Subtropical Lady

Where Pelicans Fly
1992-06-09 17:39:47 (UTC)

June 1992

6/1/1992 Mon. 11:15 PM

My life has completely changed in a day. I mean, my whole life, and I'm still quite shocked. Just 2 days ago I was worried about finding another dive in Norwich, but guess what? I'm moving to Phoenix!!!! I can't believe it! I'm so psyched! I'm actually gonna be in Arizona with Andy in 8 days!!!!!!!

6/8/1992 Mon. 1:32 AM

I have a million and one things to write about, but I'm gonna wait and save it for the plane. I will have a long flight, too. I can't wait to fly but the one bummer is, no smoking. Only on international flights going out of the country. As of now, I have 33 hours to go.

On the Way to Arizona from Connecticut…

6/9/1992 Tues. 4:30 PM

I’m actually on the plane now! I have a 50-minute layover in Cincinnati, then I'll continue on from there.

I have so much to write about, it's amazing. I'll start from when I left off while I was still in Natchaug Hospital. There are so many little things to write about besides the important and very serious stuff.

5:15 PM

I stopped writing momentarily as the stewardesses went by serving coffee, soda, and peanuts.

We should arrive in Cincinnati in about an hour.

There's not much more to write about concerning Natchaug but I can never express enough how grateful I am to dad and Tammy for all their help. I am free now. My project days are over. I will never ever live in one again and I should've made this move two years ago. It's cool, though, knowing Andy's been there for a little over a year and is all settled and knows what's around.

Before going to the airport today, dad brought me to Greenfield to see Sheila. There, I filled out the proper paperwork to move to Arizona.

I also saw Dave and Sharon who work in the habitat building. I went into the office to call upstairs. Kim wasn't home (naturally) and Mark was no doubt asleep.

Then, at 11:30 or so, dad and I ate lunch at McDonald's in Northampton.

After, we stopped at cousin Boo's and Max's where I really didn't want to go. I'm glad I did, though, as they were both super nice. They also gave me a good luck card with $100! Cool, huh? Any bit will help and Tammy's gonna send me a refund from the Norwich housing authority. Also, money from my furniture sales.

At Boo's I slept upstairs on her bed for an hour and a half. I'm whipped and I needed it. I only slept 4 hours last night.


I have no idea what time it is now. All I know is that we went back two hours. Of course, when I'm in Arizona I'll have gone back 3 hours. When I arrive it'll be 10:30 ET, but it'll be 7:30 PT. Another two hours to go, I guess.

I feel better now that I ate dinner. Before I felt as if I'd gone through a meat grinder. I'm functioning on only a few hours of sleep.

The last flight we were 31,000 feet high. On this flight we're definitely higher cuz I can't see hardly anything. On the last flight, you could just barely make out the cars. They look like little toy cars, of course. Earlier it was very sunny, but now all I see are clouds all around me.

I hope the airport in Phoenix isn't too far from Andy's place. I also hope it doesn't take forever to get Shadow and my suitcases. Poor Shadow. He no doubt is pissed and terrified. Especially with take-off and landing. It's getting bumpy, so next time I write will be in PHX on steady ground!

Vista Ventana…

6/11/1992 Thurs. midnight

I am here now and it is absolutely beautiful! I still have a zillion things to say but I want to do something first to help me fall asleep. I’m just too tired to write now.

6/23/1992 Tues. midnight

Oh, my God, I've already been here 14 days! It feels like it's only been a week. I guess I can say I am disappointed in myself for not writing daily. I must keep up on it and find time to write daily. Now I'm bound to forget little things here and there that'll add up to quite a bit. There's so much to say and I have been keeping notes of stuff I'll want to write about so I don't forget them. However, in the days to follow, I'm sure I'll remember bits and pieces of things to write about. I only wish I had a table to do my writing at.

Backing up to my last few days at Natchaug, now. I was there from May 24th to June 5th and I flew here on June 9th.

I moved into my own 1-bedroom studio last Monday, the 15th.

As I was at the tail end of the previous journal I mentioned a fight between Lindsay and I. It turned out to be so funny and we were always joking about it afterward. Lindsay was like me when she'd go off. Not off on herself or others, but verbally, I mean. She did that 2 or 3 times and it never upset me as I'm the same way and that's my method of getting it out. It avoids doing other really dumb stuff you'll really regret. Most people can't deal with that, but I could fully understand where she was coming from.

I had gone off one morning on a staff member high on power-play which I already wrote about in my last journal. Lindsay was sitting on her bed when I came in yelling about that staff member and Lindsay threatened me if I continued to bitch. Well, that did it and I jumped up and yelled, "Come on! Maybe that's exactly what I need!"

She goes, "No. I'm not gonna go to prison for putting little people through the wall."

I said, "You won't go to prison. You'll go to the hospital cuz I'll fucking slaughter you."

Then at that point, she said, "Oh, just let it out. This is stupid."

I said, "Yeah, it is stupid cuz I always liked you." She said she liked me too, then we burst out laughing. She was kind enough, though, to move into Bertie's room when Bertie's roommate moved out. That gave me a little more space.

When dad came to see me he constantly was asking questions about Andy and Arizona. I knew at that point that I was finally winning mom and dad over as people don't usually ask so many questions unless they're very seriously considering something. At least my parents don’t. After we discussed how expensive New England is, my asthma and allergies, that horrible project, me missing my best friend and there being nothing for me there, it was time. I knew I had finally won. Dad said he might call Andy but I speeded things up by calling Andy who called dad at my place. Andy called mom at dad's request too. It is cool knowing Andy's already been here for 15 months. That way he knows his way around and what it's like here. I can understand mom and dad feeling more comfortable with that, rather than us both coming here together for our first time. Andy has visited here before. He's also been to California. I've never been past Texas.

Dad packed up everything I own. All but the furniture was shipped to me by UPS. I don't miss my old ugly furniture. When you're as miserable as I was, material things no longer matter. No, not in a place like that. My waterbed got to be a royal pain in the ass.

The NHA sent me a check for $100. Wow. With all I went through there physically and mentally, they oughta have paid me much much more. I never ever saw Barbara or the rest of her family again. I noticed that the 4 times or so I was at that dump, they weren't home. Coincidence? Nope. Dad and Tammy were afraid I'd jump all over her. Well, I'm not out of their lives completely. I've got letters for Barbara, Debbie, and I wish I could send crazy letters to Maria, but I don't know her last name. Oh well, Maria and the rest of Oakwood Knoll will surely hear all about the letters from Barbara and Deb. I'll always have mixed emotions about the few people I knew back in those damn projects. On one hand, they're very nice. On the other hand, they're stupidly and dangerously gutsy. They talk too much and there's a price to be paid for that. A very annoying price such as very strange letters. The beepers are taking care of them which I'll explain later.

All my furniture was taken to Tammy's house. It was sold off in a tag sale. I really appreciated Tammy and dad for helping me and being there when I really needed them. At times it was hard to show it especially early in the morning. And it was a zoo there with all the adults, kids and animals. We all know I'm far from used to that. Tammy cried over the phone while I was still in Natchaug as I am the last family member to go. The last one really associated with her. Lisa was very upset. Becky and Sarah are still too young to get what was going on. We promised to write to each other and I've already sent a few letters to Lisa, Tammy and my parents. I've received a card from mom and letters from Lisa and dad.

I've spoken with Bob, Fran and Nervous. When I get a phone which may not be for a few weeks, I'll call or write to Jessie. I'm sure Jessie will accept a collect call from me. According to Andy, though, you can't make collect calls or use a long-distance carrier access code. It's $5 a month to block your line. This is what they do here for a year if you're a new customer unless you can pay the $170 deposit. The deposits here are bad, but once you get beyond that it's worth it as everything is so much cheaper here. There's a $46 installation charge here but you can get it waived if you're low income, over 65 or have a medical condition. The phone company sent me a form I'm sending to my asthma doctor in Norwich. He'll send it back to me to give to them. I hope it won't take too long till I get a phone.

Andy lent me the $150 electric deposit. That was nice. He makes excellent money at Denny's.

I still have a million other things to write about but I am beat.

I am still not quite ready to go to sleep. I told Andy to knock on my window and wake me up at noon. If I fall asleep by 4:00, I'll have gotten 8 hours of sleep.

6/25/1992 Thurs. midnight

I still have much to write about but I'll start from where I left off. I was laughing to myself earlier as I remembered something dad said to me in Natchaug. He told me to write a book about my life. I do write well and we all know that. If I wrote a book on my life it'd be so long. Also, it'd piss several people off as they wouldn't be happy campers due to my bluntness. However, I would be honest about my opinions on certain people, like it or not.

As I said before, I really appreciate Tammy and dad's help, but the 4 days I was there at Tammy's were no fun with all the commotion, and Tammy's kittens woke me up at night. Dad drove me nuts and got on my nerves about my clothes. In a recent letter, I told them to keep their mouths shut for once and for all and wear what they want to wear and keep their opinions to themselves. I don't tell them or anyone else what to wear or what not to wear, and would like the same respect in return.

I never liked Bill, who has been brainwashed by the family into believing all sorts of shit pertaining to myself. Either way, I never liked him and felt he was always the complete opposite of me. But if he makes Tammy happy, great. I always wondered how Bill can handle his job. Not cuz he's unintelligent, but cuz he's so spacey. I always figured one should be as alert as possible when working with machinery.

My last day there at Tam's was pretty shitty. Cuz I'm a night person and was so psyched, I fell asleep super late. Close to 3 AM. Fucking Shadow, who I got out of the old place that previous day, woke me up at 5 AM. I was pissed and I never felt shittier in all my life. I was wheezing my ass off, too. It was early Monday morning on the 8th when dad and I brought Shadow over to Tam's.

At 3 PM that same day, UPS came to take all my boxes out of the project. I wasn't there for that. Dad was.

At 8 AM on Tuesday, dad and I took off for Greenfield where I saw Sheila. I had to fill out the transfer papers for my probation.

Then, we went into Deerfield where I closed out my checking account. I went across the street to the habitat building and saw Dave and Karen. I used their phone to call upstairs to Kim and Mark but their machine came on. I left a message saying I was moving to Phoenix.

When I got here I spoke to Bob who got the message I left him.

When I called Nervous and told him to guess where I was, his first guess was Florida.

Anyway, after Greenfield and Deerfield, we went to Longmeadow to see Boo and Max as I said earlier. Her place looked so much more modern the last time I saw it and that was years ago. The 100 bucks they gave me helped a lot.

At the airport dad and I got donuts and coffee. I was dead tired and feeling pretty shitty. In fact, at Boo's I laid down on her bed and slept an hour and a half. I went out cold but it felt as if I had only slept for two seconds. That day my asthma was horrible and my chest was so tight and short of breath. Naturally, dad was lecturing me about smoking.

I did manage to sing a few songs on his van’s tape player but just barely. Shadow never shut up the whole way down. We bought him a cat travel box which he was locked into. When he moved to Deerfield and to Norwich, he was fine. I guess the reason he never shut up was cuz he hadn't seen much of me for two weeks.

What a feeling it was, though, as dad and I walked down through the gate to board that plane. As shitty as I felt physically walking onto that plane, how I was feeling mentally was a whole different ballgame. I was flying before I was flying. Tears of joy were streaming down my face as well as the goodbye/I'll-miss-you tears. I'll miss dad, Tammy and my nieces. I won't miss living near Tammy and the girls, though. Tammy and I never really had much in common and although I love my nieces, kids are a royal pain in the ass to deal with, regardless of whose kids they are.

I told dad I felt like he was setting me free. He said, "I know."

The stewardess said dad could board with me. She probably thought I was scared shitless and had never flown before. She no doubt thought I was much younger than I am. I mean, I'm 26, but most people think I’m 17.

Andy will be at our beach from August 1st - 8th. Tammy and the girls were gonna go see him there but that's when they'll all be in Florida. At first, I thought it to be cool that they could meet up at the beach. Now I'm not so sure that would have been such a great idea. It's better that they don't meet. Andy knows better as far as what to say and what not to say but Tammy can be persistent and nosy. If she were to insist on something Andy didn't agree with she'll freak out and I'll never hear the end of it. I also don't need Tammy saying negative and untrue or blown out of proportion shit to Andy even though he pretty much knows what to believe, or Andy to tell Tammy something and have her blow it out of proportion. On the other hand, Tammy has been known to do that all her life and I know what's true even though mom and dad would believe her over me.

In about a year or so I will see my family. I guess mom and dad will come out here. Maybe Tammy and the girls too. I'd much rather they all come here than for me to go there. Dad mentioned Tammy and I both going to Florida and meeting up there. Oh no! I cannot take the two of them together. And with mom and dad preferring her over me, that tends to get them together to gang up on me in some ways. I'll have more people getting on my case at once. If they mention or start shit about my clothes, though, I'm gone.

Next time I see my nieces, they'll all be so much bigger. Next time I see Tammy, her hair will be longer, I guess. That'll be different. Of course, I'll be sitting on mine without putting my head back. For now, cuz it's so curly, I must pull it out straight, throw my head back, then I can sit on it. When I pull it straight it's ½" from the crack of my ass. I was hoping the lack of humidity here would straighten my hair but it hasn't. I still look like I stuck my finger in an electric socket and got zapped.

OK, now I'll begin with the 10 million things I've got to say so far about Phoenix. First of all, it is so very very beautiful and I will never ever return to New England. Everything’s so modern and cheap here. Not just the rentals, but other stuff too, like food. A gorgeous, modern house here with a pool and central AC which is standard would sell for around $40,000-$50,000. In New England, the same type of house would be around $120,000.

The city is spread out and not so condensed and congested like Springfield is. In Springfield there's one tall building after another, practically piled on top of each other. Here, the buildings are shorter and farther apart. The houses here are closer, though. Too close. You can open a window on the side of a house and reach out and practically touch the house next to you.

There is a huge variety of cactuses and palm trees which are absolutely beautiful. They're so beautiful that they almost look fake.

I just thought of two things that are so funny. I must write this before I continue on cuz I don't want to forget this. My sister used to always tell me she envied me and I'd burst out laughing. After I arrived here she called me. I told her that if she were to tell me she envied me at this point, I could finally understand that. She'd die if she saw what beauty I live in. It makes you feel very rich even though I'm very poor.

The other thing is Ann Marie. Eventually, she's gonna try calling me only to get a recording saying that number has been disconnected. She's not worth paying to make a phone call to, or having her pay by me calling collect, or being regular letter writers with. On the other hand, perhaps somewhere down the line, she can receive a crazy, bizarre letter that makes absolutely no sense. I wonder if I ever mentioned Phoenix to her. That Andy lives here, I mean, cuz I'm sure I mentioned Andy. Well, it doesn't matter but I'm going to go to bed now.

I don't want to sleep too late tomorrow cuz I have important phone calls to make. I also must continue working on my tan. So far, so good but I still do have a long way to go. The color I've gotten so far looks good.

A note from Andy dated 6/11/1992:

Now don't worry, I didn't read any of these pages. I just opened up to the first plank page to say welcome to Phoenix. It's about time you got here. The fem missed you!

10:23 PM

Well, I officially got this apartment on the 10th, but I had to wait till the 15th. My parents are the co-signers as I have no credit. The office had a hard time getting ahold of them at first. We gave them the office's fax number so they could fax the information along. That same day I got 29 boxes from UPS. It was no fun unpacking this time for 2 reasons. First of all, I have no furniture to put stuff in. No shelves and no dressers for my clothes. Not much closet space either. This is a small 1-bedroom studio. It's no larger than my dive in Norwich, but that's OK cuz this is far from a dive. It's so modern and beautiful. Inside and all around the grounds outside. I don't feel cooped up, cramped and trapped as I did before even in the other places. Here, there's life outdoors. I have the pools and at night I usually go to the Jacuzzi. There are no saunas here as my dad apparently thought. If there were saunas here, I would never use them. I'd die in those things. Literally suffocate.

The grounds here are so beautiful.

Now that I live here a little while, and feel and look so much better since beginning to really get a tan, I feel a little more confident. A little more as far as my desire for more one-nighters. I don't have to invite them over to my dump anymore, even though I was always neat and great at decorating.

I feel a little more determined and motivated to pursue my singing and music, despite my fears and doubts. That's one of my purposes here. I know I've been sent here for that as well as the other 3 reasons. I'm here for 4 reasons. 1. My best friend. 2. My asthma. 3. Cuz it’s cheaper to live here. 4. My music. There was nothing for me in Crackfield, Deadfield or Poorwich.

Everyone knows that I believe there's a reason for everything even if it's a bad thing. Like with the project being so bad. It was part of the plan. That's what it took to get me out here. My premonitions are usually about 80% accurate. If I'm off I'm not off by far. I'm still close enough if not right on. I always believed and felt that sometime in 1994 something serious would happen with my music. Well, 1994, isn't many years away. I always knew it was pretty hopeless where I used to live as far as any major breaks or connections. Especially without Andy and perhaps his friend Donna who just opened up for Paula Abdul's concert last night. They chose 10 demos out of 500 and Donna was one of those 10. At the mall, the last 10 performed and Donna won. I saw all this on video. She won a record contract, $1000 and 1000 hours of free recording time at Vintage Recorders studios. That's excellent exposure for her. Still, even when becoming a singer felt hopeless out in the boonies in Deerfield and through hell in Norwich, I always felt I was fated for fame no matter what. I don't know how, when or why, but me moving here now must be saying something. So many weird coincidences and things just conveniently falling into place. For example, apartments here are plentiful. You can get a 1- or 2-bedroom apartment or a house practically in a day. Studios, on the other hand, are harder to get so quickly cuz they're much more in demand. In MA the total of SS and SSI checks is $581. In CT and AZ they're $442. So, even though the 1-bedrooms are $309, I can only afford a studio now. It just so conveniently happened that one was available that some girl was gonna take, but decided to remain where she was. The 2-bedrooms which are 900 square feet cost $414. In New England, a place so modern would be $1000-$1,200. In New York City and Boston, maybe it'd go for $1,500.

6/26/1992 Fri. 1 AM

As I said before, my apartment is small but is worth it. There's only one door. No back door. There's a sliding glass door parallel to the front door. It has blue carpet. There’s just a living room, bedroom and kitchenette in here. The shower has sliding glass doors which is nice for a change. Shower curtains blow all around. There's plenty of counter space and cabinets even though they don't come close to the amount I had in S. Deerfield. I have a dishwasher, a garbage disposal, and a nice oven. Outside the glass door is an enclosed patio. With all the clothes, makeup, jewelry and knickknacks I have, I could use the extra closet space and some shelves. Having no furniture means I have to lay most of my stuff out on the floor.

1:41 AM

Now I can begin from the night I first got here, now that I've described my apartment, the grounds and updated from the last day or so at Natchaug. I like to go in order of events. I basically updated from May 30th so I'm almost caught up.

Oh! I never wrote about Jeanne at Natchaug, did I? Well, she was super nice, anyway. The nicest one of all. She was very easy to talk to and she gave me some really awesome makeup that she used to sell.

7:39 PM

That show I love, Reasonable Doubts, is on at 8:00. I sure do miss Marlee Matlin. Whether or not they're repeats, who knows but I'm sure they are. I'm gonna be watching the show upstairs at my neighbor's.

10:55 PM

When I arrived I took notice of how much Andy looked the same. He's gained a few pounds within the last year or so but he still looks 17 even though he's 30.

He told me I looked great. Better than ever and even younger. I still know I look younger than 26 but I don't think I look younger than I did a year and 3 months ago.

During the plane ride, I felt so shitty so when we ate I felt better for a while. He made an excellent roast with potatoes and corn. After dinner, he took me to the pool which is spectacular! I went into the Jacuzzi, too. All I kept thinking of is, oh my God, these pools and all this beauty is mine to live in year-round! Usually, people only go to such beautiful places for a vacation.

There's some gorgeous scenery here too, besides where I live.

The bad catch to my first night in Phoenix was that I threw up twice. Being here and out of that project made it a little more bearable, but it was like, gee, welcome to Phoenix! It was no doubt due to being so exhausted, I mean I was only backed up in like 50 hours of sleep. After I threw up I was like, please God, I don't need this now, I'm too tired and I couldn't take being up all night throwing up 20 times. But I was able to get some sleep, thankfully.

He has the same plush carpet I do, only in brown and at first, I was gonna sleep on the floor but it was too hard. I slept in his bed with him but it wasn't easy. He kicked or hit me a few times and left me 3" of space. I had to keep pushing him over. We're both not used to sharing a bed and we hate it.

Earlier, before I got sick, he showed me pictures of two girls who also live here. They've been friends for years and one's gay and one's straight. Naturally, the straight one was pretty. However, when Andy said the gay one did not look it, I totally disagreed. She was no downright diesel butch, but you could tell. Typical butch dress code. Short hair and sporty shorts and a tank top at the pool. I liked her name, though, which is Stephanie. The pretty straight one's name is Leslie but everyone calls her Pez. The first one I met was Stephanie. We met the following day while Andy was at work. When I went to the pool, I recognized her from one of the pictures. She was friendly and when I asked her if she'd ever known a gay woman as feminine as me, she said no. Was I surprised? Of course not!

11:30 PM

Andy's friend Donna promised me a twin-size mattress and box spring, but I think she's jerking me around on that one because it never shows up. She's either playing games, air-headed, busy, or all of the above. Andy said she said maybe this Saturday.

Some guy who lives here is giving Pez his waterbed. She claims that when he does she'll give me her twin-size bed, but I don't know. I'll believe it when I see it cuz I think she may be full of shit, too. She is definitely a bit flaky, air-headed and undependable.

My neighbor upstairs has a truck and he offered to help transport any furniture. His name's Robert and he's from Santa Fe. He lives above me and he's very nice.

I met my neighbor next to me named Mark and he's OK, too. He claimed a package for me one day and lent me a foam mattress to sleep on. That was a lifesaver.

Andy's on the 2nd floor and I'm on the 1st. He's in building 1 and I'm in building 3. It's a 60-second walk to each other's doors. It's also a 60-second walk to the pools for both of us. There are 2 pools and 2 Jacuzzis and 2 laundry rooms. Outside of each laundry room, there's a soda machine and a payphone.

For the July 4th weekend, Robert's going home for a visit to Santa Fe. I will feed his fish for him while he's gone. We've had some good chats and he's helped me get started here in several ways just like Andy has. He gave me nails to put up wall decorations and has let me use his phone. He showed me some poems he's written and insisted on reading my songs and seeing my drawings. Even to hear me sing which is nice. People don't usually ask to hear me sing. I have a few more things to write about Robert, but first I've got to have a bite to eat.

6/27/1992 Sat. 12:11 AM

When Andy first came here, he had a hard time starting off like most people usually do unless they're rich. He called this church and they came out and gave him tons of food. We both applied for food stamps and we must go to their office this Tuesday. In the meantime, I have very little money. Robert upstairs was kind enough to give me a few things. Fortunately, they were things he didn't like or want so he was just as glad to give them to me as I was to have them. He gave me some ramen noodles, tuna fish, oysters, clam chowder and coffee. Double Dutch Chocolate coffee which he said he tried and hated. It's not as good as the Café Francais or the Café Vienna, but it's OK. Andy's fed me here and there too, but now I'll be helping him to earn it from him. He owes $625 for getting the transmission on his car fixed, so tomorrow when the church comes with food I'll give him stuff I don't like or want. I’ll also owe Andy for long-distance phone calls, $150 for the electric deposit and for the ad. We placed an ad to sell my plane ticket back to Bradley as it was a round-trip special for $220. We managed to sell it for $87 and I also cleaned his place today. That'll work off the rest of what I owe him which will be around $200.

Once a year, with verification, the electric company will help too, so we'll see. Then, I'll be all set as long as SS doesn't fuck with me. If they do, mom and dad will step in.

Other than all that I should be OK financially but I won't have hardly any extra spending money.

1:39 AM

Shadow is lying here with me purring away. Andy was shocked at how big he got. So was dad. Brenda was right, I guess, about Shadow after all.

The only bad thing here now is that there are tons of roaches, grasshoppers and tons of other bugs. Mark, next door, says he's getting the same thing. The sewer roaches here can be a problem. They are so fucking huge, too. I mean, humongous. I will call the office tomorrow. Andy has no bugs. The only problem he had, in the beginning, was with ants and spiders, but they sprayed his place and that got rid of them. I've had shitloads of spiders, too. I am on the ground after all and this is Arizona. At least mosquitoes aren't such a problem here as they are back east and in Florida.

When I call the office to have them come spray, I've got to hide Shadow in Andy's place. Pets are only allowed on second floors and require a $220 pet deposit. That's fucking crazy! It appears that someone from the office saw him out on my patio, so I'm keeping him inside now. They sent me a certified letter to get rid of him. That already tells me something about the people who work here. Why did they have to waste their time and money on a certified letter? Couldn't they just tell me to my face directly?

2:03 AM

On my first day here Andy took me to see Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak Mountain. They're awesome and so huge! It's at a place called Paradise Valley that completely blows Longmeadow away. There are tons of gorgeous multi-million-dollar homes all through that mountain. Each home looks so different and so gorgeous. I love those Spanish-style roofs that are common here and stuccoed walls. Just about everyone has pools and several varieties of palm trees and cactuses. Those homes have such beautiful views of the mountains above them and downtown PHX below. One house was practically embedded into a huge boulder on the mountain. The rock pretty much hung over the house. On top of Squaw Peak, Andy took a picture of me with downtown PHX all behind me. You could look down and see forever. It was an awesome view. He took pictures of me here in and around my apartment, too.

He was able to show me a very tiny part of Stevie Nicks’ house. He showed me all of her parent’s house which we drove right up to. It's small, shady, and has many types of trees with flowers.

Another neat thing around here is that there are lots of street names and places in Spanish. Now that I'm here, I can translate these things for Andy. Robert speaks Spanish and there are lots of Mexicans here, of course.

Tucson is 2 hours away and Mexico’s about 4 hours away. The Grand Canyon is 3 hours away. Someday, we're gonna go there. That ought to be really nice and a breathtaking view, I'm sure.

The name of this apartment complex is Vista Ventana which means Window View in Spanish. Next to us is El Camino Dr. That means “the walk” or “the way.” There's a building called El Caro which means The Expensive.

6/28/1992 Sun. midnight

Today my day was off to a raunchy start. I called that church for food assistance last Thursday. They were supposed to deliver food yesterday or today and they never did. I was pissed off and so hungry. I called them from upstairs at Robert's and went off on them. Even though I slept late, I had to stay hanging around here since Thursday.

I have been at the pool every day tanning.

I've met Andy's friend Velma and she's very nice. She's a hairdresser who thought my hair was beautiful. Eventually, I'll need her to trim my ends.

Right when I first got here, I answered some personals. One where you leave a message for the ones that sound interesting and they call you back. I left about 10-15 messages and have only heard from 3. The others were probably turned off by my being feminine and so short. Two of them sounded as if they'd be nice but they were seeking someone for threesomes. One girl wasn't into that, seemed nice and gave me her number. She gave me her beeper number and that was right as I was moving into my own place. I forgot where I wrote the number down and was supposed to call her on her beeper the Wednesday before last. Then she was gonna call me upon getting my message and come over. I found her number a few days later, called her beeper and punched in Andy's number, but haven't heard from her. My memory of our conversation is so vague as Velma was over talking to Andy. I can't even remember her first name but I think she may have said something about going away for a while. A vacation of some sort, I guess, but I don’t know for how long.

Later, when I was at the pool swimming and tanning, Robert said he got a call about the church delivering food. He said they'd bring it to me tomorrow evening between 7:00 and 9:00, but I don't buy nothing till I see it.

Nor do I believe I'll ever have Pez or Donna's bed.

Before I talk about another Donna I met who lives in Andy's old 1-bedroom apartment, in Springfield the average apartment building was 4 stories. Here they're usually 2 or 3 from what I've noticed. The studios go up to 2 floors. The 1- and 2-bedrooms go up to 3 floors.

The temperature was 108º today and 111º the other day. This is why you must constantly jump in the pool as you're tanning.

10:10 PM

Andy will be over soon but I'll write till he gets here. First I'll write about the beepers, then get on with other stuff. Andy told me all about this before I moved here. He even had it done to me. There are a few exchanges here that are mostly for beeper numbers. You take someone’s number (like Barb and Dave's for example) and first you call a beeper # like 401 4 other digits. You'll hear a beep then you dial the area code # pound key (#). Whoever owns the beeper should get this # displayed to them digitally and call them. So far, I've beeped in Fran, Jenny, Maliheh, Debbie and Barbara.

I may also write a “crazy” letter here and there to whomever. I've written to my family and Fran, Nervous, Debbie, Bob and Jai. I also sent a letter out to chief B who I hear asks Kim about me. I'll also write to Kim and Jessie.

6/29/1992 Mon. 9:30 PM

Got a letter today from Lisa.

I'm still working on a tan. I have a definite start but I still need much more. Donna's been taking care of that and making it less boring cuz we talk about this and that. She's very nice and very pretty. She's 29, married and lives in Andy's old apartment. She's got it beautifully decorated and it's a nice apartment.

If I made an extra $50 a month, I'd have taken a 1-bedroom. I could use the extra space and it's what I'm used to. It has extra closet space I could use and a humongous walk-in closet in the bedroom. That thing could pass off as a whole separate room itself. Maybe someday. Where I am now is fine with no furniture, but more of a life.

Mom’s sending a TV. Wish I had shelves, a small table, and maybe a loveseat, too.

10:10 PM

Donna is very pretty and she knows I think so and that I'm gay. She's 5' 8" and slightly chunky. She says she weighs 148 pounds but she doesn't look it. She's very solid. She's got a nice tan and she's part Hispanic and part German. She and her husband's parents speak Hispanic, but they don't. Believe it or not, there are a lot of Hispanic people who don't speak Hispanic. It's a funny thought knowing that if she wanted to know how to say something in Spanish, she'd have to come ask me.

She has large dark brown eyes and dark brown curly hair almost to the middle of her back. She's very friendly and open and easy to talk to. She's a conversationalist like I am but shares a lot of the same fears and feelings as I do. She's not too trusting of people. When I first told her I was gay, she was shocked due to the fact that I'm so feminine. Of course, that's nothing new for me. All she's ever known before were gay guys and butches. She told me that even though she's madly attracted to dark guys, there once was this gorgeous woman she saw. I guess she and her husband were out at some restaurant and she got up to go to the bathroom. In the ladies' room, this woman was in there who she thought was drop-dead gorgeous. This woman was coming onto her too, from what Donna told me. She was playing with Donna's hair saying, "I love your hair." She and her husband were drooling over her and staring at her. She said guys were hitting on her and she seemed uninterested and kept her eye on Donna. Donna said that she would've gotten together with that girl if it weren't for her husband.

Now, why can’t this happen to me? I’m single. How come everyone can just go up and get who they want while I can't? No matter how well I present myself, I'm a product of major rejection. With women, that is. I'm sure that just about any woman who hits on any guy will succeed. But for me, the lust is never mutual. It's always one-sided. With everyone else, though, it seems it’s either mutual attraction or they just don't care. I'd never ever want to look like a butch but it'd sure be easier. Women would be more attracted to me and guys would be less attracted to me. It's gonna take me at least another year to find a one-nighter. But that'd be only if I put much more effort into it which I haven't really cared to do now for almost two years. I lost motivation and the energy to put the effort into it. You'd think it oughta be easier when you're only looking for a one-nighter. People feel less threatened when they know you're not out to put the strings on them, but it’s like it’s not meant to be for me.

No matter what, it still all comes down to me being so feminine. And unique, energetic, and with very little experience. Not ready, willing, able and confident. It's so scary and awkward for me and I'm so sensitive due to being alone all the time. And not raised with closeness. As much as I'm a good actress, I can't put up that much of a front. I can't pretend I'm used to it.

I don't like to talk about anything personal either. Donna doesn't know anything other than I'm gay and I came here due to my asthma, my best friend, my music and cuz it's cheaper to live here. She does also know about the project and that I was sick and hospitalized for two weeks but she doesn't know all the details. Donna does seem like the type you can talk to and have her understand without her turning against you or throwing anything up in your face, but why bother?

Now I have some things to write about Donna that's a real shocker. Her being a friend to me since I don't know anyone here and making tanning less boring is great enough as it is. But then she and 3 others I met did an awesome thing for me. A girl named Angel and her husband Brian, along with Angel's little sister Grace got together with Donna and they brought me tons of food! The church didn't come when they said they would and Robert upstairs gave me a few things.

Donna was over here one day and I gave her a ring. She told me then that she had a sundress she didn't fit into anymore.

I told her and Angel at the pool how I'd be near starving till the church came and that I had an application going for food stamps (Andy and I must go there tomorrow). So a knock on my door woke me up yesterday and it was Donna, Angel, Brian and Grace. The previous evening I was at Andy's and she left a note on my door. She had come over twice and I got back close to 12:30 AM. I figured she'd still be up, but I didn't go over to her place. She told me she was worried and remembered I said I had asthma. That shocked me cuz no one remembers anything you say. They all have minds like garbage disposals so I forgot how receptive Donna is. I told them I just woke up and she said, "Well, can we just drop this off?" I thought she meant the sundress till I looked down and saw them holding something like 7 bags of groceries. I was like, oh my God! They got tons of food! I'm not used to anyone other than my family going all out for me like that. My stomach was growling with hunger but that evening the church did come and bring food. The few days I went hungry here is still way worth it just to be here. I'd rather be here and go hungry every so often than be with my furniture and all the material things and food in the world and have to live in that project back east ever again.