East River Ferry

I’m pretty sure some version of this story has appeared on my blog.  All names and some locations have been changed.  Just a heads up: it’s not really safe for work.


Caleb kissed my cheek as I walked onto the East River Ferry. I blushed and wanted it to be more than just a peck on the cheek. I wanted him to fuck me back at his apartment like he had done seven weeks earlier in his studio in Murray Hill. It was the first week of December but mild. It was windier down by the water. He made me nervous. He was 6’1, skinny, brown hair and blue eyes. He was the only person I had been involved with who looked like he could be a model. He loved ferries because he grew up on Whidby Island outside of Seattle. He had moved to NYC in 2004 but was happy when the East River Ferry started running a few blocks from his apartment. He would ferry to other islands or Seattle quite a bit he told me.

Caleb and me had met up an hour earlier for coffee at a place that used Stumptown Coffee near Grand Central station. The coffee shop was busy with customers and there was a constant flow of foot traffic outside on the busy sidewalk. I was standing in line when he walked up.

There were two tip jars out on the counter. One was labeled “Tina Fey” and the other “Amy Pohler.” Both were stuffed full with dollar bills and change.

“Tina Fey, duh!” he said. “Is there any doubt?”

“Agreed!” I said back

I met him in Portland in 2003 at the tale end of my first major break-up with “B”, my long term on-again/off again boyfriend from 2002 to 2007. Back in 2003, Caleb had just gotten out of a long term relationship as well. His girlfriend, Jennifer, had cheated on him and he seemed to be nursing a big resentment. Understandable. We both worked at Wells Fargo as temporary employees and took the same bus together at night.

Caleb had a faux hawk before they were cool when we first met in 2004. He’d do his hair up and had curls on either side of his cheek – just like Hasidic men had – only his were thinner and not as long. He usually waited at the bus stop with a gay man who was in his early 30’s who also worked at Wells Fargo. Caleb lived downtown. He was the only person I knew who lived downtown in 2004. No one lived downtown. Only businesses, restaurants and hotels existed downtown.   I waited by myself and smoked. I tried to get at least one cigarette in while I waited at the bus stop. I smoked compulsively and fast. I always wanted to get a second cigarette in as well. Caleb lived at the Beverly Alder apartments and his apartment was immaculate. It bordered on OCD.

Back at the coffee shop near Grand Central I was still nervous. I hadn’t seen him since I left his apartment in Murray Hill seven weeks earlier. After sixteen hours of sex, movies and eating at a southern restaurant down the street. He had turned me onto the “Tim and Eric Show, Good Job!” It was an odd comedy sketch show that made fun of 90’s infomercials and so called experts on news shows. The two main characters, Tim and Eric, played a majority of the male and female characters but had guests on like John C. Reilly and Steve Buscemi on it a lot as well.


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Morning writing

Here’s what my writing routine is like in the morning.  I try and write every day.  Here’s how I do it:

I always feel like I’m going to stop writing. I make myself write every day. I don’t do it everyday.  Things come up: Wednesdays I race downtown at 8:30 am for therapy and I usually don’t do it on those days.  If other things come up during the week, I have to meet a client early one day, and can’t write, I try to get back to it as quickly as possible.

For each new piece of writing I set up the margins:

double spaced,

12 point Times New Roman (always TIMES NEW ROMAN)

page numbers on the lower right hand side

and upper left hand corner on the first page has a title. Even if it’s something simple like: “Anger”.

Based on this fear I write just after I have made a cup of coffee in the morning. I have to be at least a little awake.  I don’t usually write at night.  I need to get it out of the way first thing in the morning.  I sit on the couch.

In winter time I pile my green and grey blankets on, pull the laptop to my lap and start typing usually 70 words per minute with a lot of errors. I get up when the coffee runs out of my cup and refill. I go back to typing.  Five minutes later the cat wants to go outside.  I open the back door for the cat.  I go back to typing. Ten minutes later the other cat wants to go outside. I get up again and let her out. I open my Pandora page.  I take my multi-vitamin and Vitamin D since I’m up and go back to typing.  I get up for more coffee.  I let the cats back in.  I check my iphone that’s charging on the counter.  I look at Instagram and like a few things.

I go back to the computer.  Pound out more sentences.  Check Facebook even though I shouldn’t.  I correct more errors.  Let the cat inside. Drink more coffee.  Pound out more sentences.  And so on and so forth.  It goes on like this for an hour.  I can’t just sit and type.  I’m distracted.  It’s fine.  As long as I do this I keep cranking out the work.  Eventually all of the one to 10 page titles are put together.  Usually over the course of a month. That’s how the second manuscript I”m working on about relationships came to be.  I took 10-15 different sets of “stories” with varying titles and mashed them up.

Tomorrow I’ll have more time to write.  It’s Saturday.  I’ll put in 1.5 hours.  Weekends are different.  I don’t have to rush anywhere or meet any clients.  I can just sit.  Listen to Pandora and write.

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I’m going on a dating hiatus.
Going back to HappyAlone
I had spent 9 months: May 2013 to February 2014 alone. Trying to figure out how to be alone. I thought I had figured it out. I went back to online dating in February 2014. I went out with three dudes in six weeks. All three bad some level of unavailability:
One was evaluated for sex addiction
Another fresh out of a 10 year marriage with kids
Another just disappeared

Saturday nights alone with my cats and Hulu started to sound more appealing then dating emotionally unavailable people. You may think I’m turning into the crazy cat lady. Like the honey badger (who I’m Facebook friends with-well, I’m friends with the straight man who voices the HB) I don’t give a shit. This all begs the question: maybe I’m not available either. I like to think I am but I’m not really sure. Here’s the lie I bought into for so long: in order to be happy I needed to be in a long term relationship. Married. I don’t know when I bought stock in the marriage corporation? Maybe 5-6 years ago. When I hit a milestone: age 30?

Sometime in the last week I decided I wanted to pull my stock. To fire the corporation. I bought tickets to upstate New York to attend my college reunion in May. Then I decided to take it a step further and go down to NYC for a few more days after reunion and then fly to Iceland.
Yes. Iceland.
I have always wanted to go.
Would I have made a decision like this if I was still in online dating land? Probably.
In either case I am getting more comfortable being in this body. In Kelly. Being KellyAlone.

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Presentation Skills

Memoir in progress:

Reblogging! This is a great post! You are a great teacher and presenter, MB!

Originally posted on To Pursue Happiness:

One of my recent ad hoc jobs has been assisting in the Columbia University graduate business school, coaching on presentation skills and strategic messaging.

I don’t want to give away all of my tips and tricks. But here’s some of what I’ve learned and taught.

  1. Plant your feet to make a point
  2. Make eye contact
  3. Breathe
  4. Be prepared, but not memorized
  5. Put it in a story form
  6. Show the benefits to your listener
  7. Use emotion

Let me explain what I mean by all of these. I’ll use myself as an example.

  1. Plant your feet and make your point. Don’t wander around. Don’t fidget with a pen either. I need to remember this. I’m a passionate person, and so I like to really emote! That’s fine (see #7). Sure, move out from behind the podium, but move on the pause, and stop when you speak. Plant your feet. You can move…

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Busy Up in this Piece

Things have been busy up in this piece. Here’s what’s been going on:

1. Last Sunday I saw my Dad for the first time in 11 years. I’m still processing this in my head.  I haven’t written anything down yet.  In fact, last week so busy I did very little long hand writing.

2. Typing out my relationship book that is now (hopefully) going to look like a cross between the t.v. show “Girls” and “Portlandia”.

3. Reading through the edits on the first 115 pages (there are 325 altogether) of “The Yellow Blanket” (my first manuscript) that Joanna Rose (from my work shopping group, The Pinewood Table) made.  So far I have read about 30 pages and I’m loving it.  Can’t wait to read more…..

4. I booked a trip to upstate NY for my 15 year college reunion in May, followed by a few days outside NY/in Connecticut/NYC to see friends, and then a trip to Reykjavik, Iceland.  I have always wanted to go and super excited!

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Autism, Developmental Disabilities and what I’m reading right now

Happy Monday! It’s the start of a new week and I’m starting my day and week on the right foot: writing.  After spending three months reading young adult books I needed to get away from 12 year old conversations and themes and go back to my best friend, memoir.

What I’ve been reading: Kerry Cohen.  My writing mentor at the Attic, Lee Montgomery, suggested I read “Loose Girl”.  I read “Loose Girl” in five days.  I picked up her second memoir: “Seeing Ezra: A Mother’s Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and the Meaning of Normal” and I’m smack dab in the middle of it right now.  “Seeing Ezra” details her experiences with getting a diagnosis of autism for her young son and having to deal with experts: psychologists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists when getting assessments completed on Ezra.

I don’t consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have almost eleven years experience working with people with developmental disabilities, Aspergers and autism.  I also have several disabilities myself (anxiety/depression).  I think this helps establishing connections with clients.  I also think it helps me in my work understand the experiences of parents, who when their child was born may have had an entirely different set of expectations for their child (weddings/careers/family) pre-diagnosis.  When a parent gets a diagnosis of developmental disability and/or autism all of those expectations are usually shelved.  An entirely new set of expectations is pulled out.  What challenges will my child experience in school?  Will they go on to college?  What supports will they need throughout their life to be successful?

I usually come into the picture when the client is 18 or older.  I help assess their vocational abilities (do they show up on time for work?  are they motivated to work?  what skills need to be improved on at the job site?) and/or help them find a job in the community, as a courtesy clerk at a grocery store or stocking shelves in a retail setting.  Most parents have accepted that their child has a disability and want them to be integrated into the community at a job.  They know their child inside and out and can let me in on their quirks, skills, personality, etc.

Anyway, it’s always interesting to read a parent’s perspective on their child’s disability.  It helps me in my paying job.  At any rate, I don’t plan on being a social workers forever.  I’m really hoping to transition to my second career, writer.  When that will take place, I don’t know.  I’m looking into a low-residency MFA program at Pacific University.  I would like to teach and supplement my income as an adjunct instructor at a community college and/or teach in the writer’s in schools program here in Portland.  I’m really good at goal setting and making my career dreams reality. It’s just a matter of time.  And with that, it’s time to get to work!  Have a great day.

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Online dating hell

I apologize for all the past/present tense changes.  I’m lazy when I start writing first and second drafts of anything.

At Hypatia in the Woods my body is wrecked and a wad of tight in my shoulders from driving in my 2001 Toyota Corolla from Portland. After I get back from Hypatia in the Woods I’m trading that thing in for the Subaru Outback wagon I’ve wanted for the past 5 years.  I finally have enough money to purchase one.  I’m here to finish my first manuscript but it’s the first night and I’m tired from packing and cleaning my house, driving three hours and getting lost trying to find Hypatia in the Woods and then getting lost again trying to find groceries in the neighboring town, Shelton.  My workaholism always seems to go into overdrive when I get ready for a trip.  It’s like this:

whirling around my house,

picking up client files scattered around my living room,

packing my suitcases,

packing laptop bag, all the various drafts and revisions of the manuscript and court

emptying the dishwasher,

starting another load of laundry,

getting the recycling, garbage and compost bins to the curb,

packing the car,

cleaning the litter boxes,

getting 5 different types of supplements ready

and going and going even my energy is low and that goddamn low-level headache is right there on the right hand side of my brow.

I’ve been thinking about the boyfriend/non-boyfriend and his new girlfriend and all the fun they’re having camping and hanging out eating vegan thingamajigs.  Actually, I don’t know if they’re together. I just imagine they are in my head because I’m so miserable and lonely. And it’s just easy for my head to go there when it feels like all I do is work and clean and work and clean. And do self-care. It’s fine. It’s fine.
It’s really fucking fine.
Eventually, someday I will find someone.
After I do more and more and more work on myself. After I do another year of therapy.  After I see another reiki person that will charge me $75 an hour to tell me my heart chakra is tight. Or that I need to put a heating pad around my head and it will release all of the tightness that I seem to lug around in my muscles.  You get the point.  Or maybe you don’t.  Sometimes I feel like an asshole for being able to afford self-care, and to see a naturopath and pay in cash because they don’t take insurance.  I grew up lower-middle class poor.  I don’t deserve these things I tell myself.  But really I do.
I go back to thinking about my singleness/my aloneness as I unpack the car at Hypatia in the Woods.  It’s quiet with various things moving in the woods surrounding the house.  Maybe none of that is supposed to happen and I will be single forever. I wish I could feel comfortable working this hard and being lonely but I can’t and I’m about ready to say fuck it all and just go back to the online dating hell I was living in before the boyfriend/non-boyfriend.

The cabin is a living room/dining room/kitchen combo, a full bathroom and loft with queen bed and writing desk.  It’s eerily quiet when I arrive and unpack the car.  I’ll be honest with you: I was scared of being alone.  After each trip in the front door with my luggage/food/bags/crap I looked behind me to make sure someone wasn’t going to jump out and rape me.  That never happened thank the gods.

I unpack some raspberries, open the container, wash them and stand at the sink and eat them.  That’s how I eat at home: mostly at the counter or over the sink.  I have a small dining room table but never use it.  I set my laptop up at the long dining room table, unroll my yoga mat on the floor, and set all of my writing notebooks and various drafts of the manuscript around the yoga mat.  I do some stretches on the yoga mat,  feel better and decide I can write a little.  I eat some rice cakes over the sink because I’m still hungry and decide I have the energy to start in writing even though I was going to give myself a pass for that night.  I need to squeeze as much writing in as I can.  That’s why I’m here.  I don’t want to waste a moment of this opportunity.  I fire up the laptop and start writing the first draft of this story.


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