Six Days

Jon and I were walking on the beach yesterday at about 5:45 PM, when we realized that exactly a week from that moment, we’d be in the process of getting married.  As in, we may be reciting our vows at that very time.  We were on the Boardwalk Beach, with about a grillion other people, with an additional grillion up on the Boardwalk itself, eating deep fried Twinkies and riding one of the oldest roller coasters in the country.  Little kids were running into the surf and then screaming and running back out.  And a brown pelican flew by – my favorite bird – as if to remind me to drink in every second of this glorious week.

It’s odd, because I was actually hit with a pang of loneliness as we were walking toward the beach.  Actually, loneliness isn’t the right word.  I was hit with a pang of isolation, because we could smell a dozen barbeques going and heard at least three or four parties as we walked over to the trellis bridge to the boardwalk, and I was missing our friends and family.  I mentioned this to Jon, how I was missing everyone and feeling isolated.  And then I immediately admitted how ridiculous that is, because the reason we have isolated ourselves is we have ten billion things to do to try to make a fantastic 3-day weekend for 90 of our closest friends and family.  It’s just that I can’t wait.  I can’t wait for everyone to be here, can’t wait for my mom to get here on Tuesday, can’t wait for Thursday night when most of the people who are dearest to me in the world will all be in the same place.

The silliest part?  I’m already a little bit sad that the weekend has to end.  That’s no way to approach this. But there is a melancholy about this whole wedding thing that I have yet to fully understand.  We are literally being showered with love, help, kindness, graciousness, and honestly, it’s difficult enough to feel worthy of Jon; this outpouring of support leaves me so humbled I almost can’t process it.

Back to the to-do list.

nine days and counting

I’ve been lonely most of my life.  I don’t mean that in an overly dramatic, woe-is-me kind of way – it’s just the naked truth.  I was pretty content as a child, with plenty of brothers and playmates and such until about the fifth grade, when I started feeling both awkward and somewhat arrogant at the same time, and it was not a good combination.  I remember thinking, quite clearly, that I was different from everyone else and a little bit special because I was a musician.  I also was really good in school, and I took some pride in that.  I don’t know what other attributes I had that made me a little bit insufferable, but somehow, from that point on, and for many years, I seemed to be around people who felt some combination of apathy, outright dislike, and, weirdly, envy, and it did not lead to good relationships.

As an adult, I’ve been blessed to have a small handful of very close friends, some of whom have been in my life since, almost, day one, and some who have come in and out of my life throughout the years.  But I’ve never felt I had a “crowd”, and in some of my work or social situations, I’ve felt actively left out by the crowd.  True, I chose some cruel situations (like a Hollywood bar where my ruthless wanna-be-actor coworkers made great sport out of mocking me, or a Kansas City “professional” theater where I got singled out for asking actors not to do shots backstage during performances), and really, I wasn’t cut out for such stuff.  At the end of the day, my skin is pretty thin, my emotions float right at the surface at all times, and although I can climb three mountains on no food and no sleep and with horrid stomach cramps, if someone is mean to me for no good reason (and is there ever a good reason to be actually mean?), I’m devastated.

I don’t like big parties, particularly where I don’t know everyone; I often feel more lonely in a crowd than by myself; and I’ve made really poor dating choices.  And I’ve gone through most of my life without feeling really, truly “seen” by most of the people around me.  This has changed a great deal over the last half decade or so, however.  Finding my professional calling and becoming more confident in what I bring to the world and my community has helped me immeasurably (as well as getting out of some really wretched social situations).  But – again – this helped my confidence, not my loneliness.

But for the last year, that stalwart companion of mine, that ever-present specter, that Mr. Ubiquity otherwise known as Loneliness, has not come to visit.  In his place is, of course, my future husband.  It happened so easily and so quickly that I barely even processed the passing of the baton.  I remember what constant, low-grade loneliness feels like, but it’s not currently relevant in my life.  This is a wondrous and terrible thing – because it means that only with Jon was I able to tackle my loneliness.  Before Jon, I tried everything – yoga, beer, meditation, therapy, beer, a stiff upper lip, total denial, total immersion, beer – and nothing worked.  Some days, some months, some years were better than others, but it turns out I was a pot who was missing her lid.  What scares me is, if that’s true, then… well.  I can’t even put into words the unspeakable.

What I can do, however, is be really, really REALLY aware that this blessed human being, this gorgeous soul, this prince of a man chose me, and that nine days from now, he’ll bind his life to mine.  It’s scary that it took him to defeat something I’ve battled with my whole life.  But at the moment, I don’t care.  I’m just grateful beyond words, and I’m counting the minutes until I’m finally his wife.

why I love work travel

1) walking around buck naked in the hotel room

2) not paying for said hotel room

3) spreading out on two beds

4) the surliness of the Holiday Inn restaurant waitress (“Can I have a glass of water with no ice?”  “You HAVE a glass of water.  Right there.”  “May I have one with no ice?”  *stares*, walks away.)

Five Months

My coach Leslie always says “you can do anything for six months”.  Her point is that it can be a job, a living situation, anything, really, and that you can tolerate it – and learn a great deal – in six months.  I’m just about one month away from my six month anniversary here at my new job, in my new home, and not only have I been able to tolerate it, I’ve been able to embrace it like no other place and job in my life.

I went to the store today to get a salad for dinner.  Jon’s working up in Napa all week this week, which is a wretched bummer, so rather than cook an elaborate dinner (which is now only appealing when I’m cooking for two), I went to get some greens, to be supplemented by the bag of strawberries patiently waiting to be devoured at home.  Walking into the store, I saw what looked to be a familiar woman near the grocery carts, and I hesitated.  I hesitated because for years, I lived in a place where there were people I was so determined to avoid that I sometimes didn’t leave my house on weekends.  Anyway, I did not know this woman, but I realized that I don’t have to live with that anxiety or fear here.  I even smiled at her, this stranger, as I walked into the store.

I made my own bed in Napa, created that uncomfortable living situation by being too raw with my emotions, to quick to trust false friends, too willing to define myself by my work.  I know that I’m the same person – just the place has changed – but I feel empowered now to not make those mistakes again.  I’m sure, at some point, I’ll grow weary of having to talk shop every Friday night when Jon & I are out and run into friends/colleagues/board members, but for now, I couldn’t be more delighted.  Here, I feel embraced, welcomed, celebrated, treasured for who I am.  My last couple years in Napa I felt like a hollowed-out shell where my job scraped my insides every day, attempting to get every last scrap of flesh from my exhausted mind and body.

So, this time, I get to try to do all of it with just a little more balance and a lot more confidence.  I’ve gone back and read some of my past blogs, ones from six or seven years ago, and with the pain of those years as my context, I try to tell myself that I deserve this, I deserve to have landed in a place that challenges and inspires me, and that I deserve the love of the most decent, thoughtful, smart, and adorable man on the planet.  I know that my job will be hard, that marriage is not easy, that many more trials await.  But I have a foundation I’ve never had before, some sense of peace in my life, and a whole crop of new friends who bring me incredible joy.

If that wasn’t enough, I am marrying the love of my life in less than two months.  So, if at any point, you hear me complaining about anything to do with my life, please kick me in the teeth.


I don’t know how many days of my life that I will feel unfettered, extreme, delirious joy. Yesterday was one of them. I was walking down a one-way street, a half-block from Pleasure Point Beach in Santa Cruz. I was holding Jon’s hand, and we had just looked at a wee beach house that we are considering renting when we move to Santa Cruz in early October. I said to him that I was about as happy as I’d ever been in my entire life.

A few hours later, we were in our room at a little B&B; near downtown, sipping Santa Cruz Mountain wines and getting ready to go to dinner. And we were lying on the bed and talking and he was grinning like a mad fool and when I asked him why, he pulled a ring out of his pocket and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.
Apparently I met this questions with numerous expletives that I won’t repeat here, but a rated G translation would simply be, “really?” And apparently he actually said the words – he asked me to marry him – but I apparently went deaf and blind for about ten minutes as I couldn’t stop laughing and bawling. I think, somewhere in there, he heard my “yes”, which I probably repeated a hundred times.
I don’t know if everyone’s struggle to find love was as wretched and theatrical as my struggle. I’ve made so many bad choices, gone down so many stupid roads, sacrificed myself again and again and then chose solitude to keep from choosing badly yet again. And then, here comes this prince of a man, someone so thoughtful and kind and smart and funny and weird that every day, I try to be a better person, simply to deserve him. And he decides that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. Me, with my madness, and neuroses, and bull-headed crazy and need to fold and organize socks and to spend hours making tomato sauce and who hates televised sports and he loves me anyway and I don’t doubt him for a minute. And I wonder, how to hold onto this joy? How to feel a little bit of this, every day, for the rest of my life? And the only answer I know is to be the best woman I possibly can be, so maybe I’ll be lucky enough to keep him around.
I was the happiest I’d ever been even before he asked me to be his wife.
And, plus? He gave me the most beautiful ring in the history of beautiful rings. I’m assuming all newly betrothed women feel this way, and if that is so, then there is a heck of a lot more joy in the world than is reported in the newspapers.

more soon…

I have a hundred things to write about, but for today, I think this sums it up:

Oh, and this:

I’m a little frightened by Amazon

I realize I’ve been buying from for almost a decade, but how exactly do they know me so well?  On my home page, under “Recommendations for You”, are the following:

countertop composter
3 books about writing
1 book about sewing
1 book about leadership and non-profit management
1 book about organic gardening
1 book about South American travel
various fantasy novels
wine geek acoutrement
cashmere sweaters
KitchenAid attachments
I feel pegged.  

I feel I can say with absolute certainty that every kiss does not, actually, begin with Kay.

a brief list

of thanks. 

I’m thankful to have a job.  I’m thankful to be able to shape that job into a place I want to be, and my staff wants to be.  I’m thankful for excellent support and strong autonomy where I work.
I’m grateful for my family, my dearest friends, my dearest love.
I’m thankful for my home, my kitchen table, my sewing machine, for alpaca yarn, for the color pink.  I’m thankful for gorgeous vegetables, for the guffaw laugh of my friend Punky, for having four older brothers.  I’m thankful for NPR and my yoga practice and whipped cream from a can.
I’m thankful for the strength I’ve found to change my body and to change my life.  I’m thankful for what’s to come.  

on vegetables

There are things that turn me on, and sometimes, those things involve vegetables.

Let me e’splain.
I get all worked up over finding new ways to cook vegetables, or really, any other food bits that I’m willing to eat.  (Which leaves out many forms of meat.)  And about a month ago, I coordinated a CSA program that operates right out of my own back yard.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  In a CSA, people basically “join” a locally-owned farm, pay a weekly, monthly, or seasonal stipend, and are allocated a box of organically grown, locally-produced, just-picked-that-day gorgeous vegetables.  It’s a terrific way to support local farms, to avoid the burning of fossil fuels to transport fruits and veggies from far far away, and to eat organically.  I’ve always been a wanna be “locavore” and a CSA allows me, at the very least, to only eat vegetables that were grown within a certain number of miles.  It’s a beautiful thing.
Strangely, though, there are no CSA programs in Napa.  All the land here is covered with grapevines or olive trees- or is wild and protected open space.  There are small farms, but none large enough to support a CSA.
So I did some research in the surrounding communities, and found a terrific farm in Sonoma county.  But it’s an hour and a half away, and the idea of driving three hours a week is not only impossible, given my schedule, but also sorta against the whole no-fossil-fuel burning thing.  I realize Sonoma is a lot closer than, say, Chile, where most veggies are coming from this time of year, but still.
So I contacted the farm, and suggested they consider delivering in Napa, if, say, I could cobble together a few folks to participate.  Turns out they had just become a supplier to the Napa Whole Foods, so they would be coming this way anyway.  And after a few email chains, I found ten willing participants.  So every season, those ten send me a check for 13 weeks; I send the checks to the farm, and the farm delivers 10 gorgeous boxes of veggies to my back yard once a week, where everyone comes by and picks them up after work.  
This week, the box had fingerling potatoes, apples, eggplant, butternut squash, arugula, mizuna, green beans, radishes, peppers, and I can’t even begin to remember what else.  Every week I’m challenged to cook veggies I’d not cooked before, and every meal is enhanced with these unbelievable greens (and reds and yellows and such).  
Of course, I live in California, so I’m unbelievably lucky.  We get winter vegetables here that most of the country can’t imagine, at least without a greenhouse.  I also have both lemons and oranges ripening on my very own trees.  Spoiled might be an even better word.  But I think such programs will only grow in popularity as people become more aware of where their food comes from, the fossil fuels it takes to move those foods, and as the nutritional benefits of organic foods versus “conventional” foods become more widely known.  I know I don’t want “baby carrots” (that come from regular bent imperfect carrots but that are sliced and diced and preserved in chlorine- yes, chlorine, that’s why they start turning white when the get a little old) that come in plastic bags that will exactly never decompose.
I don’t think these things are radical.  I don’t really consider myself a leftist commie socialist tree hugger.  I consider myself someone who does the research and wants to put only decent things inside my body.  Again, living in California makes this all the easier, but there are some 3000 CSAs across the country and there just might be one somewhere near you.
In case you are wondering:
And, well, if you are interested in starting your *own* garden come spring time, well, that’s another blog.