I haven’t written too much lately because everything I start out writing sounds despondent or overly bleak.

It’s hard to explain that while my current answer to “How are you?” is “I’m actually quite awful.” or,  “Terrible, truth be told.” – I still am reasonably happy and out in the world doing fun things.

I don’t consider myself depressed or in any kind of danger to myself or to others. So you can relax.

Generally speaking, I don’t want to write things that make people worry. Or that prompt them to say nice things to me or about me. (I’m certainly not fishing). I want to write things that make people like me, but that’s a whole other ball of expensive therapy wax I can’t afford to unravel, except to say I guess I’m human. In general, I don’t want to blow up my Facebook page with too much concern, when deep down, I’m actually fine.

Ok, I’m hideous. But, still. Fine.

I have contemplated for several weeks calling up someone and yelling into the phone “I AM NOT OKAY!!!” when they answer. But then I think about how much I truly like my friends and family and my FB acquaintances and I don’t want to lay that on any other  poor soul.

Plus, who calls anymore?

I probably shouldn’t worry so much about people in my life though because I’ve draped myself across the tracks before, so to speak, and basically all that happens is you get a text out of the blue that says – “Hope you’re ok.” Kissy face emoji.

That’s it. You get a little hope. There’s rarely a very big opening or invitation to disclose much more. Just a little Hallmark thinking-of-you poem. Kiss kiss.

Okay who am I kidding. There’s Hilary Parker. Hilary will swoop in with vegan cupcakes and those smiling red lips. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her without lipstick, except in Kindergarten.

And I did score an invitation to Thanksgiving at one of my patient’s homes last time I complained which was 3-4 days ago. They have dogs and nice people in their family and I wanted to go, but I didn’t.

So there are a lot of nice people in this world.

Recently an old, old boyfriend from way back sent me this:

That was it. The whole exchange. Feel free to LYAO or work it into some definition of post modern relationships.

I’m not complaining because I actually think that the fastest path to feeling better is to sit with your own bad self long enough that you become utterly disgusted by your own crappy attitude.

Have you ever had a negative thought and then said to yourself – Oh come ON….you can’t possibly be serious with all this entitled, whiny nonsense.

I was raised by nuns so that happens to me all the time. Pretty much daily.

I’ve said it before but one thing the nuns like to rub in your face every chance they get is that Jesus loves the poor and if you want to have any hope of Jesus loving you at all, you’re gonna have to have some compassion and think about someone besides yourself for a change. Or give all your stuff away. One of those.

So last night I was having a fantastic time at the Fillmore seeing Poor Man’s Whiskey and telling Monica all about how miserable I’ve been, and right then and there I decided to knock it the hell off and get happy.

As you can see by the clip, I had help.

It’s pretty easy to feel a little bit better if you just do a few things.

The first thing that you can do is you can go to the gym when you first wake up.

I wear bright leggings (everyone else is in lululemon black) and I dance to the music as I do my curls (no one else dances) because I find I can bump the weight up if I’m groovin’. Sometimes I try and talk to people but it’s kind of embarrassing because they don’t hear me since they have those air earbuds in. Today I told some guy that his chin-ups were impressive. I didn’t see the white plugs in his ears.


That Beyonce song that my daughter turned me onto was playing at the gym so I recorded it to send to her. The guy that I complimented on his chin-ups thought I was recording him but I wasn’t. I was recording Beyonce because Natalie and I danced around to that song like it was the late seventies when we were at her apartment on Maui last month. Nice old skool sound. Nice to remember our recent visit. Maui vibe – nice.

You can’t hear the music so here it is:

See how this feeling better business works? You start with the gym and Beyonce and go from there. I asked Owen if he wanted to have brunch at the Tavern and he said yes. Gay brunch is one of those things that always cheers us up. You don’t have to be gay, it just has to be the weekend and you have to order a boozy drink or two. Owen’s friend who has two dads coined the term gay brunch and once you hear a perfect descriptor like that, there’s no going back, regardless of which team you pitch for.

I decided to go to the farmer’s market across from the gym before gay brunch, but I forgot my trendy wicker basket so I ended up with a giant re-purposed plastic garbage bag full of produce. I was too ashamed to ask for more bags so I just had one gigantic gently preused ocean destroying bag to work with. There was a sharp, compassionate and eco-friendly looking woman shopping next to me and she looked at my garbage bag and she said as the blood drained from her face – “OMG I forgot my bags too. ”

I felt a little better about myself, but not much. The apple lady asked if I wanted a bag for my ten apples (some for me, some for the pig) and I said “NO!, I got this” and piled them up in my arms to transfer them into my megabag and the person behind me said “That’s the best way to do it.” Right. Arms.

It was hard going lugging the giant bag down the street towards the Tavern, and towards home (though a crunchy dude with a bun did compliment me on my haul of produce which briefly put some pep in my step) so I had the brilliant idea to gay brunch with my kid at Penrose, which was closer to me at that moment than the Tavern where we had agreed to meet.

the bag seemed bigger IRL

Penrose was closer, but twice as expensive. Cover the nuns’ eyes, but I went for it.

Penrose has changed it’s name. I can’t remember the new name so I just call it Penrose since it’s the same menu.  Here’s the before and after on the food.

Then I talked Owen into getting a tree.

One of the best things about having had a bazillion boyfriends is that I get to steal all their best moves. Everyone knows I fold my T-shirts into little squares because – Philippe. I recently discovered that Uncle Tupelo broke into the splinter bands Wilco and Son Volt  – because….Tom. Marc made me aware of issues with plastic packaging and how to have a good attitude no matter what, and Peter turned me into some kind of outdoorsy hiker person. Robert is hands down responsible for John Prine in my life, and for Oakland.

Whenever I get all sad and weepy about not having one true love I try to remember all the lessons I’ve learned and information I’ve acquired from dating the masses.

For example –  the tradition of getting our tree on the weekend after Thanksgiving…..it’s from Tim – the same guy who dreamt about me, twice in one night.. Tim pre-dated my marriage and also medical school. That’s a lot of years of early Christmas trees. Any year I’ve put off getting the tree, I’ve regretted it. The weekend after Thanksgiving is hands down the best time to get a tree. And without Tim I might never have figured that out.

Owen is still not feeling good and when my kids don’t feel good everything I do or say annoys them.

It’s also a fact that adult kids and parents walk a very thin line between loving each other like crazy and wanting to rip each other’s head off pretty much 24/7.

We walked that line today.

I really like Brent’s Xmas trees. It’s under the freeway and we go there every year. We used to go to Delancey street until we tried Brent’s. It’s the best.

The music was turned up and with Mariah singing  “All I want for Christmas is You” I said the words I say every year but deep down do not really mean.

Every year I say to my kids – YOU pick out the tree.

I am such a controlling dick about it that when they pick out a tree, I go on about needing stronger branches to hold all of our ornaments and then I go stand in the Noble Fir section until they give up and take the hint.

But this year, I actually let Owen pick out the tree. It isn’t a Noble Fir and I’m okay about it. Gigi’s death has crystallized a bunch of things and one of them is – let your kid pick out whatever tree they like.

The giant tree wrangler (Tongan) asked us if we wanted the “year around stand” or the disposable one. This created a commotion because I’m trying to reduce waste so I didn’t want the disposable one but Owen for some reason thought that the “year around stand” was a stand that had the year (2019) wrapped around the side. WTH? This is when you realize that your adult kid still needs a parent.

No, the “year round stand” is the reusable kind. Oh, ha!

When the guy went to tie down the tree he found the remnants of last year’s tie down in my car. Which prompted me to riff about last year’s twine. That’s some 2018 shit. This was like an inside-the-industry joke. Oaklandish or something. We were all laughing.

Here is Owen, laughing, and here’s the tree:

When I handed the tree wrangler two fives folded together I felt bad that he probably thought it was only one five. I wanted to say – there’s two of them, but he was doing that thing where they stick the money in their pocket without looking at it. The classy tip exchange. If I had said that there were two of them I think I could have pulled it off okay, but my kid would have been even more mortified.

I was thinking that he probably left judging me for having last year’s twine still tied to my car and for being cheap. Next year I’ll be sure to have bigger bills or all ones so that it makes a fat wad of money instead of a skinny five. It was ten, but okay. And maybe I’ll get fancy and untie the twine – maybe even reuse it!

Owen carried the tree up the stairs which caused me to panic for a moment as I realized that he would probably not be around to do this next year. Stockton isn’t very far away but Chicago is hella far, and an inconvenient flight to boot. That made me start worrying about the weather in Chicago. Especially since he said – “yeah, I’ll need a windbreaker.” Like I said, I’m not still his parent for nuthin’.

I made myself quit worrying and instead I’m going to see The Mister Rogers movie tonight. I don’t know why they even gave that movie a name because everyone is calling it the Mister Rogers movie.

It’s funny how much we love Mister Rogers now when back then some parts of the show were boring and other parts were truly terrifying. That’s what I remember – boredom and terror. We didn’t really have all the information we needed to embrace it like we do now. Now we melt when we see Fred testifying before congress. Back then I wanted him to talk a little faster, and I was quite uncertain about the Land of Make Believe.

I hope when my kids are older they’ll have more information about me and the world and about themselves and it and I will feel more Mister Rogers 2.0 and less boring and terrifying….and annoying.

I’ve got a few more pictures from today. The dogs and the pig are not having all this dark and cold and wet. I was given a free persimmon today but it smushed in my bag so I decided to give it to the pig and the dogs got jealous, I also gave the pig some leftover salad. He only likes salad with dressing. Another way to try and have a good day is to decide that your animals are hilarious and cute.

The Zoe photo bomb:

Above: Basil the pig and Max the chiweenie – same body type: the poundcake/footstool

Below: One-eyed Tyrone