Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Big dump...

I hate the world. I hate people. I'm quickly losing my patience and am becoming quite intolerant.

My compassion is going. Kindness is leaving my body...and I fear, never to return again.

That's how it feels. And it scares me.

The pain has not let up. Each minute of each day it sits with me. I am a wounded animal that can no longer be taunted and teased, poked and prodded. I see myself lashing out, at least internally. It is taking an incredible amount of energy to keep my thoughts silent, to reign in the meanness.

Since last Wednesday, each therapy session has been focused on the question of "should I take a break from therapy?" Ever since going home, and having the dam of pain feels too difficult. I don't like who I am becoming because of the pain. As I told the shrink on Monday...

"if I continue, the pain will get greater. I'm really afraid that in moving down this path, my compassion will fully disappear. I don't want to be unkind. I have a job. I have friends. I still need to function in the day to day. It's difficult to live when I'm working so hard to prevent bile from spewing forth."

Bile such as:

"I hate categories and labels. I hate the black and white, man or woman way of being in the world. I hate the way that people consider themselves cutting edge and sexual perverts when they work so fucking hard to look alike and wear a goddammed uniform. What's perverse about that??? I hate the way I feel like a fucking accessory and it feels as if that's the only reason my friends keep me around. I hate feeling I'm not good enough to fit in sexually. I hate my sense of self. I hate the 'shoulds'..."Oh you should be here, I'm sorry you're not allowed." I hate that people don't know what to do with me. I hate that just because I may not fit into certain orientations doesn't mean that I don’t want to engage with specific people even if they are part of that. I hate the way most dykes I want to connect with treat me with silence because I no longer embrace "woman culture". I hate the way that I put out things, and without credit being given, people feel free to grab and claim it as their own. I hate the way I was raised. I hate my job. I hate my life. I hate my friends. I hate my painting. I hate my lack of painting. I hate that I'm a mess...and feel fat...and ugly and have lost my sense of joy and excitement. I hate that I began this journey into self-discovery and acceptance. There's not much acceptance going on right now. I hate that I get so tired so easily. I hate that I don't fit in. I hate that I also love being different and yet can't always be comfortable with that fact. I hate that people feel the need to tell me how to run my life and my art. I hate how the purity of art has been squelched by capitalism. I hate not feeling sexual, yet masturbate only for comfort. I hate my weakness. I hate feeling stuck, between a rock and a hard place. I hate that I'm scared.

I hate that I don't feel strongly enough about myself. If I did, none of the above would matter.

I hate hating.
I hate hurting.
I hate it all."

I hate it all. And it is so not pretty.

The shrink says (and I know deep down he is right) that since I've returned from my trip back east, I am dragging my feet. The quicker I jump into the rest of this pain, the quicker I move through it. Right now, I'm taking the damned bandaid off slowly. As I highlighted in my previous entry, this week's Freewill Astrology cautioned against focusing on the wall instead of the track. Or as Morford wrote...all I can see is death. It is not serving me. Yet I don't believe I have the courage to focus on the greater picture. I am consumed.

I try and try. I take the time for myself. I treat myself to films (that were amazing, by the way)...and will indulge in more. Yet nothing makes it go away. Nothing will. I can't push it. I have to continue walking through it.

I am not the poster child for heavy-duty therapy work. At this point, I believe that if you have skeletons in your closet and wonder if you should take a peek and dust them off....don't. Right now, in this moment...I can't say it's worth it.
Our Wednesday guys~

Rob Brezsny's weekly insight for Capricorns:
"Race car drivers say that if you're heading toward a wall," writes philosopher Jonathan Zap, "don't look at it. Instead, look at where you want to go." That's good advice for you in the coming week, Capricorn. It would be crazy for you to concentrate all your attention on what you don't like and don't need and don't agree with. Rather, you should briefly acknowledge the undesirable possibilities, but then turn the full force of your focus to the most interesting and fulfilling option."

Now if you aren't a Cap...go here.

Morford has wonderful words in Death Death Death Death Death.

I rarely do this, but today's excerpt from his column is found in his conclusion:

"But here's the thing: The wise ones tell us that whatever you focus on, expands. Wherever you direct you attention and wherever you put your energy and your heart and your concern, that thing will suddenly seem bigger and more important and potentially all-consuming. Is your attention excessively on death and corruption at the expense of laughter and perspective? That is your reality. Is it all about perky happy bunnies and tofu sunsets at the expense of harsher realities? This is your choice.

You cannot always choose what sort of slings and arrows the world hurls at your heart, nor should you try to avoid them all in some weeping lament at the state of it all. But no matter the blood and no matter the mayhem and no matter the hyperbole, you can always choose how you'll respond.

Do you lash out? Seek revenge? Hunker down and don your karmic armor and seethe quietly? Or do you take the opportunity for deeper personal examination? Do you see bleak tales and wonder what you can do and how you can illuminate and who you can lick in your life to contradict and counter and deflect that black energy? Maybe this is the only way."

Go back and read the whole thing.

Monday, May 29, 2006

A film and a treat.

Yesterday's screening of 3 Minute Masterpieces was wonderful. The Broadway Performance Hall was fully packed. All 11 winners were young, ranging from a 7th grader (who began his film in 5th grade, and as narrator, you even heard his voice change during the film) students from the Art Institute and Evergreen State. Each of the winning directors had the opportunity to speak before their film was screened. Very fun.

Telling a compelling story in 3 minutes or less is tough. These kids succeeded big time. I wonder, if as adults, we feel we have more to prove, and because of years, have a larger experience vocabulary that makes it more challenging to edit out the extraneous.

The films ranged from great animation, to a documentary on Tent City 4. Many were quite moving. If you go to the link, you can see at least parts of the films.

I believe that I'm absolutely captivated with young people who pursue their passion because of the lack of doing so in my own life. Whenever I see the determination and creativity of youth, it fills my heart with huge warm fuzzies companioned by pangs for my own experience. I am in awe of children who can actually do it. With therapy, I see how it doesn't take much to bruise...humans rubbing against humans. The younger one receives bruises the more impact it makes in the rest of your life. To see the achievements of youth is powerful.

Last night I discovered a new treat that is such a major indulgence I know I'm not going to do it very often. A pint of ice cream, packaged in a tin, that sells for $7. It's very creamy. What pushed me over the edge into purchasing was the flavor of this blissful moment.

It is decadence.

Speaking of decadence, I have to get ready for my day of film viewing. See you.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Films - Films - Films

Fun To Do List-

Part of my self-comforting, during this time, fits nicely with SIFF. I purchased tickets for 3 films so far. Tomorrow will be a full day. 1:30, 4:15 and 9pm. Today, I'm headed to another screening at 11 am. This one is a freebie.

Today's showing is 3 Minute Masterpieces. It'll be fun to see what people came up with.

1:30 at the Egyptian - Fly Filmmaking Challenge
This year’s Fly Filmmaking Challenge paired local directors with Pacific Northwest screenwriters to bring a combined vision to the big screen! Filmmakers selected their projects from five screenwriting finalists at the February Screenwriters Salon event, and in a last minute twist, one filmmaker opted to do a documentary, and we are pleased to premiere three narrative shorts and one documentary this year.

All four films were made “on the fly” – five days to shoot, five days to edit for a total of ten minutes of screen time – and as always we create the "flies in the ointment." A rare opportunity to see how the Fly Films evolve from pitch to premiere.

4:15 at the Harvard Exit - Sketches of Frank Gehry.
An intimate portrait of architect Frank Gehry by his longtime friend Sydney Pollack, SKETCHES traces the renowned architect’s life and creative struggles from his youth to his colossal artistic achievements, which include some of the most striking buildings of the modern era.

9 pm at the Northwest Film Forum - Jack Smith & The Destruction of Atlantis.
**I'm really looking forward to this one...
A defining influence on several generations of underground artists, performers and filmmakers, Jack Smith was an intensely charismatic, sometimes exasperating fixture of the New York art scene. This fascinating documentary explores the life and work of the inspiring artist who became the patron saint of the queer avant-garde.

I love that mostly all the SIFF venues are within a 10 minute walk of my some of my favorite theaters.

Yesterday, I wanted to screen Boy Culture, but couldn't make it. I plan on getting tickets for this documentary - Leonard Cohen, I'm Your Man. Today I'll finish going through the film schedule and making my decisions. My goal is to see at least 3 a week, for the 4 weeks of the festival.

In addition, right now, I also have plans to attend First Thursday and to catch the University of WA MFA show at the Henry Art Gallery. I know nothing about their MFA dept, the caliber of the program, the professors and the strength of the art that comes out of it. It's not that I'm seeking a further degree but I am curious.

Checking out the MFA show will also give me the opportunity to see the other exhibitions as well. It's been far too long since I've been to the Henry. The last time was for their massive Jacob Lawrence show about 7 years ago. good ways.

It seems that such immersion in viewing visual arts is my grown up version of thumb-sucking.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Some thoughts from my week away~

For the holiday, the office is closed today as well as Monday. But here I am. The quiet will provide a good environment to play catch up.

I don't know where to begin. It's still somewhat muddled because I'm in the big feeling stage.

The last time I was home was back in September. Since then, therapy had ramped up with a viciousness. Peeling away more walls, one by one. Getting to the core wound and all it entails. No more ostrich. Even if I tried, and I have, I can not shield myself any longer from the pain I couldn't feel as a wee one. Each step of the way led to a deeper sense of what I hid from...for survival.

When I went home, I felt it, in a quicksand, dark abyss sort of way. I saw myself slipping into the pain and couldn't pull myself out. With this, came the most god-awful, isolated feeling...the extreme of extremes. Every day, all I wanted to do was die and disappear with an intensity I'd never before experienced. I watched myself function, speak and engage. And...I watched myself not fit. Not in any sense of the word. No matter how hard I tried, it wasn't going to happen.

What grew from this bubbling mess was a massive sense of shame. I'm still trying to shake that one off, but it's not easy. Shame because I felt I was a bad kid. Shame because I saw myself as spoiled and selfish - I didn't know when I had a good thing going. Shame because my family is so amazing and I couldn't immerse myself in their way of being in the world and needed to disconnect. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Shame is cruel.

With these last few years of therapy, one thing I've loved is how I've slowly watched shame drop away, more and more in my daily life, but especially in the shrink's office. It had become the one place where I wasn't judged and I could breathe. I fit. No shame.

The last week has appeared to dismantle all that. In a big way. Every aspect of my life is screaming "You are bad. You don't fit. You don't deserve to be here."

I know it's temporary. When I get through the bulk of this pain, the shame will disintegrate. But right now, it's not pretty.

Throughout all I felt and struggled with while back east, I knew one thing. It was crystal clear. Everything I felt, and am still feeling, is what I felt as a kid. In sifting through a box of photos, deciding which to throw away and which to take to Seattle, I watched myself grow up. Each image in my hand brought back memories. Well, almost. The photos where I was younger than a teenager carry a blank space in my mind. I know I was there because of the photo, but I can't remember anything. From 15 years old and on, I remember.

An aside: Huh. I just realized something. Isn't it interesting that my memory appears when I really began to make a break from Catholicism. Asserting my individuality in a more powerful way, I had begun to act upon my reasoning.

Whether there was a memory or not, one thing made itself known. I'd look at the smile on my face and see myself surrounded by friends and family at different stages of my life. I thought I was happy. Now, I know because I know because I know....I was hiding. I couldn’t face the loneliness, the not fitting in, the strangeness of being alien even within one's own family.

Regardless of what was happening in the photo, each one I picked up and held rushed the pain back. It surprised me and yet, I knew it was my truth. My reality.

One odd thing I noticed. I always thought I was the ugliest child. A creature. Even growing up, I felt like a clod, a dork. In looking at all the photos, for the first time in my life, I saw how beautiful I was. It seems when my heart opened to what really was, my eyes began to open as well.

The house. I thought I had loved the home I grew up in. It's a very big, beautiful old home, made of fieldstone, sitting on almost an acre of land in Springfield. This trip home, I had no desire to ever see it again. I'm glad it's being sold. The house is filled with lies. My lies. It is crammed with my fantasies of what I needed to believe to at least feign happiness. I am glad they are finally selling it, not only for myself, but for my parents. They need something smaller. The new home is lovely and I think they will be pleased with it. The air is cleaner, quieter, calmer. It is easier to maintain and closer to my siblings. A good change for them. And a needed exorcism for me.

Anyway, my week away has been pivotal. A critically-needed cathartic experience. I've had the wind knocked out of me and am currently trying to catch my breath and regroup. I know I had to relive it. And I know that at some point, I need to let go. But right now my priority is to rest. Comfort and nurture myself.

I also know that once I get through this, I'll still get hit with old stuff the rest of my life. But I hope that maybe I'll have the needed skills to deal with it in a more gracious way. And...I hope beyond hope that this is the worse of it...that my finger has touched the blackest part and I won't be so plagued in the future.

One fascinating and now that I really look at it, very important development. In spite of the pain, I would still carry my small sketchbook and periodically let my hand move over the pages. It's a big thing for me. If you remember, a couple weeks ago, for the first time in my life, I leaned into my art for comfort while in pain. But it did surprise me that as the anguish increased to an almost unbearable state, I didn't run from my self, yet ran to me.

It is drawing, not painting. But it's all about one step before the next, right?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

After a 12 hour work day, all I have the energy for is link sharing. Thanks to Malixe, here is a twisted and priceless rendition of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" performed by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
Busy time. Back at work. Lots to write about. It will happen when I have a moment plus.

In the nice amongst yourselves. ;-)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wow. I can't believe it. It's 5am and I'm sitting at Bradley airport waiting for my flight to Dulles, and then on to Seattle. The wireless is free, but they are blocking sites! For example, I can't access some of the LJ pages. Nor can I access Mark Morford's column. On the SFGate page, I can open up other columnists' archive pages, but not Morford. Bradley International Airport must consider him too obscene.

Dontcha love our country?

Well, until I can bring it to you...correction...I just tried something else. Although access is restricted many other ways, I can pull up the page from my email. are our Wednesday guys.

First, Rob Brezsny's FreeWill Astrology.
Now Morford spouts off about WalMart.

I detest WalMart. I don't care if they added sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination policy a few years back (it was very cheap good pr for them) or gave millions of dollars in assistance to Katrina victims, or sponsored scholarships, etc. They are a voracious machine. I'd much rather see them give employees a fair wage and health benefits. Take care of your own, first.

Well it seems that WalMart is going green. I read Morford's column and I'm like...whatever. That's nice. It's better than not. But would you like to know my other big sticking point with WalMart? The loss of independent businesses. The corporate, takeover mentality that is flowing over our world to blanket us in sameness. It's a way to line the pockets of a chosen powerful few. The whole thing creeps me out. Loss of individuality.

Check out Can You Still Hate Wal-Mart?

I give a resounding YES.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I have a few quiet moments before I sort through some old paintings and supplies. With my parents moving, I want to sift through my things and see what gets thrown out, kept, and possibly shipped out to Seattle.

One highlight (with a tad of braggin')

Last night I had the opportunity to hear my niece sing again...this time with a small jazz group which consisted of drums, tenor sax, trumpet, bass, guitar and her voice. Even though she just put out a second cd...last night's music wowed me. Her voice amazes me. It continues to grow, deepen and...inspire.

She and I had the opportunity to talk afterward, and although she's only 17, I sense a very big and wise person in that 5'3" frame.

She was speaking of art and the corporate world, and I'd listen and smile. Her thoughts are identical to mine. She is pushing herself to learn more and more because as she said, "I don't want to do the celebrity thing now, I have so much I still want to learn. I'm not ready for it. I know I could do pop, market myself and make loads of money right now. But that's not music for me. It would be business."

In regards to Starbucks sponsoring musicians, she commented "what does a corporation know about art?"

She then spoke of jazz and how she could see herself living in Europe because they appreciate jazz more than Americans. "Americans don't seem to like music that makes them think. Also, I want to dig in and explore the raw and gritty quality to music. That's where the heart of music is."

I laughed when I heard that. She and I are definitely the same blood.

This year she was striving to learn how to scat. She'd study and practice...intensely. Her mentor said "just listen to the instruments. With all the work you've done, now just listen. One day, it will click and flow out of your mouth."

It seems that day arrived last week. In the middle of a performance, she was able to naturally scat. Afterward, she ran up to my sisters in absolute jublilation, crying "I have fabulous news!!!"

My sisters assumed she had been signed to a music deal. But my niece continued "I did it, I did it!!!! I was finally able to scat!!" There is an artist, for you.

I am in awe of her. She has the support and determination to work and pursue her passion at such a young age. She has the grace and strength to persevere. She's not afraid of who she is. Within that, yes, I see who I could have been and can still be. Even though I am 30 years her elder, she is my inspiration.

Well, this has been and still is (seeing I don't hop a plane until tomorrow morning) the most painful heart-wrenching trip home I've ever had. I'm sure that the extremeness is because of where I've been delving in therapy. Yet right now, understanding that doesn't help. Instead, I feel like the worse kid in the world.

My heart hurts in the most indescribeable fashion. I see how my parents love me, and all I feel is intensely smothered. Every once in a while I need to physically separate myself for a few minutes so I can breathe.

My time at Easton was interesting because I was in such a vulnerable position. I unintentionally shared that with some of the men. They were all good and loving, and yet, I felt shame because I am feeling so broken...fragile, and they hadn't seen that before.

While at my parents' home, I've been going through the paintings I left here. It seems I've lost at least 4 framed paintings. Some of my favorites. One I planned on taking home because it was going to be a gift for a certain therapist.

They are gone.

Did I sell them?
Did I bring them back west already and maybe they were lost somewhere?

I haven't a clue.'s fine. Either they'll show up or they won't.

There has been a powerful discussion with my parents, but I'm not up to writing about it at this moment. It began with the topic of The DaVinci Code. Mind you, my parents are deeply, devoutly, will die for their blind-faith religion, Catholics. I had almost finished the book, because I wanted to read it before seeing the movie, but while in NY with AE, we ended up at the movie on Sunday.

A few parts of the film & book, (none of which surprised me because I've had similar theories for years now) in contrast to my father's words...haunt me. I can't believe that my dad believes what he does. He made a comment about how Catholics have been so vulnerable and were the persecuted ones who have lasted all these thousands of years. My jaw dropped...and I attempted to contest that notion. I brought up the Crusades, and the Inquisition. He saw it as a small blip...and poo-pooed it away. The man was passionately serious. I'm still floored.

History is a funny thing. We see what we want and therefore believe what we need.

I keep attempting to remain present. I am consciously trying to remain open to any magical moments that may appear. Yet, all that comes through is pain...and then guilt for feeling I can't appreciate my parents enough.

Yesterday, my sisters, mom and I took off and went to the butterfly museum in Deerfield, MA. A pleasant ride up 5, seeing landscape that I love. We had stopped in Northampton to eat lunch before spending the afternoon surrounded by loads of happy butterflies.

I could enjoy it...and yet...have no idea how I was brought into this family. The sad heart would not cease. They all connect and share a similar life view. They appreciate the same things and speak the same language. It is such a very small picture of our world...and yet, they are content. I'm glad for that. But I don't know how to speak to them.

It's all strange. And I so cannot wait to get back to Seattle tomorrow. My week has been filled with massive headaches and severe insomnia. Think my body is trying to tell me something?

Yeah, me too.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It's morning. Cool and cloudy.
I'm still dealing with massive insomnia, so please forgive the choppiness of my words. I never get insomnia. The shrink. I'll blame it on the shrink.

Maybe my shoes will dry out today, after sloshing around in wet mud yesterday.

Something very sweet happened yesterday morning...with my mom. Not only was mom a painter, but one of her brothers was as well. His vacations centered around painting. He had a wife and two girls. He'd introduce them to museums. Mom mentioned that to this day, the girls fondest memories were when their dad would take them to see artwork.

Last September, for the first time in a long time, I saw my aunt and one of the girls. A wedding had called everyone together. During that weekend, my aunt had a chance to see my portfolio, which was on my laptop. I ran her through the slideshow. Afterwards, she remained silent. A few minutes later, she said, softly, "he would have been so proud of you."

Mom and I were speaking about that yesterday morning. Then she said, "you know, you are just like him."
I looked at her. I barely knew my uncle....except for the fact he was good, kind and a painter.

Mom continued with "every time I think of him, 'blessed are the peacemakers' comes to mind. I think that of you as well. He lived, breathed and slept painting. He was a philosopher, a thinker, a reader. He was not into religion. He found himself, in Montreal, between two camps of people. The French and the English. Although French, he embraced the other side as well and spend much energy trying to get them to understand each other. He was passionate about nature. He could taste the air and immerse himself in the colors found outdoors. Just like you."

My uncle died just before his first big solo show in Montreal.

I then asked my mother (because I couldn't remember), "Mom, what year did he die?"

Huh. That is the first year I decided to go to school for painting.

Maybe it doesn't mean anything. Or maybe, I was carrying part of his spirit...and it was time for me to pick up the torch.


It was an interesting conversation to have with mom for a few reasons. All of my painting stuff is centered around my parents. This is another example that goes to show sometimes things are not black or white...but instead a multitude of greys.

It's nice to see how I'm more supported now, with my painting. And at the same time, it almost makes it more difficult to reconcile my past. I still need to allow myself to get really angry at the appropriate people for when I was little. Whenever the shrink brings it up, I cut him off and change the subject, clearly stating "we aren't talking about it." Tough stuff.

Why is it easier to demonize one's father than it is to get angry at your mother? For me, anyway. Over the last few months, I began to see that all I was blaming my father for actually came from my mother. Somehow, I created a reality where I switched their characteristics. The things we do for self-protection..crazy, yet impressive.

I know that I can carry love and hate for the same object or person. I am fully aware that if I state I hate, it means I hate what they did to me...and yet still love all the good. Yet...yet...I am not prepared...even after all this goddammed work and time, I am still not ready to tap into that anger, hurt and pain from when I was a baby.

I keep the anger at bay.

Although I'm beginning to slowly reach out for what is home, my root, until I can look at, immerse myself in, forgive and let go, will I ever really paint?

A very wise person (although he may balk at that title, but he was at least definitely wise in that moment) once told me "Don't restage your castration."

In not painting, I am doing that very thing. I am following the example set by my parents from when I was an infant. Somehow, the message I received was that, in being "too much" I wasn't good enough, and therefore surgery was required.

I'm speaking figuratively.

Until I can acknowledge that I am not "too much", I am not only good enough but more than good enough, how can I really pick up painting again?

That statement, "don't restage your castration" has haunted me for the last six weeks.

Messages we receive when young are powerful. The younger we are when we receive them, the more potent and potentially poisonous.

On one hand, I can see my future and my potential now. I see it in a way I've never seen it before. I can almost taste it. And then...I look at the divide. The chasm is great. At times, vast.

Bloody sigh...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Dark time...

It's after 8:30 pm and I notice it is night. Yes, it gets dark here earlier than at least an this time of year.

Anyway, dinner is done...the kitchen is clean...and I headed up to AE's little cabin in the woods. The oil lamps were lit, there was a fire going, and he was cozily settled into his comfy chair. I plopped down across the room from him.

We sat and basked in each other's presence. After a little bit I began to ramble. I spoke of the craziness of therapy...and rambled on about how recently, mostly all I called home had disappeared. One at a time. In disbelief and full awareness I watched it all slip away. It has been a month of goodbyes. I went off on how I'm nuts to trust my shrink because well...normal folks don't do this kind of work. The only thing I have to rely on right now is my therapist reminding me that he's done the same work. And few understand. And it is the most painful thing he's ever done. And sometimes he didn't know how he'd get through it. And it would take years. And yes, it IS worth it.

So he says.

What the fuck am I doing trusting this guy? I know I've written about it before, and maybe you're tired of hearing it, but I don't care. You don't have to read. I am crazy for doing this. Why should I trust him? There isn't anything under my feet. My known world is disappearing. Nuts I tell you. Nuts.

How do I explain to folks what I did last weekend? Or on my sabbatical? What neat, tidy, clean, not too much information kind of answer can I give them? Maybe I should simply hand out the url for my blog and say, "go here, read all about it."

While sitting in AE's little cabin in the woods, I rambled and cried. Within that, I could feel the weight of the last few months begin to fall away. He sat, calmly, quietly and listened. He told me he loved me...and was glad I was here. His demeanor filled my insides.

Before the light disappeared I left the woods and made my way to the lodge, where I can sit and write. In a bit, I'll grab a flashlight and make my way to my own little cabin...and hopefully...sleep. Right now...the only noise I hear is the cricket chorus outside. Very lovely.
I'm here.
At Easton, that is.

It never fails. As soon as I hop in the car and head west on I-90...I can feel everything drop away and begin to feel this amazing warmth. It's the sign I'm going get coddled and loved. Quiet. Openness. Acceptance.

I fill up so much that tears sit on the inside of my cheeks the whole drive over. Today, it was even more extreme because my sister handed me my niece's second CD, and so I had the jazz cranked for the whole drive. Between the feeling I get from coming to Easton, and the buttery richness of Sarah's voice combined with the other musicians...I basked all the way to the Mountain.

It seems when I am the most tired, the most spent, the most wounded...when I think I can't handle one more thing, one more letting go, one more disappointment...I receive such a weekend as this one.

It's a good thing. It is needed...desired, wanted and cherished.
Good morning.

Although with 2 nights of insomnia, the nights have been a little rough.

I hoped to write yesterday, but it's a little tough when you have people speaking at you from 8 am until after 11 pm. Nonstop. Incessant. Mindless. Chatter.


I come from a family that loves to hear the sound of their own voices.

Here's a quickie for today.

Google Trends is fueling Morford's latest piece. Guess which American city googles the most for "sex"? Check out today's column, Elmhurt, IL Loves Gay Porn.

Enjoy, talk with you soon and have a good or...skillful day.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Good morning.

Parts of me are still cranky inside but it's bright and sunny out. It's Wednesday!
Here in Seattle we are approaching our 16 hour daylight season. The sun was up at 5:30 when I woke, and it gets dark now about 9:30 at night. That's summer in Seattle for you.

In his column today, Mark Morford lists 9 things to be happy about. Fun little list.

Cattle dung. For the Capricorn, Brezsny speaks of cattle dung in this week's Freewill Astrology. That man is odd. Guess it's why I like him.
"Tis the season!

The Seattle International Film Festival opens the night after I return from the east coast. This is VERY good. I love SIFF Season!
Late night touchup~

I've been in a vile mood for quite a while. Sometimes I can hide it for a bit, but it's still underneath...bubbling.

Today has ended my second 12 hour work day. After work tonight, it was a couple loads of laundry, packing and cleaning the house. I detest coming home after a trip away, to a cluttered house. I may not bother vacuuming, but I need to at least pick up, do the dishes, empty the trash, make the, la, la.

After work, all I wanted to do tonight was grab a drink and relax in the sun. Somehow, after the laundry and cleaning, I did find a couple hours to get together with for drinks and munchies. We ended up at Coastal Kitchen just a block from my home and indulged in killer calamari and crab cakes, and topped it off with a to die for passionfruit/raspberry gelato and a rum something chocolate flan. The food was surrounded by tequila.

Now, I'm home again, just finished packing and touching up my list.

I will bring the laptop. Whatcha think....maybe I'll have time to write?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A few thoughts~

Tomorrow morning, I'm on a flight back east. Well, that is after going into work for 6 am, running to my shrink appointment for 9am, then ship off the painting right after, and then run home because my airport ride will be picking me up at 11am. I arrive in Hartford at midnight. Yeah, it's going to be a very long day.

It's time in western MA with blood family, separated by an overdue weekend at Easton.

This is not a good time for me to take extended time off from work. April - June (due to size of workload) is the busiest time of year for me, with November - end of January being the next (in terms of complexity of work). But, I have to get home.


The painting is hanging in my office since yesterday. I needed to spend a few days with it, to say goodbye. Two of my coworkers totally fell in love with it, one wishing he had purchased it himself. He already owns one of my pieces. Another coworker walked in and said "You did THAT?" Probably unintentional, but it came across as if it was better than he expected (even though he's seen all my work). Weird.


I saw Art School Confidential on Sunday. What a twisted, fucker of a movie. I left the theater feeling very unsettled and not sure if it's because of the movie or because too much within hit too close to home. All the goddammed messages and opinions and pronouncements I've heard my whole life, regarding art, played itself back in that movie - especially the crappy art world stuff...and the well-meaning but ignorant advice given by people who, unless you are an artist, really do not have a clue.

It struck me that our society's work ethic and idea of success is really at odds with what being an artist is. Yet we try and try to fit in our world's view and come out feeling dis-eased...beating ourselves up when we aren't "working".

"I must be blocked because I can't paint."
"I'm not living up to my potential because I don't want to go commercial."

A month or so ago, I read (in the NYTimes, I think) an article about how art dealers and collectors were hounding graduate shows, seeking the next greatest thing. Perverse. Absolutely perverse.

The idea of marketing an artist is obscene. If an artist wants to market himself, that is fine. But others, who are NOT artist, in the sense of intimately working, living and breathing this life, have absolutely no business judging. They really do not understand. They are applying a cold business, capitalistic model to something that really is organic, fluid, intuitive and quite spiritual.

I'm over it.

Do I want to sell? Sure…if it happens. But do I want to live under the pressure and stress trying to squeeze into something that doesn't want to be captured on the next balance sheet because that is the majority's idea of a successful career?


The vultures need to step away.

It's interesting. The paintings I have sold, have gone to people who couldn't live without them. Something in the art spoke to something in the person. That's all I want. A exchange of energy.

Yeah, I'm probably being idealistic and simplistic. Right now, I don't care. But I believe I do not have to sell my soul to live the life I want.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Remember when I showed you this painting?

The piece is 12x16. Small.

I just picked it up from the frame shop yesterday...and...oh my!
Although I was quite pleased with the painting it's all dressed up and has a place to go. The total effect is...well...breathtaking. Last night, I went out to dinner with 7 good friends. I brought the painting and unveiled it before dessert. Just had to share my excitement.

On Wednesday, it gets shipped out to a wonderful new home.

And now, I'm off to the movies - Art School Confidential. While watching the previews last week, there were a few scenes that did remind me of my BFA days. We'll see...

I've dug up my old littlest sketchbook (3x5) to carry in my pocket.

This morning it took me over 2 hours to get out of bed. The heart pain was almost unbearable. In feeling it, I wondered what to do with it, how to move past it, and how to not get stuck in it. Then it dawned on me that I need to surrender to it. Immerse myself. In doing so, I can, maybe, hopefully, begin to accept and stop fighting the reality of my past.

What is different this time, this that when it gets really bad, I am reaching out for anything (even cheesy) that has to do with a part of me that no one can take away - the art. I've spent my whole life putting it in the closet when things get rough. Now I see that in the storm, I need to draw it close to me...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

It seems as if I'm gearing up to paint again.

While commenting to a friend, I noted that the times I faithfully hit galleries and view the work of others is when I'm actively working myself.

This morning is our scholarship awards breakfast. We are awarding over $170,000 to glbt and allied students. Yeah! I need to leave in a few minutes because I'm helping to check folks in.

When I woke, I decided that on the way home I was going to stop into Utrecht and pick up a new drawing book. I have not purchased or stepped into an art supply place in a long time.

The new artist that I discovered last night is beginning to haunt me. I'm going to do some research and in addition, really study her work. Part of the fascination is the technique. It's graphite. And it's giving me the idea that I can paint with graphite...which IS something I could do in my apartment. (Yes, don't even go there. I know it's another 'duh' moment.) Maybe I'll restock my supply of woodless pencils while at Utrecht.

I guess this means that my shrink was right.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Art Day.

Although in a foul and painful place since I opened my eyes, I did get out of the house to see some artwork. I dragged the friend who attended the open drawing studio with me. You see, today I had blocked off time to see a show at Wall Space, a friend's gallery. The gallery owner was also another juror at this year's SEAF. She had given me a head's up about this show because she had a sneaking suspicion I'd enjoy the work. She was right. Click on "artists" and look for Mark Vercammen. I also found more samples of his work here. You need to see the work in person. Lovely photography. Definitely has a classical feel.

Check out another one of his images, Corey, image n. 2.

Afterward, while in Pioneer Square, my friend and I hit a few other galleries. Very little good stuff. Mostly it was...whatever. But I know peeking in periodically is important. And other than popping into the Frye and the SAM somewhat regularly, I haven't really stepped into the Seattle galleries in much too many years. Actually, it was the last time I did some intense figure drawing, back in 2000.

The next gallery we went to was the Catherine Person Gallery where I discovered Linda Davidson. Although my favorite isn't here, this is another that was hanging.

While cruising the Person Gallery website, I found an artist whose work I'm very curious about and want to see in person. Teresa Schmidt. Look at these. They seriously get me off. I am in love.

Speaking of loving work, I still want to write about the paintings I saw in NYC that captivated me...but although I really thought I was ready, I've yet to even begin jotting words. Maybe I need more quiet before doing it and right now, life is anything but.

One day.
...or the lack of.

Morford's column today is fabulous. Fabulous because he touches upon something near and dear to my heart. Sex. My activism, my whole life philosophy, is all about sex. Each day, over and over again, so many times a day, I see our culture's views on sex and how its repression and regulation actually harm the human spirit.

Our society is filled with an ever-growing list of "thou shalt not's" and absolutely nothing affirming or redemptive. Instead of flooding our world with ways to let go of shame and create self-worth, playing the fire and brimstone card leads to more depression, anger and physical, mental, emotional and therefore spiritual starvation. In addition, what develops is an increase in the problems we want to diminish. We are doing it backwards!

In doing so, we have become superficial beyond belief. It makes me sick. It has also infiltrated all our communities, even sub-cultures that are supposedly sex-positive. I see discussions on the right way to have sex or s/m, or continued conversations which declare what sex is not, what is a "true" gay or lesbian, the "right" way to be a man or woman, or butch or femme, or how one can't be sexy if they don't do X or, or, or....

I read far too many articles, entries and questions filled with angst from people who desire to be and feel sexy and believe in, because we assist in perpetuating the false idea that an exterior method or object is the path to ecstatic bliss and delicious lustiness.

This all hurts my heart something fierce.

Pushing a button for me?
You bet.

Sex in all its forms is not the enemy.
Our fear of intimacy with self is. That is the greatest obscenity.

So, what does this have to do with today's column by Mark Morford? He writes about the myth of the virgin. In addition, he has introduced me to the scary reality of "Purity Balls", an idea that squicks me out more than slimy crawly insects.

From his column:

"Let's just say it outright: The superiority of virginity myth, it is a massive, underreported disaster. It is a ridiculous and exhausting misconception that must be eradicated like a cancer. Perhaps French philosopher Voltaire said it best, nearly 300 years ago: "It is one of the great superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue." So true.

Which is another way of asking, Don't we have it exactly backward? Shouldn't one's overall happiness -- physical, marital or otherwise -- be directly equated with exceptional amounts of sexual training and education and awareness? Is such positively libidinous education not a recipe for health and well-being and long-term marital satisfaction? You already know the answer.

Look, the plague of sexual incompetence plagues our land like a plague. It infects our schools, our popular culture, our presidential administration. The right endorses wanton sexual stupidity (and all ensuing miseries, drug addictions, divorces, stresses, gun fetishes, online porn obsessions) through failed abstinence programs, STD misinformation, refusal to support quality birth control and the relentless repetition of lies about sin and depravity and a shocking ignorance of the transformative spiritual power of sex. Purity Balls? Nothing but a sad celebration of that exact ignorance.".

Right now I'm cynical and furious. Within this storm, I am trying to find my center. I desire to move forward in strength and grace and refuse to allow the bigness of our society's problems to overshadow who I am...but it's tough.

Today is a hard day.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A treat~

My coworker, not the cutie-tofutti one but the musician one, was thrilled that I'd be attending a life drawing session last night and start chipping away at this iceberg. He and I have had long talks about creative struggles and paralysis brought on by old childhood wounds.

Today, to reward me, he walked in with a vhs tape and threw it on my desk.
The man had taped "America's Next Top Model" for me because he knew I'd miss it by drawing.

Yes, it's one of my not so guilty pleasures.

He loves me.
Well I went.

To the open studio, that is.
I drew. And I drew.
And I drew some more.

After almost 2 hours, I was exhausted. Not physically, but emotionally.

I wasn't worried about creating something good. That's not what this is about.
It's about touching…and embracing…


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This won't mean anything unless you've been keeping up with my journal.

Guess where I'm headed?
Open studio life drawing workshop.

How nervous am I?
HUGE. (I can feel the anxiety bubbling up the closer the time gets).

Do you feel anything else?
Oddly, incredibly lonely.
My heart hurts.

Does the shrink know?
Nope. He's gone for a week. But I may be emailing him.

Will it be okay?
It will.
I mean, it's got to, right?

Are you gonna tell us more about this?
Yeah. I promise. And I still have other entries to post as well. It's just been intense month...or two.
Morford's column is up -
Bring On The $6 Gallon Of Gas

He begins with:

"No wait, not six. To hell with that. Make it 10. Ten bucks a gallon, no matter what the going rate for a barrel of light sweet crude. That would so completely, violently, brilliantly do it. Revolutionize the country. Firebomb our pungent stasis. Change everything. Don't you agree?

Here's what we could do: Give gas discounts to cab drivers (at least initially) and metro transit systems and low-income folks, those who have to drive their busted-up '78 Honda Civics to their jobs scrubbing restaurant toilets and flipping burgers and vacuuming the residual cocaine from the seat cushions of numb SUV owners. Everyone else, 10 bucks a gallon, across the board. Eleven for premium.

It would take some finessing. Maybe also give a price break to some truckers and trucking companies (so vital to the overall economy), but not so much to global delivery companies (FedEx, DSL et al.), because not doing so would force them to raise shipping rates and force you (and me) to reconsider buying everything online and hence will encourage you to shop locally once again, thus reviving a stagnant local economy."
No Morford yet, but here is Rob Brezsny's Freewill Astrology for this week.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Gimme it!

One of my coworkers is evil. Evil, I tell you.
Just like a dealer, he's gotten me hooked.

"Oh Gaggie, you gotta try it. It's sooo gooood."

"C'mon, just have one. You won't regret it."

"Look, I know you want it."

One last Thursday and another today. It didn't take long.
On top of it, I had my doubts. Serious doubts. You see, if I am going to indulge, I want the real thing.

But I'm sold.
In spite of all the sugar...I'm hooked.

Gimme another one of...

.... these.
I always forget how crushed out I am on Leonard Cohen until I hear...

...something like this:

"By the rivers dark,
In a wounded dawn,
I live my life
In Babylon.

Though I take my song
From a withered limb,
Both song and tree,
They sing for him.

Be the truth unsaid
And the blessing gone,
If I forget
My Babylon.

I did not know
And I could not see
Who was waiting there,
Who was hunting me.

By the rivers dark,
Where it all goes on;
By the rivers dark
In Babylon."

- from By The Rivers Dark, Leonard Cohen

Monday, May 08, 2006

I've been anxious about certain conversations I know I need to have. A big part of me is living with a feeling of foreboding.

This morning, I read something that made so much sense...probably because right now, I am in a place to hear it.

Putting On Socks.

I need to return to the ordinary act of being. The following was in an email I receive every day. Most of the time, if they feel too convoluted or woowoo, I'll delete them. But the simplicity in this one charms me.

In living, doing what I need to do in each moment, putting my concentration in the present instead of what may be or not be...I'll get through it. On top of it, I'll not miss any potential pleasure that's right in front of me because I'm so focused on something else.

Yes, it feels like such a "duh" insight. It's the simplest and yet the easiest to forget.

Putting On Socks

"When you live with this awareness, there's no fretting about making this or that happen or go away. Take, for example, sitting up in bed in the morning, putting on socks, and applying the same awareness to putting on socks as you give to following your breath on your [meditation] cushion. There's just your arm moving, the feel of the sock pulling up over your foot, the arch of your neck as you bend over. Thinking of nothing at all, putting every bit of yourself into simply pulling on that sock. Suddenly the world opens up. There's an enormous rush of joy for no reason at all. Everything outside you and inside you is swallowed up by that sock going over your toes. It all happens so fast, you can't even say how long the moment lasts. There's not even any sense of you pulling on the sock. It could just as easily be the sock pulling you on. You and your sock and your foot and your elbow and your neck have somehow all vanished into the act itself. It's not that you physically disappear or go into some altered state; it's just that you've dropped into the pure joy of closing the gap between yourself and the moment of pulling on your sock."

--Manfred B. Steger and Perle Besserman, from 365 Nirvana, Here and Now by Josh Baran

By the way, Kinky Boots is a good, tender movie that is lots of fun.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

It's been one helluva month.

Everything has ramped up. Each week unfolds with a new opportunity to push myself even more than in the past. I still have a few more challenges that I need to go through in the next few weeks. Not that the work ends after that, but these are specific instances I am mentally and emotionally prepping for. What I find interesting is, every challenge touches a different aspect of what I perceive as home. There is no coincidence that this is all coming up at the same time.

Each step carries the big question of "what is the cost and am I willing to pay it?"

And now that I think of it, this is all working to the big truth that home is really in me. I can't attach the sense of home to an environment or a person such as lover or even blood-family. Exterior realities do offer an oasis, albeit temporary. They are fluid. I must realize my own home that resides nowhere else but deep within.

Discovering and uncovering a voice once smothered into silence is never easy.
Painful and heart-breaking, but necessary.

One biggie coming up is another, yes another type of coming out with my family. Coming out as gay was one thing. This one, for my family, is going to be tougher. I am acutely aware that I won't be able to paint again until I exorcise some ghosts - old dusty cobwebby-covered ghosts that wielded the knives of castration. The act of this particular coming out will free me to pick up the brush again. Honestly, I'm terrified.

I have all the words. Each morning, for the last week, upon waking, it is there. It sits quietly behind my eyes and waits for me to rise and play the scene...a clear vision. I see and taste the calmness I exude while sharing more of myself with my family. At the same time, the idea carries much anxiety because I know I have to be prepared for possible loss.

Yesterday, I did nothing. Well almost nothing. Remember the painting I sold? Framing was yesterday's priority. I found a glorious frame that not only does not diminish or confine the painting but adds to it because of the shape of the moulding. It will be nice to see the final product. I can't wait. From there it gets shipped it off to NYC.

Today, I need a matinee. Something light-hearted and not dramatic. Something simple. Something that offers no provocation, no mental meat. I emailed my Seattle crew and asked them if they'd like to join me for a screening of Kinky Boots.

It's a day of self care.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I have made a decision.

For a few reasons, I will not attend tomorrow night's protest at Cafe Septieme. In reading an update in The Stranger's blog, there were a couple items that began to nag at me.

The first one I'll mention comes from the end of the piece. I have yet to find out who is responsible for organizing the protest. I spent part of the afternoon trying to find out, and couldn't. This is Capitol Hill. There is always some sort of protest going on. On top of it, what are they really protesting? That was unsettling. When I called Vance, the fired manager, he had heard about it, but didn't know either. Big red flag.

The most important reason is because in reading the entry, it seemed to me that Victor Santiago was taking or beginning to take responsibility for what happened. If so, that's a step forward and I do not want to be a part of creating greater divide in a situation that may have the seeds of possible healing.

I cannot be party to damage or anger for its own sake.

It's been a big and difficult week filled with change. Something good can always come out of change and chaos, but I need to make mindful, compassionate choices. Contacting the papers was one choice. Stepping back now is another.

Peace to all involved.
From my email:

Seattle folks!

Septieme Picket on Saturday

Posted by ERICA C. BARNETT at 01:44 PM

This Saturday, between 6 and 9 pm, picketers will meet at Cafe Septieme on Broadway to protest the firing of former cafe manager Vance Wolfe earlier this week. As the Stranger first reported, Septieme owner Victor Santiago fired Wolfe because Wolfe gave employees Monday off to participate in a massive immigration rally that afternoon. Many of Septieme’s employees are, like Santiago, Latino, and most of the staff participated in the rally.

Yesterday, I went by Septieme and talked to employees there. The restaurant, ordinarily bustling at 9:30 on weeknights, was almost empty, and a waiter told me many of the regulars had not been coming in. (Santiago had also removed the stack of Strangers that ordinarily sits inside the door.) It’s unfortunate that the waiters will suffer because of their employer’s decision, but I think staying away for at least a couple of weeks sends a clear message: neighborhood restaurants like Septieme live and die on the loyalty of their regulars. If Septieme loses the loyal customers Santiago inherited from former owner Kurt Timmermaster, Santiago’s bottom line is going to take a major hit.
Here again is the sensitive Seattle PI article written by John Iwasaki

For a history of Cafe Septieme, this is the link to a good and interesting article written by Dan Savage back in 2004. It gives a good sense of the spirit of Septieme which assisted in creating customer loyalty.
You know it's been a challenging day when...

You began the work day getting a paper cut in the same exact spot as yesterday's papercut, reopening the wound...bigger and deeper. That was a first. A painful first.

You end the day walking toward the mechanic's to pick up your car. There's your car parked in the lot...with the left rear bumper literally kissing the sign pole, leaving a nice dent. When I walked in and mentioned it to the guy behind the counter, he was not amused, began questioning the guys and then immediately took the appropriate steps to rectify the situation.

The mechanic immediately sent me to the autobody shop which happened to be across the street from the bank that I needed to make a deposit at for work. And my bumper had some nasty scrapes already in addition to the fresh dent. So in a few weeks I'll have a new bumper. $700 of work for free!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A few days ago, a new reader emailed me. He was googling for Jackie Greene, stumbled upon my blog, and shared some of his wealth with me.

This morning, I've been listening to the playlist on the Stream Jackie Greene link that was sent. Good stuff. I'm most partial to his bluesy/live pieces. Also, "Hollywood" is one of my favorites. The first time I heard it was a few weeks back, when Jackie performed it at the Triple Door.

And, now I'm learning about radio blogs. Thank you Ryan!
Something a little lighter for now~

I give you One Red Paperclip.

From the website:

"My name is Kyle MacDonald and I am trying to trade one red paperclip for a house. I started with one red paperclip on July 12th, 2005 and I am making a series of trades for bigger or better things. My current item up for trade is one afternoon with Alice Cooper."

What a wonderful idea!
Check out his blog to see the progression of his trading.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Well, it appears my little match seems to have lit a big fire. For a while anyway. Who knows what will happen?

Auxugen called me on his way home because he noticed a news truck in front of Café Septieme.

It was Kiro TV, one of our major local stations. I turned on the tube and happened to catch the piece. From there, I called Vance to check in with him and see how he was dealing with it all. He informed me that Fox News had also done a segment. In addition he spent all day being interviewed by different radio stations, and even an ABC affiliate back east picked up the story. He had also been contacted by a few labor organizers.


Honestly, I'm still hurting about the whole thing. The last two nights have found me awake at 3:30, not being able to return to sleep. I worry about the remaining waitstaff and other employees. I worry about the fate of the restaurant. And I can't imagine not having Septieme in my life. Yesterday, according to the news and a few folks I spoke with, the restaurant remained pretty empty.

Some choices are just not easy choices.

In yesterday's PI article, the owner was quoted:
"I'm Latino. I'm Hispanic," Santiago said. "Of course I support everything that's going on (with the demonstration). But I'm a businessman. In a way, I'm in the middle."

I understand that. I do. He made his choice to not choose. I've done the same in the past and sure I will again.
And then...there are times where you must choose.
It's rarely pretty, but necessary.


The future is one big question mark.

By the way, I do want to share my impressions of Monday's march with you but need to have a few minutes to actually get my thoughts out. I'm still processing the personal impact it made on me. It was the most powerful thing I've ever experienced.

So, now on to our Wednesday regulars....

Rob Brezsny's Freewill Astrology

For Caps, including me...
Your meditation for the week comes from playwright Bertolt Brecht. "Art is not a mirror held up to reality," he said, "but a hammer with which to shape it." This is an excellent idea to keep in mind even if you're not a writer, painter, dancer, filmmaker, actor, or musician. What it means is that you now have the duty and opportunity to fully unleash the creator in you. Don't be satisfied with the world the way it is; don't sit back and complain about the dead weight of the mediocre status quo. Instead, stir up your curiosity and charisma and expressiveness and lust for life. Then rebuild everything you see so that it's in greater harmony with the laws of love.

Guess I began using this hammer on Monday.

Today, in My Life Above Pottery Barn Mark Morford writes:

They have done it. They have actually managed to seamlessly fuse life with commerce, eliminate the line separating home and shop, individual and commodity. You no longer live miles down the road from Restoration Hardware. You live above it. You no longer leave your home nestled in your cozy quirky neighborhood to go to the park or go to yoga or go to Pottery Barn to pick up some flatware. You walk out your front door and you are already in the store.

It is the final collapsing of the two tenuous American identities: discrete individual and mass consumer. Why gaze out your window at a raw city view or a tranquil nature view or even just the scarred brick wall of the funky old 1922 apartment building across the street? Better to open the window and breathe deep the inky scent of raw American cash flow, stare down at people spending their paychecks at Cole Haan and Best Buy and Sunglass Hut. Nirvana!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Yesterday morning, in regards to the fired Septieme manager, I had an idea mulling around in my head. It's something I've never done before and very much desired to check it out with someone else. Good thing I had a therapy appointment scheduled. I needed to know if I was coloring the facts I knew by being overly emotional. The Café is my home. It's my home because it was the staff that created the environment.

After speaking at length with the shrink…which included my playing devil's advocate because he not only supported what I was going to do, but strongly encouraged it, I even resorted to asking the final question. "What would Ghandi do?" Actually, it was "would Ghandi do this?" He came back with a resounding "Yes!"

So upon my return to work I contacted the Seattle PI, the Seattle Weekly, Seattle Times and The Stranger with the Septieme story.

John from the PI and Erica from The Stranger contacted me. With Vance's (the fired manager) verbal permission, I gave them his cell number.

Both reporters were good to talk to. At one point, Erica asked me if she could quote me on something I just said, and I responded "No." I continued with, "I'm rushing, a tad frazzled and have to head out to the march. But I've blogged about it. Here's the url and seeing it is public, feel free to pull from there." She did honor that.

Here are links to the articles.

The Stranger has a blog, called "the slog". Erica, the writer, put it in there…with an update.

(for some weird reason, the links choose not to work at will, so just in case, I've enclosed the url for each)

First slog entry.

Then the update.

And here is the Seattle PI article.

When I returned from the march, Vance had left me another message…thanking me again for taking the initiative.

This is definitely a first for me.
I'm filled with so many conflicting emotions.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My beloved, beloved Cafe Septieme is no longer the place I know and love.
Apparently, the owner doesn't seem to support the action for immigration and human rights.

I received some distressing news last night and was still too angry to write about it.
Until now.

I've just sent out a few letters to the local papers and am sharing it here as well.

Last night I was informed of a restaurant manager who was fired because he had accommodated the waitstaffs' desire to attend the immigration rally.

I've been frequenting Café Septieme for over 5 years. It had become my public living room. The staff has been good to me, always offering exceptional service. This level of service was due to the efforts of the head waiter, who had been promoted to manager when the new owner took over almost two years ago. He is a compassionate, intelligent young man. I've never seen more exemplary service from anyone in the restaurant industry.

While dining at Septieme last night, a few of the waiters approached me, visibly shaken up and white-faced. They were each being called into the office and informed that Vance had been fired because he set up the schedule to allow those who wanted, to attend today's immigration and human rights rally.

This breaks my heart on so many levels, including the fact that the owner who did the firing is a Latino man. I didn't think this would be an issue for him.

It was Vance that worked so hard to keep the original spirit of Septieme. He is also the best service person I've ever encountered. Good service is rare and very underappreciated. He is brilliant.

I will see what develops this week, because I have a few things up my sleeve, but I may need to stop going. If so, it will be one boycott that will be a HUGE sacrifice for me. It was my home, my comfort, my public livingroom for so many years. It's where we'd celebrate birthdays and fun events. It's where I'd go to get nurtured and spoiled by the waitstaff when I was sick or down.

It is, the end of an era.