Sunday, April 27, 2014

bartender therapy

 photo thehill.jpg 
It's been a week of memorials and saying good-bye. Yesterday to my enigmatic former boss, who--it became clearer as those who knew him better spoke--revealed little of his true, inner self to anyone. One of the speakers mentioned how he'd smile in response to questions and comments and yet never utter an answer but, "you always knew what he was thinking." Well, obviously we did not. I feel sad for his wife and the kid who likely won't remember much about him but the violent and decisive way in which he departed this life. Afterwards, whiskey from a flask and a sunny walk to a windowless bar for drinks and hashing it all out over fried cheese and edibles and thanks to our kind-hearted waiter, an ice cream cupcake on the house.
A good friend said good-bye to her kitty last week and when she told me the other night about Paige the cat's last day alive, we both got teary, and we are not teary people by nature, least of all in public. But this cat! This cat was her family for fourteen years and she had been ill for a little bit and yet she passed on her own terms and with dignity. So we talked and listened to 90's hip hop at Bar Sue and raised $2 shots of Old Crow to lovely Paige.
(*picture is from Vostok Dumpling House)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

a gentle no

Today I received a rejection letter that raised my spirits and motivates me to keep writing:
On behalf of the editors of Watershed Review, we sincerely thank you for sending us your short fiction. We appreciated the opportunity to read your work. 

Although we ultimately decided against publishing your story, we appreciated the developed characters, especially M., and the rendering of the human impact of poverty without being too heavy-handed; there is a power and poise to its authenticity. 

While this story has not found a home with Watershed Review at this time, we wish you the best in placing this work elsewhere. Please consider sending to us again in the future.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

peace may not be our natural state

I'm realizing more and more that peace may not be the natural state. Yes: war, conflict, fighting; natural disasters, storms, earthquakes, decay, disease. We human animals delude ourselves with illusions of safety, even as the evidence mounts that we really are anything but safe.
Dark thoughts for a brilliantly sunny Sunday, no?
The suicide of a few weeks ago still percolates in my brain. And my neighbor's domestic violence. On Tuesday, a friend and I, en route to a meeting, came across the scene of an accident. A woman lay on paved tiles, curled up and sobbing. Another woman knelt beside her, bike helmet in hand, bike parked nearby. She had just struck the prone woman with her bike. Blood dripped from the crying woman's head. The cops had been called, also the struck woman's husband. We could do nothing but stand there, apologetic. By the time we left our meeting an hour later, paramedics had come and gone, with nothing left but a damp spot on the tiles.
On Friday, I met another friend for coffee at 9am. When we left the coffee shop about 9.25, a cop car sat outside the Wells Fargo bank next door, lights flashing. Bank robbery, haha, we said. Back at the office, an alert had gone out. Bank robbery at the Wells Fargo. I e-mailed my friend. Holy shit, he e-mailed back. I saw the guy when I was walking to meet you right before 9.
Today on the bus, as we waited for the Fremont Bridge to rise and fall, a young blond guy said loudly, Has anyone been to the Space Needle recently?
No, a few of us murmured.
I was just there. A guy set himself on fire, the young guy said, his voice flat. He didn't die, but--his face. I was right there.
Why'd he do it? I said.
He was saying political stuff, about the government.
Are you okay? another rider said.
He hesitated. I'm okay.
And yet, an hour later, looking at the news--nothing. It seemed believable, but apparently it wasn't true.
A good friend has "paci-fist" tattooed on his knuckles, four letters each hand in typewriter font. I love how he plays with the notion of peace through ink violently incorporated into his skin.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


The odd proud domestic moment: my brass candle holders, before and after a quick rub with some salt + lemon juice.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

walk loud

As a dedicated eavesdropper, I almost never wear ear buds when I'm out and about. (Also I got mugged once so I like to keep whatever wits I've got about me.) But: you only hear the good stuff if you're unplugged. One-sided arguments, dinner plans in the making, dude-fests (duuude--I know dude right?--dooooood).
A side note: people wearing ear buds walk loud. Almost 100% guaranteed, if the person coming up behind you is scuffing their feet, they're plugged in. Their world is small, entirely between their ears.
Also almost 100% guaranteed, if I'm on the bus and dozing, or even appear to be, people won't sit down beside me. I guess I'm a scary sleeper. Perhaps it's the buzzsaw snores.
Good shows coming up: cool kids Odesza (sold out!), always-a-crazy-dance-night Eldridge Gravy, and later on People Under the Stairs.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

marking time

So this month marks my four year divorce-aversary. I don't feel like the same person!
Well, because I'm not the same person.
I feel grateful for the friends who have stayed with me along the way, who haven't judged me or dropped me because I'm not the person I was back then. I feel like I have become more myself than ever before.
Three years ago this weekend I hung out with my fella for the first time. Neither of us was looking for more than a fling. I'm pleasantly surprised that we are still having that fling.
I try not to get too nutso with the anniversaries but some things need to be remembered.
Speaking of, a look back at the past month! I zipped down to L.A. at the end of February for a weekend hang-out with four women I traveled with last year. We rented a house on a quiet cul-de-sac near Venice Beach and spent a couple of days laughing, talking shit, drinking too much, checking out some clubs, biking up to Santa Monica for Mexican food and tequila shots. Catch up time with four funny, gorgeous, generous girls made my soul feel good. A few days after I got back, my friend Jane held a reading event at the Alibi Room for the Mineral School, her soon-to-be artist residency near Mt Rainier. On a rainy Monday night in March, some friends and I went to see B.B. King. Our hometown funk favorite Ayron Jones and his band opened. Sadly B. B.'s musical dexterity has declined with old age, but there were moments of brilliance and his band was tight tight tight. The following weekend I met up with the same friends to see Tango Alpha Tango at the Sunset, but we lingered too long next door having drinks and then couldn't get into the sold out show. Le sigh. My family was in town the following weekend; I hope they had fun. I was exhausted! We checked out the Columbia Tower (free courtesy of a sweet friend); brunched at Blue Star, and the Hurricane; did the Theo Chocolate tour; dined on cupcakes from Yellow Leaf and Flying Apron; had seafood and a veggie burger (moi) at Duke's. While everyone else hung out at Pike Place Market, gramma and I posted up on the 4th floor of Pacific Place, where she people watched and sipped chamomile tea. Later in the month a friend celebrated his birthday at the Garage with pool and beer. Last weekend I met up with a fierce homegirl for happy hour at the Azteca in Burien, then hung out with Ms Hammy, playing Uno and singing "Let It Go" punctuated with fart noises. I hit the road to the coast on Saturday, cleaned up fallen trees and excavating the septic field. I can't wait to get back out there with a chainsaw and a tent.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

little by little

Anger has been on my mind lately. I see firsthand its corrosive effects--on relationships, on my thinking, on myself.
I rage sometimes; I get so angry and defensive that I say things I don't mean and sometimes things I do mean but that shouldn't be said. I lash out. I yell. I simmer. I vent. I rage.
Around me, others lash out too. Last Friday, I left my apartment to go for an early run, only to find three of Seattle's finest investigating a domestic disturbance right next door. A few minutes earlier, I'd heard thumps and noises and shouting in Mandarin Chinese. By the time I returned, the attacker had been taken to jail, the victim treated by paramedics. There's dementia in the mix, manifested in rage.
I know that my anger comes from someplace deep, that it was planted when I was too young to formulate words, and nurtured in adolescence by a tyrannical, self-loathing parent, but I'm an adult now, and either this thing will define me forever, or I will learn to listen to it, let it teach me, help me become less and more.
For guidance, I go to this fine essay: 10 Life-changing Facts About Anger.
I want to operate with love and peace. So I guess first, I have to listen to the rage.

bsp videos don't sleep on 'em