Bowie Andromeda, 4 years old

To my one and only daughter on her 4th birthday. Let's continue to worship the great questions together, yes?

Why I named my daughter Bowie

Despite having tried for 6 months to get pregnant (which is shorter than many but longer that I was prepared to hold out my hope for), I found myself pregnant and miserable during the holiday season of 2011.

I wanted the baby, but I never wanted to be pregnant. I didn't know it would feel this way until I saw the pee stick reveal a positive line - well, technically two positive lines. Two = pregnant. One = not.

I knew I was pregnant before science confirmed it. Not surprising, really. Knowing is kind of my thing.

On the morning I found out, Joel and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. He was working at home that day.  I had woken up at 5am, took a pregnancy test, saw a quick negative, and went back to my barren bed bleary eyed and pissed. But when I woke up for real at 8:30am, I knew I was pregnant. To help keep me sane, I tore into the bathroom garbage for evidence, and indeed I saw a negative turned positive.

Heart beating fast, I unwrapped my last clean $20 pee stick. This time I read the directions and 3 minutes later, the test confirmed what my body already knew - hell, I hadn't even missed a period yet. I was 3 weeks pregnant, hyper vigilance and all.

Relieved, yes. Excited, no. Happy, kind of. Feeling dread, completely. I walked out to Joel as he sat at our tall kitchen table. I wore a black and white striped shirt and black jeans. My hair was recovering from a bad cut. I was barefoot and cliche.

I bashfully told him that it we had completed our mission. He smiled, but I saw in his smile exactly what I was feeling - WTF have we done?

Flash forward three weeks and you'll see a bitchy and crazy tired Candace attending a holiday party with Joel at the Showbox in Downtown Seattle. It's an 80s themed party (the best) and here I am, unable to make any kind of outfit work (WTF! This never happens to me!) and unable to drink (WTF! How am I supposed to face a room full of strangers?!!) and advised not to dance (WTF! I PERISH).

I did okay for the first two hours. I faked my gin and tonic with lime and seltzer. I tried really hard to smile and converse. But when the DJ began to play the 'Sixteen Candles' soundtrack, I nearly began sobbing - everything inside of me aching to dance.

So I told myself I would dance very lightly. Whatever that means. If you know me or have seen the spectacle that is Candace dancing, you'll know I don't do it...well, lightly. Think Pat Benetar (esp at 3 min 15 seconds in) meets the gal from Flashdance (I wish) channeling every choreographic move from Footloose and aerobics competitions.

So I did it. I tried to hold back, I really did. And I thought I was okay until about 25 minutes in and I felt the familiar wet heat. It was either a lot of dance sweat, per my usual. Or it was blood.

I walked ran to the ladies. Oh god, don't let it be blood. Don't let it be blood. Just as many women have prayed for no blood and for blood for billions of bloody fucking years.

It was blood. I grabbed a bunch of toilet paper to sop it up. It wasn't a ton, but still - it was blood. I left the bathroom, told Joel we needed to leave immediately and politely excused ourselves from the dance floor and friends.

On the car ride home, the cold and dark felt so good. I was so hot. We discussed going to the hospital. We wondered if something was wrong with us because we didn't feel anything. We were both eerily calm, very flat affect. I didn't care. I couldn't care. I didn't even have time to get attached to the little thing inside of me, the dread hadn't passed yet (btw, the dread didn't pass until Bowie was 4 months old, just for the record. And it's started again as we think about her enrolling her in kindergarten next year).

At home, my toilet sits just under a window that somehow always boasts a kick ass view of the moon. On this particular December night, it was crazy clear and big - our moon. Managing blood and the worst fear I've known before or since - the wanting of something that doesn't want to stay - I texted my sister, the only person aside from Joel who knew I was pregnant.

The conversation went something like this:
Me: I was dancing at Joel's holiday party. I tried to dance like a normal person. It didn't work. I am bleeding now.
Her: How much...and other medical questions.
Me: Not too much, but still.
Her: If the baby wants to be, it will be. There's a star man, sister, waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet you but he thinks he'd blow your mind.
Me: Let the children boogie.
Her: Look out the window, you can see his light.
Me: If we can sparkle, he may land tonight.

This wasn't uncommon, we often have nothing but lyrics to say to each other. It's our thing.

That moment, when she said the thing about looking out the window, I looked hard and fast at the moon, directing all my wishes and power so hard at the moon. I wanted the baby. I knew it in that moment. If she made it, I'd name her 'Bowie.' In part for Teresa, in part for the moon path she'd travel, in part for David Bowie for giving us words to make the moment bearable.

She made it.
And damn, that girl boogies.

Tonight, I've spent the evening listening to David Bowie on spotify, drinking wine, watching videos of his concerts, following links like a crazy person. I've wanted desperately to join with the souls in Bowie's hometown as they sing out live in homage. I wanted to dance all night. I have wept. It has felt so good. That I could feel this way about someone I never met, simply because of his art - his words, and every thing he stood for - that is a kind of god feeling to me, if ever there was one.

David Robert Jones, you hot tramp. I love you soo. I'll try not to blow it.

"I don't know where I am going from here, but I promise it won't be boring." 

Look out your window, I can see his light.

Year in Photos 2015: aka gratitude and red wine

Joel noticed that I hadn't created my normal end-of-year slideshow. The holidays took a lot out of me this year and didn't give back as fully as usual. That's fine - not every Holiday season can be totally filled with Christmas wonder. I think I am finally old enough to realize that - to realize that it's even good to have scrooge-y years.

I could have helped myself if only there'd been more down time, more introspection and reflection. But that would have meant saying 'no' to a lot of really fun things.

When I stayed home from a NYE party I really wanted to go to, I realized...I just couldn't handle one more fun thing.

And that included making my annual EOY slideshow. I usually make them for my own benefit, not thinking anyone would even miss it or notice.

So when Joel asked why I hadn't created the slideshow, he implored me, "You have to! I love those."

So I set to work. And wouldn't you know it, the nearly 20 hours required to put these slideshows together afforded time to reflect upon my year. An unexpected benefit.

As the photos of my life scrolled across my screen
As I fed my wanderlust with visions of my travels (a lot this year!)
As I relived the musical atmosphere that Joel curates for us so well every single year
As I touched again the faces of the souls whom I love beyond words,
I felt the deepest movement of gratitude.

Gratitude (and my red wine) brought me to tears. I have such a great life - my friends are irreplaceable and inspirational. My family, scattered, but fascinating, loving, and supportive. My travels - varied and made of unforgettable memories. My work - a soulful enabler of a soulful and generous lifestyle.

So I created another slideshow in their honor.
I do these to feel the scope of my vast year and all its feelings and faces
into 10 minutes.
An unjust treatment, no doubt.
But still.



What is mastery but memory?

You can trust yourself
appears on the page, scribbled
burning into the metacarpal muscle memory.
If you want to master this truth, you must practice.
And what is mastery
but muscle memory? Repeated motion
Until your hand, living a life of its own, finally frees itself
from analysis.

You can trust yourself
a low-hanging fruit
truth up for the grabs
should you decide you are done believing you were born a sinner.

You can trust yourself
over and over again
with the macabre, the maudlin.
You didn't chose the subject matter, after all,
it chose you.

You can trust yourself
with yourself.
18 years ago you felt like a danger to yourself
a fear slumbers just under your rib cage.
but don't you see
you can still trust yourself
with yourself.

You can trust yourself
with your words, welling up from your belly
gagging you on the way out.
The impulse to write and never reread
before hitting publish like a good editor would do? You can
trust that too.
Likewise, you can trust the brooding,
the waiting, the hatching. Whatever you want to do!
You can trust that too.

You can trust yourself
with your intellect. It's not intuition's enemy.
Coming together, they'll conjure your multiverse.
The archetypes
   the crone
   the slut
   the terrible, beautiful priestess
   the oracle
   the alchemical witch
Do not mistreat them by employing separation
of brain and gut.

You can trust yourself
write it until your heart bleeds it
write it until your pen runs out of ink
write it on every page fluttering inside your bookish soul
write it on every word gestating within your agitated chest

Write it until you believe it.

Wherein I got used to Rome

Ah Rome, where even cast-off cigarette butts wedged between ancient black cobblestones look chic. Where crumbling rooftop tile looks like a picture from a high-end catalog.

Where every single thing you look at is another stunningly beautiful thing. Even the homeless woman who threw Italian curses (and her own pee) at tourists, even she was more put together than any homeless person I've ever seen. I mean, she had matching boots and cool jeans and what looked like designer glasses - plus pink face paint (she had to get the crazy in somehow).

Everything was beautiful. The churches and streets. The cafes with perfectly arranged pastries and sweet little cappuccino cups. The grocery store. The woman who made our coffee every morning. Bernini.

I traveled to Europe in pursuit of such beauty. But when beauty is simply all there is, it's natural to become jaded. Throughout my 8 days in Rome, I chided myself for this. For not appreciating the beauty every single second.

Vacations are always more powerful for me in the reminiscing. In the shuffling through photos, in the writing about it, in the way the retelling of the stories form a kind of myth. While they are happening, I can only stand and absorb. I keep my eyes open and my gullet quenched with wine. I think about nothing, knowing that upon returning to the monotony of my own everydays, I can draw upon these powers of intake.

So now home, as I reminisce, I've changed my mind about feeling ashamed for becoming jaded to Rome.

On repeat, it doesn't sound so awful.
I got used to beauty.
I got used to beauty.
I got used to beauty.

I vacated my life and learned to take the good things for granted. I was so enamored and overwhelmed by all this beauty that I stopped panicking. I stopped feeling anxious that I would lose it.

I sat still in one beautiful place long enough to see past its first impression. I was immersed enough that I went about my daily business encapsulated by gilded churches and domes without being hit in the gut by the beauty. I chatted about normal things - jobs and marriage and life - only this time our conversations were enhanced by our surroundings - an unbelievable 360 degree view of beauty.

That I got used to.

I wanted to do as the Roman's do. I hate, hate, hate being a tourist. As it stands, we only did 2 major touristy things (you simply cannot go to Rome and not see Vatican City, no matter how miserable it is).

I wanted to blend in, to get to know the local color, to be on a first name basis with my barista. It's hard to do that, really hard - especially when you don't speak Italian (much to my chagrin). It's hard when you are visiting for just 8 days. Hell, it takes some people years in a city before they feel a kinship with it.

I wanted to be inspired by Rome and Italian life - to borrow their discipline of investing time in how you look and taking care of yourself. Where the older women are much more beautiful than the younger ones - where even in the buildings, age is more beautiful than youth.

My soul desperately needed a break from daily life. But I didn't want the inspiration to come from novelty alone. Or worse, from shaming myself that I wasn't taking everything in as much as I possibly could.

So I decided to take Rome off its gilded, ancient pedestal. Consequently, I think I was able to interact with it more authentically.

For instance, I don't think many people travel across the globe to sit in a park and read T.S. Eliot. But I just had to. And now that I look back, I can relax into the beauty of it even more.

Plus, these people.


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