it’s all good

Just checking in to say that the shine on this place is still quite shiny.

Since I last wrote, I have taken many walks through the downtown neighborhoods. Last Friday night, I walked down to a bar at the Hard Rock Hotel where my friends were playing a free show. It took me 8 minutes to walk there. Their set started at 9 pm. I was unsure if I would walk home after they were done, unsure about walking downtown safely into the night (after 10 pm). I figured I could Uber home if needed. I didn’t need to worry. There were still many people out and about throughout downtown. I wasn’t worried at all.

The next morning I walked nearly 4 miles, and I remarked to myself that everything was just really f’in’ pleasant! I got my internet hooked up that day and proceeded to watch many movies, including Room, Spotlight, and a weird little thing called Paradise.

Then the next morning, I took another walk. A different path entirely, and it was also awesome. Later I had to return a book to the library near my former home. When I got back, I decided to go to the library that is literally down the block from my new home. It was such a beautiful day, and I just wasn’t ready to be done walking about.

I started toward the library. It’s seriously just around the corner from my building. One of the realities of where I now live is the fact that I am much more in the thick of the homeless population. It’s quite a strange dichotomy. There’s so much supposed wealth down here, yet there’s also the extreme poverty. It certainly weighs on my mind. I learned today that San Diego has the 4th largest homeless population in the U.S. I have several friends who are involved in homeless outreach. I have been unable to attend any of the events they’ve had thus far, but I am keeping an eye on ways to help. For the most part, I go about my business. However, on this particular day, as I am happily walking toward the library, I happen to notice someone up ahead of me who’s laying on the sidewalk next to a building. As I got closer, I noticed that he was pleasuring himself. That was not something I expected, as you can imagine! I stopped and turned around, deciding to take the long way around to the library.

I spent longer than I intended at the library, mostly because, like with most places, once you’re there, you have no idea what you want. But I picked out a couple books. From there, I went to Lolita’s, a favorite go-to spot, to get some lunch, then head home where more movies were watched.

This week has been busy as can be at work. But a couple different nights this week, after feeling tired from work, when I got home, I decided to go out for a walk. Not four miles, but just out for half an hour or so. The first walk this week, I took myself to a cupcake store because I knew I’d want something sweet later. It was just okay. Probably won’t make frequent that store.

Then tonight, I knew I had more work ahead of me. It had been a tough ride home (as an aside, the morning commute has so far been very easy, while the drive home has been rough. But I’ve found that I’m never as bothered as I was when I was in Rolando because I like where I live now so much more.) I got to my apartment and lay on the bed for a few minutes. There was a game tonight and things were hopping. I decided to get up and get out there, again, just for a quick 30 minutes. Again, I ended up taking new streets and found myself down at the Tin Fish, where a musician I know, Joe Rathburn, plays before every home game. He was very nice and stopped between songs to come over and chat with me. I stayed for a couple more songs, then merrily went on my way as folks were making their way into Petco. As I was walking, seeing the bars mostly full, and people out walking, I wondered what it would be like if the Padres were actually doing well!

I’m sad that there isn’t any baseball while Sandy is here. It really does bring a different level of activity, but I know we’ll still have a blast. She’ll be here next week!

 

holidaze

Year after year it gets more and more difficult to get into the “holiday spirit.” I don’t know if it’s the beautiful San Diego weather or the merciless onslaught of all things Christmas 6-8 weeks before it. Probably a combination of the two.

I mentioned that my family isn’t super traditional for Thanksgiving, and I would say that that slides into Christmas a bit as well. Since Sandy & I have become grown-ass women (hee!), there aren’t any (or many) family trips to see aunts and uncles. Dad’s siblings usually come to La Mirada for a day (has become Christmas eve, usually), so the actual day is pretty mellow with me and my folks, sometimes Han, sometimes Sandy and her family.

She alternates between her house, her in-laws, and our folks. This year, I think it’s the in-laws’ turn.

One year, we went to Florida & Georgia to spend it with Han’s mom and her parents and that whole side of his family. That was a fun time. Florida in December was pretty nice. So was Georgia. I was glad we went because that was the last time we saw his grandpa, Papa Herman (we share the same birthday). I think he died the following year.

I get three paid days off. Christmas eve and day are standard paid holidays, and then my company gives the “gift of time” in lieu of a big holiday party, which I prefer, so we also get the 23rd off. I’ve decided to ask to take Monday and Tuesday of that week off as well. I think Han and I will go see the new Star Wars one of those days. The early show. 🙂

Sounds like tomorrow night we’re going to see D in a musical at her church. It’s a ‘twist’ on “A Christmas Carol” called “Twisted” if I have that right. Should be good!

One of the better things about this time of year is watching all the great movies that celebrate the holiday. I’ve already watched “Elf,” though that might require another viewing. Also on my holiday watch list is “Scrooged,” “Love Actually,” “Christmas Vacation,” and “The Holiday” among others. (Maybe throw in “A Christmas Story,” “The Santa Clause,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “White Christmas”…). By the way, Han and I tried watching “Bad Santa” because neither of us had ever seen it, and we couldn’t get through it. I just wasn’t in the mood for that kind of story.

This post has been brought to you by Lizzie’s Christmas thoughts.

Dear Janis,

I watched a movie about you today. Actually a documentary. You died before I was born, but when I discovered you – your voice, your energy, your insecurity – I felt as if I’d known you. This film only cemented that.

I read your sister’s book, Love, Janis, in college and wrote an extensive paper about you for a class using many of your own words to tell your story. This film did much of the same thing. Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) narrated and read some of your letters that you’d sent to your parents.

There was stuff I didn’t know, or didn’t remember. Like that when you were in Austin, you were nominated and won the ugliest man contest. How awful and cruel. It’s a big reason you lit out for San Francisco. But you weren’t able to make it that first time. Your friends put you on a bus back to Port Arthur to get straight. You went to see a show with a friend and ended up back in San Francisco where you auditioned for Big Brother and the Holding Company. And that’s when your rocket started to launch.

You loved being on stage. You were smart. And man, could you sing. The film had interviews with former bandmates, friends, managers, lovers. They talked about your drinking and using. They talked about your charm. Your magic. Unspoken (for the most part) was that you probably got laid a lot, but the truth was that there wasn’t love. The soulmate kind of love. You loved everybody. You wanted everybody to have a good time. And you all did. But you were often by yourself when the party was over. And those were the toughest times – the down hours. Nothing could replace the high you felt when you were on stage. God, it was electrifying to even see the footage. I know people who saw you live, and they tell me it was incredible.

Here are some videos:

I have written several poem inspired by you. In one of them, “Kings & Pearls,” I wrote:

\ The way I AM Janis
walking down an L.A. street in October
after “Buried Alive” and Barney’s Beanery,
“I will not die tonight,
sidewalk’s dirty but my feet don’t care
my lips are cold from beer…”

then there’s that void
between the cigarette machine
& the hotel room where they found her.

It is a void darker than desert midnight.
No one knows
but me.

She wasn’t done. /

Watching the film, knowing that you were doing the “Pearl” sessions, knowing that Paul Rothchild was working with you, knowing that you didn’t really know how to be alone, how to come down without using, I believe it more and more. You weren’t ready. You weren’t trying to die. you just didn’t know how to put off using that night.

I’ve never been into drugs. They scare the shit out of me. Your Big Brother bandmates said that early on you hated drugs. You didn’t want to be around it, but I guess the party took you to it. It was part of the fun. It was rarely an escape, just more fun to be had.

It’s amazing to think that your career, your stardom, lasted only three years. The Monterey Pop Festival was in June, 1967. You were gone in October, 1970. What a ride.

The interviews with the people who knew you, who made it out of the 60s alive, they are all, obviously, older. If you saw them in the street, you might not recognize them. But one thing I thought about when I was leaving, having sobbed through the last part of the movie at how sad it was that you had died, was that it is quite a gift to be able to age. You would have been 72 right now, going on 73 in January. What would you be doing now if you had managed to stay clean? Would you have had the same success with “Pearl” if you had been alive? I think you would have. It’s a great fucking album. Would you still be hanging out with Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead (as an aside, I am two degrees away from you: Han knows Bob and Bob knew you. Amazing.)? Or would you hole up in your house in Marin, taking in rescues and painting or some other quiet pastime?

There’s never been anyone like you in all these years (45!) since you died. You made it possible for lots of women to pursue rock ‘n’ roll, to pursue whatever the fuck they wanted, to have confidence.

When I see you on film or read something you said, but mostly when I hear your music, I feel so connected to you. Not that I want to be like you, but that I just know you. I know, in my own way, that feeling of being on stage and just killing it. That euphoria. And the post-show letdown. I know the girl who really just wants to know she is loved, even if her decisions may not be what others thought was best. I know the joy of the gathering of tribes, like-minded souls who just want to feel good, feel loved, and they do and all feels right with the world. I know the loneliness when the tribe is gone or moved on.

I will say, though, that I feel that I’ve almost always been okay being by myself. I’ve lived with Han now since 2006, but when he’s on the road or even just at gigs, I’m on my own. You would like Han.

Thank you. For who you were and for your music. For your unabashed joy on stage. For your imperfect skin. For your intelligence and your laugh. For being a muse.

with love,
Lizzie

 

results and other things

Good news for me today in my little bubble. My kidney tests all came back as “unremarkable” and “normal as can be.” That’s a good thing.

I went to work and was fairly productive. All day, new details kept coming out about yesterday’s shooting. It’s all just so awful.

I got home, and shortly after, Han left for his gig. I ended up making popcorn and watching a movie called “Drinking Buddies.” It has Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson, who I really like. Anna Kendrick was also in it. It was good. I liked the characters. They seemed real, like people I might know.

After that, I made some dinner. Tonight, a veggie curry.

Yesterday, I happened upon this article. It’s about anxiety. I felt from this list, I could definitely relate to #s 1, 2, 4, 6-10,  14-15, 22, 25, 26, and 32.

And tonight, a friend shared this blog post that I thought was great. It’s another one of those “small things” I mentioned yesterday that you can do. Maybe not tonight or tomorrow, but somewhere, sometime, you might think of it and do something, as small as it may seem, it will probably help someone, even if just for a moment.

weekend over

The weekend has come to an end. Over Saturday and Sunday, I watched all 6 of the Star Wars movies. The first three episodes on Saturday and episodes 4,5, and 6 today.

I also finished part of the project I’ve been working on for work so that was a success.

On the downside, I woke up with a pain in my side, like I pulled or strained a muscle in my belly or ribcage during my sleep. Ouch. But my day brightened when my sister called me 🙂

D got home last night from being up at her mom’s for Thanksgiving. Han is on his way home, but traffic was so bad, he stopped for the night. He’ll be home tomorrow.

Oh, and for the record, I got the cinnamon roll this morning that I was craving yesterday, and it was delicious.

44

Who knows numerology? It seems like 44 should be a good number, right?

I’m 44 today.

I slept nearly 10 hours last night. That was delightful.

Around 11 am, I left the house to go for a walk exploring the footbridges of San Diego. I found this route and thought it might be fun. But I didn’t want to start in Balboa Park, so I decided instead to go to Vermont St. From there, my first stop was Starbucks. There was one right across the Vermont St bridge so I set off.

This bridge was my favorite because of all the poetry on. This bit of verse by Audre Lorde was at the entry:

And here’s the bridge itself:

Vermont St

All along the railings were more bits of verse and phrases and etched in the concrete of the bridge on the edges were the various definitions for ‘bridge.’ It was so cool. It goes over a freeway so there weren’t any other good photo ops.

Across the bridge, I went to Starbucks for my free birthday drink and really took a look at the map. I was trying to figure out if I wanted to do the whole walk. It seemed very long. I decided to do the ones around that area, then drive over to 1st Ave and do those.

I went back to my car and just drove over the one on Georgia which was fine because it was not very nice as far as bridges go. Then I went down to 1st Ave. I parked in a neighborhood on Front St and started walking. It wasn’t long before I was at Spruce St.

Spruce St dedication

This bridge is super cool. There were people on it, but there was still time for me to take a couple shots.

At one point, a runner went across, and that thing was moving! I walked to the other side and decided to walk around the neighborhood. It was a super nice day, and the houses over there are beautiful. I happened upon this lovely little free library:

free library

Does anyone else have these in their towns/cities? I’ve seen a few around, and I love the idea!

I also saw this plaque on a house that I thought was funny (I also think it’s not true because the house it was on looked really old and really fabulous):

nothing

I walked back across Spruce St after ambling for a bit and made my way to 1st Ave. I walked across the bridge on that street, but it was trafficky and not very scenic so not photo-worthy. But then I walked up and turned on Quince St to walk across that bridge:

Quince St

On the other side, I was on 4th Avenue so I made my way back to Upas, turned left and went down to Front to where my car was parked. It was a great walk on an absolutely gorgeous day.

After that, it was around 2 pm, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I decided to go to a movie. I saw “The Martian,” and it’s as good as people say it is. The bummer thing was that I missed the first 15 minutes because it was at a theater I’d never been to before. It’s in a mall, and there was construction. Anyway, I know what I missed, but I still would have liked to see it 😦

After the movie, I realized I hadn’t thought it all through because it was around 5 pm, and not everyone had taken the day off! Traffic was terrible. I managed to find a route that at least kept me moving, but I still didn’t get home until 6:30(!) At which point Han left to go get us some dinner (one of my favorites, El Zarape).

While he was gone, I took a shower, then I called my folks. I got a lot of nice messages, texts, and posts on FB. That was all really nice.

When he got back, we settled in and watched one of our favorite movies, “Elf.” So cute, and a start to the holiday spirit.

Not a bad birthday. Only bits of melancholy sprinkled here and there. 🙂

My friend, Cathryn, played one of my poems on her radio show today. It starts just before 1:01 (hour and 1 minute).

 

 

 

where have I been?

At last writing (June 5), we had a couple days before received a 60-day notice for us to leave the house. 😦 It was not good news. We were in no way ready to move. But we had to get ready. The landlord gave the reason that he wanted to renovate the property. That, at least, was in our favor. New landlords and property managers don’t look too kindly on people who have been evicted because of other reasons, and you know the landlord could have made up some reason.

We talked about what we wanted/needed. And I started looking around. It was easily 10+ years since I’d had to look for new lodging. The last place I’d had to seek was my little 1-bedroom cottage in Golden Hill. It sure seemed a lot easier back then.

But let’s take a moment to talk about my June San Diego Adventure Day. My mom had done the selection from my little glass jar, and the winner was a day in Coronado. I had taken June 19 off work. But when the day came, I had made other plans to do things (will divulge momentarily), and I didn’t feel like I would have the time I needed/wanted in Coronado. So I made my own executive decision and chose to just consider the things I had planned to be my SDAD. Here’s what I did.

During the morning, I probably looked at Craigslist, Zillow, Padmapper, and HotPads.com for the newest rentals. At that time, nothing was coming up as being available by August 1. When the afternoon rolled around, I made my way to my old ‘hood of Golden Hill to a great little coffee spot called Krakatoa to meet Barbara for lunch. She was in town for a gig with Flan, but I wasn’t going to make that so we were able to get together shortly after she got in. It was so great to see her. I gave her the news about the impending move, work shit, and all the other details we share. She brought me up to speed on life if Austin, and everything was groovy. I love her.

After lunch, I went back home for a little bit and packed up my stuff to head to my folks’ for the weekend. But before that, it was time to meet The Becky for dinner before we went to see Steve Earle at the Belly-Up! We went to a great Mexican place called Fidel’s. Super tasty! Then we went to the show where we planted ourselves front and center for the whole show. The opening act was a duo called The Mastersons. They were great! They know my friend, Steve Poltz, and they played a song they’d all written together. That was cool. The Mastersons are also members of Steve Earle’s band The Dukes. Here’s a pic of them that The Becky took:

Mastersons (they’re adorable)

But then it was time for the man, Steve Earle. I’ve been a fan since college, have seen him many times, and he never disappoints. His new album is in the bluesy genre, and he played a number of songs from it, which was cool. Then he also did some of his past ‘hits’ and classics. He was awesome. Another photo from The Becky:

Steve Earle

It was a really good day and evening, and though not a ‘typical’ adventure day, I’d still say it was enough outside of my norm to be considered an adventure. From there, I drove up to La Mirada, which was a lot harder than I thought because I was pretty tired. I got up there around 2 am, and hit the sack shortly thereafter. The rest of the weekend was the usual hang time with the folks which is always good.

I guess I would say that my July SDAD would be looking for a house. As I mentioned, it seems much harder now. We were looking for specific things, but we figured we’d have to compromise on some. Pretty much every spare minute I had, I was driving all over San Diego county, checking out locations to see if it would be something I’d even want to see inside of. I saw parts of San Diego I didn’t even know existed. My GPS got a good workout through all the traversing I did.

All told, I drove around and looked at around 75 houses. I made appointments for about 20 of them. We applied to about 7 or so, each time having to pay application fees for each adult tenant (thank goodness D wasn’t 18 yet!).

One day, I saw a video for a house that was put up by a property management place. It was in Clairemont and looked like it would totally work for us. Han really liked it from the video. I made up my mind that that would be our new house. That particular weekend, I had about 8 appointments. There was another place that looked promising, though the video that had been posted was super cheesy.

When I would show up to appointments, I’d be one of up to 15 other people who were looking at the house, too. It was somewhat discouraging. Because if you liked the place, you had to get your application (and all the ancillary documentation) in first to be considered because the property managers just start with the first application – run it through the credit check, etc, and if you qualify, you’re offered the property. If you don’t qualify or you pass on the house, the 2nd application in line is checked and so on.

I went to see the 2nd place (with the super cheesy video) first. It was in Rolando, which is near San Diego State University. When I got to the house, I was the only one there. I went in and met Bill, the property manager, and we chatted. The house was really cool, very unique layout, lovely backyard deck, and a basement of all things! I started to think that this place may work really well for us. I decided to apply for it. Meanwhile, I already had all the paperwork, the fees and everything ready to hand over at the place in Clairemont. I was the first one to arrive there, and I chatted up the property dude. That was a cool house, too. Great backyard, separate entrance for the master, a shed on the property. It was good. The guy was like “no one ever comes this prepared” so I was feeling good. But that Rolando house was starting to take hold in my head.

I think it was literally the next day that I started getting calls back from all the places I’d applied to. There was a place in University City (just down the road from where I’d lived in college), a place out in San Carlos, a place in Serra Mesa, and these two in Clairemont and Rolando. On the one hand, I was stoked that our credit was good enough to be offered these places, on the other hand, we had to decide and fast. It seems like a whirlwind, but Han was able to meet me at the house in Rolando, and he liked it a lot so we decided to go for it. And we got it! There were lots of little signs that made us feel like we were making the right decision. Here’s a pic:

Lorca House

We’ve been living here just over 2 weeks now, and I really like it. The commute isn’t that much different for me, there’s an insane breeze at all hours, and Han is creating a better space for his studio. It feels like home.

Of course, it’s not all over yet. I did the move-out walk-through at the old place on 7/31. The landlord has 21 days to send us an itemized list of the repair charges and the balance of our deposit, which was quite hefty. Given his history with us, I am not optimistic that he will do right by us. I have contacted a lawyer and am ready to battle with him if it comes to it. He even had said he’d pay us $500 if we moved out by the 60-day timeframe. Why? Who does that? Needless to say, we haven’t seen that yet either. It would be great to get that money. Moving is f’ing expensive, and that would help us right the ship so to speak.

In the midst of all the chaos, we lost more people at work, either through layoffs or by them finding other jobs. I developed a couple more outbreaks of vasculitis, I wrote a story in the San Diego Troubadour, D turned 18 (last Saturday), and oh yeah! 🙂 my mom, sister, and I have booked a trip to return to Spain in September after way too many years! Shit is happening!

So, for those of you who check in, I hope you’ll accept my apologies for being out of touch for a couple months. As you now know, I’ve been busy!

Side note: I’ve seen 2 of the 5 movies I wanted to see this summer. Still to see: Trainwreck, Jurassic World, and Inside Out. I’m sure some others have popped up along the way, too.