LCSW, MAC, CDWF
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Master Addiction Counselor
Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator
When I graduated (barely) from high school in 1970, my parents - both of them had college degrees - asked me if I wanted to go to college or go to a two week intensive training at the Carolyn Adams School of Horsemanship. I chose the latter and had to borrow cowboy boots and hat. I was 18 and a photographer from a horse magazine snapped the picture to the right.
My first job was as a bookkeeper for a small dairy where I became lifelong friends with one of the owners, Wilfred, a former nuclear scientist from England. I hitch-hiked a ride with some men who were going to Montana, only I got off their ride to work as an outreach worker when the flood hit Rapid City, South Dakota. I also worked two jobs - as a bartender and a flower arranger - in Custer, South Dakota.
From there I moved to Los Angeles with my sister. We were so naive, we called and applied to work at a massage parlor. I’ll never forget when we went to the interview, the boss asked us to take our shirts off!!! We got out of there really fast. We both got jobs at banks. I got my first tattoo then (I have two all told). I went to work at the World Headquarters of Transcendental Meditation. From there to Montana is a little blurry so I’ll not go into any more detail ….let’s just say somehow I found my way to Montana - Helena first, then back to L.A., then back to live with my mother when I became a single parent and complete one year of carpentry at the vo-tech…finally moving to Missoula with my two year old son in tow…planning to become a writer and a carpenter’s apprentice. I never did write that book and I did work for 2 weeks in a cabinet shop. I was very nervous and had to pee every 5 minutes. They let me go.
I forgot one of the more important jobs I had in Helena. I was hired to work for Seiben Ranch as a wheel-line irrigator. I got to ride my beloved horse to move the wheel lines when the alfalfa got too tall. I lived first in a tobacco road trailer, with my beloved Irish Setter Sombreo, then I moved into a small bunk house with two rooms and I bought a Hilman Minx car that I worked on myself. In the winter I worked at Aunt Bonnie’s bookstore. I had to have some wisdom teeth surgery so I made my first acquaintance with Missoula. I would return years later.
Can I just say, this seems like another lifetime. If you’d ask me today, about my past, I’d say my life began when I met Gus in 1980. He has always said he like my energy. I met him after placing three different ads to meet a guy in the Missoulian. I had to study Women Who Love Too Much for two years with four of my girlfriends before I recovered and went from being a “project” to a “partner.” I had 7 proposals of marriage; 3 engagements; one marriage to someone under the age of 21 (I was 25) and then at the ripe old age of 35 I met Gus. We’ve been married three times (on a beach over a silent tea ceremony; at the old Teacherage up Nine Mile in full Buddhist fashion; and legally in Coeur d' alene at the Elvis-y cheesy chapel legally). These 25 years of marriage to him has been the most inspirational mentoring to become the very best person - to keep moving in the direction of kindness & respect for myself and every one else.
I can say I have fallen deeply in love with three men in my life…my grandad Gilbert Brown…my husband Gus…and my grandson Javen. We live in the back woods of Alberton, up Petty Creek, where we have a 20 acre retreat center, with three wonderful cats - 2 calico sisters and a therapy tabbycat named panda, spuddy, fatboy, mister bitey pants. Today, I would like to introduce myself with this run-on sentence, “I am a Montana loving, sex-positive radical feminist who loves and is inspired by good men and good women. I’m 100% behind the slow food movement, the sex-positive movement, and the slow lifestyle practitioners.” Humor is my #1 coping mechanism and I’m sure all cat lovers will agree with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite heroes: