Panorama of San Bernardino

Friday, June 18, 2021

Concert days

Sometimes, I wonder, what the hell am I thinking? My job is so stressful, and yet, I push myself to do more. More at work, more with my writing and now concerts are back! 

What's a girl to do?

I'm convinced that my books are coming out because of the pandemic. I used to say, I'll sleep when I'm dead, but the pandemic taught me to relax. I stayed home almost every weekend for more than a year. No concerts, and little or no traveling.

Wean yourself back in to concerts, I thought. 

Starting out slow, I bought tickets to Morrissey in Vegas. Then X added an OC show, on a damn Sunday, but I decided okay, I can do those 2 shows, and still keep juggling all my balls in the air. 

Then, in a stroke of cruel luck, Cruel World sent me an early access invite for tickets. Bauhaus, Devo, 45 Grave, Blondie, Morrissey and more! Who could resist? So I bought VIP festival tickets rationalizing that it's in 2022. 

But then Patti Smith decided to play Pappy and Harriet's in Joshua Tree on a Tuesday this summer. How could I say no and still keep my punk/post punk credentials? Her album "Horses" was like honey on a biscuit to me in high school. Or maybe now, she's cream cheese on a well toasted NYC everything bagel with tomato, avacado and red onion. She's perfection.

I've only seen her live once before and that was at an opening gig at a Staples' Morrissey show. This show will be outdoor and intimate. Acoustic! But it's a Tuesday. And in Pioneertown. Not an easy trek. Swallowing my misgivings, I bought the tickets and was glad after they promptly sold out. 

Hmmmm, I thought, who can I convince to do this adventure. Husband works Wednesday... hmmm wonder twin! Of course, my twin Jackie said yes. She's always up for an adventure and doesn't drink which will motivate me not to. 

So here I am. More shows are popping up in my phone. Madness, OMD in 2022 and more. For now, I'm not buying tickets to more shows. I'm gonna pace myself. 

I hope...

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Hey Miss DJ

Last night, I played DJ. 

Before you get too impressed, it was for an audience of two. Two including myself. My husband and I sat in the back yard and had a glass of my favorite French champagne, then a beer. I like the contrast of that. 

I'm not the best DJ. My husband is great. He will go seamlessly from song to song. No interruptions. He will move from post punk to 70s to Spanish rock, all without missing a beat.

Me on the other hand, I get a bit obsessed. I like to hear whole albums. Like the entire thing. DJing for me is more akin to my teenage self who would put The Smiths' "The Queen is Dead" album on the turntable and lay on my bed, eyes closed singing along, only getting up to turn it over to listen to the other side. I lose myself.

I am a lyrics person. Always. The words matter. I like annunciation (Morrissey, the Shins etc), but also love when I have to figure out what they're saying. 

A favorite thing of mine to do is to listen to a song in both their acoustic and non acoustic versions. For example, take the X song "Because I Do", which is distorted and garbled in the best way. You have to lean in to decipher the words, and then listening to the acoustic, stripped down version, where the harmonies of John Doe and Exene fall into each other so beautifully, you hear everything. It gets me. Then I listen to the punk version again. It's sublime.

So the DJ experience is hard for me. I also focus on artists. Sorry, I can't just play one Bowie song. I have to play at least 2-3 (and would prefer to just go album by album) and then transition to someone he was inspired by like Iggy Pop or Lou Reed and then Lou Reed leads me his band the Velvet Underground, and then we're in the 60s listening to at least 2 Doors' songs which leads me back to the 80s with The Cult. 

Somehow I will also work in a couple of Replacements songs as well as Siouxsie and the Cure. And of course Joy Division. And the Pixies. But it will be in a weird combination that only makes sense to me. Sometimes it's the themes in lyrics, sometimes it's eras, and sometimes I just think, damn I want to hear "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" by Johnny Thunders a couple of times in a row.

So you see why this can be frustrating for a listener. But there's a method to my madness.

I think, I'll keep my day and night jobs as lawyer and writer. 

But of course, all of my DJing will continue, mostly in my head.



Thursday, June 10, 2021

Staying true

It's eleven pm. I can't sleep. Today was a shit day in court. It was traumatizing and sad. 

Yet, I also know that I'm lucky. Privileged. I'm not the one in custody. But to bear witness is hard. 

Maybe it was harder because I haven't had a day like this for a year. Court has been less real during covid. It was shocking to have a day like today and then remember, I've had many of these days.

So many. Too many. 

Perhaps, my eyes are finally wide open to the horror of it all. To work within this system as a deputy public defender, in this broken down clunker of a criminal system, is hard. It should be. 

All good work is difficult. If this job is too easy and if seeing our clients in chains and suffering isn't horrifying, then there's something wrong. You're desensitized to the point where your soul is at risk. 

Still, we all have a job to do. We must be professionals. And be able to make cogent arguments and advise our clients without tears in our eyes. 

But today, I couldn't put up that wall, the one I've learned to build around my heart brick by brick. Today, I couldn't pretend it wasn't awful. 

When I got home, I felt a weight lift. I played with my dogs and sat outside and breathed in the air and sighed. 

Then tonight I wrote this essay, so I never forget what today felt like.


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Library girl

Looking at a photo of the new Riverside library, I get all teary eyed.  

I grew up going to the Ontario (California) city library, a library that writer Beverly Cleary once worked at. My mom would let me max out my library card. It never seemed to be enough. 

Wandering through the kid and adult sections, I would lose myself in their spines. It was there I discovered all of my favorite writers. I read all of the Wizard of Oz books, Judy Blume, the Hobbit, even F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Leaving the library, I would feel joyful. Carrying home my armful of books, a huge smile on my face, I would throw them on my bed. Falling into worlds away. As a kid, I would read books all weekend. I would savor their pages. Caress them. Read the same books over and over.

My allowance sometimes went to paying for late fees for books I couldn't let go.

Libraries are everything. They are havens and children and adults need a refuge and gathering place. 

Libraries are where I became a reader and a writer. Because, ultimately, books, and libraries that house them by extension, are where dreams are imagined and sometimes made. 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Office space

I am having a hard time. Look, I know I'm lucky to have a job. But this whole "return to the office thing" is difficult. My routines have now completely changed. I can't sleep because I get home from work and fall exhausted into bed right after dinner at 6 pm then wake up at 2 am. Maybe it's too much interaction, too much stimulation, and not enough focus. I'm struggling big time.

This last year was productive for me because of its solitude. I've realized, after much reflection, that I can let others' opinions of me block me. But in the end, I am the one and only person who really has the power to achieve what they want. And while people may find me too assertive or vocal at times, I don't really care.

This is a conundrum. My solution is to just take it day by day. Shut my door and get my work done. Go home and decompress. Try to not be angry and bitter. Try to be happy and positive. Change is on the horizon. I can feel it's vibration. I just meet to make it until then.



Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Office day

Today is D day. Back in the office day. Despite the last year, I usually like being in the office. It's been time to get back for a while. Plus, I want my home office back which used to be my studio and my creative space before covid.

The other thing is that I want to see faces. I love seeing people. I'm very social. It's been a hard isolation of a year. It's been productive in many ways, but lonely. 

I've also decided to put better boundaries. I will not bring my work computer home (unless I'm in trial). My hours at work will be reasonable. Not back breaking. I will try and take my vacations.

But still, I will miss the flexibility. I loved spending my days working with my dogs at my feet. Along with the ability to make dinner on my lunch hour. The ease of working on a motion and just finishing it no matter what time it was. Visiting with clients via video and answering emails at 630 am. As a morning dove, I appreciated the early start.

Yes. That is over, but what I've learned from the pandemic is that I am a homebody. I am able to work from home if needed. That will come in handy one day I'm sure.

But until then, here I am. An office body once again. I got half as much work done but went to a happy hour outside at El Torito after work. So there's that.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Epiphanies and coffee

I need coffee so bad. It's early morning as usual, and I can't sleep. I wish I could sleep all day. Today, I want to sleep and dream my day away. 

My eyes are tired from looking at a screen all week and my body aches. Middle age sucks as far as the body goes but the mind... that gets better I think. And what's weird is that I wouldn't go back to being young again. If given the option perhaps, I might go back in time to see my father, but that's another essay.

My teenage years were chaotic, although filled with precious adventures. Insecurity plagued me through my twenties and thirties. I did so much, college and law school, then a career, but never felt enough. Then, in my mid thirties, I lost my father and that changed my life. Well really, I decided to change my life and I moved back home and started pursuing my passions of criminal justice and writing. 

In my forties, I dealt with infertility and had to reconcile my grief regarding my inability to have a child. Most importantly, I had to reconcile the life I had with what I wanted. And I had to learn to be grateful for everything the universe gave me. I did a lot of therapy and worked on myself.

Now at almost fifty, I am finally able to be me. I know I'm loud. I can take over a room. I need to listen more. Yes, I can be anxious and stressed out. But I'm also positive, supportive and authentic. I am me. Just me. 

There is no other way to be and have it work long term. For years, I tried to be someone else. But now, I'm just me. Call me by whatever name. Juanita, JEM, Jenny, are a few of my monikers, but most of all, I'm just me. 

Now, time for coffee!