Pure As the Driven Slush: Heather Corinna's Journal and Diary, Online since 1999

Archive for the 'Ballard' Category

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Ugh, moving.  Always such a joy, especially for a disorganized magpie.

However, the last few mornings when I’ve woken up, grabbed my coffee, a smoke and the dogs to sit out on the porch as I do, I have been able to remind myself that very soon, my view will not involve asphalt, speeding cars and a ton of parked cars, loud sirens and garbage cans.  After the age of six, and up until now, this has been what I have seen every morning of my life, excepting the times I was able to go camp or otherwise escape to greener pastures very temporarily. That’s 34 years of urban life, my friends, which feels longer every day, especially the more urban starts to involve a lot of drywall and shiny-plastic-business and look more and more suburban in a lot of ways.

The knowledge that in a week I will wake up, go outside and see only forest sans asphalt, maybe a speeding chipmunk or two or a parked deer, or hear a bunch of loud frogs (the area of the island we’re living in apparently is chock full of frogs for a month or two every year) is DIVINE.

My coziest coffeeshop here in my current hood, where people were earnestly friendly, closed a couple months ago (RIP Mr. Spots Chai House).  The folks at the closest one to our new place, what’ll be about a 4-mile bike ride, which works just fine for me, already greet us warmly, even though we have only been in there a few times.  It’s also NOT across from a monstrously-sized condo development.  We already know our neighbor, and she’s friendly and hilarious and did this crazy thing where she said hello and talked to us, something the vast majority of my neighbors here, where I have lived for four years, have yet to do, even when I say hello first.  Half the time, given the reaction I get, you’d think I’d said “Fuck you, poopyhead,” instead of “Good morning!”

I’m looking forward to what I also hope will be the stretchier way time moves when you’re out in the mostly-middle-of-nowhere.  I just have had so little time for myself lately that wasn’t about work, and only work-work, not my creative work.  It’s also been so hard to keep up with calls and letters to friends over the last year, which I hate. I want some of that other time back, please.  I’ve also physically and psychologically felt very detached from the rhythms and flow of the seasons and the outdoors lately, which always puts me out-of-sorts.  Want that closer relationship back, too.

That all said, it is weird to be leaving this house and this city at the same time.  I’ve never lived in a city where I only lived in one place in it, for starters.  Even in only six years in Minneapolis, I lived in four different places. I also worry for this old place, clearly struggling to keep itself together with little help.  Vainly, I’m hoping the new folks keep a lot of the things I did to make it lovely intact, like the hand-painted wallpaper I did in two of the rooms and the bursting meadow our front. Of course, I have to let go of any attachment to that.  But still.

I’ve also had some moments of panic realizing that I have never moved where there is a boat involved. What if the ferry with our moving truck on it sinks, taking my piano, my photographs and all of my material life with it? It’s a silly worry, I know, but every now and then I get this vision of the next-to-last scene from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou in my head and cannot get it out.  Now that I think of it, it’s an especially silly worry since both sides of my family came over here on big ferry boats, too, even though they came from islands (or almost-island: the Italian side were living in Venice when they emigrated, so) TO a mainland, instead of the opposite way around. Maybe I just need to think of myself as following a family tradition, which could be good since most of our family traditions are not at all pleasant and should be avoided at all costs.

Between packing, moving and unpacking, possible hiccups in getting everything set up and connected, and the strong desire to just settle into the hammock once we get there and never come out, I anticipate a silence from me for the next couple of weeks.

Thanks to everyone who gave me some tips on professional no-saying, by the way.  Very much appreciated and highly helpful!  Also, if you haven’t seen them via my Flickr feed already, there are some pics up of the new place to peek at here.

Bon voyage to me!

Friday, December 26th, 2008

My poor dog.  Everytime the last few days I’ve taken her out for a walk or let her out back, she’d had to effectively try to learn to ice skate or swim.  The remaining snow here — which is of course, everywhere, since no one in Seattle owns a shovel — is so hard, and she weighs so little that when she walks on it, she either slides right over, or her little feet fall in an inch or so, leaving her stuck.  Her other option is to try and swim in the huge pools of melting snow which are the other half of the landscape right now.

She also did not get our annual ritual of an early yule morning walk, something we both (well, I can only assume) have enjoyed in the past here.  Ballard is total Goyville, so pretty much everyone else is in their homes celebrating Christmas, which leaves our usually bustling neighborhood beautifully silent and empty.  But it decided to rain here much of yesterday, so all she got was a round of toy-wrestling in the living room followed by the daily ear-cleaning she despises.

I’ve been fairly lazy here the last few days, only working half-days, and spending the rest of my day in the tub, reading, cleaning the closet, writing for myself, and starting to go through some photos.

When I was at my mother’s earlier this month, we sat with a big box of some of my childhood art and schoolwork, some of which is completely hilarious, so I have a bunch of those shots to edit.  I also left home with a handful of photos, mostly from childhood, and some slides (most of what we have from my childhood is on slides, because that’s the age I am).  I say some of which because looking at things like an earnest will written at the age of 12, not long before my first suicide attempt, is not hilarious.  Suffice it to say, things like that are not going to be making it into the archives.

When I was looking at those photos, there was a whole lot of bittersweet that started happening, and then some outright meltdown, some of which has continued since.  Most of what that comes down to is that I actually had a pretty good childhood, despite a lot of tumult (some of which I didn’t really know about until later in my life), and when I see photos of myself as a kid, I’m looking at a kid I really like.  But I’m also looking at a kid whose childhood came to a crashing halt due to a confluence of events — my mother’s second marriage and the nightmare of a man she married, my pre-teen assaults, some other things.  Seeing, for instance, a photo of me at 11 the other day, seeing what a baby I was with my shirt covered in rainbows, barrettes in my hair, I realized I was looking at what some vile man in his 40’s decided was ripe for the picking and it just left me floored and furious.  I cut my hair after that primarily to try and cut him out of it.  So, while in some sense, I love seeing me and aspects of the childhood I cherished — and honestly, thank the powers that be I had, otherwise things that happened later may well have left me a vegetable — in another, I find myself feeling angry at the world-at-large for taking that kid away so fast and so suddenly, and, in some sense, robbing me of enough of her left over.

I’m not going to get too into it, because so much of it feels so private, but my visit with my mother this last time was exceptionally healing for me.  I got the chance to tell her something I have simply needed to for some time.  That was that while there are things from my late childhood and adolescence I just don’t think I can ever forgive, and certainly cannot forget — some of which she was part of or very much enabled — the older I get, the more I understand not just the greater context of her life, but the lives of so many women like her, and can see the bigger picture of what landed her and us there and fed so many of the dynamics at play.  I was able to tell her that the more I understand, the more I accept, the less I blame, and that no matter what, she’s my mother and I love and accept her.

Being able to say that was a huge deal, and also had an unexpected impact on her: it seemed to make her feel safe enough to finally ask — just outright ask — about some of what had happened to me in the last handful of years before I left home at 15.  She was able to be honest enough to say that she didn’t think she could handle hearing all of it — an honesty I really appreciate, particularly since it reminds me that that’s some of why there was so much denial about what was going on with me then.  And we were able to talk about some of it, and she was able to really listen, to hold what I was telling her, to take responsibility for some of the things I have very much needed to.  Mind, I found out some things which were in some sense a relief, and also in some sense had already known or strongly suspected, but which were also tough for me to hear: for instance, finding out that it truly was only me who was the object of my stepfather’s malice made me glad that my mother and sister were not done any real harm.  It also validated how totally alone in everything I felt then, how singled out and victimized. But at the same time… well, it wasn’t a pleasant truth.

That process also invoked her to tell me some things about her life I hadn’t known, particularly in my early childhood, when my mother, at only around 21, wound up the head of a household that included 2-year-old me, my Dad (who stayed at home with me while my mother worked), and my fathers two teenage brothers who survived the accident that killed the rest of his family.  Unbeknownst to me, my mother even had to be the one to identify the bodies — my Dad just couldn’t deal — and this image of my so-freaking-young Mom with too much already on her plate having to literally look at bloody heads in bags just gutted me. (Not to mention that both of us having to deal with bloody heads and dead bodies at a point in both of our young lives was just eerie.)

Again, not going to get into too many details here, especially since a lot of it is about someone’s life that isn’t mine.  But I think this may have been the first visit I have ever had with my mother that left me feeling even remotely like this: it was intensely liberating, very healing for the both of us.  We’ve even made tentative plans to, for the first time ever, try and take a vacation together somewhere in the next two years, something which, before this month, would have been a daunting, rather than pleasant, prospect for me.

* * *

On the home front, Mark is back in Ohio visiting family after getting waylaid in Philly on Christmas Eve.  While I usually enjoy the time to myself when he goes home for the holidays, having him leave this time was a bit sad, because it drew our all-night conversations we have been having on the couch every single night since I got back from Chicago to an end.  He was just saying the other night that he has never felt closer to me than he has in these last couple weeks, and indeed, while I didn’t think we needed a turning point in our relationship, we seem to have landed at one, and it’s so, so good.  I feel like we wound up going to this totally new place that’s really exceeded where we thought we could go, where we thought we would go, which is seriously huge since I already have thought we’ve got something really damn good.

Next week, we both have dates: Mark has one out where he is, and Blue is coming to see me for a couple of days.  In our heart of hearts, we were hoping for a magical harmonic convergence during which we could both be in those things at the very same moment, but alas, it didn’t quite work out that way.

All of this moving into a much more tangible and physical reality is all the things one’d likely expect: exciting, nervewracking, anxious, exhilarating and more with the anxious.  Obviously, it’s a bit like a moment of truth is coming, where we’re going to find out if everything that seems like it feels so right to all of us involved really is.  I keep having these small moments where I second-guess what we are are saying and feeling, how harmonious it all seems to feel so far for everyone, and then I second-guess (or is that third-guess?) my dismissal of those moments, worried it is coming from a selfish place because exactly what I want appears to be something I can have that is also in alignment with everyone else’s wants, even though we all seem to have such different sets of needs.  When I voice this to either, the both of them effectively sigh and suggest I start trusting all of us — and myself — more, which is apt advice.

Having such history with both of the people involved on my part vacillates from being a total comfort to being completely daunting.   But I just got off the phone with Mark (clearly, we both want to continue our couch-conversations, even without a shared couch), and one thing we noted that seems to make this such an unusual scenario — and which I actually think makes it an easier adjustment for all — is that the person who is my domestic partner is also the newer person in all of this.  In other words, he’s already well used to Blue being in my heart and  being a part of who I am: when he walked into my life, that existed before he and I, and he obviously has coexisted with it just fine.  I can’t figure out if I envy Mark that, for now, anyone he’ll see is likely to be very new to him, or if I wish he were in my position on his end.  I do envy him some for having the ability to just ring Blue up and talk together, and I can’t say it wouldn’t be nice to have the same opportunity, but hey, maybe I will at some point.

This is one of those times where I wish I knew a bit less than I do, particularly about sex and love and relationships.  I was sitting last night in a stack of books from the shelves which addressed open relationships, and feeling very much like it was all so 101, and of such very little use to me.  I wanted the AP versions — even though I don’t think we really need them — and they don’t seem to exist.  I sat scrolling through my head with my own history with things like this, save that I don’t really have anything like this in my history.  Anything remotely close has felt like splitting before, or sharing, and it doesn’t feel like that, perhaps because both of these people have been in my heart already: no one is taking up any new real estate here.

I’ve also gotten to the point in my life where I know I am big enough, wide enough, AM enough for this.  Oddly, I think working at the clinic has been part of that: keeping a lot of distance is so typical in anything remotely medical that my being very open to clients, really kind of letting them in has occasionally worried my co-workers.  And yet, the way the clients have been with me, the way they want to disclose so much and have me hold so much while they’re in with me stands counter to that. I’ve heard more than once that I “just can’t” be as open to them as I have when it comes to kind of holding their truths and their feelings and really being in it with them for that brief period of time and possibly deal with it…and yet, I know full well that I certainly can, and that it’s one of my gifts as a person.  It’s not one-sided, either: it doesn’t just benefit others, but it also deeply enriches and expands me, too.

* * *

And I suppose that’s my rather random set of bleats for the day.  A Scarleteen once-user, since-volunteer and someone who feels very much like family to me is moving into the neighborhood next week, and will also be housesitting for me with her kid while I’m staying downtown.  They’re coming over the evening before for some hangout and dinner, and our place is so far from toddler-proofed, it just isn’t funny.

Thankfully, this week of the year is always exceptionally slow at Scarleteen, so it’s one of the few times where I feel able — without guilt or worry — to take some time for myself and work a short shift.  So, I was able to spend some time just talking more to Mark and Blue, and can now go spend some time housecleaning (which needed to happen anyway: bless houseguests for making you have to hop to it), maybe going through some more of those photos, doing some languid yoga, writing a bit more just for myself about everything going on with me, taking another bath and setting up a new computer that needs setting up.

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Silence for a week, and then two from me in one day.  Go figure.

The magazine-shillers sent someone else to my door today, someone who clearly intended to work the scam like a pro, rather than easily accept but one no from me for an answer then wind up getting free, drop-in pregnancy options and birth control counseling.

But I don’t think he worked it very well, and I’m wondering how long it took this guy to figure that out.

If this was a hustle, it clearly was mine, even though I had no intent on hustling anyone.  All I intended to do was answer the door.

So, the doorbell buzzes, in the obnoxious way that it does when I’m living under the illusion that working from home means a lack of interruption, and I go to the door.  A man I’d guess to be in his mid-twenties is standing there, in some version of suit.  He introduces himself, tells me he’s not from here and is working on getting a new accent (I don’t know why he says this), informs me he’s trying to better himself by selling these magazines.  I see that he has an identical folder in his hand that the girl from last week did, and I let him know then and there that I won’t be buying any magazines, nor will I be supporting these kinds of enterprises.  I make clear that I fully support him in doing whatever he feels he needs to to improve his life, but that my impression is that this ain’t it.

He doesn’t like this answer.  He starts to go into the whole spiel about the magazines from the start, how he gets a commission, how I need to do my research.  So, I explain that, as a point of fact, I did quite a bit of it on these very groups not even two weeks ago, when I was very distressed about the state of another “employee” who showed up at my door.  I explain that what I found were BBB reports that were not at all good, a few police reports that were really creepy, some ooky self-reporting, and a few youth advocacy organizations and writers which made clear that not only does his employer scam consumers, the biggest victims are the people who work for them.  I then tell him that while I would be glad to grab him a few bucks and just give them to him directly, I would not be giving this company anything.  He says okay when I offer the bucks.

I go inside, get a five, and when I go to hand it to him, he then immediately plays an “I’m so offended” schtick. I want to tell him that given United States politics over the last month, he couldn’t possibly be more offended than I am of late, but I suspect this will fall on deaf ears.

“Why would you give me money?” he asks.

“Ummm, because you came to my door asking for it, and told me how down and out you are?” I reply, as if asked why it was raining in Seattle.  Is this a trick question?  I suddenly feel certain I didn’t get enough coffee today, but that there might not be enough for me to make sense of this if I drank the whole continent of South America.

“I don’t want your handouts,” he says, and I wonder if he’ll get so in character as to spit on it, but he disappoints. “I’m trying to make a respectable living.”

“Okay, then, don’t take it” I say, “but I think to do that you’re going to need to work for someone besides outfits like this.”

“This is a good company,” he says, and we go back and forth a little more about how I’m just not down with that, and how much this could help him out. He states that other neighbors have said similar, and we all just don’t understand the truth about this wonderful endeavor.

I reiterate that I am fine with helping him personally, just not the sham business, though I have little to give since Rockefeller never lived here and wouldn’t have enjoyed even a visit very much.  I mention that if the amount insults him, he should be aware that the fact that that’s all I have in my wallet insults me, too.

He asks how I would feel if I lived on donations. I say that’s pretty much exactly what I do since I’ve worked in the non-profit sector for almost all of my life, and have been scraping the bottom of the barrel since I was born, and I feel as fine as can be expected about it.  Hell, if it’s okay for the Pope, why shouldn’t it be okay for him or me?

I don’t think I was supposed to answer that way.

He then pulls out a fat wad of money and shoves a ten dollar bill into my hand.  “There,” he says, “take that.”  He says this in the way one suggests that a person meet them at dawn with a pistol and a prayer.

I explain that I don’t want it, but he won’t take it back. We do this dance for a little while. He does not know what “Oy gavalt,” means and accuses me of calling him names on top of trying to make him take my dirty money when he wants nothing to do with it.

He also won’t leave.

I then state that I’d appreciate it if he’d take his ten dollars back and be on his way, as I am not going to buy anything from him, nor am I going to stand outside all day arguing about it.  He patently refuses to take back the ten dollars. He huffs, much in the way my little dog does, though I find her more believable.

“How does it feel getting a handout?!?” he asks, indignantly.

“Umm… fine?” I say.  “I’m ten bucks richer than I was before I answered my door.”

We both stand there silent, unmoveable, for a very long minute, until I figure there’s really nothing left for me to do, say thank you and close the door.  he makes a point of whistling very, very loudly as he’s walking away from the house, but I couldn’t begin to tell you why or what he was whistling.  But I know it wasn’t Dixie.

The temptation to knock on the doors of all of my neighbors and tell them that if they handed this guy money, they’d get double back was great, but I resisted, mostly because I don’t know my neighbors any better than they know this guy.

Instead, I headed out to pick up my printing and on the way home, bought myself a shiny new pack of cigarettes and a coffee with my handout I was supposed to feel so bad about.

I’m still waiting to feel bad.  Mostly I just feel adequately caffeinated, which is a relief.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

The woman here in Ballard who runs the local apothecary has always been awesome (and is also a fellow member of the women-going-grey-in-dire-need-of-a-haircut-with-big-glasses-who-live-in-blue-jeans club), and while my practice with herbalism and the lot goes back around 20 years now, even when I’ve been stumped with things before, she’s had a creative answer. Today I went in considering, for the second time this week, buying a nice teapot for my office at the clinic, since being unable to offer women a cup of tea when they come in strikes me as rude. I still wasn’t all the way there, just because of money issues, but she overheard me moping to Audra about the fact that I couldn’t burn aromatherapy candles in there, either, due to fire codes. I just feel like the leftover scent of Lysol is way too medical for a counseling office and not at all comforting, especially when clients are upset or distressed. My office should be their place of peace.

But voila! She comes out with a very nice electric diffuser and a bunch of pads for me, and only charged me for one set of the pads: she knows what I do for my living and is on board. After I nabbed a bottle of clary sage to use with it (it’s an excellent antidepressant, tends to be very calming and also promotes healing — it’s also heaven if you’ve got a migraine), I picked up a bottle of rosemary, wishing I could use it, but felt like it was a little too stimulating for clients. She offers up myrtle as an alternative, which indeed, is very similar to rosemary in scent, just not quite as strong, and says myrtle always makes her feel cared for. I’ve never really worked with myrtle before, and when I get home and look it up, turns out it’s of great help with anger issues and anxiety. Perfect!

It’s not the answer to world hunger or anything, but I’m very excited to be able to go back to the clinic tomorrow with this small improvement to the space.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

You know you’re a workaholic when it’s NOT working that has become an achievement.

But I am still in the midst of taking some real time off. Sure, I haven’t been able to quit working cold turkey. The first few “days off” I basically worked the same number of hours a non-self-employed person does. But for each day after, I’ve done work-work less and less: yesterday I only did about two hours of work, at a maximum, which is no mean feat for me, and today, I fielded just a couple Scarleteen questions and but one press inquiry.

What exciting, exhilirating things have I been doing?

Cleaning my house.

I know, I know, I know: a couple of friends have also mentioned that that doesn’t exactly sound like a luxury vacaction. Thing is, I can’t have a luxury vacation, period. Beyond that, this house has been VILE, victimized by both mark and I myself being riddled with deadlines over the last year, deadlines overlapping deadlines, leaving a wake of dirt, dust, pet hair and piles of paper behind us as we leap from one frenzied project to the next. I couldn’t relax in here lately if I wanted to, and I really, really want to right now.

My father, too, was — well, utterly mortified by the fact that this is what I’m doing with my time off. Now, in part, this is because my slobbery was learned behaviour from that man, a rather schizoid rearing, no less, since my mother — from what I can gather — is largely drawn to work in infectious disease to justify her extreme germophobia, and growing up in her household was like living inside a Q-tip box doused in Lysol (if I never smell amonia again, it’ll be too soon). This confusing polarization may well explain why it is that I cannot manage clutter to save my life (and make more than my share), but will find great delight in scrubbing room from floor to ceiling like a Marine until I can let out a well-deserved and blissful, “So SHINY.”

(There does, however, have to be zero pressure to do so. If I feel pressured to clean, I tend to react defensively — often unaware I’m doing so — by only making a bigger mess. I also grew up having to wipe up more male urine than I should ever have had to, being not-male myself, so when there’s a man in the house, much as I love a shiny bathroom, when I tend to scrub them, I often uncover a world of hidden resentment that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. That’s my latest rationaliztion for avoiding it, anyway, and I think it’s a winner.)

At this point, I’ve tackled both bathrooms, the kitchen, the living room and the dining room. At the moment, I’m procrastinating doing the office because the office is SCARY. Generally, I can deal with clutter, so long as it’s clean underneath it, but the office is both cluttered and completely filthy, to the point that I consider anything closer than twenty feet to it a distance unsafe for anyone.

Once upon a time, I had one of those hyper-realistic dreams, that may well have been more oracle than dream, in which I was a very old woman, living in a dusty house with too many pets, where the entrire floor was covered in books and papers. The piles went to the roof, and I had clearly constructed them around myself, as trails went through them. The only unrealistic part of my subconscious projection involved me racing — dirty bare feet fumbling, skirts flying, pencils stuck in my white hair, but those bits are perfectly realistic — across the house to grab someone a book, and knowing exactly where to find that book amidst all the piles. That doesn’t happen now and I’m quite sure it won’t ever.

But that, dear friends, is the state of my office (and my hair) at the moment — plus piles of laundry, piles of bills, a trail of coffee cups, an unpacked bag from Minneapolis, photo equipment, hula hoops: you name it, it’s in a pile in there. (Have you lost something recently? It’s probably in my office.) And fuck all if I know where a given book is, or even where the books in the office ARE right now.

I need to at least give a try in finding out, though, because I have got to make some headway with this puppy today before I head out to meet Ben, my much-beloved ACLU lawyer, who is in town on business and greatly in need of a Ballard drink-a-thon, which I am more than glad to do my level best to provide. I’m a sweetie like that, enabling alcoholics everywhere, to the point that I’ve moved into what is perhaps one of the booziest neighborhoods in the entire country.

But no more talk of booze until I can at least find the floor to crash on afterwards if need be.

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

There’s something highly amusing about spending the evening in a hundred-year-old dive bar, and playing poker for (oyster) crackers with my Dad and Mark.

Really, it’s all the more giggle-inducing when you’re “gambling with crackers” while sitting across the table from the whitest guy in the universe (my melanin-impaired boyfriend).

Best exchange of the evening?

Mark (who won big, but refused to throw all the won cracker-chips into his mouth and munch them crazy, crumbly Cookie Monster-style to amuse me): I am the WINNER! You are the LOSER!
Me (calmly): No, I am simply a person without crackers.
Mark (incredulously, to my Dad): Do you see how this goes? Amazing. Even a simple poker win is somehow political. How does she do that?

My Dad just chuckled and shot me a grin. Apple, tree, my friends.

(By the by, when playing for crackers, don’t space out and eat some of yours. It kind of screws you over. This is especially vital when playing for actual chips, especially if you value your teeth.)

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Just back from running a few errands in the drizzle, and within a mere four blocks I enjoyed one very fine sight and one very fine sound.

First, I see a little old woman and her little old dog on a walk. BOTH are wrapped up to the nines in utterly ridiculous sweaters, the likes of which I have not seen since 1985 (actually, I think combined, they both may have been wearing nearly as many sweaters as were made in 1985). BOTH are taking tiny, cautious but very determined steps as they walked. BOTH are literally smiling at each other.

My insulin levels went through the roof. Oh, for technology to advance to the point where there can be a camera simply installed in my head.

Just a few blocks later, I turn unto my street and am BLASTED with loud Mariachi music from one of the building under construction. For starters, anyone who is truly an expert in Heather-trivia knows I am kookoo for Mariachi. So kookoo, that when I had my On Our Backs spread a few years back, when asked the best way to woo me out of my mind, I replied that a full Mariachi band just below my window would easily do the trick. Alas, it has yet to happen. Clearly, no one really loves me.

But here’s the best part — Seattle? Not exactly a diverse city. Growing up in Chicago, especially in Rogers Park off Clark St., I obviously was very spoiled with diversity, so I’ll give you that my standards are high (the notion of which is, of course, ridiculous). But by pretty much any standard, much of Seattle is the Unbearable Whiteness of Being. And a decently sized Chicano population we very much do not have, particularly in Ballard.

So, turning the corner to my place on a grey, rainy day — far, far away from the things that feel most like home to me — and not only hearing the wild violins, trumpets, guitars make sounds that I love and miss hearing all over the place, but hearing them loud as FUCK, as they’re meant to be? Melodioso.

P.S. Because it’s too exciting not to gloat about, Dr. Lynn Ponton (whose work I think it sheer genius, and who I admire like nobody’s business), Lisa Jervis, Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards gave us such awesome blurbs for my books this week, it totally spun my head. A happy, happy author I be.