Posts Tagged ‘1990’

The three-little-words story

July 11, 2013

A month after I met my husband I flew out to spend Easter weekend with him in Colorado. I ended up calling my professors and declaring illness. I stayed a week, adding a day at a time.

The only one who seemed to care was a photographer assigned to an untimely story I hadn’t written yet.

Late one night we had put on Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark, opened a bottle of wine and were slow dancing by candlelight. My boyfriend said something that I was 80 percent certain was “I’m in love with you.”

It was muffled by my hair.

Though we had said things like, “You’re the one;” “I’m done looking;” and “I’ve never felt like this before,” the word “love” was as yet unuttered.

I was in a fix. What if he had said something else, like, “I’ve an oven flue,” and I said, “I love you, too”?

I would sound dumb.

I didn’t want to sound dumb, so I said, “Huh?”

“I wanna live with you,” he repeated.

Ah! Good thing I asked.

“Yeah, no.”

Things need to be said in the right order.

(For anybody getting ready to disapprove, we did not live together before we were married in 1992.

. . . When I discovered I was pregnant.)


How I met my husband, continued

March 23, 2013

This is the 21st anniversary of my becoming my husband’s girl.

The story I told before happened on March 22. Here’s what happened the next day.

From the airport in Hilo we were taken to the Big Island Rainforest Action Group headquarters, a building/campsite area in the forest. Many people had tents, but I had never camped before, so I slept on the floor of the main room indoors.

The Aries with the blue eyes slept in his friend Matt‘s tent.

In the morning someone with a car announced he was taking all of these hippies to the beach. I put on my neon one-piece and away we went.

We piled out on the side of a road. The driver pointed to steps and drove off.

I froze at the top of the steps. Everybody down there was naked. Hippies were running down the wooden steps whooping and peeling off their tie-dyes.

The beach was gorgeous. All the sand was black, because it was from the volcano. The ocean was clear aquamarine in front of us. We had palms and papayas behind.

I spread out my towel and lay there in my suddenly louder-than-neon one piece, watching naked hippies play Frisbee.

The Aries and Matt came to sit with me. We ate papayas and watched dolphins frolick close to shore. Later a humpback whale swam over and waved its fluke at us.

Back at the campsite all of those protesters had sunburned privates.

I had gotten to know the Aries pretty well by now. So well that Matt suddenly wanted to sleep outside, which left a vacancy in the tent if I wanted it. He said this in front of a nasty guy who had offered me tent space earlier, so I had to turn him down to protect feelings.

The Aeries asked if I would rub lotion on his burned back. He suggested I bring my baby oil over and give him a lube job.

I said, ‘I know your type, lube ’em and leave ’em.’

I think he hasn’t left me yet just to prove me wrong.


March 4, 2013

Two years ago on this date I taught eighth-graders how to write sonnets, and I told the children what I know best about sonnets: They have 14 lines.

Here’s why I will never forget that.

A month after the magical week of meeting my husband in Hawaii he flew to my family reunion to declare his intentions to my clan.

My grama was one of nine children, none of whom had died at that point. They were all there. Piling on all of their offspring made a big gathering.

My boyfriend and I had jumped in on a Trivial Pursuit game with two of my cousins and my mom. I was trying to look smart.

He read from a card, “How many lines are in a sonnet?”

I answered “five” and grabbed for the die. I was feigning confidence.

“Wait,” he seemed reluctant to tell me I was wrong. “A sonnet has…”

“Oh a sonnet,” I interrupted. “Seven.”

I made for the die again.


“Oh a whole sonnet.”

That afternoon of fun was a pack of trying-to-catch-a-mate lying.

I was pretending to be a knower of things, and he was pretending to be a liker of games.

Our pants were aflame.

How we met

January 19, 2013

I just drove my husband to the airport. The first time I laid eyes on him was in an airport.

Several Rainforest Action Groups from around the country were going to Hawaii for a protest. I was going as a newspaper reporter.

It was morning, almost 22 years ago, when I lay over a waiting chair at SFO listening to a bunch a hippies panic that their friend — the responsible one — wasn’t anywhere to be found.

I hoped he wouldn’t show, because we were on the same flight and I had a friend with a standby ticket.

At the last minute, a boy in a dress shirt and slacks with great need of a haircut came running into the gate, rugby duffel bag flying from his shoulder. His eyes were almost turquoise. I licked my lips. Then I got on the plane and slept for six hours.

In Honolulu we had to change planes before proceeding to the Big Island. To do this, we rode a tram across the airport. I hung back and watched the late but responsible friend interact with the hippies. He was attentive to everyone. He smiled when he talked. He seemed to be their leader.

I was thinking, he fits the description an interviewee gave me when I did a story on astrology a week ago. If there’s anything to it, he’s an Aries. I didn’t think there was anything to it, but I walked across the tram to where he was standing, (he had given a lady his seat,) and asked him if he was.

He was.

Then I took a shot at dumb luck. I put on my confident face and announced his birthday. Who knew my luck was so dumb? I hit it dead on.

Because I hoped he would follow me, I refused to tell him how I knew. I just walked away.

It worked.

link to photos

The deer story

January 8, 2013

My son is  getting his driver license. (I learned at work that there’s no apostrophe s in driver license. Who knew?)

An unpredictable driver shook him up a little bit Sunday when he was driving me to Costco, so I told him this story:

When I was 20 I moved from Los Altos Hills, Calif., to Boulder, Colo., to go attend college where my new boyfriend lived. He flew out to my place; we loaded my Camry with all my belongings, and we got on the highway.

It was afternoon when we drove through Lake Tahoe, which was beautiful. Like any 20-year-old in love, I slowed down through that area to give The Boyfriend time to have the idea of an impulsive wedding. I was practically at a crawl leaving that town.

By nighttime we were driving through a whole lot of  nothing. I had never seen places like this, and was astonished to know they existed. With developers running out of room in the Inland Empire, I had the urge to send them a note.

I was driving because The Boyfriend had something he needed to study for regarding his master’s degree.

Suddenly a deer stepped in front of us and stopped.

I must have been going at least 90 mph. I may have been sitting cross-legged and using cruise control. I know that’s how I drove a lot of that trip.

Quickly I tapped the brakes and swerved behind the deer, who galloped off.

Dr. Oz says memories are tied to emotions. This says something about my state at 20. I don’t remember any fear, or even relief at being alive after.

The reason I remember this adventure is The Boyfriend put his hand on mine and complimented my driving.


October 18, 2012

I woke up in the dark hours of this morning with a migraine.

Somehow I made it to the bedroom doorway, but couldn’t get farther. My husband woke up and got me an Excedrin Migraine pill and some water.

Let me give a free ad to this product. You’re about to read what my migraines are like. Nothing else works. Since it was invented I’ve kept a bottle in the car, my purse, and several places in the house. It’s made a big difference in my life.

I was 17 when I got my first attack. I had come home from work with just a bad headache, but by the time I had gotten upstairs it was so bad I couldn’t get to my bedroom. I lay in the hallway, thinking there was no way I could survive another 10 seconds of that pain, as it went on for minute after minute.

The second one started while I was playing Trivial Pursuit at my family reunion, which you read about in Sonnets. It rained that day, and the whole fam damily was packed in Auntie Barbara’s great room, which I ended up lying in the middle of with my arms pressed over my eyes before my boyfriend peeled me up and drove me to the hotel. I was 20.

My third struck when I was 24, and my fourth when I was 27. But the summer I turned 28 I had a bunch of them. I ended up in a CAT scan machine.

Over the years, my husband has found me on the kitchen floor, the front lawn; once I got one while I was driving home from the grocery store. I was around the corner from home when it got bad enough I had to pull over. I had toddlers strapped in th back seat wondering what was going on.

This morning’s was one of the worst I’ve ever had. My husband gave me a pill and some water, and I waited, chewing that familiar dread of an in surmountable few more seconds of pain. I tried to come up with ways to cope until the medicine broke through. That’s what it’s like, a balloon bursting. Excedrin is the cavalry, ride in to save.

I tried to think about lying on a beach, watching football, being hit on.

It didn’t come. Twenty-six minutes went by, and the relief didn’t come. I sent my husband to get me another pill.

Sitting up to swallow makes it worse for a little while. I’m a rational woman, but while I waited for the second one to work I was thinking about having my husband take me to the hospital to have me put down.

Then it washed it over me — freedom from pain. It brought its buddy, the will to live.

And here I am, woke to blog another day.

Another phrase of our own

October 1, 2012

There was a moment, a comment and a laugh once at work. It’s still here.

I was waitressing at Bennigan’s in Boulder, and had gone into the kitchen. I needed a small dish of shredded cheese. Probably someone had ordered it for his ultimate baked potato soup.

I hollered to the guys behind the grill — there were two — “I need a side of cheese.”

The one on the right said, “Don’t fall for it! It’s just a trick to get some cheese.”

Later that night I told My Boyfriend about it. We had a great laugh.

We were at the beginning of that stage where something isn’t a happy memory until you share it together. I reckon we’re in the middle of that stage now.

I don’t remember the grill cook’s name.

But almost 20 years later, when we accuse each other of having an agenda, we ask if it’s a trick to get some cheese.

How I met Jer

September 30, 2012

My husband’s dinner news last night was that They Might Be Giants has made a science teaching DVD. Just now he put it in my hand.

I have a connection to this band. They’re how I met one of the best friends of my life so far, Jer.

Immediately after I moved to Boulder My Boyfriend and I were getting hippie groceries at the hippie grocery store, and a hippie friend of My Boyfriend was out front wanting a ride. He had two non-hippie friends with him.

In the back seat, the blond friend picked up my collection of cassettes. “Hey! They Might Be Giants! I met them today.”

Jer is a cyclist. At the time, he worked at The Spoke, repairing and selling bicycles.

He was in Boulder Central Park doing a thing to his bike, when the band went by on rented cycles. The members were in town for a concert at The Boulder Theater.

Right in front of Jer, the frontman’s chain fell off. That’s serendipity if I ever knew of it. My advice to anyone in general: if you’re gonna drop a bike chain, do it in front of Jer.

He rescued them and was given two free tickets to that night’s show.

That’s even serendipitouser. Readers, if you’re ever going to pick up a stranger at a hippie grocery, pick up someone who just got two free tickets to a They Might Be Giants concert.

My Boyfriend sent me off with his blessing. He sent Jer off warning him not to touch my butt.

I put on a tie-dye sundress and lace-up-to-the-knee boots, and Jer picked me up at 7 p.m.

I was suspicious early on that the band was lip syncing. Toward the end of the concert they gave up the ruse and stopped strumming for a moment. The music went uninterrupted. Who could complain? My tickets were free and I had met a lifelong friend.

To this day he has never touched my butt.

Redwood Summer

July 16, 2012

A human-rights activist has been kidnapped and killed.

This brings back a terrible memory.

Two weeks after I moved to Boulder to live near my boyfriend, a group from the University of Colorado Environmental Center rented a bus and went to California to be a part of Redwood Summer.

This was a gathering, primarily of college students, in Northern California. The kids were staging protests against the logging industry.

It was a peaceful effort. Ben & Jerry would be there, and the ice cream would be free. I grabbed two cameras and my reporter’s notebook and jumped aboard.

On the way out our busful engaged in nonviolence training.

When we arrived in Humbolt County, we were met with the somber news that the events’ organizers, Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, had been hospitalized. A bomb exploded under Bari when she sat in the driver’s seat of her car. Her pelvis was blown apart, among other things.

This was the first indication that I was in harm’s way.

We sat cross-legged in a ring on the floor while our leader guy did an emotion check. I was freaking out. I am not brave.

This news had the protesters angry and ready to charge. Our exercise that afternoon was role playing, to prepare ourselves for confrontations with loggers.

First I played a protester. My ersatz logger was shoving me and yelling obsenities. I practiced not fighting back.

Then it was my turn to be the logger. Perhaps it was because of my journalism training, or because I was not a protester, but I was surpised by the myopia these kids had.

My logger response in this game was “I hear you, but I have a family that depends on me. I don’t cut and haul what I’m told; I don’t get paid.”

My drill partner said, “I never thought of that.” Those zealous college kids were putting themselves in danger without even considering the other side. I agreed with them, mind, but thought they couldn’t have a good strategy without they saw the forest through the trees.

The plan for the next day was something called ‘Cat and Mouse.’ This was not a drill. Half of the protesters sneaked into the forest at 4 a.m. to hide, the second half at 6. The idea was that the loggers couldn’t fell trees knowing there was a bunch of people in there.

I was with a group in a gully as dawn broke. I can’t describe how frightened I was. Mingled with the sounds of the forest was the voice in my head, replaying ‘This is a bad idea.’ I couldn’t make it stop.

A large, strong man appeared at some point on higher ground. He had seen my group, and was heaving softball-size boulders at us. If one had made contact with someone’s head it could have been fatal. People started running, but I’m slow and got separated. I called for my boyfriend, and forgot to use the code name he was assigned. I didn’t know what to do. I struggled up the side of the gully, but there was no trail, and it was steep. It was also dark, and I was afraid. This was out of the cover of the trees, but I just wanted to get out of there.

I couldn’t hear the quiet anymore, just screaming from the protesters, yelling from the loggers, and thuds from the rocks they threw. That’s what my husband says he remembers the most — the thuds.

As I crested the forest I saw a sherrif’s car. I ran to it and embraced the officer. Shortly after, my boyfriend found me. We were done with this craziness.

The officer gave my boyfriend and me a ride to our camp. I used that time to get his perspective for my story, but he also asked us a lot of questions. By the end of the ride, I had a great article, and the officer had decided he agreed with the environmentalists’ cause.

By nightfall one of our number hadn’t returned. We learned he had been caught by a group of loggers and beaten with an axe handle and abandoned.

That was the end of the action for the Coloradans. We got our free ice cream and headed back.

I grabbed a stack of local newspapers before we hit the road. Someone had done a story on my boyfriend, me and our officer friend, who was a Mendocino County sheriff sergeant. He had credited us by name with educating him on the issue and inspiring him to work toward protecting old-growth forests.

Shoot, if I’d known I would make my biggest impact sitting in a car, I never would have gone into that forest.

And to top it off, someone else had written my story.

My husband talked in his sleep

July 14, 2012

The smallest bit of light or noise torments my husband when he’s sleeping. If I put my book light on, he puts a pillow over his face, then crosses his arms over it to press it into his eyes.

When we were dating, I once stood outside his house in the middle of the night and whispered his name. He answered in a full, clear voice, “What?”

He woke up like a snap. The man is cursed.

This is the time period my story takes place in. Sometimes he would ask me to come stay with him, even if I worked late or had a report to write. There were no locks on his doors, so I would creep into his dark, quiet house and climb in bed. He would wake up, drape his arm over me and be asleep again within a second.

One night I curled into him, and he said in a strong voice, “Ah! You must be the maker of the contacts.”


“Huh?” He was asleep.

Apparently, he either dreams of being a secret agent, or an optomotrist.

The Woodstock story

June 27, 2012

When I met my husband, (see parts I, II and III,) I knew he was the one. I sensed I had to be real with him — expose my flawed underbelly and let him reject or accept me.

I also knew I had to catch him before I could clean and scale him.

So I put out some hippie bait: “I was born during Woodstock.”

This is true. Woodstock was a three-day musical happening beginning Aug. 15 and ending Aug. 17, 1969. I born on Aug. 16, 1969 — 3,000 miles away. But during.

Two months later when I had the man securely on the hook, he flew out to the Bay Area to take me to my family reunion. This is when  I introduced him to my parents.

He broke the ice by addressing my mother, “I heard you were at Woodstock.”

Oh, how I hate to start a sentence with ‘technically.’

I’ve since established credibility with 20 years of honesty, but, just like in a story My Oldest Friend’s husband tells, he has never let me live this down.

Getting arrested — a love story

April 7, 2012

I’ve started putting photos on a site called Photos O’ Mine, if I’ve got them, relating to the stories on this site.

It’s not going well. I think the site is a little screwy. When I click save, fonts change, captions merge or move, pictures disappear. It looks wacky right now, but I’m diligent. Bear with me.

I was putting in pictures for How we met when it occurred to me I never wrote about the arrest.

So far I’ve taken you through the first two days. (See How we met, continued for day 2.)

On the third day there was a Save the Rainforest festival. My new boyfriend and I walked hand in hand and learned about each other. We seemed to be made to be together. At nightfall he said, “People say when you meet the right person you just know. I always thought that was stupid. But I met you, and I just know.”

The fourth day was the protest. More than 1,000 people met at the chain-link fence True Geothermal Energy Co. had erected in the Wao Kele O Puna rainforest. It was the biggest demonstration of its kind.

The first night of our stay we had ridden over to see where the demonstration would be. Mr. Blue Eyes had hopped out of the truck bed first and approached the fence. When he put his hands on it, he made like it was electrified. ‘Note to self: gorgeous eyes, environmentally proactive and funny.’

The protesters were not anti-geothermal power. It’s in fact a clean source of energy. The gripe was that True had bought different land for its drill site, but Mount Kilauea erupted and buried that site in hard, black lava. The allegation was that True then made an illegal land swap, taking without permission the last lowlevel rainforest in North America, which was also sacred religious ground to the natives.

So there we were, drowning in a tie-dyed throng in an emotional embrace, watching people squeeze one-at-a-time through a break in the fence. From there they were handcuffed, identified and put on a bus.

Hundreds were children. My boyfriend tried to point this out to me, but he choked on the words with tears. ‘Note to self: senstive. Take this one home.’

We took our turn as accused trespassers, then took our turn to reject the charge, based on our being on public land. Into the bus we went, joining the singing, “This is land is your land; this land is my land….”

One hundred thirty-three people were arrested. We didn’t fit in the Hilo jail, so they put us in a storage garage.

We sat on the cement floor and discussed our strategy of solidarity. By law, I learned, they had to arraign us within a certain amount of time. We had the right, the leader said, to remain incarcerated until that time.

With our numbers, this was impossible. They would have to release us until our court date. We were instructed to refuse to leave. “When they hand you your ticket, don’t reach for it,” King Hippie said. “Do not walk out of here.”

As luck would have it (or because I’m little, and they didn’t want to start with a child), I was the first one they went after.

I didn’t take the ticket, so they shoved it down my shirt. I wouldn’t stand up, so two large men scooped me by my elbows and knees and carried me out of the building, unceremoniously dumping me on the grass.

This was met by wild cheering. I couldn’t see anyone, though, because of the bright lights: the crowd outside included news cameras.

Eventually we were all out — after a few oustings people gave up the solidarity plan — and back at the Big Island Rainforest Action Group camp.

I had come under ridicule for showing up to an environmental action camping trip with a battery-operated television (I didn’t want to miss General Hospital,) but was suddenly popular. As many as could gathered around to watch my squinting form being dumped on the grass.

I had about seven rolls of photos from this adventure, but they belonged to the newspaper, and I didn’t get to keep them.

I kept something else, though: a blue-eyed, funny, sensitive man and a new understanding of solidarity.

link to photos