Doorbell Ditch

So I haven’t felt like writing lately. I’ve been stuck in my head with thoughts that hide, even from myself. Unidentified tears sting but don’t fall, because if I admit why they are there or where they belong, it’s too much.


Sometimes, it’s all too much.

And as you all know by now, never enough.

It’s chaos, really. A jumbled mess of reasons, just pick one. But, if I pick one, then it has a name. And a face. And a story.

So what story shall I tell today? Choose Your Own Adventure, remember those? C.S. Lewis before the movie. One thought triggers the next. If you choose to open the door on the right, where the sun shines and everyone smiles, turn to page 26. If you choose to open Pandora’s Box, turn back to page 1 and start over and think again and never get past the chaos.

I was baptized in a Catholic Church. I have God Parents, I spent time with them. But not at church. Billie and Danny. They lived in Dixon. I used to go for visits to their perfect home in their perfect neighborhood. The kind of neighborhood with cul-de-sacs and stucco, and street lights so you know when it’s time to go home. Doorbell Ditch where the neighbors don’t get mad and backyard campouts. HBO and MTV. Stacy and Justin and Boba Fett and C-3PO. Stacy always let me be Princess Leia. I remember Steve Miller Band, over and over again.

Black panties with an angel’s face.

Abracadabra. That’s the magic, right?

I remember pancakes and sleeping bags in the living room and family portraits that included me. I wish. For some reason I keep thinking about marshmallow fluff, but I can’t remember why. This was yet another home that made me feel safe and wanted and happy. The kind of place a kid like me wanted to grow up in. Yet another mother that taught me how to mother my own. Billie was always there.

If I was lucky, I was there for a week or two in the summertime. And Christmas break. I remember Christmas presents and neighborhood New Year’s Eve parties, walking from house to house, banging pots and pans in the street. In the summer, we played Hide and Seek in the dark and Danny would BBQ with a beer in his hand after a long day at work, feeding all the neighborhood kids and their parents from the cul-de-sac. They lived on the corner. Coca-cola. Danny worked at the place where they made the cans. Ball 4. It made him seem famous to me. Look for Ball 4 on your soda cans, that’s the place.

We walked to the high school with towels hanging around our necks to go swimming. Justin had lessons. He cried. He was afraid. I wasn’t, at all. There was nothing in Dixon that scared me. Not one thing.

Summers went from playing with literally ALL the Star Wars figurines to kissing blonde boys in tents. I remember a cutie with no name. I was novel. Only there for the week. Exciting. We were coming of age. I liked the attention, when everyone else was asleep in the tent. Why are secret kisses always more fun?

For the record, my mom was always good at finding people to take good care of me. She was good at finding ways to show me what life could be like, if only…even if she didn’t realize she was doing that. Or maybe she did, I just don’t know.

Have I told you that sometimes, I get really sad and I feel sorry for myself and for my mother that neither of us got what we needed or what we wanted from each other? Sorry that sometimes it feels too damn hard to be ok? Sorry that the pain has crippled me into silence and avoidance? Into chaotic thoughts and unidentified tears with so many words unspoken. Yeah, me, silent. Shocking, I know. But that’s why I write. So I don’t have to speak.

Lo siento, Mama. I know you loved me. I know it was never your intention to cause so much damage.

But the sorries are not enough to keep me from drowning in the water under this burning bridge.

And so,

I remain silent.

But not because I have nothing to say.


Stacy, me, and Justin. I think I am 9 years old here? I never realized how much my oldest child, Dylan, and I looked alike at this age, but I see it now…🖤

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Ride or Die

1, 2, skip a few, 99, 100.

Remember, we don’t have to go in order. I reserve the right to go back in time at any time.

It was the summer of 1990. I was 17 and I had just graduated from high school. My roommates, Cynderella and Ten, also recent graduates, were in Hawaii on their grad trip. Mine wasn’t until the following week, so me and Feli were left alone to wreak havoc on Greenhaven.

Feli didn’t actually live with us, but she had first dibs on the couch. The living room at Greenhaven Lake Apartments was her bedroom. If she wasn’t at Rita’s, that is. Her mom liked her to come home. We were all ok with that, cuz she mommed us all and we needed it. Her tacos were the best. She fried each one by hand. She taught me to use toothpicks to hold them closed, so you could fry them with the meat inside. She can be in my cookbook, too. Recipes of a Neglected Childhood. She fed us and asked us questions. Where are you going? Who are you going with? What time will you be back? Do you have gas? Be home by 12:30. Or at least 1. I want the house clean before you leave tomorrow. Lines in the carpet from the vacuum. Did you do your laundry? What about homework?

Like a real mom.

She taught me that you should always fill your tank up on payday. She taught me that you gotta live your life the way you want to, you gotta take risks, and you gotta have a safety net. Nobody gets to hurt you, and if they do, you can leave. You are strong enough to stop the cycle of abuse. You can stand up for yourself and the ones that matter will still love you. She taught me that good moms will do anything for their kids. They will work two jobs if they have to, just so their kids can have new shoes. So their kids can jump off and go wherever they want in life. They ask questions and they are present. They make sure there is food in the fridge and they treat their kids friends like they are family.


And so, Feli and I had been somewhere that night, I can’t remember if it was a party or just hanging out at Jesse’s. That’s another one I want to write about, my friend Jesse. It’s easier to write about dead people, you know. You can’t hurt them by telling the truth. It’s the living you have to be careful for. Choose your words wisely. I will get there. But not today. Today it’s Feli’s turn.

So we were already lit. It was late. We went to Ernie’s and got 40’s. I can’t remember if I used my fake ID to buy them. Part of this memory is a blur. We were rarely sober. My ID said I was 27 and blonde. I looked nothing like the photo. I can’t remember what happened to that ID, I might have lost it at Fanny Ann’s. They were the only ones that ever gave me a hard time about that ID. The only bar in town that didn’t let me and my tits in, using that ID anyway.

So we got our 40’s of Old 8, and we drove around Greenhaven doing Chinese Firedrills. Please don’t cancel me, I know that’s a racist thing to say. But that is what we called it then. I don’t even know why it was called that, to be honest. I would never use that term today. I’m learning as I go.

There was no one else on the road. It was late and the streets of Greenhaven were our playground. Everyone was asleep or parented in Suburbia. Feli would stop the car and we would each get out, run around the car and switch drivers. Then I would stop the car and we did the same. Each time we added new challenges. “Ok, this time, run around the car, do 5 jumping jacks, shout Fuck the Po-leeece, and get back in your seat.”

Done. Laugh so hard you almost pee your pants.

Next, we were in front of Greenhaven Cabana Club South. Where the pedestrian overpass thing is. By the green belt. “Ok, this time, take your beer with you, run around the car, up over the overpass, pass each other and “cheers” as you pass and take a drink then run back down to the car and whoever is last to get to the car has to drive. Ready, go!”

So we go. And it is fucking hilarious. Still no people or cars to be seen. While running as fast as I could, I drop my 40. Glass everywhere. My shoes are in the car. Barefoot, with momentum. Can’t stop. No cheers. Drunk brain doesn’t think to swerve to avoid the glass.

I ran over broken glass with bare feet.

I am bleeding, we are dying laughing, and we get in the car. Feli drives cuz it hurts and I’m bleeding everywhere. Bloody footprints everywhere. In her car, on the pavement, all the way into the apartment, on the carpet, straight into the bathtub.

Feli hand picked the glass out of the bottoms of my feet and then we soaked them. You can’t really use bandaids for this type of thing. Feli helped me hobble to the couch, put a towel under me and the she cleaned up the murder scene. I wish we had taken pictures of the bloody footprints. It was a lot of blood. They eventually did stop bleeding, we avoided the ER and the popo, and we survived another night drunk in Greenhaven.

I could hardly walk for that whole week. They were mostly healed by the time me and Nadia left for Puerto Vallarta for our grad trip. I did have to clean the sand out of the cuts and gouges, though. Mas cerveza por favor. That grad trip is another story, lol.

10 out of 10, do not recommend drinking and driving at any time. What’s done is done and we can’t change the past. Nobody was permanently hurt and it’s one of my core memories of friendship, survival, comedy, and proof of how stupid we were. And how fucking lucky we all were to survive those years, unparented and unpoliced.

But it is highly recommended that you get you a friend that makes you laugh until your belly aches, is by your side in good times and bad, doesn’t leave you while you are bleeding in the street, gets you home safely no matter what, picks the broken glass out of your feet and cleans up the mess aka gets rid of the evidence while you lay on the couch contemplating your life choices.

That, my friends, is the definition of ride or die.


1996ish, Manhattan Beach, at some bar. Feli, Cynderella, and me.

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I Need Love

I texted Sara S. to warn her I was writing about us and she reminded me about some of our highlights. I can’t believe I forgot about this one. Idiots. Lucky to be alive and walking.

During the summer after 9th grade, me and Nadia went with Sara S. up to her family cabin in Tahoe for the 4th of July holiday. The cabin was across the street from the lake, and a short walk to Homewood Ski Resort. It was summer. No snow. Used to wandering neighborhoods on foot and with time to kill before watching the fireworks at the beach, we wandered over to Homewood and found it deserted. We climbed up to one of the chair lift platforms and we thought maybe we could get the lift going by climbing up to the engine and cranking it. The three of us climbed the ladder up to the engine and I remember pushing the ignition button and the engine turning over but not firing up. Like it had a kill switch just for this reason: unruly teens trying to live on the edge. Edge of what, I don’t know. Stupidity? So of course we couldn’t get the chair lift running and we started to climb down the black metal ladder attached to the lift tower. Sara climbed down first, followed by Nadia. Then me. I don’t know what happened, but the next thing I knew I was falling. From the top. In a split second I thought if I land on my back it’s going to fuck me up and knock the wind out of me and I hated that idea. So in mid-air, I turned. Sara said I looked like a spider falling from the ceiling. Spread-eagle. I landed on all fours, like a cat. Kept my breath, good plan. Oops, broke my left forearm. Both bones, right below the wrist/growth plate. Shaken up, we walked back to the cabin. Mrs. S said go to the nearby Fire Station. They splinted my arm and said go to Truckee ER. It was the late afternoon of the 4th of July! In Tahoe! Do you know what traffic is like on the 4th of July, one lane around the lake? Everyone trying to get to where they were going to watch the fireworks. It’s nuts. So I ruined everyone’s 4th. But did I?

Mr. And Mrs. drove for hours around the lake to take me to the ER. We got there, got xray’d, Doc said yep, it’s broken. Here’s some Vicodin and follow up with an ortho in Sac. So back to the cabin we went. No one made me feel any worse than I already did.


I hate that word.

It was late when we got back, and we were in our LL Cool J phase. We were camped out in the loft and we played I Need Love over and over again on an old cassette tape player, to learn the lyrics. Play. Stop. Rewind. Play again. Over and over again, writing down the words, high on Vicodin, creating core memories for the three of us. Forever bonded.

When I’m alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall

And in the back of my mind I hear my conscience call

Telling me I need a girl that’s as sweet as a dove

For the first time in my life, I see I need love.

Those words are engraved into my brain. At age 49, I can still recite it all. I’m sure all three of us can. Maybe we should start an old lady rap group. The Dumbasses.

I need love.

We used to call Nadia Nad-Mom cuz she was a rule follower by nature. But we were trying to be naughty by nature. Not cuz we hate ya. So Nad-Mom was frequently herding cats. Good thing cats have 9 lives.

Nadia’s momming probably kept us alive. But don’t get it twisted. That girl became an expert at flying below the radar. Fun, but smart. Like Kermit the Frog. The smartest muppet of all. I was Fozzy Bear. Buh dum bum.

Eventually, the triangle drama won and we migrated to other friends. Never a big blow-out or betrayal, just a slow fizzle with overlapping circles.

I started hanging out with Katie, 24/7. My new best friend. Naughty by nature. Katie had her driver’s license before I did. Hell, everyone had their driver’s license before I did. I was at least a year younger than all of them. I was put up a grade and did 4th and 5th in the same year. They said I was smart. They never said I wasn’t a dumb teenager, though.

Me and Katie became inseparable. Both of us part of several circles by that point, but not into girl drama. So we hung out with the boys. Yep, those boys. You know them. Everyone knew them.

I have thought about changing some of these names for the sake of privacy. But I realized that the only people that would care about who they are in real life will know exactly who I’m talking about anyway. If I describe them well, that is. So fuck it. I’m naming names.

Our crew became me and Katie and Cam and Brandon, Matt and Brad (when he wasn’t with Amy), Joe D., Larby, J-Dog, Rich and Jeff and anyone else hanging out on Vallejo Way. Beto and Peter and Sam and John B. and Danny and Joel and Danilo and Todd x2 and Ray (when he wasn’t with Jenny, that’s a theme, too) they were all mixed in. And me and Katie. All the other girls didn’t matter. We were the ones they kept around. Cuz we didn’t bring the girl drama. La Di Da Di, we like to party, we don’t cause trouble we don’t bother nobody…

We walked to the twins house for lunch nearly everyday, poor Toby. I don’t know how she kept those boys fed, cuz everyone ate there. She always seemed to have tortillas and cheese. A staple. She was an artist, with beautiful paintings covering the walls of their home. She would take a favorite photograph and turn it into a life-sized moment in time. My favorites were at the ocean. She knew how to paint the sea. I always wanted her to paint me, but I didn’t make the cut. Kari and Mashari did. Did Lucy?

All I got was a stolen teddy bear. Sneaky. Me and Cam were mostly on the DL. He was dating Amber, a Junior or Senior. And gorgeous. How could I compete? I wasn’t giving out what some of the other girls were, so maybe that limited me. Or maybe he felt guilty. Or maybe he just wasn’t that into me.

Not like Matt. My friend that always wanted more.

Matt drove me everywhere. He taught me how to drive a stick in his parents’ Vanagon. We went to the gym together like 3-5 days per week. He would come and push the buttons on the stairmaster and crank it up to max to try and kill me. Me, Katie, Matt, and Brad (when he wasn’t with Amy…this is a theme…he loved her before he knew he loved her. Later, he married her.) We went to parties together. We laughed and talked shit and drank and did drugs together. Mostly smoked a lot of pot. A. Lot.

The day I found out Matt like-liked me, I kissed one of his best friends. Cuz I like-liked his best friend more than I like-liked him. I feel bad about that now, but I didn’t then. It was fun to make-out with someone I wasn’t supposed to make-out with. Cuz when it’s bad, it’s good, am I right?

Somewhere mixed in there, my mom left. All that meant was we had another place to hang out, no parents. Where was everyone’s parents?! Like for real! We are truly the generation of latch-key kids. Neglected. Under the radar. Survivors.

Those friendships with the boys carried on through 12th grade. My friendship with Katie, did not. The sliding door of girl friendships and drama and lies and betrayal finally caught up to me and Katie and we went our own ways. I fell right into the arms of the ones I call ride or dies. My forever friends. My Ya-Yas.

I did reconnect with Katie, as adults, even our kids were friends. There was some more girl drama and subsequent separation. After a few years, we reconnected again when our friend died. Cuz we both loved him. I just can’t quit her. I’m her Foofer. And she was there for me when my mom left. Like really there for me. She did my laundry and took me grocery shopping. She got me high and she made me laugh. Cuz if you ‘ain’t laughin’ you cryin’. I drove her grandpa’s truck to take my driver’s test to get my license. No parent there with me. Just her. She got me Butterfinger Blizzards, hers with M&Ms. She made me salads with sprouts and cucumbers and tomatoes and shredded cheddar cheese and 1000 Island dressing with bacon in it. She can be in my cookbook, too. She made me laugh until I peed my pants and she has a magic cooch. Yeah, I said it. She dropped Skittle and out came a Starburst. Like magic. A Sometimes Forever Friend. No matter what.

Nadia, never far away and always my friend, found her way into all of my phases. The glue. Then around the same time my mom abandoned me, Cyndi’s mom abandoned her. We both had our own apartments, so we became best friends. Kindred. Through Cyndi, I met Feli, and Ange seemed to always be there. Cyndi and Tenley knew each other from Cal Middle. Tenley’s parents kicked her out around that time, too. That’s when the three of us, me, Cynderella, and Ten moved into Greenhaven Lake Apartments at the end of 11th grade, none of us yet 18. This part deserves it’s own chapter. I will get there.

One autumn night we all got dressed up looking cute to go out. I had a brand new outfit on. Some cute green paper-bag shorts with a floral pattern and a white off-the-shoulder lightweight sweater. We went to meet those boys at the river. They were having a bonfire and kickin it.

We were late to the party. Everyone was already drunk. Matt was really drunk. Maybe wired, too. And I don’t know for sure how it began, but he was mad at me. I don’t know if he found out I kissed not one, but two of his best friends or if he heard about me and Teddy or if he just got tired of liking me without reciprocation. He was one of my best friends. He took care of me. We spent so much time together, just he and I. I can see now how that probably hurt him. I didn’t mean to lead him on. I loved him. As a friend. I didn’t want to lose him.

So that night, he got mad at me. Matt was larger than life. He picked me up and threw me in the river, kicking and screaming. Not laughing. It wasn’t funny to either of us. I was pissed. And soaked. My new clothes forever stained and ruined by the dirty river bank. While I was crying, Matt was yelling at me. “No one likes you! We all hate you! Why are you here?!” In front of all of them. The people that I thought were my friends. Quicksand. What I thought was my safety zone. He hit on my biggest insecurities that night. I was devastated. I just wanted to get out of there. Of all people, it was John B. that comforted me and told me Matt didn’t mean it. He was the one that put his arm around me and helped me to the car. Cuz I was hurt in addition to being wet. And ruined. My knee was bleeding. John being nice to me that night is something I will never forget. It was rare, to be real, but I was a wounded animal and he recognized that.

That was the end of my friendship with Matt. I kept waiting for him to apologize to me. He never did. He broke my heart and he humbled me. Perhaps I did the same to him. We were never ok again. And loyal to their core, those boys kept me at arms length from then on. Like I was the one. Like what Matt said was true. Logically, I know it wasn’t and you can’t take back those years of shared memories and laughter. I will always love those boys. All of them. They were mine, too.

Before they were yours.

And PS: I know it was you that tipped my red VW Bug on its side when I parked it at Nadia’s house. I lost count at how many times we would get home from a party and find my car on its side. We would just push it right back onto its wheels. No harm, no foul. What’s another dent in the fender of life?

Don’t get it twisted.

I ran into Matt around town now and again over the years. I saw him at Raley’s and Fuji, Melarkey’s and the fish store. Did I tell you Matt gave me a 40 gallon hexagon fish tank, completely set-up? Ask no questions on where he got the money for all of that. He was generous beyond anything legal. He once stashed a very large bag of I don’t know what in my closet in my apartment. Do not open it. Do not tell anyone it’s here. I will come back tomorrow for it. Don’t ask. That fish tank was badass and the center piece of my apartment. Someone stole it off the porch when we moved to Greenhaven. Easy come, easy go, right?

We kept it short and fake on the rare occurrences that we saw each other. Still, he never apologized for that awful night. Not until about a year and a half before he died.

Before he died he reached out to me in Facebook DMs. We first kept it light and he asked about my life, my kids, my career as a nurse. He shared that he had tried his hand in Med School and that he had spent a lot of time as a patient. He told me about his adopted son and how he was his pride and joy. He told me I was “the bomb.” We went back and forth for a few days, but it was starting to get uncomfortable for me and the last thing I wanted to do was lead him on in anyway. And that was it. Until I heard that he killed himself.

And I know I was one of his 13 reasons why.

I’m sorry, Matt. I’m sorry you were hurting. I’m sorry for my part. I’m sorry I hurt you, way back then. I’m sorry we didn’t know each other as adults. I’m sorry you never made me carnitas.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be what you wanted me to be.

I’m not sorry I loved you.

Whenever I am alone in my backyard there is this dove that flies close and sings to me. I never see the female.

I only see him. My long lost friend.

Matthew Jacob Heine

September 29, 1971 – April 16, 2017.


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Burning Bridge

I’m stuck. I have been avoiding writing. This part has deep feelings, as they all do, but it’s not just nostalgia. It’s a story of bravery, growth, trust, and survival. For all of us. And deep blue pain, a shade different from the rest.

We are at the point of my story when high school begins. That’s where my childhood ends. If it lasted that long, that is. So much chaos and so much running in place and so much letting go and so much hanging on. For dear life.

I wanted to go to Sac High, with Sara D. and most everyone else from Sutter Middle School. But my mom forced me to go to McClatchy for the Humanities and International Studies Program. That was 1986, 9th grade. You had to apply. I got in. HISP was and still is an intense academic program at a public school, where even the smart kids have to study to do well. You can’t skate by. Cliff’s Notes are not enough. Proven in Mr. Darling’s class.

Are Cliff’s Notes even a thing anymore?

Academics were never my priority. No one was molding me for college.

So I was forced to attend a high school I didn’t want to go to, where I knew very few people. Nothing I wasn’t used to, I suppose. Lots of people have to start fresh in high school. I know I’m not special.

No, really. Not special enough anyway.

This was the 15th school. Yes, I went to 15 different schools. The 15th school became my home. My safe space. Can you imagine if your high school was the safest space you knew? There is nothing safe about high school, not really. I said it before, it’s as safe as quicksand.

The best thing about CKM HISP was meeting Nadia. She’s my BSF. Remember, that’s 2020’s teenspeak for Best Sister Friend. My bestie for 35 years. We sat next to each other in Ms. Wilcox’s class. Sara S. sat next to us, too. And Seren. We became the four Musketeers for a season or two. My safety net in a sea of new faces. We had rotating sleepovers every weekend. There was something attractive about each of our homes. In one there was what seemed, on the surface, the picture of perfection. Stay at home mom, hard-working dad, three kids and a station wagon. A cabin in Tahoe. A swimming pool and a fancy liquor cabinet, always stocked. A boat and so much fun. Nothing to be ashamed of. Like the families on TV. Mr. And Mrs. Not first names. I wanted that life.

Then there was the cool house. The educated but not rich divorced parents that worked for non-profits and/or helped other people get divorced. The ones that lived in SF in the 70’s and protested and burned bras and were hippies. Unfinished hardwood floors and original tiled bathrooms. Character. And a mom that loved to cook. Carolyn. She made us Hoisin Chicken and Challah, fresh from the oven. Chocolate chip cookies and sit down at the table for dinner. Every night. Always with her wine glass. Present but dependent. Real. She had a huge dangly earring collection, all on display in her bedroom. And hats. So many hats and necklaces and flowy dresses and scarves like Stevie Nicks. Artsy accessories. And Harold the cat. The only cat I ever loved. He would climb onto your chest and “knead” us with his paws. He was a snuggler of strangers. Her house was decorated like Tower Cafe. Like Cost Plus World Market or Zanzibar. Interesting. Bohemian. I wanted that life, too.

And Jacker’s house. That’s Nadia’s dad. All of the above but with shorty short corduroy OP shorts or Dove running shorts and knee-high tube socks. Everyday in all weather. Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. In the winter he wore a sweater with his shorts and maybe a scarf. He worked from home before it was cool. If I stayed there on a school night, he made both of us sack lunches. Bagels and cream cheese, an orange, and a frozen Capri Sun to keep the cream cheese cold, wrapped in paper towels so the condensation wouldn’t soak through the paper sack. He was a man of ritual. On Monday it was potstickers from The Mandarin, and wide squishy noodles and BBQ pork with spicy mustard. On Tuesday it was Maudie Burgers, homemade on the grill, fat like hockey pucks on an English Muffin. Maudie was Jacker’s mom. Wednesday was Zelda’s, a combo with extra garlic. Thursday was BBQ teriyaki chicken, marinated for at least 24 hours in soy sauce, fresh ginger, so much garlic, and orange slices. Friday was carnitas, the meat bought by the pound from El Nov and fresh Michaela’s flour tortillas. The real thick homemade kind. Rotated in was stir-fry. And always wine. And sit at the table, let’s talk and be real like adults. Present and dependable. And not just for Nadia. I wanted that life, too.

I should add Carolyn and Jacker’s recipes to my cookbook, Recipes of a Neglected Childhood.

And my house. The rental on the corner by the bike shop. My mom was never home. Rare supervision. Left to our own devices. Champagne in the basement. One night we were sitting on someone’s front lawn by the railroad tracks leading into Curtis Park, watching our boyfriends steal street signs when the popo rolled up. One car took the boys home and one took us to my house, two blocks away. My mom wasn’t home and they got a call, so they just left us there, no harm no foul. That’s the only time I have been in the back of a police car. Whew.

We joined Lion’s Roar, the freshman cheerleaders. We wore hand sewn maroon colored skirts and white sweatshirts with a lion on the chest and white Keds. We went to all the football games. We walked all over Curtis Park and Land Park at all hours of the day and night. Marie’s at midnight when the donut holes were still warm. We poached vodka from Sara S.’s parents fancy liquor cabinet and poured it into New York Seltzer bottles. My mom had bought several cases of Korbel Brut sparkling wine for a NYE party she had, but they didn’t drink it all, so we had cases of it in the basement of our rental house on 21st Street. I couldn’t tell you how many bottles of that stuff we went through. At a certain point, I was like we might as well take more and maybe she will think she only had 2 cases left instead of 3 or 4. Really. It was the house on the corner next to the bike shop. When I drive by now, the front yard looks like depression to me. The trees and bushes are all overgrown like no one cares at all. I guess it’s a vibe.

So we would get drunk and roller skate to CKM late at night. We would skate on the blacktop and on the tennis courts. I think the tennis courts backed up to the DeNec’s house and Matt’s house. Close enough anyway. So the boys thought CKM was their playground, too. Sometimes we ran into them. That was the start of some beautiful friendships. Passed out and puking on the tennis courts, or hopping the concrete wall into the swimming pool. Always under the radar.

I thank the Goddess that social media and cell phones didn’t exist back then.

We were on the Swimming and Diving team together. I was the swimmer. We used to be able to leave campus for lunch everyday. We could walk to each other’s houses, believe it or not. I don’t know how we had enough time to get there and back, all in what, 40 minutes? One day, we went to my house for lunch and drank from our NY Seltzer bottles. It was a swim meet day. I don’t advise 14 year olds to participate in a swim/dive meet after drinking vodka at lunch. I’m pretty sure one of them has a scar on her shin to drive that point home. In the end, we all lived to tell. But only one of us is writing about it. Sorry, gals.

But tell me, are you surprised?

One of the sign-stealer boys, me, and Sara S. at a CKM swim and dive meet, 1987.

None of us drove yet. and I still lived with my mom. Partway through the year we moved back to the condo in Natomas from the rental that looks like depression. I had to ride the city bus for 45 minutes to and from school each day. Or I had to sit and wait to be picked up after my mom got off work. Or to try and get one of the older boys to drive me all the way home. No gas money.

There wasn’t much we didn’t do together, that first year of high school. We even got beat up together after the CKM vs Burbank Basketball game. We were sitting in front of the school after the game, waiting for Mrs. S to pick us up. We were just chillin’ and waiting when a group of girls from Burbank High School walked up to us and said “are you talking about Black people?” We weren’t. I said “No.” Then they jumped Sara S., and when she fell to the ground they started kicking her as she curled into a fetal position. They had Nadia backed up against a fence, but I can’t remember if she was hit. While Sara was being attacked, two of the girls circled behind me and one punched me in the back of the head. Probably hurt her hand more than it hurt me. I whipped around and stood up to them. They didn’t expect that. I didn’t get hit again and we got the other girls off of Sara just as the station wagon pulled up. Just in time. I’m sorry, Sara. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop them. What I learned that day was to always stand up to the bullies and bad guys. Don’t back down. Fight for your life.

And I guess I just broke the first rule of Fight Club.

So we lived that life the first year of high school. I flunked out of HISP. Then we moved to another rental house on Sutteville Road, next door to Ford’s Real Good Burgers and Niccole’s house. I got a job at Ford’s and I used to make out with the cook. I don’t remember his name. It made Robbie jealous, so that was a win. That’s 4 moves in 18 months. At least I got to stay at the same school. My mom met a married man named George. They fell in love, he left his wife, and they wanted to leave California. They left me home alone for 3 weeks in the summer before 11th grade. Ingrid drove me to summer school at Burbank High everyday in her white Mustang and we slept on our desks for 3 hours each day while they played movies and we earned the credits we needed. Ha. Good job SCUSD. Good ‘ol Ameri-can education. I felt like a badass with her as my friend, riding in the passenger seat of her car. The car all the boys wished they had. I was cooler cuz I was with her, and nobody fucks with Ingrid. I bet that’s still true.

So for 3 weeks that summer I had ultimate freedom. I had parties and went to parties and drank heavily. They went on a road trip, I think to visit George’s family in Washington. In that 3 weeks, they decided they were moving up north while I decided l could survive on my own. At age 15.

And then,

She left.

They got me set up in my little apartment on 16th Avenue and they bailed.

I think I will save the next part for another day.

It’s exhausting to describe it all, especially while my eyes burn from unshed tears and smashed down traumas.

It’s fun to have your own apartment when you are 15.


There is so much more to this story than what I write here. So much that I choose to not tell or memories I have buried deeper than the rest. So much water under this burning bridge. And yes, I know I’m the one that set it on fire. Finally.

Sink or swim, right?

Nadia, me, and Sara S. after we walked the runway for Benetton for a charity fashion show in 1986 or 87.
Nadia on the Benetton runway.
I think this was my 15th birthday dinner. Me, Tanya, Sara S., and Niccole at the rental house on Sutterville Road.
Happy 15th to me. Right before everything changed.

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Community: Would You Get Plastic Surgery?

A friend got her muffin tops sucked out of her body and is recovering in bed for two weeks. I really had no idea that there such a huge recovery time…

Community: Would You Get Plastic Surgery?

Hell yes! Do what makes you fall in love with yourself. Some of us have tried everything. Some of us have PCOS and have extreme difficulty maintaining any significant weight loss. Some of us don’t want a gastric bypass. I am way more active after having my Extended Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair to the Diastasis Recti and Liposuction to the flanks, followed by a Breast Reduction with Liposuction to the bra line. I don’t hate myself anymore and I like looking in the mirror for once in my life. I’m dancing again, but in my bikini! At age 49! I’m real and I’m me.

It took plastic surgery to get me there.

If you haven’t read my post titled Go Easy on Me, please do. It’s my “why.”

Click here:

If you want to see my “Before and Afters,” click here:

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No Ouija Boards Allowed

Found at the Rosewood Room on Freeport Blvd. in Sacramento.

In middle school, I had a real best friend. One I chose for myself, and one that chose me right back. I don’t even remember the first day I met Sara. I hope she does. We were always together. Package deal for two whole years. We had RT bus passes and we rode that damn bus all over this town. We walked up and down J Street a bajillion times. All the way from River Park to Old Sac, as far as American River Drive. One time, we were walking across the bridge and there was a naked man swinging his junk around like a helicopter, shouting at us, 12/13 year old girls. I can’t remember what he said to us, but I’m pretty sure we ran away and laughed all the way to my apartment complex. So offensive. Young girls. Damn.

Sara and I were coming of age in the mid 80’s, the era of boom boxes and neon, skater boys and punk, and whatever the opposite of helicopter parenting is. I will have to google that. We even had sleepovers on school nights, sometimes. We rotated between her dad’s house, her mom’s house, and my house or apartment or condo or my mom’s boyfriend’s house, etc. Yes, I really lived in all of those different places in that two years. I’m not exaggerating. At least it was in the same city. Only 3 different schools in middle school. Natomas Union, Sutter Middle, Country Day (on scholarship), and back to Sutter after a trimester cuz I hated being the outsider scholarship kid at a small private school where all of them had been together since kindergarten. And mostly, I missed Sara.

One time, when Sara was at Sutter and I was at Country Day, she had pink eye and got to stay home from school for a week. So I took my finger and rubbed it in her eye and then in my eye so that I would get it, too. I did, and I got to stay home from school for a whole week, too. That was awesome.

I think my favorite place to be was her mom’s house. I loved her mom. She always got us Bel Air chow mein. We ate it cold. I don’t remember a microwave, then. I felt the safest there, and I can’t pinpoint why. It just felt like the kind of home you could take a deep breath and let it out and just be. No yelling. No lofty expectations. No punishment, but no reason to be punished, either. No need to rebel, that I can remember. A place where you could figure out who you are. It was a safe space. I was welcomed and taken care of, there. I stayed with them when my mom was in the hospital after her car accident. I didn’t know the weight of that time period, then. But I know it now. How different life is when you feel safe. I hope Sara always felt that way and felt as safe with me as I did with her.

One time we were visiting Sara’s grandparents. They lived in a small white house with a cute backyard. Sara and I were into ouija boards. We tried to talk to spirits and thought it was real. We even made our own ouija boards. That day, we used a white gift box lid and wrote all the letters and numbers, yes, no, and goodbye. We just used a piece of paper as a planchette, I think. We sat in the backyard so her grandparents wouldn’t know what we were doing. I know I didn’t move that thing, not ever. I don’t think Sara did, either. That day, we were talking to a spirit and this time it was threatening. It said it was going to hurt one of us. When we asked how, it replied “kut.” We asked who it was, and it replied “Lucifer.” We freaked the fuck out, tore up that ouija board into tiny pieces and ran back inside the house. While running, Sara’s shoulder hit the corner of the swamp cooler hanging out the window and she was bleeding. It was a small cut/gouge, but I’m sure it hurt and to us it was all the evidence we needed to never ever use a ouija board again. I am 49 years old and still remember how scared I was. No ouija boards allowed at my house. 0/10, do not recommend.

We also tried to hypnotize each other and we swear it worked. We would have the person being hypnotized lay down with their head in our lap and rub their temples while counting down from 100 with a soft, hypnotic voice. We said they were falling down a hole and the bottom was infinite. I don’t even remember what we were trying to do with the hypnosis. I only remember the counting down and temple rubbing and falling down into an infinite hole. We thought we were magic. And even now I think maybe we were.

We wore all the swatch watches and Gotcha t-shirts, and I swear I wore the same shorts all summer and K-Swiss with no socks that stunk to high hell. We laid out in the sun and used baby oil or Bain de Soleil, the orange tanning gel. We put lemon juice and Sun-In in our hair cuz we wanted to be blonde, but instead we were just orange, peroxide. We spent so much time in River Park, either at some cute boy’s house or at Paradise Beach. The same beach my mom hung out at with her friends and where I swam back and forth across the river as a child, no life vest.

Sara and I did a whole lot of coming of age together in those two years before high school. She went on to Sac High and my mom made me go to CKM. We went our separate ways, new friends, new life. But there was no explosive or dramatic end to our friendship, it just faded in to the background. Friends for a reason, friends for a season. That was an important season and I am thankful.

So no ouija boards. Ever. But burn all the sage. That shit works.


Me and Sara at our 8th grade graduation ceremony from Sutter Middle School, 1986.

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Not Yet Goodbye

Today was a long day. I set my alarm for 0700 so we could leave by 0730, which is the time Cassidy thought would be best to get us to Cal Poly SLO in time, considering move-in traffic, for her 0830 time slot. She is the orchestrator. We follow her lead. She got herself here, afterall.

Robbie dropped us and her stuff off and then had to go park the car in BFE. She was the first of three roommates to move in, so she got to choose her bed. Lucky girl. She picked the single. She was on a cross-country road trip delivering Alexa to TN and managed to log-in at just the right time to get the first slot. Shoulda bought a lottery ticket. Oops, she wasn’t 18 then. She is now…adult. Ish.

She put all her clothes away while I made her bed. Making her bed was important to me. I make a good bed. Nurse corners. A good bed with good pillows makes all the difference. Then I will know she is all tucked in. Angels on your pillow. And I hung her posters and her lights and the Tibetan prayer flags that Robbie got her from that cool import store on Broadway. They mean Success.

You don’t have to be perfect to be a good Dad. You just have to be lovingly present. And sometimes you just have to be quietly there. Standing by. There is nothing that man wouldn’t do for our children.

So we got her all moved-in and then had lunch at Firestone, where the tri-tip is good good and the salads are huge. Get a small Firestone salad with tri-tip and you will be happy happy. Then we drove to like 5 different stores looking for a damn shower caddy that wasn’t too big for the locker in the co-ed showers. (Don’t worry, the stalls have locking doors that are from floor to ceiling.) They were either too big or sold out. I remembered the bookstore had some household stuff, so last resort checked when we got back to campus and bingo, they had two of them, in the way back of the store where no one goes. Score! Momming so good! Do you know how many times she told me she didn’t need exactly what we were searching for anytime we had been shopping for dorm stuff over the last couple months? She literally had them in her hand on two separate occasions and put them back on the shelf. But I was following her lead. It wasn’t the end of the world and listening to her laughter all day, perhaps at my expense, was worth it. Robbie is Mr. Funny Guy and those two think I’m a shitty driver. Ha, ha, ha. We all survived. Laughing all the way. It was fun and it was time well spent and maybe it was a reminder that it’s always about the journey and not the destination. Laughing all the way to the beach.

She seemed so happy today. The sound of her laughter is everything. And she was nice to us and tolerated us. And she allowed me to make her bed and hang her posters and her lights and the Tibetan prayer flags and I am so very grateful to be here. In this moment, under these circumstances, with these people.

Just missing our Dylie-Dyl. 🖤

While Cassidy waited in line to check-in for WOW, Cal Poly SLO’s Week of Wonder for freshman, Robbie and I went to a parent reception. We met this cool family that brought their son all the way from Chicago on a full ride academic scholarship. We accidentally crashed their table, but they were welcoming and friendly and we shared some stories and some laughs. I only got their first names, I hope Cassidy finds Dwight Jr. and that they become friends. He’s an introvert, too.

Then we walked her back to her room and said see you tomorrow. Not yet goodbye.

I made Robbie take me to Shell Beach, down the long and winding stairs, where we took the kids when they were small. At low tide, there is a cave and you can dig for clams and collect Sandollars. Only take the white or gray ones. Leave the purple ones. They are still living their best life. And like a purple sandollar, I know she is going to be fine if I leave her. She is my girl! She is strong like Mulan! She’s Purplicious!

We are leaving her to live her best life.

Go, Cass, go!

But you must always come home.


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Puerto Backyarda

I guess I’m predictable. Sometimes, anyway. I’m all in my feelings about taking my baby girl to college at Cal Poly SLO in two days. Two more sleeps with us. One more sleep in her own bed in her own room. Then one night in a hotel in Pismo Beach, with us. We took the kids to Pismo a couple of times when they were little. We collected a bucket-full of sand dollars, in the early morning at Shell Beach. Cass has been my little surfer girl since birth. We rented wetsuits and boogie boards for all four of us and we wore our Speedo goggles like it was a swim meet. We rode the waves, even big mama. It was mortifying trying on wetsuits, by the way. I had to get a men’s XXL so my boobs would fit. They didn’t carry anything larger than that.

Way Pre-op breast reduction, squished into a men’s XXL wet suit. Hang Loose. 🤙🏼
Little Surfer Girl.

We went to the souvenir shop near the beach and bought mermaid necklaces. I’m partial to mermaids. I think Dylan got a silver whale tail.

We ate fish and chips from the cafe near the water and we had a beach picnic and we tried to keep the sand out of it, but the wind didn’t help. Me and the kids didn’t mind, though. Robbie was annoyed. He tried to cover his head with a newspaper to keep the wind from blowing on him while he ate. It didn’t work. You have never lived if you haven’t felt the grit of beach sand in your teeth from the squooshed homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a fold-over plastic baggie, found next to the can of Tab in the ice chest. Those were the good days, remember?

I don’t know if you have recognized yet how my brain works. All these thoughts and storylines cross-cross in my mind, one sliding door triggered by the last. Each memory is a fork in the road, a choose your own adventure to my life. Of course, there really was only ever one choice made, but those other paths were always there. The road less traveled, perhaps. Definitely not a straight line, A to B.

So one thought triggers a memory of my own. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I don’t get to choose what comes to mind. It just does. I’m all twisted up like a pretzel. A contortionist. But,

Don’t get it twisted.

My baby is leaving me. I am already practically an empty nester. I have already started skinny dipping at night in my backyard and walking around naked more often than necessary. That probably has more to do with my surgeries, to be real. Yes, I am scarred, in more ways than what you see on the surface. But I’m not ashamed to be alive anymore. And, I have found I don’t need anyone’s approval but my own. Learning.

This count down to blast-off is exciting and awful. We are busy with packing and washing and buying and breathing, just keeping the tears at bay. I only cried twice today. One was when we were on the way home from Costco, when I thought I should tell her that I’m trying to hold it together and that if I cry it’s not because I don’t want her to leave, even though I say that. I am so excited for her to go and design her own life, to make it just the way she wants it. I want her to go. I’m just sad to my core that childhood is over. I’m sad that I don’t have a reason to buy the big bucket of sidewalk chalk or replace the dried out playdoh. I’m sad no one will be playing dress-up while dancing to Dorothy the Dinosaur. A rump-bump-a-chump. I’m sad there’s no more soccer or little league games, or tacos in a bag from Dooley. I’m sad I don’t have a reason to get up at 05:30am on a Saturday, every weekend of the summer. Go, Stingrays. I’m really sad I don’t get to watch the badass chicks of CKM Waterpolo win the Championship ever again in my entire life. Like ever. Go, Lions.

2021-22 CKM Varsity Women’s Waterpolo, Metro League Champions.

Before I became a nurse, I did daycare. I had a licensed childcare in my home. It allowed me to stay home with my own children and still have money coming in to help to support our family. We had the perfect backyard and playroom set-up. I drove a Suburban so we could all go on field trips. We went somewhere everyday. To the park: Belle Coolege, Reichmuth, Land Park, Bertha Henshel, McKinley, Southside, and even that tiny one next to the cemetery in East Sac. I had an annual pass for the Zoo and Fairy Tale Town. My kids have a brick with their names on it on the yellow brick road, in the spiral in front of it. Their childhood set in stone, with Humpty Dumpty sitting watch. The Train Museum was just a little more special because we didn’t go there as often. I would take them to Capitol Aquarium to look at all the fishies, let Oscar chase them, and to feed the Koi. We would go to the amphitheater in Land Park and they would put on shows for me. We fed bread to the ducks, way back when it was still allowed. Those were the good ‘ol days. Days spent in my backyard, pre-swimming pool. We had a swing set that was shaped like a ship. My daycare parents pitched in to help pay for it, so I could get the bigger, better, fun one. I built that thing mostly by my myself, calling Robbie out to help only when it was something that took two of us, like attaching the monkey bars. It took two days of manual labor. A labor of love. I’m the MacGuyver around here, not him. Up at the top of the slide there was a telescope and a mast. A place for the Captain to steer the ship. Sail away on the S.S. Imagination, to where the wild things are. I’ll eat you up I love you so. Climb the ropes and walk the plank. That meant slide down. I had so many bright colors left over from when I painted Dylan’s Buzz Lightyear bedroom (that took me 3 weeks, BTW!) so I let the kids paint the swing set, all crazy colors, hand prints, foot prints, any way they wanted and we called it the S.S. Imagination. That swingset is long gone, but I saved the wooden board that I painted “S.S. Imagination” in orange. It hangs on my back fence, next to the metal railroad crossing sign.

We had a green plastic turtle sandbox and a metal Tonka dump truck. We had slip-n-slides and blow up swimming pools. We had a play kitchen under the shady trees where they played Top Chef and made mud pies with the metal IKEA pots and pans. We played hide and go seek and ring around the rosy. All fall down. Grant lost his tiny mousy sword somewhere and his mom came back with a metal detector to try and find it. It stayed lost. Forever.

We raised caterpillars into butterflies and Cass named one of them Golden Lemon Pucker Trucky Ducky. She cried out “goodbye, Golden Lemon Pucker Trucky Ducky,” as the yellow butterfly flew off beyond our trees. I think she was 3. That is a name I will never forget. Oh, and there was Cassidy’s imaginary friend named Cabbia Morrow that lived in the pink house around the corner from us. There was always a story about Cabbia Morrow, every time we drove past her house. She was a cool chick.

These are the things I think of when I’m sitting in the hot tub in my backyard, late at night all alone. In its latest form, this backyard saved me through the pandemic. Puerto Backyarda. Mi Casa es Mi Casa. And I will never regret putting the pool and hot tub in. But in its purest form, this backyard holds some of the best memories of my life. Time spent with not only my babies, but I was paid to sit on the grass and play with other peoples kids. The cool ones. The no drama, fun to be around, kind-hearted kids. The ones that laugh and sing. The ones whose parents were there to pick them up no later than 5:30. Dropped them no earlier than 07:30. Paid me generously on time and sometimes gave me bonuses. I was loved and treated with respect and I got to stay home. It was an excellent tax write-off. It was my privilege. And I am so grateful.

So you see, that’s why I’m sad it’s all over. It was so much fun to be that mama. To do it that way. I would do it all over again, like Groundhog Day.

The days are long, but the years are short.

Don’t get it twisted.


Big mama rides the waves.

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Riding the Rapids

My friend, Jen, gave me an icy cold Squirt in a can, yesterday. I haven’t had a Squirt in years. Like I can’t remember when. It was so good, especially in this 111 degree heat. Squirt reminds me of my childhood, which I seem to have been avoiding. My dad used to call me Squirt. If we went to a restaurant, that’s what I would order. And Tab. Remember Tab in the pink can? My mom used to buy that. If we were fancy, we put a lemon wedge in it and had it on ice. We had those glasses that were like mason jars but they had a glass handle. I remember drinking Tab in the pink can on a raft, floating down the American River. Rafting used to be one of my mom’s favorite things to do in the summer. We would get up early, pack our lunches and ice chest full of Tab and maybe box of white Zinfandel, Franzia? The pinkish one? Or California Coolers. Maybe beer? Was it Budweiser? It was a party on the river. Usually someone would rent a big raft and then we would have to carry it to the river. Those things are heavier than you think. I remember the hot sand on my bare feet cuz I hated the feel of sand in my shoes. I remember the muscles in my arms and shoulders burning…just a little bit farther. We would meet various people, all my mom’s friends. I was usually the only kid. Or at least the oldest. I don’t remember other kids that regularly went rafting. I do think I remember when my mom took my Girl Scout troop down the river. See, mama tried. I remember hanging onto the raft while getting into the water to pee, in between our raft and her friends’. The ice chest had its own inner tube, tied to the raft. I was the Go-fer. They played music and drank and got wild on the river. In teeny tiny string bikinis. They were in their 20’s and early thirties, single, and beautiful and fun. They were doing what they were supposed to be doing, at that age, in that time. Most of them didn’t have kids in tow.

I liked those rafting trips. I loved the water. I was a fish. Part mermaid. When your head is underwater, you can’t hear anything. The noise stops. Try it, you will see what I mean. I would swim back and forth against the current, no life vest. Sink or swim. All by myself. Quiet. In my head. I was strong. But when we got to the rapids, I hated it. I hated the turmoil. I still do. I’m a run into the fire kind of person, but I don’t like it. Adrenaline feels like anxiety to me. We would put our life jackets on just before the rapids and my mom would make me paddle at the front. First into the rapids. She would shout directions at me from the back. “Paddle hard! Harder! Now on the left! Paddle! Paddle! Now right!” It felt so stressful to me, and I was afraid.

Nothing bad ever happened to us on those summer days. But, like the life we were living, the adrenaline catches up to you. Always feeling that fight or flight takes a toll. Just because someone can handle the weight of the world, slay their own dragons, and ride the rapids and survive to tell the story doesn’t mean they are unaffected. It doesn’t mean the turmoil didn’t happen. But it does mean you were taught how to steer a raft through the goddamn rapids and if you were ever on Naked and Afraid you just might survive because of that. Badass Bitch Club. Pros and Cons to being the daughter of a single mother. We are quite self-sufficient.

We don’t need anybody.

But that one 80% good day in the water gets drowned by the repeated bouts of turmoil. It’s like the whole Disneyland Dad thing. In my case, the Scandia Dad. Just because a trip to Disneyland or a day at Scandia is so much fun you forget all the bullshit for that beautiful day, for that moment with your face in the sun, waiting for your turn on the race cars, holding your daddy’s hand while he looks down on you and smiles and you know he loves you and you only have a couple more hours with him before he takes you home and oops, down the rabbit hole I go…

I remember a day at Scandia exactly like that. I remember how you got that black stuff in the corners of your eyes after you drove the cars, with the wind in your face. And my dad always smiled at me. Always. Even when he knew I was ashamed of him.

Where was I? Yeah. Disneyland Dad. That one day at Disneyland doesn’t make up for all the other days they weren’t there. Even when they love you. One 80% happy day on the river doesn’t make up for all the other days when shit didn’t go right. When the damage was done. Some damage can get swept under the rug and walked over and everyone moves on. Most families do this everyday. Everyone has dysfunction. Everyone. I’m not special. But some damage cannot be repaired. It can be set aside. You can let go of it. Give it to the wind. Close the door. Or leave it open so the air can move freely, in and out of your mind and it doesn’t hurt to keep it in anymore.

That’s what I’m trying to do.

Blathering my guts out. So I don’t have to carry the weight of it anymore.

Back to what brought me here. Beverages. So far you have learned, if you are following along that is, that I have a special spot for Tab, and Diet Dr. Pepper. And California Coolers. And Budweiser. But the real real bestest beverage of all time is the Shirley Temple. Sometimes a Roy Rogers. But with at least two cherries and made with the maraschino juice instead of grenadine and a tiny cocktail straw and a twist of lemon, just the peel, not the juice, just to make it pretty, while sitting up high on a barstool at your grandfather’s bar, playing dice with the old men.

And a pile of maraschino cherries on a cocktail napkin as a sidecar. And yes, I can tie the stem in a knot with my tongue.

Those were my childhood happy days. Partying on the river with my mom and her friends, swimming without a life vest, and sitting at the bar with the regulars.

Wonder what my kids’ would say their childhood happy days are.

I bet they are the same days as the happiest days of my life.


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