February 23, 2004|Posted in: Uncategorized

…in Sonoma. Back after a long weekend, a long (birthday) week, a long month, even though February is the shortest one. I was road-trippin’ with my gal pals, women I’ve known since early high school. It’s all good — catching up, comparing our lives, aches and pains, loves, kids, jobs, gray hair. Fun, if frightening. I think I need a few days to digest it all. So instead, apropos of nothing, here are some other random thoughts, in no particular order, but bubbling around my brain at 1:30 in the morning.


The biggest thing: Falling for a new guy is a marvelous thing. The warm fuzzies, the firsts, the giddy stomach, laughing about everything all the time, daydreaming. It’s a lot nicer than cursing my ex. I think I’m in danger (biting knuckle).


Ex = (silent scream). New car. Fat paycheck. Whining about child support. Need I say more?


I got myself a tattoo and a belly piercing for my birthday — it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I’m not a gal who likes her belly button touched — in fact, it’s a mark of the Park clan that you’re a true scion if you don’t like to be touched there. What possessed me? I was already in the piercing parlor, so what the hell; I was a bit out of it from tattooing torture and figured it couldn’t hurt any more (it actually hurt worse than the tattoo); I was ready to shed some crap from the past and a minor phobia like the belly button thing seemed a good place to start.

The tattoo is of a quill pen and it’s on my lower back, where I will never have to look at it, and yet it’s always with me. When I stood up after the process, the young guy and his girlfriend on the next table said, “Whoa, that’s bad-ass.” When I got home, my eldest daughter said, “That’s sick.” (sick = good, fyi) My kids told me I’m cool. I think it’s funny and weird and am glad I can’t see it, else I might be horrified at the whole idea. We’ll revisit this topic when my skin has healed and I’ve had a stern talking to by my mother.

Bad-ass. Hmm.


Bills, health, kids, deadlines, paperwork, taxes, divorce, minutes from a meeting to type; problems with the well, with the phone line, with the escrow; why can’t I sleep; still awake; cat fight outside my window, peeper frogs on the creek, some endless beeping from the electric dog-fence, and a low thrumming in my ears that could be tinnitus, passing traffic, hearing damage from too many rock concerts many moons ago, or my imagination; plants needs watering, floors need mopping, car payment due, gotta buy nail polish to match my dress for Saturday night, can’t get this guy off my mind, and what am I doing here? How did I get to this point in my life? When am I going to grow up? Why am I always the fuck-up? Why can’t I get the approval of certain people, and, conversely, why do I need it?

Etc. etc. etc.


Can’t sleep. Still can’t sleep. The merry-go-round in my head won’t shut off. Write me some letters, friends, and tell me how to sleep.

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.

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