============TRIGGER WARNING==============================


The following exerpt will surround the topic of eating disorders, some of which will touch on matters of food scarcity, food deprivation, food denial, food entropy, food dominance, anorexia in forms of restrictive, compulsive, as well as binge, including bulemia and veganism.-please use discretion accordingly.

Digesting Truth                                                                                                        8.23


I was always a real slow eater.

It took me longer than anyone I broke bread with, thoroughly making me the designated pace setter at most mealtimes. Even at the preschool table, where time was on a schedule, I was always the last one at the table, usually missing out on the dessert tray, and the last to transition to the next part of the days activities.
It was probably due to the fact that I preferred to use my front teeth, instead of my back molars like most humans; I enjoyed tasting the ingredients, with the front the the tongue being quite receptive to all flavors and varieties of experience.
Even if it was solid foods like hot dogs or apples, or whatever, those front caps went a gnawin' on it ALL as an equal opportunist: Part connesseur, part rabbit. For whatever the reason, I simply did not use my back molars, much to my mothers dismay.
After her long day of work, when we arrived home, and sat down to dinner this was going to be no ordinary event. Nope, it was going to be a full production exchange-not unlike a special occassion meal someone might have when going out to a restaraunt for a celebration..
You know, the menu, drinks, appetizers, salad, the main course, dessert, and natually, after dinner drinks and coffee-except I was just mac'n'cheesing it with my front teeth, chomping at the bit on whatever topic I had on my mind at the moment.

..and thoughts I DID HAVE, there wasn't a meal or snack that didn't readily provide nourishment to my line of reasoning of the moment- making eating even THAT much slower since I was speaking throughout most of it.


It would start out o.k. The meal would be presented, I was happy to dig in, and begin the ceremony which was tasty and energy providant. But once the vitamins hit the bloodstream, all bets were off! and my mind went soaring right along with my chatterbox mouth. Big or small, no thought was overlooked as valid for presentation, no emotion too intense to overwhelm the activity at hand, even if dinner came to a standstill and food got cold, it got finished eventually.


My mother, who, was a single mom working in the 70s Chicago reality did not have the energy or determination to hinder my style in any way.She would sit there listening, eyes sort of half-glazed over from the long work day, and would patiently listen to everything I had to say- even if the thoughts might be irrelivant to adult ears, she fully accepted my words around the table as good and well intentioned, as an hour mealtime could quite easily turn into 2.


It was never a real problem because with the just the two of us there, my extra time eating was her clean up time around the small 1 bedroom apartment. So there was a mutual benefit there; I set my own pace, and she gained more time for chores, or getting ready for work the next day instead of entertaining me with a game, or TV or something that families like to do after dinner. We sort of skipped that step, and went straight into the early evening news before bath and bed.


I found the news boring, and would play in my closet converted playroom if there was any extra in-between time. The playroom had a loooong ass line of dolls, and found objects I would score at the local parks. An interesting rock, or a broken plastic object full of colors..I had all SORTS of things for all SORTS of made up reasons, and felt it important to do my daily check-in as much as the reporter on the black-and-white TV screen.


This all changed when the two became three, and my mothers new squeeze arrived on the scene. Right away, I didn't like the guy, and could tell we would have problems.He seemed more interested in occupying my mothers attention than listening to what I EVER had to say. My magic mealtimes dissapearing like a vanishing act would just be the beginning.


I really liked most guys she brought home; the one that lasted a year, the one that lasted a date or two - even the guy I saw once, and never saw again- they all seemed to engage me in SOME way, in SOME fashion and so, I never really minded 'sharing' my mom when dinnertime came around.I was still able to speak my peace, eat my pace, and go play with my dolls afterards. 


Of course NOW, this little schedule was starting to ERODE, since this new guy was looking to be 'the one', it was only a matter of time before adjustments had to be made- and made they were. 


He never moved in or anything like that, but had his own place, and was a divorced dad with 2 sons- not unlike my mothers singledom. Yet still, babysitting wasn't ALWAYS available, and date nights for 3 would come up.


What was once my mothers time to clean up dinner, and prepare for work was now easier -since 2 sets of adult hands could wash dishes, and give her a break after her long ass days...As a matter of fact, it got SO efficient that what was once TWO sets of hands in the kitchen became ONE set- just HIS..so she could go get ready for work, and flitter around the place with whatever other tasks she had to do.


My second hour mealtime got a lot colder though; What once was my mother passing a lending ear, now became some guy in my kitchen doing my moms chore while she was no where to be found. ..and since there was no real engagement from the man, became more like a prison sentence sitting there alone while I finished whatever it was that I was eating.


Fortunately, closet dolls & bath time stayed the same, and while I didn't like the new system so much, it wasn't really THAT different, until it WAS.








Sure Enough


It started on a regular work day, around a regular dinnertime when my mother went off to get ready somewhere else in the apt, and I looked up at this new fellow. 

"SO, I was drawing at school today.." I began.

He blinked, and continued on with dishwashing replying "Oh", actually sounding genuinely surprised.
"Yeah..I made this one picture with the crayon I shared with my friend I.." I started.
"Oh..that's nice--Hey R!" he called to my mother, and went to go find her.


The dishes were all washed, and only MY dishes remained to be cleaned. My mother trailed out from the back room, and came to visit with me.

"Are you all finished with dinner?" she asked.
"Yep!" I replied. I really wasn't thinking about how full I was, so much as falling in line with the new routine..I could see that what once took an hour to do, was now gonna take 20  mintues with the new crew on board.

"Ok" she smiled and took the rest to be cleaned, as I trailed off to my closet to go play.

Quickly, a new routine was in place, but now there were shifts occurring in the new routine. Which oftentimes happen when new groups of people start to organize in some new way socially- humans have a natural tendency to look for efficiency, INSTINCTUALLY/intuitively.


You see it in language all the time, everytime you engage with someone...


....And in fact, my very own mother, a 4 engligh major from U of Chi, skipping half of college, and being accepted to, and later invited to join permanantly the english circle there.....was one to recognize  (George Carlins "Shell Shock" bit) how syllables organized social orders in everyday language.


For instance, the more familar a person is to another, the less syllables used. Saying 'Good Morning' is much more formal than saying 'Hey', and is clearly understood as such.


So...Efficiency. It was BOUND to happen, yet still, I couldn't help but feel I was getting ripped off somehow. I might have been young and inexperienced, but my spidey senses were a tinglin'.

And I was right.


This guy was speeding dishes to get HIS new charity work accomplished, so he could go dash off and buzz around her some MORE..and since I was at the table just left there wafting, it created this new dynamic of 'lets see how long it takes to realize your kid is sitting alone in another room'.


Sure enough. She would come out from the back eventually, and hurry over.
"Are you all finished?" she would ask.
"Yep" I replied.

Tra La La.I was cool, until I wasn't. This new remove-the-kid-from-the-discssions-shit had to go...and if I had MY way, this guy too, because,so far, outside of my MOM seeming relatively happy, I sure as shit wasn't. 
Things had to change, and I was just the little spitfire who was gonna go see if I could change 'em.

I hatched my plan..and for a 3 year old, let me tell you, that WAS some work. I thought about it at school the next day..drew an image of dinnertime at the art table.
"Thats pretty" said my preschool teacher.
"O.k." I replied. Little did she know these were SERIOUS blueprints being created. I mean, that shit might have been in crayon, but the symphony in my head! I tell you- Mozart is cryin'.


By the time mom came to pick me up ( which was always closer the 6pm mark, since as a single mom in the 70s with 0 fuck degrees is making pennies to the dollar with a shitton of overtime), I had a plan:


I was simply gonna finish EARLY, and go to the back with my mom for a bit, THEN go out to eat the rest of my food when his big old dumb ass comes marching in after dishes. I mean, I knew I wasn't going to be able to ERASE this person, but I knew I could get, at least, SOME TIME ALONE with my mom again.

It was perfect(insert hand wringing)!... Or so I thought. 

So, here we are. The moment of truth..and off my mom goes..and He's got the soapy hands a goin'...time to make my move! 
I get up from the table, and run in back to see mom organizing clothes for the next day. Looks like she's got the needle and thread out again, mending something. 

"Hello" I say, in my cheerful voice.

"Oh LI,HI!!! I did not SEE you there" she replied in a loving and kind voice. Make no mistake about it folks, regardless of the shit you read here, my mom really does fuckin love me.We might not have had an ideal whatever, but who DOES really- plus, the stories I write here isn't the whole dang picture, just like everyone is..both good and bad, angel and deamon- this passage just happens to be this one part of it ( more on that later).

...and, as exhausted as she was on the daily(her health, I'll save that for another time),she gave me her heart on a silver platter each and EVERYtime I asked for it...and I love her dearly for that display of true giving.

"Whatcha' Doin? Did you see my picture today? ( I made picture daily as part of my check-in routine)..I was playing with I, and she said I could share her purple crayon, but then I wanted to go play with T..."


On and on I went..just like we're doing the OLD routine, but NOW in a completely new room. Yeah, the food was getting cold..so the fuck what. It was usually cold anyway...I didn't care.

Mom listened intently as she fumbled with the needle and thread in the somewhat dark room, using mainly this bright closet light as the source in which to sew upon.
She looked up to ask"SO, that's when you-"
"HI". In He walks.

WTF. I KNOW I had more time than THIS- I mean, I might have been a 3 year old kid with a real fucked up, abstract sense of time, but she hadn't even replied to my first topic of the night.

Sure enough.
"Um, Rickie...am I suposed to wash hers TOO now,or..." he spoke softly to her like lambs ears against a babes cheeks.
"Oh!" she perked up "Li sweety, are you finished with dinner?"

Oh jesus fuck. I did NOT see THIS in my master crayon set of cleverness that I had been gloating the whole train-to-bus ride home to.
"Sure AM" I said stridently. I figured: Welp,better SOME time than NO time, since that dick head still has to go wash the rest up. 
But it was NEVER enough time, and I swear to god, that guy started doing lines or something, because from my 3 year old view, the dishes started getting done DOUBLE TIME.










Take Away-Got Took



But then a new utensil got thrown into the mix;
He would BRING dinner- like Take away.
He could see my mother was exhausted at the end of the days, and he was considerate like that- to think of her really... he knew we never had a lot of cash, like I have mentioned before, and so take-away was a real treat, an act of kindness, and most imoprtantly, DISH FREE.


And boy, did this guy have his food preferences (more on that later). A foodie? Or just a fool- fuck. You decide, guys. He had ALL SORTS of ideas of what he liked- and what mom really needed to try. You can fuck forget mac'n'cheese, apples,or whatever....
It's local exotics, with more spice, the BETTER.
..and why wouldn't she play along? I mean, culture folks, culture. 


'What I liked'....Is that a thing? 

Chinese food with sticky sweet sauce drizzed umongst the hottist shit peppers I had have witnessed.
"I can't eat it" I said.

Mom looked up, and frowned."Oh NO"she said.

"Here" He would say, loading me up with extra rice, and picking out bits from random cartons of barely recognizable vegetables.Even the green forest trees of broccoli heads looked doused in some globular shit even an alien might worry about ingesting.


Take away nights were definitely that.
...aaaaand SLAMMMO!!! Into the garbage went the whole clean up.
He brushed his hands on his shirt, as if he had done a great dish job.

'Ok, so how is this going to work?' I started thinking to myself. I mean, it's not like we really did games or some fun shit. This was a regular school-work night, so time was limited.


And just like that, we got to it- I, to my closeted playroom.
...and they, to the back- usually deep in conversation, with adult words, completely foreiugn to my 3 year old ears.Even my mom surprised me- it was like watching a completely new person I had never seen before, holding discussions in a foreign language, completely removed from my sph-ears of understanding ('Double-You..more on that later).


Of course, sometimes I would come to join them watch the news, but that was short lived since it was utterly boring, as it usually was.

Yep. Days away from this person was getting more coveted by the moment- and like the golem I was becoming, had to fill as much time as I could with my mothers attention those night when HE wasn't around. That closet play room could wait- I don't CARE if the news is boring..or we gotta go hang out in back, or scrub the bathroom, or whatever..Have dolls, will TRAVEL BITCHES.


But he started being there more and more....and then the He-free nights started changing too. I would be sent to my moms neighbor friend, whose cat would attack me on the regular (more on that later), and was watching me, so mom could go to HIS place for the evening, or the apartment, or out, or whatever.


Soon enough, not only did I have no understranding of just wtf I was eating, He managed to just cut my time right the fuck on out..and just like a long row of dolls on my shelf, I was placed in my spot to sit, and wait until picked up once more.







Just Eat It


Eventually, those weekends came around, and like anyone, we three would go OUT to dinner rather than sit in the same grind constantly. I loved it too- because I NOW had time with my mom after dinner, AND I got to pick OUT what I wanted to EAT, instead of picking THROUGH what I HAD to eat- and whoever invented the concept of a 'Menu' is a goddamn genius, to be sure!


It was a ritual HE had with HIS family:that each member pick a dish (you know what I mean, as opposed to parents picking it out FOR you, because you're too young to know wtf you are picking)...and I sure DID LOVE spinning that wheel of fortune!

Sometimes a hit!.... and a lot of times a miss.No matter REALLY, I was already well on my way to learning how to 'forage'  on the regular- luck HAD to be on my side ONCE in awhile. Plus, going to the same joints allowed me to have a preset of likes... And nothing got wasted either- anything I didn't eat, He would just dig right IN. 


Yup.That human efficiencey was chugging along nicely.
Until one time, I ordered something that NO ONE could eat. I mean it was seriously gross people, and while I might have been a slow eater or a fussy chooser or whatever, even Mr.Mouth over there cringed after first bite.
So we ordered a second option, just as the main dishes were starting to be eaten.

When I tell you this wait was longer than that pee line at the girls 1 bathroom stall, after beer-into-shots, at 3 am..I wouldn't be lying.
This simple dish was taking longer than EVER to get to the table. It was a busier friday night, and this place was poppin'. So, I could see why it might take a bit longer than usual, but that didn't help the tight schedule we were on, seeing as how He had prepurchased movie tickets to surpise afterwards.


 My order was something I had had before, and knew I liked, I was looking forward to it arriving, no matter WHEN it did..I was hungry! 
On and on I waited patiently, watching everyone enjoy the feast. Soon the feasting was over, bellies were full, and my dish suddenly arrived.
It looked so good, although 2000 degrees coming out of that kitchen..god was it ever hot. I waited patiently as the food cooled, with Him looking mildly annoyed.


Soon the bill arrived, and other people were just now arriving into the place, waiting on available tables.
My front incisors went to town! Tasty! Just as I remembered it! Just as I liked it!
Except something was a bit different now..I'm the only one eating, and these two grown ass adult are looking at me pensively.

"Is it good?" he asked inquisitivly.
"Yes- I like this very much" I replied "Like my dolly, Ms.Broccolli- she's all green and has the flower dress like this broccolli here..I wish I had Ms. Brocco-"
"THAT'S nice..but you should eat more now" he replied "..we are going to see the movie soon".

Mom started gathering coats, and soon with all items in hand, it was just me now, gnawing as fast as my teeth could go!  I knew we were short on time, and I was using those front chompers faster than I had EVER used them before.

Then it become noticable- my mouth moving faster than superman could fly, but very LITTLE actually getting moved off the plate.
"You're chewing really fast" He said.

Conversation had stopped by this point, and all eyes were on me.
I nodded and continued, and I grabbed a big hunk of chicken from the pile, and started to shave at it as best I could.
"Maybe you need a bigger bite" He suggested.

I hadn't thought of that. It might ACTUALLY work. I could just put the whole thing in there, and chew off of it in my MOUTH, rather than pick away at it with the fork.
In it went, and sat on the side of my cheek like a little squirrels save-for-later treasure.

He soon checked his watch, then looked at my mother "We gotta go".
She looked down at HER watch "Oh my god! You're right" she replied.
He turned his attention back to me "Are you finished? he asked in a slow voice.
"Nope" I answered.
"Are you STILL eating that first piece of CHICKEN?" he asked
"Yes!" I answered. I was really proud with how fast could move when I sat and concentrated on it.

It was not too hard to do: take the chicken wad, bring it to the FRONT of your mouth, and use your toungue to center it just right. Then a small bite could be made without the food falling out your mouth. Then the hunk could be put BACK into cheek side for the next round.


"Why don't you try chewing it then" he said dryly.

And like a lightening rod going through me, all at once- the impatient crowds at the door, my mom looking both bored and ready to go, His authority to the whole moment, I pressed down firmly on the whole enchilada, using my whole side of my teeth, and pulverizing the matter up. No time to taste it, no time to look at what was going in- it was time to get to work, because life was pressing, and I was certainly in no position to push back.

After that, dinnertime wasn't an issue anymore- I ate with my full set of pearlies just fine now- and then, SELF HELPED into that DOLL closet quite NICELY, just when I was SOPPOSED to, but mom could see I was growing bigger on the shelf, and a small play closet with potential hubby in a 1 bedroom wasn't gonna slice it.









My Whole Room, and a Whole Lot More


I could NOT believe the space, when we first moved into the 3 bedroom apartment in Evanston! This was a period, when apartments along the northshore were readily available, being more apartments than condos at this point in time, so it wasn't difficult to find something almost overnight.


See, I am an August baby(more on that later), and that meant, school-wise, I was juuuust squeaking the entry mark amongst the beginning school season. While a lot of OTHER children had birthdays in October, or Novemeber, or June or even July, they still had almost a solid ( on average) 6 months of developement ahead of me, I mean, jesus, even the JULY kids had a whole fuckin' MONTH..that might sound like I'm splittin hairs on the matter, but every month in those early years are like bugs; whole LIVES born and BURIED in 8 hours time- which doesn't make much difference as kids develop when they are OLDER, but in the early stages, it's TREMENDOUS; everyone knows a 1 year old is nothing like a 2 year, and a 2 year old nothing like a 3.


So, by the time I was graduating pre-k, moving to this new space, with the new life, and getting all ready with my immunizations shots, Dr visits- you know, for all the needed paperwork for the fall season, I had still really JUST TURNED 5 and in a lot of ways, I was displaying more 4 year old maturity.


Basically, I was more immature than the rest of my class, that, and I was an absolute terror of a deamon child ( more on THAT later), but when I moved into this new space I was really out of my element, and was just awash in newness in my curiousity FOR newness, leading the charge of my ATTENTIONS.


A whole room to myself. Wow. What WAS THIS going to be like? 

The apartment was a railroad type apartment, and on the first floor. There was an entrance room, which lead in one direction, to the livingroom and sunroom- with ANOTHER direction forward -that had 2 adjoining rooms with a master bathroom, that would circle and attach to this was a looooooong hallway, in a THIRD direction- that  then opened into the  diningroom area..the the kitchen and a small bedroom off ofTHAT ( the maids quarters in these older places). That was my room, and I was SO amazed with the space.

I was surely to have ALL my dolls fit NOW. And fit they did- EVERYTHING fit, and there was  room, for MORE dolls!

I had hardly begun unpacking, when now, this NEW SCHOOL landed on the scene: a new house, a new room, a new SECOND school too! Something called 'Hebrew school'...it just kept going on and on, and I wondered if it might envelop me..swallowing me whole in newness, and enriching my senses with God only knows what.


I mean, a whole room? What was this gonna BE like?

I soon found out; not unlike my OTHER schedule I had just experienced: Get ready for school, get out the door, mom to work ( but now with another person already gone for the day to their job) and at the end of the day, we all meet for dinner- pretty standard...and while my school was NEW, the faces were NEW( complete move from city to city- more on that later), the systems were NEW- hell, even the hot lunches were NEW, it was all pretty much straightforward, and the same-same. Hebrew school not being so difficult at this point in my life- it wasn't really hard nosed, in-a-scroll at age 5.


This was a small window of time where I, and my two step-brothers M and A, got a chance to meet and engage. While He loved his kids dearly, his first wife did not help the relationship none, and with weekends being the visitation time for them to meet up.


So, oftentimes, I would see them for Friday OR Saturday dinners-it was hardly ever BOTH because they too, had set schedules on weekends with their mother(so she had time with their days off too, for DR appointments, etc). Plus, there wasn't really a room that was theirs- that extra bedroom in front got turned into a study for Him to grade papers and listen to classical music loudly. The couch was a pull out couch for guests, and the like. 


Those dinnertimes were some of the best times I ever HAD. He would roll out the red carpet I tell you..with these elaborate try outs: Deep fried chimichangas, or hand pressed falafels, 8 hour+ spaghetti sauce was a real contender, while the chicken and potato roasters were AMAZING.


He made all sorts of things for those special nights, and my mother would help along too (when needed). She was never really the cook at the house, but had an oddball hand in baking, creating all sorts of euro style baked goodies, on those rain filled laundry Sunday afternoons.


Between the two of them,there was a full tear down feast to behold on those vistitation days, and I was fully present for every moment of it. Enjoying time with others around the table was truly a rewarding experience to my body AS WELL as my MIND, because my brothers would oftetimes lend an ear to whatever I might be rattling off- and rattle it really WAS .I mean, both M and A were quite a few years OLDER than me, and most definitely more mature in interests.


Besides of which, they were, more CONCERNED in spending time with their FATHER, than a whole baby play-time kind of a deal- and that was well and fine TOO- because it gave ME time to annoy my mother with some more of my antics during choretime("Military March" more on that later).


UNfortunately, those times were but a brief moment, and sooner than not, it started to really boil down to just us 3 on the weekends, with those special mealtimes evaporating right on up into the kitchen corners. They had decided that the logistics were getting just too complicated ( maybe with not sleepover often?), and decided to take M&A OUT to eat instead, where it would be just the 3 of them mainly.


It wasn't JUST THAT, mind you- it was a whole food conscious movement going on in the early 80's, and people were simply NOT EATING deep friend whatever-the-fuck. I mean, sure maybe as a special OCCASION food, but the society in which I was surrounded, found deep fried food on the regular to be quite unhealthy- a real 'Jane Fonda Work-out' to be sure.

So, it was just apart of the TIMES when many of the try-outs went away- yet some items still remained; The Spaghetti stayed around, while the falafels did too..the roasted chicken seriously became another beast- it most DEFINITELY hung around( more on that, later on).









Then the Chicken Crossed the Road


So life was really normal, real day to day. Yeah, I had a few friends who I met through school, or in the neighborhood or whatever, but I wasn't little miss popular with regular invites to parties or some dumb shit. Like seriously, wtf. Who really lives like that ? Please. No one I knew, even had HEARD about such a social life, let alone LIVE it- but, then again, I was a REALLY creative child, and that made me pretty self absorbed a lot of the times.


As a 'shelfer' I was USED to sitting long for stints of time for things by myself ....like waiting on mom to be done at work when we met downtown for whatever reason, or on the trains and buses, or for time with my mom between homework assignments,or needed meds when I got worms,or listening to long prayer services where I hadn't eaten for hours- you know what I mean, just waiting on food rituals to BEGIN, because I was hungry.



By the way, don't think I wasn't offered a carrot. I WAS offered my number 1# bunny tooth favorite! However, they were very half assed about actually washing their fruits and vegetables, and would usually just hand me a vegetable out of the bag in a very here-ya-go handout 'now scram' kind of a way.


Like I was a 1940's street alley runt looking to make my way in the big city with dashing hopes and dreams, yet all I needed was a fuckin' snack. I was CLEARLY in the way of whatever reality was going on in THAT kitchen, and I really wanted to be no part of it. I was placed on my shelf a long time ago, and was clearly getting to really appreciate it staying that way.


The kitchen oftentimes looked like a bomb had exploded in ingredients when He was cooking, and He was cooking EVERYnight. Actually most afternoons right into dinnertime. I should add here, His work schedule was kinda kush, kinda not. He got up at 6am to get to work by7am, would stick around the campus office for students, then home by 3-330pm to start grading papers/prepping dinner.


I never really saw the man other than after 3pm everyday, but that was the exact time we would meet, and stepped on each others toes- and naturally being as introverted as much as I was extroverted, could easily be very passive and 'whatever' to save face, and keep the peace on the confrontation front. When it came to territorialism around the monkey cages, i'de just as soon go climb a tree.


Dont get me wrong, if I felt in the right, I could scream up in your face without a care in the world, and at the same time, get lost on an 8 x11 fresh blanky, and 'ink it up' while calmly and diplomatically, asking you to shut-the-fuck up, so I could concentrate on whatever it was I was sketching.


 I was no longer that sweet bunny anymore ('When I Turned Orange', more on that later), and my will to satiate the hunger pangs until "The Banquet" was set on the table, no longer a problem- not when it got framed like that..and, right on cue, human efficiency finally landed- cawing ITS ugly scratch.


Now, I know god gave us chickens for eating(more on that later), and I know god invented thrifty living, but I had no concept of the sheer nightmare in which chicken could become. If I had kept a foot for every meal on the slab at that Banquet, Id'e be a Baba Yaga.


So, somewhere between my schooling, moms schooling, and now HIS schooling too!( I mean, WHY NOT BOTH go simultaneously? Couldn't blame em though- a lot of people in their generation were hauling ass around then, trying to get up to speed with the bare essential degrees for an actual fair wage in the US at that time- I serioulsy cannot blame them, yet somehow, I still CAN).Some serious meal prep had to be planned out. And planned it WAS- NO ONE,and I mean NO ONE was eating that fast food crap as an actual MEAL, much to my dissapointment.


In fact, it became an ongoing joke that He would like to bring up repeatedly- that I was always piggish about eating fast food, if I ever given the chance, because I was never allowed any from our quality standard kitchen home.


It started when I was out with some family friends who were carpooling with my family. They had picked us up, presumably from hebrew school, and made a short side trip for the whiney faces- Just the local hamburger joint, with french fries and cokes.


I had almost tears of joy as I wolfed down the crunchy goodness and chargrilled flesh. God was it ever good- I think my sinuses even cleared out- my whole body just felt SO recharged, and centered and grounded. Everyone seemed to notice, as I was offered a second burger, and duly ate that right on up too, thanking them SO much for the opportunity.


They were nice enough about feeding me extra portions, but were suprised to learn later on, that my family did not use fast food in place of regular meals like dinners. Sure, MAYBE McDonalds on a SATURDAY during the shopping day(never shopping for food, always dry goods, or antiques, in certain areas of the city- like trendy haunts).


They mentioned it to Him when he arrived to pick me up;

"Hi L, just wanted to let you know, we stopped off and got burgers before arrving, so..you know, sorry if it spoiled anything you were planning at home. She seemed really hungry, and wolfed it all down, even the extras.." they said.

They were mostly confused as to why I was relishing a garbage platter like they had just served me lobster and steak dipped in gold.

He just laughed nervously, before crafting the OLE BOOMERANG ( of course) and replied

"OH? So, you WENT OUT, huh?" he made a real point to emphasis the recognition, because that was real KIND of them, and then also, what a REAL treat for me. He continued on "OH WOW.  THANK YOU..Did you thank them-?LUCKY YOU" he replied.

He continued" ..Yeah,  don't usually eat any of THAT STUFF at OUR house. That's halarious!... Kids-What ya' gonna DO with them? I only provide the steak and roast chickens..HAHA" Implying that kids simply dont have a sophisticated pallette in those younger years, and He was somehow getting roasted for trying to better me.

They looked satisfied with that logic, even though it was a somewhat mild put down to them, it was passed off as just a small talk. 


Of couse, when we arrived back home, he mentioned it to mom:

"You wouldn't believe the funniest thing..When I picked Li up, they said she was going crazy on the junk food...hehe- I had to EXPLAIN to them, that we just dont EAT that kind of stuff. Right Li?" he asked.


And that was true, and I DID eat 2 burgers plus fries, and I DID relish it with tears of joy streaming down my face, and I DID thank them more than a normal thank-you for the experience. "Yep..I sure DID. I LOVED that food. I ate SO MUCH" I replied.


That incident would be brought up every NOW and again- everytime fast food would be discussed as an option for any meal choices- it was just apart of the many funny food memories people HAVE with their kids..just passing moments of time that stick, like bits of being burnt around the edges, sticking to my pan, but sometimes flaking off.



He had a commonsense approach to the day-to-day functioning, and the food department was no different. What was once falafel turned into a new healthier thing: Salmon patties. 8 hour spaghetti sauce would still pop up in the fall, but that still left gaps of days in the middle of each week. I never was a big fan of the salmon patties; as they were fried in olive oil, and the canned meat kind was used.


At first sitting, I bit into a crunch with these little babies, and it was NOT a bread crumb deep fried crunch, but paid no mind until LATER,when I was in the kitchen watching Him make them. I noticed that the whole can was being USED, including the BONES. He would just hand crush the meat, very much like hand made meatballs, or something of the like. 


He also had a religious belief in using olive oil for all the oil needs ( outside of butter, and peanut oil for homemade fries and popcorn with occassional movie nights), and after a few attempts of "foraging" at the Banquet, I just could not get around the oil of it all. They just became a gross ass food I found disgusting to eat, as much as I found it disgusting to watch OTHERS eat.


Enter that good 'ole clucky bitch. That's right- chicken and potatos. I mean, it's hard to fuck that up, but he managed to by making his very own sauce- consisting of herbs and spices, oils and vinegars- not unlike a salad dressing, and in fact he put that shit on pretty much EVERYthing.


It was heavy on the mustard, heavy on the OLIVE OIL, and light on salt&pepper. He would make it once a week, in put it all in a clear glass jar which sat on the shelf, prominantly in front- for easy grab since it was almost an everyday affair.


Did I not mention? An everyday affair, because THAT'S what became the main attraction: CHICKEN. I never saw steel roaster pans used that much. Every day, I would walk into the kitchen around dinner time to see what was cookin' and there it WOULD be; that rectangular pan, getting more and more burnt around its blackened edges with each use.


See, He read somewhere about 'seasoning pans', and took that to mean you shouldn't really SCRUB your pans out, you should leave a coating of oil on the thing at all times. This meant that the pan would just get a regular hand wash type of deal- not unlike the regular old sponge you might use on a dinner plate. 


Of course, AFTER it was washed, it would have this relatively clean center- glistening a bit of steel in its true color, but as you looked towards the EDGES of the pan, it was now completely blackened, with a completely new shape of burnt crisp stuck on like a shellac for next time.


Little bits of crisp would fall off every now and again- sometimes on the shelf, sometimes when in use, and that was either ignored ( seeing as how a bomb in a kitchen on the daily made burnt crumbs look like clean sparkles), or picked at in hunks every couple of weeks, and tossed away-Not unlike axe picking at a dig site.


Day in and day out:


"Whats for Dinner?" I would ask.

"Chicken" He would smile. 

Don't get me wrong- sometimes my MOM would answer the million dollar question, but mostly it was Him in the kitchen and my mom was either still getting back from a long day at work, or had her nose in a book in the sunroom-converted office space, trying to finish homework.


Obviously they served something BESIDES chicken, and that would be potatos, sometimes mushrooms ( which were cooked with the chicken, because efficiency), and a dainty salad. He liked to make these small exotic salads made up of canned artichoke hearts, and hearts of palm.


Of course, some half washed lettuce would be in there, and maybe even a twist of something new- like sundried tomatoes, or chives, or celery..always something to make the salad a new standout to the same roasted chicken potato show, and was probably HIS way of feeling the meal was creative, as well as monetarily clever.


Let's not forget that salad dressing though, which would be PRE-POURED on the greens, and then mixed in thoroughly, because why bother passing around that massive salad dressing bottle? Why bother pouring some into a server? Why not simply add it in the kitchen BEFOREhand, so less dishes later on?


That efficiency was making its rounds in all sorts of ways, up in that place!

Falltime? Chicken. Holloweentime? Chickentime. In November, there's nothing finer than...you guessed it folks, Roasted chicken. Chicken on a sunday, Chicken on a friday, chicken legs, thighs, breasts, you name it.


You're probably wondering how my mother felt about all this. She didn't seem to have a problem with it at ALL. Probably because she was much too focused on schoolwork, head swimming in Bronte, or whatever. Also, because she ate like a bird mostly, and seemed to find chicken a hearty subtance compared to what SHE had in mind. 


Her favorite meal would consist of extra thin bread, toasted to a near burn, with crunchy peanut butter and a sliced apple.She, would toast the bread TWICE , it was so toasty! It was more like a bread cracker than bread OR toast. She loved that meal very much, and in fact, I can't remember a time when that wasn't on her plate for SOME lunch, when time allowed for lunch at home.



Most of the time though, they BOTH ate THEIR lunches OUT of the house- either grabbing something locally, or taking the regular, like me- the brown bag method I was practicing, except they had their own version: He made meat sandwiches with lettuce and cheese, and mom, the cruchy toast peanut butter thing, pressed together.


Being so busy during everyones school/work morning, He would grab a sweetroll at WORK before starting the sessions ( and would always mention how awesome it was to have those freebees in the teachers lounge).Mom, again, the toast and cruchy nut deal, or cinnamon toast. I was always left with a box of cheerios, although if I didn't finish the box along, could easily get stale after sitting, and was simply not replenished anew, for weeks at a time.


That oftentimes happened when we ran out of milk, which happened pretty much by the time sunday showed up. It was never a large amount, but a quarter of a gallon. See, neither one of them liked milk, they didn't eat cereals OR use it in coffee. Once in awhile, my moms baked good might require it, and they would give me money to go to the store and BUY a small pint or something like that.


I always enjoyed helping out too, I would stop WHATEVER it was to go running to the store and help the general cause- especially if it was going to be a baked good. It also gave me chance to go out of the house and see what I could see..and see I did! 


I would LOVE going to the air conditioned White Hen Pantry, and look at all the candies, and chips, and colors...just absorbing all the new trend foods that were out there, imagining what my friends might be eating of THEY could choose from the store.


I even figured out how to budget, and get an extra small 10 cent sweet for my efforts on the milk, after I saw that my mom was fine with giving ME the extra change from the walk over. She was generous like that, and I always appreciated that little extra left over change to go into my piggy bank ( more on that later).


She probably was a repressed vegetarian and never realized it, because one year, when returning from the Dr's office her blood count was way OFF, and they were worried about her protien intake. Turned out she wasn't really EATING a lot of the chicken as she was supossedly eating, and simply hadn't noticed.


Which, upon reflection NOW, is kind of IRONIC. Because, one key ritual to 'The Banquet'  was a line of questioning that would come from HIM, and would be directed at HER, without FAIL, at EVERY SINGLE meal. ..and that was:


"Is it ALL RIGHT?" He would ask with a seriously worried face on him.

"Oh, yes" she would answer right away "Everything is wonderful..thank you". She would reply in a sweet , methodical way. No matter the day, THAT was the answer. No matter the chicken, THAT was the answer- if it was BURNT, if it was unevenly COOKED, that WAS the answer. 


You could almost TIME the question coming:


"GUYS! DINNerrrrrrrrrrrr"He would holler.

We'de come into the diningroom -mom from the front, I from my back room- hands washed, and ready to eat!

Chairs pull out, we two would sit, as he would get the plates from the kitchen, and place them in specific ways, like a chef might be presenting an piece of artwork to you.

He always got HIS plate LAST, and never quite got the same fanfare as moms got..I got SOME presentation effect, but oftentimes, my plate was the first one out, and so I didn't get the same service on the regular- and neither did HE.


He might have taken a roasted green bean or two, and arrage it a certain way to look aesthetically pleasing for OUR plates, or the guests plates ( when chicken was on the menu for guests- because, after all, the GUESTS haven't had that chicken yet), but never for himself.


For Himself however,  it looked more like a smothered pile of meats heaped up on one side, with room for him to throw bones onto the other- and it was always finger lickin' good.


After awhile, I really got sick of chicken, even though no one seemed to mind.I was ALWAYS outruled 2 to 1. ALWAYS..and I never wanted to be rude, but DID start to complain on year 2 or 3.


"GOOOOODDDDDD. CHICKEN. AGAIN??????" I would ask as I would be passing through the kitchen.

"Yep" he would say, and ferverously continue waving utensils in the smoke and blaze ( more on that later).

I finally just put my foot down one night, after mothers seal of approval, and simply asked " Why do we have chicken every night? Can't we have something else??"


My mother giggled "Oh, sweety, I know it SEEMS like chicken every night-"

"No, it actually IS chicken everynight" I replied.

He just sat there, gnawing on a leg, keeping his eyes on the meat.


"What did we HAVE this week..." I continued on.

"Well, let's see..." She started "Oh, that's right, we DID have that leftover chicken on Monday..."

He looked over at her, and threw the bone down, to start in on another. 

"I can start making more salmon patties or scallops..you like THOSE" he replied as he continued with the new limb.

"No, I don't like those anymore" I winced ('Scallop Happy' more on that later).


"Well, sweety it can't be something new EVERY night, you know..some nights are leftovers" she smiled gently at me, and went back to pushing meat around on her plate- but this time, bringing her book WITH her from the front room, to ge the extra time in.


'Fucking fine' I said to myself 'nobody here cares about what I like, I'll just push the food around like her, and get something later on'. I wasn't particularly hungry at the moment, and that idea sounded good.


Desserts were always a thing too..It was a real treat to have a dessert afterwards, and while it was hardly any of moms baked goods ( due to being, like I mentioned, a rarity), pre-made foods would show up in this area. Euro LU  dark chocolate schoolboy biscuits were popular, as was Werthers hard caramel candies and ice cream.


I never cared for the dark chocolate cookies that much, being a kiddo, and preferring milk chocolate anyway, those cookies managed to not get ravaged as an after school snack, or something like that ('Hide and go Sweet' more on that later).


Now NO ONE can fuck up ice cream. I mean, that shi is DA BEST...and these people did NOT play AROUND when it came to quality. It was a Haagen Dazs all the way bebe, and normally be vanilla praline, but sometimes chocolate.


Of course, EVERYONE wanted ICE CREAM dessert nights, and that pint of goodness was coveted by ALL, expecting to bring pleasure to the minds and souls all week long. Of course, being THAT prized, it wasn't something to eat ALONE. That would be almost immoral. NO. Ice cream, was something WAY too amazing for THAT sort of piggish greed.


While they both hated dairy products for the most part (butter, cheese, quarter gallon mine, sometimes cream for guests coffee), they LOVED ice cream. It was one of my mothers FAVORITE. She had it growing up with HER family, and was a staple tradition with HER brother and sister and parents.


They would get those BIG BLOCKS of ice cream, and living so far out in the rural farm lands, would sometimes have a creamy MESS by the time, it actually got into a mouth, so ice cream was served in BIG dishes, ready to catch all the gushy slushy sweet, to enjoy right then and there on those hot summers on the farm ( that she would so have, that she would so mention).


She loved to serve it too, and would oftentimes return in kind, the beautiful presentations He would give to the meals on the regular, by having us wait at the table while she brought it in to serve- sort of like the vibe you get when someone is lighting candles on a birthday cake before presenting.We would all look on with delight, and then enjoy.


He noticed that too. Moms serving style, and when she presented it one day, with the spoons already wedged in the sides (as they were normally placed on the table either alongside dinner as an extra needed third utensil, which implied that ice cream would be included with dinner,  OR , oftentimes, AFTER dinner, the idea of HAVING a dessert would come up, if THEY felt like having ice cream, etc,-a second round of napkins would be provided, alongside a spoon which would be placed on the table), and he said something:


"Oh, you're serving with the spoons in there??" He looked annoyed yet smirking, "OK".

Mom looked confused "Yeah, I just didn't see the purpose of running back in there again.. do you need another napkin or something?" she asked.


He looked down at the finger lickin' good crumpled mess before him. "Yeeeeeesssss, pleeeeeeeze" he replied slowly, in a very gentle and boyish tone. I guess that was his way of being docile?

She presented the dishes, and everyone started eating.

He picked up his spoon, "WOW" he said, as he looked at this swirly puff of ice cream on the rather small spoon. They liked to use extra small spoons for desserts, and while dessert spoons ARE small, these were a particularly small design set of dessert spoons.

Mom looked over at him "Is it...... ALRIGHT?" she asked, making that standard face HE had, every single night. The two night question nights were RARE, but SOMEtimes they like to play tennis like that. 


He started to eat the ice cream and giggle.."hehe..nooo...it's FINE..it's just SO MUCH" he said, slushing the ice cream around.

She looked down at her bowl, blankly "We always had lots of ICE CREAM growing up....." she said smiling.


'Hell yeah' I thought, 'Way to go moms..bringing SOMETHING to the table'


"...but yes" she continued on" My parents are LIKE THAT" she said with an eye roll.


From then on, those 2 big scoops got cut in half, and we enjoyed ice cream THAT much longer throughout the week- especially when, on year 4, I got sick of eating vanilla praline ice cream alltogether, which left more for them.


I had no problem holding my nose, and eating whatever it was I supposed to eat- like any kid, in order to get rewarded with that ice cold dream.

Even if it was that goddamn chicken.

'No matter' I'de tell myself'Just simply think about that ICE CREAM while you eat the chicken...... just PRETEND that the chicken is a different KIND of ice cream.... Just eat it- like a familiar smell of home that wafts through the house, SO GOOD... on those cold cold October afternoons. You LOVE how that FEELS..being hungry, and smelling foods in the hallway, and then it's coming from YOUR home ( more on that later)...You LOVE requirement..you LOVE ice cream.


Yes! my plate was cleared in no time- and I did such a good job removing myself from the minor annoyances of life that kids oftentimes have.








You Little Bandit


So, the Banquet gets cleaned up, and mom is back into a book, He is finishing up the kitchen clean up, as usual. I was doing whatever it was I was doing, and suddenly felt starving! Man, I really started wondering what I might go to eat, and how I was going to slice into that nice clean kitchen without some side mess.


After all, I could see how much effort went into HIS preparations, and then clean-ups, and now it's near 10pm, and they are in their underwear ( which meant ready for bed- more on that later). I felt really conflicted.


On the one hand, I REALLY did have a point; I didn't want to eat this EXACT same roasted chicken for the 6th day in a row, leftover or not. I mean, sure I got a break in there LAST FRIDAY when we went to my more religiously conservative family friends house and had matza ball soup and briskette after like 2.5 hours of prayer or some shit, but AGAIN?


The EXACT same thing??? It was never RE-made into something else either like chicken salad, or chicken soup, or chicken tacos, or anthing like THAT. It was never tasting like anything but that EXACT salad dressing with each and every single bite, no matter HOW you might try to disguise it anyway.


But 10o'clock...geeze..that's awfully late to eat ANYthing, and I would know, that's how things went in "Cookies Kitchen" as I named it because it was a tight ship, and nothing was going to WASTE in THATmoat of a pantry.


I could hear them getting ready to lie down in their bedroom, watching television, which is where the main color television WAS. I had my own little set, which was a small black and white, but it was older, and I didn't always get the cool stations the bigger TV in their room was getting.


While I might not have gotten to pick the shows, He seemed real serious about Hill Street Blues, and other cop shows where tough alpha blondes seemed to take the lead. I had no problems watching WHATEVER, sitting on the floor, at the edge of the bed, because I was right UP FRONT into the TV..like the best seat in the HOUSE. But, not THIS NIGHT-



THIS night, was about PRINCIPLES, I HAD EM, and I was gonna PRACTICE EM.But GOD  was I nervous as all fuck.. What do I get?? Welp, maybe something simple..


I walked into the kitchen. It was quiet, and only the blaring flourescent strip light was on, above the sink.


Hmmm..I flipped on the main switch..Let's look.



Now, I should probably add here, that the pantry was always full, yet wasn't. It always HAD FOOD, but nothing you could simply grab and go. THOSE sorts of snacky things weren't on 'budget'(they had plans for their wad), and simply weren't there. You could find almonds, cans of tuna and salmon, canned grape leaves,crunchy peanut butter,dry popcorn, poppyseed paste, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, bamboo slices, a bag of rice and lentils, cans of crushed tomatos, stale cheerios,kosher dills, LU cookies, some onions, matza bread, jar of honey, spaghetti noodles, chicken stock, butter in the fridge with a myriad of carrots,vermont maple syrup, sharp chedder cheese brick, meat slices, a couple of stale american cheese and peppers and lettuce, raw chickens, frozen chickens,  and even cream cheese for bagels ( which were always frozen to keep fresh)...just nothing grab and go, you know?


After looking at all the options, and NON options, I decided on a cheese sandwhich. I knew how to make THAT, and THAT could be a fast option, with NO cooking..something I could just GRAB, and go back to MY room with. I really liked the thought of THAT..not having to eat at the table..never really thought of that before either!-Cool! I was excited.


I thought about lettuce..oh, I might as well SKIP THAT. A green.. who cares, that's gonna take too long, and use the sink, etc....just cheese and bread is ENOUGH for ME. Unfortunately, there was no miracle whip that I had much preferred( since trying with other family members at THEIR houses), only a small jar of mayonaisse that HE like to use for HIS lunches when He made them....and He liked to use that heavy deep yellow german mustard on his sandwhiches too.... So, no light yellow mustard you would use for hotdogs, or cheese sandwhiches.


'Oh well' I thought to myself.

I went on, and found the breads- the loaf was over half full, so no problems there,  and I placed them on a paper towel, and then on the small handmade kitchen table. Then I settled to add on the mayonaisse...I opened the jar, only to see a swirl of creamy mayo slushed in a spinny pattern with deep yellow, and dots of mustard bling. There was NO WAY to cut into this without the added spice. DAMMIT.


It happens folks, people get busy with work, they are rushing around, trying to get ready to go, and they use the same knife between jars..what ya gonna do???

"Oh well, " I said to myself.. "cheese and bread.. well...still a sandwhich it MAKES."


One little snag though..while there WAS a couple of older american cheese slices in there, they weren't kept in a baggie or anything like THAT, rather, they were sort of scattered in the 'cheese drawer'..kind of like thin cheese potato chips one might throw into a bowl at game time. 


I hadn't noticed the corners of the cheese completely dried out."Yuck" I thought. "Damn..what am I going to eat NOW??"


Time was pressing forward, and I KNEW soon, He would go around the house, turning all the lights off, and hinge lock the front door, like he ALWAYS did before bed, and I wanted to avoid a confrontation over my need for a fucking cheese sandwhich at ALL COSTS at this later hour. I just didn't want the confrontation-we never got along anyway ( more on that later on).


"Welp, maybe just toast..no..wait...I don't WANT to alert others with the smell of the toaster..hmm" I went back, to see a stick of butter sitting in the butter server tray.."OK, COOL, just bread and butter..one of my FAVS..no one can can wrong with THAT" I thought.


I grabbed the butter, and turn around to see Him glaring at me, in his panties, then yelling, " R GET IN HERE. SHE'S STEALING BREAD"


I was just too stunned to say anything- to see him standing 4 feet from my face, and especially that I was, NOW, that BAD kind;..... the STEALER kind..the CORRUPT and IMMORAL kind...the kind that couldn't fall-into-line-RIGHT- like-the-REST-of-them kind. It was simply 'enough-with-the-NICE-treatment-wi-foods-and-ye' at that place and time, in HIS mind.


'We'll just wait to see what my mom says about this shit' I said to myself..I was simultaneously pissed off and STILL hungry- I WASN'T 'stealing bread', I was stealing a whole goddamn sandwhich, just happened to be shunted on every single step of the heist. I mean, if you're going to ACCUSE me, at least accuse me CORRECTLY- for my serious LACK OF PLANNING..not for fucking bread crumbs. I swear to God, at least ACCUSE me right.


Remember folks, 2 to 1- EVERYtime. Even if I HAD a point, even if I WON the game, even if I was hungry..she still found, what she liked to consider 'equalibrium to two polar opposites' by finding us BOTH right.

I wasn't 'stealing', and said so TO Him, right in FRONT of me...but DID explain that I simply did not UNDERSTAND how the rules were, and that sitting me DOWN to EXPLAIN that '10pm was simply 'not OK' for attempting to cook, and much too LATE to eat", was a much better approach with me.


In other words guys, I wasn't BAD until I actually BROKE my hunger pangs FROM NOW ON. But, it WAS there, the suspicion stuck, and apparently became GOSSIP amongst his family (more on that later).


After that , I knew that Cookies Kitchen meant business, and when HE said KITCHEN CLOSED, it really WAS.














Getting To the Other Side



It got better though. He realized He was wasting WAY to much money on those precut vittles, and could simply buy WHOLE chickens, where he could butcher himself. I mean, in a way, this efficiency helped ME out in a lot of ways too, because I wouldn't have to go ask what was for dinner: Because NOW,  as I would try to do my homework in the afternoons, I could hear the meat cleaver, letting me know ahead of time was on the slab:


WHAM! 9x 7...carry the 4 over...WHAM!


'Then in the prehistoric period-'WHAM! 


'If Johnny has 2 chickens, and-'WHAM!' '-has to-' WHAM! '-pay for 6-' WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! whamwhamwham wham!!!! 


Seriously, wtf was He doing in there..I understood a few good whacks, but jesus christ did He go to town on that cutting. Fortunately for us, as messy as the whole thing could have gotten (slicing up whole chickens pretty much every other day for well over a decade) he was an architect, and that meant he designed his very own chopping block. 


It was a clever design, one that later influenced me to create my very own extra narrow, and long cutting boards: It was a 3 inch solid chop top- about 2.5 x 3 ft. I think he might have used a previously made table, and simply added this block on top, while also adding some plumbers piping to the middle of the legs, lower to the ground. The piping helped the table remain square, and support the weight of the now heavier top, and thrusting.


He added little brown plastic sliding drawers on the underside of the table (you know,  the kind you might use in a woodshop class, to hold little things like nut and bolts)- except THESE held one or two spices. UNfortunately, the drawers were kinda on the small side, so nothing really got put in there other than a smaller turmeric jar, and some loose, whole nutmegs...sometimes a thumbtack would show up, or a dead bug would make an appearance- but no one really knew, or CARED to know because while they were sliding drawers, they kept getting stuck on something when you pulled them out, and they would get jammed that way.


The only way to push them back in, would be lift and move over to the left or right in a specific manner ( depending on the drawer, He installed 3), and slowly slide back. It made the drawers pretty much useless, and while he could have gotten rid of them, they weren't really all that noticable being UNDERNEATH the table. Besides of which, he installed the sliding shelves FIRST, BEFORE he layed the chop block down. 

So that meant he would have had to LIFT the whole block off to get them off of there, and he had BOLTED that chop block down for good measure. 


You would think He might have considered grilling- as in BBQ- I mean, hell, why even BOTHER with a pan, right? But no. We were a starcaise or two ABOVE the grilling area outside, which was simply too inconvenient to do day in, and day out like that.


Although, at ONE POINT, he thoroughly considered THAT, and decided to bring the grill to the back porch, adding a window fan, and simply VENT the smoke out the screened in back porch window. It wasn't so pleasant for a neighbor or two passing through with their garbage, on the way down the stairs to see an out and out fucking GRILL INSIDE the wooden stairwell area, but that soon CHANGED when, we moved across the STREET to ANOTHER railroad apartment, with the EXACT SAME layout, (minus a few areas here and there).


Even still, you couldn't get roasted potatos out of that preparation, and so, the pan was always the go-to choice. The back porch grill, DID however manage to gets ITS fair use, with friday night steak nights. They decided that home meals on those friday shabbats were important, naturally...and since the two of them were so dang burnt out from the longer week hours+ school, was the logical choice for something special. I did not care for the meat, and so he would go out of his way to get shrimp at the local grocery, which was aways fresher than not, because friday afternoons was the time groceries were purchase in the home-


-Not MONDAYS, when everyones crazy with work, not SUNDAYS, when everyone would be crazy with chores and laundry, not SATURDAYS, because fuck- EVERYone goes shopping for food on SATURDAY, ..and there's no way an efficient shopper would pick THAT TIME SLOT ( they would be fun shopping that day anyway).







So, no...I never got to eat the junks- unless I was visting family down in GA...and a visting I WOULD go. My mom and dad would drop me off and my grandparents for the whole summer block while they did god knows what. 


I didn't consider the matter really- I had home cooked meals made by my grandmother, and it was always a variety of things. There were lunches with cheese and leftover meats, and sometimes we would order fast food whewe were out at the mall looking around.


I really loved being down there, feeling as though I were in hodgepodge heavan- blissing out on the idea that the next days meal could be interesting,and refreshing, and new as the day I arrived. A celebration event of my arrival, and a cascade of colors in which to converse over, and ingest into my heart center. How happy I was to start my next day; time away from school...time to loosen up...and most importantly, time away from chicken.


I saw my grandmother cook ALL the time, just like at MY place, except that this ship had a completely different captain at the helm, and so, it had a complete different set of rules. Instead of a regimented system ordered kitchen where Cookie-says-when-were-open-Cookie-says-were-not, it was a very 'what-did-you-have-in-mind' kind of a kitchen.


You saw a candy decorated gingerbread house in a holiday magazine? Bam!Let's spend the next 8 hours making em. You want to try fishing, and grill it? Wham! You're in a boat. You want ice cream? Wham! Here's 4 kinds, and a big ass spoon- dig in!

You think you might be able to make a 12x ft by 8ft swimming pool with a roll of garbage bags and tape? Bam! Your ass is in goggles Nemo- go fuckin' swim.


I NEVER wanted to leave the safe haven of THAT sweet spot,as most kids dont, and I relished going back every year,Even though I missed my mom a lot, I still would cry oniony tears every time I had to leave, and return to the DRUDGE that was chicken hell.



My mom would still bake occasionally, on the weekends when she had time (since this was around the time she started to take college courses to get that BA), and would make strange sugary concoctions, or maybe, perhaps just stuff she really adored- Stuff like carmelized sugar and almonds, or hazelnut-chocolate coffee roll wedge slices with almonds around the edges and cinnamon dustings.


There was almond marzipan and meringue half swans all burnt toasty on their little meringue tips. But the real coup-de-jour was the chocolate chip cookies. Most people would recognize them as 'Lace' cookies; a very chewy, flat, caramel flavor cookie, that usually has this open lacy appearance-'cept mom put chips in there, so it looked liked floating bumps amongst the glaze. 


Cookies were kept frozen, to make them last longer, and I eventually started to prefer frozen lace chocolate chip cookies to ANY other kind of chip , seeing as how they provided a good balance of carb, protien, sweet and chocolate- they really made an ideal snack on-the-go during this time period. My mother baking them just happened to be the crowing topper of delish, no matter HOW many times I 'got busted for stealing cookies', no matter how many times they counted cookies out, and count them after each to dinner to make sure none were missing.


I simply saw it as me living my life on credit- and everybody in the 80s was doing THAT. If the cookies weren't going to BE under lock and key, I would always try to sneak a couple out of there during the week, when no one was looking.

It just really proves, yet again, that the heart holds fond those chips of intimacy, no matter WHAT the batter fold.


SOMEtimes the cookies would be dry. Not having 'this' ingredient, or 'that'  ingredient in the house, we would always make do on cozy Sundays with whatever was at hand in the pantry- and the baked goodies got rotated in this way.

When one supply finally got refurbished, it would clearly be time to make the good that required sais supply- all would relish it the creation that much MOREso, because it hadn't made an appearance in a while.


It was a convenient way to rotate baked goodies, without really having to think about it- you would just simply keep making due with whatever you have..no extra runs out, no headaches on what might be next, no real attachment to any baked goodies unless for a specal bake..it would always be a suprise(unless you kept an eye on your pantry or something).


Fortunately for me, my mom liked to keep an assortment of cookie toppings off-hand as well- like silver sugar balls, and red sprinkles. Things to add on top of sugar cookies, when the holiday rolled around. She would also make hamentaschen cookies, as they were now married at this point, and her having converted to Judiasm(more on that later), was devout in her practice, enjoying both community,and the culture(we'll get to that later on).

There was always a jar of rassberry jam in the fridge for His mornig toasts, and also to make THOSE, and while the little triangle pyramids of delight were still rare in the house, being a mainly Purim thing, she would spin off once in awhile, and make the nut and cinnamon variety off season, and she was good at making those, and they were very good to eat.

...it really would feel special to be able to spend time with her while her schedule was getting more filled with school(soon to be continuing on with her MA).


She also, on rare occassion would make praline pie, or an apple pie..and did you know, at once point, she really DELVED into apples, I mean, really WENT there- and it became apple streusels..then a BETTER apple pie...THEN a BETTER apple streusel..back and forth with the designs..WOW. These gorgeous shapes on the pies..I sure wish I had cells phones back then, I would have LOVED to have had a collection of THOSE designs.


Long, sliver leafs that resembled willow branches,and dainty crisp rounds, at other times..that would look like the center of an appleseed (when halved sideways).
She most certainly made some of the most beautiful shapes, which she later channeled into her original silk scarves-and it's oddly amazing and bazzar simultaneously, that what you do in ONE thing, can easily later get translated into SOMEthing else...I thought that was pretty cool, and I saw the transition quite clearly.









Something Else

Something else absolutely WAS occurring. While I was never a real eater in the mornings, and oftentimes skipped a real sit down before school, my hot lunches were changing too! The price was going up by 75cents per meal, and a lot of the working parents were having a real stink about it.

It kinda caught on, as kind of the local 'Get on board with being a community joiner, and supporter of this being way too outrageous' kind of a vibe (as Evanston minds so LOVE to proselytize fill-in-the-blank), but when the time came to actually put their BALLS on the line, everyone piped down, and simply got on board, and just PAID the extra 75cents, or whatever it was.


...And this is where I have to simultaneously RESPECT and DESPISE the man. I mean, on the one hand, he put his value OUT THERE, and when HE said NO to that increase, he was actually willing to simply boycott. It's 'real threat' guys like these that get a picket line in ORDER, no doubt. But as a local college professor, teaching architecture to college students, as well as being in private practice with a local firm or two, wasn't ACTUALLY crossing any sort of real picket lines in HIS career(maybe he did, and I dont remember..I should go ask).


 Nevertheless,you just KNEW it- when you looked in his eyes.... that he would have NO PROBLEM handling any sort of such business if need be. I mean, he worked in the community all day long- you can't work around THAT many people, and be a complete dick..there's gotta be poeple skills in there.


So, when that increase showed up on the next menu slip sent home, he easily clicked the 'no' box, and it would be brown sack lunches from home, for now on.

"Oh God." I grimaced to myself. I mean, not only was I already doing a forage dance, as well as trying to eat ANYwhere I could outside the home (more on that later), I was pretty much A-okay with this fair balance of nothing breakfast, balanced hot lunch, and foraging foods night.


But NOW this was it. I was a bit older, and finally felt I set a limit, I mean sweet jesus fuck, EVERY goddamn nutrient from this man?????WHY...why was HE my suckling teat? Was he my mama? TF...


"What am I going to eat?" I asked

"We have stuff" He replied

"OK, like what?" I asked

"Well, what do your friends have?"he asked.

I rattled off a couple of things that were trend foods, simply because they were trend foods that were not only easy to remember off the top of my head, but products that were litle child food status symbols of betterment; Capri Sun, Doritos, etc...you know, little trend foods that kids got so identified with, it even made Corp USA vomit.


"OK, We'll get all those" he replied...and to the mans credit, he really DID make good on his promises once locked into them. He WOULD get a thing,or two- sometimes 3..

Like Entemmens donuts. I think I got him hooked on them, after asking to buy them, and since he liked them too, it was a mutual ravage.

But lunch was not really an 'up for' discussion-and I only ate the peanut butter from the middles anyway..yes, folks- admitting it RIGHT here. I was THAT bitch. lol


But lunch wasn't EXACTLY what I wanted either- that shi was on RYE bread, with a half pickle. He didn't particulary care for Doritos or whatever I mentioned, and went the wowsa special with fritos, which, of course both my mom and dad enjoyed too. I liked them for a bit, then found them too salty from X---.>ON. 

I simply did not like them anymore, but was non issue-since they DID.. I think I started giving those away at school when packed in my lunch- to this one kid, Alex.


A tomboyish imp of a girl, and she always looked so stunned I had a new bag waiting for her the very next day. At one point she even STOPPED me and asked"Why do you keep giving these to me?"

and everytime I would say the same thing "Because this is what they chose to give me".

"Well, why don't you say something then?" looking kind of pissed. Like she was going on a vigilante spree of mercy, summoning up the decency where I clearly HAD none.

I just look kind of half glazed, wide eyed at her" I don't get to decide".


...and in fairness, in truth, A LOT of kids don't get to decide.A lot kids aren't eating AT ALL, let alone a choice. tf. There is just no money to get resources to get into a lot of kids mouths....I certainly wasn't complaining.


That, and the wowsa chips was a VARIETY pack- so there WOULD be potato chips or something, at least ONE or TWO days, I'de get something I'de like. I think that actually made Alex happy -to get rejected at the daily handover, at least ONCE in awhile.


Eventually, He went bulk, and bought 'Bugler Horns', which I don't even identify as food anymore.He would pour out a half cup into a little baggie..not glamorous, but efficient. I liked them at first, but  Alex didn't want em, and so it goes..All together now: What is that tune? Pure food waste- It was Bugler Horns a tootin' their way down the chuck bin, that's where they were piping their last swan song as I hucked 'em, and that's what tune I heard EAVH time I threw em IN there. I had no remorse throwing it away, and felt like I had, at least, SOME say as to what foods I dominion over.


I was partially to blame for the dislike on the Bugle Horns though- it was some Saturday night...folks were out shopping, as usual. They would be home soon to start dinner, but YOU KNOW what was on the menu, and while we had a half bar cabinet sitting there full of alcohol, hooch wouldn't go missing until my midteens (when my deviant pals arrived on the scene, to gulp what they got).


I was hungry though, and while I knew the bugler horns were for the lunch week ahead, I figured the WORSE thing that could happen is, we would run out of them early on- he simply wouldn't put any IN the bag, and we could get MORE next Friday. So, I felt completely entitled to eating as much as I wanted of a relatively bland, but so-so snack product.


 It really started with an apetite and a dream... and a hallucination it wouldn't be chicken again, and the more I thought about that absolutely beat down of a high-hell-holy-water-fuck of a thought, I just couldn't eat it again, the more I crackled away on the chips, the more it dawned on me that it didn't matter how much of them I ate.. I could NOT eat that persons chicken dinners ever again.


Soon, half a bag was gone- lost in thought. Just repeating the repetitive motion of hand to mouth. This ritual of eating chicken in my mind,  over and over, just repeatedly, with these short term freak out food benders at OTHER peoples places.. eating everything I could- ANYwhere else... througout the weeks and weeks upon months upon months and years upon year.. just on CONSTANT REPEAT... I swear to god, that cleaver did not cease slicing, Slicing, SLICING  through my every hunger pang!!!!


Oh shi.

That bag is empty.


Unreal...and ate so many,that I puked-  it just sort of wanted to spill out of me...and I could distinctly remember vomting it all out.....I flushed and tried to remember why I grabbed the bag to begin with; I was just really getting into the sensation of the crunching- in a very clinically: -> insert-your-label-here-kinda-way. 
















Singing in the Reign


  It wasn't ALWAYS bad, because it wasn't ALWAYS chicken. I mean, I WAS given sweets weekly- like after my Saturday morning ballet class- Id'e get a donut from the local bakery, Tag's, and boy is THAT place THE BEST. It just happened to be be right across the street from my school, and while I really hated having to get up at 830, or whatever, on a SATURDAY, I did seem to ENJOY the class after a few warm up at the bar, and then, of course, a sweet of my choosing afterwards.


See, I took ballet 3 times a week at the local dance house(more on that later on), which turned out to be a rare gem amongst ballet schools in all of the USA ( Cecchetti Method- Italian style ballet [More on that later on])...and around THIS time of my life- like 9),  I distinctly remember having one the BEST food experiences with the two of them, in a very unusual fashion, which eventually became a happy memory for all 3 of us later on.


It was a rainy Saturday, and I didn't have homework, or friend plans, or anything really going on, and I was just hanging out in the sunroom watching the rain, feeling kind of sad, kind of relaxed.

The sunroom was a 7 windowed room; two per side, 3 in front, with the livingroom opposing it ( adjoined to it).

I was just listening to the drops, and was getting into the methodical sound of it all when I noticed Him walking into the room. I guess He was in a similar state of mind, because He too, was drawn to the sunroom to sit, and reflect.

"Hi" He said.

"Hey.." I trailed off, lost in more of my own thoughts.

"This weather..What do you think? It sure is pretty though huh?" He asked.

I was kind of surprised by that, I honest to god didn't think the man had THAT kind of creativity in him, or the cabability to sort of,you know,  REFLECT with nature.


 I mean, I knew he was a NY boy, having spent time with HIS family up in the Adirondacks- in Glens Falls, at a house in Lake George, and that HE was a water skiier- and was considered quite good at it.

Yet, up until this point, I hadn't considered that he might of engaged himself in OTHER ways with the surrounding beauty that Lake George IS. I mean, I SAW it..the beauty of the area, and LOVED spending time wandering aroundhis parents small acre property which was situated right on up to the lakefront.


They had a 'wind' harp, which were wires strung across a bow shaped oversized wood, and while , I THINK the bow was supposed to be strung relatively TIGHTLY, this was very loosy goosy, and so, would only 'play' with SUPER strong winds a blowin'. 

I never really minded that much, because to ME, if it made noise at the slightest puff of air, it just wouldn't seem as special over TIME.Nope. It was just something about having to be holding on for dear LIFE, in a RAINCOAT, outside, in the blowing GUSHERS, when you could HEAR it- the eerie sounds it would make, and it would be a complete payoff too; Like you climbed the Himalayas, or something.


These strange notes strung together..it almost makes a pattern, but then again..no..but yes, I see it now..reminded me of someone playing a wobbly noted musical saw..very up and down and all around, very much like the winds WOULD be.


It was like a magikal emblem of intitation rites...Only the truly DEVOUT knew what secrets REALLY lay behind the avalanche of air, you simply had to stick around long enough to FIND OUT.

I would oftentimes find blue jay feathers, since the area was heavily populated by them, and these squawkers would often have territorial fights around the rooftops of the place- with all the squabbling, I would find blue jay feathers quite regularly, and LOVED finding them- like little treasures, or rewards given to me by the woods, never mind a droplet of bird fight on them here and there.


I didn't pay a lot of attention to the all out-and-out beak wars that were taking place above my head, I simply saw rare and NEW, shining blue and black quills, waiting for ME to find them.

We would go to this summer house for a few weeks each year, and would spend time swimming, boating, and the family would gather around the farthest point of the dock, and basically drink and sun. There WOULD be a bit of swimming from the adults now and again, but most of the swimming was left to the kiddos to romp around and play with inflatable tubes, and whatnot ('I killed an Eel for Ya' more on that later).


So, I never really SAW Him engage with nature REALLY, although there were all these artifactual CLUES around the summer house like picture of Him skiiing or whatever, so it REALLY surpised me to see Him having this moment with rain.


"You like the rain?" I ask inquisitively

"OH YEAH" He replied"It's ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL, I THINK." He continued on" I THINK that rain like this can be a lot of fun too."

"Really? How" I asked. I really wanted to see what he would say..like take pictures? or what..

"Let's go FIND OUT. C'mon. Lets go." he commanded.

Wait, wtf..whats going on. AM I in trouble? Is this fuckin guy taking me to a Dr appt for a shot or some shit, and simply not telling me? I really had no idea what the hell I was in for.

"Um, OK" I said, and hurried off to find my coat.

Now, my mother, who was having a relatively lighter day of schoolwork, who was also doing light chores around the house chimed in; " What's going on?" she asked.

"I'm taking Li on a WALK" He replied.

"In the rain?" she asked

"YUP..This should be GREAT" He said.

"Well what do you THINK, Li? Do you think it could be fun?"she turned to me, to ask.

"Uh, Huh" I replied. I really had no idea wtf was going to happen, but I certainly didn't want to say 'no' and then be trapped to watch the droplets from the sunroom with HIS dumbass sitting there pissy that I rejected his offer of something fun and surprising. My indoor moment of malaise had PASSED, and now it was time to take ACTION!


I put on my rubbery raincoat, we grabbed our umbrellas, and off we went! Down the stairs, and to the front door we went, and when we opened the heavier door in front of the FRONT door (in the tiny vestibule) , all you could hear was a sheet of SPRAY..like an audience of a million hands clapping loudly, no matter WHICH way you turned to go...




"OK" He barked "HERE..LET"S GO THIS WAY".


....and off we went! Down the water logged street-which looked MORE like a well-placed river than anything else at this point. Those genius sewer lines were workin' their magic, suckin up hundreds of gallons per minute, as we trailed by. I mean, I think I ever saw a mouse floating on a stick down the road, it was THAT bad.


There were no cars on the road- no one was stupid enough for THAT, yet no one else was outside relishing the new landscape EITHER. Sure, a few emergency vehicles, but no one was coming back from the SHOPPING MALL, or anything like THAT.


Now, up until this point, I was staying relatively dry in my rubbers; Rubbery boots, with an umbrella which was helping push the swishy LINES of gush falling out of the sky, OFF of my head and neck. But NOW, we were at the end of a corner with a MASSIVE pool in front of us, and there just didn't seem to be any other way around it- not if we were continue on in this one direction, not if we were to actually be taking a WALK; it was REALLY coming down, and the small rivers were't so small anymore, in ANY direction. 


It was one of those 'this-is-a-problem-NOW-and-isn't-gonna-stop-BEING-one-anytime-soon' kind of moments.We looked at each other.


"Well, what do you wanna do? Should we try to go through it? OR...go back?" He asked

I really wasn't so sure WHAT I wanted.

On the one hand, this really WAS a fun adventure, and I didn't want to cut it short. I was actually enjoying my time with this guy, for a CHANGE, and while He kept his mouth SHUT for most of the expedition, I seriously did not mind that. Nope, not one BIT. I was getting attached to that thought quite readily- that we, He and I, could engage, in this WAY; In this real , NONVERBAL  sorta way of being together, and doing something OUTSIDE the house, OUTSIDE the grind, and 'normal' of things, OUTSIDE of the INSIDE of this persons habits, and inner conflicts which aaaaaall seemed to reduce, and get served around hacking chickens for 'the Banquet'.


But this was sit-down-and-go-for-a-swim weather. The uneven older roads of Evanston had this ability to hold ginormous MONSTER swells of rain without a care, wince or hinder- it simply gathered the amounts, slowly sifting down its city street drains, and into its stealthy sewer systems, slowly but steadily, and sure enough, it DID leave the upper crust.


It would be cleared in a day or two- usually in 12 hours, but with the older trees getting pummeled by the harsh winds..thats a nother matter- Oftentimes, with these summer rains, HUGE branches would come slamming OFF, eventually getting lodged between the drains, and water gatherings- making massive swim bys for cars and pedestrians and birds and whatnot. 


And sometimes,  you would see these limbs slam down on top of BMWs, and other high end luxury cars. It was actually pretty funny to see, all these sad yuppies with puzzled looks on their faces, like 'How did this HAPPEN'?

Yes folks, you guessed it- it's Mother Nature making it really CLEAR whose in CHARGE here; Whole tree trunks, the size of marble pillars, smashed dead center of the car tops like smushed in pancakes...Like it was PLANNED by a stunt crew.

Windshield wiper curled up like lashes with greenery still a blowin' in the wind, attached to the 'baby limbs' which could easily kill a squirrel.

He and I chuckled about this quite a bit, and I think we shared that sort of darker sense of humor, much to our surprise, and THEIR demise :-)


So here we are, looking at the POOL, which could be lake michigan for a barbie sized dream house, and I say"Well, maybe we can walk across"

"You wanna try it? C'mon..I THINK we can make it!" He said stridently.

So we both slowly approach this pool of water and step in to, what we BELIEVE to be a depth of about 2 feet of water..you know, a small pool or something, and then all of the sudden!!



We look down at each other, and were BOTH hip deep in some slungy rainwater shit. OH MY GOD, was THAT EVER a surprise. Welp. After that, all bets were OFF.


Is it a foot deep? Well let's fucking go see..I;m NOT stopping my walk NOW.. BBLOOOP..looks like a 3 footer..Next! On and on we went- LET that rain COME! I DON'T CARE

Although, He cared more than I in this department, and so, I became like a curb 'tester'; We would walk along the sidewalk, and when the big watery pools showed at the corners and alleyways, I'de RUN over, like a brave little soldier, and smack right IN there, like a red headed berserker- a living measuring mark.


There were now NO need for hats, OR umbrellas, I mean, after you meet the CROTCHmark, there's really no DRY about THAT walk anymore- you might as well be in a bathing suit. And THAT'S the way it stayed, and THAT's the way it will always get remembered; As an endless good time, in a wishing well of splashy dreams, and lightheartedness.


While it was time to be getting home soon, it was STILL a very humid August day ( not unlike now, as I write this memory out), and so, the walk home wasn't chilly-even though we were both head-to-toe DRENCHED- This was like, perfect weather, watered down or NOT.


Perfect day too.... Just thisONE thing would have made it an event to remember, because it was like the sun was shining on and on...but it only got better: Mom just somehow KNEW we'de be back at ANY minute, and had cocoa and terry cloth towels WAITING for us, on arrival...and while the weather was pleasantly warm enough, somehow that warm cocoa going down my throat just made me feel so much warmer on the INside, like drinknig liquid love, after a long spray shower of light, and drench all day, outside.


Turns out, Pops put in this corned beef dish BEFORE we left on our journey, and mom was attending it EVERY step of the way, every hour, ON the hour, with the braising, and turning that it needed to get by His standard of approval, which WAS, THE best corned beef Iv'e ever witnessed.


I can taste it, like it was yesterday.This blend of sweet and musk, with the poingent cloves wafting this note throughout the beef.Tender, and just the right amount of pull. What a masterpiece!


Not only that, but a musical movie I had never seen was on the telly...something called "The Sound of Music" was going to air on one of the MAIN TV broadcasts (which meant color AND better reception than my shitbox balck&white), and we were arriving home JUST in time to shower OFF, and WATCH it!


I couldn't BELIEVE my EYES..literally in disbelief, like where the fuck did I just land?

There were no plates set on the dinner table, as they normally WOULD be around this time- and my mother just gently smiled, and escorted me to the bedroom to watch this movie, and there it sat; a wheeled in TABLE which , I swear to GOD never existed before that night, and there were two place settings on it, right in front of the edge of the bed, right in front of this big ass TV screen!


I couldnt believe it- a watery adventure AND dinner&amovie? It was the best dinner and movie experience combo I ever HAD, and to this DAY, the whole movie had crystallized into this unison of sound and flavor, of love and terror (the movier plot),but most mostly of enjoy the surpise of peace and harmony.


It was good, AND it was great.


But, like with all things GOOD, it was a kernal of gold in TIME.....and what sets it APART, is the very thing that sets it APART, REGARDLESS. Time moves forward.....aaaaand BACK to the same grind we went...back to OLE' CHICKEN it was!







Bigger, Baddest, Best


Of course, that chicken routine wasn't the ONLY thing going on and on- So was ballet classes..and actually, I should add in here, that I wasn't taking ballet to be a prima dancer, or some shit like that. I wasn't having a 'What A Feeling' moment, no.

I was ACTUALLY interested in ACTING, taking classes at a local acting school (Piven Theatre), as well as sleep over arts camps, and school plays, etc..

...and then ALSO participated in things RELATED to acting- like ballet. My mom said it was for 'body placement', but I swear to god it was because she wanted to see ME take classes, almost as much as SHE DID, when SHE was growing up.

SHE actually WAS A PRIMA BALLERINA, and was doing the real deal schedule which is the brutal nightmare of a dancers life : Classes BEFORE AND AFTER school, 5 days a week, WITH full bar to floor SATURDAYS.God, doesn't THAT sound like a dream schoolin'..?


That was an interesting thing too, because my mom grew up all over the US, moving like 12 times or some shit- as a KID, living in way hell-and-gone rural areas, where the 'close neighbor' is 3 miles away, etc..

Basically way out there,yet they still managed to get those ballet classes in there. I never really knew if she was really the one invested in 'the dream', or if it was her PARENTS, or what the deal was. She sounded happy as hell to take WHATEVER classes she could, staying way the hell away from nowheresville, and good for her, but I really didn't CARE about the history of family legacy, all I knew was, that I was taking ballet 3 times a week, and was getting pretty fried with the OTHER things going on in my life (as children get when they start hitting puberty).


Not only did I have my VERY OWN,UNIQUE body issues to contend with, I was now forced to confront them everytime I walked out into the studio- under the ugly lights, bringing every bump, every crease, every muscle, line or outline to EVERYONES surface. I know we were all supposed to ignore it, but it was just like a lesson in 'living human 101'.


I swear to god, when some of these 20 something GUYS took class, it was next level jock strap city- especially on those leg lifts, especially the hairy, SWEATY variety. Just MORE than I EVER cared to know or see about, while trying to keep my OWN head straight with whatever the dance floor routine was all about. It was only a handful of guys though, in truth- and probably was for the best- that place felt more like a temple for vestal virgins than an 'everybody on board' type of a school.


And the community in which the school was located had really WANTED it that way; a place for a heavily laden feminine energy montage, to HAUNT out. To flourish and bloom like the pink love rays that would be splashin' outta that place after classes.Huffy, tired ass, worked out bodies in jogging tops or jackets, with their hair frayed out from the jumps, and winded cheeks from the sheer willpower when FLOOR happens, AFTER the 'warm up' of BAR.....just rows and rows of pink spray flowers splashing out into those rainy afternoons, wisping away in swirls down the road.


The greyer backgrounds of the midwest landscape always made those pink tights stand OUT against the green, reminding me of Evanston birds flocking and fluttering away to their favorite next place to land- mine usually being Tag's bakery.


...and speaking of puberty, it was a real interesting head trip to be apart of the ballet universe of things, you know what I mean- in terms of girls, in the 80s, just wanna-ing to 'have fun', and living in material worlds, to have this competetive, near all-female ( more on that later) entourage of vicious thighs ready to head drop you, if need be, to get to that front bar.


Oh, its competitve allright- and nonverbal as all fuck- like swimming with goddamn cut up SHARKS- just biting each other REPEATEDLY, and then getting really into it- like a special performance or a secret dance only to be performed for the Headmasters rituals, and satisfactions coup d'etat.


I remember going to the dance store with my mother..I had never been in a place like that, and it was SO cool- with all the different flashy skin wear. Tutus a frillin' fillin' , then these sequined 'Jazz Hands' spandex's all over the place..


 When I started taking ballet at age 6, I didn't really go IN the stores for fittings- mom just bought the required stuff, and simply DRESSED me in them, or left them there for ME to dress into- Things like slipper size ( which usually requires an in-store fitting) was measured at HOME, and seeing as she knew her shit as a dancer HERSELF, when it came to fit, we had no trouble there either.


But now that I was OLDER, and was only a couple years away from going en pointe, she wanted me to start orienting myself with the local tailors..you know, to start having some autonomy with my selections and needs ( special made costumes, shoe colors and whatnot), networking with the local body, as it were.


I should add that too, that while the beginner dancers were required to wear BLACK for the leotard, when a dancer at the school hit a certain advancement, they got to choose WHATEVER COLOR THEY WANTED, just as our main teacher GOT to choose ('Changing Matters' more on that later)


Return students, and other teachers had their OWN selctions of colors too. One teacher always had on these super neon bright 80's style colors, although the most toned down of the bunch- like magenta, shocking blue, or purple..There were no neon yellows, but once in awhile a canary yellow would make it in to the studio.


Usually by my main teacher,(and school owner), who was an ostrich of a woman, towering at 6ft or something, she looked like she was dancing half on earth, and half in heaven, she was THAT graceful. Watching her  dance, was like eating angelfood cake, with buttery wisps of golden sugar all rolled up in a gushy blanket , floating on a daydream cloud..I was REALLY whisked away by her ability, as was EVERYone who watched her.


She made everthing look EASY, she made everything look SIMPLE, she made it seem like at any moment, ANYone, ANYwhere could DO this, that NOTHING about it was beyond reach-  like ANYone could outstretch their hand to God in this way.. Even in the simplest of steps, you could see her concerted efforts, and focus of willpower being placed INto the dance movement....and EVERYone wanted a slice of THAT sweetness.


Like gilded gold, only for your tootsies. She used to mention a dancers 'best and only friend' which was the floor, and would tell you to 'fake it' if you felt tired that day. She had clever ways of viewing things to help correct people in their positioning, like imagine being pulled up by your hair, you keep your back in correct alignment..She would mention small things like  'imagine an audience in FRONT of you so you could keep the dance REAL, to keep in in REAL TIME. Finding your audience helps to correctly position yourself, so all your movements are positioned forward- not something important at the BAR particulalry( although correct grip is compromised here), but INCREDIBLY important when comes time for FLOOR and GROUP dance, etc.


 She had ALL SORTS of ways to imagine things to create a better dancer, a more correct form, or creating energy where NONE existed. She saw people pile in, young AND old at 6:30pm, quite burnt out from their long days, and had easy to understand analogies that really worked. On reflection, I think she might be the best person I've ever SEEN at doing this- using creative visualization that manifest intense, fast physical results- real A-to-B powers, no doubt.


I always liked to see these others come in, because it gave me a chance to reflect on the individual PERSONALITIES of each dancer, and then, you know, watching their dance style. Like what 'personal spin' THEY were putting on the dance steps, as their own personal signature style.


A lot of dancers will often do this- have a play with timing, or hand gestures, or facial exporessions, or color of tights, or whatever- some personal  expression that goes along with them, EVERYWHERE they go- like a second skin, or living sensation creation. These tiny, minute expressions gave away BIG clues to the discerning eye, and in ballet, that fuckin eye was EVERYwhere.


We end up going to this back fitting area, which had all these tiny, narrow boxes, aaalll lined up against one wall. They reminded me of paint supplies that I would often see at the local art supply shop ( that I would eventually end up at, mainly cutting glass for picture frames- 'Can You Picture It?', more on that later), and wondered what they could possibly BE.


There was a narrow bench in front of them, in the center of the area, on a hard wood floor. Mom and I sat down, as she spoke to a salesclerk. Soon enough I could see that the boxes were SLIPPERS.

One pair ON...one pair OFF..naaa..to large. Next pair ON..too wide. ANOTHER OFF- what is it.. the padding underneath? The leather quality? Simply THE FIT? The toes are just NOT hitting RIGHT in THIS slipper. Jeez.. I mean, I seriously had NO IDEA it was THIS FUCK difficult to find pigskin the size of doily napkins.


But just then, we found the ones I needed, and tried on BOTH, stood up to flex, and see...I pointed my toe out in front of me, revealing a most dainty cashew of a pose.

"Oh MY! You have a LOVELY foot INDEED" said the saleslady...and I mean, SHE would KNOW folks- that's WHAT she DOES all DAY.

"Thank You" I replied a bit stunned while responding. I mean, I just HADN'T considered it; that the LOOK of my pointed toe, being JUST AS important as actually BALANCING ON your fuckin'  toe..TF.. My school wasn't heavily laden in aesthetics in terms of 'beauty' so much as it was CORRECT FORM, and ABILITY...It was a school, after all.


I mean, my god, do you SEE what dancers DO??? They helicopter their whole damn leg up there at 2pm, and taking a fucking NAP, like it's a RESTING POSE. You don't GET THERE ,looking at yourself in the mirror, thinking how PRETTY you LOOK. That sort of last minute polishing is left for the PRO's- the ones who really stick WITH IT, and are then GIFTED with the grace of selection- of WARDROBE, of personality in the timing, of mirrordancing with FEELING, and of CHOREOGRAPHY- the gift of AUTONOMY.


I felt really HONORED to hear that sort of compliment from someone whose was fitting  ALL the local tootsies. It was like a confidence booster by being such a 'next-level' compliment. Yup, I was liking this 'get fitted' thing. I was liking it a whole bunch.


I had a confidence boost, and a spring in my step, ready to tackle whatever 'grande battement' came a' flyin' my way- I mean, the shoe fitter- never underestimate the obvious when it comes to community. Sometimes small gems of truths exist in the modest essential areas, and oftentimes the most IGNORED corners of a city.


Soon, classes would be starting ( fall season) with an all new set of leotards. I think I even scored tights with SEAMS down the backs THIS time. Stuff like that is a MONSTER deal in ballet, when you are limited to the required uniform- not unlike the military really, the idea to keep everyone looking SIMILAR for the focus to be on FORM- SAME black leotard, PINK SHOES, PINK TIGHT, hair pulled back. It's pretty basic; If you can't or won't show up, ON TIME, in THAT requirement, you were simply informed to leave the classroom for the day. This was an actual SCHOOL...not a babyroom to help you focus on your conformity abilities

.... And people would TRY to test it- they would show up with black leotards that had rainbow balloons on the front, or show up in a maroon leotard instead, or NOT pull hair back, instead wear an 80s bandana type creation, which was a fashion 'must' around that time..EVERY ONE of them was sent the fuck outta class, feeling embarrassed as all hell, and mostly, having to miss class, which was a monster effort at 6:30 pm sharp.

.....And sharp meant, you better ALREADY have BEEN stretched OUT BEFORE we start...This isn't 'I'm here..trala..let me take my coat off" My teacher opened the door ONCE..like a drawbridge..and it STAYED OPEN for a solid 5 minutes...and if she saw you show up late, she WOULD leave the door open to try to accomodate, by giving an extra 2 minutes or something( especially if someone had to use the potty, which was only accessible from the studio space, making it a 'use-between-classes type of a potty..not a 'I-got-class-in-5-minutes-and-I-gotta-go-beforehand' type of a squat...), but after she closed that door, THAT was it. You might as well go home..there was no 'I opened that shi and squeaked in', and would openly inform those who tried, that it was a no-go.


The bottomline is, that the uniform was the uniform, and if you wanted ANY sort of variation, there was gonna be a MINIMUM STANDARD for just being ALLOWED IN the space to begin with...SO, basically, that made self expression like a rebel yell to most aspirants. Everyone was always looking to make some signature mark, in any way they could- to let their tiny personalities stand out.


From the tight type, to the leotard being sleevless or not, an optional bun wrap on the hair, or what brand slippers you were wearing. I mean, my God, people got into what fuckin' RUBBERBANDS you were using..like the most specific shit.

..and dont think it was JUST on the bare fashion ALONE..It very MUCH was about ability, being able to keep UP, doing it WELL...doing it EFFORTLESSLY, and don't forget to smile on all that. I mean, if you aren't training yourself to have the correct facial expressions during the dance, you aren't going to give off the final impression that GOOD dance often gives: That is, dreamy swirlcicles poppin around like shiney bling is EASY...just wisping to and fro without a thought, or worry. THAT'S what people pay to go SEE, and THAT'S what ballet is ALL ABOUT- Showmanship.


And showmanhsip takes true confidence.


One would think that just comes along with the territory, and that's true- you can work a stage, and completely "tune out' the actions..Just 'vessel' your own involvment, through familiar repetitive motions- like a choreography, a shitty marriage, or a well rehearsed script..


...but I swear to you, if you aren't ego centered to at least the SMALLEST amount, the competition in some of the arts fields will just swallow you whole. You have to have SOME sort of DRIVE to even have the ABILITY to put yourself OUT there, REPEATEDLY .....and get shot DOWN ....over and over and over..

Or, in THIS case, outPERFORMED by people that are simply better than you. Good god, do you KNOW how many dancers would have to DIE, before I was gonna be front lead girl? This was competition SUPREME- and no one but the TOP hairband bunners was gonna be FIRST in line.


Not EVERYONE was competitive however....Not the return ADULT students, they dont give a fuck- but there wasn't a lot adults in my classes.

I was swimming in PRIME swan princesses from here to prince charmings CASTLE, and the only girls that really didn't SEEM to care about the small details, was those older girls who were already en pointe, or close to it, and made the whole thing look effortless and amazing.


Those girls took MY class as their WARM UP class, BEFORE THEIR class even got STARTED, which was right after mine at 6:30. Those swans never missed a BEAT, and always knew how to catch right on back UP if they ever DID miss one- that is, if anyone ever CAUGHT them- and everyone always WOULD, and make a note of it. Those girls were ALWAYS first in line at the bar, no matter what the tally ended up being, at the END of OUR remedial nothing of a class, which of course, I felt winded by the END of.


I should mention here, why lead was such a thing, not only did it have implication in terms of the group dynamic as 'THE BEST', there were also extra mirrors placed around the front there.

Where the whole room had ONE wall of floor-to-ceiling mirrors (along the OPPOSITE wall of the bar), there was bar space on the ADJOINING wall...with room for a THIRD mirror, near the FRONT of  this second bar.


The teacher used these mirrors for  showing students from all angles, certain postions. This was mostly for the advanced students, who were learning how to go en pointe, and wanted to get the placement right from two angles, instead of one, at any given moment of the instruction.


The more advanced girls would stand here, and since they hardly missed a beat, made them the best person for the position; Someone you could watch out of the side of your eye, if you dont remember wtf is going on, what your supposed to be doing, and neither does the person in front of you.


Just a a bellydancers 'shoal of fishes'( "YOU Li'de" more on that later) that is lead by the FRONT 'fish', the lead 'saves the school' with whatever routine no one can remember, or can't figure out. 

And the front fish were amazing. I would admire their ability really, I knew I wasn't as dead set serious about becoming the next ballet sparkler, so much as a side thing called 'body placement' for an ACTING interest.

Nevertheless, it didn't STOP me from at least PRETENDING like I fit in. I was a really muscular child, really strong. In fact, I rememeber helping Him with the groceries, and hearing about how strong I REALLY WAS, seeing as how I could carry all 20 plastic gorcery bags in one fell swoop, and then CLIMB 2 flights of stairs, aaaalll the way to the kitchen and drop them off gently.


He always liked to encourage me on my physical prowess when it came to helping with chores and like, probably so he could get out of having to do the grunt work HimSELF, as he would carry a handful and unlock doors instead. I never minded, as my reward would usually be some of that quarter of a gallon milk, that I could easily down in one sitting. It was a good lesson in discipline however (like using a glass to ration it out- to make it last longer), one that MATCHED the satisfied smiles I saw in that dance studio after a 45 minute workout.


But for whatever reason, those lead girls had MASTERED their ability to CONTROL any challenge kicked their way.They simply made it look effortless, and was I beginning to notice a couple of reasons why.







What One Thing Is NOT Like The Other


It was pretty obvious that there were TWO body types floating around the studio: TALL thin ones, and SHORT meaty ones. I was clearly a short'n'meaty one..all the GRACEFUL ones were aaaallllTALL and thin, so when THEY lifeted their leg in the air, you felt like you were underneath a goddamn tree, all this force of power in the movement, as they sliced that shit through the air and your soul...



WHOOOOSH..there goes the airplane.


I could never get my leg THAT high in the air, and even when I COULD, it was more like the park bench UNDERNEATH that majestic tree. 

One thing though, that I DID discover about my body type that no one else seemed to have, was height on the the jumps. Short'n'meaty types usually have heavy set muscles which make them super flyers when it comes time to hit the floor.


..And that was something really noticable about my dancing- while I might not have remembered those bar routines very well, or exactly what isolated floor work we were doing, when it came time to do the leaps at the VERY END...that was when it was MY TIME to shine.


..and I was very good at it, working in groups of 2 or 3 even. Leaping across the floor, keeping in time with my group, sharing the energy so that we worked as a unit, rather than separate prancers who just happen to be bunched together.


The really GREAT students would , again LEAD, and while I was always ENCOURAGED to go join the front of THIS line, I always wanted the end of it. I did't like the pressure , nor did I feel confident to remember the routine correctly..once we went across the floor a few times, I would feel better about perhaps taking a more forward lead, but I just felt that, being crappy at the bar meant that my 'spot' had to translate in ALL areas..and I was fine with that, and thinking of it as such.


Obviously short'n'meaties ALL wanted tall'n'thin advantages, and tall'n'thins were always looking to intensify that muscle mass to equate to a short'n'meaty jumping ability. Not unlike Dr.Suess 'Stars upon Thars', it was a never ending cycle of striving for something that would never be reached- and while competition was never encouraged, I mean NEVER encouraged, the culture and society of that town, in THAT place and time just SEEPED in, regardless.


It was clearly a jete kick jete world, and I was just getting warmed up.

















Now You're Really Cookin'


I was also starting to like my time at home a bit more, see, now that I was getting a bit older, and was clearly an established 'rule breaker' in Cookies Kitchen, I just went ahead, and simply took the LIBERTY to try my hand on the stove and make larger AFTERNOON meals, where I could easily 'forage' directly from pantry to stomach-EARLY on in the afternoons, where it wouldn't get in the way of His meal prep time/dinner.


This way, I could easily pick at the food HE was serving, and pretend to eat it. It was a win win all around; I knew my needs would be MET for the most part, and I didn't have to eat that gross shit anymore. I mean, jesus fuck, year 5 or 6 by this point.  


It wasn't an encouraged activity, as far as they were concerned, but I had taken a Home Economics course at school, one whose chapter was instructing on domesticed skills like sewing, and cooking. They could hardly say 'No', seeing as how the school was encouraging a 'Yes'. That, and I seemed to have eaten everything I made..there was a few times I didn't eat nightmare mistakes, and after pitching would eventually be spied upon, with a explanation expected.


No one up there was gonna be cool with half a box of perfectly good pasta just sitting there in the trash without SOME fuckin' reason. Little did they know, that I was pretty good at cooking, so my fuck ups were few and far between, but when I made them, I made them with a bang ('C'mon Let Me Light Your Fire' more on that later).


I tried toast, I tried grilled cheese, I tried a salad, then some lentils..soon I was cooking pasta with butter, and now trying meat sauces..This was getting easier and easier to live with! 

But soon, He noticed. He noticed because he had PLANNED a meal out or something, and when He went to go find the needed ingredient, it wasn't THERE- it was already cooked into something IHAD made, and was now just a small leftover in a bowl.

This annoyed him very much and, let me know about it, right away.

'GOOD' I thought to myself..I mean, jesus christ, if YOU'RE pissed there isn't ENOUGH, maybe that will motivate you to get off your ass, and actualy DO something about it, as in, you know, consider ANOTHER PERSON in the house.?' I mean, I wasn't 5 anymore, I wasn't get the 'Kids-eat-free' meals at the restaraunt anymore, the airplanes were considering my seat an ADULT seat now...about time to RECOGNIZE I EXIST, I GROW, and I EAT.

But what I THOUGHT, was gonna be another chastisement and 'note to self' about simply buying more ground round, became an all-out kumbaya session with both of them explaining a very important limit in the house, namely, something called a 'BUDGET'.

Extra ground beef, was simply out of the question, and while the concept of an 'after-school'snack' wasn't completely foreign to them, the idea of an 'after-school-meal' simply would not do, and would have to be discussed, as to set healthy limits on what was actually appropriate for that time slot.


Both parties had A LOT to say on the matter:

"Well I don't see why I can't just eat, what I want, when I want to..I hate that chicken crap anyway" I would say.

Mom would look at me sternly, and say "Because we don't BUDGET for TWO dinners a DAY, THAT'S REDICULOUS, AND it's EXPENSIVE"

I frowned, and replied "Well, what am I supposed to DO then? I need GO-TO foods, and you don't buy ANY. How am I supposed to feel FULL when there's literally nothing but bagles and dried corn?"

They laughed" Oh,  please, there's more than THAT in there'

"Really? Like what ?" I demanded a reply.


Fuck finally. Waited YEARS to finally articulate what ANYone would have said in year 2 of this shit..I mean, I really wanted to hear it- what POSSIBLE creative meal could THEY COME UP WITH, that would be acceptable, EASY to make for a kid MY AGE, AND NOT piss them OFF with cutting into 'The Budget'(more on THAT later).


Just as I suspected..fuckin' DUST BUNNIES for MILES.

THEN, after a lot of 'Well-what-about-PICKLES?' and 'You-like-what-YOUR-MOM-eats-dontchas' (implying I should just get 'on board' with whatever EXTRAS was gonna get tossed my way AFTER MOM was done with it- which by the way, would be NEVER. Please TELL ME when crunchy peanut butter actually GOES BAD..it really DOESN'T, and not for lllooong stretches of time..so THAT little suggestion left only one conclusion; Me using up all HER peanut BUTTER, EVENTUALLY. just PITTING me against my mom for resources... and while no one 'saw that coming', I sure as shit did.


Not only did peanut butter, generally speaking, give me HEADACHE, I absolutely despised the crunchy kind. So, no, I was NOT 'cool' with just being ADDED on , like some COUPON for jiffy, FOUND in a drawer.

On and on the 'negotiations' went- Half assed ideas here, limits set there, until finally He had a GREAT idea.

"Well, what about jello..you always eat IT at the lake house" he said.


And there it was, the IDEAL answer to it ALL. Jello. Of COURSE..Jello is completely affordable, easy to make for ANY age, comes in a TON of flavors, and most importantly, I LIKED it.


The idea made perfect sense when we thought about it. He remembered how HIS mother would serve HIM lime jello EVERYtime we went UP there, and that I always seemed to have room.














There's Always Room for Jello




There was just one problem with that though, he HATED lime jello, and no matter HOW MANY TIMES he told his mother that, she would, just like the seasons, simply FORGET that detail by the following summer.


I think he eventually got really paranoid about this one thing, like WHY his mom kept serving something that HE hated, but that is younger, spoiled baby BROTHER, ADORED. Fortunately for Him, he had me and my MOTHER there, backing him UP, and releasing an even keel sense of reality around him, every single step of the way.


His folks never cared for ME all that much, as they really didn't appreciate children, and CHILDISH WAYS...It was an ADULT sort of a house, with ADULT oriented interests. You know what I mean- cold marble floors, sharp edged glass table tops with edgy architectural flair- Modern classic lounge chairs and floor-to-ceiling bay windows holding that sunset light, as you might lazily look over at whoever is touching the piano keys.

Oh! -and super HEAVY, oversized BOOKS in color glossy of whatever artist they had decided to display- whatever designerly quarter that would hold the attention of a gazing passersby. I had to SLOW tf down around THAT place- one fast turn, and I had bruises on my shins.


Plus, being the loud, flamboyant type of child that I WAS, I never COULD settle in to an environment with a 'tucked in' sort of placement, and put in an  'out-of-mind' sort of a way. I TRIED, I really DID, but NO kid can 'play' adult for DAYS on end. A special occasion like a wedding, or something? SURE- wear that TIE, or itchy stiff wool DRESS, or whatever, for those few HOURS... but this was HOURS upon DAYS of having to keep my childish mannerisms INWARD, and OCCUPIED in adult oriented WAYS.

I learned A LOT on how to live day-to-day, with absolutely NO purpose for YOURSELF, and absolutely EVERY REASON to exist as an extension of SOMEONE ELSES trip. Like that water skier being tugged along by the main captain of that speed boat, I simply went with whatever way the rope took me, and boy did it drag me EVERYwhere.


-It was ALMOST as torturous as BALLET, but not quite-


Even when I would sit on the old ass day bed in the large livingroom area, I would often grab the ear of anyone hanging out in that room, and talk about whatEVER came to mind...and the ODDEST conversations would ensue- whether it was about the lastest 'thing', or the most recent weather activity, everyones 'say' had a spin on my dialed-in radio frequency, and whether I felt happy or upset with what was being broadcast, I KNEW you were still in the confines of this one safety, this one contained, kempt room- a made-up saying which was 'adulthood'.


A safety like no other- with the freedom to sing OUTWARD---> to your HEARTS content, on WHATEVER topic, or 'flights of fancy' came to MIND- but with very little NEED to portray them BEYOND the speaking of a thing. Yes, a real sight to SEE when you make LEAPS beYOND your actual MATURITY age, and start noticing how adults play games just like 10 YEAR OLDS.


Still, at other times, when no one was around, I would plop down in front of the piano, and teach myself made up songs ( "What a Change of Tone', more on that later)..and while I didn't know how to use SHEET MUSIC, I felt like I didn't NEED it so much ( 'Trumpet time'-more on that later), because I could just REMEMBER patterns of SOUND, and what KEYS went WITH it. While I really missed OUT on the opportunity to learn how to READ the music, I DID find a connectivity to the piano in a very DIFFERENT set of orientations.


I made up little groupings of 'people' (where the keys were individuals), and the harmony each group would make together would be catagorized in my MEMORY, so when I needed that particular  'voice' speaking UP in my SOUND TOWN, I, the mayor of Music City, would draw them FORTH, with the stroke of my digits.


It was all very 'out there' and dreamlike..just the time ALONE-  it was like entering another DIMENSION, one of my own making, that was apart of some long line of mysterious key pushers BEFORE ME, who had once been exactly where I was NOW; alone, in front of this instrument, one that could take me, quite literally to the best of my self- in this ability- AND in my creative mind too.


It was probably one of the few places I actually felt free to really hang out in, since His parents kitchen made Cookies Kitchen look like a freak-out-free-for-all-love-fest at a buffetstock.


I thought I HAD IT rough; His two parents were NUTS- although to a certain extent, understandably so; They were both WWII babies, both used to having less than nothing, having to really 'strap it in'...and so when the war ended, it really DIDN'T for them.

Maybe they really got used to ENJOYING the thriftiness of that time, and just decided to continue on, or maybe they didn't have a lot of friends, or connection to the society AROUND, and got time-warped into this one era, just permanently set repeat- just set in their isolated ways.


Or maybe war, and the consequences it brings, are so fucking TREMENDOUS, it simply BEAT DOWN these two indivuals SO FULLY, SO COMPLETELY, that there was no coming back from the experience. I never really knew why they were, the WAY they were around food, and the kitchen.


For instance, whenever we went OUT to eat (as they were a fan of this ritual for both Friday AND Saturday nights), it was always a supper club. You know, ones that made a fanfare out of drinks, appetizers with salads, main courses, AND desserts.


These places always served extras with the meals, like a bread roll basket and butter pat dish, and triple-holder condiment trays conraining things like pickles and relish and olives...all these staple extras, one cut above ketchup and mustard, and DEFINITELY two cuts above the salt and pepper, which as always served in some super fancy cut glass with elaborate sterling detail.


We would always have a round of breads while we all looked at our menus, which, I swear to god, were alway like 2 ft tall, and ANOTHER 2ft wide when opened- it was like a mandalic FAN of menus- just like those swimming pool beauties used to do in the 50s- these birds eye view displays, that only the BIRDS could realistically see.


..and I think that was part of the beauty of my grandmothers plan too- because everytime we all passed the bread around, the menus would flap open, and she would be LAST to take from the bread basket. She never seemed to MIND being last, in fact, she always made a POINT OF IT..and she was good about flagging waiters down for bread refills too- she always had her eye on the room, with this half smile, and a twinkle in her eye. She almost looked like she had dropped some ENOURMOUS amount of acid, and was now comatose city, with a permasmile frosted across her face.. I never COULD understand wtf was going through her mind, in those times.


But I did notice, over a couple visits, that those bread rolls sure did go missing awefully fast. I mean, I knew I was a hungry kid with weird food issues, but she seemed to be able to inhale those breads faster than those martinis she was sporting along- and I'm talking bread rolls, alongside those plastic wrapped bread sticks and other wrapped goodies- everything was GONE before I had a chance to put my menu DOWN, and there she would be...flagging another waiter down for a refill.


NO WONDER she hardly ate a thing a dinner- she would often eat the salad that CAME with the meal, then pick at the dinner, hardly EVER touching the meat, then having it DOGGIE WRAPPED for another meal the next day.


It just didn't DAWN on me, as a kid, that when we sat down to those brunches back at THEIR place, I was lookin' at the same EXACT bread rolls, and that they really WERE THAT- the EXACT same bread rolls she was huckin' in her purse all night long.


My mom was wondering where they all showed up from one morning, and then saw her purging them out of her 'loot bag' after getting home from dinner.Mom confronted her about it, as she was stuffing them in the freezer, and grandma admitted to it right away. She saw it as a point of pride- simply a 'smart consumer' doing 'smart shopping' during a night out of frolic.


Yet it was OTHER things too-like one time, my step brother M asked for a cup of hot cocoa to drink one morning...and that was no big deal. Grandma was ALREADY whisking around the kitchen , as she was an early riser, and part maid to the mansion. 

She always had a LONG list of chores to accomplish, and never complained while maintaining the immaculate ship.


I would often follow her around, bored because everyone was out antiquing or whatever the hell it was they were out doing, and I was simply DONE with being outside, and would rattle her ear off while she puttered around the house cleaning. I could see that although she really didn't want to BE there, in THIS way, that she was DEAD SET about completing the tasks laid out BEFORE her.


She was real serious about her set SCHEDULE, and had SERIOUS work to do. She didn't mind me there though, not in THESE moments, because I kept her company, helping her pass the time, and would often ask her things about the various vintage objects in the environment.


There were 60s chain lamps that hung from the ceiling, and various souveniers she had aquired along her many journies that she and her husband took when He was a kid there growing up. There was white wicker furniture in one room, where I would sleep, and in the other, wall to wall green shag, a mini fridge, and window AC for just that room. The house always seemed cool, but that room was SUPER chilly. The bed in there had a super internse fern green bedspread, and an inset shelf with a mirrored wall behind it, in place of a regular headboard


On the center shelf, was this oversized brandy glass...kind of like the ones you see on some 70s secretaries desk holding ferns or whatever, but this was like TWICE that size. It had a mix of all these various antique marbles in an array of colors.

They were really amazing to see- the oxblood red glass with marbles not quite perfectly round because they were handmade. Or, the magenta and neon greens- there were SO MANY, and once in a while they would come off the shelf for us to look at.


She would often tell me incidental stories related to objects I inquired about.Sometimes they were stories about Him, but more often than not they were stories that situated around his BROTHER L, and so I would get an earful in return of WHATEVER she had to say,duly listening and making note of it along the way.


She would surprise me with odd thrifty behaviors too- such as upon arriving in the summers, I would  discover a whole YEARS worth of cartoons that she kept for me..things that kept me busy, with my mouth shut and mind wide open. She was always suprising in these tiny ways ('Your Chosen Rolls', more on that later).


 So a cup of cocoa was not gonna be a bother. She was knee deep in making lunches- a chicken salad with mayo- presumabley from the main course chicken dinner she hardly even looked at the night before, and started to warm up watered down milk on the stove for the drink.


My mother was there with M when it happened; Grandmas efficiency was on overdrive, and while the cocoa was now poured and cooling on the counter, she turned around with the mayo jar (and the spoon dolloped with a spludge) to continue ON with the salad, when SPLOOP!


That dollop fell SMACK DAB into the cocoa, and everyone was there to see it. No matter! She simply hurried over to a round of untensils, near the hanging pan rack, and whipped out that strainer faster than the US air force kicking nuts on Alaksa borders. 

Now the mayo was turning into a oily film ON TOPN of the liquid. Oh well!

Down down down went the cocoa in a new freshy mug, and plop! went what was left over of the mayo blob into the salad.

M just looked horrified and disgusted simultanseously, as he looked up at my mom like 'Do I have to drink this?" and my mother just patting his back, then gently taking the mug FROM him as walking down the hall to the toilet where no one could see it flush bye bye. 


Of course, he wasn't getting a 2ND cocoa, and now felt just as jipped as I DID, seeing as how I was never even OFFERED cocoa to begin with.

'GOOD. Maybe if HE complains, everyone around here will straighten out with the wierd food scarcity crazy weirdness. But those conversations were short lived, if at ALL. 

They would just go down in history as memorable nut bag things my grandparents used to do, with no real resolve in sight. M just stopped wanting to go there,which he eventually did, and no one could blame him, really.


Although, I never took the time to really COMPARE the portion controls at THEIR place, compared to my HOME situation, mainly because his parents had some normal sit down rituals, suich as putting the food in main DISHES, that were then to be SERVED at the table, where everyone got to pick their own amounts and pass it around- you know, family style.


I mean, half tha shit was probably pilfered from some dinner 'score' and was frozen from 2 years ago, but at least we had some SAY in what would actually be on our plate. And so, times HERE was actually very freeing for me- to be with others at the table, NOT eating chicken, but something NEW for a change...someone ELSES cooking.


And ON THAT topic- his dad was very similar to Him in this regard, because while grandma was busy pocketing extras, HE was all about his 6 burner MONSTER of a cooking range.

It was some fancy, expensive, old 40s style griller, with a super vent for catching all the smoke..it was all very complicated, and exclusive..

Asking for meat in THIS house was like asking for rent money- you better know EXACTLYwhat temp and HOW MUCH. Leaving a bite or two on the plate, was simply UNHEARD of- and it was best to GO HUNGRY than to OVERSERVE yourself on something.


They had an under-the-counter sliding garbage pail that would last a WEEK with 6+ people- they simply would not waste food.Any food in THIS place was getting to the can in only ONE WAY-and that was from your asshole when you took a dump. 


Orange juice was treated like medicine, and everyone got a chance to ask for a 'hit' in these small 2 ounce shot glasses on a special tray. 

"You want a juice? YOU want a juice? Were doing JUICE NOW." she would say" Ok, we need 6 glasses for JUICE" 


She would always make sure to do this ritual BEFORE they all went out to eat breakfast in the mornings, that way, they saved all that extra cash, by NOT having to order juice with their meal. It was all very important that they do this, and while this juice trip might have been the norm when THEIR two boys were little, it was rather batshit nuts to now expect this ritual to CONTINUE on , with NEW people on the scene.


My mother told me of a psycho juice tale, where even SHE had hit her limit with them. They all went out to breakfast,after the juice shots of course,  and when the waiter asked what they wanted to drink, grandma piped up, AS USUAL, and speaking for the whole GROUP, said that NO ONE would be having ANYthing to drink ( other than their coffees, of course).

This pissed my mom off very much, seeing as how her sense of autonomy was being shackled, and decided to challege THAT nonsense right then and there.

"Um, NO. Exuse me- Correction to that" mom said " I'DE like something to DRINK" looking grandma dead in the eye.

" IDE like a LARGE FRESH ORANGE JUICE" she announced.

Grandma looked like she was gonna have a heart attack AND explode, both at once. I mean, ordering an ORANGE JUICE- the maknig it LARGE?????. The outrage, the SCANDAL, but FRESHY SQUEEZED????

That was just next level insult, and grandma felt it too- that little power struggle reverberated ALL DAY, and while my mom was ostricized from 'lake life' by His mother, HE was put on FULL GRILL too. IT was a SQUEEZE to remember and to NEVER forget; some acid drops are simply NOT WORTH IT.


I never really minded any of it much- frozen year old purse rolls OR NOT, they let me eat as much as I wanted of them, and no one else ever seemed to care to eat them either. I never had to COMPETE for my basic meals up in THIS place, and I liked to feel like that as a regular new steady.


I only seemed to REALLY get into a REAL power struggle with the woman when, one summer , I fished for a fish, which was an all day event. I just used an inner tube, and snorkle goggles, with a piece of string, and a junky goldtone keychain. I had sat on that tube all damn day trying to catch this pike fish, which happened to take a liking to a spot near our dock.


Hour after hour, he would ALMOST get hooked, but then I never WOULD pull the string up fast enough, and he would swim away, eating sand, then swim around, and return to his resting spot near the bait. This went on and on for hours, until the adults finally called me in for dinner- it forced me to really put a concerted effort into one last attempt, and sure enough! 

I caught that son of a bitch...he was soon to be  a meal for me the next night, although I wasn't really a fish lover, I had caught this fish as more of a healing of sorts ( feeling a need to dominate over the lake- like it  owed me for some OTHER random event that took place there ('I killed an Eel for Ya' more on that later).

I hadn't really considered CONSUMING the poor fellow, but when I saw it there, the next night, broiled up, skin, face and ALL, I KNEW this would be my punishment for taking its life.

While everyone else got to sport steak and shrimps, I was going to have to come face to face with my own making; a greyish green swimmer who NOW was swimmin around in butter and small potatos, with mushrooms.


I looked down at it, as everyone tore away at theirs.

'Whats wrong Li..THAT's your FISH' He said

"Well I know that, but I didnt know I was EATING IT "I snapped. The group just quietly chuckled, as grandpa piped up "Ha! NOBODY is mounting THAT TURD" as he continued on with his meal.

'Well, what did you think was gonna HAPPEN?"Grandmas said as it was HER turn at the round robin grilling, and continued on "YOU can't go around FISHING and then NOT EAT IT... that's just cruel and INHUMANE.


What was INHUMANE was making me eat an uncleaned fish..please, WITH THE HEAD,TAILS, BONES AND SKIN..


But they were right, it WAS cruel and inhumane to catch something, and slaughter it 1000 times over,- like those bread rolls she caught in that Half-purse-Half-net every weekend...but this was a HARD fulldays catch EVENT, and I simply disagreed with the rewards of recognition.

I didnt want to EAT it, I WANTED to see IT STUFFED.


"Oh, no matter" I said to myself, and picked away at it. I started with the center which seemed like it might have the least amount of bones to contend with, and put some in my mouth. Yup. Juuust like I suspected..tastes like lake, and THIS lake tasted like seaweed, and sandcrabs had a baby.


THIS was NOT good like a fishstick, and was going nowhere NEAR MY body, I could tell you THAT much.

I just waited until everyone was done with dinner, and eyes weren't so scouring over the dinneroom battlefield, for me to make my move over to the garbage can.


Everyone would bring their plate over to the sink area,and either leave it to be inspected by grandma and scraped, or scrape it themselves when feeling bold. My grandmother was already washing dishes, when everyone was slowly moving into the other room to continue on with a fireplace hang.


Grandma was at the table removing extra plates I made my move!, I got up, quiet and efficiently, all  ready to scrape that plate before anyone could say boo. I had my fork in one hand, with the fish carcass plate in the OTHER. I spied the can, tiptoed over,actually wheeled it OPEN quietly and easily reached over;

"This is goona be a snap" I thought to myself as I reached over the can to start a scrapin' but just then, this HAND reached down, and grabs my wrist HARD.

I look up from the wrist vice to see my grandmas lemony face, all sour and squinty.

"What do you think YOU'RE doin, huh?" Grandma slying whispered to me as she lifted my wrist so hard, that the fork in it, went dropping to the ground.


My mother walked over, and piped up" I think she was trying to HELP you clear the TABLE M" she explained calmly.

"Oh" she replied in utter surpise, and actually I think it did... surpise her, that is. She honest to god didn't expect that there might be OTHERS in her kitchen, who were simply FUNCTIONING IN the kitchen. Not trying to hurt it, or steal from it, or mess it up, or overfill her drawers, or pull a fast one her...just a kid, trying to put some shit in the garbage can to help clean up.


Grandma looked over at the evidence, and replied "Well she certinly can't throw THAT away..I mean look at THAT".

We all looked down to see my half-eaten fish, and a few smooshed potatos-all half-eaten and cold.

"I knew what you mean, M but she's never HAD fresh fish like this, and certinly has never CAUGHT a FISH before. I think it was a GOOD EXPERIENCE for her to have.." my mother began to defend me, (which, while it wasn't happening at HOME, ALWAYS happened with outsiders, OUTSIDE the home; No one but THOSE two were gonna call shots LIKE THAT ,when it came to me, and MY stomach).


"That MAY BE,but you can't just go around and FISH like that, and not DO something with the catches- she simply won't be allowed to fish off of THIS dock anymore..that's just silly, and a waste of TIME..So what are we gonna DO ABOUT it?" Grandma snapped back, really ready for a rig-a-ma-roll,


My mom was really mature however, and was often the voice of deflation, when there WAS none, and  could see there was no arguing this woman over a half-eaten dead fish at 830 at night. If grandma was so SET on it, then WHO CARES- we were leaving the next DAY anyway.

"Well, just wrap it up, and we'll see if she wants to finish it later ON, for lunch or something like that" mom replied calmly.


"Oh, she most definitely WILL BE" Grandma said with her half glazed smile as if to say 'Challenge accepted bitch, challenge accepted'


But that date never came, we left the next and had the whole menu sewn up until we left.

"Well thank GOD for small miracles" I thought to myself, and later thanked my mom for defending me, and not forcing me to eat a fish, which quite frankly, tasted disgusting.


Maybe it was the way they cooked it, or maybe it was the acutal fish, or maybe it's because I really don't LIKE fish, and never really EAT it. I dont care how fuckin' PC GREEN it is to like fish-

You CAN'T convince me that taking 100s of fishy lives every year is somehow BETTER than killing just the 2 cow LIVES it takes to eat all winter long. I was just never convinced of that sort of soul eco thriftyness.


I was happy to leave that place AND the fish for a whole year and mooooove ON with it.


That is, until the NEXT year ;I would eventually go back the next year, and boy was that fish ever happy to see ME.

Thats right folks, it was kept freezer fresh all year long, and while everyone else got to eat steaks, and shrimps, I got to rehash the SAME ordeal AGAIN, except THIS time there was all sorts of lime jello to accompany my dismay.


Lime jello.

Why did she serve it? THAT'S the million dollar question, I mean, she MUST have figured it out after the first two summers, but to just do it repeatedly, to her son.What did mean? And more importantly, what was lime jello all about? Like, why did this guy HATE it so much?


I was soon to FIND out, since the kid gloves came off after the 'fish wars', there was ALL SORTS of eye-spy-with-my-little-eye--wtf-are-you-trying-to-throw-away-now policing, who never CEASED with the vigilante garbage patrol.

I was really put in a situation where I had to learn that smaller meals were gonna SAVE me in this dept. because bigger meals were so heavily judged.


See, at FIRST, I started putting smaller portions on my dinner plate, but THAT got recognized RIGHT AWAY:

"You need MORE on that plate" grandma would say " I worked on that food ALL afternoon, NO ONES leaving leftovers" she would chortle, when, in fact there was ALWAYS leftovers..just not leftover MEAT. Meat was like heavan scented laced heroin to the hooked, there was just NO WAY there WASN'Tgoing to be discussion about skin samples, but the sides?


Seriously wtf was her damage? My smaller side choices and her response had really brought THAT nutty shit to light, AND to the frowning of EVERYONES disapproval.. I mean, laying into me about a FISH was one thing ( thats 'meat'), but to lay into me over the EXTRAS like rabbit food shit- 'lettuce and a few tots'?? That's just MEAN.


She backed off "Oh well, I spose..just a few vegetables won't REALLY be missed"

And thank god it went like that, because what started out as a taste of jello later became the mainstaple suggested go-to food to give me for the rest of the summer.


I swear to god. I'de be done swimming..how about a lime jello? Um, ok. sure, why not.


Then a drive out and boat ride..feeling like a jello? Yep- they tasted good that first time.

Feeling a bit hungry before that 8pm dinner reservation? Nothings EASIER to grab than a limer.


Dessert? Late night snack...have you tried it frozen as an ice cream replacer.

I mean, I think someone even brought it WITH us on some day camping thing..Just this jello being shoved off on me, and sure I really did like it the first 2 weeks, but jesus christ. enough...thank GOD THIS visit was soon OVER.

Look, I know people don't always have a great relationship with their family, and sometimes its just PARTS of a family, like His parents- but these two weren't having a relationship to other family members. they were having a relationship to THEMSELVES, where other people played family ROLES in THEIR play.

I was CLEARLY an extra in that twisted slippery gelatenous nightmare of a drama.


I think He was happy as hell that he somehow BESTED his mother by being able to provide a MOUTH which would EAT the lime jello, so he wouldn't have to feel GUILTY about NOT EATING it, AND, at the SAME TIME< not have to EAT IT. It was almost like a great source of A HA! Where lime jello ceased to hold power over him any longer.


So naturally, he turned to jello to save the day ONCE MORE, with a slimy solution to this whole ordeal. I was FAR from thrilled.








Just Put a Can of Fruit In There



"What's wrong with jello? You LOVE that stuff" He said sweetly.

I didn't want to have to have an all out-and-out SAY with the guy; ' Because your chicken tastes like shit, which Id'e rather KILL myself OVER, than EAT AGAIN, and fuck you very much for never ASKING ME about it, OR considering that my viewpoint as REASONABLE- you KNOW-obviously NOT regular kid 'griping' shi you, dumb MF.

I mean, no one openly WANTS to go THERE- ESPECIALLY during negotiation hour.

"You don't have to have LIME, you know" he continued on" ...they make other FLAVORS- you could pick out WHATEVER you wanted" 

What, like I DIDN'T KNOW THAT about gelatin. ? Was I a TV baby, or WHAT?  EVERYONE knows wtf JELLO is- ESPECIALLY that it comes in an ARRAY of flavors..TF.


"OF COURSE I know that..that's not the point' I retorted. I was still trying to wrap my head around what it WAS, I was TRYING to articulate.

It wasn't that I wasn't UP for giving jello a SHOT, it's that all I could IMAGINE was sitting down after getting back from school, getting ready for ballet, and having that jello just SLIDE right THROUGH me on the way to HUNGER, and my blood-sugars dropping all the while needing the potty right in MID-class.


And the idea of actually feeling satisfied from clear, gel-hold foods was just NOT cuttin' it. Especially not after making grilled CHEESE and PASTAS with PEAS- you know what I mean, carby foods with a light protien to feel FULL (like cheese, or bacon or egg, or whatever)..jello was just NOT going to be a real replacement.


And while I liked jello- I mean, even with that lime jello chamber of horrors of a visit every year, it did not deter me from OTHER good memories I HAD with jello from when I was younger; They would make these jello parfaits at my preschool, with creams and fruits in it. I always thought those were pretty choice, and so I wouldn't MIND recreating THOSE again.

"Look, jello isnt enough for me- I'm sorry, but I need more calories then THAT" I explained.

"Well ok" He began "What if we put a can of FRUIT in it?".


Now, THERE'S a THOUGHT, we could simply put a can of FRUIT in there, and I always LIKED FRUIT.

I was used to the canned, cut up fruit cocktails you can get at the grocery store, and always thought it was so cool how, when you opened a jar, the fruit was stacked in such a way, that when turned the jar over QUICKLY,  how  they would have the cherries floating on TOP somewhere near the center of the fruit pile. How they loaded the cans in such a clever way.

Extra cans of this sweetness wasn't around the pantry EVER, and made for a good incentive to try the idea out..like a compromise, but fruitier.

"OKay" I agreed, "..but can we make them like the ones I USED TO EAT?" I asked.

"What kinds we those?" my mom asked.

"The ones at my OLD SCHOOL, remember? the ones we would have after lunch" I replied.

"Oh, let's see, Hm....oh yes, I REMEMBER.. Is THAT the kind you like LI? I DIDNT KNOW THAT. well sure, of course we can make those" she said to me.

He just smiled wryly, then asked "What exactly ARE THOSE?".


I mean jesus fuck, why did it have to be every little thing with these people. Why could we just simply MAKE the recipe as I remembered, why did EVERY negotiation this LINE BY LINE deal.?

I never seemed to have this sort of 'problem' when I would cook at my grandparents house, or  OTHER peoples houses; if someone wanted to make something, they would simlply go in, and use what they FOUND, or run out to THE STORE, and BUY the needed stuff.

But not here, no way. It was like having a new orphan MOVE IN if we were to include not only the ONE new thing to 'the budget', but TWO ??? 3 OR 4????


This was really turning into 'a production' in His mind, and while I was MORE than happy to make it myself, it was just NOT getting the full support of Cookies staff& crew.

"It's really not that big of a deal- you just add cream to the water" mom chimed in.

"Oh, well OK--" He agreed and continued "It doesn't sound BAD..and you LIKE that sort of stuff? huh? well, ok.." as he nodded in agreement.


So, the next friday came around, and I was there, ready to help unpack groceries, and make the needed snacks for the week, right away..I'm looking around to pull the need ingredients together, but all I can find is the jello package and a couple cans of fruit

"Where is the OTHER stuff.. like the cream?" I asked.

"Oh..oh, right, I didn't get it this tiime.. " He trailed off.."But will next time, I just forgot, sorreeeeee".


'Ok fine, I'll make due with what I have' I thought to myself.

so I started to make the jello.. with went to go get the sugar.

I look down at the jello package to see how much sugar I needed.

"Oh shoot..this is sugar free" I said to Him as he was putting things away on the pantry shelf ( because I  I really despised the sugar free stuff)

"Oh..I didn't know that.. I'll get the regular NEXT time" he replied and went on his merry way with whatever task he has next on his agenda.


But THAT day never happened- I think it was because the sugar-free was ALWAYS on sale- like this BIG push by the marketers for people to DOWN the new sweet synthetics like 'nutrasweet' and 'splenda'- these NEWLY DISCOVERED chemical concoctions that were going to SAVE humanity for some reason, and they were putting this stuff in all SORTS of shit- jello was just one of those LOGICAL conclusions to START with.. so it was UP THERE in that catagory as a 'price is low', easily assimilated alternative-to sweets.

Of course, none of that BRAINWASHING was gonna be happening around HERE- there was 0 foods that were EVER bought due to marketing TRENDS- the foods that WERE purchased, were mainly based on COST- using REGULAR jello implied the needing of yet ANOTHER INGREDIENT- sugar. and sugar isn't free.


Another week would go by, I would patentiently wait, have eaten the sugar-free kind just to make do..

..and ANOTHER sugar-free package would arrive- in my FAVORITE flavor-just the sugar-free variety.

The sugar free was clearly cheaper than the regular, and while we didn't actually have a discussion about it,  I think he simply wanted to be a parent enforcing this sugar limit... Like not having sugars all the time- like it was good enough that I was getting jello AT ALL.


Another thing in this favorite recipe started to changed too- what was once the NAME BRAND fruit became the super saver JUMBO replacer..and while the first kind seemed to have more peaches in it, and even 2 whole cherries (instead of half of one  like the sad impersonater), this NEW can was mostly green grapes and PEARS. It was just a different mix of FRUITS that did pair well with gelatin, at least , not to MY liking.

I just didnt like mushy fruits alongside jello, that both canned pears and grapes WERE when prepared in jello that way.

At least the canned fruit WASN'T sugar free, but THAT changed AS WELL. The FIRST kind was in a heavy syrup, which really BALANCED the jello in a nice way, but NOW His new crap choices was  to get fruit in extra LIGHT SYRUP.

Of course, He never was serious about including the cream ( seeing as how that was just too expensive for the 'budget', and was only ever being bought for special guests coffee, over for 'dinner nights')

No matter how many times I brought it up


It was constantly "Oh yeah..im sooorrrrreeee." .like it was just a minor matter, and in comparison to HIS culinary plans for the week, I'm sure it WAS.

I'm sure it was an annoyance to his SYSTEM that he had to even CONTEND with this alternative list of foods, which weren't concerning HIS stomach in the SLIGHTEST. 

I should have just boycotted right then and there, but didn't until he came back with a canned fruit super saver special, and when I opened a can, saw that the grapes had looked brown. I mentioned it to Him


"Hey , this can doesnt look good" I said.

"Oh? ' he niquired, and then peered into the metal sleeve- "oh THAT..that's just from where they picked the grapes. It's really no big DEAL" he reassured me.


But they look gross and rusted.

"Well, it's NOT rust- just don't put em in there- pick through it" he replied. 

And that was that. I mean, I should've KNOWN better BY NOW...after aaaalllll the foraging I had done, year after year, I should have simply KNOWN it's time to start picking through CANS have half rotten shit....So, I started to pick em out.

 Natually, we had these small glass dishes in which to pour the liquid into- these small dainty custard cups from crate&barrel. While my parents COULD have picked out cooler looking dishes, these were just a simple small cup design, with a sweet wavy edge to them, slightly opening larger around the lip.


I hadn't minded using them, even with the sugar-free garbage, until one day,  He had made a HUGE pot of spaghetti sauce, and decided to COOL IT DOWN IN THE FRIDGE- basically storing it in the pan until next use, and seeing as how these custard cups weren't LIDDED, or had any sort of protection from the constant rummaging in the fridge, each and every jello cup just tasted like pasta sauce.. red sauce and sugar free fruit punch - fuckin gross..and (thumbs up) 'WAY TO GO' on ruining BOTH of those for me, my guy. I mean, I only have the 4 meals being rotated, CONSTANTLY.


....and by the way, if you wonder why it is, that I can REMEMBER SO MUCH about the MENU I was forced to live with growing up- it isn't due to some great force of INTELLIGENCE, or TRAUMA, or some big mystery like that- I simply had very little VARIATION, and the 10 things or whatever it was, was never EASY to forget.


.So yeah, I had FINALLY HAD it, I simply stopped making those disgusting wobbly things, and WENT back to the pastas and grilled cheeses, and whatever.


And while I was reminded CONSTANTLY that we had HAD this discussion, and I was breaking with the AGREED upon plan, it wasn't until 3 months LATER,when the cans of fruit finally EXPIRED, that I sat them down to have my say;

"Look- I was happy to try the jello idea out, but you keep giving me sugar-free. and I don't LIKE that shit" I explained.

"Is that true?" my mother asked"..has it been sugar-free this entire time?" she looked over at Him and continued on "Oh, I didn't know you hated it so much " she said. NOw she was looking over at Him as if to ask him wtf was up.

...and in the sweetest, kittenest voice He said " I simply wanted to keep us ON BUDGET, and I didn't realize it was a problem really"  


Now about that budget. I never COULD  get a handle on EXACTLY what that WAS.

See, apparently, my mother had a belief that children should NEVER know HOW MUCH money was made by their parents, and so I was purposefully kept AWAY from the strains of financial burden. This also included monetary proportions to our families accustomed lifestyle, which meant while I may have seen a utility bill here, or rando paperwork for state taxes there, I really had NO CLUE  as to how much money we did or did NOT have, for ANY particular need, at any given point.


Could we afford snacks? I didn't know..Could we afford the lastest fashion wardrobe? Apparently not. How about an extra 75 cent hot lunch? Clearly, No..... but we sure as shit could afford those trips vacationing every summer- and let's not forget that we were in a SAFER, NICER parts of the Chicagoland area..I mean, would couldn't have been BROKE.

But having an understanding of where were AT? In terms of what was a realistic expectatiopn for the day to day? That was left purely IN THE DARK, as most of those rotten foods were now becoming, as the following months continued.


Don't forget people, 2 to 1 AT ALL times, so while I was duly scolded for my grilled cheese and pasta ways, all was forgiven, but NOW we were back at SQUARE ONE. I mean, what the hell is my go-to snack NOW?

"Well how about yogurt..you like that, right?" She asked me.

and it was TRUE, I  ALWAYS enjoyed yogurt when I would be babysat by my moms FRIEND, who  had these tasy yoplait yogurts in all sorts of fruit flavors, and she made a note of it ( to mention to mom later).


Good job mom! Saving the day, ONCE MORE- I mean, I had eaten it, like 9 YEARS AGO, but that's how MOMS DO- like magick, and the peacemaker she was SO CLEVER AT BEING, saved the day ONCE MORE!

"That's true, I really do like that" I replied.

"We could get you the flavors that you like, in small cup sizes- that way, you don't have to pour it into dishes anymore' He said.


And for the first time, if felt like I was finally making headway with these two- I was finally carving out my own slice of the shelf- I was being heard, AND being seen, and yogurt was gonna lead the charge on HOW.

"SO what flavors should I get you? So I can make a note on the shopping list" He asked.

"Oh wow- OK" I began to think, and said "Strawberry, blueberry, CHERRY....do they have lemon? that's my FAVORITE".

"You like lemon? Yuck" He winced and continued on"... but OK, if you like it".


Thank God that THIS was OVE,  I was REALLY gonna be able to DO this THING call efficiency- just like everyone ELSE- come home, look forward to a meal, eat it readily and easily...HAPPILY, and then get back to whatever it is I needed to be focusing on.


I was SO happy with our new plan, and soon enough the following friday rolled around.

I waited to help unpack the groceries like I normally did, and finally stumbled across the mini yougurt 6 pack in a cherry flavor....

And, naturally, it was sugar-free.






Be Free, and Be Gone




"OMFG..you know I can't EAT this, dont you?" I asked.


Now, in truth, I probably COULD technically eat it. I mean, it's not like I went into anaphylactic SHOCK or something like THAT. I COULD actually digest the particles of matter of whatever the sugar free chemical was laced inTO- it's just that when I DID become one with the compound, I felt really FUNKY; Not funny like a drunken spin, or loopy from novocaine- more like an LSD visuals intensity, but with the withdrawls of caffiene, all the while, feeling depleted in blood sugar levels- not balanced at ALL, no. NOT ONE BIT.


Bottom line, I didn't like it, and didn't want that crap IN me, and felt completely justified in not having it BE so. Once in while, because were in a pinch, and theres nothing left to eat? Yeah, OK..but this as the REGULAR GO -TO?..nu-huh.

I mean, by NOW I was openly PISSED.

"What do you MEAN? I thought you didn't like it in JELLO..I didn't know that was true for EVERYTHING" He would say, batting those lashes with innocence.

"Well, I ASKED you to get ANOTHER kind of yogurt ANYWAY. What is THIS SHIT?" I demanded to know why this was presented before me.

Why don't you just TRT IT.. We can get another kind NEXT week, but since we already bought it..I mean, neither me OR your mother LIKE this yogurt crap AT ALL, so..."he trailed off.


Fucking fine. Yet another week where I have to contend with this half-assed, comprimised meal idea..why couldn't I have it easy like my friends? Why couldn't it be like when I go to visits L and Ps house..they never seem to have any sugar-free crap all around. 

Which was somewhat true-there was this drink craze at one point, and everyone EVERYONE had these 'cyrstal light' mix powder drinks floating around EVERYONES place..it was on the aerobic 'get fit' trend which everyone was NOW getting hooked into. 


I knew it was only a matter of time before the monkeys would go apeshit nuts on this thing, and start to include it in their KIDS diets..but not today..not with everyone else around me-

THEY still had these separate kiddie menu items at their places, that seemed to SCREAM nutrition:

milk, oranges, breads and chips, carrot and peas, and cheese. Cheese slices, and apples, capri suns and cookies..on and on...you know, just normal kiddie type snacks.


I was just never gonna get THOSE. I was never going to have anyone WILLINGLY get me these things, nor could I really argue about it- being a 2-to-1 outnumber each and EVERY time. Plus, without any real sense of MONETARY REALITY, I simply had no FACTS to base any arguement upon in my FAVOR, simply because the final line was always that of 'COST', and COST was gonna win EACH,and EVERYtime.


I remembered how I went crazy on those chips awhile ago, and while I was thoroughly disgusted with them from that point ON, and was able to finally get those people to RID the pantry of them, after a solid 6 MONTHS of the OLD bag just SITTING there, and then realized that my form of PROTEST created something else in me TOO: a real keen ability to have a SAY on my hunger MANAGEMENT- because while I may have been eating things I DIDN'T like, I knew that filling up in this overkill way, was gonna make me sick SOMEhow, and I would just end up throwing it all up eventually- a way to get it OUT of the kitchen..AND a WAY to clear out the useless, making room for perhaps something BETTER- a better way to ME.


Right then and there, I knew what had to happen with those yogurts. It was a friday, and they had plans to go out to dinner with friends, and I would have the whole place to myself.

I often had it that way- the whole place in which to sprawl, but kept to my room regardless. I never felt a real NEED to hang out anywhere else, except maybe in THEIR room to watch stuff on the only big color TV.

So them leaving on a friday suited me just fine; watch some TV, then overkill on these yogurt cups..if I ate enough of them, there wouldn't be any left for the WEEK, and they would HAVE TO buy me what I needed before the school week started.


It was a perfect plan really, fill up so you feel full, but then OD so you have to release it down the drain, and then the yogurt wars could continue into Sunday. SO WHAT if they YELL at me that I wasn't supossed to eat all 6 at once, and INSTEAD was SUPPOSED to have that frozen mini-pizza ?..I was DONE with those pizzas after 6 years STRAIGHT....and at least those damn yogurts wouldn't be making a pass around THESE parts EVER again, and so, I WIN.


The night ensued, and when my parents returned, I saw Him in the kitchen rumaging around.

"So, what did you make?" He asked me, as he was getting ice water ready for bedtime drinks.

"Oh, Nothing really- just those yogurts, I thought l could like em, but the sugar-free really made me feel sick I think..."

"Well I BET, I mean 6 of them?" He looked with a wrinkle in his forhead.

"Yeah, they were little ..in a 6 pack,  I wasn't thinking, and I didn't know what else to make.." I said quietly, just playing along.

"Well, there were those PIZZAS in there, and there was leftover chicken and SALAD. You could have had THOSE."

Yeah, Yuck' I said to myself, as he continued "There's ALWAYS carrots, and I mean, you like THOSE things dontcha?"

"Yeah, I didn't THINK of that" I replied gently.


And in truth, I hadn't... and had I known THEN, what I know NOW, I wouldn't have HAD my 'little accidents' like I did. I would have KNOWN what to DO. I would have been more than HAPPY to have made, and then eaten orange glazed carrots and rice, or cucumbers and dill  with lemon -in plain yogurt, or zucchinni with pasta noodles, or whatever.


But that was simply NOT my kitchen, and I was NOT treated like a member of a family kitchen as such- it was more like a couple, who happen to have a kid- whatEVER that definition was for THEM.


But don't shed a tear over it- it would have been ONE THING, to say, that this was a story of a 'poor girl', coming from her trailer trash living, where her ma and pa beat her down on the regular. But NO. No such thing HERE, because things HERE were oddly at ease..Oddly down the middle road.... between the daisys in the lawns, and the hidden pathways down endless summer garden roads. Between library corners, and hidden hallways that lurched through the corridors of placid school entryways- making you feel like you were harry potter'n shit.... A place where no one goes.


.These weren't from the long roads of hardship, and pain where ignorance reigned supreme in the minds of each character and superhero ( or villain, whichever the case may be). 


Surey NOT. This was just two people, raising this THIRD human the best way they knew HOW, with what they KNEW, WHEN they knew it.


OF COURSE, circumstances CHANGED over time, OF COURSE it got WORSE BEFORE it got different.

OF COURSE, we've elevated, and GROWN since the writing of these experts.. How ELSE do people really LEARN from their own EXPERIENCES, if they aren't able to ARTICULATE themselves in such- AS such, from thier own MIND? 

Look, we ALL have certain PERSPECTIVES, and they DO CHANGE retrospectively as we age, but isn't there a truth, a validity to THOSE memories we hold ONTO as minor annoyances?...That we could possibly, translate them later ON?...

---Like memories in a glass bottle, of a certain truth in TIME;  it sloooowly bobs away, to and fro, as it's THROWN unto these wavy masses, that eventually splash out HERE....., onto THIS endless virtual page..


Like the putrid pantry this place was becoming.

"Well, that's NOT GOOD, we will have to get MORE" He said.

'Well, FUCK YEAH! my PLAN worked' I said to myself.. I was SO pleased..and thought more "If this asshat thinks for one MOMENT he's got final SAY, wehhhheeeell..... we just found a GAME CHANGER. I finally felt like we might develop a real steady language here, I mean even after ALL THIS TIME, I was STILL hopeful that there could be this steady situation in the kitchenfront as I was now beginning to enter my teens (and near a time when studying really becomes an intense 'thing' "But She just Won an Award with Honors' more on that later).


"Well, I can go WITH you, so I can choose the ones I LIKE" I said.

"Oh, no need- you can write 'em down HERE" He said, as He handed me a paper and pen, and then continued to say "...BESIDES, you have SCHOOL, and your MOM'S picking you UP".


That was true! I had forgotten! We had some stupid special thing at the hebrew school, and it was Sunday morning for some reason.The regular classes would be on some saturdays, but sunday too, but this was a special event kind of a deal, and I had alomst completely forgotten about it.

Mainly due to the fact that I was  having a real time with it, with some 'mean girls'('If Only We Weren't in a House of God'-more on that later).

My mind really started to think about all that...all that READING, and SINGING, and then with those dumb little bitches being completely bonkers with me. Jesus Christ; I really had NO idea WHY this little group held basic animosity for me , as I might have understood with SOME of my girly pals from that age;


I understood why T was pissed- because I macked out on her love interest. I knew why S was pissy with me, she was getting real popular, and I made it clear- and under no uncertain terms to EVERYone, that I could not STAND that superficial shit that she had started slinging around as some popular acceptance thing to do (I was losing a friend to dumb shit, and that hurt,etc).


I even understood why I scared C- she was still playing with, literally plastic PONIES while I was already slammed with ballet/hebrew/regular school. 

I mean, where did she fit in the TIME for THAT shit.?.Fucking brush the ponies hair? THAT'S why you invited me over??..omgf...Of course, NOW, when I look back, I should have simply been polite enough to say 'No thanks..I gotta fly'

I simply didnt have the time, OR patience to make it clear to this young someone that I resented the liesure, and deluded gaiety, and that I really found NO INTEREST in baby games like 'let's race the ponies' anymore...You know, just resolve to the fact that  we simply had nothing in common, and move on.


But these twats up in the hebrew nook? Oh, hell na, they were like GUNNING for me, with this beady-eyed brunette leader. She ALWAYS had me in her sights, and was relentless about stalking me throughout the school program.

I think she even looked for me during pee breaks, but never DID see me because I went waaaay the hell to the other end of the school to use the potty- which were cleaner, more exclusive, and just quiter all around.

I'de see a lot of the teachers and other staff  over there too, which was cool- no one was LOUD or annoying up to childish reindeer games....just passersby, chill, on their way to whatever.


Then, there were these nicer windows at the other END TOO, that had a beautiful back light that streamed in from outside. It would light up the dark corners of the hallway, and shine through the higher window, located above the potty door.. the light and liquid, made a nice combination, and this place turned into a nice rest pit for me to 'get away' from the stress HELL which manifested as a dumb-ass nasal clique.

But NOW, confronted with this coming whole ORDEAL, yeah.. YOU'RE going to the store tomorrow, getting whatEVER, pretty much just liost my apatite for ANYthing.... Saturday just took a nosedive right THERE, RIGHT ON INto a Sunday plight.


SO, the next day comes and goes... and it was, AS EXPECTED, neither good, nor bad- but NECESSARY- like ANY work-day function- like any NECESSARY thing that NEEDS to BE done, and OVERwith- and 'overwith' I WAS, since my bitch 'pals' found some NEW jab to stick to me right beFORE hitting the high notes on stage; OF COURSE, and AS USUAL. But now that it was over and done with, I could head HOME, and turn my sights on regular homework.


I was never one to do the work right away, so much as a 'do the work when you HAVE to' kind of a person, and so Sunday night was when I was REALLY focusing in on what I was responsible for in terms of homework ,being able to retain whatever it was, basically getting ready for the next day in class.


It's not that I really cared what we were leaning, so much as I didn't want to get in trouble for NOT doing what was expected of me,NOT keeping up with the pace of the class( 'Mrs. Nakoi & D.L. SEMEN' more on that later). So, I was always on top of whatever the subject WAS, that needed to be accomplished, even if I only half understood it- I was really good at being able to answer things, in such a way, that you weren't really certain just exactly WTF I REALLY meant. A perfect combinatn of vagueness, with just a light touch of catch phrases or words, which would leave the reader more interested in just wtf I MEANT, RATHER THAN the homework assignment.


I made cryptic quibs that would dance around the sujbect at hand, without giving any real subtance- without knowing if I had read the material or NOT...and in truth, I hardly every DID. I would basically take snapshot images in my mind of certain phrases or passages, you know what I mean, highlighting the words in such a sequence as to pick up the actual content without really REFLECTING on any real deeper implication ( the deeper meanings).


 I can thank my mother and fathers linguistic dna sequences for such a bestowments of ability, because it took me quite far, in terms of bullshitting my way through grades..like pretty much all of junior high was vague answers, outside of the few classes where I WANTED to be present, where I WANTED to learn.


And there were subjects that I ACTUALLY found fascinating...there were teachers there, who INSPIRED the students on a DAILY BASIS, which was AMAZING to experience ( 'OK, study today, U2?' more on that later).

Mostly though, I was just trying to get THROUGH IT, scribbling down whatever I could, as fast as I could. Math hung me up though, because theres no bullshitting your way out of a math problem, either you wrote the formula out and know the answer, or you DON'T- theres no 'maybes' of interpretation there ('So Logically, They Would Make it LAST' more on that later), and so, math would hang me up to dry often, but more times than NOT, I was finished in no time flat, with time to SPARE,on  my sunday nights.

Which lead me directly into the KITCHEN after a long day of special temple program, and math quizzes coming up.

"Hey" I announced myself as I saw him in there, as usual.

"Oh, hi there" He said.

He was just finishing up, by putting the rest of the dishes away after cleaning, and looked over at me while drying a plate "So, how was it?" he asked.

"Well, didn't MOM tell you?"  I snapped. I mean, while on the ONE HAND I could have been NICE, he also didn't schedule actual TIME to BE THERE, and I felt a bit RESENTFUL that he would ask me to fill him in on an EVENT while I was hungry and tired, and that SAID EVENT, he probably should have attended to begin with. 

"No, she didnt" He said , just looking at me blankly.

"Oh....." as I begin to launch in, not really wanting to do so " .....we sang this, and saw this, then we did this, and those mean girls were mean , etc.." Basically filling Him in as He finished drying the last pot. and I continued' ....so we ended singing that part LAST"

"Oh, well it sounds interesting, sounds like you worked hard, and never mind about those other people there, you just go and have a good time singing it, thats what its all about" he said reassuringly.

"Yeah"..I said,  as I turned my sights on something to eat. Just then, I remembered! About my devious plan, and the decent yogurt hoard awaiting for me in that fridge.

"...Yeah" I continued on, and I opened the fridge door "It was a lot of work for us, but it was worth it I guess.... even if they were mean to me- we sang well together".

I scanned the fridge for the decent sized cups of the foods I was expecting to find, but there it was, as I should have REALIZED, was the exact same yogurt cups as LAST WEEKS.

"What the HELL? Why did you get THESE??? Didn't you check the list ? YOU TOLD me to write it ON THERE!" I barked.

"OH, I thought you really LOVED THESE, you ate all those others IN ONE SITTING, plus, they were on SALE. SOrrreeeeeeeee" He sang as he nt on his way out the room.









About that dressing


Now, about that dressing. I don't know what the deal was with this man and his bottled 'salad' dressing, but he absolutely REFUSED to EVER buy bottled salad dressings, which is neither here nor there in MY world. I mean, I MUCH prefer fresh made dressings MYSELF- when I had access to vegetables that I liked, such as cucumbers and cherry tomatos and butternut greens. All three of such items were just not purchased, seeing as how romaine was always the better value, and cherry tomatos a real treat for special occasion. 

This fridge was a fridge that contained half ripened, pinkish tomatos, and celery greens. This ice box had white crying cooker onions, and bendy carrots- but you weren't seeing a cucumber, or parsip or brussle sprout unless it was special ocassion, and even THEN it wasn't excluded from His 'special sauce'.


This guy INSISTED on making this bazaar concoction of herbs & spices, and edward gorey insides..I mean, seriously WTF. WTF was IN that shit, anyway?
My freinds used to come over and see it, right there, right in FRONT of EVERYTHING in the fridge..Yes, I understand there was 4 shelves, but SOMEHOW this dressing managed to make every SINGLE one of 'em.

Either it was in a BOTTLE, or on a MEAT, or on a SALAD, or somehow BRAISING SOMEthing IN there to make my life complete.

"What the hell IS that?" my freinds would ask. I really DID understand their line of reasoning; it was put in a beaker style shaped bottle- I think it was some modern glass designer bottle- you know, all clean-lined, and modern looking- but glass with THAT nighmare in it? It completely MIMICKED an experiment more than anything ELSE, and every person I knew saw it as such.

"Oh that..just ignore THAT..that's His salad dressing." I would reply.

"Really..? Well, what does it TASTE LIKE?" they would ask.

"Trust me" I would reassure them, with honest eyes,".. you don't want to know".


It actually tasted like a soury oil, with a light note of mustard, oregano and black pepper..I think He even put capers in there.

"God gross, it looks like floating frog pooh" this girl said once.

"Yeah, I know" I agreed lightheartedly.

"Well, what can we have to eat?" they would then ask.

"Go ahead, and look for yourself" I would say. I mean, my god, 'free reign' foraging? That's a gift to kids no matter WHAT the house- it was always a sure-to-please anwser.


Thank GOD, however, that after 4+ years of 'mama celeste frozen pizzas with green peppers' ( which, naturally, I hated and had to pick off), I simply relented on ever expecting anything other than this one consistent thing, and my friends all went for it whenever I had sleepovers or playdates...and thank god that wasn't OFTEN('Just use corn syrup- they'lle never know the difference" more on that later)

"We'll just have this, YAY"they would usually say.


Yep- I was always happy to go to OTHER peoples places to HANG- there just never seemed to be enough room, or time to have space as I needed to have in MY house, but carving out this one squeak of a pizza thing with friends was probably all really I needed anyway.


I mean, it's not like anyone in MY house, or anyone I KNEW was hanging out with their mom in the kitchen making cookies or some shit- I mean, most moms I KNEW were out living their LIVES, they had careers, and were in charge of some pretty important entities- simply HIRING people to help make whatever was NEEDED at the home, if really need be....no need for fussing.


Even the people whose moms worked full-time, and barely had TIME at home- they made cookies, maybe on the weekends as an EVENT. Like everyone I knew, home-to-home hopping wasn't some traveling buffet for me, and all my friends.


I seriously did not KNOW ANYone who lived like that..and thank god for that. A traveling after school jock hoard, pretty much guaranteed a boring ass set routine day-to-day. I mean, YEAH- they probably got some pretty choice snacks having all those soccer moms constantly competing for important shit like 'mother-of-the-year' award, but to have this mob surrounding you after school, MOSTdays...What. You need someone in your space all the time? How about sleep..? Did they need their packs for that too..? or..? I understood the comradery, as well as the rosy glow upon all those cheecks from being really well fed- I mean, my god- it's FROLIC, and we all know how important 'team spirit' truly is. Still, I always had to hand it to them- those groups always seems to be arm in arm, and chips, with ham sandwhiches always magically ABOUND.


Yep- I was definitely not fitting in with THAT- one thing I know about travelling buffet hoards is, that they ALL take TURNS with that responsibility, and my parents would simply make them all eat CHICKEN when OUR turn came up, at every swing, no doubt about THAT.


Without fail, he put that dressing on fk EVERYthing..and to this DAY, I can taste it in my mouth like a death sentence on dialup, like a symptom on remote control- I can draw up what I despised like a ringing and resounding truth of yesterday- tastfully rotten, and frightfully so,




Might I Add Matza


Now, Judiasm played a very strange role in my eating habits, and in some ways, was really really GOOD, and in some ways, it was really, really BAD. But regardless of those basic truths, there was one thing that I could always turn to in our house, and that was Matza.

Regardless of what was floating in or off the pantry shelf, the matza box was always fully loaded and ready for use, and while I did not really recognize it as an actual SOURCE of nutrition ( seeing it more as a religious use item - like wafers and wine, etc), it actually became a godsend food after attending services for years on end.

ANYone who thinks no one is real about that fasting at shabbat, or Yom Kippur or Sukkot is lyin' dead in YOUR FACE. At least, the temple we were a part of, and then the more conservative temples of my familys FRIENDS congregated at...I mean, THOSE people's kitchens made OURS look like a purely sinful cornacopia RAGER.


While this one mom didn't have completely separate KITCHENS ( as people who keep kosher DO, believe me, they DO), she had completely separate dishware, and while I always tried to do good, I  manged to fuck up which set to use if I ever helped myself to a glass, or an extra fork or whatever..


I'de come out with big, heaping glass of milk in the 'meat' glass, break the glass set buy doing so, and generally just fuck up the nightly vibe with my choices, because, using one glass this way, naturally meant that ALL glasses were no longer GOOD for ANYTHING anymore. Hence a new set would have to be purchased..It was a pretty big deal to simply grab a glass or fork, and I was so glad I didn't have to worry about those set of laws around my crib.


 I learned some pretty cool things during long ass services- I learned how to sit, and listen, and hold my pee for HOURS ('Knickin' at the Knickerbocker' more on that later). It was a real struggle, and while kids were allowed to kind of float in-and-out on an 'as needed' basis, it was really to go use the potty, or some necessary shit like that- if there was an outright boycott, like the tv was on, or your fucking off playing some board game in the other room ( before cell phones of course), you would be dragged out by your hair.

NO ONE was dressing you in GOOD CLOTHES, have the tables set with the BEST linens and whatnot, to treat it like any OLD family VISIT.

So, I learned over time, to simply become a joiner, and try my best to emulate my elders. I was really good at it too, having been used to long ass waits on things, a few hours was gonna be a snap- 

-and it NEVER WAS.

I swear to you- tha shit dragged out like hours IN BETWEEN HOURS, like hours IN BETWEEN MINUTES, like hours in between eternity for all I cared. I would get so hungry, with my blood sugars dropping, my head spinning with sudden heat flashes...I would be so grateful when it came time to bless the matza, or wine or egg or WHATEVER was on that ceder plate. 


I mean, the fucking parsley and vinegar became a banquet at these peoples house, and when it was finally time to sit DOWN to EAT, at like 8:30 or 9pm or some shit ( this would be all afternoon into evening thing), that matza-ball soup was like nectar given to us by the gods. Just like pure ambrosia sliding down my coarse throat from speaking words all afternoon, WITHOUT any choice drinks like that wine the adults would be drinking. I honestly don't know how they drank at all on those empty stomachs, I really couldn' t imagine.


Yep. I really wished I was more into the sauce at an earlier age- I probably could have drunk away many a hunger pangs without a care in the world, but I really despised the taste of alchohol ( 'Just Lace the Fruit Salad' more on that later).

But no one was giving kids wine back then anyway, I mean, please. Sure, now and again, there might a substitute like grape juice or what have you, and THAT, just like soup was an amazing race of sugar, and power..of sustinance and delight- all wrapped up in tiny witheld portional amounts.


I often wondered how my pals mom was able to run around the kitchen, and work with all this food, but never actually EAT any of it.. I mean, she didn't even TASTE it to make sure it was correct..and sometimes, the final product would be bland as fuck, and she would look dissapointed about it too... Like, really.??

Oh yeah-this mom was an ex MODEL, and was USED to food deperivation as the NORM- so handling WHATEVER, wrenches, pastries, car parts, apple dumplings..it was all the same in HER heart, mind and, stomach.


I was simultaneousy insulted, and impressed with her ability in this department.- how she simply stayed a size 0 but handled food on the day to day without a single DROP in her mouth ( 'I Serve it ALL Smokey Joe'- more on that later)

..but that was something else I noticed TOO; while most of the guys would be stationed mainly around the service table,continuing ON with the services,  the women spent time running to and fro from the KITCHEN, or helping the kids, or taking a potty break themselves. It seriously wasn;t unlike the temple they attended where women were EXPECTED to sit in BACK- with only men allowed to sit in front.


Even still, it never dawned on me, that these women were utilizing AROMATHERAPY in the most practical, and the most masochistic way known to man; To just SNORTLE the molecules of food, and allow it to enter your LUNGS- never actually CONSUME it.


That sort of control mimicked the willpower I saw in ballet, and could easily see how both departments, combined, could serve me well in maintaining a sense of control, as well as presenting myself in a dignified manner even when I was ready to pass out because my blood sugars were dropping- even when all the other kids at the table would start complaining on hour 3 (' Watery Meals'-more on that later).


I took the cues from these wiser ones, who simply knew how to SNIFF the hunger pangs away. And it was true! SWEATING over HOT SOUP was just too ENGAGING for the neediness of things like actual INGESTION, and I think this sort of mojo added an extra spice to the flavor of every meal placed before us at those holiday feasts....Like a REAL display of gratitude, even if that soup was nasty, you had to at least eat SOME of it, and would simply not mind doing so.


Main courses would be real simple, and straight forward; braised meat, a boiled potato, a salad, and usually aaaaalllll the matza and butter you cared to eat. Of course, at times the maror would take mainstage, and I could see a whole 'off script' possibility with the culinary arts..

I mean, Jesus fuck- they WANTED you to make these little sandwhiches, with all sorts of ingredients, ANY WAY YOU SO CHOOSE, and eat it down gleefully.

I was never so grateful for a half boiled egg I tell you. Never.


I really learned how to sprint those hunger pangs away, then pace it with small bits of ritual bites, here and there, and that matza...IT became a REAL possibility as a MAINSTAY in my pantry after enough services that included fasting- especially when I found out how butter made everyting taste great, and was super filing!

Like a little butter sandwhich--->add salt, and voila! Really a complete meal ON-THE-GO. PLUS, butter went a long way- we always seemed to have frozen sticks around for baking, and so it was something I knew would BE there, rain or shine, in plentiful amounts, without pissing anyone off that I had some.


HE didn't mind me diving into the matza EITHER, since it was only 75cents a box, and so, when the crackers looked like they were LOW on supply on day, it was NO BOTHER to simply purchase two the follwing shopping day(Friday)...

...Although, now upon remembering, the regular matza eventually got turned into the 'low fat' variety, which was not as tasty, and eventually turned me away altogether. I mean, matza ALREADY tastes like CARDBOARD ( especially like unwrapped ones at our place), but LOW FAT? My god, if cardboard had a baby, and then decided to feed it a steady diet of cardboard..yeah..THAT'S what it tasted like.


..But the times I had with the REGULAR, unleavened bread was good- I discovered a new found favorite- at least for awhile, AND found a gratitude like never before- Like a long line of humans that were hungry before me...that were BONDED in this way, that then found something GOOD to share between them.


We were TRULY understanding what it meant to BREAK BREAD with somebody, and to be APPRECIATIVE to have spirits RAISED via bloodsugar,WITH clear intention, and under a certain familial root... Yes, Matza shed many a blessing upon me and ITS discovery was absolutely something ELSE ('It's Rainbow Time'-more on that later).


By this point in time I was not finding much in my pantry any longer, now that the matza was low-fat, the sugar-free cherry yogurts were null in void, and the milk was getting rationed for drinking rather than cereals ('Why not go Green, Go granola'- more on that later)..


..And sure, I always sat down to dinner with them both..I was always invited to eat whatever was served, which was you-know-what..and I usually would eat a bite or two- eat potatoes and green beans ( when served instead of salad nights). I mean, I didnt want to be rude , after serving me a plate- and they didnt want me eating snacks as replacement meals...there was this mandatory sit down, like EVERY family at dinnertime.


I opted for spending as much time as possible at my OTHER friends places, and ravaging THEIR pantrys when allowed.....which happened every now and again-- I was never actually staying for DINNERS, as most of my friends parents also had set dinner routines, AND on weeknight schedules ....something I simply had 8 days a week.




Yes, my new learned fasting techniques were shaping up nicely- just like those ballet routines.












And a Star is Born


Don't think for one MOMENT that I was so far gone into food trips that I wasn't SIMULTANEOUSLY caught up in 'all things tween'. I mean, my god, it was the 80s wasn't it? I had tits shoved in my face, didn't I? From boobies in bustiers, to newly found materials such as lycra 'day wear' (whatever the hell THAT nightmare concept was), as well as your tried and true staples: hippie tits a la freedom flash ( or in a crochet hanky) at the dead show, or teamster titties via 'Mickey-you're-so-fine'. 


There wasn't a 'leg avenue' or idea that WASN'T entertained on TV, and when you saw these new objects dancing before your eyes on the screen, you just KNEW there was a whole bunch of people somewhere, doing god-knows-what, for god-only-knows-why reasons, but most definitely included God-only-knows-what-drugs.. I mean, Nancy was tell me to say 'NO'..and then it was just too damn neon to be otherwise.


With that said, it wasn't very surprising that girls around me were ALL caught UP in that shit- like typical tweeny body transition issues, fashion, getting bras, etc...but with this 'shopping mall craze on credit' kind of mentality. It was most DEFINITELY encouraged to place a TON of emphasis on LOOKS, rather than substance.


We were clearly still riding that 60s backlash of a wave, that even as a 12-year-old, I totally picked up on-Yet, I was NO exception - I WAS concerned about 'fitting in'  with my small universe- just like ANYONE ELSE ( I was 12 for fucks sake), - except MY concern wasn't surrounding images of beauty per se- 


I mean, I KNEW I wasn't actually PRETTY ..I didn't look like those swans that made the steps in ballet class look like how they are SUPPOSED to look: Beautiful, graceful, delicate. I didn't make others gasp in 'awe' as I slowly moved my crane of a leg around on a perfect 2o'clock rotunda. I wasn't EVER going to ACTUALLY be able to MATCH the ability to THOSE angels, but nothing stopped me from competing for PERFORMANCE..and besides, if I could look 'ok' in head-to-toe tights, then I felt there wasn't a need to worry about all the other hyped up outer beauty end of things.


Besides of which, it's not like I ever got to go out on some big shopping spree at the mall- MY trips for clothes were usually the local TJMaxx, and Marshalls- a place where you could find SOME designer names, and perhaps in neon favorites, but ALWAYS at a discount price. My parents were seriously NOT into labels, even as targeted 80's consumers- they simply did NOT see a need to pay ANY full price, on clothing, for ANYone in the family- and hardly ever did ( 'The Perfect Coat' more on that later)


They had incredibly sophisticated tastes, and never LOOKED discount, because they were incredibly good shoppers, and had keen eyes for quality textiles, such as silks, and wools, and cottons, and linens, and laces, and tweeds... and in classic designs too- they preferred a more MODERN edge to their style, but always blended into classic Chicago culture beautifully, I must admit:


LEATHER was the material for shoes and handbags, there was never any CRAP materials in THIS house- even the extra blankets in the house were made of pure WOOL. My mother, being an avid knitter, knew her fabrics like a spider knows a web, and there wasn't a cheap crap fabric OR design that got PAST HER. I mean, you can kiss that latest neon fashion frivolity right the fuck on OUT the shopping cart( 'turning into the little shop of horrors'- more on THAT later). NO ONE was gonna pay 45$ for something lasting a season, and then fading on top of it.



So, the real challenge here, was to find things I LIKED, but then ALSO was quality standard enough for moms wallet..I mean, I tried, I really did..under a pile of try-ons, I would sneak a 'garbage' quality in there-just to see what I might look like, if I could really have what all the other girls seemed to be on and on about, with, what seemed like an endless wardrobe of shopping sprees-


...and in truth, there were a shitton of precursor tigermoms who saw their kids as an EXTENSION of their perfect lifestyle image- and those kids had TOP dollar labels- POLO, GUESS, ESPRIT, SWATCH WATCHES(wearing 3 at once, of course)..on and on..like even the fucking SOCKS had to be some sort of prized label.


I seriously felt BAD for my pal there ( with the conservative model mom)- he had HIS WHOLE wardrobe TOP SHELF, and while he seemed to enjoy it in SOME WAYS, I couldn't help but wonder what it felt like to be DRESSED UP as a representative, as opposed to simply being dressed because humans need their bodies clothed.


I just simply couldn't imagine what it was like to have this major concern for textiles on skin, in this way.


Of course, everyone always got to those discount stores before WE ever arrived, and the pickins' were usually slim. I might find, by CHANCE, some discount Esprit pants thats HAPPEN to be made of cotton ('Why Do You Always Wear THAT'- more on that later), but after looking for 45 minutes, I would simply get exhausted trying stuff on and off - something I still despise to this DAY- fkn HATE shopping..just hate it.


...and while we are taking a pitstop off the highway of discussion here, I don't think I EVER understood shopping REALLY..I mean, What.Go looking for stuff, and figure out what you need, exerting all this energy searching, then, when finally found, the price is probably WRONG? I don't know..people seemed to love it- walking around, looking at shit, holding their little baggies filled with who cares.


Keep in mind, you had the 80's  mall atmosphere- things like intense boppy beats, and bright colors all swirling together like a big fantasia party just waiting for you, and your credit card.I liked to walk through, but it was usually more like a museum experience than feeling like I was at the local village getting my boots made by the blacksmith..or in MY case, the local small potatos store.


'Little Chics" He would call it..I think it was some name that sounded like that, and they sold the quality shoes like 'Clarks' and 'Hushpuppies' and 'Isotoner shoes'- you know, like name brand shoes BEFORE they sold direct; you could only get them at select dealers.


It never mattered anyway on those clothes- I was a short, stocky bulb of a girl, and all those latest fashions were made for swans anyway--those perfect swans, who graced into my ballet class, and sauntered out in the latest neon feathers- those long, thin forms, with barely a hip or a calf...just pelvis and neck, with swishing locks-- smelling like the latest freshness...I mean, I always knew who I WASN'T.


And so, when it was 4 pair of courderoys (with rehemming of the pants), a wool sweater vest, a long fancy black dress with flowers ( for special occasion, of course) and some staple cotton panties, I really didn't think much of it. 


Life was very much like a box of matza- you always KNEW what your w'ere gonna get. I got it, and the getting was good- that was, until that tweeny body competition REALLY set in.


It started in little ways, you know- comments from classmates before classes "Oh, is THAT they way you wear your HAIR?" someone would comment. You know; Implying that I didn't have the 'cute label brand clips', or  ENOUGH clips and that my bun wasn't straight.


I always had gorgeous lace bun holders though- they re the nicest around, and once in while, I would see people looking at the intricacy and detail of the bun, and they would glance in the dressingroom mirror, while fixing their hair. 


And rightly so- my mother was a master at microlace- and literally used crochet hooks as fine as needles. I mean, you could poke yourself with one of these, just as easy AS a needle- the work was THAT fine. Because the class required SPECIFIC colors, bun holders were acceptable in modest colors, such as nude, pink, white, brown, black..basic hair colors, etc. 


So while the lacework was pink-on-pink, or white-on-white, or whatever, it only REINFORCED the craftsmenship of the Hand ITSELF; Looking like a stringy world of streets, and hills....of festivity, and mosaic- all in this unified, SOLID way. A little world to concentrate on, when staring at the back of my head as the student standing behind me at the bar would keep their head straight forward, concentrating on whatever lesson put before us.


"Oh, yeah.." I would reply.

"Oh.."..they would trail off- as there really was NO NEED to continue the discussion ON, the point was already made; my clips sucked, and my inadequacy evident. It was actually a real clever POWER MOVE, because really, what a perfect way to destroy someones confidence RIGHT before you have to hit the floor, so that YOU( the commenter) look better, now that it's time to PERFORM.


You KNOW: RIGHT before you are trying to perform your BEST for your teacher, not to mention a shitton of students who, for all intents and purposes, have made it REAL CLEAR to you that they DISAPPOVE of you, generally speaking. and let's not forget those parents-like those tigermoms who would sometimes watch whole classes through...but those nasty bombs usually worked on me quite nicely..I just never COULD start out my class night with the confidence I walked through the door with...


..and I saw it dumped on EVERYone, from ANYone- that poisonous vitriol round robin on EVERYTHING- from hair pins, to ballet shoes, from tights, to bras, from nose, to toes, and EVERY body part in between.. I mean, there isn't a single OUNCE that isn't ACCOUNTED for in DANCE (let's get real)...and a ton of girls seemed to take turns exhalting this nasty behavior as some learning technique. Like a 'hardening of the pack', so to speak. I found it unnecesary, and stupid- like, my hair clip? You're into your TIGHTS STYLE? Omg- I'm trying to exert every ounce of energy I HAVE into bettering my performance, because I'm ALREADY behind, but you're choosing ME to fuck with??


Like...WHY? I never DID understand why the group wanted to engage in this way, as a constant, but in a way it really didn't matter. I knew what REALLY mattered most for a person in MY slippers, and that was gonna be my BODYWEIGHT.


I mean, every OUNCE off your ASS, is another 1/16 inch of HEIGHT in the air- ESPECIALLY for a short'n'meaty like ME. That was the one thing I could do really well- were those JUMPS.


I knew SOME math to  increase my performance, I was a natural problem solver like that, who enjoyed 'all things nature', and oftentimes had full engagement conversations with the universe ..in my own little way, on my own little shelf, and so,  like any GOOD observer, saw the cues at HOME, and at SCHOOL, and at SCHOOL, and in RELIGION, and added it all up:

I was simply not supposed to ENJOY food. I was suppossed to simply delete an actual PLEASURE from consuming...I couldn't believe it took me SO LONG to SEE that revelation.















Having It All Workout


And I was grateful too- that I would have these now-and-again visits at my grandparents house to eat a festival, and enjoy a utopia away. Like an actual vacation from my regular life, I had a complete OTHER way of relating to my needs, in ANOTHER place, at very SPECIFIC times. 


Even though I was expected to attend sunday school regularly (as my grandfather was a minister at a local church which met every Sunday, of course) I grew to APPRECIATE the time away from my life,over those hazy summers,  and that I would be able to CARVE OUT this small portion of the year to really kick back and relax- meals being just one part.


I also really enjoyed the times my grandfather would read me stories before bed from the bible- he studied at Moody Bible School, in Chicago, and had a very connected understanding of the symbolism and historical setting in which the exceprts surrounded, and so, he was able to go at a pace I could understand, painting a very clear picture of the time in which the events happened, and of why the words being used in the story were chosen and used as they were being applied ( in an english translation, no less). 


I was able to rest my head on a completely different pillow, with a different set of eyes, awaiting a different morning everyday. 


Other things uplifted me too; like spending time by the creek messing around with bugs and always misjudging the mud, or playing on the tire swing endlessly, or watching my grandfather beekeep. 


That was a miraculous thing really.. watching this man work with a society of stingers, yet manage to pull this sweet sticky stuff from their trays. I would see cut honeycombs in the basement, dripping slowly into a bowl- showing a ghost of a shell uptop, yet deep yellow squish blobbing out,  as gravity slooowly pulled the honey out of the combs. 


The smell was something else too- very pungent in this sweet, maple leaf sort of way, but then held this back note of raw earth and soury dried flowers. It was one of the most distinct smells I ever had with honey -although not my most favorite, surprisingly('Fasting My Intolerance Away' more on that later).


While I never really sampled the combs beyond once or twice (finding it way too hella sweet), I can remember that scent like I just walked out of that sweet dark honey room, which was really an extra hardware shop with my grandfathers work bench and supplies.


My grandfather knew a TON about beekeeping from HIS childhood, being RAISED in a very rural part of the US, in a very off- the-land sort of way, he knew everything you needed to KNOW about what to do, and he recognized that instantly, when the honeybees first landed in his backyard, less than 30 ft from his backdoor-it was truly a gift of sweetness from the universe, straight to us.



From identification, to transferring into the homemade trays, to handling, harvesting...it was really an amazing thing to watch, and then to see my grandmother make things with the honey. Although I don't think she really baked SO many things, so much as GAVE AWAY the honey for gifts.


While there was wax , there was not an absolute TON of it, and so I never saw any candles made from the wax- but my grandmother was a candlemaker for a time, and had all sorts of supplies regardless, and taught me about various approachs to candlemaking alongside the beekeeping that I witnessed.


I just loved visiting this other world..full of all sorts of really cool stuff, and ways, and activities. I just wanted to experience them forevermore, but like every summer, the season would go, and it would be time for me to get back to the grind, get back to school, with a new school year ahead of me, and who can forget; dressing-marinated chicken.


Of course, the work load started changing, and new studies were making this new life balance really hard to get ANYthing done well: Ballet was getting harder to concentrate on, the hebrew was getting more difficult to put into practice- it probably didn't help I was starting my 3rd year of spanish, with 2 years of french already behind me- lets not forget those acting classes on Wednesday nights that picked up those 'free' nights off....  PLUS, I would be startingHIGH SCHOOL the following year, this schedule just could NOT LAST past my t'ween years- as I could not keep the workload going, and openly got vocal about it.


I mean, languages wasn't MY thing, ballet really wasn't MY thing either..but BEADS were, and it was starting to become an established FACT, that BEADS were my expressive medium of choice- that, and DRAWING/PAINTING..


There was a compromise made at the end of a lot of back-and-forth; If ballet was too much for me, that was OKAY, and seeing as how I only had 1 year of hebrew school left, that it was reasonable for me to stop that TOO, if I wanted,..especially since that bat mitvah would be coming up- a good way to avoid what would be served ALLTOGETHER.


Plus, who would I really invite? Those mean girls? Or, my conservative family friends, who would probably not be able to eat anything there anyway (being on a strict kosher diet)? Or my 3 other friends, none of whom were Jewish, and make THEM eat the chicken? I just didn't see the point to the whole ritual, and apparently neither did anyone else.


But don't think I was simply forgotten about in the fold- He made sure to introduce me to this NEW thing, which would be a REPLACEMENT activity, that would, ideally not be as intense, or INTRUSIVE to my day-to-day. It was this new thing called 'employment'.


Now, while I was still underage, it was completely legal to get a certain form that parents could sign onto, to allow UNDERAGE employment for a minimum of hours per week.. I worked something like 12 or 15 hours a week, and was heavily praised for playing along...and I only did so, because I figured it was time to make my own money, seeing as how I kept stealing quarters from His change bowl ('Who Are Those REALLY For' more on that later) to go get goodies at the local conveneint mart, to conveniently spoil my appetite as regularly as I could.


He found a job for me right away, and suprisingly, it was at the local art store. He knew I was into drawing and painting and the like, and so, as He would patron the main street stores on Saturdays, this was one of the regular go-to places for His needs (for architectural supplies). A real serepiditous coincidence.


I was new to the idea of cash, but what I didn't expect was a crush. Enter in boy dream #1..or should I say man-dream? I mean, there was no way a 27 year old was even looking at me (other than as a gopher to throw away a coffee maybe), but that didn't stop me pining for this guy for like, 3 years therafter...although, that crush probably kept me out of trouble, in a very no-time-for-spin-the-bottle kind of a way.


It also kept me loyal to that JOB, to a certain extent, even though I never really engaged with the guy other than as an ONLOOKER to his work-day 'performances'. See, he was an ACTOR; and a very hip presence, with long brown hair, and a sexy jaw line. His style wasn't bad either; with choice vintage wear like silk lounge lizard jackets, and silver thumb rings with that solo tattoo- he was always a favorite eye-candy for everyone alike. 



His personality, however, was another matter ENTIRELY, and while he was very OUTGOING, in a very charming, and assertive manner, there was an arrogance there that made itself known regularly to everyone around, which you just KNEW was apart of him being single, hot and 27.


It was this immaturity that made him both entertaining, and repulsive. Ironically, at 13 I really understood his mentality, and found that surprising, hopeful, and horrifying all at once. While we were working the same floor, we never really spoke, until about 2 months into the job, when we both happen to be going the same DIRECTION; I to my place, and he to catch the train.


It was a really nice late spring day, and the sun was making this golden haze on all the buildings..I was completely caught up in the moment- Just completely ready to shine whatever it was that a 13 year old could possibly shine with my sort of know-how, just really blissing on this happenstance moment with my man-dream.


I mean, my god, this guy ALWAYS had some date pick him up, or he had plans with someone from work, or he would simply leave at an earlier time than me- just leaving 0 time for ANY moment like THIS.


We started walking along, not really saying anything until he introduced himself slowly. He had this way he liked to behave with others, in a real slow way...and with this soft, disingenousness undertone. So when he started out that way with ME, it was really no SURPRISE, and I understood why he did it, possibly more than he himself did at times.


"Hiiii THERE...I'm T....." he said steadily.

"Yeah, hi- I know who you are, I'm Li" I replied timidly..I mean, I knew who the fuck he WAS..What. I was gonna act all surprised?

"SURE....SO. Are you NEW? When did YOU START WORKING HERE, LI?" he asked, again,slooow and steadily.

I was actually getting annoyed by this point, I mean, I was just being polite, not falling for his shtick, and he was being too deluded to SEE that to just stop the act. I would see him, at times, in REAL moments- during his smoke breaks out back, when the word dance just STOPPED, and he got real with himself for a second, and his truer nature would emerge..which held a pretty deep emotional quantification.


His sales performances around the shop were good, and you just don't get THAT good without SOME emotional depth going on, I always knew that, and I recognized it in him easily- especially in those moments, just during a smoke, against the sky.


Yet this on-and-on play, was getting played out- like bruh, you're BLOCKS from your JOB now- just cut the shit. Besides, that crossroads of goodbye was coming up sooner than not, and I NEVER got time with this guy, and now, what.?  THIS is the shit I'm getting handed, in this would-be golden moment of mine?


"Yeah, I started a couple weeks ago, it sure is a lot to remember" I replied.

"TRUE. There's a TON of stuff to do there.." he trailed off with a sigh; he honestly sounded exhausted. I didn't blame him; taking the train...day-in and out, north then south, BACK into the city..Doing THIS job- including Saturdays, rain or snow, then catching acting gigs ANYwhere, whenever possible.


And let's not forget the flirting..This guy had ALL the 'Need You Tonights' a person could MANAGE, and you just KNEW there was a large portion carved out for play. He had some road hard elements carved out in his emotional stance when he finally took his mask off, and stopped being 'ON' from the performing all day long.

"Yeah, well I'm in my last year at N, then I start high school" I said; Like that was really ANYTHING he was gonna CARE about, but what ya gonna do- talk about your china dolls at home? Although at some point, in the upcoming months, The Beatles did manage to come up, as did XTC, and there was a mutual respect there on the subject of music.('I Didn't Know You Did That' more on that next).


"Well, that sounds REAL NEAT" He replied sharply.

He sounded bored, and resentful he was walking with me at ALL by this point, and I started to feel the same way too, but then he suddenly decided to continue the dialogue " SO, YOU go to SCHOOL HERE? AND are FROM HERE TOO, I TAKE it?" he asked.


"Actually no, I wasn't born here.." I replied. I really thought he might ask me about where, since, when I mention my place of birth (former Yugolslavia, and YES, I'm an American citizen dumbass..it's called citizen's ABROAD- It's TRUE- pregnant women travel- I know, shocker), people always ask me certain lines a questioning, and I was really hoping I could just launch into conversation of a familiar territory.


I mean, it was one of the few subjects I had engaged pretty much every single human being on, adult and child alike, and was getting really good in gauging what kind of a person OTHERS were, based on this one topic.

From 'How does your family like the new country' to 'Do you go back to visit your family', and onto ' Your english sounds great' and 'Wow, you're so very exotic and wordly' then 'You're name means "nothing" in spanish- why'de they name ya THAT'( What's In My Name- more on that later)..on and on..if it was THOUGHT in someones MIND, I fucking heard about it. 


But one thing I did NOT expect to come out of this guys mouth, was what was SAID next:

"WELL, I WAS BORN in YUGOSLAVIA..Do you know what THAT is?" He asked rather childishly.

"Um, yeah" I mumbled.." I was actually BORN there..".

"Oh."he stopped.. he sounded stunned.

He really didn't know what to do with all that, but it worked right on out; we were now at the corner to say our 'farewells', and "farewell" it was. At least until a few weeks later.





I Didn't Know You Did That


I was really pleased with this new bit of change coming in, but unfortunately payday was every other Friday, and hardly seemed like a ton of money by the end of two weeks- something like 80$. But on the plus side, I was getting older now, and was learning how to be more resourcful with afternoon feedings.


Things like eggs and butter were easy to to dig into without any real complaints, as long as I cleaned up after myself- and there was no real issue with an onion bagel& cream cheese every now and again. It was only ever gonna BE every NOW and AGAIN, seeing as ALL breads were frozen to make them LAST longer..Bagels were just NOT easy to cut open when frozen, and I never had time to wait for an hourto defrost them, and so, they weren't always on my menu.


I DID however, learn to perfect the art of slicing open frozen bagels with meat cleavers, and while that sounds like a pretty simply task, it really isn't. Oftentime the bagels CRACK if hit with too much force- and still, at other times, wont slice EVENLY down the centers. Many a bagel were just crumbly bits stuck into a toaster before I finally got to whole HALVES. It was a real blessing when He decided to finally buy the presliced bagels- Breakfast WAS really for dinner THEN, and I didn't think twice about it.


I honestly cannot remember what I spent my paychecks ON, but I wouldn't have had a record of a paycheck ANYWAY: See, it took a certain amount of money to OPEN a bank account, and since I didn't have any STARTING money, everyone agreed it would be easiesr if I just SIGNED my check OVER to HIM, and HE would give me the cash( when the check cleared).


So, there was never any real 'savings' lesson going on, and did enjoy purchasing records, and vintage clothing and whatnot quite regularly- seeing as how I was preferring to create my own style, and the local discount shops just weren't stocking what I wanted.


I did actually save up at one point, taking my besty out to a 5 star restaurant in Evanston, and having juuust enough money to pay for the dinner, after saving for a month or so. She never really DID seem that pleased with the experience, and while we were probably the only 13 years olds going out to an exclusive, private 5 star (which we only got in due to my parents knowing a contact), it didn't seem to quench her preferred need for a cigarette both before, and after the meal.


I was never really into smoking all that much- and the only one or two people at the ballet school who ever smelled like SMOKE was THOROUGHLY segregated, and chastised- both verbally, and BEYOND. It was a real NONO for a DANCER to SMOKE, although now and again, you would see an adult return student come in, who WREAKED ,and no one would say shit- because after all, they were RETURN ADULTS, not really competition to the up and coming talent.


Of course, this didn't stop the smoking culture to exist around me; both my GA grandparents used tobacco, as did my family friends, my gal pals- including my very own birthfather. It was kind of surprising that I hadn't started earlier, but mom claimed she was 'allergic' to smoke, and would not have it in the house- except only once in awhile- when larger groups of people came over.


They would have these script nights, and everyone would do scripting in charcter and shit- THEN the smokes would come out, and those dramas would last for a few HOURS. I mean, damn. How long does it really take to READ a play? I had ALREADY BEEN IN A FEW MYSELF, by this point ('Acting Out' more on that later), and I would KNOW.


They DID have an array of choice snacks at these events though, and people would bring over new stuff  every now and again. I really benefitted from script nights. Everyone in attendance always seemed pretty much engaged in their roles, as I mostly spent time to myself in my room, but then was able to scope out a few strange snacky creations, and try a few things I never had before or made in a way I never considered.


There was always a good memory surrounding the smell of tobacco, and while my pal who smoked never got me started (although I found some neighbors weed, and tried it with her as an alternative to tobacco [with zero results I might add]), the slam of high school, and other work, finally did me in.


My tripp buddy smoked Marlboro reds, and introduced me straight away.

I remember sitting in chairs on the cemented driveway in the back of her house, around 11pm at night. I decided to finally try this thing, and like 2 puffs in, felt like my head became a bowlingball, and got spins galore.

"What the hell am I feeling?" I asked her.

"You feel GOOD, that's what" she laughed.

It was really no matter, because what I REALLY found was a great appetite suppressor, as those headrushes went away after about a pack in.


I sure didn't want my parents to know I started smoking, but they knew my FREINDS did, so there was little reason I wouldn't smell like it on the regular. They believed that logic, and I was fine with telling it- there was no longer constant misery in my fridge anymore, and they wouldn't have to hear me complain about it either.


That new paycheck was also helping me in more ways than ONE; I discovered that nothing was FINER with a cigarrette than a COFFEE, and EVERYONE drank THAT. That was actually something, we had a PLENTIFUL amount of in the FREEZER, and since we hardly ever had CREAM, I just started drinking it BLACK, and kept it that way as an easier way to maintain a consistency no matter where I went, with very little fuss or fanfare.


It was like one meal  got completely deleted, and permanently put out-of-the-way- a real on-the-go replacer, for long sprints of time too. I hardly EVER got sick of coffee, and a cigarette..from 9am -4pm it was very easy to adjust to this newly found twin set of hunger stavers- easily found, always fresh- ALWAYS tasty.


I also really enjoyed a square in between tasks at my part-time job at the art store too- like an exclamation point at the end of every sentence, a cigarette made it easy to 'step away' from my duties, and claim certain terms for my TIME and VALUE; every OTHER adult got at least a few mintues to break and do whatever- even if I chose to POLLUTE myself, it was still MY TIME to do so, and I felt no remorse in claiming it as such.


Enter dream-man one day, as I am chilling out on the stairs. This store was in an older sort of building which had apartments located above, so there was a glossy painted brown stairwell that was actually quite a complex set of stairwells all interconnected between a few stores.


But people who worked at this one place, pretty much stayed around the BACK of the shop, because of the lack of time- as well as the community ashtray. I liked to sit in an out-of-the-way spot, kind of near the ashtray, but you would have to get up, and walk over between ashings to reach actually flick I much preferred to do this since there was just more privacy, and open sky view from this one particular spot.


So, I wasn't really noticable as T burst through the back door, with a curse and a sigh but then he glanced over at a waft of smoke,coming from the stairwell around me, and walked over.


"Oh, hey" he said, as he opened a pack of cigarrettes.

"Hi" I looked over as I was finishing one myself.

He sort of stopped a second, and looked startled "Oh..I didn't you know you did that." he said.

"Didn't know I did WHAT?" I asked.

"That you smoked" he said sort of cattishly. 

"Sure.." I trailed off.

"Oh, well..it's not like I'm JUDGING..after ALL, look at ME" He said, reconsidering his stance.

"Yeah, well, it kind of sucks" I said "I should probably quit".

"Oh yeah, that's true..everyone should" he said as he puffed away, and went on to whatever cloud he had in mind.


That WAS true..I really SHOULD have quit, but it was just too EASY to use in this really convenient way..it's not like coffee was BAD, and....well, I was just adding a little something EXTRA to that sweet spike- a jarring surprise that mellowed me out, and filled me up all at once.


After all, it's not like dinners had CHANGED. I still was expected to pick at chicken in gross ass dressing every night, but getting hungry at home was no longer an issue really- I had overeaten pretty much EVERYTHING in that pantry at one point or another, in ALL SORTS of combinations and disasters, and so by NOW, that sort of binge and purge made the food repulsive enough to simply not see it as FOOD any longer.


Like a really good survivial training through the desert of dead food corpses, I was learning how to navigate my way through the hot baking chicken, and slide past any grease that splattered from the dressing all around. 


While I didn't miss hebrew school in the slightest (although later discovered how I really got screwed on the sweet gifts people normally get from the whole bat mitvah ordeal), I DID miss some things about BALLET. I missed the time to myself- the way that ballet pushed oneself to be really HONEST; with your limits as well as DEDICATION ..What you were REALLY putting INto it.


There's just NO LIE with dance; either you are developing, and putting the effort IN, or you AREN'T.... and it really DOES show the next class around, and it really IS noticable to everyone.


One real addiction I missed during my dance body peak, were those hang times in the air; when you were pushing SO hard through the sweat, you got COLD if you stopped. When the more you USED your muscles, the more satisfying the BURN GOT. You would reach endorphin highs SO HIGH, that when it was time to really RELAX, you know- take a BREATH, in-BETWEEN the steps ( that would be in middair FYI), you could swear that you were in a perfect state of grace, untouched, on ANY side other than the wind that YOU yourself CREATED with the JUMP to BEGIN with. There was a real cosmic silence in those moments, that I simply wasn't gonna have any longer.


...and the LACK of physical training brought some real changes to my bodys form (Body Rockin' High' more on that later). I wasn't getting those leg lifts in like I once was, and at 124 pounds, my new found crutches weren't really helping me learn to fly through the air, so much as help me learn to fly through my heart and mind.


Ole 'Smokey Joe'  helped me discover a whole NEW set of lifting; Things for my ARMS primarily, like paperback BOOKS, and sketchPADS as I would really enjoy ditching whole MORNINGS full of class, to hit the local cafes and read metaphysical books like 'Be Here Now' and "Diet for a Small Planet' or 'Go Ask Alice' or the Castenda series..( 'He Spoke, and I Never Stopped Listening to Her' more on that later).



Yep, my new life lessons were shaping up just fine, and NOW I started reading about a 'Dr.Atkins Diet' (high protien diets). I just KNEW  I would eventually discover some diet out there that could help me shave  my body weight off into the 120 range of things, and I could tell right away, THIS was IT.




 Diet Zen LightLi


It was a real coincidence that my one friend, A, knew all about the Atkins diet.. I was real surprised by that fortuitousness, and so, I had someone who had already put the theory to the TEST, with GREAT results! SHE lost 5 pounds the very FIRST WEEK, with 2 MORE the following.


AND, she knew ALL SORTS of ins-and-outs surroudning the diet-like how to get an extra carb in there, withoutout really skewing results. I knew her words were true, and that I could trust her, especially since she had a very similar food scarcity situation going on in HER kitchen; she really understood actual measurements of calories on the body- HER pantry made MINE look like a fuckin' FEAST. 


I mean, a can of grape leaves in MY pantry started looking like gold: See, her mother and father were SURGEONS, and always incredibly busy with work- there wasn't often food in the fridge AT ALL. Her mom was an avid meat eater on top of that- usually sitting down to a complete sole roaster for the one meal, with a cansiter of salt- and when I tell you, a COMPLETE chicken was CONSUMED, I wouldn't be lying.

All that would be left would be pure BONE..I mean, not even CARTILADGE got past this womans stomach- and I had to HAND it to her-SHE made HIS gross cadaver banquets at MY dinnertable look like scrap GIVAWAYS compared to what this woman left on the plate; It looked like plastc bones..all shiney and round..with no SIGN that there was a life on these forms, not less than 3 hours ago. A digger of manna, and boy, was she ever an EXCAVATOR.


Whole chickens for dinner,however, were hardly ANY menu plan to chortle at- I mean, obviously she came with an APPETITE, but I couldn't help but wonder WHY, as a practicing, SUCCESSFUL doctor with some sort of nutrition know-how, she wouldn't simply add GREENS to her meal- or have an average sit down meal time with her one kid..I never understood what it was, but thought maybe her mom was practicng the Atkins diet too.


I think the double doctor life just made a tradtional meal time IMPOSSIBLE, although their two dogs always seemed to get fed, right on time, by my pal A, who steadfastingly, and hungrily fed and walked those 2 dogs, rain or shine throughout the months, REGARDLESS of anyone else's schedule.


She was probably the only friend I had, where a visit to HER place was NEVER gonna consist of an after school snack- and it made my time over there an AGENDALESS event. A time where I was really going to enjoy the PERSON I was with, instead of what they might be able to FEED ME, or SUPPLY ME with.


I had come to terms with that- LONG before I met A, that, my motivations with OTHERS had to be clearly UNDERSTOOD, since there was GOING to be a hidden insecurity there- one that would exist as this real superficial motivation alongside the friendship, and while a lot of people are fine and DANDY with that of self-interest ( you know what I mean- people who insulate themselves EXCLUSIVELY with friends who have resources to plunder and exploit), I had to consider what kind of person I WANTED to BE. 


 It's not like it wasn't a dissapointment at times- knowing of the empty truth that lay waiting for me  over there- EVERY. Single.Time. It's not like I didn't sometimes REGRET cancelling with some OTHER person who had fucking candy stores up in their crib, and were inviting me over to raid. It's not like I didn't have all that hidden desire to feel nurtured at ANYONES cost- I most certainly DID......and yet HERE WE ARE. Someone who I really liked hanging out with, and then; It's a person that has it WORSE than me..and what you gonna do? 


I knew right away what I was gonna do. I mean, I might not have felt compelled to keep MYSELF on some decent diet or understand my motives 100% of the time, but this friend of mine was a good soul, and was always inviting, recepetive, and kind to my presence in her world- even when, at times, I was more of a burden than a visit( just running away from my dreary home circumstances)- I was always welcomed by her, and her uplifting arms.


I recognized my own emotional inadequcies RIGHT AWAY after this, and felt grateful to have this person enter my life, who, btw was 2 grades older than me in high school, and had 0 fuck reasons to EVER wanna hang out with me.

she was palsy with an incredibly popular set of people at school, and EVERYONE wanted time with THIS jet set crowd of 'innies'- who, literally just hung out with THEMSELVES... in this small set of 8 people, or whatever-the-fuck sized number it  was..there were a few 'offshoots' of this main 8, that never seemed to give a fuck about the popularity, and that was fine and good. They seemed content with playing these secondary popular roles at the high school, seriously not giving a fuck- So it was these main 8 that seemed to gain everybodys attraction, and hold them at attention.


When I say ATTRACTION, I mean, REAL fucking adorment here folks; like, 14 year olds would approach this bunch, and ask them for AUTOgraphs. Yes, it was THAT out-in-the-open kind of worship, and following.


You gotta understand, my HIGH SCHOOL, was like a small COLLEGE- my graduating class was close to 600..and everyone knew at LEAST 5 Michaels.. Fucking 4 cafeterias, with a private staff-only one, making that 5. Two pools- both olympic sized competitive, and a complete professional sized football field and track..just ALL the fuck amenties a human could consider: a cermaics studio, a whole theatre wing- complete with woodworkingshop naturally, and don't forget broadcasting with that recording studio.. being well-known in a 3000+ -institution, was some next level infamy shi, really. 


I always admired them, actually..for being SO fucking fear driven, that they decided to create a PACT, early ON, and say 'You know what? We're fucked, and so in high school, let's just agree to mutally assist one another to get through this thing until the END'. And they DID...but what they didn't know, or anticipate was, how AMAZING that system ended up WORKING. They ALL managed to help each other keep their heads in the GAME, as a mutual experience- and in the end, became a unfied driven force that fed off each like a trojan horse that turned out to be nothing of the kind.


People in that group had 1000% absolute reason to feel the way they did- from the only openly gay artist of their class, to the barbie doll black queen placed with IMMENSE pressure to conform to 'all things beauty norms'(whatever THAT meant- it sounded complicated)..also a long haired male redhead stage hand ( of local movie houses on and off--) ...Including a would-be Robert Plant look a-like- even HE had  some deeper purpose going on, and wasn't interested in high school pussy slowing him down. Resolutely, each ONE OF THEM, had their own part to play, in whatever this high school experience was FOR THEM, in their chosen roles...and the projected societal roles around them, hounding them on the daily. 


I mean, what made this little group stand out the MOST, what everyone seemed to freak out on the MOST, was that each ONE of these people seemed to have 0 fuck in COMMON with the other, from backgrounds, to interests, to religion, even race or money..there was no 'team' history, or neighborhood 'past' , or whatever 'uniting' this little group..Fuck- I never really COULD get the story on how they formed either-it was just this power team out of 'thin air' in a lot of peoples minds, and it's what made regular teeny boppers turn into semi-super heros, creating school culture.


I was never a part of that group being two years younger and whatnot, but this one member of the crowd and I related on a lot levels, and soon discovered with house visits, that we ALSO related  in this ONE way.. in this HIDDEN way...in this UNSPOKEN way..unless, of course, you were ALREADY a member of..in which case,you already know the language, and door code in which to gain entrance.


After having a shroom or two, and getting to know one another over time, we learned that both had empty stomachs, and that,TOGETHER, we could pull resources into ONE AWESOME SINGULARITY- to create dishes that wouldn't otherwise EXIST. I would have 'this' supply off-hand, she would have 'that' supply, bringing it together made something complete, or a complete frankenstien experiment- It worked out that way more often than not, and we enjoyed each others company, cooking and talking, on and on.


New herbs and spices would be introduced during our time hanging out, such as cilantro and sea salt..And new combinations were experimented with TOO, such as the infamous 'Pumpercumber'; a primarily British favorite; cucumber sandwiches on pumpernickle bread with mayo, and salt.


And we always kept our eye on the calories..no matter what the brew, no matter what the final product,. I mean, sure, there was never a ton of calories going into the meals to begin with, as the resources were somewhat limited in quantity, but even still, it was easier to count close-to-nothing rather than nothing at all.


Double bacon cheesburgers, roasted chicken, seared shrimps on the grill- she knew of all sorts of good low carb- high protien meals... even cheese slices as a snack; which was a real shocker, considering the whole diet primarily focused on carb restriction (including heavy emphasis on low carb, low sugar veggies).


I was happy to see that in the 'suggested menu' section of the book, there was ALWAYS  a coffee inclusion as a part of the breakfast in there, and so, I just took that as a cue to IGNORE the morning protien suggestion, & continue ON as I always HAD. I just looked  at that breakfast menu as optional(Let The Sun Shine In' more on that later). The Atkins suggested menu was really an easy menu to adapt to.


Meats were surpisingly not hard to get at home..it might have been frozen ( as most things were, to keep fresh longer), but I got really good at defrosting stuff quickly by using hot water, and then later skipping that step, and just started cooking frozen meats on the stovetop. Whole stuck together chicken breasts halves, all clinging for dear life as they got dropped on a sizzling hot pan of olive oil, all smokey and too high a temp to begin with..to be 15 again.


Id'e watch the clump start in the center, then slowly drift off to a corner as it started to defost in the pan, still floating on a hot oil canopy. It was in THESE moments, that ANOTHER book would come to mind, as it was never far behind, it seemed- and that ATKINS diet just seemed to drive it THAT much MORESO; I felt 'meated out' seeing as how I was never a mjor meat eater to begin with, and now, the pores on my face felt greasier than usual... my poohs felt solid and constipated.... I felt 'weighted down' in terms of actual energy, and sluggishness not even a coffee was fixing day-to-day.


I just felt a pull to that polar OPPOSITE. That OTHER book singing of that IMMACULATE diet, luring me to wholeness..it was gonna just whisk me into a cloud of puritanical goodness and light..no kills, no complications, just Simple. Plain. and Honest.


The book was called 'Diet for A Small Planet', and while the book was an older, late 70's paperback with dated numbers backing the logic, it was STILL very SOUND in its reasoning, and forcibly compelled my teeny senses (already dripping protiens galore into my morning cuppa), to delve right the fuck on IN.


This book basically explained why it is mathmatically impossible to sustain meat eating as it is currently consumed (at the time of the writing, with the current numbers, portions, etcs), and that a vegan diet would be a good way to go.


The logic really appealed, and I liked the idea of feeling more connected with my food('Deaths Door with Dignity' more on that later), as well as creating my OWN foods- that feeling of being 'in control' of how I was relating to what I consumed,and how I engaged the planet. I really like vegetables, I mean I really DO..and this book had ALL SORTS of ideas and suggestions that sounded appealing as well. I was excited to get started, and while I was gonna miss those bacon double cheesburgers wrapped in lettuce, I was just as excited with the idea of exploring tofu, and tempe, and soy milks.


The Atkins diet was decent in terms of weight loss, and I had already lost 9 pounds on it before hitting a sharp resistence mark. I was already down to one meal a day, with coffee and cigarettes filling in most of the daily hours- and I was good about staying to 2grams of carbs per day.


I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I knew that I would find a diet out there that would help me to shave my body weight into the 115 range of things, and I could tell right away, THIS was IT. 





Just a Taste of Mind


While I had to buy a few new staples for this diet, I had cash on hand, with this new job I had at the local photo counter, and it was bringing in a few bucks. I was happy that I was really getting to pick my own choices in terms of health and nutrition, and since the suggested menus list in the book looked extensive, I decided to hit the local small-potatos health store for the supply. 


As luck would have it, someone I used to work with at that ART STORE worked there ('Jesus Fuck T, You Haven't Changed a Bit' more on that later), and helped me around the place (seeing as how some of the stuff at this independent health store seemed to be tucked in random spots), as newer items seemed to be added weekly, and was a bit crowded without a lot of rhyme or reason.


I soon found out why though- EVERYone, and I mean EVERYONE in my home town had this ONE place to get their organics. I mean, sure- there was this OTHER, even SMALLER store north of this one here (located right downtown), but the north one closed up shop EARLIER than later MOSTdays, and were more a VITAMINS type place, rather than fresh produce sort of a store.


They also were very small, and did not have a parking lot, but instead faced opposite off an apartment complex, on a very odd shaped street, which was part of the small village type retail (which happened to be part of the area where my ballet class was located).


So NATURALLY, this place had a TON of random shit, that EVERY health nut had special ordered and either 1. hadn't actually BOTHERED to make good, and never ended up purchasing, or 2. tried ONCE, and decided never again, or 3. simply never BOTHERED to try it out in the first place- just made a big ass stink that it SHOULD be there, available to THEM, IF they ever DECIDED they needed it.


There was boxes of stuff that you just KNEW someone had special ordered: essential oil of seaweed soaked in sunflower lard, with bee pollen from ultraviolet passionflowers...tf?? You just KNEW they were hemmoraging cash at this place, and it isn't any wonder that the big boys eventually muscled in sooner than the later- essentially plowing them DOWN with new competition; throwing CASH at the owners- basically using commonsense logic- since, after ALL,  they WERE carrying the most random shit ever, and weren't turning a profit for it...it was only a matter of time before the big outfit would simply become THE organics distribution of the whole city (now, with TWO locations, instead of just the one), and everyone fucking knew it- including the owners of the store, who sold with the first appproach.


I was really not surprised about that sort of future for the place as I walked through the aisles looking for things I needed.. Everything was so damn expensive too;  I had a list for 3 dishes, but NOW it was looking like I could barely afford the ONE- unless I made a few substitutes. I asked T about it.

"It says here I need like 3 pounds of tofu to make this burger patty"

"OH, well, I guess you COULD get that- but you're paying for A LOT of water weight-not actual consumable energy, and honestly, you'de be better off going out west to that asian market for anything like THAT"

"Oh" I replied . I mean, maybe I should just put that basket down and simply head on OUT TO that market right NOW- just right up Dempster St... out into the westy burbs. I mean, sure, it was a bit of a drive, or in MY case, a long ass bus ride, but one ride for 3 dishes is certainly worth the effort, especially when you aren't short on time.


I started deciding...but he seemed to have picked up on that line of thought and piped up "-but here... Have you tried THESE kits? THESE are really popular, and they are super EASY to make..." He stopped to drink on his carrot wheat grass cup, then continued"... PLUS, it doesn't need refridgeration, so none of it goes BAD" He concluded with a clever glint in his eye.

"..It's really the number one item we sell here at the store in terms of burger substitutes, veganwise" He added.


I looked at the shelf, and it DID look barren as hell...he wasn't lying- people DID like this burger mix product, with some random guy trying to grab a box, AS we stood there.

"Well, what kind should I try?" I asked him- there was like 7 kinds or something.

"Oh, I'de start with the first kind..the original..some of the other ones can be kinda weird. Just try the originals" he replied, and grabbed a couple boxes from the shelf..

"Ok, thanks T" I said, and plopped the boxes into the basket and off I went, into the checkout line and waited on my culinary desitiny.


I get back home, and start to read the instructions.."Ok..just add water? THAT'S different..okay, sure' I said to myself. I mean, usually when you add something to a burger, it's the actual MEAT, not WATER..I was a bit skeptical as I stirred away at the bits of burger particles..inshades of brown, and with bits of green..sometimes little flecks with an orange tone.

"Wtf did this guy sell me.?" I say to myself, because NOW it looks like ground mush. God, how am I supposed to USE this stuff? A fucking PATTY SHAPE? are you KIDDING?


The directions called for oil, and I soon realized that this was no different than a falafel- basically a boxed, dried chick pea kind of a consistency, and I knew all about how to cook up THOSE things from earlier on in my childhood, when when we would have them for dinner.


Keep in mnid, the ones I USED to have were from actual shelled CHICK PEAS in a CAN, but HE liked to add really twisted things to the mix- like lengthwise cut onions, and whole garlic cloves. Don't think peppercorns weren't included into the fray, THEY fucking WERE.


This guys falafels were like goddamn mouth landmines. You seriously KNEW an explosion was coming, you just never knew what part of YOUR MOUTH would get hit UNEARTHING those things.What part of your moouth was going to grip for a sudden sharp pain to come, because you KNEW it was coming, you just didn't know from WHERE. I mean, we tried to pick through them, we all really did.


Even my MOTHER complained about THOSE things, and so ,he stopped making them altogether (replacing it with whole bone slamon patties, as I mentioned). I didn't mind that in the slightest, and now was having my own moment in the kitchen with a similar concept, but THIS TIME, without each morsel being trigger happy with weaponized spices.


I grabbed the oilive oil and turned the stove on.

"What you got THERE" He asked as he walked in to see what was going on.

"Oh, hi- its a meat free burger mix" I replied

"Oh..well it looks DISGUSTING" he replied.

'THANK GOD' I thought, and said  "GOOD"- Because honestly, at that point in my life, I thought his hand was so fuckin' gross in the kitchen, that ANYthing he disliked, ANYTHING he found 'disgusting' was gonna be a whole hella better than anything HE ever made, and that suprised him as he shot me a look as I continued" Yeah, I'm cutting meat out,- probably dairy too, so".

"Oh, well good luck with THAT" he said as he walked out of the kitchen to go do whatever he was doing, back in his office.


"Yeah, well good fuckin' luck to YOU buddy, because NOW I don't have to contend with that GARBAGE chicken crap anyMORE, and changing my diet while I PAY for it, means I don't own you shit ('You Thought They Paid My Way?' more on that later)".


I was pleased with myself as I cooked away in the kitchen, mostly sizzling the shiznit out of these teeny patties more than was necessary, but happier than hell to finally smoke the house out with something OTHER than His house dressing that had reigned supreme all this time.


I tried it, and it was odd, yet also good, and so it stayed on my menu plan for quite awhile.


My friend A, did not quite join me on this new kick diet- she simply did NOT want to END meat eating, and found the new supplies list to be WAY out of being a 'realistic possibility' for her family to really contend with and really support; as an honors student, they weren't driving her to the stores after class, and she wasn't hitting a store that was far away from her place via bus.


I totally understood, and was happy to try new alternative activities with her such as more weed smoking, and music listening/dancing...and cleaning.- she was happily surpried about how cheery I was with her doing chores while I visited.. I would often JOIN her, making the work go FASTER, and extra CLEAN too.


I would get really into it-  I liked how the energy of an area could completely TRANSFORM with simple elbow grease, and creative organization, and I would often get on these weird ass cleaning jags at times, where I would do 5 hour cleans. You know, spring cleaning type trips- just thoroughly helping clean someones whole old-ass 'whatever'. Her parents were always surprised to see me there helping- they always looked sort of perplexed, like 'Why YOU so INTO it?' sort of a face, that soon turned into 'Carry On" soon enough.


Over the next few weeks, I felt my energy return; I was quicker on my toes-spiring in my step. I didn't feel as fully satisfied as I once did after every meal, but I DID look forward to making something with my own HAND- even if it WAS getting boring with the same thing all the time. See, I hadn't really had the time( with the new job), or budget to try out NEW things..


PLUS, I think He was feeling bad or something, and went out of his way to get me a few donuts as a 'support' to my new menu choices ( something I would have in the mornings, when they brought them home sort of thing)...and while I appreciated the efforts, it wasn't helping me see any weight loss, even with skipping bus rides home to walk off a few miles worth of calories. I just wasn't see the weight fall off like the LAST diet displayed.


This kind of sucked..I wanted parts of one, and parts of another, and really felt forced to choose for various reasons, but then it hit me! Why was I choosing EITHER OR?


Why not simply, go VEGAN AND ATKIN at ONE time? Just keep high on the protien ( with low fat veggies of course) and keep the carbs under 1 gram a day. 

I was so happy I found a way to merge the best of both worlds, and was ready to try it; Raw tofu was an absolute FAVORITE of mine, and nothing was more on-the-go than slices of cold tofu.

I had just found an excellent source for a tofu supply, right around the corner from my place, and they stocked a low carb pumpernickle bread too. 

It was a pretty easy diet to follow, and after a few weeks of bouncy energy and a constant system, I had finally dropped into that 110 range that I was hoping for. I was really surprised by that, as I really wasn't paying attention to it all that much anymore..

I was starting some newer books, with newer minds, with newer ideas of divinity to gift me with--


---that, and I suddenly decided to take the summer away, to hitchike across the states...it was time to REALLY test that small planet diet to its LIMITS.

















Let The Sun Shine In



 It seriously took no time at ALL for THAT diet to get ditched on the roadside like a lot of the adventures that took place that summer. From grandmas kitchen all the way to the back alley trash bin, there wasn't anything too outlandish when it came to hunger. 


But now, meeting other roadies of a like mind brought some networking skills along wiith it- and I was lucky to have had a simple skill set of beadwork by this point, because, as ANY  thumb tripper KNOWS, HOT GIRLS NEVER go without a ride, and you know WHY.


I never seemed to run into any issue, because I travelled with loyal companions BEFORE we set off anywhere, and I kept the time limited to a trip or two per groupings- 

This allowed me to concentrate my understanding and exchanges with other people- you know; meet a lot of people in a really short amount of time, seeing as how I planned on returning back home to Illinois in the fall, to finish up high school ( I would be graduating a semester early ' How I Pegged The System As a Near Drop Out' more on that later).

At one point I would catch up with the Rainbow Family culture, and connect with the 'clean up crews' as well as some of the more devout members of serious attendance. I found the soup kitchens fascinating, and learned all sorts of ways that food was served to larger, hungry groups on low, low budgets.


Sometimes the food appealed, sometimes the food was disgusting, but you ate it none-the-less because food was simply hard to come by at ALL, and the gratitude always seasoned the moment with mercy, and merriment. Some of the best times happen with very little at all.


And that was what I discovered as I was walking back to camp, and notiecd my two friends mixing a strange yellow concoction, in a very ritualistic and dancerly sort of a way. It was really no help that her hair was long, light and yellow, and the sun was dappling in on her golden crinkled cotton dress..

I mean, the whole moment screamed 'Crystal Light on Crack' in a deeply bohemian way, that only glimmers are gonna bring to you, in the now-and-again.


"What the hell IS that?" I asked.

She looked over at me, lazily and smiled.."It's Lemon, Maple Cayenne water' she sang.

"Wait, what?" I asked. I couldn't believe I was hearing about someone messing up perfectly good lemonade in the middle of nowhere, with thirsty others, including myself.

"What is IT??" I asked, as I peered over the top of the large container.


"It's lemon-maple-cayenne water..you've never TRIED it?"she asked as her eyes got real wide.

...and NOW I could see why; bowling balls, people. Bowling balls. I don't know when they dropped, but by now, she was clearly peaking, and this was IT. She pipes up "OMG, Rainbow..com're..Li's never done Lemon-Maple-Cayenne" now looking somewhat distressed.

"Omg..no..." replied Rainbow.

The blonde lemonade giggled..and then said "We gotta make more..we gotta get her to do this with us"as she smiled and turned, then whisked away into a back tent to go get more supplies presumably.


Now. I don't know about YOU, but if someone is trying to get me to drink some random-ass weird shit in the forest, when they are high on god-knows-what, it's just not happening, I mean, it's just not. But I knew these two, and watched them produce the ingredients from the cooler.

'Ok..well, everything SEEMS kosher' I thought to myself.


I asked about it: "SO, what's the deal- you guys seem to be going on and ON, like this is some miracle drink. How do you KNOW? What does it DO exactly?" I asked rather sternly. I don't care if these two were my very own TWIN, if was made 'special' by the bartender, or God himself- this wasn't going in without some sort of clarity.


"OMG, what DOESN'T it do" she replied, as she handed the drink to me, in a rather old and crinkly Solo cup that had been washed more times than the Solo cup company could have EVER estimated for.

"It completely CLEANSES you" she added.

"Cleanses you HOW?" I asked- I seriously didn't need to be on the shitter all day, WHICH, was seriously just a hole in the ground, and be stuck there as a part of this 'cleansing' ritual, uh, no THANKS.


"It completely cleans your insides...and the lemon is SO good for you TOO" Rainbow began to add..

"Uh, ok... but how much of this stuff are you supposed to drink? I don't get it..is this with each MEAL?...or what's the.." I started to ask.

"Oh my god, NO.." Rainbow started to laugh..this is for FASTING. We're gonna FAST with this while we TRIP OUT, COOL?" she asked.


"Ummm" I started to worry"..is this laced?" I asked.

I began to wonder if I had missed some sleight of hand during this stir up, as I was making sure they both drank that shit from the same exact pot, before it even got NEAR MY lips.

"Oh, nono-no..here-" She said, and handed me a small confetti sized piece of paper.

"Here, take this first" and pressed the square in my hand.


and off I went..










Returning Thee, Returning Me





So, while I did try this drink ONCE or TWICE, our group hardly stayed TOGETHER as the gathering was well OVER by this point, and was now on the 3rd day AFTERWARDS, with the exchanges between peoples being pretty much about clean-up issues, and whatever else needs to take place, if, and when you actually ran INto someone else- Everyone was just tired, and was trying to get the hell outta there.


It was still late August, and the heat and humidity was simply not letting up, as much as everyone wished this heat spell would be over. It seemed to keep away anyone who might want to linger for clean up, and left loooooong forest pathways empty, and barren for a thirsty mind to explore.


Like an anthropologist walking around, and discovering relics of a tribe long lost, and forever gone, I could see whole muddied roads that were scultpted into wall sconces with little muddied dieties built into them, surround with little burnt out candles.


I could see random decorative mandalas on the forest floor, or on old wood stumps, made with various natural elements of pinescones, and rocks and dead bugs.

I could also see the left over coffee grounds, neatly pitched into an anthill of recycled goodness, left by one of the exclusively cigarette-and-coffee kitchens. 


It was like a wealth of information of some massive energy-exchange I was simply NOT a part of, but was there just AFTERwards, just to collect the freshest of EVIDENCE that it ever EXISTED... the most recent of possibilities as to what happened in that forest for the last 2 weeks; Magic, mystery, and ALL.


I was happy to have learned about this new fasting technique, seeing as how the lsd had worn off by now, the 4th day, and most of us were already leaning towards the idea of heading up to Maine to go blueberry picking for a bit.


I also thought the idea of the 'woodstock reunion' in Bethel N.Y. as kind of a fun gig too- there were some people I had hung out with, who were heading to THAT event, and we were leaning towards a 'reunion' kind of thing. Plus, I figured if really need be, I could simply hitch up the Glens Falls, and go bug my grandparents, and just stay at the lake house while my parents flew in to scold me for just up and leaving for the summer without a word, or worry ('Why You Get Ditched, and Other Naturisms of Li' more on that later).


I was real pleased with that fasting technique for other reasons too- the hitch out east was a bit harder than expected, than became rather unyielding in terms of community gatherings; Food was scarce, trade wasn't forthcoming, Not a lot of smokers to mooch a cigarette off of, and there was a real low vibing fringe element that was making its way throughout the camps, hidden in the early hours of those still-awake-and-riding-high on god-only-knew-what drugs. (or, what I always thought, a basic LACK of the CORRECT SET of god-only-knows-what drugs, that probably should have been PRESCRIBED for correct medical TREAMENT, seeing that A LOT of these 'night creatures' seemed to have been self-medicating for serious mental issues, rather than dosing for some random peace-and-love hippie party).


Keep in mind, this was a time, when weed was a COMPLETE and ABSOLUTE illegal substance nationwide, and no local BEAT, who wandered through now and again had a PROBLEM throwing a handful of FLOWERHEADS in jail, for smelling green.


Point in fact, the local community was having a TERRIBLE time with the BREEZE that just gusted in:

From a local robbery, to underage prostitution- it was ALL flooding in for this EVENT, and it became incredibly SEEDY on all sides... just like the summer sunset that was now 'going, going gone',  it was DEFINITELY turning into an early FALL.


I was happy to have shared a ride, at least HALFway with a relativily nice, fringy muscle-man and the lamb, who had just stolen a car to take us east, and was not SMART in his choices for the DASH, as he took a CAR with FARMERS plates on it ('You Really Suprise Me' more on that later).


I, at least got to OHIO, before the fuzz finally caught up with him, and dropped ME off at a local rest stop with a bunch of ammenities, including a Holiday Inn, where I proceded to call him to see what was up, as well as gather myself before I start sniffing out the local area to see what I COULD see.


I had some cash on me, but had no idea where to local bus stop was, or how I would get there- especially with the fact, that it was NOW 6pm, and I was really getting hungry by this point; We had bought a few groceries for the car, like chips and candybars, couple slim jims, a carton of cigarettes, and a 24 pack of beers for HIM. But most of those things were gone now, and anything that remained was now long gone in the empounded car.


Even with the adrenaline coarsing through me, I could feel my energy levels weaken as I walked into the hotel lobby, as my blood sugars were starting to drop. Still, it was no match for the by-chance surreal realities that ensued next: See, THIS hotel had two larger BANQUET rooms, BOTH of which seemed to be PACKED and BUZZING. 


But what made it strange was the fact that while ONE EVENT seemed to be one of the ROUDIEST high school reunion partys ever known to man, there was ALSO a FUNERAL SERVICE being held one hall OVER. I mean, my God people- what MANAGER at the HOTEL thought THIS was a good idea to book SIMULTANEOUSLY? I was only 16, and even I KNEW that was some serioulsy disprespectful shit- plus, the main bathrooms were right down the HALL from the REUNION, right ACROSS the hall, from the FUNREAL SERVICE;  So all these BUZZED high school people were hitting the john, then getting all sad on the way OUT(heading back to the hall), seeing the arrangements, and flowers, and dedication plaques all over. The rooms were THAT close.


If I HAD A CAMERA, I could have walked BACK AND FORTH with rando chops on conversation:

Walk left: "Dearly departed...We Gather..'

Walk right " HI!! WELCOME to CLASS of 63!!! SO nice to SEE YOU AGAIN! EVERYones HERE.."

Walk left:" ...and although he is not with us ANY longer, we can't help but think fondly of the times we HAD..."

Walk right: " OMG, BECKY?? IS that YOU? I THOUGHT SO!!! This place is so LIT, isn't it FAR OUT?"


 I just could NOT believe the fact that there was, literally BOTH going on; a PASTOR going off in ONE, with this DJ blasting crazy shit only one WALL over. It made my situation look completely NORMAL, and then I suddenly! I sensed the 'lucky' in the air, and decided to head on into the DANCE hall, knowing that there HAD to be SOMEone in there who could lend me a square.


Strangest turn of events happened then, when I met the family of the funeral who were all hangning out at an empty table there..yep- ALL 3 kids, ditched, and were at the fucking high school dance. They thought the service was just too damn depressing, and seeing everyone at the party decided to turn that frown right on around, one guy at the table called me over "Hey! What's up?You care to join us?" he said.


It was a woman and two men, all who looked depleted, and somewhat exhausted, and not dressed up for a reunion AT ALL.

"I heard about you- you're the one looking for a ride west?" he asked.

"You DID..wow, that's cool, um YEAH..I need a lift in to Chicago, but wherever close is fine too" I replied.

"Well, c'mon OVER..let me introduce you to my SISTER and BROTHER" he replied.


After a few hello's and introductions, they surprised me with an angus burger and said "EAT",

and eat I did.

It was a very odd strange of events, but they got me to the bus station at around 2 in the morning,  and I eventually got home.


Ironically, upon my return, and to everyones worry, I had lost TOO MUCH weight...like THAT was the THING on my safe return BACK.

Of course, with the double standards thrown at women, god fucking knows what "you look so thin' REALLY means.

Is that a COMPLIMENT? Had I earned some rite of passage into all things acceptable?

OR, is that an INSULT? I learned RIGHT AWAY what the difference meant ('The Audacity of Thin? The Audacity of Being Thinned' more on that later), and was surprised with how little I gave a fuck.


I mean, I had gone through realities where getting a meal AT ALL was a gift- I was happy to have made it to the next DAY, with very little, to no PAIN. I had finally reached that body weight I was looking for (basically a size 4), and simply no longer cared.


I was happy to felt light on my toes, and enjoyed the lightheartedness I was containing for this short stint at home (for the winter), and looked forward to trying out some road-earned recipes out, recreating ideas I liked along my journey, and maybe improving them in a larger kitchen.


Possibly even sharing with my friends TOO, who, by this point, were both STUNNED and CONFUSED that I had changed my relationship to eating so FULLY, in such a short amount of TIME- that I was no longer 'caught up' in a food scarcity mentaily I was done with overeating and binging/purging- because I found a way to HEAL;  and that included what it was like to actually having my food being SCARCE, not the half-food-torture-chicken clown show being enacted my whole upbringing.


I had learned to not worry about calories OFF anymore, because I was too engaged in life to waste my attention on THOSE sort of disappointments..

I was free.


Free to be out enjoying MOUNTAIN WALKS with FRIENDS, or a YOGA POSE with the sun, or an ALONE JOURNEY- walking along the beach in perfect solitude.


My concern became calories ON, because I WAS turned ON- turned onto LIFE,  turned on to VARIETY, turned on to the NEW-  as only the SUMMERS can bring in THOSE vivid moments of glimmer, and butterflies. I was simply too engaged with the ENJOYMENT of my life, to really CARE about what I WASN'T, and too focused IN on what I WAS to wanna look for anythign else.


Upon my return, I was also no longer without idea or ability; I had learned NEW ways of making meals that I really enjoyed, and I was happy to share all the new thoughts, and styles with family and friends- most of whom had never tried Lemon-Maple-Cayenne water, OR peanutbutter-honey-banana sandwiches.


I finally felt I was in an equalibrium with my diet, AND with my body. With both my metabolism, and my sense of autonomy, It was all a happy dance..and I felt at peace.


That is, until I decided to quit smoking tobacco.


...More on THAT, later.











STATEMENTS                                                                                                   12.22-


Oftentimes, I like to write up little statements that reflect my in-the-moment headspace.

I tend to write it down rather than type or text, but have scattered words because of it :-)

I have decided start compiling here, rather than lose more of them...

..I like to look back and reread what it was I was considering, and see if I could perhaps add something more to that statement..or si mply remember something I have long forgotten about:




Which Came First?                                                              8.23


When I was just a peawee,

A still sprout in the cozy womb,

Mom was expected to harvest laboriuosly,

Which gave way to a moments tomb.


She fell down,

Bruising her crown,

and in return-

-born me,

a roaring sea,

...and also born with a bruise on my knee.


You see,

Art is said to be a response in vain,

To that of suffereing 

Who knows ONLY pain.



AND seeing that this honest truth,

Is to be told, 

Amongst my Youth,


In seeing eyes from the farthest

Pray tell ask, which came first;

The pain, or the artist?










Doing Something Differently                                               8.23




















Healing Green                                                                      8.23


Something to be seen-

after cuts, 

in the green.


That feeling where it's always been,

left in between,

left in the unseen.


And WHEN those cuts do disappear,

to be cleaned, 

to be preened,


Just in sensation ,

- fuckin everclear,

worth every cut you gave to me-

a healing green inititiation.










Broken                                                 8.23


You want to break my heart?

Here, let me show you how,

Let me show you where to begin-

That you might shake my crown.


Let's take a little adventure,

To Sea and Lyrne and Dew,

Woven all together,

From my blessed heart to you.






ONE                                                     8.23



I hope I have woven a tapestry,

Worthy of your love,

Worthy of your light.

So that I may present it TO you,

At the end of this existence...

....and into the next





Coercion Corners                                7.23


If you paint me into a corner,

If you bead me into line,

You will see very quickly,

What is yours is not mine.


If asked to stand and deliver,

and choose one side of the shelf,

You'de feel nothing but my quiver,

As I always choose my Self.








Here's the thing about Standards;

We ALL should have them.







While we are made of both good and bad, there is still the source, which is LIGHT..

If it was NOT truly source, then you would never recognize darkness as such; You wouldn't recognize darkness at all...only LIGHT casts a shadow..a shadow doesn't exist without it.








My work is not about the glorification of what I can MAKE-

It's about the glorification of what others can SEE <3







What Would Happen    5.23


What would happen?

If the end was known,

If the end was shown,

If the end was grown.?


What would happen?

If I had you near,

If 'I Hold You' dear,

If I made it clear.?

If I really HAD you, I swear.


Like kisses everyday-

and champagne in everyway..


..and when you'de say "What happens here?"

I could say "THIS happens dear"
Then you would KNOW what would happen-


In the end..

As if it had always been here.









The Day You Became Average     3.23


I did not cry,

Or was shocked,

I sorta expected it-

(Having been around the block)


Didn't need to see you,

Didn't need to beg,

The day you became just the average,

Just the reg.


..and in those moments,

I pondered,

Well, what was all the fuss?

For fake'n'average head games-

where 'Under Duress We Must".


Really more than any one 'thing'...

that could have been an issue,

Was the fact that what was once strong as gold,

..was really REALLY as strong as tissue.


..and when my tears DID stop falling for all the deluded reasons,

I went outside,

to an average day,

and gave meaning to its seasons.







CClean and PPristine    3.23


Everyones got their 'trinity', and I am no exception.

Whether a father-son-holyGhost, a maiden-mother-crone, or even an equilateral-isosceles-hypotenuse! every magic 3 has a pearl of wisdom to share. 

so, here's mine:


You never fuck your friends

You never fuck your family

and you never fuck work colleagues..


of course, mine can be strung together like pearls of deeper thought:


You never fuck your FAMILYS friends,

or your friends family or family of work colleagues..

you also dont fuck work colleagues friends, or friends you work with.,


Remember these 3keys to a clean karma and a shitton of avoided headaches. lol













>>>>>this tangent slice:


My favorite analogy on reincarnation has always been that of pie: Each life as a slice..with one very special slice that understands it's a slice of pie..it's THAT slices job to unite the pie as a PIE, rather than individual slices as "wholes" ...this is probably the first slice- and we ALL know how that slice usually goes: Imperfect, hard to get around, and hot out the oven :-D








I'm Married, with Goals;

it's like kids- only better :-D




In the Dark Room   2.23


In the Dark Room,

All alone, 

Was that me-

           on the phone..?


On that one record,

With the hand..

...sitting in a grandiose style,

A mile a minute

by that fly-by-night hat cap stand.


A place to meditate,

-a place to mourn,

A place to go

   and be with_drawn..


Beneath the covers,

Beneath the sheets,

Looking silly-

-giving a fuck about hearts and tweets.


The word potential holds no meaning

(as the word itself holds no rhyme),

 ...and so, here I can slip into unexistence-

-without a quandry, or a dime-

   -or time- especially withOUT THAT chime.







BoneYard      1.23


I Only Came for two things;

Love and Art,

Love died,

So Dont be surprised,

When you see me at the boneyard.


Love is Infinite- sure,

There really is no ONE to cling to

 -that satiates that open truth.


But I did the math,

and a cold body,

is better than no body at all.


It's all a corpse embrace,

So when you see me there,

Know that I am dancing with my love

and our beautiful son, 

who eventually embraces us all.








I Taste like Buttered Toast         12.22


Castle life as a castle wife,

Takes your time like a butter knife-

it covers you here...

and spreads you thin there,

But can never really take your life.


Castle life as a castle wife,

You'de think sometimes it'de be easier to tear it in two -

Using both hands- 

Letting me undo 

Any need

For such triviality

As a butter knife 

On my manna of life.


But butter knives serve it better

than a finger 

Or a spoon..

and a castle wife in a castle life,

hums to the toasty tune.





You can't delve into something great without finding something great inside of yourself to delve into....it doesn't have to center around the trauma- no need for a constant reenactment.

it can center around the strength that comes from that trauma...a subtle difference in focus, but tremedously distinct difference- like a hot blade on butter.





I Met Twin            12.22


I met him on the ocean-

between the air and sea...


I went a'projecting along my wave-heart,

and my completion I did see...


It wasn't something I understood,

or something I did feel...


It was more like seeing what I knew,

To be my search for something real.


&Upon awakening- my eyes forever changed,

A knowing within my entirety,

Distant yet close in range..


Searching through lands I thought I could,

Until I finally gave up,

Then he came to me in the strangest of ways,

To share a sacred cup.


Like air in surround,

and drinking in the water,

Gaiety then became the sun,

Bringing bliss like no other.


To meet us is to know one thing, 

To know us is another,

To be apart of this very thing,

Is beloved to the Lover. 










What an unforgiving bitch.

Demading complete and whole harvest-

will I survive it? Of COURSE- to torture me longer..

Will I give EVERYthing to her? Of COURSE- who wouldn't set up shop with eternity.




Forever In Time


I wonder, where my millionth bead went,

Did it get stuck into the cracks of the floor?

Was I in idle thought as the time was spent?


I wonder, what WAS my millionth bead,

Was it shining like some unnoticed notoriety?

Or was I snoozing (indeed)?


Wherever it went, Whereever it goes,

It was time well spent,

Like all my creations- they froze,

Into that one single event,

and this millinionth bead prose.









Who ever had time for true love?

I am sure many broken hearts would feel that they need mending, 

As my needle picks up scattered beads off a floor.


It's not that we didn't have eternity within our grasp,

It's that we didn't grasp the situation, 

Or the Hand holding our hearts in place.


Who ever had time for true love?

No one was ever going to save us from our own creations.







What we think we value in art, is really what we value in ourselves..

My work is made soley for my gaze- and in this way,

I make love to myself.



I make UNart.

UNart is what is not important to anyone else.



I choose to relate to the society through color and sound..

I am not anti-social-

I am creating lines LOUD AND CLEAR!!!





The Thinking Mind is constantly using deductive reasoning- even if commanded to accept input through a different means ( to trust the emotional reasoning, for instance).

The Thinking Mind cannot help but to eventually deduct itself out logically, and will seek that out as a solution to X..

It will willingly allow emotions to take control of actions, but like the emotional body, only as an organic part of its process, where it logically should...it is EASY to create logic to a willing Thinking Mind, already adjusted to emotional guidance..just comes down to the ego allowing itself to be slayed, and fear a normal trust.




If the work is okay, it will last momentarily..


if the work is good it will last a lifetime over.




If I can create, I can hold eternity at my fingertips.





Does art have to be exhibitionist in nature?







The subtle art of still receptivity one finds in art is lost;

Why wait on a flower to bloom when FTD delivers.













 STATEMENTS                                                                                                   12.22-


Oftentimes, I like to write up little statements that reflect my in-the-moment headspace.

I tend to write it down rather than type or text, but have scattered words because of it :-)

I have decided start compiling here, rather than lose more of them...

..I like to look back and reread what it was I was considering, and see if I could perhaps add something more to that statement..or simply remember something I have long forgotten about:




Which Came First?                                                              8.23


When I was just a peawee,

A still sprout in the cozy womb,

Mom was expected to harvest laboriuosly,

Which gave way to a moments tomb.


She fell down,

Bruising her crown,

and in return-

-born me,

a roaring sea,

...and also born with a bruise on my knee.


You see,

Art is said to be a response in vain,

To that of suffereing 

Who knows ONLY pain.



AND seeing that this honest truth,

Is to be told, 

Amongst my Youth,


In seeing eyes from the farthest

Pray tell ask, which came first;

The pain, or the artist?










Doing Something Differently                                               8.23




















Healing Green                                                                      8.23


Something to be seen-

after cuts, 

in the green.


That feeling where it's always been,

left in between,

left in the unseen.


And WHEN those cuts do disappear,

to be cleaned, 

to be preened,


Just in sensation ,

- fuckin everclear,

worth every cut you gave to me-

a healing green inititiation.










Broken                                                 8.23


You want to break my heart?

Here, let me show you how,

Let me show you where to begin-

That you might shake my crown.


Let's take a little adventure,

To Sea and Lyrne and Dew,

Woven all together,

From my blessed heart to you.






ONE                                                     8.23



I hope I have woven a tapestry,

Worthy of your love,

Worthy of your light.

So that I may present it TO you,

At the end of this existence...

....and into the next





Coercion Corners                                7.23


If you paint me into a corner,

If you bead me into line,

You will see very quickly,

What is yours is not mine.


If asked to stand and deliver,

and choose one side of the shelf,

You'de feel nothing but my quiver,

As I always choose my Self.








Here's the thing about Standards;

We ALL should have them.







While we are made of both good and bad, there is still the source, which is LIGHT..

If it was NOT truly source, then you would never recognize darkness as such; You wouldn't recognize darkness at all...only LIGHT casts a shadow..a shadow doesn't exist without it.








My work is not about the glorification of what I can MAKE-

It's about the glorification of what others can SEE <3







What Would Happen    5.23


What would happen?

If the end was known,

If the end was shown,

If the end was grown.?


What would happen?

If I had you near,

If 'I Hold You' dear,

If I made it clear.?

If I really HAD you, I swear.


Like kisses everyday-

and champagne in everyway..


..and when you'de say "What happens here?"

I could say "THIS happens dear"
Then you would KNOW what would happen-


In the end..

As if it had always been here.









The Day You Became Average     3.23


I did not cry,

Or was shocked,

I sorta expected it-

(Having been around the block)


Didn't need to see you,

Didn't need to beg,

The day you became just the average,

Just the reg.


..and in those moments,

I pondered,

Well, what was all the fuss?

For fake'n'average head games-

where 'Under Duress We Must".


Really more than any one 'thing'...

that could have been an issue,

Was the fact that what was once strong as gold,

..was really REALLY as strong as tissue.


..and when my tears DID stop falling for all the deluded reasons,

I went outside,

to an average day,

and gave meaning to its seasons.







CClean and PPristine    3.23


Everyones got their 'trinity', and I am no exception.

Whether a father-son-holyGhost, a maiden-mother-crone, or even an equilateral-isosceles-hypotenuse! every magic 3 has a pearl of wisdom to share. 

so, here's mine:


You never fuck your friends

You never fuck your family

and you never fuck work colleagues..


of course, mine can be strung together like pearls of deeper thought:


You never fuck your FAMILYS friends,

or your friends family or family of work colleagues..

you also dont fuck work colleagues friends, or friends you work with.,


Remember these 3keys to a clean karma and a shitton of avoided headaches. lol













>>>>>this tangent slice:


My favorite analogy on reincarnation has always been that of pie: Each life as a slice..with one very special slice that understands it's a slice of pie..it's THAT slices job to unite the pie as a PIE, rather than individual slices as "wholes" ...this is probably the first slice- and we ALL know how that slice usually goes: Imperfect, hard to get around, and hot out the oven :-D








I'm Married, with Goals;

it's like kids- only better :-D




In the Dark Room   2.23


In the Dark Room,

All alone, 

Was that me-

           on the phone..?


On that one record,

With the hand..

...sitting in a grandiose style,

A mile a minute

by that fly-by-night hat cap stand.


A place to meditate,

-a place to mourn,

A place to go

   and be with_drawn..


Beneath the covers,

Beneath the sheets,

Looking silly-

-giving a fuck about hearts and tweets.


The word potential holds no meaning

(as the word itself holds no rhyme),

 ...and so, here I can slip into unexistence-

-without a quandry, or a dime-

   -or time- especially withOUT THAT chime.







BoneYard      1.23


I Only Came for two things;

Love and Art,

Love died,

So Dont be surprised,

When you see me at the boneyard.


Love is Infinite- sure,

There really is no ONE to cling to

 -that satiates that open truth.


But I did the math,

and a cold body,

is better than no body at all.


It's all a corpse embrace,

So when you see me there,

Know that I am dancing with my love

and our beautiful son, 

who eventually embraces us all.








I Taste like Buttered Toast         12.22


Castle life as a castle wife,

Takes your time like a butter knife-

it covers you here...

and spreads you thin there,

But can never really take your life.


Castle life as a castle wife,

You'de think sometimes it'de be easier to tear it in two -

Using both hands- 

Letting me undo 

Any need

For such triviality

As a butter knife 

On my manna of life.


But butter knives serve it better

than a finger 

Or a spoon..

and a castle wife in a castle life,

hums to the toasty tune.





You can't delve into something great without finding something great inside of yourself to delve into....it doesn't have to center around the trauma- no need for a constant reenactment.

it can center around the strength that comes from that trauma...a subtle difference in focus, but tremedously distinct difference- like a hot blade on butter.





I Met Twin            12.22


I met him on the ocean-

between the air and sea...


I went a'projecting along my wave-heart,

and my completion I did see...


It wasn't something I understood,

or something I did feel...


It was more like seeing what I knew,

To be my search for something real.


&Upon awakening- my eyes forever changed,

A knowing within my entirety,

Distant yet close in range..


Searching through lands I thought I could,

Until I finally gave up,

Then he came to me in the strangest of ways,

To share a sacred cup.


Like air in surround,

and drinking in the water,

Gaiety then became the sun,

Bringing bliss like no other.


To meet us is to know one thing, 

To know us is another,

To be apart of this very thing,

Is beloved to the Lover. 










What an unforgiving bitch.

Demading complete and whole harvest-

will I survive it? Of COURSE- to torture me longer..

Will I give EVERYthing to her? Of COURSE- who wouldn't set up shop with eternity.




Forever In Time


I wonder, where my millionth bead went,

Did it get stuck into the cracks of the floor?

Was I in idle thought as the time was spent?


I wonder, what WAS my millionth bead,

Was it shining like some unnoticed notoriety?

Or was I snoozing (indeed)?


Wherever it went, Whereever it goes,

It was time well spent,

Like all my creations- they froze,

Into that one single event,

and this millinionth bead prose.









Who ever had time for true love?

I am sure many broken hearts would feel that they need mending, 

As my needle picks up scattered beads off a floor.


It's not that we didn't have eternity within our grasp,

It's that we didn't grasp the situation, 

Or the Hand holding our hearts in place.


Who ever had time for true love?

No one was ever going to save us from our own creations.







What we think we value in art, is really what we value in ourselves..

My work is made soley for my gaze- and in this way,

I make love to myself.



I make UNart.

UNart is what is not important to anyone else.



I choose to relate to the society through color and sound..

I am not anti-social-

I am creating lines LOUD AND CLEAR!!!





The Thinking Mind is constantly using deductive reasoning- even if commanded to accept input through a different means ( to trust the emotional reasoning, for instance).

The Thinking Mind cannot help but to eventually deduct itself out logically, and will seek that out as a solution to X..

It will willingly allow emotions to take control of actions, but like the emotional body, only as an organic part of its process, where it logically should...it is EASY to create logic to a willing Thinking Mind, already adjusted to emotional guidance..just comes down to the ego allowing itself to be slayed, and fear a normal trust.




If the work is okay, it will last momentarily..


if the work is good it will last a lifetime over.




If I can create, I can hold eternity at my fingertips.





Does art have to be exhibitionist in nature?







The subtle art of still receptivity one finds in art is lost;

Why wait on a flower to bloom when FTD delivers.











Bosom Buddies                                                                                           8.23



While I may be percieved as ‘pretty’ (especially in my younger days, of course)- I never saw myself as anything of the kind. Beauty, attraction, and all the outward confidence that supposedly comes with good looks was never going to be MY lot in life.


As I sit here, recovering from surgery that was long overdue by this point, it has given me a chance to reflect on some of the realities that surrounded me growing up, as well as my relationship to the world around me-which placed SO much emphasis on the outer world OVER the inner ones.


It makes me consider a time when I was 16.

I was clearly, already a rebel yell, and a lone wolf to boot, so my sense of connectivity to others was already somewhat limited, and isolation was a very natural place for me to live in. Any sorrows or struggles I felt, were always reflected upon MYSELF as I became my best support in those alone blocks of time.


The natural world around me helped along the way; seeing a bug or bird live THEIR own existence in whatever way they do. There was a sense of belonging- even if the natural world around me didn’t use words, I definitely heard it ‘speak’ some of the kindest and most loving expressions... just in its EXISTENCE;  a tree would shed leaves as I sat underneath, or a dragonfly would come near the end of its life, as it rested beside me, a rabbit might hop along revealing a broken limb, or a battered raccoon would go scurrying by to avoid the daytime scrutiny from suburban wives doing their best to ‘seek and destroy’ the local riff raff.


No matter the event, there was always something to see, something to consider and reflect upon in the wood…and it made me feel at ease being there..away from the values of city life.


I was UNCONDITIONALLY welcomed with open arms into the endless void of green that seem to go on forever in my suburban town that boasted gardens and golfing lawns to any passerby. To ANY individual that happen to be there.


It was at this age that I was presented with a choice that would just be the beginning of a thing, not the end of it. That was of breast augmentation. Not something every 16 year old really thinks about, right? Of course not, but became a necessary consideration, when, after my body development into adulthood was well on its way ( by 16), was obviously not developing like other girls my age.


It might have had to do with my genetic sequencing, or maybe the fact that I started smoking tobbacco at 15, or the fact that when I was 13, I was traumatically punched directly in my incredibly sensitive right breast for wanting to pass another girl on the stairway on my way to class ( she apparently didn’t want me to reach the top of the stairs before her, for whatever reason)..and ached for a solid straight month....WHO KNOWS why I grew the way I did- and did not.


Others might own a set of ‘twins’ or even a set of ‘sisters’-and at this age, slight differences were not uncommon, yet mine, were not even the same species.


Yes, it was clear, I was definitely NOT going to be flashing tits in any fashion- not with a first love OR with girlfriends in the locker room who all seemed to have it so easy worrying about what bra size they were, or what they looked like in the lastest 80s fashions. I wasn’t going to have to worry about being an ‘IT’ girl OR being invited to the frankenfurter parties.


It was evident, after trying to accommodate myself for 3 years with stuffing bras, not being able to wear bathing suits, or anything skin tight like my fellow 80s classmates seemed to enjoy all summer long, that I wasn’t changing, and it was time to mention my situation to others-like my parents and doctor.


I first spoke to my mother about it, who, made an appointment right away with the doctor (seeing that I was getting more and more distraught about it as the months passed).

 And, after exchanging words with my primary Doc, was sat down by my betters, then calmly-and sternly told, that there were solutions to my ‘deformity’; that it was time to visit the cosmetic surgeon.


An appointment was made, and we arrived no less than 3 weeks later to speak with the cosmetic surgeon. What a lucky girl I was to have accessibility to a cosmetic surgeon- and at 16 no less! As much as the issue was ‘superficial’, it wasn’t to my 16 year old insecurities.







Breasts Breasts Breasts..Where Do I Begin?





What a universal thing breasts are! Whether they are yours, or comforting others around us, breasts take us to that soft, integral place that screams ‘MOTHER’ and ‘MILK’….. ‘LOVE’ and ‘NURTURANCE’. Lets not forget ‘TITILLATING’ and ‘SEXY’, ‘BEAUTIFUL’ and ‘FEMININE’.

We see them as artwork, AND as qualities of the divine feminine spirit that possess every ONE of us, man or woman, at some point in our lives ( well not everyone, but most- I personally was bottle fed).


It must have been ‘fucked up teenagers’ day, because as we sat in the posh waiting room on that sunny Saturday, I saw other clients arriving and leaving too- all seeming to be around my age.


 I was nervous as we waited,  I mean, how does one ‘fix’ this? Was I ‘fixable?’, and if so, how would I know?


 Then I spied a cool cat around my age; A longer haired brunette boy who was with his two parents also (I always seemed to feel safe around long haired brunette boys- more on that later). I noticed that his parents had a somber vibration all around, staring ahead quite intently, and he looked somewhat annoyed. I wondered what he was doing there and what possible reason HE was visiting the cosmetic surgeon..I mean, it obviously wasn’t a titty thing..


“Is it a ball thing?” I wondered to myself “..and if so, what could possibly require ‘looking socially acceptable’ to need cosmetic work done? Were guys more into each others dicks than I knew about, or what?”

My eyes caught his as he peered my way, I sort of half smiled to kind say ‘hello’ and then he rolled his away as if to say “Yes, bitch, even YOU are pissing me off today”.


I totally understood too: I certainly did NOT want to be there dealing with my ‘special problem’- let alone on a fuckin’ Saturday- let alone next to some cool kid who I just might recognize somewhere else, at another point in time. I could just see it at some random party.. around the keg, as we are both inebriated getting our next beer..what a fucked up passing coversation THAT would be.


He went in, and soon it was MY turn.












Reflect What You Are



The nurse was personable, and the room immaculate as I waited half undressed on the examination table with the frosty AC keeping my fingers stiff. While the cold air was annoying, it kept me focused as to why we were there.


Office nudity did not bother me so much by this point- even with complete strangers.

I had already had my FILL of doctor invasion overload at a ripe age of 3, having been the first child with some harmless rare wart thing on my back and had to strip down in front of an intern class of 20, examining me like a lab rat(more on that later), this shit was a piece of cake.


The doctor walked in with an air of positivity and blonde. He was tall and handsome, and floated in like an aryan superman.

“Hi. I’m Dr Blonde. ..Li?' He asked.

He looked at my mom "You're her mother I take it?” He spoke softly.


After a lot of back and forth between my mother and him, they both turned to me with options.

I could reduce one breast ( although at 16 was still developing and could possibly need 2 surgeries later on to correct- which also meant sensitivity loss) OR I could enlarge one with a newer invention: a saline filled breast implant( which could be minimal in sensitivity loss).


 When presented with a choice as to what I MAY want ..the answer was quite clear; The larger the breasts, the better off I would be--and OFF I WAS..especially at 16…especially in the height of 80s materialism….especially in a world that does not leave much room for flaw, let alone imperfection.


Plus, while neither breasts, in MY mind were 'wrong'..I didn't see why one breast should have to LOSE mass simply because the other wasn't as large or round; ADDING to one, didn't compromise the NATURE of either.


Fortunately for me, my friends in the forest never seemed to pay much mind to my outer appearance so much as my truer intentions in those small pockets of flora, that lay waste where NO ONE bothered to look. I knew that as much as this predicament ‘mattered’, it actually wouldn’t.






One Man Enter, Two Man Leave


The decision was made, and my surgery was in a short 4 weeks time.


I mentioned it to my friend. My ONLY friend, who, originally was a bully that would call my house for the bullying..I mean THAT'S how we do it in the modern age - But she later found it more compelling to introduce me to drugs and smoke and ditching class- basically corrupting me as a more entertaining form of bullying. 


She was in our 'spot' having a square when I arrived at school the next Monday

"Hey" I said as I approached.

"Hi" she replied.


We were never chatterers on superficial matters, yet could talk for HOURS about the deeper philosophies of life- my'trip buddy'.


I lit a red, and looked around.


"So, I went to that doctor" I said.

"Oh" she said as she exhaled a perfect mist of smoke around her intense black velvet dress. 


She was a slender girl, with delicate skin, intense slate eyes, and hair as light as clouds. She had surpassed the 'blonde' phase with very little bleaching, making her hair look more white than anything else, and in contrasting her velvet figure, made her words slice through the smoke that much more.


"Yeah...they said I should get an implant" I said.

"Oh." she said as she exhaled. "So, is that what you are going to do?" she inquired.


"Yep..I mean, I could make one smaller, but why?"

"Well, if I had the choice, I'DE go bigger..and I MIGHT when I'm older and the fuck out of THIS place" she replied.


The bell rang, and I felt confident that I had the right plan.


The weeks moved quickly, and soon my 'day of' arrived. My appointment was scheduled for early in the morning, and my mother informed me that since the procedure would be painful, that I would be off of school for a couple of weeks.


That was something I hadn't really considered up until that moment- the actual PAIN that this might include. I wasn't happy with the thought, but upon hearing two weeks off...wow. I wouldn't actually be ditching classes - I would have an honest to god REASON for not being there.



Fortunately for me, the hospital for the surgery was in town, and wouldn't be an unfamiliar place to get chopped up..It really seemed to have put my mind at ease that I would recognize the 'lay of the land', and that it wouldn't be a completely foreign experience with a foriegn object injected into me. 


The ride was short'n'sweet as we arrived 30 minutes later, parked and entered the building.


Just then, as we made our way through the main door , I saw brunnette boy! I couldn't believe it! Seriously, wtf was he doing here? I remembered him from his generous eye roll weeks back, but why was he here now? At this very moment?


I almost had a moment of paranoia as my mind kept racing as to why he happened to be there, in the very same corridor, at this early ass hour of 6am.


"Hey look" I said to my mom.

"What is it?" my mother asked.

"That guy..he was at our appointment" I replied

"Oh..that's right" she trailed off..she was starting to recognize the family "They probably booked surgery around the same time we did..isn't THAT funny" she smiled and lightly chuckled as we walked further down the hall.


We finally arrive at the preop station and right behind us was brunnette boy. We all waited in line at the check-in desk, when he took notice of me.  I looked over and sort of half smiled to say 'hello' and he just rolled his eyes away as if to say "Yes, I remember you..and you're still a dumb ass bitch I'de really care NOT to know".


"Hm" I said to myself "He probably feels like I do- nervous AF"

(Seeing as how we all have 'off days' and can simply be insenstive to others in our low points) I was actually kind of surprised he held the same position from 4 weeks ago, which, to a 16 year old is like 4 YEARS ago.


"Yeah..he's gotta be neverous about whatever he's getting done" I thought to myself- shit I know I WAS..it was just now hitting me that this was real, it was really happening, and that I'de never had any surguries at all, other than a fucking filling for chirsts sake.


I said my 'goodbyes' to my mom and dad, and was taken back- and prepared for operation. They took brunnette boy too- and another girl who looked really sickly. She looked like she was about to pass out and was a waif of a thing barely walking, as all 3 of us walked back together..staggering a pack formation.


Once in back, I undressed in the familiar cold ass environment that reminded me of home as much as it did lab rat, and lay on the table.







Morning Sunshine


As I  opened my eyes from what felt like a slumber of 1000 years, I could feel the sting amassed my whole right breast..pain from edge to edge..and my nipple feeling like a vice was squeezing it to cauterization- but then a cold waft of AC would remind me it was still there.


I felt like I had woken up from a sleep that was going to pull me back in, and yet as I tried to fall back asleep the sting/cold of my nipple and pain in that whole area somberly jolted me back awake.


I looked around and saw bright ceiling lights all around and could hear the nurses rustling items in the background. I wasn't in a room, but a large hall- almost felt like a cafeteria because this room was BIG. 


"Where the fuck am I" I said to myself "Is this EVEN the fuckin' hospital??"


I looked to my left to see a partition screen and part of a counter..some empty push beds..

Then turned to my right to see...brunnette boy!


He was passed OUT. 

I still wondered wtf he could have possibly gotten done..I started peering to see what I could see..all i saw was a mop of hair, and a long ruffled garment streaming along the cold steel slab.


Just then, he started to revive. I turned away and closed my eyes- I didn't want to get busted with invasive eyeballs, and he probably didn't need to see my dumb face upon waking. I mean, I didn't have to look at HIM when I woke up...so why not just give the same grace that I was given, right on BACK?


I could hear him moving around, then suddenly silent. I could feel his presence pushing my way and actually, made me feel unsure about wanting to open my eyes and looking over again. I wondered if his procedure was as painful as mine? I wondered if he had the same kind of constant throb of newness and unfamiliarity that I was going through..but, still- he couldn't have possibly had pain LIKE THIS. I wondered if I would see it in his eyes.... when we finally reconnected our gaze.


I just lay still, and not budging for a couple minutes, in hopes the nurses would notice me and whisk me away from this weird ass moment. But, no. No such luck, so I manned up, and decided to just engage.


I opened my eyes, and slowly looked around..I decided to eventually peer his direction, to see his eyes meet mine.


I smiled a gentle smile as if to say 'hello' and he rolled his eyes away as if to say 'Yes bitch...Your'e STILL the LAST fuckin face I EVER wanted to see"


Yes, my right hand man matched my right breasts pain quite nicely..and it was last I ever saw of him.




Getting It Up Front                                                                                           6.23



While most artists have a pretty good sense about how they might sell their work, I was never so lucky. I have explored so many different styles, ideas and series as my norm, that it's been difficult to market my work, as my ideas moved faster than the sell.

By the time a collector discovered a series, it was already over and mostly sold, or gone or one-of-a-kind ( Just am not making it ever again).

This wasn't always the case, and was a learned choice rather than miraculous discovery. I wasn't  so certain sure that a production type approach to my conceptual ideas was a bad move; while I might have less freedom in the day-to-day in terms of spontaneity, it would make creating easier overall because the concepts could be streamlined into an efficient schedule rather than aquisition hunt.


It should be added here that consistency is not a strong suit of beadmaking, simply because a lot of beads are made in runs, like fabric, and are limited to the manufacturers specs and rather sliding scale formulas.

Sure, like fabric, there are classics like a size 8mm black bead. Or a frosted matte clear bead in size 4mm. Or teardrop beads, or briolettes or what have you...


But when you start venturing into COLOR, this is where is gets sticky, because one run of a bead in 'grey- blue size 12mm', can easily vary in color slightly, but enough to be noticable in the beads..making it IMPOSSIBLE to ever mix runs together for a specific line. 

Usually, it's the teals, pinks, turquoise,greys,  and purples where this is most noticable; you buy a kilo of 'cotton pink' beads that look intense in color, but when you order MORE, it's a depressed, dusty rose pink by comparison.

A lot of bead houses will simply ignore the differences, but will minimize the losses by keeping the runs separate- that way the difference in color only falls on a couple of pieces, and the rest look the 'same' with just slightly different tones..Of course, you can simply not mix runs, but that gets complicted and heavier in monetary loss when you start to consider 3, 4, 7, 18 different types of beads on a single design. 


This sort of problem never effected me much because my early work has mostly been in seed beads, and doesn't have the turnover in materials like larger beads do. It's a lot easier to find large amounts of seed beads ( usually sold by the kilo), and not need to restock for a really long while.


So, a real plus there to working with the small stuff- although, being a small bead, more LABOR intensive..so everything has its tradeoffs to be sure..and did I ever learn mine.


I'm considering a interaction I had early on with an up-and-coming art gallery in GA;


I really liked the vibe when I walked into the place..very clean lined, very elegant..very organic in it's flow..and the work wasn't bad either; little whimsical things to capture your eye as you walked along..little designs or ideas that would make you smile to yourself- like understanding the artists mentality.


There were strong floor art designs, beaming under brilliant lights..You know those lights..I used to employ those lights in my livingroom ( and now in my studio space)..those lights, so bright that by the time you realize you're exhausted, it's 3 am lights. Those kind of lights are like being at the shopping mall, but YOUR PLACE. 


..and  this gallery made everything DAZZLING. I remember thinking to myself..'God! why does everything look so fresh and intense?' Then looking up, noticing a cringe factor to my eyeball as the track lighting hit my retina...but damn- I knew right then and there what lights I'de be using for the next forever.


I met with the owner in the office, which was in back, so I had a chance to really absorb the sort of energy this person was selling- You know; To try and understand what we might meet on, in terms of my OWN work in this place, pick the right stuff to show, pricing, etc..


I had my briefcase with me, as I had converted a thicker leather case into a handy, compartmentalized jewellery tote- which had a main lid to open up ALL compartments at once ( instead of annoying 1 at a time, which becomes a problem when showing your work in a timely manner).


At this point, I had juuust finished my small sprint with a local beadhouse and was still toying with a similar approach; very catalog style- very streamlined; I'm selling XYZ, order 1, 2, 3..


And order she did. 6 of this, 3 of those, 8 of these..10 of those..on and on. I was really pleased to see such a large order, and while I readily had the materials offhand to fill the order easily, it hadn't dawned on me I could have bluffed that detail, and just ask for a materials fee upfront ( we all learn somehow, somewhere :-)


"Oh I LOVE this..Isn't THAT cool..?" She said as  went through the merch rather quickly.

"Well, thank you" I responded rather short and sweet seeing as how we were still going through work and I was looking at quite a bit of make-time in the studio.

"I'de like 6, no 8..no! 10..Lets make this style 10"


I did pipe up at this point, feeling that I should probably explain that the work takes quite of bit of time, and that the larger the order, the longer out it would take to fill..I had a months worth of work as it was" Just so you know, I dont normally reproduce in this quantity.."


"Oh! Is it a PROBLEM?" she cut me off, looking me dead in eye.

"..No, but I thought you might want to know...that the things I create can change month to month. I have absolutely NO PROBLEM filling this, but it WILL take a bit of time, and I probably won't be recreating AGAIN ..you know, in terms of future availibility of an item.." I replied.

She just looked at me dryly with this lemony smile that could take the sugar out of sugar and said " Well THAT won't be a problem". Kind of implying that I was LUCKY to have this order.

Indeed, I was grateful to have this size order, like I said, so early on in venturing out and replied "And I'm really glad you like the work and are considering so much for show..Do you think my work will do well in your gallery?" I asked. I really wanted to see what she would say..after all, I wasn't about to kill myself filling an order that sounded more  like 'oh, sure eventually' vibes...no sense in all that.

"Oh! I think your work will sell GREAT here..and I know a couple things that we will want ALREADY" she gracefully replied.


But just like an online love affair, I knew SOME shoe would drop..I just couldn't imagine HOW. The gallery was newer, sure...but seemed super poppin' all the time. Plus the owner seemed really with it , and together; Even her hair was in tight strand rows, falling gently all around her square jaw, in perfect curls. She had these brilliant pearly teeth that glistened when she smiled, which wasn't often, but when the two were put together, gave an outward appearance and mannerism of someone who had important business matters in mind. Not someone to be taken kiddingly, even with that smiling kidding personality she imposed so very pleasantly onto her world.



Of course, she was more than pleased to see that I wasn't gonna hit her hard- shit- hit her at ALL for any sort of cash. I was her besty on the walk out. I was happy for the order, I wasn't happy with my choice of risk$..but I sorta knew THAT going into the deal; I knew that no matter WHEN, that I would get eventually PAID...and for an order THAT large, THAT early in trying to sell my work( like 5 months in?), was ALSO worth a short wait.


I was, after all, crashing at my folks place after a rather short'n'nasty fall out with a person long forgotten about at this point..I was breezing through town, and the money wasn't particularly pressing, seeing that both parents are artists themselves, there was literally zero problems getting my quarters back for a short stint with gallery orders on the horizon ( until boys..lol..that's a whole other chapter- and no, my alien leaders didn't cover that with me in the orientation- Thank god my captors knew I had no clue. =D For those thinking 'wtf'..When I was little..like 3 or some shit, I was ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that I was stolen away from my real parents.lol..I mean. like seriously believed that shit for a LONG TIME..haha


Anyway, I had all sorts of reasons to explain away my lack of assertion, and went on my merry way happy as a clam that I had an order at all; I had gone down actually to visit family ( and spent blocks of my childhood down there, so a memory walk of sorts)..but got hooked up with a possible prospect or two completely without expectation. 


I was really happy that I brought my stuff with because I wanted to show other members of my family, and pretty much everyone is an artist, so trades are not uncommon ( alongside a 'sharing to connect' vibe, etc).

I left feeling a bit overwhelmed with how I might fill the order in a timely manner: I was leaving on holiday in about 6 weeks, and now looking at a pretty tight deadline. My mind sobered up a bit when I thought about everything I had to create- kind of like a mental rundown, to make sure I actually HAD every supply I thought I DID, seeing that I had NOW walked out of there with 0 upfront.


"God, this is gonna be a lot of work" I said to myself.


I finally get back home, and I'm speaking with Short'n'Nasty, because we were, after all, still on speaking terms- kind of hashing out assets like 'who got the cats', etc..and so, returning back, was asked about my experience with the shops, about the order ( The second store hadn't worked out for whatever reason- the economy was bad at this point in time..no one was patroning small local arties)


...... He was actually a decent friend when he was able to put his emotional shit aside, and just be reasonable, logical and practical..maybe, sometimes.... MORE than I cared to understand- but my caring wasn't about his insight so much as my idealist egoic cringe at the hearing of negative realities that were valid and true. Depressing, yes, but valid none-the-less.


Nothing is so harsh as the basic lesson that ones idealist views are simply that- one persons VIEW in a SEA of views, no matter HOW inclusive, positive, life affirming, healing, loving, caring, graceful OR good...that shit is seriously secondary to any moment to moment experience...and if someone is absolutely DEAD SET on popping your highs at any and every given moment, than you will always be BESTED, you will always be HUMBLED..you will always LEARN by some person for better or worse...no, wait..wtf is wrong with that again..?



....Seriously, let's pause a second.Outside of the heartless sting which is the basis of most human experience,.what's really WRONG  with wrong.. what: mortality, vulnerablity, ..?. We are NOT ideals, we are human-..so when it got right down to it, I had to put my EGO aside, and really hear the Short'n'Nasty out when he had something to say on business matters. Living with that shit as my regular? LOL..yeah, ok..but when it came to short stints of nasty attitude, I was able to swallow some bitter with the bitter.


"So, you didn't get anything up front then, huh..?" He trailed off "Ok". 

He looked like he was formulating a mathmatical problem in his head, and like a deer in his headlights, I simply had no idea why. Or what truth was really coming...or the ability to differentiate between truth, and a delivery bomb..ah, to be in my 20's again :-D


"No" I responded " I had the materials already, so no real need"

"Uhhhhh..OK..I would have gotten SOMEthing..jesus that's a large order.." he replied.

"True, but I asked B about how business is run in that neck of the woods, and he said it was not uncommon to simply do the order first, but that I could ask for a materials fee...I just didn't need one" I added.


" Hm" He just trailed off onto someother shit. But I knew in the back of my mind, that he DID have a fair point, that I really SHOULD have asked for a materials fee, since, after ALL, it really IS a sign of good faith, and, as he then added on" You know, you won't ALWAYS have the materials upfront like that, right? I mean, you know that this was just because of what was ordered..."


" ACTUALLY" I sliced in with some witty shit about runs; " EVERYTHING I'm selling is from soup stock runs..colors that don't ever vary- just classics. So I don't have to ever WORRY about a cut in runs"

"Hm" he replied.


"BESIDES, this will give me a good chance to make a few bucks, then buy some NEW supplies for NEW ideas..I mean it IS money for my WORK after all..." I added"..even if I'm not paid 'immediately'..I mean, Jesus J...I don't really need to money right now"


"Yeah...that's true." he complained, and while, HE had MORE than enough money to ever THINK about that concept (funny papers), there was always this bugaboo work ethic he had goin' on.. probably because he was good at math and liked to problem solve shit, but also because I think that sort of pragmatic, joiner attitude helped him stay realistic- which is easy to LOSE when you have enough dollars insulating your whole reality upon reality away.


I was happy to have left it at that, and went on my merry way. But, of course, that little interaction stayed with me as a gnawing truth, which of course, it really WAS...and like being in a shitty film you paid WAY too fuck much for, and were now COMPELLED to stay and watch, I watched my own work-mind process unfold as I began to fill the order; I just knew I was going to learn something from my choices. I could smell the gasoline in a car, and was clearly standing on a fucking highway.


'Ok. let's see..where to begin..' I asked myself (I decided to start with something little)..'lets first start with the 6 pairs of earrings ( of one style)'.  I sat down with the beads I needed, all set to begin...maybe feeling a little sleepy from the not so satisfying sleep from the night before, but whatever, time to get to work.


Damn..Right away I spill like, 3 hanks of beads all over the damn carpet...and this is no closed loop shit either..this is cheap crap, and those beads have LONG since fallen through the cracks of the carpet lining. Not the best beginning, but OK. 

There I sat for about 3 hours, working on.... beading away.


I finally decide to take a break, and really see what I made in that amount of time.

'OK,well maybe this order will move right along! I have 2 sets of earrings already made, and while I hadn't assembled them fully, at least the meat of the work would be completed' I'm thinking.


My next two days moved right on along..no problems really..until I hit the next thing; a necklace, which, I was sure I had the beads for- but really, wasn't enough stock for 10 more.....9 more? DAMN...this was annoyingly short by half a necklace worth of beads..and OF COURSE, some rare fuck color which I'm hoping I can still find for quick delivery.


 I started working on my first one..this necklace was going to take as much time as all 6 pairs of earrings..Damn. Did I estimate the work right? I started getting nervous. I got out a pen and paper- yeah..it all SEEMED to ADD UP.. If I really really really kept my focus at HAND, I could get this done.


Halfway through the first necklace I discovered another bead close in color to the ones I was falling short on, and decided right then and there to intersperse this new bead into ALL 10 because the color change was so subtle, it made my problem melt away.


'Two finished...' I said to myself..'8 to go' 






The Final Countdown


Most of the order was easy enough- hitting strange snags with last moment thread miscalculations, OF COURSE- so I was really getting short on time. 'Jesus..well, I THINK I might meet my deadline here..that's great news considering I'm leaving town for a bit- 'I hope I filled this right..I hope they get this O.K. with USPS..I wonder if they will send me a check, or what?.' I asked myself. My mind kept going on and on about how this might play out.


I was especially curious about how my work might sell..I mean, 10 of one design. It was a nice series; solid black short necklaces made with tiny black seed beads, all sewn into a cord, that would then take over and surround 5 larger beads all nicely spaced around the center.


I thought it was a cool design when I came up with it, and while I had originally wanted to offer this design in a array of colors ( like solid red, or solid blue, or whatever), I used classic black as my sample color, and people just seemed to like the black version of the style. Maybe it was the time period, or maybe the particular people I ran across, who knows, but black was usually the main color of interest..


I was actually kind of bored with the style by now- seeing as how I had made 10 of one type, 15 of another- I just didn't want to THINK about that design any longer, let alone make MORE of the saaaaaammmmeee.


I simply could not IMAGINE selling 10 of the same thing, since, as an artist it was sorta played out in MY creators heart. I was already a mind away from even BEING at home- ready to go on whatever escapade I had planned at the time.


I finally packed up the order, triple checked the addy to make sure I got it correct, and, Whoosh!  Off it went...and off I went.


I was happy with myself that, no matter what bullshit was going on around me, no matter WHAT issue I seemed to hit with this order, I simply found ways around it all, not letting anything slow me down. I was really satisfied with that sense of 'Now I Say, Now I DO' kind of experience. Nothing could have been better from the exchange as I walked out of the post office.






What is Without, Is Within




The next few weeks went by quickly, and eventually, I was happy to be getting back to my place. I was ready to fall into routine again, get back to the bead table, and see what shows or places I might want to consider for display. Damn! I might even have some cash waiting for me- it had been, after all, about 3 weeks since I had sent this order off, and my work tends to sell quickly when it first hits a store.



I opened the porch door, ready to unload my bags when I see a box on the front door.


Holy shit. Did I NOT get this right? Oh no.


I drop all my shit at once of course, and see this huge ass label " RETURN TO SENDER"


It was already late at night, and as my head exploded, as I planned on calling the very next day..seriously WTF.Yes, I could have called and left a long, pissy, nutbag message..Yes, I could have called and left an incredibly professional message-Yes, I could have left a message with a corporate face ready to take their ass to court..I simply didn't want to leave a MESSAGE at all. I wanted to get a HOLD of this person, and find out what the hell happened.


All I could do was reflect on Short'n'Nasty, who happened to be there for the whole event- and the surprising support Short'n'Nasty provided at that moment ( completely out of character for a change), which of course, was out of a sheer superiority trip gone right.


In a world according to him, We could get REAL about what REALLY MATTERS in life.. and that sure shit wasn't gonna be BEADS. It was time someone REALLY let me KNOW that, and here was his big chance to really dig it in. But, he surprisingly had no interest in putting me in my 'place'..maybe because he could see I was ready to snap, maybe because it satiated his ego so fully to see me losing, or maybe because he was just as upset that someone got fucked after hours and hours of labor, and actually had a moment of empathy.


Whatever the reason, I took the vague kindness as mercy as I swept my esteem off the floor with a dirty paper towel, and packed it up with the rest of the order into a brown box- which I'm sure was most convenient for him- I got hit directly by a diesel engine going about 90, and there was no return from that sort of nose dive.








Your'e Not the Only One


I just didn't sleep well, and naturally got up sooner than I normally would, in anticipation of how I might approach the whole ordreal when I called. I can be incredibly controlled when asked to be, yet ready to pounce if I'm smelling hooks. I EAT fish, not the baits.


And, looking at aaaall the items..the time and energy it took to bust my ass on a deadline. I never asked for a dime up front, on FAITH, so what do I HAVE.? Depleted materials, a loss of cash and a depleted  Hand.  Jesus Fuck. I had ALL THIS work , which, I was really SICK of looking at, let alone want to TRY and go peddle elsewhere. 


I was simultaneously pissed off and exhausted from the prospects of future choices as I picked up the phone, and looked for the number. I had forgotten that they were an HOUR ahead in time zones, and that I wouldn't be the absolute FIRST call of their day. I was actually worried for a moment- what if they pull this shit all the time?..and that owner is now just 'Out for the day'..Whatever the case is, I was ready to hash it out.


I dial up, and "Wer'e sorry.."


Jesus christ, did I get the number wrong? Am I so emotional that I simply am not DIALING correctly?


I try the number again. Nope. Not In Service. Un fuckin' real.



Of course, I called my intial connect, to see if they knew what was up; They knew all about it! Turns out, the owner of the place ordered all SORTS of things, from all SORTS of sellers, and simply didn't have the money to pay, closed up shop. The End.



I felt, surprsingly relieved to learn it wasn't personal; It wasn't due to the work, or a wrong address, etc,...

 I mean, more than the condescending attitude from the seller, the constant tear downs from the people I loved, or the fact that I was given no heads up about the situation while I busted my ass for weeks on end- it didn't outweigh the fact that with this mass production type beadwork only mattering to ME, with a certain DISREGARD, that what I was recieving from this was something BETTER  than MONEY- an understanding of what mattered MOST; My love of a thing- of ANYthing...that CREATING, and what is CREATED, should always be sourced from a will of enjoyment, of pleasure, deep gratitude- of course, true LOVE.... and I would never hinder it's dominion again.


As far the work, I think I DID eventually sell it at other events....

and NOW, I wonder if, outside of this memory, I kept anything else from it at all.





Making Choices, and Living Them                                                                       7.23


It was in my 20s when I saw that life was going to be made up of both good stuff and bad, no matter where, who, when, or why.

..and while there was a sad death there to see reality,  in all it's glory, as the predictable mundane set of events that I so dread, I was also given a new sumptin somthin:  I was also presented with a choice.


See, because every new learning presents us with our RESPONSE to a thing. Sure, react to a slap in the face, or a thrust in the heart- but what we choose to KEEP from an experience...well, that's just exclusively OURS...and NO ONE gets to decide how we are gonna walk, what we carry, or HOW.


That's when I looked at people in my life, who were, for whatever reason unable to hold anything with me other than their negativity, and had to decide how I MIGHT choose to HOLD THEM, regardless of what I felt they 'deserved'.


And, that, what I DESERVED was to be the person I really wanted to BE- that included a light heart,a discerning mind, and an unbreakable bond to loving life..I decided to be stronger than hate ever could be.


You could call it unconditional..I call it an eternal flame..because it will never die out, no matter how much anything tries to extinguish it, no matter how many lifetimes of burden- it is a choice in how you anchor your Self, FOR your Self and is a testament ..........to how things COULD be, if choose them:

Loving, beautiful, and yours.





Heavy questions- Light answers                                                                          7.23


When I was about 3 or 4 or something, a colleague of my moms was over at our tiny little Chicago apartment on this super hot day. I remember because it was a summer saturday and usually, we were doing chores, but she had extra work that took both of them to problem solve and was going to be a full day event.


They sat at the diningroom table, with the long golden shades slightly drawn. Sun was blaring through the center window, and intensely onto the wall, which at first I wondered why my mom let happen- but those curtains wouldn't really be enough to block all the light anyway, plus, a breeze was trickling in the center window, so the trade off was worth it.


We had a large fan we would keep in the livingroom window, which would pull air out of the place and pull cool air in from the hallway, and presumably neighbors ACs, now that I think about it - and if you sat on the couch, you could feel the breeze come in from the cracks around the front door, which was directly opposite the window and couch.


Fortunately, the sun wasn't hitting in this part of the apartment at ALL, so it made an ideal spot to sit and sink deeper into a scorchscape haze of thought- with no real ending in mind..just an endless sizzle of waiting for dark- for cool stars.


They were working away when mom decided to just stop because the heat was blazing any mental work- the sun was changing position, and while it would soon fall, was far from it at the moment, becoming even stronger than before- like a last minute swan song.


I understood how they must have felt; I was just lying around on the couch near the livingroom fan, taking moments to play in my closet playroom-which was cooler since the door was shut, but got stuffy if you were in there longer than an hour or so.


She was getting something from the ice box when her pals attention turned to me:

"Hey there..what ya doin'?" He asked.

"Not much" I piped up..I was really happy to have some conversation and maybe show my whole doll collection off- which, was a loooong row of plastic dolls, and rag dolls, and blocks and whatever.

I would often find things at the park like rocks, or shells, or broken toys that I thought were cool- and boy, was I ready to rattle this persons EAR OFF about EVERY LAST ONE!


So, I start showing this guy the dolls, you know- the names, what their little personalities are all about, what their purpose is in relation to all the OTHER dolls.


...and he askes" So , like, whose their leader?"

"Well I AM"..I replied " I mean, what would they DO WITHOUT ME to show them how things work??" I looked openly annoyed at this point. Not only was he asking irrelivant questions, but he wasn't paying ATTENTION to what REALLY mattered ( Dolls whose names and purposes nobody knows anymore).


"Well, sure.." he said" But, like, how do you know whats good for em?" he said with a grin.

I could see right away, that this adult thought he was SMART, and that this conversation, was about to cut to the quick...


I was a pretty salty child with an inquisitive mind, and it was easy for me to pick up on other peoples intentions, vibrations and basic demeanor in an instant- still didn't stop me from trying to sit them ALL down to explain the intricacies of my dollhood- especially with a smart ass like this guy. He was clearly asking me all sorts of questions to simply NOT listen to what I HAD to say...and I wasn't ok with that.


I mean, it was hot as hell, and I was bored out my mind, which, in some ways was HIS fault to my 3 year emotional maturity, and furthermore, he was wasting valuable time- namely DOLL SPECS.

" I know whats good for them, because 'I' create them. Without ME, they wouldn't be here at ALL..and they know that" I snapped.


"Well, how do you know that?" This guy was now openly challenging me..and I was wondering if it wasn't about time my mom showed up with a cool down, because I started fuming.


"I know that because they told me so" I said calmly.


"They told you? Do they speak?" He replied, clearly enjoying this.. 


"OF COURSE they do" I said. 


"You mean you actually hear them say stuff? no you dont..c'mon" he said with a smirk.


"You just aren't listening right" I responded. I WAS really trying to help the guy..I  mean, he couldn't even hear basic DOLLS speaking thier hidden language ( which by the way, is somewhere between a whisper and an intense gaze).


"Are you SURE? Isn't it POSSIBLE that theres a BIGGER leader? Even one for YOU?? That perhaps is the REAL leader and KNOWS BETTER for them than you do?" He started chuckling. 


"There IS a bigger leader than me- my MOM" I replied.


He laughed, replying "Yes, but I mean, a leader of ALL the moms..of all the dolls".



"You're talking about God" I said. I could see where this was going, and like right on schedule, there we went.


"You know about God?" He replied.


My mother walked in and heard this last bit..and how we got to this deep shit philisophical discussion, well, only GOD knows...I honestly just wanted to play with some fuckin dolls.


"Oh yes" mom sliced in "She was very curious about 'where we came from' right away..and seemed to understand the concept easily".


"Oh" said her coworker. He seemed somewhat deflated. He had been enjoying the spar and jab during this heated meltdown of an afternoon, but was really getting curious as to how a 3 year old might break down once broken on some pretty unanswerable philisophical questions, and NOW it seemed like my reinforcements had arrived, and he would simply lose his opportunity to really find out.


"I know about God" I said, choosing to continue to discussion, no matter where it led.


"Oh really" he responded, happy that I did so.


My mother was fluttering about, getting snacks on the table, moving the crumpled, humid papers from the diningroom table..listening, yet not.


"You learn about God in school, or at home, or what?" He continued on with his line of questioning.


"Don't know.." I responded (because, at 3 or 4 or some shit, you really DON'T remember things all that well)"..but God would be who you're talking about..the leader of ALL the dolls, EVERYWHERE in the world".


"Well, kinda" he replied, sort of smiling.


Mom poured some random drink into glass cups and brought them TO us from the diningroom table. I didn't particularly care for whatever was in it, but was happy to have something cool to touch- even if it was momentary; As much as this guy wasn't done with me, I wasn't finished with him either. The drink was a nice break between rounds.


He finished his quickly, almost like a shot, and looked back at me.


"So. What IS GOD?" he asked glibly.


Strangely enough, I knew exactly how to respond- maybe because I was a kid, and knew that,  ANY answer wouldn't matter really...to grownups in adultland- I could've answered 'pinapple ponies on a sundae with rainbows' and I would have been given an E for effort simply for being creative about it..


And while I could have been perhaps a bit more articulate, I simply went with what sounded right to my 3 year old ears:


"God is." I said.


"Yeah..." he said" ..that's what I asked you..'What is God'?".


"God Is." I replied.


"Sure..ok..that's what I'm asking YOU." he responded, starting to slow his speech down a bit "What..IS..God..you said 'ruler of all the dolls and moms..so wheres God? What does he look like? How does God sound when he talks?"


"God sounds like God is" I replied. I knew I was sounding a bit cryptic, even at that early age, but I honestly had no other words to articulate what I meant.


The sun was starting to set, and they sky was finally turning a golden orange, taking over the constant heatfry that was light blue all day. I looked towards the livingroom windows, and could see the sun setting along the rooftops of buildings, which were still wafting heatwaves up into the air.


The last of the days rays beamed in through the glass, got caught in my blonde eyelashes and made small rainbows everywhere I looked. I grabbed my glass and drank the cold liquid as I felt oddly happy with the moment.


"NO. God IS" I said as firmly as a 3 year old could.


"'God IS God IS'..what do you mean by THAT?" he asked


"God is that I wished it was cooler out..and God is when the rain falls..God is when I eat dinner, and when I see my friends. Sometimes God is when I chase the birds and sometimes when I go to bed." I said.


He just sort of looked at me, dumbfounded..like he never considered it like that, and didn't say another thing.


And, now that we had THAT out of the WAY, we could get BACK to how God MATTERED MOST:

As dolls in my closet.



Discovering Fire                                                                                                                                    3.23


A small detail that seems small is sometimes nothing of the kind. A small detail, can, in fact, be a larger headset simply hidden in the mist.


Take for instance my predicament at a Dead show way back when...Making beaded wares on the road, like necklaces and bracelets is only HALF the battle; catching rides and trying to string beads, only make happy bedfellows, NEVER- and if you're camping a'la under-a-highay-billboard, good luck retrieving those beads out the grassy fields. So, actually FITTING the TIME in, to actually MAKE the work is ONE thing...


...the OTHER part to that is actual SALES. Like time OUT selling your wares- at a concert, in a local town, at a local crafts show as a walk-around, add-on vendor..you know, whatever gig comes along an artists way, who happens to be thumb tripping wi a teeny entourage.


At least my companions understood my plight... and quite compassionately so; they would watch me make tooth-and-claw bead trades along the journey- making AMAZING deals with these micro treasures only to LOSE them in the new moon plagued fields, or a watery marsh campsite- or simply long forgotten about in the hazy trunk of some sweet ride that jams you all the way into your destination...well shit! the PAIN..the PAIN y'all..lol.


Of course, small potatos road sales are always these teeny under-the-table get-by money exchanges...and sometimes not even that!..could easily be a ride in exchange for a beaded work...or; ' ooops- someone ran up a long distance phone bill' ( before cell popularity)- but Lo! someones willing to exchange a beaded thing for the bill..a place to crash, a meal, more supplies, a lesson, a nightmare and perhaps even a leech. But still, dollars to donuts, beads paid their way, and pulled their weight.


Adding on to that:

I will say, my experience with bartering my work has taken equal validity to the kingdom of cash at pretty much every point in my life- from these smaller exchanges, all the way to a wall of medical plaques..


There hasn't been ANY point in my life ,where my ART hasn't pretty much, saved my ASS- and for that I hold deep gratitude..if you WORK in CONJUNCTION with the Creative Order, there IS a design there to implement the work- even if it doesnt PAY- it can still SUSTAIN..and for me, that's just as well.

Artwork: It IS a fair trade.. man does not live by bread alone.


So, ONE thing you learn fairly quickly, is the concept of warmth. Even the easy living of  a glistening late summer sunset can turn into an early october evening frost fast, and nothing says warmth like the comfort of a hotel room, hot shower or meal..or a basic coat with sturdy shoes that lend the promise of miles of adventure to come.


..and in these moments of art-to-mouth living, cash, is indeed king.

No one can ignore the court of cash, especially in the height of holly..those hard earned coins can really add up after a few gigs, especially with a bit of wise planning.. you can line up whatever you might need until the weather warms up again next year.


Naturally, the SALES really matter, so ANY advantage to creating dollars at any given event is well worth practicing... which is why, when, you are selling sales on foot, any way to make to transactions more efficient is a godsend. You know, making the exchange faster, more turnover, sell more per hour, etc..




Which Lead Me to a Stick


Not something that sounds like a big deal until youve really done a few 3-4-5 day 24 hr music thing, THEN you KNOW: animals be ravaging EVERY last resource, every flower picked, every port-a-potty filled, and yes folks, you guessed it; not a goddamn tree branch for miles.


Needless to say, if you aren't walkin in with it, tradin' for it, or being the first to harvest it, it simply ain't there...all that is normally found after a music event is a bunch well worn dirt paths, a couple silvery cigarette wrappers, a broken spoon, a forgotten about item or a bra, or panties, or a sock...always some sign of human wear.


So, after standing in the blazing sun with my wares on my ARM for a good long while, I spy this rainbow fairy, spiriting this gnarly ass stick with necklace strung about!! It was like the gold standard in showcasing ones wares!

I mean, my god- just think of it: Organic AF so your stuff looks nice, a super chill way to display and switch ARMS ( what a concept), and holy shit branches are FREE.


Well, wait..I'm looking around..SURELY theres gotta be some dumbfuck branch around here SOMEwhere..but you know, the more I looked at this stoned girls branch the more select that branch seemed to be...or maybe I was just super high- whatever the case, I decided to test the waters, see how attached she really was to that branch..would she be willing to trade for it?


"So, you sell necklaces..cool" I start in..

"Yep, I sell them right here from this here tree branch"..was she fucking with me? did she somehow KNOW I was REALLY eyeballing the tree branch..I swear to fuck.

"Yeah..I really love how you are displaying it..that's cool- you grab that around here for the event then..?" I ask. I figured, well shit, if she isn't gonna trade maybe I could score my own branch from the source somewhere inside where I hadn't noticed. Even if this tree was in a risky place, like up a wall and continuing on up a tree..I was betting I could find a super stoner who would LOVE to get me a stupid limb in trade for a bracelet or something.


But no. She launched in" Oh my god, NO..this is a SACRED branch..."

'Okay, so this bitch ain't ever letting this stick go' I'm thinking'..and it also sounds like it ain't from around HERE'

"..and from the sacred well from who-the-fuck-cares we saw an angel bless us when we were shrooming, and my boyfriend said he saw a rat, with a bat, and they were sleeping under a mat! So he knew it was TRUE, and THAT is how we BEGAN our journey to go find Sarah" she blathered on and on..


Honestly, I'm sure however she eventually got to the part where she aquired this tree branch was cool and all, but it was hot as fuck out, I was already dehydrated trying to sell shit, and at this point I was just feeling duped into storytime with someone who wasn't worried about time OR cash.


I noticed how WELL that stick sold HER wares. This branch was super swirly, almost like a wooden candy cane, and while the bark had long since fallen off, the softness of the tan pulp almost looked like suede, actually GRIPPING the necklaces while she danced around, jingling bells.

I swear to god this girl had a joint in her hand almost the entire event and still manage to sell a necklace every time I looked over at her.

Her stuff was pretty ideal in a basic way: Easily identifiable stones in a meh setting, on a plated chain...No one really cares at 2pm, already grooving out on whatever about grader quality...A silver looking chain with a pretty stone, like an amethyst or citrine is all one really WANTS out of a necklace all drunk n shit.

....and her swirly stick was just that extra kick to throw those jewels in some drunk persons face. Real 'up close and personal',  as it were. lol

'Oh, what do you have there'? some drunk tie dye would ask her...

...and she would SHOVE that shi WAY up in there, almost stepping on other people

"OH" they would say..I swear, I suspect some people might have been buying stuff just to get the stick out of their faces..but everyone always seemed smiley with whatever they eventually put around their neck.


"So, you wouldn't ever trade that stick away, huh" I asked.. I mean, if you never ask...

"OH MY GOD NO" she cried out..The tunes almost got paused on that- heads were turning; Ok, JF, who pissed off a cute stoned fairy.?

She could tell I wasn't gonna buy or trade one of her crappy ass necklaces, and was really just interested in the stick- but she did manage to mention "a bush or two" by some food vendor stand.


At least, I might be able to find something if a gave a look. I soon ducked out as the sun was pushing some pretty harsh rays out, and it felt like our moment engaging had passed.

I went to go hunt down a bush.






While I really didn't want to go looking for sticks, that bush she mentioned happened to be riiight next to the water and shaded areas, etc...It was really on the way, to my choice of chill..


I'm looking and looking..I don't see shit. Granted, I'm not circling the palace, but damn..she WAS smokin' all day long, and maybe she just said 'a bush existed' cuz she felt bd, and wanted to offer me a consolation of sorts..? But just then, like 500 hippies got their dreamsicles, and parted off the Mr.TasteeFreeze stand to reveal this tiny ass bush.


THIS was IT? Ok, techinically it WAS a bush..but this was NOW reduced to the local piss plant...I mean, there was a bruh peeing on it, AS I approached.


I look to see, like, one left over french fry bag, a loogie, and a shitton of what looks to be the glistening raindrops of gold leaves..


Yep, no way in hell this is gonna provide a fuckin' stick..well wait. I'm now thinking that this just could NOT be what she meant. I decided to poke around..go around the backside of the vending area..no one was really back there..and while there WAS a wall up, it looked more like a temporary construction wall with light burlap fabrics here and there...just a blowin' in the wind, behind this whole row of food trucks.


Like, burlap? Who PLANNED this event..? God did it ever look chaotic and random back there. Secure, sure- it does't LOOK like anyones scaled this side of the parameter ( at least not yet)..Kind of looks like a junkyard back there.....and now that I was getting closer I could see some small construction stuff like a crane...and at THIS point, I as acually beginning to think that it WAS a construction site- just sort of randomly on the OTHER side of this drug induced music rager.


Seriously, who PLANNED this event.?


It was oddly very barren, with 0 people over there..it's not like it was closed off to the public or anything like that- It was just BEHIND the trucks, so naturally, no human was really going over there- not even the drunks or make out kids because it was way too hell out in the open for any such nonsense.


But, for whatever reason, at this moment in time, there was just me and this yellowish orange butterfly zoomin all over the place. I decided I found my tribe, and followed suit..just walking along this corridor letting the sunlight splattered fence lead the way.


Eventually, I saw a couple of vendors who just finished smoking a square frowning my way before hurrying back to the hustle, but that was the last people in that area for the next eternity. I hung out, walking along this stretch for what felt like forever in between a 200 yards.


I could hear people all around laughing and chatting..and music resting in the distance like a far mountain range. Me and my butterfly were just blissed out- and a cool breeze came gushing by, blowing this rather larger burlap tarp to the side of me.


Andas my gaze move upwards from the flapping fabric, there it stood; the mother load of all gnarly trees. I couldn't believe it. That girl was telling true..!or was she..? Maybe she really WAS referring to that disgusting bush. But either way, I was totally dumbfounded.

Not only because I actually found a gnarly tree, but mostly because the tree seemed to remain untouched by hippie hands.


I was SO ready to find a fallen stick somehere on the ground..just one snag- that fuckin' tree was on the OTHER side of this fence, and to boot, is NATURALLY leaning AWAY from the fence.


'This is not going to be easy' I thought to myself.







That's Why God invented Hippie Boys



Still seemingly far away from any notice of ANYone, I'm starting to think I should just shimmy up there, but I'm in some cotton gauzy skirt which had already ripped 14 times- I wanted the stick, but not runnin'-around-in-nothin-but-my-panties desparate for a fuckin' stick. I didn't have a needl and thread on me- Hell, I didnt even have a SAFETY PIN..


I could just see it: I go up this tree, and when I get down I have 4 gauzy rags, and I'm running around with a stick..Oh yeah- that's NOT DRAMA waiting to fuck me up...I mean, even streetniks have their standards :-D and besides, I was betting on my current squeeze to help out in this dept.


Seeing that this tree had very little chances to be robbed blind of leave and limb, I set off to go find the car, and tailgating pals, which, for some reason was like, EXTRA difficult on THIS very hot ass day; Seems like someone in the group, needed to go into town and had to repark the car waaaaaaaaaaaay where NO ONE, and I mean no one would have EVER thought to look.


It was the 'Damn-are-you-sure-this-is-concert-parking?' parking lot. You know that lot- they ran out of space, but had this extra, unmarked, cracked pavement, half dandilion parking lot, that no one thought they would EVER have to brush off..Yeah. THAT lot..that's where they were.


Funny thing tho about this lot, it's usually this strange mix of ticketless moochers and naive concert attendees who are all stunned that they aren't allowed back in to the main area, and your coveted spot has been LONG since taken bruh...Seriously, WTF did you need in town, you couldn't HITCH for?? Or go find some wacko, stoned out, bicycle groupie, who would be more than HAPPY to take you on their 4 person rainbow bicycle for soomething simple, like listening to all their bullshit about how many shows they attended??


I mean, damn, is it THAT hard?. But, no. Not you. You gotta fucking drag the WHOLE entourage along for the deal. Yeah...that WOULD be my group...but, can they climb a tree..?  that's the REAL question.


I finally get over there. Wait, did I drink any water at ALL? I was right there by the food trucks,  and so overwhelmed by this tree situation, I really hadn't considered that. I had a few sips at the fountain, but not much else..I wasn't expecting a 'tree branch quest'...but no one expected I'de be looking for my own damn ride across the universe either.


I go through every row, of every LOT I could find, with people gabbing, smiling drunkards... and incense wafting in&out of rainbow banners, and cigarette puffs... but my ride? Fuckin' nowhere. I'm actually getting PISSED and simultaneously PANICKED- this was before cell phones, and minus my immediate pouch, that car had pretty much everything I was touring with.


FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-no wait!..my ears pricked up..I finally heard some famililar dumb ass laughter off the side of the FURTHEST lot from the concert..like, behind a chain link BUSH- you wouldn't have even KNOWN its a LOT, lot. So, some rando lot on the OTHER side of this earthly dimension. Jesus fuck, am I ever grateful- but super angry too.


I'm looking and looking, and there's just no end to this bushed chain link fence...seriously, HOW did they get in? Did they EVEN park at ACTUAL concert parking? Or did those idiots THINK they were in parking, and it's really like a LAWN, or some other unmarked area just tailgating..??


'Crazy', people. Not STUPID. There is a HUGE difference between outlandish behavior, and fuckin' stupid behavior- especially when my gear is involved.


I walked waaaay down like 6 rows of parked cars-along this chain link with greenery ( which was pretty much growing thru it at this point), and like magik! There's this little entryway of an opening. You couldn't take a CAR through it- maybe a golf cart, if you squeezed??? 

And, of course, the chain link continues on and on towards the main area..but I turn in, and see a weeeee speck of a clan, all har-haring it up , louder than shit..'OF COURSE that's my group' I say to myself as I'm rolling my eyes.






Hippe antics and a Whole Lot More


So, I get there all parched, in 90 degree heat:

"Damn, WTF? Why are you out HERE?" I ask.

"Oh..." someone began. Everyone was sitting around a circle next to the car, with a couple people playing with toys like poi sticks and kites and whatever.."We had to get supplies"

Which was such a wuss way of saying 'I'm the one who fucked up, and now were way the hell away from the concert, but I'll never admit that'


"Okay" I begin. I really want help and tote a few stoners to this tree sight but everyone is looking blazed AF, and the concert starting in an hour or so, I'm feeling that branch slip right through my fingers, and not only an extra display limb for sales, but my own limbs were BEAT.


I had been standing for hours, no hat of course ( beacause 'what's that'), .....and while the sun was still strong, there was that late afternoon heat wind gush that was starting to emerge. Sure, it was a HEAT blast of an air wave, but it was better than the stagnation of the sweltering NONair of 4000 humans deciding to congregate and dance around...


I was starting to appreciate whoever the fuck decided to go into town a lot more than I expected. "Anyone got water? I'm fucking parched"


Not a response in sight. Jesus lord- did these people just go into town? How many bulbs did this group even OWN.

"Na" said my pal Dave" We got beers though"


'OOOOKKKK..it's gonna be one of THESE kind of nights' I'm adding it up:

1. Beers before appetizers...

2.The lot in the middle of nowhere...

3.Last people out...

4.The market just closed yall


Yeah, were not selling shit.

'Do i even BOTHER mentioning this tree?' I'm asking myself. I seriously doubt anyone in this chillE lax circle of easy breezies, is gonna want to leave THIS watering hole, let alone go expel energy in this dry, hot climate. 

I mean, it's not like anyone brought their ropes, or shoes ( do flops count? lol) or had any camoflauge about them (like no one's gonna noticed four flying monkey rainbow sprites dashing OVER the parameter) ..and THIS loudy rabble; all DRUNK on miller 'High Lifes' are SURE to be as well blended as that joint that was now being sported all over the place. Let me tell you-  that church in Rome has NO purifcation smoke-no heavenscent- no nirvana inlaced incense like THIS torched ballast of a spliff.


Heads started turning for MILES, curiously trying to figure out why a chain linked bush was wafting smoke...and their favorite kind.


Naturally, this was the DANKEST shi anyone could have rolled, so OF COURSE let's smoke it at a drug free closed event. My god, maybe this tree idea would just save us all- and I might as well join 'em before I launch in with my tree shit..There was seriously no one for miles- might as well help smoke the evidence and drink this here beer, which I did...


....and it was as satisfying as my expectations, which, if you think about, is really BETTER than a thing itself; Obtaining an actual MATERIAL, is only HALF the experience- and some of the BEST experiences you can have happen with the right perspective, is a stale piece of bread, after famine for 2 days...It is better remembered, better appreciated than all the 5 star buttered toasts UNrememebered, and UNvalued as a poignant event...enriching? sure..but AFTER all that, you get back to what really saved, what REALLY salvaged, what really stuck- a stick, or a sticker....it's pretty much all the same.




 I should add, right about here:

While, my craziness is probably one of the most CONSTRUCTIVE forms of a creative mania one could manage, I am, first an foremost a REALIST...and I was really really not interested in tailgating past the point of the actual show, which was something like 30 miutes till doors opened, and we should have realllly been moving towards that door area around now..


I'm not really a sweater on this sort of thing however- I mean, we get IN there after opening, who CARES.?..It's usually an opening act, or whatever..plus, I have been known to ditch whole EVENTS if it suits me (and BTW, J, I do formally apologize for robbing you blind of their very last concert event of their career..lol..but the sunstroke really HAD done a job on me, and with no water for hours- was really no surprise- yet still, On relfection, I probably could have just stroked out INSIDE the gate-lol ).



'Yeah, it's time to get rolling" I'm thinking to myself...Everyone looks buzzed and receptive... No one's blabbing away on some dumb shit."OK! So, I saw this vendor...."

I explain the situation and the tree..


A couple 'add-ons' to the now LARGER stoner circle, is giggling in response..and my group is like 'Hmmm...Well, where the F is this TREE.?'


So I explain that it's over by AAALLLLLL   the amentities..Seriously folks, hungry stoners..nothing's finer.








We're walking for what seems like HOURS- the heat seriously had not let UP..ALL these gushes were just heat! heat! heat! I seriously felt like I was in the Twilight Zone- buzz groove on 'Fry', but the energy of the people attending this concert was simply outshining any NOTION of a sun stroke afternoon. 


Kids were doing flips off of cars, waving flags, and dancing around mini blazers. Believe me when I tell you, someone must have brought pixie dust to the concert, because thi shit was like next level xbox mode.


I'm not gonna lie, the car flipoing and bubble wands were cool.. and I was still pretty thirsty for water- especially after my looong gone beer, and 'ditch-the-dandilion-cracks-in-ballet-flats' hike to the main area, which was getting more and more crowded with concert goers.


'Maybe this stick idea is just stupid- whatever'I thought '.. it got everyones ass moving to actually ATTEND the concert they drove miles to see...'Seriously, give those tickets AWAY if you aren't going in, but LSD always has another say, and tonight was going to include Lucy in every which way but down.


"So, where is it?" Dave says

"It's kinda hidden, and there's a ton of people around, maybe we should just bail.."

"Nono- I wanna see this tree" he replied

"YEAH" chimes in this other guy "Where the fuck is it..?" Kind of teasing me at this point- like it doesn't even exist. Even still, I hesitated to go show my new found secret off- even with ol'e dickhead challenging me with stupid questions like 'Does this tree actually exist'- the show was going to start soon, and I didn't want to be responsible to the destruction of a complete tree.


I mean, if WE found a way to scavange some branch, it would only be a matter of time before some wandering gazing hippie eyes would notice this escapade, and join in the frolic for their own who-the-fuck-knows-why-THEY-need-a-branch, stoned agenda.


 I will add at this point,  that I once attended this Dylan concert and this one stick was the center of attraction the whole scene through, and there were bidding wars on this stick in the end..so, never think that people wont pay good money for stupid shit- in a hipster lot stripped of every resource, even a stick is gold- they DO, and they always will. 


"Okay" I say..so I'm walking toward the Tastee Freeze and golden pee bush.

"IS THIS IT???" says Other Guy

"Do you really think I would talk about scaling THIS? Jesus fuck.." I replied and simply walked towards the back area..I'de rather THAT fellow just go on his merry way- I mean, he WAS some pal, but GOD was he ever being ANNOYING LOUD at a moment where discretion was needed.


I could just see Other Guy now: Beer in one hand, joint in the other- and him SCREAMING down a tree, and across the courtyard: "THIS ONE???YOU WANT THIS??" like a big, loud ol'e dumbass that he WAS when he drank- which, OF COURSE, he was now.


Dave caught up with me..

"So, seriously.. where the fuck you going?"

I just scowled, and replied bitterly "The fucking TREE Dave..jesus christ..are you high?"

Which, of course, he knew I KNEW, that he was high, and that I didn't mean ANYthing pleasant with that little remark.


He looked at me, and replied dryly "Well,you just seemed to go off, I didn't KNOW this was the WAY..."

I just kept walking on, and as he followed me, I saw the burlap wrapper still aflyin' in the breeze, and,as my reply, shoved his faced in an GNARLY tree, which now had  stars all aglow behind it, even with the sun still slowly setting.


He looked up like he had just seen God himself, and ran off. 

'Oh no..' I thought to myself 'What monster did I just create.??' We ALL knew that acid was probably kicking in right about now, and that, Other Guy would have this loudy monster response when Dave finally shared the news.


'I better nip THIS shit out quick' I thought to myself; If I could just cut this guy off early, and be like; "NOW. OTHER GUY. SHUT your FUCKING MOUTH for TWO SECONDS...mmmkay? So we can actually GET the branch..think 007..077 shhh..ok, now go"kind of vibe..If I could only do THAT BEFORE he reaches the tree, this acid trip might work out just right for the assignment.

Right on cue,they come running towards the tree with two other guys.


I began cut Other Guy off-

"HEY" I say

"Whats up??" He replies

"You need to be sorta quiet about this, ok? You dont need any attention, got it?" I said, as we were almost sprinting along- he wasn't stopping to listen to what I HAD to say.


The show was gonna start soon, and as I watched them run ahead, I hesitated to even go OVER there. I was ready to do something ELSE- like listen to live music, the reason we were there??  But I hated the thought of just ditching the group, especially since I was the once who suggested it.


I'm waiting for the response to ring across the land, but nothing! Instead, Other Guy starts running back to me.

"Okay..which branch you want" says Other Guy

Oh..well shit, I hadn't thought about that. I was thinking more like dead branch lying around, but now Other Guy is really on board with his goal. " I was thinking DEADwood bro...Don't go cutting off limbs 'n' shit..don't do THAT" I reply.

"NONO..theres a whole dead LIMB" he says.


Ok..so, we all walk back there, and the sun IS actually setting..It's quite the perfect time for a heist.









     Wait, What Happened..?


"You know, it's not like I don't want to DO this, just not right NOW..let's go in already" I jaggedly cut in to the adventure vibe. This whole thing started with me wanting a stick for SALES, not really for a statement or souvenir.

"Ok" says someone "You go on ahead, we'll be there".


Okay, fuckin' fine.It's only a matter of time before they run in and join- I'm done...and so was a handful of other people who were more than happy to catch up to some new vibes, new toys and fresh tunes.


Off we start towards the doors as I heard a faint " See you soon", and wandered through thick crowds, towards the turnstiles, and through the doors.


The spectacles in the parking lots are usually never as intense as the energy WITHIN, and THIS show felt like wall to wall rainbows last for all eternity. The last golden rays of the sun were dimming down, as psychedelic images from neon screens were beginning to swirl around everyones aura. Dancers with streamers started swimming by. Hard bodied, shirtless guys with sparkly, shakey spray bottles laced with everything was being splashed down like nectar from the gods.

It was slow motion, and fast forward all at once, on a cloud to cloud pillow- light stepping it every which way but beyond.


I never really stayed in one spot at events like these, and this time, my pattern was same as it ever was, surprisingly however, not running into my other mates, nope. Not a one. I seriously had no idea where they were, and while I should have felt super concerned about it, I actually didn't because I knew where the car wasnow,  and had very little remorse either waiting or busting a window to get my gear later on, if need be. That, and I was having too good a moment to really consider anything else, which was probably a good thing.


Eventually, I'm walking towards this vending area and I see Dave.

"Oh, hey" I sing out "How's it goin" I'm dancing around to some shit, sort of half listening.

"I'm good, but those other guy got into it with some security guys" he replies

"WTF happened?" I'm starting to sober up

"They started climbing that tree, and one guy dropped down to the other side. The securirty guys saw them trying to break limbs off, but seemed cool about it" he replied.

"Um, ok..so..where is everyone?" I ask

"Oh..yeah, I really dont know- Charlie fell flat off his ASS, off THAT TREE..heehee....I split with Other Guy, and he hooked up with his gf earlier..he's here somewhere...." Dave says as he starts looking around.


At this point, I'm really considering what's-his-name. The guy who owns the car. "So, um... shouldn't we be lookin' for Pete, or whatever his name is? How did you want to get back to the campsite..?"I ask. Normally, I'de be WAY cool with a 4-5 mile walk home..just a stroll back and who cares, but the gear..the GODDAMN gear. Fuck! Why does the common sense seem  to always fall on ME.


Plus, the campsite wasn't a STROLL...this one was like a solid 35 minute ride on the road at 55 mph, and just KNEW it would end up with us not making it back til dawn- and the morning we would be hitting the road for the next show. NOW I see why we all dosed with extra to spare..this was going to be a loooong haul to the next resting point.


"Well, FUCK Dave..what'ya THINK?" I ask. He could see I was getting pissed off at the situation and have been known to go from fun to flat, on a dime.

"Relax. Just relax" He says, looking blankly at me.

Really..is this a fucking meditation course..? I have rainbow hippie BULLshit thrown in my face all DAY, last thing I expected was this from a pal.

"Um, no Dave, you can fuck right off" I reply.

He looked all stunned. At this point, I'm getting ready to simply split, and just go back to the car to find another ride out. 

"Well, look, just wait..will you just wait a minute..?"He says, and as he reaches down into his pocket, he pulls out the keys to the fucking car.

Jesus christ he seriously could have LEAD with that tidbit. "Ok, cool" I reply.


But I can see Dave in still in shock mode, that I was already 5 feet out the door and onto another plan. I never understood that really- he and I were friends, and while I dated his friend, he and I were never bosom buddies so much as peas in a pod.


"No worries Li" He says" were here till whenever" with a smirky grin. God only knows what that REALLY meant, what was REALLY going on in Daves head.


Dave was a really cool guy, really earthy..but that didn't mean he wasn't a freakazoid alien maniac who was barely holding it under a cool placid demeanor of chill.  With a touch of worn-in faded blue jeans, Dave always had this certain intensity about him, that I could never quite put my finger on ..he had a manish face and a heavy mustache at times. His hair was a longer dark brown, and his hazel eyes could sometimes catch the light, giving him a piercing blue intensity to his gaze, and in whatever it was he was trying to convey.


This time was exactly that. "Were good. You want a soda?" He asked.

At that moment I really didn't want a soda so much as a cigarette, and boy did I love me some tobacco in those days. I always preferred the cheap, and while filtered cigarettes were probably better FOR me, they were dry in taste, and lacked a certain flavor that roll-your-own, filterless 'Drum Tobacco' offered. 


This sort of tobacco would have a soft note when first inhaled- sort of like fresh laundry and sweet flowers dipped in coffee...it would flood right into the blood stream being filterless, and when exhaled tasted as sweet as when inhaled. It made the cigarettes intense and long lasting, as the burn time would be slower with this stuff. It had an oil to it, that made it springy when handled. It didn't look like leaves so much as little curly threads, that you had to balance into a folded paper...honestly too much skill to do at times, but this wasn't one of them.


I later discovered that the Canadian Drum tobacco (Holland) was not sourced from the same as the US Drum tobacco (South America)..the tastes were literally between 'I Love This' and 'I'de never buy this again'. So my craving for a cigarette was amplified by the thought of where the show was actually located. In CANADA..I was also really pleased, at that moment, knowing that Dave was a smoker.


"No, but I'de love a square"


We stood around for a bit, half waiting for Other Guy to reappear, but also sort of mutally gazing over the whole scene.. what we had chosen to join from a one-tourhead-to-another kind of space and said " Well, I sure do appreciate all that effort for a dumb ass branch- ha"

" Oh, no big deal, they were so stoned anyway- and then he knew the security guy. What were the chances of that one..?" Dave smirked, and his eyes seem to trail off into the distance, then focused on something far away, and said "I gotta run- see you after the show, ya?" He trailed off as he skipped off to wherever.


"Damn, where WERE you?" said an annoyingly famliar voice. Yup, my guy; in AAALLLLLL his cheerful joy, as much as a man holding a raincloud above his head like a halo possibly COULD.

"Yeah, hey there..why what happened..?" I asked

"Only that we had to scale that whole damn TREE, take that burlap crap OFF to scale it- and then security came and busted us for it, but it was cool- Fred knew the guy or whatever the fuck...wasn't that funny?" He said as he turned to his cohorts of the event.

"Yeah" said this short annoying guy " ...It was fuckin' awesome- the way He just scaled that tree, no big deal- no one knew that whole one side was rotten however....".

They all laughed and winked and nodded..I mean, good god, a 'man bond' as a side to the music thing? Jesus fuck, if you need to.

"Well cool..did anyone actually score any sticks to choose from?" I wondered and asked since no one seemed to be actually be volunteering that information willingly. It's cool they had an adventure, but music was still going strong, and lets get to the point.

"OMFUCK GOD, I seriously DOUBT IT Li..I mean, security..plus, that one guy..charlie fuckin fell ON the other side and had to walk all the way around...thank GOD he was high AF..he didn't give two shits about the bruising..ahHAHAHAHA.." He barked.


It was clear, no branch, and that these dorks had no real plan when they started the whole thing..I was kinda glad I missed it, as much fun as I considered it would have been to ACTUALLY SEE Charlie fall flat on his ass, I was never much of a cheerleader type.. . Spectator to dangerous events though? Now THAT'S another MATTER entirely- but not at the expense of music. Charlie's pain wasn't worth ALL THAT. :D


We rejoined the main stage area, and partied out for what felt like hours in between minutes...and actually it probably WAS. This was at an event that really didn't seem hard on the time, and the band had played a few extras..and then a few extra extras.....but what REALLY made it was the extra extra EXTRA extras.. That was probably when the crowd peaked, and felt completely satiated in a far-out, all-stellar psychedelic high, you just can't GET from anything but WAY past closing, and on an innerstellar trip to finding god.

And, yes, when it's THAT good, you simply dont WANT TO leave, but eventually all DO, as we eventually DID.


This time I seemed to be a bit later on the exit herds; people were finding good deals at the vendor tents right before closing up with last minute trades; New love was blossoming all around the soda stand; and the evening bats were swooping in around the stage lights, grabbing a choice moth or two as the noise level seemed to vanish. It was just the road crew now..closing up equipment..Those  bats knew it was really THEIR time to shine, because it was really THEIR stage, and everybody left behind knew it. 


According to THEM, those hippie heads were just avbreezin' through, to turn the LIGHTS ON for a buffet style munch, that those bats had come to know, and LOVE. Once in awhile a roadie would look up in a panick, and swoop at the air like 'GTF away".. I noticed this when everyone had cleared out..and I was one of the last people to leave.


I think that's really the best time of an event- strange but true..the 'before' and 'after' energies of a congregation are like thunderstorms that gather, and then later move on.While I love the actual performance of the lightening, rain and thunder, there's just something about 'befores' and 'afters' that's like no other part.


It reminds me of the same feeling someone might get before performing a play- how there is a heightened sense of excitement from everyone around, who, finally intersect with whatever part they are in this performance..from stage to costume, to lobby or lights, the 'befores' and 'afters' hold a special language of their own, with an energy available for a limited time only...and usually not to be duplicated ever again.


....and that's actually a really cool thing, because the NEXT experience of 'before' and 'afters' hold the very same satisfaction, all OVER AGAIN. It's just with a new set of performers, and players, and energies. Over time, there becomes an established trust that the only thing that IS permanent is yourself- Yourself in change- Yourself in change, as a constant good time. Road life is hard, but rewards unique like no other.


I couldn't help but pause, and just take it all in, the ugly lights, rainbow roadies shuffling around, defending themselves , and bats flying everywhere with stoned people grazing out in waves.


Being a shorty, I hardly EVER know what's going on around me in large crowds- I can never SEE over anything,and often get frustrated by slow moving herds that are normally not really focused on going forward motion with any sort of stride. But this time, I just went with the flow- allowing this slow ass moment to stretch out foreveeerrrrrr...literally was there long enough to overhear the dinner order from 2 roadies..people simply did NOT want to go home, and the crew fuckin knew it. They looked ready to join their touring wives, and children, and dogs, and what have you, they were already eating dinner while they packed it in.


I wondered, in these fading last moments "Now, would any of THESE guys BOTHER to pack up a dumb ass tree stick?" Drumstick, no doubt, but what sort of loyalty did the crew have to the GEAR iteself? I mean, that stoner girl carried that stick from the west coast to here..that's serious dedication' I thought, upon reflection of the matter at hand.






And I Thought I Was Dead-icated...




Wait, where the fuck IS everyone...? I hoped to GOD they were still floating around there somewhere..While I trusted my friends, I sure as shit didn't trust them high on whatever, chasing muff all across the summer...and this night was bringing in magik vibes all around the TOWN.


EVERYONE was geared up for THIS quiet, lesser known venue which , of course, was as explosive as religion was wide....and they came, and it was good...but now it was time to go.


So right when I'm passing out the turnstiles I see the guys...at least a handful of them and walk over. "Whats up"

"Hey" says one guy ....







Let Me Derail for a Moment:


As you have probably figured out by now, as a reader, my travel companions were mostly males. There's actually good reason and absolutely NO reason for this: 1.I was traveling with a popular love interest who always had groupies. Honestly, kind of annoying  2. The 'boys club' really preferred to keep it that way, but I was somehow cool enough to include 3. I enjoy the company of guys- I find them to be 'do'ers' rather than 'talkers', and I enjoy that sort of dynamic quite often- especially when it comes to listening to sound..kind of ironic since my current wont STFU, like EVER. :-D haha





"Whats up" he continued"- yeah..I really dont know what happened to em Dave"

"Well, they gotta be here somewhere..just keep looking, and I HAVE the keys, so if need be, we can drive back and drop you guys off, and come BACK to look for 'em..I mean, its either here or JAIL..they gotta be here somewhere" replied Dave looking kind of pissed.


It turned out that One Guy was supposed to keep an eye on good ole' Pete (or whatever the fuck his name was) .... who was, on his first? second acid trip EVER? This was someone Dave had met a couple days beforehand when we breezed into town getting a couple supplies for the days ahead. He was a local, who had never heard of the Grateful Dead, let alone been to a show, let alone tripped out at one, but Dave really seemed to like the guy, and felt completely called by God himself to freak the guy out on hippie intiation rituals that only Dave and his pals were privey to- so if often seemed.


But as the cars OWNER, it just wouldn't have been right to DITCH him there...and Dave was a bit of a skeptic- He didn't need shit from cops thinking that the guys car was STOLEN and now Daves on the hook. He was always thinking ahead like that,I had to hand it to him.


"Cool" I said" Well, let me go back to the car..if hes waiting by his own car, that would make sense..you guys can go look wherever". I figured even if the guy WASN'T by the car, at least one sole ass, lonley car filled to the BRIM with goodies, in the isolated lot , isnt completely butt raped for all its worth...that, I MIGHT BE that said butt rapin' thief if need be.... I mean, my gear was in there, we had to leave a few hours at this point.  Dave sounded consistent in plan, but fuck Dave really- he also had been known to do what he wanted at times.


"So, just give those keys to me Dave" I replied.


And here was where it got interesting- he looked up at me quickly, and said" I could, but I promised Petey that I'de take care of it..you know.."


Okay, I wasn't arguing tonight- at this point, everyone is still tripping balls but has a level head about them. That was something I truly appreciated with this crowd, they did drugs, but it was to ELEVATE not ESCAPE, and so, everyone was always super balanced, and rational.. even when way HIGH with heads exploding. That, and Dave seemed hella sober tryin to look for the guy..I think he just wanted to get packing up back at cmap too. We all agreed on his direction, and split up.


I was heading back and ran into a couple of tour buddies along the walk back- they seemed super buzzed on the events of the night and actually offered me a ride back to camp. Had it not been for my GEAR in that car, and then, DAVE sitting on those damn keys, I would have split right then and there- leave a post it on the windshield. I was always somewhat responsible like that :-D


We ended up chatting for a really long time, and the spliff going round and round kept everyone stuck there like little glue matts. Soon, enough the place was pretty thinned out..you could see beyond 40 ft ahead of you, and you could see the wounded field filled with rando garbage like water bottles, socks, crumpled papers and old cigarette boxes.


I see Other Guy at the same time he sees me, and starts walking over..

"Hey..whats up..I'm on my way back to car- No one can find Petey" I say

"FUCK him" starts Other Guy" Dave has the keys,lets just split".


I really felt what Other Guy was saying, and replied "Yeah, but it's HIS car..we dont want to drive around without the OWNER..THAT'S kinda fucked up" .


My tour buds now felt it was time to move on, we said our 'goodbyes' and I started to walk back towards Peteys wheels with Other Guy. "So" I asked" Did you have a good show, or..?"


" OH YEAH." he replied ' IT was SUPER KUSH, and I met this awesome bass- he was so fuckin kind"


I winced his direction..He met a fish..? Tf..? I honestly didn't care what he was saying, so I just listened on while we walked, really just scoping the area out, looking for good ol'e Petey , who has now become a golden LEGEND of a PRIZE in these peoples nearly peaking trip. God knows when we would find him; He's on wha...? He met wi wha....? You left him where, wha....????


I SO didn't want to look for this man, but after being at the car for about an hour I really started to fret. I saw a handful of people who kept coming BACK to the car and asking if anyones seen this Pete guy, and all I could say was 'NO' over and over.. It was almost like a fucked up game of Marco Polo, but with real life implications, because this pete guy was god knows where, on god knows what, and actually everyone was pretty concerned about his well being.


By this point, security was clearing out anyone left over, and while one or two security guys understood our little groups situation, most of them had not. So, when it finally came down to just this 10 or so hippies wandering around calling "Pete! Yo PetEE!!!" They really started to notice.


A couple security guys were like, "See, we don't CARE where your friend 'Pete' is-get the fuck out, as in NOW- he's probably out in that lawn over there" as he pointed henceforth. Since the lot was getting cleared, and there were still people waiting on rides and whatnot, a bunch of music goers were grouping on this grassy knoll right before the entryway. 


We all knew Pete wasn't there, but these guys didn't care.

I piped up "Well, you know, we ARE trying to LEAVE, but the OWNER of the CAR..you know, the DRIVER is fucking missing. I mean, what SHOULD we DO.?" I figured, if everyone shuts their mouth about who actually had the KEYS, then we might buy a few more moments to look for Pete before Ole' Petey got his ass threatened with a TOW.


And thank god for intelligent crowds, not one person mentioned Dave's lucky little ace in the hole.


So, when I put it like that, that, and Other Guys security pal spoke up beforehand; A real 'I KNOW these guys- we better help' kind of wink and nod, we now had EVERYONE looking for this fuckin' guy.


Some guys went backstage to see of he wiggled his way behind closed doors..others got into little carts to search around, and still, other security guys had bright flashlights that could shine far into the distance.


At this point, the food trucks were all packed up..some looked to be locked and left there, but a lot of trucks were pulling away, leaving blank lawn patches of smashed blades and splotched areas of dumped ice, grease or whatever.


This search went on..like the SAME deal as the previous hour- everyone just passing each other, like "IS he found.?". There was security in their little carts now going waaayyyy the hell out into closed off fields, where, quite honestly, NO ONE WANTED to go- it was some sort of closed off cow patty filled field..and god bless them for trudging over all that..They were really on an expedition, and could have used the footage of that manhunt for a TV media blitz- Yes, they were going that intensely.


I would know, I was there, on the furthest edge of this place, watching it happen..I don't think those guys even really cared of they FOUND the guy, it was just a great excuse to speed demon this shitty cart. haha


After awhile, after no one could find this guy, the security was like, 'okay, well you gotta go, were towing this car'.


So, Dave naturally piped up,played off like he was stoned and 'forgot' about those car keys,  and then everyone piled into the car- not all 10 of course, so some were walking to the outdoor grassy knoll which was now dead empty except for one or two girlfriends, who had their own rides.


I,on the other hand, convinced the gaurds and Dave to do one final look...Just one final look, what could it hurt.? We had our ride back to camp waiting out front, plus our gear.  The gaurds were kinda pissy with that request, but Dave got so up their ass about how the lot was 'now cleared, and it SHOULD MATTER to them that someone is missing, and that it's a "liability" really ,etc'


Dave really knew how to kick someone in the nuts, logically speaking, when it worked to his advantage, and it was fun to watch him do it, because he was always so eloquent when he spoke. He KNEW he was in the right, and putting those guys on the DEFENSE was just ethically CORRECT in Daves eyes...plus, those EYES. No one, and I mean NO ONE could say 'No' to this guy when he got the sparkle in them..His gaze could move mountains, and oftentimes did.


I was tired at this point, but I was down with a final look- I may even find a damn BRANCH now that everyone has come DOWN off the ride which music can sometimes become, and they have pitched or lost whatever in this now abandoned love lot, during the walk to the car.


That would often happen; last minute there would be someone who decided to leave a whole sweater on a tree, or a hat on a bench, or a box of something next to the now long gone car. I headed past the stage which was now dark and empty. 


The bats were filled and full, and even the road crew was just about ready to pull out of their super huge trucks filled with speakers and gear and probably some tiny, fragile shit- like a special ceramic mug and guitar pick. I could only imagine how much effort it must be to make sure nothing gets lost during the constant set ups and tear downs.


The wind started breezing through, and since the day was so hot, this night breeze almost left a chill on my now sunglazed skin. Head to toe freckles, to be sure..this was actually turning out to be a pleasant moment to myself. I could hear the rustling of trees and cars on the highway in the background, but other than that, it was just me, myself, and I.


Such an odd feeling to be the last, the last behind even the LAST of it. SO last, that you are now the first of a whole other event, and I felt happy to join in. As I walked back, I decided to take my time..just wander slowly before I would be heading back to site to pack it in.


And the site itself was an ongoing party- with firepits and stick throwers, beers and tunes till dawn or cops, whichever came first, and usually both did. I just wanted to take a second to join this OTHER reality for a moment- one that felt older than music, and more wise than I would ever comprehend.


I finally got closer to the front enteryway, and saw Dave up ahead, and he nodded then yelled"MEET ME AT THE CAR" as he pointed out front. The security spied us both as we walked, and feeling satisfied that were the last to leave, drove his cart off into the front to join whoever as left over, and bark some more. This was an oddly nice second. This random moment to myself, because now I WAS fully alone in that place, and it felt like it. A certain hollow feeling that mimics both home, and mystery. 


I was now near the piss bush, and started remembering the earlier days events with the stoner girl and her stick- where she might be. I just KNEW she had that fucking stick with her. I guess I was kind of jealous because I never got a chance to try out selling with a prop, but...it just wasn't my time to have a stick, I guess.


As I slowly walked by, I decided to cut through the back, say 'good bye' to this tree and ' thank you' for putting up with stoner assholes, who probably were snapping off perfectly good limbs. I still wasn't completely convinced they actually SAW a whole dead limb- especially not people high on hallucinogens.


It was a darker corner of the lot, and as I approached, I could feel the trees vibe coming through on STRONG..just full of life and vigor..Okay, well maybe this tree was HAPPY someone used it. It really looked OLD and gnarly. I almost felt tempted to climb it, but no. It's time to go.


"Thank you" I said outloud.


Just then, a little head pops out the side of the truck. BOINK!




"Hey" he whispered loudly "I got you a stick"


I think I had an out of body experience, because I could simply NOT believe my eyes..Like, literal disbelief that what I was seeing, was what I was SEEING.


And DOWN he popped, like the little fuckin' tree gnome he had become. He was a short guy, and right about now, he was sporting a Peter Pan Lost Kid vibe, with his eyes as big as bowling balls. Oh boy. Welp, looks like we better find good ole Peteys home ADDRESS, maybe BABYSIT this kid until he settles down. I decided to approach him carefully.


I got all slow and gentle with my words" Hi Petey..where you been?"

"I have this branch for you..."he replied, kind of out of breath.

"Oh wow..did you hear everyone calling you?" I asked

"Oh yeah" he said "I heard em'- I hid out until I saw you again..I just KNEW you would come by eventually"


Like, seriously Bruh? You thought I'de be by the tree, with my lonesome ONE LAST TIME? I swear to God, it's always the really high ones that get all connected to the psychic forces in the universe.

OF COURSE, he knew I'de stop by. OF COURSE, I did. OF COURSE, he was there waiting for me. How come I didn't figure that out SOONER? Honestly, I shoulda known better. haha


He bent down on one knee, like we were at Medievil Times 'n' shit, and then bestowed this branch upon me. It was almost like a flower-for-a-princess moment, but it was clear that this was no small moment for Pete, and that this was quite a serious moment of signifigance, and NOT a romantic gesture of love.


I really didn't know how to respond to that, other than play along. "THANK YOU" I responded as I slowly and significantly as I could, and clutched this stick, which, was NOT deadwood. It had green leaves all over it, and a long rip line of bark from where it was yanked off, and had curled up into a swirl on one end.


"THANK YOU Pete.This is the BRANCH I NEEDED" I said in an authoritive voice. 'Jesus fuck, is this guy trippin' I thought 'time to get him ready for joining others'


"So, Pete, are you READY to SHOW EVERYONE what a beautiful stick YOU FOUND?"

He smiled at the thought, and got all bouncy as we started towards the front..

Just then, he turned to me and said, "HERE, Let ME hold that stick FOR you"


"Okay" I replied. I think he got really attached to the stick, or LSD, or both simultaneously, and I figured this stick, wherever he found himself in about 15 hours, would probably still be with him, and would be a good reminder of the whole journey, besides it being the greenest fucking limb I had ever seen. I think there were still flowers on it, even. 


I, on the other hand, would have probably forgotten about this limb- or eventually tossed it into a fire pit. There was simply nothing amazing about this sad stick Petey had gotton attached to; no gnarls, no twists or interesting shape to it. Just a boring broken line.


We get to the front gate, and the last of the crew- Other Guy, with his security friend (who both had decided to make plans for after the show), the dickish head security guy, Dave, Annoying Guy, a bunch of others were there, chatting up a storm. So there was really no notice of me bringing home the bacon, until we get like 40 feet away, and then the whole group went stone dead quiet.


"Holy shit" said Other Guy" ..is that PETE?"

All we could hear was our footsteps crunching the ground, and the wind- which was now starting to pick up a bit.

"Oh my fuckin' God" said another "How da fuck she find him???" Who, started laughing his ass off.

"Cool" said Dave"Lets get the fuck outta here"

The gaurd was happy as hell, and sped off to lock the last gate as we all crammed into the car.


"I found a stick" said Pete, as we all drove off to the campe site...and it was at that moment, that I knew that HE DID find his stick, and that THAT EXPERIENCE was what was NEEDED, in order for me to find MY desired stick. You know, the actual INVESTMENT to ever truly deidicate myself to tote something across long distances such as a DUMBASS branch, or a ceramic mug, or special guitar pick.


If you gotta tote sticks, always remember the hard earned sentimentality attached to it- it ignites us on repeat - and for fucks sake, don't go looking for BRANCHES at a ROCK venue. ;-D






Notes from a Frazzled Bitch                                                                                                                   3.23




Fuck am I ever overwhelmed; I only got like 15 projects in line, 2 larger, which wont get completed until next spring..I can only imagine how this is gonna flow considering I'm already looking ahead 3 years in work ( Jesus fuck Li, IF you hurry bitch), and I'm running out of time considering this summer is getting cut in half.


Of course, I'm already having to strategize how I'm going to transport the amount of beads Im gonna need before the next winter- yeah, fuck overseas..its just not going to be worth the barge price...India would be great to work with- but mexico has what I need- but most definitely will have to be a face to face deal for this size order...gonna have to shove THAT in october? november? FUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKKKKK



Were doing the math on that as of right now! actually ( 3.29 11pm)-You know, about that: One might think an artist and an engineer hold absolutely NOTHING in common- but you'de be dead fuck wrong...there is a compatibility there that enhances the other quite readily..and in this case, the math on amounts a REAL asset that is harder than it seems:


Each bead, of this type, is NOT equal in dimension! An engineer can take the math from a handful of SAMPLES, and then figure out the amount needed easily...thats like an all night project for ME, and perhaps I get the math WRONG anyway. lol


You know, you'de think being in the middle of a chill vacation town- the pace would be all slow 'n' shit..but life hardly ever goes as planned- and I never in a million fuck YEARS thought I'de be hauling as much daily balancing as I do now.


I swear to GOD, nothing stopped moving since covid began..literally moved into this area 3 days before lockdown and room by room, floor by floor, started designing what I needed out the the earth. Like no shit- I literally broke down old structures, created whole gardens and walkways, dug 8 ft into tree roots for fences, ripped out repens, planted hundreds upon hundreds of new trees,  plants bulbs...stacked and split logs- and volunteered to maintain the front enteryway to boot. (Nature bitch front and center.)


Lets not forget the surprise flood in the basement in 2021..... that 70s green shag carpeting was finally removed by, yes, friends, that would be me. Honestly, the best part of a full basement tear down is using Kilz oil based paint on everything afterwards..as a painter it's really no surprise my release would be some dumb fuck paint part to the project.


I love nature, but construction is another beast. Yeah yeah..I love getting the design I want- that's great and all, but no one has what I need 9 times out of 10...


And dont think it's easy getting supplies..I swear to god, its SO damn limited..'every little thing' is long ass drives.... and deliveries..the deliveries..


Bruh...everyone, and I mean every mother fucking delivery driver knows who we are by now.  I just can't seem to find the time to get my ass over to the health store to buy the basics like lavender and clove oil for mouthwash..


Seriously, whoever has time for physical shopping..I know I sure dont.

When you are knocking down WALLS no ones worried about the details...but my god..this is like what..2023 now? what is that..like..3 years of consecutive construction? Unreal...I honestly can't believe I've created anything at ALL..


I'm gonna have to eventually require help- I mean, fancy shit is cool and all..but jesus fuck what a pain in the ass to maintain- no wonder people hire help..good fuckin night nelly.



The numbers came in:

...that first project will take about....100,000 glass pony beads...probably the amount that supplies the eastern half of the US. :-D....yeaaah..im fkd.






Shining On                                                                                                           3.23



Like I have said a million times before, either you do the work, or you don't. There's no real 'in-between' with deep satisfaction, deep return, gratification from effort, from basic application of onesself and the redemption found in purposely putting oneself in a place of the uncertain, the 'unknown terrritories'  of the Creative Order to harvest a reward based on honesty, on integrity and the growing relationship to oneself- the ownership of a 'sword of truth' so to speak, when applying your time and energy into creative endeavors.


Look, it's not like you cant slap some shit around, and call it art and feel rewarded. OF COURSE you can- and there are a shitton of people that feel deeply satisfied by placing very LITTLE effort into an enterprise and being highly highly rewarded in montary return, or whatever the interest is, and feel like they really duped the 'system' ( or whatever oppressor they have in mind) and live LIFETIMES with this mentality.


And that's cool..like, have at it. But when you finished feeling like you need a cookie, maybe we can get down to brass tax and get the ball rolling on some REALLY interesting gains?


You think about it.. how many people shoot their load so early on in life, and all this attention thrown in their face, I mean no WONDER 19 year rock stars have identity crisis' n shit. God, just imagine the amount of ENERGY being thrown your way ( energetically speaking) every moment of everyday by the masses. If you are intuitive at ALL, and most artists ARE, there is most definitely a 'weight' there.


A sense of 'compel' is always harping at your back and while most find a way to function through, it CAN fuck with your flow of give-and-take to the public in terms of your work.


Take for instance my experience with doing floor shows.


I would, like all vendors, would pay attention to what sold at my table, what sort of response I would receive from passersby..you know..basic response about your work to see how it was being recieved.


Of course, the more shows you do, the more you realize that is not unlike having channels on different platforms like you tube-tiktok-insta-whatever: what one group might enjoy, is a different market than another..


Over time, you can learn to anticipate what your market is gonna like, and you can play to an audience if you choose. Having experience with selling really helps an artist articulate what it is they want from the work:


A deep connection to it at a compromise of public understanding/marketability?

Or work way out , taking time and effort, perhaps out of average monetary reach?


Don't get it wrong- there are some angels out there who can drop gold in seconds, with very little effort, and have a GREAT connect to the public desire at any given time. THOSE types are fun to watch glow and sell..they flame like a candle...and of course, everyone wonders how long they stay relevant (you know, typical, petty jelly hater competitve shi)...


I'm here to let everyone know, that we ALL become irrelivant over time- just ask that famous lion tamer from Rome- you know the guy, dont you? you DONT? Well, why the fuck NOT? ;D


EVERYONE is eventually irrelivant- the closest thing you got to earthly marvel is recordings, artifacts, and aesoteric knowledge. The founders of knowledge stay on and on through langauge..but if its mostly dust in the wind, then fuck it! You might as well go for broke and do what you love- to hell with public gaze.


Of course, cash is king and so who DOESNT want to make a lucrative living at their work, right? Yes! and everything EVERYTHING has its pluses and minuses..


Everyone finds their own tastes, but I knew right away that I never wanted to compromise the work just because I could turn it over quickly. I also felt that creating was somewhat isolating, and in my early 20s I was just more driven to be social.


 So, I found OTHER work that ENHANCED my work. I worked parttime as a TA at a local college for like 15 years, and stayed on because while the money kinda sucked, the pension did not- and I knew that I was finding a good balance between public interaction and an introverted art life. I was gaining interaction skills, and of course, basic petty adult work office games.


I once read this awesome book about frugal living and how people retired early in life because they were really directed and focused on X- X being retirement. I read about all sort of ways to live, be resourcful without spending much cash. 


One thing I really enjoyed about the ideas from the book was the concept of ridding oneself of a shitton of outward display. I mean, sure, look decent- but if you dont give a fuck about your cribs location, why pony up a ton for that? You would not BELIEVE the amount of bullshitters and money whores you can cut through with a modest studio basement apartment.


Honestly, after living out west in a remote area, it simply changes your perspective on housing in general- and while I received advice and judgement over tea, about how I needed to level up my life- I simply didn't give a shit.


I was still able to keep the night hours I so love, and also share my love of art with others through inspiring creative curiosity on a regular basis. I would often get great ideas from the students I taught, and they could see that I took them seriously ( which, you know, means a lot for a 3,4, 5 year old- they dont get valued for shit at that age- and they know that- most see that).


It was during this point, I was creating whatever it is I wanted, but also was toying with the idea of keeping a steady conceptual line going for shows local smaller venues I was regularly joining. I could see what my audience liked, and I had a complete OTHER audience at my day job ( like no shit, I read books  and brought words to life with voices and roles n stuff- it was fun using my acting skills in there..it was like puppet show vibes, but a book).


I thought to myself "well this is cool..I have all this fufilling reception going on..Maybe I can consider what others might really like to see next season" ( In a series, or seasonal line)..So, I did.


I had a couple holiday markets coming up, which was really enough on my plate since I also decided to go for a couple degrees ( and eventually move on to a different university- I mean, I worked at a COLLEGE, and got free courses..seriously who wouldnt take advantage of that).


It was a really interesting experience- having all these thoughts about customers, and what they might like..thinking of patterns and color schemes that caught someones eye..

Or, the compliments I would get on a certain style or design..I was dancing around in my groove- making this, creating that.

Really pleased with the way everything was unfolding except for one thing; I had all these newer ideas that had to be somewhat backburnered while I appealled to this market. I felt almost like I owed it to create a consistent , familiar product..and so, there was a burden there on my sense of freedom.

"But no matter" I told myself, because after all I was developing this language with my client base, and establishing perhaps a house identy , siganture style mark, etc..



And of course, the shows come and everyting is laid out.

..and when I tell you I entered ANOTHER fkn dimension because I simply no LONGER existed on  planet earth- I'de be tellin' true..

Not ONE person cared to even GLANCE my way- even my regulars were like...'yeah...that's nice...." and really hesitated.I fuckin' manic panicked, but not really- again, with that work art balance- I had room to essentially not care so much..feel so invested, because my rent was covered anyhow.


Sure, I sold things..and that was really interesting too- because I learned through what actually SOLD: My OLDER work, from last shows, you know.. the work i really LOVED to make? the work I felt FREE in creating?


Lesson learned with what I, as an artist,may or may not be taking into account with a client base:


I don't codependently NEED you- ( the customers value in a thing)

I independently...INTERDEPENDENTLY WANT you- ( The artists love of creating freely).


THAT'S really what people purchase: love of a thing- the ENERGY of a thing..especially beads, I mean, my god- it doesn't get more 'peace-love-and-all-things-vibrational' than fuckin' beads! lol


I ALREADY had no real need to invest bitter heartache over a monetary LOSS, because I had already found a way to engage myself and cover my a$$...so, why WASN'T I just doing what I love, and FULLY love what I do...?


Shine On Bitches <3







  WorkLoad Lovin'                                                                                               3.23



So, at one point I got introduced to a local artist who had a mass production line type beadhouse. It sold under her name as the label, and had an employee staff of about 3(& growing), and would also work with local LARGER textile outfits to source larger amounts for a better cost, etc..(more on that later).


This type of work would usually be sold at local finer department store like bloomingdales, and the like..I would also see a shot once in a while, in a Vogue from a runway show, who wore the beadwork...stuff like this.


When I first arrived, it felt a bit intimidating..the owner had various spaces in her larger north shore home in which to work, and there was a lot of library silence type vibes going on.. there WAS a radio, but it was blaring news more than cool tunes..so, just kind of dry.


I felt out of my league because at this point in time I really had no idea about some basics about how a bead artist actually CREATES a studio space. Not unlike a future music production studio, one might frequent OTHER production spaces FIRST ( to get some ideas), OR , more than usual, used to work from some OTHER label, and now wants to have their own thing.


Beads are  no different..it's like any artist space, and boy I didn't know shit.


I was so amazed at how people were able to have cloth roll up trays, and literally be able to whip out 6 different designs in 3 fuck minutes, with the greatest of ease, simply because they had KNOWLEDGE of how to do this EASY little thing...it was like absorbing tradition AND betterment. I could just FEEL the wisdom drippin off these worker bee tables with fervor a buzzin'.


I mean, I knew I wasn't gonna get paid shit..I also knew that the atmosphere was gonna be a REAL hard buzzkill..especially for a 21 yr old just trying to find her bead groove to begin with.


Keeping in mind that I still had MY OWN beads I was doing at home..I was taking this parttime gig as a side deal because I had just returned from travels out-of-country, and was doing beadwork as a main focus..I was hooked up thru the local art community who really loved my stuff..I wasn't considering how far I wanted to take beads, and in many respects you could say that this side gig was like "bead college"


This was a 2 for one deal too:

It taught me the basics like studio space, like the bead roll ups, lamps, desk space, how to oragnaize beads...


....and then it taught me new techniques..really PROFESSIONAL techniques..really POLISHED techniques..I was introduced to new materials I had never heard of. I saw NEW ways of threading, and of using needles.New ways to use beads...and the beads..


This person liked larger glass beads, so there was always an array of eye candy in which to dig my hot little needle into without any of the debt: Oranges that swirled, and shiny purples with rainbow on one side, large round grey glass beads that reminded me of rainy days, and neon bright cobalt glass that added zing to anything it touched. I saw tiger stripes, and yellow flowers, glass that had been matted, ovaled, cut, polished, painted, dipped, dripped, elogated and reproduced.


Over time I saw regular inconsistencies in the glass beads in larger amounts, and learned to appreciate the value of different types of beads working together as a unison- even if I thought the color schemes were dog shit..I still loved and adored the variety that was being thrown in my face. My mind was stimulated, even if the stale room co-existed, it wasn't stopping my inner worlds from exploding, inside of my creative mind that was getting filled with whole narratives, beaming my stung eyes from the glassy surface.


Of course, I was a real loudy(I put New York to shame LOL), and it wasn't long before I was scolded accordingly for being out of step with the narrative of a dry ass tomb. But there was one young woman I friended- my first 'desk mate'. She was real quiet, but easy to make laugh..and it was fun cracking jokes with someone I might be able to corrupt, and turn into my partner of crime in a rebellion against the stangantion of silence that was deafening to a rational mind.


I would still get busted for it though- because others would hear the giggling...

I remember the boss saying some shit, and literally as they walked out the room , I was ALREADY establishing a reflective narrative with my deskmate..I simply didn't give a shit, nor was I real aware that there were implicit 'rules' of mental oppression that went along with the job.


In reflection, had I not been one of the fastest , most accurate workers they ever had- I would have been canned for such insolence.

They moved me instead, and later found out, after not seeing her around very much anymore that she was a cancer survivor? (still fighting it?) and lived this real sheltered religious life. 


I mean, I don't even know if she was living with her family, or a group that moved to Illinois..it sounded like she was living with rando people that were together on a religious accord. I was always happy that I turned a good mate, 'bad'... but I think she actually had fun and found a freedom she didn't find anywhere else..I think she mentioned me to people at the rando house too- that I was a new kid on the block stuck next to her, just babbling the day away..


And sure, while the exchange probably cut into the concentration of hand-to-eye, and the efficiency in the creating of a thing, you just KNEW I was a complete fuckin alien to this woman, and was a completely refreshing concept...









Words To Live By:


I should probably derail the narrative for a moment to reflect on the fact that people, usually work for one of two things:


1.Prestige ( appreciation- feel good-good karma-reputation-perks, etc)



..and I wasn't getting PAID shit,so..... that kinda made my motive a 'feel good' MO by default. 

I mean, yes..technically I was learning all sorts of shit about beadland, and how a professional bead operation can be run..but I was also 21..and seriously had no sense of respect for environments I found invalid or unnecessary like this crusty stale haunt...or so I thought..more on that later. :D












She soon disappeared from the job completely- if I had to guess, she simply was having too much fun at her day job, and her rando 'family' didn't like her spirits lifted, no, not one bit! God bless that bitch..whatever happened to her- she was cool <3 and fuck those asshats who tried to keep her in a locked box- fuckin' stupid waste of EVERYones time.


No one else there seemed to really mind that she wasn't returning..I did. Now it was going to get sleepyboring fast...but I soon replaced the workload of 2 people anyway, and so everyone was real happy with that.




Back to It


These HUGE shipment of colorful glass would come in regularly, and it was a real pleasure to be the first to cut into a long hank of beads and watch them burst forth onto the fabric cloth. >pop<


I learned quickly the owners signature style...the identity concepts for the house..Because every bead artist has their own vibe, their own flavor, and over time, you can readily anticipate the preferences of what the designers have in mind- that was always a thing with this other woman.

She was ALWays vying for position by making suggestions that would receive nods of approval from the owner, so we ALL knew who '2nd in command' was.

I always resented this little extra relationship because it was STRAIGHT politics and had 0 to do with actual suggestions or betterment of the house- like, some of the suggestions actually sucked- but whatever..

...it WAS a good learning experience about suck up ass kissing, and seeing it at its finest, in this relatively unimportant chapter of time. 

Make no mistake, that girl earned her spot- she had been there the longest, which made the sucking up kinda more pathetic- I mean, bitch, you OBVIOUSLY secured your little spot, waaaay up here, on the third floor of this house..in the sleepy burbs- have at it.


All the stuff at this beadhouse were formulaic...like things off a pattern...you can do THAT with ANYTHING too: like cross stitch off a pattern..and this was a key element to how this business ran; the bead patterns were always easily translatable to untrained hands.


Which was where I decided to share some of my OWN knowledge. Boy was THAT ever a mistake. I mean, sure , it was cool to elevate this other business..but because I was bringing a woven bead technique to the table ( peyote stitch), it wasn't as translatable to the untrained hand. Tha shit actually took skill, and therefore took time. 


So THAT translated into me training this one lady, who then showed this labor shop how to do it, and eventually I wasn't tasked with the creation at all, since she outsourced the gig at half price. So much for sharing, right?


After while, I was put on a heavy workload schedule which taxed my ability to do any work at home, which I really resented. I would get home, and sit down at the table like..'OK..Here I am..ready to...NOT FUCKIN' DO BEADS THAT'S WHAT'.



I did manage, however, to bring some good energy to the office which was once like visiting a death sentence on the daily..I got them to play a local rock station..and conversation got less and less censored over time, and I felt like there was some sort of 'win' there..like I forced this house to change flair, and that I was a part of that change, therefore my presence was a good thing.....' in the name of furthering alllllll beadhouses all across the universssssse'.


About that: So, we eventually get a tape cassette player in there..or I suddenely had just recognized it being there?, or whatever..and decided to put on this real chill sitar music on.

And everyone is going along, and doing the work..and there's conversation or whatever..and I'm listening to the music and counting the beads..you know, basic stuff..just beadin' along.


And I started floating off in thought ..just like real out-of-body floating..and my boss says " Oh..Say..I think that music messed me up.." and proceeds to explain how she messed up her count on the row..

Then this other woman is like "yeah ..me too.."

So, then I look down, and my shit was WAY fucked...lol..I simply had no IDEA where we all went for that last 3 minutes..but all in all I have to say, that was a pretty cool event in the most random of settings..but for some reason, I was really not surprised that beads were apart of that journey :-D


I could feel that my courses at this 'college' were coming to a close. I had now learned the techniques this outfit was practicing, and was reaching physical limits with dedication to the job.


Example A: My desk faced a boring ass wall, and I worked with another woman whose desk faced the window, which had a pretty old oak tree right outside of it, which, always seemed to have some really aggressive, loud ass birds sitting on it just pecking at one another.


After a particularly long stint (with that rock station fueling the drive), we ended the day worn and well worked. I was looking forward to getting in my car and just having a good rest. I had dinner in the fridge, so it could be a 0 effort kind of evening- hell- maybe even do some of my own stuff? Maybe after a short nap.



I'm getting up to leave, looking at the wall, and I start to look down the hallway  next to me, and my eyes are blurry as shit! And I say" Holy shit, my eyes wont focus out!"

And this woman, who, you KNEW had been fighting cokebottles her whole fuckin life, but ponied up  2 grand or whatever for the extra thin lenses says" oh, yeah..that's just eye strain"

I figure, 'welp..no worries..THAT bitch WOULD know' and continued to fumble my way to the exit.


So, we start packing shit up, and going down the stairs, and I'm kinda chuckling on the inside because my eyes still aren't focusing out yet, so it's being sober, but with double vision..and remember thinking how I got jipped out of a buzz for the inconvenience, as we headed out into the winter air.


My friend and I take a moment to say our 'goodbyes' for the day and it'sat this point Im realizing that I still can't see past 3 fuckin' feet..so I say "Um..how long does this usually last?The eye strain?"

"Maybe 20 minutes..why..hasn't it let up yet? Do you need a ride home?"she asked me looking rather exhausted.


Holy shit. I hadn't considered that. I can't even DRIVE home if this doesn't CLEAR. OH FUCK.

But then, like a goddamn Christmas miracle, my eye snapped into focus!


Maybe it had something to do with this crow that had been skwaking at us the entire time, as we came out of the building: I really don't know what was up, but the owners siamese cat was a real prick or something- because whole families of animals regularly gathered around this woman house, and would scream at the humans coming and going on the regular.


I remembered then that the owner mentioned something like her cat couldn't go out one summer, because it ate some blue birds nest, and the birds would just hang out, and dive bomb the cat all day long. Just bad karma.


But in this case, sort of helped because the irritating yelling made me resent that little shit and I was forcing my eyes to focus really far away- come to think of it, I think he actually MAY HAVE taken a dump as we walked by..lol..I'm pretty sure that's what started the whole resentment part on MY end..


But like, right as my eyes focused in on the crow, he looked just as miserable and mean as he sounded when I couldn't see him...and he gave me this real disgusted look, and I just looked at him like "wtf bruh", and he flew away!


My pal said "Well, see ya" 

and I went on my way.


Clearly, I was NOT getting any work done THIS night...it was like getting stood up, except worse cuz I was ditching myself.






Which Really Takes Us Home


While I loved beading, I mean, I really did LOVE the actual work...I WASN'T so pleased that that work was going into someone ELSES ideals in beadwork and not my own, but I figured, this person busted their ass to cut out a bead market for themselves- which is harder than it sounds actually.


I mean, lets really look at that for a second: It's not like working as a goldsmith with metals and cut stones being the thing...and it's not like a bead SUPPLIER where you are selling off beads in mass amounts..it is unlike your average discount mall because this sort of beadwork is higher quality, and it's not variable enough to be a main supplier for high end department stores(although this owner tried, and I must admit- she did a decent job at it). You can do the high end shows, but this house was trying to establish a label for WHOLEsale selling, not retail. There ARE galleries, but bead galleries are in competition with sellers if put together as such, and a gallery may or may not have the walk-in turnover that beads command.


So, I had some respect for someone who was able to navigate themselves into department store and high fashion mags every now and again...and even if the turnover wasn't great, it wasn't ever dead, the the orders were always high.


There's dignity to be had when working for an outfit that has their finger on the pulse of whatever it is you're tripping on, and it was fun to make something, and see what I made in a glossy magazine. You know, like "My hand made this" sort of trip. That is a really qualifiable stage of being an artist I think- when you see your work out there in public, with all sorts of different judgements about it...


I mean, you can actually SEE your work change form into ....what the fuck it is that the society eventually changes it into; I thought I was working with beads, but no. Not even beads can defy the masses when they stab it with their steely visions.


No wonder half the good shit is behind hidden doors for NO ONE to see..JF someone needs to do that..SAVE those wonders from ravage thought projectors :-D


'Maybe one day, my work would be like that' I would think to myself..'Out there on some body'. The only thing I didn't want to do, as this outfit obviously had no problem doing, was being an accessory to another labels PR spread.


All PR is good PR to be sure, but if you aren't carving your brand alongside the tags, it can become easy for the labels poignancy to slip. You can become a very dependable label on tags alone- but then you suffer the tediousness of a consistent product as your money maker, instead of far out new conceptual products as the mainstaple money maker.


Not unlike mabelline or revlon- there are everyday go to's- and so while you may see these seasonal products, they have a basic line that is the mainstaple supply, and the far out conceptual stuff is more a seasonal product. ..and these companies do very well for themselves, obviously.


But there are other ways to sell a conceptual line like make up comapany Pupa, or Urban Decay. They NEVER have this mainstaple..always changing concept and design- if you didnt buy the whatever, at the time they were selling it, then youre shit outta luck bruh.


The same is true for any product- beads are no exception, but I was happy to have the experience of seeing exposure, and being able to formulate an opinion about it, and perhaps reflect on some deeper levels for my own labels direction.


I was starting to resent the time this job took away from my OWN work, but I got creative, and found a way to keep a notebook with me at all times, so if I wasn't actually beading, I could be busy coming up with ideas of what I might want bead when I actually COULD sit down an create..and I was really satisfied with this balance for like, at least an extra 6 weeks, so I had stayed on probably longer than most would.


...What really kicked me out of the energy out that place was something the owner said, quite in passing.

It was not loud, or abrasive. It wasn't obnoxious or rude or loaded with swear words. 


But what she had said hit me so powerfully, that while I actually absorbed the deeper implications, it would take me another 20 years to fully put the realization into practice.


So, the worker bees are beading, the owner is prancing around a new shipment that had just come in, while also prepping a needle for a new conceptual line.


I was in the zone as usual, and #2 in-command was making some sort of light conversation about the new shipment of beads that had just arrived: There had been some discussion about the consistency of bead quality, because some of the owners bead patterns worked with certain beads, but when replaced with a new suppliment, were not working because the bead holes were smaller, thus, not allowing the pattern of '6 times through the line'..only 3 times..stuff like this..


..and the owner is standing behind our work statations with new beads bursting forth, while she stands and strings this idea.. there was a peaceful silence for a change. It was getting to be like that, the silence  that was stagnant, wasn't- but rather, reflective, like a sweet hid spot at the library, or at a park.


"This is really ugly....." the owner begins to say "..but...SOMEone will buy it"



OMFG. She's busting her ass. no, wait. I'm busting MY ass, and she's making shit she doesn't. even. like. AAAAAARArrrrrrrggggggggggggg...i mean, fork my ass, I'm fuckin done.


Can you really imagine that though- literally making stuff you dont like, but then IMAGINING someone out there, will willingly give you CASH for your HATE and resentment of a thing. 


I thought about it, for like 4 fucking days and knew I had to get TF outta there asap. Not only was time at a close, but was NOW starting the initiation into the finer art of despising your work on the regular.


I had a innate understanding that time spent one way, was time spent away from something else. I duly said my 'goodbyes' and the fuck out of that energy like an aston martin doin 87 in a school zone- no shit, I was runnin' for my life- But, super grateful for the experience to have graduated, and with the sensibility of high honors with the crossing gaurd long far behind me.


Notes on a One Way Ticket                                                                                3.23


When you think about personal growth, the lessons learned in a lifetime ideally should help transform your Hand into a better tool for the Creative Order. Easier said than done, but completely worth it, because you become better at whatever it is you are trying your hand at.


Better hand,better time management, and you get better ideas too...


Ideas with clear intent, with real direct connection to source ,that translate fully, are transcendental in nature- that are thoroughly satisfying to be apart of. It is this way, because the Creative Order feels fully expressed simultaneously as the Hand does... Nothing feels better to an artist than creating something to the best of their ability, and then it translates out that way. 


You can whole heartedly walk away from something once fully created because it feels fully expressed, with no residual doubt, yearnings or desire for more engagment with said creation: Onto the next thing! The next release of NEW pent up creative energy to reflect on..but like with everything, knowledge is a one way ticket.


You dont 'unknow' a thing once that Pandora's box has been opened- that is true for the path of an artist sticking in one form. Once you see a thing in your work- good OR bad- that's it.


There is no 'go back'.. you NOW see it. It's like a crack in a ceiling wall. You don't notice something, or it simply wasn't there yet, and so, 'life as usual'.  But once you see the crack, you KNOW it's there..

You might say to yourself "golly golly gumdrops, it's only a matter of TIME before my ass needs to climb a ladder and fix some shit"


OR, you may simply watch the pattern that the crack makes, it doesn't matter what you do, the point is it's there. It's a valid existence thats not unexisting anylonger..and knowledge works like that..like stairs that build.


Some artists will see something really shitty in the work after the fact, and redo it- because it's like the assignment failed, and they simply canNOT live with that, and refuse to..and sometimes those feelings and etermination creates  a masterful reproduction- and sometimes it leads to an even better form, etc..)

Sometimes, like in a series, an artist gets better with each attempt at a singular idea, and you can see the process throughout the body.


This is important to consider, because at each stage of creating, it is something to be grateful for too- because after a thing a fully made, you know that whatever it is you are making, that you are putting in your ALL into, and loving it while you do so, that soon , you will NOT feel so loving with it, and that you will NOT feel so emeshed and enamored...that you will FORGET you ever created it, because you will simply have MOVED ON to something new to love.


It's not that I dont look back on my portfolio with adoration,sometimes its important to look at your accomplishments, and see progress... or revisit to revive...but mostly, it's just like, WHY.


There is just too much to engage, and experience, and realize to play 'Go Backs'..

I have revisited a concept perhaps a handful of times in my creative life, but I learn so much from each attempt, that the next thing is always improved, always better, always the remedy.


Actually, I hardly EVER want to remember what I created..it's distracting from unfolding into the better VERSION of work that I create..It DOES make me more and more grateful over time too..that I can trust a growth process: I can trust it to never fail me in loving it and then leaving it, stating clearly that I am not defined by ANY one thing I have ever created, or will create. 


The Wells of Inspiration                                                                                                    2.23



One thing I find so fascinating is the ability to create off of another persons energy/vibe. Although, in its most basal form, it's a straight rip-off of another persons idea, in the higher echelons of creation, this sort of feed-off-another-persons-trip can actually include originality on the behalf of said aspirant.


I think of De La Soul in this case, where the inspiration from another persons sound- actually becomes an extension of a set of expressions..like a zip drive of thought, those artists were able to sample something poignent and use reference to convey a whole entirety of implication.. and by doing so alongside OTHER samples, actually turn them into a set of TOOLS to create their OWN thoughts on something.. sometimes related to the samples lyrics, but sometimes not.. Sometimes when an artist (such as De La Soul) takes a sample it both implies a line of reasoning, as well as complementary to the musical composition.


That sort of inspiration can flow back and forth between creators forever- soley, as well as between a group of artists ( if the personalities and and practical stuff is condusive). You can simply soundboard the Creative Order back and forth without really searching for new sources of inspiration outside the headset.


But an individual experience is going on there, no matter what the dynamic ( solo artist or what have you )...The wellsprings are constantly being drawn upon.


In terms of reincarnation, and creating from an individual level, the work never stops. Very much like a 6th day event, the brush might be set down by ONE set of hands, but it is soon picked up by the same individual in some other life..sometimes not, but usually, when a person has a deeper connection to enlightment through a certain act such as music, or painting, or whatever, it tends to 'bleed' into other lifetimes..

..in fact, the bleeding is probably closer to the truth of time; that there IS no time- just a simultaneous existence happening, all at once, in ALL lives- not so sequential as a drip- more like a star, that radiates from a center, and all the lives are rays that shine out.


From this perspective, you might say that the Creative Order has an ongoing dance with an artist, because they revisit the relationship over and over- in new scenarios- new tunes in which to create...new ways to engage creating alongside the creator.




Choosing Your Water Sources


Of course, just because you CAN create does mean you DO create, there are plenty of artists that never had a life where that would ever really be an option, and in those situations the relationship to the creative might make a man thirsty AF by the next lifetime..


...you might drink at ANY source for creative life if deprived long enough- It can make a fluid relationship to creating really difficult because if your tapped into inspirational sources that aren't elevating you to the next progressive thing, you can actually get caught in karmic tangled threads :-D


You can end up recreating the same thing over and over and over and over spiritually...and it gets boring for the Hand. Dont get me wrong, there's a TON of great art created this way. I myself do series quite often, but when it becomes the sole signature of an artist at the EXPENSE of an artists DEEPER potential, then said drinking source becomes a detriment.


I have always found inspiration from the world around me..so my wellsprings of inspirartion came from nature and body, love, and people in my world, and of course, music.


It can be so very easy to tap into a genre of sound, ride another persons sound groove ( like an ongoing playlist) for a constant stream of inspiration- whatever works truly. I mean, if you need to listen to Depeche Mode for an hour everyday for some creative endeavor, then go for it, and god bless the other individuals that gotta listen to tha shi all day, every day, for reals..


But even still, if you find a deep groove, that's cool- just make sure to ice that hand- lol....because one thing I learned, is that the same mechanical motion of the body, repeatedly, year after year DOES in fact wear down joints, etc..


Not all artists do this- not everyone sticks with the same medium, or same directional sound or area even- you could say they experience creativity with a backpack, bopping around from area to area drinking from all sorts of wellsprings.


I think thats a really great thing to do- to get out of your comfort zone sometimes, and just rewire the brain with RELATED creative endeavors..instead of working with beads, work with clay- instead of a guitar, a piano..whatever relates.. I know people who golf because they are doing math simultaneously- ANY function in this universe is a wellspring for energy.


In terms of beadwork, the function can be tedious, and takes concerted amounts of effort for those longer stints of control/hand eye coordination. Not unlike riffing in the middle of some rock jingle, there has to be the ability to hold within the Hand the SPONTANEITY of inspiration- and that is true for beads also. 


You wouldn't really think so, because beads are so pixlated like digits..it would all seem so well mathmatically coursed out..but no,welcome to the world of the imperfect, and surface areas are hardly EVER what they seem...


Actually, there is constant gauging going on- estimating distances, having an open ended dialogue with the 'as usual' non-identical beads.. Not unlike the VP list to some hotspot, the spontaneous assessment is going on constantly, and the thread likes to add it's own touch of death at moments too..


A tangled web of crazy because of spontaneous pulling on the thread too fast, or the way the thread was spun, or just a cute joke from the gods, reminding me  'Damn, bitch, it's BEADS not ice skating'.


My depletion with beads lead me to larger motor activities for MY wellsprings- Dancing, Bo staff, Hooping, Jet skiiing, hiking, darts.. my recent interest in boxing...they are almost like physically opposite to one another; one laser focusing all energy to this one coordinated point - and the other, pushing the engergy outward in all directions at once.


My down time, is my up time in many regards.






Like No Other


If and when you find a well that gives you exponential energy, drink it deep. Not only because 'who-knows-how-long-this-supply-is-gonna-last', but also by allowing yourself to be fully engaged in the taste of it, you get the most FROM it.


I like playing the viola NOW, that might not be the thing for me in a year or whatever, why not fully apply yourself to get the most understanding about yourself, FROM yourself? 


The same is true for inspirational sources; being fully present at the well makes for a better draw- a fuller cup:

In moments I find myself in the desert, I can remember these immersive experiences of inspiration, and simply refer to them through nostalgic lenses to replenish myself- like a super cosmic straw that reaches into the very heart of inspiration itself, I have a place I can go to at anytime, to draw whatever I need, for any creation.







Public Art as a Social Pillar                                                                                              2.23



One thing I have loved so very much is public art. Not necessarily permanent work, but work that is found in public spaces. While putting such works in concentrated areas of activity can make a strong statement to the collective social mind, I always enjoyed putting such work in sparse areas.


Not necessarily in places completely desolate, but on the roads less travelled. I figure that the people who might run across the work would be of a similar mind in which the creator was when choosing that path; introspective and of a pausing thought...lending itself to more understanding of whatever I might be saying.


Someone running around during lunch hour would simply miss the nuance I might be putting into the expression, and accidentally spill their soda on it, while looking at their phone; I'de much rather have someone who is chill walkin' in thier own head space, and run into my creations like a reflective surprise- like a gift only they received.


I always made something gentle too- like flowers..really enjoyed making softer lines with pastels since they lend themselves so well to it..I always wanted to make uplifting images that say 'i love you' to the observer..not some dickish shi that jarred ( you can see THAT ANYwhere in the city, really).


...and I like the idea of the rain washing it away..over time. I mean, it's not like someone couldnt just as easily pour a soda on it anywhere, but doesn't seem to happen in remote spots. My favorite medium is conte crayons because those chalk pigments are so very concentrated..they can sometimes last thru a rainshower and leave a washed out version of what it once was...blending colors together in cool swirly patterns.


It can take time to find the right areas to create in however, as I once learned as a young adult:





Creating Spaces


One place I have mentioned was Clark Square...and in my late teen years would spend time on the large cement boardwalk that existed along the big boulder shore. I worked at a local art supply shop, and had a regular supply of conte crayons to sketch with.


Although I needed to weigh out how much public art I wanted to do- since materials weren't free, and putting time into a cement 'temporary' really bit my ass, in terms of productivity payback. I mean, you can photograph public temps, but it's never the same as real life work- ESPECIALLY with conte crayons..some stuff is just like that-


Reminds me of Rothkos work- yes, its "2 color squares" in a photo, but in person, something else entirely.


My solution was to create as I normally would, on large paper, and later on use up the stubs with public work..it was a fair balance.

As I used chalks on the sidewalk, I would often explore the surrounding area for new places to create, to add more on- or if one was still there from before, I would need a new surface nearby.



One place I discovered was this super flat boulder, close to the waters edge.

While conte crayons would be difficult to use there, paint would not be..and I had extra acrylic paints to use up.


I invited some artist friends along, and we painted the shit out of this boulder for like 5 hours... I figured it would wash away over the winter, but in fact stayed for around 5 years...I think it was all the nooks filled with paint, it just stayed and stayed. Amazing really.


Over that time, the spot became quite a regular hang for local stoners- and not surprising really; anywhere there is love of creation, there is a permanent anchoring- a velocity of inspiration that gets embedded into the work...that is not only evident through the paint, but is felt on subtle planes as well- you know what I mean; There was some gold vibes poppin' that day, and it was ALL put into the creation of that design- everyone walked away worked and buzzing aglow.


I was happy that the mural inspired others, but I tend to duck out of areas that become regular hangs..not only because cops become privy to such areas ( a real drag on a nice buzz) but because the area becomes less pristine...cigarette butts, broken glass bottles, panties..lol


I'de rather just move on to an emptier scene...new, fresh canvases to discover!


There is a real pleasure in the unknown, in the hidden-away-from-the-masses spaces...It's like a personal treasure, just for you and ONLY you. In this way, a treasure can be adored because it EXISTS, not because it has tons of projected value placed upon it.


...and ON that: I never really got into conversation that centers around supposed values..Yes, yes..it's worth blah blah blah, ok. Like who really gives a fuck REALLY what value the masses places on things.?These are the same minds that walk down aisles filled with photos of food on BOXS and get hungry...I mean, really. How much value can one place on chat with THAT caliber goin on.? Be real....


I'm just not going to have a lot in common with the panty crowd, and thank god for that, really..because I never had enough supply for the constant free art classes either; I learned that early on: There is seriously nothing more fun for party goers than spontaneous art happenings to flit away the time.


I just really went to create public artwork for an entirely different experience with my environment than what was happening in the panty crowds, moment to moment. Just a different energy, which I found rather tedious and predictable.


..But the pleasure of personal public space is a treasure that is absolutely defended, make no mistake about it; any REAL treasure is seen as such, and as a golem covets his ring, it never sees the light of day- no one ever really knows about THOSE treasured spots- they are truly hidden away- passed down hand to hidden hand....whole generations of souls born and dead, with no one EVER knowing the experience of self entertainment in quiet corners where the clever clovers grow.


..and there is danger in this to a certain extent, because if and when the treasure were ever destroyed, there is no known record of its existence at all...like caves unearthed and art discovered inside..maybe just random leftover clues.


It's probably why God is such a natural voyeur; always spying on the hand creating, the creator creating through its creation is simply not enough; lol- there has to be a WITNESS to the creator creating a creation- as the creator of said creation is being created by the witness THEMSELVES.


...Or maybe I just draw people in more than the average bear- who knows.





     So Back to this Stoner Boulder.


Over time, I moved on to a nearby boulder..one that was even closer still to the waters edge, and somewhat hidden away from plain sight. On reflection, I should have just moved way the hell away from that whole park since it became a regular hotspot, but  that long strip of lake was convenient to my crib, and I was a bit resentful that my sweet chill spot got found out. I mean, I kind of created that, but what ya gonna do..?

Learn, thats what.


I decided this time, I would NOT paint or create ANY outward design, instead would just enjoy it for the sweet hidden cave that it was. It was during this time that I was exploring natureArt- found flora to create pictures with, and that was a fun activity to do in the early morning hours when the sun would rise...because my love for creating was still there, I was really into that sort of engagment with my world, and besides, dumbass energy wasn't going to lick me- that was for certain.


It's hard to believe I was EVER up at dawn, but I often would catch the rise before my own time to sleep- not from long ass nights of partying, but long ass nights filled with beads and spirit..the city can be quite a different creature during the night hours, and as a teen, I enjoyed the silence thoroughly.


One morning, I was on a particularly high vibe; I had spent the night doing deep introspective work on self identity and was in some fucked up altered state as I meandered down the sidewalk, still in my flip flops..serioulsy wtf.?

I found various things along the way: some rocks, a dirty feather..some broken branches..okay, so todays 'harvest' for NatureArt wasn't that good- or maybe I was just too sleepy to see anything better.


As I made my way over to this new spot, I could see the first rays peeping up and noticed there wasn't a soul around. "GOOD" I thought to myself "I can really just let go creatively, and get into some deep meditative states afterwards"..I made my way down to my new little found slice of shagri-la and buzzed on some golden morning rays after a somewhat slapdash attempt at a mandala pattern, starting with the rocks, and extending bits of branches around it, like flower petals.


I got comfortable afterwards, and the sun was starting to really shine it's light, with the purple sky fading into light blue... I started to float off.


As I sat there, I remember thinking to myself "You know, this is probably as good as it gets..just being alive, in your own little world- getting lit up with this radiant source" (You know, typical meditative godly stuff), and I suddenly hear all this noise below me..near the waters edge..


I'm thinking "This is probably some splashy wave from some boat or some shit"..kind of repetitive and annoying (my eyes were closed at the time)- I was just absorbing the rays- blissing out..but this splash was constant!!..wtf is going on..


I look down to see like 50 fish rolling OVER each other, and on the splashing waves and rocks..mating?? What was the universe trying to say..? :-D I may never know, but it didn't matter- soon there was some little narrow, black haired lady pointing over at me saying "LOOK AT THAT..WOW"..



A witness people.lol There's aaaallllways some OTHER there..well, needless to say that was the end of that moment, an as it turned out, the end of the spot...she decided to sit riiight next to me like a bleacher seat, then turned to me, and smiled as if to solidly say "Yes, bitch..you aren't required here.... and you can run along" as she zipped her phone out to record.


It was after this experience that the 2nd spot became a party flop forever more..( or until the fuzz would arrive)...I think my little stick design that would normally blow away, stuck around and attracted a few pals..or maybe it was just a matter of time before the panties spread out...I really can't say.


Creativity has its own little dance, and its own relationship to public interaction when its in public spaces. Public art can teach us an incredible amount about detachment..detaching from ownership, sure, but moreso, detaching from expectations of experiences with a work.


Like a shark in the farthest, deepest part of the eastern sea, some treasures are best experienced soley, or perhaps like the spawning fish, at the PRECIPICE of inspiration, and that's all.


As any grafitti artist will eventually admit to: That shi is moving BEYOND yourself- it's moving THROUGH you, for a public message to be witnessed by ALL..a 'public art servant' in a sense...those artists may NEVER go back to that space ever again, and purposely so.


NatureArt is so amazing too, because actual pigmented expressions were confining my ability to hide my spots in plain sight, the natureArt expressions were not ( at least for a bit)...I could easily collect pinecones, and bugs and sticks or whatever, and create images all around me, and watch them blow away over time.


Just because you aren't creating with paint doesn't mean you aren't creating. You might not have your instrument, but that doesn't mean you aren't engaged in the creative process..we go do other tasks..things that are tedious and taxing AF..and really, its like where is the creativity in THIS.? But the creative mind is fully engagaed even if we arent FOCUSED on its activity. The creative force of the mind is ALWAYS active.


But projected creativity, such as meditation, or disposable materials such as natureArt still anchors its OWN presence in public spaces..it holds it OWN creative sonnet- its OWN permanence...and the universe response to such creative acts..conte crayon, paint or whatever is offhand-


--like spawning fish at my feet :D--

        --it's 'a living painting'... being created in the moment, locked in time. Public Living Art.


I am reminded of the founders stone at the BaHa'i Temple in Wilmette,IL: a stone that a main member essentially blessed...and when I got near this stone, it gave off a radiance of energy..no paint required, for reals- That bruh clearly had a deep understanding of  how to molecularly embed creativity into physical objects, no doubt.. and this one was a doozy; achors the whole temple and is located in the bottom floor rooms, naturally.


Public art most definitely holds its own set of parameters, to be sure.Its full expression is like no other medium; the people who witness the work themselves become APART of the artworks energetic story..not hidden, but held.


As a Hand in THIS sort of creation, you get to be apart of the story, but like a character IN it, have no knowledge of how it will actually play out...only Time itself holds THAT honor. The ultimate form of eternal exaltation, a work in gods permanant collection...or until the next rainshower.









COLLEAGUES                                                                                                    1.23


I don't often run into other bead artists that work with beads sculpturally, and so my experience with colleagues is somewhat limited...but because the nature of beadwork is both meditative and focused, simultaneously, it isn't a surprise that most others who work with beads enjoy their solitary time with creating as much as I do.


Indeed, beads are a very good source of both right and left brain activity- merging both parts into an integrated state of being- I tell you: there is very little that brings peace so readily such as bead stringing...a line of thought, as it were, that changes., as YOU do..a recording of your thoughts.


Beadwork DOES seem to be part of a highly internal process, in terms of what I've observed across the board.



Of course, I don't consider textile artists to be my only colleagues since the work I surround myself with is more about ideas, regardless of medium.


With that said, there are not many others, embodied, that I find particularly inspiring..and I see that as ACCOMPLISHMENT rather than loss, because I feel originality is absolute GOLD when it comes to creating: a lack of influence A GOOD THING; because the work is sourced in this particular WAY, from your SELF that is like no other; real key to creating work that draws others into unique worlds that hold particular meaning a.k.a. expression of self.


I like work that reaches way the fuck out there with ideas and concept too- I love being drawn into an artist world I've simply never conceptualized before.


I should add here, that reinventing the wheel is a real waste of time- if you HAVE absolutely NO knowledge of art history, you could easily feel original when your forefathers have already got the better of you. There is validity to exchange, knowledge, understanding- the bare bones: school holds validity to any creator.


But there is a point, where the artist detaches from 'what's been' to discover 'what is possible'. It is in this experience of POSSIBILITY where original sparks can fly, and that solitary sense of source becomes integral to the creating itself.




So when any other energy makes an impact in my artistic life, it is truly worth reflecting on, because I work tediously to DODGE most influence.


When I find such inspiration, I find myself both intimidated and threatened because whatever this other artist is saying, CLEARLY, is holding relevance to my own experience which includes a DESTRUCTION of what I may, or not may not be tripping on at the moment...

...no one enjoys highs off a vision, only to be crashed and grounded in this other, very REAL, very VALID way...especially from some other source that is NOT you( you know who you are, yes, YOU)..its sort of like being outshined, or along for the ride on someone elses trip.


I mean, for a second, you might not even be sure 'who is in control' of the final manifestations from such influence..if some other individual shows you 'necklaces are shit, and belt buckles are where its at', it isn't a wonder that a first natural response would be defensive ( especially if you own a necklace shop)- anyone that challenges the ego, destroys us...it is both desire AND a threat...


BOTH because this other influence sets STANDARDS you never considered, and THAT unfolding takes you to the very worst of yourself, AND the very BEST of your self..

I mean, when you get past your own views and ways of approaching a thing: a seat a someone else's table can teach you a great many things- especially thoughts and formations of ideas that you might have not considered sitting at a TV dinner table set for one: your wood TV table may be replaced with gold TV table and you may choose to never sit at that TV table ever again. It doesn't matter, as long as your work and your voice are becoming MORE of the potential they always held.


There is something really cool there...when we can put ourselves aside, put the egos away..

With a worthy influence upon us, when it comes to us this way, we can really grow into something more than we could ever be alone.... and that's worth everything.


Beadwork is incredibly solitary in nature because it requires a lot of focus..bead circles can hit these library moments which is almost like a group meditation at points.I would really LOVE to explore mixed media collaborative works more..it would probably teach me more than I would ever know soley, and that really is the goal isn't it.? An ultimate reflection of self through self expression, if that be directly translated, or shared with a group with strong individual expressions unified..



This is another reason why I love curated shows with themes..it's like a chorus...Collaborative work unites similarly by combining into one image as its voice. An amazing way to create to be sure.










Not Really All That                                                                                                 1.23



Once in awhile, I will get asked about my personal life- in terms of life art balance.

There seems to be some impression that beadwork takes seconds rather than hours, or weeks instead of months.


A bead artists work like any other work- 

..but then they also work while you break...

and when you drive home-

they are still working

..and when you stop for dinner- they are still working.


When you go to sleep,

because you gotta-the weavers are still there...


at the desk in body , and at the very least, in mind.


It's not like I dont WANT to party like it's 1999, I just never had the time or saw the real relevance.. Never been one for lengthy time around others..I get bored and find crowds draining for the most part.

Yes, I have skipped whole chapters of invites, but I have the thing (the produced work), and not a long lost memory of a 'good time'.


I'm lucky that my intellectual nature has pretty much kept play time at bay, and my soul focused on something deeper...I dont find much satisfaction in frolic, much to my dissapointment- every one seems so easily satisfied with the simplest of shit: movies, bars, bands, fucking, shopping, cars, drugs, mingling and self praise..Im actually kinda jealous, because life would be so much easier if that sort of served up satisfaction was all around me..



Actually, a weavers art life is pretty fuckin boring- it's not unlike a writers really:

I got my weird ass art quirks that mostly require isolation..Like, even the CAT doesn't bother me in these times; the phone is off the hook..no where to be found until I come out guns a blazin' to move into some other activity.


I had to make some choices about life art balance a long time ago, but came easy to me to walk away from hedonism since it just takes too much time away from the work.. I mean, beadwork actually takes energy folks.


My breaks are free weights, chores, returning fucking calls and a solid bourbon at some point....music blasts funtion as a source of energy when I hit low points...

and my tunes stay at volume 11.










Painful Gains                                                                                                        1.23



Oftentimes the physical reality dominates our creative channels- Just having the energy to create after a long ass day of other shit, being tired from no sleep, or straight up pain is like pulling teeth.


I was once working on a side project, felt crappy, and had been prescribed some real shitty meds. Actually, I can't say that totally- they just didn't work for me- but the bottom line was 6 weeks of constant pain.


Pain, of course is all relative and while I have seen my share of quite a few, this was like no other; when you WANT to die- this was like 2 keys away from opening that door. The constant state puts a person under a little raincloud yes, but there is a point of euphoria in a very removed way..a very out-of-your -body way, because you simply no longer want to feel the pain- you do your best to not feel it, even if that compromises OTHER bodily values such as enjoying food, feeling emotions or basic social skills.


Pain is a specific way to move ones self out-of-body, as many old school zen masters can attest to. Most people pick less aggressive means, such as yoga or acupressure,or sensory deprivation tanks but sometimes the universe has other plans for us.


In this stint of time, I wasn't focused on beads but working with wood. I wanted to created a spirit house and was dead set on only make it once, one time, with complete skill- and left myself 0 room for 2nd attempts.


No matter the mindset, this was GOING to be MADE.


So it really was no wonder that the universe decided to sadistically test me, as it normally does. WHY did I think this would be a different situation..? Because it was wood and not beads? For whatever the reason, the wood was my ticket to hell and solid understanding.


In the beginning I would just lie there, and look at the materials..just trying to find the will to get my ass up and over there to physically involve myself with the materials. I think this was probably the hardest part of the whole time period, and it showed: took 3 weeks to even touch a material, and that was just shifting crap around.

I felt accomplished however, because I was 'organizing' the materials and that was one step up on the attempt ladder from just glancing over.

Even the glancing took effort really, when I look back.


Then the day finally arrived where materials had to be opened. I sat down to create, which was something I hadn't tried to do up to this point and found myself really engaged by all the materials- in some ways it took my mind off the fact that I was still hurting and was slowy getting winded by all the action.


I was super excited to dive right in, but wasn't really able to right away..but by then it didnt matter: I found myself sloooooowly healing everyday, and every healing gain I was so damn grateful for. It quite enhanced my slow attempt at creating this thing.


Because I was juiced to create, I kept attempting to make, but found myself having to stop and rest. I really hated it.  The whole stop and start of it all..no real deep hour by hour flow- where you can go on a little creative journey. Its like going on coffee break only to get business calls the whole time..No natural rhythm.


But one day I was so fucking into it, I got upset ( as I often throw little fits that last all of 5 seconds) and was like "FUCK THIS. IMMA KEEP GOING"..and I just sat there..like embracing a lovers knife into your heart..and embraced the pain that was leaving me...I was over that 50/50 hill of healing, and I knew it.


I basically just pushed my body to it's limits, because I had already engaged it in this other, more painful way; this lesser amount of pain was really not as bad. I now had a gradation..a range of understanding with my bodies limits, so I felt confident in pushing the limits here.


As I felt the ebb and flow of pain run through me, I remembered the ways I felt when it was more painful and by doing so allowed myself to continue with the wood, which really was engaging my attention easily at this point.


I noticed the wood grains, and various shapes I was creating. I got into the ideas of how I was going to construct, build, and sand.

The stains were noxious and all encompassing- so I didn't even really mind..that sort of overwhelming vibe just bought me more time to create, and away from needed rest.


Everyday I was motivated to see how I was healing by applying myself to this spirit house, which in all honesty, turned out OK, it wasn't the most amazing thing ever made, but it didn't matter because for a 1 time try deal, under the circumstances- was dead fuckin honest and translated EXACTLY what my soul was experiencing into a SPIRIT HOUSE...the topic was completely fitting, and somewhere the gods laugh their assess off at me, at my expense- I just know it.


I was able to make a thing and walk away with accepting 'not as perfect as I would have liked' standards- and that had very little to do with the ART and everything to do with the experience of making it. Not of particular relevance in terms of product( seeing as how work should be able to express itself without a whole backstory to make itself understood), but for a side project, this was an absolute gold standard of learning lessons.


When it was finally completed-varnished and dried, I was mended well and had almost completely forgotten about how I once, just gazed at making this thing, and now here it was...all finished.


I mean, was that a fuckin dream I hallucinated? No, I really went through that ( God, Li, have another hit) because here the house sits. And damn, I am so glad I have it..I wanted it, and by this deadline, and here it is.


It was at that point I decided"You know, I don't think I want to EVER stop..if forced to make a choice between gentle healing and art, I'm going to pick art".


After this whole ordeal, the everyday workload just didnt seem to phase the creative initiative ever again. Fuck the long ass days, fuck everyone who energetically drained me all damn day long, fuck my tired, and mostly fuck limitations.


We live in the physical world, we make that shi work for YOU, not the other way round:

My mindset changed afterwards: time doing anything else ( chores, biking, the job, family shit, sleep, whatever) was IN BETWEEN what I really do: and that is, create.


You're not dead? Not even near his gate? go get started...you already KNOW it pays off.







As Above, So Below                                                                                                     1.23



There is very little which is created, that is manifested soley from the artists Hand. I mean, not only is there usually other artistic influences such a genres or specific individuals, but actual technique gets included in the mix as well. 

A dancer for instance, is taught by the teacher and their STYLE- italian ballet is quite different from the russian approach, etc..


The work getting made in real time is also part experiment too ( if the work is compelling to the creator), and if the Hand is tapped into the Creative Order at all, the Hand will easily recognize its own relationship TO it.


The work doesn't ALWAYS flow out: some days the thread gets tangled, the needles break, the hand misses a stitch, the bead breaks, whatever..some days are better than others, and the Hand is no exception to this reality- no matter HOW well practiced the artist is, the Hand , just like a dancers foot, can miss a beat.


The Hand does, and readily recognize its own flow in this way..over time, you can just tell when its time to put the fucking needle down and walk away, because the magic has 'left the bulding'; everything you touch from a certain point ONwards, will just keep turning to shit no matter how many times you keep trying to beat the dead pony.


Over time, there is an understanding of velocity. Not only actual physical attandance( such as resting the eyes and hands from over use, using enough light for detailed work like beads, getting enough sleep and food to really churn the long stints out), but true receptivity from the Creative Order.


A KNOWING, that when the work isn't coming out well. it's the ORDER on its own time schedule, and you will have very little say in the matter. 

In this way, we hardly EVER have a say on how long a thing might take to create, OR when all the elements might come together again for the right combo of ability. Sure, over the years ability may be more difficult (like a dancer or althletes might), but that's really not entirely the whole hill to climb.


There is God honest timing.


We learn submission to the Hand, submission to the Order, but most importantly, submission to time. Because of free will, there is no FORCING the right combination of energies to create a thing- if you arent inspired to make, you just fucking aren't.

You might hear about really difficult artist types who have a deadline on the work and haven't even begun the thing- I mean, if that works and you dont miss deadlines, who gives a shit how you get it out?


But if your hand is on fire, and you're dead fucking tired and starving, etc,...how the hell you gonna push out the best stuff?

If you're hung over the next day, or whatever, the Creative Order will just see you as OUT OF ORDER..and will have no problems working with a better candidate for the job.

It's very much like a shop- you have to have the space, and merch, and register FIRSTLY, THEN the customers initiate the flow.

You could say that I dont provide the invites, I just provide the pad..like a stoner landlord, they  are cool with cats and weed..but fuck the place up, you cannot- and don't forget, rent is ALWAYS due by the next month, or your ass is OUT.







Whistle While We Work                                                                                             12.22



What person doen't pay a cost for whatever their situation in life... You're still alive to read this aren't you? Survivors could be fed nectar and strychnine, and everyone around you would slap you sideways for not smiling wider.


Like drilling without novocaine or drink (wasn't THAT fun), our issues simply weigh upon us- 

No, nothing in our environment actually CONTROLS the loads we bear- the shitty environment just helps us blur the pain in, around the edges- to shove some of that misery onto something that isn't necessarily US shouldering that pain, all day long.


You don't notice it as much when swinging in the gallows, and there is loyal comradry to be found there- seeing that misery loves company. Then, any sort of burden can get thrown into a hellish stew for anyone to claim, or not.. at any given time, to round robin emotional outbursts disguised as controlled drama.


However, when you find a place of solace and rest away from all that noise, it's like the wounds are magnified... because there IS no stew... No identifiable contrast to be found anywhere..Just an endless even keel, of 'real undertanding...real KNOWing' crutches nodding you into the dirt.

No emphasis' or confusion. No curiousity needed here, just a forever sole plataeu of floras pollen shimmer, cascading down your back with gentleness and vague statements.


Well, shit I didn't know it was going to be a juicebox of kind of a day, but why not. Actually, when you scratch below the surface of things, you start to notice the other patients looking just as skitzed as you do with their own newly found baggage, as they float off past a spinning gnome and into the wood.




Time to cut the shit, and face who owns what:


Time alone with nature has a wonderful way of amplifying the mind, no matter what the thoughts. The A symmetry of the woods has a different set of parameters than engaging oneself in city life (for obvious reasons)- but nature has it's own mystery to be absorbed in, and so while there is no escaping ourselves and our thoughts in an amplified type of an environment like this, there is a completely new set of terms in which to engage in simultaneously:


There isn't the sound of cars, or horns or feet walking by.. just leaves rustling..pretty gentle and calming; You can smell earth and decay- nothing familiar like food and gas and smoke or parfums....pretty relaxing and out of mind; You aren't listening to someone try to bum a 5er, you hear a woodpecker peeping away looking for bugs...pretty fuckin chill.


You feel that sun is shining SO brightly..wow..Let's just stop whatever the hell it is we're tripping on, and just soak it in...

and it's true- moments of pause in between carring our baggage can be absolutely breathtaking, you know, just grateful for 5 fuck seconds of not lugging your own mental bullshit - whatever the ego has decided on.


It's really THESE moments that are the REAL, You away from yourself, and then really BEING with yourself...FREEING yourself from youself.


Perhaps finding ways to extend those 5 seconds into 1 minute is really a fucking 10 mile stint you just ran- leaving you winded from the experience..but maybe just maybe, ENOUGH freedom from yourself for that day? 


The mind is quite unforgiving, and nothing is worse knowing that you not only still carry mental weight, but are NOW in an isolated flora cell for one: the only one you cannot escape- and the woods run deep for MILES.





Lightening Our Load:


I should throw the concept of meditation into the mix here, because yes, meditation can help someone find ways to extend the blissy moments, and strengthen the ability to help the soul remove themselves from any burdens they carry- ground it out, and so on.

Meditation can carry over it's energy into every single moment if you let it- nature, city or moon life..Hell-the journey inwards is endless!

...and sleepy naps lost somewhere by the seashore is a pretty common sight when communing with nature, to be sure.


But endowment found in natures isolation, and it's an absolutely huge difference from city living, is that you now have included the active side of your life as well as the passive states ( like sleeping and meditation).

There will be no switch >off< button - unless you make a concerted effort to go join the other monkeys to get out of your head for awhile.



..That blissy 5 seconds in the sunshine, as a CONSTANT state is still just as out of reach as it always ever was- the only difference is, it's radiating light is being brought to the FOREfront- to the cream..there's a constant emptiness for you to engage yourself in this way..all the room you need to stretch your soul.


Like a permanant "Do Not Disturb" on the motel door, not a single outside engagement is taking your attention AWAY from this endless mirror..other than maybe a bird who wants a crumb, or the waves crashing endlessly.


As a gift of self love, moving yourself- physical or otherwise, to a place that supports the unboxing of yourself..


...setting our burdens down. It matters.






Finding Glimmers


There's always the ideal- 'the ultimate' in the minds eye, isn't there? It could take on any form: A perfect life, ultimate riches, finding forever true love, endless performance,having all knowledge, power, etc..


Sometimes, it's ALL these things- sometimes it's a thing you can't put your finger on- but you capture it when you hear a song, or see the sunlight hit the trees in such a way, or a moment in time... 


A utopian ideal that is heavenscent to our senses, bringing in that golden ray that just washes everything glittery gold.

You just instinctually know that this thing.. this ultimate image in our minds is not only an ecstacy, but a finality- an orgasm AND a conclusion. Timeless in its universe.


It's such a tangible reality; you feel as if you could pluck it right there out of the air, and capture it, and wrap it around yourself..the truth of the matter vanishes quickly enough, there's really NOTHING there...just an extension of some dumbass projection you wish existed.


Nonetheless, when a dream is so real it becomes a world, no matter how it was found or created, that it ceases being a passing thought, but more of a place you visit on the daily, this ideal also becomes your guiding light.


A guiding light of inspiration because it IS inspiring by its very nature:

It will remain forever untouched by disease, and unscathed by bloody hands, it will not know pain unless it was pleasurable, and will not diminish under any conditions, by which you yourself can attest to; because you still percieve it as such..It remains, forevermore, YOUR place, inside of you, AS you idealize it.


And since you are the one percieving it, maybe you could simply live there..as a state of mind? I mean, why the fuck not..?-  I have yet to see one reality- imagined, real, from dreams, or the television that doesn't seem affect our experiences...why not something fucking beautiful for a change..?


The constant tear down, which is most of peoples lives, shows such a sharp constrast to these golden states of created harmony- I think that's probably why Christmas season is so popular; this one time of the year to simply remember anything beautiful at all.


It seems to be all be about 'gift giving' like toys 'n' shit- hardly an internal process...

But when we think about giving to ourselves, it is hardly ever experienced as giving ourselves AWAY....a small death as it were:


Giving ourselves up one way, for another self which is better:

When you get down to what really hits home- What you really want,


What's really 'the savory'? What's REALLY getting you off..?


...what else IS there other than, that inner ideal as the driver behind the wheel of your life...


5 seconds? Fuck- all the way to eternity if I had MY way..

Where ever you go, there you are.




Then Alchemy...Temperance and Moderation:


When the burdens are set aside, and the emptiness filled with those ideal inner worlds, it manifests itself as joy...and what was once a prison cell of your own making is really a captivating mystery of passionate discovery..


Like a heaven on earth, or a personal Shangri-la.....I have found absolutely no better state to bead in.








Make it to Break it                                                    12.22


While I am pretty stuck on beads, I often take breathers with other materials...you know, little breaks from the tedious nature of tiny glass dots, just to stretch my mind out.


During one of these breaks, I had decided to try out a relatively new material called polymer clay. It had been around about a year or so, and was becoming an incredibly popular material to work with, so I decided to try my hand.


I didn't have very much, and only a few basic colors, so my inspiration was somewhat limited, but I had remembered first seeing this material at a hippie house I flopped at for a summer: I had met this awesome guy on the train, walked up to him and started chatting like we hadn't seen each other YEARS- clearly someone from my soul tribe and of course, we were alllll on the way to the SAME concert(naturally).


This guy let me crash ( alongside my travelling companions) at his place, and I would usually wake up to the smell of coffee, and seeing him sitting there rolling away with this material.


He was so damn patient with the clay: Id'e wake up and shower, he's out  there rolling clay..

I eat breakfast and smoke a j, he's out there rolling clay..

We meet up with some folks, play some tunes, catch a wave or two and head back, that mother fucker is STILL rolling clay.


He was so damn dedicated- I was impressed..It really didn't matter what the hell he was making at that point, I just knew it was something with a shitton of mojo in it.


Eventually, he put these wafer sheets together..in gradations of colors( like white blending into pink, or yellow blending with blue to make a green in the middle) so that they looked like a bumpy stack of xerox paper. 'Whats he gonna do with THIS' I remember thinking to myself..l could NOT imagine what..


But then, he cut the block to reveal a smooth image of the colors...in a true millefiori style, and then would put THOSE bits together to make the coolest pictures of mushrooms under midnight skies...or waterfalls with rainbows in the background. Amazing!


I was so juiced to try, but with my 3 colors, and no WAY I had hella patience for that all day rolling wafer crap.. I wasn't so sure my 3 colors were gonna look as cool as ALL THAT. So I decided on something else..


Now, I'm normally not at a loss for ideas..I mean, my god- I'm like a creative fire titanic avalanche, and everybody just happens to go along for the ride, but after seeing THIS master and my shitty 3 colors..I serioulsy had no idea.


OKAY! Time to go preK style, and just DELVE in. 

So, I did..I just grabbed the pale pink and white..thought I might try mixing. God! This stuff was weird..it's crumbly at first because it's COLD, but the after I heat it up, it's leaving residual on my hands..wtf is this..plastic clay? oh, fkn- yuck...


I finally got my hands clean, and decided to not get THAT into this material..okay, so something untouchy:


-Untouchy, meaning like not to touch alot-


The white and light pink now looked fleshy, and as I looked up at my BF's crappy T laying on his guitar, decided to make a small portrait of him...I was missing him, and thought it could be pretty funny to see a small little version of yourself as a surprise at the end of the day..


He's was a touchy prick oftentimes, but could easily melt with something simple like a nice gesture, and put him a good mood for long stretches, during what was probably a stressful point in his life.


It was good motivation to make something, experience the clay, and use up some fabric that had been laying around. I started working with the clay, and eventually came up with this groovy cat which impressed even me, and it really looked like my BF in a Heinz Edelmann kinda way.


I made a head and arms out of the clay, then a small fabric T, and some jeans from the fabric scraps..filled the thing with stuffing and beans, and......

Whoosh! Mini-BF dude was made. I gotta admit, he was fuckin' halarious, with his bell bottom beany feet, and lumpy potato head with the hair looking appropriately crazy as my BF's often did.

Even the shitty T..


Finally getting home, really liked this doll and was all stunned I made it. 

"Did you make this for ME??"


"I just made it,you like it? ..if you really want it, you can have it, I think it's pretty cool too"


"OH, I'de LOVE to have it- THANK YOU" he replied.


Holy shit. He liked this silly little thing? That's cool..I sorta liked it too..but whatever, I can make more..Opp..well, when I get my hands on some CLAY. SO, soon.

He moved the little dude to a ledge, and plopped him down.

..and there he stayed for months and months and months.






'Surprise, Surprise'


Eventually it was time for me to press on, and when looking around for items to pack, I noticed this now dusty as shit item I had made long ago..I never DID get around to making more. Did he even WANT this.? I mean, he looked at it that one day..and never moved or mentioned it again- probably gonna just salavtion army it- I might as well keep it as a prototype.


I shoved little dude in a box with other items which, weren't actually coming along with ME but were on their way to a mutual couples friends storage. He and I were friendly with this other couple, and she had offered to store this box or 2 while I traveled around for a few months. This was really good timing too, because I had to leave in 48 hours to catch my ride to wherever, and hadn't even BEGUN to consider where I would put things...Sentimental beads, writings, some books, clothes, you know- just stuff you want to keep for whatever reason.


I was so grateful the time worked out, the storage space was small, but there was room and off I went..

A few months later I returned, having forgotten about a lot of the items I had stored.


My friend picked me up from the station and seemed quite distant..what. Did I smell..? I fucking smell don't I- God knows the last time I had actually used a shower instead of the ocean. No..it wasn't that..


She was having a hard time looking me in the eye..what was up?


We slowly go over to the storage, and she looks at me cautiously saying " Now, I didn't want to tell you this, but your ex was pissed with you and went through your stuff"


"So. What's he looking for? A spliff I owe him? He needs my panties?Wants to read my Oh-so-witty-poetry? Please..whatever..I dont care if he needs to look through shit..it's gonna be a boring find" I gloated.


She look stunned and bewildered at my attitude..Why am I not freaking the fuck out?

I head over to the boxes which, sure enough, look rifled through. 


'Can't even close the lid up, of course not' I say to myself...


"Look!" I declare, as I hold up some clothing item..


"Oh wow, thats pretty" She says.


So we're just looking at stuff, and I'm remembering different items, and am looking for a few beads..Hm. NOT there..ok.." That's strange..my amber beads aren't here" I say..


She suddenly cuts me off " I DIDN'T TAKE EM. NO I DID NOT. HE took em. I told him NOT to do that..but he took them ANYWAY."


Okaaaayyyyy..So, this ex was after my amber beads? Like ones from my mom from when I was 5? LOL , uh, that's kinda fuckin weird..Might want to have a little discussion with this guy when I see him again ( if that ever happens).


"Actually" She continued "He was after that doll you made for him. He told my husband that was HIS and he wanted it, and they came and took it"

























I must say. Iv'e seen a lot of different shit in my life, and have experienced some unreal scenes..but people going on nut bag art quests was NOT one of them..especially for MY art. Especially after the work was ignored and unappreciated in all respects, for months.


My god, he could have just SAID he wanted it. 


More than the amber beads gone, more than little dude gone, more than my storage being rifled through, or last minute BOMB my friend threw on me in real time about what transpired, was the fact that someone was so fuckin' stuck on a piece of art, that they would be willing to throw themselves, and a bunch of other people into an Art Attack. 


"No way.. this guy is fuckin' with me" I'm thinkin' to myself " This is some I'm-missing-you-and-now-I-have-your-shit move...Jesus Christ. Why are people so fuckin' shitty..Welp, there's the end of that- I'm not running all over this board game" I thought.


Just the same, I had planned to inquire about the beads, as well as the condition of the storage.... and since we had already known we would see one another at an event later on, that I could ask about it around then.










'...And You Only Work for Me'




Hanging at a friends house, we see one another, and I head on over to inquire. "Here we FUCKIN' GO..what's this gonna be: 'I still love you' or 'I still love you and you owe me'".



"Hey." I say.


"Hi." He replies.


"So...what's up with the storage.?" I just got to the point.


"What do YOU mean? That doll was MINE. YOU GAVE it to me" he snapped.


"Well, I don't remeber it exactly that way- but I'm more concerned about those amber beads?" I asked.


-----God fucking knows what snow I got - Honestly, I don't hold onto bullshit, which is why I have a hard time even remebering what was said,let alone being 20+ years ago bullshit... but it was your standard 'Im owed' stance------


"So...what is this..." I say. I'm trying to understand what he's really wanting from this; The stuff and an apology? Or the stuff, an apology and a blow job.?  But he just looks at me blankly:


"What? I just wanted the doll, and I have it..I'm good"




I just stood there stunned. This wasn't a ploy..the actual horror of the situation sunk in:  Yeah, ouch! He really was just 'over me'..but more importantly, this asshole actually went on an ART ATTACK and took a bunch of fuckin' people along for the ride- my friend really ashamed, her husband apologizing to me profusely about 'the heist' later on- especially when he saw my response to the whole matter.


Was my absolute FIRST experience with another person who wanted nothing to do with ME, but EVERYTHING to with with my HAND.


I learned right then, that for the rest of my life as an artist, what I created would have very little to do with ME, and more to do with what I BROUGHT FORTH- like the actual creations. Until that point, I had not recognized the attachment I had to my work was based on a very different set of standards than OTHER  peoples motivations.


Granted, in this case it was portrait, so the attachment was very personal.


Even still, the lesson was fully learned: It's all fun and games until assets come into play, and Babydoll, your art is NO EXCEPTION.









I saw the amber beads again, years later.... and said my appropriate 'goodbyes' seeing as how I didn't want to be the sort of person that was gonna rehash old shit in order to regain a material item....

and more importantly, I wanted to rise to the occasion and be the bigger person- jesus christ- if you need the beads that bad- have em'. 


I did ask about why THOSE were taken, I thought FOR SURE it was to pawn for cash, or apart of some love game... I honestly couldn't believe he held on to those, let alone took them to begin with..like, why??


The answer was surprisingly simple: It was because my mother gave them to me, and he knew they reminded me of home, and that I loved them, and that THAT,  was just straight up revenge- and yet, the doll another matter.... In truth, I never would have believed his MO on that stupid fkn doll if the beads weren't included in on that burn..  and he was always reliable to making his true feelings known.






STICKER SHTICK                                                        12.22



Really interesting experience as a kid, that taught me pretty much all I would ever want to know about trade and merchant sales, centered around the all-powerful, and ever lasting sticker trade of the 4th grade playground.


If any adults REALLY knew how cutthroat that shit got, I swear that these kids would be slammed into that morning day trade so fuckin fast..But, no. Nothing that ingenius- just a cold cement lot, and a shitton of glossy paper bits, in thick heavy books....some with a synthy smell- like banana, grapes and strawberry...you know, ALL the smells that smell like utter garbage, but for the hell that is SCHOOL those scents were like fuckin gucci during school hours.


I wasn't blessed with hipster parents; they weren't tracking down the latest kid interests and sideshowing themselves at local family gatherings- and thank god for that really..but one development from this was a complete inexperience as to wtf a sticker was.


I was, as usual, wandering around the grounds early morning, bored AF, with the same damn options as yesterday: Group A kids, group B kids, group who cares. Everyone always seemed so fucking fit and together- for..what was this? 8 am?

I was NEVER a morning person- just ask anyone who ever knew me as a kid- 10pm was the wake up bell..but this crap... God..and I'm only 9 years old...


I totally already knew, by that point, I had ANOTHER DECADE of evil shit like this, but even earlier; waking up at 7 am. I just resented the whole thing...


Being so preoccupied with that misery had me miss a few dynamics that were happening all around me every single day, and it wasn't until I finally put my burdens down that I noticed some fellow classmates  off in a corner of the playground: In the fuuuuurthest corner, hidden from the teachers regular posts- with prying eyes..aaaall off away from anyone coming over..oh yeah..some shit was going down. I went to go see..


I didn't find anything jarring like I had first thought ( like when I found a porn mag in the alley), it was just these girls sitting all around with books and folders getting flipped all over the fuckin place.


Is this legal? What is this..homework? 'If this is homework Im gonna be pretty fuckin' pissed I walked all the way over here' I remember thinking. But no..not a single worksheet in sight.


Then outta nowhere, like a slow motion movie, this girl glided her hand over this glossy sheet, to reveal a page of neon explosions; Words in all sorts of expressive fonts, and little pictures of various things..some familiar, some not. 


I just wanted to absorb every idea going on in these books! I peered over shoulders to get more glimpses and people seemed less than happy to have me there. This was clearly a TRADE ONLY circle, no empty handers allowed...

I did notice THAT group hanging out on the outskirts of the circle; the you-matter-less-than-a-capri-sun group wafting around... now that I looked closer.


I remember finding reasons to interject into this trade circles space- like asking people I knew in there for homework ( surprise surpise) or some stupid question like 'do you know blahblah blah'..like ANYthing I could do to get a look at wtf these were, more importantly, how unbelievably valuable they seemed to be in everyones eyes.


I understood why though; they were brightly colored, and were like little personalities.They all had some little saying or implication, like "Grape Job" or "Cool" with some smiling ice cube. They were like extensions of your individualism and personality, and for a 9 yr old, that was everything to a personality that had as much life experience as a potato bug. 


I often wonder how many later-in-life addictions really transpired due to the bitter tooth and nail drag outs the fucking sticker circles promoted. I mean, maybe no one went on to collect stickers, but I bet that turned into some fucked up Hermes handbag addiction....or someones husband. who knows..


And now that I think of it, a lot of this was fueled by the teachers.. I mean, how many kids went home with a sticker reward on their paper? Parents probably saw that glow of delight in their kid eyes, and went a shoppin' at sticker city!


No wonder they had all the goodies on the playground. Well...not for long. Not if I had my way..I didn't think of it like that intially..I think the whole experience corrupted the hell out of me.



It Was All Innocent at First...


I think I found someone who had a book full of stickers, who had arrived early..before the daily sticker hustle ensued. She was a friend of mine, and so I asked her to show her book to me.


I remember this being a very gentle mannered girl who was sorta prissy to begin with, but when the book came out, there was hand gestures and ritualistic mannerisms like I had never seen; suddenly she was a curator handling precious wrapped mummies..made of gold dust and cocaine. 


My god. I thought..Is THIS what the stickers are really like? Fragile as air? I already felt contempt for the whole vibe...I really just wanted to see the images, not take a kodak moment in my mind on every single sticker she had..God this girl was annoying.


But she also explained where she got the stickers, what she traded what for..how some stickers were worth MORE than other stickers. I had all this judgement and assessing to catch up with..I was never going to get in that trade circle ever. I just knew it. I mean, I had 0 fuck stickers, and this girl was like 30 pages up on anything I was gonna aquire, and I'm not retaining a single thing she's saying. I was just too absorbed in the imagery, and spinning of into mini universes the stickers relayed to me- all I knew was, a smile and nod kept the pages turning.


But then, she did something kind- Maybe because she thought I was really listening, or I just seemed really intent, or eager..

She gave me a few stickers!...and they were of a nicer caliber! I hadn't really notcied that since I wasn't really paying that close attention to the whole "what matters" scale she was laying one me. 


My mind was racing over the stickers images, and the sayings, the various patterns and strange new smells like "root beer" and "dirt". I honestly didn't listen to the rest of what she was saying after that, because I was pretty sure I'de be walkin' away from this section for the rest of the school year; no sense in just hanging out in 'near dreams alley' with my handful...I'de rather go sit with the dandilions..and often did.

But no, not this time...  I felt the winds of chance on my back- I had these top grade stickers on some school sheet, and others were arriving to start the trade...I decided to jump right in!


Walking over, I saddle up in the round, and then got a group glare like the dumbass I knew I was...

5 stickers on a sheet. LOL. girl, bye. Man, was I discouraged.


But, as I walked away- some crumb with darting eyes walked up to me and said "Hey- what do you have there..?"

She had seen me walk away from that group, with a sheet..maybe I had some goodies?

I showed her what was given to me from earlier, and she wanted to trade.


I pretty much gave her anything she wanted, and this time made sure to include the right kind of sticker page in that trade..

"An authentic blank sticker page is better than no page at all" I thought to myself "Plus, maybe intent listening will gain me more freebies from that first friend tomorrow" 

Surprisingly, after hawking all my stickers like the sweet vulture she then turned into, I was left with 2 remaining. Not bad. Maybe tomorrow would be a better day.






Stock Shock


So, there I am the next morning..yeah- maybe join that sticker crowd, but..wi my one sheet and 2 stickers, kinda why bother. Plus, it's 8 am- NOT my hour for ass kissing a sweet sticker hand-me-down, then trying to go for broke with the main circle.

But, then again, nothing else is really going on..maybe I could go shake down those crumbs for extra stickers, seeing as how that one kind girl from yesterday is showing a strong hand at the main trade circle, She's not leaving that group all morning...I know I'm not getting any freebies from her TODAY. Fuckin' bummer.


I head on over to a small gangle of  sticker wafters sitting on the concrete pebbles, and join in the back. There's two in front, holding the pages of a thick book in front of this mesmerized crowd. I mean, cool, but jesus... they ARE just stickers- it ain't gold people..but I have to admit, some of the little dazzlers are pretty cool, so I decide to take a closer seat near the front.


I can clearly see who has the meat in THIS camp, and OUCH, how can anyone sit on that rubble?

The shorter girl of the 2, spies my one sheet and comes rushing over, and since I'm a newbie, there's a good chance I have no idea WHAT'S going on in sticker values...easy target for sure.

She soon sees I'm a lost cause with nothing.. nothing for HER- but I quickly engage short girl by asking to see her book.


She sparkles up to show me asap; looks like; EVEN with a sticker book, some girls get NO ATTENTION, no matter how many cool things you own- she was more than happy to impress me fully...

...and impressed I was, I could see that she had many different styles of stickers,many valuabe stickers, which meant it came from many books and many trades...

In fact, some stickers looked tattered in the corners...and I could see creases in most of the stickers, now that I looked closely..


I hadn't noticed that right away. So, she had a book full of 2nd hand crap..quality at one time, but now not particularly valuable for someone knee deep in sticker obession as SHE clearly had, but for me, this was an essential up close experience for me, no matter HOW crappy the stickers.


This was also really valuable trade between two individuals: basic listening skills, in trade for someone who simply wanted to SHARE, and have a moment to be a lead sticker authority- something she obviously wasn't getting with that bigger dog holding sway over the crumb and rubble pack.


Soon another came over..a new student who just showed up. She shows her new sticker additions, and the two decide to trade.


'This is great! I cant wait to see how all this shit works' I'm thinking, so I'm all in. This newbie girl has really fresh, clean stickers, but they arent particularly prized styles..they are really clean and unknown however..they just weren't familiar images to anyone in the group, and in this case hurt her advantage in the trade.


Soon, the knives came out, and when I tell you that the mafia has nothing on 8 year olds pawning stickers, I would be tellin' true: In the end, this new kid got 3 shitty stickers- higher in face value, but so damn tattered..no one would EVER want to trade them.


I think one even had sand, and cat hair on the back...haha..I mean, damn. That newbie girl got FLEECED. But she didn't know that..the only thing she knew, was that her recently parted stickers were unfamiliar, and unimpressive.


So, like 8 or 9 stickers in trade for 3 tiny valued ones seemed like a really good deal to newbie girl..EVEN with the sizes not in reasonable proportion: stickers are also traded by SIZES, and this girl traded away some whoppers.


At this point, I'm thinking to myself "Well, this seems like a crappy deal..how does anyone ever actually break into this, if you START with 10 and keep LOSING 8 a day" but watched shorter girl grin ear to ear as that newbie toddled off to join some other traders.


"Hey.." I tugged on the short girls sleeve"..was that a good trade?"


Now, this is where it got REAL interesting.. This hawkeyed 8 year old got a gleam in her eye,  like the devil was wondering if I was day trippin'  and says "Not really.." with a crooked smile.




"Well, YEAH..I got MORE..but I dont know if those are really VALUABLE REALLY" she replied.


"But you got like 9 for 3 little ones..that's just basic math" I said.


"Yeah" she trailed off "maybe..I DID get more- here have one" she said with a smirk, and handed me a pretty decent sized sticker...some stupid looking rabbit in a wicker basket with stupid bows 'n' shit..yet, I felt like I earned it somehow, but really wasn't sure as of yet how or why.









Ambitious as Apple Pie


I was really wondering about how these new stickers would go down when they finally went around the circuit: Would my fresh, clean, newly aquired sticker become valuable? Who knows, in the meantime, I wanted to see why all these crumby rubblers were glued by lead girls side.

Soon, the bell would ring, we were running out of time.


I got close to lead girls book and got to see some really decent gems: PLENTY of top grade stickers, currently making the trades in the main circle, but not particularly RARE or large. Lots of duplicates in nice shape and colors..

Well, NO WONDER the rest are all crowded around, when you have nothing to trade and want to just LOOK at stickers, this is the place to be.

This girl was now done showing the whole book, and was ready to trade one on one.

"This is a good place hang out till closing" I thought " I will be able to see how the top stickers really trade"


The first trader came by with a few stickers.... the main girl seemed unimpressed, but reluctantly traded with her.. not bad: 1 small for 3 from this crumb.




The second trader was treated with the same amount of disdain as the first. But this kid seemed to be sweating it, and so, parted with a solid 6 stickers for yet another small 1...okay...


By the 4th kid, I totally got this deal: Simply ACT like everyones shit sucks, and you can really bluff the SNOT out of unsuspecting chumps. How hard could it be? I mean, sure, it's SORT of like lying- but it's more like ACTING..

and ACTING is a paid lie, which is all over T.V ..but in this case, stickers. Doesn't get more american then that folks.


...and the stickers..lead girl raked in so many stickers with this form of negotiation..she WORKED for those stickers too- so much bullshit fronting- and her endurance with it- I mean, she EARNED em..

I had SO MUCH rationalization.LOL


I was going to try out my first 'acting lesson' out right then and there:

My brand new sticker that I was just gifted! I KNEW no one knew it's value yet..in fact, I was the only one that had seen the stickers come into the playground ( besides the two traders of course), and the newbie kid had traded pretty much all these new stickers away to that other short girl, who, at this point, was not trading, but gloating over her NEW aquisitions.


She was still on a sticker authority high, and was eager to show every wafting crumbs her new scores, not even considering the main trade table.


That pretty much just left ME with 1 sticker from this unknown set, for ANYone to see or know about. I decided to walk over to lead girl, knowing what her attitude might be, and said "Look! Look at THIS sticker I got"


Her eyes slowly glanced over to let me know 'whatever' and then look at it sideways, then confirming her move on the board "Sure kid..whatever"


"You dont think this is valuable??" I asked


"Nope. Never seen THOSE before..yeah- they ARE clean but..yeah....it's cute with the pink and purple bows..."


That biotch was trying, and I knew it. Cool. 'No biggie' I thought, and headed back to shorter girl, to fill her in on the sad news.


I go over to see she is still barking up a storm on her amazing trade with newbie girl, who, is also standing there, looking like she's about to cry because her stickers sucked ass and now everyone knew it.


The Bell Rings!

My God, does the universe know how to stop bullshit dead in its tracks, or what. ?

Everyone goes running over to the door to start class, while me and short girl are slowly getting there..


I stop her and say "Hey- you know, I asked about these stickers, and they aint worth shit..but... I'll take some from you for my 2 nicer smaller ones..."


"I saw your stuff..it's crap..really?? The new ones aren't worth anything???" She asked.


Short girl looked totally surprised that lead girl had appraised them at 0, which , when I look back, is pretty fuckin' stupid of her..I mean, that WAS her friend..short girl HAD to have known how things were being run in that group...but for whatever reason, actually had a moment of uncertainty and asked me flat out 'really'


"Really, really" I replied, which techinically WAS true..I mean, lead girl HAD said they weren't worth shit..but really, knew this was key to lowering those stickers trade value.


Time was ticking, kids were entering the door..

She didn't seem completely sold.

I piped up "Besides..no one's ever going to want to trade them anyway- now that lead girl has appraised them..at least the one you gave ME has pretty bows on it". I was really going for it.

I had remembered what lead girl had said about the bows on my sticker, and quickly scanned the lot of stickers to notice the unique qualities endeared to my one sad sticker..


...but the quality stood out: Fucking pink and purple bows folks.. I'm telling you- just put pink and purple on some girl shit and BAM! it's a hit.


And it worked! Holy shit! short girl agreed!  i got like 7 newbie stickers for my crappy small 2 plus that 1 she had originally given me! Nice!


Yeah, time to start the day I said with a sense of accomplishment.



Sticker Suprise, and a whole LOT more


The very next day, I had a pep in my step- I knew I finally had the RIGHT type of sticker page- and by now, had found a three ring binder lying around one of my parents offices..a dark navy blue binder.


It wasn't decorated, or particulary thick for lots of stickers. Just an ordinary dark blue binder... but it was clean, and the dark blue was a pretty shade.

I decided to try and add a few touches to it; ball point pen.... looked like shit, the pencil ...silver looks cool but wipes off..'oh fuck it' i thought, but just then, spied some sticker like things on the desk..


Little circular donut like stickers..ok, cool..I grabbed, which evidently was a ring binder sticker off the sticker sheet, and unwittingly started slapping em on the navy front.. who cares if I can't DRAW on the binder..now I have this nifty little design at least.





Next day,  I dash on over to the main trade circle..it's wasn't at full capacity, but most of the main traders were there, already trading away, and actually looking quite bored; seems a lot of the trades had already happened in this small circle of now elitist sticker traders, and were mainly quibbling about unfinished trades from the day before, or WEEK before even.


Petty disagreements could be heard throughout the land, about the REAL value of things..who REALLY had gotten the better deals, and so forth.


My timing could not have been better- but no one was holding their breath on a newbie crumb who had been around the block for all of 5 seconds at their table, and was shooed away like the newbie sticker crumber that I was not less than 3 days ago.


Even still, fresh blood was better than no blood at all- and besides, it would give the group a chance to all mutually agree on a sacrificial lamb to hate, and dump their passive sitcker animosity towards.. a stickerless crumber no less- no skin off ANYONES  nose, right?


I sit down next to a brunnette girl, who, I had noticed seemed to be pretty fair in trades, and pretty nice to everyone all around. She was definitily the key to cutting in on a positive note.


I sat down quietly.

She noticed right away I had a navy binder unlike the other binders at the table. Everyone else had really specialized book, made EXACTLY for stickers....so, they were all HEAVILY decorated on the outsides, in golds and creams and AGAIN, that fuckin' pink and purple shit (I simply could NOT get away from that color scheme- fuck you 1980s..no seriously, fuck right off).


"Hey, what are those stickers?" she asked

"Oh" I felt completely embarrassed about my stupid office stickers " Never mind those..those are just some...DONUT stickers..I havent haven't decorated them or anything yet" I trailed off.


I was SO in luck, my quick creative thinking saved my ass again...they weren't shitty if they had SOME sort of cool, identifiable image attached to it..fucking donuts. Who knew they would be tasty AND save the day. 


"I wanted to show you MY new stickers" I announced.


I rememeber alllll the dumbass hand gestures, that gave excess value in the presentation of stickers..and this time, really played it up.


It just couldn't have worked out any better: There's me, acting my little exhibitionists heart out, and then the hungry audience ready for blood, or trade...OR both..in whichever order: Don't put it past an 8 year old to kick you in the nuts, then come back 5 seconds later to then also take your candy, and rob your dead ass blind. LOL. They do. and they will.


Ever watch a meerkat with a cobra? Or maybe a meerkat with a scorpion..? Either way, I had to have my senses with me today, 8am or not- if I wanted to sit at THIS table, I'de have to really put my acting abilities to the test.


This was it. All or nothing.


A few other girls comment on the binder as well, and the strange stickers. "What are THOSE.?" 

"-Yeah, what are those..."...


Brunnette girl piped up "Oh, I already ASKED..those are DONUT stickers"


OOOHhhhhhhh..an impressed wave of anticipation hit the group..

I slowly open up the cover, like I'm white gloving the US constitution, only to reveal, a whole new order of shape, color, vibe and style- I was really projecting the weighted value of these sacred objects which no one had a single clue about, other than that they were stickers-and so, at least I was in the right section of the playground.


All eyes on us now..and wide they were. 

"Where did you get THOSE.?" one sharp voice chimed.


"Oh, I traded..some are from home" I said. Which was true, those dumb ass office stickers WERE from home,  'vague is best at this juncture' I thought.


I could just smell the judgement dripping off of everyones brows, as they not only assessed me as a person alongside the stickers, but  also themselves- just this whole group, deciding if trade addiction was going to outweigh sacrifice, or what.


"What ARE those tho?" another girl asked.

"These are BRAND NEW stickers" I replied, "the other ones are donut stickers..but I haven't decorated them yet"


Ring! First bell rang. There was always two sets of bells to let everyone know:'Okay, heres the ACTUAL bell, and here the PRE-BELL  to let you dumbassess know to get ready for a bell.


"Ooooooo" a gentle hand attached to a long haired girl comes gliding over to get a better look..I really hadn't noticed her before. She's holding what looks to be the fuckin' gold edition of a sticker book. Like it was handed down from a family vault of seasoned sticker traders, just BAKED into her dna.


"Fuck finally. I'm in" I think to myself.


Nods of approval go flyin' around the circle faster than covid on a bong.


The rush of the bell ensued. The HEADRUSH ensued- people lunging over juiceboxes and books to start trading before having to run in to start the day.


And trading I did. I ended up trading 8-9 away for well over 50 stickers...and they were all of value, and they all were clean...I even made trades for whole new sticker sheets ALONG WITH a15 sticker trade, etc..


 Okay, 8am doesn't HAVE To suck.


Trading Stickers is a lot like the UN



The next day was a real banger indeed; I show up, and now heading straight for the main trade table. I know how to maintain a cool appearance of indifference with those crumbers, and those last minute trades from the day before are sure to include some last minute traders remorse..

I mean, 15 stickers for 1 new one? You got kinda got robbed bruh..Plus, at this point I was knee deep in sticker obsession..

I knew that if I wanted MORE stickers out of the same person, I would have to kinda throw those sort of facts right back in their faces..just in case I wanted to RID myself of those stickers for an even better squeeze.


Lead girl sees me passing her little group on by, and drops her regular buzzing crumbs to talk to me:

"Hey- What do you have there? Is that a new binder? what are those?"


She noticed those stupid shit donut stickers right away. Jesus! What was the deal with these ring hole office stickers.???.like what. ?Yeah, they looked cool..sort of, in a very abstract cheerios kind of way....

But, really what.??

I never understood the deal, other than maybe somewhere in the back of these kids' heads, there was some vague rememberance of these stickers as a reminder of home in their parents offices? Maybe stickers meant more to these people than I knew.. Fuck..who knows..


"Oh, I'm heading over to trade" I replied. I was already thinking of what lead girl might have in terms of trade, since she DID seem to have some decent stuff that I still had not aquired at that point.

So, I opened my  book and turned the pages quickly, as a tease.

Her eyes widened when she saw all the stickers I had aquired..I could tell right away there was ones she wanted, and would trade with me.


"I made a promise to trade with THAT girl today first" pointing to the main trade area to some random spot  " ..but let me come over after that, and trade with you". 

While she had nice stuff, I knew that the main trade circle could offer me more, and had more traders to spar with.


Lead girl agreed..She was big and somewhat scary, but she was laid back and seemed okay with my diplomatic approach. Besides, she had regular newbies to shake down...and, one day, she knew she would find just the newbie to shake her way into main trading, but I was not that bitch.


No, she never seemed to have found enough new stickers from crumbs that weren't already somehow traded into the main circle before SHE ever got news of the stickers even EXISTING...


Maybe it was because she was big and stocky, and had wild blonde hair that looked like it felt like porcupine hair, and would whip it all around the damn place..

Or maybe it was because she was a ruthless negotiator, and crumbers never got good up close glances at the goodies until trades were made and fucked them, YET again with a worthless crumple stick.


I always felt bad for crumbers..they alway kept going back to this lead girl, no matter WHAT bull she slung at them. I guess they simply weren't creative enough to enjoy the rest of the playground??


Maybe they really WANTED to sit in pebble rubble, and bruise up their knees like that..who knows: kids often dont know what the hell is going on, or don't pay attention right away to things like that-I know I sure didn't, but I had enough sense to know that I didn't know, and because of that, I had a back up sensibility that made sure to stay focused on practical matters such as "You are sitting on broken glass rubble and pebbles dumbass, ow".



After shaking her loose, I made my way over to the main trade and made a couple standard trades before I noticed long haired girl, again, just sitting there all by her lonesome with this gold mountain treasure sticker book.

I headed over to take a look at her book, she complied, and showed me what looked like a very nice, unique set of stickers.


Flippin' on thru.. we got to this one sticker.

It was larger than I had seen any before, and wasn't particulary of interest to me: A PINK AND PURPLE BUTTERFLY, with little mushrooms all around. I asked about it, and another girl across the circle sliced in:


"Oh THAT STICKER..she NEVER parts with THAT sticker..that sticker is the nicest sticker HERE..she shows it, but she doesnt actually TRADE."


I looked over at long haired girl who, looks hurt and somewhat ashamed..I mean, that IS a good point: Why da fuck you here, if you ain't tradin. What, you need the validity? God, its paper in a book for fucks sake..but..yeah... It was evident to the whole group, at this point, that the reason was clear.


Now, I could have chosen to pile on the already mountain of pressure long haired girl had on her, in hopes she would just fucking part with it-..sure.. that group was ready for blood from somewhere- ANYwhere.... But how was THAT gonna get long haired girl to trade with me? I mean, sure. The sticker was amazing, but getting nasty with her was gonna get me NO trades at all...I mean, she hadn't parted with it SO far, with the mountain already.


I piped up "Well, I LOVE it, I would never part with it".

Long haired girl propped her head up a bit to listen to more. God, she really WAS needy for the validity- but I didn't care, I had plenty of words to offer, and plenty of acting to try out.


"REALLY???" snapped the girl across the way.  A silent hush fell across everyone.


'Whose this little bitch' I'm thinkin to myself

"Well, yeah..it's the biggest sticker here..obviously" I replied.


No one really argued with that logic- but that one little snit had to continue.

"Well, I just don't see why you would bother HAVING it, if you aren't going to trade with it".. and while on the inside, I totally concured I replied "I do...It's the biggest one here". Again, logic was going to outweigh the values, and that was really the end of what could have been a sweet tear down of an 8 yr old. I could only imagine what would have happened after that first big gaslit sticker trade to snit girl; a complete gnawing at the binders SPINE on that delicious golden book of hers, and her ENTIRE collection in one fell swoop.


It turned out there was bad blood between these two, because snit girl COVETED this sticker, and was NEVER able to get long haired girl to actually TRADE IT. SO, instead they were trying to sort of bully her into trading..which, really wasn't working.


Ring! time was running out..


I always hated being the catalyst for others peoples issues.. I mean, damn. .this shi was get complicated, early AF if you ask me, but I was graced with long haired girls favor, because it was THAT moment, THAT point in time that long haired girl decided to rock the bells, looks at me and says:


"You want to trade for it?" 


OMFG..the whole group just died.


Like, you could actually hear stickers curling up in sticker smoke, and going up to sticker heaven. WTF just happened.


"Sure" I casually say..my heart just popped out and onto the floor, but no one seemed to notice that...


Snit girl comes RUSHING OVER "I GET first dibs..I WANTED to trade for it FIRST"


"SO WHAT"...Outta NOWHERE brunnette girl rings out HER truth, and continued "Long haired girl didn't want to trade THEN, she wanted to trade TODAY- no tradebacks, remember?"


So. Appearently, this sticker clique had decided that trading began at the BEGINNING of EACH day, and so that little grab was null-in-void.


"Oh yeah.." snit girl trailed off..and off into the distance was her dashed hopes of getting in on, what might have been, the best sticker trade this side of the multiverse. She's OUT...but still, she was a heavy hitter, and had one of the thickest books there, had the CHOICEST set of fresh, clean stickers. She was clearly a vestal virgin of the high sticker seas, and so , not a lot of the group felt very much compassion for her predicament, or her approach about the whole sticker matter..it was clear people just want to fuckin' trade, not be apart of this one girls agenda.


I, of course, was MORE than HAPPY to trade..whatEVER for the mother load of all stickers. I was a bit nervous however..how much is this gonna really cost?

What if the stickerheads decide to go rogue and simply ignore actual sticker values?

What if I get this sticker, and now, no one can afford the trade, so I end up getting fleeced by snit girl, simply because shes my only real trader here who can afford it???


Don't think for one fuck moment that shi doesn't run thru a kids head when left alone on the concrete jungle baby, this was just another moment in time that was going to bring something greater to me; some life lesson disguised in pink and purple.'.Fuck. This world is gonna be rough' I remember thinking, at that moment in time when I made this agreement.... to this deal.


She slowly and methodically looked at all my wares.. she could tell I was nervous- and rightly so, this was the largest trade since prostitution was invented, and now a civil circle of girly traders were just a rabid pack, surrounding the center transaction between prey, and predator..even though no one knew who the FUCK that was, or how this would play out.


After feeling gutted with her proposal of of my whole damn book, I told her flatly 'no way'. I mean, this was like what..day 5 for me in this sticker shtick, and I was already ahead..no fuck way I'm parting with it all over pink and purple shit..she saw that right away, and lowered to 80% but THIS time, wanted the donut stickers too???? WTF, maybe..


The binder hole stickers, had, by this point, lost their pastey white shine, and was now a dull grey.. a real pain in the ass to take off, and was just a lint in the a sea of rainbows inside.


But, whatever..sure..have some donut stickers too while your at it..80%? I don't know...think about it: 20% of what.... REALLY..? ... with this one butterfly? I don't just don't know


Long haired girl jumps in " Okay, well lets lower it" 



Now I'm really suspicious...

Why on EARTH does this girl keep lowering to get me to do this trade? I couldn't imagine at this point what the deal was..but then it hit me- she simply was done with the burden that pink and purple fuckwhich butterbitch brought her...

...and the moment a decent trader, who had the resources to trade with her appeared, she was more than happy to unload it- along with snit girls complete and utter nasty obsession with it.


Got it. ..and I GOT IT!! ended up getting it for 65% of my stickers..holy shit. I pretty much owned it all now..what a kind balance!! what a space to be in!


I still had stickers to trade lead girl, cuz honestly I was kinda scared of her and I didn't want to get pummled for shirking out last minute...


and when I headed over right before the 2nd bell rang, she looked up from the promised land, and into my eyes, completely mystified, as if to say 'How the FUCK you do that'.


Oh, yes, mornings were turning out to be quite stimulating indeed! Why not take that sleepy morning angst and put it into something useful? Everyone else was-I simply was becoming a joiner in the crowd, another shining example of how to really get the most out of every bite, which was life in the educational mill. Playground antics was that extra enriching element seen as cherry toppers..

..and boy, was I getting topped.



You Really Outdid Yourself...no, Really.


By this time, I was trading regularly at the main trade and showing off my newly aquired treasure like grabbing a morning coffee at the office kitchen, but felt like I was rehashing old shit pretty quickly. I saw that the only NEW stickers coming in to the main circles were either from this main groups weekend purchases, or from newbies they shook down on the sly, or smaller trades with lead girl who shook the crumbers FOR them with the rest.


I decided to split my time with both groups, but it wasn't until LATER that I realized the correct ORDER in which to do it. I had pretty much been trading at the main circle initially, then going off to wafting crumbs..always being kinder than my predecessors, and showing the top notch pink and purple glory for free, to anyone who wanted to see and touch and scratch&sniff.


Lead girl however, did not particularly care for my 'c'mon everybody the movie is free' sort of attitude. She knew that the less time traders had to inspect a sticker, the more razzle dazzle was left to the imagination, and with the bells tightening the close, she knew just how to finagle an on-the-fencer, for some really killer dilly trades.


She resented my in-your-face-ace style because I showed no mystery, I did not withold- I nervously let others drool over something they hadn't even known EXISTED until that point...Which was interesting, because after sharing the 'MonaLisa' of all stickers with crumbs outright, some of them lost their interest in the whole ordeal, and moved onto other parts of the playground.


Some crumbs lost the finesse being pulled over them, once they saw the mother of all stickers..like, just how GOOD stickers could get, and then they wanted none of the little crap being sold to them otherwise. They were now worshipping at the House of Pink&Purple Butterfly- and no shitty lead girl with her small sticky bits were gonna suffice from this point moving forward...


I guess at that point, I BECAME lead girl by default, because soon newbies were coming to me BEFORE lead girl for trade. They all wanted to worship at Pink&Purples church..trading was just like tithing at the door.


And tithing I did go collecting..I watched myself propose trades that were SO unfair, and yet crumbs would agree.I found this to be hysterically funny and entertaining for a reallllly long time. How low can you go? I don't know, how low a low, could I come up with?

The days got funnier and funnier while crumbers kept coming back, bewilderd as to why I had all these great new stickers from trading theirs away at the main circle..it was simply 'beyond' their grasp, and yet they always seemed to end up with shitty small flowers from the trades with me.


Of course, as with any good sticker following, I had to once in while, trade UP with the crumber group, offering really nice stickers for trade, because crumber newbies had new stuff, if they really got to believing their stuff was shit, they simply wouldn't bother trading, or trading with me. The goal was to never actually cut trade OFF, just make it acceptable enough to keep it ongoing, while I rape them for all they got.


I really enjoyed seeing how creative I could get, how raw of a deal someone would be willing to accept- It didn't matter what the sticker really looked like..if it was for trading, I could get them to want it desparately- never mind the fact that the stickers were now lackluster to my eyes- never mind I had long since stopped scratching the scratch&sniffs, or even knew what the pages looked like anymore. 


I had made so many deals and trades, I couldn't remember what page was where anymore, what was getting traded for what..I kept a closer eye on traders sweating my assurity than actual trades anymore. I really didn't give a FUCK what the stickers looked like, I just knew I wanted ALL of them,llosing any sight as to why,  and it was only a matter of unlocking these crumbs fears, like any good game of poker might reveal someones tell tales.


Lead girl did NOT like being cut out of her end of this new deal, now that I was really mastering the grift SHE originally started...I was competition, and so she decided to befriend me. I thought it to be a wise move, since she met newbies as I did, but I moved onto the main trade circle while she would get 2nd crack at trades with newbies stickers.


I was also kinda scared of that lumbering tree of a girl and didn't need a black eye over fuckin stickers..So, I made sure to bribe her with freebies I would get in trade with the main circle..

Ones, I knew she didn't have, ones I knew she wanted. As long as I was feeding lead girl a steady supply of main circle freshies, she was placated, and this little arrangement could continue... and she felt fine sharing first dibs with newbie supply.


But this was not to last long, however...

Snit girl, had been hatching OTHER plans these past couple days, and had decided that NOW was the time for her to make HER move.


She approached me when I was wandering around in the field completely satisfied with the collection of stickers I now owned, and was enjoying the bugs flying around some flowers:


"Hey..You still have that one?" she asked timidly, referring to the Mother of Life itself.

Like, bitch, you KNOW I do..so where is this all really going.?. I simply could not imagine what was coming next.

"Uh, yeah..?" I replied.

"Well...do you want to trade for it?" she asked.


Ever had a moment in life, where you are suddenly looking at yourself from a complete other angle, other than your eyes? Maybe you are are looking down on the scenario..or maybe from the side of the situation..Yeah, I was pretty much having an out-of-body experience with this proposition.


And, like the brutally honest wolf I had become, I whole heartedly agreed, because, I knew, that this girl was so desparate to get this sticker, that I could swallow her whole and she would THANK ME in the end.


"I could only part with this for like.. you're whole book..so..nah..." I replied hesitantly. I had been trading long enough to look people dead in the eye, as I bluffed and not have a care in the world other than 'I WIN'.

It's not that I didn't feel BAD for the other person as I fucked them blind on some deal, it's just that I became numb to any sort empathy- all empathy had gotten me in sticker trades, was shitty deals. NO ONE, and i mean NO ONE traded with that sort of loving attitude for long, if you were to actually make good trades.

By this point, I had seen so many little naive crumbers that would literally dump page upon page for a stupid little flower sticker, all because I finessed them into believing, somehow, that this little flower was going to change their lives.... That THIS little flower was KEY to getting into main circles..after all, I would know, I had lived it..They watched me do it.


" Um, ok...here" she responded.


All over a dumb ass pink&purple butterly. UNbelievable.


And that was that.  I now owned the largest sticker collection on the playground...

That was how I became the top sticker trader of the main circle and simulatneously the newbie collector of the 4th grade playground. I had that shi on a loop- new stickers coming in to the main circles exclusively, clean older stickers trickling down to crumbs via lead girl. I had it ALL..


...and snit girl was happy too- she had long since started a new sticker book, with a couple new ones along with her main prized sticker gleaming on the front page....she also gained some goodness from lifting her karmic load: Now she wasn't seen as a bullying dick for stickers..she traded with me for that prize: on new terms, with no particular history attached- so her aquistition was with a clean conscious..her whole damn sticker book....please,

...She MUST'VE know she was an evil bullying bitch towards long haired girl to feel her whole damn collection was her penance.



The only person who really got the short end of the sticker, was short girl. Not only did she get fucked on that initial deal, when she first gave me that stupid rabbit with the pink and purple bows, she saw me climb the ranks and take her spot next to lead girl..which really wasn't the case, but in her mind it was so.

She was pretty much the only stickerhead that didn't trust me, and knew not to trust me in trade fucking EVER. I did respect her for her insight, but found her irrelivant to the overall day to day reality which was now my favoite life water.



Mornings were fun, but running a sticker front before school became tiring.. it became the same acting script over and over and over...watching crumbers bend to their knees because I could make it happen just got boring..I had tried out allll the scenarios I could have possibly imagined trying..and simply ran out of ideas...


Sure, mornings were a hell of a lot more exciting in one way, the sadism really got me motivated! 

But, as with all things, the regular patterns emerged..and all I could eventually see on my walks to school was the imagined new faces of the day, looking heartbroken because of the fleecing that was about to rain down on them. I stopped noticing the birds in the trees as I walked by, or the smell of the lily of the valley that I would often pick and bring along like an aromatherapy.


Everyone around me seemed so impressed and pleased with all the benefits they gained from my acting skills, and this new routine, but deep down, I had forgotten why I started engaging in this sticker shtick to begin with: THE STICKERS.


..and I had long since absorbed the concepts and designs that they were showing..New stickers just weren't new in concept anymore- just repeats of the same trip. I knew my sticker pages back and forth, and upside down- I think I even dreamed in sticker pages..looking at my gems through my astral eyes.

Like your favorite rock song, I KNEW my entire collection- I was so familair with all of it.


But while I knew it so well, it's not like I really COLLECTED any of the stickers, I had instead just found a way to create a few good TRADES for myself, but which REALLY left me with a sticker book , primarily filled with someone ELSES wins. Sure, I mean, I EARNED the book....but I didn't like that girl to begin with, and now I got stuck with her stinky vibed up sticker book. No matter HOW much it was coveted by people, it was just paper, and glue, and ink to me...And who really wants THAT really?


So, one day...it was early November, I arrived earlier than usual, since I hadn't slept so well the night before- I decided to just get up early and hang out until others arrived...I was hella tired. and it was cold out..I arrived, and lead girl was there..but she was hanging out with other people, in another area of the playground. 


'That's odd... I thought her whole WORLD was stickers'.  I said to myself. But no, there she was... playing basketball. Unreal- and she was a great shot too.


I look over to the main trade area and there's no one there.. well.. there was someone there. This wisp of a girl.. I don't know if Id'e even call that bug a girl..she was more of a wall flower that got lifted by a drift, and happened to have landed over by the main trade circle.


I walked over to her, and said "Hi".


"Hello" she squeaked, as her eyes seemed fixated to the floor.


'What the hell was going on' I wondered, ' what is she looking for..'


I inquired as to why, and she informed me:

"Sometimes, I find stickers on the ground here...I have about 5 stickers NOW".


She seemed really proud of her scores, rasing up a  torn half sheet of lined writing paper. She was so PROUD of the stickers she had amassed, when they could have just as easily been ripped up bits of regular note paper with glue. 

You could make faintly make out a shape over a bent corner and over missing edges. Other sticker were faded, with half missing faces, or were single letters from some word sticker. that once said 'Rad' now said 'Ra'.


It was that moment I realized I was done with the trades, and mostly this acting lesson. I was tired of relating to others in a way that made a jackass out of them, and a monster out of me.


I knew all my gains up to that point were by ill design..just a shitton a bluffs, and headtrips and gaslighting and lies and acting and posturing and bullying and obessive coveting.

I didn't care if that was an ok way to be with other kids, by kids standards, or teachers standards, or parents standards, or fucking society shown to me via TV standards...


I just didn't want to spend my time that way anymore.. I missed the daisys and dandilions in the field, and filling my time with the clouds I would often look up at, until the bells rang.


What the fuck happened to THAT? Sure, I complained about being sleepy, and was isolated every morning, but at least I wasn't surrounded by petty shit..certainly not as petty as sticky paper.


I honestly couldn't think of a better way to serve myself, other than to respond to this wisp:

"Here, have THIS" as I handed her every sticker I ever owned, there was a  milisecond where I died and clutched the book, then simply remembered how heavy the book had gotten.


She took the book and looked at it like an alien just dropped a some AI tech on her lap. SHe just stared at it blankly..not even opening it.


"It's a sticker book..you can have it" I added.


She knew what it was, and knew who I was and what she had recieved..and upon freaking the fuck out, ran off like a crackhead to go show lead girl..


God, what did I do?  Oh, yeah, thats right..I'm heading towards the field to chill..I felt better already.












It did'nt take long for lead girl to lay into me, and eventually the entire stickerhead cult, for 'giving away' what they would gladly give their younger brothers away for. I mean, how dare I.


When I simply explained I was bored with it, it didn't compute, but seeing as how I was now just another crumb, was left to my own devices, right there along the borders of the soccer field to gaze at the flowers, and be long forgotten.


Later on, as an adult, I decided to reclaim a better relationship to stickers, and adore holloween themes...I oversaturated myself in holloween stickers, that, I paid fully for...and have an overwhelming sense of satisfaction from that.

I get the feeling they will be given away at some future point..my ultimate wish fufillment to a very long and petty karma ONLY found on the playground of the 4th grade.





 Needs, Needing my Needs                                                                    12.22


Does anything superscede art?

Clearly, quality survival superscedes all earthly functioning, and yet when the last man stands on earth I can't help but think he might pick up a pen or a brush or even simply his hand and make an expressive statement to the universe that says " I was here, and this is me"


As I went soul searching in my teens, I learned right away that basic human needs shaped and formed how my artistic endeavors unfolded.


One of the reasons I chose beads early on, was because of its portability; I was able to take it pretty much anywhere, it didn't require anything special other than light and maybe a plate and scissors.It was quiet, it didn't require electricity or help from others.

I was really interested in functional art such as beaded bags and crystal wraps, hair wraps, anklets with bells ( for bears in the woods, etc)...all things tradesy, and social by design.

When I was travelling around, this sort of connection to beads was a solid flow and fit well with the moving around, yet left me unsatisfied in terms of real expression.


Port-a-bead did not lend itself to larger thoughts, or lend itself well to options on the pallette. I had met other beaders along the way, who felt quite contented with a few handful of baggies..always aquiring a few new tubes here and there..


I really felt as if I wanted to dive right in..to know and understand ALL the colors..not just one or two that passed my way the next time I got into town.


As I felt more dedicated to the art, I had more needs of a solid place such as a studio- a place where I could have a larger amount of supplies, and explore more ideas for longer stints..


I knew that I would have to change my lifestyle to include a more permanent space that would give me that growth..in essence giving myself a chance to explore the work further, and in the way that it was being presented to me.


When my needs changed, so did my residence and day to day vocation: I would have to find the right place to get a studio, where beads would be found easily, and so a larger city such as Chicago was no real surprise. 


It was already a familiar stomping ground, and had every last resource I would ever need..I despised city life, but felt the trade off would be worth it. Looking back I would say it did, and that time of my life reflected the artwork created; The work got larger, more experiements with various beads..Different attempts with related materials, I interacted with other beaders, taught to others, learned to engage society as a creator.


In fact, during this time I lived in an apartment that shared a stairwell with a local bead shop, it just didn't get any more convenient. Like a sign from the universe: 'YOU... Living HERE now'.


As I moved into a less crowded area (something more calming to me in my old grannyass years), this solid location has influened my work yet again, and has found reflection through my environment- continuously growing.


It really doesn't surprise me that the environment helps to shape our expressions, but what is surprising to me,  is to see that our expressions have been, apparently, choosing the environments all along.


I'm game for what's next.




 Walking 2 worlds                                                                                                    12.22


At first, when I dreamt at night it was just super tedious...

but then later discovered deja vu was nothing of the kind; instead it was simply a remeberance of that dream I had the night before..or maybe last week. I would remember it distinctly, because I would document the dreams.


I saw clearly how we actually write our own scripts, then act them out- like dumbass plays. I mean, I guess..but loses its charm when you are 4 days ahead of the act out. 

Even still, I never did feel any need to delve deep into the whole experience of it- I felt that going with the flow has been the best approach to many things; allowing myself to see how I feel in the moment of things.


Not a bad philosophy really- it has allowed for spontaneous creativity not otherwise possible, as well as for some last minute quick witted thinking that seemed to have come down from the best screen writer ever, and has made for some great tales around a drunken bonfire..vanity being everyones favorite sin.


I will add, however- that if you ever wanted to really get into it, that Seth books by Jane Roberts talks about the whole way to access astral travel easily( through programing in a1 consciousnes- go read it)...and yeah, it enhanced everything I was doing.


At times, the astral world feels to be more the real world than the physical world, because that realm is where things seem to be truly be created and initiated, whereas the physical experience is this heavy mass of slow enacted movement- monumental movement- I can't lie...but even still, if you're moving like liquid mercury in a world of clay earth- talk about frustrating as all hell..and what's more, isn't as malleable.


It's not like you unbreak a fuckin' vase when you drop that shi- in the astral, you can act out as many possibilities as you can create, as you can IMAGINE...and you can choose the rate in which to act them out..one at a time, all at once, focus on certain aspects..whatever your fancy...You wanna unbreak that vase? Boom! unbroken, and it bounced off the floor.!


Here, in the physical, that broke vase is just more work with a broom. There are distinct realities valid in the dream state ( as you experience dreams as 'real'), that simply lack existence, in the physical order of things. In this way, we could sleep forever in the poppy fields of Oz, and never mind it..not one bit. :-)


Over time, I have had many experiences with my friends, where we had astral journeys together..kind of an intimate thing to do with someone, really.

Mostly, though, I found my friends to be quite taxing on me in that sort of 'added' connection in the relationship- I mean, damn..we just went out for an all night bender- im passed out out at 5am- I don't need to CONTINUE the drama out of body- I dont feel connected, I feel pestered..jesus fuck go do your own thing. lol


Now, all this sounds like some amazing spiritual dhoop, or maybe like some psychological headbanger that creative types commonly have..sure, ok..quite possibly so, but I am too far gone to know or care about other peoples interpretations about my life experiences more so than I might be having with myself.


Surprisingly, the work I do in terms of artwork is not plucked from an astral order.I don't have super sparkly dreams where I open magic doors to reveal the big 'surprise image. Instead, I am quite embodied, although usually in a meditative environment when ideas and visions of artwork come to me.. like cruel jokes.


Like love notes on a silver platter, that say 'fuck off, no i really meant that'...Cramps for Christmas 12.22 really embody the sort of relationship I have with my connection to source. I gotta appreciate all the love and attention that has been bestowed upon me in terms of ideas, but dont think for one fuck moment that shi wasn't at my expense on some level..I mean, CRAMPS for Christmas..>slow clap<


Who doesn't pay. No seriously, what idea in this world- what idea worth it's weight, isn't with an ounce of mutually understood misery. No value of worth is a gradation between golly golly gum drops and super sweet swell..who would really care about light without some dark.


Again, I have mentioned this before in my thoughts on the creative experience- there simply isn't deep value in things that dont hold deep value. Deep value is found in the heart of things, which is why getting to the heart of things matter...because it eventually translates into your work.


The girl who stepped on my hand in 2nd grade might not be moving mountains in some future sculpture, but allowing my inner 7 year old heart to forgive her, because I later in life accidentally killed my pet duck might...


I may actually have some empathetic feelings for others, that translate in a such a way ( through sound and vision), that it may just add that extra bite I needed in a work- to make an impact in my expression.


Work that, might have come out nicely without any inner process', but knowing all along that this gradation of empathy makes it so much better...more relatable to others.


Expression is best served understood.








  A Musical Note                                                                                                                            12.22



I noticed that some musical groups have really strong individualism in their sound- Stereolab comes to mind) because, each element in that sound is so very independent in its expression ( alongside the song, of course)..I oftentimes wonder if perhaps the writer simply presented the baseline, and expects each individual to create their own song essentially...THEN bringing it together, to pick and choose and disregard, as an agreed experience.

People will say this about the Beatles- how they were really solo artists who decided to FORM a band, which is what made them this superforce of nature- don't mess with the scarab. :-D


I often thought what it might be like to create this way, but on like a "DO They Know Its Christmas" kinda level- like get all the big pop names, and send them all the same line, then have them merge..


Egos aside, that could be some pretty cool shit..

I bet there is only so much sound an ear can comprehend..and so, the picking and choosing might be too tricky to handle, but if it was for a cause( and that tax write off), maybe.





****Beginnings in Beads******                12.22


Was speaking with a friend the other day about a couple of misconceptions about my start with beadwork...inspired me to write a thought or two about my firsts, with a textile art I adore so much.



Young young.


Originally, I saw beads laying around my mothers baubles. She was given a string of amber beads by someone and would have them out once in awhile... I would notice how unbelievably alien they seemed to me: This super force of graduated, glowing material...which, at the time seemed as large as my head..

Just this tremendous force, and then at the same time, it was clearly constructed from human hands..

I would wonder why someone would take a whole block of pure magic, and cut it down to just this one part...Kind of like " Cool...so where's the rest of it?"

And in that way, found this strand of beads to be quite violent- I could feel a ton of agression in this glowing talisman- how much force it took to create each shape - I could see smooth lines and grooves along the surface of each bead..noticing their imperfections..as slight as they were, giving away their mortality- that they were in fact MAN MADE- not sent down from some advanced alien civilization, which, apparently my MOM had stashed in her shoe box with other bric a brac.


Eventually, the organic grass strand holding them broke, and she would eventually include a bunch of antique beads to these amber beads- creating beaded tassles.





Campy Camp Beads


Somewhere in my faded memory was the bliss of basic rainbow seed beads at this arts camp I attended...it was some 16 year old kid who was like "here"..and shoved a bunch of supplies in my face. I remember everyone looking around at each other like, how do we do this?

And one person knowing because their sister did it at home or some shit.

Eventually, some adult showed up, and was all stunned no one was beading..HAHA

I dont think anything was really made..Like, A LOOM..lol..people were struggling with the needles, let alone a loom- this girl next to me got a needle stuck her leg...the whole thing was fucked up.


BUT, I did get really into simple strandwork..I was getting into the bead colors as little voices..

Like a chorus each singing its own little note.

I loved how I could pick and choose the colors and order of who got the focus next ( like getting chosen for the strand)..The picking and choosing was exciting..it gave an endorphine rush.

I saw that certain colors would relate to the endorphin rush also- since some colors in the mix were more desired by my beadpals ( like pink and purples and blues), finding them on the plate was even more rewarding since it implied TRADE with others. ('Sticker SHtick' story coming soon- endorphin rushes from trading)..

After awhile, I would pick and choose the beads as endorphin rush rewards to myself...like a few lower rush choices, then reward myself ( and still remain disciplined to a certain color pattern)with a higher such as pink or purple, or blue..

SO, while all my fellow beaders were creating these gorgeous necklaces, that took a fair amount of time to create, with purples, and pinks and reds and blues and golds- (and the rush upon seeing these necklaces were amazing, no doubt.), I was creating these somewhat UNpopular designs with tons of oranges and yellows and browns...with just a few blues, red and purples and pinks splashed in.


AT this point I should add, it's not that I didnt WANT such a splendous necklace such as those that the others were creating, it's just that,

initially, I was so very good at finding, that my strand was just this continuous rainbow..I simply never had to look hard for the color that I would need next, and was able to string faster than those around me.. I didnt particularly place a value on certain colors since we were just starting and the materials were plentiful..it hadn't dawned on me to consider what OTHERS found valuable, in terms of beads...

...and it somewhat greedy to just take all the nice beads 5 times faster than everyone, simply because you could.. plus, I wanted more endorphine gratification from TRADE ( 'Sticker SHtick' story coming talks about this) rather than hoarding.


For my experience, it wasn't so much about creating a product so much as learning about my relationship to the art..over stretches of time, the repetitive action and rush put me ( and the group) into a trance like state..

long stretches of silence and floating focus...maybe for others concentration was the thing, because focusing on threading seed beads can be quite taxing on the eyes...

But, I could easily see up close..I was in this pattern rush groove, watching how I could find reward in the simplest of tasks: threading a bead, threading a bead, threading a bead..

..and that, by repeating it over and over..I could walk away from mind as well as my body...a certain inner freedom.


Back at the Ranch


..while I had certain experiences with basic opaque seed beads (such as camp), it was really this specific antique seed bead that hooked me in for life...

It was extra beads from my mothers project..and seeing as how I kept coveting them every time the beads were out, I was gifted them.


I still keep some from the same era here ( below):

As I look at it now, I cannot imagine WHY I thought this strange shade of deteriorating, faded pastel rose LINED bead was the shit..but for whatever reason I did.. I think it had to do with the way the glass was cut- it reminded me of crystal stemware, while the rose color reminded me of silk furninture- a very dreamy image in my minds eye.

I could see complete rooms decorated in blue pastels and pearls. Chandeliers covered in rainbows, and a tea party set for the happiest of times- no shit! All right here in some tiny ass vial of seed beads..it was like entering an enchantment.


And I thought to myself 'This. This is where I'de like to live forever' ..and so I did..

I consider those beads every now and again, and while they aren't as mind blowing as they once were,  the value they have lent to my choices outweighs anything they lack in outward appearance.


I think I found some dental floss, and tried with these beads for awhile.. but it wasn't working all that well. So, I tried other ideas.



My first Customer


I had a friend I was particularly close with around the time of my failures with dental floss, but I was determined to create something with these seed beads..so I considered safety pins.

I knew we had tons of pins in some sewing drawer, and no one would miss a handful of those things..! I felt so clever..I found exactly what I needed and hurried back to the beautiful antique beads! This was going to be so nice!

I sat down, only to discover there was no way in hell this bead was gonna fit these pins.Realizing this, I sourced some other seed beads that WOULD work: those campy camp opaque seed beads work for fuck everything.

And voila! this rainbow safety pin necklace was MADE. It took every pin and bead I had, but I made a simple chain- then added pin fringe ..it was more than a regular pin chain, but not too much extra. I was pleased.

..and my friend must have liked it too- she wore it to school, and another mutual friend spied it right away. She came looking for me at school to ask me to make one for her..I simply did not have the heart to tell her I didn't have more supplies- and perhaps I did say, now that I recall..Because she mentioned she would pay for it.

I must not have been very motivated to figure out how to get more supplies, or the money, because I never did end up making it for her...and she asked me for like, 6 weeks...it was so strange to me, to see someone want something I created. It was my very first experience with someone who just truly loved my creations, and I had no idea how the work was separate from my own self..

It was this idea that I was gifting my friend something original..but mostly, something original in me...and anything else was a betrayal of that originality- being 10 was no joke. lol

But Cloe, if you ever get to reading this ( you moved to Italy?), I've come to terms with it all, and would be more than happy to make you a safety pin strand :D





+++Out from the Trunk of this Chics Car+++++


At this point, I really paused to consider what I felt about that whole experience;

The making of something that felt personal, something that felt vulnerable..and the consequences that it might bring: such as other people and attention. I wasn't certain I really wanted that, and other arts- such as acting was taking my focus..

Ballet class and hebrew school were extra studies, alongside acting workshops.. Painting was my jam at this time: It was a subject given at school, and I found it really relaxing and excelled in the painting classes I attended..

Around 13, I found myself even more immersed in painting, as I started working at a local art supply store and had access to all sorts of supplies. I learned a lot about pigments, chemistry and believe it or not, cutting glass.

In a different era of time, I was an excellent glass cutter and would be keeping the glass shelf supplied on the regular. Eventually, the job became tedious after a couple years since it became mainly the cutting, not so much stocking other supplies... but I did enjoy one thing about it, well, two things that were one thing.


I would end up with scrap glass that had to be cut down in order to fit the garbage bin..some of the sheets cut were so large, that the scrap glass was nothing but a half inch strip, like 38 inches long...

It was SO much fun taking these long strips and breaking them on the rim of the metal garbage bin- they made a sound..

..and everytime you break it, the pitch would get slightly higher, and then higher with the next break. It was like singing glass! I did try a couple of different lengths at the same time, but that got complicated and away from the task at hand...

But seeing as how I found the job tedious over time, those little 'destruction breaks' really appealled. It was such a nice release from all the prescise focus you have to do with measuring- a wrong measurement makes a wasted sheet of glass, so each cut mattered.


The other thing was the look..I LOVED how the broken glass looked in the bin- the reflection of light each shard would beam. I would often mention to other people around how beautiful the glass looked..with all the directions, and shades of that faint green blue (reminding me of the lake).

Of course, it looked EXTRA majestical in this metal silver bin, since the silver reflected even MORE light bewteen the jagged bits and glass dust.

While most people just saw the danger and nothing more, I would mention how I would love to take the extra scraps and glue them somehow, so that ohers could see what I was seeing..of course, any idea like that was quickly discouraged, especially coming out of the mouth of a 13 year old.


I devoured art supplies from that store, learning so much, but no art supply in that whole joint captured my soul like that broken glass..I guess they had put me in the right position all along: A medium I love-hated working with one way, would eventually become a beloved relationship later on.


Nothing appealed to my senses more than the luster of the light..It's the one thing that all glass shares, but ESPECIALLY between those antique dusty rose, HEXAGRAM CUT seed beads, and a bin of broken edges; those seed beads held that certain special twinkle I also found whispering on the sharp corners in the bin.


Over time, and with music influencing my artistic eandeavors, my exploration with bead never ceased. By my teens years, I was exploring simple lacing techniques and making practical styles such as rainbow anklets and talismanic style necklaces...that is, when I wasn't getting into trouble thumb hitching across the states.


As it goes; you never expect to happen what eventually happens..


and of course, it never happens in the way to expect it to.

I am no exception to gods idea of funny- at least in this case, it was a life changing joke.


Already weeks deep into touring a dead show, near the end of a long hazy day and wondering where we might unsleep for the night (since the acid was about to kick in around sunset), I get approched by this pretty hippie girl.

She can see that I trade beadwork, seems interested even though I am starting to close up my wares, somewhat tired and worn from talking shop.

I was kind of shooing her away, because she didn't particularly want to trade- she wanted to show me her beadwork...and I thought, Ok..I mean, fellow beader..I just dropped some shit, but maybe. ok..

She's seemed completely level headed, a bit older perhaps?... really nice and intelligent..sure, why not..I'll meet you in 20 minutes to go look at god knows what. Honestly, 20 minutes later at a GD parking lot could be anything- I'm not holding my breath that I ever see this girl again. lol



But, sure enough- there she was..like 40 minutes later- and her car was still there! parked in the next lot the entire time!!! 

She sees my bf, and drags us both through this lara croft assed path- through the back alley of every hippie van from here to Cali....

....and Im thinking to myself; " Ok, well let's see how long THIS vibe is gonna last" because, you know....at a dead show, in a parking lot, near closing..... it's a PARTICULArly choatic beast, and with the speed kicking in from the blotter, I dont know how long I'm gonna be engaging until I start talking jibberish nonsense to this girl.


To boot, I had just finished a rather nasty little quibble with my signifigant other moments AFTER dropping- sweet jesus: could this moment in time gear up for a nightmare helltrip ANY BETTER?? oh, I think not.


...and now, I have no idea how to get back to the car; people are streeeeaming through the lot like clothes running through a dry cleaner press..just shirt after shirt after red shirt- fuck-did I just see captain Kirk.?

The sun had finally given everyone a rest, and the sky was deepening into a beautiful shade of aqua. Cooler breezes had suddenly hit upon us, and she beckoned us closer to her car trunk.


Now. I'm in no mood to lie about some real ugly shit that she might be showing me..and I just knew the acid would make this all my fault somehow.

But there.

Out from the trunk of this chic's car, is this fucking AMAZING beaded majesty, like I've never encountered before, let alone up close...I mean, I'm thinking about it- yes, I had maybe glimpsed this style once before, and was such a quick moment I didn't even have time to study it- let alone remember the moment.

It was a peyote stitched cord, in the round...a rather simple technique in the world of peyote webbing..but it glistened with rainbows- she chose an AB black fire polished seed bead, that made this look like liquid glass...or dragons scales..a liquid snake? or was that the acid kicking in....


So she says to me"Do you think I could sell THIS? ..and for how much?"

I told her:"wow..you could easily get a whole 35$" (lol)   ....which, probably was realistic for that parking lot actually, never mind the hours it might take her to make it.


..I knew my time was limited, and upon telling her so, she saw my sense of urgency when I explained that I was blown away by this creation and wonderd perhaps if she could show me how she did it...

..now, this is where it all gets faintly fuzzy- more like faintly buzzy-

because something in that trunk triggers by bf into a manic panic like a 10 alarm fire...I'm still looking at the wares..

..there's other around, and he asks her " SO..WTF you doin here at THIS concert? Huh..? Didn't GET IN did you..what's YOUR excuse for being out here..?huh Huh HUH????"


Bewildered to the 5 stoned hippies that have now started to group around the cool art, all look up like they are dead sober for court and she pipes up something er rather..then tags on.....'..yeah and work for the FBI".


I swear to you, when I say a hippie free zone of about 20 goddamn ft literally popped up outta nowhere. LOL I mean, not me...not my bf..not the other 2 guys smoking the bong- we all knew WE were fucked..but suddenly all the cars are gone from the whole area...or is this just the acid again..?


And this is where I said to myself " Yes. Yes Li..you have completed the hellscape that this could have turned into- a FEDbust ( with canadian citizens carrying no less), all due to some bead lure. FUCK FUCK FUUUUUUCK"

But, no..whatever that chic said turned that storm into a hippie rainbow miracle, because the birds showed up with flower garlands, and rays started beaming through the clouds; She was on vacation and was administrative..she was just relaxing at the show and wanted to know about her beadwork. I, of course, bought it..

Just the same, my bf wasn't having it, and was feeling ready to move on, seeing as how the vibes went from 'high' to 'high holy fuck- just kidding'.

So, on the run, as the sun set..when the trails started coming on strong..in the hippie dust debris, this chic strung 4 needles at once! lol I was amazed.

4 needles, on 4 strings, with 4 beads in this most amazing pattern which I saw clear as I stood breathing...this was an EASY pattern to remember. which was good, because as fast as I was shown, I was onto the next adventure- or parking row..whichever would come next it seemed.


As soon as I got my head together and back near my supplies, I sat down to create my first peyote object: a beaded duffle bag pouch made up of various sized square peyote stitched panels.

I had to play a bit of jazz figuring out how to do to the flat round part on the bottom, but figured it out by the 2nd bag..and by the 3rd, had started making larger versons. 


(The brown pouch shown above was about the 7th attempt..the holes around the laces became nicely formatted..the weave very tight..the patterns interesting. This bag was also an attempt at using the inconsistent mexican seed beads with a thicker d nymo thread..still experimenting with the various seed beads and threads available at this point..

Even the folds of this pouch were taken into consideration by pounch #7:

I had noticed in other beaded works in museums, that pouches had very intentional folds, and that I should incorporte that into my own pouch design.

So, this pouch has an incredibly efficient closure- with a perfect spacing and number of folds for easy open/closing.)



I was definitely on my way to something with this new found stitch..

but what could it be--ad ?






I soon discovered how to taper/expand the weave, to create other ideas such as the rose petals in the hair clip above.


My journey as a personality is easily seen in my work: At this point, I hadn't considered making beaded backgrounds behind the beadwork, so you can see a red velvet strip of fabric behind the rose and vine...just wasn't being that thorough with ideas...

Also, there is this massive thread right in the center of the rose..I was still at place where I just wanted ideas out, and I really didn't care about how they were presented.


I mean, SURE. I wanted the final product to be what I had envisioned..but a large part of me was quite indifferent to what came out- it was SO desparate to express at all costs, even the final results...even the satisfaction of the the making..even at the expense of every resource I had, or didnt have....day or night without thought to the concept of pacing.


Now, many artist will tell you this is enough. That the expressing is everything, and perhaps for them that is so..yet I found with beads that such an approach only left me lackluster- and THAT is no way reflect such a glassy pleasure.


You can also see where my head was: Roses in her hair- clearly a period of romanticism and nostalgia for all things free and loving. I actually had quite a public following during this period of my work..when it was green, and twin flames and magikal.


It was in my early 20s that I discovered planning as 'thing'..that getting the right materials together could make the work not only more enjoyable, but produced faster. I was able to produce so quickly that I could sell my work in terms of prototypes.


It was also around this time I worked for a local artist who was making mass beaded production type work for department stores and was focused on fashion magazine exposure..I learned quite a bit from that small stint of time- such as being faster than anyone else at the job, and later teaching this whole underground factory certain bead stitches, so that they could mass produce for their own agenda.


I also learned some good functions of the job- such as needing to have a screen to glance up at while you work..if you dont look up every few minutes, your eyes will have a hard time adjusting later. I once worked a long day without this action, and found that I could not adjust my eyes for about 25 minutes or so- I simply could not drive or whatever.

So, I tend to have some movie on- something engaging to force my glances..but not TOO engaging( or the work wont get made).


While I was learning with the job, I had my own work going on alongside. The double beadloads taught me a lot about pacing, and limits, and of course, enjoyment.


For a while, I engaged myself similarly with the work I did for others, as for my own work; I wasn't looking to enjoy the beads, or savor the moment I was having in that time, spending time with my mind-reflecting on the things I love, focusing any sort of intent on the work itself.


I was mass producing! And that took 0 mind, 0 intent and 0 feelings..I was just plugging the work out and selling to local stores and joining local high end boutiques, etc.. I felt worked without real meaning, without a focus or an intent..Kind of fly by night creating.


Once in while I would create these really humorous pieces like a jacks and ball necklace, or the wicked witch of the East statue...or the tooth fairy doll ( which I think I may revisit now that I think about it)...and felt more satisfaction with work like this going into local exhibitons.


I really enjoyed seeing my work in relation to other artists work..I loved seeing the theme run through all the artists creations in this unified way..with good vibes, open minds, and perhaps a drink or two. Cash would often flow, sometimes not, but either way..there were small surreal moment at these sort of events where I could feel the Creative Order dancing alongside me... a mutual satisfaction on all fronts, at that all was right with the world.


I noticed right away that the kind of experience I had with this sort of creation was quite different than mass production work. There was real sense of personal value- and then having it reflected through other voices- through art that is NOT yours( especially when the other work is amazing)..it allows the curation to just steep in, to feel apart of a deeper purpose than a sole artist.


When I saw this kind of inner relationship to myself through others in this way, I felt the mass production appraoch to be somewhat secondary..


Not only this, but also MassPro has a complete OPPOSITE energetic approach; Your not looking to put energy IN- your looking to make a product SO popart, that it feels machine made..in this case, 0 fuck energy. You want a 'hollow' vibe..something without mojo.


This is an incredibly important distinction, and one I hadn't realized until I made these two pendants. I was at the local rock store, and found two pretty stones- two tigerseye stones..one in brown, one in blue. 


I remember being on a high from the art exhibit and felt like putting in a ton of energy into these two tiny pendants. It wasn't a lengthy production, nor did it use particularly important beads..

Just simple, straightforward designs; stripes and swirls that hardly matched the stones...but colors I felt drawn to at the moment. 

The stones were held with a small band of beads, and a tiny tigerseye bead between the ring and capped stone.

I had a local art fair, but for some reason did not attend ( no surprises there), and with a surprisingly small turnout, both the stones sold!

When I was told about the sales of the day, this woman had bought both- saying that she hadn't planned on buying anything, but that there was an incredible amount of energy that was put into those two pieces, and so the prices was too good to pass by.


I think I sold them for like 15$ each..some small amount, but it was worth the knowledge I gained. I learned that energy was most definitely felt in my work..I hadn't been so certain up until that point..with, of course, current mass production teaching me another way.


I noticed very quickly how different markets for beads meant different things: Mass production works encouraged a disposable relationship to beads..more like fashion- something to be worn in this SEASON, etc..

..whereas, the art end, of course, was more personal..and that consumers in that market WANTED energy from beads.


But it wasn't until I felt more akin to one over the other approach, and then somewhat unknowingly..coming from that place of open curiosity..... that had me try this different way which was somewhere in the middle of the two.


I decided FULLY right then and there to dedicate as much as I could in terms of putting energy into the work. This was a very important decision because what ensued was a whole chapter of learning what SORT energy to put into work.


That was a frustrating chapter indeed.







A Note:                                                                                                                 11.22



It's funny to me that as my day to day life is more consistent and stable than perhaps any point I might have experienced, that artistically, I am in a tsunami like never before.

As I have mentioned repeatedly, music is a wellspring of energy for inspiration and straight up life force that creates endurance. My recent delve into music satiation has had me confronting a couple of facts about my relationship to the Creative Order.

The largest being my dedication to the work ,or, my dedication to a single focused intent. I was never really inspired for a larger expression, and simultaneously had very little articulation for a more dedicated and laborius creation as rewarding...almost a confidence thing, but more of an ability thing..almost the same thing, but not really.

I really struggled with just submitting to the parts of myself that wanted more from this medium, because the energy going into this expression has already felt like 1000% of myself- I simply could NOT imagine even more going into whatever..I mean, my god, I need sleep.

But in recent years, sleep seems to be shorter and far between...


And then He inspired me with an idea.

Just a random passing suggestion from Him, to be sure....

and I thought 'My God, what I great idea.. I would LOVE to share that with everyone'

I could see the finished creation in my minds eye, and basically, I was just running out of excuses as to why I couldn't try harder, try for something stronger..

This EXACT concept I had been toying with for a couple of months was now soundboarded into my psyche...like a gift you wanted but didn't know it until you got it.




I know now that the universe is actually compassionate, and that if I were to have had ideas before my (their) time, they would serve as painful reminders, not realistic aspirations...the smaller earlier works would not have inspired what they would need to, in order to learn what is needed for the next larger concept.

I also now know that larger ideas take more than one individual to create, because larger ideas take knowledge and experience that require more than any one individual can contribute alone (usually).


So, in September,  I simply gave up.

I took all the clues the universe was slapping at me, and just decided to allow the Creative Order to take full control of the time and dedication...Essentially, letting it kill me by its own design.


And I died.

Only to return as something completely different- perhaps better, most definitely more palpable...

...the concept of dedication has only just begun...


I thought I knew something.









A Note:                                                                                                               10.22


No one really chooses what inspires them..did you really think I could do it without you? 

Let me put another way, does anyone NOT cry bitter fuckin tears that they have to trust the process and dive in.? Who, in this world, does NOT get burned.. who DOESN'T say to themselves "why the FUCK am I doing xyz..? 

If we had ultimate control of how things operated in this world, then we would never have the vulnerability found through the concept of mystery..not to mention boring. God. just imagine a life, where you know the whole plan, and it literally went exactly as you planned it: You plan a painting, and it comes out EXACTLY AS PLANNED...EVERY..SINGLE...TIME. WOW. you need a cookie? some artists really do.

...you think money in the mix would somehow be this fabulous subversion to the plan-like, if you could plan it with a shit ton of cash- then the plan would be some great experience...but as anyone fully insulated by cash already understands, the insulation actually DETRACTS from life's savory engagements-the concept of risk and of consequence is gone..

I am reminded of a Bowie inspirational quote that I keep nearby, and reflect on often:


Never Mind the Stares

"If I'm going to do something that could be provocative or artistically relevant, I have to be prepared to put myself in a place where I feel unsafe, not completely in control. I have no fear of failure whatsoever, because often out of that uncertainty something is salvaged, something that is worthwhile comes about. There is no progress without failure. And each failure is a lesson learned. Unnecessary failures are the ones where the artist tries to second guess an audience's taste, and little comes out of that situation except a kind of inward humiliation"




I probably look like a stupid idiot to most...my topics, my approach, my 'image'.... Good. Because if you can't understand what it is I'm tripping on, then I will feel very little satisfaction in trying to have it make sense to you....

...and if I'm writing it worldwide, I obviously give 0 fucks as to opinions of others...

I should add, that at one point I really DID care what others percieved, and felt about my work. I felt that art was, only HALF an experience if it wasn't being valued for its intent...I mean, really..whats the point of expression if there is no one there to witness it, etc...

So, the perception of my work really meant a lot at one time..and there was a lot of grief and pain that went along with that need.

But I found a way to free myself, and everyone along with me. I cared until I learned not to...and heroin really helped me learn that lesson. Because when you are on heroin, NOTHING matters ( for those that know me, yes, a pun there)..nothing matters other than the heroin...and THAT lie dissipates soon thereafter...but the experience stays..and I had to consider; what 'truth' was to me- in terms of what I created- I simply found that I wanted to be my own understander for my work.


I consider John Lennons use and his expressions in "Everybodys got Something to Hide except for Me and Monkey", and some of the sentiments he would later comment on:"As I put it in my last incarnation,'Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey.' It means really that one cannot be absolutely oneself in public, because the fact that you're in public makes you...you have to have somekind of defence, or whatever it is'.   

I oftentimes wonder if the heroin he was doing at the time of this songs creation, perhaps took him to a similar inner state where the clear distinction of inner freedom sharply contrasts with the realities of the public gaze. 

When you wear your hART on your sleeve, you are bound to be sadly dissapointed over and over. and who has time for that...might as well free everything, starting with yourself.


Art is subjective anyway- does anyone think Van Gogh's Sunflowers was about an artist trying to make an image of flowers? That shi was medicine for the man- it wasn't about paint, even to the Hand itself.

No one willingly CHOOSES vulnerability, until you do..probably the best, and only form of control we will ever fully have, without compromising our own goals.


...On a side note, maybe if this world took mental health seriously, the society would find relevancy in ART again, and not throw fucking milkshakes at it (Sunflowers episode in recent news)....

When the old oaks mighty branches take up so much light and room, that the forest no longer know anything but speckled streaks of existence, perhaps its time to fell the 1, for the sake of the whole wood...




.just a rambling thoughts.






A fun poem channeling music- it's fun, when tired of yourself, to just plug into someone else's vibe..I don't do it often because my focus is mainly originality, and I feel 'plugging in' where the other energy is required for creation, kind of negates the idea of  originality being purely sourced..
It can make a huge difference to the Hand if it can truly say, 'I made it', - it can allow artists to feel more involved in their work- a sense of investment- a sense of risk..the sense of sacrifice, etcc
Anyway, I was listening to this song(Flightless Bird), and just felt like tapping in to the vibration, and re-release it through my own lense....it's probably important to get out of ourselves now and again- to reinterprete ourselvbes on familiar grounds and rules...it's so easy to get over attached to the ideas of who we THINK we are, that we make no time for who we really are.(thank you Sethworks)....
I think I may actually enjoy this one... and that's a new experience for me :D:
If all of life's a game 
And you were looking to unlock the top level
I am the board itself,
Pawns are earrings
And probability's my program 
Your song- My keys,
Chiming >begin< endlessly,
Let's play anyway 
If all of life's a game,
Let's cheat,
Let's just go on repeat.
Any game will do,
As long as it's been you being true to you,
Then any game will do.
Any game.
Next level,

LEARNING FROM OTHERS                                                                                               10.22



Music is sound, but music is a message..It is lyrically so, but also through rhythmic patterning. Not unlike morse code, patterns hold a language.

As I have once mentioned before, the patterns in rock music are simpler and shorter than classical; it takes like 15 rocks songs of pattern to equate the complexities found in larger bodies of classical works. Rock however, is hella more relevant to my modern ear, and is simply more fun. Also, modern sounds have a larger range of sounds to further synaptic triggers..more endorphins to be had, as well as a larger tools of language at our disposal.

Not unlike lemondrop candy, it's easy to hurriedly pace through tons of rock songs, if one is on the hunt for it, and enjoys those lemony hits!..unfortunately, most sources don't move as fast as I would prefer..if only we could directly needlecast into the web- that way we could pick our OWN rate..maybe in the future, I predict.


With that said, I dont see how rock songs in the digital era are unlike programs/codes..so, learning coding would probably be of great befenit to me in terms of music language....although that sounds boring as shit. Maybe, if I took some dumbfuck online course (or ask my math genius partner how), I could create a funner version? I will try to avoid the thought for awhile.


SETH JOINING THE MUSIC SCENE:  Most recently I was reading in a sethbook about how science is often furthered through 'accidental' discoveries, simply because the minds who make such discoveries are not limited by scientific reasoning. Essentially saying that creativity plays a much larger part in our world, regardless of  how we consider its role..and that by allowing the creative process to flow through us, we allow the soul to stretch larger possibilities..larger probablities, into our physical reality.

This happened to me quite by accident the other day, as I was listening to music and found a particular song that gave off vibrations from the speakers which felt incredibly good to my ankles from an internal sensation.

Being recently on the mend from a bump or two ( i like to play hard), I found it pretty funny that I managed to monkey see-monkey do with a Seth concept..but the old saying is true: you are what you hang with.

Any rate, I had always wanted to get around to exploring chakra wands tuning forks..but using speakers is waaaaaay more effective. Tuning forks are like acoustic guitar, and I just discovered Jimi Hendrix. lol..

Should be fun to explore sound and healing frequency in this manner..maybe start a sinus folder alongside.


My interst in music seems to be hand in hand with my recent understanding of my portfolio..even my paintings have aligned. One painting I have been toying with for a few years, suddenly came to the forefront as next in the production line, coinciding with the rest..

Its like everything focused and magnified.


One rock band I find interesting ( Glom), chooses to offer a video of 1 riff a day. I appreciate it not only for the fact I am interested in what that artist is creating, but also from the concept of using the videos to have a relationship to oneself: a riff a day- I mean, regardless if the guy really does that or not, who cares..the concept of that sort of production ( and maybe hes super creative, comes easy, etc) is really inspiring.

It lead me to the idea of sharing more of my work though video ( just more tangible than basic photo), and that crossover of art inspiring art from various mediums.

I had mentioned before that music can be used as fuel..... and because I chose to purposely saturate myself in an excess of energy, it really comes as no surprise that it has magnified my state of mind.

Saturation when applied in this way, can help create parameters of understanding: What sort of signals you are receiving from the sounds..your limits on how long you can listen TO sound..what sort of sounds can be recieved longer..a relationship one has to it...

An interesting side note about musical limits...if I had not made conscious efforts to clear my mind through meditation ( a torturous fucking process, but a natural event that happened out of last resort), I would not have been able to saturate myself as I have been doing so now.

Finding emptiness is truly the best gift there is as my interest in music seems to be a transcending relationship...should be interesting to see where it leads.



 REA  LI ZATIONS ..learning from others                                                                           10.22



All the work I've done up until now has been pretty much shit in terms of personal artistic payoff...and not really putting in enough from myself ( seriously if I have time to fuck off looking for new songs, and bop around the beach..just sayin), but I think I might have discovered something worthwhile!!

Larger projects are, probably the only worthy endeavor, but I can from this point in time why I have created what I have thus far. Dont get me wrong, my whole artistic exploration has been a very satisfying, if not something of a struggle at times...it's just that everything I have been doing up to this point didnt leave me feeling deeply spiritually contented( as the creative process so often reveals that it could possibly be)- so it worked out as it should have..

For example,I wouldn't have been able to create certain angles with beads, had I not explore beaded cabachons earlier on.. I would not have had a certain experience with the stitches themselves to find key techniques such as snuggly fitting beads, in converse spots ( like a bowl for instance)..etc..

6 month projects can take quite a bit energy to power through a single idea, not sure how things might go if my motives start to require longer..

I am reminded of a bead artist who spent 10 years beading a whole kitchen. No idea what motivated that..I dont think I could do a single idea for 10 years..but maybe, if it was something really worth it...but 10 years, that product better make people fucking cry.

I may want to read up on what motivated that artist..its possible that she simply liked the one concept, and broke down all the work into smaller areas that was more the focus ( like not really a final product per se..more just the process of making each part as the satisfaction the artist is getting).

Since it was a female who created it, from this point in time, Im guessing the motive was related to feminism ( you know, women in the kitchen..her 'glory' is all things domesticated, etc) but maybe not...I know that this artist decided to dedicate another 10 years to beading a lawn outside the kitchen...

will be interesting to follow up on what I get.

In the meantime, I will finish up these 'little projects, and start prepping. I feel hurried to finish off this older chapter...and it's going to take time to figure out how to construct this newer,larger work...perhaps my time in europe will help with that..long ass flights often do.

LEARNING FROM OTHERS   >> > a pause<  <<                                                             10.22

In order to create what I might want to do through sound, it will require a piano( or really comprehensive keyboard), and a metronome.

Also, I might want to consider my motives a bit more fully, because it will take dedication and effort and time..which can take time away from other endeavors...There IS something really satisfying to audio that is quite different from visual- 

Yet, this is where video really unifies the two....and many, if not ALL times I experience the vid visual ( such as a small snippet of my work when recording),there is definitive sound and rhythm to the images through video recording, where actual audio sound is not used.

I recently saw a video artists work who beautifully captures time through the use of video. His images are edgy, intense, well balanced, and riveting.

His final productions show time in concentrated imagery segments, and he uses his own sounds incorporated into the work (as opposed to actual time line sound). I find this to be an interesting approach, and somewhat 'next level' because he already uses the idea of movement as sound..

He chooses to add a layer of sound which is a better representation of what the images are already relaying.... 

While it is true, that the added music is somewhat subjective in terms of representation, this artist was acutely aware of the images range of commonly related identifiable sounds, and was able to incorporate that with his work.

This makes work really successful, in terms of a complete virtual work. I find this artist to be a master at this..and no doubt, film IS that- But this person takes it into something BEYOND a simple watch and feel. This is a moving painting..alive. Incredible.


In the meantime, this past full moon ( and perhaps a friendly suggestion months ago) has given me all I need to sink my teeth into, for a 6 month project. I am really geared, and hopfully will be something worthwhile..shi- maybe even UNDERSTOOD. lol


Music, will be, in the meantime my 'diamond opal' energy that replaces coffee, tobacco and more we arent discussing while I get the work out :-)There is validity to related arts as an enhacing experience..they can enrich the mind while lending release through a secondary sensory ( auditory), for the visual aspirant...

..I do feel movement in this new direction however- very strange.








LEARNING FROM OTHERS                                                                                      10.22

Interesting new understanding from a musician's point of view on compilation and creation.
I gained a new perspective of how I relate to sound ...and that it is different from other people, which I didn't see before...
Admittedly, it's probably all for an endorphin rush , or perhaps because hunting in this way serves me better than hunting on ebay.
... but obsession aside, I can see pattern relationship in sounds, and can easily string harmonic groupings.
Rock music is usually a simpler structure than say, jazz or classical. 
Classical was on absolute BLAST in my childhood, as I lived with an audiohead french horn novice who enjoyed stereophonics as much as the actual composition.
Rock was quite secondary in my audio experience, yet almost every person in my families are either in a band, played in a band/orchestra , or studied music..lol..never considered that till now.)
One thing I noticed about my enjoyment of music is also my judgment in it: I can hear certain sounds and sometimes feel that directions the artist took were 'wrong'.. Of course, that's wrong by MY own judgment and standards..(I'm mean, who really cares what I hear)
But more to the point is, the desire and inspiration to take those 'wrong' points in those particular songs, and  'correct' them to my liking...
I can only imagine by doing this to someone's song..you have a pretty direct rip from another song..kind of like a " The Rutles" Vibe...depending on your general sound.. Imean, synth wave isn't gonna really translate folk- but, maybe I don't know what I talking about.
But what I was considering was, what if you took a few 'corrected' progressions and strung them together? Or, even stringing together your favorite parts from a few songs?
And that's how Frankensongs were born...maybe?
I don't know s*** about s*** about s*** about music... I just own a ton of weird ass instruments....
But one time, I did have an amazing experience with an acoustic guitar:
I was hanging out with a bunch of musicians on an island, and so I decided to pick up a guitar and try playing a few chords or.... experimenting really.
I taught myself a few chords that sounded good to me and went to go flag one of my friends down to play it for him.
He was an incredibly good player- very well respected by many players, and so I don't know why I picked him to play for...like really Li? I'm gonna make some skilled guy, sit down to play patty cake with my shitty 3 chords (which probably aren't even).
Anyway, I drag this guy in, and he was totally good natured about it...I mean, he had no idea if I played or not- I had not picked up a guitar around that crowd until like, 3 minutes ago.
I sit to play my stupid 3, and out of nowhere, my fingers just started finger plucking..like I was some skilled smokey mountain banjo player....with a song I never played in my life and he looked like he was about to cry and so I stopped, and was like, "how was that?"
He just looked at me like we had just smoked crack together.
...aaand I was never able to reproduce it again....
We walked out if this room, like I shared a secret only HE ever knew- in a way, he was right....and he swore to everyone I was one of the best players he ever heard...people would ask me to play and it was always these crappy 3 chords. LOL
To this day I'm blaming him ....I think his little angelic musician force borrowed my hands or something. ... Lol. Pure once in a lifetime magik..so bizarre.


Diversionary Tactics
When you want to create an asymmetrical pattern without pre-planning or any thought at all, you can try this line of thinking.
Basically you consider X amount of colors that you would like to use  and incorporate together.
Then, through selective rotation you pick the least used color for that particular surface area.
So, if  have a purple bead row and it's going in a certain direction, and on the other side you have a blue bead row and they join in the design (and you're using let's say purple, blue and red)... At this point, you're going to obviously want to use red because that surface area, where you are weaving the beads have mostly blue and purple beads.
Let's say you had an equal amount of colors... In this scenario , you would probably want to pick the color that is  the furthest away.
You want to make sure to keep all of the colors at all points separate from each other so that existing rows of color eventually get blocked by new rows of other colors...
What is fun to do however, is to make channels ...and that's when you allow the bead color to move upward in its own particular exclusive row.... and you'll see this as a pattern that is flowing outward from a center point rather than lines of color that flow together in jointed bits.
Three colors can actually be challenging because sometimes it's hard to weave larger surface areas and not double up on the rows as the need gets larger.
 I personally don't mind adding because it just makes the lines look like they are fanning out into a thicker stripe patterns.
It does become challenging when you start to do a larger number of colors such as 13..you can easily forget one or two colors.
I actually learned a technique from this bead artist :what he would do is, he would never pour out all your beads onto a tray (of course )but he would also keep his little beads segregated in piles ...and that way he never lost track of everything he was using...
This works with new beads but of course can become really difficult when you're using recycled piles of old backstock.
If you don't mind the inconsistency of color throughout the whole body of work, you can easily forget about a certain color or type of bead and just add on a new color but you can't keep forgetting and forgetting ....it or it just looks pixelated you don't have any connected design at all. 
Pixelation designs can be cool but just keep in mind that if it's really a recycle mix from a bunch of projects, you could have a bunch of different size beads ....and that can make for some really cool asymmetrical weaves if you are good with flat works such as peyote stitch and keeping your work flat....
I have seen recycle bead work that's lumpier it just doesn't serve a particular design shape value... usually the hand wants more control than mashed potatoes and clouds... but sometimes mashed potatoes and clouds are it..
No approach is ever particularly 'wrong' in this way...but flat beadwork is usually more practical in function.
In this image of "Fireball Up in the Sky" ring, we can see that distinct separation of beads rows, starting and stopping around the center..and some I allow to continue. Im a big fan of intense psychedelic patterns..and glass beads shine the brightest- pure fire.

For the best production, leave nothing for the return:                                                        9.22

Let absolutely nothing be your future, 

Have nothing as your support, 

and allow it to stop at nothing.


Nothing is sacred to the whores of art;

If it's a pen, use it-

If it connects, use it-

If it portrays, use it-

If it is the natural solution-

use it.





   LEARNING FROM OTHERS                                                                                           9.22               

   There's a ton to learn from others in related arts. Quite recently, Iv'e received a lot of valuable input from musicians on their creative process- How they choose the notes that they do,common blocks, working with others in a group unison, how studio bands change that..

It's been really cool to hear how others unfold, how others respond creatively with mediums different than my own. Its really interesting how the fundamentals change in various art fields.

It's also cool to translate ideas or responses to your process..like trying a new response to an idea..nothing that changes the idea, so much as changing ones the response to an idea in a way unthought of before.

Comminucating with creative minds is always amazing, really.



One really decent I heard about musicians in the studio- having a clear idea wtf you want to express while recording on the dime. In a way, that tranlates universally to not wasting resources..

...and that's a really valid point to the Hand working with the creative order: 



There is the possibility of possibilities...that is, that EVERY project will be well funded, well resourced. In this scenario the artist buys so MANY supplies, that there is a priority quandary; The creativity, again fights for priority dilemma, but saturation is one step removed from priority..

So, when you HAVE supplies, you actually DONT produce anything, because you are too busy aquiring new resources,for even MORE ideas you are willing to take on. 

Also, saturation can include a refinement in discernment..so, finding supplies becomes incredibly taxing because as an artist, you arent willing to settle for xyz, you want a better quality, or a truer color, or more time to consider some basic premise.

I have seem many artists with good ideas, but they take so long in choosing material, that it negates the creative flow- the product might be just as you imagined, but doesnt necessarily mean its going to translate that to the rest of the world-which really is half the point of expression. So what if the colors were just like you want, if no one gets wtf your saying, or it simply just isn't that good, the refinement hardly matters- just ends up slowing production down.

This would sort of be like a musician going for studio time, and then not really dead specific of what they want to express, and then end up just playing with resources instead of actual production.

I think if I were a musician, I would spend a lot of time in the studio, so I could do all that work AND have an idea of what it was translating into...but not everyone does well in a box when it comes time to production.

I myself am quite used to city living..even living off grid on the islands didnt change my perfect inclination to stay put.

EMBRACING A CREATIVE LIFE                                                                                         8.22

 While I couldn't imagine life any other way, embracing creativity hasn't always been a loving experience. With the wonders of the mind come the pitfalls of its isolation.  
Creativity, in my world, is exactly that-a reality that holds sovereignty alongside the physical world simultaneously;You don't need a radio to hear a song... you don't need a canvas to see a painting, and when the creative is clear & precise as a constant, it becomes just as valid as the physical order.
   Yes, the mind is of physical substance, but it's consciousness is not- this is where the creative resides.
For instance, a creative child can spend all day in their room or tree house or whatever, because they aren't IN their room- they are traveling inwards with the creative. Or, someone sitting in silence could be having a complete conversation with creativity fostering it...creativity stretches the minds ability to relate to itself.
   When you add physicality into the mix -such as socialism,  interaction with others,you have this clearer duality going on, and it can be super overwhelming to try and assimilate two equally valid constructs functioning on completely different terms. People handle it in different ways (people are made up differently) 
   A lot of creatives are isolationists because it's an easy way to balance the duality..time alone, is time engaged one way, time around others is time to have another,etc.
   No matter how well intergrated, the side by side of floating in two worlds simultaneously is no easy feat, yet the urge to express manifests naturally as a result.
   It makes sense; you engage in this one wonderous world; you want to translate that inspiration in a physical way..share it...it merges the two as one reality- a portal ...taking others there.
   In some ways, creativity is the expression of the masses unconscious..making itself known- perhaps to be recognized on a larger scale- maybe to help us realize, enlighten, feel..whatever it is... as a whole group.
   If you, as an expressor are trying to create such a portal (as most do) and want it to be understood in specific ways, it really falls on the hands of the artist (the Hand).  I think this is what motivates a lot of artists- the constant drive for making those inspirations translate clearer- the portal better. Unfortunately, there's a ton of stuff that can get in the way of a good translation- and the fault ALWAYS rests with the hand.
   Motivation to create is important too, because the motive to eat is quite different than the motivation to honestly create to the best of your ability(truth in the work)...everyone finds their own balance with this. Over time, I chose to create solely from the most inspired realities of myself..it's just more gratifying. It is perhaps more laborious on these terms, yet i find myself being nothing but grateful that I have the opportunity to be dedicated to something worth making. 
The motivation to create...Creativity, in my opinion, is a response to trauma...even something beautiful can be blinding, and the same is true for any art..it is a response- usually to pain. I am no exception- and artistic expression has that magical ability to give you tools to transform misery into a pleasure- even if its creation is somewhat painful, it has the ability to take something potentially destructive, and turn it into something desired.
Even if pain is a constant(as it sometimes can be in blocks of life), creative inspiration can focus the mind, and harness the will. Some traumas include incredible amounts of grief realized so fully, that life simply changed from that point forward...with no 'recoup'..just that moment, from then on (future nows)..some of the best art has been created from the pits of hell.
   No matter what your motive, turning the work into joyful sustenance requires incredible will, to be sure. A will I never fully explore, finding it a hindrance in my motivation to create..I'm a goner for sure :D
Cutting to the Quick
   Creativity is wonderful,  but it's an intense relationship that requires energy like any.
   Give and take exists, but only ever rewarded through release/expression by the hand......yes, acclaim, money, success (by whatever standard you are measuring) but no outward standard ever truly measures the work: Only the work measures the work, because inspiration is not particularly discerning-it comes thru with or without you, by your hand, or by someone elses- it is its own individual with specific sets of standards, conditions,  requirements, etc..you might be able to gauge your success outwardly, but only the artist truly knows how well it was created; time to get honest.
    The responsibility of the hand is not really to interpret so much as to document, in this way; I've seen artists try to control the work otherwise..trying to steer the idea into their own vision- the work never fully rings true, and reproductions of a like mind soon follow, showing clearer intent (A genre)...until one finally gets the essence- and everybody recognizes it as the standout or 'the first' ironically.
    So... can you live with the demands of such a relationship,  or can you live without it? It's actually a really difficult question for any artist.
    Surprisingly, I feel lucky to have not been overwhelmed by creativity, so much as controlled by it. 
Free will is something every individual values, even if the tormentor is an intimate bedfellow- there's an integral right to the human experience as to not feel easily manipulated...Especially by something so egoic as artistic expression.
  ..and that is a main burden of creativity- the relationship to the self, wi the self... whatever the demand- usually a ton of time and effort. You don't always get to pick and choose the energy an idea is going to cost. 
    If you simply refuse to work, and the need to express is inherent, then it builds up anxiety...like a sunburn getting hotter.Many artists would say quitting completely is like killing a part of themselves,  and they would be right..the relationship dies- easier said than done.
   Sometimes artists quit creating because of the lifestyle surrounding the inspiration was killing them..that can happen. Trades offs exist in a creative relationship to the self, not always for the happier.
   It is also possible to transcend the need to directly create, and find satisfaction in making a creation of creations such as producing, promotion...I myself find teaching art as a valuable trade off for directly creating, it just doesn't cut the need down to express however..so it doesnt cut down the workload..For some, it does.
   I've tried walking away from creating because of its demands..who really embraces a typical artist life? What. You enjoy poverty, and clawing up walls?
It was difficult to stop cold turkey, and eventually, you start doing all sorts of bizarre anticreative support acts, which in itself is very uncreative, and not particularly alleviating.
   The hand can change mediums, just like throwing yourself into some related art ... but if the burden rests with creation itself- then the medium is irrelevant because the demand doesn't stop, it just changes mediums. Someone painting daffodils moving into embroidery is now sewing daffodils, etc..
    Of course, there are many approaches to expression- some works have no forethought at all-( think splash art).Unfortunately, beads don't lend themselves to outbursts of flow easily...the most it gets you is 4000 beads on the floor, but I have been playing wi the idea by utilizing beads in my paintings, like a heavy medium of sorts- and it has been most rewarding in a certain way( to control, to misuse the beads, and force it to do something else)..
    ..but it also loses its truer function when it comes to beads: the glass luminosity, weaving ability (durability wise) , and shape value(I did explore clear paint to enhance the glass- moved into gemstones- maybe more on it later).
    Sometimes, the energy can simply be channeled into a new format- like physical exercise, emeshing into others energies like donating time, watching tv.... but those moments are short lived for those who know that the burn is ONLY subsided with expression. You gotta get it out somehow.
    If you try to avoid the expression , the list just gets longer, and expression becomes a burden.
If you create on a brisk level, you can keep up wi it and life is la dee da..
   But if there is a snag in that pace, due to logistics of any sort- then the mind just sort of tramples over you...continuing to produce, with or without your approval, sleep, a notepad, or empathy-
   I mean, god forbid you run out of carmen red AB hex beads size 18°.. seriously where da fuck you gonna find THAT at 3am..the next day...in 2 weeks..? If you know beads, you know what I really mean.
   At one time I created and destroyed, just so that I had a sense of ownership, control and say- but then soon saw that the realities surrounded me with the uncreated, until it was expressed, yet AGAIN. 
(I once demonstrated what I mean here, but later determined it too vague).
    If you ignore a creation long enough,  it will fade, but it does find ways to hinder your preferred pastimes while ignoring..and 2 years + is a long time to move forward while blocking simultaneously...it gets tedious.
   At first, I thought I did, but then realized I never did set the standards on what is made:
        ..if you perceive a reality,  you are hardly clear from your involvement in it..simply by witnessing a thing, you become a part of the story.
   When it is a matter of creation influencing the hand,  you become the hand by default..even if you really don't like what you're making..you can despise your creations, and yet everyone else loves it, and be quite lucrative.
   As burdensome as it sounds, there are ways i find repose from creativity overload...and I've tried quite a few:
     Music has, for the most part a natural ability to hold the creative mind hostage. Because music IS creativity, yet different from visual states,  it enhances the other quite readily.
   Creativity creates, by its nature of being creative,  and so music could be seen as fuel,  or building blocks which further serve visual expression.
    Adding music also enhances the ideas, sort of like dipping the ideas in an opal-diamond bath. Stunning! If you own sunglasses- and I own an array: you might as well impress yourself by creating to the best of your ability, with all tools at your disposal..even if you don't particularly care about the idea, or feel irrelevant to the idea, applying oneself always brings some extra insight when adding music as a second layer.
    Sure, diamond dipping usually produces a more time consuming idea , but not that much more time....so the trade off  is worth it- you gain more free time than lose productivity time in the long run.
   I should add here that enhancement of an idea is distinctly different than channeling a secondary creative influence.          There is a fine line between music as fuel, and music as the source. Many a lovely art has been created from secondary, third, forth etc sources of influence- and that's well and good, but when you add, it changes the meaning, and is somewhat compromising to the portals destination...the art can and do take you somewhere..just now more like in the general area, rather than a fixed, single voice..a single point. 
   Make no mistake about it- the mind is like a video recorder; the same familiar patterns of sound is like math to the mind- and if you problem solve by nature, repetitive patterning is like a useless lock- the mind is NOT held captive by sounds that are too familiar... The mind anticipates such patterns, and by doing so,  is able to compartmentalize the sound, thus supersceding its musical captor.
   One real blessing however is the time it takes the creative mind to fully assimilate a set of sounds (a song)..You can have some earworm last for DAYS- fueling one idea, and keeping new ones at bay at the same time.
   By tuning into music, I can use it as a stopwatch - and if the music selection holds a deeper meaning, I may actually get to spend time in someone else's room for a change;Creating professionally holds a lot of introspection as the constant...talk about enough ME time to fkn puke..
.......it's super freeing to be able to relate to others through sound- absolute sustenance in my life- especially with another personality at the wheel.
   Creativity seems to have limited respect for states of emptiness..you gain headspace in the short-term- meditation even helps your work through gaining clarity effectively- its just that I would prefer to walk fully away for longer stints(from creating)..not hardwire meditation into work time...
 You can make hard limits, but meditation serves to clarify the work so fully, it would be detrimental to NOT utilize meditation to enhance work..I try to limit the focus..sometimes I win this battle(limiting), sometimes not.
   Drugs can help you fog out- the 'haze' has always helped put dispensations in slow motion , but it's taxing on the body long term.
    Drugs can also compromise the hand. Precision in art is as necessary as it would be for successful surgery-even successful sloppy artwork has precise intent. Some artists will rationalize a lack of discipline thru drug abuse as their style- the 'heroin-chic' of it all- but this usually goes in accordance with reputation ; a forgiveness implicitly given with each purchase. ...
   And on a more cynical note, I find the sympathy card in the struggles of art to be pretty common. Work should have the ability to convey whatever it is, without a whole back story ' behind the scenes'..enhances the work ?sure,ok..but when it's used as a soft sell-thats something else. If the work is true, the back story is evident in the work anyway.
    Oddly, something about large bodies of water inundate the creative- maybe it goes swimming? who knows...But my best study is found by large bodies ( the lake).  It's a time I can be free of both sound and creativity(no wifi). 
   Waves seem to overwhelm any one single influence, and makes it easy to pick and choose what to channel through. Solace at the beach is sort of like being at my desk, with the tasks laid out before me. If only we could live at the beach- maybe I should.
    If you let all of it simmer, you CAN get the work to delete itself, by creating a priority dilemma...when that happens, the work will compete wi itself for being first- they basically negatively feed off each other until stagnation sets in..yes, a life as an artist with a drawer full of never ideas is stagnation to be sure- and if the need to express is hardwired, then a drawer of death is no way to live.
   I have attempted to have say(in what I create) by cherry picking work...say you have 10 ideas, and they ALL want time( to be made). In this scenario you are slow to choose, slow to convey, slow to manifest...very selective about where, when and how. It's actually a really solid way of feeling in the driver's seat. The only thing I notice with this approach is that the stakes are high...
.. .and so, when you are selective in this way,  when you DO sit down, you better damn skippy have something to fkn produce, or what good is YOUR hand? Keep in mind that the creative order has something to express whether you are ready or not, if you like it or not..if your hand isnt doing it, the creative has very little problem finding someone else whose hand will....If you're really only gonna give like 25% energy into something that is only willing to settle for 75%, you get a bunch a half assed stuff..and half assed stuff feels half assed...it's actually humiliatiing, and not in a good way.
I will add, that it's possible to cherry pick and not get stung, but the time spent away from creating has gotta be somewhat clarified...4 days of partying doesn't help the hand when it's time to get to it.
   And creativity will hedge bets- it will place the exact same inspiration into like 25 people, and place bets on who creates it first,  for the title of ownership.
   Honestly, ownership(originality) is not so important, but to the hand incredibly so;  because it's one of the very few elements of identity the hand has; it gets to say " I did this..I manifested it..it is me". Sometimes not so important,  trends throughout art history are cool too, in this respect.
   I suppose one could throw monkey wrenches into the mix, just an all out free-for-all of approaches all at once, but creativity is not necessarily a given..many an artist have had monstrous blocks and literally prayed for the work to reappear...
Not all ideas are easily translated either- some take time..it would seem complicated to control the inspiration so fully, that it limits the natural flow.
    It's wise to perhaps not take creativity for granted, but if you , or someone you know has managed an all out war, lived to tell the tale with better works- do tell. 
    So, do I even like my work? Like progeny when I'm honest about the effort..and then, not always pleased with mechanical results. I wonder sometimes about how ideas feel when you manage to express the gist, but fuck up the functionality...they always seem to not be bothered so much about that part..to me, that's kind of weird.
     I swear that each idea puts the concept of 'impossibility of manifestation' into the mix simply so that you are left wanting, only half satisfied with results, no matter how well made...maybe that's why it doesn't care so much with how well you think you made it; it's the hook anyway.
      I can still walk away from my work without any regrets because I know I gave it everything I could...the A for full effort...and a release from the idea forever; Out of me REALLY is out of me....I still covet the work at times...more with my attachment on the ingenuity, since I tend to make an idea once..I simply dont have enough hours in the day to make whole series, or an idea twice.
  Ide say, the real redemption in a creative life is the constant challenge of translation- enjoying where inspiration might lead you next....it could be any medium really, but MY bliss is in making the glass dots, needle and thread, dance they way I want them to.
       It's probably in those moments of creating that I have found myself happiest, the most content- weaving two worlds together as a joyful hand in the creative order.


Into the Looking Glass                            7.22

Wanting to explore glass on glass mosaic sculpture..

Had a thought of recycling old vases or glass by fusing in various forms, then using glass tiles to create a pattern on the surface.


Normally, I would use beads for this idea ( still may?)..but I had a vision of iridescence and demure glass contrasting with the nature in which it will be set.


I have always enjoyed more modern, smooth designs that clash with natural landscapes, rather than blending in. I feel, that by purposfully juxtaposing a material against a natural green setting, that it, in fact, strengthens both elements. 


Im hoping to create a couple scuptures in modest greys but with an iridescent, rainbow surface to play with the light.


Unsure about the shape..Im guessing something somewhat rounded, smooth in feature.


Pietra Dura repair                                  4. 21

While stone is the preferred material for Pietra Dura repair, polymer clay can make a really convenient alternative.

Interestingly, I read somewhere that while people refer to this type of artwork as 'Pietra Dura' the accurate name called pietre cas?..pietra dura is more like the micromosaic work.
Sculpey brand polymer makes really soft, flexible clay as well as boasting just about a million colors to choose from. I found this to be a godsend when it comes to trying to match Pietra Dura stone colors.
One thing that's really nice about working with polymer clay is that it's pliable...so it's easy to reproduce some of the swirls, and gradations that you see in natural pietra dura stones.
After trying tons of approaches trying to repair a pietra dura pin, I finally turned my sights on polymer clay... this style of work really requires lapidary skills to repair authentically, and if you don't have the facilities or the skill, polymer clay is a sweet solution.
One drawback to working with polymer is dependent on the amount of work that needs repair- mainly, different sections of color that are neighboring one another. Since polymer clay is soft, it makes it nearly impossible to get smooth outlines when filling in sectionally(area by area).
The solution to this is to harden sections that are isolated from each other, and then to later add touching sections, after the first have hardened. This guarantees a smooth crisp shape that mimics the fine detail that Pietra Dura exhibits.
In this pin, you can clearly see the repair work found in the right flower, near the stem. Note that it doesn't have a clear shadowed gradation that the rest of the original work has.. I purposely kept this piece to show some of the repair work clearly.
Another repair section is found in the leaf, in the upper right side of the pin. The underside of the leaf, as well as some of the green leaf work that is curled has been replaced with polymer clay. 
The green section of the leaf is nearly undetectable, which just goes to show the versatility and success that you can have using polymer clay as repair material for Pietra Dura.
I thought that preparing this pin would be a real headache, but polymer clay made it simple. There is one part to this repair however, where I really had to take a chance; and that was when I decided the best way to repair this would be to place the whole pin in a low temp oven (in order to harden the polymer clay).
I originally attempted to create thin layers of cured polymer that mimicked stone and tried to cut and inlay the work, but found that the shaping of polymer clay was too brittle to work with, in such small shapes.
It left me with the idea of trying a low bake, although the original binding material was a complete mystery to me... I had no idea if it would ruin all of the work or not, but I took the chance and at 240 degrees for 8 minutes the Sculpey was cured, the pin undisturbed. 
There WAS a couple of spots where the original binding material had bled to the surface, but I cleaned it while it was warm with a paper towel and it showed no more.
This pin is fully backed with silver, not all pietra dura work is, and this method may or may not work for that type.
A silicon pot holder works well to lay the pin on while baking- it makes for a great level surface for pins with a larger pin back.
While on the one hand, using polymer sort of feels like a cheap shortcut,  it does make a good solution if you don't have the skills to repair correctly but you still want the work to look filled in (perhaps until you can take it to a professional who can repair it authentically).

St Patrick's JustLi Bendy Doll                3.21

 In true "AnnaLee" doll style! A large, life size leprechaun chills out on the front porch, smoking his felted pipe. LOve the AnnaLee doll style, but havent seen any of this style at this size. I also felt challenged to recreate the simple bendy folds that felt creates when working with it.

In order to do that, I needed to obtain large felted blankets, as well as creating a home brew of fabric stiffener. 

Surprisingly (or perhaps not on reflection), the body and upper legs needed heavy weight in order to keep it propped upright. Fortunately I had extra iron rods laying around, which worked really well for this.

Using extra fabric off hand, orange yarn for fluffy hair, acrylic paint for the  face, polymer clay for the buckles and pocket watch.


The body has a wire fram, as does the hat and pipe; the pipe was a fun frame to make, and I could see exploring that a bit further..making cool wire framed, poly filled fabric shapes! 


Happy St. Patricks Day!



Egg Painting                                          4.20

Eggs painted with beeswax

Egg decorating is a really fun way to celebrate spring. It's almost a silly activity when you think about it, but after trying it a couple of times, a certain appreciation develops.

It can take a delicate hand, and loving patience to minimize the damage that can be easily done when working with eggshells.

Yet, there's something joyous and pleasant about the egg that makes it a popular go-to when the weather starts warming up...The shape? The surface? .maybe just knowing it's a yummy symbol of life..?  No matter the reason, egg decorating has become so popular, there are literally dozens of ways to decorate them.
Usually vinegar and food dyes are used in a dipping method, which has led into marbelizing the surface of eggs, as well as all sorts of stamping methods.
Tie-dye eggs are really popular too and has a million variations to it- from string, to lace, leaves and rubber bands.
One approach which piqued my interest, was one using silk ties, where you wrap the eggs in the silk fabric and set with heat/steam.
This year however, the traditional beeswax method seemed to appeal; melted beeswax painted on, silk dyes and then baked to set the dye and melt the wax.
The traditional hand painted method can be tedious, especially when doing large amounts, but the results are as joyous as the flowers of spring itself!


Wicker Dying                                       10.19


One thing that I really enjoy are wicker basket purses. They aren't like leather or any other purse materials because their shape stays quite firm using just the straw.
Of course, there are many pillbox style purses that use mixed materials, but basket purses relies solely on the weave to give their structure.
They're relatively light for the amount of bulk, and when woven well, have a beautiful pattern.
The main thing I like about them is their practical side; their ability to hold quite a few items firmly in their place.
Regular soft leather purses allow items in the purse to kind of jostle around- making it incredibly difficult to find smaller items (especially if you tend to carry a lot of little items in a purse).
Usually wicker purses have short handles for some reason... I think it's because it's trying to mimic a picnic basket of sorts, but for me, a longer strap is much more practical, and having thinner straps are more versatile.
Longer straps allow a cross body use as well as a single shoulder sling but even more than that, a longe strap allows the weight of the purse to fall below the hips making it easier to push a purse back, or keep forward when walking.
Most wicker purses are sold in their natural color-probably to mimic the light, breezy nostalgia of summertime which is when wicker/raffia/straw is often seen at the beaches and parks ( which in a way, is kind of ironic  considering that the materials used in these purses are an early harvest material you might see in a natural landscape closer to autumn).
 But if you like them as much as I do, you're going to want to look for a winterized version of the color pallet- in darker colors that reflect the colder seasons.
An easy and not so easy way to accomplish this is to simply stain a wicker purse that you like.
However, not all raffia and wicker purses are created equally. When looking to stain a wicker purse, you're going to want to use some of the cheaper made purses because the more expensive ones will put on a finishing coat to prevent the wicker from fraying too easily.
These top coats are incredibly difficult to work when staining or painting- and you will want to use a topcoat sealant, so the color doesn't rub off- which it will easily with a good quality finished wicker..those plastic 'top' coats sink into the fibers.
Even with a a few layers of top coat (over your paint) some of the wicker finishes are so good, that it can still rub off no matter how much paint or top coat you use. 
A simple solution is to use an acetone bath, but can damage the actual material ...or boiling, but can sometimes leave film in a pan and can make the basket purse lose their shape permanently.
It's kind of tricky, so you're going to want to look for purses that have a matte finish and do not look shiny in any way.
Of course if there is a wicker purse that you just love, you can still experiment.
You can see from the picture that the purse on the left has a matte finish and was easy to stain using wood stain.The fiber drank the stain right up.
Yet the purse on the right, has a glossy finish which is actually due to the top coat that I used , but was just as shiny originally.. I have yet to see if it will keep it's paint job and top coat over the harsher extremes of winter.
Both have thin wool straps in a dark brown; fuzzy, soft and sturdy..reminding me of mittens.

IPoly Dye                                              9.19


Receiving a skirt that was much too bright (blue) for my needs, I decided to darken it slightly.
However, upon reading what the skirt was made of, I discovered that it was a synthetic fabric.
From what I understand of material, synthetic fabrics are practical to dye.. simply because they're essentially made of plastic.
I learned this the hard way, a really long time ago in high school... when a counselor I had wore the worst god-awful Cosby style sweaters( but worse because they were all in pastels), and I let him know in no uncertain terms that they were the worst sweaters I had ever witnessed.
I remember offering to dye the sweaters, yet soon discovered that the sweaters were synthetic, and no dye I owned would be able to save them.
Fortunately that counselor was smart enough to only give me one sweater to experiment with had I've been given more I probably would have experimented on all of them like little test subjects.
I tried and tried and tried and nothing would stick. Although I will say that the sweaters were so awful, that even a mish mashed muddled, half dyed sweater lent some sort of artistic flair, which was still better than the original design.
To this day, I stand by my opinion and to Mr.B, wherever you are, I'm sorry I fucked up your sweater, but damn . That shit was ugly.
Years later, I discovered that if you take a water down acrylic paint that you can actually coat synthetic fibers and 'dye' it... but this is more of a top coat rather than a true dying experience, and usually leaves the material somewhat stiff and rough to the touch.
Of course, when you're making costumes or creating fabrics that don't really need to be pliable, acrylic paint is your best bet: it's cheap, easy to apply, and can be customized in terms of exact color.
But for this particular satin skirt I wanted pliability, and also to retain the satin finish.
Little did I know that Jaquard had anticipated this small market and created a dye made specifically for synthetics called IPoly.
IPoly seems to have gotten mixed reviews online; some people having good experiences, while others not so much.
  Since I had had some experiences with fabric already, I knew that a synthetic bright blue would not be died dark blue by using a dark blue poly dye, but instead purchasing a black dye... which would depress the blue nicely to a navy blue.
The Ipoly dye was different than regular diye because it came in 2 pouches- with one pouch being dissolvable water (I was not expecting THAT).
I made sure to use a vent as other said it smelled noxious, but I actually found it to smell similar to any other dyes on the market.
I also decided to use double the strength because some of the negative reviews made it sound as if the dye was not strong enough, and I knew with Satin that I would want to use a stronger die because satin has a sheen to it- a guarantee that it would reflect the deeper fabric content(not just the surface dye particles).
Word of advice to anyone using ipoly dyes: make sure to have bleach off hand, soft scrub off hand, and plenty of scrubbing pads off hand because it will dye synthetic fabric but it will also die any synthetic surfaces in your house including plastic tubs, or sinks, or countertops ( including some metal painted surfaces found on refrigerators.. yeah I learned that :).
While the recommendation is to constantly stir the fabric in a free-flowing that of died in high temp water for half an hour to an hour, I found that a solid 10 minutes was enough to do the trick.
I was actually concerned that the skirt might be dyed jet-black( something I really did not want), and satin is tricky to work with because when it is wet it tends to darken in shade with no hint as to its true shade when dry.


Luckily the skirt dyed to a nice dark blue as I had desired, without a longer time being processed.
It is possible that a longer process time would create the same shade, just retaining the pigments better, but I did not want to take that chance seeing as how dark the skirt looked after only 10 minutes.
Keep in mind I did use a concentrate of ipoly dye by using two packages instead of one, but after a wash and fabric softener, the dye seems to retain just fine, even after such a short amount of time in the vat.
All-in-all I recommend ipoly dye for any sort of synthetic that feels softer to the touch- and isn't a Cosby sweater made of rough plastic fibers.

Dress Form for Loose Fittings      10.18

  One thing I like to experiment with in my free time is fashion design.While I haven't had much experience with dress forms, I have witnessed many approaches and styles, including some pretty saavy sewers in my family.

One thing I never understood about dress forms is the idea that the measurements on the form is supposed to match the measurements on the model. This works well for form fitting clothes, but if you want a looser fit, then what?

A lot of times pre-bought patterns are the solution the that, or simply expanding the dress form to a larger size ( if the dress form is adjustable, most are).

Expansion of the form is ideal, especially if you want a loose fit on a petite frame. Many time patterns assume the body frame size as larger when choosing larger sizes, when what you really want is simply room in the bust, not in the neck, shoulders or wrists.

Here is an example of using an old bra, on top of the dress form to get a loose fit around the bust , yet still maintaining the ability to tailor the clothing.

After stips of cotton are coiled around (old bed sheets works best) the form, the strips are then sewn into place. This does takes a long time to do, but stays forever, and adds a nice layer of fabric for pins when draping.


KInd of like a mix between a mummy and the Michelin Man, the strips are all sewn down making a larger than accurate dress form.

While this approach is pretty permanent, if it creates the ideal comfort size, then it wont be adjusted often anyway.

ARGHhhhhhhhhhhh..roping for pirate hats    9.18

Going along with more rope inspiration ( see News&Views archive about related), this green and black satin rope was the perfect addition to this leather pirate hat. Wide rims are really the best things for rennaissance costume-cosplay recreation.

The key with adding rope to a costume hat is a good sense of proportion. Rope works really well for a pirate themed costume simply because of the symbolism of ropes used on ships...but other things can work well too-  like braided raffia for a more caribbean allure-feather boas for drama-even tattered rags for a floppy vagrant 'look'.

  From this angle, you can see that the green rope borders the black rope on both sides. This was done purposely so that  more black rope could be added in the center and still have a good sense of balance with the rope detail. The thrift store leather hat was quite thin brimmed, and I knew I would need as much brim as possible to get nice bicorns.

A feather pin and silk ribbon add nice flair.

 In this case, the ideal pirate look was a bit gaudy, very fine, yet a slight bit over the top. A huge pearl is added to the center of the silk bow.

Also, the rope ending is hidden under the backside of the silk scarf- actually loosley tied on top..this way, the scarf still flows, but stay put on top of the unsavory ending knotwork.



A really great way to save on the cost on colored nymo beading thread is through the application of dying nymo thread after the work is complete. This not only allows for exact color match, allows you to use just as much as you need.


Having the complete rainbow collection of nymo threads is fun, but not always practical and is always more costly than the simple white and black threads on cone; Not exactly sure why nymo colors are more than the two basics ( black and white), you would think that it takes effort to make both black AND pure white thread too- and that perhaps GREY would be more cost effective ( using no dyes)..but I dont know much about the process.

Fortunately, white nymo is usually a good bargain for beading, and since it reflects light, it can help enhance any color you choose to dye over it. Keep that in mind when trying to dye the thread depressed colors, or opaque colors..sometimes using slightly darker colors will get a better result ( sometimes double dying works best, but caution with double and triple dying..there are layers that will build up in between the thread which is a nifty trait for some goals with beadwork, but not for others. too many layers can cake, fall off in pillings, exposing the thread and work against the goal of covering the nymo thread.).


 You can see on this bracelet in the picture that I used white nymo thread to bead a green beaded cuff. The first picture ( above) shows the white thread a bit better, but this second image shows how the green does reflect a bit with white nymo thread when light shines through. Even with no overdye, its not terribly contrasting using a  simple black or white thread ( depending on how translucent you want the beadwork to appear).

 I could have used green nymo, but the green nymo threads I had ( and could find) clashed with the greens I was using, and knew overdying would be the way to go later on.

Because of that, I considered all the materials I would be using since later on, the whole object would be later exposed to paint.

Had I used a mother-of-pearl cabachon, or something made of paper, or fabric(pourous) I probably would not have considered an overdye ( would have predyed the nymo thread by unspooling and respooling- which is even more tedious than overdying).


The ideal paint for nylon like nymo is acrylic paint. You're going to want a fully pigmented acrylic paint to then water down.The cheap paints don"t always fully coat as the loaded acrylics do.


I water the bath down to a very watery consistency, but never at the expense of actual pigmentation. If the paint is cheap, I might have to keep the body thick, and keep a toothbrush and hot water handy to brush away excess thick paint.

 Use a paper towel underneath to help catch drips or wipe areas clean in a hurry. Use a paintbrush to blot the paint. Also, thicker paint can ( in a few layers) fill in areas of work where beads might not fit.

You can see on the back of this cabachon setting a spot here and there that look inconsistent with the bead pattern. This happens often when the beads are being tapered and areas have to be compromised due to various angles- you end up with gaps here and there that has threads showing through.

Thicker acrylic paint work as a good filler for smaller gaps. Using acrylic for gaps too large tends to let the acrylic filler flake off.

As you can see in this final image, the green acrylic paint has added a nice depth to the design. Giving a richness to the green beads and lending an overall solidarity to the shape.


I havent tried, but have considered some fun ideas using acrylic paints and beads to make images that pop through the bead design...


Or, perhaps make a rainbow thread by using various colors though the overdye technique.


Some things are better through predye and respooling ( hand dipping each part of the thread, letting it dry then spooling it back up).


Just depends on what the desired end goal is, but this overdying technique is a handy trick to have when you want absolute control over the colors. Happy dying!