Archive for December, 2011

Give Me Shelter

December 31, 2011

I had coffee with Shannon late this afternoon, which morphed into a sushi dinner with her and hubbie, Alex, down on Church St. at Miyabi Sushi.  Loveliness.

Shannon gave me a little bag of gifts to remind me that all was well in the world–included amongst them this adorable little frame with a sunny sky blue background and a small house with a heart which says: “Happy is a home that shelters a friend”.  Yes, I got teary eyed.  The gift of perspective.  It is sitting on Robyn’s night stand next to the bed, a soft, gentle reminder that I am allowing my friends to help me out and they are happy to do so.

I was offered another set of keys last night.  Not just the ones that Calvin placed in my hands, but from another source.  Pauli at the KooKoo Factory has told me a number of times that I could crash on the couch if I need to.  I cannot tell you how often I wanted to beat myself over the head the last few months in regards to Pauli’s offer.  He had offered me a room at the KooKoo Factory two years ago.

But at the time I was bound and determined that I wanted to live in my own place.  I said thank you, but no thank you.  I would like to eat those words.  Then again, I cannot go back and change what was done.  And I have absolutely no regrets about living for two years on my own in Nob Hill.  It was an awesome, albeit at times financially challenging, experience.  I am very glad I did it.

Even when Alex posted pictures today on Facecrackattack from the

Home

Taken Care Of

house-warming part I threw a month into moving from the studio to the one bedroom.  Ouch.

But, again, the gift of perspective.  It was so fun to have friends over.  And I reconnected with people in my life that I had not seen in a while and I got to host a lovely party for my friends.  That was cool.  I was a hostess for a brief shining moment.  Alex referred to the pictures as bittersweet.  I find them humourous, or maybe the timing was humourous, regardless, I did not get upset about them, but I saw the humor inherent in the situation.

I spent today going slower than I wanted to go.  But I am glad that I did.  I warily recalled last Friday and my attempts to shove as much stuff into the day off as I could.  Thus leading me to get car doored.  Today was overcast, and misty and foggy and wet.  I did not want to be on my bike.  Bad idea.  So, despite having cancelled museum plans with Molly to go to the MOMA, I also ended up cancelling the DMV appointment I had made to renew my licence.  It did not feel right to bike over to Fell Street in the weather today.

My shoulder is still sore and I did not feel like have another car hit me to get me to slow down, I can take a hint, thank you very much.  I also got the call from the Apple Store that my MAC is ready for pick up.  I thought about it and decided, nope, not going to do it.  Not going to ride my bike down town on this mucky kind of day and run that gauntlet again.  No.

I’ll pick it up tomorrow.  I will take the BART down town.  I am not riding my bike on New Year’s Eve anywhere in this town.  I will be on foot or on public transportation.  I don’t like riding my bike at night in the city when it’s a weekend night.  And New Year’s Eve on a Saturday, forget it.  The bike is grounded.

So, today was quiet.  I did laundry, I had a meet up for tea prior to going out to see Shannon.  I sold some clothes to Buffalo Xchange and I donated another bag.  I realized after a month of living out of my suitcase that there were some things that I was just not wearing.  A few things that did not fit any longer and despite having paid a good deal of money for them, it made no sense for me to keep hauling the damn things around.  So, I cleaned house.  I got rid of the unnecessary.

Seems like I can’t get much more compact in my living, or more stream lined, but in actuality I am about to do just that.  Tomorrow I will be putting up a few more things in Robyn’s storage unit and then Sunday the cats are off to Berkeley to be Junebug side kicks for a while.

This year has been a year of loss for me.  But it has also been a year in which I have gained an enormous amount of perspective and I have done a lot, and I mean, a lot of character building.

Things I have lost:

-weight

-a home of my own

-my identity as a nanny

-my ideas about who I should date

Things I have gained:

-humility (galore!)

-perspective

-computer skills

-self love

-renewed family connection

As the year slowly turns on its axis I see that less really is more.  The adage came to me today, how will having more make you feel better if you’re not already happy with what you have.

I am happy with what I have.  I have wonderful friends who buoy me up and shelter me from the cold air.  I have strength.  I am healthy.  I have a job.  I have gotten to travel this year.  I have cleaned up the wreckage of the past.  I have become replete with love of self.  Not always in a fantastically tidy way.  It’s often been messy and stupid and I have fumbled and cried, but I have kept fucking showing up.

I am being winnowed down to the essential Carmen.  I have been spiritually edited.  I used to be deathly afraid to let go of my ideas about who I am.  I have not had much choice recently, things just get taken out from underneath me, ideas, property, the detritus of life.

I am on a gypsy honey moon.

Where shall I go next?

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Instant Mashed Potatoes

December 30, 2011

Ever had them?

They are ass, they kind of suck, in a not so fun kind of way, and despite the picture on the box, they do not taste the way the picture makes them out to taste.

Yet, this is what I want.  Instant fucking relief.  I want to know now where it’s at, where I am going to be and how the fuck it’s all going to work out.  I don’t want to have to sit through the discomfort, I don’t want any more humility.  I want to be greater than and I want it now, god damn it.

I want rich, creamy, hand mashed organic russet potatoes that have been slow boiled over a low flame, mashed by hand, with a silver fork, mind you, with hand churned butter, cream, roasted garlic, and chives.  I want pan made turkey gravy and Maldon sea salt.  I want fresh ground pepper, and maybe, yes, just perhaps, some very sharp, extra sharp grated Wisconsin cheddar cheese over the whole big warm bowl of it.  Also, I want that bowl to have been warmed in an oven to 225 degrees Farenheit.

Are you catching my drift?

But what I really want is to not do the work.  I want to rip open a box of Potato Buds, add hot water and poof!  Have it taste exactly like what I just described, and I want to be spoon fed by a handsome young man who in between bites rubs my feet while alternatingly brushing my hair.

bahahahahahahahaha.

Oh christ, I just don’t want to do the work.  I never do, yet, it is and it always has been that those things I work for are so much better.  Granted, often times I work too hard for something, or I struggle trying to get it done.  Which should just be a sign, if I am struggling, I may be manipulating.  And if I am manipulating, then it’s not going to work out.

Would couch surfing be the absolute “devastation” that I have made it out to be if I weren’t in constant struggle with the idea of it being wrong that some one of my “age and station” should be in the situation I am in.

Really, it is a huge blessing that I have so many people in my life that have offered to put me up, shelter me, help me out.  I have a network, I have a support system, and it’s ok to lean into it once in a while.  I don’t think it would be there for me if I weren’t putting in the action to find a place to live.  Or that I was not trying to change who I am.

Meaning if I was sitting on my ass whining and saying woe is me, not that many people would be altogether interested in lending me a helping hand.  I have been taking action on a constant, continual basis.  Some times it feel fruitless and stupid and as though I am walking in circles.  Other times it feels like I’m growing in leaps and bounds and stuff is happening and wow.

Right now I feel as though I am in the in between place.  And well, I am.  I am in between living situations.  But that doesn’t mean I am homeless or not loved.  I am not abandoned, haven’t been in some time and can stop telling myself that same old story–really, the amount of keys on my key chain tells a distinctly different story than the one I have concocted in my head.  I think that tape has played itself out.  At least I am hoping that it has.

Funny things I think about too, like being teachable, then I bitch when I am learning something, make me laugh.  I struggle at work.  I struggle with the idea that I am not learning fast enough, quick enough, or that I don’t do enough.  My GM told me again today how smart I am.  I almost wanted to smack him.  I came damn skippy close to flipping him off.  I know my GM and he’ll probably tolerate a bit of my shit, in fact, he sort of already has, but I don’t think that flipping him off would be one of those things he’d tolerate, even jokingly.  But I do ask to be teachable, and then when I get it, I wonder what the fuck I was thinking.  But hey, I am learning.

I want this to be smooth and dreamy too.  I want my job to look and taste like gourmet, I paid $12 for a side of these potatoes, but I want to actually just go into KFC and get the styrofoam container with the hot plastic gravy and eat that like  it’s the second coming of the Lord.

Actually, I have to admit, I like KFC mashed potatoes.  I think they may be laced with crack.  I haven’t had an order of them in years, but I always did like me some KFC.  Funny, what sticks with you from child hood.  I think KFC was my mom’s favorite junk food, that or Taco Bell, either of them were supreme treats to me growing up.  Any fast food was, really when I think about it.  But it always felt bad going down.  Salty and good and addicting, yes.  Easy, yes.  But in the end, always an upset stomach from the grease and a kind of harrowing, I wish I had not done that to myself feel.  I remember once I went and worked out at the gym and then went to McDonald’s after ward and ate a double quarter pounder with cheese and a large order of french fries, super size me please, and a Diet Coke, I want to get the benefit of working out and eat the junk too.  I felt so sick, but I did it again a week later.

And so, I, today, at least, acknowledge that I have been searching, fruitlessly it would seem, for the fast food fix.  The instant fix.  The make me feel better now fix.  Instead of savoring the stew that has been percolating slowly on the back burner.  I want to eat it now.  I want it so bad I am willing to burn my tongue on the hotness of it to get it inside me faster.

At twelve thirty at night, up past my bedtime, writing my blog, getting honest with myself.  No one else, but myself.  I hereby allow myself the time to sit down at the dining room table, to admire the center piece, to smell the flowers, and bask in the glow of the candles.  I allow myself the joy of experiencing my life.  I allow myself to savor the trials instead of struggle against them.  I hereby pass on the instant gratification.  I will wait my turn and say my grace.

I will stop being afraid that the gravy boat is not going to be passed my way.

 

Surrender

December 29, 2011

Capitulate.

Go over to the winning side.

Stop struggling.

I “think” I have done so.  I “think” that I have laid down my own ideas of where I should be, with whom I should be, and what I should be doing.  Thereby retiring the idea of I know what I am doing and y’all fucking don’t have a clue.

Because I don’t know what I am fucking doing.  I am not grasping at straws anymore.  I feel like there is nothing left to grasp at.  I go to bed at night tired and wake up refreshed.  I eat breakfast.  I write.  I get on my bike, now that I can do so, last night was my first day back in the saddle since Friday’s car door mishap.  I go to work.  I go get some groceries after work.  I go meet up with people of my ilk in scary neighborhoods.  Then I come “home” and eat a snack and make a cup of tea.  I find somewhere to submit my work to, I have already forgotten the name of the agency I sent a query letter out to just before logging in to write my blog.

Oh yeah, then I write my blog.

Surrender.

Go over to the winning side.

Where is that by the way.  And who am I struggling against?  Or what?

Most definitely my old ideas, which have a tendency to kick me when I’m down–hit by a car door or having a bicycle stolen from underneath my nose–but I keep getting back up.  I have this idea that surrender means I stay down on the ground and let you kick me around a while.  That I need to be punished for my actions.  Instead of just seeing that I am living out the experience of having made the decisions I made.

I quit being a nanny.  And that’s cool.  I got to move out of a nice apartment and now I’ve become a 39-year-old latch key kid with various friends and ex-employers sets of house keys dangling from the carabiner that I keep my keys on.  Nothing is permanent, seems to keep getting whispered in my ear.  Everything changes.  So, this too shall pass.  This feeling of intransigence will leave.

I have to admit something though, I am starting to want to act out.  I have found myself on a few occasions recently wanting to ask out inappropriate guys on dates.  One was a cop in the neighborhood who came by the shop today to take down the information regarding the bike theft last night.  I just about pressed my hot off the press business card into his hand.  I thought about circling my cell phone number and handing it to him.

How cliché is that?

The other was a guy that I realized a few minutes into conversing had a girlfriend.  No dice can’t do it, won’t go there.  Step away, step back, and walk away.  Now.

Men, sex, getting out of my skin, out of my head.  Out of this experience.  It is very tempting.  But ultimately it is not satisfying and it won’t fix the problem, which, in case you were wondering, is me.  I am the problem.

I also want to go shopping.  But there is nothing to go shopping for.  I don’t have a closet to put extra clothes in.  I don’t have a room to put anything in.  I have a messenger bag and a rolling suitcase that will be getting escorted up to Nob Hill on Sunday.  I am actually not sure how I am getting over there either.  I am going to need access to a vehicle to move my stuff.  Not that there is a lot of it.  Most of what I thought I’d be moving is now going to get moved into storage.  I am really trimming it down.

Eating.  Also, not an option.  I eat to sustain my health and I enjoy the food I buy for myself.  But it is not an escape.  I cannot go there and will not.

Alcohol?

Drugs?

Cigarettes?

Nope, nope, and nope.

Hmmm, what does that leave me with?  Spirituality or caffeine?

I can only drink so much coffee, so I know where to go and I know how to surrender.  I need to surrender that this blog is going to be an interesting read.  It does not feel interesting.  It just feels like marking time.

I need to surrender that I am still fucking single and that there does not seem to be a date on the horizon.

I get to surrender my job, my home, and my career aspirations on it seems a daily basis.

I just realized two things–one that my drivers licence is expired and I have to go to the DMV on Friday to renew it, thereby surrendering my Friday afternoon to the DMV.  Yuck.  And that I don’t have a permanent address to give to the DMV.  I also have to have my mail forwarded again.  For another month to another friends house.

I am not complaining about any of this.  I am not ranting about any of this.  Fact is, I just realized, I am just puzzled is all.  It feels like I have been doing the next action in front of me very successfully.  I keep taking every one’s suggestions and showing up to do the work and it just feels like I’m flailing around.  Or that I am missing some vital piece of information.

But that would presume that there is a right way to do things and a wrong way.  I am not fucking it up.  I am just having an experience.  One in which I move around a lot and have a wonky schedule and I don’t make a lot of money.

Well, ok then, this is the experience I get to have, so let’s get the fuck into it.  How do I make this fun?  How do I get excited about this? How do I change my perspective?

I am not sure, but I am listening to your suggestions and you keep whispering to me in this soft, breathy, warm way, “shhh, surrender”.

I hereby lay down my arms.

I give the fuck up.

I officially do not know what to do next.

One Step Forward

December 28, 2011

Fifteen hundred steps back.

Yeesh.  I thought I was doing pretty well today at work.  Despite flailing around in the deep end of the pool, I managed to actually walk through the majority of a bike sale with a client.  It was challenging and there was a lot going on in the shop.  Despite there being another person on the floor with me, the general manager, and the head mechanic, somehow, mysteriously all at once I was completely by myself building a bike with this guy from North Beach.

Fortunately for me he was nice and mellow and I got to fumble along without upsetting him too much.  I also told him I was the new girl on the totem pole.  I was doing the best I could.

And I thought I had done pretty damn good.  Except I did not seal the deal, I did not get his credit card information.  Oops.  I let him slip out of the shop without actually putting a deposit down.  Oops number two.  But I felt pretty darn confident about how it went and I suspect he’ll be back tomorrow to buy a bike.

I really hope he’s back tomorrow to buy a bike, since I “lost” one.

Fuck me.

Double fuck me.

And I was so proud of myself.  I had unlocked the correct bicycle.  I had adjusted his seat, I had successfully used the allen wrench and gotten him off and on three different bikes.  I remembered to take a credit card.  I locked up the bicycles in the rack while he was off riding around.  Then the store got slammed.  I was running around helping customers, ringing sales, etc, when Richard from North Beach comes back in happy as a clam.  He wants a bike!

Yay!  Let’s do this.  I ring up the rest of the sales and get the paper work and we are off and running.  This is awesome.  This is super cool.  This is my first bike sale.  Yippee!  I do not count the two gift certificates that I sold last week for full bikes.  It is not too hard to fill out a gift card for a new bike.  One guy bought his girlfriend a bike for Christmas and a mom bought her daughter a bicycle for Christmas.  Nice fucking gifts.  Mom spent $800 and boyfriend spent $750.  I hope he’s getting some good loving this holiday season–that’s a nice gift!

So, I am at the kiosk in the store we are talking internal versus external hubs, I have walked him through frame size, pedal, steering, head set, handle bars, and gearing.  I get a little, ok,  a lot, lost at some point and by this time there are other people in the shop who take over and help out.  Time goes by.  I get thrown back into the mix, I get all of Richard’s paper work, well, except for the credit card, yeah, I’ll remember that for next time.

And the bike.

I forgot the fucking bike.

Not the ones locked up outside to the rack, but the last bike that he had gone for a ride on.  He had put it back in the rack while I was in the shop helping customers and I had not even thought about it.  Completely not in my mind.  I am high on making a sale.  Faked myself out all over the place.  Did not officially make a sale and did officially lose a bike.

Some crafty fucker must have been watching what was going on, and in hindsight I remember thinking just that…if I was a thief I would pay attention to this girl whose obvioulsy new and a bit frazzled and who doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing…because he, although it might have been a she, who knows, but I think it was a guy, took the unlocked bike.

And left his shitty one in place.

Dude.  Please.  Add insult to injury why don’t you?

Thanks.

So, I am upstairs with the General Manager working on a special project with him, meaning, he’s walking me through a bunch of goobledy gook that I have maybe three-quarters knowledge of, if that, and I’m nodding a long and suddenly there’s a bunch of activity and he dashes out.  The electricity in the shop has all gone out.  Upstairs we still have it, so I’m manning the internet and the phone lines and hanging out when my colleague walks in and asks me if I know what happened to the bike that Richard from North Beach had been riding.

It is apparently not there.

Oh fuck.

Oh shit.

Oh I am so fired.

It is gone.  It is stolen.  It is, yes, I have been given the so not so distinct honor, the first bike stolen from the company.  I am incredulous.

REALLY?

Come on God, kick me again while I’m down.  Great.

But I have to say I own the fuck up.  I take the ball in my court although it feel like I have been kicked really hard in the guts and when the General Manager comes back up I tell him.  I let him know that I am the reason why that bike is gone.  That it was my fault.  I own it.  I don’t have a choice and I don’t make an excuse.  I just ask to be told how much money I need to give the company to replace the bicycle.

He looks at me and thanks me for owning up.  And he says, don’t worry about it.

Huh?

What do you mean, don’t worry about it?

Don’t worry about it.  Every single person here has done the exact same thing, gotten caught up in a sale and forgotten to lock up a bike.  He said he was surprised it hadn’t happened already.  I am in tears.  Not horrendous tears, but tears none the less.  I want to make a big deal about it, but I am not going to.  I take a big breath, go to the bathroom, pull up my big girl pants, wash my face and go back to working on the project that I’m not sure exactly how to do it with the information I have.

I find out later two things that make me really glad that I owned up.  Number one, the General Manager knew before I told him.  He knew it was my mistake and he did not come running up to me to rub my nose in it.  He waited to see what would happen.  So even though I fucked up, in some screwy kind of way, I actually earned his respect by being honest to him and admitting my fault to him without being aware that he knew.  I proved my loyalty to the company and set out to do the right thing.

Two, I got to be human.  I got to make a mistake.  I got to get some humility.  And I won’t be making that mistake ever, ever, ever again.

I also indebted myself to the company.  I want to work for a place that treats its people that way.  That I am allowed a mistake is really nice.  Unfortunately, I know my brain and I will probably set out now to be the number one best employee of all fucking time now, to prove that I am super ass sorry for being a fuck up.

I think some where in there I will hopefully find a balance between the human and the perfect and I will just get to be a worker amongst workers.  No one special.  Just me.  I realized today, some what begrudgingly, but realize it I did, that this job really is a good fit for me.  I am getting to learn a lot about something I care about-bicycles.  I am also getting to participate in my own education by learning about computers and how systems work.  And the schedule is right up my alley.

I am getting up two hours before work to do my morning practice and do my morning pages.  I get home after my day at work and my outside responsibilities and still have ample time to unwind, write my blog, and yes, that’s right, submit.

Tonight I submitted an excerpt of my memoir to Hippocampus Magazine.  Last night I submitted a portion of Baby Girl to The Inkwell Agency.  Sunday I submitted my poems to another online magazine.  I am doing it.  One day at a time.  One submission at a time.  I am submitting.  This job is allowing me the time to do that.

I also had a really good idea today, this morning as I was writing, for a book project.  I think I am going to write a book on my experiences of being a nanny at Burning Man.  I am going to need to do some research and I am going to have to pick some brains, but I realized that  I could probably put together a nice collection of essays on my experiences around nannying at Burning Man.  It is a niche project in a niche market, but I bet it could be of interest to an agency or two.  A Burning Nanny–You Do What At Burning Man?  Experiential Essays on child care at Black Rock City.  Or something of that nature.

I already can see the cover–it’s a picture of me and June bug walking hand in hand, taken from behind, she’s in a hand me down pink tutu from the Burning Man nursery when it was at 16th and Third Street with sharpie marker in my hand writing on her back which says: Property of Media Mecca.  I am in polka dot tights and busted down cowboy boots with my goggles wrapped around my left thigh.  We are on a walking adventure to plunder the Narwhal and then off to Center Camp Cafe to fortify me with caffeine before going out to jump on a trampoline we had found on the Esplanade.

I have blog entries for two years and I have four years of journal entries.  I have hundreds of pictures.  I have lots of memories and experiences.  I think it could be a fun read.

And I could write it while doing my day job at the bike shop.  I am liking where this is going.

I will keep marching forward, even when it feels like I am losing ground.

You can steal my bike, but you can’t steal my sunshine.

Motherfucker.

And the Hunt Continues

December 27, 2011

STILL looking for a place to live.

STILL couch surfing.

STILL eating humility pie.

Deep sigh.

Joan pointed out to me last week that I am not homeless.  This is true.  I have a place to stay.  I am at Robyn’s.  I have one week left here.  Then I will go up to Nob Hill and be at Calvin’s–on the blow up mattress in his living room.  I keep telling myself there is a reason that everything is happening the way it is happening.

Everything is happening the way it is supposed to; despite my plans and designs.  So despite my plans and designs.  As I watch friends get engaged and married, as I see others attend to school dreams, as I see friends raising children, and running successful businesses, I could allow myself to swirl down the drain of self-pity and despair.

But of all fucking people, Calvin, gave me some clarity and some fantastic perspective just before Christmas.  He has known me for nearly seven years and has seen me go through a lot.  He has also seen me change a lot.  He pointed out some of those changes and said, when it really comes right down to it, you are at a pretty amazing place in your life.

And this is true.

Although I have moments of fleeting despair I also have longer moments of contentment and peace and serenity.  I have spent a lot of time slowing down recently, through no desire of my own!  And I got to be slowed down again today.  The mechanics were not in the shop and my bike has not been cleared for riding.  So I walked to work today and I walked home, making a pit stop in the Mission for an hour of hot tea and relief from the chatter in my head.  I looked at things.

I have been looking at things all weekend.  Seeing the leaves scattered in the gutters, watching my breath plume frosty white from my mouth as I walk the side walks.  I think it’s colder out there than the weather is saying.  Appreciating the lights, I forgot that Christmas was just yesterday and had a moment of utter joy looking at the lights twined around the trees on 24th street.  They always remind me of where I come from and how differently I am today.  I have been spending more and more time letting myself be me.  I have not been escaping into anything.

Lies.

I have been hanging out on craigslist.  Which can get depressing pretty quick.  I have not done too much of it.  But just enough to see that I don’t think it’s going to be where I find my room.  I will check it in the morning for a few minutes, then again at night, but for the most part there are few postings I am even compelled to reply to.  The one that I did earlier got right back to me, said, yes, you’re perfect, come see the room…in SAN JOSE.

What the fuck people?

You can’t post a post on the San Francisco board stating Mission district then tell me the room available is in SAN JOSE.  I did not even respond.  I tried to put together a polite reply, then just trashed the whole listing.  And looking through the sublets has not brought anything up either.  It seems like the sublets category has become the vacation rental category.  It makes sense.  Why sublet your studio or room when you can rent it out to some European couple on vacation with plenty of money to spend on a place to stay.

I have a place to stay until February 1st.  And I bet I could line something up for after that.  I just would like to be rooted.  But then again, maybe what I want is just to know.  I think the uncertainty is the most unsettling.

I go round and round with this.  I am actually getting pretty damn sick of thinking about it, talking about it, and obsessing around it.  Maybe I’ll give myself the next few days off from craigslist and the hunt for the perfect room.  I know where I am going to be for the next five weeks.  Granted I will have to go fill out another change of address form and get the mail forwarded to another temporary address, but whatever.  It’s just paperwork.

I also have to go to the DMV this week and get my license renewed, it has expired.  I wonder if I can get a new picture?  That would be awesome!

I have to also be gentle with myself.  I am still tired and a little physically drained from Friday’s car dooring.  My shoulder is stressed out and sore and very tender to the touch.  My body needs to repair itself.  And I can be nice to myself while it’s doing that instead of banging my head on the why don’t I have a place to live yet wall.

I am taking action and there is relief in that.  I am not sitting on my hands wishing.  Actions that I take will pan out, I just don’t get to know when or how or where.  But I do have faith that they will.  This year has been a challenging year.  I was talking with my friend Kyrlon about how this year has kicked our asses.

But we are both still here, both still showing the fuck up and doing the next thing in front of us.

And as Calvin pointed out, I am in a better place, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  These are what matters.  Not necessarily where I live or what I have.  Those are transient things.  As I walked about the city over this holiday weekend looking at the beautiful tree-lined streets, smelling the wood smoke from holiday hearths and listening to children squealing in a blow up bouncy castle (what a brilliant idea on Christmas day), I kept saying to myself that I would rather, ultimately, have the experience than the thing.  I would rather be able to travel at this time in my life then be tied down.  I would rather be present to feel what is happening and see everything that I possibly can.

I am getting to do things that people don’t get to do.  That people talk about wistfully.  I am getting to do those things.

Like go to the Nut Cracker Ballet on Christmas Eve in San Francisco.  Like walk through one of the most beautiful cities to walk around, Paris and San Francisco may be my favorite cities to walk.  Like getting to be surprised about where I am going to live next.

There is a big surprise coming, are you ready for it?

I am.

Poetry

December 26, 2011

Shmoetry.

It’s officially no longer Christmas.  FYI.  According to the time stamp on my blog, it is December 26th.  And with that in mind I have once again launched off into submissions land.  Here for you a taste of the old before I start to bring in the new.

 

Mocking Bird

Sing a song of six pence, pocket full of rye.
Wouldncha prefer a pocket full of love, jeans built on grace?
Say that again, tumbled in a box, smile pasted to your face, wry
mischievous green eyes turning up blue at the corners, crusts of rye
bread left on your plate.  Pick your feet up to dance
with the dancing bear girl.  She stops, tries to pick the wry
off your face, but only succeeds in rolling her baby feet in the rye
crumbs dropped from your plate for the mouse picnic, mid-morning
snack for the cat.  And you tossed her smile up with morning
glory seeds.  And she wonders—how random is random?  Rye
burnt taste of the flowery seeds breaking over her teeth, remembering
another boy, another night, soft drunken with music, remembering

the flights of stars in the orchard, the warbling of night, remembering
his apple taste as he kissed her mouth and swallowed her heart.  Wry
wasn’t yet in her vocabulary, though it wasn’t far away.  Remembering
all the important boys and their songs laid at her feet.  Lilting grace
spilling irreverently from their mouths to hers.  Always remembering
the tobacco kisses of that one, the birthmark of another, remembering
the press of hands at the small of her back, fingertips dancing
along the upward curves of her hips.  When the dance
was clumsy and profound or smooth, quick, guided suave.  Remembering
how the sun never ceased to rise and the morning
light always climbed the sky, pulsing with another day.  Morning

never did stop coming—more reliable than most boys.  Mornings
when she rolled up to find empty pillows next to her.  Remembering
fond for one moment more the night still in her mouth.  Morning
always beset her, but she would face bravely, the morning
could never steal them completely away.  She tasted it wry,
lips curled over the edge of her coffee cup, because bright morning
could not for long keep back the night and she would only be mourning
momentarily the light of day.  She would dress again soon in her blacks to grace
the night with her presence.  Present to her boys a picture, still-pointed with grace.

Gathering all their limbs around her, armed with angels, morning

could never truly claim her—fleeting as ephemeral.  Dance
could only capture her, quicker than sunshine.  The pulse in music, dance
loosening her body, (no matter the rooms full or empty) dance
was always her true pace in being.  You’ll never catch another like her, mourning
will do you no good, don’t bother with tears.  So, place your hand in hers, now, dance
away the good-byes and the thank you’s and the empty beds.  Dance
on feet decked in fairy dreams.   Faultless and flawless, remembering
when you could move your body with such intuition and love—dance
was your cradling bliss, and you could move, could dance.
No one could steal away from you or take your music.  No wry
catcalls would stop your feet from shuffling along.  When wry
wasn’t in your vocabulary yet.  So place your dance
in a promise cup and drink down again.  No better hallelujah, no grace
prettier then your body in dance.  Prayer is no measure of grace,

she could tell you, will tell you, listen you.  Bended in grace
full as honey melting off a spoon spun out, spooned against your body.  Dance,
and she will fall languidly down, soft as words under your breath, grace
your mouth to hers, find truth.  It’s there, galloping in the grass, grace
spotted like giraffes.  Hands flowering along her neck in the light morning
brings and maybe today she won’t come and your knees won’t buckle, saying grace
in some hollow space potted with empty minds mumbling a grace
that finds no ear.  There is true religion only in remembering
her, finding her pleasure, kneading her lovely, remembering
her face a glow, a light bright with the promise of your grace
melting in your hands and nipping teeth.  And she wakens to coffee, rye
toast—the day has come again and the bed is empty.  Wry

she rises, climbs up to face the day, wry
and far away from her.  Her body already forgetting the grace
of last night.  Her mind struggles too, was there really any dance?
And walking into the scents of coffee and toast, she finds him, morning
beading his body.  There is still one left.  And there will always be remembering.

 

And here’s another:

Tangerine Dream

She slicks a sheen of lip-gloss across the pout of her mouth,
Dipping in and out of context.  Skipping her chipped nails
Along the lid of the night, rolling it between thumb and forefinger
Like a greasy quarter greedy for a strip poker slot machine.

She licks a stream of rain-soaked vodka that’s squirreling
Over the edge of her carcinogen lips, tongue tiptoeing around
The liquid dribbling over her chin.  Head lolling, laughingly,
Loosely, chunks of matte dark hair fall across the neon of her eyes.

She sticks aubergine kitten cat claws in your side, extracting
Bits of deflated soul along with your wallet.  Sucking up your
Shine, violating air space with each scissoring uncrossing
Of fish-netted thighs, grommetted stilettos grip your libido.

She flicks aside the seam of her pink plastic skirt, straddles you,
Gyrates a deep progressive beat, moving in motion to the music
Spinning through the air.  Hips rolling on ball bearings she
Orders another double, drags on a gold tip, and smiles bliss-bent.

Oh, and another:

Waylaid

Standing on the tamarack
Determined not to fold.
I would not turn to see
Your face again, instead
I choose to silently keen.
I could not imagine
Not following you back
Into the hilled city, you
Who had ensorcelled me
With rough shaking hands
Rummaging through your
Coarse cut almost too long
Hair, with eyes that bled
Ocean.  I could even still see
Where my fingers had
Last touched your face.
Indents on the smooth skin
Of your cheeks, bruises
On an apricot.  You gave
Me divinity, the way you said
My name, the merry-go-round
Ride, the grass, the air, the steam
Bun we shared in China Town.
I stepped across the threshold
To the plane watching everything
Become back dipped in light,
Black dropped keen, outlined sharp,
Dimpled with sorrow. I looked back.

One year later,
New paragraph, indent, space,
Dot, dot, dot,
I still miss you.

And the last one for this submission:

 

Vapor

Sitting in the Euclidean slipstream thinking idle
Thoughts about you.  Insert agony here, dashed off
In the crossing of slippery shined car lights, thrum
Of passing trolleys and subways which vibrate
Indiscriminately under my feet.  My eardrums shake
With sound I cannot hear.  Were you here, sitting
Cross ways from me, outlined eloquent and still in
The glow of faux sodium street lamps, I would long
To stroke your hand with the back of my hand, imagine
Where exactly I should kiss you would you let me.  Under
Your chin, slightly to the left, brush my lips across sweet
Stubble; on top of your ear so I may smell your hair while
At the same time taking advantage of your nearness to
Whisper green poetry cut from the hearts of apples into the shell
Of your ear.  I would then drop my mouth down the base
Of your neck to that little dip between your clavicles.  I would
Flick my tongue there to feel the flutter of you against me.  Fell
I would fall, had I not already fallen.  It is like dropping pennies
Into an infinity pool or trying to delineate the sky from a window
Pane at dusk, milky illusive.  I cannot gather your outline.
I stand silhouetted bare tree against skyline.  I cannot find your
Essence, although I sense it in the steam drifting from my coffee
Cup, slipping past me, like helium balloons loosed at sunset.

Holy Shit.  You made it.  Done for now.  I know, this is sort of the cheater post, isn’t it.  A bunch of poems you probably didn’t want to read.  I am posting these for two reasons: 1. No body is going to read my blog on Christmas day so I don’t really give a damn.  And 2. To demonstrate that I am off and running on submitting once a day.  I have vowed to do this and I am doing it.  I declare the holiday season is officially over.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, there’s still New Years Eve, but who counts that?  Amateur night.

I made it through Christmas alive, that is reason enough to celebrate, and there is soup simmering on the stove.

Tune in tomorrow for a “real” blog.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve

Grand LobbySlippers on the Tree

And I am fucking exhausted.

Not from the holiday crowds or the making out under mistle toe.  Not from the ballet.  That was fabulous.

From the car door smacking me yesterday.

I am one big old achy mess.

But I was a god damn cute mess at the ballet.  I went to the Nut Cracker.  And it was all that it was cracked up to be, forgive me, I couldn’t help myself.

Of course, the space is gorgeous, the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House.  Wait, let me try that all in one sentence.  On Christmas Eve, I Carmen Regina Martines, went to the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House to see the world-famous Nut Cracker Ballet.  There’s some magic in these words.

I bought myself a souvenir at the gift shop in the mezzanine.  I could not help it, it matched my dress.  I got a gorgeous black lace and champagne scarf.  I mean, it truly matched my dress!  I wore black sheer hose, hosiery people, not tights, not jeans, and gasp (I know it’s California, folks, but c’mon, flip-flops to the ballet?) high heels.  I pinned an antique cream flower with crystals in my hair and click clacked my way up and down the marble stairways of the Opera House.

It was gorgeous, just ridiculously beautiful.  And all the little girls in dresses and tights and mary janes and ribbons and pretty velvet coats.  I swear the entire time I smelled hot cocoa and vanilla.  Once in a while I also caught a little kiss of peppermint.  I began to wonder if they were actually blowing vanilla votive candles through the lobby.  The pillars were entwined with evergreen garlands and big gigantic gold ribbon, white lights and little silver bells.

Santa opened up the ballet.  Literally, Santa walked down the middle aisle and conducted the first movement of the ballet orchestra.   I kept saying to myself, I am at the ballet on Christmas Eve, in San Francisco.  Granted I have lived here for nine years, but there was something magical and surreal and special about the whole thing.

I think that I may have gotten in the accident yesterday to keep me grounded and in my body.  Otherwise I might have drifted off with the sugar-plum fairies.

And yes, it did snow during the performance.  It was captivating.  The sets were astounding, the Christmas tree that grew during Clara’s dream.  The snow. The costumes.  Fuck, even the lighting was beyond amazing.  I was truly transported.

I had all sorts of memories that floated about me as I watched.  I was comparing myself as the 39-year-old woman I am tonight with the 17-year-old girl who first watched Mikhail Baryshnikov dance in the New York Metropolitan’s 1990 performance of the Nut Cracker on PBS.  I think it was the same year that I saw Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby.  These two things have always defined Christmas for me.

I sat on the couch in the house in Windsor glued to the television.  I was wrapped up in a flannel nightgown and the lights from the tree were lit.  I don’t know where my mom was, probably working, and I don’t know where my sister was, probably with her boyfriend.  I was alone in the house wrapped up in the afghan, red and white, that my grandma Vivian had sent me watching the ballet.  One day, one day I will go to the ballet.  One day I will see this performed.

I didn’t actually believe that was going to happen, I could not see very far and I did not know down what path I was going.  My world was very, very small.  But I had dreams.  And if you were to wander upstairs to my bedroom you would see an enormous collage of places I wanted to go and things I wanted to see.  There were lots of ballet dancers, pictures of Paris, one that I distinctly remember–a black and white photograph of the street lamps marching down the stairs from Sacre Coeur in the Mortmartre section of Paris.  There were pictures of women that wore fancy clothes and were at ease in their bodies.  Pictures of men in white shirts with defined jaws.  I don’t know exactly what I saw some times when I cut out a photograph from a magazine, some thing ineffable and beautiful.

There were a lot of wistful images.

I was a wistful girl.  A dreamy girl.

And now I am a dreamy woman.  But a woman who allows herself some indulgences and going to the ballet on Christmas Eve was definitely an indulgence I am glad I allowed myself.  I never made it out to dinner.  Absinthe and Zuni, my top two choices were both closed and by the time I had figured this out I so badly needed sustenance that I flagged a cab and came back to the house and made a bowl of chicken soup.  But it was perfect.  I also had a comice pear dusted with pumpkin pie spice and a large cup of bengal spice tea.

Sure, I wanted a steak, but good homey food is not to be looked down upon.

If I had my ducks truly in a row, I may have ventured to make a pot of oyster stew.  My grandfather used to do that, if I recall correctly.  It was buttery and rich and had potatoes and cream and oysters and I remember it getting heavily garnished with little oyster crackers.  Maybe next year.

You know where I’ll be next year for Christmas?

Paris.

That sounds about right, oyster stew in Paris on Christmas.  I think I will go to Sacre Coeur for midnight mass.  I debated staying up and keeping my pretty party dress on and going to Saint Dominicks for midnight mass, but I am just way too pooped to leave the house.  In fact, I debated not even writing my blog and just getting into bed.  But I wanted to put down in words as many impressions of the ballet as I could.

The sound of the children’s feet drumming on the wooden stage as they scampered about in the opening scene at Clara’s house.  Or the way mischievous stray snow flakes would drift down from above the stage.  The Nut Cracker prince doing jetes across the stage or the Grand Pas de Deux between the adult dream Clara, Yaun Yaun Tan, and the prince, Vito Mazzeo.  How scrupulous her pointe was.  It was devastating.  It hurt to watch it was such perfection.  I could see the moment she was on stage why she was chosen for the part.  My toes ached for her.

Or how the corps de ballet looked like a gigantic chrysanthemum unfolding into bloom during the waltzing flowers performance.  Even better, recognizing music that I had not even known that I had known.  The sweet only in San Francisco touch of the Madam Du Cirque being a man in drag.  I adore you San Francisco.

So much beauty.  I am so grateful that I got to be a small participant, an eager heart and a large pair of eyes filled up with tears as I recognized the dreamy girl in her flannel nightgown wrapped up in an afghan on Christmas Eve in an unincorporated town in Wisconsin sequestered in the dark on an old second-hand couch to the woman I was today wrapped up in my Opera scarf with flowers pinned in my hair and glitter dusted on my cheeks nestled into a velvet theater chair. I have come full circle.

Merry Christmas!

May all your Christmas dreams come true.

All I Want For Christmas

December 24, 2011

Is to get doored.

It had to happen.  It’s a first, I got doored.  In fact, today was sort of double whammy kind of day.  It started out relatively awesome.  I got up a full hour ahead of my alarm and was ready to face the day.  So much so, that I got down town a full forty-five minutes before my appointment at the Apple store’s Genius bar.

Unfortunately, my computer is not doing so hot.  The fix was not an easy one and the tech guy wasn’t sure they could do anything for it.  The first thing they tried didn’t work, nor the second, and now I’m looking at a $280 price tag on fixing my computer.  I am almost tempted to just say fuck it and get a “new” one.  My current MAC book is not new, I bought it refurbished.  But then again, even a refurbished computer is still going to run me $800-$900.  Maybe the thing to do is to stick with the one I have until I know where I am going to live and keep my fingers crossed that I can eke out some more time on it.

Fuck, my hands hurt.

Grr.  Damn it.

So, yeah, not such great news at the Apple store, but I am a head of schedule and just getting on with the day, when

WHAM!

I am fucking doored.  On the passenger side.  My body took the brunt of it.  I have a seriously deep bruise on my left shoulder and some abrasions there as well as I am now realizing as I type more bruises on my left hand than I realized.  My thumb got busted up and is tender, but I don’t use my thumbs to type.  I am feeling the ache in the center of my hand.  I also have a great big old bruise on my right hip where I hit the curb.

Fortunately, nothing broken.  I was shook up, definitely scared, and jammed up with adrenaline.

And lucky as fuck.  I did not get hit on the driver’s side and knocked into crazy down town shopping traffic.  I’d not be writing this blog from the comfort of Robyn’s little perch in Bernal.  I would probably be in a bed some where in a neck brace at General Hospital.  That would have been happy holidays indeed.

Plus, the driver was so nice and so sweet, the person who hit me was demoralized and so apologetic I felt bad.  I got up, dusted myself off, was given the number of the driver and assured I was alright.  How do I know?  The driver is a licensed EMT!  She totally did an all over body check on me.  Held up traffic, ignored the honking horns, checked out my pupils, I hadn’t hit my head, and I was wearing a helmet (ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET!).  She had me take off my coat and checked out my arm where I had made the major impact, tested my legs and my hands and between us made sure that I was alright.

Shaken up, yup.

Bruised, yup.

But alright.

It was like a big old hand reached down from above and said, “slow down”!  I tell you, I listened.  I gave myself a moment to catch my breath and do a little cry on the sidewalk (some young kid kept exclaiming, “dude!  That was so like out of a movie”!

Glad to entertain you.

Then I sussed out how my bike was.  Seemed like she was ok, so I hopped back on and I could not tell if I was too shaken up or if maybe the bike was not riding at its best, but I made the executive decision to slow down right then and there.  Instead of traveling up and over Van Ness, I turned down Market, hit Valencia, and made my way to the bike shop.  I stashed my bike in the upstairs design studio, washed off my face and left my bike at work.

I am hereby officially grounded for the rest of the weekend.  I’m walking, busing, or cabbing.  I am taking it easy.  I am looking at things.

I am allowing myself to slow down.  Because no mother wants to get the phone call from the hospital on Christmas Eve that their kid has been hit.  Nor do I need to go anyway fast for the rest of the weekend.

I am going to be nice to myself, be gentle to myself.  I will watch a Christmas movie or two.  I will go to the ballet tomorrow.  I will help out my friends and cover commitments.  I will go slow.

I took the 22 Fillmore up to Jackson and then walked over to Cass’s house on Jackson between Baker and Broderick.  I looked at the bay.  I smelled the evergreens.  I looked at the trees and the grass.  I appreciated the Christmas wreaths and I listened to two little girls laugh at their frazzled mother, until said frazzled mother gave up and plunked herself down on the park grass with them.  I let myself feel the sun on my face.  I thanked God that I wasn’t more hurt.

Cass gave me Advil, two ice packs, and arnica cream.  She sat me down, made me put up my feet and made me a cup of Earl Grey tea with almond milk.  We talked about how I have been doing and what happened with my birthday blues.  I recommitted to my dream of going to Paris.  We talked about my cats and what is going to happen with them.  We talked about my resentments and how I get to work through them.  We laughed.  And by the time the ice packs had warmed up and my tea was gone the Advil had taken effect and my heart was wide open to the world.

I melted out the door and wander through the Fillmore.  It was a lovely day.  I made the 22 bus back to the Castro and went thrift shopping at Out of the Closet and Cross Roads.  I actually found a beautiful brand new black t-shirt from Lululemon and a gorgeous little black swing sweater.  I had a simple delicious quiet meal at Red Jade (brown rice, steamed veggies, steamed shrimp, and the most basic, clean, and delicious egg drop soup I have had in decades).  I splurged and bought a pound of cherries at the little organic market and went to meet with some lovely ladies at the Church St. Cafe, where I totally indulged in a latte and listened to the holiday plans of the wonderous women in my life.

I may be bruised and a little banged up, but my heart feels so open and full right now.  I am lucky, oh so lucky.  I am blessed.  I have so much to live for and so much to give and I intend to do it up right.

There is no rush.  There is no where I need to be.

And there is nowhere I would rather be.  I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

Who knew getting smacked down in traffic could be so eye-opening.

Late Night Tea Party

December 23, 2011

Joanie is coming over!  I am so excited.  She’s finished finals and we are going to have tea.

I can have company because I don’t work tomorrow!  Yippee.  Although I have my day quite filled with things to do: 11:45 a.m. appointment with Genius Bar at the Apple Store down town to diagnose and, fingers crossed, fix my MAC book. 1 p.m. meet with Cass over on Jackson and Fillmore.  4 p.m.  back to the Mission to meet with Mrs. Fishkin and have meeting of the minds. 5:30 p.m over to the Castro to do the deal with one lovely lady, then another at 6:30 p.m. 8p.m. regular Friday night commitment.

Add to this “normal” routine: write three pages of long hand writing–in my new journal I just bought this evening, write a blog, and oh, I don’t know, shower, and eat and stuff.

Oops.  Joan has just left the building and I am only one hundred and forty words in.  Ah, good thing I type quickly.

So, very good to get in my Joan time.  Good to be reminded of all the strong, beautiful, capable women in my life.  Which in turn reminds me what a strong, beautiful, capable woman I am.

A woman who is about to give up having her cats.  I was on the phone getting a little wound up with Joan last night about how hard it is to find a place, a room, any fucking where, that would take me with two cats.  And she made a wonderful point to me and it was like the Universe gave me permission to give them up. I love them, I love them so much, I adore the little monsters to bits and pieces and then some.  But if having cats is the one thing holding me back from finding a suitable place to live, then it is time to not have cats anymore.  I have loved and cared for them through five moves.  I have turned down living situations that could easily and wonderfully have worked for me.

I cannot afford to do this any longer.  I finally took the cat filter off the craigslist search.  I responded to a post today where I would not be able to have cats.  Granted, I got no response back, I may not be the right fit, who knows, but I took a tiny step in the direction of, what if I don’t know what is best for me and my living situation?  What if I give it up, surrender, and accept that right now may not be the time to keep the cats.

I don’t know, and I don’t have to know tonight, but I am willing now to look at it.  I have to take care of myself.  I need to get rooted.  I am over feeling bereft at not being in a place of my own, a room of my own, with a view of my own.

Yes, all things are transient, nothing is truly mine, but I feel like a place to call mine, just a corner, a wee one at that, of the Universe, well, I think that’s not a lot to ask for.  I have money.  I have money in savings from not going hog-wild with the damage deposit I got back from my one bedroom.  I could move in somewhere.  I don’t have radical amounts and I know what I can afford with the current income I am making, so I am not going to jump into a place I can’t afford just to have a place, as I also still have options on staying with friends.

But I feel like it is a necessary step to acknowledge that I can give up the cats if necessary to secure a home.  I deserve a home.  My cats will be taken care of.  It’s time I take care of myself.

This weekend will be all about it.  Starting tomorrow morning with the appointment to get my computer taken care of.  This will segue nicely with Saturday, also known as Christmas Eve.  I am going to the ballet bitches.  I am very excited about this.  I just found out it snows in the theater!  Are you fucking kidding me?  How fantastically awesome is that?  I am going to wear my pretty party dress and my pretty shoes and put a flower in my hair and go to the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House to see the Nut Cracker Ballet on Christmas Eve.  I am a very lucky girl.

And a special treat, I am going to take myself out to dinner afterward at Absinthe.  One of my favorite French restaurants in the city and I am getting a steak.  It will be rare and it will be good.  I am not waiting on the fantasy date to take me out, I am taking me out.  I rode my bicycle past Absinthe tonight as I was coming back from a speaking engagement over on 7th and Geary and I thought, oh, duh, Absinthe is right here, right next to the ballet, I have to go.  I used to work there, I love the food, and it will be dinner time once the ballet lets out, as I am going to a 4 p.m. show.  Perfect.

I will have oysters and steak for Christmas.  A pretty dress and a ballet.  I am the luckiest girl in San Francisco.

Friends always give me such wonderful perspective.  Joan and I also talked yoga, I swear she read my mind!  I went to bed last night thinking about a yoga practice.  I have wanted to get into yoga for some time now.  I feel like now is a really good time to start instituting some self-care around my physical being.  I am not always going to want to get my exercise by jamming around town on a bike.  I will probably always be a bike commuter, but I could stand a little stretching and keeping myself flexible.  This idea bears some investigation.  I bet there are lots of places running specials too, what with the push around the New Year to get resolved about fixing ourselves and rectifying the indulgences of the holidays.

I have only indulged in excessive emotions this holiday season!  And I think they are passing.  I am feeling lighter and freer than I have in a while.  I am willing to become less to become more.  I am willing to let go of my cats, my ideas about where I live, even about being single.  There is nothing wrong.

There never was.

Random Acts of Art

December 22, 2011

The New College building across the street from Mission Bicycles is being renovated.  It has boards up over the front windows and doors; every day there is a new piece of art there and everyday at some point in the day the art is taken down, removed, or painted over.  Every day I walk by or ride my bike by, there is a new piece of art up.

Go artists!

I love that the neighborhood is not letting this blank canvas go to waste.  I have seen some of the artists putting up their work.  The group that I was most inspired by was the middle school kids with their teacher.  I don’t even know what they put up as when I went to check on the progress they were gone and the workers at the building had already spread matte sky blue paint over the piece they had spent hours doing.

Saturday I walked by and saw the elephant

Elephant Affixed to Wall

Art Wins!

affixed to the building.  I had to stop and take a picture of it.  Yesterday there was a swing hanging from a tree in front of the building.  I heard there were random swings that popped up all over the city.

This is holiday spirit.  This is the gift that asks for no return.  Just beauty, randomly, when you are not expecting it, gracing the space in front of you.  And despite the constant efforts of the construction workers to keep the facade of the building free of art, it keeps coming back.  Go artists, go.

Today’s pieces actually stood for the entire day.  Maybe the workers have off for Christmas.  I noticed on my way to the bank today that the streets were beginning to empty of San Franciscans.  Most of the foot traffic that came through the shop today were out of towners and European tourists.  Lots of French folks.  Two sweet young French girls came in right at the end of the day and bought bicycle parts for their boyfriends.  They were adorable.  And I completely eavesdropped their entire conversation.  I was actually able to help them because I knew what they were looking for and that felt rather satisfying.

I feel that I may need to put up some random art on the wall.  It has been a little while since I have done that.  I have on occasion posted a poem up somewhere.  I feel like committing some poetic graffiti.  Maybe when no one is looking I will go spray paint a poem on the facade, maybe just to see how long it will last.

Speaking of poetry.  I am already finding that I am in need of digging to complete a submission for today’s submission resolution.  I was working on it when I realized that I was two poems shy of the necessary amount that the magazine was requesting.  They don’t mind multiple submissions, which means that poems I am submitting to them I have also recently submitted to other literary magazines.  However, I need two more to meet their requirements.  Not really an issue, except I am not on my computer and I just realized the big box of journals is down stairs in Robyn’s storage unit and it’s going on 10:30 p.m.

I stopped the submission.  Saved the draft in my gmail account and hopped over here to my blog to get it in.  I will probably end up digging up something so that I may stick to my resolution of a submission a day.

I am crazy and I kind of like it.  I also did a little research into where I will be doing a lengthier submission.  I officially declare that Saturdays will be my days to put together the pieces to do longer submissions.  Those that require me to print out copies and put them in big manilla envelopes and have proposals attached to them.  I think what it is looking like, at least in this very early stage of my goal, is that on a daily basis, Monday through Friday, I will submit poems and small works electronically.

Then on the weekends when I have a little more time to commit to the project I will submit my book.  I will do book proposals on Saturdays and book submissions on Sundays.  I will research daily and compile the places I want to submit to.  Oh!  I just got a great idea!  I could put together a list of 365 places that I want to submit to.

Some of them will be agencies.  Some direct to the publisher.  I will submit to online magazines, regular print magazines, and literary journals.  I will also enter some contests.  I will always remember Ron Wallace, creative writing and English Literature Professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, telling me that he thought I would be the student that won the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award (an award he had been short listed for four times but had not yet won).  I will be submitting to that again.  I have a few times, but haven’t in recent years done so.

Damn, I am getting excited about the process.  I am getting excited as well to be writing new works.  Perhaps Sundays can be a day of “rest”  a day devoted to putting something new together.

I also have no intentions on stopping the blogging.  I am now a blogger.  I have made this a habit and I don’t think that I can do without it.  I could not do without it just like I cannot do without the morning pages I do every morning.  In fact, this morning I filled the last pages of a hard bound journal.  It’s time to crack a new one.  I actually don’t know where my “new” journals are.  They too are probably relegated to a box somewhere in the storage unit.

Fuck a duck.  I may just have to put on the shoes and leave the cozy confines of the couch and go dig around the storage unit for a few minutes.  I not only have to unearth some of my hard copies of my poems so that I can finish the submission for tonight, but I also have to locate a fresh journal for tomorrow’s morning pages.

I am writing.  How nice is this.  I am setting goals, I am doing the deal.  I like it.  The more I write, the more I want to write.  I am hoping that the more I submit, the more I will want to submit.  The nice thing about this process is that I am already letting go of the results.  I don’t feel all bound up about whether or not the place I have submitted to is going to publish my work.  I will be submitting 365 times in the next year.  I will get published.  I don’t doubt that at all.

It takes all the anxiety out of it.  I am just taking the action in front of me.  This is fucking wonderful!  I don’t know why it took me until now to get to this place, but I don’t care.  It has happened.  I feel like I am finally committing to living a writers life, doing what writers do.  And the bike shop gets to be a job I leave and leave at the door.  And maybe I’ll get to meet some cool people and ride some cool bikes and see some cool art.

And all the while I will be doing this, my dream, putting words to paper, pen to paper, letting my soul drift down through my fingertips; getting to be a conduit for God’s art.  Getting to be a channel.

Getting to be an artist.

I am a brilliant, prolific, well paid, published author.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

I am sober and abstinent.

I am Calling in the One.

I am a world traveler.

I am a poet.

I am a memoirist.

I am a novelist.

I am financially successful.

I am enough.

I am an artist.

I love myself.


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