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Bye Bye Berkeley

lapenaI am so very grateful for these weeks of being here — it’s been healing for me to be in one place, a place where I’ve reconnected with so many friends from my past, walked so much, and checked out this transformed town where I lived 30 years ago.  My hipster card is renewed! In another decade, this place will be completely gentrified, I’m afraid. I got to see my brother gig a couple of times, went past all my old apartments, got out in the hills, discovered new neighborhoods. I got fancy face cream, a moon calendar for 2018, got my credit union banking straightened out (since there’s a branch here).  It seems to me I could take a picture of almost every house in this town, as they all seem to have something lovely and unique about them.

I am also ready for the wide open spaces again, and won’t miss seeing the more obvious signs of human misery, or being a little anxious about my car.

So, if one person says it, you might be able to brush it off, but if every single friend says “I hated how he treated you,” then you kind of get the point. I realized just this morning that while the ex considered it a moral failing to leave a light on, or inefficiently load the dishwasher, but evidently doesn’t consider it a moral failing to abruptly dump his wife of 25 years, well then. Someone’s all in their dick, huh?  I have had some revelations, regrets and rage.

I’ll be heading for New Mexico by Sunday — having turned a year older in the meantime. I think I’ll wear the fancy dress that Zin MADE ME buy!!




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.


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.



California or Bust


Bonneville Salt Flats

After complaining about having to drive through the salt flats — they did THIS. Whoa. Beauty everywhere.


Woke up extra early.  According to @CHP-Truckee there aren’t any restrictions over the Donner pass right now, and since my friend in Reno is not going to be around this weekend, just going to push on to Sacramento. Haven’t been there since I retired! I certainly know the hotels. I have been thinking a lot about the end of the Journey in this phase. When you’re driving, mono-tasked, like this, you aren’t that productive, physically — all you can do to eat clean (shout out to  Bella’s Restaurant and Expresso  Wells, NV), and hit the fitness room. Mentally, it’s different. A limitless, restless landscape. It’s definitely what I needed when I left. Now, I feel ready to be grounded again. At least sequentially grounded.

Puzzling things about hotels: why do the nicest have no microwaves and no kleenex? Why don’t the glass plates in microwaves ever fit right? Why do certain lamps/outlets just not work? Why is this always the one on the desk? Why are fans So Noisy? Has anyone else draped towels over these unbelievably numerous and bright time/indichator lights? (I am a person trying to sleep, not a plane coming in for a landing!) And who the hell designs some of these shower spigots?

I started my list of “Things I Will Not Miss”. This is going to be very helpful.

I may have gotten through my 4000 track playlist  — or pushed something wrong. And all my passwords reset. I think I may have entered an alternate track, ala “Life After Life”. So WOULD I? Go back and do it right if I could? I’d be giving up stuff too.

elko to sacto



Thinking at Monticello

monticello window

Monticello window

I had a fleeting concern that Monticello would be less interesting to see after having just visited the Biltmore Estate. But Tom Jefferson is an infinitely more interesting persona to spend time with than a Vanderbilt, I imagine. And through the house and gardens at Monticello, you are interacting with a Mind. A positive, problem-solving mind. The garden tour will stay with me for life.

This window view resonated with me again when I visited the Gettysburg battlefield, where all the  contradictions of Jefferson’s beautiful, flawed existence were manifested in blood. Quite a thought-provoking day at Gettysburg, though I get weary of the war-worship and the battle of the monuments.


Today, to Erie to shelter with a Very Kind Friend:

gettysburg to erie