You Can Be Here.

[this was mostly written on tuesday evening. it took me a while.]

I wouldn’t know how else to write this. To be half-disappointed in myself because I had three drinks with a friend/coworker at our local haunt. But then to know that if I told my friend Dale about my disappointment he would slyly smile and tell me to Ah, fuck off. You’re great. That’s wonderful.

A year ago today, Evan and I were laying on our carpet in our living room, drinking whisky. Trying to sum up the courage to listen to a piece of art. A piece of sound. It was a dedication to our friend Dale. He was on his deathbed. His literal deathbed.

Deathbed. I cannot believe how jovially I used that term before I knew someone—loved someone—who laid their head on a pillow that lived on a deathbed.

We wept. I don’t know if Evan and I said a word to each other that whole night. We just listened. Deeply.

Dale was a friend, mentor, inspiration to both of us. He was a professor of mine. He was one of those people who meant so much to me, but I only filled a small slot in the multi-paged dance card of admirers he had.

We had a few conversations circled around my intense insecurity about being an artist. Or—rather—not being an artist at all. Being a complete imposter. Crying about it as he told me that most people call themselves artists and never make anything. He told me that I was making so much and not calling myself an artist, which wasn’t fair to anyone.

Dale was a huge part of “20/Nothing.” He had mentored us through the project and his hand in everything meant so much to us. We picked him up from his house in the craziest blizzard Missoula had ever seen. We slide all around the roads as we drove to the university. We sat in terrified silence in the studio as we screened “20/Nothing” for him. It finished. We sat in silence. He stared at the blank/finished screen and then said…

– One more time.

We pushed play again.

It finished. He looked at us and said…

– Well, hell. You kids have something here.

All of our insides smiled warmly as they collapsed together in an ecstatic faint.

He was the first person I texted when we won the PBS POV Award.

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In his own way, he got in that positive jab. Did he invent that? Making fun of someone whilst simultaneously complimenting them to the core?

During all our talk about being an artist or not, I told Dale about how much I wanted to do an art installation one day. He encouraged me, telling me he was always—especially—excited to help with those kinds of projects.

The last day I saw Dale, we did not speak. I just saw him briefly and he nodded at me and I knew something was wrong. He did not look well.

I found out that day he was sick. He was going to die.

I couldn’t stop thinking about our last conversation. I had seen him in the hallway and asked if I could talk with him about something I couldn’t shake. I was in the car with a producer, working on a film, and the producer hit a puppy and it was horrible and it was a nightmare and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Dale told me that I couldn’t shake it because I was a caring person and we should never feel bad for caring. He so readily comforted the fact that we were human and stood up for the goodness in all of us and acknowledged the fucked-up-ness in all of it.

We walked together out to the parking lot and the conversation turned to his frustrations with some parts of his job. His last words to me were paired with a very Dale curtsey,

– They don’t even pay for my parking, Rachel.

Those were the last words. And then he was gone.

Then we were laying on the floor, listening to this piece of sound. This piece of art. Dale’s dance card of loved ones saying goodbye.

 

 

 

………

 

A week later, it was time to name my thesis project for my master’s program. I adamantly insisted on an art installation.

It was a crazy idea I pitched and Frontier Space accepted. They accepted it so much that they insisted it be a First Friday opening.

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My idea was to take out the timers in parking meters and change them to music boxes. I also wanted to recreate parking tickets, rewrite them. Change the things they say to be inviting, encouraging, raw, open. Inviting people in. Talking about all the people that I want to be here. And cover a wall with them. Pink tickets. That was the color they had on campus.

It was the craziest time of my life. Learning a new art form, moving to Bozeman [for a new job], commuting to and fro between Missoula and Bozeman [because of aforementioned new job], starting the new job, trying to keep up with a newly-minted fiancé, finishing my master’s work, and ordering a ton of parking meter and music box pieces from eBay and praying to god it all works out.

Evan Smith was a saint and the most clutch team-member you’d ever want on your squad. He was an incredible tinkerer.

I wrote. Evan tinkered. I helped tinker. Evan welded. My advisor gave constant and solid advice. I spent many a nights in a small, cold space, reflecting, installing.

“You Can Be Here” was born.

I reached out to Dale’s wife to seek her input/approval. She said she could only come by late the night before the show opened. I was terrified.

It was all set up, ready to go, but the meters weren’t placed in their final positions yet.

She walked in the small space at 10:15pm and I held my breath. She looked around and made frank observations and gave honest critiques and advice.

– The meters need to be all in one line, close to the tickets.

And then on…

– You need to get the title of the show and your name printed in vinyl and put up on the wall.

She kept saying things like…

– Dale must’ve warned you about me, right? How I don’t hold anything back with my critiques.

I assured her I loved every turn, twist, and scenic overlook of this feedback.

We talked about art. About installations. We talked about how art is such an important part of the grieving process. We talked about Dale.

Then she said…

– This is really good. Dale would’ve approved. This needs to travel.

And then my insides smiled warmly as they collapsed together in an ecstatic faint.

That moment. That late night approval. That love. That was one of my favorite moments ever. It was connected in all the ways you want to exist.

“You Can Be Here” existed.

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The next evening was also up there. So many loved ones, so many strangers, gathered in an alley. They picked up coins. They discovered the meters. They listened to music. They read the tickets. They laughed. They cried.

I was a buzzing part of it all. Dale was a gentle part of it all. It all shined. It all pulsated. It was everything.

It was one of the best times of my life in the saddest and the most joyous and the most connected way.

Thank you.

You can be here.

Please.

 

wanting to go back to jackson, saturday, greece, italy and then wanting to go back to now.

It’s a troubling time of wanting to go back.

To anything, everything.

Two of our dearest Missoula friends are in Jackson right now, at the Bike-In Movies:

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The poster was designed by moi… which makes it even harder not being there. Talking with Sarah on the phone, telling her where to go around town, I ached wanting to go back.

A gchat conversation between Evan and myself…

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I found myself, on this Wednesday, even wanting to go back to Saturday. This past Saturday was ah-mazing. I ran a 10k, went to three different markets, bought only purple and green produce…

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And then it was off to a record swap at an ice cream shop… where I got the following:

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If you can’t tell, that’s some Paul Simon, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul Simon again. Oh, and the DVD of You Me and Everyone We Know. I got it for a dollar at a yard sale on Saturday. Please remember how much I love Miranda July.

I want to go back to Saturday.

And then Lisa [my bff] had to go and post photos from Greece. I die. I ache to go back.

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Love.

There was just so much love, so much laughter in that trip.

And as I ride my bike around Missoula, it’s hard not to think about, “what if I weren’t riding to work?” What if I were riding in Italy for the day.

But, no, live in the now! That’s what I tell myself. I have to remind myself that I love what I’m doing, where I am.

I love what I worked on today. I love what I ate today. What I drank today. Where I ran today. Who I laughed with today. Who I laughed with last night. Where I was today. What I read today. Where I’ll be tomorrow.

I love it.

I must remind myself.

Onward.

On to dancing to this song on repeat in the kitchen whilst delving into baking adventures.

p.s. I absolutely love that video. The way he looks when he dances and sings is the way I feel when I dance and sing at my freest.

they choose to soar.

Something incredible happened to me today. I must share.

Evan and I had scheduled some garden time with our lovely neighbors who we share a handful of beds with. Of course I forgot about this scheduled time and was late and hadn’t taken a beat in days to just breathe.

We tilled, weeded, talked, laughed and then it was time for our neighbors [who are older and a bit fragile] to go in, eat, sit-down, enjoy their evening. I got some tips from Alice [the lady of the neighboring couple] about planting and told her I’d take care of it so she could go inside.

Before she walked away, she looked at the only really sprouting row of anything we’d planted so far and said…

– You know I do light work. And I did some light work on those seeds before I planted them and look! They’re the only ones coming up!

I usually don’t know what people are talking about when they’re talking gardens, so I just nodded with approval. Evan, more aware, asked…

– What’s light work?

– Oh, it’s positive energy. I’m a psychic interpreter. I spent time sending the seeds positive energy.

Of course I had a thousand questions… how could you not? At the end of the conversation, I had her put me on her waiting list of clients to get a reading. She turned to Evan and asked…

– Evan, do you want to be on the waiting list, too?

– Uhhh… let me think about it for a while.

– Okay. And Rachel, you should try sending positive energy to those seeds.

I looked down to the lettuce seeds in my hand and replied…

– Okay!

She walked inside and Evan and I talked about energy for a bit. Evan was weeding with his back to me and I was still holding lettuce seeds contemplating.

– I’m gonna do light work on these seeds.

– Go for it.

– I don’t know how to.

– You can do it.

– Okay, I’m gonna do it now.

I held my hand out, stared at the seeds, smiled, and then had thoughts that slightly resembled a pep-talk… something along the lines of, “Hey, seeds. This world is so great! There is so much love and happiness here! You’re gonna want to grow into something wonderful here… in all this love and happiness… It’s gonna be great.”

And before I could get any further, I heard a loud, WHOOSH, WHOOSH

A gigantic bird flew right in front of my face and landed on the roof right next to our garden… not eight feet away from me. Evan looked up, the heron looked at us, and flew to the tree a bit beyond the yard…

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After standing in shock for moments, with my eyes wide and my mouth agape, I turned and said…

– EVAN! I WAS SENDING LIGHT TO THE SEEDS AND THAT BIG-ASS BIRD CAME!

– Wow.

We watched it. It looked at us for a moment and then it took off and flew into the distance… like a movie… the giant being flew straight away… into the sunset sky.

It was HUGE. It was incredible. Beautiful. We don’t have birds like that come around our yard… ever.

Evan told me it was a great blue heron and he was as amazed as I was.

I had goosebumps. I teared up. I was overwhelmed.

I could not get over it. [still can’t.] The whole rest of the time gardening, I kept saying, “That is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.”

It just felt so real, so purposeful, so magic.

Evan kept saying, “Stuff like that doesn’t just happen all the time.”

Enamored by the magnificent bird, I wanted to know more about it and I found this…

“According to North American Native tradition, the Blue Heron brings messages of self-determination and self-reliance. They represent an ability to progress and evolve. The long thin legs of the heron reflect that an individual doesn’t need great massive pillars to remain stable, but must be able to stand on one’s own.

Blue Herons have the innate wisdom of being able to maneuver through life and co-create their own circumstances. Blue Herons reflect a need for those with this totem to follow their on unique wisdom and path of self-determination. These individuals know what is best for themselves and need to follow their hearts rather than the promptings of others. Those with the Medicine of the Great Blue Heron may sit until the rest of us loose patience. And, when they follow the promptings of the heart, they are one of the most magnificent when they choose to soar.

This is the message that Blue Heron brings.”

And that made me cry. It was just so perfect. Peaceful. Needed. Beautiful. Telling. Affirming. Powerful.

[sending light.]

i’m SO glad.

Yesterday was my birthday.  There were so many highlights… here are some…

• Riding on the back of a tandem bike to work… drinking a delivered latte.

Birthday pie.

• A phone call from Italy that included three renditions of adorable little-girl Happy Birthday singing… in Italian, Spanish, and Chinese… ah-mazing.

• Great news at work… that I will tell you about soon.

• Drinking dark and stormys made from home-brewed ginger beer…

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Even though he brewed ginger beer for me in the years before, I really didn’t expect it this time.

• Dinner with Missoula loves at the best pizza place ever.

• Hall and Oates.

• Temporary tattoos.  [“how trampy do you want your stamp?”]

…and so much more.

But what really takes the birthday pie [get it? instead of cake.], was all the mail I received.

For over a week before yesterday, I started getting letters marked, “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL MAY 16.”  I grew insanely curious.

I would get a letter in the mail, see the front and go, “YESSS!” and then I would turn it over and see that I couldn’t open it yet and go, “DAMMIT!”

I honestly had no idea what was going on… nor did I know who was behind it all… all of this…

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So, when I got home from work yesterday, Evan said I could open the letters.  It was an overwhelming experience.  Each one was a puzzle piece.

And the first one I opened, Emma’s, I was kind of blown away… did not expect it… she was telling me about why she was so happy I was alive… in her life…

It was a lot to take in… wow.

And then they just kept going.

25 people wrote [or shared a photo, a poem, a drawing] and told me why that were glad that I was born.  It was incredible. There were many times that I had to stop, breathe, got choked up… started crying… had to stop, settle down.

Evan made a little stop-motion video of me opening them… I was about six or seven letters in when he started…

[that video does not do the experience justice… at all… but it is precious for me to watch it and relive it.]

I didn’t know who did this all, organized it… I had my guesses.  And I opened them in an order where I would find out quickly who did all this… or so I thought.  I got down to four letters: my mom’s, my dad’s, Evan’s, and Lisa’s… and I still had no idea who was responsible.

I opened Lisa’s, sent from Italy, and it said, “OK, so by now you are on to my plot.”

I just cried.  Had to take a second.  I didn’t expect her.  We’ve been friends for 25 years now.  She could say to me, “Hey, I forgot your birthday, sorry.” and I would say, “That’s okay.  I love you.”… but she didn’t.  She contacted TWENTY-FOUR of my friends… most of which she does not know… also, FROM ITALY… and made this happen.  Made me feel like a princess on my birthday.  Amazing.

Multiple drinks into my celebration last night, I kept saying, “Lisa is like Oprah… No, she’s better than Oprah… ‘YOU GET A CARD!  AND YOU GET A CARD!'”

It was the most beautiful birthday gift I have ever received.  Hands down.  When I finished reading it all, I put the pieces together and this is how it read…

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Right?  Tears.  Of joy.  So special.  So sweet.

And I wanted to try to repay you all with a little bit of something special… so I did an OH-MY-GOODNESS THANK YOU radio show.  A song dedication for each of you.

Click on the photo to download.  Or right here.  The radio show is a better story of all of the cards… I try to do them justice, but it’s so hard… they are all so wonderful.

I love you all.

I’m exhausted from your love… which is the best kind of exhaustion.

[thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouiloveitiloveyou.]

may all your glasses be clean.

A couple weeks ago, I entered a contest on Facebook to win a pair of sunglasses.  I can’t tell you just why I entered, or how I even found out about it, but I’m glad that I did… because I won!

The sunglasses are made by Bodega + Shwood out of whiskey barrels from Bushmills Irish Whiskey.  Cool, right?

I expected to just receive a flimsy cardboard box with the sunglasses in the mail and that would be great, but today I got the glasses in the mail… and… wow.

It was just the most amazing packaging ever.  I love this stuff.  LOVE it.  I had to document it.  And, now, I would like to share it with you…

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Amazing box.  With a little tool?  Yes?  I’m a little embarrassed to admit how long it took me to figure out how to open the box that was nailed shut.  A moderately competent human [or monkey] would have figured out instantly that you use the handy pry-bar they have provided.

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Open sesame…

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Look at how amazing even the box is!  With the wood texture and the laser-cut lettering.  [evan in the background being as patient as ever about my ridiculousness… side note: i came home singing a song and doing a dance about how excited i was about these glasses.]

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“Handmade In Oregon”

Isn’t that just the best?  I can’t get over how awesome and personal opening that box felt.  And all for sunglasses!  AH-MAZING sunglasses… but it was like one of my best friends made them for me and then packaged them up to send them to me.  LOVE.

And then Evan tried to take a photo of me wearing them and I just felt so awkward…

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But, you know when I don’t feel awkward?  Singing “I Wanna Be a Supermodel” and posing with lovelies…

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Thanks so much Bushmills, Bodega, and Shwood!  The prize was more amazing than I could have imagined!

[xxo!,r.]

la voglio.

This was my weekend…

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It was Evan and my anniversary yesterday.  We celebrated on Friday.  He gave me that card in the middle… complete with the awesome guitar player.  [when i first moved in with evan, i saw a guitar and was convinced he was borrowing it from someone because i was convinced he did not play guitar… he does play, p.s.]

On our date, I wore this dress…

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That’s only one part of it, but you get the idea.

I gave him a bike rack and Explosions in the Sky tickets.

He gave me an amazing record player and some of my favorite records.

So, we spent the whole weekend listening to all the records we have lyin’ around.  Thanks to Sarah, for forever ago letting us borrow that Nick Drake album.  It’s been perfect… just perfect.

Evan has some ah-mazing friends in town and we’ve been very much enjoying records, whiskey, tea, salads, evan’s breakfasts, laughter, wine, etc.

We thought the whiskey from St. Paddy’s was over until we discovered some left-over Maker’s Mark in Evan’s flask from Dan Long’s visit.  It was the perfect way to end a hilarious corned-beef day and a record-filled night.

And we’ve been drinking tea a lot.  That’s what that little ceramic teapot is… he says, “I will hold the tea bag.”  I love him.  He’s from my mother.

Today, when Evan and friends went out to go to the hot springs, I worked… and drank a lot of tea.  Here…

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And as much as I hate not being at the hot springs: hiking in, sliding in snow, getting naked, soaking it up, drinking beer, laughing lots… As much as I hate missing that, I love this.  I love sitting around in the sunlight-filled room, listening to music, This American Life, World Cafe, more music, and working on more projects.  Designing.  Writing.

I made this banner!

I need that time.  This time.  Creating.  Working.

Time like that… Place like there… is where I write.  Where I feel like writing.  I wrote this short story from an interpretation of a Skype conversation I had with my best friend.  It’s not at all truth, but I love how laughing about it and learning about it made me want to write.  So, here you go…

“Her husband answered the door slowly, every wrinkle turning into five while he smiled on purpose, not by habit. Mrs. Gallo quickly walked up behind him and quietly scolded him with words I could not understand.

The fact that I had no idea what they were saying made me even more confused about being here. Mrs. Gallo had avidly chosen me, out of many qualified teachers, to help her learn English. The secretary at the English Translation and Education Agency was pretty clear about how I would never get a client because I didn’t know any Italian, but I convinced her to keep my résumé on file. At this point, I was so desperate for work in Como that there was no defeat, only apathetic hope.

I received a call from the secretary wanting me to come down to the office so a client could have a “look at me.” My boyfriend, the one who had a job, the one we moved here for, the one with a plan, the one with logic, insisted that this meant a billionaire was going to try to buy me for sex. Laughing at him, I wasn’t fully convinced that he was wrong. But I needed the money and the job paid 45 euros an hour.

Dressing for the “try-out”, I found myself leaning towards lower cut, higher hemlined outfits, knowing that I was compromising myself. But the fact that I knew it, was owning it, didn’t make me feel scared or vulnerable. It made me feel amazing.  

I rushed about, leaving the apartment late, only to take a late bus and then run blocks to the agency. Last in the door, I saw three other girls standing in a line. Then I saw an older woman evaluating, standing next to the anxious and angry (at me) secretary.

Mrs. Gallo stared at me with strong eyes. It was not a look that made me feel ashamed of my tardiness, but a look so strong, so interested, that it did make me uncomfortable. As I took my place in line and she kept staring, I leaned over to the girl next to me to break the awkward silence and whispered,

“Have they started the talent portion of the competition yet?”

Unamused, she inched away from me in the same instant that the secretary started to shake her head. Before the judgments of the room could even come to fruition, Mrs. Gallo firmly said,

“La voglio.”

I want her. Since her gaze hadn’t unlocked from me, everyone in the room was confused. She wants me? She wanted me.

Getting to know each other, the agency’s policy of “Only English speaking” came in handy. When she tried to communicate with me in Italian, I shut it down.

“Nope! You know the rules. Only English.”

This rule was a godsend, but almost unnecessary. Mrs. Gallo spoke great English. This obviously frustrated her husband. At the beginning of the sessions, he would lurk around, offering me tea and trying to be engaged in conversation. After about six lines of English back and forth between Mrs. Gallo and myself, Mr. Gallo would go from looking like a dog watching a tennis match to an angry gnome. He would grumble away and soon enough, we’d hear the pop of a cork from a wine bottle.

Turns out, Mrs. Gallo traveled to Los Angeles a lot. Mr. Gallo would stay at home. She travels there to produce films, documentaries mostly. She told me she thought she wanted to act as a child, but then (in her words),

“The control wasn’t mine, so I produce. It is less work. Less focus.”

Her presence screamed money: The green leather sofa she sat on in the study, with her perfect posture; Her gold necklace with a dangling ruby; Her old-woman perfume; The way she spoke about film. I didn’t question her motives. I mostly just envied her with every ounce of my being. How could a 25-year-old be so jealous of a gray-haired woman? And how was my posture worse?

It seemed that there was nothing I could teach this woman. She acted bored. Her glances wandered and she asked me cordial questions. She would look at her dainty watch frequently, and twenty minutes before the hour was up, she would walk into the other room, and come out with a yellow envelope.

“You can go now. Thank you.”

She said as she handed me my payment.

“Best job ever.”

I would brag to my boyfriend. He would voice his concern about how fishy the whole situation was and we would start guessing why it was so bizarre…

“Maybe she committed a horrible crime and now has to learn better English to be forgiven.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Your job doesn’t make sense.”

“Maybe she’s gonna ask me for a kidney or something.”

“Whoa. Yeah, do you think she knows your blood type?”

“I don’t know, she could. She has a lot of money. People have paid to find out more ridiculous things.”

After her husband answered the door and was shooed away, Mrs. Gallo led the way. I started to put my things down in the study, but she abruptly stopped me, picked up my purse, and said,

“No, different room today.”

Oh, my god, she’s taking me to the rape dungeon. I knew it.

“Uh. What room, Mrs. Gallo?” I asked as I followed.

“New room. Different study.”

The study of pain and torture. I’m screwed.

I looked back constantly at each turn to make sure I knew where I had come from. This was a practice I learned from backpacking. Look back often so you know what the trail looks like when you’re trying to come back.

We took a right, I looked back before I turned, and we went in the first room on the left. It was another study, with a computer. The desk had two chairs pulled up to it and a pitcher of lemonade with two glasses next to the computer. I assumed Mr. Gallo had brought the lemonade.

“Sit, please,” she told me as she gestured to the chair on the right. I sat. She shut the door and sat down as well and then said, “I want to computer today.”

“That’s great!”

“On the internet.”

“Okay. Do you want to set up email?”

“I have email. I want to meet an American man.”

Oh, dear lord. Of course! Confused, I leaned forward, with the look of shock in my eyes, and whispered,

“Mrs. Gallo! You are married!”

“I know. You know. Okay?”

“Okay.”

And that was all that we ever talked about that. A small part of me felt guilty, almost guilty enough to walk away. But, I would be lying to myself if I didn’t acknowledge the bigger part of me that was fascinated by this wild side of a 62-year-old woman putting herself on the market.

“I did match.com.”

“Oh, you did, did you? How did that work out?”

“Work out?”

“Did you find American man?”

“I have questions.”

“Alright.”

I was in a stupor of trying so hard not to smile and shake my head simultaneously. How is this happening? Suddenly, her choice at the agency made total sense.

I am the choice of least consequence. I know absolutely no one (besides my boyfriend) in Italy and hell, I don’t even know Italian! How would I ever tell anyone about this?

I also couldn’t help but think that she chose me because I seem like the kind of person who would do this sort of thing, which I’m not. But, I am the kind of person who would help someone do this sort of thing, so I don’t know what that says about me.

Mrs. Gallo asked her first question and I was completely unprepared.

“Many men answer my ad. But, why all men want to put their sex on me?”

I let out a long, forced, exhale. Breathe, breathe.

“Put their what on you?”

“Their sex. And I don’t even know if it’s a good sex!” she said as she threw her hands in the air.

“What?!  Mrs. Gallo, are you having sex online?”

“No, my sex not on the internet.”

“Okay, I don’t know what ‘sex’ is. Are you using the right word?”

“Their sex! The man sex!” she said pointing to her crotch and then made that horrible jerking off motion I hadn’t seen since high school as she said, “The penis, you know?”

It was like I was in a dream. In hilarious horror, I clasped her hands and put them on her lap. My lips were pressing tight to hold back everything; compose myself as I physically composed her.

“Men want to put their penis on you?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. Do you want them to put their penis on you?”

“Yes. But why they talk about it all the time. This is my sex! You want my sex? My sex is this big!”

“First off, don’t call it ‘sex.'”

“Call it penis?” she asked as she wrote something on a tablet next to the lemonade. The drink all the sudden became essential and I poured myself a glass before I answered her.

“Well, I would call it a penis or other words. It depends on how you say it.”

“What other words?”

Oh, what would my mother think? I was about to tell this sweet old Italian woman every name I knew for the male genitalia. All the sudden, I couldn’t get the “Us and Our Bodies” book that our parents had shown us as children, out of my head. None of these words were in that book. Guaranteed.

“Dick, crotch…”

“Dickcrotch?” She looked up from writing on her notepad to ask.

“No, no. Two words. Dick… Crotch…” I said them slower. She scratched out “dichkrotch” and wrote, carefully, the two separate words and then looked to me for more.

“Ummm… Cock.”

She laughed.

“Cock?”

 She said the “ck” noise stronger than I had ever heard it. It made me laugh.

“Yeah. Cock!”

“Good one? I like.”

“Yeah, it’s a good one. I like cock,” I said as I gave her a thumbs-up and we both smiled from ear to ear. I shook my head, still smiling.

She wrote “cak” down and underlined it on her notepad.

We went over all the correct jargon for body parts that are interesting during sex. Mrs. Gallo turned a page and started anew for each area. Things became more matter of fact, but we were both so giddy. She was giddy because she had finally found someone to teach her these things that she had obviously been wanting to know for a while. I was giddy because, in between my feeling of disbelief and reaching back to junior high sleepover verbage, I realized this was the most absurd thing I would ever be a part of.

She looked at her tiny watch and jumped.

“Late!” she said as she adjusted in her chair. She flipped her notepad back to the font page and nodded her head as if she was mentally reviewing. She opened the door and walked out.

As if he was waiting outside the door the whole time, Mr. Gallo walked in the room shyly. As I tensed up, I smiled and waved, saying,

“Hi, Mr. Gallo.”

He waved and walked around the room. He looked at the notepad, picked it up. Looked at it with the most confused eyes. In large print, it read,

“DICH

KROTCH

CAK”

He set it down, shrugged slightly, and walked out of the room. With timing made for dancers, Mrs. Gallo walked back in and handed me a yellow envelope. She smiled, pressed her finger to her lips, and then said,

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

I left the room and walked out of the home the same way I had come in, but nothing looked the same.”

[wow, thank you for reading.  i very much love you.]

an australian evening.

It’s been a very Australian evening.

Last night, I came home to a package from such a sweetheart of a friend, Katrina.

It was FILLED with the sweetest Australian goodies.

So, tonight, I made myself an affogato.  It’s a treat that I would constantly order in Oz that consisted of espresso poured on top of vanilla ice cream… to. die. for.

And I put it in my new, amazing mug of Sydney.

notice the necklace, too!

She also gave me the necklace that I’m wearing that bears a strong resemblance to the necklace I wore constantly in Sydney: Magic Presents.

It is so nice to be taken back to Sydney, Australia tonight.  The time there was overall shitty.  I had nothing.  No friends.  No idea who I was or who I wanted to be.  I had to rebuild myself from the ground up.  Isn’t that amazing?  I did it.  It was such a beautiful time of finding myself.  BEAUTIFUL.

I started writing.  I started dancing.  I started loving.  I let go of so much and grabbed hold hard of the things I want in my life, inside of my soul, forever.

So, tonight, I’ll probably make another affogato, take some time to dance in my kitchen, write, write, write, and spend sometime with myself.

Thanks, Katrina, for all the wonderful presents…

she also gave me this wallet that i'm ob-sessed with.

…and for helping me remember such a beautiful time in my life.

I love you dearly!

a song i was mildly obsessed with in oz…

and another, that will always make me think of k$