Settling In

north oakFeeling cozy here. Lots of people to see. It’s good to be connecting with a past self before my marriage. Berkeley has changed so much since the late 80’s it’s like a hallucination — familiar things here and there. It’s NOT nicer though – or more gracious. It’s just more Berkeley: more interesting things but still so many homeless and denser traffic. Last night took the BART to the city for some music with an old friend who is, among other things a transit critic. Like me, he loves trains, rants against bad signage in stations, and looks forward to the changes we’ll see with autonomous vehicles. We also reminisced about a crazy gutter-cheap trip we took to Europe in 1977.

Yesterday morning I took a long hilly walk with a friend I met years ago when I was working my way through UC Berkeley at long gone Herrick Hospital. She lives far above the grit in the (flammable, mudslide-prone) hills. Her garden and home (little distinction) are exquisite. Decades disappeared as we effortlessly reconnected. Magical.

Off to my credit union in Downtown Oakland to reshuffle funds. We appear to have agreed on a budget for joint expenses.  I think this next period may involve less communication with the ex, which is fine.


East Bay Berth



Up before dawn yesterday and OUT OF THERE. Sadness but also relief. The almost tangible ties of pain and loss less noticeable as soon as I got to driving again. Up I-5 Again. Perhaps I-5 is sort of a golden-haired Tuscany?  You know, without castles. I love the hallucinatory lines of crops. Harris Ranch (gynormous cattle lot) is there to remind you to stop for a tri-tip sandwich, right?  My soundtrack right now:

This street (I’ll take a photo today) is a house or two away from the Berkeley city line. I’ll be here until mid-November. (Thank you, thank you Ellen). About a half mile from here is the communal house on Dana St. — my home when I was going to UC Berkeley. I walked past there yesterday. There never was a lock for that door, and sure enough it was wide open. Just a few blocks away is a Whole Foods and the smaller of the two Berkeley Bowls in town — think produce heaven. Half a zillion coffee places, hippie shops, yoga, do-gooder centers. Everyone here looks interesting. What would my life be like now if I hadn’t left here in 1988? Don’t go there. I want to do a lot more walking today – get in touch with a few people. Have some quiet time and do some reading. Wow, the books in this house !!


Ground Zero of Pain

There are insights I can only have, here, at the “ground zero” of pain. This week is a special opportunity that won’t come again. Taking the 5th on how this information arrived, but I happen to know that all is not perfect with the happy couple. And I know So Well what the issue is. What the issue would be for any sane woman. You have a man whose social shell, when he likes, is engaging, gregarious and warm. But underneath that shell is a negative, angry soul who WILL take it out on you. Who will project his inner Incompleteness on anyone close to him. He doesn’t know how to control this. It’s who he is. I learned to live with this, but paid a serious price for it. At a certain point I lost the ability, or maybe the will, to challenge his behavior and just retreated into my own world for protection. He restricted and limited me in ways it will take me years to undo. I knew all this, of course. Thought he was “worth it”, in the way that creative, difficult people are. Thought he needed someone steady and calm like me. The joke, obviously, is on me. He just separated from me emotionally, didn’t respect me or any efforts I made, “boxed” me into his narrow description of who I am and what I’m capable of. So now Trixie is reacting to the same behavior. LOL. Good luck with him, hon.

IF he has insight, he might understand, someday, how he’s wronged me. But not holding my breath. I also know that he won’t successfully connect with another human being until he has that insight.

Gathering up after this halftime, which hasn’t been all bad — off North as early as I can manage on Monday.


Journey Summary

journey 1

Home-> Atlanta


journey 2


Journey 3

Google maps has a limited number of stops (who knew?) so I had to put this into 3 maps, but this mosaic shows the entire journey:  almost 7800 miles!!

Maps: 1) Home->Atlanta, 2) Atlanta->Deadwood, Deadwood-> Home




Home (you can’t go again…)

Quiet. That’s what I notice the most.

(Pup reaction to the prodigal return: Zeenie was so excited, she couldn’t even bark. More like little chokes. Bodie fled for a bit, as he does under intense stress, but returned, when he’d collected himself, to lick my hand. )

I can’t be here without an almost intolerable ache.  He took my home from me. The nicest I’ll ever have.

But my comfort here is (WAS) based on self-delusion. I was living on un-solid ground. As I touch things around here, most are inculcated with negative messages that I received over the years — all the things I did “wrong”.  It’s amazing how I remember these small little negative commentaries, how I Still jump when the dogs bark because he might walk in. My entire existence was based on a false premise of support and affection that didn’t exist. I really have been on my own for a long, long time.

norma set


“Norma” HD Broadcast today. A reminder that No man is worth walking into a funeral pyre for.



A bit of a rant

Notes for a letter I’ll be able to send someday:

So you texted me that we had to talk the other night. You told me that the last wrinkle with the escrow is going to be “ironed” next week, but that wasn’t what you needed to talk to me about….

Oh? So the money couple behind your brewpub finally returned to our little town and were deluged with rumors about what’s been going on with you? And they aren’t pleased? But this, according to you, is not fair, because of [this person, that person, and that person] who’ve all had affairs and don’t seem to be suffering any consequences. Seems it’s just common as dirt, this behavior? So I guess Mr. $$ asked you a few pointed questions about the timing of your affair vs. my leaving and said that Mrs. $$ might like to talk to me. Which, I gather sent a stab of fear through your heart? Why would that be? Because you think I might tell her the truth?

So you smear me for ten minutes with your horrifying self-justification for this terrible thing that you’ve done. Did you think this would persuade me in some way? I honestly think what’s happened is not really Mrs. $$$’s business, but I will, thank you, tell her whatever I like.

I am utterly disgusted.

(I am fine, btw, in La Jolla with my stepmother and so far, not called to jury duty this week.)


Pausing for Perspective

dry creekI had a wonderful, soul-renewing visit to the Apple Farm. I did some de-cluttering coaching, we cooked, gardened, hiked and talked deeply of many things. There’s a new, young generation of farmers remodeling some of the old cabins, setting down roots, raising their kids in that idyllic environment, which is heartening to see. It’s not a life for everyone — the investment that you make there is not typical.  The land will not be sold, perhaps for many generations, and if you “sell” your cabin, there’s not the equity gain as most Americans would expect. What there is, is beautiful, private and very very inexpensive. I took a look at Ukiah, which is a town I could probably live in. I threatened to take a month there and show up every day until my friend’s environment is how I think she wants it. Such a competent, effective woman who just has Too Much Stuff.

Looking forward to my Oakland sojourn, which I think will work out great. Got the info and keys for that (thank you thank you Ellen) and crashed with my brother and his wife at their new condo in San Bruno. It’s really nice to see them in a place where nobody will be able to throw them out (they are SF gentrification refugees). Since they both still work in the City and she doesn’t drive, their life is more complicated, but they work it out.

Then the long familiar drive down I-5 just in time to limp through Friday night traffic to Los Alamitos. Such a joy to see my friend though. (bows at her incredible ability to control her environment) And catch up here.