OK so the instructions are down below. Will someone let me know if I did this correctly…not that a virgin likes to be corrected, but you know what I mean, right?
The theme I am responding to is Stairs, Steps and Ladders.
These steps are in the backyard of my best friend’s home outside of Sedona, Arizona. I use this photo often in my therapy practice (given as a greeting card or a framed picture) for a reminder to take baby steps or One Day at a Time in their healing and recovery process.
The Chart House restaurants in North San Diego County were a favorite eating place on vacation with my adopted family each fall.
When I bought my house forty some years back, I picked it for its unusually large piece of unincorporated city property, complete with corral and finished horse barn. It came with two Shetland Ponies, a great start to the idyllic Horse-Life I’d dreamed of. Country paradise smack dab in the middle of suburbia!! But 3 weeks after we moved in, my son’s father left us. He sold the ponies (and my Dalmatian Clancy) while 3 year old son and I were off gathering our wits for the next phase of our lives. I ended up boarding other people’s horses for years, throwing myself into two jobs and trying to finish a degree so I could start my practice. I had also picked this house because I could immediately see building my office and Group Therapy room in the unfinished basement. I had the same struggle we women all had back then, fighting the mom vs career battle and I wanted to work at home.
When trying to finish college, I waited tables at one of Seattle’s two Five Star restaurants, Henry’s Off Broadway. I got the job with zero experience, by barging onto the construction site and approaching the restaurant manager as the restaurant was still being built! He said he hired me for “my balls”. Hey, I was a young, desperate single mom and this place was just blocks from Antioch University. To fit everything in logistically, I needed a job either right next to home or to school, so apparently my ovaries turned into balls on the spot.
I’ll never forget the John Denver concert at the Tacoma Dome, when we had just heard that one of our Board of Directors for INDEPTH (Institution for Developmental Education and Psychotherapy) had died. Buckminster Fuller was our most important supporter, and as it turned out, one of Denver’s closest friends. Mr. Denver could barely go on with his concert, all choked up. (One of my favorite quotes from Bucky was There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.)
I would have done obscene things back in the day to cross paths with any of the Eagles. The closest I got was attending every concert I could, including one when I was 30, a Super Concert with The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and BONNIE RAITT!! An amazing birthday gift from friends!! And, I’m thanking the universe now that my family treated me to the Eagles History tour (again, in the Tacoma Dome) just 2 years ago, for another birthday. I will grieve for Glenn Frey for some time to come.
I was a Hermit Crab thief. On a once-in-a-lifetime, non-touristy trip to Fiji, on an extremely remote, uninhabited island at the southern most tip of the Lau Group, I collected fifty of what I thought were uninhabited hermit crab shells, beautiful ones. I wanted to bring back a shell for each of my clients at the time. Normally, we would not collect anything off the many beaches we visited without that island’s Chief giving us permission (after the whole Kava drinking ceremony) but as I said, uninhabited. So I asked the Universe if I could take some shells and it said “Sure, why not?” What it didn’t tell me was how to know if my chosen shells were occupied. Nope. Didn’t discover that until later that night. Soundly sleeping in my beautiful stateroom aboard The Tau (means “friend”), a 90 foot yacht housing a crew of 5 and me, with my 6 best friends, I am awakened by this frantic scritching sound! Just about all fifty of my “empty” shells, being stored in a bowl of fresh water, were scrambling to escape!!! Not to worry, unless you believe that Hermit Crabs are traumatized when you move them to a new beach. I gently placed all of them on the sand of the very next island we came to, with a sincere apology for their uprooting.(I’ve always struggled with anthropomorphism). And then our Fijian First Mate, Sefo, taught us how the natives find out if there is “anyone at home” in shells of all sizes. (They hold the shell close to their mouths and whistle. If someone is in there, they come right out to say HI.) I then successfully collected 50 empties!
Cross Country Skiing- I learned in an idyllic circumstance. Imagine you are deeply, newly, psychotically in love…..with someone who lives as far across the country as you can get. (man, do I ever hate a long-distance relationship) BUT, he just happens to be in a location for 2 weeks that is a 12 hour drive from where you live. He is on the US Disabled Ski Team and West Yellowstone is their pre-Olympics Training Camp. He can’t get to me…he’s blind, so I decide to surprise him by showing up there. On our regular, nightly, blissful and painful phone call, I tell him to walk outside so we can be sort of standing under the same full moon. He dutifully (or romantically) walked out of his motel room, guide cane in one hand and phone in the other. I then scared the shit out of him by walking up to him to hug him! (I was not yet fully Blind Etiquette Trained.) It worked out though and we spent from midnight until the beautiful moon set/sunrise, with him teaching me how to ski the groomed trails he and his team practiced on all day. He already had them fairly well memorized, even though he skied with a sighted guide. Only surprise were the huge, and I mean HUGE buffaloes that apparently wandered across these same trails all night long. THAT was a bit less romantic.
I married the guy, kind of, on the above mentioned Fiji trip, and we were together for 13 years, most of which I would not trade a minute of, including one spectacular, take-only-the-back-roads trip to his best friend’s wedding in Breckenridge. That’s the closest I got to your old stomping grounds. I loved my guy and I loved hanging with the US Disabled Ski Team for those years, a crazy, irreverent bunch with nicknames like Blinky, Wheelie, Stumpy, and Flipper (this last, a Thalidomide baby with birth defect shrunken arms that just flipped around).
There should be a law against, and an immediate consequence (Karma takes way to long and is less satisfying to the injured parties) for certain kinds of marital cheating; like doing it with someone you know, especially someone close to you, or using any of your territory or equipment (your bed or vehicle), or right under your nose, etc. In my case, it was with a former client of mine who was now a client of HIS…definitely the biggest No-No in my profession! Can I pick ’em or what?!? Yeah yeah, I got the lessons part and all but shouldn’t I be able to choose (on purpose, that is) which classes to sign up for???
And that brings me Back to the Eagles–Don Henley in particular (along with Lynch and Winding)…one of my favorite healing songs is “My Thanksgiving”. My favorite line is “sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge”.
Oh and Badfish, I’ll see your Ted Bundy and raise you with a Charlie Manson. (That whole thing was happening less than a mile from where I brought my sweet baby boy home from the hospital.)
And there you have it, at least until you write the next chapter of your memoirs, to trigger the next bunch of memories for me!!
PS I forgot San Diego, which I already wrote about, and your Om T-shirt!