Drunken Drafts

Names are important.
Hi! My name is “Annemarie”. No hyphen, no space, no capital. Annemarie.
I was named after my maternal grandmother, “Anne”, and my paternal grandmother, Marie. 
We’ll get to the quotations in a moment.

My maternal grandmother, “Anne”, experienced the loss of her own mother when she was only 11. 
She was the youngest of three and as the only remaining female in the home, was put in charge of raising her father and two older brothers.
“Anne” had five children of her own, never had a career, and went to bed at 5pm whilst her husband was working 2 jobs to support the brood.
Her children, including my own mother, would make dinner and serve her sandwiches in bed.
She, in my opinion, did not want children.
It was discovered when she was in her 80s, that her given name was Anna and preferred the less Eastern European (read “Pollack”) Anne.
As such, she chose to be called Anne.

My paternal grandmother, Marie, had six children and was committed to a mental institution twice (from my count but of course, it is still not openly spoken of with my father even after what you are about to read) for what is now understood to have been postpartum depression.
She died in her 60s of colon cancer that was advanced enough once discovered, to lead to multiple surgeries wherein parts of her lower intestine were removed. 
But hey, at least they caught the crazy right?
Her youngest son, and my father’s closest brother, was diagnosed as bi-polar or “manic depressive” and sadly took his own life in his 40s.
To my knowledge, she chose to be called Marie her entire life.

Now it comes to my early days as “Annemarie”.
I was in first grade and my magnificent teacher (all are magnificent in their own way but she was truly amazing) Ms. Bjornsen – nicknamed me Annie.
And it stuck.
I have been more Annie than I have ever been “Annemarie”. 
And yet…. I’ve known since I was young, a pre-teen, that I did not want children. I was able to choose that path, unlike “Anne” or Marie.

Coincidentally, my middle name is Julia.
Same as my mother and her mother before her.
I wish it was my first name.
I wish my nickname was “Jules”.
That is what my husband calls me, affectionately.

So we come to it. When I eat my own words and revise.
Names are not important. 
They are all encompassing and also so fleeting as to not matter.
I hope you like yours and that if you don’t, you claim one you do.
I hope that the world spells it fucking right.

To old relics…

Check check….
HA! It’s still here. I just read my Luci post and damn that shit hit hard. 
Crying, the whole works.

Never thought I would revisit this but more and more I find myself (as many do in these wild and crazy times) returning to things, people, habits that make us happy.
Stars know we need it.

Not entirely sure where to begin so I’ll just go for it.
Is it shitty that the pandemic has brought about some of the best months of my life? Forced isolation has brought with it a clarity I have been seeking for a long time.
I now realize why I was anxious to see certain people, to go some places, to partake in some activities.
They were shit really, and only brought me down.

Saying no is something I have always struggled with. The anxiety surrounding the very idea of saying no to any event always seemed so insurmountable, not worth the effort and certainly sure to launch an indelible sense of guilt that would cling to me straight though to the end of said event. Then I would say yes and realize for the hours, days, weeks, months leading up to the event that I was a total asshole. I said yes and didn’t mean it, I should want to do this, I should want to participate, I should be excited. All this shoulding would make me feel shitty. It was shitty to the people, places, things that I said yes to – that I was there and fretting the entire time. It was shitty to myself – putting unnecessary stress on an already anxiety addled mind. 

Isolation has forced habits, new and old, to rise to the surface; making me more productive, leaner, healthier, more mentally stable and confident all because seriously – what’s the fucking point. Life is short, live it. Say “fuck all” and do what we need to do to make the world a better place, do the shit that makes you happy. Damn the man.

By the way, we can’t let the USPS die, we can’t let it be killed. We can’t let that psychotic, racist bastard win. Buy some stamps and send some letters to your reps and senators, sign the petitions and for f**ck’s sake vote in 79 days. Please and thank you.


Day Ones

Seriously, how many of these things do we get in our lifetime? First day of school, a new job, marriage, pregnancy (blech! this is a hard pass for me). Day one of a new diet, a new workout routine, blah, blah, blah, blah blah.

*this draft was saved on 8/12/2015. Funny how five years (fucking brilliant song) and 4 days later… I find myself starting anew here. Might as well post this little blip of a blog entry.


An Open Letter About (My) Fears

I have ruminated a lot about the infallible human dichotomy. The inescapable contradiction of human nature – that our lives are significantly insignificant. We can have profound impact on other people in our lives, on the world around us. Our everyday decisions dictate what our individual carbon footprint is, our impact on the earth’s increasingly fragile ecosystem. Our words can significantly affect how those around us see the world, see themselves, treat each other and themselves. We have friends and family around us that rely on us in some way, and in turn – are there to be relied upon. We support each other in this life and we each take something form the other – be it positive or negative, moral or financial – we all give and take and have incredible effects on those around us. All of these significant effects are profound, and amazing, and rewarding – yet at the end of our lives the universe is still expanding, the sun is still dying and our lives on this remote planet are just as equally insignificant. It is all in the details, in how we choose to see our lives and our successful and positive impacts and our defeats. It is in how we deal with the lows to better appreciate the highs.
With this in mind I have decided to write an open letter to clear up some confusion about my fears.
My husband and I are very lucky. At the ages of 30 & 31 we were able to choose to quit our jobs to travel for several months and now find ourselves back home in Michigan facing some pretty big decisions. Some small decisions end up making huge impacts on our lives. Choosing to take the job at Circuit City after college instead of the job at Kohl’s (I graduated in 2006 when there were so many college grads flooding the market that most of us were lucky to have a choice of two retail jobs) led to my meeting my split apart whom I have now been happily married to for almost eight years. Some big decisions lead to epic failures or totally quiet and small successes that end up just being a shrug of the shoulders that we just need to move on from to better prepare for the next part of our lives. Right now it feels that we have some big choices to make. We need to decide where we want to be, what city, what state, what country. We need to settle on and decide to invest in one of the many passions we have and open a business. Our goal is ultimately to be able to work for ourselves and to work together. That’s it. We’ve had two jobs in our eight years where we worked together and we were happy to see each other throughout the day, we were happy to drive in to work and home together. But ultimately – we have decided that money is not everything, and working together for someone else, in a job that we find unfulfilling will not make us happy. We want to be happy and that will only come when we are working together in our own business or businesses.
In our pursuit to sort out our thoughts and clarify what our choices are over the past month or so, we have enlisted the help of my father. He is a realtor and we figured we could seek some real estate advice from him. It has not been so successful. I have had a trying relationship at times with him. I have come to recognize that we are both equally at fault for the trying part of the relationship. Every relationship is made of equal measures – each person puts in fifty percent – it is always fifty percent – it’s just what each person puts in that can make it feel like such a burden or such a blessing. It may have been a mistake to ask him for help and to entrust him with our secret little planning – but in reality it has kind of turned out exactly as we expected it would so maybe we never allowed it to be anything but a mistake in choosing to enlist his help and seek his advice since we knew what we were getting into. Say la vie. I’m over it. However, today we picked him up from the the airport after a two week stint down in Florida to celebrate his 70th birthday and to get away from the gray Michigan winter. We housesat for him for 16 days, cared for his dog and cat and cleared feet of snow from his ridiculously long driveway. On the way back he treated us to lunch and brought up the same old conversation/lecture on how we just need to decide on something and do it and stop letting fear intercede. It is difficult at this point in my life to go too deeply into anything with him because it always ends with miscommunication, frustration and annoyance for both parties. It has gotten better a I have become clearer about my message and stronger in my delivery of it, but still, sitting at a busy bar on a Sunday afternoon whilst watching golf did not feel like the best of times to have a deep discussion about fear.
I hear this from him all the time. He’s my fear monger – the person in my life that keeps reminding me that I might be afraid of something. Stop letting fear over rule me, stop letting fear in, it’s always going to be there, just get over it. What is frustrating is that I just don’t think he gets that every single one of us deals with different fears. I do not share his fears. Maybe on a large scale, sure, but I genuinely believe there are very few people on this significantly large planet that share the same driving fears. Not the fears of spiders or birds or bees or sharks. Not even the fear of death. Those are overarching phobias that we each have with weird stories of where they originated and rarely affect us on a day to day basis. I’m talking the fears that drive us to succeed and keep us from it. Those big driving fears are just so dependent on who we are, what we want to be, what we don’t want to be and where we have come from. I am extremely fortunate to have never had to fear hunger, or if I would have a safe place to sleep at night, or if my mother or I would be subjected to unmentionable horrors because we were women born in the wrong part of the world at the wrong time. My driving fears come from my genetic make up. The chemical firings and misfirings that lead me to be a manic depressive. Sometimes I am terrified that I am destined to commit suicide like my Uncle Larry did – he was my father’s closest and younger brother. Sometimes I am terrified that I will live forever but be cursed with this sometimes debilitating and crushing and defeating depression. But these are not really my driving fears. So in order to avoid any future misunderstandings; let’s clear up what it is that I am afraid of exactly. At least for now. And these are as succinct as I can make them. Which is ridiculous.
I am afraid of being undeserving. That I don’t deserve the happiness that has come my way, that I have created, that I am lucky enough to have.
I am afraid that I don’t deserve my husband – he is good, and loving and accepting – and I fear that I don’t deserve him.
I am afraid that my fear of being undeserving will become a self fulfilling prophecy, that my happiness will go away because it too agrees that I don’t deserve it anymore.
I am afraid of losing my passion and my spark and my creativity to the black abyss of depression.
I am afraid of losing my compassion and empathy for all living beings (humans and otherwise).
I am afraid of my own head and getting lost in it.
I am afraid of slipping into an easy life with a steady job and good pay. I am afraid of just surviving and not living.
I am afraid of never having the guts to say this to my dad or my mom or anyone who really matters in my life because none of us ever have enough time on this earth to say everything we need to.

I Want to be David Bowie


I want to be David Bowie. Seriously, who doesn’t? The man is from another planet, another world, across the universe and turn left at the old oak tree. He holds the universe in his head. He can see the past, present and future as he creates it.

I imagine he has his own gravitational pull. It’s enormous, and as he passes you on the street you feel the fluctuation in the Earth’s gravity as the planets and stars and moons in his universe orbit and collide and die and are born. Sidewalks buckle under the weight of his universe, oceans part. Glass bends and time is relative and rippling. No wonder he doesn’t like to fly.

What must it be like to have this vast cosmos ever circling and changing inside his head. What is it like to know the future and to move the past. As an avid fan and listener and believer and worshiper for the past twenty years or so; I feel as though he has been telling us all along.

For me, it started with The Labyrinth. I was only two when it came out, but I remember watching it young and throughout my preteen years I was obsessed with Jareth – and who the hell was this Sarah idiot to deny the Goblin King? Are you kidding me? Who saves a baby over a chance at eternity with the incomparable Mr B?

Then I became Ziggy Stardust.

No I really was Zig.

Just like anyone else who has ever taken in that album as I did – we have all been Zig. An alien rock n’ roller here to change the world but can’t take the pressure of it, we can’t bear the pain of the whole wide world but we have to carry on. For years I was wearing chandelier earrings to high school and college classes on the daily. Daydreaming about rock n’ roll suicide and wanting the palm tree platforms so badly I was ready to carve them myself. I didn’t – but still – someday…

As I have faced the inevitability of aging, maturing (I really kind of hate that word), learning and expanding my mind (cosmically and existentially – not chemically) – I have grown to love the many different Bowies. I have always loved his big hits from his crazy discography. I embraced the 60s pop hits of Davy Jones, the shark suited hits of the 80s and sh*t, I am still f*cking afraid of Americans; but I could never love anything as much as the 70s albums (of which there are eleven).

Now I get it – I just wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t ready to let Mr B open my mind and show me the future. He has been telling us all what it is all about for decades now. We just haven’t been ready to listen. We each carry his crazy universe of black holes violently tearing apart and consuming anything and everything around them, of stars being born and exploding with nuclear energy and planets and moons and matter and anti-matter.

I want to be David Bowie dammit.

Dust Motes



I have always thought of each of us as planets. These hardened, compacted stardust celestial beings that wander through space and time orbiting family, friends, work. Each thing competing to be our sun, our pull, our light and our reason. Now I see that we are each the universe. We each contain everything there is to know about everything and we are too complex for our own good. Why does our heart beat. Why does our brain function. What is the electric current that pumps the blood and fires the thoughts. How do our bodies contain it? How do we hold it in, this ever changing and expanding universe we all carry around all the time.

Split-Aparts and Star Dust

Saturn blog

Today I have connected some dots. Some of the star dust dots that we are all made of and that I have always wanted to physically feel in my blood and in my skin. I never liked to sleep a whole lot. Not that I didn’t like sleeping, just that I loved to go to bed late, when no one else was up in the house and when I felt like I was the last person left in the world – the last person awake to feel it. The last to appreciate its quiet and stillness and beauty. I was an explorer in uncharted territory about to discover al the secrets of the universe. I was about to feel the star dust. I loved waking up early to start the day, so I had time to get shit done. I despised naps and never took them, and if I happened across one accidentally I was pissed that I wasted the time and would almost always wake up with a headache and a groggy disposition. Then I slowly, over time, slipped into this weird state of sleepiness. Like I couldn’t understand how I had gotten so old so quickly and needed all this sleep all of the sudden. How had I used to go to bed at 3 am only to wake up at 6:30 or 7 and not necessarily jump out of bed, but certainly not dawdle in it. I’ve had a few scattered months over this past six or seven years of sleepiness where I had this energy. To wake up at 5:30, or better yet 5:15 even, to burn some calories on the elliptical, and better yet do an interval workout too, so I could kill 700 nasty calories before I had breakfast and headed to work. Now I recognize those months as manic periods before the fall. This past week or so I have found I am dreaming again, a lot. I haven’t in so long it’s strange to stir several times a night from one dream to enter another. I admitted – out loud and everything –  just yesterday – that I don’t like sleeping much anymore. I just toss and turn, and I miss being physically and mentally awake with my love – even though we literally spend every waking moment together. I can’t get comfortable anymore, I’ve always been a side or back sleeper and now I have no idea what I’m doing but I think I’m turning into one of those….a stomach sleeper. I have gone to sleep later and later to read or watch or absorb or create new ideas and characters and lives to live. I wake up later then I used to but not by much and lingering in bed is a new joy because it is the first few minutes of the day and I get my love all to myself and the world still feels asleep outside and it is just us figuring out what lay ahead for us. Today and forever. I used to hear and see and feel the potential that people saw in me. I loved it. I totally thought that even though I was not attractive – that maybe that meant I could become deep and a philanthropist and change the world for the better and I would be somebody. It equally excited and scared me because I always feared in the back of my mind that I was sure to disappoint them all. Then that faded and I started to see only the black holes that I was and that my life had become and all the things I had screwed up and all the ways I had disappointed. I did not deserve anything I had, I have seen all the good and potential and beauty and love in everyone around me but I kept them at arm’s length. I have never trusted anyone of them enough to be really truly honest. I don’t know that I know who I am to be honest about – but I finally admitted last week – out loud and everything – that my parents divorcing when I was so young and the way that it went down, left me with abandonment issues and I’ve never been able to give myself to anyone the way that they deserved – because I was sure they would leave anyway. I’ve been waiting for years for everyone to figure out what a piece of shit I am and finally just give up on me so I could drift away into the black holes. Now, I don’t know that I see the potential I used to feel so strongly, but I don’t really care. I just care that I am seeing all of this more clearly then I ever have before. I care that I can admit all of this tar out loud to my love for the first time – and he still loves me. I just care that the black holes are closing in on themselves and not me. I am still terrified of them. Yesterday I was so excited and bubbly and talkative and acting like I haven’t in so long that I don’t remember that I have ever acted like that – and I was sure it meant I was just in an up swing – sure to be followed by a down. But that’s ok, because I have realized that I need to start to forgive myself soon before I crush myself into oblivion. I am only thirty. I still have a lot of life ahead and that really isn’t as ominous as it always used to feel. Like a weight around my neck.

I still want to feel that star dust, bubbling just below the surface. To feel connected to the universe and to feel how infinitesimally small I really am to to appreciate the details in the huge picture for exactly what they are.
And not to get too dragged down by the mire…Saturn is the best planet, so that’s nice.


Sometimes life figures you out first.


So it has been a red letter day. We got up, did some errands, spent some money (what felt like a lot) on staples for the house and cat. Then got a super exciting Hario V60 drip coffee kit and 20% off open box/display Bonavita electric kettle for free from Williams-Sonoma with AmEx points and we still have $16 left over. Then spent a fairly productive day working on stuff for the cafe, talking to Steve about readjusting plans for the project board, playing with our new coffee geek goods, making stew and getting quite a start on the business plan. Then after dinner I started to kind of freak out, regretting the shitty (but good paying) jobs we’ve given up for the security they offered (gross), regretting the two months and thousands of dollars spent traveling this year to figure our shit out away from people (f-cking stupid and ungrateful), just asking all the what ifs until they became a swirling vortex of black tar negative thoughts…What if we suck at this? What if we hate it? What if we know nothing about coffee? What if we get burned out woking too hard and too long? All questions that have reasonably simple answers. We won’t suck – we know this. We won’t because we will be working together to build our future like we’ve wanted to forever – and if we hate it, then at least we tried. We do know a lot about coffee already, and we can learn more. We will hire some additional help. But the biggest one and scariest one and the one I really hate f-cking asking because I feel like a f-cking coward doing it and I don’t like that a question can get the better of me…is…what if we fail? And still, at the end of the day, so what. So we fail at opening a business, at least we tried. At least we still have family to help us out for a couple months to get back on our feet. At least we have never felt hunger or thirst or needed a bed at night. We are lucky. And just when I was starting to feel better, more positive and not so negative nervous – just more cautiously optimistically anxious…I get an email for a possible egg donation match. It would be my fourth. First was in June 2012, second August 2012, third May 2013…I have always thought of the extra money as fantastic and helpful and great. It helped me to quit Allstate which was a quagmire of misery. It helped me to figure out some shit and face some fears and learn a whole lot about me, yoga and others by getting RYT200 certified. It helped fund these past two months – even as it has gotten dangerously low. Mostly I have felt that it was some sort of dream karma. Helping people fulfill a dream that I do not share for myself and my family (that being my Love and Me and a future for our existing family and friends but to never add to the number personally) – but in some messed up cosmic way – to maybe gain some karma assistance in fulfilling our dreams for our family and our future. So for this email to have come today…I have to believe that things sometimes do happen for a reason.

The first night on the waterfront.

My love and I moved to New York today. Well, moved is a strong word. What we did was quit our sh*tty jobs that made us miserable, joined some housesitting websites, and have now begun a journey to figure out what we want out of life. For ourselves and each other. We have never really had this opportunity before. We are extremely lucky to have it now – and we totally get that. We set out early (like 430), drove for 11 hours and found ourselves ready to settle into an apartment for the next 29 days. We cannot wait to set out into the city, and discover it together.

In Memoriam

Luci Blog

My love and I put down our cat Luci today. She was my baby for 19 years, and over seven years ago she accepted my love as her very own – which was a big deal because she didn’t like too many people let alone love anyone the way she loved him. I got her home in October of 1995 as the third and final addition to our gaggle of three cats. She was my baby, my first true love, and the apple of our eyes. She made us happy. She loved us, and we will miss her so much it will hurt for a long time. She turned a vibrant magenta pink in the sun, when she was warm. I used to dye the little white spot on her back in various shades of pink, and she loved it. She loved bread, ginger windmill cookies, butter, Krispy Kreme glaze, olive juice, laying in the sun, her Jack blanket, burning out heating blankets in the winter and sitting in front of heat vents to keep warm. She was French, and a dreamer and sat in a loaf. We called her Monkey, Luci Goosey, Munchkin and sometimes just Cranky. She was lovely. She was our family. We will always love and miss her.