“Look kids! It’s a rocket!”

“It’s a cock!” Robin Williams aka “Rainbow Randolph” screams.

What took me so long to watch this movie? Maybe our tongues are not the only  “tastebuds” that change over the years. In 2002, it didn’t look like something I would enjoy but here I was alone on Thanksgiving night, cackling at the slapstick. At the end, I studied Ed Norton as he kissed his character’s girlfriend and thought, “Ed looks like a good kisser” so later, I found myself fantasizing and…you guessed it! Started bawling. Sobbing over how pathetic it is to be masterbating to something so ridiculous as Ed Norton in a rhino costume.

The next morning was no better as I opened my eyes to a message from an acquaintance lambasting me for my failure at friendship. It started the day before when she coldly turned down my offer to bring her a plate of thanksgiving food from my family’s house and ended with her telling me how I let her down LAST YEAR by offering to bring her food but showing up with it “too late”. I felt so shitty! I apologized profusely, asked how could I make it up to her, asked why she didn’t call or text to ask me to speed things up or even give me a specific time that she wanted to eat by… but she continued to attack and guilt me until I was in tears again. She is a widower with PTSD and I worry about her. I keep her name in a prayer box on my altar. But my emotional bandwidth was maxed and by days end, I posted “I am a failure at love. A failure professionally. And come to learn, a failure at humanity. To everyone I’ve failed, trust me when I say I’d lay down my life if it would improve yours. But why would you trust someone who failed you…?”

A friend tried to put it in perspective and said “It’s never okay for someone to deliberately make you feel bad for trying to do something good”. He’s right but it doesn’t mean I am blameless in the failure department. Reflecting over a few days, I made a difficult decision to drop her from my contacts. I cannot be a lifeline for any more people than I already am currently and I certainly can’t be one for someone who inspires me to stick a barrel in my mouth. Although I did remember to unblock my Asshole Best friend a month ago so I’m not running from everyone.

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“I’m asking you, Mary, please temper my hatred…” Liz Phair

There is something so satisfying about slow roasting a pig, stabbing it with a syringe full of coke (cola) every half hour, then torching it to a crisp. What can I say? My Jew-“ish” family likes swine.

But there is still something unsettling about this time of the year when the sun squats lower in the sky. December in particular is the anniversary for compounded personal horrors, unexpected deaths and the end of every significant romantic relationship I’ve ever known. So I’m wary. When i dare admit out loud that I feel good lately, I glance around nervously waiting to get mugged again by Fate.

Do you ever go back and read horoscopes AFTER the days have passed and think, “Oh, so that’s why I flipped out”. Actually, I usually blame hormones, premature menopause, for everything but the moon may have a hand in it too. I’ve felt liberated since last week’s “The End.” I stepped outside tonight and noticed just a sliver of moon. So it was a new moon when I banished him for good. I didn’t even realize.

I won’t lie, it gets a little maddening to listen my best friend “S” talk about how much he misses his ex. He spent a decade in a loveless, sexless relationship so the first person to throw him a hamburger after he’s been starving is going to look like his savior. But it’s not all about “her” – she was horrid- he just isnt content coming home to nothing but his dog at the end of the day. He dwells, obsesses, about his need for human companionship. I think, “Sure that would be nice but it should not define you”. I’m a broken record reminding him we were born a whole person, we will die a whole person. We do not require two people to make us = one. Tying our self-worth to another person is about as healthy and sane as tying our worth to how much money we make. Forget the Disney programming! It’s the idea in his own head that if he is single, he’s worthless. I agree with him that so called “family days” at work suck. A professional environment perpetrating what our personal lives “should” look alike. If you wanna shove your kids and spouse down my throat when I’m at work then I should be allowed to bring my dog. But my friend cries because he’s truly depressed at work on family days. So I asked him if he is the only person there who doesn’t show up with a spouse in tow and he admits “no”, he’s not the lone pariah. I told him then make it ridiculous! Designate a table, a whole section for everyone who do not have family on family day. Cuss and drink beer! Talk about getting matching “Enough” tattoos. Make it a sort of silly protest to draw attention to the fact that family days at work alienate solo employees.

The truth, is having hit this wall again, being truly done with a relationship, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. And now that I no longer contribute to the pity party, I find my patience wearing thin with my dearest friend who refuses to move on. Some nights, I serve tough love for dinner. It’s cold and doesn’t taste half as good as Revenge. But if he insists on rehashing the same stories and woes over and over again, then I insist on dishing up the same response: Get over it.  Our ex’s have.

“I hope you choke in your sleep while you’re dreaming of me” ~ nothing, nowhere

bitch

I’ve read somewhere that relationships can recover from anything but disgust. Hurt, anger, betrayal, even disinterest are not nails in the coffin but once you have lost respect for your partner, it’s dead. So this wasnt a “real” relationship, according to the Flake. Sex, love, friendship, manipulation…walks like a duck talks like a duck but it still wasnt a duck if you ask him.
I trembled as I typed. I always spared his feelings before but now I told him the dark side of my opinion of him: that he is a narcissist. Also frivolous, unreliable, spiteful, mean-spirited and as manipulative as any bitch I’ve ever encountered. “Now I am really done with you.”
I blocked and deleted his phone number. Blocked his profile and ability to message me on social media. I also did something I hadnt done yet:  blocked his email.Closing not only all the doors but all the windows as well.

But damn if he didnt find a manhole and come at me through the sewer: As I tried to steady my pulse and stomach, I got a hateful response  “I’m done with you too…” I didnt read the rest. I immediately blocked that number and deleted the message. Guessing it was from his google voice number that he uses for work but I didnt know that one so I couldnt preemptively block it. Maybe I should have never attacked, just blocked the doors and windows without a word.  Maybe I shouldnt have hit below the belt, calling him a manipulative bitch. Being deliberately hurtful does not come naturally to me and I don’t feel good about it; Even if there is truth in the things I said about him. Even though he’s been deliberately hurtful to me over the years. I could have cut him off without calling him out. I could have taken the high road.
But it’s done.
And we never had “that kind” of relationship he said, I don’t need to be nice.
Now I can move on.

I consider those nights over the past few years, crying myself to sleep because I was ill and lonely. Because who doesnt feel pathetic and want to be cared for when they are sick? Suffering is easier when you have someone to lean on. Or crying at the knowledge that I’d never bear children. That is a reality I still struggle with. But of all the times I’ve been the most depressed, it was usually over a relationship (well, once I was suicidal thanks to too high a dose of Wellbutrin).  Which makes me think maybe romantic relationships are detrimental to my health. I already suspect that I’ve been chronically single (no serious relationship lasting more than 6-8 months) over the last 13 years means that I am less tolerant of others. Hey you damned men, get off my lawn! Maybe it’s better to share a bed with only dogs and cats. I can’t say there aren’t days that I don’t wake up, stretching and rolling in the sheets (as much as I can. The Zoo are bed hogs), thankful that I don’t have to answer to anyone but G-d…

“It’s the beast. It’s my heart. It’s open…” Brand New

You Call Me Darlin.

Though it means nothing to you
And everything to me
You are a computer that learns
You outmaneuver me
Even though I realize
I’m the one that taught you those moves
You asked about my health, my mother
Not because you care about either
Its just the conversation starter
The lead into what you really want to talk about:
You.

And I remind you frankly
That nothing has changed
I still love you
You pretend you didnt hear me.
Reminding me
Rewarding me
With silence on the matter
That nothing has changed for you either.

” I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man” Little Big Town

I’m so lonely, I’m combustible. My emotions aren’t raw, I am a live wire. Always have been. Passionate, honest. Eight days flew by.

Miles of abandoned beach means “clothing optional”. Tons of sand dollars and washed up jellyfish that look like breast implants but still no sea glass. Pushed myself pretty hard the first few days in Yosemite. Climbed a no-shit mountain and developed a stress fracture in my foot. Followed by a sinus infection because It snowed the 3rd day and all I had was open toed Tevas and a light windbreaker. When I was packing, the forecast called for 85 degrees in the day, not 34.
Sadly, there is no way to escape the crowds in Yosemite. There is always someone in front of you or riding your ass, chattering away loudly in a foreign language. But it was beautiful and wonderous at moments in a way that the Scottish Highlands were not. Except for the Sequoias. The grove was a graveyard of burned up and dead. The living were centuries away from being awe-inspiring.

Although with every trip off the grid, I think I should have done something else with my life, career-wise. Been a botanist or environmental scientist. I wouldn’t have gotten rich but probably would have had a stable job for the rest of my life that may have been more rewarding than my attempts to save humanity

Napa/Sonoma was a like Disney: overpriced bougie boredom. The Flake’s new home is a paradise. Although I still think SoCal suits me better, being part lizard n’ all.

After Yosemite, I decided to “take it easy” hiking around Point Reyes National Seashore. The oasis amidst soul-sucking San Francisco, one trVwler called it. Limping along mile after mile of California coastline, leaning heavily on a piece of sequoia from Yosemite. The foot slows me down but doesnt stop me. What stopped me was a herd of Tule elk in the path, less than a mile away from the tip of Tomales Point. I considered walking around them but the stags began yelling at me “Dont even think about it, lady”.

Im a big fan of the hostel though and their slogans “for travelers, not tourists”. I met a dutch woman who confided that she worked the same job for 17 years, then after a misssion to South Africa, decided “I cant do this anymore”, put everything she didn’t want to part with in storage and began traveling the world. But

But i still didnt engage with anyone, not for long. The only romantic encounter i had was with myself, nude on a deserted beach, fantasizing about an attractive single man coming along and asking if he could help.

I walked for miles on a deserted beach until after dark and didnt bother to mark the narrow entrance to the foot path. I know better! Mild panic set in when after a few false starts, i realized i couldn’t simply plow my way through the growing wall of seagrass and 9 foot high brush. Iraise my eyes to the mountains shuffled my feet and sang to warn off the nightlife that chittered and howled around me. Then turning back toward twin lights on the beach, it was a couple of Japanese guys night fishing, wearing headlamps. Thank g-d, they led me back to the path.

I sent him a picture on a nude beach. Tit for his repeated tat. He said it was sexy and turned him on. He asked where i was. He knew exactly how close i was and for how long but never said “I want to see you”. I admitted to him that i teared up driving past his house on the way to the airport. He said “That makes me sad too”. I doubt that. After all, he could have had me with a word.

I feel like a raindrop over a waterfall – Kenny Chesney

Sorry Mr. Chesney but that lyric is lame. The Flake quoted it to me, not because he was feeling introspective but because that’s the song playing through his speaker at the moment. I can relate to that feeling of insignificance but a raindrop over a waterfall becomes part of the waterfall, something bigger than itself. Offering an alternative perspective to someone who may or may not be listening and may or may not ever suffer from feelings of insignificance.

I told him “goodnight and I miss you. Or maybe I just miss the idea of you” Because how can I miss what I never had?

Is this week of sleepless nights, heightened aches and bouts of hopelessness a result of my body struggling with hormones or a keto diet? Maybe both. My mind feels like a butterknife. My body an uncooperative, aged machine.

Sharing conflicting knowledge and personal experiences with Hashimotos and hypothyroid sufferers in a keto group in social media, I lament, in addition to the challenging dietary restrictions of keto, we must also limit our dairy and cruciferous vegetable intake? My staples are broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, cheese… what CAN we eat? A woman replied “I heard we can have ice cubes”. I laughed heartily at that one. Frustrating but funny!

I also officially took a Hiatus from the samba troupe. They scheduled a publicity photo shoot for the group which I knew was coming. I told them I had hoped to be in better physical shape by the time it came up but that hasn’t happened. I admitted to them that
being excluded because of my size still bothers me and I’ve decided to temporarily pack up my feathers along with the rest of my wardrobe that I haven’t been able to part with since my relapse. I told them thanks for letting me hang but I’m just going to dance with my clothes on in the meantime. What I didn’t admit was that I was not going to subject myself to a photographer who would try to hide the big girl in the back or under a feather fan.

“Brown-golden bands, sand all in the sheets…” Little Big Town

Lock Little Big Town away with Edward Scissorhands and the second album from Brand New as “Things that I love but hurt my heart more than I can bear”.

I got quite a bit accomplished today. Trimmed my bangs which are always an all-day adventure that starts with “oops, missed another spot” ends with “for crissakes STOP while you still have HAIR!”

I’m also reading an exceptionally well-written account of Churchill and Orwell by Thomas E. Ricks. It may be the first book in years to hold my attention enough to finish. Purchased because I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Churchill although the more I read, the less I like Mr. “Orwell”. Although it is interesting to note that everyone who met Hitler was convinced he was sane, trustworthy, and genuinely a force for peace. Conversely, Churchill was regarded as “unbalanced”, a hot-head, full of uncensored, unsolicited and unwelcome diatribes, he was hated and derided by every political party including his own.

I also began planning for my next trip. I said I would return to California this year. Mid-to-late September, this time to Northern California to visit my sister (and NOT the Flake. Not, not, not, not…). I’ll couch surf in Sacramento with her and spend several days hiking Yosemite. I’ll take Mist Trail as far as Nevada Falls but I don’t think I care enough about getting to the top of Half Dome to attempt it although if my Army buddy “S” ends up joining me, he’ll insist on it. Three days of hard hiking is probably all my body can handle so I’ll take a break in Napa Valley and lounge all day at the Sattui winery with my sister.  At some point I’ll have to get homework done (boo hiss!) but I do not want this trip to be like my recent trip to NYC where I spent most of my time in a motel room in Jersey working on school assignments. I’m not expecting to do particularly well in this next class so I may just say “fck it” that week for grades. The last few days, I want to spend on the sand. Preferably nude. And with access to a hot-tub and more wine, recovering from the beating I’ll take in Yosemite (and trying hard not to contact the Flake who lives very close now to where I’ll be visiting).

I asked him a few months ago, when he reached out, if he only ever wanted to talk to me when he was bored or lonely (or horny) and he replied “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t want to talk to you”. So why isn’t he talking to me everyday? Now that I’ve agreed to reconnect. My imagination spins, wondering who else is occupying his time and receives the same “special selfies” he sends me… When he’s blocked and can’t reach me by phone, the pressure is off. So I do this to myself.

Love is a fraud ~ Belle & Sebastian

My dog listened to me sing for 10 hours in the car ride up into the hills of the tri-state area (NC/TN/GA).  If his farts are like contractions, how far apart must they be before I pull over?

On the way up, I took a detour through Athens to avoid Atlanta altogether. I not only didn’t feel like dealing with the traffic but something about passing what used to be the Flake’s exit hurt my heart.
I reached the base of the Smokies around 7:30pm. From there, the temperature dropped quickly and the scenery improved. It might have triggered my first sincere smile of the day. At this rate, I reached my mother’s property just before 10 pm. My only prayer was that she had toilet paper and a coffee pot, which she did, but in hindsight, I should have prayed for a working shower too.

It was like camping with a roof over my head. I bullied opened the sticky windows that would budge and cleaned up the rodent, bug and bat carcasses. While washing in the kitchen sink, dead bats floated up from the garbage disposal and by then, without gloves, I couldn’t bring myself to stick my hand down there and fish out the rest. The next day, I drove to the nearest town 40 miles away and rented an electric floor sander, found a wifi signal and ordered electronic plug in rodent repellants from Amazon. One of my Army buddies who said he would drive up to help me didn’t show but luckily the old woman living in the property adjacent put me in touch with a local handyman who would repair the shower (not til after I left) and helped me lug the 150lb sander up the narrow staircase. I was proud enough that I got it out of the car and into the house by myself but making up it up the stairs without throwing out my back or falling down the stairs was too risky. When did I become so weak? I bathed in the rain, in creeks, and in the (clothes) washing machine (when I was caked with sawdust from sanding and sweating so a baby wipe just wouldn’t suffice). I spent two full days working on the floors and a few odd repair jobs around the property then dedicated the rest of the time to hiking.

Raven Cliff falls was my favorite. Five miles round trip, a gradual incline and path that hugged the water all the way. My dog LOVES creeks. I discovered this when I went to visit the Flake in Atlanta last year. He literally bounces with joy, plunging his face and body into the cold water. He can’t do this at home because unless it’s on the ocean or gulf (which he can’t drink), there are ‘gators.

The next day, my dog was moving as stiff as I was so I opted for a much shorter trek closer to “home” at Fires Creek (although armed with two walking sticks, I insisted on keeping us in the water, navigating over slippery rocks which proved to be challenging and hardly qualified as “taking it easy”).

The next day was supposed to be the big hike: Finally, after nearly a year of cancellations, I was going to do the Full moon hike over the suspension bridge at Tallullah Gorge, leaving my dog behind of course but wearing him out on trails during the day to include Minnihaha. But we woke to the sound of rain and a message from the state park calling off the hike on account of it. The extended forecast called for rain the rest of the week so there was no “waiting it out”. In this environment, I could not re-wear the same clothes day after day and I had only packed enough underwear and medication for 9 days.

I also woke to an email from the Flake. How does he know just when to reach out and just what to say to bring me back on the line? He apologized for not being a friend to me. Said Atlanta was a transition period and he was at peace in California. Thanked me for being there for him at his darkest, ugliest. Said he was again the man I met and fell in love with at the Pelican pub 7 years ago. He wasn’t asking for anything but to talk to me. He missed me so much. I caved. Replied that I was in the hills without a steady signal and couldn’t call. But the door was open again.

As I weighed my options and decided ultimately there was nothing to do but start to head back towards home, he suggested Amicalola Falls. I’d been there before but not on a trail because my family couldn’t hike. It was on the way so I decided to stop and gauge the weather once I got there. The nice thing about hiking in wet weather is the trails are abandoned. Amicalola is labeled “difficult for dogs” but another pooch-traveling hiker hinted that the East Ridge trail was suitable. And it was. A bit rocky at the top so I released my dog from his leash so that he and I could both pick the path most appropriate for us. Besides, he’s responsive to voice command and has attachment issues so he never got more than 20 feet ahead of me before stopping and waiting for me to catch up. And he’s smart. He would creep towards the edge and look out but never got too close and was never tempted to follow a small animal to his doom. Amicalola was just over 2 miles round trip and a much steeper incline than Raven Cliff. The sky cracked open when we reached the top so we ducked back into woods, taking the west trail down, protected from the worst of the deluge by the woodland canopy. Unfortunately, I had no clean, dry clothes or towels left to change into when we got back to the car so it was a wet, chilly drive for 6 hours to a dog friendly motel on the FL/GA border where we stopped for the night.

On the way, I chatted with the Flake. He invited me to come see him. I mentioned plans to go back to Cali later this year but the highway through Big Sur was still closed and Esalen was too expensive. He said he would take me hiking through the Redwoods and we would drink wine in the hot tub overlooking the Ocean where he lives on in apartments on a cliff. Of course we would also hit the nearby nude beach. Things were and still are sexually explicit between us. I mentioned I had told my sister I would visit her sometime during her next contract job in Sacramento from Sept-December but she stays at places through AirBnB so I would have to do the same. Or stay with him. I considered the state-run lighthouse hostels and calling my Army buddy from WA state down to hike (he already said he would come and of everyone who says they will make it, he’s the one who keeps his word). So I can go back to California and not see the Flake. I should NOT see the Flake. I know I can’t handle it. I know we would have a great time and then I would crash on the plane home, emotionally. I would be left empty, just like last year, struggling for months to recover from a few days of happiness with a man that loves me but isn’t IN LOVE with me. And I’ll tell him this, in a few weeks when I book my next trip that does not include seeing him.

“I just wanna be somebody to someone” – Banners

The booty call, I don’t even think I can call him that since we only hooked up twice and it was several months ago, went swing dancing for 5 hours last night followed by an additional 2 hours of salsa at another club. I had considered going to both dances and ultimately went to neither. I was so anxious to get back from Montana to dance and return to a “routine” and yet I’ve been back for 3 days and have done Jack and Shit.

I purchased books in the airport, one on Winston Churchill (I’m a history buff and a closet fan of that complicated man and the era he led in) and another book of recently published scraps of stories and plots from F Scott Fitzgerald ( and it may forever remain unbeknownst us how much is plagiarized from his wife). I remember a time when I devoured books and now I can’t remember the last one I made through its entirety. It’s not that I’m disinterested, it’s that I struggle to focus. It doesn’t matter the content, my attention Trails off after a few pages and then I can’t recall what I read. As if I can’t even comprehend the words on the page. What is wrong with my brain? How will I ever find another decent job if my mind is mush? And I’m pretty sure I blew both interviews this week. One for saying the wrong thing out right and the other, the dreaded brain fog or hiccup, words escaping me all together. I used to be unfailingly articulate. Now, its as if English were a second language.

“Every me and every you” – Placebo

Montana was a bust. I spent my birthday and the following week trapped on a porch, breathing in smoke from the burning mountains and counting down the days and hours until my flight home.
I went to visit a recently retired Army friend-turned-frazzled mom. Her daughter adored me but the son was unfriendly and fussy. My friend was too exhausted and unmotivated to hike although she had the gear and her kids were perfectly content to ride on our backs. In 7 days, I may have spent a total of 2 hours on foot in the terrain. I was stir crazy, unaccustomed to being sedentary. I cleaned house (which made her mother uncomfortable, I learned), walked the short stretch of road to and from the local grocery store and lunged around the yard when no one was around. We did make it to a bar one evening and bored local cops stalked us as we walked home sober. Ive never been stalked by cops before. What option do bar-goers have in a town too small for cabs and Uber?
Although it was nice to discuss music again (I failed to agree that Ben Gibbard of Death Cab ripped off the sound of Placebo from the Cruel Intentions soundtrack). And it was endearing to meet a family with roots. Sisters, uncles, countless cousins…they were bickering, loving land barons with thick paper deeds dating back to the mid 1800’s. My friend has history. She can trace her lineage even without the help of the Mormons. I know nothing and can learn nothing beyond my Ashkanazi gypsy horse thief great grandfather.

But back to my friend. In her desperation for children, she compromised on love. Perhaps forfeited is a more appropriate word. A willful, independent, forceful personality saddled but not tamed by parenthood. She seethed resentment though dare not voice it because it’s hard to complain to a lonely, childless woman. My mother said “It will get easier in a few years when they get into school and she has a few hours to herself again”. But watching her struggle and I, bored to actual tears, wondered if this was a lesson for me, G-d reminding me to be careful what I wish for. What is worse? Living, sleeping, and dying alone or being trapped in an unhappy marriage and mommyhood?