Summer in Oregon

Most days I woke up late, made a big breakfast – usually an omelet – then, set off on my bike to Mt. Hood Community College where I spent the day at the pool.  They had two olympic-sized pools.  One inside and one outside.

This is Oregon.  The saying is you don’t tan in Oregon, you rust.  I always went to the outside pool, unless it was closed for some reason.

I made a big breakfast because I didn’t have money for snacks.  This is middle-school and high school.  I left Oregon my sophomore year.

I am pretty sure the pool was free for some reason.  Student maybe.  I spent the whole day there until I rode my bike home.  I am not sure it would still take 45 minutes from my house to the college now.

This is Oregon.  They have bike lanes there.  This was the eighties and they had bike lanes.  Florida is so far behind.

Unfortunately for me, we left before the Light Rail opened.  We should have stayed.  I could have taken the Light Rail to Portland.

I would come home from the pool with the smell of chlorine clearing my nose.  I loved the exercise, the outdoors, the freedom of my bike.

When in middle school, they had the greatest lunch program that just started.  They had a salad bar.  I piled my plate with everything on the bar – high.  And, I ate it all as I laughed and made all my class-mates laugh with me at lunch.  I was the thinnest I had been except for now.  It has probably gone out of fashion or trend salad bars, but as a kid you need to eat food.  I love vegetables.

No one monitored how much food I had on my plate.  If I had too many garbanzo beans, cottage cheese, lettuce, spinach, three-bean salad, and so on.  It is my favorite all-time school lunch.  The salad bar.

Now, in 9th grade I took a class at Mt. Hood Community College for high school credit.  I took a mime class.  I had been in productions at MHCC.  I was in Amadeus.  Plus, I saw productions there.  I saw Chorus Line there.  It’s a proper theater.

One assignment was to go on stage and mime an activity, then the next person did the same thing as the person previous, then added something.  Then, the next person did the same as the previous persons, added something, and so on.

When I did this exercise, the feedback from my teacher was I did it wrong.  I did not do as the person previous had done it in the exact same location on stage as the person.  I did the previous person’s mime, but I did it where the light was the best on stage.  Hardly bad feedback.  This is how I understood that feedback, Cherith you did the mime exactly the same, however you improved upon it instinctually.

Cut to Florida years later.  I went to Ruth Eckerd Hall and saw Marcel Marceau.  Inches from the stage.  With craned-neck as I looked up at the stage, I got the experience of learning something I never expected.  I was so close I could see the lines and wrinkles in his face through the make-up.  He was fantastic.

This was still the eighties when the Pierrot clown were so trendy and popular.  Mime and Pierrot’s are out of fashion now.  However, what amazed me most of all at Marcel Marceau was his breathing.  He did not exhale at the expected movement.  I don’t know how he did it.  It was fascinating to me.

He died shortly after I got to see him.


I wish I could have written this better, however I am tired and off to bed, three loads of laundry later.

Coffee and Breakfast

Here’s for all the good men and women who might be like me, who enjoy good food, and long for a great bite.  You know, a great bite of food where all the flavors and combinations make a great fork or spoonful.

Perhaps you’re like me unable to get rid of Star Wars once and for all.  I have no idea how to keep Star Wars from delivering Vader food – in other words bad food.  So, I am on another day of fasting.  Plus, I am not allowed to keep a pantry, nor can I afford it.

Or, perhaps you are like me dreaming of working in a restaurant so I could be surrounded by good food.  I imagine it would be fun to work at a place where you shared ideas of dishes and food combinations as part of your every day management.

I am not excluding men or women from this post,  Imagine however you choose as you read.  As for me this is a date day.  Spending the whole day with a good-looking man as I feed him, and talk to him.  Telling him the simple stories that don’t make the headlines, but take root in our hearts.  It’s the small stories that become the great loves.

Breakfast: I love a great fresh brewed mug of coffee.  Cream and sugar, please.  I haven’t had a great mug of coffee in years.  I would make a scone of currents, chopped hazelnuts, and raisins.  Served with finely chopped hazelnuts in whipped butter.  I would need to make this to decide for certain if it needs a glaze on top or a jam.  It could be boysenberry jam, or an orange glaze with more chopped hazelnuts, or both.  One of each.  With mugs of coffee as I tell you stories.

True Story (the Bluetooth and the shrinks know this one): In second grade I was voted Most Talented by my teacher Mrs. Hayworth – or something really close to it.  We were asked to write a story to be shared in some book for the end of the year kind of thing.  So, I wrote about this great, big beautiful mansion-house that had gold fixtures, fine furnishings, and I was the maid.

Because I may have been in second grade, yet I was all too aware of how financially careful we were.  If it hadn’t been for all the jobs my mother had, her careful managing of money, we would never have had anything.  I was never the child that asked to buy things.  I was the child that did not ask, not even for new clothes.

I remember an argument I had with my mother because she bought a marcasite ring.  I love marcasite – it’s this antique thing.  I think the whole reason I was upset is because I was worried about money all the time.  I was worried for them.  Sometimes arguments happen out of concern.

So, I wrote about this great house because I wanted to be in a fancy house far from where I was living.  However, I couldn’t see how to get there unless, I was the maid.

Lunch: This is a little experimental.  I am not sure of all the flavors.  I would have to make it to make sure they taste good together.  It is an open-faced turkey sandwich.  Here’s how I would make it different.  A great slice of hearty grain bread toasted, then chopped romaine, iceberg lettuce, parsley, onion, perhaps tomato, and apple – chopped fine, cobb salad-fine.  I mean the original cobb salad from The Brown Derby.  Then, my cranberry sauce.  I make great cranberry sauce.  It is so good if you don’t like cranberry sauce you will like mine.  You will never want a can of cranberry sauce again.  This cranberry sauce will have a little lemon in it to brighten the flavor.  A good slice of juicy turkey breast with freshly made gravy on top.  I would serve a good stone-ground mustard also on the side.  A light lager if you want something alcoholic, or cucumber-infused water.

True Story: There is this great underground mall in Montreal.  When I visited I purchased these earrings and brooch at an antique store in the mall.  I wore these earrings and brooch when I played Beverly in Shadow Box.  When I went to New Zealand – in a mall again – I bought this great greeting card at an art store.  I love the Kiwi’s.  They are great people.  I love the Aussies too.  Really great people.

Back to Quebec again.  I became a vegetarian after I visited Quebec.  I went to a restaurant on the menu was Hare soup.  I just couldn’t imagine Bug’s Bunny in a soup tureen, so I ordered a fruit salad.  True story.  I remember feeling better a couple of days later when I realized I had stopped eating meat.  I was very overweight at the time.  Because of my lack of provisions, access, and circumstances I’ve had to let go of my vegetarianism.

Dinner: Chive risotto for a starter topped with a freshly grated hard cheese like pecorino or parmesan, fresh cracked pepper, and fresh-cut chives.

The main dish – white fish, panko coated and pan cooked served with a dill sauce.  A side of Brussel sprouts sliced, pan-cooked in butter and sliced almonds.  At the end of cooking before plating fresh ground salt and pepper.  Both the starter and main served with a nice, slightly dry white wine.

Dessert – I want to make this to see if it tastes good.  I was thinking of shortbread cookies and espresso liquer crushed and formed into ramkins.  Creme Brulee with the burnt sugar, topped with raspberries and a raspberry glaze.

Does that sound good?

I want some.

Best Friend?!

Tell me what best friend keeps all possiblity of love away from their best friend?

You must have been speaking about another friend and not me, Cherith Gjestland if you wanted me to believe I was ever your best friend.

A Best Friend does not leave their friend all alone in the world while they enjoy their own marriage.  I’ve seen you David with your wife!

Still the only answer you have is to threaten me, threaten my employment, threaten my income, threaten my job?!  So, that I never speak the truth.

You will never be able to overcome the feelings I now have for you because of this house and these years.

No, James Franco, No!

Marry you?!

Marry a black woman?!

Fuck you!

I will never marry you!

I don’t know you!

Never speak to me again!

Never come near my house!

Never enter my brain!

Never James Franco, Never!

All you know what to do is deceive!

You are the same as David Wolfe, you had to threaten me and my job in order for me to choose you!

You are disgusting!

I am sick of both of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Forever Hardened

You choose to start a fight with me.

All I wanted was to speak to you again David Wolfe, you choose to lock me away in prison here for years.

My heart and mind are set against from now on.  They have been set against you for years.  You had to threaten my employment and my job in order for me to continually choose the name David.

I will NEVER love you again.

I will NEVER care for you again.

I will NEVER allow you to humiliate me AGAIN!

You disgust me David Wolfe.

You killed my mother, David Wolfe.

You killed my cats, David Wolfe.

And, in return you expect me to humiliate myself year after year after year after year after year?!


You created a masturbating bear character to make fun of me.  You created these years of isolation, sent nameless, faceless men to my bedroom to watch me masturbate.  And, you EXPECT me to EVER feel anything other than DISGUST for you EVER AGAIN?!

Follow your own damn bunny trail.  I was not about to give that “Casey” character my money or my time again.

I would rather die than EVER see you again.

Are you ready for my death?!

Forever hardened toward you!

Too Heavy

I hate my body because of what you have done David Wolfe and James Franco.

I am not 5’6″ or 5’7″.  I am not model height.  I am only 5’2″.  Five or ten pounds in a big deal.  It is HEAVY.

I hate what you have done with my body shape!  You took away my lean muscles from running and turned me into this bloated thing.

These rounded shoulders that have NO muscles definition.  My bloated calves from you.  And this disgusted belly.

I am disgusted with my body – YOU CREATED!

Not allowing me to run outside, get fresh air, build my lungs, improve my brain, improve my skin, and allow me to make decisions about my body, my fitness, and how I WANTED TO SEE MY BODY is criminal, morally unethical, and a disgrace to every business owner that I could sue for.


I hate to look at myself anymore because of YOU!

Banished From My House Forever

I will not back down from this:

  • The female father needs to go – fired.
  • Baby Underpants needs to go – fired.
  • The cat and dog weight gain tricks need to go – fired.
  • The animal tricks of any kind need to go – fired.
  • The sweaty tricks needs to go – fired.
  • Control needs to go – fired.
  • David Wolfe needs to go – fired.
  • James Franco and his alter ego(s) needs to go – fired.
  • Eyeglasses need to go – fired.
  • The controlling, manipulating women need to go – fired.
  • Yelling at me either in my head or in the surround NEED TO GO – FIRED.

Fire them all – not me.

Do you really want to lose my business everywhere I go?




A favorite saying of my father’s.  This too shall pass.

It used to make me crazy.  I felt dismissed and not heard.  This too shall pass.  Are you kidding me?!  That’s it?!  That’s all I get?!  It usually ended with the result my father really wanted which was me walking away, leaving him alone.

Now, I am writing about my father because of the conversation I had with Denzel Washington last Saturday night.  You know, I simply cannot hide the fact that this is going on anymore.  This talking and seeing celebrities.  It’s…I mean, how many years can I pretend when I truthfully know?  I do not believe it should be hidden either.  I believe it has been a great disservice to pretend.

I told him I did not want to write the bad stuff about my father.  It was not quite words I heard in response.  It was however, the response that started me thinking differently.

I didn’t want to write the bad stuff about my father because he is still alive.  The truth is I was hoping to use it for something else in my writing.  Something not autobiographical.  However, the conversation took place, so I have chosen to write.  I cannot quite explain that either.

I have always been the peace-keeper between my mother and my father.  That has been my role in my family.  Between my mother and my father.

From a very early age I have been aware of the great violence in my father.  I believe before I was ever told the stories from my mother and my brother.  My father used to be – a violent man.

On the night of the wedding between my mother and father, my father took my mother by the hair and dragged her down the hallway.  When I was told this story, I could believe it because I could see it.  I don’t recall the exact age I was told this story.  I was probably double digits young.

My father used to hit my brother.  He used to hit my brother on the ear.

When I was born my father stopped.  My father has never hit me.  My father stopped hurting my mother and brother too after I was born.

I have this picture of my father holding my baby brother on his shoulder, lifting my baby brother’s arms up in the air.  I have this picture out to look at because I do not know this man.  This father that adoringly, happily looks at my brother when he was a baby.

Peacekeeper is not an easy job.  It has been a burden I have been unable to vocalize and share throughout my life.

My father and mother did not share the same bedroom since I was eleven years old.

I used to sleep in my parent’s bed.  Can you imagine a child being able to have knowledge without having knowledge?  Knowing there was a problem.

One night my father picked me up put of the bed, I was kicking and screaming, and crying as he put me in my room.  I did not go back again.

The next day, my mother moved out of their bedroom making another room in the house, hers alone.

My parents should have been divorced.  There marriage was never reconciled.  There marriage bed was never reconciled.  It was my mother’s wish to divorce.

I don’t know how many churches my mother went to looking for advice, council, and help.  She was so angry and hurt as every time she was turned away.  Told to go back to her husband.  Told he could get everything.  Told horror upon horror story about trying to divorce yet keep the children.  Understand divorce in the eighties was a different time.

My mother raised us.

My father was never around.  My father worked the overnight shift most of my life which he enjoyed, so he could be excused from family time, functions, and conversations.

The few occasions he did show up usually after me begging and begging for him to go, he was never present.  I constantly had to pull him.  To make conversation.  To be around.

This picture I have of my family – all four of us – at HCC, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, I begged and persuaded for days if not weeks for my father to attend.

There comes a point in your life when you’ve had enough.

By the time I was in my mid-thirties this relationship with my father was wearing thin with me.  Do I constantly have to beg my father for attention?  For conversation?  To be a part of our family?

Each of my parents would have been in a better place, would have re-married, and have had love if they had been allowed to divorce.

I think my father resisted because he didn’t want to give my mother something she wanted.  Because he had spent too many years pretending he was married when he was really a room-mate, and nothing more.

The stress of my father, dealing with my father brought the health problems that eventually killed my mother.

I truthfully believe since my mother could not get away from my father, or divorce him, she waited for the strokes to kill her.  It is a burden I have kept to myself.  My mother.  My father.

I do not believe my story is so unique.  I believe it is not a popular story.  It does not make for a good sound bite, so it is often not reported on.

How many marriages are still true after the ceremony?

What my father failed within his own family, he has helped with others.

My father is a teacher.  My mother was a teacher.  My brother is a teacher.  Wow, everyone is a teacher in my family, but me.

My whole life I have never known anything but a house full of people.  All nationalities, cultures, colors, shapes.  As long as you were a good person they were at our house.

When we lived in Oregon, my mother used to work with refugees helping them get established once in the states, helping them with services and so on.  A sad fact about that job was how disheartened my mother became having to take away the delusion that every American did not live like the actors on Dynasty.

My father when in Oregon used to work for the county maintaining main-frame computers.  I have no idea what he used to do other than receive a pay check.

When we moved to Florida, he started working teaching ESOL, and GED classes.

You know, I believe my father would have been happier his whole life if he could have stayed in the country of his birth, South Africa.

There is a story of my father escaping his homework by climbing out the window to go play soccer.  Probably, he didn’t really have to study.  I wondered if the school-work was too easy for him.

He left South Africa when he was sixteen to go to school in Chicago.  Going to UCLA earning a master’s in history and getting a letter in cricket.

Whatever the reason his parents sent him from South Africa, for not every child was sent abroad most of his brother’s and sister stayed in South Africa, if it was for education, to separate him from someone, or something else.  What I see in my father, what I know of South Africans is I do not believe it is possible to truly separate the people from the land.  It is unique.  It is unique to that place.  The land, the people are each a part of one another.

I almost hate to say black and white.  For it is not the same thing there.

I grew up listening to Miriam Makeba albums.

It is hard to describe.  I am not sure I do a good job at painting the mind picture for you to see.

I have been forced to see and react differently.  To turn away from, to choose to not step on the stop sign that has been black outlined.  When the truth is I would never before paid attention to it.  For it simply does not live in my heart.  This choosing between black and white, or something else.  It will never.

That being said, I have a right to choose who shares my bed.

My father works at a half-way house for men – usually drug charges – who have not yet received their GED.  The first time I went with him, I dropped him off for some reason.  To see the way the men, look at him and treat him – like he was a god.  Carrying his supplies, asking him questions, doing for him without even asking.  It was astonishing.

He has helped many men achieve something beyond their conviction.

How interesting can this be to read?

Who actually reads anything I write?

Anymore, I do not know the truth about me.

There is too much pretend.

No wonder I want it all to end.

Too much of my life already has been pretend.

Which is one thing I hoped would change when I moved here instead of the exact same thing and neighborhood I left.