It was my brother’s birthday, yesterday, and after saying we were going to all celebrate it on Friday just for convenience, it turned into a party anyway!  We only have William + Haley + kids as real, real friends, here in Hawaii, plus some other good acquaintances picked up along the way, but honestly I don’t know how many more real, real friends we could add to equation without losing another aspect.  I mean, it’s Abe, our dad, me and Nick that live here, plus the two little dogs; and then you add two adults two children, and our swimming pool, and that’s absolutely a party.

My dad played piano out loud (through the speaker rather than headphones) for a while last night and it was so nice.  Made me remember that I need to buy a new fiddle bow — mine didn’t make it here, and I remember putting it safely in the case, minor mystery — because I love sawing along with his melodies.

Little Milo gets fkn AMPED on little kid action, and there was a lot of running where he just had this permanent “yay!” look on his face, either chasing them or being chased.  Buffy sort of skittered around the periphery, as she has never quite learned to “play” — it’s amazing how similar she and I are.  We both get cold easy, and trend socially awkward.

Nick and William didn’t arrive until later, because they were at the job site doing ‘struction, so Haley, Abe and I had a great hang, with Dad kind of floating in and out.  Of the area, perhaps also of consciousness lol.  He’s a napper.

I think the best part about being friends with William and Haley is that they like us all so much, and tell us so, and we’re like, “omg really?”  For my family, I think we’re maybe all more accustomed to, like, a baseline of low-grade social adversity, or…just not being intelligible, to most people, in general.  We’re not for everyone.

So yeah, we have these friends here that are just fun and funny and smart and happy and successful, and they genuinely like us — all of us — and it’s just the weirdest thing.  I mean, *I* like us, and I always have, but I’ve also learned to function without meaningful reinforcement about a lot of things, in a lot of ways, my whole life.

Now, Nick is a different story.  I’ve never seen him struggle or wobble, socially.  He’s a lot more like Milo — thoroughly enjoying himself in the world of personalities — and not at all like Buffy, skittering around the periphery, unsure of how to plug in.  Nick’s whole family are unusually attractive people who could give you an intelligible answer to any question you might ask about what they’re doing and why.

I guess you could say Nick’s family seem more like well-established locals, in the world of embodied physicality, and my family function a little more like disoriented tourists ahaha.

HAVING SAID ALL THAT, it sure was nice to be here, enjoying all this beauty and fun and different personalities, on my brother’s first Hawaii birthday!  It’s not often a whole family project picks up and moves to a new continent, so these little milestones adding up is a good feeling.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, THE WORST AND MOST DEVASTATING INSURRECTION IN HUMAN HISTORY AT THE CAPITOL, the fake inauguration, Abe’s birthday, and now my dad’s birthday is at the end of February, coincidentally on the same day as William’s.

I think our big, beautiful lanai, facing the ocean, might be host to lots of little parties, as time goes on!  Who would have known we would ever be popular.

Oh, you know what?  I just realized the other contextual factor.  My mom was very impaired in a lot of ways as she got older.  She didn’t want any visiting to occur, and eventually that included, or rather I should say excluded, my brother and me.  So my dad is like a social hermit, or a hermit-y socialite, and contented himself to bi-annual extended family visits for the last many decades.

My brother and I have mostly been just working our asses off since our later teens, as tends to occur.  And when our mom died, in 2011 (both of us in our 30’s)…I think our family patterns around socializing were already set, even though the reason for their stiltedness had evaporated.  And, when you grow up with a nuclear family member who has become, for lack of a better term, a “shut in”, the exclusion of normal socializing is one aspect, but the necessity of hiding that fact and offering some cover story instead, is another aspect.

What I mean is, if you have a family dog that bites, you just straight up tell people, “you can’t come over without warning because our dog will bite you, so we have to put it in a kennel, to hang out” or something of that nature.  You’re just honest.  But when something that’s functionally impossible to explain, because you don’t understand it yourself, is going on with your family member, you just sort of lie, you know?  But lying feels bad, so pretty soon you avoid putting yourself in situations where you’d have to lie, or explain anything at all.

It didn’t really occur to us that we could reimagine ourselves socially, as a family.  And being scattered across the US as we were by then, it seemed unlikely to ever become relevant again. So yeah, it’s been kind of a trip to form these friendships here, and for people to just come over with very little warning and tell us how much they like us.  We’re like, “No shit??”

There was this really funny moment when my dad came and sat down next to Haley’s left, on the outdoor sofa, and I was on her right.  She’s this very bubbly personality with a Georgia drawl, and patted his knee and said, “Well Mister Frank!!  I sure was hopin’ you’d come ’n sit next to me!”  And my dad just like, *beamed*.  Like his whole affect went from 77 years old to 4 years old and presented with a birthday cake, in one beautiful moment.  I really liked it.  And then Milo jumped onto his lap — Milo has become “OBSESSED”, as they say, with his pee-paw.

I think, on some level, all of us remaining Pralles get startled and anxious when people come over, because our bodies retain the memory of so many decades of having to strategize what to do about something that we can’t fix, and it will take us a while to let it go and become…re-socialized, as a family.

And probably the funniest part of all is that this great-feeling family friendship only occurred because Haley and I both wear the same brand of Australian dresses and knew each other from the Buy/Swap/Sell page on Facebook lol!!!!  It’s strange but wonderful to have an IRL friend who actually knows the names of my dresses :)

And you know, it occurs to me that I’ve made my mom out to be this problem, like two blogs in a row now, and so I want to focus on that a little bit.

My most quintessential memory of my mom, undistorted by whatever it was that increasingly happened to her, is of her waking me up for school when I was in the seventh grade.  She always woke me up by rubbing my back gently and talking to me softly, just easy conversational stuff.  She didn’t want me to be jangled by an alarm clock.  So she’d just rub my back and talk to me until I was alert, and then I’d get myself ready for school.

We lived in a single wide trailer house that had been vandalized just prior to our moving in.  It was assigned teacher housing in Chinle, on the Navajo reservation, on the slightly less windy side of town but still very windy, and I would have to walk to school in the cold wind.

The paneling in my room was fake wood, and I had Christmas lights up around the edges because I liked them year round.  I would turn off the lights and turn on the Christmas lights, in the evenings, and lip sync to my cassette deck with a hair brush microphone, or try on different combinations of clothing.

I really didn’t want to go to school, on this particular day.  I never wanted to go to school, on any day, because I hated it and it was a total fucking waste of my time, and I never learned anything.  I don’t mean that figuratively, I mean it literally.  I learned math from my dad and history from reading books and cooking from my mom, and school was a massive distraction from actually learning things — plus the long cold walk there and back.

But the worst part, now, was the girls at school.  We’d moved to Chinle in my sixth grade year, and that had been bad enough, but now everyone was lipstick bitchy in seventh grade, and it was a misery.  They actually competed with each other about who could be meanest to me, or be nice to me and then suddenly turn cold so that I looked like the stupid one for responding to their overtures.  I pretty much stopped responding to people’s overtures, I’ll tell you that.

I could tell that there was some kind of social pecking order, coalescing around the sport of fucking with me in various ways.  I don’t think it was because I was white, because there was another white girl or two, sort of in on it.  So, not entirely race although I think it was a factor.  And it wasn’t because I was the most ugly or tacky or pathetic girl — there were girls in my class that were just total duds, you know, and they knew it, everyone knew it, it was unremarkable.

There was something about me that seemed to magnetize and yet enrage the other girls’ sensibilities.  I think it’s because I was very vulnerable, open, and without defense, yet also enormously strong and self-possessed.  It’s hard to say, now, what factors were at play, but it all came down to one thing: I hated school.  I hated it so much.

So in this particular memory, my mom was rubbing my back, talking softly to me, she’d turned on my Christmas lights so I could see but it wasn’t blinding.  The sky outside the window was lightening, and even the color of the light was cold.

“I don’t want to go to school,” I said softly.  I wasn’t refusing, and my mom knew that.  I knew I had to go to school.

She rubbed my back for a couple more minutes, silently, and then said, “I think you’ll really like college.  It’s very different.  You have a wonderful personality, and you’re so fun to be around, and in college that will matter to people a lot more.”

I digested this and said, “Really?”  It was hard to imagine my personality mattering to anyone, based on the school days I was having.

“Yes.”  We both thought in silence for a little longer.  I realized that it was possible to go to school, and observe these mean girls from a new sort of bird’s eye view, based on what my mom had said.  I would go on to do things, and learn things, and there were people in the world who would appreciate me just the way I was, and I didn’t need to worry about when or where.  I could just hold my head up, knowing I had better days ahead, and I would meet people who would recognize and appreciate me.

I sat up, interrupting the soothing back rub.  “Okay.  I’ll go to school.”

She patted my head.  “Brush your hair and I’ll braid it.”

So that was my mom, my real mom.  It was sad to lose her, to watch her lose herself, or whatever it was.  And that’s probably another story.

But I did find myself inspired to an action, yesterday, that’s been on the back burner of my mind for a while.  There’s really only one professional cert I’m interested in acquiring right now.  I’ve had enough college to last a lifetime, I’ve got a BA and an MA, I dropped out of seminary because it’s too dead dogma for me, I have every endorsement ever invented on my CDL, I’m a licensed Class A CDL trainer in two states and examiner in one, and I have military and civilian medical certs to my credit, although I’m not active in anything medical now.  Generally speaking, I’m very happy being an audiobook narrator and truck driver and, hopefully soon, wildland fire government contractor.  And amateur fitness competitor, let’s not forget :)

And, fuck, I really need to release my second album and record a third one.  And I know, I know — I need to finish the fucking manuscript.

But, I have been flirting with the idea of applying for Teal Swan’s certified Completion Process Practitioner training for over a year now.

Let’s see…how can I encapsulate this thought, succinctly?

Yesterday’s blog really reaffirmed for me that I do feel committed to a Presence practice, whether I professionalize in it or not, and that my interest in the expansive, elusive sacred feminine (and, by definition, an equal interest in sacred masculine) is only increasing, as personal and world events play out.  We all have something to offer the world, and I think — dare I say, ‘I know’ — that my pragmatism and humor is the perfect adjunct to my legitimately insatiable level of spiritual inquiry, because it’s common for woo-woo people to be too far out in space, and also common for pragmatic people to be too shut off and shut down on the abstract level.

And even having erected this blog as my personal anything-goes place — which is a form of self-gifted freedom I highly recommend, for those of you feeling a little shut down!  I mean, my blog is not anonymous, because I like to own my shit, but it’s certainly possible to start an anonymous blog, and just imagine the freedom you’d feel to say what’s true for you? — anyway, as much as I give myself full permission to stand with one foot in the concrete and one foot in the abstract, as I write…I’m not yet satisfied.

Here’s an analogy.  My brother is an alpha programmer.  Like, you’d have to be a nerd programmer to even understand how badass he is, because what he does is so abstract and esoteric, for most of us, that we can’t even get a sense of whether any given programmer is good at their job.

Abe lived in Flagstaff and taught programming at NAU for sixteen plus years.  Here’s what’s intelligible in Flagstaff: craft IPA’s, rock climbing, getting stoned on a regular basis, wiggling your butt at the brewery on weekends because the ragamuffin band is playing butt wiggling music that’s just sort of an infinite jam, not really minding that the brewery smells that way, shredding on your mountain bike, shredding on your snowboard, and shoveling snow all winter long.

As far as Flagstaff was concerned, my brother was a total dud.  Conceptually invisible, outside fo his small enclave.

So, when he moved to Seattle — he became visible!  It wasn’t so much about any one interaction, it was just the fact of living in this place where the exact thing he happens to be a subject matter expert about WAS the thing everyone else cared about, and it made that environment really fun and really rewarding for him — all the way up until BLM defaced the windows of his VEGAN business, the city defunded the PD he’d been paying into, everyone realized he’s just another toxic white male and therefore the obvious root of all evil, and he decided to GTFO and move to Hawaii.  But before all that — it was good to be an alpha programmer in a programmer’s city, right?

So, I’d like to somehow give myself that experience, relative to my Presence practice, and my woo-woo interests generally.  I’d like to step into a community where what I think and how I think it, and just my whole integrity-driven mentality, is more intelligible generally.  Where I can level up, and become better, with better guidance.  Teal Swan is absolutely the alpha female presence that’s contributed more to my life than all others combined.

So idk, only like 17% of applicants get chosen for the CPP cert training but I applied!  We’ll see.  Even if I don’t get it, or have to reapply, I really enjoyed the process and felt in my element.  And I also think it’s important to follow the impulses you receive, relative to deep values you recognize, so mission accomplished there regardless of outcome.

I’ll just share one part of my essay response here because it cracked me up.

The question was: Have you had experience with the Completion Process?  Part of my answer:

“Okay this is funny: I was a water truck driver stationed at a mobile retardant plant, surrounded by an enormous wildfire that had already burned a bunch of structures in 2017.  Several days before, my truck had been literally burned over, as I drove.  It frightened me but I was fine — the fire passed to the other side of the road within seconds.

“Now, we were on 16 hour days, in the middle of nowhere, Arizona.  Just waiting in our trucks, in case the fire outburned the barriers again.  Really hot days.  Guess what book I was reading?  The Completion Process.  I wasn’t planning on *doing* one but, damn, things stayed really slow.  And there I was.  So, why not, right?

“Fast forward a half hour: I’d had a bunch of insights, revelations, and then those released memories, and it was mind-blowing.  You know how it goes.  But right then, another driver, who had a crush on me, yanked open my driver’s side door to invite me to hang out, and I was horrified.  I had a tear streaked face and was clutching my notebook and pen.

“He said, ‘Why are you crying?’

“I warbled, ‘Man, get the fuck outta here!’  I didn’t mean to be so brusque but my vision had been turned all the way inward, and I was really shocked by the intrusion….”

I don’t really do faux-formal tone.  The rest of the world seems to be holding that down just fine.

Alright, there we go.  It’s a blog.  I’ll see about including some pictures of Abe’s birthday party, here, but oh forgot to mention: we’re *officially* celebrating it this Friday, so this was only a pre-party party :)

The other day I asked Abe, “Well where’s your little dog?” He said, “Look, I’m only saying this because my birthday’s coming up: I definitely do not want a little dog.” I said, “Don’t worry — we’re getting you a monkey.” Just kidding, none of us want a monkey. Probably.
Conversant with everything from DIY tooth decay reversal to MK Ultra symbology in pop culture, I give you Haley: the most beautiful, for-reals woke, and well-dressed Southern Belle of all time.
I’ve been carrying around this purse-sized Kleenex for years and still never used it, and was wandering around trying to give it away last night. This was a fitting end for it. The problem with purse sized Kleenex is that, when you need it, you don’t remember you have it, so you might as well not have it.
Nick and William talking ‘struction drama: one of the workers developed a crush on Haley and isn’t acting right.
Nick’s big ole shoulder He and William have become really good friends.
The birthday boy!! Abe’s a better model than this; I’m just not a better photographer than this.
Mister Frank! ie Pee-Paw. Milo’s 2nd favorite lap.
Checking my last remaining social media account to the sounds of Holy Night. That GameStonks odyssey is really getting turnt!!!!
Double decker bugaboos xoxo.