And so here we are, with another “biohazard,” another autobiographical post–a dangerous and perhaps ridiculous preoccupation for someone in their late sixties. What prompts it? Celebrating a grey day, maybe, and also, a mixture of feelings both sad and celebratory, triggered by the process of cleaning up duplicates and old files on my trusty computer. A kind of archeology for someone still alive…
Also, prompted by two conversations with friends, one a zoom conversation yesterday morning with my friend in France and the other today, with a new friend who lives just a few blocks away. Oh, and an email this morning from someone who pulled song lyrics I’d co-written in 2004 with Puanani Rogers, from a box in the Richard Kekuni Blaisdell Hawaiian National Archive.
My friend Mickey exclaimed at one point, “You’re so accomplished!” (She is immensely accomplished herself.) Well, that made me feel good, and yet there’s a kind of bitterness with hearing that as some people that I used to be closest with never really acknowledged my abilities and value, and my efforts to “pull my weight” somehow, someway, in spite of my being confined (literally) by almost 35 years of environmental illnesses and chronic fatigue; my constant pursuit of education to better myself and my ability to make meaningful, creative, and helpful contributions to this weird world of ours, whether through volunteerism, activism, writing, client work, teaching, and a variety of other things. Where I have a passion, I contribute as much as I can.
So maybe this post is not just an archeology but an exorcism of those who are corrosive and envious: y’all can go fuck off, and you know who you are! Cause I can’t stop, won’t stop, and fucking love NOT STOPPING with growing, even if it is in a little fragrance-free hothouse of a life. You think I’m hard work? That’s because you’ve never acknowledged the work that I did, the work I still do.
I’ve had a lot of passions in my life, a few major epiphanies, and some really out there mystical experiences. Some of what I picture in this blog post will reflect some of those while this particular blog reflects my occult and mystical interests. I am not the first person to have a wide array of interests and I won’t be the last. Some people, however, just can’t handle this.
Let’s be slightly chronological (though ignoring the passions of my teen years). Start with adulthood.
Punk Fashion Design
San Francisco, late 70s-early 80s. Made clothes and purses. Put on fashion shows. Still in good health. Below left, flyer for my first fashion show, at the Mabuhay. Below right, photo shoot with Jaen Anderson for Slick Magazine. Model Shellagh is behind me.
Feminist Outer Space Exploration
San Francisco, mid-80s. The result of my first epiphany. Co-founded a non-profit to promote women’s involvement in outer space exploration. We put on educational programs and I did some writing. Meanwhile I also worked at a public opinion research and consulting firm and got married in 1985. Still in good health. Below left, flyer for The Hypatia Cluster. Below right, speaking at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, CA.
In a Band
The Vague, San Francisco, mid-1980s, before childrearing. Still in good health. Our last gig was the Polk Street Merchants cable car celebration. We “opened” for Tony Bennett (“I Left My Heart in San Francisco”). Below left, photo by Billy Douglas. My (now ex) husband is second from left. Below right, New Years Eve, 1983, Club Foot. (Photo probably also by Billy Douglas.)
Start a Business
Started a furniture finishing business with husband, in San Francisco, mid to late 1980s. I learned faux finishes, gilding, and glazing at the Day Studio Workshop. And here’s where I became exposed to paints and solvents which would eventually make me ill. Some of my sample boards are still shown on the company’s website, but without crediting me for the artwork.
Start a Family
My children were born in 1989 and 1996. I began to show signs of environmental illness during my first pregnancy. Since I couldn’t work in the shop anymore, I worked at home doing the bookeeping while caring for the kids.
Environmental Health Activism
San Francisco, early to late 1990s, President and later a board member of the Environmental Health Network of CA. Very sick with multiple chemical sensitivity/environmental illness while also raising children, volunteering at their nursery schools, etc. With the help of the disability students office, I also was able to complete the University of San Francisco’s Development Director certificate program in 1997. I wore masks in public long before the pandemic. Below left, my decorated respirator. Below right, detail from an EHN hat.
It was one of those epiphanies. It was mystic. It was unsettling. It changed my life. What else can I say? My oldest was in Waldorf School, for which I am apparently never to be forgiven.
And Then, Another Epiphany… Hawai’i Nei
The year 2000. My life was upended by this trip to Maui, all expenses paid (below left). I was scared to go because I was so sick. But I went. Yes, the hotel and beach were lovely, but I was beset by a feeling of homecoming (I know, it seemed ridiculous to me then also) and also sensing spirits of the land. And I felt physically great! It changed my life. Of course I became obsessed when I got back to the San Francisco Bay Area, learning all I could about culture, history, sovereignty…. I even made Waldorf style tabletop puppets and gave shows at the nursery schools.
Above left, a protest song co-written with the awesome activist kupuna, Puanani Rogers from Kaua’i, back in 2004. Above right, one of ten pages of Hawaiian language newspapers that I transcribed for the Ike Ku’oko’a Initiative around 2012 or so. I was one of about 6,500 volunteers. I would gladly do this transcription work again–it was so interesting!!!
Sexology & Hypnosis
The letters after my name spell “mid-life crisis.” I was desperate to find a way to earn a living. I went back to school, earning two degrees in human sexuality (DHS and Ed.D.) and went through hypnosis certification trainings. I did stuff.
My background and contributions to sexology and hypnotism (such as they are) may be found on my professional websites.
There’s lots more, but I think I’ll end with my books.
Author of Books
This has been an interesting exercise in self-soothing. And no, that’s not “all there is,” as I was once asked, long ago. ‘Nuff said.