Monday, December 28, 2009

Mom's Olay

As I got ready for a client this morning I noticed my face was a little dry. I reached into the cabinet and pulled out a plastic bottle of Oil of Olay and dabbed some on my chin, my cheeks, my forehead, my neck. And then I slipped back in time a little.

After my mom died I took over most of her belongings. It was too painful for her brother and my grandparents to take anything, so they pawned it all off on me, citing that I would be honored to have these little reminders of her everyday. I was sixteen and hadn't yet figured out how to say no to anyone, so I took most of it.

The clothes that didn't fit me I convinced my grandmother to donate to a women's shelter in Los Angeles. I held on to pretty much everything else. Including her make-up and toiletries.

My mom loved Giorgio. But at some point she stopped buying it because the same scent seemed to come out of a little yellow striped can that stated, "If you like Giorgio, you'll love...". Since the can wasn't the real thing (and the smell of it kind of made me sick), I had no problem tossing it into the trash.

She had a plastic bottle of Jafra body lotion, which I used up within the first few months. I didn't relate the smell to just my mom since I've always used my mom's lotion. It was hardly like using my mom's lotion at all.

And then she had a glass bottle of Oil of Olay. Pink glass. Black label. I can hear the sound of the black plastic cap being screwed off the glass top. I can smell the Original scent of creme. I can feel the moisture being locked into my skin after my morning shower.

I don't remember when I actually finished that bottle, because I kept it for quite some time after I emptied it into my pores. It might have been a few months, it might have been a few years. I'm sure I used it long after the expiration date had passed, though, because I remember at one point seeing 04/92 stamped on the bottle. Seeing the date now reminds me of just how long ago that really was.

For a long time I remembered how much I missed my mom, and a moment like this morning where I was taken back to the scent of my mother's Oil of Olay might have sent me into a long list of why it's so horrible that my mom was taken away from me so long ago. But when that moment this morning happened, I simply smiled. I remembered my mom. And I thanked her for my youthful skin. I doubt I would have started using the Olay at age 16 had it not been for her.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Keep On Keepin On

I've been doing a bit of reflecting of late, and realize just how much growth there's been for me this past year. Not just for me, but for the book. This year the book went from concept to paper to being read to being edited. It's not that there's nothing left to do; there's plenty left to do. But the growth I've had this year gives me a sense of urgency for getting the book finished and published and out there into the world.

I keep having this dream (even when they suck, I hate to call them nightmares) that I get the book published and no one buys it. Or that two people buy it and they both tell me it's crap. Or that five people buy it and they form a group to come TP my house because they expected more out of me. I hide inside while I see rolls of toilet paper flying hither and thither, and people from the neighborhood join in on the egg throwing and the toilet paper tossing while my dog looks at me in contempt and refuses to protect me. Dreams are stupid. At least the ones I refuse to call nightmares are.

I know this is just fear of working for years on a project that doesn't relate to anyone. And I know this fear is unfounded. Everyone I've handed the book to has been touched. The greatest compliment I got from handing the book out to my cast of feedbackers was that most of them cried. It's not that I was trying to make anyone cry; I just told my story. And while my story is written around the cancer that took my father from me, the basis was the relationship between my father and I. I guess the story's not for everyone, but I've realized that I'm not really writing it for anyone else; I'm writing it for me.

Without this book and the last three years of writing it, I might not have ever learned a thing from my father's death but that he's not coming back. By reflecting, by writing, I've been able to connect with me. Who I was then, who I am now, and who I'm on my way to becoming. I've learned more about myself in this past year or four than I have in the my thirty years prior. I've been able to connect with myself in a way I never knew existed, let alone thought was possible. I guess that connection is what people relate to, not the details of my story.

We're all human. We all feel. We all have relationships, whether they work for us or not. Those relationships all need tending to. And at some point all of those relationships will cease to exist, whether we like to admit it or not. By change, by circumstance, by accident, by death. I want to create as much learning, as much healing as I can in the relationships that haven't yet ceased to exist.

I guess I'm still trying to figure it all out.

In the meantime, I'll just keep writing.

What about you?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Progress (Aren't We All?)

Draft 7 is on the way. In progress (aren't we all?). Streaming wildly, slowly, softly, thoroughly. Writing in stream of consciousness style of late, and it seems to be working. The connection to my father grows and grows as the days without him pass me by. It seems to me that the connection I create (retain?) by writing about him and me and our relationship and what it was like to lose him and live with him and take care of him and feel guilty for not taking better care of him, for not making him well and making him beat the cancer. By writing about all of this, my love soars and my heart grows for him. I have new and old appreciations coming to light for all of my relationships. I feel less at ease with questions in passing and long for deep conversations about who you are and what's important to you. I feel motivated to share this connection with my father, to share this connection with you, with him, with her, with everyone, everywhere. Because aren't we all connected? Don't we all share something (what is it, what is it??) with each other? We share this emotion, this passion, this grace, this gratitude, this life, this focus, this awareness, this conscious effort to [be who I am], this grief, this loss, this air, this memory—albeit for different things, but we share it nonetheless.

And so I remain in progress, as ever I will be while I'm alive (don't you, too?). At some point the book will be finished and cease to be in progress, but me, I prefer to always be on to the next bit of growth.

As for the book...I'll be testing excerpts (although is it still an excerpt if it doesn't actually end up in the book?) to see how it feels to get some of this out into the world.

I must remember to breathe.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


always too long since the last post. the thing about blah blah blah is blah blah blah. it's all the same thing. i've got to get back to being connected to writing. i've got to get reconnected. and i've got to realize that the connection is never lost. this is not like a magnetic field that gets interrupted, this connection i have to my source is all powerful, all abundant, and so is my ability for keeping things invisible. like my good state of mind. it's always good but sometimes i think it's not because i hide it from myself. where does it go, my good state of mind? it goes in the closet, out the door, left behind with the shoes i wore last week on a run, or maybe in the grass where jackson peed while we were on our run. he looks so free when he takes off running without me. i let the leash down and tell him, go 'head good boy, and he runs and runs and runs as if he'll never come back and then he reaches that point, that same point every time, only sometimes it's 5 yards, sometimes it's 50 yards away, where he stops and turns around, looks over his shoulder to make sure i'm still running behind him, still trying to catch up with him, and then takes off for another sprint way. and all the while i see myself in him, longing to have that run to be free and let myself loose with each moment of each day. only i feel like i can't be that free, i can't be that loose because there are bills to pay and mouths to feed, bills to feed and mouths to pay. oh jewel, where are the days when you wrote a good song again? but songs won't reconnect me to writing. or maybe they will. maybe that's what i'm missing is to turn on some music and get myself inspired, like the blog told me to. i read a blog this morning that told me to read newspapers and magazines and blogs to get inspired, and to listen to music and the radio to get inspired. hogwash. inspiration comes from beauty and i don't feel beautiful right now. i feel horrid. and cold. and disengaged. and there is no inspiration from where i'm sitting, but i can't seem to choose to get up. the cold keeps me here, staring out a window that surely holds beauty on the other side of it, but I can't for the life of me figure out where. and so i sit here, waiting for inspiration to find me, inspire me, take hold of me and toss me around like a rag doll until i am shaken and stirred, like a dirty neat martini on a friday night.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just Another Tuesday Morning

This morning wasn't too different from most Tuesday mornings. Wake up, kiss Erin good-bye for work, blog, shower, get ready for the day. What was different this morning was having to take Jackson into the vet and leaving him there for a couple hours.

We think he got bit by a spider. At least, that's what the vet told us probably happened when we took him in a couple weeks ago. They gave us some antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory for him, and told us to bring him back in for a follow up in a week. We washed his penny-sized "thing" on the side of his belly for a week, then put the antibiotic cream on it twice a day, and gave him his anti-inflammatory pills with a treat every night. The "thing" didn't get bigger, but it certainly didn't get smaller. So we took him back on Sunday.

They said Jax is too young for it to be a mast cell tumor, but in any event, it's probably better to just have it removed. Which is what's happening as I type.

The car ride to the vet wasn't much different than any other. With the back windows rolled down, Jackson stuck his head out the driver's side window and let his ears and jowls flap in the wind. When we pulled up to the curb, he was anxious to get out, hoping I was taking him exploring. I was not.

Once inside the vet, he behaved like normal. Sat when I asked him to, growled at a child (he doesn't understand what children are or why they're so fidgety or loud), and then laid at my feet to protect me from the little boy with the kitten in his hands. And then he started to shake.

I don't know why he started to shake, I can only assume that dogs are more in tune with their intuition than humans. Just as I started to comfort him, one of the nurses asked me to confirm some information and sign some papers before they let him in the back to get prepped for surgery. As I signed the documents, I noticed myself getting choked up. Am I crying?

Tears did not flow, but I'm glad the nurse didn't ask me to speak anything more than "yes," "no," and "okay." I knew he was just going in to have a "thing" removed, and that he'd be fine, but he's my baby, my boy, my Bubs. I can't even begin to imagine how I'll react when I have an actual child and he or she gets hurt. For now, I'll settle for being emotional about my dog going in for surgery.

Another nurse came from the back and said it was time to take Jackson back. I almost just handed his leash off and walked away, but just before I did, I knelt on one knee in front of him and asked for kisses. Bubs obliged. I felt myself getting emotional all over again. I handed the leash over and watched him walk to the prep room and out of sight. A lump settled in my throat until I realized I'd been standing there for at least a minute after Bubs was out of sight.

I asked a nurse at the reception desk how long she thought it would be, and she said at least a couple of hours. She said the doctor would call me when she was finished with the surgery to let me know how it went and when I can pick him up. I walked out of the vet's office and began to cry.

It's not like we're having him put down. I know he's going to be fine, and it's just a minor surgery to have a little "thing" removed. And still, I worry. He's my baby, my boy, my Bubs. I want to fast forward to after the phone call, after picking him up, after he's recovered and he doesn't have to wear the cone around his neck to protect the wound from licking. But that's not how life goes. So I'll just wait for the call, pick him up, and try not to laugh at the silly cone that will need to go around his neck. This isn't just another Tuesday morning, at all.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Digging Deeper and Oprah's Couch

Today I get back to work on the book. There are parts that I need to dig deeper into, so I'm starting that process today. I'm simply writing short stories about my mom and I, my dad and I, and Reese and I. I thought I was done digging deep, but I'm learning that life is all about digging; deeper is where the goods are.

So with today comes a breath of fresh air, fresh life into the book. I don't know that everything I'll be working on in the next couple of weeks will even make it into the book, but I must start this process.

I had a dream I was on Oprah's yellow couch, listening to her talk about my book. Maybe that's because I (poorly, as you can see, but it gets the job done!) photoshopped myself onto her couch last week with my book in her hands. I believe in the law of attraction, and am certain that posting it on my vision board will help me get there. Of course, I know that just posting it won't get me there...and that's where the digging comes back into play.

So, off to dig I go...I wonder what I will find for you....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thursday Exploration

Yesterday was a day of exploration. My friend,
Lisa Mae, and I got on a train in Long Beach and headed north at 9AM this morning. Here's a recap of our experiences:

A man with extraordinarily long legs sat next to me, and was gracious enough to apologize when his knees bumped me along the ride. My favorite part of his interaction with me was his direct eye contact. Eye contact can be so uncomfortable with strangers, yet with this man, I saw his kindness and warmth, without an ounce of "I bet you'll look away before me!" What a great start to the morning!

A woman on the train just a few minutes later began a conversation with Lisa Mae over her hair. Lisa Mae apparently resembles the woman's daughter, and so she felt it necessary to give Lisa Mae tips on how to dye and take care of her hair. After the short conversation, the woman moved back a couple rows to sit with her friend, and continued to stare in silence at Lisa Mae until she stepped off the train. I guess we all need a little conversation.

We walked up one street and down another and across another and back up the same street to find a breakfast spot near the Staples Center. Thinking we were headed for IHOP (which we weren't terribly excited about, but it seemed to be the only place promising to be open in the area before noon), we happened upon The Original Pantry Cafe and proceeded to eat breakfast inside the Historical Landmark. Do you know they've never been closed since they opened their doors in 1924? They don't even have locks on the doors!

There are no bars on Sunset between Vine and Highland (aside from the one inside the Arclight, which we bypassed, thinking another would be just up the street--not a good idea, walking in 100-degree weather). Lisa Mae said out loud to me, for no apparent reason, "I'd love to see Michael Jackson's star!" Just a few minutes after her wish, on our way up to Hollywood Blvd from Sunset (simply because that was the route we accidentally took), we glanced down to find this:

My, the Universe is speedy.

We had a drink in Hooters and all I can say about that is: it must be hot running around in those pantyhose all day.

We skipped half-way down a street block to a vintage clothing store. While skipping, I turned to Lisa Mae and said, "I don't think it's possible to skip without smiling!!"

While walking around City Walk at Universal, this sign caught Lisa Mae's eye:

So then we did this:

If you know me at all, you know that I despise the heights. Especially the variety where people jump out of planes that aren't even on fire. It seemed like a happy medium, where the wind came out of the ground, I never got more than 6 feet off the ground (which I think is a pretty good way to stay away from 6 feet under it), and I didn't have to jump out of a plane. Afterward, we celebrated with a beer.

This man joined us on the last leg of our trip back to Long Beach:

He brought his own chair and sat at the head of the train. It was like he planned to have an audience. In my bliss of the day, and enjoying my previous experience of direct eye contact on the train, I looked the man in the eye and smiled. This was apparently his cue for action. He took off his headphones and began to preach verses from the Bible. I sat next to Lisa Mae and watch this man perform his sermon of sorts, delighted with his passion for the Lord. And then it turned... well, I'll let you be the judge.
He said (and I quote), "God don't like it when one woman lick on another woman. No he don't." He went on to say something about balls on a billy goat and a giant knocking at the door, at which point I stopped listening. But with all the ruckus of his ranting, I couldn't help but look up at him every now and then and smile. One of the times I looked up at him, he looked me right in the eye and said he'd kill me if I raped his wife. I had and ahve no intention, so I felt safe. A few minutes later a LA County Sheriff's officer stepped forwards and we all though he'd escort the screaming man off the train. He did not. He pulled out his ticket book just before the train stopped, stepped off the train and proceeded to walk to patrons on the deck to see if they had a ticket for the train. Apparently it's more important to the Sheriff's office that you pay for a ticket for the train than maintain orderly conduct once you're on it. Which isn't to say that I wanted the screaming man to get arrested, or even a ticket, I just would have liked a quieter ride home. But I guess if I had that, I wouldn't have this story to tell you.

And that was our day. How was yours?

For another spin on this day from me, go here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Moose for Sale (Not Really, But My Book Will Be Soon)

I have a raging headache that's gotten worse since last night. I've eaten breakfast and taken something for it. And the gardeners with the leaf blowers outside are not helping.

I went ahead and painted something in the last couple of weeks. A moose. A friend of mine like moose (not meese, Erin), and I thought I'd paint her one. I warned her that the end result may look nothing like an actual moose, but I was surprised to see that it does. A little. The antlers give it away, otherwise one might think it's just J-Lo in a deer suit. But here it is:

In other news, I've gotten a little bit of feedback on the book (I sent it out to 9 people, and I've heard snippits from 6 of them), and so far, so good. It's been pretty much what I've expected, that the story is solid, and there are some adjustments that need to be made. This makes sense, as I've never written a book before. One of the things I didn't expect was this:
"I intuitively knew this was going to be an important book and now it has been confirmed."
Wow. As I've been writing the book, I guess I've known the importance all along (it's kind of what's driven me to this point), I just couldn't know the impact until I let it go off to Kindergarten to see what it might do in the world.

I'm learning as I go and not letting "not knowing how to do it" keep me from doing it. I'm excited to get everyone's notes back and get to work on the final product. Once I finish revising based on the feedback I get, I'll be ready to look into the means to get it published. I have a couple of options to look at, so I'll just have to be patient and see what pans out.

If you want to be on a mailing list to be notified when the book is available for purchase, please email me at dian[at]dianreidwrites[dot]com.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Holding Period

I hardly know what to do with myself now that this phase of the book is done. I printed 10 copies total and have sent nine out for reading and feedback. I hope it's not too much feedback. I hope it's not too little. Maybe I'll be like Goldie Locks.

I can't seem to remember all the little projects I used to distract me from writing the book (for a while there I seemed to be pretty good at finding things to do that were not writing my book). You'd think a writer would have made a list...

Maybe I'll paint a little. Maybe I'll start another writing project. Maybe I'll golf. Maybe I'll coach. Maybe I'll take a bath in the middle of the day just because I can. Maybe I'll cook up some poetry, or an essay, just for fun. Maybe I'll celebrate. Whatever I do, it won't have anything to do with opening up a word document from the folder, "7 Days". At least not until September 1st. Seems like the right thing to do, to wait for the feedback before I start making changes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lather, Rinse, Repeat (Or: Holy Crap)

I just finished the book. My emotions are all over the place. I cried this morning because Erin walked past me as she got ready for work. Which is what she does every morning, but this morning I wanted her to stop. To stop and look at me. Notice that tears were welling in my eyes. Notice that my emotions were too raw for her to get ready for work. I walked around the house. I fed the cats. I sat on the bed. And when she walked in to get dressed, I could barely get the words out, "I'm feeling a little emotional today." I cried in her arms and didn't know exactly why I was crying. Guess I didn't need to know.

This morning I printed a copy of the book and handed it to a friend to give me some feedback. I'm headed to Kinkos as soon as I'm finished with this blog and printing off six more copies. One for Texas, One for Orange County, two for Long Beach, one for Studio City, and one for Venice Beach. Some are giving me technical feedback of, "take this out, put that there, add more here," and some are giving me real life feedback of, "this really spoke to me, wish there was more on that."

My emotions seem to be bred from fear. Fear that it's all crap. Fear that I just spent three years putting my soul on paper and it's not going to amount to anything. Fear that I'll get ripped to shreds in the feedback that I've gone and asked for. I realize the fears are unfounded, even irrational. The important thing is that I'm processing through it. Feeling the fear, addressing the fear, and moving forward anyway. It's the only way to let the fear go. It will come up again, I'm sure of it. No life is sans fear. And when it does, lather, rinse, repeat.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Painting 99 (101 is too advanced for me)

A few things I've learned as I paint for the first time since kindergarten:
  • Big brushes cover more space than, say, small brushes.
  • When you mix colors and run out of that mix, it's hard to recreate it; best to make a lot.
  • There are no lines to paint inside or outside of; I get to create my own lines.
  • When a color is gone, that color is gone until you buy more paint.
  • Size your painting to the canvas; it does not shrink to fit.
  • I can create beauty, even in a mess of paint.
  • Bristles fall right out of cheap brushes.
  • Light colors do not hide a charcoal sketch.
  • Jackson will bark every time I need a steady hand.
  • What ends up on the canvas looks nothing like what was in my head.
  • It's okay to suck at painting, at least I'm willing to learn.
  • Wear comfy shoes if you stand on a hardwood floor; sore piggies are no good for creativity.
  • No matter how much he tries, don't let the cat help you.
Here's the first of my paintings, which is related to my coaching practice:

I used a brush that was really small because I forgot that I bought a larger set of brushes. But the extra time painting the background gave me a chance to lose myself in the brush strokes. I forgot to paint around the light at the top of the lighthouse, and was crushed at the thought of ruining my first painting. Until I realized that I could just paint over the red with white, and that the effect of the brush fade worked perfectly to show the fading light at the end of its reach. I didn't realize I'd have so much space left once I finished the logo, so I improvised by adding my company name and tag line. Divine intervention, I guess.

What I love about this painting is that I did everything wrong and it came out perfect. Critically, I'm sure it's a mess, but I learned so much about painting, and about patience, and not being attached to an outcome. I'm working on my second piece, and I have been able to exercise what I've learned so far, as well as pick up a few new tricks.

The creative space of painting is so much different than the creative space of writing. As I'm coming to the end of 7 Days I'm finding that I need more and more space from it. Finishing the book is an intense process, and if I don't step away for a minute or 90, I can't see the forest for the trees. I've been allowing my brain to shift and think on different levels, so when I come back to writing I have a fresh perspective. It's working brilliantly.

As for the book, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it no longer looks like a train.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Just a quick update. I'm in Houston, copy editing the book. I would have liked to have had this part finished by 7/31, but I'm super stoked that I'm finally at this stage after 3 1/2 years. I spent the first two years trying to wrap my head around the idea of actually writing a book while telling everyone that I was writing it. It's not that I wasn't writing it, it's that what I was writing wasn't the finished product. And I didn't understand that one does not write a book in a single rough draft. This version is the 6th draft, and I'm sure it's not the last draft. I've been told by several people that handing a copy to an editor is like handing your heart over and asking him/her to rip it apart with tweezers. I think I've done all I can to prepare myself for that part of the process, but I'm sure the actual editing process will be...something to remember.

I really don't know what the process is after I'm happy with a copy to hand to an editor or publisher. First I'll need to find an editor or publisher to hand it to. And then... Oprah, here I come.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

30 Minutes

I'm in the middle of so many things I can hardly keep myself sane. I'm updating my Twitter and Facebook accounts, and redesigning my coaching website. I'm creating a brand for myself and my coaching company, Authentic Realities Coaching (actually, I'm having someone else create it and I'm just approving it). I'm working on a coaching workshop on coming out for the LGBTQ community (and friends and families of). I'm building my coaching practice (2 clients and counting). And I'm working on the book with a deadline of July 31st to finish draft #6 and have it ready to be edited.

I've barely been able to find the time to relax, which has taken its toll on me in the form of sleepless nights. I've been waking up at 1AM, 3AM and around 5:30AM just about every morning. This week my coach is working with me on self care. Self. Care. How do I care for myself when I'm spending so much time caring for...not even for people, but all these things? And it's not like these things aren't things I want, but they're taking so much time out of my day, I don't have time to just sit and relax and be...or do I?

I've planned on taking 30 minutes every day that's just for me. Which is something I've had posted in my calendar for some time. It shows up as "Dian Time" and when the reminder pops up, I've been promptly dismissing it and getting back to whatever I'm doing. So it's time to start honoring that schedule. And how do I do that?

For me, it's about making clear exactly what I plan to do in my 30 minutes of Dian Time. So on Monday it was "plant cactus," which meant that I spent 30 minutes planting cacti I bought over the weekend to replace several plants that Jackson decided were planted for him as midday snacks. It took me about 15 minutes, so I then allowed myself to sit in the sun in the back yard and just relax. What a notion.

Yesterday my Dian time was "meditation." Now I didn't meditate for 30 minutes, but I did meditate for 10 minutes. And then went outside and soaked up the sun again. And enjoyed my newly planted cacti (after putting up a fancy wire blockade around the edges so a certain puppy wouldn't have easy access).

And today my plan is to walk on the beach. I have a meeting in Manhattan Beach at noon and immediately thereafter, I will be putting my toes in the sand and breathing in the ocean air and letting the energy of the earth rise through my body from the warm sand and rejuvenate my soul.

I figure with all this life going on around me, the least I can do is to take a few minutes each day to really enjoy it and not get so caught up in living the good life that I miss it as it passes me by.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Having Fun

I tend to be pretty serious with the posts up in this joint, so I'm taking a detour this post. I went to Palm Springs for my birthday weekend a couple of weeks ago and here is a little of what happened:

And not necessarily in that order.

In other news, I've spent the last week without my computer, as previously reported, and it's created such a beautiful space for learning more and more about myself. It was nice to not be tied to my computer, opening up Word and typing and typing and typing and getting distracted by email and FaceBook and Blogger and IM and checking my account balance and then chastising myself for getting distracted.

I just wrote 3 paragraphs that were (while interesting, I'm sure) not fun at all. I really need practice at this fun thing. So here's what I propose:

Do five fun things this week. Try at least two from this list and then make up a couple of your own:
  1. Laugh out loud in the middle of a crowded room
  2. Dance in your living room with your dog or cat or an imaginary friend if you have no animals
  3. Sit on your couch with your feet in the air
  4. Stick your toes in the water on a sandy beach
  5. Have your favorite dinner for breakfast
  6. Roll down a grassy hill (unless you're allergic to grass like me!)
  7. Send someone a silly card in the mail
  8. Play with your food
  9. Hula hoop in the park
  10. Run like Phoebe around the block
My plan is to get to all of these in the next 7 days... and you??

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Basic Strategy

My Mac was in the hospital this past week and she's finally home, having made a full recovery from a couple of replacement surgeries. They might seem minor, but even minor replacements and repairs, when it comes to electronics, are always a major event. Especially the part where I had to be without my laptop for a full seven days. 

When the man behind the Genius Bar asked if I had everything backed up, I quickly replied, "Yes." And then I remembered that the last time I really backed anything up was a few months ago. Prior to a lot of the progress I've made on the book in the past 6 weeks. So I took a few minutes and backed up my book on iDisk (a truly Genius bonus of being a [formerly known as] member), and signed my paperwork and went on my merry way.

And of course when I got home I realized that writing my book isn't the only thing I use my computer for. And it was too late. So for the entire week I went without my computer, no internet at my finger tips (having it at my thumb-tips is just not the same), and virtually no connection to the outside world. 

We subscribe to, which allows us to view all MLB games (that aren't based in the LA area), and then hook my computer up to the TV and voila, it's like we have cable. Only without my laptop, there were no MLB games to watch. Boo. And then there are the little things like these blogs that are impossible difficult to post from a Blackberry. 

But all that is in the past and the present is here and so here we go, forward into the present. Which means: get back to work and wait for the next post. I can just about guarantee it will be more interesting than this one.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Furrowed, Playful Brow

This weekend I finished my Coach Training with CTI and I'm exhausted! I'm still letting the learning sink in, so not much about that right now.

I feel a sense of relief lingering in my entire body now that the training is complete and I can go back to having all the weekends in a month to play with.
I have this overwhelming urge to talk about what I learned and the fantasticity (I'm a writer, I can make up words if I want to) of it all, and I'm trying to stay in a playful place because I've missed it so.

["What is playing, again?" she asks intensely with furrowed brow.]

And as I sit here and try to think about something playful to write...I'm not playing. So with that, I'm going to go run around outside with Jackson for a while and just be silly. And I think you should too. Jackson would love it!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Learning Me

This morning I'm enjoying a bit of quiet time, while Erin and Jackson are sprawled on the bed sleeping the morning away, Killer is curled up on the futon enjoying her alone time, and Sly is curled up next to me on the couch (finally finished cleaning himself). 

The past couple of months have been a blur. Between Balance and Process coach training; life coaching and being life coached; reading Anatomy of the Spirit, The Drama of the Gifted Child, and The Mastery of Love (and then Bringing Down the House just for a break from myself); attending marriage equality rallies in Long Beach and Fresno; putting down bricks over the dirt in the back yard to keep Jackson from digging (since he killed all the grass within 1 month of our arrival); continuing work on the book; putting a 2000 piece puzzle of Neuschwanstein together; softball  and BBQ's, both local and on the road; and taking Jackson on his daily dog park trip so as to get him too tired to eat the furniture (or stacks of $20's we apparently keep lying around), I haven't made much time for blogging. 

I hesitate to exclaim, "ALL THAT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE!!" because I'm in a place where I'm really trying to honor myself. I've once again run myself into a place where I'm unwilling to commit to anything more that what I already have on my plate. A friend of mine, whom I haven't seen in quite a while (and now lives right around the corner) invited me to a BBQ and I just couldn't commit. Part of it was that I have prior commitments that prevent me from accepting any further invitations, but that line of reasoning was only valid after I found out it was an evening BBQ. While I thought it was during the day, I simply couldn't commit to anything further than, "...well maybe I'll stop by for a few mintues..." and even that made my skin cringe at the guilt of now she's hoping to see me and I really should just stop by for a minute, it's right around the corner!

But the thing is, maybe I really don't have a few minutes to stop by. Maybe in order to honor myself I just need to take the day as it comes and do only what I have time for, only what I don't have to rush around for. With all that I've already committed myself to, I've left little time for recuperation, for relaxation, rejuvenation (I feel like the Cajun Man on SNL). I've been focusing so much on growth that I haven't given myself the chance to let it all sink in. 

I've often referred to personal growth and learning as a sponge. If I'm the sponge and water is learning, then it takes a little bit for the water to stop flowing over the top of the sponge and for the sponge to really begin to absorb the water. But then when the sponge is full, the water continues to pour right through and the learning is missed. I have to turn the water off, allow myself to absorb what's already been passed through me to learn, and then let that sit for a while in order to really take it in. So to tell you where I am today, I've turned the water off and I'm letting myself sit for a while. In this space I'm finding time to appreciate the things I've learned. 

Living a balanced life isn't something you achieve, it's something you constantly work towards-it's about making conscious choices about what I'm willing to say yes to and what I'm willing to say no to in each moment of decision. It's about knowing that I have the right to make decisions based on what's important to me right here and right now. And about realizing that I am not locked into anything that I do not choose to be locked into. I am human and things change. I must be flexible in coming to understand what is important to me, and then firm when honoring those values. And then I must be flexible again if the values I've held onto for years and years are no longer working for me. And I must be firm in my commitment to honor myself in addressing and evaluating my values and then flexible again in how best to proceed in honoring those values. 

I've also learned the value of introspection, reflection, and being honest about what comes of both of these exercises. I've learned that the past is the past and while it's best to leave the past back there where it belongs, the only way to do so is to process the feelings--to really FEEL it all before moving forward. Otherwise I'm carrying around the baggage of the past. An example of this learning in my own life: 

I once thought that I was over my mom's death. Until I realized that whenever someone close to me would bring up their mom I would victimize myself in that I didn't have a mom and how hard it was for me on Mother's Day or her birthday or a random Tuesday because you can call your mom just because you feel like it and I can't. I realized that I had processed my mom's death, but I never processed the anger I felt around it. And so I carried that anger along with me where ever I went. I carried my anger with me to lunches and meetings and relationships and road trips and intimate dinners for two and large parties and into the shower and the bath and on walks and hikes and bike rides and to the grocery store. The anger didn't show up in everything I did nor everyone I talked to, so I thought it was manageable. Until I went through some coaching last month. 
Not only did I acknowledge the fact that I was angry with my mom for leaving, for being a bad mother, for teaching me the wrong way to love so  had to figure it out on my own, but I also gave myself permission to feel that anger. To really let it out and sob and scream and be ANGRY! I found that expressing this anger didn't take away my love for her, but it let me move past myself so that I could see and be at peace with the wonderful mother I had. While she was terrible at some things, she always did her best to be the best mother she knew how to be. I am who I am largely because of my relationship with my mother, in all its flawed brilliance. And because I felt the anger, because I let it pass through me, because I was willing to feel it and let it go, leave it in the past, I can now move forward a lighter person, without the weight of this bag of anger I carried around for so many years. 

I think I must stop with the learning for this morning, simply to honor my space of taking a break. I must let this learning sink in, I must sit in my silence with it to fully understand and then I'll be ready to move forward. More learning to come, although I can't promise expedience for right now...

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I can hardly begin to express my frustration, but let me take a crack at it. The California Supreme effing Court just doesn't get it. How is it possible that the Supreme Court of California has decided that the ban on same sex marriage is constitutional? This isn't about people voted on it and I should just deal with it. This is about people voting on rights, which should be disallowed in the first place. 

Murderers are allowed to get married. Murderers. People who take the lives of others. People who willingly and knowingly strip people of their right to live and breath...those people can get married, but me, no I can't. And I'm tired of hearing bullshit arguments of, "Well you can get married, you just have to marry someone of the opposite sex." Well isn't that fancy? 

You can't always get what you want, 
You can't always get what you want,
You can't always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes
You might find
You get what you need. 
~Rolling Stones, of course.

Maybe this loss is just what we need to propel ourselves forward into growth. Maybe this loss is a sign of rampant stagnant behavior in believing that someone else is and will be responsible for making sure my rights are handled neatly and tidily so I don't have to get my proverbial hands dirty. 

So that was on Tuesday as the decision was announced. I tend to not act out of anger. It's just how I was raised. It's not about not doing something I'll regret, but taking the best step forward. If I'm angry and haven't processed that part then I tend to not know what the hell I'm talking about and I just spout out silly arguments that sound better in my head than spoken. 

A friend of mine said that the decision was exactly what she expected, but I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed because I really thought that the Court would see that Constitutional rights were being trampled on. I'm still in the midst of processing exactly what the decision means, as far as what action needs to be taken so that I (we) may realize equality in rights around marriage.

There are arguments that state calling it marriage is the whole issue and as long as we (the gays) don't call it marriage, then we can have all the rights we want. There are arguments that state that not calling it marriage keeps a same sex [married] relationship different and somehow less meaningful than a heterosexual marriage by simply changing the word. This argument states that there is a specific connotation that comes with marriage, that connotation being that it's a permanent relationship and unless it's called "marriage" it's just not the same in the public's eye. There are the arguments that marriage ought to be between a man and a woman because that's the way that God intended it. And of course there are countless other arguments around this issue that I could spend all day recounting.

At the moment, I have no problem with calling marriage between same sex couples something other than "marriage" as long as the rights of each institution are equal. My inclination is to believe that no matter what "it" is legally named, it will end up just like Kleenex. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. So really, call it whatever you want to because to me, it doesn't matter what you think of my relationship--I'm not in it to please you. I'm in it to fulfill myself and my partner in sharing love, growing individually and as a couple, and everything that comes along with those paths.

My relationship with another woman has only the effect on another couple's relationship that they choose to allow it to have. One can choose to see my relationship as one of love and trust and support and partnership and growth and fun and struggle and learning; just like many heterosexual relationships. And of course there are other ways to view my relationship, but to do so is to ignore the truth of what the relationship is: love and growth. 

I challenge anyone who believes that God disapproves of my same sex relationship to look at your own life and address the things that God disapproves in your life and relationship before you go judging mine. I have my own relationship with God, and it doesn't include the judgement anyone else brings.

And as for Prop 8 being upheld, my first thoughts included: "This state sucks!" and, "Maybe it's time to get out of this place," and, "How can this progressive state be so shockingly stand-still?" I'm allowed my initial thoughts to flee. I'm glad I don't act on impulse. Because the reality is that California is a great state. I love living here, and this issue is not enough to get me out of here. And learning takes time. 

I'm willing to be a part of an action that brings California back to a state of grace, back to a place where people can come as they are and simply just be themselves. I am willing to fight for the things I believe in. I am willing to be a part of something greater than myself so that people after me can benefit from things I never had or things I had to struggle for. I hope that someday the GLBT community has the opportunity to take our equal rights for granted, and that we never do. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I sat in my chair thinking about how wrong it all was. How wrong that this man was yelling at this woman. How wrong that this woman was not able to ask a simple question to get further clarity. How wrong that this man was unleashing his frustration on this woman. How wrong that now it was two women and they were both crying. How wrong that these two women had been victimized by this man’s anger.

I wanted to walk across the room and hold those women. Hold them and tell them that everything was going to be okay. That this man was just a big bully and that his manners were terrible. That this man had lost himself and was too arrogant to see that you were just asking questions. I wanted to tell that man to get a hold of himself and have some compassion. I wanted to walk across the room and protect those women. Protect them from that man and his anger. 

And all at once I wondered what it was in me that made me think that these women needed to be protected. I began to think about my own emotions and was completely uncomfortable in my chair watching this confrontation unfold. Confrontation is uncomfortable for me and I can’t be with it. I can’t just sit there and watch it unfold. I need to take action; I need to do something. And instead of doing anything, I continued to question myself and my motives as to what emotions were being stirred in me by just watching it all happen. 

I felt uncomfortable, yes, but that was just on the surface. There was something more than discomfort there, something deeper. Underneath the discomfort I started to feel sadness. Sadness, not for the women being confronted, but for myself. Where did that come from? I could see my child-self in these women, and as a child I was incapable of protecting myself, I was incapable of standing up and speaking my mind--doing so would create a physically and verbally unsafe environment for me. As a child, I was unimportant  and need not share my opinions because they didn’t matter, and wouldn’t be heard regardless. As I sat there and thought about these childhood feelings that were very much visiting me in the here and now, it occurred to me that somewhere along the line I became an adult.

And as an adult I have grown to learn that I can and do stand up for myself. I’ve learned that sometimes people get angry, even get angry with me. Sometimes the reason is valid, and sometimes it’s not. Whatever the reason, I’ve developed the skills to assess the argument, know its truth and address it accordingly. I’ve learned to own my part of that truth and discard the rest as I see fit. And then a flash of anger came. 

As an adult I’ve learned these things, but as a child I hadn’t learned to protect myself. That job belonged to my parents. And they didn’t always do a good job. As I thought about that, the anger became stronger. Tears welled up in my eyes and my heart beat faster. What was this about? And almost without thinking, I began to sob, I began to yell, to spew, to actually feel the feelings instead of sitting in my discomfort and trying to shift the focus onto something or someone else. 

This experience happened over a period of a couple of hours, some of it in a large group of people, and other parts in a smaller, more intimate setting . These interactions and thoughts were the result of my training in ProcessProcess, being actually processing what’s happening for me right here and right now. What’s going on, what’s happening in my body right here right now, rather than what am I thinking about and how can I shift the focus from myself to someone else?

From that experience I was able to let go of some of the past simply by reminding myself that it was just that: the past. And the rest of it I was able to let go of because I allowed myself to just be present with myself in the moment. I was able to own my feelings as they were coming up, and acknowledge them, hold space for them and then give them permission to be released. I don’t need to hold onto that anger because I’ve now been able to express it. In that experience I was able to feel it all and let go of it pretty quickly. I suspect other things may not be as “easy” to release. But the important thing is that I’m learning to exercise the muscle that allows me to really be present with myself rather than deflecting.

Staying in the here and now has no room for anyone but whomever your emotions belong to (that would be you). I encourage you to find something you can’t be with today, and then to own it. For me, it was confrontation. My hands got clammy, my heart raced, I physically felt uncomfortable. Find whatever puts you in that place and then be with it. Really be with it. Honor it. Have compassion for yourself and those feelings, those emotions. Stand up for yourself and those feelings and emotions. Address them and love them. Actually feel your emotions. When you do this, the discomfort you feel will no longer be for hiding; it will be for growth.


This post is also available at As I continue to build that site, I am working towards putting all coaching related posts there. I welcome your feedback!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coming Back

I've been MIA, it's true. And all with good reason. Not that I need to get into any of that here, suffice to say that 7 Days is coming along better than ever, and I've been able to take some successful strides in my Coaching career. 

I have a couple of posts I'm working on around Balance and Process. Balance being how effectively we are able to balance ourselves on one leg while life is coming at us full force, and Process being what's going on right here and right now. These two pieces of my learning in Coaching have transformed my personal state and being. And that's what the posts will be about.

In a matter of just a few months I've read more books than I have in the past few years, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the growth I've encountered as a result. And maybe I'll have a post about that this week. 

All this to say that sometimes life comes at you. And what can you do but roll with it. I'm not sorry I haven't posted, but not posting reminds me how much I miss it. So, thank you for that.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Time Flies

Today I'm writing about the last day. The last day. Some days it's so easy that I feel guilty for remembering it all so clearly. And then there are days like today where I struggle to remember what exactly happened at all. I remember there was a day we had In N Out Burger in the room. What day what that? I remember there was a night my uncle fell off a chair. What night was that? I remember that there were a few days where my father still had his eyes open. I don't remember the last time I looked into his open, aware, alive eyes. And I feel guilty for not remembering. 

This book and writing it are my life. There are ups and downs, some days are easier than others, and  some pages flow and flow and flow like it's not even me writing them at all and some pages feel as though they're being ripped from me--even my finger tips feel bloody as my heart is transfered from my body through the keys and into, up onto the screen. And still there are times where I feel everything flowing through me just as it should be, like it's all a part of me--my body and soul (even my father's soul) are connected and creating and owning this piece of my life that is so important, that shaped me, that molded me from the woman I was before into the woman I became after. And all of this helps me recognize that it will all happen again because this is the way of the world, and I accept that.

I am not the woman I was when my father died. And in reliving those days just before his death, I see clearly just how strong I was, just how weak I was, just how normal and crazy I was. There was so much growth to be had in those last few days that I couldn't possibly have absorbed it all in just those days. It's in looking back with an honest eye that I can both see and acknowledge where I really was and thus track my growth over the past three years. My God, has it been three years? Three years, four months, three days. Yes it has.

Time flies, even when it's not all fun.