July 21, 2017

I reached a milestone today. In 2007, absinthe was made legal. I'd been making it for ten years already, since April fools day 1997 in Port Costa when Hernan called me Absinthia. When it was first legal, I quickly decided to stay under the radar. Bootlegging just seemed easier than launching an absinthe in crazytown America.

I never should have done this.

And yet, here I am, four years later and thousands of dollars self invested into my own absinthe brand.

Today, we tasted it at Sidebar. We've been talking about this day for years. I handed everything over to Jared, my business partner in Caged Heat cocktail syrup, one of my closest friends, and a true cocktologist, as he prefers. He looked at me incredulously as he opened the seals on the bottles.

"Do you have imposter syndrome?" he asked.
"Yes, of course I do," I replied sheepishly.
"Yep, me too." He finished opening the three bottles.

It's his award winning recipe that we've placed on Amazon and in shops, restaurants, and bars across the country. If I wasn't there to kick shit forward, it likely wouldn't be on the market. We do that for each other.

As he tried it, his face got very serious, and he nodded continuously. "It's perfect." He said. I reached for the glass. I'm not an imposter. I'm not an imposter.

We had three samples to test. One was perfect. The other two need work, work that may take another year. I may launch one sku to knock it out of the park. That's all
I'm saying about that. I'm no imposter.

There will be more milestones to come. Bottling. Holding those gorgeous screen printed bottles in my hand, the ones with the wormwood art I have tattooed on my back. Signing a distributor deal. Getting customers. Seeing it on the shelves. Perhaps even turning a profit one day.

Most importantly, fulfilling the dream I decided I would regret not chasing four years ago.

Crazytown America.

July 17, 2017

Hi. It’s been a while. 

It’s been over a year since I started this. Am I still the hot grieving MILF?

Of course I am. Somewhere in my heart, as long as it keeps beating, I always will be. 

Some days it feels like I’m fighting to stay off the antidepressants. 5htp, l-tryptophan, staying away from things like alcohol and too much indica. Some days it feels like that and a well of inner strength, source unknown, are the only way I can stay off the anti depressants. Keeping myself going at a breakneck pace with work and school and kids and dating. 

Not today. Today was a good day. 

I miss having a partner, one who doesn’t play games, who rolls with the punches. Mature, kind, understanding, and, just as importantly, whip smart and ridiculous amounts of fun. 
For now, the dating is okay. It’s entertaining me, and it’s filling some needs but not all needs. I’ve realized I’m 46 years old and terrified of commitment. Terrified they won’t be alive the next time I want to see them. I don’t trust life. I don’t particularly trust death, either. 

Truth is I enjoy it. I’m good at it, dating. Sometimes it blows up in my face. I keep one around too long, a month instead of leaving them behind at the conference, and they say:
“You’re bossy.”

Um, single mom, triple entrepreneur, MBA student. HA! Yeah, and?

Sometimes I am surprised one comes back for me, and I handle the first sign of bad behavior head on. I receive a sincere apology, and I hear:

“I can’t play with fire as hot as you and not listen.”

That’s one of the hottest things I’ve ever been told. I have a secret box with love letters, dirty notes on cocktail napkins, and cards that arrived with bouquets of flowers. I guess I’ll have to print this one off my phone. 

Sometimes I call an old friend with high status and ask for a favor and receive an enormous gift. One that opens doors and warms my heart immensely. 

My marketing presentation was very well received. My personal book project was given the green light tonight. 

I’m alive. I’m living. I’m on fire. 

April 6, 2016

Several months ago, you can look back and see the huge falling out I had with my parents. The horrible things they called me, and the financial and emotional disownment that followed. 

It was the best thing that could have happened to me. I feel like I’ve left an emotionally abusive spouse who was controlling me with money, telling me things to keep me small and little. 

I’m no one’s chew toy.  

My daughter spent the day with them today. She told me they said they love me very much and that was the hardest decision of their seven generations of life. 

I told my daughter I would never, ever even consider making a decision like that, and I held her tight. 

March 15, 2017

This evening I was on a panel at SPUR in Oakland, presented by Intersection of the Arts, called Safe Spaces. We discussed the various efforts following the Ghostship fire. With me were members of WABA, Oakland Warehouse Coalition, ProArts, and architect Thomas Dolan, who designed and built the first live-work in the US and had just come from Sacramento proposing new code laws to the Senate. 

It was a huge honor to be on this panel, and I was nervous about being nervous. I wore Rupert’s ring and pictured him in the audience, and it calmed me right down every time. I talked about him, too. 

I talked about why I helped create the Safer DIY Spaces fund, based on my grief of Rupert and the 36 souls who died in the fire two miles from my home five months to the day later. I started with, “Grief is our birthright.” How his death made me feel, among other things, helpless. How much I wanted to help after the Ghostship fire. How I channeled my helplessness and attended a meeting a week later, where I met like minded people that wanted to help, too. 

I haven’t enjoyed public speaking this much in over three years. It really came together, and I’m so relieved. I felt in control and clear. 

I wrapped up my presentation with my ask:

Please send anyone who needs help making their space safer to our website and have them complete an intake form 

www.DIYsafetygroup.com

Please attend a fundraiser, use our Sparxo code when you have an event with tickets (we get the fees), host a fundraiser for us, or donate to tinyurl.com/DIYdonation

After, I was approached by people with offers of new fiscal sponsorship (3!), lunch by a public policy grad student, and a new foundation that wants to meet me for a possible fundraising role. 

What an amazing evening. 

March 13, 2016

I cried for him last night. First time in a long while. I’ve been afraid of death all day. An acquaintance died last week. I was hoping to see him at the GLC in a few weeks. We are all going to die. I am. My loved ones are. My acquaintances are. Everyone. 

Just gone. His stuff is still around. His earthly possessions. But he’s gone. He’s never coming back. That’s everyone’s destiny. It’s hard to be alive and experience that. 

Tex got philosophical earlier and talked about how we are each on a path. Rupert’s path and my path intersected, and then his ended. Mine is still continuing. Tex talked about my path taking me onto the Cadillac Oscar ad, a three second clip out of hours of footage on the cutting room floor. Rupert’s ex MIL has never met me but has seen me on tv twice. I was there when the term Sparlepony happened, and people in Australia thought I was lying, trying to sound cool. I was there and it’s in Polly’s book. Polly, the original Sparklepony. It’s why I’m blindly headed to the GLC, working for free for four days running the registration booths. Seeing everyone. It’s my path. Tex said some people’s path is life in Walnut Creek, commuting and living isolated in a big house with a few friends and a sexless marriage. ((Shudder)) I shudder but to some, it’s their chosen path and it’s what they want. What they choose. Which means this is what I choose. Every time. I constantly choose my path. 

My path has never been easy. It’s always been interesting. Very fun. Colorful. Full of amazing stories that I love sharing. There’s a picture of me on the internet in a green clown nose laughing incredulously while Frank Chu takes down my number to call for a date. He called, too. Twice. The first to go to Grace Cathedral and I was out of town but really wanted to go. The second to go to the Metreon to see him in the movie of his life called 10,000 Galaxies. I got scared of his illness and didn’t call him back. 

This is my path. Through love and death and Klowns and Sparkleponies and abandonment and the most amazing friendships in the world and motherhood and health and education and Burning Man and wildly rich and uncomfortably poor and lonely and connected and rarely alone. 

I’m glad I have no idea where the path is headed. Is it a path or a wild ride?

February 21, 2017

I have abandonment issues now. If I had them before, which is a possibility though not a certainty, I have them now. 

And they are unproven and unworthy of my heart. 

I’m usually the one to call it quits on a relationship. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or even what I want. It doesn’t mean I’m heartless or uncaring. It can have that stigma, especially, it’s been pointed out to me, if it’s typically me that does it. I think it means that I’m actually the unhappy person that can’t take anymore. I think the person who walks away first carries more feelings. They’re unhappy enough to do something about it. 

Obviously, neither Rupert nor I chose to walk away. We weren’t expecting to. I’d never fully felt that way, except perhaps the first few years of my marriage. So when Rupert died, it makes sense that I felt abandoned. There was no blame. Perhaps the hardest part was knowing how much he wanted to be alive. But he wasn’t. I was alone. And I felt like I’d always be alone. 

I haven’t been and I’m not. I’ve lost a lot this year, but I’ve never been alone. I have my children around me, my community though that has faded some with time, naturally, and I have my two amazing housemates. 

What has surprised me in all this, is the romantic love in my life. I don’t remember this but I told Rupert’s brother I’d never love again. He told me that while I was in Australia visiting the lover I’d met seven weeks after his death. 

I ended that relationship last weekend. I was single for five days. My new lover is buying me event tickets, and texting me for no reason. It’s so lovely!

I’m recognizing my abandonment issues developed from Rupert’s death. Writing it out I can see I have no need to worry about being alone. I don’t know if I’ll love again the way I did with him, but I do need to let go of the fear of loneliness and abandonment. If it was going to happen, it would have by now. Instead, I have a friend to walk with tonight and another making me dinner, and a hot date to look forward to this weekend. 

February 10, 2017

I’ve been off the antidepressants for about a month. I think the depression is back, but I’m functional. So I’m feeling my feelings and getting out of bed every morning. That’s a combination I haven’t experienced since Rupert died. I think that’s good. I’ve never been depressed before. I’ve told people it’s not in my DNA. I’ve just never felt it. I was surprised when I realized what a difference the Wellbutrin was making in September. Oh shit, I thought, I’ve got depression! By that point, I was able to get up and leave the house on my own. It felt amazing. 

Now I’m living life every day and I need to keep going. My career is on an amazing trajectory and school is going really well. My kids and I are loving, silly, and supportive with each other. I miss the crap out of Haley, but she’s happy where she is and thriving and I need to support that. I have so many amazing friends and love surrounding me. I should be happy. 

Am I happy? I’m not sure I even know how to define that anymore. I think I am happy, yet with this deep internal depression. I wonder if that’s a part of me now, or if time or something or someone wonderful dropping into my life might change that. 

How do you know if you’re happy? What is depression? Am I on the right path feeling the feelings, putting pants on every day, leaving the meds behind?