I Raise You One Sick Day

October 9, 2015

For ten vacation days and….


I got six sick days.


Clarification that I did not have the last time I negotiated with the family I work for.

I get the sick days, six, to be actually sick.


I never get sick.

But I do have accidents.

And doctors appointments.

Which reminds me, note to self, my Healthy San Francisco expires this month and I either need to re-up or look at Medical or Obama Care.

I haven’t experience with either, but they are true health insurance from what I can gather and Healthy SF technically is not health insurance, although, really, it feels just like it.

Suffice to say, I am not going to be covered either way here in a matter of days and it’s time to get aboard that boat now.

“Girl, you have some loose boundaries around your money,” my person said to me tonight with a fierce look in his blue eyes.

I know!

I know.

I really do.

But I am learning and also, to give myself some credit, all this stuff is really new for me.

Despite having been a nanny on my own, sans agency, for a long time, it still takes time for me to figure out everything I need and to than go forward and ask for it as an independent contractor.

That’s what I am in a sense.

I am self-employed, but I have contracts.

I have learned that having a contact brings clarity.


Last night when I realized that I needed some more clarity I took it upon myself to reach out to the family and discuss the next step in our figuring out how to best move forward.

I got great clarity and I am grateful.

I did not get a raise.


I got a raise.

It just doesn’t look exactly how I expected it to look.

I am not getting an hourly increase.


I am sustaining my current benefits despite working less.

35 hours a week when I am not in school.

28 hours a week when I am in school.

With some flexibility to add or subtract.

Like next week the boys have off for Columbus Day.

They actually have Columbus Day and the day after off.

Who the hell gets Columbus Day off?

I don’t remember this as a kid, but the school is a private school and it seems that they have a lot more holidays than I ever remember having.


Next Monday I will work 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as well as Tuesday.

This is a big shift for me since school started for me and the boys relatively at the same time and I have been working 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the family.

I go in at 1 p.m. clean up the breakfast stuff, unload the dishwasher, tidy up, do the boys laundry, recycle, compost, trash, prep snacks, meal plan with the mom, go grocery shopping and marketing, mail stuff, pick up stuff, run errands, make dinner.

Then the boys come home at 3 p.m. and we have our afternoon together, then dinner, baths, then bed time when the parents take over.

Although both mom and dad work out of the office at home, so there is much interaction with the parents.

It took me a little while to get used to that, I’ve typically worked for families that were working away from home, but there’s been enough exception to that rule that when it presented with this family I was not completely unprepared for what that entailed.

But I can handle the shifting hours and it does make it possible to see my person again next week who I normally would not have been able to do.

God it was good to see him.

Those twinkling eyes.

Those wise words.

The shared experience.

And a person that I am genuinely myself with, no masks, no hiding, even when I want to hide, I can’t and I am grateful for his love and guidance and I don’t know how I would have gotten through the last year and a half without him.

I digress in gratitude.

Which for digression is not a bad thing.

We talked about the process of asking for clarity, of what it was like for me to ask for the raise, what it has been like being aware of what I need, also the acknowledgement of how I am moving forward completely above-board and all my tax stuff is transparent and how grateful I am for that.

Frankly, it’s a relief.

I still have fear of getting audited for years that I worked under the table as a nanny.

Be that as it may, I needed to do it that way to get by.

I couldn’t have lived in San Francisco had I not.

I have no regrets about it.

But I do have a choice now to stay in the clear and what with school and financial aid, it just feels right.

Needless to say.

It’s called being an adult.

It’s taken me awhile to grow up and grow towards my financial ideal.

I am still short.


I have come so far.

When I think about the lack of guidance I had in money matters growing up, how lacking my family of origin experience was in regards to financial knowledge, despite watching my mother and step-father have hair pulling, knock down, drag out fights, with tables that got flipped over in the dining room, over the monthly budget, I never learned how to handle my finances.

I’ve learned most of what I know in this last decade.

I really have grown up.

There’s still plenty of growth.


I will acknowledge the growth that has happened now.

I accepted the package the family proposed.

I stay at my current hourly.


I get all the perks that I had before when I was working full-time.


I still get the same vacation days!

Which is awesome.

As in I get Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving off.

Hello four-day weekend!

I also get the 23rd-25th of December off for Christmas.

Five day weekend!


I could actually make some travel plans.


I accrue my vacation days the same way, which means, I get the same ten I got last year and I still get the six sick days, which I now know to actually use when I get sick or need time off for doctors appointments, etc.

I’m getting full-time benefits without working full-time.

This is a really nice perk.


We will follow-up with a review at the end of the year where the family has agreed to look at giving a raise at that time and negotiating moving forward from there.

I think it’s a win.

I certainly learned a lot about myself and my process and I am very proud of myself for the work I did.

Albeit I could have done without the unnecessary drama I brought on myself through anxiety and miscommunication about my vacation days and sick days.


There’s always more to do.

But I have to acknowledge the work I did too.

That’s a part of it all as well.

Grateful for the experience.

Even when it was painful.

They say pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth.

I can second that opinion.

And raise my sick days to that notion.

Plus a couple of long delicious weekends in the not so distant future.


Giddy Like A School Girl

October 8, 2015

It’s how he makes me feel.

Then I laughed to myself, as I shut the gate to the house, catching one last glimpse of him as he sauntered down the street.

I am a schoolgirl.


And like a good school girl I am here writing.


I know, this is not home work.

But I do my best work when I am able to also do this, this sitting, this coming to the page, this writing it all out, all down, falling down that dirty little hole of word lust and wanderlust and rumpled and tossed on my bed kissed with heat and desire and shake it off girl, you got papers to write.

I do have papers to write.

But I still have reading to do.


The reading runs a pace.

I got in more today and I am happy to announce I have a plan.

(God laughs at my plans)

I will read as much as I can and then outline my paper on Saturday afternoon, writing it in the afternoon completely on Sunday.

I have a few ladybugs that I am meeting with, then doing the paper writing deal.

My week is actually pretty damn full up.

When isn’t it?

Tomorrow I meet with my person after work at Church St. Cafe.

Friday I meet with a ladybug at the same cafe, again after work.

Saturday I meet with another one of my people.


Like that.

It takes a village to keep me straight, as in not bent.


A speaking engagement at 7th and Irving.


I will treat myself to my small indulgence and go out to a solo lady lunch and then go to my mani/pedi/waxing spot and get my girl on.


Because I like to pamper myself and this is one of the few things I allow myself, once a month I get the full deal and it’s so nice.

I would actually be getting my nails done more frequently, but between juggling work and school, well, I just don’t have the time.

I looked at my nails today and cringed, it’s been too long, but, it’s going to wait until Saturday, there just is no time otherwise.

After I do the girl’ing out, back to my house, a shower, a shave, shake out my hair, curl it up (like I have anything to do with that, it will just do it all on its own) pull out a crinoline and put on a pretty dress.

I gots a date.

Super stoked to be going to a restaurant I have never been to and heard lots of good things about.

Range in the Mission.

In fact, the dad who I work for, it’s his favorite restaurant.

The mom’s is Michael Minna’s.

I have never been to either, although, ha, I have known people who have worked in both places.

Even after a decade of being out of the service industry (I was in it for 21 years) I still know lots of people in it.

I like this dating thing.

I am having fun.

The going slow is good too.

Although, on one hand there is no going slow.

The intimacy, emotional, has been deep and intense and also relaxed and easy.

I’m not going anywhere.

I’m in school, giddy like a school girl, remember, for the next three years.

I was working this morning on my three pages of journal writing, my morning pages, and acknowledging the slight bit of anxiety about getting my Human Development paper done and getting my date on and doing the deal with the ladies, I’m meeting with three of them this weekend plus my two people–it’s like having another job, of course the most important job when it gets right down to it as it allows me to do everything else that there is to do, and I do mean everything–but I know it will happen.

I just have to sit down and do it.

I am also working on the sonnets for the Burning Man collaboration with an artist I met at the burn and I am happy, nay, excited, thrilled, over the moon, that they are going well, they make me tingle when I am writing them and I had to put them down today after I wrote the fourth one in full.

I actually spoke to myself out loud.

“Ok, now, read, put down the poetry, Martines, pick up your reader.”

And I did.

I read for a while before getting on my bicycle and going to work.


Adventures in nannying.

Adventures in asking for what I need.

I am taking a day off in November to go over to Corte Madera and do a little speaking engagement that I was asked to do before I had started school or even headed off to Burning Man.

I realized when I asked for the day, that I obviously couldn’t take it as a sick day, but the family and I haven’t sussed out whether or not I get vacation days or pay or time off or sick days or, shit, a lot of things have yet to be discussed.


I must to send them an e-mail tonight requesting it off officially, so they have a reminder and I need to ask for clarity.

Such a small thing.

I thought I would feel some anxiety, but I don’t.

I just need to clear it up so that I don’t have it on my head running around in circles, just being present is the hardest thing to be and it is an absolute must when I am nannying.

Being completely present for the boys and for myself.

Knowing how I best can take care of myself is a part of that.

Knowing that I can balance it all out is good to know too.

I am.

I will continue to do so.

Moment to moment.

Taking a minute.

Once in a while.

To get giddy like the proverbial girl and let my hormones, just for a minute, tumble me about.

Then back to the grind.

Back to the books.

Back to the page.


Back to work.

There’s always something to do.


Grateful for it all.

At the end of the day.

I am happy.

I am happy today.

No regrets.

No cause for worry.

Not in my wonderful.






School girl life.

You Still Writing Your Blog?

October 7, 2015

He asked as we pedaled our bicycles up the hill past the Rose Garden in Golden Gate Park.

I was riding home on my whip thinking about all the things that need to be done and the grocery shopping that I was about to embark on, so, so, so grateful to be meeting a friend after work who gave me a lift to SafeWay.

I got all the things I need to get through the week and then some.

It would have been two, probably three trips on my bicycle had I loaded up my messenger bag real full and rode my bicycle real slow.

I don’t ride my bicycle real slow.

In case you were wondering.


I don’t ride as fast as some.

If I was on a geared bicycle I would actually be faster.

I am on a one speed and it only goes so fast before I am just needlessly spinning my crank.

I coast down hill pretty damn fast though, and that is often where I will catch up to those who have passed me on the uphill climb.

Which is what happened as I sped through the park, thinking about autumn in Wisconsin.

There are parts of my ride home, specifically the Pan Handle, where there are some old growth oak trees, when I am reminded of fall in the Midwest.

The smell in the air.

The leaves scattered on the ground, the shadows falling from the trees and the old sodium lamp posts lighting the way.

I am reminded always of the CS Lewis book, “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

The lamp-post always get that reference for me.


There is a kind of magic about the park, especially at night, when the shadows are long and the stars hang low overhead, when it’s past the last of the day’s commute and the runners have done their runs and the bicycle traffic is light to none existent, and I feel as though the entire way is mine.

The soaring on my bicycle through the air, the whick of wind against my neck and pulling through my hair.

I passed by the DeYoung and started the slight descent to the Rose Garden that heralds the last big hill climb on my ride and then, literally, it is all down hill from there, down towards the sea, the salt wind, the bonfires kissing the dunes, and the shaded night heralding my heart home.

I usually holler out, “passing on your left,” but I actually thought I might startle the rider I was coming up on, so I just gave him a wide berth and whipped past.


“Yup, that’s me, who’s that, you better pedal harder to catch up!”  I laughed as I hit the down slope on the hill, bottomed out and began the climb.

“Use your momentum coming down the hill to push you up the next one,” my friend taught me on training rides for the AidsLifeCycle.

I never forgot that advice and it’s really the only way to get up hills on a one speed in San Francisco.

I heard the bicyclist behind me drop it into gear and push up the hill.

“Hey!” He said, “it’s Max! How are you?”

“Hello!”  I said, “doing good, just got out of work, heading home, you?”

“Just left 7th and Geary,” he said, “heading home too, hey, did you start grad school, how’s that going?”

“I did!”  I said.

“I just had my second big weekend of classes, it’s kicking my ass, trying to balance all the things, working 35 hours a week, carrying 12 credits in grad school, doing the deal, you know, trying to not get too far into the future or I’ll freak out.”

“Yeah, I feel you, that’s a lot, but you can do it,” he said.

“Yup, I just keep focusing on what’s exactly in front of me,” I said and spun the crank.

Just keep my eye on the next foot fall, don’t get carried away thinking about how I just got my schedule “figured” out and the mom asked me today to totally switch my hours from a 1p.m. start to a 10 a.m. start next Monday and Tuesday–the boys have two days off from school.


If I get too consumed with my schedule and I am not flexible with myself I will freak out.

“Hey, you still writing your blog?” He asked me next.

“Yeah, I’m sort of in awe that I am doing it, but it’s so helpful, it lets me get all the stuff out of my head, it’s like a nightly inventory [sic] I need it, I don’t think I can drop doing it, although I’m still not sure how I am able to find the time, I do.”

“It pops up in my Facebook feed every once in a while,” he continued, and we crested the hill and began the descent home.

“Nice to run into you!” I shouted as he slowed down to take the turn and I sped, yes, right through the stop sign and rolled on into the velvet night laying splayed out before me.

It does leave me with a sense of wonder, this little blog does, I am still finding words for my experience, still aching to share those experiences with you, the reader, lovely reader, hello, you do fill me with regard and wonder too.

I wrote last night about being mindful that I was writing for myself and frankly if I think about the people reading, or not reading, my blog, I will get weird about it, but that doesn’t mean that I am not aware of you, sweet reader, in fact, I regard you with respect and no small sense of honor.

Thank you for stopping to read the words.

Oh the words.

They do mean so very much to me.

Speaking of words.

I am knocking out the sonnets for the Burning Man poetry project I have had on the back burner for the last couple of weeks.

I was supposed to have some things ready for my collaborator, and I did, I do have some sonnets I wrote, but I did not like the way they read and there was something missing.

I found the missing ingredient.


I have been flying.

I wrote out the supporting framework for ten sonnets and then fleshed out one completely yesterday.



I was on a roll.

I wrote two sonnets back to back and I probably could have written a third, but I did want to make sure that I addressed some reading for my Human Development class or I would be falling behind for the paper that I must have written in this upcoming week for the class.

I love when the words come and the images and the song of the world seems to croon to my ear and I am connected to that elixir of light and poetry.

I feel blessed.






I am such a lucky girl.

Full of words.

And wonder.

I am.


October 6, 2015

This is how I feel.

I thought about it for a minute.

“Well,” he paused, on the other end of the phone line, waiting for me while I thought hard, while I pulled my thoughts together, when I got honest.

With him.

With myself.

“It doesn’t feel right,” I said.

“As soon as you said “disingenuous” I knew,” he said, “it’s not about what he wants, it’s about what you want and being a 42-year-old woman who is working full-time, in recovery, and going to grad school, well, sport fucking doesn’t suit you, now, does it?”


Damn it man, when you say it like that, I suppose not.

I have been in a quandary.

I have been on the fence.

I have been holding my counsel and keeping things tight to my breast.

I have been keeping them tucked between tongue in cheek.

Hidden between the corsage on my label and the heart skin under the velvet sheath dress.

“I don’t want you to write about me,” he asked.


But then.

When do I write about me?

How does that affect me?

When does not writing about him influence me.

Am I writing for an audience?


I am writing for myself and I may rue this blog.


That blog.

Or the other one over there.


I am restricting myself in my lack of not writing about what has been sitting on my chest.


I have been seeing someone and I won’t say who.

That is private.

I have been dating.

It’s been fun.


It’s been more than fun, like when my face hurts from laughing so long and so loud or I find myself inadvertently snorting, gah, I wish that would not happen, but it does on occasion slip out, when I make the sushi face in front of a man, when I am myself times fifteen, when I am vulnerable and me and silly and seen.


After awhile I have to start writing about some of it.

Some of what lies in that dark night of my heart.

I feel that ache there, just underneath my skin, that pulsing and pulling.

The nerves.



He reads my blogs.

Hi you.

I know, I know, I can hear what you are saying–you my friends and fellows–don’t put your heart out there, don’t write about it.


That’s like being in Paris in the rain and not writing about walking the wet streets with shoes soaked in water and cold toes and cold nose and the umbrella bought at a book shop is not holding up and you go into the Pompidou and see Kandinsky’s Accent en Rose and you don’t write about that.

I get art high.

He gets me high.

Laughing high.

Sweet high.

Delirious and sweet and soft and goofy and me.

And the gift is that we are friends and the gift is that we are not naming it and the gift is that we are dating but not in a relationship.

So what’s the problem?


Dating other people.

We are adamantly not in a relationship.

This is agreed upon.

There is not a bone in my body that says I have to be this man’s girlfriend or that’s it, it’s over.

There is so much more to it than that.

A romantic relationship is off the table.

Although the signifiers are there and I argue that there is romance and sweetness and grace and goodness and moon eclipses over the city and moon sets on the beach and the hand holding are all signs for romance.


I like being courted.

I like being pursued.

Who the hell doesn’t?

What I realize that I can’t do.

What I realize that is disingenuous to me.

Is that I don’t want to date other men, it’s not about the non-exclusivity clause or the I want to be claimed or titled or anything.

I am happy with the present moment.

It is a gift.

He is a gift.

My life is full of gifts.

So much so that I sit in awe just looking around my beautiful little studio, the colors and the light, the framed Marilyn on the wall–it’s up!

Finally, the amazing Sturteveant “Double Trouble” print of the Black Marilyn Monroe that I got at the MOCA in LA months ago.

it is so gorgeous and dreamy and rich and luscious.

So like my life.

And my life is rich and wonderful because I am looking deeper inside my heart at every moment that I can stand to.

I realized in talking with my person this afternoon that it does not matter what he, the man, or the men, or whomever in my life wants, even when it seems so important and so tantamount to me making a decision about what I want.

In the end what he wants doesn’t matter.

What I want does.

I don’t want to date anyone else.

It feels wrong.

It feels like not being present to the unfolding magic.

It doesn’t feel right.



I know.

I am free to change my mind too.

But my mind and my heart are not on the same page.

My mind says, great! Date everybody!

Go out and get it girl!

And then.

Write about it!


Let’s get titillating, shall we?

I’ve done that though.

It doesn’t serve.

It may not mean that it doesn’t serve others.

What others need is not my business.

I have to stay inside my own hula hoop.

I don’t feel right taking another man into my bed when I am seeing someone else, regardless of the title of what that relationship is or lack of title, I know what my heart needs and it’s not to sleep around until the person I want to be with is fully available.

He’s perfectly available for what I have to offer.


The best thing.

I don’t have to do anything about it.

I can not date other men without having to make a big deal out of it.

I’m not about to go running outside and tell all the neighbors or put it out on Facebook, I’m in a relationship with so and so.


I’m his friend.

He is mine.

And I am open to there being more, but I have not expectations.

That’s the change.

That is the big deal for me.

I don’t have expectations.


There are desires.

I am 42 and woman and well aware I desire.

That’s well and good.

My heart desires more.

And that is good too.

All hearts are allowed to desire more.

Whether or not the more is down the line is ultimately not my business either.

What is mine is that I can’t go out and date others, I have committed too far in my heart, there’s too much there to ignore it.

Potentially lonely.

Perpetually human.

Suspended and open.


With what ever risk that involves by being out there.

I am happy putting it out there.

I am ready to fly further out over the dark seas and tie my heart-strings on the tail of comet flaring out over the ocean, a bright streak of light, my precious time on this plane too short to not honor my feelings.

Not his or his.

Or his either.


All mine.

To thine own self be true.

I remind myself as I finish and lay the poetry on the table, the sheaf of my hair falling in my eyes as my heart aches already with words and feelings.

And love.

So much damn.


Who knew there was so much?

Another Weekend Down

October 5, 2015


Second full weekend of school, excluding the retreat (graduate school boot camp, remember), has now finished.

Of course there is the fall out.

The homework.

It is about to really begin.

I have a lot of papers that I have to do and a lot of reading that I have to do.

That is par for the course, of course.

I’ve got the paper for Human Development, the one for Therapeutic Communications, the one for psychoanalytic class, and now, yes, the one for T-Group.

I have four freaking papers plus I have to do a proposal for my Human Development class in regards to my final project.


I got a message today, that I just read in my e-mail: “practice compassion for yourself, grad school is hard, graduate school to be a therapist is RIDICULOUSLY hard.

I laughed.

She was right.

It is hard.

The work load is heavy, but there was some relief today in that T-Group has officially finished.


I have to write a big paper for the class.



I am sad that it is over.

And not sad.

Not sad at all.


As well that it is over.

Although I gleaned so much for it, so much learning, so much pushing of myself, so much finding the leading edge of who I am and pushing over the other side into territories completely unknown.

I also may have found my graduate school mentor, who is not my graduate school advisor–I haven’t met with him yet, although we exchanged some pleasantries the first weekend over orientation.


My T-Group facilitator is the woman of whom I speak.

I approached her after, after having thanked her, thanked the group, and thanked myself, in a way, for showing up and doing the work and witnessing all the work, I imagine that was really hard to, to hold that space for all of us bumbling about as we learned how to do the work of self-investigation and how to resolve conflicts in relationships.

Relationship ruptures and repairs.

Of which I saw quite a few.

Of which I participated in a few.

I got to see where I have assumptions and how that colors my world view.

I also saw, yet again, it just keeps happening.

That I do not see myself the way that others see me.

“You are so smart.”


I know.


I don’t know.

I know too, that there was a little projection onto the facilitator, which happens in group therapy work, the tendency to bring in the family of origin dynamics and play them out in front of the group, whether it is unconscious or not, and how the feelings for the facilitator also had something to do with a positive mother figure for me.

Someone who was unabashedly available to support me and my growth and my leaning without judgement.


All the while seeing me.

“I see you,” she told me.


I felt seen.

I don’t often.

All of that I take responsibility for, I don’t allow myself, even here, to be completely seen.

The fear of what it means to be vulnerable will often overwhelm me.

I could actually feel myself girding my loins, so to speak, and gilding the lily.

Not so much to speak.

But I put on a little mask today, I choose my weapons well and I knew I was doing it.

First, I put up the hair and I made it big.

Then I put on the eyes and made them big.


I put on my favorite pair of tights that are black and have the lyrics to “Be My Little Baby” on them and a pair of blue jean shorts and a favorite shirt and I put on the big dangling earrings.


I put on the Carmen costume.

It’s a costume I know well and it comes complete with full cats eye makeup and eyeliner.

Because that is how I roll.

And I roll well.

My ego.

That is.

But it doesn’t mean that the mask didn’t slip or that I didn’t take it off.

I did.

The mask slipped right off the minute I opened my mouth.

I opened my mouth a lot.

I started off the group and I led with my feelings and I led with my heart.

I was my authentic person and I was more than my authentic person as I learned what else I needed to allow in to fully embrace all that is and was me in those moments.

There’s a lot of me.

A lot of feelings.











Generosity of spirit.



More sadness.






And maybe even a little more love.

There’s poetry.

That is one thing that I found out about myself and that I thanked my facilitator for–the acknowledgement of my language, the depth of my words, even that I make up words, but that they work, that I am able to negotiate my way through the world, at least through T-Group, but really, I do suspect, through the world, with aplomb, and beautiful words.

When the class ended I said I realized even more fully how much a poet I am.

The language of love.

The language of need.

The Eros of lack.

The desire to be full subsumed in language.

It is my intoxicant.

What I learned from T-Group was another way of communication.

Lead with my feelings, reflect to the person what I am feeling, let them know what the interaction brings up for me emotionally.


Give them feedback.

And if I need something, make a request.

Most often today it was being a mirror and opening space for my group members to reflect.

But I did do work and I could tell.

The tears they never fully stopped running down my face.


I was not a completely ignorant warrior with my eye make up, the cat eye was elevated so my eyeliner did not run.

The tears flowed.

Like they so often do.

And I learned.


Ever so much more.

And gratitude.


It continues to deepen each day I showed up and each day that I continue to show up.

For my life.

For this page.

For my recovery.

Is the perfect.



My life imperfection perfected.

Moves a pace.

Grace (full) like a cat.

And playful too.

That soft underbelly of my soul just there revealed, but not reviled.

That warm animal.


That soft hearted tenderness.


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Wild Geese, Mary Oliver

Get Used To It

October 4, 2015


I know.

Get used to the busy.

Get used to the overwhelmed.

Get used to it, kid.

You’re in graduate school.


You have seven hours of T-Group tomorrow.




I mean.


T-group is great, it’s just a lot of work, constant emotional work, I am working, let me tell you.


And hella grateful that this morning I reminded myself to not wear eyeliner and to make sure I was wearing waterproof mascara.

Done and done.

Because, this lady cried a lot today–T-Group brings it out.

The tears.

They flowed.


The catharsis happened and I got insight and I felt better.

Had the catharsis happened without the insight, I think I might not have felt the way I did by the end of the group, but I got a load of insight and a lot of self-awareness around how I put up walls and where I need to work on being vulnerable.

And also how to process emotions that clients are going to bring up in me that are not pertinent to the client experience.

In other words, I am learning to deal with conflict in a calm manner.

I still am emotional and I cry easily, but I am coming to terms with that and also seeing that I consistently show up for the work and I do a lot of it.

I carry my weight in the group.

Perhaps a little more.

But then I am a greedy girl, I want to get every last drop out of it, I want to wring out the learning, I am paying an arm and a leg, yes I am, for the experience–I want to get every dollar out of it that I can, I am after all borrowing a lot of money to be there.

In that spirit I am grateful too for my Psychodynamic course and how the professor is teaching it and how she wants us to learn.

I was expressing to a fellow in my cohort at lunch what it was like, the experience of learning Freudian analytics, with this professor and how she reminded me of a professor I had in undergrad who taught graduate level TS Eliot.

I learned more than I could ever have believed.

Whenever I wrote a paper or took an exam I found that I had absorbed and rearranged the material in my head in a way that was new and interesting and I did not even know it until I was challenged to react to the work and respond.

This professor is like that, I like how she teaches, she uses everything, she is dramatic and smart and amiable, and quick-witted and a character and she makes learning exciting.

I find myself answering her rhetorical questions out loud in the class and interacting with her and the lecture and having a dialogue about the material.

It’s fucking fascinating.

That doesn’t mean it’s not exhausting.

My brain could use a little break from Freud.

I mean I spent three hours tonight, 5p.m.-8p.m., going over theories on hysteria, mourning, and melancholia.

It was a lot to take on after having a really raucous start to the day with some poorly handled treatment of a touchy subject in my Human Development class and then three hours previous in an emotionally charged T-Group.

By the time I was in the Freud class I was pretty kaput.


We wrap up the case of the infamous Dora and her notorious relationship with Freud and hysteria and move into Melancholia and Mourning.

Grief and depression.

Two things I have had plenty of experience in.

And yet.

I learned more.

The learning.

It just keeps happening.

I’m not caught up on all the reading either, but I am so much further ahead with it that I am able to keep up with my classes, and in the Freud class I am entirely caught up (in fact, I got into one of the vignettes in the reader and realized that I was actually reading ahead of the assigned class work.  It was so fascinating that I contemplated continuing to read it, but realized that I needed to focus on my T-Group reading and get my butt going on the Therapeutics of Group Dynamics–say that ten times fast).

The class I am least caught up with is my Human Development class and I just don’t care.

The professor is not a bad person, but she is a poor teacher and in the over reliance upon the work assignments and regurgitation of ideas, really with little to compel me towards further learning, I am loath to spend any extra time or resources on her class.

Of course.

Her class is the one with the highest work load and amount of reading.

Five response and reaction papers, one group project, on solo final project, a reader–a gigantic reader (bigger than any of my other classes, additional videos online, extra handouts (outside of the enormous reader) and the biggest text-book I have ever carted around in my entire academic career.

It’s not that I can’t do the work or won’t do the work, it’s just that when the work is so uninspiring and there is so much material to parrot back that I feel lost in the muck of it.  Overwhelmed by the sheer volume and what feels like frankly, the most boring of my classes.

C’est la vie.

There will be classes like this.

There have always been classes like this.

I am going to show up and do the work and let go of the results and not care too much about the content, that feels the worst somehow, as a writer, to be writing so much volume but to not have an emotional or even intellectual resonance with the work.

That is the work.

That is the exhaustion.

That is the rub.


I know it and though it is a slog, it is a slog I can do.

And tomorrow I won’t have to slog through her class.

I will have to work on her paper over next weekend, there is no getting around it.

I have done one response paper and my chapter outline project, the group project, for the class.

Which leaves four more papers to write and one final project–I’m going to write about using sign language with babies and toddlers and language development and emotional response to communication thereof.


I promise.


It’s been a day.

I am in school.

I had no clue it was Saturday or where the day went.

It just went.

I am grateful to keep showing up and that I feel better and more prepared for the work then I did the last weekend of classes.

Here’s to showing up one more day, amongst many, tomorrow.


Getting used to it.

What Day Is It?

October 3, 2015

Where am I?

I know it’s Friday, but it feels like the beginning of the week.

I am in my second weekend of graduate school and it just hit me.

I left feeling pretty elated though.

I got through the project with my partner, despite a few hiccups, there was horrible traffic on the Bay Bridge this morning, three accidents, and she was almost 40 minutes late to class.


I thought I was going to be late.

And I had a friend driving me to school.

It’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and the morning Friday commute from out here in the Outer Sunset was fraught with extra idiots and delayed traffic.

Fortunately my friend is a consummate San Francisco driver and was able to navigate out of the traffic jam and back on the way with relative ease and no little cleverness.

I was thinking he might want to moonlight as a taxi cab driver, except that all my friends who are taxi cab drivers are trying to get out of the gig since it doesn’t pay very well.

I had the option this evening of taking MUNI home, but I really just wanted to get home and I called for a Uber and man, that ride home took as long or longer than if I had ridden my bicycle.

I was like.

What the fuck?


It’s Friday.

It’s end of happy hour beginning of weekend, crazy drivers, crazy pedestrians, and a driver who is not from the city and it took me and the guy in the back seat, also a fellow student at my school, having to tell him twice to turn back around and how to get on Fell Street from Market.


I did feel for the kid though, he was just a kid when I got right down to it, I wanted to be mad, but the rash of acne on his face and the played out dance music on his generic radio Pandora station really gave it away.

Then I found out he didn’t even live in San Francisco and I almost said, “pull over, I’ll grab a cab at this point.”

I went from feeling fairly rejuvenated to pretty tired by the end of the trip.

That’s ok.

It’s ok that it’s Friday and I will be in bed soon.

I have to be up at 6 a.m. to get ready for class.

Fortunately I am done with the Human Development chapter outline and I am completely caught up on two of my other classes reading.

I do have some reading to get completely caught up, but it’s not enough to panic over and it’s not enough to sit down and do it right now this evening, I’m too pooped.

When I got home I parlayed what last energy I had into taking a hot shower.

My God.

That was just divine.

I could have crawled right into bed.



They die-hard.


I knew I would not be able to completely unwind without writing my blog and letting the day fall out of my head.

A great deal of this blog is just processing the day and writing down my experiences and how I get through them, or avoid them, as the case may be at times, but mostly, how I walk through the day and what I see and feel and how that affects me.



How I let those things affect me.

The lie is that he/she affects me.

They affect me when I allow them to.


My cohort affects me.

I really adore the hell out of some of them.

Love really.

I like most of the cohort, and that in and of itself is an amazing thing.

There are a few I’m not great big old fans of, some that have styles different from mine and a few odd ducks that rub me the wrong way, but no one I find horrid and offensive.

And that is miraculous.


I do tend toward a certain few.

And I realized how much I enjoy them and spending time with them and it’s not just about the classes, although of course so much of it is about the class work, it’s about the human connection I have made with them.

One of my classmates made it a point tonight to express how much we need to hang out outside of class and I am so down with that.

Although I tell myself I don’t have the time, I can make a little time here or there for her.

Plus, she lives in town.

There’s another lady I really want to hang out with as well, although I am not certain how we are going to make it work since she lives in Nevada, the hanging out will have to be on school weekends and it’s challenging for me.



Worth making the effort.

It is rare when I find people who I connect with well.

I know.

I know.

“You have so many friends on Facebook!”


I know.

How many of those friends called me today?

Or texted.

Or said hey, let’s hang out.


How’s grad school treating you?

What’s new with work?

Dating anyone?

Granted, I’m not giving all my friends a fair shake, they know how fucking crazy ass busy I am.

They are busy too.

It’s the human connection though, I crave it, I want friends, I want to be open and vulnerable and intimate.

No I don’t.

But it sounds nice.



I do want intimacy.

I do want to be seen.

Even when it’s not the pretty stuff, even when I’m sad or mad or ashamed or upset.

I want you to see me.




That’s the gift.

I’m so alive to the moment and yes, tired, but still awake and loving my life and yes it’s busy and I don’t always know which end is up, but I do know I am present for it, I do know I am showing up for it.

And I do know.

How very grateful I am for my friends.

So much love.


I mean.

For you.

Just Sitting Here

October 2, 2015

Waiting by the phone.


Not for that boy to call me.



There is a man around you know.

Oh, you didn’t?


That’s cause for another blog another day.


I know, I’m cheeky like that, but don’t worry you’ll hear about him one day.




I am waiting by the phone for my partner in my Human Development class to get home from her job and call me so that we can confer about tomorrow’s assigned chapter outline on Toddlerhood.

I really don’t want to be waiting by the phone and I really do wish this assignment was a thing of the past, I dislike group projects.

I don’t dislike groups per se, but I find that I work better on my own when I can squeeze in what I need to squeeze in where I need to squeeze it in.

I mean, time wise.

I like doing things on my own time.

But who the hell doesn’t?

Everybody’s got their own agenda.

Right not my agenda wants me to crawl into my new bed and really get a nice full nights sleep on it.

That’s not about to happen though.

I figure if i’m in bed by midnight and up by 6:30 a.m. I’m doing alright.

I have a friend who is going to pick me up and drive me to class tomorrow.

Thank you friend.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

The time that I don’t have to be on my bicycle is a big deal, I budget 45 minutes in for my commute and my friend is going to do the same for me in case there is any morning traffic and so that I can get to campus a touch early and stash my meals for the day in the kitchen.

So very grateful that there is a kitchen facility for the students to use.

I made food up for the weekend and I’m all ready in regards to that and I will be taking much better care of my feeding then I did last weekend I was in school.

I will also cut myself a little slack, I was just getting back from Burning Man and previous to that two weeks of work outside of the city and a week of school at the retreat, so I was pretty damn wonky that first week of classes.

But I don’t want to have that experience again.

I suspect I’ll be tired.

There’s that.

There’s always that.


I will also be bringing in cold brewed, at home, thank you very much, coffee with me and stashing that in the kitchen as well, so that should I need it I can just dash off and grab myself a cup of joe, I left a mug in the kitchen for myself to utilize as well.

So the food tip is taken care of.

The transportation to and from school tomorrow and Saturday is taken care of.

My friend is helping me both days and being a pumpkin about doing it.

“Listen,” he said, “let me help you.”

And I acquiesced.

I am learning.

I am learning to ask for help where I never would have before.

I am learning too to find ways to say what I need and to express what I need and to be alright in the expression thereof.

What is really amazing about doing the deal for as long as I have is that I have a basic understanding of certain psychological and spiritual modalities, and I have applied them to my graduate school program.

But what is also astounding to me is that in the brief amount of time that I have been in school I have also learned huge amounts about myself, how I communicate, the assumptions I make and the fact that I take myself just a little too damn serious.


“I was just kidding,” he told me.

I did not realize that.

I mean.

I get the joke now, but last night, ugh, I really thought I was failing somehow, doing all the work and not having the pay off and don’t you see, oh God, how much work there is to do and can’t you see how much I want to be with you?

Oh woe is fucking me.

I am such an anxiety monster sometimes.

He was joking.

I made an assumption, had a conversation in my head, and then felt ashamed at how busy I am, how I’m not available enough for social interactions, and what the fuck is wrong with me?

Nothing it turns out.

Just a slight soul sickness that creeps in when I least expect it, right where it is vulnerable, right where the love is and says, see that, that wonderful person who you care about so much, they are going to run away screaming when they see the real you, you’re a shit.

Thanks head.

Thanks for sharing.


Fuck off.

But the wonderful thing about inventory and working with someone who can show me some perspective, linked to the studying of all the therapeutic models and the group therapy theories and Freud, yes even him, and non-violent communication, and human development, and learning how to be empathetic (like I could be even more), is that I am learning not only how to help another–I am getting a masters in Psychology to be a therapist–but also how to help myself too.

Especially when it comes to communicating.

It really is amazing.

“I know I’m only going to get slivers of your time,” he said to me tonight when he dropped me off from work, “for like the next three years.”

You’re getting more than most my dear friend.

And not nearly as much as I liked to give.

But there will be vacations and there will be summer breaks and there will be time.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

I do dare.

I do dare to say that I will find the time.

To love.

To dance.

To sleep on the chest of a man I adore.

To find the ways in between the pattern of the days.

Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
All these minutes that pile up one against the other.
The pressing love hands of time.
The pushing head of a daisy in my hand.
The kiss on the side of a neck.
Next to the pulse of my heart.
And there.
While I sit and wait.
For the phone to ring.
Excuse me.
Human Development is calling.

Take The Day Off

October 1, 2015

How the fuck does one do that?

I have things to do.

I have places to go.

I have blogs to write.

Don’t you know that?

Haven’t you encouraged me to do just this, write, live my life, do my thing?

I thought so.


Here I am showing up one more time at this keyboard.

But typing rather fast, if I do say so myself.

I do have places to go other than this small laptop.

I have a beautiful new bed to crawl into.

That’s right.

The mattress has arrived and I wish I had actually video taped the unboxing.

It was hella fun.

And fast.

It took perhaps two minutes, three, tops, to let out of the box, unseal the plastic and arrange it on the wooden slats of my Ikea frame.

Then I laid down and made the “sushi face.”

“Uh, haha, I guess I know what you look like when you have sex,” my friend said to me years ago when we were in We Be Sushi and I was having a Dragon Roll.

I can’t help myself.

I make a face.

And apparently it is a tad sexual in nature.

Or I could just say that I am expressive.

I was a touch expressive when I lay down on the mattress.

“Oh my God.”

Then I giggled madly.

I am looking forward much to getting into that bed and making all sorts of “sushi faces.”


Especially since I have finished and sent in the paper for my Therapeutic Communications class and I also realized that I was caught up on the reading.  I mean that makes two classes that I am caught up with all the reading and all the assignments.

I have two other classes of course where I am not.


I am much further than I was the last time I had class.

And I feel that this will become a trend with me.

Getting it done.

I can’t help it.

I don’t have the time to let things slide.



I do have time to.

Let my love light shine.

And breathe.

And ride my bicycle in the rain.

It rained today!

I was not happy about it, I don’t like commuting on my bicycle in the rain, but I was also grateful for it and the rich smell of it heralded me all the way up Lincoln Avenue and through the Pan Handle and on into work.

Today in work stories.

I managed to not let myself freak out too much.

I stayed focused on my job and being of service to the family and putting into my job rather than taking out of it.


I made a new dish for dinner that I have never made before.

The mom and I renamed it since it was mushroom casserole and ain’t no five-year old boy anywhere going to chow down on mushroom casserole, so we called it quinoa risotto with mushrooms and cheese.

Heavy emphasis, mine, on the cheese.

The three-year old will sometimes ask me to just put shredded cheese in his little outstretched hand so he can just eat as quick as possible.


When the parents were not around I actually tipped the plastic bag directly into his mouth, he just begged and I couldn’t help it, I didn’t drown him in cheese, thank you very much, but I did pour a good amount into his happy little face.


Mushroom risotto with CHEESE.

Really, it was casserole, made with quinoa.

I remember when I had no idea what the hell quinoa was.

You may not know what quinoa is either.

I don’t think I did until I moved to San Francisco and despite having had it a few times I have never made it until today.

It was easy and the casserole, er, I mean, risotto, was lovely.

I may end up making it for myself one of these days.

You know.

When I have a bunch of free time.




Sorry friends.

Sorry if I don’t go running out to the clubs to cut a rug or to the cafe to hang out or to that dinner party, house-warming, baby shower, birthday party, fellowship dealio.


I’m busy.

“You’re just going to have to put your head down and say, hey, I’ll see you in three years,” my person said to me over a tea the last time I sat down and did some work with her.  “Some of your friends aren’t going to be happy about that, but they will all understand it, and when you can and where you can, you will find the time to make to hang out with friends.”

It just won’t be what you want it to look like.


It won’t be how they want it to look like.

And I want to date.

Who the fuck am I kidding.

Although there does seem to be space between the space to sneak things in, there is still the schedule and the routine and the doing that I do to take care of the things that I need to.

“Don’t stop writing on my account,” he said and went back to checking something on his phone.

He sat and watched me write my blog from the chaise lounge across the room.

Demands change.

Friends and lovers.

Graduate school and work.


Let me not forget that.

I can’t really take too much time off from that, at all.

I have to do these things and I make no excuses for that.

I am this woman.


Should you want me to come out and play, I will, I just need to take care of a few things first.


Just a few.

I promise.

Just Got The Message

September 30, 2015

My new mattress arrives tomorrow!

Last night on this cruddy one I have had for the last two years.

I am not complaining, it’s done it’s job and I have slept on worse.

The fold out futon shenanigans that I slept on in Paris for six months was by far the worst thing I have slept on.


Not true!

I just realized.

I have slept on worse, and really, when I compare and contrast, even on a shitty mattress, it was a shitty mattress in Paris.

I had a friend once who said it didn’t matter how bad things were, if you just tacked on the end of the sentence, “in Paris.”

I was caught in a sudden rainstorm, “in Paris.”

I got lost, “in Paris.”

I overslept, “in Paris.”

I have to do my laundry, “in Paris.”



That futon mattress, in Paris, sucked, but it was in Paris.

I have slept on far worse in Homestead, Florida.



On a piece of cardboard box that was slid underneath the thin tent floor of the two-man tent I was sharing with a friend, the cardboard scant protection from the sharp coral rock that our tent was set up on.

Even with the cardboard and a sleeping bag, I could still feel that rock underneath my back.

Imagine, I am imagining now, that for months I slept on cardboard boxes.

I have slept on plywood set up on top of milk crates.

I have slept in cars.

I have slept in the back of Grey Hound buses.

I have slept, on the ground.

I have slept on other people’s lumpy couches.

I have slept on the thin, worn out cushions in my ex-brother in-laws fathers’ camper truck bed.

That sucked.

I have slept in far worse places and on many a baggy couch with broken springs.

I have slept in dangerous neighborhoods were gunshots woke me up in the middle of the night.

I have slept on beaches.

I have slept in the woods, “camping” aka “homeless” in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

I have slept in the moldering basement of a duplex on a mattress on the floor.

I have slept cramped against my sister’s small body on a mattress on a floor.

I have slept in the bottom well of an old beater Dodge with a thin pillow braced against the door.

I have slept in far worse places on far worse beds, some which really had no right to be called a bed at all.

I am so grateful.

I have so much.

Do you see how much I have?

I have a full plate.

I have a job.

I have a bicycle.

I have this laptop.

I have graduate school.

(I have a lot to still read, but I’m getting caught up!)

I have stories.

(“Writers would kill to have some of the life material you have, Carmen,” Alan Kauffman said to me with an incredulous shake of his head, “you have had so many experiences!”)

I have love.

My God.

Do I have love.

I found myself pulled up 18th street tonight after work, my feet just knew the way and despite my brain saying, “go home, go read, go study,” I knew that I needed to be somewhere else tonight before I could do just that, go home, go read, go study.

And I found myself at Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro.

And I found myself at home.

I shared my piece.

I don’t remember what I said.

I got my God on.

I got on my bicycle and I got on the way back to the Outer Sunset.

And mysterious coincidence?

Is it odd?


Is it God?

I ran into a very dear, most welcome, super amazing and loving person on my way home.

“That’s H____________!”

I almost shouted his name.

I could see he was working with someone.

I almost kept riding.

But when you see your person, or I should say, when I see my person, I had to stop, flip a bitch on my whip, and pedal back to where he was sitting with one of my mates.


Was it good to see him!

I got the best damn hug.

From him and from my contemporary and we just had us a great big love fest right there on the corner of Sanchez and Noe.

Thank you God for always knowing when I need to see my people.

We made plans to see each other soon and I got a brief, intense, full of love check in.


Merrily on my way.

Through the autumn turning Pan Handle, through the quiet dark of the park lit only with speculative sodium lamps and the bright white flare of tents being erected in the meadows.

There must be a concert happening this weekend.

I am out of touch.

I have been so busy in my own little world of school and work that I am not paying a lot of attention to other things.

Outside Lands has already happened, so it must be Hardly, Strictly, Bluegrass.


Hardly, strictly, ain’t gonna be anywhere near it.

I’ll be in school this weekend.

I made good for the family already, getting them prepped by making not one but two homemade chicken pot pies for them–one to freeze and one to eat Friday when I am not there to make dinner.  Plus I made ginger chicken with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, onions, and water chestnuts to wrap up in lettuce for dinner this evening.

I’ll do more prep for them too.


A little for me too.

Although, I am pretty set as far as groceries go since my dear friend helped me out with the pick up and lift back to my place last weekend from SafeWay when I was having my near panic attack.

I do have to do a little more reading.

(A lot, but who’s counting)

But I’m kicking through it.

Every morning before I leave for work I have been reading.

Every evening when I get home I have been reading.

Add to that I have managed, don’t ask me how, to continue with my morning writing routine and my evening blog.

I don’t have to know how it works.

I just know that it does.

And it’s going to work even better.

Even sooner.

I’ll be sleeping on a brand new bed as of tomorrow night.

My life.

It rocks.

And it’s not because I’m sleeping on any.

Rocks that is.


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