Monday, January 4, 2016


2015 started with my first real bout of seasonal depression. I spent a lot of time in a cold warehouse learning how to live with it. 
When I was finally getting a foothold on the depression. It hit again.

On my own, I tried to cope with my new reality.

I didn't do a very good job of it.
During all that we were forced to watch one of our ferrets die. A painful unimaginable death.

Because no one would help him.
I also found out I would have chronic pain until I'm forced to get a hip replacement. I had to quit CrossFit and lost the only healthy outlet I had.

 And most of my friends along with it.

Something had to change.

In the times, I left the house. I usually ended up in the park. 

I started to notice the people around me.
Portland has become a mecca for the homeless. I wondered if there was anything I could do to help. 
I decided to volunteer. 

In doing so, I found relief by helping others. 
But before I could even take a deep breath I was faced with my bestest buddy Beatrix Kiddo in dire straits. 

I was devastated. For someone with not much of anything, she was my world. 
A tumor on her head was sapping the life out of her. Anemic, erratic heart rate with adrenal disease and a tumor, she probably wouldn't survive. The only thing in her favor was the miracle of a caring vet who specialized in ferrets (finally!!). 

My littlest buddy went under the knife......
 While she tried to heal my world started to gain a little more color. 

Christmas was here. 
I found myself surrounded by the people who I was starting to believe loved me. 

The best of friends. 

My kids 

My husband
I ended the year at the coast celebrating our 25th anniversary

We kicked 2015 out the door.

Took a moment to appreciate 25 years with my one and only true love. 

2015 was finally over.

2016 was here and the first day looked like this.

My people. 


The promise of color.

But lest you forget my little buddy the one who fought for her life. She's my first hint this will be a better year. 

Can you see it in the "what?!" attitude of one Ms. Beatrix Kiddo?
I can.
If she can fight that hard so can I. I haven't found my safe haven yet. No miracle vets for me. But I suspect even on my own I'm strong enough to do this. So I'm going to get to it. 

Here's hoping we all have a Beatrix Kiddo kinda year!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fingernail Polish

There she was curled up under a tree, nodding in and out. It was now 8:00 P.M. and two hours previously she had asked if I had a cigarette. I had looked at her a little surprised she'd even ask. I couldn't imagine any decent adult passing a cigarette to this baby.

She still had that nongender look that our youngest have right before they blossom into teenagehood. So young you can still intermix them and play a good game of concentration trying to match pairs of male to male and female to female.

"Hey, do you have a cigarette......

Two hours later and she was curled up like a puppy who had dug a hole for itself under a tree. Trying hard to stay awake but heroin had her in its grip. "oh look, that's so sad!" said the youngest of my unruly group of addicts jostling to get back into the van after their twelve step meeting. It was her and the most recent addition to the rehab center who stopped in their tracks and looked at me. Both of them just young enough to think adults still have the answers tucked away in some secret belt that you receive when you hit thirty.

I lightly touch her shoulder.

"Hey, do you have anywhere else you can go?"

She immediately jumps up and stumbles into us. My youngest whispers "She's afraid we saw her nodding out and are going to make her move." She looks at us with no real comprehension, shivering in the cold and all of fourteen and ninety pounds soaking wet. It was then I spy her fingers as she clutches herself shivering. I spit it out, a verbal vomit that was ridiculous. 

"You take that nail polish off right now. You're telling every pervert walking by that you're a girl. TAKE IT OFF NOW! "

That woke her up and I think I scared her a little bit. But don't judge me too harshly, see it from my point of view. A little thing, vulnerable, asexual with the only true indication of her sex there on her small, ragged, chipped up, polished nails. I wanted her to hide them away far from the evil that surely stalked her. 

 She put her nails out in front of her as if she was a pin-up star admiring the work her manicurist had just done and said. "just because I'm on the street doesn't mean I don't want to look pretty." Those words pinged through my heart like a shot. To be so young, so high, so vulnerable, so hopeful that fingernail polish will make a difference.

"I just want to be pretty."  

I took off my hoodie and handed it to her. I told her to put it on and to pull in her hands while she was sleeping or around any place or person she felt could be dangerous. I asked her again if there was anywhere safe for her to go. 

She touched her tree, "There's light here and people are coming and going. I'm right by the street." It was stupid of me to ask if there was anywhere safe. There is no such thing, especially when you're a young girl on the streets.

She stood there swaying, trying to stay awake. Afraid someone would make her leave her tree. The youngest whispers, "isn't there anything we can do?" I shake my head no. Right now in Portland, families are being turned out onto the street so their landlords can raise the rent for the new chump who will happily pay it. With sources scarce we make our youngest pay with their lives.

"No. Get in the van."

I look at her one last time, she has already started to settle back into her hole. Curled up like the puppy she is. A bag of Doritos by her side and what looks like to be chocolate milk in a water bottle. I tell her to be safe and she doesn't even look up or bother to respond. 

"That was really sweet that you gave her your jacket!" the youngest said as we drove back to the center. I didn't agree, I can get another jacket with a snap of my fingers. But what I can't get back is my peace of mind.

Our future is nodding out under a tree, high on heroin. Wondering how much dick she'll have to suck for her next fix. Hoping this time they pay her.  

And I was worried about her fingernail polish.

My pictures are from the homeless community here in Portland Oregon. But you don't see this on Portlandia do you.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rudolph and his existential crisis over the reindeer games.

Is there anyone else who can say they don't have any friends? Am I the only one? Anyone? Bueller........Bueller? Now before you get all sad and weepy for me. I am blessed to have enough acquaintances that if I twirled a cat by its tail. I'd be bound to hit about ten of them on the head. Let's be honest here, a beer with anyone is better than a lonely existence of drinking by yourself.

Rudolph wonders if there anything more meaningful than the silly games reindeer play.

Yep got plenty of drinkin buddies. And sometimes a few will flicker here or there looking like they might become a friendship. But they never do and I end up collecting acquaintances like a hoarder does with useless junk. Piling one acquaintance on top of another. Desperately trying to keep a small path through the clutter for the friendship that may find its way through.

Rudolph finally accepts he doesn't fit in with the other reindeer, maybe Santa will be his friend. It doesn't take long until Rudolph realizes, Santa has a hard time relating to reindeer issues. He starts to wonder if he will ever get to have a meaningful relationship.

When I moved to Portland I decided I would have to be proactive. I figured if I wanted friends, I had to learn how to be a friend. So I looked for my bag of friendship tricks. I finally found it shoved carelessly under the biggest nastiest wall of debris I had. I excitedly rummaged through it and pulled out a dusty little gem I had forgotten about. The gem I yanked out of my bag was active listening. It was the perfect friendship tool and I'd give it a go. I would try to listen with an open heart. I wouldn't jump ahead thinking about what I was going to say. I'd listen until my fucking ears bled if I had to. I wanted some quality in my life damn it.

Rudolph took a deep breath put aside his negative attitude and decided to try again with reindeer, With his heart beating an irregular tempo he walked over and said, "Hi!"

When I decided to truly listen to people something really cool happened, I found out I like hearing about people and their lives. So I continued to listen and tried to be still. But one day it hit me, even with the heavy rotation of people coming in and out of my life. I was still really lonely. I had grown accustomed to listening and I rarely shared. I got a little panicky because someone someday would want to hear from me, right?! It felt like no one cared. So like a two-year-old who does not human well. I'd interrupt with the dumbest shit.

Her-"Yeah, so I said he was going to have to buy me a....."
Me-"I gained weight! Oh and my ferret has a sore on her head.........?"
Awkward pause, "Oh yeah? So anyway he was..."

Hey, guys! Check it out! Did you see how I can kick the ball? Can I play now? Can I huh huh?? It was then Rudolph slipped and fell. The other reindeer pointed and laughed saying to each other, "What a dork!" 

I'm no longer surprised with how people jump into their nitty gritty life story without even asking how I'm doing. If they do ask it goes something like this. "Hey Gree, how yadoinggreatsoIwasthinking."
I sarcastically mumble I just started a new diet that included raw babies, but you didn't hear me.

Our interactions with each other have become a perverse parody of social media. I'm sitting right in front of you frantically hitting the like button only to find out it pissed you off. You had been trying to find the right pose for the perfect selfie. But that's hard to do when you keep getting pop up notifications that I like you. We are so caught up in updating our own status that we have forgotten what friendship means. We don't ask because we don't want to hear it. Instead we Tra la Lala, take endless selfies and roll our eyes at other people's updates.

There is some good that came out of all this. I found out I didn't deserve friends. Any ol chump can write a blog post raging against society and then say, "it's not me, it's you. I tried." It takes a special person who says, "I didn't listen enough. I can do better."

But then one day the unbelievable happens! Rudolph watches as the other reindeer shout out in glee. Excitedly saying to each other,"I want a cool nose like Rudolph's! Hey Rudolph, do you want to hang out with us?" 
Santa had put a picture of him on Instagram with #brighterisbetter which had made his nose the new 'it' thing. Rudolph is confused and a little pissed. With friends like that who needs enemies?

 He sadly starts to walk away.

 I can't say I'll do better because I keep catching glimpses of myself in the mirror. The self-satisfied smirk I see continues to make me stumble. I have a feeling my hoard won't get smaller until I find within myself the ability to be a true friend. I need to learn how to listen even more. Listen until it stops hurting and it doesn't matter if you like my status or not.

It would be nice though if from time to time you hit the like button. I'm not Rudolph, I like a good media slant. After all, I live in the world of Instagram and Facebook. He, on the other hand, lived with a clever fat man and a bunch of asshole reindeer looking to keep the status quo.

"Rudolph, for fuck's sake put down that cigarette and stop glaring at yourself in the mirror. Come on over here and sit down by me. Hey, how you doing? I'm worried about you." 

Like a lightening bolt right to the noggin. Rudolph realized he does have a friend!

A friend who has never been impressed by what Santa had to say. He had always known Rudolph's nose was special. 

It was then that Rudolph's nose lit up like a thousand suns. The other reindeer couldn't help but notice and as they ooohed and aahed they crowded closer. But Rudolph's nose was directed at only one other reindeer and its bright shiny light revealed to the other reindeer. 

The face of a true friend. 


I love you, Bill. Thanks for being my friend when no one else wanted to and for never, no, not even once (not once!!),  flinching when I talked about all sorts of horrid girl stuff.  My wish is that everyone could have a friend as well-intentioned and loving as mine.