no man’s land

I wrote a poem once about how 3 am is a no man’s land. It’s too late to still be up partying or whatever you’d like to do, and it’s too early to be up for the day. But here I am, for a couple reasons.

I went to bed around 10 pm, after watching Ghost Adventures. My alarm was set for 3:15 am so I could get up and shower before I finished packing and headed to the airport. (I’m off to visit my friend, Laurel, for the 4th of July.)

Around 12:30 am, I woke up. I think I was nervous that I’d sleep through my alarm, although I haven’t done that in years. I went back to sleep, but I woke up again around 1 am and felt little points of irritation on my body.

I’ve taken to sleeping in the buff because I read that it’s supposed to be better for you. But as I took stock of what I was feeling, a couple points on my left leg near my knee, a couple points on my right arm, a couple points on the backs of my thighs, I went to the bathroom to see what were clearly bites, I’m guessing spider or maybe mosquito or something I don’t want to know. They itched a little but not much. I put some aloe vera on them, shook out my quilt and sheets a bunch and crawled back in bed.

You can imagine I had a hard time falling asleep. I was hyper aware of any perceived touch on my skin that wasn’t a sheet. I didn’t know if I should keep my limbs under the covers or out. I think I slept a little bit, but then I thought I felt more irritation. I got up again, it was around 2 am, and sure enough, more bites on my left shoulder, about 4 on my back. I think I counted a dozen bites all together (“A DOZEN BITES”). When I am bitten, it’s not pretty. The bite area turns white and the histamines (?) in my body surround it so it’s white with a big red circle around it.

There was no going back to sleep at this point. Plus I wondered if maybe whatever it was was in my hair. Yuck. So I stripped my bed and got in the shower. I feel somewhat better now, the bites are subdued, but it’s strange, at this hour, to be doing regular morning things. Even though it was not that much earlier than I was planning to get up, showering for your day at 2:30 am is not normal for me.

I also couldn’t help but think that this is the first night without Widow in 3 months. (Who is Widow? Widow is a cat that I’m ‘temporarily’ housing for a friend’s son until he finds a new place to live. I’ve taken to calling him the Deadbeat Cat Dad.) Was she (Widow) taking on little creatures as I slept ensuring I was free from attack? It’s a funny thought but could be true?

Enjoy your holiday.


sweaty denim

I have these old worn out jeans that I can’t bring myself to throw out because they’re super comfortable. I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that the thigh rubbing area is getting thin and in some places has worn through. I have taken to walking in them.

My last few walks have taken me further far afield. Saturday, I walked 2.3 miles. Sunday was 2.7 miles. And yesterday was 3.1 miles. One of the great things about summer. You can leave the house at 6 pm, walk for 2 hours, and when you get home, the sun is just going down.

Yesterday I walked down J St to 8th, crossed Market and then proceeded to follow a pattern of up one over one. That pattern worked out pretty well until I got to Fir St and Kettner and could no longer go over one (train tracks). So I followed Kettner to Grape, crossed PCH and checked out Waterfront Park (I’m being this specific because something tells me my mom will start up her Google maps to follow where I went).

After snapping a couple photos and wanting to take a couple more, I realized that sweaty denim was not conducive to a functional iPhone. My phone wouldn’t turn on. Thankfully I had my iPod so I fired up the step counter on that so I would know how far I came once the iPhone had crapped out.

I continued on my way home taking Harbor Dr all the way back into the Gaslamp area. I crossed Harbor at 1st and took the MLK Promenade to K St, then turned on 7th and back to J St. It was a gorgeous day, but I was tired, and my legs hurt. Overall, it was about 11,000 steps and 3 miles, which doesn’t seem like that many miles, but expanding my perimeter is a good thing.

Thankfully, my phone was fine after I powered it off and on again. But I probably should re-think my walking pants.

I should stop wearing Birkenstocks to the grocery store

I fell in a grocery store today. Again. That’s the 2nd time in as many years. I have a third fall to my credit as well that happened a few years ago when I lived in Clairemont.

The culprit in all three instances has been water on the floor.

Today’s adventure was at the Vons in Hillcrest. They were having all kinds of issues with all the refrigerated cases and there was a lot of water on the floor in front of them. For most of them, there were cones up or the path was blocked completely. In the produce section, I saw a very large puddle and was about 6-7 feet away from it. What I didn’t see was that some water had somehow been tracked or otherwise deposited near where I was standing. I went to move my cart around where the water was and down I went. Same action as the fall last year in Utah. Right foot hits the water and my Birk just slides forward until I’m on my ass. Real smooth.

Amazingly, there was not one soul in that section or nearing that section that saw me go down. I slowly stood up. It wasn’t nearly as bad as what had happened last year. I looked around to tell someone. I finally saw a man with an apron, assuming from the meat department, so I said, “Excuse me,” and he came over. I told him that I had just fallen, and he said, “Well, yeah, it’s all over, the plumber is coming.” I was a little surprised by that response, and I said, “I saw that puddle, but this area isn’t blocked off, and I fell.” He was already walking away repeating that a plumber was coming.

I slowly went back to my shopping, cursing that dude under my breath for his lack of concern. Not even an “are you okay?”? Christ.

At checkout, the ladies working the register and bagging seemed nice, and they were mentioning the issues with the refrigeration cases, so I told them about my experience. They were horrified by the way the man had handled the situation and were very nice to me, asking if I was okay, if I was sure, if I wanted to fill out a form, etc. I assured them I was fine (and I am), and that I didn’t need to fill out anything, but to let the other employees know to at least ask if someone is okay if they report falling in the store. They completely agreed and said that he should have notified them right away. While I was walking out, they were sending a guy to go mop and another person to go talk to the guys in the meat department.

What I’m upset with myself about is that I saw the big puddle and thought I had checked out the area I was going to before I went to make sure it was dry. At least I didn’t hurt myself, I didn’t cry, and I ultimately got the response I had expected. Guess I will stop wearing Birkenstocks when I am planning to go to the grocery store.


NPM – 18 of 30

what do you make of a day
that begins deciding if
you’re well enough to
return to work

you do

your ten years of working
is celebrated with the
head honchos and others
who have also endured
for a decade

you eat mediocre pizza
and must recount how
you came to work there
then share a favorite story

because you are who you are
your voice almost breaks in
recalling this past portion of
your life in some pithy story

it’s not that you’re terribly emotional
about this position, it’s that you want
to do a good job, even at this awkward
task, and the responsibility of it
almost overwhelms you

you finish

listen to other stories, collect
your crystal award, and return
to your desk, where you have
been invited to be a featured poet
at a new reading

you accept

you leave early to attend
to a yearly exam, the walk
down the corridor seems
so long, you feel grateful
you only have to come here
once a year

you undress

you are glad that the
technician is nice, encouraging
(again with the need to
be praised for a good job!)
but it always works, you
feel like you nailed
the way you held your arm
so she could press your flesh
flat to check for abnormalities

you dress

an hour to get home
your neighborhood alive
with baseball & sunshine

you walk

and now here you are
baseball outside your door
work open in the
next computer window
reality game shows
a click away

but first this poem
this snapshot
this recounting
of a day


NPM – 7 of 30

day in the sun/a night in the night

there is nothing quite like
the feeling you have after
a lazy day in the sun

your face warm
your skin slightly salty
your hair maintains
a sun scent

you decide to take a walk
as evening comes
to shake off the haze
mix up the mindset

the people are drunk
from sun, baseball, libations
they’re mad with Friday
with no thought for
the end of the party

NPM – 3 of 30


last night, my chin gushed blood
due to an unfortunate launch
of the cat from my face

in sleep, an apology given
soothed a troubled mind

in the morning, as I brushed
my teeth, an unexpected
I tried to balance myself
tried to steady what I
didn’t understand

it turned my day upside down
from the start, brought a
foreboding I tried to manage
mostly successfully

as the workday wore on
I distracted myself from
fear, telling myself it was
in my head

but now as I prepare for bed again
I still feel like I’m trying to right

NPM – 2 of 30

flight plans sparked daydreaming of Savannah
orange blossom honey lotion soaked into hands
that seem too old to belong to me
my first mocha in 10 days went down smoothly
as I hoped it would
then the meeting ended with, ‘thanks, gentlemen’
plan (always plan)
warm hint of a breeze at the end of the day

I wrote this one in a writing workshop at the beginning of March. Ironically, it was a prompt that the instructor, Jill Badonsky, uses regularly that is called “the Lizzie Wann” because it’s based on my poem, “Declaration.” The idea is to make a list of what happened to you in a day and find the poetry.