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Free Refills (Books 30 - 33)

Am I good or am I bad? Don't answer that. I think I aim to be good, but I thwart myself. I Robinhood to the point of mania. "Unlikely" doesn’t even begin to describe the hero buried in me. Unprepared, maybe. Unreasonable. Unbearable.

3-23-05  Selfishness for one at the expense of many wins very few points with me. Jerks. I hope I don't get any meaner as I get older. I'll be unbearable.

In Books thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, and thirty-three I write about living in New York in 2004/2005 when I had affordable enough rent to work part-time as a Personal Fitness Trainer and spend the rest of the time pursuing theatre. I loved my apartment. I hated my job.

These four journals reveal a lot of disparaging comments about my former clients, mostly about the spoiled and the wealthy. It is not fun to read. (I mean, it’s funny, but I’m not proud of my mean humor.) “Use your powers for good,” I tend to believe, especially the power of humor. But, I guess in the privacy of these pages I didn't care so much about where I put my power. Or I felt so powerless that I penned out my resentment instead of speaking it.

7-8-05  I love the evolution that morning brings after heavy sleep. The sleep sits on the thoughts, packs them down tight and morning unravels them like twine. To skip this stage is to ask for daily confusion. Of late, I give this clean and precious concentration to my undeserving clients. They come to me with their woes, which are valid and important and deserve attention . . . . just not my attention, while my own little thoughts get bought up for $25 an hour by richer people's problems. Money wins. And my mind gets to work on sympathizing over their children's lack of sleep, their 40-guest cocktail parties, their sick pets and sick friends, and “Oh how am I ever going to fit in the manicure and the blow dry?” For eight hours my twine stays twisted. Only to be unraveled, now, on days off, and I can only wonder to whom today they have handed their tangled balls of yarn, and I sigh satisfied that at least for today it's not I.

1-31-05  Today (Client) asked me if I was tired, was something wrong? You'd be tired too I thought if you had to get up at 5:00 a.m. You too would feel like this, had you not just returned from mother f****** Switzerland. She's bored. She spoiled.  – her words by the way.  I am not. I am overstimulated, over-enthusiastic, overworked, over-taxed, over it all!

3-23-05 Some b!**# in the locker room, at the sight of my triple-drenched sports bras, told me she hates to perspire. I hate her. I love to sweat. I love it. I wanted to whip the lowest layer spandex bra right in her face. Slingshot that shit, that wet rag of a titsling right between her sculpted Upper East Side cheekbones. "I hate to perspire." It's like, "I hate to breathe."  Yeah, all that  . . .  you know . . . air. Yuck!

6/27/05  (Re. client who didn't speak or wear proper underwear so his balls consistently hung out of his shorts.)

Fuck him.

Fuck him and his bad attitude.

I wonder if his day is better without me in it the way mine is better without him.

2-1-05 I will make stories from their ridiculousness.  Might as well I have to laugh. I have to take something. Otherwise I want to smash my head on dumbbells.

~ ~ ~

As shitty as 2005-me sounds, this is also the period in which she/I started including gratitude lists in my journals. 


  1. Aunt Mary Jane

  2. my health

  3. my family

  4. creativity


  1.  hot coffee

  2.  the family

  3.  rainy days

  4.  Megan and Alyssa


  1.  Jen and Amy

  2.  time in the morning before work

  3.  my adorable apartment

  4.  Rob Marcato


  1. late cancellations that still pay

  2. rainy days when I don't have to travel

  3. my health and fitness

  4. T-shirt sheets


  1.  Sunday brunch

  2.  slender legs

  3.  people who make me laugh

  4.  a surprising new friendship


  1.  plans that come to fruition

  2.  tall windows and hardwood floors

  3.  physical strength

  4.  classical musicians

  5.  Charlotte (client)

  6.  Marcy (client)


  1.  free haircuts from Mike Mercado

  2.  ice cream on a hot day

  3.  the occasional short workday

  4.  brunch with the girls

  5.  receiving flowers


  1. Margaritas with salt

  2. Marcy (client)

  3. living in New York City

  4. hot yoga

  5. enough confidence to reduce my training schedule to 3 days a week


  1.  sunshine that wakes me

  2.  wine with friends

  3.  endorphins

  4.  coincidence

  5.  gestures of kindness 


  1. sex

  2. Pinot Noir

  3. Kitty Mussin

  4. holiday weekends

  5. ( see # 1 above)


  1. Shakespeare in the park

  2. rain at night while I'm sleeping

  3. Ralph from City Market

  4. good music

  5. cheerfulness


  1. free refills on coffee

  2. when I am granted an unexpected hour off

  3. a really smooth writing pen

  4. my beautiful apartment

  5. rekindled friendships

  6. a flexible job

  7. my toned legs

  8. Post-it notes

  9. wine with friends

  10. the last hours of a workday

  11. the evening that follows a workweek

  12. my Shakespeare class

  13. comfortable temperatures in July

  14. days to sleep in

  15. hugs

  16. handwritten letters

  17. strong family influence

  18. good hair days

  19. road trips

  20. education

~ ~ ~

The lists don't prove me "good" or even good/bad-balanced, but they allow me to exhale a little as I am reading, “ohhhhhh, hhhhhhhhhhh! I had some perspective. I had joy. I had friends.

I was angry at the obscene financial divide that I had never witnessed until those years and where I -even with my decades of privilege- landed on the spectrum. I didn’t want to be on this end. But I really didn’t want to be on their end.

I should have been more ambitious, no doubt. I could have earned more money and bought more things. I still can, I suppose. But with the exceptions of Sunday brunch, wine, and a really smooth writing pen, the things I say I appreciate the most are free. Not just without-a-pricetag free, but available to all, abundant, there-for-the-taking kind of free: love, time, nature, people, people, people. Free refill on those? Yes, please.


Book thirty-three ends on 10-10-2005. That was the day after I met Sheffield at our friend Joey's wedding and exactly five years before our own wedding day. Here's what I had to say about it at the time...

10-8-05 (Re.  going to Joey’s wedding:)

So who will I be today? Right now I feel like being “Sideline Girl” . . .  or I could push myself a little to be the "Sweet Friend That No One's Ever Met, But Everybody Loves.”

Or . . . final option: ”Life of the Party Girl.”  This one is the hardest to manifest. Sometimes it happens without my trying. This girl drinks a lot, enjoys the food and cake and dances a lot. She asks a lot of questions, but she also gives out a lot of information herself… and maybe even her phone number.  I'll spend half of the night in healthy laughter, meet 10 to 25 new people and my feet will really hurt by the ride home.

I have 30 minutes to get ready and get out of here.

Subway by 1:15

Penn Station by 1:50.

ticket by 2:00

and on the train by 2:11.

10-10-05 (Re. Joey’s wedding:)

I partied like a rockstar, danced a little dirty, and posed for dozens of photographs.  I did meet dozens of people! Three fabulous gay men, three very cool actress friends, –and I have to say, my dress was terrific.

So, here's my final page in this my most recent journal. How many words have I laid down now in these little books? I have a new one coming… what words will go there? What have I learned in the pages of this book…

I have come through a cave and now I am happy. I will dip again, no doubt but for now, it's all looking bearable. And exciting . . !

Just shit I wrote that I still like

8-18-05 An empty page made scribbldy-screwed by my ill-tempered attempts.  My crabby hand and scabby heart working, working, pushing my pen, prodding my mishmash brain, digging for gold in a heap of compost-pit paste and paper, poop and droop. Droop go my eyelids even at my own pen’s work. Tired I am and upset. Always upset. The "set” that I used to sit in,  sit upon like a princess on her pea. Piled high on purple pillows, blowing kisses to boyfriends below . . .  These heart strands have been pulled too tight, too taught, and brittle. These strands have broken, playing oh-so-out-of-tune tunes; they plink-plunk a sorry solo tune. No band to back up these blues.

just one blue.

not even blues, the plural.

just blue goo on a yellow-coward heart,

floating in tear-beer to tunes no one knows but me.

boo-hoo blue goo.

go home and eat your shoe.

you got no hue but yellow and blue

and the green they make ain't great . . .

9-19-04  PS  There is a girl on this subway car plucking her boyfriend's eyebrows.

2-26-05  He's really a player, a serial dater,  an eternal bachelor, a woman hater. he has no dick or four ex-wives he's got past lives or he plays with knives STDs; his bed has fleas he's not for real; he's fooling me

5/20/05  I’m at Amity. They truly have the worst coffee in New York, maybe in the world. Definitely in New York.

7-17-05 (Re: A questionable production after a questionable audition)

This (producer) looks so promising, but – and I blame my jaded actress core–  she has an embarrassing amount of hope and no stage manager . . . a deadly combination.


Walking in the rain

on the beach

on Fire Island

at 11:00 a.m.

with Amy

wrapped in towels

hair whipping our faces


No restaurants with wait staff who sound like tape recorders!


Smiling was too tall an order today, so neutral is what I went for. I think for the most part I was successful.

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Kelley McKinnon
Kelley McKinnon
May 25

I love the blobby glory of "Slingshot that shit, that wet rag of a titsling right between her sculpted Upper East Side cheekbones." in the midst of dense, glorious language.

May 25
Replying to

Tee-hee! Thanks, McKinnon and see you soon! -GH

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