who says 'nice bod' when viewing a photo of a someone's child.

I brought it up in emails after the visit. He was defensive. He said who was I to complain, when I had played a few songs by the Black Eyed Peas. I enjoyed the album I had played because Fdrgie, the female singer, sang this interesting (to me) song about her 'lovely lady lumps'. Surely there is a difference between two adult friends listening to an overtly sexual but clever, funny and delightful song than an old guy gushing over a child's hot bod.  The song was impersonal, not about me or my child. It was fun. I took delight in that song and shared it with him because I found it so charming. It was not even remotely connected to his 'nice bod' remark.  Until I heard that song of the Black Eyes Peas, called "her lovely lady lumps", I had no idea such music was out there.  I had made a play list before he came, on my iPod. We listened to it after the hot bod remark but I had made the play list just for his visit. It's not like I played 'her lovely lady lumps' after he said hot bod. He got caught. He revealed an aspect of himself I chose to ignore. He did acknowledge that he felt uncomfortable for having said it but it went to the trouble to try to find something wrong with the music I played.

My daughter did have a nice bod. A nice, fourteen year old child's bod. She did look gorgeous in the photo. It was the first time she played dress up for real. She was trying to look very attractive and appealing. She was very excited to going to her first dance. Her date told her he was with the most beautiful girl at the dance.

When she was fourteen, my daughter was an intern at a professional dance company. She danced several hours a day. She was as fit as a person gets.

And don't forget:  I did not invite him to look over my whole apartment closely, as if inspecting to find out things about me. If he hadn't done that snooping, he never would have seen the photo.

Shortly thereafter, I went out to lunch with my Mountain View pool group. Once in awhile, this group of swimmers went out to lunch. Three guys atttended, two of them dads. I asked them if they thought it was okay for a male to come into my home, see a photo of my then-fourteen-in-photo child and say 'nice bod'. The dads were quick to respond. Both of them said they would be very offended if any male friend of theirs made such a comment about their daughters, even though their daughers were now adults. Given that my kid was fourteen in the photo, they said, the remark was even more offensive. The third guy, no kids, was not quite as quick to judge. He discussed possible motivations but he also concluded that it was wrong for a man, visiting an adult woman's home, to see a somewhat obscured, privately dispplayed photo of my child and respond with 'nice bod'.

I suppose part of what what motivated the guy to say 'nice bod' is cultural conditioning but I suspect that what really caused him to say it is that he is a man who only sees women as having value if they have nice bods and are beautiful. I am fat. He did not see me as a romantic possibility but he instantly saw my fouteen year old as a sexual object.

He did admit, in the email exchange we had about it, that he felt sheepish for having said it.  It wasn't really that he said it. He thought it. He saw a photo of my child and commented, sexistly, on her 'bod'. The comment revealed a lot about the guy, I see in hindsight.

He said he was embarrassed that he said it. He rarely apologizes when he makes a mistake but he whipped me verbally whenever he got triggered by something I said. In all the years I knew him, he never once believed me when I told him what I had intended with whatever I said that had upset him. That tells me a lot about him. He often said he feared and distrusted me, flatly accusing me of either lying or having been unconscious but never allowing the possbility that he had been projecting his own petty shit onto my words and interpreting my words through the filter of his own projections, but him saying 'nice bod' was supposed to be accepted aas innocent.  I was foolish to trust someone who constantly told me he feared and distrusted me. He was basically telling me he was untrustworthy, right?

He said nice bod the first time he saw a picture of my daughter. He did not say cute kid. Not beautiful daughter. It was sexist and uncool.  Maybe he could have said "your daughter has a lovely figure". Nice bod?  Inappropriate.

When my pool group had lunch, I was glad to have a posse of male friends to consult and grateful that they all said they thought the remark inappropriate. Pete was the easiest on the comment. He said without having been there, and sexual mores changing, he couldn't tell for sure without seeing the photo but if she looked very obviously young -- and she did.  She looked fourteen. All he saw was her hips, her bosom, he tiny waist, all of which were on full display because she was turning down those tight spiral stairs so her curves were all turning and showed up in the photo. The beauty in her body was why I like the photo, which I had taken.  If he had said "she is beautiful" I wouldn't have been offended. "Nice bod" was sexist, objectifying my child by judging her body and disrespectful of me.

When confronted, he attacked me for playing "Lovely Lady Lumps". If you don't know that song, I imagine you can hear it on youtube. Listen to it. It is charming. And the reason I played it was I thought it was delightful to discover young women owning their bodies and singing about it. I still think that. I still love the song.

And I love my daughter. Her body is nicer than ever, based on the glimpses I have had of her on FB. She has me blocked but a couple years ago, all her photos were viewable. It would be fine to hear a male acquaintance say 'she has a beautiful figure", which she does.

But 'nice bod' about my fourteen year old?  Or 'nice bod' about anyone's daughter. It is the kind of coarse remark guys say to one another when sizing up women's looks, not something you say to anyone's parent.

Nice bod. Fuck that remark.

I have spent most of my life loving babies, then kids, and a few friends. I still have few friends who love me.

And the acquaintance who said 'nice bod'. What the frak is wrong with him to decide I am not good enough to be invited into his real life?  When he moved from Oakland to SF, he hid the move from me. Literally hid it. I found out when an ATT recording said his landline was no longer in service. He had forbidden me to use his cell and I accepted that insult. After I heard the recording, I rented a car and went to his Oakland building to be sure he had moved. He had been telling me he really cared about me, once saying he felt unshakeable love for me. Then for 8 months he wouldn't tell me where he lived in SF and I did not get angry. I was hurt but never angry. He gets angry quicker than anyone I have ever known.  When I showed hurt when he sloughed off my sixtieth birthday as 'not important to him', he dumped me from his life and was verbally abusive in doing so. Which is probably a lucky break for me. Interacting with this guy hurt me often, because I could feel his real life, feel him excluding me from meeting people in his real life  but I convinced myself he was an isolated loner, that he had no social life to include me in. I was such a dope. I knew he had a female friend spend family holidays with his family but I clung to my delusion that he was a loner. Come to find that  oh no, he is very active socially and he hid that activity from me so he wouldn't have to hear me ask to be included.  He hurt me but he dumped me simply because I wrote and said the choices he made for the day he had invited me to celebrate my sixtieth bitthday hurt me.  I didn't complain about his choices. I kept my comments in the first person, voicing what I thought and felt but he blew up, so angry. And, as he so often does, he projected his own twisted point of view onto me and held me to blame for ugly thoughts he had entirely made up in his own damaged self.  He treated me like someone he was ashamed to know. During the years I knew him, he opened his life to many new people but never told me about any of his social activities. And in the final blow he scorned me for, to quote him, 'being such a borderline'. And I am the crazy one?  He likes me, really cared about me but not enough to treat me as he treats his better-than-he-judged-me-to-be friends.

He once told me he didn't introduce me to his friends because he feared I would disrupt teir lives. I pointed out that I knew his business partner and I had not disrupted his partner's life. That was five years ago and he has still never introduced me to anyone in his life or had me in his SF home. He is ashamed of having a fat female friend, I guess.  Or crazy.

What's wrong with me that I ignored my strong instincts that he was lying and kept settling for his severely restricted interactions with me. In 8 years, all we ever did was meet in coffeeshops, have a meal in a restaurant about five times total and go to two movies. He did not take me to Sunny and David's New Year's Day party or the super bowl parties he atttended or invite me to Giant games or to see his new place. When I moved to Berkeley, he literally invited himself over. If I were to invite myself to his home, he's blow a gasket, tell me my request was grossly inappropriate.  Not only that, he once said that the thought of me at his front door in SF was, to quote him, "horrific". And I still kept seeing him.

What's wrong with me?

AIDS testing

When my daughter was fifteen, she needed a blood transfusion. I had to sign a release acknowledging that the blood put into my daughter might contain AIDS or HIV.  They did not yet know how to screen blood donors for AIDS/HIV.  What could I do? She needed the blood. Really needed it. I signed and I told her about the disclosure, had the nurse explain it to both of us.

My daughter would have panic attacks in those days and she could get very upset with anxiety over much less than a very, very, very remote risk of contracting HIV or AIDS.

The nurse, or whoever, explained the risks reminded us that she could get a test after the right amount of time had passed to see if she had contracted the virus. Tick Tock. My daugther anxiously waited until she could have the test.

We asked her nurse practitioner to order the test. The NP told us to go to The Red Door Clinic, a clinic treating AIDS patients in Minneapolis where we lived. She said if you go to the Red Door, the testing is anonymous. Even if you just have the test, some insurance companies will turn you down just for having the test, even if the results are negative. The reasoning, she said, which shes did not agree with, is that if you were getting the test, insurance companies assumed the person tested engaged in risky behavior. That was in 1997, at Christmas time.

So we went to the Red Door, she was given a ID number to use to get the results. And the results were negative. Big relief.

Fast forward to 2001, when she was transferring to Cornell. Cornell required a physical. She went to see a great chick medical doctor who said AIDS/HIV testing was part of her standard procedure.

Had the world changed in those four years?  I guess so.

That doctor also gave my daughter a prescription for the pill for emergency contraception, like if a condom broke. The doctor said the script was just in case.

The Beach Boys: wouldn't it be nice?

From the Beach Boys' song, "Wouldn't It Be Nice?":

Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn't be a single thing we couldn't do

The Beach Boys were singing about kisses and love lasting forever but thinking, wishing, hoping and praying together is the power of collective intention, yes?  We can use the power of shared intention to create the beautiful world we all know is possible.

Additionally, thinking, wishing, hoping and praying are all actions, right?Any time we put out energy, we are taking action to change the world. So let's think, wish, hope and pray with collective intention for a better world.

The Best Things

The Best Things In Life Are Free

The moon belongs to everyone
The best things in life are free
The stars belong to everyone
They gleam there for you and me

The flowers in spring
The robins that sing
The sunbeams that shine
They're yours, they're mine

And love can come to everyone
The best things in life are free

Honey, the moon belongs to everyone
You know the best things in life are free
And the stars, they belong to everyone
They're shining up there for you and for me

The flowers in spring
The robins that sing
The sunbeams that shine
They're yours, they're mine

And love can come to everyone
The best things in life are free

The best things in life are free
[ These are The Best Things In Life Are Free Lyrics on ]

Vandana Shiva on corporations

I may have posted this before. The message can't get out in the world too many times so if this is a repeat, I can live with it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

a free sample of pine scented soap

In the final days of my marriage, or, as I think when this story comes to mind, in the fall of the marriage, analogous to the fall of Vietnam, my ex went on a business trip and came home with the hotel room's free, tiny bottle of fake-pine-scent shampoo.

He began to use that fake-pine-scent shampoo.  From the first instant I smelled it, I felt sick. I have never enjoyed scented anything. I used perfume when a very young adult but soon realized I was highly sensitive to smells.  Heck, I am highly sensitive to everything.  Maybe I am allergic to some of the chemicals that comprise scents.  I use on Hauschka rose oil, which I know I can trust to be not only pure but biodynamic. No chemicals.  I use rose oil mostly on my face. After swimming, between the sun and the chemicals in the pool, my face feels very dry. I don't slather it all over my body as many women do. I have never noticed dry skin but on my face. The scent in Hauschka rose oil is barely there. One uses rose oil more for the energetic qualities of the ingredients than the scent anyway.

The first day I smelled my husband's fake-pine smell, I ignored it. When it occurred the next day, I followed my nose to the master bathroom and discovered my husband was using something with the fake-pine scent. The scent was very strong in the bathroom.  I asked him what he was using, he showed me the tiny bottle. Then I asked him if he would toss it because the smell disagreed with me.

He cheerfully agreed to stop using it but the next morning, he used it again.

When I asked him why, he said he didn't believe I would notice.

Huh?  I had told him I noticed, that the smell affected me negatively.

It was so long ago. This would have been in January 1984. We legally separated in February 1984.  I don't know why that free fake-pine-scented shampoo popped into my thoughts, except, perhaps, I had a flashback thought about the fall of the marriage. I suddenly remembered how painful it was to keep living together when we had each agreed that we would divorce. 

Once we both knew it was over, I expected us to stop fighting, avoid one another as much as possible, hire lawyers and start separating ourselves from one another. I expected the quarrels to subside. Over is over, right?  I shared this perspective with him and he said "You are  crazy. People getting divorced are supposed to fight. I am supposed to act this way."  I sensed, hearing him say that, some of the vicious legal bloodletting I was going to encounter.  Later, our marriage counselor, who I began to see individually while still married and continued throughout the years of our custody battle, told me he thought I had stayed with my ex long after I knew it was over because, deep down, he believed, I understood he was going to be nasty during the divorce.

My ex husband was an unusually unkind man. Our marriage counselor said he was the cruelest human being he had met in 20+ years of marriage counseling.  That doctor said that most humans have a certain threshold of decency beneath which they will not sink but as far as he, the doctor, could tell, my ex had no such threshold.

Even though the marriage was over, it cut me hard that he wouldn't be a decent human being and toss out that ounce of free, cheap, chemical-smell shampoo.

He used it up. I think he deliberately dragged it out, using tiny amounts for several more days,  to irritate me. Perhaps he had more than one of those free bottles of it.  I did not discuss the fake pine smell again with him. Somehow, even all these years later, his continued use of that freebie shampoo personifies the fall, our failure to love one another. 

In my building, the maintenance men use a pine-scented, and, I suspect, harsh cleaner on the floors. Whenever they wash the landing on my floor, I smell that pine, feel sick and remember 1984, the year of the fall of the house of misery my ex and I had co-created.

He savored fighting, I see now.  He made one major miscalculation. I had not fought back in the marriage. In those days, I internalized any problem that arose, blaming myself, believing his verbal abuse.

keep room in your heart

being honest

Mark DiSuvero's sculpture at Chrissy Field

This sculpture show is about to be taken down.  Chrissy Field is not the wilderness outing I am craving but I might go there tomorrow.

I feel unsettled whenever I move around San Francisco.  I sometimes think I feel the economic stress of the city.

craving time in wilderness

I want to walk in woods, especially groves of redwood trees. I want to walk below dark, deep canopies of treess, maybe with some pine needles on the forest floor. I love pine needle carpets in forests.

So what do we do tomorrow? Sunol Wilderness?  Marin Headlands?

The heat wave is supposed to last through tomorrow. Perhaps I should do the Marin Headlands while it is warmer.

Yosemite. When the heck am I going to get to Yosemite?

my piano playing neighbor is practicing

I love listening to her. When I can identify the piece, I feel prideful.   I can't identify the piece she is playing but it sounds very familiar. She's playing it too slow, I think, just starting to learn it. I have not heard her play it before.

one of happiest moments

psychiatry not a science, human problems shld not be medicalized

 human problems listed in DSM are not illnesses. They are human BEing problems that shld not be medicalized.

This link takes you to a commentary on a professional journal article co-written by 26 British and Irish psychiatrists. In my link you can find a link to the professional article written by psychiatrists.  This summary was enough for me. It is interesting to hear psychiatrists suggesting the practice of psychiatry has allowed itself to be driven by drug companies and not by helping people with life problems.

A comment below this article, which is a long review of the professional journal article, was my favorite part.  In his own comment below the main article I have linked here, the author says this:

My essential point is that the human problems listed in the DSM, firstly, do not fall neatly into the stated categories and, secondly, are not illnesses. The medicalization of these problems is spurious and destructive, but is pursued as a deliberate policy by the APA and psychiatrists generally for their personal gain. For me, based on my observations and experience, this is one of the great evils of our time, and I am forthright in my condemnation of these ideas and practices. 

one can think deeply/clearly & be insane

"The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane."
— Nikola Tesla
The Mind Unleashed

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Carnavale is here!

Carnavale is a festival that snakes through the Mission District. Bands on corners. Lots of food for sale.  I love it. It's today and tomorrow.  I headed out today to go to SF. I was going to join the anti-GMO march and then head to Carnavale for a cameo. And maybe some chicken. I be craving me some grilled chicken. The Chron had photos of grilling chicken on a stick and I want some. I am imagining right now that I smell smoke from that grill. No grills allowed in my building's outdoor spaces. Maybe I am smelling chicken from grilling at Gather, a restaurant next door. Or, perhaps, other restaurants nearby. I swear I smell grilling meat. Oh, how I want some!\

I mean to pick up a chicken at the Bowl when I made my non-local fruit run. I forgot the chicken. Bananas don't grow in N. Cali so they aren't sold at farmers markets. And neither do cantaloupe, which I am really into just now. For over ten years I denied myself fruit. My anti-inflammation diet allows me all the fruit I want. Come to find that there are carbs and there are carbs. Fruit seems to helping lower my glucose levels and lower my need for insulin.  I'll always need insulin, for I am a Type I diabetic but I am needing much less than I used to, before I went gluten, dairy and sugar free.

Cantaloupe always reminds me of my dad, who loved Maxwell Street's flea market. I believe Maxwell Street as a flea market is gone. I seem to have heard that the U. of Illinois, Chicago owned the land and have built on the wasteland of empty lots in what used to be one of Chicago's poorest enclaves.  My dad loved bargains. My mom often said "Your father would buy six left boots if the price was right." He was almost that bad about bargains. None of his other kids liked the flea market. I loved it, but I think mostly I loved having something to do with my dad. He took my brothers to ball games. He was a Cubs man, even though he grew up in the shadows of Wrigley Field, home of the White Sox. And a Blackhawks fan. And a Bears fan. Dad said someday we do something for girls.  I would have gone to any kind of sports event with my dad just to hang out with him. So Maxwell Street became how I hung out with my dad. That and the fact that I discovered real tacos grilled on street corners in the flea market.  It used to be hard to find real Mexican tacos in Chicago. Now the neighborhood I grew up in has all the business signs in Spanish. And you can get awesome Mexican food there.

Gosh, rambling and chattering about nothing today, eh?!

I often make plans to head to the city but get waylaid. Someone comes along offering to play with me and off I go.

I hope to get to Carnavale tomorrow.  I'll walk the entire length of it and buy gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free food, which at an event like this means grilled meat. Which I never get so it works for me.

Maybe I'll have my summer beer tomorrow. Living wild.

If we go.