diary 2008.

i am trying.

really trying.
to speak gently in the company of ladies.
to drop the shield from my chest when i jump off of the train.
to never practice carelessness. not ever.
to be a farmer instead of a fatalist.
to see my brother’s smile at the sound of richie havens’ voice.
to sing about my own time.
to be decisive in restaurants.
to allow myself to be sad, to be angry, lonely, or exhausted,
but never mired.
to abandon brevity.
to know the difference between hope and naivete.
to miss him, to let the missing build up
and spit out of me like a whistling teapot,
each day less screeching
and less scalding.
to stand back and allow the mighty to fall.
to whisper hymns to myself in the night.
to start a love affair with the south.
to stand up straight on the subway.
to learn to be loved back.
to close doors left open in my dreams.
to be sincere in print and convivial at parties.
to be a daughter.
to rebuild from wars remains with renewed faith.
to reject coercion.
to find salvation in river beds and warm hands.
to shepherd my ghosts.
to listen. vehemently.
to step gracefully out of cages.
to smile at babies and old women on the street.
to muster the strength to flirt.
to give up on the anagrams,
allegories and
sign language
of pretty cowards.
to never put on airs.
to root for change.
to believe in everyones best version of themselves.
to hold my head up as i walk.
to relearn tenderness.
to swallow the enormity of nature
and to swell up with it
the nature
nature of
NATURE.
to give up blunder and despair.
to follow the tides.
to no longer be
kissing strangers through veils.
to greet those who have hurt me
with the cautious respect that i give to strangers.
to be not an orphan but a self-made woman.
to love. actively.
to walk slowly.
to keep the beat until the emptiness in my chest
is replaced.

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grand mares.

i have a very romantic view of my grandparents. being the last of several grandchildren allowed me to blend in in a sort of inconspicuous way. at family functions i was often able to disappear into the crowd, and stand back and observe my grandparents. i always saw my two grandfathers as characters that were very specific to their generation: the irish fireman in cowboy boots and the real estate agent in a golf sweater. the working class hero and the president of every club in town. both of my grandfathers were defined by their experiences in the war, but they also both had a charismatic allure to them.

my grandmothers were perhaps the perfect opposite poles to them. on my father’s side my grandmother was the consummate housewife with the white furniture and perfect bee hive and kool cigarette always attached to her graceful fingertips. i remember her as elegant and glamorous and a bit detached. on my mother’s side, my grandmother always worked. she enlisted with the red cross and joined the war effort as a teen, and worked as a maternity nurse for most of my mother’s childhood. once she stopped nursing she went to work as my grandfather’s secretary in his real estate office. she was loud and unfiltered and larger than life if not overbearing. both of my grandparents were charming couples, living the post-war american dream in suburban homes with hi-fi systems and high ball glasses.

my grandmother’s respective senses of style cross my mind often. my grandmother on my father’s side had a sophistication and sartorial smartness to her style. my memories of her are always in the colors white and gold. she wore high waisted white trousers with sweaters that had gold lurex woven into them that would catch the light from her amber glass mid-century pendant chandelier. i remember her big closet full of heels with matching handbags in different shades of crocodile leather. i have a few photos of her from the 1930’s and 40’s, wearing little tailored dresses and peep toe mules, her hair in liberty rolls. she died at the incredibly young age of 60 (which my mother attributes to her declaring that she did not want to become an old lady). my grandmother on my mother’s side lived to be 89, and i saw her embrace a uniform later in life of high waist cropped wide leg jeans, white sneakers, and a crisp button-down shirt that she’d button all the way up to the top. as a young woman she was a sewing fanatic and would buy patterns for the latest trends and make her own clothes. for me, the images of her in her nurse’s uniform are the ones that stick.

recently i have been thinking about what an influence these women have on my own sense of style. a few unearthed photographs of them had my family reflecting on how much we physically resemble them, how strong the genes are that gave me my round jaw and wide eyes, my long legs and short torso. but i also realize that there were images of them that made impressions if not imprints on my sense of what is stylish. when i look at my closet the things that i collect, over and over in my life are high waist, wide leg jeans, button down shirts and ANYTHING with gold lurex woven into it. little vintage handbags in crocodile leather. dresses with cleverly tailored sleeves. and i am unequivocally, undeniably obsessed with high waisted white trousers, and vintage nursing pinafores. so perhaps style is, in fact, genetic.

 

 

these days.

  1. la la land instantly became a favorite in our house. it is, to date, the only movie my son has sat and legit watched for more than 1 minute. it quickly joined my list of films that i could watch any time, along with manhattan, there will be blood, big lebowski, godfather 2, desperately seeking susan, casablanca and pretty in pink.
  2. i can’t say enough about jessica of house of habit/the ma books. her thoughtful blog and instagram posts & stories are always inspiring to me. she has such a clear voice, takes incredibly gorgeous photographs and manages to always be inclusive. there is an authenticity to her that is so frigging refreshing in this overly curated day and age.
  3. i recently tried on this jumpsuit at urban outfitters & fell in love with it. a complete black crane ripoff, i know, but lovely and comfortable as feck. also i can almost afford it.
  4. my son is completely, over the moon obsessed with pete the cat books right now. we especially like the “i can read” books (made for kids learning to read) because they are very simple, and have just a few words on each page. highly recommended for kids with language delays.
  5. I LOVE this quick, 4 minute guided meditation with gabrielle bernstein. it instantly makes me feel better when i’m all up in my head.
  6. my husband jokingly brought home a bottle of white girl rose when my ladies & i were hanging out one day, and it turned out to be my favorite rose. it’s light and doesn’t upset my stomach or make me feel sloshy drunk like a lot of rose’s do. it’s my favorite sunday afternoon in the backyard drink (i am still clinging to those while the weather holds up).
  7. i got these maryam nassir zadeh mules on super extra freaky sale (read 70% off), and i honestly wear them all the time. they are so pretty and i can wear them and walk a little without feeling like my feet are doing murder on me.
  8. been doing this 5 minute arm workout from karen lord pilates for a couple of months and it has made my arms sooo much less jiggly-manky-raw-chickeny looking. i’m not saying i can actually do it the whole way through, but i give it a shot 3 days a week.
  9. we’re really hoping that our son will become a student of anova schools when he starts kindergarten, and we were so sad to hear that their flagship school in santa rosa burned down in the fires last week. this was my first donation towards the fire relief effort last week, hoping they can rebuild quickly.
  10. can’t wait to try this spinach & zucchini lasagna once the weather gets cooler this week.

the end.

thoughts on santa rosa.

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a place near to me. a place i spent time as a kid, summers in my step-mother’s family cabin at the russian river. her italian father’s enormous breakfasts, afternoon bocce ball games and perfectly groomed rose bushes. the smell of manzanita and coleman lanterns and river mud. my best picture smile with sunburned cheeks pushing a paddle boat around spring lake with my brother. even though my father & step mother split up when i was 12, it was to santa rosa that i went when i graduated high school to be near her. she put me up for a couple of months, helped me to find my first jobs, my first apartment, meet my first friends out of the small town that i had come from. she was dying of cancer. she was dying but we didn’t talk about it. we drove to bodega bay and held hands on the beach. she showed me all of her favorite places, and i loved them because i loved the way her face lit up at the sight of them. i loved them because she needed me to. because she was preserving something in showing them to me. an unspoken legacy. a light of some kind.

my first apartment was the basement of an old 1900’s victorian house across the street from the giant cemetery on franklin avenue. it was only a few blocks from the ritzy macdonald historic district with it’s palatial victorian mansions, but in a decidedly less fancy area. the basement that i lived in had no heat but for a gas oven in the kitchen area. in the winter when the rain would come it would always flood a bit. it was there that i painted my first paintings and wrote a shit-ton of bad poetry, in between shifts at wolf coffee and photojournalism & astrology classes at the junior college. the rent was only $150 a month, and i spent what was left of my paychecks buying sherman cigarettes & french fashion magazines at the news stand downtown and elvis costello & firehose records at the aptly named vinyl only shop the last record store.

i also moonlighted as greenhouse tender and rose de-thorner at a beautiful little flower shop, managed the pastry counter at a health food store (which left me smelling like silken tofu and powdered sugar most days), worked as a clerk in a giant hospital file room  (where i could often be found holding early era & present day x-rays up to the light to compare bones). i cleaned houses in exchange for psychic healings, shamanistic rituals and nutrition counseling. i went to women’s creativity groups, writing workshops, and tarot circles. i met a lot of talented women who acted as sirens and psychopomps and were incredibly gracious to me in my naive state. i wrote love letters. lots of them. i rented woody allen movies and drank (pre-big lebowski) white russians made with soy milk. i acquired my first credit card debt buying too many black velvety things at the local mall.

it was sifting through the racks of vintage wedding dresses at the incredibly romantic lytton springs salvation army store where my first real boyfriend proposed and, several hours later (after a drive to reno), became my first husband. i drove a cream white 1962 ford falcon around town and saw my first ballet at the luther burbank center, fifteen in the back of an ice cream parlor, and had my share of tom waits about-town sightings. i spread my step-mothers ashes over the russian river and filed for divorce at the courthouse.

santa rosa represents a little period of my life where i started becoming myself. it provided the space i needed to grow beyond the small town where i came from. it is a part of me that has been locked away for a long time. a place that i lived that was never home, not really. a place i needed to be, for a time, a place on the way to some other life, some other self.

justice.

there is a sort of karmic heaviness to my life these days. perhaps it’s not just my life, but there has been more than one occasion recently that has called into question who i am and what i stand for. people have brought a strange sense of moral relativism to things which i always felt were absolute truths. on more than one occasion people have challenged my word & called my integrity into question. things have made me question myself in ways i never have before.

the tarot card the tower has always been significant for me. cyclicly throughout my life i’ve felt a connection to the archetype: the idea of an earthquake, a crumbling foundation. the idea of an unexpected shock, something that shakes up your life and leaves you changed. the thing about this card, to me, is that it signifies a clear change. a clear end to something. it’s not ambiguous. when this card appears something is clearly changing, something is ending. lately i’ve felt like i’ve been trying to cull the meaning out of piles of junk. lately the tower hasn’t been showing up for me. lately things have not been so cut and dry.

this year i’ve been very aware of the tarot growth year that i am in, which is justice. to me the justice card stands for balance (this card also represents the astrological sign libra). it’s about getting extremely honest with yourself, and it is about responsibility. understanding the consequences of your actions. being a grown up. having to step back and weigh all of the options. having to take one for the team and play the middle person, but also being willing to be true to yourself in every situation. prior to this justice year i was in a wheel of fortune year. wheel of fortune is also about balance and the consequence of your actions, but i think of wheel of fortune being more about karma, while justice is about dogma. it feels like it’s been a long period of ups and downs, of little fortunes followed by debts, little victories followed by failures. since my birthday in august, there has been a gravity to these things. as i really turned into my justice year on my birthday, things became louder. more confrontational. less easy to chalk up to mercury retrograde or pms. things that are much heavier and cause for asking, “what in the world did i do to deserve this?”

recently a tarot card that has been showing up a lot in readings for me is the 5 of cups. fives represent mars, which is a very reactive, aggressive energy. they represent tests, struggle, conflict and some kind of loss or break. cups represent the element of water and emotion. the five of cups card depicts 3 cups that are knocked over, and typically a figure with their back turned to 2 remaining cups which are upright. this symbolizes a focus on the negative, and the card asks you to turn around and look at the upright cups. it asks: what can you learn from this, how can you not get bogged down with grief and look for the positive?

i’ve been caught up lately in feeling like a bit of a victim. like the universe is taking a giant crap on my life. i’ve been questioning my faith in said universe. i’ve been feeling like all of the confidence i thought i’d amassed over 39 years has dissolved into self-doubt. i’ve been feeling like i am being served some karmic retribution for all of the terrible little things i must have done in my life. i’ve been asking “why me?” instead of “what do i need to learn from this?” recently the 5 of cups card has been literally jumping out of the deck at me, when i pick up the deck, when i shuffle the cards. and i realize what it’s telling me is not just to take a look at the positives in these situations, but to look for myself in all of this. to take responsibility and to step back and accept the consequences or face the oppositions in my life with some amount of awareness. instead of blindly reacting. instead of always being defensive.

when i step back from my daily dramas it feels like a pretty universal theme right now: the struggle to balance compassion and gratitude with standing up for what is right. which is actually the definition of the word justice: the quality of being fair and reasonable.

 

october covet.

october covet.
oh october. there is something v romantic about the beginning of october. i mean, how exciting is the idea of fall before fall gets all too real? i must admit i’ve already indulged in more than one pumpkin spice flavored item, and we’ve already cracked our first bottle of red wine, but i’m still stoked on halloween costumes and little brightly painted skulls and twinkly jack-o-lanterns. i’ll be d.i.y.ing the eff out of it this month because i find myself at a particularly scary level of brokeness. it’s all window shopping for me, but if you are in the monies and looking to spend it, here is my list of things i wish i could afford for october.
  1. i feel ready for jeans and turtleneck bodysuits. currently lusting hard over this amazing moss green bodysuit from mara hoffman, which would look perf with these completely radical current/elliott corset jeans. can’t get enough of the paper bag waist.
  2. these little maryam nassir zadeh flats make me so happy.
  3. i had a chance to try these dr. dennis gross skin peels, and they don’t call them the 2 minute skin fix for nothin. they are honestly miraculous.
  4. saw this hecka cute day of the dead wreath at target the other day and wanted it badly.
  5. also ready for big oversized sweater dress weather, and this balenciaga one is so double extra rad, but i’d settle for this topshop one too.
  6. i’ve been on a female author kick lately. september included the new and most highly recommended devotion by patti smith and the heartbreakingly honest & beautiful hunger by roxanne gay. this month i can’t wait to read this new collection of stories called her body and other parties by carmen maria machado.
  7. oh i love this vintage 60’s velvet dress. perfect with boots.
  8. i’ve been really into the return of slouchy boots (while cursing myself for getting rid of all of mine in a closet clean out some years back). my need to own slouchy boots again hit emergency level when i saw this photo of chloe sevigny wearing THE saint laurent black ones. i am currently considering chopping off my hair and selling it on the black market to get the cash to buy these saint laurent esque topshop slouchy boots, but deciding whether i want them in silver, black, white or purple is a real problem.
  9. cooler weather means red wine and this red is way cheap but not vinegary and nast. saw it at trader joe’s this week and said “yes!”
  10. last are new workout clothes, because i have always been incredibly cheap when it comes to workout wear. i have always bought it at walmart, which means it gets manky real quick. recently i decided to invest in a sports bra from j.crew (only because it was on sale and 50% of that sale price) and it was a revelation. i really want this tank top and these leggings.

the end. happy october!

ode to self-care.

self care, a term i tend to be turned off by for its buzz-word-y-ness. a term lifted from the medical world and used in articles about sheet masks and bone broth cleanses and mini-meditations, by and for the luxury wellness/perfectly curated instagram mom legions that spawned from or shot up around shiny haired gwenyth and her solid gold juicer. a term that elicits eye rolls from most men, my husband included. a term that makes me cringe a bit when spoken out loud, but one that i find myself saying in my head, despite all of this.

technically, self-care is how one takes care of their own health, from how they manage chronic illnesses or physical maladies to their diet and exercise routines. over the last couple of years it’s been applied more to the latest wellness trends such as infrared saunas and sound baths and jade vagina eggs, but really it’s about how you keep yourself healthy. how you manage stress and hormonal fluctuations and balancing the million things you have to do each day for other people with the things you need to do to keep yourself afloat.

i remember back in the early aughts when the episode of sex & the city came out where carrie had let aidan move in with her, and she was complaining to her friends about having to share her space with him. she lamented over the lack of privacy and time to engage in what she called, “secret single behavior” or “SSB” if you’re nasty. carrie’s included eating jelly on saltine crackers while standing in her kitchen. for charlotte it was examining her pores in a mirror. i think about this when i think about self-care, because to me it’s really the same thing. things we do to decompress, to take a damn minute for ourselves. sometimes they are things we were not allowed to do for some reason, sometimes they are things we do to numb ourselves, but mostly they are things that just feel comforting. i call that self-care.

for me, i get a lot of satisfaction and comfort from cleaning. particularly a clean refrigerator makes me feel like i have accomplished great things. tidiness is very soothing to me. creating order in a chaotic life feels so good. i have been known to clean out closets in times of stress, clearing out kitchen cabinets and laundry room drawers and my son’s toy baskets and hauling all of that stuff to the thrift store feels like a big relief. but i also enjoy eating peanut butter from the jar, putting on lady gaga really loud and trying on outfits, cutting out pictures from old fashion magazines and making collages, bedazzling old pairs of jeans and shoes, putting on a full face of all the makeups i can’t afford at sephora and then coming home to pull weeds (you can call me the fancy gardener). also weird gross stuff like peeling nail polish off of my toenails and trying on the trashiest body-con/slutty teenager clothes i can find at h&m with absolutely no intention of buying any of it.

these are all things that must be done in solitude. the presence of another person would take their power away, render them ridiculous and embarrassing and often impossible (where unruly toddlers are concerned). perhaps having such a limited amount of time to myself has made me more appreciative of these things, has made me recognize their value in a sometimes chaotic life. the world no longer revolves around me, but it’s lovely to take those moments where for a brief time, it does.