This day started with a Mani-pedi-gluttony-and-sloth. Then Texas BBQ, and finished with a Texas Longhorns basketball game.
There was something really nice about flying across Texas while listening to Willie Nelson read his own autobiography.
I sipped a Jack and coke and watched the tan Texas land wander by underneath me. Willie’s voice lullabing me to sleep with his childhood stories of buying his first guitar, and taking the new train to the Dallas county fair.
Im very excited to be heading out for an adventure on Christmas break tomorrow. I’m off to explore Austin with my Texan friends and former clients, and see Willie Nelson! It’s been fun being able to meet up with my friends before leaving town and share a bit of cheer. It’s great to have a friend that loves Christmas as much as I do. I’m blessed.
A couple years ago, in my over achiever artist angst, I asked a very “L.A.” question of my friend Sarah,
What should I do with my next chapter of life?
- Write a book?
- Travel the world?
- Push to expand my business into the ‘next level’?
She replied – very concisely:
“Spend time with your parents” she said, “They aren’t going to be around forever”
I took her advice. Very good advice. If I don’t want regrets – and can do something about it now, then, therein lies my answer.
My folks are the sweetest company I could ever hold. The more time I spend with them, the bigger my heart feels. Knowing more and more that with every drop of love, will one day come a wave of sadness when they go. For now, I will enjoy being with them and being driven crazy by their stubbornness..and incorrect recounts of childhood stories. They are not perfect, they are human beings…my 2 human beings.
It’s been snowing. I love it, waking up and opening up the curtains to a completely transformed view. Big snowflakes falling on the diagonal. Just gorgeous and meanering. I stayed in all morning and worked by the beautiful bright light from outside.
Saturday night I sang at the jazz club again. My dear friend Sarah showed up. It was just a fabulous night which ended up with us drinking wine and detailing her stove top as we talked and talked and goofed and goofed.. simple things make me happy. Thankfully.
I’ve been showing up to sing open mics and various jazz nights around town. One of my favorites is at the Fireside in Bellingham. It’s hosted by jazz and blues artist, Cheryl Hodge.
Tomorrow night I was invited to sing 3 songs. I am very excited. I chose: All That Jazz, My Man, and Comes Love.
Fast, slow, fast – I think is the formula they prefer.
Hopefully tomorrow night I am successful at dramatizing to the audience. I want to get better at presentation and story telling.
This is entertainment – but it can be artfully done. I’m trying, I’m trying..
….O.K. Honey boo-boo..go rehearse.
Bellingham is small, sweet, we have good trails, $15 parking tickets -It’s a nice place to live. Part of what makes it nice is our city’s very soft policing. My Pilates studio overlooks the center of downtown. One of the 2 intersections in downtown that get the most performances per day of the Bellingham police officers interacting with our transient, homeless, mentally ill percentage of the population.
I say interacting – because that is precisely what they do; Any day of the week, you can see a set of bike cops hanging out and talking to our homeless population. While walking, I’ve seen them roll-up on an ominous looking pod of guys in the alley behind Bank of America, and say “Hey Gary,” and then Gary says, “Hey guys.. ” to the officers..they keep rolling by..
Like I say, soft policing. We are humanists up here, humanists to our core or at least all the way down to our law enforcement department AND to the great benefit of humans that live here. One of which is a 62 year old lady named Susie that lives on the city land on the lot behind my house.
Susie lives in what I described to the receptionist at the YWCA as a “tarp burrito”. It isn’t a tent, it makes the other tents in the meandering row of tents look like the ‘Nice Main House‘ Tents. Susie’s tent isn’t a tent at all. It is a very well constructed and insulated pod for a 62 year old, mentally ill woman who doesn’t want to sleep at the Lighthouse Mission.
Susie: “ By 8:00 p.m., which is check-in time, it is very crowded and that is too late for me. I need to be all set up by then. It is dark and I am tired. And the mission fills up very quickly, so I may not get a bed anyway, then I have to set up in the dark.”
Fair enough Susie, I am going to go home and make some calls and leave you with your oatmeal, but not the coffee because you do not like Coffee, you prefer Dr. Pepper.
Got to go buy Susie some Dr. Pepper.
I spoke to a few people today about the Dr. Pepper-loving-woman who is living on the city land a few blocks from my apartment.
1) Bellingham Police Department: “There is an older woman in a very small tarp tent, living bla bla bla.. I haven’t seen her in a few days, and I wondering if she’s o.k. in there.. could you do a well fare check?”
Patrol officer calls me back fairly quickly.. but he cannot find a woman there. “Ok Ok,” I say, “perhaps she has just moved along.. ” “Yea” “OK” “well thanks” “sure, thank you too” “ok” “Ok bye” – “bye” – “yea bye”
I walked down and there was her little tarp burrito. By the side of the road, just about as close to the street as she could get. But the officers walked right past her house, because it is only about 3 1/2 feet tall, next to a shopping cart, and he probably thought it was just someone’s covered stuff.
I said knock knock, (playing my pandora jazz station out loud to be as disarming as possible..) (because what official would listen to a boom box while on patrol.)
She unzipped her pole-less 3 foot high tent burrito right away. “Who wants to know?!” she says..
I gave her a hot instant oatmeal – asked her why she’s out here – it’s too cold and you need to get some help… took her order for Dr. Pepper went home.
1) I called YWCA: spoke to a really kind and strong woman who listened to my observations and my position to help. She told me that everything in Bellingham that pertains to the homeless getting shelter – goes through the Opportunity Counsel. ‘Call the opportunity counsel and they will do intake papers between 12 – 4 p.m.’
“What if I cannot help her get there? What if she is too cold to go walking or too weak to bring her whole house down to the Opportunity Counsel to fill out paperwork?”
The Opportunity Counsel has an outreach team. Call this number – (360) 312-3717 press 1, then the call will be directed to any one of the Opportunity Counsel’s Homeless Outreach Team.
2) Called the Opportunity Counsel: Yes, they already know who she is…
Always a challenge to keep moving once it gets cold out. It’s uncomfortable, and makes the muscles a little tense – but I can attest; opening the door to home and having that sweet smell of heat and coffee, peeling the layers off, warming up, getting cozy once again.. There is nothing quite as rewarding to be home after a long walk in the cold air.
I feel on top of the world. I know, I know, more sickly sweet positivity which seems to glaze over every woman’s blog these days.. however, to be fair, If it where between following the Waldorf salad recipe of a depressed negative person or a happy person – I would certainly choose the more cheerful chef. I understand there is a deeper marketing strategy that only uses positivity for sales purposes. Shall we say… ‘Pose-itivity..’ har har..
What I am so happy about is this: about mid- September I had an unfortunate experience in the world of dating, how I was treated was bewildering and humiliating and the depression that followed lasted about 21 strait days. 21 cold, hard, barely an appetite, sad sad days. I was so depressed I could hardly stand to look at myself out of just not wanting to remember myself or get too used to myself this way. I was depressed, and was also topped off with good thick layer of shame. It was a shame depression 3-layer cake.
But, I woke up one morning – and – no, it wasn’t gone… but I made the decision that I was going to accept my depression and also do my very best to apply all I’ve read and learned to “treat” it. I stated doing any and all the good habits I ever heard of to combat depression. Every piece of advice from a former church teachers to yoga instructors, to Oprah..you get the idea. Excersise, do cardio for 30 minutes a day, eat right, meditate, drink water, practice kindness, endure negative self loathing thoughts – but by no means add to them; accept that I will not figure all of my upsets out today, but ONE day…I will.. Try not to think something I did caused “XYZ” reaction which is unforgivable etc etc..all that healthy stuff on the subject of not taking things personally..
I repeated to myself, ‘by December you’ll feel better, by December you’ll feel better.” and well, lookie-here: it’s December, and by some strange miracle of the ability of the brain to heal and grow, well, I feel better! ..On the other side of my horrible depression and back to my cheerfully complaining Italian-Jew-self.
Why is there no good creme brulee in Bellingham? No – that’s not true, the Cliff House knows how it’s done.
I’m back to my old day-dreaming cookie-making, project-starting ol’ good ol’self.
This unfortunate experience caused me to learn some great things… mainly,
Being ashamed or fearful about what you think your faults are..is such a bad emotion to have AND to hold. Get rid of it! By whatever means you can: therapist, books, book club, journaling, meditation, praying, using the dictionary. If you have the great opportunity of having your life fall apart, take a moment while ‘the floor is ripped up’ – to clean up the storage areas and clear the storm drains a bit: No one should feel shame over something that they had no control over. If someone is trying to make you feel that way – it is not your fault that they are judging you. It is simple, they are just afraid. It’s their own fear that is making you feel bad. That’s why people judge and make each other feel miserable. Their own simple fear..like everyone has.. easy peasy. simple fear…
Getting to the other side of something hard, being able to let it go and remember for next time: there will be a clearing, there will be healing if you go after it, there will be a December, in Bellingham wherein everything is warm, peaceful and cheery once again..
“This soon will pass” – indeed.
Reporting from the cozy pink arm chair.
I am so happy for December to be here. Lots of changes in the world, and also lots of awareness on how to move my projects forward.
I am enjoying my work more than ever. Helping people at my studio has never been more rewarding. Im thanking this community for another good year. Much more to say later!