November 22, 2009

A Home of Her Own

Journal page with poem. The cottage on Lotus. Single wall construction, Sears prefab on the Wonderland Amusement Park Slab, 1980.

Himself: Found two jobs to apply for yesterday. Had a good day at an estate sale pulling boxes down from a garage top shelf. Thar be the Christmas Goodies. To Terry Gunthorp’s memorial…one good picture on Geeeee-zer’s blog. He’s celebrating his 25th sobriety date today too.

Herself: I stood a safe way back and pointed to boxes for G to bring down at an estate sale. One had all the good balls….which I literally bagged for five bucks. Dressed in bright, happy colors we were off to Coronado and Terry’s gathering. I sure didn’t want to go. Very allergic to everyone’s perfumes, good to see cousins, good food, leaky eyes, left early. Today washing everything white in the living room.

Balance: Washing the dust of the party off several times.


June 24:
Tomorrow I will have been sober for thirty days. In this last month, I have gone to more social affairs and fun things than I have in years. I have seen more booze these last thirty days also, so it has been a bit as if I were waving a red flag at my demon. Determination has been the key, a determination not to end up like Charles or Peter.

July 5:
Too much Peter, dear drunk PeterPeterPeter, in my life this month. Most days I have been helping him paint big banners for the fireworks festival. Now they are up, I can say clearly, that was a learning experience and I don’t think I am cut out to be a sign painter. When I wasn’t with Peter, I waited for the tenant or the landlady of the cottage across the street to contact me. Hoping too, for I know the cottage will be vacant on the fifteenth.

July 7:
When I stumbled outside to grab my bike and head to the beach this morning, I saw the surfers had just moved out of the little cottage. I rushed over and discovered they had forgotten to mention me to their landlady. Anger and panic galvanized me into action. I got them to draw me a map to her house, borrowed a car, and arrived on the poor woman’s doorstep full of myself. I thought I could leave a note on her door, but she was home.
“I was on the verge of selling it when you came,” she said.

After a very long talk, she let me rent the house.

July 11:
Plans for the move and a party after the move are now underway. There is a schedule for the actual move. Today all the storage things go into the garage, the kids finish packing their rooms, and the Fiat repairs begin. Sunday it is move the piano and sofa. Tuesday everything else goes over.

July 16:
After days of struggle, days of sorting and decisions, and much caring company and help from JR and Fran, we are moved across the street. Moved in. All the boxes, all the trivia, all the heavy stuff has been carried over. Every friend I have carried boxes across the street. Even Jo came. My fireman friend, John, unhooked the gas heater and capped the gas line. Now there is room for the old white bookcase. The piano made it to the garage with only a little damage. Mother’s old sofa is back there too. I seem to have mislaid only the hammer and one of Raul’s stone grinders. They will pop up in due time if I don’t make a fuss.

Now that we are in, we can see that the cottage is falling apart. Every faucet leaks, the carpet is matted flat, half the old wooden windows do not open or are broken, and when I took a bath last night, the bathroom floor flooded. Every drainpipe is taped with duct tape and some have containers under them. The ones that don’t, should. The stove leaks gas. Yet it is ours and we can afford it no matter what is wrong with it. I love it; we are home.

As I carried one last box into the cottage, a police car pulled up. I was momentarily quite frightened thinking defensively, “I haven’t done anything,” but it was a police officer friend come to see if we had moved in all right. What a different life we live now. I don’t have to be afraid any more.

July 25:
I have been writing in my journal for hours each day recording in dizzying detail the lives of others. This voyeurism of mine must have a purpose, but I don’t know what it is. In five non-accomplishment months, I have seen no tangible finished thing from my brain. Not one thing of any weight that I can reach out to and touch to say this is mine, I have created this, I have added to the world with this in some small way.

July 26:
I put a whole conceptual piece together in my head yesterday. Conceptual art can be so silly. I’m still laughing about it today. The idea of drawing a blue chalk line around one block and recording the act as a finished piece of artwork seems to me to be typical of the conceptual art movement. I think I will do it keeping a log of all the actions, keeping a photographic record of each action…each photograph to be a perfect still life. Of course, the whole thing should be elaborately done…the more so the better to make it even funnier. Complicate things. “Blue Line”…media, chalk. Size: photographs, 25 feet apart. Twenty-five finished photographs. An edition of twenty-five. The whole idea gave me such a chuckle that I borrowed a chalk line from Peter. Jo and her sister Cosmom came to help me actually do the piece. We had a lot of laughs. How silly, yet how delightful.

August 5:
My day started with mother in the hospital with two problems. Her diabetes is out of control, and she was headed to the operating room for kidney stones. Stepfather Bob had been on the phone yelling at me, the why I didn’t understand, but screaming. Margot broke her wrist. I dealt with it. In the midst of being examined by John for a position on the Ocean Beach Planning board, two police officers showed up at my door. Now here were these two officers telling me they had a stolen money order with Lenora’s signature on it right in the midst of all my other chaos. I confess I dealt with everything well except Bob. I hung up on him.

I have not seen summer this year. The days of quiet dreaming never came, or if they did, I didn’t see them. I long for a nothing day.

September 20:
Time has passed through my life like a whirlwind, so very fast, yet left so little a mark of its passage that I have not cared. The kids are home full time again and have started back to school. I get up very early and drive them up that long hill every morning. The pill I have been taking to calm my stomach has been putting me to sleep. I haven’t even walked. The check was deposited, so I must have gone to the bank. A Planning Board meeting was attended, but I was so sick I kept having to go to the head. A Town Council meeting too. Once there was dinner out with a neighbor, but all I remember was the red meat. Many days have been spent baking the bowel pain out on the sand. The only memory I have of is sunburn. I take the paperwork for the board with me, but who knows how much I am absorbing of Proposition O, or revisions to the Preservation and Energy addendum to the Prepared Plan. Always distracted, always fuzzy.

September 22:
Get up and write early, maybe that is the way to do it. Write before the color of the sun touches the sky. I’m in a fog without my coffee.

November 5:
Fed up with being so ill, I went to the doctor again.

“Just gastritis,” he said authoritatively. Firmly.

I love these catchall phrases. Now I am on a bland diet, Tagamet, and antacids, and I am still painfully fuzzy.


  1. Since I'm not a member of opendiary I'm not allowed to leave messages on G's blog. So I'll say here to both of you: Congratulations on 25 years! Forge on now for 25 more, and I hope I'm still here to repeat the message then. Wouldn't that be gassy? We'd all be really old wouldn't we? Another great post.

  2. I passed on your note and got a big grin in reply. Thank you dear you.

  3. So I guess this is an anniversary of sorts? Happiness to the both of you.

  4. Hi Tabor: RYN: Yes, it is G's sobriety birthday. 25 years. The box on the right of my blog usually has the day to day stuff we are, I am, doing in our lives. Even in this retrospective blog series, I have kept up the current information there in the box. :)


What a delight to get a note from you. Thanks for leaving one.


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