Archive for January, 2012

Home, Sweet, Sweet, Home

January 31, 2012

Yes, that is correct, you are reading that right, I am home.  I am in my new room on Folsom and 22nd, in the heart of the Mission, across the street from the Cesar Chavez elementary school.

I woke up, in my own bed, thank you very much, to the sound of rapid fire Spanish being spoken in the kitchen at top volume and loud Mexican music.

I could not care less.

I had slept so soundly, so wonderfully, so dreamily that I had not actually woken up to the noise of the family in the kitchen, but to my alarm clock.  That may not always be the case, I may get annoyed, but the sound of Spanish being argumentatively thrown about was just fine with me.

Yeah, so  the walls here are a little thin.  The good news is, who cares?  I have my own set of walls!  I am in my own room.  Right now, sitting at my desk writing my blog.

Which, my apologies, dearest readers, I could not bring myself to write last night.  I was one pooped puppy.  I got up yesterday at 7:30 a.m. and I took care of myself in the proper way.  I knew if I was to fly about like a chicken with its head cut off I would not be efficient nor useful to myself or others.

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful others that helped me move–Shannon, Alex, and Matt.  My heroes who came into to save the day at the last-minute.  I owe you much.

I joked with Shannon and Alex that I need a village to do anything.  And it’s true.  I could not have done what was done yesterday without the help of my friends.  I am so grateful for friends.

At one point in the day Matt said, you look good in a truck.  And it made me smile.  I felt good in the truck.  I like pick up trucks.  There’s something sexy about them.  Maybe it’s from growing up in Wisconsin, maybe it’s from my dad restoring old Chevy’s in the drive way, I don’t know.  But I like pick up trucks.

Then it hit me!  I want to have a truck.  How great would it be to turn around the favor and pass along what has been given to me?  So many people have helped me move, so many.  I would love to play it forward.

So, hey Universe, I aspire to own a truck.  It would be pretty damn cool to be of service to others when I have been so gifted with friends who help out.  I have moved a lot in San Francisco, you might have figured this out from past blogs, and it would be awesome to do for some one else.

I like it.

And with the help of said village, I was able to move all my things from the Castro and Bernal to my new digs here in the Mission in two hours!  Of course, I don’t have  a lot to move and I have done it a few times, so I know how to do it, but I was sort of amazed that it happened so fast.

Which, all in all was a good thing as I only had the City Car truck for 2.5 hours.  Next time I will reserve a little further in advance!  I even got to have coffee with Matt at Philz and I took him out to lunch at a taqueria in the neighborhood—mmmmm carnitas.

This could be dangerous, I had carnitas twice this weekend.  I will be mellowing out on that.  In fact, food is going to get real basic real quick.

The kitchen situation here is not awful, but it is uncomfortable.  The patriarch of the house speaks no English and I speak no Spanish.  He’s none to happy, one can tell a bit from tone of voice even if you don’t speak the language you know when some one is talking about you, about my presence in the kitchen.

To give the man some credit, he’s old, this is a family home, cousins, daughters, mom, dad, grandpa, I’m the stranger in the mix, and he’s probably very set in his ways.  And who is this strange woman with tattoos in his kitchen making her oatmeal?  Get her out of here.

The good news is that the space I have can easily accommodate a small mini kitchen.  I have been planning it out since I got unpacked yesterday.  I will need a mini fridge and a microwave.  Perhaps a crock pot or a little hot plate.  It will be a bit like dorm living, but I will be more comfortable not having to engage with them in their kitchen–it feels like their kitchen.

I do have stuff in the fridge right now, it’s not like I don’t have access, it’s just not a welcome space for me.  And that’s cool.  I am loving having my own entrance and my own king size bathroom, I can make do with setting up a kitchen space for myself and be completely self-sufficient.

The room is actually bigger than my studio was in Nob Hill, which I did not realize it was until I got my bed set up and my desk and my rocking chair situated.  Plus, there’s a fairly large wardrobe that came with the room in the space (no closet in the room or bathroom).  So, if I set up a little kitchen nook, I’m looking at having a nice little studio space for $700 a month.

That is not bad.  Not bad at all for San Francisco, and killer for the Mission which still seems to be supporting artificially increased rents.  The rents here right now are out of hand.  It’s going to push everyone interesting out if it continues.

A lot of artists I know, part of what made the Mission the Mission, seem to be fleeing to Oakland.

Maybe I should go snap up some properties around the artist migration to Oakland and when it suddenly blossoms I’ll be able to jack up rents and make a tidy profit.

Nah.

I’m just going to stay here in the Mission, in my little nest, in my little nook, sunny and bright, small and tidy, and all mine, all mine, all mine.

I once would have looked at this space and said, no fucking way.  Now, I love this space.  I have keys to this space and I have made it into my little home.

And I walked to work today!

Only took me fifteen minutes.

Now that’s hot.

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The Delirious Smell

January 29, 2012

Of four-year old.  It is sand, sunshine, cheese pizza, hugs, warm bodies snuggled into your lap and cuddles.

Oh good lord, get off my ovaries.

I am not ready for kids, yet.  But these two little monkeys are just beyond belief.  First, I cannot believe they are four.  They are too worldly for four and their feet are too big and they are too smart to be four.  I think they are precocious thirty year olds in four-year old bodies.  Albeit, Charlie Reno has feet that are almost big enough to be a full-grown adult.

I have a feeling this boy is going to be very tall.  He’s a genuine heart breaker and so is Juniper Grace.  They are so much deliciousness wrapped up into these gorgeous balls of energy and spit fire and ferocious beauty.  I am constantly in awe when I see them and get to “wrassle” with them and have tickle fights and jump up and down on the couch.  Then, there’s the “stop, stop, stop” and we slow up the tickles, with maybe a little one here, behind the knee, or another there, under the chin.

Then stories.  Then cheese pizza.  Than more tickles.  Then jumping on the couch while wearing a mask and a wig and swinging a hula hoop.  Then more stories.  Then pajamas, tooth brushing, and snuggling.  I love my bunnies.  They make my heart sing.

Especially when I get sweet peachy hugs and kisses and remonstrances to crawl into bed with them and please, Carmen, come sleep with me.

I want to so very badly.  But I am supposed to be on watch, although I am doing this one “pro bono” for the parents.  Juni’s parents have been looking after my cats and Reno’s parents let me stay in their spare bedroom for the first week and a half in December.  I owe them one.

I want nothing more than to go back down stairs and curl up next to Juni and feel her warm body snuggle into mine.  There may be nothing more divine than a small warm child that trusts you implicitly curling up in your arms, breath sweet with sleep, heavy and soft.  Especially when said child, says, no, wait stop, “cheek brushing” and rubs her downy soft cheek against yours.

Who needs anything else?

It was good for me to come here tonight.  Being around the two of them helped to alleviate some of the stress of moving.  I will be getting up earlier tomorrow than normal, and hiking over to Gough and Grove to the City Car Share lot to grab my Toyota Tacomo truck.  I almost waited too long, in fact, I thought I had, to reserve it.

Turns out I had to adjust the time on it.  So, I will be getting up earlier than normal to make sure I get access to the truck period.  End of the month and I am not the only monkey in the city moving.  Even if my head tells me no one else moves about as much as I, oh nomadic one.

I was in a bit of a panic this morning trying to “figure out” how it all was going to happen.  Then I realized that I really just needed to do what ever small action was in front of me and go with that.  Shower, make couch (bed), heat up tea-pot, make bowl of oatmeal, do morning readings and quiet time, write, read some more, as I was still feeling ungrounded.  Call Carolyn.  Take suggestions.

Breathe.

Make lunch plans with Beth.

Breathe.

Stop trying to fix it, figure it out, change it, or adjust it.  Stop.

Breathe some more.

Then head to the Mission and take care of what needs being taken care of.  I left Nob Hill on foot and caught the 49 on Van Ness headed to the Mission.  I left my bike at work yesterday, one last thing to think about moving.  I made some phone calls.  I sat on the bus and watched the sun splatter off the buildings.  It was gorgeous out today.

I kept inside the moment.  I read a little.  I sat in my body, still.  I sat for an hour.  Listened, and heard what I needed.  Then I got to turn around and be useful to another person–one of Carolyn’s wise suggestions.  After coffee at Four Barrel, lunch at Sun Flower with Beth.

The waiter knows me and laughs, places my order, does not even bother to give me a menu.  One day I will not get the veggie salad with hot tea and he will fall over in shock.

I had a nice lunch.  I talked with my friend.  I did my best to listen to her, I have been realizing that I am not the best friend out there, I turn the conversation back to my “problems” all the time.  I still did that today, but when I noticed it, I asked after the other person.  It was really helpful to listen to someone else rather than radio KFUK in my head.  I thought the volume was pretty low, but when I went to the bathroom at the restaurant it came back on full force.

Go back to Nob Hill, scour the apartment, get flowers, buy nice coffee, make thank you banner, wash clothes, pack, pack, pack.

Whoa.  Slow down there, little one.

I asked Beth what she would do instead.  She said yes to the thank you banner, I mean card, and no to the rest of it.  Maybe flowers.  Maybe.  But only if it would not stress me out.  She said, go walk, be outside, enjoy the day.

So I did.

And what  a nice day to walk about the Mission and enjoy being who I am exactly as I am.  The sun shone down.  The bicycles were out in force.  Musicians played out on the side-walk.  I drifted about window shopping here and there.  I stopped in Harringtons to size up the shelving unit I had purchased last week, it’s not as big as I feared, which is a relief as the room is smaller than I had remembered.

I wandered in and out of little boutique art galleries and book shops and discovered Mission Comics and! OH! MY! GOD!

I bought the most ridiculously wonderful thing there–a women’s centric baseball t-shirt in pink and black with, wait for it, Bunnicula the Vampire Bunny on it!  Holy shit.  I love Bunnicula.  I also love the fact that nobody knows what the hell I am talking about when I say that.  I am apparently one of three people in the entire world who have seen that cartoon, it was an ABC weekend cartoon special based on the book, I believe.

Screw the smurfs.  Vampire bunnies are the bomb.  He sucked the life out of carrots, fyi.  Don’t be scared.

I had to have it.  Bunnicula will be my moving day mascot.

Then I had dinner at Casa Sanchez, the carnitas plate, best carnitas in the city, for my money.  And there was a jazz combo playing in the middle of the restaurant.  Little kids running around, three middle age women in the kitchen serving up platters of black beans and rice and tortillas, carnitas, and limes and salsa.  Latin jazz and old grandpa’s keeping an eye on the whole scene.  Awesomeness.

Tea at Sugar Lump.  Then walk over to Potrero for the four-year old fest.

Carolyn was right.  Beth was right.  Y’all were right.  I get to find that stillness within myself, centered in myself, and despite the exterior changes and the imminent move, I found some serenity.

In the soft, sleepy cheek of a little girl and her stuffed dog Biscuit; in the sweet kiss from my tow headed boy under the yellow glow of his moon night light shimmering down on Star Wars sheets.

Now, pardon me, I have some more snuggling to go do.

Honesty

January 28, 2012

I paid the deposit today on my new room, February rent, and I also paid for the two extra days that I am getting to be there.

When I handed Aurora the money, she counted it out and said, “I get you change”.

I said, “no, that extra is for you letting me rent the room before the 1st”.

She did not quite understand.  I was giving her more money.  She wanted to give me change.  Part of me really wanted her to give me change too.  The other part of me, that part that wants change of a different sort, said, I figured out the difference and added that in.  Thank you for letting me move in two days early.

I could actually move in tomorrow.  But I said no.  I need to wait until Sunday.  Plus, the room still has construction materials strewn about, the last touches are being put on the bathroom and there are tools and implements laying around, and I want to move into a fresh, new space.

A small, fresh new space.  Eek.  It’s a lot smaller than I remember.  But, it will hold my bed and it will accommodate a desk and it has a brand new big bathroom.  It is just perfect.

The elementary school across the street is also perfect.  As I stood in the waning late January light waiting to be let into the house, I listened to the laughter of the children running around the playground and I felt uplifted.

Scared.  Nervous.  But in the right place.

Overwhelmed.  But in the right place.

I don’t know how long I will be there.  I am saying that because it does not feel like a permanent residence.  But it is obvious to me that it is the next place I am supposed to be.  And I will make it my home for as long as I am supposed to.  Just like my job.  I don’t actually believe that I will be working in a bike shop the rest of my life, but it is exactly where I am supposed to be right now.

I am grateful to be just living life.  Simple.  Uncomplicated.  Work in the Mission.  Live in the Mission.  Go have a coffee at Philz.  Which is exactly what I did after I left my new place.

I went to Philz, had a large Canopy of Heaven with cream, no sugar, and sat and ate the dinner that I had packed up for myself.  I read over a newspaper and enjoyed the hell out of my coffee.

I left my bicycle at the shop, one less thing to move, and I walked around the Mission before meeting lady Beth at the Church St. Cafe.  We had tea and caught up.  God, I am so lucky to have amazing girl friends.

I missed my ladies this week, so it was really nice to sit and get caught up.  And it’s really nice to be myself, slightly neurotic, silly, and out there.  A wee bit self-deprecatory and sarcastic.

We talked about how we never see ourselves as we are.  So true.  I was feeling a little cheap and trashy and tawdry today.  I left the house feeling pretty darn cute and liking the frock I was rocking and the hair and make up and then the other gal at the shop walked in and I went right to I will never look like that ever.

I will not be that polished, put together, or small.

Uh duh.  Of course not, because I’m six inches taller.

Fact is, I don’t want to be her, but it’s an easy way for me to take out my insecurities and unpack them all over the shop when I work with her.  She’s just so, perfect.

Honesty.

Honesty says, look at the facts, ladybug, you are perfect too.  An ever evolving art work.  Ever changing, ever-growing.  I am grateful beyond words that I am not stagnating.  And Beth is spot the fuck on.  We never see ourselves the way others do.

I ever hear you saying things about yourself that I say about me, I’d sit you down and have a serious heart to heart talk with you about how special and amazing you are.  I am not always capable of doing that for myself.

But, that’s ok, as I am a lot better at it then I used to be, so much better at it then I used to be.

It is what’s inside that matters.  It is how I comport myself in the world that matters. It is giving Aurora the correct rent.  It is asking for help when I need it.

Right now I am struggling with not manipulating and asking for what I need.  The friends who were originally lined up to help me move on Sunday are no longer available.  I know I could get the whole job done on my own with no help.  I have done it before.  But I also know that I can ask for help.

I posted to FaceBook.  That will probably not work very well, but I am getting it out there.  I have also sent out a message to some guys I know that I am keeping my fingers crossed may be able to lend a hand.

I will be asking around tomorrow as well.  I hate asking for help, but what I am beginning to realize, is that I also don’t like myself when I am not being direct with my needs.  I caught myself being manipulative about needing help moving earlier and it made me so uncomfortable.

I am currently practising having acceptance of the behaviour in hopes that acknowledging that I do it and accepting that I do it, will allow me to walk through the fear of believing that I am not worthy of being helped.

Through the falsehood that no one likes me.  And through the garbage strewn landscape of my diseased brain.  Poor little brain.  You are just working it over time.  I hereby grant you a reprieve, little guy.  I will pick up the reigns and suck it up and ask for help.  I will accept that I do not know how to do it alone and regardless of my fears, it will all get done.

I do not need to manipulate it into happening.

Honesty.

Practising it makes me feel extraordinarily vulnerable and free all at the same time.

I am scared I won’t like my new home.  I am scared I made a mistake.  I am afraid.

There.  Now that’s all out there, let’s get a move on.

It’s time I got off the couch.

Keys to the Kingdom

January 27, 2012

Tomorrow at 5 p.m. at the corner of Folsom and 22nd and hand off will happen.  Cash money will be exchanged for the keys to the gate, the keys to the room, the key to my own room.

It is finally about to happen.

Yes.

I requested off the end of the day at work tomorrow to negotiate the hand off.  I will leave work by 4:30 p.m. and walk to Folsom and 22nd.  I am debating whether I should go to the bank in the morning or go on the way over.  Odds are that the Bank of America on 23rd and Mission will have a line out the door on a Friday afternoon.

I will stop at the bank on my way into work.  That way there is no stress.  Just the self-imposed kind that I inherently place on myself.  Like what if I could magically manifest an extra day to move in my stuff?  What if I got to move in on Friday?

Oh slow down, child.

Really, the couch surfing, albeit not the most comfortable way to fly, has not been too bad.  It hasn’t been the best, but it hasn’t been too bad.  And it has been a way for me to get some awesome perspective on what I like and what I don’t like.

Despite what some friends have said about the Mission, I adore it.  I love it.  It is home.  It has been home since my first days in the city.  I was not always comfortable with it, I got lost sometimes, I got  turned around going the wrong direction on the BART between 16ht and 24th street stops, but every corner seems to have a little memory for me.

Some of them are not such fond memories, but an awful lot of them are.  I had two bad years in the Mission.  The following seven years I have had more awesome moments in the Mission than I have anywhere else in the city.

As I have said elsewhere, the prodigal daughter is returning home.

Nob Hill is lovely and meant to be enjoyed with a vehicle.  I don’t recommend a car, the parking is ass.  But a scooter will do you quite well.  China Town is fun for a walk about, but no way would I want to live there, the smell and the foot traffic would mow me down.  North Beach is a treat once in a while, but I always feel like a tourist there.  I do aspire however, to get more clothes from Grant street, there are some amazing tailors there.

The SOMA can be sexy, but unless I’m living in South Park, I’m not so interested in the SOMA–it’s still too industrial and not developed enough.  Same goes for Mission Bay.  The Dog Patch could be fun on a budget, but again, the amenities are scarce.  Potrero Hill has never quite done it for me.  Yeah, the views are stellar, but it never felt like home, although being close to the Mission was a bonus.

The Financial District and Down Town also do not hold a lot of appeal to me.  I really dig some of the buildings, but the tourists, the over pricing to gouge the tourists, not so much.

Pacific Heights?  It demands money and wheels.  Marina?  No. Never want to live there, don’t like hanging out there, or shopping there, or eating there.  It can be fun to walk about Crissy Field, it can be fun to ride through, but that’s all I want to do in the Marina, ride through it (usually as fast as possible).

The Avenues, the Sunset, and the Western Addition all seem too far away.  I don’t know why that is, but the effort to get there seems so much greater than the effort I want to put into it-why, I almost liken it to Oakland.  Although, I will admit, I have had moments of desiring to live in the outer Sunset, at the edge of the world to be close to Ocean Beach.  I like the idea of living that close to the ocean.  I don’t know how much I would like the idea of living in the fog bank though.  I would be at Java Beach Cafe every day of the week and probably out surfing as much as humanely possible.

But I don’t surf.

Haight and the Castro.  Oh, I have flirted with the both of you, but nothing ever seemed to pan out.  I do, however, feel an afinity with both those neighborhoods and should another move transpire, they are always options that I leave on the table.  Not to say that I am looking to move, I am not.

The Excelsior feels like Daly City, and what’s the point of living in Daly City?  No thank you.

Portola seems sweet, but too far away.  The same goes for the Presidio.  I like both areas and both have some gorgeous landscaping, but neither seem like home.

Nope, it’s to the Mission I go.  It was love at first sight.  Maybe it was dancing at the Elbow Room to Vivendo do Pao the first time I visited the city.  Or the first time I had a quesadilla suiza with carne asada from El Farolito.  Perhaps it was the first time I had a Philz coffee made by Phil himself that seduced me over to the dark side.  Or the sunshine.  The first time I saw the down town skyline from the top of Dolores Park did not hurt either.

I may never know.  I don’t need to honestly, I can feel the weight of the keys in my hands already.

It’s almost time to go home.

Danger! Danger!

January 26, 2012

Get off craigslist!  No furniture shopping.  No housewares shopping. No nesting until you are actually in your space.

Why?

Because I can’t remember how much space I have and because what I do have is plenty for it!

I have some discomfort that I am experiencing around my move in.  The family really does not speak English.  REALLY.  I tried to call today to set up a time to go by and pay my rent and deposit and get the key and I got hung up on three times before I got through.

This I understand, I still, after nine years of living in San Francisco, have a Wisconsin telephone number.  My first thought when I see an unrecognizable number from out-of-state is–telemarketer.  I would not answer either.  But I was hoping to at least get a voice mail.

And that did not happen either.  I finally got through only to be asked if I spoke Spanish, which I don’t, yes, I know my first name is Carmen and my last name is Martines and yes, that’s right, my middle name is I speak French.

Anyway, I was unable to hold a conversation with the father, who I believe speaks even less English than the mother, who I have had a tiny bit of interaction with.  But I got ahold of their son, who I know and left him a message describing what happened.

But the son got back to me and I will be leaving work early on Friday at 4:30 p.m. to meet with the mom and pay the rent and the deposit and get the key!

Yes.

I don’t think I will be able to move in on Saturday, but my brain did skirt off into that arena.  What would happen if….

But I have Saturday plans.  I have Saturday commitments.  And I have a Saturday night nanny gig with my monkeys in Potrero Hill.  Saturday is not a great day for me to do a move.  Yes, my mind went there right off.  I want out off this couch so bad, I cannot express.

Actually, I can, and I have, suffice to say, I have not put it on the blog, it’s not comfortable here and I am ready to get the hell out.  I’m safe.  I’m warm.  I’m just really uncomfortable and so ready for my own room.

I just have tonight, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights to be here.  I can do it.  What do they say, “this too shall pass”.  This too shall pass, I will be here just a little longer and then my first move of 2012.

I am hoping that it is not going to be a year of constant moving, like 2011 was.  I moved a grand total of four times.  Four!  I don’t want to move that much this year, unless I am moving abroad, then bring it on.  I’ll move more.  I’ll happily move over seas for a while.

Yes I will.

But in San Francisco?  No.  I want to stay put.  Which is part of the reason I was on the craiglist doing the furniture/appliance porn.  I am looking for a microwave and a mini fridge.  I was told pretty much at the outset that the family will give me access to the kitchen, but they would like it to be minimum.

I am not sure what that means.  I will want to keep food in a refrigerator and I would like to cook once in a while.  But I also don’t want to be in the way and if I have the space for it I will put in a little microwave and fridge in my room.  The more separate I can make my space, the better.

I also don’t know what their own schedule is like at the house.  I don’t know if they work or if they are retired.  Hell, I don’t know shit, except that I have my own bathroom and my own entrance and what my rent is.

That’s good enough for me right now.  And trying to figure out what kitchen stuff I am going to need until I actually see what is available to me, is also of no sense.

Because I veer off into craigslist fantasy world.  Oh, look at that, that would be pretty in my new room.  Or, I could use that. Or that would make a nice upgrade on my bed.

Nope.

I don’t need these things.  My furnishings are perfectly fine.  The only thing I need to get is a new set of pillows.  I got rid of the really old ones I had in one of my last moves.  I decided a new set was necessary.  I am going to splurge and get myself some nice ones, too, no Anna’s Linens for me.  I am at least going to go to Nordie’s Off The Rack and get the Calvin Klein ones I saw the last time I was there.

They are more expensive than what I might normally get, but less as they are at the Rack and I want some nice pillows.  I just looked at my nemesis, the couch, this couch is not a comfy couch, it’s a damn cool looking couch, but it is not really all that comfortable to sleep on.

A bed.  Soon.  A bed.

I am getting closer to having the details worked out for the move as well.  I have it down to getting the stuff at Robyn’s house between 10 a.m. and noon.  I still need to co-ordinate with Shannon and Alex to get my bed and desk from their storage unit.  Robyn’s place, though, is first on the list as my window to access her place is just 10a.m. to noon.

I need to contact one of the people who said they can help and see if they are still down to do so.  She has a truck.  I may not need to do the City Car Share reservation for a truck, but I do know she has offered and I should probably oh, I don’t know call and confirm?

Still feels uncomfortable to ask, even when it’s been offered.  There are no negative consequences either, I mean, I’ve got the car share and I can use it.  And should every single truck in the city be reserved, fine, I can do u-haul too, I have the where withal to do it.  I have options.  I have choices.

The only choice that I really need to make for the rest of today, though, is to choose to NOT go back on craigslist scouting for a microwave and a mini fridge.  That is just a waste of my time and my energy.

Four more days!

 

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

January 25, 2012

I just got in from my first staff meeting at work.

I was the only woman there.  Nine employees, one girl.  Granted, there is another woman on staff, she’s out sick, so I am not the only woman employed there, it just felt like it tonight.

I also have not much to bring to the party, besides my ears and a cup of tea.

Being that I am relatively new to the shop, that did not surprise me.  What did, was the very, very sweet card that the shop received this morning.  It was in a little green envelope with heart stamps addressed to the fine folks at Mission Bicycle Company.

It was from Helga, the girl who had an accident outside of the shop a week ago.  She extended her gratitude and thanks to us for providing her a safe haven to decompress after her bike accident.  Kai checked out her bicycle, advocated for her with the driver of the car, and generally took control.

I made her a cup of tea.

I think that’s my tour of duty so far.  I make tea.  Why, I am drinking some right now.

I am poking a little fun at myself, but I did wonder what my contributions to staff would add up to if tallied against the marketing skills, the bicycling skills, the management skills of the staff.

As Carolyn pointed out to me last night, my ego is pretty big and it’s obviously time for me to let myself be just a worker amongst workers.  So, today instead of regaling some one with the miracles of  using Proofide on their Brooks leather saddle, or explaining the difference between a Phil Wood Hub and a Velocity, I cleaned.

I dusted that bitch down.  I wiped down all the ledges.  I windexed the hell out of the store.  I organized, I re-arranged, I tidied.  I re-folded t-shirts and handed out stickers to little girls that straggled into the store, pulling on the shirt hems of their papas as said papas debated the angle of stem length on their headsets and choose between different frame sizes on the bike.

I did not avail myself of FaceBook, or Tumbler, or Kickstarter.  I did not Tweet about the famous person that bought a bicycle there.  I did not post something to Mission Mission blog or interface with anyone via Skype.  I just practised being a worker amongst workers.

I smiled.

I answered phones.

I played nice music for the store.

I agreed to pick up a weekend shift, sigh.  But I did not agree to work split days off.  I will either have to work a Saturday or a Sunday, but I will still have two days in a row off.  I will not sacrifice my days off.

I let them take my picture for the “year book” photo and I thanked the photographer.

I was nice.  I was pleasant.  I said thank you.  I restrained my tongue when I wanted to be cutting and I sat through the staff meeting without saying anything.

Well, I introduced myself.  I quietly acknowledged that I was the one who gave the girl the cup of tea, really, nobody else would have done that, I am surgically attached to the tea-pot; but other than that, nothing.  I just listened.

I listened and I kept my opinion to myself.

There may come a time when I say more or do more than I am currently.  I can already feel a lot of the load shifting from the GM’s shoulders to mine, imperceptibly he keeps adding things on to my job description.  I have also let go of the idea that he’s going to acknowledge when I do extra work or go above and beyond.

He doesn’t notice it.  And that’s ok.

I really thought I might get a little acknowledgement or a pat on the back for some of the things I have done for the store in the brief time I have been there, but I did not.

Rather, I get to receive acknowledgement when the check is deposited to my account.

The other thing that Carolyn and I talked about last night was that I am an employee.  I am going to stop looking at the GM as any kind of personal friend.  He’s just some one I get to be employed by.  I keep my opinions about others to myself and my opinions about him and the business to myself as well.

I do my job and I leave.

That’s it.

I do my job, well, I should add, and I leave.

The acknowledgement, aside from the paycheck, and getting to build an awesome, fantastical, brilliantly mine bike, at wholesale cost rather than retail, is in the job well done.

That is it.

I don’t need to be Yelped.  I don’t need to be told I do a good job.  I don’t need to be told that I am doing really well troubleshooting.  I don’t need to be told how efficient I am becoming–because I know.

I know I am getting better and I know where I have already made improvements.  And despite wanting to smack my GM’s hand away from the slightly askew postcard (how come it felt like I was being scolded when he put it back in its place?  I wanted to stand up and holler at him–hey, motherfucker, did you not notice that I dusted every freaking ledge in the shop, wiped down every counter top, re-folded all the t-shirts, addressed the 25 e-mails that were in the inbox, took out the recycling, packaged up a shipment to Brazil–which I had been told was impossible to ship to, but I figured out how, processed a bunch of online sales, negotiated the schedules of three mechanics to assist in a customer build together, and….)

….and what did you do?  You walked into the store, looked down at me as I sipped my cup of tea, tisked, and picked up the postcard that was mislayed–I had given it to a customer to describe what other shops were around and he’d just set it back down on top of the pile wrong–and looked at me like I was the laziest do nothingest, tea drinking waste of a paycheck).

Gosh.

Did I want to smack you?

Maybe.

Did I want to say something.

Maybe.

Did I?

Nope.

Because today I am practising restraint of tongue.  Tomorrow it will be restraint of e-mail.  I did not participate in the shop gossip and I did my job well today.

And regardless of my status as the only representative of the female gender in the meeting tonight.  I know my value very well.

Just another worker amongst workers.

The Count Down Has Begun

January 24, 2012

Less than a week.  Six days.  Six!

And I will be moving into my own room.  Ah, sweet apartment nectar.  The arrangements are beginning to fall, slowly, into place.

Tomorrow I will be contacting my landlady to set up a time on Saturday to go by the house and get the keys.  At which time I will be giving her the rent and the deposit in cash.  Cash is always nicer.

Yes, mom, I will get a receipt.

I will be hanging around the Mission pretty much all day Saturday, in case you want to do some hanging out with me, fyi.  I am going to be doing a nanny gig up in Potrero Hill with the Reno and the Junebug from 7p.m. until Midnight (Juni and Reno and a certain Miss Eve, are exempt from my no more nanny clause.  I don’t really count them as nanny gigs, it’s more like hanging out with some really awesome short people who like to cuddle with me and have tickle fights).

Then the next day, moving!  I have prepared for this, so far this week, the week only just beginning, but it must begin somewhere, by adding an account to my City Car Share membership.

I am officially a member at City Car Share because of work.  I am under the Mission Bicycle Company as a member so that should we need a car for work related things any one of us at the shop can go hop into one and do the necessary errand running.  The majority of the time all such errand running is done on bicycle or on foot, but occasionally something arises which demands a car.

In my first week of work I got on the plan.  And today I got my own individual account.  I had no idea it is as cheap as it is!  Screw ever renting a U-haul again.  The yearly fees  are less than what I paid for one use of a U-haul the last time I had it.  And then when I want to, I can reserve a car.

Good lord, I can drive places.  I could leave the city.  I could go out to Marin without bicycling there.  I have had a yearning to go to Fairfax and it’s environs for quite some time, go flea marketing and thrifting and wander around the little town squares.  It’s lovely to see on a bicycle, don’t get me wrong, but I have had the hankering to just have a leisurely day of being a tourist over there for some time now.

I can use my City Car Share!  I could drive along the coast.  I could go to Point Reyes and get oysters!  I, oh my gosh, the options are limitless.

Why, this feels, dare I say it, almost, well, grown up of me.

They have a small fleet of trucks, so I will be reserving one of them for Sunday’s move. I need to reserve soon, as I got the vibe that often times the end of the month is a time when lots of people reserve the trucks to do moving.  Makes sense.

So, the plan is to contact all my various people in the next 24 hours.  Confirm when I can get into their places and co-ordinate moving my things out of their kitchens, garages, and storage units.  I am so ready to have all my little things back in one place.

I don’t have a lot, but I like what I have.

I will also be able to pick up the shelving unit at Harrington’s and if time permits I may also get the metal filing cabinet from Community Thrift.

And I will need to of course, get my own small caravan of things from here in Nob Hill.  That will most likely be the first thing I do.  I want to get all of my things out of Clay and Leavenworth post-haste.  I am very ready to leave.  I will have only five more days left to ride my bicycle up this hill.

Then, I will be back to the flats.  Oh yeah.

The other thing I need to do is co-ordinate moving help.  I am really bad at asking for help.  REALLY BAD.  But I am going to suck it up and ask.

There is a very big part of me that wants to do it all on my own.  Technically I could.  I could carry every thing I have in storage without help.  But it will take me all day to do it.  All day.

Or I could get a little humility and admit that it’s nicer to get some help.  Besides, I am more than down for moving a friend.  I have happily done so before, I can allow myself to ask for and receive help, I won’t die.

And knowing that should all else fail, should not one single person be able to lend a hand,  I know that I can comfortably take on the task.

Wow.  A car.  A truck.  And one that I don’t have to be responsible for finding parking for or paying insurance on.  I have always flirted with the idea of doing City Car Share or Zip Car.  And I just realized that had I not taken the job at Mission Bicycle I would probably still not have done it.

My hand was forced.  I was told to sign up.

More often than not, I need to be told to do something.  I will just sit in a corner thinking and thinking and thinking and not doing.  But once some one gives me a directive and says, you must do this, I somehow summon up the ability to walk through it.

Fear of not pleasing my boss is still a defect that works for me.  I “force” myself to do things differently because that is how the job is done.  And now I have a membership that will allow me to do some small simple little dreams that I have kept on the back burner for too long.

This move is good for me.  These experiences couch surfing have been good for me too.  No, I have not liked the leveling of pride, but it has changed how I live and I am really beginning to like what I see.  And I am having such an enormous amount of gratitude for what I have been given.

I doubt, very much so, that I would have appreciated this little room in the Mission as much as I do without having gone through the experiences of the past few months.  I have been adequately prepped!

I can’t wait to put the key in the lock and turn the handle on the door.

Anticipation can be delicious.

Sunday Sunshine

January 23, 2012

Not that there was any actual sunshine happening today.  All the sunshine was within me.

Get your barf on now.  This is a happy post.  I had a happy day.  It was for not dramatic.  It rained.  It was quiet.  It was sweet.  It was full of gratitude and I got to be useful to myself and others.  That is a good day for me.

I also found a few things for my new room.  One of which I bought.  I found an old wooden shelving unit, sort of similar to a grocers shelf in the back section of Harringtons on Valencia.  It was buried under a bunch of stuff and just out of curiosity I moved things around and off of it to discover the perfect shelving unit for my new bathroom.

I spoke with Caesar yesterday and confirmed that I could move into my room at his parents house this next Sunday.  He told me that the bathroom remodel is almost done and it is very spacious, plenty of room for a shelves.  This unit I found at Harringtons is perfection.

And then I found the other item that I was looking for at Community Thrift–an old-fashioned metal filing cabinet, for $30! I am actually going to use it as a dresser.  It will be disguised as a filing cabinet, but instead of files it will house socks and underwear and shirts and jeans.  I don’t have a closet in my new room, although they have included a wardrobe with the room.  I will probably put the wardrobe in the bathroom and use it as an ancillary closet.  I want my bedroom space to be really sweet and simple.

I can’t recall the dimensions of the room very well, but I think it will just fit my bed, the two end tables, my rocking chair and my desk.  If the wardrobe is in the bedroom it will be really cramped.  Caesar also said they have freshly painted the room.  Awesome.  A clean slate.  A new space.

It has been pointed out  a lot to me how much I move.  Some people have said perhaps it is you attempting to lay to rest the habits of your child hood.  Others have said that it is because I am a Sagittarius and that like the Centaur who is also the archer, I am following the path of the arrow as it flies from the bow.

I actually have no idea why I keep moving.  Perhaps I am like a shark and need to move to stay a float.  I would like to be settled down for a bit, I can say that much. I would like to be in this room for a little while.  I would like to not move again and just be in a routine.  That would be lovely.

My meanderings around the Mission were not inclusive to furniture stores.  I also went to Therapy (the store not a therapist) and found a darling little striped navy and red dress for $39 bucks.  Not too often that I find a chic, simple, well-fitting dress there for that cheap.  And the store was empty, I guess there was some sort of sporting event today?

Ha.

I also had coffee at two different places.  First at Four Barrel.  Then at Borderlands Cafe.  Four Barrel was doing the deal, Borderlands was doing my deal.  It was a part of my date with myself.  I like to walk around when it’s rainy out and smell the leaves and the whisk of smoke in the air and know that I am going to go to Dog Eared and get a new book–Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood–and then go to a cafe and get cozy with it.

Which is exactly what I did.  I found my book then walked over to Borderlands Cafe and snagged the great big leather deep cushioned arm-chair in the corner of the window.  I order a latte sprinkled it with nutmeg and then nestled into the corner and read my book for about an hour on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Divine.

Then over to the nail salon for a manicure and there was no one there at all, everybody was in a pub or bar or restaurant or house glued to some television screen.  I got the royal pampering and a good look through the latest W magazine (which made me realize that none of my mail, specifically none of my magazines, have been forwarded from my old address.  Oh, I got my other bills, but my Vogue, my Nylon, and my W’s never caught up with me.  I have been tempted a few times to go over and buzz the apartment and say hand them over, but really, there’s no true need).

And speaking of which, I will need to forward my address this week.  I actually don’t believe I have gotten any mail here at Calvin’s.  One Christmas card from my Aunt Marybeth, but that’s it.

I also need to co-ordinate my move in next week.  But I did not want to focus too much on that today.  I wanted a nice cozy day.  A nice day of taking care of me.  And I got that.  It was sunny inside my heart.  I just drifted about the neighborhood.  I kept running into people I had not seen in a while as well, which was fun, I ran into Patty yesterday and she asked me where I’ve been–Nob Hill–seems like the other side of the world some times.

It’s good to be getting re-grounded with my fellows in the Mission.  Nice to be coming home.

And nice to know that this is my last week in Nob Hill.  I am ever so grateful for it, but it does not work very well for me.  And now that I can see that for what it is, I can let it go.

They say the Mission is the sunniest neighborhood in the city.  And even today when it was raining, I have to say, I agree.

Chicken and Waffles?

January 22, 2012

NO.

Chicken and blue jeans!

The best ever.

No, this is not some new fangled dish that I have whipped up, rather it is the date I had with Shannon today.  Can I just say, fantastic?  I got a latte, a ride to Nordestrom’s Off the Rack, a suggestion for a brand name pair of jeans (I have been desperately looking for a replacement pair as I am down to one pair of jeans and the poor things are dying on me since I wear them all the time), Paige Jeans, and a run to Trader Joes.

Holy moly.  Now that’s a date!

The sunshine on my face woke me up this morning.  Sunshine on my face, oh so nice, especially after the crazy rain and monsoon of last night.  I was not looking forward to a wet day today, and it never happened.  It was chilly and blustery, but it did not rain.  I left the bicycle in the garage nevertheless.  I did not want to risk it, the weather was uncertain and a break once in a while, oh, you know, slowing down, is good for a girl.

I had a nice shower, loads of good coffee, scrumptious oatmeal (this weeks recipe is organic whole cut oats, laced with ripe organic bananas and organic dark red cherries from Rainbow.  Add sea salt, raw cocoa, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, cinnamon, and fresh nutmeg.  Spike with unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  Sit in sunlight and savor life).

What was I upset about last night?

I wrote out my morning pages, did a little inventory, took an amazingly hot shower and put on a dress and tights and my glitter scarf and embraced myself for being who I am instead of comparing my exterior to some one else.  That made for the real contentment.

I walked down Nob Hill caught the 49 to the Mission and hung out with my fellows before going to Four Barrel and getting acquainted with a lovely lady friend.  Then Shannon got a hold of me and said, hey want a ride anywhere?  I am going to meet you with the car.

Oh yes, yes please!

Friends, darling friends, how you endear yourselves to your carless compatriots here in this hilly city.

She picked me up at 2:30 p.m. in front of hipster heaven, I mean Four Barrel, and we headed off to the Rack.  And I noticed for the first time her licence plate–

RogueRN!

Freaking adorable.

We got caught up and I told her I needed blue jeans and underpants and we went shopping.  I also told her I wanted to get a chicken to roast off.  I have a full plate tomorrow and knew I would not be able to do any cooking for the rest of the weekend.  Plus, I confirmed that I will be able to move into my new room on Sunday!

So, the chicken, if it was to be cooked, would need to be done tonight.

Well, before there can be shopping at TJ’s the Rack had to be hit.  I have to say it is an experience that I have infrequently had–clothes shopping with a girlfriend.

I get it now, it rocks!

In the past clothes shopping with girlfriends was a very rare occurrence, one in which I would silently mope around while said girlfriend was trying on clothes that were many sizes too small for me.  It’s hard to shop someplace when you are a 26/28 and your girlfriends are size 8 or 6 or 10s.

Today, size 10.  Today a medium.  So nice to not dig through the shop hoping that maybe, just maybe that XL will fit.  Or that there even be an XL around.  Or if there is it’s not a hideous mumu style kimono dress that a color blind person would wear in a dark room by themselves with the mirrors shrouded in black.

And Shannon’s recommendation on the Paige Jeans, spot the fuck on!  They are fabulous.  I knew as soon as I pulled them on.  Fit perfect, long enough in the leg, nice flare at the bottom, don’t sit funny on my hips not too high, not too low and my butt, well, let’s just say it looks good.

Yay!

After a successful raid of the Rack we went to Petes and splurged on lattes.  I have one about once a week, that’s my big treat.  It was delicious and the company was awesome.  We talked about Burning Man, which by the way, how is it that I find Burning Man costume stuff in January all over the place–furry vests, amazing tights, zebra print panties–but it makes no sense to buy it.  I am not going to wear any….

Who am I kidding? I will wear a furry vest and amazing tights and zebra print panties.

But, I resisted the pull of the tights and the maribou and the shoe sale on the second floor and just got the jeans and the underpants I needed to get.  My god, there may actually be a true grown up underneath all these tattoos, I practiced financial restraint.

Although, I did go a little nuts in TJs.  Not crazy.  Just got a few more things than I probably need, but I figure, when do I get to go grocery shopping and have a ride in a car and not be lugging all my shit up a hill on my bike?  Not very often.  So, I got some extra fixings to go with the chicken–carrots and red potatoes–and I roasted them right up.

I made roasted chicken with red potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower–smothered in garlic, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, sea salt, and drizzled with olive oil–then off to the laundry mat while it baked and voila!

I am set for the week.  My laundry is done.  My writing is almost done.  I have downloaded some Project Runway All Stars.  I have a belly full of chicken and the fixings for a weeks worth of meals.

All I have to do is get through the week and then….

New room!  New home!  My own bed!  My own space!  Oh god, you know I’m going there–

a room of my own.

I will dance around it in my new pants!

I Am Not My Job

January 21, 2012

Or the absolutely horribly unflattering pictures of me that have been taken over the last few days.  Trust me, they are bad.

Really?  You’re going to put this on Facebook?

Really?

Gah.

It apparently does not matter that I lost over a 105 lbs, you still managed to get a double chin in almost every shot you took, what the flying hell?  Seriously?  Head of marketing my ass.

Oh, I know, I’m being overly critical, but it’s my photo people, me, a representation of me on an internet page that has 20,000 friends.

I wanted to run screaming into the bike lane and get run over by the commuter cyclists heading home before the monsoon hit. I don’t work there. I don’t work for you, I don’t want to work for you, yuck. Stop following me around and taking pictures of my double chin.  I thought I had lost that.  Apparently not.

Good lord.

And might I mention, just a thought, I know I hate my profile, but could you perhaps not shoot the camera underneath me?  I think, maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s because the woman taking my pictures is all of a negative 1 in the clothes section.  I am not kidding, my fore arm is bigger than her waist.

But I think, that the most flattering angle is usually shot from above?  Not below the person.

Christ on a stick.  I hate these pictures, they make me want to cry.  I know I am also hormonal or some such heap of chemical baloney.  Or maybe fed up with working in hipster central where everyone is tiny and I picked out the wrong helmet, I like the Nutcase, I’m not cool enough to wear a Bern.

Sigh.

Fact is.  No picture is good enough.

OH, now I really lie.  I actually have had some awesome photos taken of me, John Curley, Arin Fishkin, Keith Carlson, have taken some amazing photos of me.  But the ones I had taken today and Wednesday were not flattering.

And I know I don’t look like those awful things, but man it put a poor taste in my mouth.  I suppose it’s just more humility.  But I left work so upset and so annoyed.  I just wanted to spit.  I did not know how to tell my co-worker to not post them up and please, further, do not write about me, I don’t want to read it.  I don’t want to see it.  I just want to pretend this whole week in pictures did not happen.

Yuck and double yuck and oh wait, there’s more?  I get to take a “year book” photo on Tuesday for the website.

Awesome.

If you cannot hear the acrid irony dripping from my voice, be sure, it is there.

Fantastic.

At least with Face Book the damn post will be up and gone and done and over.  With the website that picture will be up as long as I work there.  I am tempted to pull a prima donna act and just let them take a photo of my glasses and my mug of tea.

There–that’s me, nothing else.  No pictures of me with my too big cheap hoop earrings or my tattoos or my used jean jacket.  Nada.  I don’t work there.  Nope you did not see me at this shop, I work at another down the street.

Big deep breath.

None of this is real.

I am not a photo.  I am not a series of poorly taken photos either.  I am just me.  And I don’t always look pretty and I don’t always look how I want to look and I certainly do not photograph how I want either.

If I got what I wanted, the world would be a troubled place.  Fact is I don’t know what’s best for me.  I just know what I think is best for me.  I am not my image.  Looks fade, beauty changes, bodies change.  Time marches on and I can choose to let myself be upset about of all things a Facebook post, or I can get my gratitude on for what I do have.

A job that I actually am starting to do really well at.

A bicycle frame freshly painted from West Coast Powder Coating.  A new messenger bag, which matches my new bike frame, from Rickshaw Bag Works–a gift–from the company from one of the reps.  And a really nice gift at that, I even got to pick out my colors, it was not just serendipitous that my bag matches my bike, it was planned out.

I am not my job.  I am just a worker amongst workers.  And I know that I am far from alone in having had bad pictures taken.  I have had bad pictures taken before and they did not kill me.

They did not.

Neither will these.

And odds are the post may not even be run.  The GM could tell I was a little put off by the photos. I did not have the temperament to discuss it rationally with him.  I was a little over the whole thing by the time I was leaving and a bit curt about the experience.  I restrained what I wanted to say and I left it to the marketing team to decide what photo they wanted to use.

Hopefully they will not use the one that Carlos said I looked like Frankenstein in.  Jesus, Carlos.  It was a bad picture, but was that really necessary to say?

I just shrugged and walked out the design studio and go my bag and my bike and went off to ride in the rain to my next destination.

Holy crap.

I am sensitive.  I was angrier than I realized.  I vented on poor Bethie and on Joan and they were both sweet as pie.  And Carolyn.  Who told me, Face Book is not real.

Oh yeah.

And all the ladies commiserated with me.  I don’t know a single female over the age of twelve that is not sensitive to a poorly taken photo.  It really did remind me of bad school photos.

The nice thing is, in the end, it’s just like a co-worker told me a few weeks ago–“when I get upset about things at work, I remind myself, ‘hey it’s just a bike shop‘ and then I don’t feel so bad”.

Duh.

It’s just a bike shop and I am so much more than just a shop girl or a bad photo.

Thank God.


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