Senior year at Wells was 

Friday’s were about working on my thesis, running 6 miles to Levanna and back, going to dinner and hanging out in the Sommer center while my friend Amy worked the grill. I’d steal Crackerjacks from the counter.  Amy didn’t give a shit.
She was a few inches shorter than me, a little skinnier, glasses and squinty eyes. She was from Saratoga and her younger brother, who she loved, worked at KB toys.
I started spending time with Amy in her room after she had cleaned and closed down the grill in the Sommer center. She lived on the same floor just a few doors down. She had had a psychotic break and had to go to a psych unit her senior year. She was in the class above mine but because of her visit to the psych ward she had to repeat her senior year in order to graduate.

She smoked Camel Lights like me and Friday nights around midnight we’d watch watch Titanic or Boogie Nights in her room.  She had a habit of watching both movies over and over and over again. She had two directors chairs in front of the tv and we would crack the window just a little bit and pop Titanic in the VCR.

Amy always quoted Kate what’s her name during the scene where what’s her name drowns and starts calling out to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character.

“Jack! Jack! ” Amy would whisper in Kate’s sad, drowny voice.

I’d giggle and take a long drag off my Camel.

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Some things you know about yourself

You are always multi-tasking: making breakfast, cleaning cat bowls, and doing laundry.  Busy is built into your D.N.A.

You make eggs, chicken sausage and greens with coconut oil in a cast iron skillet you found at a thrift store for breakfast.  On the road for your job you stop at Fred Meyer and pick up Apple Fritters in the late morning.

Your cats, Starboy and Moony, eat the healthiest, organic dry food available but insist on eating the grossest, wet food available: Fancy Feast.  You tried to get them to eat the expensive, yuppy wet food but there’s a bag in your car full of the wet food they tried but won’t eat ready to return to the various locally owned pet stores around town.  Your cats before them, Lilly and Billy did the same thing.  Maybe it’s not them.  Maybe it’s you.

You read multiple books at the same time. The four books you are reading are a mix of fiction and non-fiction: The Silver Star, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, Excavation, The Things Between Us.  You always finish the memoirs first because they are like reality TV: you like knowing whats going on in other peoples lives.

You had the dead trees taken out of your park strip three weeks ago.  The ones with the broken limbs that were falling into the street.  You paid the bill yesterday.  A day after you schedule the trees to be taken out you trade in your pretty new Subaru for an even newer one with leather seats.

These are the things you know about yourself.

 

 

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You went to Atlanta in mid-March to visit your cousin and see a city that you had never been to before. 

While you were there, the last two days, your 14-year-old formally feral cat Billy, was pooping on the carpet in your office. Your house sitter thought she was mad that you were gone. But you knew. She was dying. And waiting for you to come home so she could die peacefully with you around.
You asked your house sitter to go to target and buy a litter box and cat litter to put in the office. She did but it didn’t help. When you came back from Atlanta at 10:30 PM there were shit stains everywhere.

It takes you three months to clear out your office and hire a carpet cleaner to get the carpet cleaned. You’ve got two new cats now. Not feral. Different. One of them, moonboy, is a silver and black tabby, and likes to run around the office chasing a mouse on a string.  You steer clear of the shit stains but wear slippers anyway.  Moonboys paws graze over the shit stains that are now gone.  Tomorrow the carpet cleaner will come and the shit stains will be gone permanently.

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A few random thoughts about Wells and life now

You step off the plane in Syracuse and it’s 2017 but really it’s 1995.  The same green and purple seats they’ve had since the 90’s are there.  The ticket counters are the same.  So are the baggage carousels.  You’re 18 and visiting from Salem, Oregon.  You pick up your bag off the carousel and the Wells college van a.k.a. “the Fuck Truck” is there to pick you up outside the doors and take you to visit the place you live for four years. That place where you drink and and drink and drink and meet your best friends. And the snow. And the cold. And those fucking geese that never stopped honking in winter on Cayuga Lake.

The New York State Thruway is bumpy bumpy bumpy.  It’s 2017 but it’s 1995 and you remember bumpy rides to Yoshi’s house, rides to other colleges like the Rochester Institute of Technology to play lacrosse games you were probably going to lose.

You listen to WPXY out of Rochester on the Thruway. It’s 2017 and you drive alone but you aren’t alone.  You have friends, a long term boyfriend and family back in Portland that love you. Your senior year at Wells you sat alone in your room and played solitaire alone with WPXY on in the background. You smoked Camel light after Camel light and clicked your mouse around searching for the best card to play.  The computer usually won.  It was spring and warm and they played that stupid Baz Luhrman song about graduation over and over.  You wished you owned a gun and could shoot that song off your clock radio.

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A revision of the last post

At PDX you get to your gate early for your flight to Atlanta.  It’s your first time flying first class cross country and you want to take advantage of every minute of it.  You signed up for it with your mileage upgrade.  You board before everyone else and feel out of place.  You wonder if someone is going to find you out and make you sit in coach.  Before you take off you the flight attendant asks you what you want to drink.  The man in the next aisle over orders seltzer water. You copy his drink because seltzer seems like an upgrade from plain water. 

You take off and the seat is roomy.  The flight attendant asks everyone individually what they would like to eat for lunch.  You order the salmon on a bed of arugula.  The food is awesome: salmon on a bed of arugula, Brussels sprouts, and purple potatoes.  Did you even know purple potatoes were a thing?  There’s a side of brie, another kind of cheese you can’t remember, a big strawberry and grapes.  Lemon coconut something for dessert. 

You were upgraded for free years ago on a Detroit to Rochester flight but there was no meal service.  That was different. 

You can’t stop thinking about the lemon coconut thing as you get off the plane to collect your luggage in Atlanta. 

You want to do it again. 

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It’s been a while since I posted anything

I’ve not posted very much lately because my life has switched directions and I’m much more protective of my writing and overall my family.  It’s nothing bad: just more focused writing with a clearer purpose and goal.  I’m not creating a ton of new writing these days. Most of it is focused on revision.

Switching gears a bit I was on a vacation visiting a family member in Atlanta for a few days.  Here’s a blip about my experience flying first class from PDX to ATL:

“You flew first class with your mileage upgrade. It’s the first time you have ever flown first class on a cross country flight before.  The food you received was awesome: salmon on a bed of arugula, brussels sprouts, and purple potatoes.  There was a side of brie, another kind of cheese you can’t remember, a big strawberry and grapes.  Lemon coconut something for dessert.  You want to do it again.  You want that lemon coconut something again.  It was delicious.  You were upgraded for free years ago on a Detroit to Rochester flight but there was no meal service.  That was different.” 

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What I know six years in

Six years ago I met a The New York Times bestselling memoir at a coffee shop close to my apartment in NE Portland. I was awestruck and ready to start writing my memoir in her writing workshop that met weekly. 

Since that sunny day back in September 2010: I’ve changed from working with the The NY Times best selling memoir writing to the Pinewood Table, another writing workshop group that also meets weekly 10 months out of the year and better seats my needs.

Finished two complete drafts of my memoir 

Work shopping the 3rd (and what I hope will be final) draft 

Quit running

Took up Jazzercise

Bought a house

Moved

Ended a relationship 

Started a relationship

Travelled to: New York City too many times to count, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Seoul, Reykavik, England, Scotland, Tokyo, Nara, Hiroshima, Osaka, Busan and back to Seoul. All mostly by myself. 

Drafted a second 300 page memoir that’s mostly slop but will one day take shape 

Reconciled with my dad and stepmom

I’ve done all this while battling my own demons PTSD, anxiety and depression.  Sheer determination and tenacity have also helped me along the way. 

All of these are my badges and I’ve earned them. Good and bad. 

Looking forward I’m excited to finish a rock solid draft.

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