Thursday, November 3, 2016

I was dancing, yeah that was it... a dance.

I was talking with an acquaintance the other day, and he reached his arms out like he wanted a hug. It made sense in the conversation, so I responded... it turns out he was taking his coat off.


Maybe if I'd quickly robot danced it would've resulted in a graceful recovery. Probably a better one than apologizing, and shuffling my feet while laughing nervously.

When we parted, I reached my arms out like I wanted a hug. Thankfully he got the joke.

So, that was fun.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Well, hello

Ran into an acquaintance today, recently having returned to Seattle after moving away a year ago. Short "welcome back" discussion followed, as one would expect. Moving away doesn't produce a wall, lines go two directions, very few decisions are cast in impermeable concrete.

"I look forward to catching up."

Well, let's see. In the past year I've gone further into debt. Deeper into depression. Possibilities are more unreachable. Hope an increasingly distant memory. Life, ever more of a chore.

And how have you been?

"Yeah. Lets."

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Walking the Dogs, Cursing the Sky

Long dog walk today, which was nice. If the calendar didn't say differently - I'd swear it was June. (I'm totally ready for some rain, enough with the constant sunshine already.)

"Every Day" by Jim Benton
I'm pretty sure little Vida has gone completely blind now... and I'm going to order a dog leash that says "Blind Dog" on it or something. I'm hoping that will help, since absent any "notification", people don't appear to pay attention to anything except their phones - and I just can't seem to keep her out of the way of others and everything else.  

Particularly while Lucy and SueKaye are pulling pulling pulling (and pulling) to really really smell that thing just beyond the end of the leash. To smell it really hard... and then possibly eat it. Or maybe pee right in a very particular spot - that one of them just smelled - each one right after the other. And then pull in opposite directions. While Vida walks into something. And I trip and curse the sky.

Now, after a long city walk in the sun, and lots of the dogs smelling things so very hard ... it's the perfect moment for a nap. Cuddling will be done. There are clouds in the distance. Perhaps we'll awake to some rain, and then go out again, for an evening walk in the fresh air, for more things to smell so hard. (or walk into. or curse. or what have you.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Pearl Found in the Sand

As his birthday approaches, his ashes washed ashore. Two women walking the beach found him as they walked along the beach outside of rehab; ocean waves lapping peacefully at the shore brought forth a gift to their feet.

They searched out the person within the package once lovingly released into the ocean. Doing so felt spiritual, consequential: the body from which the ashes came, the life that was before, now a part of theirs. His past, now part of their present.

As they were rebuilding their lives from addiction, ocean waves returned one once lost to the demons in his. Finding his identity, they found that he also faced addiction, depression, and turned to suicide to end the pain that was more than he could bear. The weight of life a burden that could no longer be carried.

Moved by his essay on his challenges with addiction - in finding his past, they found also something within themselves: kinship, understanding, connection. Though unknown to him, from his ashes they discovered something within themselves made stronger.

Anton Zafereo
Wanting to treat his ashes with respect, not just cast them back into the ocean - as understandable as that could be - they searched further and found me. It felt both surreal and beautiful. Sadness around the edges, but warmth within.

In our interaction, we understood each other, the moment. Those who seemingly stroll through lives of ease - with rewards casually grasped - may find this difficult to recognize. But for us, with thoughts of him, it felt profound.

With a sense of closeness to the person that Tony was, his ashes now had breath and being. Arising from the ocean - a pearl found in the sand. As he did for many while living, he gave again. Even in death, as ashes washing up on a beach; he gave again. Those he touched were more. Their lives - always precious and beautiful, even when the beauty was hard to see - and now with weight that was, if just a bit, lighter.

There is a place. Tides come and go, ocean waves never cease. Past, present and future intertwine. Life lives on.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

She Was Lost, Then Found

Calling it a perfect storm would be something of an overstatement, but it was quite a confluence of events that led to my miniature dachshund Lucy being lost. I have three dogs. SueKaye is the other miniature dachshund, and the only one I’ve had since she was a puppy. Vida is a chihuahua mix rescued the day before she was to be put down; she went blind a year ago. The three of us were out for a walk the other day, when they found something that they just had to smell right beside an apartment building side exit door.

Lucy has always had a thing about birds, and by “a thing”, I mean they are her sworn enemy. I had her and SueKaye a cheap leash-splitter. And just as a flock of birds landed down the street and Lucy ran hard towards them, the side door opened and slammed shut. The door slamming startled the dogs and me, and possibly also the large shepherd mix that exited in front of it, since that dog immediately lunged at mine aggressively, ever so slightly grazing Vida. This confluence of events resulted in the leash splipper breaking, with Lucy running free to attack the demon birds, SueKaye jumping frantically on my leg to be picked up, and Vida rushing off the sidewalk into the street and traffic.

The big dog and his person walked away quickly, and thankfully the guy in the white car who was driving (fast) down Summit saw Vida and stopped before hitting her. But she was terrified and disoriented, making it difficult to gather her up while cars in the other lane continued to drive and one jackass behind the stopped car deciding that honking was a great idea. By the time I got Vida out of traffic and her and SueKaye both under control again, Lucy was nowhere to be found.

Rushing them up to my nearby apartment, I then began a 2hr search for Lucy – crisscrossing the neighborhood up and down Pike/Pine through all cross streets and the immediate neighboring streets. The search was fruitless, and every person I asked along the way had not seen a small dachshund running loose.

Panicked, I rushed again back to my apartment – posted on the Capitol Hill Blog in their Classifieds, and then tweeted that post out. JSeattle immediately tweeted the post out to his hugely more impressive fan base of followers, Seattlish thankfully retweeted mine to their impressive following, and a number of others on twitter wonderfully also retweeted one of those three tweets. Many on twitter were therefore very quickly informed of Lucy being lost, through twitter and the free CHS Classifieds. Just as I was getting ready to go back out searching, the phone rang.

Lucy had been found! She was wandering around in the Harvard Market QFC, the employees there thankfully caring for her and then taking her upstairs to the Banfield Animal Hospital on the second level. They found me through the CHS Classifieds posting. I screamed with excitement, including a joyful curse word – then went up to get her. They were loving on her, and after apologizing for the exclamation (and curse word), thanked them profusely and welcomed Lucy into my arms. She was happy to be there, expressed with many kisses and an exuberant tail.

With Lucy now returned home, I am so grateful to the support of the community, to QFC and Banfield Animal Hospital for caring for her and then searching me out – but mostly to JSeattle and the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. Three hours after she went missing, and a short one hour after the post and subsequent tweets, she was home. Without the CHS Free Classifieds being available, I hazard to think of where she may be now or what might have happened to her.

I am so grateful to JSeattle for this service being available, and to the community for its support and responsiveness to a call for help. I suspect Lucy is as well, though she isn’t talking. We, and my little dog family of love, are all reunited... thank you.

Originally posted on the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


It was my senior year in high school, and I was talking with Chad and Stacy Courtney as they were going to tryouts for "Anything Goes" at the Civic Theatre. They were all like "you should come and watch." Of course! Time with Chad and Stacy, no question, I went. Big love! As the tryouts began and I was sitting on the folding chair in the room and director Fred Scheibe turned to me, I was all like "I'm just here to watch" and he was all "You're what?" and laughed. Chad and Stacy were both "C'mon, you should do it." All full of encouragement, and well, it was Chad and Stacy after all.

cast photo, "Anything Goes", Lewiston Civic Theatre
So I did, and ended up being cast in my first show. Go figure! (Only with hindsight did I realize that this was probably their nefarious plot all along. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaksters.)

Like all Fred Scheibe musical theatre productions, fabulous dance numbers were an integral part of the show.

Now, I should mention, I can dance. You know, free form, dance to the beat stuff. Boogie down action. I have rhythm. I can shake a groove thing. No "Soul Train" dance line stuff mind you, but still.

However, as anyone who has attempted it can tell you, general dancing to music, and being able to do timed choreography in sync with others are two completely different things.

So there was this one number where I was included in the dancing chorus, and ended up center stage, for just a few precious moments, but square center stage. In those few precious moments, the choreography called for cutaways. And, to put it mildly, I just couldn't seem to manage it.

I'd start on the wrong foot, or I'd go the wrong direction, or my arms would be out when they were supposed to cross or crossed when they were supposed to be out. I'd bump into someone. People could've been wounded. We'd move on.

Stacy would practice with me downstairs before the next rehearsal, and that number would come up again and everyone was on point, except for me, apparently having a seizure. "And again. From the top." All others still had it down, yet now my move has progressed to giving the appearance of being overcome suddenly with a spastic colon. We moved on again.

Stacy would practice (again) with me downstairs before the next rehearsal, patiently and persistently, encouraging and walking me through it. And I had been practicing in the garage at home each night as well. (Where, I might add, my moves were fucking flawless. Flawless I tell you. Our dog Brandy was way impressed. Way.)

And finally, I don't know, the fifth or sixty-fifth time or whatever, and we got to that number and I just knew this time, this time, I would get it. Repeating the steps in my head as it approached... tonight: I… would… dance.

Fred however (quite understandably, given the carnage he had repeatedly been forced to endure) moved me from center stage in that particular moment to the back. No cutaways required. The safety of other cast members assured.

I understood, and put my head down and started to step back, and there was this quiet moment. You know the kind... where it is a quiet moment that seems particularly quiet, and lasts forever... and then I hear Stacy. "But he's worked so hard!"

Laughter surrounded, awkwardly bursting open and free, me included... and the show later went on (quite fabulously I might add), now spared from any possibilities of spastic colon seizure based cutaways at center stage, or the need for tending to an injured cast member.

And with me able to look back on it today, smiling and remembering Stacy practicing with me again and again, and years later, still totally hearing her…

"But he's worked so hard!" 

And that's more valuable than being able to do choreographed cutaways anyway.