Tales of a wandering lesbian

Posts from — August 2009

White picket fence

Last week, I sold my house. Well, I signed the acceptance papers, so I count that as selling the house.

Don't we look happy together?

Don't we look happy together?

It might not seem like much, but it’s been a long, long journey. After living there for 5 years, I let the house sit empty for almost two years, unable to tear myself away from it. Unable to even rent it. Unable to move on with my life. It took a lot of time, an energy clearing, and a major life change to get to the point where I’m finally ready to hand the house to the next owner.

When I first moved out of the house, I had a really hard time. I cried every time I went back, which made it hard to pack up, clean it out, or do any kind of maintenance on the house. It took a toll on my finances. It took a toll on my relationship. My inability to move on has kept me in a holding pattern, circling my “successes” and pondering my “failures”.

You see, I bought the house right after law school. In fact, I made an offer, sight-unseen, while I was on vacation in Hawaii, one week after taking the bar exam. I lived there the entire time I practiced law – while I worked at the Court of Appeals, while I worked as a Hearings Officer, and when I opened my own practice – in my house. I lived there when I was a political organizer, doing the work I loved.

That house was a symbol of everything in my life I had decided to be. A symbol of the success I had worked hard for. It was part of my “five-year-plan” – the smart investment I’d decided on in my college financial planning course. And, that course was part of my business major, the marketable degree I’d decided to get.

Yay me! I planned my life out at age 20! What’s crazy is that I lived my life according to that plan for the next 12 years. Wow.

Even after I moved out, it took me a couple of years – the time the house was empty – to figure that out. It was a painful two years. Even once I saw the reason I was paralyzed, I wasn’t able to change it.

It’s amazing how effectively we can fool ourselves. A three-bedroom ranch in the suburbs filled with furniture and consumer debt. That was the pre-packaged experience I chose.

I realized something today when I was talking with my boss about my decision to pick up my life and go traveling. For quite some time, I’ve been trying to figure out what I want. I’ve made myself truly miserable searching for the life I want. What do I want to be? What do I want to do? How do I want to live? That’s a hell of an overwhelming series of questions. I’ve been searching for the entire life plan/path/experience that I want, instead of just doing what I want to do today, in this moment. I was so absorbed in the giant task of figuring out my life that I couldn’t see the little things that I wanted. For the first time in a very long time, I know what I want. I just want to go back to Italy. I know nothing after that. I have thoughts about what might happen. I have ideas about what I could do, but the only thing I know I want is to go back. Next to years of agonizing over what life I want to live, deciding to go back to Italy seems like one of the easiest things in the world.

Last week when I was at the house, I had a remarkable moment when I looked around and saw the house as someone else’s home. It’s a great house, and I loved my time in it – but it belongs to someone else now. It will always mean a great deal to me, but perhaps now I will think of it as less of a symbol of my “success” and more as one of my greatest teachers.

I just wish my teachers didn’t make me cry so much. It’s kind of how I imagine Catholic school.

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August 31, 2009   6 Comments

A very good day

Today was a good day. First of all, it was Friday. Fridays are good usually, but for my office, during the summer if we work extra during the week, we can take off at noon on Friday. This makes Fridays extra good.

This Friday, there were only three of us in the office. The summer is quickly winding down, and we’re anxious to take advantage of all possible fun, so, when I suggested heading to my place for some Rock Band, the three of us wrapped up work and headed out.

I’m not sure about you, but the last time I had an honest to goodness “play date” was a long time ago.

Armed only with hard cider and cookies, we fired up the wii and started playing. For two hours we pounded on the drums, clicked the buttons of the guitar and sang our lungs out. By the end, Celia’s eyes were watering from staring at the screen, Michele’s hands were cramping, and I had nearly lost my voice.

Rock Stars!

We rocked. Hard.

When we emerged from the back of the house, Leigh, who had actually been working (state workers don’t get “half-day Fridays”), said “you play the drums loudly.” It’s true. I do. And Celia has a wicked rock star scream on vocals.

After Celia and Michele headed back into the adult world, Leigh and I tried to figure out what to do for dinner. After a couple of half-hearted tries, Leigh suggested that it might be a nice night for ice cream. We decided to venture out in search of the Girl Scout Tagalong Blizzard at Dairy Queen. We’d tried a couple of weeks ago, but they were only carrying Thin Mint. Peanut butter being the critical element, we were determined to experience this triumph of modern flavor engineering. Tonight’s adventure featured a couple of different DQs (the first one was out of peanut sauce), Friday commuter traffic (as we foolishly thought we could pop into Vancouver to visit the closest DQ there), and a walk around a park (Mt. Tabor is a beautiful park, but the people running there make someone with a Dairy Queen cup feel a little slothful).

Given the lack of refined sugar in our lives, Leigh and I ended up a little jacked up. Here is a photo montage to help illustrate:

Leigh pondering the beauty of the Blizzard

Leigh pondering the beauty of the Blizzard

Kristin pre-sugar

Kristin pre-sugar

Kristin mid-sugar

Kristin mid-sugar

Kristin post-sugar

Kristin post-sugar

It was a good adventure.

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August 28, 2009   2 Comments

I am a Rock Star – Peter Pan Style

I feel like I’m 12 again, sneaking upstairs to unplug the NES to bring it to my room and play into the wee hours of the night. I think most anyone who grew up with a computer gaming system will know what I’m talking about. There have been certain games in my gaming career that have been more apt to draw me in and keep me playing for hours and hours.

When I was a kid, Super Mario Bros and Zelda did the trick. Before that, I had a Texas Instruments keyboard console that plugged directly into the tv and acted like a computer. My game of choice on that system was Parsec.

In college, I hoarded the community Super Nintendo in my dorm room for a two week stint playing Donkey Kong Country non-stop, and in law school, I ended up at the eye doctor complaining of flashing lights that were caused from the hours and hours in front of a tv playing Jak and Daxter, and Ratchet and Clank on my classmate’s Playstation2.

As you may have noticed, I’ve never actually purchased a gaming unit. Sometimes, I know my limitations. Other times I ignore them.

Take the wii, for example. It wasn’t until a little over a year ago that Leigh and I decided we could handle one. She called from Fred Meyer “I might have a wii under my arm. I might bring it home. What do you think?”

“Hell yeah! That’s what I think!”

We were responsible for a good long while. We set rules:
1. No wii in the morning.
2. No wii before dark.
3. No solo wii.

That was all good for a while. We played Mario Cart together for an hour every so often. We observed the rules. That is, until we got the wii fit. That was when the real addict came out. It didn’t seem that bad, though, because, although I was spending a couple of hours a day on it, I was doing yoga and strength training. I was even getting up early to ride my bike so I could record it in the wii fit fitness log. Frankly, I was in the best shape of my life. I was, however often violating the wii rules. I’d come home from work and wii alone, and before dark.

But, this week, things really took a turn. A friend was in from out of town, and she called to see if I wanted to come play Rock Band. Yes, yes I did want to play Rock Band. I’d once played Guitar Hero in the Fred Meyer electronics department, and was instantly hooked. Since then I had been trying to convince Leigh that a plastic replica guitar controller would be a good “investment.”

After about 10 minutes playing Rock Band, I was completely enthralled with the game. This is a brilliant game. It combines great music with really fun, interactive game play that can involve your whole family and any skill level. It’s seriously genius. We played for a couple of hours, trading off between guitar, bass, singing and playing the drums. (I’m fairly certain I frightened folks a little when I started banging away on the drums. I’ve never been a percussion person, but this is incredibly fun and therapeutic.)

I spent the next day researching the game, and settled on the Rock Band 2 special edition package. I called around to about 6 Fred Meyer stores and found one unit. (Apparently, these things are popular.) It was even on sale! After a 20 mile detour, I had my very own Rock Band set.

Rock Band

That night, I spent 4 hours playing, but it was mostly after dark, and Leigh played too. (We named our band members after our animals and called it “Menagerie.” We’re pretty proud of ourselves.) Added to the few hours spent researching, the hour calling around and the hour picking it up and setting it up, I spent more time with Rock Band than I did sleeping. Perhaps this should have been a clue that Rock Band would need its own special set of rules.

The next night I only spent three hours playing, but this time I was alone. (At least I haven’t started playing in the morning yet.) After I finally went to bed – because I could no longer hold the guitar – I thought about the things I hadn’t done for a couple of days because of my total consumption by this video game. I realized something: I’m not sure I can be responsible for my actions. No, seriously. When I was 12 and I wanted to play Nintendo all the time, I had someone telling me that I had to do my homework, or that it was time for bed, or that I should go play outside. That is no longer the case.

What’s more, I now have the financial ability to purchase any gaming system I want, and any games that I want, and any controllers that I want. At the same time, I don’t have anyone to regulate my usage of those games – except for me, who would rather play. I’m not so sure this is a good combination for me. I’m not working out, Libby hasn’t had a good walk all week, and I haven’t started packing. I can totally rock the bass on the “hard” level, though, so that’s good.

Last week, someone referred to me as “Peter Pan.” I wasn’t sure if it was a criticism or a compliment. Either way, I wonder, what would Peter Pan do? And, would he sing lead for his band the “Lost Boys” or would Tinkerbell?

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August 27, 2009   7 Comments

Damn those Elves and their Magical Cookies!

Have you read “The Secret”? I have. All that stuff about creating your reality and manifesting your thoughts – I pretty much believe that. Not because of some fabulous riches that I’ve created in my life, no, because of the random-ass stuff that pops up when I’m not paying attention to my thoughts.

Today, on the way home from work, I stopped to by toilet paper and tea – you know, the staples. I considered whether I had all the ingredients at home to make my no-sugar super-yummy cookies, as there are currently none in the house. As I was leaving the store, I walked past what I think was a lesbian family in a Volvo station wagon. Coming from the car was a song cranked up loud on the stereo. I was mildly annoyed until I realized what I was hearing: “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me!” It was Cookie Monster! I love him! “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me. C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me! Oh, cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C.”

Awesome! It totally put a smile on my face as I climbed into my car singing, “cookie, cookie, cookie…”

I got home, greeted the animals and put up the toilet paper. I changed into shorts and a bikini top and headed out to level the backyard with the dirt we’d dug up this weekend at our work party. It was an awesome day – 90 degrees, and in the shade at 5PM, it was glorious! Shovel in hand, I was still singing about cookies.

Then I smelled it…

Not a mile from the house there’s a Kraft/Nabisco plant. They make Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Keebler cookies. That assessment is based on the smells that come wafting by every time they fire up the plant. Sometimes, there’s cheesy goodness on the air. Other times, it’s the Elves and their cookies that you can smell. Today, as I shoveled, the Elves taunted me.

I was good this morning. There were brownie samples at the bagel place, AND I DIDN’T HAVE ANY. For a recovering sugar addict, that’s a big thing.

Smelling what I imagined to be vanilla sandwich cookies, you know, the rectangular ones, I cursed the Keebler Elves. Usually I’m a fan of elves, but these bastards were just being cruel. It was like I was Charlie Buckett living in the shadow of Mr. Wonka’s factory, ONLY THERE’S NO GOLDEN TICKET.

After about 30 minutes the Elves were done, or the wind shifted, or I became immune to the sugary smell. I finished the yard work and headed inside to cook dinner. The Elves could taunt me, but they couldn’t break me. I have my cookies, my beautiful, wonderful cookies – and they don’t have uber-processed sugar or preservatives. I considered making a batch tonight. Sadly, however, I spent three hours playing Rock Band instead. I bet elves make that game, too.

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August 26, 2009   No Comments

Green Balls of Woo-Woo

I had an experience this week that really highlighted the importance of sharing with each other.

While at a friend’s birthday party, I was introduced to a woman who does energy work. “Kristin, this is so and so. She does energy work!”

I’m a recycling freak and a fan of sustainability, so I thought we were talking wind turbines. “Oh great! What kind of energy work do you do?”

She looked a little taken aback. It turns out she’s a spiratual healer. (Oh, THAT kind of energy work.) We had a lovely conversation about her practice in energetic healing and some changes in the field. I don’t know a lot about energy work, but I find it fascinating, and this woman was talking about it like it was any other industry, describing new R & D and the efficiencies yielded by new processes.

While we were talking, another woman came and sat on the chair that was about 6 inches from the stool I was perched on. I didn’t pay much attention, but when my conversation was over and I turned around, she was looking at me. We’d met earlier in the night, and she seemed cool so I just smiled.

“I tried to eavesdrop a couple of times, but, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what you guys were talking about. What does that woman do?”

“Well,” I said, “I’m not sure how to explain. It kind of depends on your background and my understanding.” She laughed. The other woman had told me about identifying her clients’ limiting beliefs and how she had moved from extracting the seed beliefs before transmuting them to directly “blasting” the beliefs in place. Evidently this is an improvement in the field of energy work.

I wasn’t sure that the woman I was now talking with had any idea of the answer she was about to hear – and I wasn’t sure how I wanted to answer.

“Well, I guess you’d say she’s a healer.” Now, I’ve had my fair share of exposure to energy work, and I believe in energetic healing. Still, I felt like I was telling someone else’s dirty secret. I kept looking back at the healer, trying to catch her eye to bring her into the conversation – to tell her own story.

OH!” was the response I got as my new friend recoiled a little, eyes wide.

“Yeah” I said, feeling a little like I should defend the healer, “it’s pretty interesting stuff, but I don’t have enough knowledge to really explain.”

The woman laughed a little nervously again. “From the way she was talking, I thought she might help people with getting their passports. Sounded like she was talking about working through layers of bureaucracy.” It was true. We both laughed a little and then, I don’t really remember how, we started sharing our own experiences with things energetic in nature.

I’m in the process of selling my house, and, as the result of another random conversation with a friend, have recently contacted a woman who does energy clearings for homes. We talked a bit about that, the chakra clearing that I had done as well, and my upcoming travels.

She shared her experiences in the Peace Corps with the “bushman telegraph,” and indigenous people who, without use of any modern device, could sense when a family member would be arriving in the village.

We talked about the ability of the bushmen to “fly” over landscapes and project themselves into distant locations (and the US Government’s “remote sensing” program that taught the skill). We talked about our own experiences with flight dreams and how she wished she still had them.

As our conversation drew to a close, she expressed how interesting it is to know that there is so much more going on than what she can see, and I expressed how much I enjoy finding people who are willing to talk about their experiences. We so often stop ourselves for fear of sounding “woo-woo” or being marginalized because “you just don’t talk about those things.”

Before we said our goodbyes, she told me a story about a friend of hers who she described as “mind-expanding.”

“One day we were talking about these types of things, and she said that pepole don’t talk about all of the experiences that they have. I said ‘oh you mean like the green balls,’ and she said, ‘Yes! Exactly like the green balls.'” Green balls? I had no idea what this woman was talking about. She continued, “I remembered, as a child, having experiences where it looked like everything in the world was made of green balls. When I shared this with my friend, she told me that it’s a fairly common experience for people to have when they are beginning to meditate. I had no idea. I thought it was just me.”

Bingo. I thought it was just me. Now, I’ve never seen green balls, but I have had other interesting, puzzling experiences that I’ve hesitated to share. On the way home, I talked with another friend about the conversations I’d had at the party. Her response was, “Yeah, it’s like the woman in the kitchen. When I was growing up I didn’t like walking through the house at night, because I was sure there was always a woman in the kitchen.” Yup. When I was a kid, my sister and I didn’t like going into our super-nice, finished basement, because we were sure there was always someone down there.

Almost everyone I’ve ever talked with about these kinds of things has had a similar experience, whether it’s feeling a strange presence in their house when they were growing up, or flying to remote locations in their sleep. Most people, though, didn’t just volunteer the info unless it was around a campfire or at a sleepover as a “scary story.”

So, I’m going to start talking about it – about my experiences – because I really feel that, when we hide pieces of our human experience, even the pieces we don’t understand, we invalidate little parts of ourselves. We isolate and devalue. And I’m not so into that.

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August 21, 2009   2 Comments