I was looking through my hastag postings and came across this pic of my tattoo when it was fresh and unscarred.  I don't think I ever saw this before.  Technology whoa!

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Depression as gift

Kirsten's mom was an astrologer. She read my chart when I was 20 and I could not discount the truths she shared with me - her knowledge of my past was too exact.

She explained how depression is a gift. It's a guide and motivator to fix what you know is wrong. She also told me that when I was 40 I would reach something. I would write a book, fall in love or become famous in the small authentic way. Something.

I'm almost 39 and I'm receiving the gifts from the depression I feel today: clarity and pathways for when it passes.

I only met Kirsten's mom a few times. She was killed a year or so after this by a car while jogging. It's amazing how one conversation can change everything. She gave me something to move towards and a place to honor pain.

Photo:  I took the day off and noticed the fine work a spider has done on an older piece.

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Celeste

Probably 1985 in the Tri-Cities:

The house was always dead; everything was happening outside. But we had to eat so we would go to Scotty house where there was fresh chips and short soda cans. When we did go inside we could always find raw ramen noodles that sometimes had bugs. We really didn’t think it wasn't a huge issue ~ just the way it was.

Our babysitter was Celeste and I adored her. Celeste was probably 13 and had the the body that i’d already learned was the ideal female shape. Her heavy mother had burn marks over half her face and chest as far as I could see. Celeste explained that her father had thrown hot water on her mom in anger and these were the white scars, the rest was her natural brown. That’s all that was said and understood, I was 7.

I think at the time mom worked as a librarian because she did go somewhere during the day. Dad was living in his van teaching at a HS in a town too far away for him to come home during the week.

We had a bush in the backyard that the ladybugs flocked to and it was something amazing to observe ~ thousands of lady bugs. I loved how they colored the mostly tan everything, in the desert. Additionally, there were many ant hills and dead animals to check in on, daily. We would whip garter snakes against the house until they died and collapse the hills ~ not knowing any better.

Celeste spent most of her time in solidarity with me. We would ask neighbors if we could do chores for them to make money. The work was shitty (10 cents to fill a box with weeds) but we loved being together.

The next year we moved and never saw Scotty or Lexi or Celeste, again.

Ever since, I’ve ached to reconnect with Celeste. She was my side-kick. In my adulthood, I’ve thought that in our home, with the love me and my brothers had for her, we were probably a respite from trauma and something good to focus on in the madness of her own reality. We all loved her.

Sadly, there are no picture of us with Celeste.

Be human.

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Greg

Greg is a good number of years older than me and so growing up we weren’t peers. He was the tall skinny science computer guy. Michael was the musician with amazing hair and Brian was somewhere in-between. Eve was a dancer and I idolized her.

The other Enslows’ seemed pretty perfect to me. They ate dinner together. They had a nice house that had enough rooms so nobody had to double up. They didn’t move all the time.

At some point we all found ourselves grown up enough to become friends beyond cousins. I will never forget the thrill of running into Greg and Christin on the playa. This experience burned down my notions of who I thought Greg was and I saw for the first time how dynamic he is; a fan of good fun and weirdness. I missed their playa wedding because I forgot what day it was (this happens at Burningman). I missed their Seattle wedding because I got trapped at Carnival… such is life, but now is the time to show up.

Just over a year ago we sat on the patio with Michael, Greg explained that he wasn’t having a drink because he had some medical stuff going on. Later we would all go to SEAF because I had a few sculptures in the show. We had Chinese food. It was a hoot! Greg was diagnosed with cancer that week. And so, that was the last time we would hang out in that way.
Two weeks ago at our visit I was nervous. What do I talk about when nothing matters. How do I handle my sadness when it cannot compare to the sadness Christin endures and, of course, Greg too.

I think in life we live for each other. So what do you do when you don’t get to choose life anymore and you know you are soon leaving the people you live for?

I see a softness in Greg that I never noticed before. I know he’s proud of me and damn that means a lot because we are so different, but when you strip it down and all the static of life shuts off, we can see that we are all just trying to be; Thats all we are ever trying to do ~ find comfort in our skin. I see Greg now and I realize that there is nothing left for us to do but be here with him. This is were the comfort is now. We love you Greg.

Pic: we found each-other on the playa and won an award for most family members. Lily was in Eves belly and so we were a party of 6. Greg as superman <3, 2009.

We will never forget Greg.

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Winter Park

Krissy was so upset that she had lock jaw on our final days at the lodge. We had been living there for the last 3+ months during ski season. We were both 21 and shared a ground level room with Sue from Syracuse. Krissy was a Texan from Dallas and this is where she and I were headed to next!

So much dysfunction had transpired over the last 90 some days. Debbie, the cook was progressively more insane and abusive. She had imprisoned Justin and Krissy in the sauna, at one point. War waged in the kitchen daily with team Debbie running the ship. We had filed a complaint with the manager, but since Colorado is a ‘will to work state’ Carol wasn’t wiling to get rid of the cook.

I had hit 97 days boarding on the mountain ~ this is why I had moved here in the first place. It had become a playground where we would all run into each other and into the locals on the slopes. We would ride together for some time and then break apart and merge again or not. We could go home for lunch and then go back out. The main resort was Mary Jane, but the best part of Winter Park was Berthoud Pass which was organized backcountry. Justin and his brother, Jason and I would often hit these thrilling back country runs together. There was nothing quite like cutting a new path thru trees with these two boys. Krissy was more of a home body, but when she came out, was my biggest fan on the mountain and convinced me that I was on my way to sponsorship (HA!).

Krissy and I raided the sundae bar at the lodge nightly and both gained weight over time (duh). At some point we started cutting back and I think we even tried to work out in our room together. Krissy and Justin had fallen in love in the midst of all of it ~ it was fascinating to my still adolescent mind. Justin was in his later 20’s and it was quite thrilling to see this romance unfold like the teenage smut tales of Sweet Valley High. He was a veteran at the lodge and a total babe, a sweetheart and an outdoorsman, originally from Jacksonville. Justin and Jason had moved to Colorado years prior with Lisa. Lisa worked in the office and was newly married to Jason. They were expecting their first babe.

Krissy could not properly say goodbye to Justin with a french kiss and this frustration made her eyes well up. But we hopped into her SUV and burned rubber on our way to Texas, yee-haw!! I would spend a week with her before heading to Seattle on a train/bus combo. The second half of my time in Dallas was on a big old ranch outside the city, at the Koons 3-day family reunion. Krissy and I did a vegetable fast the whole time and we pledged another 2 days when we parted. Subsequently, I felt so deliriously high on the multi-day transit that cut West to California and then up the coast, I basically went into hibernation and I’m sure other riders assumed I was on drugs.

Krissy and Justin married. I was in Seattle and we had separate existences. 14 years went by.

Krissy and Justin were on their way home from a family reunion when Krissy was killed. They were stopped up on the highway at some construction when a semi slammed them from behind. The Monday Lisa informed me, my car was stolen from Northgate Mall while Margaux and I were getting Santa photos. I just laughed at how absurd the world is.

Three years ago Jason and Lisa and I came together over this tragedy. Today we no longer can speak because they are part of the Trump apostolate. Our innocence is buried and we can’t see over this wedge; Here we are, pitted against each other with Trump running the kitchen. I’m certain Jason is somewhere in the woods and I’m certain that he is more ok than any of us.

I can’t find a picture of Krissy, but she’s burned in my head. I think of her whenever I log into my accounts as her nickname for me is often my username.

Kings Village

Jessica slept in the bathtub of the smaller main bathroom. Their dad had a makeshift room in the attic. Their mother slept in the master bedroom. It was 1985 and we lived in the Kings Village house in the Tri-cities. Jessica’s sister was much older than us and was already in H.S. She was perfect.

Their dad was very strange and seemed to spend most of his time in the attic he was the epitome of what I understood a nerdy scientist type to be. He was not someone I liked to be around; He had no warmth or calmness about him. Their mother was strange in a very different way. She was pretty and curvy and often her boobs would fall out of her silky day robe. It was all very casual for her. I think there was a brother, but I barely can remember him. Jessica was 2 years younger than me.

Kings Village was connected to a golf course. In the winter it would snow several feet so that all the kids could tunnel in the snow and make an underground world. Our dog Mitzi would get snow clumps on her legs so bad that she would become disabled after a few hours. In the summer there were so many grasshoppers that we could run around the course and watch the sky come alive as we moved forward.

Jessica’s older sister would babysit us, occasionally. I didn’t feel close to her ~ I idolized her. She spent her days scheming about boys and trying on outfits and going out. She would tan naked on the deck with her perfect friend, enclosed in a makeshift privacy tent that we could peek into. One night she came over with a sandwich bag full of candy for herself. She explained that her doctor had told her she needed to gain weight.

Just before we moved from that house I was next door. Jessica’s sister was upset about a skirt that had gotten dried and had shrunk too much. She was walking by me and turned “do you want this?” I was in 1st grade. I couldn’t believe my luck; It was baby pink and curvy and it was something she would wear.

Before we moved I stuffed a few scriptures in a vase and buried it in the yard because Catholicism and all. A treasure, an inspiration, for a future person to find.

I wore the skirt for the first time two years later at Westgate Elementary in Edmonds when I was in 3rd grade. I knew it was a big fucking deal. I knew I looked so good. I was made fun of for wearing it. I really didn’t care though, they didn’t know Jessica’s sister and the wisdoms she’d imparted upon me.

This is the only image I can be certain is from this time due to the outfit I'm wearing. HA!

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I was only halfway though my ding dong when suddenly we were on the side of the road. Dad was in warrior mode tying tourniquets around the mans legs. There was nothing else either direction, just us, the motorcycle and the man.

Whenever we went on our ghetto family vacations, usually to a podunk town a few hours away to stay in a rundown hotel and ride go-carts, we would all get a ding dong during the ride!! We would all pretend to eat ours and brag when we had won the game of having some left when everyone else had already finished, but usually the game wasn’t actually over until many tricks had been played in the back seats of our station wagon.

I don’t remember where we were going and it’s one of my first memories so I imagine I was 4 or so. The man was spewing blood from both of his legs, the lower parts were hard to understand. He had run into the back of a semi and was thrown far from his bike. The semi went on, not knowing, or at least that’s what was concluded.

The man was in his early 20’s and was traveling to propose to his girlfriend in another town somewhere in Eastern Washington. It was too long before a trucker came along with a CB radio. The young man lost his legs, but my dad did save his life.

Dad.

X-mas

One year we had to burn dozens of Christmas trees.

I loved having a stand in the Kmart parking lot. I felt so close to my family; It was a time when all 5 of us were together for days at a time. I loved helping too.

We had moved to Richland a few years prior and had already left our decent house there in Kings Village for a shitty house on a shitty street, but really we didn’t notice. We were outside all day every day running with the neighborhood kids, so what we lived in wasn’t an issue.

The first year we must have done well enough with the stand. I believe my entrepreneurial minded dad got a bit too enthusiastic the second year. Monty Homes was his lifelong buddy from his football days and owned a christmas tree farm. Naturally my dad put the two together and BAM we spent a few holiday seasons hawking trees.

The trailer was cozy and smelled deliciously of propane. Once I had earned a few bucks I went into the Kmart by myself ~ I was 6 or 7. I found something I could afford, but was baffled when checkout came and with the tax I didn’t have enough. The man behind me contributed a quarter and I was speechless at his generosity. The clerk misunderstood and chastised me for not thanking him immediately.

I don’t recall christmas morning that year and I was thrilled with the doll I had purchased from my hard labor anyway, but it broke my heart to see my dear old dad tending to the piles of trees burning in our backyard for days after.

Please enjoy this picture of Bobby and I playing Gone with the Wind in the front yard.

Granny's

The old old mansion was on Chico way.  It was absolutely fascinating with too many rooms, all still mostly furnished with things that were never ours and two sleeping porches where my three brothers and I could all stay if we wanted.  The neighbors, Ruth and John, welcomed me into their home daily.  I was about 5 years old and I had never known my own grandparents.  My only memory is of my paternal grandfather whom I have a clear picture of from seeing him in his open casket.  Certainly, I was already searching for adults who could fill in the blanks for me.

I would sit with the Longmates and eat as many of the tiny cookies from the jar as I could without seeming too greedy.  The round table looked out over the Puget Sound, out over their yard and ours as well.  They had a Lazy Susan holding the jar.  I felt we had lots to chat about.

Every fruit tree had a circular swing made from plywood with a rope tied through it square in the middle.  You would balance your legs around it and start kicking yourself off the tree spinning as many times as possible before your feet would hit the trunk on the other side.  John had made the swings for his own kids who had long grown out of the house.  ‘Granny’s House', where we were staying, also had been vacant of kids for many years.  Granny had died earlier that year and my family moved in while my dad was trying to sell the house for his colleague, one of Granny’s sons.  

One day we were coming home in the Packard with a babysitter when the brakes went out.  The slope to the Sound was steep enough and about 100 feet long.  There was a tennis court at the base of the property just up from the beach.  My mother was behind the wheel and saved the day by turning sharply so that we went through the wooden backdrop of the court rather than onward to the beach. 

The tennis court had been used in the summer and also in the winter.  I know this because there was a basement room at Granny’s that was full of ice skates.  Ruth had told me that the kids would freeze over the tennis court and skate.  Additionally, there was one pair of shoes that someone had attached two large springs to so that when you put them on you could bounce around.  John made stilts of every size so that we could practice being tall.

There was also a tram that ran from the top of the Longmates property all the way to the base and popped you out over the sound.  Two of us could get on at a time, but I often road alone over and over.  It was all a dream scape but it only lasted a year or so.

The next time I would see the house and the last time I saw the Longmates was when I was a teenager on my way to End Fest in Bremerton.  I just stopped by as our families hadn’t stayed in touch. It was terribly awkward for me because I wasn’t the same anymore.  So much had happened between the age of 6 and 16 and we would have needed time to re-acclimate, but they were parents and I hope they understood.  What I wanted was for them to know how special they were to me and I wanted to feel the magic of that place again.

I took Margaux there last summer to show her where I had lived at her age, but Granny’s house is unrecognizable.  It’s been gated and fully restored.  It has so much foliage, you cannot see the route the Packard took down to the courts or the fruit trees or the water.  The lawns are now separated and I imagine Ruth and John are gone.

I plan on rowing out front with her this year from the public dock down the way!

Watson

A very old man who’s body was permanently bent into the shape of a seven, so that he always stared straight down onto his own shabby shoes, used to appear with his mower and cut the grass below. I have no idea what his face looked like. I knew that he lived down the way in a tiny decrepit house in the middle of industrial buildings and across from the Soup Shop that James once had a tiny 2 person cafe in. At the time the population of Georgetown was 2,000 and many of the houses were falling apart.

My apartment had one huge window facing East. It felt like a birds nest and looked out into the abandoned yard of the large old house two doors down . The yard seemed frozen in time; It was full of empty bird houses and an empty birdbath stood in the middle. The grass was always cut, but nobody was there to ensure the house didn’t rot from the inside out. I think now 6 years later it might still be empty.

Last week our buddy Kimbro announced that he’d gotten tiny Denver! Tiny Denver was flipped several years ago. Previously, the packed in hovel hadn’t been touched by outsiders for decades. This is where the lawnmower and his operator lived and you could tell from the outside that there was nothing new beyond the front door. At the time, I fantasized about what it was like inside. Sometime after Margaux was born the tiny house was sold and refreshed. The tiny yard was fenced and the soup shop had more customers with the growth of our neighborhood. Margaux and I had already moved to Willow Street.

And i’m just tripping out because the tiny shack that housed this isolated man for decades is now going to be the home of a tiny new family expecting a baby and really it’s somehow not the same house. Fucking weird how a life is lived and things change ~ a lonely shack is given a name and becomes a first home and the grass gets cut and the tiny old man is just someone we remember and regret not knowing.

Here we are looking out the birds nest.

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Favorite Quotes

"You should dream instead;  Thinking is for the morning."  -My daughter, Margaux, age 4.5

"Let your soul stand ajar, always ready to welcome the ecstatic experience." -Emily Dickinson"

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
– George Bernard Shaw

"If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time."
– Marcel Proust

"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control. These three alone lead to sovereign power."
– Alfred Tennyson

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." 
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change, the fear of the unknown. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: Turn back, turn back; you'll die if you venture too far."
– Erica Jong