bitch face

the smile I give when I walk by a stranger.

I have bitch face when I am out in public alone. Don't worry about making me feel better about this by telling me I don't because I'm learning to be ok with it and that would make it feel worse.

It's really all due to my insane level of shyness. Even smiling in public seems extremely daring to me, and although my outfit and tattoos seem to present a message that I am a bright and center-of-attention-loving person, nothing can be further from the truth.

I end up giving these awkward little smirks when someone smiles or looks at me when I'm out by myself. I used to think I was giving real smiles, until I did the look in front of a mirror. I also think I'm looking cheerful then go into a public restroom and see that I was/am in full bitch-face.

For a long time I freaked out about all this (let's be honest, I still do). But I am learning to remind myself that it doesn't matter what any random stranger thinks of me. I don't have to fake smile, or be bubbly, I can just be my quiet/awkward self.

A few other facts about my alone in public self:

I'm kind of awkward when you talk to me. I will be pleasant, and often funny, but in that dry funny way that can be misinterpreted. On my good days I might even make a comment or two, and in my bad days I will stumble over my simple Americano order at Starbucks.

I say "good lord!" or "shit!" or "fuck!" when I do something ridiculous and klutzy, which usually happens a few times when I am out and several hundred times when I'm home. Watch your children as these words pass uncontrollably out of my mouth in those moments...

I really hate getting comments or questions about my tattoos. Even though this happens nearly every time I go out. Some people mean well. Others are just assholes who think their opinion about my body matters. And then you get the "let me show you all of my tattoos!" people, and that is the worst. 

I now challenge myself to go to coffee alone or sit at a bookshop to look at magazines. These moments are super uncomfortable for me, but they also increase my creativity if I let go of my self-consciousness. I seriously dread it every time, but once I'm there it usually goes ok. Sometimes I will even eat alone in public. Super scary for me but I do eat a few almonds on occasion (still totally believing everyone is looking at me like I'm a pig). Ridiculous.

Thing is, even with all these thoughts racing in my head, I still am doing the stuff that scares the crap out of me. I am realizing that I don't have to listen to all my head rumbles, but that they also don't disappear right away. In fact, they may never disappear, but I can still be the person I want to be.

xoxox, C


ask the boss


Thought I'd share a little question and answer from Ronald. 

Q: Would you ever live in the middle of nowhere?

A: I guess in some ways it depends on how much middle of nowhere we’re talking about. If it’s one of those situations where we live miles away from neighbors, but have grocery stores and what not within reasonable driving distance and we have cable and internet and such, yes absolutely. It would be a bit weird of course, but we’re sort of recluse people anyways. The people we hang out with are usually not our neighbors, so I don’t think we’d miss much. Of course, there’s the scary aspect of living away from resources. I don’t know. It’s an option, but I don’t feel strongly one way or another.

If you mean living in the woods without access to anything “modern” then no. It would be cool for a little bit, but I’m no hunter-gatherer.

I agree completely with Ronald. We totally are recluses, and I'm ok with that. I would love to spend a Summer in the middle of nowhere in a foreign country. It would be so cool to just have quiet and space. Space is at such a premium in the bay area. We are lucky to have a backyard and a bit of privacy. 

I'm not really into the whole American version of country living. Maybe it's just stereotypes, but it seems a bit dreary to me. A coastal town would be awesome though. 


What do you think? Would you live in the middle of nowhere?

xoxox, C



Every morning with breakfast and stiff coffee I buzz to my computer. I scour unimportant tweets on Twitter and Facebook posts from people I haven't talked to in years. Email that are mostly spam but for the one or two lovely notes from friends that could be enjoyed now or later. Somehow I convince myself that this computer-ness is a crucial first-thing activity.

I also turn on the television (usually the only time I watch tv alone). I watch a rerun of Seinfeld or other comedy to dissipate the panic I felt all night from bad dreams. It works mostly.

I did something different this morning. I listened to music and looked through a magazine. I read every bit of it, something I usually don't give myself permission to do as it seems so ridiculous to read one or two page articles instead of a book or blog post. After a bit I turned the music off and just had quiet.

My mind goes boom in the quiet but I'm trying to get used to it. I boom with anxiety, rumble with depression, and even on days when I feel like magic the suicidal thoughts sneak up ever so quickly when there is nothing in my ears but my mind jabber.

This is what makes me realize (funny I still have to "realize") that my depression is a real illness. It isn't a lack of character or will, it isn't lack of ambition or over emotionalism. It is a real medical condition. I so often think it is my fault. I am plagued with guilt.

But this morning in the quiet, when I put down the magazine and just sat there. My heart flicking faster with anxiety, and my mind racing in fear of bad guys and car accidents, I realized it wasn't my fault. The depression, anxiety, tension headaches and weekend plans canceled due to pain. All the days R takes off work, the locking up of pills, and trips to the pharmacy. All the doctor appointments where I was dismissed or told I was imagining things. My lack of a college degree, career, or creative repertoire. All the things in our house, the overbuying, the full car of donates headed to the thrift store, and unpainted rooms...

All of these things weirdly and importantly resemble survival. They mark moments where I chose to stay here. That stupid thing I bought at the thrift store that I now hate, all the m&m's I ate, every single pill I've swallowed, all the extra pillows on our bed to help me sleep, the playlists of sad songs I've listened to for years, and all the scars on my wrists and legs from cutting instead of killing myself-- It all means I have been here, AM here. I'm a fighter and fighters fight.

Fighting sucks, it hurts and bruises, it leaves stains and gets ugly. But I'm here. Still anxious as hell from that quiet moment, but here. Fuck guilt, fuck useless apology, fuck the voice that tells me my life is flawed. My life is mine. It sucks and it's so-so. It's horrible and it's lovely. Sometimes I want to leave it, sometimes I can't imagine anything better than it. And all these thoughts and experiences are perfectly okay.

Love, C


Monterey Day 2: Eat, Drink, and be wavy


Yes, those are my teeth, and I hide them very tactfully in photos. I am just not a fan of them, but I decided to take upside down candid photos of how I reacted when a wave hit me at the beach. It was fun and I laughed quite a bit.

Ronald and I went to eat some junk food for dinner. It was yummy and we had a view of the bay...and booze. Then we went and shared a sundae. It was lovely.

I'll share our last day soon. But for now I need to get ready to go to Ikea. I've been waiting all year so I'm thrilled!

Talk soon!


p.s. I so wish I took that rock that looks like a skull home with me!


Monterey day 1: beach baby

Hi Dolls!

Ronald and I had an amazing time in Monterey last week! As soon as we arrived, he had to leave to teach a class until nine that night, so I had some time to myself. After checking into the hotel, I rushed down to the beach. It was so beautiful! Just thinking of it now, makes me feel all dreamy.

The shore was full of green algae, dead crabs, and chalk like rocks of all sizes. Once I got to the waves the sand looked full of glitter. The water was warmer than I expected and I got soaked up to my knees and wished I packed my bathing suit.

It was the first time, in a very tremendously long time, that I felt like myself and happy. Looking at these pictures I see the spark is back in my eyes. For years I could see something was missing in my eyes, that spark, that lively "I am here" Catherine-ness, and I missed it so. But I can say, ever so apprehensively, that It's back.

I will share more of our trip soon and some of the things I learned and am exploring.

We're back home and some of the sads are here with me. I hate it, but am still powering through. My sleep has been god-awful and I know that is a huge reason I'm feeling down.

But for now, I'm in pjs, watching You've Got Mail after a great long play with the pups in the backyard. I have chores to do (sometimes the habit of cleaning keeps me sane), am working on decorating a bulletin board, and organizing house plans. Then tonight I'll make pasta, and for dessert...watermelon. Which is maybe the only good thing about Summer.

So yes, darlings, life goes on. And sometimes there is wonder...like the ocean. And other times there's shit. But here we go again, and I'm just going to keep. Keep on.

xoxoxox, C


beach is best

Just a little note to let you know the reason it's been quiet around here is that I'm on vacation. R and I are in Monterey (the California one...hehe). We are having so much fun but are heading home tomorrow. I've spent a lot of time noodling on life, resting on the beach, and being with Ronald. Nothing is better than that fella...seriously. I'll share some of our adventures this coming week.

Talk soon! C


and again...

Oh crap. I'm depressed again. The worst part is when I can still remember the good feelings of just last week.

I forced myself out to my cafe' and I feel nothing but self-conscious. The coffee is bland and I don't care about the view. It just doesn't matter, it just hurts.

We are going to Monterey tomorrow through the weekend. Ron is teaching two classes but we have the weekend to ourselves. I was so excited about this trip, but now it's dull. I packed this morning and just feel nothing about it other than trying to remember what to bring.

I want to go back to bed. But even there sleep is an enemy.

I hate depression because it isn't me. I am a lively, excited, passionate person. But when I'm depressed I'm none of those things, in fact, I'm quite the opposite.

I'm so sad right now, because I can still remember what it's like to feel good. Dammit.



Hello Bears,

I've been up since four from fright-mares. My eyeball has a headache, I know, funny, but not.

The kitchen is a mess, and the bright red roses I bought on Sunday are still in a pitcher in the sink. The house is already hot, and little clumps of dog-toy fluff are covering the living room floor.

Ron's working all day and has a meeting tonight. I couldn't figure out a plan for my day last night, which usually leaves me in a panic. And my therapist/psychiatrist, fondly referred to as Dr. K, is leaving the country next week and I will have zero contact with him, even if there is an emergency.

Still, at this moment I'm ok. And that is a very new feeling. I'm enjoying being on the couch in sweatpants, surrounded by the stinky pups. Even though I'm having a pain day already, and a few things are totally devastating me at the moment, I am listening to Stevie Nicks and being myself.

I started being myself, my Real-Catherine-Self a few weeks ago. At least with R. And it has totally changed everything. We are so much closer, we are both happier, we connect and have way more fun. It's amazing and I don't really know what else to say other than that it is revolutionary.

I don't want to tell you to be yourself. Everyone says that, every typography poster says that, but the ease of two words is not the reality at all. It has taken me 30 years to finally let my 'myself' peak out, and I've been trying. I've been in therapy for over eight years with the goal of being myself. And really, I didn't know what 'myself' was for a long fucking time. So goddammit, don't throw 'be yourself' around like it's a little balloon of fun and loveliness. It's hard and awful and scary as shit. But in the end it's totally worth it.

I just want to say being yourself/myself is awesome. It was (and still is) worth the work. And that is revolutionary.

xoxox, C


5 things you may not know about me

1. I wear dresses almost every day. It's to the point that when I wear jeans in public I feel like I'm in pajamas. I love dressing up and feel way more like myself when I do. Of course, as soon as I get home I throw on my favorite sweat pants and tank top. Other than the weekend Ronald really only sees me in sweats, I swear to him that I was dressed up earlier and sometimes take pictures as proof (of course he doesn't care either way).

2. Speaking of Ronald, he was the first fella to tell me he liked me and my first boyfriend. I totally lucked out with this dude and am so happy that he has a crush on me. ;)

3. I have really bad sleep apnea. It's pretty common for people with fibromyalgia. When I did my sleep study I found out that I stopped breathing once every 60 seconds! I wear a CPAP mask every night (I know...sexy), but I feel so much better even though it is annoying.

4. My middle name is spelled differently on my birth certificate than I actually spell it. On my birth certificate it is spelled Renee, and I learned to spell it René. Sort of weird, but I guess the government makes typos too.

5. I would be totally happy to eat Mexican food every day. It's so yummy! We have a great Mexican restaurant a few miles from us and I crave their food constantly, they have the best carnitas with a super spicy lime sauce.


What are five things I don't know about you??

xoxox, and happy Monday, C



Watching: Seinfeld reruns, Band of Brothers-- for the millionth time (still good), The Leftovers, Tyrant, and movies here and there.
Reading: Julia Child's My Life in France (love it!), The Paris Review. I want to get all the back issues of The Paris Review but they are $20 each (or more). Scouring Ebay...
Listening to: A cover of Too Tough to Die by The Twilight Singers, Stop Draggin' My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty, and my comp of French music (writing music).
Thinking about: Writing, and nightmares, and all the dresses in my closet.
Making: Lots of salads, vegan protein shakes.
Planning: Baking homemade oreos, our trip to Monterey next week, and maybe a trip to Amsterdam at the end of the year!
Feeling: Shy. Sleepy. Mad. Excited. Worried. Creative.
Loving: Bourbon nightcaps (Sazerac mostly). Watching the pups play outside in the morning. Writing even though it sucks too because it's so hard. Using the envelope system for our budget (saved so much this week!). My hair which is finally really long, so happy I resisted the urge to chop it all off. New connections with blog friends!
Looking forward to: Date with R tomorrow and getting to dress up (even if it's just for the movies), spending hours on the beach next week, and eating watermelon.
Feel free to join in with your own Currently post! If you do comment with the link!
xoxox, C


I'll be alive when all of this is over

Henri Matisse 

Volcano Choir

Shed skin, for kin.
I'll be alive when all this is over.
When all of us are sober.
Shed skin, with kin.
I could lead you over,
I'll see you in the clover darling.
I'll be here, dancin on the footsteps,
Out here in the beach house, out here in the cold air.
Shed skin, like a master.
How have past and, comin down.


habits and rabbits


I've been tilling and planting habits like there's no tomorrow. I'm at a place where I have enough energy to think of more than surviving. It is pretty fantastic. I thought I would share a few of the habits I've been developing.

1. Always do the kindest thing-

This is something that I actually love doing. It isn't always easy, but I try to show the people around me love all the time. I do this often with strangers. When at the market I ask if someone needs help, or drop of an elderly persons cart for them. I also try to do this with my friends and family. I send and email or note, show up when I say I will (as much as I am able), and really listen and do my best to understand and support.

2. Be present-

This is super hard for me. I am a genius at staying distracted (something I've used as a coping mechanism for years), so being here, right now, is so hard. I think of where I am and just take in my surroundings and experience, I remind myself that in that moment I am ok. I try to do it once a day. Sometimes it's a total fail, but sometimes it works. Today it is a fail as I sat in the cafe' with my mint tea and looked out the window...all I could think of was blogging!

3. Healthy living-

I have cut a lot of carbs and sugar from my diet. I've lost some weight but more importantly I feel a lot more energetic. We only have dessert once a week and I don't really snack. Snacking works for a lot of people, but it just makes me ravenous. I eat three meals a day, and stay hydrated. I also go for walks when my pain level allows. Something I really need to do more. I love walking and want to jog one day.

4. Do-

I'm a great planner. I can write lists and plan elaborately and wonderfully. The thing is, I suck at actually doing the thing I am planning. The word 'implement' has been floating around in my head and I am realizing I have to do in order to live the life I want. It's been working too! I am writing a lot, I have submitted two poems in hope of getting published, and I am gardening like a fool (a happy fool).

5. Simple living-

R and I are doing a giant purge of our house. We are simplifying so much and it feels great! The more I get rid of, the more I realize I don't actually need. On the weekend R and I usually work on a home project, and once a week I do a house walk through where I grab anything I don't love and put it in a donate box. I just don't want to have anything in our house that we don't love. I'm also simplifying my beauty routine (goodbye concealer!), our finances, and my wardrobe.


So this is progress and it is so nice to be moving forward. What are some of your good habits? What are some habits you want to make or break?

Love, C


pup notes


A lot has changed in the last few months. I am on a new anti-depressant that seems to really help me have energy and a pinch of hope at times. I'm also off an anti-depressant that my doctor has tried to ween me off of for years. It usually resulted in me becoming actively suicidal so he would decide to put me back on it. This time I was able to ride out the crazy mood swings that lasted over a month, and I am feeling a lot less tired and more alive.

It's great knowing we are making progress in my health, but I also know I have to make progress on my own.

I've spent a lot of time alone this year. I rarely see anyone other than R (of course) and my therapist. I just got to a point where seeing people was too much. I wasn't myself around them, I would get so emotionally drained I would end up having a panic attack on the drive home, even if the visit was happy and light. So I let myself be ok with isolating. Usually I would panic when I didn't want to see people, knowing it was my depression taking a bigger foothold in my life. But this time, I knew it was my choice to take some time off, I knew it was for a reason, even if that reason wasn't clear at first.

These last six months have taught me that it's ok to be lonely. I am a lonely person. I think my childhood was so lonely and it was so ingrained in me that I may never not feel lonely. I don't say this in a defeatist way, but in an attempt to accept it and to recognize that even if I feel lonely, it doesn't mean I am alone.

The biggest thing I have learned is how to keep myself company. For the most part I really dislike myself, and in the past when I was alone, or facing my thoughts and feelings, I would run. I would get out of the house, I would go see someone, I would sleep. I did this for years, maybe my whole life. It got so bad that any time I was home alone and not sleeping or with Ron, I would get suicidal. It was terrifying and I thought there was no solution.

Then I don't know how or when exactly, but I just faced it. I forced myself to stay home, to not take a nap, to not tune out. One of the things that gets me through the most is talking to myself. I actually talk to the dogs, but in reality I'm talking to myself. I talk through everything I am doing, I talk to the dogs as if they were my kids. I don't really care if it seems strange, because it has made me see how I am ok on my own.

I also decided to treat the dogs as if they were my kids in my actions. I don't want to treat them just like dogs, I don't want to get frustrated with them. They are animals and they don't know what I want, I need to realize that and treat them as such. In this way I also learned how to have compassion for myself.

I started reading books on dogs and their behavior, not training books, just interesting books. I also make them treats, interact with them constantly, and rarely raise my voice. I've learned ways to get their attention without yelling. I've learned how to work with Cricket (who was abused during her puppy months before we adopted her) in a way that works for us both. In all these things I have drawn parallels to my own life. I have learned to not yell at my inner self, to not be frustrated with the thoughts I have, to realized how my past has affected me, and much like Cricket, I have a lot of fear that influences my behavior and must be overcome.

My dogs have made me choose to not kill myself many times. They know when I'm low, they know when I am going to self-harm, they know when I'm having a panic attack. They come over for a snuggle and Amelia looks at me with her dow eyes, and I choose to stay. And now they aren't just saving me in the worst moments, but they are changing my life for the better all the time. Teaching me how to care for myself through caring for them (plus they get spoiled so it's a bonus!). I am so lucky to have them, I can't say it enough.

The girls (as we call them) are currently outside with me rummaging under the deck, racing through the dirt, and barking at nothing. It's a good morning. I seriously adore them. Our wild bunch of barkers and snugglers, our jumpers and foodies, our shedders and mess makers. They are the best.

xoxox, C


marigolds are dreamy

Hi Loves,

It's morning and R and I are camped out in the living room with the pups. I feel tired and sore (went for a walk yesterday and my fibro is not at all happy about it). Today (and the weekend) is for home projects. We have so much to do and our main project now is setting up one of our spare rooms as a dressing room for me. I'm really excited but even more overwhelmed.

The room hasn't been painted since probably the 60s when the house was first built. I know...it's gross. Oh, but we are painting the room pale pink (hooray!). We have lived here for six years but those rooms have never been a priority. We have been too busy putting in air conditioning, new electrical, windows/doors, and renovating the main living space. This house is crazy...that's kind of all I can say. I both love it and hate it because all the things we need to do are constantly on my mind. It's exhausting.

But then I adore the house. We live in an awesome area, I really love the parts we have renovated, I love how we live beneath a hill all tucked away, and it's ours which is really a great feeling.

Having the little container garden outside has really helped this year. I love looking out the kitchen window at all my plants, and taking care of them. I've probably talked about gardening too much on here, but I love it! Also, I realized this week that Marigolds smell absolutely dreamy.

This week I spent a lot of time at my little French cafe' writing and drinking fresh lemonade. I organized like a champ, did all the laundry (so unlike me), and watched Jaws and Alfred Hitchcock movies.

What did you do this week?

Love, C


home is where the pastel is

Somehow all my collections have turned pastel. I love it, and am so glad R is ok with pink pillowcases, vintage toys, and floral everything in the house! At least he has his bar of bourbon in the living room (even that has three small vases of flowers on it). Oh darling, I'm sorry. You are the best!

xoxox, C



It's july (really!). We are half way through the year!

I have a cold and am having the worst time sleeping. I woke at 4:30 this morning so happy because my dreams were incredibly scary. I feel like I am running on zero sleep.

Even though I was the most exhausted person I took myself on a bit of a date this morning. I went to Wal-Mart (I know...classy) to get a few deals, then I went to my favorite little cafe' and had a quick lunch.

I ordered a fresh lemonade (best!), coffee in a bowl, and a mini-BLT sandwich. I sat at one table, then moved to another, then switched chairs (I always do this). I looked outside and tried to be present and aware. To really see the people walking by, the architecture of the fancy market across the street, and the little trees full of magenta flowers. It was hard because I don't let myself do that, I find I keep going, and doing-doing-doing-doing, because slowing down brings up a lot of emotions for me. But that isn't how I want to live my life, so I'm trying to change it.

On the way home I stopped at Trader Joe's and bought a two huge bunches of dahlias that are now waiting in the kitchen sink.

It's been a while since my last post. I've been going through a lot. I have been writing and am about to submit my first poems to a magazine to see if I can get published (terrified!). I read a super inspiring interview of the poet Henri Cole in the Paris Review. I had never heard of him but he seems fascinating. The way he talks about poetry and his process of writing is so like mine, and I felt ok with how I do things. It was so refreshing! Over the weekend I shared snips of the article with Ronald. I was so excited I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. When things like this happen, I know I am a writer. I know writing is what I have to do.

Writing is an extremely/irritatingly emotional process for me. Writing half a page can take all the wind out of my sails for a day or more. This makes me avoid writing altogether somedays, but usually it comes to me anyway. I get a line in the shower, or while I'm driving and there I am--writing again, like a sucker. But it's my thing, and that scares me. But it's my thing, and that fills me.

So here goes I and here goes me, and all the words I wrapped and ruttered. I think I like the way words sound, more than what they mean...Meaning is good too, but sound- that's best.

Anyway, I am having a new blog design installed in the next day or so. The new look is really simple and modern, can't wait for you to see it!

I wish I could give you a flower and love note just for reading. Thanks for being here.