Back in the Saddle

September 16, 2014

And it was just like riding a bike.

Except.

Well.

YIPPEE!

It was my bike.

Yes.

That is correct.

I am back on my bicycle.

I mean, I did go for a brief ride last Sunday, Noriega Produce and back and also to the Safeway at Fulton and La Playa, but a real ride, nope.

Not until today.

I did the same ride.

However, first I had to change the flat tire from yesterday.  As I suspected the running out of coffee was the prompt needed to get me into motion.  I was determined after I ground up the last of my beans this morning to fix the flat and go hunter gather some more coffee beans up.

I had a meeting beforehand and some reading to do and that was done and plans were made for some more of that in the future.  It is really quite nice to be back in the routine of making time to see other people for an hour or so once a week and do some reading and gaining of perspective.

It really is the bright spot of my life.

I also did some writing and some meditation prior to the bicycle tire change out.

I finished those two things up after my guest left and decided the best thing to do was to make some lunch, because I know better than to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, and that it would be helpful to have food in me before doing anything mechanical.

Not that I haven’t changed a flat tire before, I have, it’s just that there’s something about it, that does make me want someone else to do the work.

There is often a part of me that wonders why in the hell do I bother?

How come I put in so much time?

Then I remember, oh yeah, my life was awful and the only way it got better was showing up and doing the work that other people had suggested I do.

And there’s only more work to be done.

I want to rest on my laurels and I want you, nebulous you, to change my flat tire.

Really, it’s not too hard, you can do it.

Um.

I mean.

I can do it.

And I did.

And there was a solid feeling of accomplishment about it.  This is a bike I have broken down and packed up and carried across the Pond, yeah, the big one, to Paris and back, I have reassembled it, changed other flat tires (sometimes putting said tires on backwards, oops, but still), yet there is a thought, false, that I cannot possibly do it again.

That it’s too hard and that it’s something to push-off and put aside for another day.

But.

Today is the day.

I felt it.

I wanted to be on my bike.

It did not hurt that the day was glorious September in San Francisco weather at its absolute finest–clear, high blue skies, no clouds, scant breeze, mid 70s–and it was just hollering to me to take advantage of it.

I opened up the door to the garage and the sun poured in.

I flipped over the bike and propped it against the wall in the garage and used my handy bicycle 15mm wrench and lever combo to unscrew the bolts on the front wheel.

I examined the valve closely and determined that it was indeed broken and I had to replace the entire tube.  I set down the bolts carefully to make sure I did not displace them and got the old dish towel out of my linen closet to use to wipe down my hands.  I used the lever and pulled the tire, a Gatorskin, off the rim.

Then I pulled out the old inner tube and tossed it in the trash.

I opened up the new tube, unscrewed the valve and put a little air in the tube to help it line up with the rim (rims which I still love but can see perhaps replacing with a new set up in about a year, maybe some Halo reflectors or a mirror rim from Velocity), then I slipped the Gatorskin back onto the rim.

Then the tricky part.

Getting the tire back into the rim.

I took a minute.

It took me a while longer than a minute, but not more than five or ten.

I kept rolling the tire between my hand and the rim and it just wouldn’t catch.

I was about to give up.

I thought, well, I can still take the tire over to Swell, the local bike shop at Irving and 42nd, but give it one more go.

And then it just caught.

I levered the tire onto the rim, rolled it through my hands to make sure that the inner tube was not pinched between the rim and the tire, and then I put it back on the front fork, screwed it tight, flipped it over, inflated it, and voila!

Good as new.

I did feel deeply satisfied.

It’s a small thing, but I like that I can change my own flat tire.

I washed up and headed out to the grocery stores.

It was beautiful, the sun shone down, the water on the ocean glittered, the breeze blew, my feet were connected and I felt surer on the bicycle than last week, and my ankle, though stiff, felt capable to do the job.

After my second trip, the most important one, the one to get coffee, I also realized that I was going to be able to ride my bike to the Inner Sunset.

I could feel it.

It was going to happen.

I think I was actually more nervous about how my quads would feel after not being on my bicycle for three and a half months and riding up the incline on Lincoln from 46th Avenue up to 9th Avenue.

The quads held.

My ankle held.

I did it!

Nothing hurts.

Well.

My ankle is stiff and my thighs are a little sore, but really, not bad at all.

Really quite happy.

“This month, dancing, no excuses, you can ride your bike, you can go dancing,” my friend said to me as we parted this evening.

I can see it.

Maybe not this week.

But if I can get back in the saddle.

I can get back on the dance floor.

It is good to be more myself than I have been in months.

Grateful for the healing.

And for the patience to let myself heal.

And for knowing that tomorrow I won’t be riding my bike.

I know to not push too hard as well.

One day on.

One day off.

Until I am fully back in the groove.

No need to kill myself.

Besides.

I will be picking up my playa bike from Cole Valley.

And that’s a ride of an entirely different sort.

Be on the lookout for my purple pennant.

As I ride again.

 

 

Trying To Figure It Out

September 15, 2014

Is not helping my sense of relaxation.

I just clicked through a number of “secret San Francisco spots” and things to do and thought, meh.

I’ve pretty much done that been there.

It’s the big guns I have not done.

I have not gone to Alcatraz.

I really can’t quite bring myself to go, to tell the truth.

I do love taking photographs of it when I have ridden past it on a ferry-boat at night or sunset, its a spectacular piece of spooky and eery and beautiful, but I have not ever really hankered to go visit the Rock.

I have never walked the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am not about to start tomorrow.

My ankle still sucks.

Still.

Half way to full healing, not walking in a boot, no crutches, but still aches, still gets swollen, still needs attending to.

Speaking of which, I am going to pause and prop it up with some frozen peas now that I am thinking about it and take a few ibuprofen for the swelling.

Ah.

That’s better.

I have not ever been too keen on walking the bridge, though, I have done it numerous times on my bicycle.

Which I was going to ride today, not much mind you, just to the grocery store and back.

But.

I blew out the valve on the inner tube trying to inflate it.

I have to change out the tube and I just didn’t feel like doing it to justify an eight block round trip bicycle ride to Noriega Market.

Although I will probably change my tune tomorrow when I go through the last of the Stumptown Holler Mountain coffee in my cupboard.  That will dramatically increase my odds of fixing my flat tire.

I was going to be lazy about it and just wheel it up the road to 42nd and Irving where that little local bike shop is, but then I was like, really?  I have the tube, I have the wrench I have the pump.  The time it would take to walk there and back I could probably change it faster and it will be free.

That’s one thing to do on the morrow.

I do have someone coming over for an hour tomorrow to do some work and catching up.

I am getting lots of that.

“You’re going to graduate school in San Francisco!?  You got a new job in the Mission!?”

“YAY!”

Some one I do some work with was over joyed to hear my news when we met at Maxfield’s House of Caffeine on the Dolores/Mission border.

Over joyed that I am not moving or going anywhere but staying here in SF for graduate work.

It was lovely to catch up, it has been about a month since I have done the one on one work and I have missed it.

I’ll get more this week.

But aside from that, not much is happening until Thursday.

After 1 p.m. tomorrow I am wide open.

I called and left a message with a friend of mine who occasionally has Monday’s off, perhaps we’ll kick it around the city.

I have a possible lunch date on Wednesday.

Tuesday I will say goodbye to the little guy in Cole Valley, pick up my playa bike, and hand over the key to the mom.

Bittersweet to see another story close.

But excited to have a new adventure happening soon.

In the Mission.

“Are you going to move back to the Mission?” A good friend of mine, who lives in the Mission, asked me this evening when I shared the news of what’s happening next in the life and times of moi.

I wish.

Unless y’all can come up with a spot for me, that is no more expensive than what I pay now and I get as much room and access to laundry.

I mean.

I would in a heart beat.

It is going to be a big commute to get to the Mission from out here.

I can do it.

I have before, but it’ll be about an hour and a half commute every day on my bicycle.

Maybe not that long, but about.

On a good gravy I am going fast day, with good traffic, and not really obeying traffic laws, I can make it to the Mission in about a half hour.

But I will probably give myself 45 minutes to make the ride.

I don’t want to die.

And this does bring me back to my other thought, my scooter.

I would love to use it.

I don’t think I am going to though, I can’t afford another injury on it.

I just cannot.

But I also don’t want to have a vintage Vespa collecting dust if I am not going to use it.

I think I am going to head to a couple of scooter places on Tuesday (SF Moto is closed on Mondays otherwise I’d go tomorrow) and see if I can trade in for a new model, I have been checking out the stock on their website and there seems to be a lot of options.

The commute won’t be quite so daunting on a scooter.

I’ll be getting on my bicycle until that sorts itself out.

I figure another week of taking it easy on the ankle and fingers crossed, I’ll be up and at ‘em for the new job commute starting a week from tomorrow.

There’s not really a good MUNI connect between here and where I am working in the Mission, two transfers and some walking, I would rather spend the time on the bike and go slow and get there, it’ll be faster no matter what anyhow.

Of course, this is all unnecessary commuter speculation right now.

I don’t have work to go to until Friday when I am doing a date night for the parents of the new family and Saturday afternoon when I get to see my little guy in the Castro who started up pre-school while I was away at Burning Man.

Until then.

I shall ferret out some secret San Francisco treasures for my “staycation” enjoyment.

Wish me luck!

Well

September 14, 2014

And done.

It went well.

And I am done.

Zombified by the adrenalin of it all.

I do not know how entertainers can do it.

I got so sick with stage fright today I thought I was going to throw up.

I apparently did ok.

I messed up a few lines, transposing a couple of verses, but since the pieces were my own poems, no one knew the difference.

In fact, all were kind and sweet.

It was worth it, though to get up there and be present and perform, not that I think I am going to be doing it again any time soon.

I felt rather upstaged and outclassed by the musicians.

I am not playing any instruments, just reciting some poems.

It’s intimacy though, intense intimacy, just me, just a microphone, just my own words, my own lines of verse.

I mean.

It’s hard to hold an audience for seven minutes, especially with poetry, but I feel that they were with me.  And as more than one friend mentioned, really the best audience a person could ever hope for.

I have to say, the MC, Bucky Sinister, made the night for me.

He was hilarious.

I know his books and I have known through the grapevine that he does stand up comedy, and I can totally see it, he was a freaking hoot.

And Tom Sway.

Wow.

Blown away by his performance, it made me feel.

I mean really feel.

I laughed in appreciation at the talent the first piece displayed.

Part of it was tragic, comic, melodramatic, high emotionalism, high-octane, epic storytelling, and it was smart.

Very smart.

And the second.

Well.

Damn.

I cannot remember being brought to tears that quickly before by an artist.

The last time I recall having that kind of visceral response, that kind of quick lighting grief and sadness and elemental joy, was listening to Jeff Buckley encore with Hallelujah at the Barrymore Theater in Madison, when I saw him on tour for Grace.

I reasoned the tears away immediately.

I was feeling emotional.

The adrenalin was finally wearing off.

I was having after effects from my performance.

But the pure fact of it was I could identify with the artists’ deep sadness and insurmountable joy all at the same time.

The man is a talent.

I don’t believe I was the only one in the audience with tears in their eyes.

That’s a good place to be.

Surprised.

Open to others artistry and love of performance.

There were some performers tonight I could have done without, but to have had the willingness to get up on the stage and do their bit, I respected, perhaps with a greater appreciation than ever before, the work involved and the passion for it that comes out.

That being said.

I am done with it and glad for it.

I’m not so certain I am built to be a performer.

I like to think I am, that I have a talent for it.

But after seeing Sway and Sinister do there things, I was content to recognize that I may have a tiny touch of sweet melodic muse in me, I don’t have comic genius or the ability to bring people to tears.

I am a mediocre talent at best.

But grateful to have had a small chance here and there to do my little thing and know that experience, the getting up in front of a group of people and showing a part of myself.

There’s certain places I speak well and they can remain anonymous for now.

I don’t need accolades.

I don’t need applause.

My ego doesn’t need it.

I think I am just a tiny bit too introverted.

Despite my extroverted exterior.

I am on the shy’er side of town.

But not debilitatingly so.

Another thing to be grateful for.

I did think a moment or two of completely bowing out, what I had to offer was vastly different from what was happening on stage with most of the performers, but it was still something, another thing, I got to do by walking through the fear.

And now the weekend can really start.

And the week too, I suppose.

I have the next four days off, technically five, I do have off on Thursday as well, but I have a lot of errands I have to run, including going to the Healthy San Francisco offices and getting my care extended for another year, on that day to feel like a real day off.

I was instructed to enjoy it.

Especially as I will be starting a new job on September 22nd (plus a gig this Friday and this Saturday) and I will be busy, it will be full-time and I will just leap right into it.

It was expressed to me that this may be my only time off for a while so I best take advantage of it.

That doesn’t mean that I have any idea what I am going to do.

Well, aside from not be in any more talent shows, that’s enough stress for me for a while, thank you very much.

I am supposing I shall play more tourist in my town sort of things.

Go to the beach.

Maybe do some yoga.

Aside from the “exciting” and overwhelming cold sweaty high of the adrenalin, I did get one other thing from the talent show–a $200 gift certificate for a yoga session.

The benefit had a raffle and that’s what I won.

Thank you.

That’s at least one thing to do.

Sleeping in may be another.

I’m still a little hobbled with the ankle, so nothing too strenuous.

A movie.

A matinée?

All the things.

There are so many.

A swim.

A session at Kabuki Springs and Spa.

A nap.

Really.

A date with a new paramour.

Not that I have one, but a girl can dream can’t she?

Should you have thoughts, throw them my way.

Or time.

Let’s hang out and watch the leaves turn silvery in the sun and cool outlined with the sharp air off the ocean.

There is time.

And there is time.

Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

 

 

Saying Goodbye

September 13, 2014

To turn around and say hello.

In the span of an hour I said goodbye to my little girl Thursday, who for today, was my little girl Friday, and then hello to my newest set of monkeys.

I headed over to the new gig with tears in my eyes from saying goodbye.

A goodbye that they never quite get, and a goodbye that I never am able to say without some tears.

I know it’s good-bye and there’s always a treat.

A splurge, a little sugar kiss to say I love you and you may not know how much, but I do.

Sometimes it’s that one bakery in the Mission on 24th street by the park with the ceramic tile snake hidden deep down on 24th behind a gate with the original water park action (before they redid Mission Park and Pool on Valencia and 19th), where there’s a shelf full of white flour Mexican cookies with thick crusted white frosting topped crazy and donut colored sprinkles.

Two of those please.

This is me saying goodbye, let me give you a treat I would never, ever give you, since I don’t eat sugar it’s not in my tool kit to feed it to a child I take care of.

I don’t mind it, really, it’s just that I don’t often get into the practice of buying cookies, more for my own mental health than anything else.

It’s sort of like buying someone a beer when you don’t drink.

Or an ice cream when you don’t cone.

I took my little lady bug to BiRIte and she got a cup, child serving, of vanilla malted and was gloriously and mind melding happy in her little universe.

I treated myself to an Americano at The Mill, probably the last one I will have there in some time.

I won’t be nannying in the NOPA any longer.

Or Cole Valley.

Nope.

I will be in the Mission.

After my Americano was drank and my little charge scooped the last dregs of melted ice cream soup from her little compostable BiRite cup I said my official goodbye, with an admonishment from the parent that it would not be our last time.

I know, but it always does feel like the last time.

I headed out.

I went out the door and managed not to sob until I hit the second flight of stairs and then when I got outside she was pressed to the window, three stories up, waving her little heart out.

I blew her kisses and crossed the street to catch the 24 bus down Divisadero.

I couldn’t wait at the bus stop.

It was too close to the house.

I didn’t want to be seen teary eyed and mopey waiting for the bus.

I walked down a few blocks and waited there.

I composed myself and made sure that I was not a smeary teary mess and got on the next bus.

I hopped off at 18th and Castro and took the 33 down into the Mission.

Friday happy hour bars overflowing.

Friday rush hour traffic.

Friday in the Mission.

The sunset warmer already than it was in the NOPA, the fog hadn’t yet reached its chilly paws into the Mission, I pulled off my jacket and texted the next mom that I was on my way and see them soon.

I got there as dinner was being served and took a moment to collect my things and get my stuff and not interrupt the eating.

Very important that.

Keeping to a schedule, not interrupting an important routine, I tried to make myself small.

But the smallest one crawled into my arms and I was welcomed to the dinner table and I signed the contract and the paperwork and cancelled a check and handed it to the mom and voila.

Like that.

New job.

New family.

New movement forward.

New love planted in my heart and sowed and watered, with a few tears from the job just left and a few tears of gratitude for the new job to come and the new experience and getting to be working back in the Mission (not excited about the commute, but hey, at least I still am living in San Francisco), getting to be in a neighborhood I know so well.

Grateful for this experience.

Blown away how it all falls into place.

How the solution and the problem have nothing to do with each other.

How I get to be in the solution.

And then.

Back out the door with the hugs of a new set of charges infusing my heart and off to a special dinner celebration, by myself, yes, but so.

I am awesome good company.

A little splurging, not really has anyone ever said that going to dinner at Herbivore is a splurge?

A nice quiet early dinner by myself.

Which is good, I needed to practice my pieces, the talent show is tomorrow night.

Then a walk through the neighborhood.

I got reaquainted on my walk back to the 33 line.

I had places to be this evening, a little speaking engagement in the Castro.

Then.

Met with a friend after and had tea at Samovar.

I love my life.

I am so lucky.

We talked shoes and ships and sailing wax, cabbages and kings.

And Burning Man.

Lots of that.

It was my friend’s first time this year and we compared notes and talked Decompression, which is not nearly as much fun as the event, but it’s a place I still go to as I will get to see all the people I love and cherish out in the dust, back in the city in the Dogpatch neighborhood.

And even sometimes I see people who were at Burning Man that I never got a chance to see because I was busy doing “Workingman” and not going to Burning Man.

All the things.

I wish for you all the things.

My friend said that to me.

I think I am finally getting to see what that means.

I wish for you all the things too.

The hellos.

The goodbyes.

The “family” reunions.

All the love.

Most of all.

All the love.

Whether it find you in the bottom of a tea cup.

Or in the last sweet vanilla malted kiss of ice cream licked from a small wooden spoon.

May you have all the things.

That Moment When

September 12, 2014

I stepped off the train and fall smacked me in the face.

Wait.

Hey.

Isn’t it still summer?

I mean, San Francisco does have a summer, though often times it feels a tad on the Indian Summer side of town, it does happen.

But there was something about the air and the sudden dark and the chill when I hopped off the MUNI tonight, it shouted fall.

I would prefer a few more days, like the rest of September please, and yes, even on into October.

That’s usually what happens.

The season runs late, which is nice for the folks that live in San Francisco, and perhaps not so nice to the tourists who tend to leave right after Labor Day bemoaning the cold and fog of June and July, even August.

I like that secret Indian Summer season, I relish it.

There are seasons to San Francisco and I usually notice two of them.

Dark and light.

When its winter/fall it gets darker earlier.

There is also good chance for rain and it does tend to be chillier.

When it’s spring/summer it get dark later.

Tonight it was just dark later.

It could have been the fog, which hey, man, you aren’t supposed to be kicking it around these parts right now.

I don’t care if the Outer Sunset is synonymous with fog, this ain’t your season, get thee behind me.

Please.

Especially since I am going to have some time next week to play and I would appreciate a little nice weather to accompany it.

I don’t know yet what I am going to do.

Most of my friends will be working.

I may have one friend that can kick it with me for a day and I am waiting to hear back from him.

Otherwise I was told to go look up that list of things I like to do and do some of them.

Shoot.

I had forgotten about that discussion and those subsequent suggestions.

I suppose I will have to do something fun.

Sigh.

Fun and cheap.

Sort of like when I took my own bag lunch down to the Ferry Building on Wednesday.

I can probably do the Botanical Gardens, free to San Francisco residents.

I can walk the beach.

I live just a few blocks away from it.

I can work on some writing.

Although I have been subsumed with memorizing the pieces I am going to perform on Saturday–almost there–so not certain I have any new words in the brain pan.

I could go on a date.

I don’t know who I would ask.

But I could.

I could go to Kabuki and sit in the spa.

That doesn’t cost too much, twenty, twenty-five dollars.

I have a friend who said drop into the Mission and we’ll do lunch.

I will probably do that.

I will be working in the Mission soon, may as well re-acquaint myself with the neighborhood.

Ah.

One thing I have been thinking about too, that I should definitely do, although it falls more under the category taking care of business rather than fun, but it could be fun now that I a thinking about.

I want to go to some scooter/motorcycle stores and see if I could trade in my Vespa for a newer model scooter.

Say, one that I don’t have to kickstart.

I am gun-shy.

I have to say it.

And I am still recuperating.

I am serious, as I write, the ankle is elevated and I have my favorite sack of peas on it.

I mean, I didn’t walk a whole lot today, just over to Alamo Square park and around the NOPA neighborhood, up a few flights of steps, three separate times, and swollen.

Like that.

Swollen.

Still managing with occasional ibuprofen and still icing.

It’s still healing.

So.

Yeah.

Definitely shy about trying to kick-start the scooter and re-injure myself.

Plus with the brief kiss of autumn in the air to remind me, the scooter takes longer to start when it’s cold.  I don’t want to be trying to start it and hurt myself because it’s chilly out.

It gets chilly here.

Not cold.

Not freezing.

But the damp and the cold, they are real and I really don’t know that I want to be negotiating a cold starting scooter.

I love the Vespa, it is so cute and fun, but I don’t love having a sprained ankle and I still have two and a half months to go before the doctor said it would be healed.

I don’t want to wait that long to hop on my ride.

So my thinking has run along the lines of maybe take some of the time I have next week and go talk with some scooter places and see if I can trade it in for something that works better for my needs.

Hmm.

I could even do that tomorrow.

Tucked in between the NOPA gig, helping out with a pre-school transition with my little girl Thursday, today was our last Thursday together, sad face–but not our last time together I am sure–but tomorrow I am helping the parents as she has one more day of transition.

Meaning she has a half day at pre-school.

So I’ll be over there between 1p.m. and 5 p.m.

Then over to the Mission to sign some paperwork for the new family and later I have a speaking engagement at 8:30p.m. in the Castro.

But in between the paperwork and the Castro I may have time to sneak over to Scuderia and see what the haps are in regards to a possible trade in with my Vespa.

And if it’s not possible, a trade in, that is, I may consider selling the Vespa and then putting the money down on a different vehicle.

Things to think about.

There is time and there is time.

And I am sure the time will fill itself with comings and goings.

But should you be free next week Monday through Thursday, let me know.

I have some time on my hands.

It’d be fun to share it with you.

Hey You

September 11, 2014

Yeah you.

You look like you could use some vacation in your life.

I look over my shoulder, are you talking to me?

Yeah, kid, you, there, in the oversize bib’s, why don’t you go down to the Ferry Building and watch the sea gulls squabble over scraps and take in the Bay Bridge, it’s a nice day in San Francisco, you can even leave the second layer at home.

Alright.

This lady does not know what to do with the down time, so I pretend to play tourist.

Now.

I do it the savvy way.

Number one.

I pack my own lunch.

As much as I like lunching down at the Ferry Building, or any meal, really, I don’t like the price tag attached.

Way too much.

Especially since this time off was not planned and next week.

Yeah.

More unplanned time off.

“You could Task Rabbit yourself,” my friend suggested via text just a little while ago.

No.

I prefer to pre-emptively pay all my bills and be chill.

I was half expecting that the letter of resignation with the family I was just off in the desert with might end up with me not having any work next week, but I did not feel like I could have not given them the notice.

The grandma is in town and when grandma is in town, who needs a nanny?

I totally get it, and as I said partially thought that it may happen that way.

I feel better than if I had shown up for the three days of work that I would have been doing and then said at the end of it, oh and by the way, I’ll be working with a new family next week, so uh, good luck.

I did get a very nice invitation to go say goodbye to my charge and that will be arranged.

Besides, I need to drop off their house key and also pick up my playa bike.

I can’t imagine they will want it hanging out all dusty in their garage.

Actually, I am not so certain I want it hanging out all dusty in my housemate’s garage.

I am thinking of going and picking it up and donating it.

Possibly to the bike kitchen.

Possibly to the guys over on Shotwell and 21st–Pedal Revolution–the non-profit bike shop that teaches at risk kids how to do bicycle repair.

I can’t imagine keeping it right now.

I could use it next year.

If I go to Burning Man.

I might be having to start-up graduate school.

I might be on vacation with the family that just hired me.

Fingers crossed.

I will go in Friday and sign the last of the paperwork so that the insurance company can run the back ground check.

I really did think that I should not say anything to the family and hedge my bets and cover my ass and have work in case, but I did the principled thing, giving notice.

And I feel right with that.

I am grateful for all I received from the family, I really did get a lot.

And another grows up and I move forward.

I am really looking forward to the graduate school part of the equation.

“Aren’t you burnt out?” A friend asked me yesterday.

He was riding by on his bicycle during commuter hours home, oh, I cannot wait for that ride again (I haven’t gotten back on the bike, in fact, tomorrow I have a short gig in the NOPA and I will be taking MUNI again), and he stopped and squeezed me hard.

We haven’t seen each other, outside of facecrack, in years, but it was like old times.

He told me about his own child, now three and a half, and I think, yes, that was the last time I saw him, his wife was pregnant and he asked me some nanny questions, and how it is such a challenge to parent.

“I’m not,” I said, “but I can see it coming in a few years, more so, that my body is older and I am ready to do more with my experience.”

I told him about graduate school and child psychology and wow, big thumbs up.

In fact.

Big thumbs up from every single person I have spoken to about it.

It is really exciting to be going after something and being met with such widespread approval.

Usually if I get a wild hair up my ass about a career change I am met with some resistance or some thought-provoking suggestions.

All that’s happened this time is a complete affirmation of my idea.

It feels so on point it’s a tiny bit spooky.

But I am just going to go for it.

Until the next moves need to be made for the graduate school and for the new job I will relax and take it easy.

In the last two days I have played tourist–Legion of Honor yesterday and Ferry Building today–I shall continue in that vein for next week.

I do have work lined up tomorrow and Friday, then the talent show on Saturday.

Sunday coffee with a ladybug.

Monday tea with a ladybug.

In between?

The DeYoung?

Or the Cartoon Museum.

Maybe a game of bones with a friend of mine and some coffee somewhere in the city.

“Just give me a call,” he said to me tonight as I gathered the contents of my day of playing tourist–I know better than to eat or buy food at the Ferry Building (I got an iced coffee and ate my packed lunch on the pier overlooking the Bay), I walked to the Farmer’s Market at Civic Center and stocked up, “we’ll go out.”

Ah.

Ok.

Go out on his 36 foot Catalina sail boat.

“You just have to scoot over to Sausalito, that’s where I keep it docked, I take folks out all the time, don’t I,” he turned to a mutual friend.

“Ayup.”

Ok.

Then.

Another new experience to have.

Buttressed with the experience of knowing that when work is not at my fingertips I don’t need to freak out, maybe there’s something else I need to be doing.

Like sailing on the Bay.

Like playing tourist in one of the prettiest places on Earth.

I believe I can handle that for a few days.

Not too many.

A girl likes to have groceries and all.

But I can handle a few days off.

Who knows what marvelous mischief may happen.

Practice Makes Perfect

September 10, 2014

And makes for fun.

“What will make this most enjoyable for your audience,” she asked me yesterday on the phone as I divulged I would be performing in a benefit this weekend.

“What can you do to have the most fun?” She added as I paused.

“I need to have the pieces memorized,” I replied.

I do not have the pieces memorized.

I have seven minutes to get up on a stage and do three pieces of poetry and then sit my ass back down and let other people have their go.

“It’s the most forgiving audience you will ever perform for,” my friend said, who is going to be ending the show.

Now, I feel confident that he knows what he’s saying and he also, I feel, has a leg up on me, as he plays classical Flamenco guitar.

I am just reciting some poems I wrote.

I feel a touch inadequate if the truth is to be told.

Which where else am I going to speak the truth, than here?

But, I said I would help and when it was suggested to me that I volunteer to perform, I said I would.

The participants are drawn randomly and I actually believed I would have a good shot at not getting picked.

There, I’ll show you, I’ll take your suggestion, but won’t have to do anything about it.

Win, win.

Except.

I got the e-mail while I was at Burning Man that my name had been, in fact, randomly selected, and I was slated to perform in the talent show.

Oops.

I knew immediately that I had one piece I could do, I’ve performed it before, in slams and on stage with a dj accompanying me, and even in Paris at the Paris Open Mic at Le Chat Noir.

So, that’s one piece.

But the others, well, I know them well, but not memorized.

Between getting back from New York, resigning from one job, accepting another, and just getting my feet underneath me from the frenetic travel from one coast to another with a lot of dust thrown in the mix, I had pretty much not thought about the show.

Until today.

Eek.

I have to start memorizing these pieces.

I mean, part of me thought, still thinks, that I could get up there and just read them, but that seems, somehow, to be failing the audience.

I don’t think it will be as much fun as if I just get up there and go at the work with it memorized.

Which means I have two longish pieces I need to commit to memory.

Fortunately I have tomorrow off.

I had today off as well, but I decided to do a little “staycation” action and I took myself to the Legion of Honor Museum over in the Outer Richmond.

I hadn’t been to that particular museum in years, I mean, like six or even seven.

My preference is typically for the DeYoung or the MOMA, but I have been to the DeYoung in recent memory and the MOMA is still closed for renovations.

While I was meditating today, the Legion of Honor popped into my brain.

Ok.

I can do that.

I didn’t even have to go far.

Just half a block down to the 46th and Judah and I caught the 18 bus, which dead ends at the Legion of Honor.  Then a small ticket fee, $10, with a discount when I was asked if I had taken the bus and I replied I had, they knocked off $2 when I showed my transfer.

Not too bad.

$8 to see Rodin.

The Kiss.

The Thinker.

The Man with a Broken Nose.

To get up close and personal to smell the marble to walk around the sculptures.

The Legion of Honor has more Rodin sculptures than any other museum outside of the Rodin Museum in Paris.

Which I had the pleasure of going to when I was in Paris.

I wandered through the sculpture, although I am not the biggest fan of sculpture, it is a marvel to see the Rodin’s, one that captured my fancy for some time was a small collection of miniature studies of just right feet.

Unimaginable how much time and effort devoted to just studying that one body appendage.

The Mighty Hand also captured me for a time.

It’s just a hand, a large hand, anatomically correct, and the ferocity of it, the brute strength, the curl of the fingers reaching and holding and grasping, astounding.

I love me some art.

I am perpetually grateful for all the art I have gotten to see in my life time and the knowledge that I will continue to allow myself to see more.

And to make some myself.

Whether it is performing my small body of work, hopefully memorized by Saturday, or taking a few photographs here and there, or writing a blog piece, I get to be a part of the conversation.

In some small part.

And that connects me, a small thread, a link to others.

I am in the moment that the artist creates and witness to it.

When I see art I like, I get a body high.

And though it did not happen when I looked at the Rodin’s, the sculptures can captivate me, they do not, however, give me that big arty high, I did get it when I wandered into a wing I had accidentally skipped the first go through the museum.

I got it first from a painting from Gustave Courbet of a wave.

Then intense, and dreaming in front of a Degas, and then again a Monet.

Delicious art.

Feed my soul.

Fill me up.

I don’t know that what I do will fill another with that kind of awe a superanuated feeling, but I can try.

I don’t compare myself to these artists so much as acknowledge that art means an awful lot to me, that my life would be lacking without art.

Whether it is a street art mural that makes me stop or it’s the layout of Burning Man in a photograph taken high above the playa from the wing of a Cessna airplane.

I know it when I see it.

I feel it.

I become it.

I hope that I will translate just a tiny touch of that this weekend.

Until then.

More reciting.

More practice.

Not for perfection.

But for fun.

For you.

My audience.

May I in some small part be an artist.

On A Dime

September 9, 2014

Things they change.

I interviewed and got a new job today.

New family.

New situation.

Full time work with benefits, health insurance stipend, above-board, taxed, fully legal, all the things, awesome family, one year commitment, perfect transition to graduate school for next fall.

I also have RSVP’d to the open house for said graduate school program, at CIIS, for Saturday the 27th of this month.  I will go in and talk with the person in charge of the Intensive Program that I have my sights set on and do the next action from there.

I just sent out my thank you e-mail to the family that I interviewed with confirming my start date, the details for the contract, and providing the pertinent information they need for my back ground check.

Yeah.

I have to say it made my skin crawl a little, but I have absolutely nothing to hide.

I mean nothing.

No traffic tickets, moving violations, or anything else in regards to my license, no DUI’s not a thing.

I have no felonies or misdemeanor’s.

I have nothing.

No need for panic.

Besides, I basically already have had a background check, I did the Trustline Certificate which ran me for felonies, etc, and fingerprinted me and all that stuff.

I am grateful to live this kind of life, one in which I am trusted and I don’t have to hind anything.

This is me and I am alright.

I am super pleased that it’s all working out.

Though, truth be told, I was nervous about sending in my letter of resignation to my current family.

However, the mom was very up front with me before we left for the event out in the dust bowl, she knew that I would be looking for full-time work upon my return and said she fully supported me taking care of myself.

Self has been taken care of.

Before I left for Burning Man I had a pretty good idea about what was happening in my life.

The picture has completely changed.

For the better, mind you, but completely.

I thought I had a family lined up.

They fell through.

I thought I had another family lined up.

They had to pull back on the amount of hours that they could give.

I left for the event having bought a plane ticket to New York (bought the day before I found out I wouldn’t be returning to full-time work) and knowing little or nothing else, except that moment to moment I would be taken care of and being anxious about work was not how I would enjoy working at Burning Man or going to New York.

I took my friend by the shoulder in the Commissary, repeat after me, I said with tears in my eyes, “Poppins, this is the last time you nanny at Burning Man,” he repeated it back to me.

I knew I was having my last year as a playa nanny and I knew things were changing.

I just had no clue that the game changer would be the revelation to go to graduate school and then do everything in my power, one small step and action at a time, to move toward that goal.

I am also not counting my chickens before they hatch.

The eggs have just been laid, that’s all.

I may not get into the school.

But, I believe I will.

I have looked over the application and I can do it, I have what it takes, and I have the desire to follow through with it.

I love children.

I love that I am a nanny.

And I love that I have discovered a way to be of better service to children in general and to myself as well.

I will get to learn and grow and take what I have been given, knowledge wise, experience wise, and apply that to a new career.

And my body, I am sure will thank me for it.

I don’t want to nanny past my body’s prime.

I want to be helpful and carry a message of hope and love and strength and do something that I will be good at.

I know I will be good at this.

I am excited.

Scared too.

It’s scary sending in a letter of resignation.

It’s scary starting a new job.

It’s scary applying to graduate school.

It’s scary letting myself love and be love.

But I do it anyway.

The world is a big place and I want more of it and this is how I go about finding out what to do next, leap, have faith, let go, and surrender to new ideas and that life is going to keep changing for me and I for it.

I even had a moment of panic about what if I send out my letter of resignation and the back ground check comes up with something and I am not hired.

Fear.

Fuck everything and run.

Or.

False evidence appearing real.

What’s going to happen is that I will be taken care of as long as I keep my primary purpose and do the principled actions.

It’s time to let go of the family that I currently work for, regardless, I need to have full-time, benefited work, and they can’t give me anything but part-time, it’s time to put me first.

When I take care of myself it’s easier for me to do a good job too.

I am a better person when I am  not worrying about trying to make things work on half time here and half time there, plus, well, yeah, benefits.

I like that.

Health insurance here I come.

Paid vacation plus paid time off.

And travel with the family next fall.

Right before I start graduate school.

Things change on a dime.

One day I’m in Paris.

The next day in East Oakland.

One day I am at Burning Man.

The next day I am in New York.

No matter what though, or where I go.

I am always present in my faith.

And in the unshakeable knowledge that I am loved and taken care of.

No matter what.

 

Home Cooked Care

September 8, 2014

I cannot for the life of me imagine why I am so tired.

I jest.

I was up, after two and a half hours of sleep, at 5a.m. to wrest myself and my belongings onto the J line train headed out of Brooklyn to Queens to connect with the AirTrain to JFK.

It seems a little surreal, that.

I was just in New York and now I am here.

I was just at Burning Man.

I have been to both sides of the country and back and wonder why I might feel a tiny bit deflated, a tad flat, a touch morose, a teeny bit sad.

I also feel happy and grateful and glad to be home.

Home is where San Francisco is.

Home is here, in my little bungalow by the beach.

It was so good to feel the cool breeze off the ocean when I deplaned today at SFO.

It hit me as soon as I step over the threshold of the plane and onto the tamarack, cool, clean, slightly salty, crisp.

A perfect San Francisco day, no fog, scatter of high wispy clouds, mid 60s, slight breeze.

When the wind was not blowing the sun felt warm, but not hot, and then the cool breeze would slough over me and refresh my weary self.

I got into SFO at 11:10 a.m. this morning.

I got on BART, then onto MUNI and it was about 1:30 p.m. when I got home to my little studio by the sea.  If you count the hours as they stood East Coast time, it took approximately 11 hours door to door to get home.

Of course I am tired.

I did nap a bit on the plane, which helped and though I don’t feel terrible, I do feel quite low-key.

Perhaps it is my body still digesting all the meat from last night.

God.

That was just yesterday.

I was walking through Central Park, sitting at Tavern on the Green, eating steak at Peter Luger’s (and bacon and lamb, and I do not apologize for it), it was just yesterday that I was at a Chelsea gallery looking at the Nick Cave exhibit, walking the Highline, having iced coffee in the hot and humid of New York.

And here I am back home.

Home, though, where the heart truly is.

I did have a wonderful dreamy time in New York, but as someone close to me recently said, “great to visit, don’t want to live there,” it is not the city for me.

San Francisco, my foggy seaside treat, you are.

I was reflecting that it’s been twelve years since I moved out here from Wisconsin.

Twelve years.

Give or take a little sabbatical in Paris.

Twelve years of rainy seasons, fog, recycling, composting, eating organic, quitting smoking, quitting drinking, no more drugs, no more car, riding my bicycle everywhere, slowing down (who am I kidding, I am still learning to slow down), meditating, trying surfing, trying yoga (neither stuck, but I do have a great wet suit to show for the surfing), giving up sugar and flour in my diet, going to Burning Man a lot (8 times in a row), concerts at Stern Grove, dancing at the EndUp and the Mezzanine, DNA Lounge and Mighty and Club 222 and The Elbow Room and The Make Out Room, riding across the Golden Gate Bridge on my bicycle, going up Twin Peaks (on foot once, on bicycle once, many times in a car, once on the back of a motorcycle, and once on my scooter), taking the cable car, the BART, the F-Market Line, living in Nob Hill (Taylor at Washington), living in Potrero Hill (Kansas and 26th), living in the Bayview (Palou at 3rd), living at the foot of Bernal Hill (Kingston and 30th) living in all sorts of places in the Mission (20th and York, 22nd and Alabama, 23d and Capp, 23rd and Folsom) and now in the Outer Sunset–46th and Judah.

Twelve years of Halloween’s, Gay Pride, Folsom Street Fairs, Castro Street Fairs, Day of the Dead, Carnival, Fourth of July fireworks, Giants play off seasons and league wins, Sunday Streets, and farmers markets, the Ferry Building, riding the ferry to Tiburon and Sausalito, walking the Embarcadero, feeding the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill, playing frisbee in South Park, lying around Dolores Park, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on Easter, and Hunky Jesus, SantaCon, pillow fights on Valentines Day, the How Weird Festival, Decompression parties in the DogPatch.

Twelve years of work, waiting tables at Hawthorne Lane and Absinthe (almost at Slanted Door–tried out, got hired, then they had a hiring freeze), working at San Francisco Vet Hospital, volunteering at the SPCA to do kitten socializing with feral kittens, personal assistant to a pornography director (documentary and educational films), make up artist assistant, household assistant, nanny, babysitter, customer service representative for a Bayview Wholesale vegetable and fruit vendor, house sitting, dog sitting, cat sitting, plant watering, fish sitting, front of house whiz kid at Mission Bicycle Company, and a whole bunch of odd jobs from being a hair model to dog walking and plenty of other things I am sure to be forgetting.

Twelve years of dating but not really dating, craigslist dates, Missed connections, M for Female (mostly when I first got in San Francisco before it got super creeps and weird), accidentally ending up in the first Fucking Machines studio before they relocated to the Armory and Kink Dotcom (they shared space with a Burning Man artist’s studio in the SOMA), blind dates, hook ups at, of course, The Make Out Room, the R Bar, Zietgeist, sitting outside and smoking cigarettes and drinking bloody mary’s and pitchers (pre-sobriety), dating the door man at the Crow Bar when it was still open, blind dates with guys from Silicon Valley that drove up to the city, too many OKCupid profiles, one 9 month relationship with a steam train locomotive engineer (I kid you not, RedWood Steam Trains up in the Berkley Hills, he’s probably still running the miniature trains up in the hills today) kissing outside of Muddy Waters on 24th and Valencia, strolling down 24th to Philz, too many blind dates at Philz (maybe I should stop first dates at coffee shops, I get too caffeinated), sushi at WeBe Sushi, sushi at Blowfish Sushi, a surprise date to Flour and Water when I thought we were, yes again, meeting for coffee, dates at Mavericks, Mission Bowling, Chez Spenser before it burned down, that one time I dated the tea buyer at Rainbow not knowing he bought tea for the whole store and I invited him up for a cup of stale chamomile I filched from a room mates tea box, weird underground Trance parties in the Bayview for Kontrol, making out underneath Coit Tower.

Twelve years.

San Francisco I hope I get at least twelve more.

And twelve more after that.

And well, you get the idea.

Happy Anniversary love of mine.

So very glad to be home.

Home where my heart resides easiest and best.

When I am not wearing it on my sleeve.

New York Dreaming

September 7, 2014

My friend is passed out in a food coma in his boxers on the queen size bed in the Air BnB he’s staying at in Brooklyn.

I am super tempted to take photos of him.

SUPER.

But after the amaze balls meal we just had this evening at Peter Luger’s and the fact that he footed the bill and the taxi ride back to the pad, well, it inclines me to be gentle with him.

Besides I love him to bits.

And today would not have been the day it was without his company and guidance.

I did not have to negotiate the subway system.

He did it for me.

I did not have to figure out what to do or where to go.

He knew what I wanted to see and do and we did it.

He asked me before I got here what I wanted to eat.

Steak.

And he made reservations at Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn three and a half weeks ago.

We still had the latest reservation one could have at the restaurant–10:45p.m.–but we got in.

He took me to a place I hadn’t thought to go and was thrilled beyond measure that we went.

Tavern on the Green.

I mean, it really was a dream of a day.

One in which I started out “late” from having needed to catch up on sleep missed from the previous days early up and at ‘em after a long travel in from San Francisco.

I slept in until almost 10:30 a.m.

Late for me any way you slice it.

Late for me now, but I cannot go quite to sleep, I had more than one latte at Tavern on the Green, and I am wide awake.

Plus, my body is busy digesting all the tasty that was had at the steak house–iceberg wedge salad with blue cheese (the real stuff) and heirloom tomatoes, thick cut bacon, a half a medium rare lamb chop, a half of a rare porterhouse, a bottle of bubbly water–I am going to be digesting for the next week, I think.

But that’s ok.

The month of eating meat like it’s going out of style (three weeks Burning Man followed by this weekend in New York) and I will be going back to my simpler ways.

No.

I am not a vegetarian.

Although I have played on one tv.

I am just a simpler eater.

I like my food simple and clean and though it was not “dirty” to say the least, it was just a lot more full of meat than I normally eat.

But I am on vacation.

A short, sweet, quick bite of the apple, and then back out.

In fact.

I fly out in less than 8 hours.

My flight leaves JFK at 8:10 a.m.

Current time?

1:38 a.m.

Current location?

Somewhere in Brooklyn, just off the J line at Myrtle and Broadway.

I figure I am going to have to get up in oh, about three hours, get dressed, pack my bag and split for the subway, giving myself about an hour commute time to the airport, maybe an hour and a half (although I don’t think the trains will be busy, I just don’t know how often they are going to be running at 5 a.m.) and then the mandatory hour or so to make sure I check into my flight and go through security.

It’s almost late enough that I don’t want to go to bed, that I could just stay up and watch my friend sleep and listen to the occasional honk of the horn going by, or the whirl of the fan in the window.

It’s warm and sultry and it’s been humid.

Man, oh man, you should see my hair.

I have a lot of it.

It’s curly.

And it’s humid.

It’s like getting twice the hair in one shot.

It was pretty hot today, 91 degrees, but the humidity was so high that it felt like 100 degrees.

I got rained on a little bit, not too bad, just enough to have to dash underneath an awning after a late brunch at Ichabod’s down off of Irving and 3rd Ave.

I don’t know exactly how to explain all that happened today.

It wasn’t much.

But it was all a dream.

It was the fantasy made so real that I teared up a few times, wanted to pinch myself, and thought over and over and over, how is it that I am here?

How did this happen?

And I can trace the arc of it and still be amazed to be this woman, walking around Chelsea and the West Village, drinking an iced cold pressed coffee, dancing about the High Line Park, taking photographs of the skyline, and wearing a hat I bought on a corner from a street vendor who I bargained down to $20.

I felt like I was in a movie.

I laughed like I was in my own life and fulfilled and myself and I cried a little too, with joy, with gratitude to be walking with an old friend through a street fair on 3rd Avenue, eating watermelon out of a plastic cup and joshing with each other about going to that one place, on 19th and Dolores so many years ago, nine, now.

I got to be the woman sitting with an old lover at Tavern on the Green, eating olives with my fingers and watching the French couple at the bar holding hands underneath the ledge while Frank Sinatra crooned  a little song about New York over the speakers.

I watched the horses trot past pulling carriages and tourists and my heart-felt full and when my friend said, “you picked the right hat,” I knew he was right.

He picked it, by the way.

When the subway connections all fell like dominoes and we dashed up and down the stairs and made three transfers to get dropped off two blocks away from the steak house, walking in right at 10:45p.m. when the lighting flashed and the thunder boomed, and the skies opened up again, deluging the streets of Brooklyn with a wash of water from heaven, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

And the dream.

Well.

It’s done.

It was a good dream.

And it was a lovely movie that I got to star in today.

Now.

Onto other dreams and other goals.

Now to settle my restless heart for a moment, catch a three-hour nap, and off to the airport.

I have places to go.

And planes to catch.

But New York.

I won’t forget you soon.

Though I may not dream of you again.

I am so grateful I got to live through this.

Like a bright stack of gold foil wrapped chocolates on Christmas morning.

You were sweet.


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