I’m Sexy

March 6, 2015

I’m not stupid.

I know I’m sexy.

I said this out loud to a group of fellows and outed myself as a self-confessed fraud.

Half the time I walk around wanting to embrace every sexy curve of my body and the other half I’m like, I’m too sexy, too over the top, too much, I have to tone it down.

I know there’s a balance and I want to be everything that I have been given, but I struggle with it, I am still wondering, what the fuck do I do, what do I have to do to get asked on a date.

I got another soft turn down.

Which, FYI, dude, too much explanation.

I don’t care what your reasons are.

Who cares?

I don’t.

In fact, I respect the “no response” response.

It’s a no.

When you say I want to take you out for dinner and then you don’t ever get back to the woman, she, I sort of figured out there’s not that much interest there.

I had forgotten, pretty much, when I got a long-winded text yesterday about how the person is this that and the other, dude, I repeat, I don’t care.

I don’t need the explanation.

I suppose when it comes right down to it, I don’t ever need an explanation.

I am getting exactly what I am supposed to be working on every day and when I get caught up in why aren’t I dating more, I’m focusing on the external.

I’m doing the compare and despair.

But.

There really is a very curious woman inside me wondering what I could be doing different.

I’m not looking to self-improve.

I have tons of self-acceptance.

I love myself.

I take good care of myself.

I’m pretty damn good company.

So like, what the fuck God, can you break a girl off?

I’m confused and I don’t care for confusion.

I don’t know what actions to take any longer.

Stay online.

Quit online.

Ask a guy out.

Not ask a guy out.

It’s all too much.

I’m tired of the struggle.

It’s a pain in the ass.

I suppose it’s just my brain looking for something to obsess on aside from my taxes, whether or not I am going to get a return after the identity confirmation thing (which apparently takes six weeks to process? What is that? I’m me, I swear), and graduate school.

I have not heard yet whether or not I am in.

And that pisses me off.

Come on.

I got things to do and plans to make and well, geez you guys said it would be less than a week, so does that mean I didn’t get in?

Yeah.

I’d rather obsess about why I’m single than that one.

If I don’t get into the program I’m not sure where to turn my attention next.

I know that rejection is God’s protection, I know that hands down, so Mister Text me long unnecessary texts, it’s cool, we weren’t a great match anyhow, I’m not upset by the rejection.

Not at all, not one bit.

I am a little frustrated with God and I yelled at him, for lack of a better gender I don’t really think God is a man, it’s just short hand for the higher power I work with—I grew up with a patriarchal idea of God as the Father, so what ever, it works—as I was riding my bicycle home through the park.

“What do you want me to do?!”

I might have been that crazy person you see on the bus, but I was on my bike.

Sometimes, most times, I pray out loud, they are just conversations with God and usually they are little prayers of gratitude.

Thank you God for not having me drink today.

Thank you God for not having me use today.

Thank you God for this beautiful body you have given me to walk around in.

Thank you God for not having me smoke yet today.

Thank you God for not having me be homeless yet today.

Thank you for the trees in the park, the smell of clover in Kezar Triangle as I ride to work, for the smell of blooming jasmine, for magnolia blossoms, for the full moon in the sky, for the honking of geese two days in a row as I ride my bicycle up Lincoln Avenue to work, thank you for my awesome, amazing, wonderful life.

Thank you.

I mean I do that all day long.

But tonight, grateful though I am, I did have some words with God.

What the fuck?

What do you want me to do?

I’ve been working my ass off, what else should I be doing?

I’m tired of figuring it out, you figure it out, what can I do to best be of service to the man you want me to be with?

How do I move toward that man?

Give me some signs!

Ugh.

I mean, really, it’s fucking laughable.

It’s just life and there’s nothing wrong.

I just realized that I really liked having a boyfriend.

It was fun.

Until it wasn’t.

And I want to try it again.

I have a full and wonderful life.

Being in a relationship is not going to make my life better; it’s just going to make my life different.

Change.

I know it’s always happening.

But sometimes it just seems like it’s not at all.

And I’m stuck again in this space of being in the hallway, and damn it man, sometimes that hall way is fucking long.

Anyway.

I do have a great weekend coming up.

Plans to go to the East Bay and see some lovely ladies and do some celebration of life and I don’t need to be coupled up for that to happen.

I will get dressed up though.

And be sexy for myself.

That’s the person, ultimately I have to seduce and love.

I’m sexy for me.

And I know it.

I’m Either Brilliant

March 5, 2015

Or I’m an idiot.

Either way I am busy laughing at myself.

I cleared some time with my employers today to go down to San Diego and visit my grandmother and I have been in contact with my uncle to co-ordinate times and I had a plan.

Oh yes I did.

Have a plan, that is.

But guess what?

I shot my plan in the ass.

Inadvertantly, but I did.

I just booked a great ticket, at an amazing price, really, like two hundred dollars less than I was seeing last night, oh my god, buy that ticket, buy it now before it disappears.

Um.

Dear heart.

There’s a really good reason why the ticket is two hundred dollars less.

Oh no.

Bahahahahahaha.

Fuck me.

I booked for the wrong month.

I mean really, no big deal, March, May, they both start with the same two letters.

D’oh!

I am in such a great place spiritually, I’m not mad at all, I’m hella amused is what I am.

Funny thing.

My original idea was to go in May, not sure why, but that seemed a good time for me to go.  Then I talked with my uncle and he’s planning on going down this month and I thought, well, it’ll be a little full, but I can do it.

And then I took a day off today with my employers so that I could go down at a decent time and not show up on my grandmother’s doorstep at midnight.

The best thing?

Or one more thing to laugh about.

I booked an extra day.

March 28th is on a Friday.

May 28th is on a Thursday.

Guess who’ll be in San Diego and extra day.

Apparently God wants me to go down for a little longer than I was planning.

Which is cool.

I have only been to San Diego one other time and that was about 10 1/2 years ago and I didn’t get out much.

I don’t really remember much about that trip aside from the fact that I was miserable.

You’ll note the time, 10 1/2 years ago.

I was not in a good place.

I was just months away from getting sober and I was entering into that long dark night of the soul that was to be my bottom.

One could say I was not at my best that trip.

I did not drink or use that trip.

Not a drop.

Not a line.

Nada.

But I had up until the last-minute before I had to get on the airplane to leave for San Diego and I white knuckled it through the weekend and immediately went out with a bang when I got back to San Francisco.

I remember smoking a lot of cigarettes.

God.

Awful.

How awful it must have been for my family.

I was checked out, stuck in my head, lost, feeling rotten, not able to show up and be my true self, my best self.

I will this time.

I get to amend my behaviour and show up as my best self and as the grand-daughter my grandmother deserves to see.

I am looking forward to the trip.

And a bit relieved that it happened the way it just did.

It’s totally silly and I am a bit chagrined, it’ll be an interesting conversation to have with my boss tomorrow when I switch up my time off request.

Oops.

So much for trying to figure out my vacation time and when I was going to ask off for the school retreat and who knows about that either, I haven’t heard back from the school.

Despite being told at the interview that we would know by this time.

I haven’t received notification, despite haunting the in-box on my e-mail account.

I even checked my status online this afternoon and it just shows that my application has been received and is in the process of being reviewed.

That tells me nothing.

The interviewer made it pretty clear that the students getting into the cohort would be alerted to their acceptance into the program before it was listed on the website.

So.

Who the hell knows what my vacation time is going to look like.

I don’t.

I don’t know anything.

Except that I have set intentions to travel this year–San Diego, Hawaii (I’ve never been), and yes, Burning Man.

I know I want to go to Burning Man, I always do, and in the spirit of such reached out to my first playa family, a little bird told me that they may be considering going out.

Consider it!

I want to go too.

It would be such fun, a family reunion.

I have to say the last two days have been nutty, between the IRS identification confirmation I had to do yesterday and just now booking a flight for the wrong month, but really, I feel, the right one, I am upside down.

Seems like my plans have plans that don’t include me over thinking them.

Which is good.

I over think everything.

I’m glad too for having booked, accidentally, an extra day to be in San Diego.

I’ll see if there are in any fellows I can meet up with, I’ll maybe see some sights, I’ll have more time to spend with my grandmother and my cousins and my aunt and my uncle and do it up.

Fortuitous accident.

And the ticket really was two hundred dollars less, I mean, that’s a nice little savings for me.

I appreciate God looking out.

Haha.

Well.

Now I know what I will be doing that weekend instead, getting my hair done.

I have been trying to figure that out with my busy weekend schedule, when can I get my ass to my hair dresser, who has been promising me a birthday haircut for months, literally, my birthday was in December.

I’m going to call the salon tomorrow, I have a free Saturday this month after all.

Yup.

Brilliant.

Idiot.

That’s me.

But at least I’ll have fabulous hair.

Don’t Freak Out!

March 4, 2015

Freaking out!

Not really.

Not any more.

Not after talking my own self down off the ledge.

That’s not my tax return, I thought when I saw the mail waiting, all sly and innocuous next to my motorcycle helmet on the bench to the entry way to my studio.

I’M BEING AUDITED!!!!

Fuck my mother.

Fuck me.

Fuck.

Fuck.

FUCK!

Wait.

Calm down.

Go inside, open the letter, don’t freak out.

I said.

DON’T freak out.

There’s nothing wrong.

My house, lovely, sweet, clean, pretty, go light some candles and stretch out and roll the back roller on your sore shoulder and take off your earrings and hair geegaws and make a cup of tea.

And relax.

What ever is happening it’s for a reason and you are ok.

I need money for grad school!

You haven’t been accepted yet, relax.

Please.

Ok.

I guess I should open the letter and see what it says.

It says IRS, run away and hide, but.

I didn’t.

I opened the missive and read it.

I didn’t make sense at first.

I had to read it three times before I got the gist of what I was supposed to do.

Either, a.) call the 800 number listed or b.) go to the website listed and fill out the little form there.

What is it?

A confirmation of identity.

Oh.

Huh?

I remember, way back when, I think it may have actually been when I was applying for financial aid the first go around, that’s right, way, way, way back, when I was 17 going on 35 and trying to get into school and it came up then.

I had to verify my identity.

I am not the only Carmen Regina Martines in the world.

Even with the last name being spelled slightly different from the average bear.

And I’m not sure it’s true, but there was some weirdness when I was first working, like the very first job that I had that I had to fill out tax papers for, that I have more than one social security account.

Not number.

But two accounts.

Again, I put it to the weird spelling of my last name.

No I am not Mexican.

No, I do not speak Spanish.

Family legend, according to my mother, and maybe I’ll actually get this confirmed when I go see my grandmother, that there was a misspelling on an ancestors citizenship papers.

That the correct spelling is Martins, but it was pronounced, I’m going to spell this phonetically, Marteens (think saltines), and thus, the immigration people threw an “e” into the spelling and voila, Martines.

So, once I got my under pants un-bunched.

I’m not being audited.

Whew.

I went to the website and verified all my information and hopefully that will clarify everything and I will get my federal return back post-haste.

I have been watching my bank account like a hawk since my state return landed over two weeks ago.

I filed on February first.

When the rest of the world was watching the Super Bowl, I was doing my taxes.

Anyway.

Quite glad to have responded the way I did.

I didn’t fret needlessly.

I didn’t stash the envelope and not open it.

I followed the directions and breathed and went to the website and got clarification about what was needed.

So often in my past  would make an assumption, usually based in fear, and run with it.

And so often, I was to learn, and am still learning, really, that assumption was all about making an ass out of myself.

I will jump to many a conclusion without sufficient evidence to back it up.

I’m grateful I got to see myself respond with such serenity.

Yeah.

There was some dread when I saw the envelope from the IRS, I mean, come on, who doesn’t blanche a little when the tax man cometh.

But it was just a generated piece of computer mail that was to make sure I am who I said I was and that I live where I say I live.

That’s all.

Nothing more.

Quote the raven.

Never mind.

Er.

Never more, I mean.

And back to my regularly scheduled business.

Looking for airline flights to go down to San Diego to see my grandmother.

I checked in with my Uncle who wants to co-ordinate his trip with mine and we briefly discussed what dates make sense and how we would get there and for a hot second I thought, ooh, if he drives, I could skip the air fare and save some money.

But, then I realized, it’s out of his way to come and get me and I am not going to be able to take a lot of time off from work.

I’m saving my vacation days for the retreat for graduate school.

And, fingers crossed, for Burning Man.

I’m not going to buy a ticket until I hear back from the graduate school, another response, rather than a reaction.

My first reaction was to ride with my uncle, my second to buy a ticket, tonight, but then after the stuff with the IRS letter, I realized, I myself am missing some vital information.

If I can avoid taking vacation time I will.

I will go down and do a quick weekend visit.

If I get into graduate school, that is.

Because I would save my two weeks of vacation for the retreat that the cohort does in August and the other week for Burning Man.

If, however, I don’t get into graduate school, there’s no restrictions on my time and I could take a longer trip down, not that it would be much longer, I don’t want to over stay my welcome and I suspect that I should probably just make my trip a short one–more for myself than anything.

I can get overwhelmed with family stuff pretty easily and I need to test the waters and before I leap full on into the family reunion.

I could, also, I am realizing, take a day or two from my sick days.

I haven’t used them all up.

And, then, there’s also the thought, when I get my tax return I could just ear mark a part of it for an extra day off from work.

If I go slightly over my paid days off it’s not like I will suddenly be homeless and in debt.

What would it look like if I just had faith I was being taken care of and book the time I want?

I’ll know more soon.

I should know by tomorrow, Thursday at the latest, whether or not I got into the program.

Until then.

I’m fine.

I’m not being audited by the IRS.

And my rent is paid.

And I have clothes on my back.

New glasses on my face.

And faith that I am always being taken care of.

Despite the fear factory in my head.

I’m just fine.

Perfect, actually.

Thanks for asking.

March Madness

March 3, 2015

I’m already booked.

What the fuck?

It’s March 2nd and every single weekend is booked.

I have some space to wiggle, but basically, every one of my Saturdays’s for the entire month of March is booked in.

As of this afternoon, I have a graduation celebration to go to, in Oakland, which I had RSVP’d to and then completely forgot until it popped up in my calendar today, that is for this upcoming Saturday.

Then the Saturday following, a baby shower in Berkeley.

The weekend following is my dearest friend’s birthday and we are going to go to Alcatraz to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit before it leaves.

I can’t believe that I am actually going to go to Alcatraz, twelve years of living in San Francisco, give or take a hot second in Paris, and I have never been out to that lonely lump of rock in the Bay.

It’s too spooky for me, frankly, but this is my friend’s birthday and the exhibit is exquisite from all reports, so off to the rock I go.

Then, I may be going down to Chula Vista to see my grandmother and my uncle and an aunt and I suspect a bunch of cousins.

My uncle called and left a message for me about coordinating a time to go to Chula Vista, this month. I hadn’t planned on going so soon, but it makes sense to go when my Uncle will be there and voila, there’s the month.

And the week, well it started off with a bang.

Or a scream as the case may be.

A screaming, shaking, writhing, pee drenched temper tantrum that lasted over twenty minutes in the handicap stall in the public bathroom at Mission playground.

I had been warned upon entering the house this morning that the littlest guy was a bit on the fragile side.

His big brother’s blow out birthday bash was yesterday and the little guy did not have a nap, and I suspect was cupcake hung over with sugar.

He was an intense little guy to deal with and apparently suffered some sort of potty training trauma yesterday at the park with the party and when he wet his pants at the park the melt down went into full overdrive.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

He did not, NO, want his pants taken off.

Poor baby.

They are all wet and the underpants are wet and they have to come off.

We went to the bathroom and it was just a riot act.

I have never had a child scream so loud, thrash so hard or get so upset.

He was a contrary little ball of emotions and the temper tantrum was in full on hysterical while he was half-naked.

I had a shirt cocking maniacal two and a half-year old hollering bloody murder in a public bathroom.

I expected CPS (Child Protection Services) to bang down the bathroom stall and ship me off to 850 Bryant (the jail downtown).

I took everything I had, all my wonderful serene energy, all my patience, all my love, my entire nanny wrangling abilities to get the child into a pair of shorts.

I don’t think I have ever had such a struggle, in 8 years of being a nanny; it was the longest, most intense, almost savage, emotional outburst I have been a party to.

I wonder what the hell happened over the weekend.

I was able to laugh over it later this evening when I was sharing about my day and finding myself so helpless, so powerless over what was happening.

That and the ridiculous box of confetti that was spilled, a huge box, not a little box, of shredded paper that was the packing contents of a shipping box that was thrown wildly all over the kitchen right before dinner.

I used three different vacuum cleaners and attachments to get it all up.

It didn’t help that the cleaners had come in early in the day; I felt I had to get it all up and there was just no getting it all up.

I picked up the youngest boy and shook him by his ankles and tickled his ribs, “who put the quarter in you today?” I asked him.

“Me! I put quarter in me!”

Yeah you did.

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick.

Let me not horrify you with the bath time saga.

Suffice to say.

It was a wild day.

Happy Monday.

Hopefully that’s out of his system and we can get back to our regularly scheduled program of nanny.

Not as if that’s not busy in and of itself, swim lessons, cooking, laundry, marketing, play dates, ad infinitum.

Life, well, it’s full, that’s for sure.

And that’s the way it usually is.

Full.

Which is nice.

I like being busy.

The busy that has to do with seeing family and friends is a good kind of busy too.

I am busy celebrating life.

My friend’s party in Oakland for accumulating her 3,000 therapy hours; my friend in Berkeley celebrating her baby and having a baby shower; my dear friend’s birthday, my family in Chula Vista.

These things are good and sustain and important relationships that I get to cultivate.

Which means saying yes and going and doing even when I think I have better plans or need to keep some space open for dating.

I’m not asking anyone out for a while, I’m over that, so unless someone crosses my path and asks me out, I have room for these obligations, which aren’t obligations, but joy.

I have heard folks say that they worry about what will happen, how will they have fun without the party and the booze and the drugs.

Let me be the one to reassure you.

Life gets full, really full.

It’s amazing.

I am no longer at the end of the bar at the end of the night talking about the things I want to be doing.

Rather I am doing them.

It’s a privilege, to live this full life.

One I’m grateful for, even in awe of.

March madness it may be, but really.

It’s just a typical month in my life.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

And as per usual.

Hella busy.

 

I’m Free

March 2, 2015

I was drifting down towards the sea on Lincoln Ave after just by passing a long line of cars on Chain of Lakes, on my bicycle, happy, happy, free.

I’m free.

I smiled so big I think I could have broken my smile muscles.

But no fear.

They still work.

I’m smiling now.

I could also entitle this blog “I Don’t Care.”

“So how do you feel about that,” he asked me over roasted herb chicken at Firewood Cafe, “about…”

I interrupted without thought, “I don’t care.”

I smiled.

I really don’t.

We were talking about the few dates I went on last week and how that was and what I was thinking about it and it just popped out.

I don’t care.

Oh my god what a relief.

I don’t give a fuck.

I don’t care if I have a date or not this next week, I’m happy.

I’m doing so well in my life right now.

Things just seem so smooth that I could care less whether or not I’m getting asked out or asking out anyone.

In fact, I’m sort of bored with it.

The asking out thing.

I mean, I am so grateful I did all that work and worked some more around my ideal, my sexual ideal, which is just a version of myself that I am striving for, I don’t expect him to come in on a white charger to save my ass.

I already saved it.

I didn’t have some wild and crazy Sunday, it was sunny, I went grocery shopping, I rode my bicycle along Great Highway and saw the ocean, I did some laundry, I met with a lady bug and talked about amending behaviors and did some amending myself.

With no thought as to the results.

I don’t care.

I took the action.

That’s where it’s at, the action.

That’s where the faith comes in.

I believe in myself and I take action to care for myself and when I looked around my sweet little studio, with my new antlers hanging on the wall (on a back board of wood in the shape of a heart), my fresh made bed, my jackalopes perched in their corners, my bunnies all arrayed in their spots, I knew that there was nothing I needed.

I have it all.

I don’t know how long this feeling will last.

This too shall pass, the good and the bad, it all passes, but the serenity in the face of the ups and downs and the passing and going hither and yon, I don’t think that is going to pass.

As long as I continue to take the actions indicated and not rest on my laurels.

When I was riding my bicycle to the Castro to meet with my three o’clock sit down and do the deal, I was reminded, a scent memory, a visual reminder, of a day in my childhood with the bright sun shining down and the carnival or circus or fair I was at with my mom and dad and grandmother.

I remember the palm trees shaking against the blue sky and the little rubber ducks that went by on a stream of water and the small, bright, balloons on the peg board, I remember holding a hand, my grandmother’s or my mothers.

I remember strings of lights over head, but they weren’t lit yet, it was still sunny, I remember the feel of asphalt under my feet and the white paint that felt just a touch tacky as if the paint was still wet.

I was in a cotton dress.

Violet or soft purple, I can’t quite see it, it flits at the edge of the memory.

I remember walking through stalls, as though at a farmer’s market, so perhaps it was the state fair, I don’t know.

But the memory washed over and my heart opened and I grinned happy to know that my life is so full and rich and wonderful.

I have a lot of memories that I don’t remember from my childhood.

That is a side effect of trauma.

I went through a lot of it.

I don’t remember it.

Thank you God.

Instead, I remember the smell of popcorn on the wind and my grandmother buying me a small plastic bird that she stopped to fill with water and when I blew on the stem it bubbled and spit a little then trilled a warbling song of childhood.

A memory of laughter caught in the plastic throat of a toy bird.

I remember my grandmother giving me a glass of coconut milk from the white paper pint carton in the refrigerator.

How sweet it was and the pulp that squashed between my teeth.

“You’re golden, like someone from Polynesia,” he said to me on Friday.

I laughed, “I’m half Puerto Rican and Polynesian, as a matter of fact.”

No wonder I love dousing myself in coconut butter lotion and hair conditioner.

I just did.

I climbed out of the shower after my day of bicycle riding and grocery shopping, of cooking (Chicken and shrimp with ginger and garlic, onions, green beans, carrots, broccoli, pea pods, cabbage, and brown rice–throw some Braggs Amino’s on that and it’s a party) and I heard Regina Spektor on my stereo and I thought.

I really am free.

Free to do what I want.

Free to be the woman I want to be.

Free to wear funky eyewear and a flower in my hair.

Free to remember the good parts and not be ashamed of the hard things and the growth experiences I went through to get here.

It’s all a gift, folks.

This life, this love.

This light.

This sunshine.

So much love.

So much freedom.

“I don’t care,” I smiled, then I laughed, I laughed so hard I almost cried, a tear slid out from behind my fabulous eyewear and I took off my glasses and wiped it off the top of my cheek.

“It’s amazing!”

“Girl, you’ve done the work,” he closed the book and held out his hands to me.

We held hands and said some words and breathed and the world breathed right along with us.

I’m free.

Sings so soft as if she’ll break.

Laugh so loud.

Because I know that there’s nothing wrong.

For on this day I’ve learned to fly.

What A Long Strange Day

March 1, 2015

It’s been.

Not a bad day.

No, not at all.

Just strange.

Disjointed, out-of-place, off my schedule, up and about and going places and doing things, not much things, but things, that I don’t ordinarily do and places I haven’t been to in a long time.

24th Street for one, below Valencia Street.

It’s been a long while since I was in that neck of the woods.

I had a workshop that I was running up in Noe Valley today and it was sort of smack in the middle of my early afternoon.

Too early for me to get lunch out and about, but too late to get stuff done here in the neighborhood before I had to be up in Noe.

I did get a call from a girlfriend as I was writing this morning and we made plans to meet and hang out after my commitment was up.

A commitment that I am extremely grateful I got to show up for and do and be of service.

“You are gifted,” she said to me, “you really know how to do this thing.”

I’m not sure if she was referencing my style or the way I ran the workshop or what, but I do have to say, I was quite happy with how it came off.

I have never done anything quite like it before and it was a unique experience for me to go through.

One in which I did a lot of reflection around for the weeks coming up to it and one in which I was happy to say went off so well.

It was also fun to dress up for it and flounce about town in my polka dot party dress.

A lot of the workshop was showing the steps I took to be my authentic self in recovery and discussing body image and sexuality and how I have found growth, amazing growth in those areas.

It felt not only appropriate but down right correct to be dressed up in my outfit with my hair done up with roses and bright red lipstick on and just be me.

I have felt like I am stepping more and more into my skin and I so do like that.

Afterward I took myself out for a late lunch at a little Chinese restaurant, Tung Sing, on 24th.

Simple, light, easy, steamed veggies and shrimp, brown rice, green tea.

I ate half my meal, packed up the other half for tomorrow, and walked down 24th from Noe Valley into the Mission nibbling on an apple I picked up from the Farmer’s Market in Noe Valley.

Ah.

The Mission.

Loud.

Dirty.

Weirdly gentrified and old school drug addled all at the same time.

It was a boiling pot of tourists taking Uber straight to Balmy Alley in their Coach leopard print slip ons and Kate Spade clutches to snap photos of the murals to the homeless nut bag talking to himself on the corner where the line wound around the block to Humphrey Slocombe for artisanal ice cream.

Olive oil ice cream anyone?

I met my friend walking up the street and we window shopped and talked about life and schedules and Burning Man.

If I’m going.

I want to.

How I’m going to go.

I don’t know.

She’s already got her ticket, has a place to camp, is roaring into her second year ready to have a new experience after the debacles at the Gate last year getting stuck in the rain storm at will call.

I have no idea where I would camp, where I would get my ticket from, how I would go, what I would stay in, how I would do it.

But I suspect, do it I will.

She and I talked scenarios and meandered at a slow, leisure like pace.

We stopped at Philz so she could grab her coffee.

I declined staying for coffee.

I was actually a little overwhelmed by the crowds and the tourists and I cannot remember a time when I had ever walked into Philz before on 24th and Folsom and felt so not a part of.

It was such an awkward combination of tech guys and tourists and hipsters, but out-of-town hipsters, that I did not want to stay and intermingle.

Maybe another day.

Today I was grateful for my quiet, or quieter, life down by the sea.

There are tourists out here too, but it’s just a little different and not as developed and nowhere near as crowded.

So instead of grabbing a cup, large, no sugar, just cream, of the Greater Alarm, I went with my friend and looked at more shops and made sure to walk on the sunny side of the street.

I got my sunshine on, that’s for sure.

We walked up 24th to Noe Valley, stopping at Issa on 24th and Chattanooga and then over to Common Scents before hitting the Whole Foods salad bar.

Then.

Starbux.

Not because I like the tea or the coffee all that much, but because it’s central to my evening commitment, there’s WIFI and there’s big cushy window seats to people watch from.

And sky watch.

The sunset tonight was spectacular.

Not so much the news that I heard shortly thereafter, namely, that the spot I was headed to had been cancelled without notice.

Well shoot.

Who knows what I might have done with my day if I hadn’t been wandering around waiting to cover my Saturday evening commitment.

I was miffed momentarily, then whipped out my phone, looked up some information and headed off to catch the MUNI back to the Sunset.

Arriving at my destination early I popped into Tart to Tart and got a lemon ginger tea and read my book for about 45 minutes.

Then I ran into old friends also displaced from this evening’s routine.

We joked about being ex-pats and caught up.

It was as strange day, again, not unpleasant, just long and meandering and in some ways good for me to see that I have really grown quite fond of my side of town.

I’m a city girl for sure, just look at how I dress, but I need the quiet and the stillness out here, down by the sea.

I thought I would always be a Mission girl, for always and forever.

And while I know I will always be a San Francisco lass.

I may have turned the corner.

To becoming a local from the Sunset.

The Outer Sunset at that.

Who would have guessed.

 

Hello Friday

February 28, 2015

Nice to meet you.

Made it through the week.

Now to deal with the weekend.

I mean, my weekend may be just as busy, if not busier than the week.

That’s how it goes sometimes.

To keep myself mellow and serene at work I often times have to cram a certain amount of activity into my weekends.

I’m used to it, but I have an extra thing I am doing this weekend and I am feeling a little out of control of my time and how I am managing it.

I am reminded that if I am trying to manage it, I have no control.

Ain’t that the truth.

I almost picked up an extra gig this weekend taking care of a little guy that I used to nanny and I really had to think about it.

I also really had to eat dinner before making any decision, which for me is phenomenal progress.

Pause.

Feed myself.

Then make decision.

Don’t react.

RESPOND.

Ah.

That.

That’s good.

I didn’t have dinner with the boys tonight, it was the five-year old’s birthday today and there was much mayhem.

Cookies at school, trips to Coit Tower and the stair ways around Telegraph Hill looking for the wild parrots.

We actually saw a few, but the winds were so high today that I didn’t think there was any hope to see the parrots.  That we actually saw four of them was awesome.

I think the parents were more excited than the boys were.

It was lovely to climb the stairs though, and to go to the top of Coit Tower, which in my 12 years of being in San Francisco, I have never done.

In fact, I realized it’s been at least ten years since I had been up to Coit Tower.

The view was spectacular and I would recommend it to any tourist that was traveling to the city.

Coit Tower View

View from top Coit Tower

The five-year old birthday boy even got to press the elevator button going down from the 14th floor to the bottom.

It was a sweet little adventure.

I am ever so grateful to get to work for this family, who was all ears about my interview from yesterday and so supportive of my continuing goals.

I am still in awe that I applied, let alone got this far in, on one hand it’s no big deal, they want my money, right?

On the other, I had to apply, I had to do some writing, I had to inventory, I had to pray, I had to get the fuck out-of-the-way.

“Congratulations!” A friend said to me tonight upon hearing my news.

“I haven’t gotten in yet,” I smiled, “I won’t know until next week, but I will know by this time Friday, I’ll keep you posted.”

He smiled at me and repeated, “congratulations, I know you got in.”

It’s nice to have folks cheering for me.

And there’s years of work yet to do.

But I know that I can.

I can keep showing up and doing it.

Although I have to watch it, be balanced, not get too sucked into work, I ate my dinner tonight after leaving the pizza party, cupcake, chocolate extravaganza of birthday dinners, and sat quietly for a minute as my mind roved through the various ways I might be able to help out and do a little three-hour gig for my previous employers.

I just couldn’t fathom it.

And so I responded.

I am busy.

I have things to do and places to go and a workshop to run in Noe Valley.

I also know I have to take some down time this weekend or I will not be a good nanny next week, and I need to relax as well as deal with grocery shopping and cooking if I can.

I will be away from my normal routine tomorrow and I am not sure how I am going to do what I need to do, just as far as grocery shopping goes.

My scooter is not a viable option since I discovered what the issue is with it, so I’ll be taking public transit into Noe Valley early tomorrow and I thought, am I going to be stuck up in the Valley all day?

I may be.

I might have to spend the down time I do have away from the house, it makes no sense for me to do the work shop tomorrow then leave and come back to the Outer Sunset to go back to Noe Valley in the evening.

I suspect I will be spending some extra time at Starbucks with a book.

Which is not a bad way to spend some down time.

I’ll pick up a few groceries at Whole Foods.

And perhaps I will swing into Elsa’s Spa and take a hot tub over for an hour in the afternoon.

It’s been years since I have been to Elsa’s.

It’s not really a spa in the sense of the word that I imagine spa, it’s more like 70s athletic hot tubs, but they’re outside and you can get one for an hour for a pretty decent rate, plus there’s a shower and it’s nice to relax in the space.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen.

I know what I have to show up for and I know I will be taking public transit.

I thought about bicycling, but after a day of climbing the stairs up and down Telegraph Hill, a week of chasing small boys all over the parks, and a windy bicycle commute after a week of bicycle commutes, I figure I could use a break.

Besides.

It might also rain.

No thanks.

I just feel like being cozy.

I am glad I was able to clear a little time for myself tomorrow.

I might not have a date this weekend, but I can still be nice to myself and part of that is balancing work with down time.

I have to do both.

And with that.

Hello weekend.

Let’s be friends.

Nailed It!

February 27, 2015

“Yeah you did.”

The text response to my update on my graduate school interview.

I nailed it.

Nailed it.

Nailed it.

Ahem.

I’m feeling pretty good about that.

I won’t know for about another week, but it feels like a done deal, it really does, it didn’t hurt that one of the faculty members came up to me afterward and said, “I want to talk to you about something, stay if you have a few minutes to chat.”

Turns out she feels that I am a perfect candidate for the Diversity Scholarship the school provides.

Hell yes.

Give me the money.

So I can give the school the money.

I don’t care what you call it, just so long as I don’t have to take out more than I need to in financial aid.

I’m ahead of the curve on that one, two of the other candidates, four of us total in the group that interviewed, hadn’t applied yet for financial aid.

The interview was group style, four of us, three of them.

It was approximately an hour-long and I got there well in advance of the start time.

Enough time to grab an iced Americano in the cafe and to sit and chat with one of the other candidates for the program.

Turns out we know each other through friends of friends.

That was a nice discovery.

At first I felt that I was putting my foot in my mouth, but by the end of it, I felt that I had acquitted myself really well and I left floating on a cloud.

The interview also did something for me which I wasn’t expecting, it dispelled for me any doubts I had about the program and whether or not it was a good fit for me.

It’s a little granola, it’s a little crunchy, its experiantial learning, but after doing a couple exercises to show the panel what I would bring to the program and to the cohort, I felt like I would be able to fit in and I felt that it was going to help me grow as well.

In fact, I found myself welling up a little during one of the exercises and the emotional response surprised me, but it was also a good feeling, I think I was afraid that I am a little jaded.

That these crunchy granola, Californian types with their hippie ideology were not going to accept me.

Thing is, I’m a hippy in disguise, so uh, I fit in fine.

Like a really good interview, I left feeling that I was the right fit for the program and that it was the right fit for me.

It reminded me a little of my doubt around working with my current family, I had some reservations about working with children that were already into toddler stage and beyond and what that would look like, would I like it, would I be good at it.

And it turns out I love my job.

And they love me.

I felt pretty at home at my job once I got past my own prejudices about what the job was going to be like.

I believe the same thing happened for me in the interview.

I realized that I needed to be interviewing the school just as much as it needed to interview me.

We both needed to make sure we would be a good fit.

I’m pretty sure I’ve met my match.

I will know in approximately a week, the panel advisor assured us that we would have an answer by next week and she also gave me the dates of the week-long retreat.

August 9th-16th.

How freaking handy is that?

Well, it happens to fall in between Burning Man and the week in August that the family takes to go to Sonoma.

One week of scheduling down!

I will be able to work for the family in Sonoma, and ironic, paradox, is it odd or is it God, the retreat will also be in Marin–Petaluma to be exact.

The center is called The Institute of Noetic Sciences and yup, looks like a hippy hold out, but you know what?

I’m down with it.

Petaluma is gorgeous and the weather will be great and it will be just what I need to have under my belt before heading into a week of nannying for the family in Glen Ellen.

Then Burning Man?

I think it’s possible.

I didn’t get the exact dates for the beginning of the semester, we’ll be e-mailed that, but I was told the last weekend in August.

Burning Man is August 30th through September 7th.

Now if I get into the program, I will, that would mean I wouldn’t be able to go pre-event, I’d have to be in the city to go to school, and I would miss the first day or two of the event.

But.

I could go.

So.

Buy a ticket?

Go as a tourist?

Really do Burning Man instead of doing Working Man?

I dunno?

Maybe.

Yes.

Yes.

I could do that.

I’m going to hold off on making those plans for a moment.

I still have to find out about whether or not I got into the program.

Upon affirmation that I have I will need to pay $300 as a good faith payment to secure my spot in the cohort.

This money will be slotted towards my tuition.

Then I will get together with the financial aid officer at the school and find out what kind of student loans I can get.

The school has received my information from my FAFSA forms and they have a SAR for me–Student Aid Report–which lets them know what I can contribute personally to my tuition and what I will need to receive to go to the program.

I believe, I really do, I have been writing affirmations for months now, that I will receive the money.

I will apply to the Diversity Scholarship at the school and I will do the next steps to do the next steps.

This is only the beginning, but a beginning has been made and I am over the moon that this is moving forward.

It astounds me how smoothly things happen when I get out-of-the-way and let the Universe lead me to better things then I think I want.

I accept the abundance and love and prosperity that God wants for me.

I’m going to need it!

Tuition’s about $30,000 a year.

But the investment, me, well, I’m fucking worth it.

And I think the department thinks so too.

I’ll let you know as soon as I hear.

One more step in my journey of a thousand miles.

 

Dress Like An Adult

February 26, 2015

And like that.

I’ll be taking a car into work.

I am not going to go into my graduate school interview in Converse and toting a messenger bag.

I will need to bring an extra sack to carry my Converse in, I’ll still be working a half day at work, but I will change out my shoes when I show up at the school.

I will be taking a car into work and then another to the school.

I’m not fucking around.

I don’t care the cost.

I mean, all things considered, $30,000 a year, what’s a few more bucks for an Uber.  Might as well blow my cash while I still have some, like I have even a tenth of that in my savings (but at least there’s something in my savings), before I get hit with the tuition bill.

Because I will.

Have to pay tuition, that is.

Because I am getting in.

That is all.

And I will be dressed like an adult.

I spoke with a dear friend earlier today while having the boys out at the park in the late afternoon about how to go in and whether I should ride my bicycle to work, and you know, just fretting about the small stuff.

There’s a part of me that thinks, I could show up messy and slightly unprofessional, but why?

Why not show up like this is important to me.

I can dress like an adult.

I can.

Damn it.

I don’t have professional clothes, I never really have had a profession that requires tidy clothes, I mean, yeah when I was doing restaurant work, I had a uniform.

But professional clothes?

Not so much.

I do have some good jeans, dressy ones from Banana Republic and a nice blouse and camisole, I’ll do my hair up tidy like, sport out my new frames, and wear a pair of heels.

I have a jean jacket that will pass for my coat.

That’s really something that I don’t have–a decent jacket.

But my jean jacket is nice, and tailored and it will do.

I could also go with a pair of really nice black cords I have, but then I don’t have a jacket at all that will work with the heels.

I have two pairs of platform sandals and two pairs of wedge sandals.

None of them are appropriate.

But.

I do have one nice pair of Chinese Laundry Mary Janes in a taupe color that will pass for nice shoes and they look great with the jeans and when I put them on I felt more grown up.

I don’t often feel like an adult, truth be told, I still feel a lot like a big kid.

Which is, I am certain, part of what makes me so relatable to children.

I do sometimes wonder what it would look like to dress like an adult, but for the time being, I’m just working the jeans and the leggings.

Fortunately for me, I live in San Francisco and that is more than passable for women.

I don’t even really come across as a professional nanny half the time, but I am colorful and that I believe works in my favor.

I also can recognize that anxiety about my clothes comes from a very long history of not having enough money, especially when I was growing up, of not having the right clothes or outfit or shoes, or things that fit or were attractive.

I fed into the negative by also being a heavy-set girl.

The internet was not around and plus size clothing was not a thing.

I cannot tell you how welcome Lane Bryant was to me at one point in my life; and how, at another point in my life, I was grew out of Lane Bryant, but I went the opposite direction and down sized, literally, myself right out of their clothes.

I could still use some help dressing, but it’s not because my options are limited to size.

They may still be a bit limited due to budget, but that is slowly changing as well.

When I look at my closet there’s more options than there has been in a long while.

I could still use some help and I can see where I could have some nicer things, but really, I am so grateful I have what I have.

I’m clothed, I have a roof over my head, I have a job to go to, I have a bicycle, I have the option to take a car into work, I have a Vespa.

A Vespa that has been diagnosed!!

I may not say this correct, I had a gentleman swing by this evening and lend me a hand and I asked him tell me a few times what was wrong with it so I could repeat it to the mechanic: the “Pep cock” is broken in the fuel tank and needs to be fixed and there’s probably something clogging the carburetor.

Awesome.

I have no idea what that means, well, a little, it means that the fuel is not really getting to the engine, which is why it’s been dying all the time.

So when I get a moment to think about something other than the interview tomorrow, I will call the mechanic who put the new engine on the Vespa, and let him know what is happening and that I will need to drop it off for help.

It turns out Vespa San Francisco doesn’t do any work on vintage Vespa scooters.

Oh well.

Either that or I take it to Barry at the Scooter Center.

I’ll probably take it up to Chris Ward in the Tender Nob, next to my salon, Solid Gold, and get my hair done, kill two birds with one stone.

I’ll call up the motorcycle tow guy and tow the scooter up to Chris, he’s the one who put the new engine in it for my friend before he sold it to me, and have him fix it and pop out the little dent in the front fender.

Then maybe I’ll go on a ride or fifteen.

Glad to be finally growing up.

And dressing like it too.

Wish me luck!

I’ll be keeping you posted.

In style.

Grown up like.

Carmen, You Are A

February 25, 2015

Rockstar.

Why thank you.

It did take some rock star maneuvering to get through today, but I made it through.

The mom paid me the compliment.

The grandmother told me I was amazing.

The almost, in three days, five-year old told me he loved me.

The dog kissed my face.

The two and a half-year old had his Meow Meow hug me, his little white cat that is now grey from dirt and love.

Validation.

So nice to meet you.

It is lovely to be so appreciated at work and it’s nice to be busy.

Not too busy, I could use a little more down time then this week has afforded me, but the grandparents leave tomorrow and I have a half day on Thursday, so I can interview for the graduate school program, and things will roll right along.

The upside to being busy is that I don’t have time to be bored.

I am almost always doing something.

“Can I help?”  The grandmother asked as I started unpacking the bags from the market and getting the things for dinner arranged.

“No, but thank you,” I said.

Not because I probably couldn’t use the help, but because it actually, often times ends up being a hinderance to the preparation.

I don’t think in a linear manner.

I try, but often get distracted, and often find short cuts, and often have fifteen things happening at one time.

In the span of an hour and a half I prepped snacks for pre-school pick up for the oldest boy–thermos of milk, strawberries, hulled and sliced, clementines, peeled and sectioned, two small Fuji apples, cored, sliced, sprinkled with cinnamon, box of whole wheat crackers in a little container.

The kid likes having options.

Then I roasted cauliflower for dinner, made a marinade for salmon I had bought at BiRite (two pounds wild Alaskan salmon marinated in olive oil, Meyer lemon juice and zest, one lime, sea salt, fresh chopped flat head parsley, garlic, fresh pepper, thyme, and a little basil), big tossed salad for the whole family, and sushi rice in the rice cooker.

I did a lot of other things too, laundry, clean up, dishes, but I don’t think of it anymore, I just do it.

I just had my five month anniversary with the family and I would say it’s going well.

The almost five-year old celebrated his birthday tonight with his grandparents who fly out tomorrow afternoon.

I was grateful to not have to be a party to bed time.

It was hard enough wrangling the two monkeys after a couple of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes from Mission Mini’s.

It was like a sugar bomb went off in both their brains.

As I stood in the middle of it, watching the dynamic of the family I thought how lucky I was for my job.

And for the experience it’s providing me.

“You are so far ahead of anyone coming into the program,” a friend told me Saturday night, “leaps and bounds, you’ll do fine at the interview and they will take you into the program.”

It’s nice to hear.

Again, validation, affirmation, I am good, I do a good job.

But it was better to have it sink in, from my head to my heart, down to my gut.

I know she’s right.

I have had eight years being at the center of many a family.

I have done my field research to be a MFT, Marriage and Family Therapist.

In spades.

I have seen family’s that blew me away with their love and others that blew me away with their neurosis.

All of them have been instrumental in my own personal growth.

Learning how to communicate without being passive aggressive or manipulative.

When a kid whines, it’s hard to tolerate and there’s a wheedling aggressive manipulation happening.

If I make you uncomfortable, you will fold and I will get what I want.

I can’t handle it much better in adults.

It’s subtler, but really it boils down to the same thing.

And those families I haven’t stayed employed with long.

I have learned about self-care, how to prepare myself for the job and stay serene in my own persona and core.

I have learned to meditate at work, in the middle of the day when there’s a nap time happening.

I don’t always get to, but when I am, the magic is palpable.

I see what happens when families eat junk versus good food.

Or when miscommunication happens or feelings get hurt.

I see that we are all, all of us, me especially, human and I make mistakes.

I see also that I get to make mistakes and that’s part of learning.

“No!  I want you to draw it,” the oldest boy told me, “I can’t do it as well.”

“You will one day, and not so far off,” I replied.  “Just try, you don’t have to be perfect, it takes patience and practice and repetition, you have to start somewhere, here’s a great place.”

He picked up the crayon and drew outside the lines, smashing bright colors all over the page, “it’s my favorite color!”

Yellow.

Or gold.

“Just try, you are safe, I won’t drop you,” I told the youngest boy yesterday at swim lessons.

“I’m scared, I’m afraid,” he said.

“I have you, I won’t drop you, you are safe, and you can be afraid, fear is ok, but you still get to try, come on, you can do it, jump!” I smiled and lifted him up into the air and the splashed down into the water.

“See!” I hugged him and his wet arms wrapped around me and he smiled back wet eyed and beautiful.

I’m going to nail that interview.

I’m going to graduate school.

This is happening.

Never thought being a nanny would lead me anywhere, it was just something to do until the right thing came along.

Who knew it was the thing that would provide me with the foundation to do that right thing when the time came.

Life.

Full of wonderful surprises.

And sweet validation.

Thank you!

The grandma and grandpa said for the photos.

Thank you, you are a super hero, the dad said.

Thank you! The mom called out to me as I walked out the door.

You are very welcome.

See you tomorrow.

I have some more research to do.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,351 other followers

%d bloggers like this: