Tag Archives: Friendship

Where In The World?

I know I’ve been MIA. Radio Silent. Covert Ops. On the DL.


And I’m still busy. So this will be brief.

I’m opening a business. A massage clinic to be exact. I’ve never been prouder of any professional accomplishment in my life, and it isn’t even open yet. I eat almost every daytime meal while driving, and am so busy that I have to put things in my calendar like, “pick up the children”, but I’m close to reaching this pretty exciting goal. And like most achievements, I’ve been helped along the way. So this is my Oscar speech.

Thanks to Laura Danker for meeting with me early on, and guiding me towards the right business structure. Thanks to Adam Schwartz for urging me to Keep. It. Simple. To Rob Ferrier for referring me to a lawyer, and to Chrissy for referring me to another lawyer. To the guy from Century Link for waiving all those charges, and to Ann at the City for pushing my paperwork through. Thanks to the guy at the bank that told me I needed an EIN. Thanks to Becca for being a wonderful sounding board during a confusing time in my life. Thanks to Dennis Pepe, Sandy Anderson, and Christopher Yellen for sharing a bit of their own business experience with me. Thanks to Greg B. for the heads up regarding what to expect from the inspection (and for being surprisingly accessible), and to my personal “investigator” with the city, who is going to also become a client. Thanks to the 27 people that I spoke to at the Arizona Corporations Commission, all who helped me with my LLC drama. To my landlords for being so freaking cool and easy going, and for not making fun of my measuring tape. Thanks to my close friends for checking in with me on a regular basis and letting me blab. Thanks to my husband for agonizing over the lease, day after day, night after night, and for attempting to obtain his law degree in like, one week and on top of it all making everything pretty and for dealing with all my freak outs and emotions. Thanks to Lynda Skinner for, well, for being Lynda Skinner and asking me, “what can I do to help you, what do you need?” and to Joseph Lauricella, who always and forever has by back and calls me on my crap, just a like a brother should. Thank you to the girl at TJ Max that saved me $30. Seriously. That was cool. Thanks a million trillion to Jody, Marji and Joseph for writing me the most beautiful letters of recommendation that I’ve ever read, even though they are the busiest people that I know, and for doing it TWICE in a very short time frame. Thanks to Edie for making my props and BEING my prop, and to Deb Kortyna for hooking me up with her Insurance guy/husband. Thanks to my leasing agent for teaching me….well…a lot of things that I will tuck away for another day. Thanks for Beverly Giroud for telling me years ago that I have the ability to succeed on my own and for letting me use her space when I desperately needed too, and to Jennifer Moulton for the microwave and friendship. Thanks to Dave G. for the most beautiful and meaningful piece of furniture for the clinic, and to his beautiful wife for the Obi’s. Thanks to Cori for offering us her support and expertise, and for being understanding when we chose a different path. Thanks to Allissa Haines for sharing her easy going business model with me, and for unknowingly giving me some advice that made me go it solo. Thanks to all of my clients that have been bounced around between treatment spaces this past year, and for tolerating it all with patience and genuine well wishes. Thanks to Jill Dolan for ALLLLLL the advice that John and I so desperately needed, both legal and personal. Thank you to John W. for telling me I could and should do this when a lot of people were telling me I shouldn’t. Thanks to Clau for the filing cabinets. Thanks to all the people that are coming to my put it together party, and to the three therapists that are taking this leap with me right out of the gate. And thanks to my Mom and Step Dad for believing in me so much that they have helped me get this off the ground with a loan that I can’t wait to pay back.

And that’s all before the doors even open.



Filed under All of them.

There’s Something About Erica.

In 1994, things were not looking good for me. For one, my hair was really, really, really big-so as to make my nose appear smaller comparatively. I dressed in clothing that was 8-10 times larger than my actual size-so as to deflect attention away from my butt, which these days would be called “bootylicious” by really ridiculous people, but I believe it to be my second major physical flaw. I lived in a studio apartment that was crawling with ants, and buzzing with flies, not because I was disgusting (alright, maybe I was a little disgusting), but because the building was quite old and dilapidated. Years later it would burn to the ground, which I have always imagined as something that happened quickly, since it was the true definition of a tinder box.

I lived alone, and unlike years later when I yearned to be alone, this was my “close-to-slitting-my-wrists- I’m-so-depressed” age, so being alone was brutal for me. I was knee deep in therapy, chain smoking to keep myself busy, and mostly eating my food out of a can. This clearly was not my finest moment, and I imagine that any person that was watching me during this phase, watched me with great relief that it was not, in fact, their own life they were observing.

This too, was the time in my life where I met my dear friend, Erica. You all got to know her (unless, of course, you already did know her…lucky bastards) last week when she cracked open her rib cage so she could pour her heart into her guest blog post. But I met her almost 20 years ago, and it stands alone as a relationship that brought me great joy in the midst of terrible emotional pain, and internal struggle.

Talk about hair! Good god, have you SEEN her hair? Well, in 1994 it was delightful, and so, of course, was she. We both had the great misfortune of working for a horrible mother fucking asshole (I’m being nice, actually) that owned and operated a local gas station and ice cream stand. I ran the register and sold beer to all the alcoholics, and cigarettes to myself and the working man. I saw so many men in Dickies during this time in my life that I have always despised the trend they became later. Anyway, Erica scooped and served the shit out of some ice cream, and also kept me company.

She’s younger than I am, and so I would hear all about her high school life while we listened to music together, and I chain smoked. We shared a love for music and singing, which is something I shared with very few people. Erica knew of me before she met me. She knew that I was a singer, and so the day she asked me if I liked Tori Amos and I rolled my eyes and said something terribly snarky, Erica planted her feet and told me I was a ridiculous fool. She said it the way Erica says things, which is hard to explain (she has a way…trust me… she’s like a character that’s been written so clearly in books, but she’s real!) and it cracked me the hell up. And anyone that knows me ought to know that if you crack me up? I will love you forever.

Unless you’re an asshole.

This story is longer, but I’m keeping it mine. I left the gas station eventually, and left New York. I moved around, and lost touch with many people, including Erica. I wasn’t around when Jenna died, and although I heard about what happened I didn’t insert myself back in Erica’s life and offer my help. I told myself then that it would seem voyeuristic, or insincere, but to tell you the truth, what happened to Jenna, and Erica, and Janice, and Bruce…to all the friends and family…was too horrible for me to know how to be what I thought she needed. How terribly naïve I was! I would give anything to go back in time and at the very least, send her a card so she knew how often I thought of her, and how deeply I cared. I was a coward.

All these years later, when I saw Erica again it was like no time had passed. She got off the plane fabulous, sharp, funny, and self aware. It was love at first (or I suppose, second) sight, I think. She’s a fixture in my life, and someone that I will know and love forever. It’s a powerful force, friendship. She’s one of the truest people I know. I feel both fiercely protective of her, and incredible humbled by her at the same time. Plus, she brings the funny. And that HAIR!

For the next few weeks, my dear friend will be my guest blogger. She has stories to tell…things to share, and I want to read them. I have a feeling that you want to read them, too. So, I am trusting you with my friend, and I know you will be kind and loving. And then, Sugar Snap Me will be back. Back and ready for action! In the meantime, enjoy my friend, and what she’s chosen to share. It takes a lot to share yourself, and I’m so grateful that she has.



Filed under Women and friendship.

Ode To Tucson.

My first night in Tucson I slept in the trunk of my car. Well, technically, I slept both in the trunk of my car and the back seat, but it was darker in the trunk, so my head was there. This girl’s all about comfort. Thor and I left Santa Fe with the intention of getting to Tucson in time for dinner, but let’s just say that when traveling with someone like Thor, you get held up by frequent stops at places that fill them with wonder and delight, when in fact, they are just really shitty rest stops in the middle of nowhere. But to Thor, well, he tended to find something to marvel at everywhere we were, even if it was a simple a discarded shoe in the middle of the road. Actually, Thor had a few items of clothing that he wore all the time that were retrieved from the middle of the road. That’s just how he rolled. Once he actually found a sick bird on the side of the road and spent weeks trying to nurse it back to health. It was weird.

That first night in the car was pretty awful. Thor assured me that he had chosen a safe neighborhood, and now, years later, I know that it was a safe neighborhood. It was the Sam Hughes neighborhood, a lovely residential area filled with coveted historic homes. But at the time, considering what Thor thought was beautiful, I was convinced we were in the ghetto. He would have loved the ghetto. (He had his gun after all.) And truth be told, I didn’t want to be in Tucson. I wanted to be back in Santa Fe, where I was just beginning to enjoy my life, and meet people that I wanted to stay in my life. But this was a difficult age for me. I was still very much a follower, and it was easy for me to prioritize Thor’s goals over mine, since mine seemed so insignificant and unclear, and his seemed, like, totally groovy, man.

Actually, he had no goals. Hmmm. I may need to rethink my reasoning.

And then there was Tucson. I resisted Tucson like a junkie resists getting clean. For a long time, I just wouldn’t—couldn’t—commit to a life here. I talked often about where I would move and spoke poorly of Tucson. I did this for at least 13 years. So, why am I still here? I tried to leave, once. Well, I didn’t just try to leave, John and I actually left. We packed all our stuff, shoved it in a Penske truck and drove it all the way to Cleveland after being lured there by a recent, perfectly timed visit, which occurred right at the peak of fall. Seriously. I know you’re probably thinking how the fuck can Cleveland, Ohio lure anyone away from anywhere? But after years in the desert, we were yearning for grass, foliage, and water. One drive through the city of Cleveland Heights on a beautiful, crisp, sunny fall day, with gold, red, and orange leaves gently falling on a red brick road in Little Italy and . . . sweet mamajama—we were sold.

We left four months later. Drawn away from the really, really, really fucking cold weather.

Even after that, until this past year, I still spent hours online and with books like Cities Ranked and Rated or Top 100 Small Art Towns, researching cities. And then, suddenly, I woke up to the reality of my life in this city. I’m not sure why it took so long. Maybe because my brain is really small?

Really. My brain is so, so small. The children ate it.

The appeal of Tucson is based on the contrast between the ugly and the beautiful, and how they mingle. At first glance, you see an enormous amount of dirt, rocks, and pavement, weird plants, crumbling buildings, tagged walls, rusted iron, trash, lots and lots of trash, and questionable people walking the streets, or begging for money. And the sun. SIPNEL! The sun! It burns the eyes!

But it’s the kind of place that requires that you look closer. Once you do, you begin to see the sparkle. Once your eyes adjust to the light, that is. The mosaic bench in the middle of a poor urban area, the iron artwork taking up an entire yard that at first glance looks like discarded junk, but upon closer inspection reveals an incredible, large, complex found-art installation.

It seems obvious to most people that the mountains make this city beautiful, but it is so easy to forget them! We spend so much time driving through the city (no easy interstate access), fighting traffic, or being blinded by the sun that we forget to look up and out. When I remember to do that, I still gasp at the sight of them. Still, the beauty of the desert can be hard for people to understand. If you don’t live here, it’s easy to only see the dirt and dust. But I’m always struck by things like the seeming impossibility of desert life. How can things grow so heartily here? It’s mindblowing to me that in a place that is so dry, and in earth that is so hard and rock filled, so many things can grow, survive, and thrive. It’s both alarmingly beautiful and mystifying. Even when plants die here its alarmingly beautiful and mystifying!

And how could I not mention the weather? It’s really fucking hot. And yes, it’s a dry heat. Let’s get this right out of the way: dry heat is better. On a recent trip back east, I had the chance to experience the high eighties with 100 percent humidity, and I actually believed I would die. Or at the very least, manage to have a bad hair day even without having much hair at all. Things that shouldn’t be moist were, well, really freaking moist. I think that my eyeballs actually became sweaty. So, yes. It’s better here. The seasons are different in that we don’t really have a fall that appears to be fall. What we do have is really amazing weather in the fall which makes it all better. And occasionally you have people who send you things like this:

So, really, we don’t miss much. After 17 years of winter in upstate New York, I can say with conviction that I would hands down rather bitch about the sun than have to drive down a snowy road wondering at which second I may hit a patch of black ice and careen into a tree.

People are surprised to learn that Tucson is so large. It is. It’s huge. But it’s also tiny. I can’t go anywhere in this city without seeing someone I know. I could be 40 minutes from my home and still see someone that I know. In fact, we were in Phoenix a few weeks ago and . . . you guessed it . . . I saw someone that I know. As someone said to a national news outlet just after the mass shooting last year, there aren’t even six degrees of separation here. If we are separated at all, it’s not by much. Which is why, I think, the shooting in January felt so personal. There seemed to be a collective gasp from the entire city, and a flood of . . . Oh, I don’t know, a kind of instant familial feeling amongst all of us.

There are a lot of Tucson natives here, but it’s also full of people from elsewhere. In Santa Fe, I would meet someone one week and they would be gone the next. This happened at least thirty times while I was there. Eventually, I found myself sticking to friends I already had history with, knowing that they weren’t gonna go anywhere, and if they did, I would pretty much know where they were going, so I could stalk them. Forever. Anyway, it was the most transient community I have ever lived in. I know now that I could never have built a life there. I know this now mostly because of the kind of life I have built here. And this is where the real reason for loving this city comes in: the people. Good God! It’s an explosion of nice people! It could have happened anywhere, sure. But it happened here, and I, for one, am grateful it did. Suddenly I find my life so full. Full of friends. And support like I’ve never experienced. People who care about the community, local business, art, music, family, books . . . they are all up in my life! I love it! I realize that there are nice, interesting people everywhere if you look hard enough, but here they seem to be the majority! And they are shockingly unpretentious and open.

Years ago, I went back home to central New York for a visit, and while grocery shopping, I behaved as I do in Tucson: looking people in the eye, smiling, occasionally speaking to people (or trying to), being aware of my space as I make my way through the grocery store . . . Just generally being really annoying. What I found was that I was the odd one out: no one else looked around, no one looked happy, and not one person seemed to sense when there was another person in their vicinity. They all seemed to be experiencing some sort of hell. Either that or they were all stoned on pain medication and unable to move their facial muscles. Whatever the reason, it totally threw me off and woke me up at the same time. How lucky I am to live here, in a place where people are present and thoughtful, and where I’m never alone. How nice to finally be able to call Tucson my home.


Filed under Confessions., Women and friendship.