Bobby McGee and Thee - Port Arthur 2002 - Happy Birthday, Vickie

"You want to go to the beach tonight?" Vickie's Texas drawl was hopeful; we were finally meeting in person after knowing each other through the hotel system for years. The beach south of Port Arthur was suggested by Vickie's friend, her guy friend, the one who (you could tell by the wistfulness in her voice) currently held her heart; the one she said was her best friend. I wouldn't have to drive, she said, because I'd been driving since California.

"Sure," I replied.  I'd just left the desert and hadn't seen the Gulf Coast, which holds a piece of my heart, in over a decade. Of course I wanted to go to the beach. The problem was this: I was too old to innately know this was Spring Break, and there would be no beach to be seen.

It was joyous mayhem. There were jeeps and Beetles driving up and down the sandy shore, campfires burning, hippies dancing...

Around the other side of  Vickie's car a particularly greasy young man was sitting on a …

My Weekend As a Pirate, aka Abbeyville

Abbey the Cockatiel* eyeballs me from her cage - a weird game of hide-and-seek because she wants to be afraid, label me the Debbil, but can't stand to be ignored. We know this game, yeah? Funny that non-humans play it too, or maybe no surprise.

While I watch TV she navigates through the open door of her cage onto the floor, but when I acknowledge her she retreats into her safe space.

I get it, Abbey; do your bird thing.
Abbey's momma, Chantelle, asked how much I charged to birb-visit and whether I was willing to barter. I love barter, but I can use cash. I said I wanted a Cuban; I should have known she'd have one already. It was on the counter with the cash and a box of matches next to a list of Abbey-care instructions.

I call Abbey's name and whistle as instructed; she whistles back in response. I take a risk and put my hand in the cage, knowing she might bite me. I'm surprised when she steps calmly onto my wrist like it was what she wanted all along. Maybe it was…


The sky this morning is pale ocean blue - dull and thick with the water that lingers on the edge of a coastal storm. I made coffee last night, because I'm gross and like it room temperature and also like to grab it when I first wake up at dawn's early crack so I can coffee nap. Yes, this really works.

Hurricane Florence is pummeling the Carolinas; Abby the Cockatiel and I watched CBS coverage for a few hours yesterday. Most of the interviewed voices reiterated that they felt lucky and ready to get back to work; I heard someone say the one thing they would like donated is cleaning supplies. My heart gets happy to hear a pragmatic person speaking to the world.

I started watching a TV show called The First, starring Sean Penn (Abby didn't seem interested.) It's set in New Orleans, a city that will always hold a piece of my heart and soul. The city itself is a cliché for something that cannot be explained because it's incarnations deep. The home in the TV show probabl…

Understanding Poetry: Forced Matching and Conceptual Skeletons in Debism

Conceptual Skeleton is my new favorite thing, because it forces a match between two of my pre-existing favorite things, concepts and skeletons. This week's GEB book club reading - we're working through Chapter XIX - was really all about me and my methods in writing, especially poetry. I figured it out thanks to Sherlock.

I see a pattern between disparate words or processes and I squeeze until I can draw a metaphor over them, forcing a match. The metaphor drawn and applied is a conceptual skeleton. Skeletons work nicely because the variety of bones and joints makes the concept flexible enough to drape over something unlikely, and then it can be pushed around until it seems to fit.

I am not ashamed to admit I don't know how many times I've watched all episodes of Sherlock. While I was reading GEB, Season 3 Episode 1 was playing on the TV and something gelled. If this is about to be a spoiler, shame on you. You should have already seen this show.

I think it's the 3rd …

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Because It's Hallowed.

My sweet and bubbly personality is genuine, but so is my dark heart. I think dark may not mean the same thing to you that it does to me.

My birthday is right before Halloween; the world was just beginning to die when I was born. Orion watched over me every night.

I don't think that helps explain why I like bugs and lizards and bats. Especially bats. I can find an eye of calm in death metal. My favorite Christmas carol is God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

Darkness is not creepy to me, but joyful. 

I like to play with the dark things - tales, emotions, creations - because they are beautiful. Dark is the other side of the earth from the sun; it's where you can see the stars and the moon, where creatures of the desert find it safe to come out from hiding. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is ultimately a story of hope, even if the hope is strangled by humanity.

Bones are organic matter allowing us to walk upright and feel superior. When bare and picked clean, they are evidence of a food…

Nemeses (Because There's Always a New One.)

Yesterday was my long day. I'm frustrated that I left the kitchen with dishes in the sink, even though it's nothing new. I give myself all the mom-lectures: why are you stepping over the boots instead of putting them away? Why didn't you prepare your lunch last night? When are you going to promote yourself? I'm not sure whose voice that is.

I don't want to promote myself today. I don't want to attract people who think I'm awesome because of what I can produce. But that's not right, is it?

I want to attract people who enjoy my company while I oscillate from topic to topic, or avoid all topics entirely; who see me and love me for what I am and then leave me alone. There it is: don't ask me for anything, but like what I offer because I can afford to give it away. Is this fair, really, in the realm of friend-making? I don't know.

But what I can produce does represent me: these are my ugly babies. This is what I do. Everything that leaves my hands is…

Rules for The Dating Game [Lots of F-bombs Edit]

My ultimate goal here is to get everybody to stop wasting time - their own and that of others. Before you hit "send" on that DM, or when you think she's out of your league, take a moment to review yourself.  Know yourself - every time you think you do, you really don't. Trust me on this one, because it's true of all humans. Keep the "I may be an idiot" door open at all times, but don't let knowing you might be an idiot stop you from living. Identify your end-goal: what do you want ultimately; what are you willing to accept? answer this question and then see #11. Take No for an answer. Take maybe for a "not likely" or really it's just no. See #12.DON'T FUCKING LIE. don't bullshit, don't twist options. In order to be successful on this point, you have to be solid on #1 and #2. Fakery evidences itself, always. It's just a matter of time.Don't make assumptions. If you need clarity, ask the question.Realise that the pers…

Your Uniform vs. Nobody Should Put Deb In Charge

Your uniform is what you change into when  you get home from work, or your go-to when life insists  you have to put on pants. That favorite outfit you wear to meet new people is not your uniform - that's a presentation, like flip-charts and stuff. Your uniform doesn't care what lighting will be at the venue.

You adopted your uniform through trial, error, and input from all your senses. It's a protocol you set for yourself; it delineates your persona and also gives you a comfortable space.This skeleton shirt and my gray painting jeans are my uniform. It's too soon to tell, but I think my cowboy boots are turning into uniform as well.

Take a minute to think about what your uniform tells you about yourself.

It was decided I should run this week's Mosaic Writers meetup. This only looks like a big deal on paper; I've run meetings before and this one is pretty self-serving. My biggest duty will be to make sure nobody talks for too long. Thierry used to set a timer…

Things Which Are Not Mine To Carry, aka My Date With Satan

I felt the trepidation within minutes of finalising plans. It comes with the territory when you agree to meet Satan at a pool-hall after work, or anywhere.

Satan and I have a long and varied history. The first and last thing  you need to know is that he groks me, for better or worse. I do my best to reciprocate, but I've always told him there were things I didn't wanna know. We haven't had face-time since 2002.

Some of the water under the bridge is toxic. If I were to learn next month that I'm dying, though, would I regret a lost chance to hug Satan? Probably, yeah; so we're going in, Legion. I am sure in my skin and not afraid I'll do something I'll later regret. I challenged myself to demonstrate my new ArchetypeMe, show-not-tell.

Man, we sure could have made a mess in the old days; we made excellent messes. Not tonight, Satan. Not tonight.

Satan has a loyal streak that's Hell-deep. It took him nearly an hour to park his truck safely so he could com…

How I Built ArchetypeMe

Once you build a world in your own mind it is nearly impossible to deconstruct it. Reframing the components from which you built your world is much more feasible; it's easier to reassign pieces of an untruth than to make them go away.

This is how books and movies, for example, stick with us. We map them into memories. Done effectively, we can call up a world to visit where we haven't been and which as far as we know does not exist.

Applied to people, this can be useful, awkward or dangerous.

Here's what I mean: Archetype Me is a set of traits, interests, experiences, and skills. Actual Me also has habits, bodily functions, needs, and history; me's made of cells, bones and gravy. Stressors, triggers, bills to pay. All of that, not just what you think you understand about me, comes to the party when I show up.

I build an archetype of myself in my mind; I also have them for all the people I know. It's what humans do, how you think you know somebody and why you believ…

Dirt Catharsis - Like a Golem.

You know this one: I went out to get the mail but I could not just walk past the bucket, the hedge clippers, and the weed-monster.

The stand of poke-berry was taller than I am; I wish I'd taken a before-photo.  We aren't ready for the after-  yet; the area looks like we're midway through a Marine's first haircut.

I do yard-work only when the landlords aren't home. It's not like they'll rush out and stop me, but I'm preventing an unknown awkwardness which makes sense to my inner mind. Some weird balance is struck; so be it.

It took a year of living here before I was comfortable making moves against the foliage. At first I wasn't sure how many of the cars coming and going actually belonged to the household or who was in charge of what duties.

Since the kids moved out, and it's just Mr. and Mrs., I have a good sense of what gets done and why - time and mobility limits most likely apply. Also, I now get paid to feed their cat when they travel, wh…


When my soul hurts it feels the pain of every loss of every love since  time documented.
and you can feel it but I know it for all of us

Things I Do Differently Now That I'm Older

Match my underthings and wear cowboy boots and spend money on a good pillow and enjoy brussels sprouts and avoid cheap wine and whatever I want and let friends go when they want to go (this one has been the most difficult, more than brussels sprouts)Start doing all these things now, if not yesterday. It will save you time
tears, not so much

but that's okay.  

*this post is dedicated to Al, who appreciates my boots and lingerie even though he hasn't seen any of them.

Unpacking - aka Take Time to Digest What You Don't Know You've Learned.

I had a really great week; now that I've had time to wash and put away the clothes, all the new data input is gelling for me.

Like an onion or an ogre, there are several layers to unpeel here. Let's try chronological:
A week ago today I was flying home from an excellent if brief weekend with Moe. We need a few days of face-time to unpack all we discovered, and that's just not going to happen any time soon. We'll do what we can.

Over the weekend I met with my book club and discussed the differences between the John Nash Equilibrium and the Pareto Principle. How revenge or punishment can be used to enforce later collusion. The difference between collusion and collaboration.

I shared some of my photos with one of my favorite clients, and he taught me how to Instagram. He's lived life truly and knows things, and he likes my work (both photography and hotel reservations.) He's an old Cuban guy, which just goes to show that you don't always need a 5-year-old to …

Broken Appliances as Metaphor for Love - #parentingwin

The Toaster is an old family tradition that has become a metaphor for perfect familial love. The DVD player is now a toaster. All things are toaster if they demonstrate how you appreciate someone's efforts to worry about your welfare, even if those efforts fall pothole-flat.

In 2000, I was still relatively new as a front desk agent at Palm Mountain Resort. The customer service phone rang; I picked it up.
"Our toaster doesn't work. Can I just bring it down?" Um
"Um, sure." I hung up. I turned to Brandy, "They're calling from a balcony room. Their toaster doesn't work..?"
"Um," said Brandy. "We don't provide toasters."
"They're bringing it down. Do you think engineering will have another one for them?" 
Brandy laughed. "No. I'll call them and ask..." Brandy picked up the phone; she laughed again. I'm guessing the engineer said Um.  A toaster plopped on the desk.
"Here it is.&quo…

Unpopular Topic: Healing for Not-Minorities, aka Make America Safe Again

All of you who would like to see White People marginalised and want to know how we'd feel about that, pay attention. I'm about to hand it to you. With a caveat.
Mia Imani Harrison sits inside the Dream Chrysalis, part of her art installation [REM]EMBER at a Capitol Hill boutique. It’s part of a multimedia dreamscape she created for people of color, transgender and gender-diverse people to rest and heal from trauma. Harrison, inspired by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, has created installations around Seattle that explore equality through dreaming and community healing.Bend your mind with more visual-art happenings in the Seattle area.(Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
I just got off the phone with relatives in Michigan. There is no way they would cop to having weakness, shame, trauma. People who live outside the Privilege Bubble have to admit weakness and shame every day. They have to check themselves to make sure they aren't about to of…