I am from a multitude of lines,
imperialists and serfs.
Stalwart women,
men estranged from their hearts,
children seen and not heard
living lives oppressed in awkward silence,
finding their way through words.

Born into a year of significant unrest,
grown into a dreamy bookworm drifting.
Frothy hair, dirty knees, lounging in trees.
Racing bareback up dusty roads,
acquiring celerity from a Thoroughbred’s nimble limbs.

I lived with people who lie.
I hid from lies in fiction;
These fabrications gave me truth;
These truths gave me freedom.
Crouching in a corner or behind a tree,
I glimpsed other lives and other possibilities.
Along the line I picked up a pen, crafting my own version of a rapier.

I am a lover of words,
A lover of verse.
Verse. Verses. To turn.
The turn of the plow,
The furrow a line.
The line become verse.

I am from carrying two humans in my belly,
little alien parasites nourished with absolute love.
Keeping them close, nursing, nurturing,
smothering them with adoration and affection.
Maturing, cultivating my own bliss,
making an active choice to parent with truth.
Changing direction, giving them voices,
No more seen and not heard.
A new furrow.

I am from Generation X,
the low-slung, straight line
between two noisy behemoths.
Slackers, losers, no ambition.
Here we are now, entertain us?
A misrepresentation, a prevarication,
cognitive dissonance.

You’re not good enough.
You can’t do that.
You wouldn’t like that.
A struggle to be.
In response I shouted silently
Yes, I am. Yes, I can. Yes, I will.
Just because you say so, doesn’t make it true.

And yet choices made in opposition
are often miscalculations,
mistakes that take more than a decade to unravel.
The tickle of melancholy running its fingertips
along my spine most days.
A new verse.
Turn around.
Find another furrow.

I am from learning to leave another’s story behind.
Knowledge without knowing,
Abnegation of perfection,
The inviolability of truth.
Steady and sturdy
my backpack filled with new words and hope
making my way up another mountain.

Ask to dream it. Dream it.
Ask to create it. Create it.
Call in protection, don’t get caught.
Breathe in, breathe out.
With alacrity, I will be from joy,
magic, compassion, gratitude: Love.

I was born in California into a year of significant societal disruption. Compared to the political landscape, my birth was but a blip, although I believe all that energy was funneled through the children born into it. I was transported to Eugene, Oregon, at the ripe age of six months. From there, we moved to Salem, I think around age one and a half. From Salem we moved to “the country” when I was ten. The choice to move to “the country” was based in large part on my desire since age four to have my own horse. The place we lived in “the Country” was this wretched hell-hole called Marion, Oregon. I was tormented mercilessly by the other children who lived in Marion. I’ve been told since running into one of them in adulthood that the primary reason behind this torture was the fact I “read too much.” Apparently in a place like Marion, reading is a crime. I was also bullied by my step-father. That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?

Anyway, we left Marion and moved five miles away to a larger parcel of “country” land nearby a town called Jefferson, Oregon. Jefferson has the distinction of being the “mint capital of the world” and the “frog-jumping capital of Oregon,” both crowns it wears with pride and celebrates at its yearly Mint Festival. I admit to having been a Mint Festival princess the summer after my junior year in high school. I believe I still hold the record for the least amount of Mint Festival raffle tickets ever sold, raffle tickets being the method one employed to become QUEEN of the mint festival. Needless to say, I was not queen. However I did get a pretty dress and a nice tiara, welcome additions to any girl’s wardrobe. The nice thing about Jefferson was that I was not tormented mercilessly, but my previous experiences had left me a rather humble and frightened sort. Overall though, my life there was a vast improvement over my time in Marion, even in spite of the step-father.

Within six months of graduating high school I decided to move to Stamford, Connecticut to be a nanny. The family I worked for seemed genuinely surprised by the fact that I actually wore shoes, could read, and knew how to flush toilets. I did my best to convince them we had adopted indoor plumbing in the mid-eighties. I think they were dubious, but still allowed me to babysit their offspring. While living in Connecticut, I met a boy from Larchmont, New York, who showed me east coast teenage ways. We would travel into the city and never get into night clubs because we were too young, or wind surf on Long Island Sound, which was immense fun. When he moved to college in Boston, I went with him. I took a job as a hostess in a restaurant and moved into a brownstone with four trust-fund roommates who did a LOT of drugs. While there, a person approached me and suggested I work as a fashion model. I laughed in his face. At some point, I arrived home late to find one of my roommates had decided in his LSD-addled state to cook up one of my guinea pigs. I rescued the pig and booked a bus to Portland within a week.

Riding across country on a bus for four days is not a lot of fun. I decided I would give modeling a try once I arrived in Oregon. I did so and was able to procure an agent and started working. I made very little money and the ads I did were hideous. However, modeling allowed me to travel to Hamburg, Germany where I made even less money, but I was living in Germany and that was fun. I moved back to Oregon, then to Hawaii, then to Japan, then back to Hawaii. This lasted a few years. I never made much money and was never much of a model. I worked steadily, but I wasn’t going to be rich or even middle class on the money I made doing it. Mostly it was a way to pass the time without ever making much of an effort toward anything. Plus I lived with a gay man and two strippers in Hawaii, so I learned a bit about different cultures. After a time though, the memories of junior high and high school had faded enough I really wanted to go back to school.

I started out at community college in Oregon then transferred to a school in Virginia that supposedly had a fantastic creative writing program, as well as an equine program. It turned out the creative writing program was crap, but there was an incredible political science professor who had studied at the University of Rome. He had created an honors program for students to study political science at the University of Munich for a term. I applied, was accepted, and got to go back to Germany, this time to Munich. Living in Munich was a blast. My roommate was a Finnish girl and the two of us were trouble, especially to the other program attendees. All of them were hardcore Baptists who came as another part of the program for teachers. They thought the two of us were going straight to the devil and we made sure to keep up that impression. It was fun.

I had taken my boyfriend with me to Virginia. After a year in the place, minus my term in Germany, we were tired of the culture shock and moved back to Oregon where I married the boyfriend and attended the University of Oregon. I got my degree there in English, then began working at Oregon State University. The work bored me to death. I decided to attend graduate school and finally settled on law school. I thought it would be a nice way to write and earn a living. During this time the husband and I divorced and I met someone else. The year before I was planning to attend law school, I got pregnant with my first daughter. This delayed my law school attendance at Lewis and Clark Law School by a year. I hated the first year in law school. Even having modeled, a career that is known for all sorts of pitiful human behavior, I had never met more ego-driven, competitive jerks in one place. It was also a shock to discover just how much of our legal system, in fact the entire basis of it, was formed with the purpose of expanding capitalism and imperialism. This was quite a depressing realization for me. Thankfully, second year was a marked improvement over first. I met people who have since become some of my best friends. I began to enjoy law school and published three papers as a student. I was getting to write, which I loved, and I had finally met some really cool people. I sought out others who wanted to try and use the law for improvement, rather than for the lining of a few wealthy pockets.

Then law school ended and reality sunk in. Practicing law was nothing like law school. Nothing. I hated it. Actually, I didn’t hate the practice of law so much as the people at the place I worked. It was a miserable, toxic snake pit of hell.  I decided to start my own practice. This was great until the laws changed in my area of practice and obliterated my business. I struggled to find a job for over a year. I worked at an internet marketing company and taught riding lessons. Personally, I went through a really rough patch with my daughter’s father and his sociopathic girlfriend. I got breast cancer and went through radiation. I ended up back working at the toxic snake pit, but it was worse than it had ever been when I worked there before and I left again.  I moved to NYC for a year.  I had another beautiful baby. I have struggled to keep writing, mainly because work and single-parenting keep me busy.  I work to relearn French and Spanish and learn them completely.  I am trying to learn how to play the cello, but I don’t practice enough, and I’m not deluded enough to believe I’ll ever be more than a passable player.

I have known and am expanding my knowledge of the imperialism of the United States, and indeed the “civilized” world. Our country was founded on blood and theft; it is no surprise that it has continued its reign of world terror, destroying, rampaging, pillaging, all while waving its flag in the air, proclaiming itself the greatest nation on earth. It is the greatest: the greatest abuser of all. I can no longer remain silent about the war and profiteering of this country I was born into by chance or the abusers who steal from Earth. If I have learned anything in my life, it is that I cannot and will not be silent in the face of that which is wholly and completely wrong. I would rather die trying to bring down this system than sit idly by and watching our planet’s destruction by a greedy few. On a personal level, I have struggled to remove the noose from neck that would silence me, all in preparation for speaking out against the ills of human civilization. For my children, for our planet, for all of humanity, for all of the other lives that call Earth home, I must do what little I can to help bring about the paradigm shift that must happen if these lives are to survive. Above all, this is my purpose.

I resisted writing a bio because I do not believe these experiences are who I am, although they contribute. And so much is left out. In writing this, I had to choose what to include, and settled mostly on locational chronology. Many more pages could have been devoted to the relationships of my life, or my struggles with self-confidence, or my crazy family. People develop preconceived notions of who a person is based on their experiences and I have found that generally any preconceived ideas about me based on my experiences are not accurate. I usually do not tell people I was a model because then that is all they want to know about in our media driven, fame-seeking culture and I can’t give them the stories they want to hear. Modeling for me was not about the work but about getting off the farm in Oregon and seeing other parts of the world. Other than that, it was a blip on my personal radar. I marvel now that I was the least bit interested in it. I now also avoid telling people I am a lawyer because there are preconceived ideas about that as well, and they definitely don’t fit who I am. Who I am, what I have right now is right here. There is no future and there is no past. All of that is in my head, in my imperfect memories, a series of neurotransmitters bathing neurons, sending energy messages all around my brain.

About me? I am energy walking around in an organic body. My brain may or may not have been abducted by aliens. In either case, this energy is still here and it must type out the words that pound the inside of my skull. That is the outlet for this energy. This is who I am right now. Later when this is being read, I may be someone else. I cannot say for sure. All the details of my persona (mom, college grad, recovering lawyer, teacher, writer (whatever)), these details are not me. They are the trappings of this life in civilization, things about which readers can form judgments.

I used to have a Facebook profile. I deleted it because I was no longer interested in superficial interaction with the people I know.  It’s kind of silly. We have these various personas we create online, just like we have in actual life, just like I had when I had an online personals ad profile for a while. It’s all marketing, selling who we are to the viewers of that space. I think perhaps this blog is one of my most truthful online portraits, if only because I refuse to be anything less than honest in what I write. I say a piece because it isn’t complete, obviously. There are parts of me I leave out because I recognize that my words can be taken and manipulated, regurgitated out of context when I least expect it. Not that I have anything necessarily to hide, but there are parts of myself that aren’t for public consumption.

In any case, if the tree falls in the forest and no human is there to hear it, it still makes a sound. And yes, I can clap with one hand.

33 thoughts on “About

    • Hi Lara. I am trying to email you re: pure med spa. It won’t go through. Is it lara_gardner on msn.take care? shouldn’t it be @ Thanks

  1. I’m happy and grateful to discover your blog. This is an engaging profile.

    Keep it up, Lara, you write so well. 😉

  2. I must say, that was a very good read, it’ll make a good book one day. I’m sorry to hear about your breast cancer, my Aunt died after 1st getting Ovarian Cancer and surviving, then getting Colon cancer (I’m pretty sure I have the order right)….she didn’t survive the 2nd Cancer. She was in her late 40’s, and truly a wonderful person, who wads very independent, fun, and excellent family woman.

    Excellent blog, I’ve definitely bookmarked it for future readings…thanks for the enlightening and insightful sharings.

  3. Hi Lara, my name is Dan and my girlfriend was a victim of Pure Med Spa as well. They left her with huge horrible burns on her face. In addition, her attorney sucks! We live in the SF Bay Area. As you are an attorney, please can you help us find a kick ass attorney who knows what Pure Med Spa is all about?

    Thank you so much, in advance, for your help.


  4. Hi Lara,

    I would love to be part of your interview if you haven’t already finished your article. Please email me at the address provided.

    Thank you!

  5. Hey! Are you in NY? i live in Chelsea with my girlfriend (ok.. boyfriend you were right). Id love to see you and catch up a little.. just a few years! lol. Hope thing are going well for you. Hit me up at aim (adapt02it) or msn messenger (adapt2it) if your interested. Take care.. Rob

  6. Hi Lara. I am a former/cheated employee of Pure Med/Britesmile. do you have any new info on lawsuits etc? we have been trying to find an attorney here in Southern California to take a class action lawsuit but have had no luck. Any suggestions?

  7. Hi Lara,

    This is so funny, I was researching BriteSmile/Pure Med Spa because they had ripped me off and closed without any advance warning and I want my records returned to me. Anyway I recognized your name and wondered if you are the same person who is friends with my dear friend Donna Smith in Portland. I am also an attorney and used to work many years ago at Trierweiler and Associaters. After reading some of your life narrative we should exchange stories. LOL I’ve also had a an interesting, peripatetic existence.


    Nicole Chiari (friend of Donna)

  8. Hi Lara, I have been blessed to be receiving occasional updates about pure med spa from you for about 2 years now—- I am one of the sad ones who lost over $5500— from the Alderwood Mall, Lynnwood Wa in 2006—! I got severly burned, received no further treatments and still had to pay off the huge bill to save my credit ( and did ). Is there anything I can do to create or join a class action law suit from Wash State. There must be something
    1000’s of consumers and millions of $$ in fraud can be recouped right? What attorney could be big & bold enough to take on this scale of a case?

  9. Just thought you should know that Jeff Nourse has been hired on by Pinnacle aka iBody Med Spa as a “sales consultant”. Please keep me anonymous since I still have to work in this hell till I find another job.

    Sounds like all the same BS!

  10. Hey Lara its been a long time just been thinking about all my old classmates from Jefferson. Well i read what you have been up to sounds like a whole alot more than what i have been up to. Well keep in touch your old friend Deeanna

    • What’s up with it? It’s a photo I took there of a lovely place. Nothing is up with it other than that. Also, I’m a writer. That’s the reason for so many words. Lawyers don’t have a monopoly on words.

  11. Whew! Where to start? Well, I too, can clap with one hand. But, gee, I find it hurts my face. My cheek goes all red and sometimes I leave fingerprints. Is there another way?

    Lara, I won’t profess to ‘know’ you from your brief musings. But I WILL comment on a few things – basically coz I’m so old I don’t overly care how people take the things I say anymore. It’s very hard because I am highly empathic and have a desperate need to please. But I’m getting better as the grave approaches. Most importantly: please continue to write. You do it well. You have well-developed competencies. More importantly, you have valuable things to say. You offer insights that are sensible, intelligent and pertinent. That you care not what your audience thinks (well, perhaps, mostly so?) is a good thing. It enables you to bring more honesty to your musings. And that is a marked contrast to many bloggers.

    Your disdainful scorn for those who inanely Like and Follow is something we share. Yeah, it’s nice to build a following and some of those I engage with have become meaningful acquaintances. A very eclectic group! But every so often someone like you comes along and adds something worthwhile to a day. Thank you!

    Just consider that the world is in desperate need of wisdom. Your frank honesty and blossoming experience as a parent suggest you will have many insights of real value to share. I have no right to even encourage you, I know, but I would do so in the belief that you can help change some people’s lives for the better. Write and share – to the extent you feel comfortable – and you may achieve some real good in the world that you don’t even get to know about! Have a lovely day.

  12. There is a sensation that’s sweeping the nation-

    the name of this craze is generalization.

    It’s really quite simple

    and easy to do-

    Make broad statements about many

    based on actions of few

    Not understanding?

    Are you confused?

    Just go do the things

    I’m about to go do.

    First, pick a group of folks

    to do this to-

    then say they ALL do things

    they ALL do not do!

    Need examples?

    No problem!

    I’ll give you two-

    The Irish are psychic!

    Landscapers sniff glue!

    Isn’t it fun saying things that aren’t true?

    Let’s try again before this poems through.

    Tall people hate pudding!

    Short people are crazy!

    People with green eyes

    are spoiled and lazy!

    See, nothing to it-

    so simple to do,

    ’cause keeping things simple

    is what simple minds do.

    And that’s how we like it

    in the U S of A

    We generalize more and more every day

    “These people all do this!”

    “These folks are this way!”

    “Well, this is what all of those weird people say!!!”

    People can’t stand it

    when they see it being done-

    but when they’re generalizing

    they can see

    they’re the one.

    Until we’re aware

    of what we are doing

    it’s ourselves and each other

    and the world we’re screwing!

    What is our problem?

    Why do we do this?

    Until this is solved

    I’m blaming the Buddhists!

  13. Every life is a Gift, yes? Yours sounds like fun too! [I liked your reprinted piece on counterpunch and wanted to get in touch — & if you’d like free help (worth every cent of it!) in getting linux installed & running, my own email is treegestalt at that well-known government-hacked google email service. (Why put them to useless effort? I just try not to bore them!)]

    Dear Civilization
    I’m running a fever like the Earth
    to cure the sickness of your medicines

    You splash filth in my eyes
    and think I do not see

    My lungs clog with your fires
    and my mouth with your murders,
    my throat with honest vomit.

    I refuse your treatments; my heart
    drifts down the river strewing daisies
    and singing.

    [me, 2007 — & if you’ve got time to read more there’s a bit about my own God-befnurgled life in this piece: http://sneezingflower.blogspot.com/2006/09/okay-another-poem.html ]

  14. hi lara, excellent article on why no vote, as to ‘bareback obama’, you just forgot whistleblowers aggression : manning, snowden, assange …

  15. Lara, I loved your piece on not voting. Thank you. I tried to read it again today on CounterPunch and they had removed it. I wonder why? I am glad to find your blog. You have led a beautifully complex life full of adventure and you have such insight. I have always voted, but I love your arguments for NOT voting.

  16. Excellent article on voting. I am not voting either for many of the same reasons. I simply cannot abide the “lesser of two evils” logic so many of my friends currently embrace. I consider myself a moderate and I analyze issues that are important to me on an ad hoc basis after studying all perspectives. After careful consideration I find Clinton and Trump will not better American lives and I don’t believe I am throwing my vote away. The candidates are not worthy of it.

  17. Hi Lara.

    I saw your article on WIFI and sleep in Huff Post: hhuffingtonpost * com/lara-m-gardner/insomnia-tips_b_3927072 * html

    While it’s good advice, you omit the problem of cell towers. I just moved to a low income building for which I had been waiting 2.5 years. Unfortunately I didn’t realize the building is surrounded by three giant cell towers. My sleep has all but collapsed. I’m lucky to sleep two hours per night. I have no computer at home, no router, no tv and I turn off my cell phone at night. Still the insomnia is intense.

    The fact is this is all part of the USA business model of poor health makes for corporate wealth. It’s part of a sick society that adulates money and hates people.

    I’ve lived around the world and I must say that America is the most misanthropic society I’ve encountered.

    To paraphrase Lincoln:


    If you can email me I have some essays on American sociopathy I’d like to share with you.


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