Archive for July, 2011

Day Off

July 31, 2011

Today may mark the first Saturday in months that I really did nothing.

Well, I did a few things, I did the deal, I met to discuss the deal, and I made my bed.  I also cooked up a pot of French red lentil soup and some brown rice for meals for the upcoming week.

But, I really, truly, gave myself a day off.  No going to Wisconsin.  No housewarming party.  No moving.  Just a lazy day.

I enjoyed my space, I made some of my favorite meals.  I watched Project Runway in my pajamas.  I love Project Runway.  I love clothes.  I love design.  I am a closeted fashionista with a subscription to Vogue and W.  Two of my treasures in-house are a Harpers Bazaar from 1962 that I bought at Kayo Books in the Tender Nob (for those of you not conversant in San Francisco, that is the neighborhood that is not really the Tenderloin and not really Nob Hill.  It’s also been called Lower Nob Hill or Tenderloin Heights.  But really, it is the Tender Nob) and a French Vogue that I splurged on a few months ago.

Plus, Project Runway is near and dear to my heart as it came out when I was going through a very tumultuous time in my life and I would sit in the living room at the house on 25th and Potrero and eat gobs and gobs of ice cream and watch the show religiously.  I ate a lot of ice cream that first season.  I smoked a lot of cigarettes.  I drank an ass load of coffee.

I actually learned how to use my room mates TiVo to record the last episode of the show–the finale–so that I could watch it when I got up in the morning for work.  I was working at Absinthe in Hayes Valley and I had closed that night, it was a Friday and I was slated to be the opening person for brunch.  I could not stay up late.

But I could.  Because I gleefully realized that, yes, I would not be getting as much sleep as I would like if I watched the finale, however, I would be getting eighteen times the amount of sleep that I had gotten just 68 days prior.  And I would not be hung over for the shift.  That really, the only preparation I needed was to get to work a few minutes earlier than I would to make myself a latte and go out back and smoke a cigarette with it before the shift began.

What a concept.  Not going into work cracked back and hung over.  I could stay up late and watch the finale that I had recorded.  And I did just that.

I know people who sew and design and they hate on the show.  Maybe it’s because I don’t do any of that, that I enjoy it so much.  I like to imagine myself in the challenges and think about what I could do if I had sewing skills.  My sewing skills are limited to being able to sew a button back onto a shirt and stringing popcorn and cranberries on a piece of thread for garland on the Christmas tree.

That’s it.

But, man I love clothes.  I love fashion.  It was an escape for me growing up.  The fashion magazines that I got when I was cognizant that there was a world outside of Windsor, Wisconsin.  And I wanted in it.  It did not matter that I was not a size 4.  It did not matter that I did not know how to style myself or what looked good on me.  I just knew that I liked clothes and wanted to be fashionable.

Maybe it had something to do with Kerri in 7th grade making fun of the Valentines Day socks my mom had given me.  Or perhaps it was the abject horror of wearing the purple sweat shirt to school that had the knitted bear on it that I got from my step-fathers side of the family at Christmas, but at some point between eighth and ninth grade I developed  a sense of wanting to find myself in fashion.

I also was a bit of an outcast kid with parents that had neither the money or the inclination to purchase trendy clothes for their children.  My sister being an artist, was able to manipulate her clothes, and had she not taken a spiral into the addictions and diseases that seem to run so rampant in my family, may have done something with that talent.

I on the other hand, had and still have, an eye.  But I did not have the money to back up that eye.

Around age thirteen I was told that I was to purchase my own school clothes.  Mom would pay for school supplies, but if I wanted clothes, I had to buy them myself.

I worked detassling corn (a machine can detassle, that is remove the female reproductive part of the corn so that it does not impregnate itself, allowing the male seed corn to pollinate the female corn.  However, it can miss a lot of the tassle, whereas a small childs hand can get right down in there and pluck it out cleanly).  Hot, hard, sweaty, nasty farm labor work.  When I started the wage was less than minimum, because it was farm labor, and the state allowed its farmers to pay under minimum wage as farming was considered a family job.  Kaltenberg Seed Farms used this as a loop-hole to pay its child labor less than minimum.  The caveat being was that we were all hired at minimum and would be “bonused” in at that wage at the end of the season if we missed no more than three days of work all summer–if one missed more than the three days allowed, you received an hourly wage of $2.85 vs. $3.15.

I missed no days.  I never missed a day.  I worked my ass off that summer.  And the following three summers that I worked for them.  I will never forget Stacey Larson asking me where I went for summer, she guessed Florida, because I had such a smoking tan.  Nope, I was out in the corn fields the entire summer.  I was dirty, dusty, thirsty, and miserable all summer long.  But I wanted to work to afford clothes.

Want to know what I bought?

A distressed leather bomber jacket with a white rabbit fur detachable collar.  I fucking loved that jacket.  It represented everything that I wanted to be.  Cool.  Indomitable.  Aloof.  Outside.  I was not a part of the small town I lived in.  I was going to put my aviator shades on and walk out those corn fields and live my dreams.

I miss that jacket.  Not sure when and where it got lost in my travels.  But I wore the hell out of it.  And having had the experience of starting over from scratch at the ripe age of 32, I fell back in love with fashion and the escape it offered me as some one newly minted in a manner of living I had very little idea how to do.

Project Runway is my secret love.  Fashion, my not so secret love.  I don’t have that bomber jacket, but I do have two amazing An Ren New York pieces, both jackets, that warm my soul like that bomber jacket did all the way back when.

I am living my own dream.  I got out.  And I get to be fabulous, and today, well rested as well.

Burning Man On The Brain

July 29, 2011

I cannot help it.  I leave in three weeks.  Holy mother of God.  How does it happen?

I also got my first approach tonight by someone who I don’t know, except from a barely nodding sort of acquaintance about help getting her a ticket.

I am so not the person to be asking.  I have a hard enough time asking for what I need, let alone trying to wrangle up a ticket for someone I don’t even know.  Please, honey, go put your story on craigslist and leave this playa nanny alone.

That being said, I got a ride!  Yay!

And I also did two things today that I am so proud of myself for doing, scratch that, three!

One: the person who offerred me a ride is a total dear and I adore him, but he’s leaving a day earlier than I thought I would be able to go up.  Then I realized, you know, here is a silver platter opportunity to ride up with some one you care about and know you will be able to converse with and oh, you like.  Versus risking a stranger in a strange car sort of scenario.  So, when I went to work today I asked off for another day.  I was scared, you bet your britches I was scared, but I figured, if it was meant to be, I would get the time request granted.  If not, what’s the worst they say, no.  Well, they said yes!

Hurray.  So, now I have a ride up the Thursday before the event opens.  Which is scrumptious as I found out from Action that the Bug will be arriving that very same night.  Thus, I get an extra day with her!  And it feels like I am actually getting an extra two, as I sort of had been under the assumption that I would not get to the event until early evening on Saturday.  To be getting in late evening Thursday is huge.  I am so grateful.

Two: I called up the director for In Our Own Words and told her I had to bow out of the next production.  I looked over the e-mail for the upcoming month of rehearsals and I would be missing three, including the dress rehearsal.  Plus, I would be stressing about making it back in time to do a mini-decompressing before running down to the theater and doing the show.  She totally took it well and told me no worries, she actually had another set of actors lined up that could be helping out with the show as there’s a production that just got up and running in San Jose.  Sweet.

Three: I confirmed that the kitties have a place to stay and a loving mama surrogate for when I’m at the event.  Thanks Pell!

So, now, I get to do the fun part–prep.  I really am sort of dorky that way.  I like to write out little lists of things that I want to have with me and things that I will need to have with me.

As my employers are taking care of food, water, and lodging, I have a lot less to worry about then the average burner.  Thank you jesus.

Here’s a partial list of things that I want to have with me to feel playa ready:

-Baby wipes.  Indispensible.  You must have them.

-Lotion and lots of it

-Lip balm in as many flavors as I can wrangle up, and I always bring a bunch as inevitably I lose one or two and give away one or two

-Long socks.  I am not of the ilk that thinks it is hot to go around the playa barefoot or even in sandals or flip-flops.  I will slide into my slippers to go to the port-a-potties, but that is different.  I wear boots and long socks.  I like my feet and do not want playa foot.  It is gross

-A tutu–I need to replace my old one.  Although last year I wore jeans quite a bit and that was nice.  I liked being out at night in jeans.  During the day I wore tights and tank tops and frilly underwear.  But, it is nice to have one frilly, foofy, silly tutu, at least in my opinion

-Sparkling water.  Why?  Why not.  I love fizzy water and it makes me happy.  I don’t drink alcohol or sugared beverages and I don’t drink things that have artificial sweeteners.  Fizzy water is a huge treat, especially on Playa.

-Protein bars

-Coconut water, elixir of the gods

-Sun block and lots of it

-Hats, I’m going the fedora route this year.  I have a couple of great ones.  One I got at a little boutique shop in Sausalito, the woman who runs the shop has a daughter that, shocker, goes to Burning Man every year, so it is a very eclectic hat and I knew the minute I put it on, it was mine.  Then I also have a Goorin Brothers fedora that has a feather painted on the side of it.  There are no feathers allowed at the event, they make the worst m.o.o.p (matter out-of-place), so as much as I want to stick a feather in one of my many hats I will not.  I also have a collapsible wide rimmed black sun hat that is very resort swank and my favorite cabby hat from Paris that will be making its third appearance on Playa.

-Tea, nothing says relax after a night of dancing and playa hopping like coming home to my camp and sitting underneath the Christmas lights and having a hot cup of tea.  The desert gets cold at night.

-Extra bedding.  This year I am bringing more than just one pillow and one sleeping bag.  Last year it got freaky cold at night and I don’t want to experience that kind of cold sleep again.

-My Ipod and Ipod player

-My laptop, you think I’m not going to blog from the playa?  Hello?

-My camera.  Last year I got a lot of great shots and this year I plan on blogging and having an ass load of pictures to go with it.  I didn’t do barely any blogging last year, but since I’m doing the post-a-day challenge, you will be getting posts.

-My French press.  I will go to Center Camp Cafe, but it’s so nice to have my own coffee

-Almond milk.  For coffee and tea

-My box of make up and all my fingernail polish–because I like to play dress up!


Oh, I am excited.  It is so nice when the logistical things work themselves out and then I get to turn my attention to the fun stuff.  I will be hunter gathering in San Francisco for the next couple of weeks getting ready.  My list is not written out yet, not on my little traveling note pad, but it is most definitely percolating up in my head.

See you on playa soon!

If you got a ticket that is.

You Do What At Burning Man?

July 28, 2011

Yes, ma’am, sir, I am a nanny.  I take care of the most delicious little girl.  This year marks our fourth year together on playa.  I am so excited.

She and I said our ersatz good byes last year at the event.  I was so heart-broken, I was literally physically sick upon re-entry into the normal world.  I was in bed vomiting for a day.  Throwing up sorrow.

She was going into pre-school and I was off to have nanny adventures with other little girls.  There are no other girls like my Junebug though, she was my first, my all, my total love.  I got to see her at my house-warming party and she jumped on my bed and rang my bike bell and we talked about Frankie, my cat, and about adventures we had and our mutual friends and what we are going to be doing at Burning Man.

A list–not necessarily in order of importance or scheduling, as things move on playa time and new adventures pop up out of the woodwork–

-Jump on the Ball of Pooh at the Center Camp cafe.  There is this large ball composed of Winnie the Pooh stuffed bears that rolls around the cafe and we always go over and jump on it.  And there’s just something about saying we are off to play with the ball of Pooh that brings out the giggles in you.

-Swing.  Hopefully mom and dad will be hanging another swing in camp.  We have had a johnny jump up our first year, which got positioned over a kiddie pool so that she could swing her little 10 1/2 month old toes in and out of the water.  That was surely the envy of many on playa.  Last year and the year prior we have had a harness swing.  So much fun.  I am thinking this year we will go on a scavenger hunt to see who has the best swing in the camps.

-Art car rides.  I hear the Slug may be coming out of hibernation.  Although, I’m not sure the Slug is child friendly.  Hell, I’m not sure the Slug is adult friendly for that matter.

-Rides in the Elco–that is dad’s El Camino, dusty blue with no doors, no windshield and a bunch of cushions tossed in the trailer for giving rides to everybody.

-Trips in golf carts around town.  I know golf carts symbolize staff members, but to me and the bug, they are truly splendid adventures, especially when she drives.  She’s pretty damn good.

-Art tours.  On our own and with others.  I usually have a day or two where we just pick a direction and ride a bike out somewhere and explore.  Last year one of my favorites was the fire engine, which was not part of the installation, but just parked at the installation and I talked the artist into letting Juni sit in the cab and steer.  She honked the horn and literally scared me half to death.  I jumped so hard my sunglasses flew off my face.  She wasn’t expecting it either and at first was scared, but then burst into uncontrollable laughter about how she “scared my glasses off my face.”

-Naps.  Truly a sweet, sweet, most precious time.  She gets her Friend blanket and goes down and often times I do too.  And sometimes I hold her and she sleeps on me.  It is the most amazing feeling, a slumbering child on your chest, warm and drowsy.

-Coloring–anything and everything, playing nail salon, make up, dress up.

-Wearing matching tutus


-Riding the Zebracorn

-Listening to her extol the wonders of bacon

-Running around the Commi”scary” together

-Playing pirate princesses on the pirate ship

-Kite flying


God, so many things I get to do.  I am so lucky.  And I recall so many people who are just amazed at how well she does out there.  Really, it’s the adults that sometimes need better taking care of.  I have often thought it might be a hoot to have a nanny camp.

You there-time out!  And you-nap time!  Now.  Go sit down and eat your lunch.  You cannot leave the house looking like that!  You need more blinky lights!  Excuse me, when was the last time you drank any water?  Do I have to tell you again to not touch that?

Of course, with my luck, people would get me confused with being a wet-nurse and not a nanny.

For the umpteenth time–these babies don’t produce!

So, yeah, I’m a nanny at Burning Man.  It has to be the best job ever, ever, ever.

And it definitely gets the most attention on my resume!

It’s Just One Great, Big, Fat Journey

July 26, 2011

That I get to be a part of.

Well, yes, damn it, it is!  I heard this tonight and it really struck me.  Goosebumps struck me.  Such an apropos thing to hear after returning from the wilds of Wisconsin.

I get to be on this journey and I really am amazed.  I was a little saddened yesterday as the plane lifted into the air and I started my journey back to San Francisco.  The weather was dreamy and the lushness of the grass and the trees and all that is green in Wisconsin.  The heavy fragrance of the flowers that super saturates the air, my god, it was just divine to be bathed in that.

As I said good-bye to Henry and his girls at their house by the Vilas Zoo I unwittingly slipped off my flip-flops and stood with my toes in the grass.  I literally sighed out loud.

Henry asked if I was ok.  And I said I was, but that I probably should not have slid off the shoes to nestle my toes in the warm grass.  It was too glorious.  The high over arching blue sky, the green maple leaves imprinted against it, the sun soft and warm and caressing on my skin.  I heaved another sigh, but the flip-flops back on my toes and watched Henry chase down one of the twins.

The other stood next to me and we chatted about this and that, she was busy dissecting a snap dragon bud and handing bits and pieces to me.  I told her to look after her papa and that I was awful glad I had finally gotten a chance to meet her and her sister.  She hugged me around my knees and when I bent down to kiss her head, she lifted her little face to mine, surrounded by a nimbus off white gold curls and looked into my eyes with her papa’s eyes and I knew she understood.


Yes, please.  I got the sweetest little girl smooch and hugged her hard and we walked hand in hand over to her papa and her twin sister.  I said my good-bye and felt my heart crack a little.

I had been making sure to pack as much into my last few minutes in Madison and realized that I had done it to avoid having just these feelings.

Because it really felt like good-bye this time.

I am really done with Wisconsin.  Or at the least, Madison, for the time being.  I will probably be back to Wisconsin within the year to see the fabulous Fox family.  But that skulk lives to the North and there is no need for me to go back to Madison.

I felt sad as I dashed off to the airport and I rolled down the windows in the rental car and let the warm air wash over me.  I felt sad for the girl that I was in Madison, who lived in such a small circumference.  My circle was so small–a scattering of restaurants and bars and the campus.  I did not do much exploring beyond my immediate job and school responsibilities.  When I had driven to Henry’s to say good-bye I had felt that I had not really explored at all what Madison is or was.  I had truly limited myself.

I had also limited myself with him.  My good friend, one of my oldest, my first love, my first die-hard crush.  He and I had plenty of talks previous to this visit.  We had hashed out all that there was to hash out many years ago.  And this visit was the wax seal on the envelope of that infatuation.  We are adults with adult responsibilities.  He has his girls and I mine.

Granted mine are not really mine, but I did show them off at the reunion when folks were whipping out the pictures of their kids, I couldn’t help it.

And I am glad that Henry and I never got together.  It would have been wrong.  God, how long it takes me to realize something.  Decades.

Rejection really is protection.  I was rejected again and again and again.  And finally I got it.  And I saw with very clear eyes that Henry is completely unsuited to me.  He and I are very different people.  With very different needs, agendas, and desires.  We would have been an awful couple.  Why I could not see that until I watched him walk away from me following those little girl feet I cannot say, although I have some suspicions having had a promised awakening, but I saw it so clearly.

Those twins were so destined to be in this world exactly at the time and moment as they are.

I don’t know that I will have children.  It is almost too late.  I do know that I am, however, for perhaps the first time in my life in a place to say that I could.  This is not to say that I am going to go out and get impregnated.  It is just to say that I have laid down the leash of unrequited love.

And that may have had something to do with how über comfy I was today in my own skin.  I hopped on the scale at work and I had not lost a pound or gained a pound and I just shrugged and said out loud, “who cares?”  and I went about my day.

I don’t care if I lose any more.  I am completely ok with where I am at.  I don’t have to prove anything to myself.  And I don’t have to pine.  I am done pining.

I am so fucking relieved.  This ridiculous, no pun, ok, well sort of, intended, weight has lifted.  I am free of my own self-imposed, extremely limited objectives.

I can move toward the expansion of my being.  My soul does not reside in Wisconsin, nor in San Francisco, nor in Paris, but always within me no matter where I move.  I may not have the kind of roots that some of my friends do with my family scattered to the four corners of the map, but I have me no matter where I am.  I don’t have to search outside of myself.

I don’t have to move somewhere to find me.

I was lost.

Now I am found.

Thing is, I was here all along.  Just hiding in a book, behind my hair, with a candy bar, in a corner of a room obsessed with what I thought I did not have.

I have it all, here, right now.

I just had to take a plane across the country to see it for what it was.  The bloom of the land in Wisconsin will always be on my soul like a soft blush, but I did not leave my soul in Windsor, just like I did not leave my heart in San Francisco, nor will I lose it in the City of Lights–it is incandescent and there is no need to cover it any longer.

Flying On a Jet Plane

July 23, 2011


Currently sitting in the Delta Terminal at SFO International Airport.  I am actually a wee bit disappointed with the WIFI here.  Of all places, I would assume that the airport has fantastic internet access.  I mean, this is San Francisco.


Perhaps there’s just too many people here in the terminal that are trying to long on.  I am glad I was able to get a smidge of access for a hot second or two and shot off a couple of e-mails that I needed to get out before I get on the plane to Madison.


It still feels a touch surreal that I am going back.  I am excited, nervous, and bored all at the same time.  I am nervous about getting sleep.  I am a classic non-sleeper on flights.  Even over night flights.  There is something about traveling that sings to me of lots of coffee and watching the world pass underneath me as I fly.


I love to fly.  I love airports.  I love travel.  I am not afraid of planes.  The only anxiety I ever find myself experiencing is the security check in.  And I have flown often enough now to know how to manoeuver through them.  I do however, get picked a lot for extra security detail.


I knew it as soon as the woman swiped my boarding pass.  She marked it with a highlighter that was different from the other folks ahead of me in line.  I got to go through some personal high sensitivity x-ray thing-a-mabob, this is highly technical name for whatever the gadget was.


Last time I flew they red flagged me and I had to have my palms specially swabbed for chemicals.


I think it’s the tattoos.


Nevertheless, I don’t mind, I make sure I have plenty of time and I always wind up in the terminal quite a bit before my flight.  Which I like.  I like to be situated.  I like to find the water fountain and fill up my Sigg bottle.  I don’t pay for water in airports, it is just a phenomenal rip off.


So, I’m here a little early.  I have about forty-five more minutes of wait time before I board.  Here’s hoping that I get tired and fall asleep on the plane.  Probably not going to happen.  Although I would really like to get my beauty rest in before tomorrow.


Cass again assured me that I was going back just the way I am supposed to.  And I do believe that.  I am also laughing at the two women that sat down next to me and don’t recognize me.  Wrong.  They do recognize me.  But aren’t acknowledging me.  How interesting.  Well, none of my business, now is it.


It will be funny, however, if we end up sitting next to each other on the flight.


In other news, I have gotten my confirmation e-mail from the Junebug’s mom.  I am ready to roll for Burning Man.  I have a ticket ready to go and an early arrival pass marked for Saturday, August 27th.  I do need to find a ride up however.  This will be my first year not traveling up with the family as I no longer work for them.


I am actually taking my vacation time with my current nanny job to go work at Burning Man.  It is work too, in case you were wondering.  But such surreal work I can never quite explain.  The family is taking good care of me, as they always have and my food, water, and housing accommodations are all set up.


Thank you mom and dad!


All I have to do is get there.  I am a touch stressed about that, but not too much.  I have some time to get a ride.  I am sure there are a lot of people who are going.




The terminal is beginning to fill up and people are getting their flight anxiety on as well as there prescribed drugs consumed.  There is the cutest little girl sitting on the floor across the way from me and she is about to consume the biggest chocolate covered rice crispy treat I have ever seen.  Holy shit, it’s as big as her head.


The flight boards in about twenty minutes.  I am going to wrap up this nothing bit of blog in ten minutes, grab a little more water, and use the restroom one last time before getting all my stuff together and getting on the plain.


I like that the back grounding pictures on my MAC book are from Burning Man last year.   I am going to be looking for costumes upon my return.  Hmmm…..maybe I will also check around Madison.  I bet I can grab a couple of interesting things at Ragstock, if it’s still around.


My luggage is light, I could fit a couple of things in there to bring back.  I packed four summer dresses, two pairs of wedge heels, and one swim suit.  All I need for a 36 hour trip to Madison in July.


Sidebar–I found it totally amusing that on my ride home from work I passed the ball park on my bike and the Giants are playing the Brewers!  My home team.


No offense Giants fans, but Go Brewers!  The only team I would ever cheer for over the Giants.  I have been a fan since third grade when we made a field trip to Brewers Stadium in Milwaukee and I got a ball from Cecil Cooper.  Remember Robin Yount?  Dreamy.  I had a total little girl crush on him.


God, I had the weirdest crushes growing up.  Baryshnikov, Robin Yount (was it the mustache?), Sting, and probably not so weird, Michael Hutchinence from INXS.  I will never forget seeing the video for Need You Tonight for the first time on MTV when I was helping out some waitress friend of my mom’s with a baby sitting night and she had cable.  I hated baby sitting, funny that, I’m a nanny now, but I loved sitting for this woman.  I was glued to the MTV whenever I sat for her.


Oh, and of course, Judd Nelson, The Breakfast Club.


Yup, totally dating myself.  I am definitely going back for the 20th year reunion.


Oh, and should you be around down town Madison tomorrow I will be having coffee at the Espresso Royale at the top of State Street at noon.  Meeting Kurt there, probably Scott Rouse too, Henry Hall, and whomever else happens to stroll on by.  Then lunch at Himal Chuli before I check into my hotel at 3pm.


Well, it’s about to happen.

Bon voyage!


Today’s Topic: Body Image

July 22, 2011

And recovery.

Ah, high school class reunion (say it like Homer Simpson lusting after beer or donuts or beer soaked donuts, covered in chocolate glaze and stuffed with donut holes that have been made with beer batter and stuffed with caramel and sea salt) the gift that keeps on giving.

I was on the phone earlier today with Cass.  Why?  Because I was losing my mind at work.  And I knew it had nothing to do with work.

Oh, maybe a little.  I realize I put a lot of stress on myself to have the place spotless upon imminent parental arrival.  And that is stressful–being perfect.  I have no control over my environment, no matter how much I may want to.  No matter how much dad may want me to.  Things break, get dirty, fall over, spill, hands get sticky with peanut butter, food gets in hair, life basically happens.  And whenever I stress about having the house spotless, I always find one more crumb from a graham cracker underfoot.

But I was having a self-induced tantrum and I realized I was going to have to reach out for help.  Cass to the rescue.

First, she talked me off the ledge.  Then she talked to me about breathing.  Good that, breathing.  Then she talked to me about how my job really wasn’t the problem.  I knew this, but damn, it was good to hear anyhow.  Then she talked to me about the solution.  Which was great because it and the “problem” are two separate things.  Then she told me how wonderful I am.  How beautiful I am.

Then, of course, I started to cry some more.

It’s been a minute since I have cried at work.  Oh, there’s been some angry tears and some god I am overwhelmed moments, but nothing quite like this complete breakdown.

I could have cared less if there was a nanny cam.

Fuck you nanny cam.  And ps I think I know where you are hiding.

Anyway.  I just sobbed it out for a good while there.  And that felt good to let go of too.

I have apparently decided that I have not changed enough and am not good enough or something to show up in Wisconsin.

Jesus, even typing that I can see the fallacy.  But over the last 24 hours, I could not.  I did not even realize until I had literally and I do mean literally, made myself sick with anxiety.  I recognized that I was sick with exactly the same thing I had the last time I was in Wisconsin.  This made me realize that my mind was cooking up crap to persuade me to not show up.

I had the fuck its today and a bit yesterday, though I was keeping them pretty much under my hat.  When I got sick I was almost relieved.  Maybe I would get so sick that I would not be able to go.  Who cares about the $450 plane ticket or the $90 car rental or the $100 hotel room in down town Madison (I’m staying at the Hyatt-which I discovered is literally on the same block as The Angelic Brewing Company used to be.  I cannot quite fathom where it is, the hotel must be new since the last time I was there.  The Angelic was at 322 W. Johnson St. and my hotel is at 333 W. Johnson St.  This means I will be well, quite well, acquainted with my neighborhood environs!).  I would be so sick that I would not be able to leave my house.

No such luck.

I am already feeling better.  Hell, once I got on the phone with Cass I was feeling better.  Even though I knew what she would say, even though I sort of did not want to hear it, even though there is still a small part of me that says, you just haven’t done enough to prove to everybody how really, truly successful you are.

Joan told me today, all one had to do was look at me to see how well I am doing.  That no amount of money could buy what I have internally.  That really all I have to say is that I live in San Francisco and I’m happy as a clam.  And it shows.

I live in San Francisco and I am happy as a clam.

I am also letting go of some body image stuff.  I have been so darn mean to my body and when I think about all it has done for me, I can get a little ashamed.  It has gone beyond the limits of what any body really should.  I have made it work when it is tired.  I have force-fed it when it was not hungry.  I have hidden in it from the world and to escape my feelings–for which, inevitably there is no escape.  I have beaten it up.  I have pushed it beyond it’s self-imposed limits–Shaolin, training for the AIDS Lifecycle ride, dancing for 13 hours straight, working doubles at the Essen Haus on fallen arches and blown knees (I will never ever forget Stephanie Sargent Fox whipping me aside in the kitchen, hauling up my dirndle and taping ice packs to my knees so that I could keep going).  I have over caffeinated it, more often than I even care to relate.  I have tattooed it and plucked it and waxed it and told it it was just not pretty enough, sexy enough, skinny enough to be loved.

What a crock.

It is a good body.  It is a strong body.  I am lucky to have it.  I am grateful to be in it and practise accepting it for just the most beautiful thing it is.

My life will not be perfect if I can just lose the last  25 lbs.  It is perfect right the fuck now.  Jesus H. Christ on a raft.

Really, I had this thought today.  I just need to lose  25 lbs.  Come on.  I have lost 103 lbs.  Or 104 lbs, who’s counting?  Oh wait, fuck, I am.

I have changed as much as I am supposed to at this time.  And the glorious thing is this, I will keep changing.  Life will keep happening.  And a bunch of people who haven’t bothered to keep in touch with me, nor I with them, will change too.  What they think of me is ultimately none of my business.  I just get to show up do the next action and be of service where I am directed to be.

So, thanks, high school 20th class reunion, you have given me some more insight into my life.

And just so you know, in case you weren’t paying attention, I live in San Francisco and I am happy as a clam.

I Just Want To Watch True Blood

July 19, 2011

And chill out.  Long day at work.  Not a bad day, just a long day.  S. was finally back with me and K today and I forgot that handling two takes a little more maneuvering and juggling than I had remembered.

Two weeks and I am out of the groove.

I got it back pretty fast and I remember why I like working with two charges versus one–makes the time go by much faster.  But I have to adhere to a schedule or I can get out of whack really quick.

The girls haven’t seen each other for two weeks.  I was a little afraid it would be a turf war at work today, but it was actually not that bad.  Although K. did bite S. pretty bad in the stroller on our first walk and there was some threats of hitting.  But over all it was a good transition back to “normalcy”.

The weather was also divine.  And I realized that I am probably in for a shock when I go back to Madison on Saturday.  I haven’t been in the Midwest for a July summer experience in over 8 years.  I have been trying to summon the memory of humidity to my mind, but it is cancelled out by the feel of the air here.  It was clear and crisp and warm today and there was just a scruff of fog off in the distance, but I knew it would probably turn into something more serious as the day went on, and sure enough the temperature dropped, the wind picked up and the fog came a tumbling down over Twin Peaks.

I love watching the fog pile up and then finally come cascading over the hill, there is something majestic and powerful about it.  And the blue of the sky against the fog before it fills the sky is something to behold.

Wisconsin rarely sees fog.  I do have a couple of recollections of it occurring, but just a few over the decades that I lived there.  Then again, although I am sure the humidity will be kicking my ass, I cannot lie, I am excited about a summer evening in a sundress with no layers.  Just me and my skin and some light floaty fabric drifting about my knees.  Just the feel of warm air melding with skin is something I miss every summer I am here in SF.

I am sitting here sipping a very hot cup of Bengal Spice tea with a splash of almond milk and I chuckled when I thought of drinking a cup of hot tea in Wisconsin in July.  I would probably vomit all over myself.

Hot summers, hot kitchens, sticky sweat on the back of my neck.  Going into Villari’s to work out and getting done and changing and still sweating hours, or maybe it just felt like hours, later at work.  The constant bath of humidity that makes up a Midwestern summer is nothing to sniff at.

Oh shoot, mosquitoes.  I hadn’t thought about those little fuckers either.  Been a bit since I’ve been around a mosquito and they like me, oh yes, they do.  Ugh.  I feel itchy thinking about it.  I get pretty fierce welts from the bites and they itch like mad.  I remember my ex was never bothered by them.  But my bites would always welt up red and ridiculously itchy, and the itch did not stop, I would itch them until the skin was raw and they would end up scabbing.


I wonder how the lakes smell?  That was a smell that could get to me too.  Especially if there was any kind of algae bloom on them.

But then, there will be lighting bugs and warm air at night.  I think I will get past the smell of the Lakes and the mosquitos and enjoy some real summer weather.

I was thinking about what I would be packing and realized that I probably don’t want to bring jeans. I will swelter in them.  I may just pack summer dresses.  This may be my only time to break them out, well, except for at Burning Man.  I do get my hot weather in, just again, not at night.  The desert tends to chill off dramatically once the sun sets and I have been really cold out there.  Last years I “borrowed” a sleeping bag from a pile of pillows and blankets and snuggle accessories at a chic camp that was next to mine that seemed to just throw over the top dinner parties with a lot of wine and fancy dress.  And I mean fancy.

The camp was deserted that night that I came back shivering from my playa outing, and I was wearing jeans and layers and boots and a scarf and a coat.  I was freezing.  It was to be a truly cold night, I think it dropped down below 40 degrees.  I saw that heap of chill out pillows and blankets and snatched the first thing that I saw.  I did replace it the next morning, but man was I glad I had taken that.

So, warm soft, summer night, I am ready for you.  I am sad that I will only get one.  But I promise I will be making the most of it.  I feel there will be a stroll around the Capitol, maybe some feet chilling in a water fountain.  Perhaps a walk down to the Memorial Union for a late night iced coffee.

Iced coffee at night, now that is saying something.  I can almost feel the grass on my bare feet as I write this.

High Maintenance

July 18, 2011

As I will soon be embarking for the destination of Wisconsin, I have had many thoughts and memories of my time past there.  Recently what was going through my mind, as I was getting a manicure, pedicure, and eyebrow wax at my salon, was the conversation I had with an ex-boyfriend.

His father had warned him about me.  He said, “I was high maintenance”.


How the hell had he known that?  This moniker used to offend the shit out of me.  But truth be told, I am high maintenance.  If I had the funds, which I will sooner rather than later, I will become even more high maintenance.  I love it.

I love being pampered.  I work my fucking ass off.  I do a lot of stuff.  I deserve the down time that comes with getting my face waxed.

Yes, I said it, my face.  I don’t just get the eyebrows done, but also my lip and my chin.  I have dark hair and a lot of it.  I have a mustache, grr, and I get those weird little chin hairs that pop up out of nowhere.  Where do they come from?  And why.  Suddenly from nowhere, there one is, waving to me all friendly like as I stop to re-apply my lipstick.  Fuck, get that shit off me.

I love lying down at the table at Union Street Nails and closing my eyes and letting the woman work her magic.  It is ridiculously relaxing.  And one of the few times during my month, I just go once a month, and take care of “maintenance” in between, that I actually lie still.

I close my eyes and drift for the twenty minutes or so that she takes to groom me.  There is just something about it that is primal.  I like to be groomed.

How did my ex-boyfriends father know this?

I did not care at all for my appearance when I was dating him.  He did not like me to wear make up, so I did not.  He may have had some control issues, eh?  I liked clothes, but I was really too heavy to be able to translate my fashion ideas into whatever hideous palette the fat girl store was trying to pass off as in season.

Especially in Madison, sometimes I do wonder how the hell I dressed at all.

Today’s ensemble-short deconstructed jean skit, multi-colored striped tights, black tank top layered under a thin black t-shirt, belted with retro-vintage brown leather belt with huge hoop enclosure, vintage jean jacket and vintage cowboy boots.  I love clothes.

So, I never dressed up, I never wore make up, and I never tweezed my eyebrows or for that matter got hair cuts.  I wore my hair long and loose or up in a messy pile on my head.  How in the world did dad know that I was the type of person that longed for massages with hot stones and warm oil?

And what, by the way, is wrong with this?

Nothing, I say.  Here’s to pampering oneself.  I think I should be cuddled and pampered and spoiled.  I like snuggling and being warm.  Groom me.  Wash my hair.  It is delicious.  And I love to repay the favor.  You wash my back, I wash yours, so to speak.

In this age of internet and texting I think we come to believe that we actually have a connection with one another that does not actually exist.  If you put “maybe” next to an event I’m hosting on FaceBook and shoot me a little line of words, that is not actually engaging.  And touch, I feel that we need human touch, hugs, pats on the back, hands in hands.  Not tweets or facebooking or even, blogging, although I love it very much.  I want to look into your eyes, not your profile.

I want to engage with people.  And that means engaging with what I like and knowing what that is–knowing what I like also helps me to engage with other people that like the same things.  I like going to movies during the day, there is something dreamy and almost like playing hooky about seeing a movie in the middle of the day and coming out of the theater and the world has been going about its frenetic pace while for a little while I sat still and watched.

I like flowers.

I like sitting in the park and watching the sky while eating lunch.  I got to do that today.  It was just lovely.  I had  a few unexpected cancellations, so the lunch that I had brought with me ready to eat in the Mission at Four Barrel ended up coming right back up to Nob Hill with me.  And hell, since I already had the picnic in my bag, why not sit on a bench at the park and eat it?  Superlative experience.

I like being warm.  I am a cozy person.  I know what I like to eat and when I’m out at a restaurant I am not afraid to ask for it.  From having been in the service business for a long time I can say I would rather wait on a person who knows exactly what they want rather than the person that hums and haws and changes their mind.

You sir, or ma’am are a pain in the ass.

So, if knowing what I like is high maintenance, I hereby accept the title.

And frankly, I will look good while wearing it.


July 17, 2011

I am still all glowing and warm from the party.  I just finished washing up the dishes and putting everything in order and tidying up.

I may also be a little on the toasty side because I drank a lot of coffee tonight.  Jennifer, you little devil you, and Ginger, such a doll, gave me a French press as a house-warming gift and it was used!  I am just on the side of too much caffeine where I am sure I’m not hungry, but I did not actually eat all that much.  I was too busy being a hostess.  And what fun!

I have missed hosting friends and it was such a lovely ease back into having people over to my space.  Thank you to all the lovelies that came and made my house a home.  It really feels like I have moved in officially.  I am in awe of the love and the camaraderie that filled my space today and tonight and I will carry it with me through the next days.

I may also have to go to bed at 6 pm tomorrow.  I have been up early and I was up late last night.  I don’t have to be up that early tomorrow, but I do have a lot of things on my plate.  I will be busy from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with that which makes me available and capable of showing up and doing the things that I do.

I don’t even really know how to put into words how my life has changed so drastically.  It is just amazing.  And the more amazing thing is that I feel as though I am truly on the cusp.  Things are about to explode all over.  Good things, life changing things, life altering things.

Things.  Vague word that.

I feel as though I am almost through the chrysalis.  I have not yet fully emerged as the butterfly, but I am so close, I can feel the ache in between my shoulder blades of wings that wish to flex and soar and fly.

It is very apropos that my middle name is Regina, which also means queen or monarch.  I feel like that, I feel like a monarch butterfly.

I have always loved that they migrate and the memory of milkweed sticky on my fingers from childhood.  I remember being fascinated by the caterpillar eating the leaves and the striping of yellow and black on its many legged body.  How this little being transmorgifies into the magnificent flying creature.

A fat, ugly, mewing thing going about its business eating and taking and eating and grubbing around in its own mindless little world–suddenly changing, becoming, flying.

I am quite well aware that it is not in the vein of humility that I am writing.  However, it is in a vein of service.  I got to relate to two other women tonight, neither of whom I know very well, how it came to be that I am in a one bedroom in San Francisco that takes cats and has a fireplace and a claw foot tub and a huge walk in closet and pressed tin and recessed ceilings and pocket doors, when by all accounts I should be dead and gone or home less or locked up.

I am a walking fucking miracle.

I am horripillated thinking of it, I got goosebumps in other words, see fancy word prior, so many times tonight recounting how I came to be in this space and it still is giving my goose-flesh.

I also got to see my Juni. She of the fashionably short crop with magenta highlights.  Oh, to be three with parents that are Burning Man people, how lucky.  It made me want to go out and get my hair pink again.  She is just the most beautiful thing.  The most precious thing.  I am so fortunate that I get to have her in my life.  She is my little girl.  Even though she’s not mine, she’s not anyone’s but her own self, which is quite evident, but she is mine too.

I have gotten to be with her and see her grow and in some small part I have gotten to be an influence upon her.  I am so honored that I have been in her life.  I am changed because of her.  And that I get to go again this year with her to Burning Man is beyond the ken of my understanding.  We have already made plans to trampoline and go for bike rides, on my new cruiser, which she christened by ringing the bell and crawling all over and sitting on the handle bars.  I was thinking the other day that I should get a basket and I should get a basket, but I want it to be super sturdy so that Miss June Bug can go for rides up in the front.

More goose bumps.  And I’m not afraid to admit it, some tears too.

I may not be married.  I may not have children of my own.  I may be single for the rest of my life with cats as my companions and cable cars as my totems.

But I have experienced more love than any human has a right to expect in this life time.  My heart keeps getting broken over and over again and each time it grows larger and I experience more.

Yup, it hurts.

It hurts awful bad, but it is the touchstone of my growth and it just keeps unfolding and unfurling and this love, to which I have always had access to, keeps lavishing me with gifts that I never even knew existed, or maybe, was unwilling to believe I deserved.

My house is warm.

My heart is warm.

My soul is warm.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

Who knew?

Read Between The Lines

July 16, 2011

I just got back from dropping my 20th High School Class Reunion letter and check for $25 in the mail box.  Done is done.  I also booked my room at the Hyatt and rented a car.  I am going back on my terms in my own way on my own time and on my own dime.

Ah recovery, I have so much to thank you for.

So in the interest of saving myself some time and energy, I have to get my beauty rest, the house-warming party is tomorrow!  I am posting said letter here on my blog:


What I Did For Summer Vacation

Er, For The Last 20 Years!

Traveled lots.  Dropped out of college to go adventuring across the United States directly after having received a full ride to UW Madison, oops.  Returned to Madison a few years later to run the Essen Haus, then the Angelic Brewing Company, while going back to school full-time at the UW, Madison, graduating with a degree in, shocker, English Literature in May 2002.  Simultaneously trained in and received a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate through Villari’s School of Self Defense (May 2002).


After getting my degree and my black belt I packed up my two door Honda Accord and drove West to San Francisco in August of 2002 and have since resided in the lovely city by the bay.  Currently a private professional nanny who writes in any spare minutes nap time allows.  I have written three books, one of which may be accessed through my blog: and will soon be released online at (Baby Girl, first of installment of The Tricycle Trilogy). 


In my “spare” time I am an avid bicyclist, having done the AIDS Lifecycle ride in 2010 (569 miles, 7 days from SF to LA) turned me into a biker (plus bike commuting to work from my home in Nob Hill), a voracious reader, a cafe habitue, poet, blogger, and a Burning Man alum–this year will mark my fifth year at Black Rock City, an arts festival held yearly in the high desert in Nevada (, and lastly in the active planning stages of my relocation to Paris, France in the Fall of 2012 to pursue my Baccalaureate in French at L’Universite de Paris, Sorbonne.


Oh, and I have gotten a few tattoos too.


Looking forward to seeing everybody!



Sincerely yours,


Carmen Martines



So, let’s read between the lines a little, shall we.  What did Ms. Martines leave out?

Hmm, they asked for what I’ve been up to for the last twenty years.  I believe I hit some of the good high lights, here’s some of what I left out:

-homeless for two years age 19-21 (although I vigorously argued that I was “camping” for some of that time, I mean I was living in a tent for Pete’s sake)

-stalked by a former ex-boyfriend for two plus years (who is currently married to an old classmate from my high school!)

-Cocaine Addict




-Con artist

-Hung a lot of paper for a while (ie bounced me some checks when you could still get away with that)

-Declared bankruptcy

-Single (eek, that’s right, and no children to boast of either.  Hmmmm, maybe I’ll show off pictures of my charges and claim them as mine, I always get mistaken for their mom any how)


-One night as a stripper at Vision’s in Madison (the things one will do to help out family, don’t ask)

And then there’s the stuff that’s just not pertinent to mention but I can tell you it pretty much runs in the same vein.  I lived a double life for a long, long time.  I lived in fear for all of my life.  I got out, I got help, and I surrendered myself to something so much better I will never ever be able to begin to explain what really happened to me.

Although, some of you may have a clue.

And some of you may never.

And that is alright.

Fact is, it doesn’t matter so much what I have done in the last twenty years, because the best is yet to come.

Check in with me for my 40th reunion and we’ll really talk then.

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