Archive for March, 2012

Stable

March 31, 2012

I am stable today.

Neither manic or dramatic, although I tried, I did.  I started out on the early side as I was supposed to meet Carolyn for coffee before work and apparently I had forgotten that she was in New York.

Oops.

I was bratty for a few minutes, annoyed, potty mouthed and snotty, then it went right away.  Can I be right, am I right, who cares?  I am up and out and in the world hours before I wanted to be and I skipped my morning writing to get an extra half hour of sleep.  Next time I will confirm my meet up time.  I usually do anyhow, I own my side.

What was I to do?  I thought momentarily of going back home, but I knew there was work to be done at work, cleaning up after the party, and so I went in.  I was of service.  I cleaned, I swept, I picked up.  Truthfully there was not much mess left to deal with, just some tidying, and sweeping all the cigarettes to the curb.

I did not feel right about leaving the cigarette strewn sidewalk in front of the shop when I walked in, neither did I cotton to the pile of butts out in front of Paxton Gate for Kids.  I am still a nanny and could just imagine the children sticking them in their mouths, that’s what kids do, they see us do it, then wonder why we freak out when they do.

So, cigarettes to the curb.

May I just inject a little side bar, so glad I do not smoke any more.  Sometimes I cannot believe that I actually did.  I can’t stand the way it smells.  It’s pretty much like when I was a kid and hated being in an enclosed space with my mom smoking.

The worst was being in the car when she was driving and it was cold out and I was in the back seat and the cold wind just whipped around the back.  I hated it.  And my mom smoked a lot.  I used to go to the corner gas station and buy them for her with a note and a dollar.  I remember when she said she was going to quit when cigarettes went over a buck.

She did not.

Although she did recently, which is amazing, I rather thought she always would be a smoker.  But sometimes things change, drastically.

Stable.

No drama, no seeking, no trying to stir things up.

I rode my bike home past the Stable Cafe on Folsom and 18th.  I love turning that corner when I am coming off of 17th street, it is such a smooth lovely right hand glide and I always seem to catch the lights.  Friday night bike riding in the Mission can be hazardous to your health, mental and physical.  I have forced myself on more than one occasion to go slow as it’s the weekend and everybody is out.

Plus, it’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow and I think people have an urgency when that happens to get out and play before the rains come in.

I believe that will mean a mellow day for me at work, I am down for that, it will be my “Friday”.  I am getting used to coming straight home on Friday nights after my evening commitments.  But it is challenging, I wanted to scoot home bad tonight, being at work an extra hour early this morning and working twelve hours yesterday, I was understandably anxious to just get home.

And home I am.

With a new pair of Levi’s commuter jeans courtesy of the event thrown last night.  I am not looking a gift horse in the mouth, but I will say this, apparently girls don’t ride bikes because Levi’s doesn’t have a women’s style.  I took the size that fit me the best, said thank you, and promptly made the decision to turn around and sell them at Buffalo Xchange.  I shall be moseying over to them Sunday or Monday.

Stable.

You need a stable of men to satisfy you.

I once had a lover say this to me.

Not, that I have a stable at my disposal, nor have I ever.

You think this is an aside, but it ties in, I promise.

Besides, it’s Friday, isn’t sex on everyone’s brain?  Or is it just me?

My co-worker asked me if this guy, won’t name names as he’s a sweet guy and he’s a local artist/craftsman that gets around a lot in the Mission, has a crush on me.

I was like, huh?

I can never tell.

“Carmen, he’s beating you on the head with his penis,” she said scoffing when I said I think he’s gay.

I never know.

But, as I was telling Beth earlier this evening, looking all lovely and tan and scrumptious from her recent visit to Hawaii.  God I want to go, go, go. I was given the go ahead to start asking people out, guys out, by John Ater.

Now why would some one need permission?

I don’t, but I like taking other people’s suggestions, I don’t always pick them very well.  My picker’s kind of broken, you could say.  I have tried lots of different things, I have asked out, I have not asked out.  I have read books, I have gone to therapy.  I have tried online dating, which is just a nice way of saying, let’s get together and have sex, yes, OkCupid and Craigslist, I am talking about you.

I have said all sorts of things and tried all sorts of things.  And nada.

I was half thinking about it when I was riding home from Church and Market this evening, swinging down the street on 17th, gliding through the intersections, wheeling onto the home stretch on Folsom Street, grateful for the old growth trees, which even at night, add an element of beauty to Folsom street as the light drift down from the street lamps through the leaves, and I rode past Stable.

Stable.

I am stable.  I don’t even care about a date.

All I cared about was getting home and eating an apple and doing my writing for the night.

Stable is rather nice.

 

 

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FREE BEER

March 30, 2012

Ah, the siren song of the kegger.

Oh, yes, that’s right, I have been in the midst of it all night long.  Twelve hour work day which culminated in a party at the shop with not one, not two, but three kegs of beer.

And oh,

about 1,000 Mission hipsters.

Nothing says good times like cheap beer on tap and waxed mustaches.

I should not bitch too much though, I got to meet Gary Fisher, and frankly he had a lovely mustache.

The store hosted a party for Levi’s.  It was definitely a party.  It reminded me of the “good old days” at the Angelic.  There were people wall to wall to wall.  There were people from one corner to the side-walk and overflowing down the street.  And there were bikes everywhere.

The best was the little hippie/raver chic in yoga pants that swung by at 9:15p.m. at the height of the melee to put air in her tires.

And yes, I did go get the shop pump for her.

She was on one of our bikes after all.

I am actually happily surprised at the containment of the party.  Despite having a racing team from Zeitgeist in the store, we managed to keep it all to a dull roar.  There were a few folks that pushed it, one dude who was very into me showing him some merchandise while he stood there two fisting beer out of a plastic cup, then spilled it on said merchandise.

Douche.

I covered up my annoyance at that pretty well.

In fact, I feel surprisingly ok with the whole thing.  Oh, I was more than happy to leave.  In fact, I dashed out without being the last one to close shop and set the alarm and make sure all the loose ends were tucked away.  I did make sure the important stuff was locked and secure, then I grabbed my bike and got on it.

I still had to ride through a bunch of yahoos who had been busily filling their water bottle with beer prior to my leaving the store.  And I nearly got hit by some one who had a long happy hour and was weaving their way home, but I got home.

I only have to be back at work in less than twelve hours.

I still have approximately seven hundred words to write.

On what, fuck if I know.  Beer is not really a topic I give that much of a rats ass about any longer.

I am also hoping that the kegs will magically disappear tomorrow.  I did a lot of crawling around them while I was working today.  They were stashed in the back next to where we keep our food and the mini fridge and microwave.  I got to make lunch and dinner straddling a couple of kegs.

Sexy.

Not.

I have served the beer Gods well.

I am not talking about tonight either.  Tonight was but a small tribute.  When I think about all the kegs I have been around in my life, I am really, really, really grateful that I don’t have to be again.  The Essen Haus, with its 15 plus beers on tap, that was the worst keg cooler ever, ever, ever.  The ceiling on it was so low you had to hunch over to change a keg.  And it was such work to stock it as well.  How many times a night that a keg blew, especially on a Foot Ball Saturday.

How many times running up and down those stairs to flip over a keg of Spaten or Franzikaner or Pauliner or Hopf.  The way they would spray back on you if you ran the lines to quick.  The slickness of the steps going down to the basement.  I am shocked that I never really hurt myself on those stairs.

I did fall down them once.

My feet slipped out from underneath me and my skirt flew up, that’s right, I was wearing a dirndle–the German idea for a Wonder Bra–periwinkle blue with black embroidered flowers on the hem and bodice–and it whipped right up over my head and I slid down on my ass.

My underwear were ruined, it was scary and I had black and blue bruises on the backs of my thighs for weeks.

Then of course, my beer servitude over at the Angelic Brewing Company.

We did not serve beer out of kegs, but straight from the brewing tank.  The tap lines ran underneath the floor up to the bar.  When a tank blew, that was some serious shit.

500 gallon tanks.

I was surrounded by beer for decades.

Tonight’s little showing was just enough of a reminder to me of what I went through, every night, every weekend, for years and years and years.  I counted tills and separated dollar bills and cleaned up spilt liquor and beer and drank my ass off.

Most of the time I did not drink until after the tills were counted and the deposits made.

Those routines actually served me really well tonight.  And I did my best to keep my opinions to myself about where things were going to be located and thank full I was listened to.

The person running the event wanted to put the keg next to the brain, our main computer and nerve center, credit card machine, soft good merchandising, the printer, the phone lines, the scanner, the modem, all the serious electronic gadgetry that the business runs on.

I was not happy with this lay out.

Number one, this is where I work, I can spend hours at a go in that desk chair ringing up sales, talking on the phone, interacting with vendors, basically doing my job, and the last thing I wanted was to have to sit in a beer stank for the next millennium.

The floors are old wood, any splash back on those kegs it was going to settle right in and be really gross to work from.  Plus, any beer getting slopped about on the brain would have made my life a living hell for the next month.

I said something once and my opinion was over rode.

I said something twice and the same thing happen.

I walked away, had a few words with the powers that be in the bathroom, took some deep breaths and said, what ever you want to do.  I said, I have had a little experience, decades, of working in bars and restaurants and breweries, and I don’t recommend this set up.

I was heard, maybe, but it was not acknowledged.  I gave up.  Then two of my other co-workers saw what was happening and intervened, neither of whom had any idea that I had been fighting the good fight and had surrendered.

The beer was moved.

I will be returning to the scene of the party way earlier than I want and there will be plenty of things to clean and straighten, but at least my work space won’t smell of free beer.

And neither will I.

 

Post Cards From The Edge

March 29, 2012

I got a postcard from Bethie in my mailbox tonight when I got home!

I love mail.

Not bills, not advertisements, mail.  Cards, letters, postcards.

In fact, I send myself cards, letters, and postcards all the time.  I like to go somewhere and send myself a postcard from there.  I sent myself at least five from Paris.  My favorite being from the Pompidou Museum that I got in the gift shop along with a magnet for the Kandinsky show that was there.

Cheap gifts that you don’t have to find room for in you valise and a really nice surprise reminder when you get home from your trip.  I got my Paris postcards off and on for over a week, ten days after I got back from my travels.  I kept getting nice little reminders of my time and I get little shots of memory from the trip whenever I look at those postcards.

Tonight’s postcard reminded me how much I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, but have never made it there.  I recently watched the Descendents and it really struck me how much I want to go, despite the knowledge of how built up the tourism industry has made it.

My natural state is bare foot.  I am part Polynesian and I have never been.  I adore tropical fruit, mangos, pineapple, guava, papaya, kiwis.   I love raw fish.  Hell, I even like Spam.

Fried Spam sandwich on white bread with mayo, sliced tomatoes, cheese, and fried egg.  Delicious. Or my cousin’s Hawaiian potato salad.  Oh my god.  So good. Let’s talk about died and gone to Heaven.  I think that would definitely be attributed to the Polynesian in me.  Versus the Germanic side of my background–which explains my lech for sour kraut and sausage and mashed potatoes with butter and pan gravy.

I am also Puerto Rican and Scot.

I am just a regular old hodge podge of stuff.

I have never been to Germany, nor Scotland.  I actually have no real desire to go.

However, I have been to Puerto Rico and I really would love to go to Hawaii.  I want to learn more about my ancestry.  I only know odd ball nuggets of things.

My ancestor was supposedly imposed upon to work in the sugar cane fields in Hawaii and was compelled to leave Puerto Rico to do so as an indentured servant.

In lay language, he was a slave.  What I have been told other than that was said ancestor fell in love with the plantation owners daughter and they secretly wed.  He became naturalized when Hawaii became a state and they misspelled his name on the paper work–Martins in my true last name.

It supposedly was pronounced Marteens, like saltines, the person doing the paper work added an “e” and that’s how my name became Martines.  I cannot tell you how many people misspell it.

It ends up being Martinez all the time.

Hell, even teachers who taught me all through high school, not naming names, Mr. Stewart, couldn’t get it right or would mispronounce it.  I bugged me, but not as much as it bugged my sister who would insist on having the “e” taken out of her name to pay some weird tribute to our heritage.

I always wanted to smack her for that.

Drama pants.

It’s on your birth certificate and mine and dad’s, so leave it be.

I have no idea if any of that is true either, family myth or family legend.  My genealogy was not real clear to me, and considering the source is my practising alcoholic father, perhaps not really reliable.

Then, on my mom’s side, supposedly, we are related to Mary Queen of Scots.

I never argued with my mom about this, but I did always wonder, because if that was so, then we weren’t Scottish but English.  Mary Queen of Scots was not Scottish, mom, fyi.

And I know absolutely nada about the German branch, but my mom’s maiden name, Munz, well, that says German if nothing else does.

My family on my mom’s side were bootleggers, extortionists, and whalers.

Excellent.

I basically come from a gang of drunk whalers and slaves.

Right on.

I do know that my grandmother was in Hawaii when they bombed Pearl Harbor and that her maiden name is Ramos.  But I know less than nothing about that side of the family.  I do have a faint, oh so faint memory of my great grandma Ramos holding me, she had a beautiful smile and the prettiest, kindest brown eyes.

I could also just be thinking of the only picture I have seen of her and she is holding me.  She had long dark hair and was brown as a nut.  She was wearing a pink house coat and I was happy, happy, happy in her lap.

I am on the lighter end of the brown spectrum on my father’s side.  Although much darker than the Germanic/Scottish side of my mom’s.  My sister and I rather stuck out like sore thumbs at family reunions.

Unless my cousins Leif and Ezard were around–they are half black.

The American melting pot, I love it.

I spent my first Christmas outside of Wisconsin at my Uncle Boy’s place up in the Sierra’s when I moved here and I will never forget meeting my cousins.

It was spooky how much they looked like my sister.  In fact, I could see all the little anomalies that always had stood out to me when I was in Wisconsin, on my dad’s side, I fit right in.

I have brown hair, brown eyes, and big wide flat feet.

My father would call them Aloha feet.

I also know my name is Kalamena in Hawaiian and my sister’s is Kikeli.

I used to have a key chain with my name in Hawaiian on it that my grandmother gave me.  I wish I still had it. I know where I lost it too, I had it for the longest time, but I gave it to another woman I met at the End Up who was also named Carmen.

I’ll let you imagine that scene.

I also had a grass skirt that my grandmother sent me and place mats and dishes, with clowns and circus animals on them, from her.  I remember how much I loved it when she would give me coconut milk when I was little.  This was in San Jose.  That was where I hail from–born in Palo Alto at Stanford hospital.

San Ho.

I have only been back once.  It was at night and it was for a party at some high-rise condo.  I did not do much sight-seeing.

I would however, love to go to Hawaii.  I bet I still have family there.  I want to hang out bare foot on the lanai.  I want to wear flowers in my hair.  I don’t think I need to learn how to hula, but I wouldn’t mind going to a luau.  Pig roast is damn good.

I worry, though, I worry, I might never come back.

I would go to Kilauea and I would say hey to Pele and I would learn how to surf and I would check out the volcanoes and I would just never ever come home.

Because I would already be there.

 

I Am Not Your Consolation Prize

March 28, 2012

I ran into a gentleman this past weekend whom I had not seen in some time.

The last time I saw him he pulled over to say hello.  I was still working as a nanny, walking with the girls in the  flats at the bottom of Potrero Hill by the Jackson Rec Center.  He was with the daughter of his girlfriend.

It was nice to see him, although, I was a little remiss to discover he was dating someone with a child.  I had aspirations once, or a crush once.

Really, I had a fantasy once, and it involved him and making a family.

Seeing him Saturday brought it up again.  Then I saw a little pattern.  Whether it’s his or mine does not matter, I know what my side of the situation is and I saw it very distinctly.  Something to the effect of, patient Carmen waiting in the wings for the man to realize what he’s missing, get some sense in his brain and ask me out.

Does not happen that way.  In fact, after seeing him and saying hello, I took myself away to another area.  He still made an effort to see me before he left and I hugged him and listened with a sympathetic ear to his story and some of the break up details.

Truth be told, he looked pretty shell-shocked and I had some compassion for him.  Little else, honestly.  I don’t want rebounds thank you.

Then I totally forgot about him.

Totally.

How refreshing.

Except he called me and left a message and wanted to talk.  I let the message sit for a day without responding.  There was a time when I would have dropped everything and called him right back.  There was a time.  That time has long passed.  I did not call him until this evening.

I almost forgot to do it at all.  I was checking a text and saw the number, which I had not saved and thought, who’s number is that?  Then I remembered, oh, that’s right he called.  I should leave him a lone. Then, I thought, wait, he is a friend, he is going through it, I’ll return the call.

He picked right up.  Little breathless, which was sweet, and almost immediately launched into break up woes and what he’s doing to process.  I just listened.  I did not have to do anything else.

Then he said the big stupid.

How come guys say the stupid?

He said, “I shouldn’t say this but, after we [his ex-girlfriend] broke up, I thought to myself…”

Long pause.

NO.

Oh NO, do not go there.

Too late.

Oh, yeah, let’s fill in the blank with all the what ifs and if I had only, and what would it have been like, and ooh, is he finally going to acknowledge…

“I need to get back to my routine, and to my Carmen.”

Well.

That’s nice to hear, but you just broke up with someone.  You are not ready for anything.  The other part of me said, yippee!  Now he’ll finally ask me out.

Nice try, I don’t think so brain.

I did not angle for a date.  Instead I said it sounded like he needed to focus on himself and his own needs and cultivate a relationship with himself.  I said these things out loud to him, but truly I was speaking to myself, re-iterating the work that I have done for myself.

And that ultimately what I want for myself is not some one to complete me, but some one to compliment me.

I could almost see the light bulb lighting up over his head, “yes!” he exclaimed.

Note to gentleman, you had your chance, now move on.  In fact, you had more than one chance.

The first was almost seven years ago.

You almost had me again two years after that-asking me to go out to the opera, but then never confirming it.

You could have had me even two years ago, I think it was the symphony this time, after we had not seen each other in a while having run into you and going for a coffee, and a ride in your vintage Mustang Charger.  But you never followed through.

I am not the problem here, I am also not your Carmen.

Your Carmen is a fantasy.  A sweet, understanding ear, some one non-judgemental, and nice, and that has absolutely nothing to do with me or who I am.

Ok, perhaps I am a bit harsh.  I am those things, but those are just ideals and ideas, there’s not something behind it.  You actually don’t know me very well.  You have an idea of who I am and what I represent.

There was a time when I wanted you to know me, to know the true me, but again, that time has passed.

I don’t like to live in the past, there is nothing there for me.  I can only sustain my happiness in the moment.

I had a good talk with John Ater recently and I think I got the go ahead to try something different again.

I was explaining how I had a mild, hahahaha, interest in a customer that had come into the shop, whom felt was flirting with me, and how to proceed to getting a possible date.  Was it appropriate to?   He’s a customer.

Then John told me I was a lot like him.

Gay, Texan, 6’5″?

Not really.

What he meant is that we are both big personalities.  I know this, and I know this to be intimidating.  I have worked on dialing it back, not losing my personality, but not standing behind it so much.  It really is a facade that keeps others out.  If they see how big and brash and bold I am they may not see through to the real me and then I don’t have to worry about getting intimate.

He gave me some suggestions, then said, “honey, you might just have to do the asking out.”

Well, alright then.  I may just do that.

I will wait until he comes to pick up his bike.  No need to facecrack stalk him or google him, oogle him, either.  I stand, or sit here, if you want to be literal, as a complete person. I am not going to step back and be some one’s consolation prize however, or runner-up, or the person that the guy turns to when he needs emotional support and to process.

We all know how that romantic comedy ends.

And I am not the exception to the rule, he’s not all that into me and I’m not all that into waiting around for him to figure that out for the fourth time.

Sorry Charlie, I have plans and they don’t involve asking you out on a date.

Stand Up For Yourself

March 27, 2012

But not against others.

Now there’s a thought.

I heard a lot about flight or fight tonight and it seemed quite apropos of my relaxing of the idea that I need to move and I need another job and I need a career and I better make something happen.

Last night I had a good long talk with John Ater and I explained to him that I was going to stay put and not move and that I realized that the decision that I needed to make was to sit the fuck still.

He laughed.

He always laughs when I hit the nail on the head.

“Hardest thing to do.”

Damn, skippy straight.  It is seriously, retardedly, ridiculously hard.  But I am sitting on my hands.

I almost applied for a job at Google today.  There’s an opening in their administrative department.  I know nothing about Google, other than I often want to tell people to just go look it up on Google when they ask me some obscure question or they want information from me that they could get by doing their own foot work.

This happens so often at work that I am always a little amused when a client, typically over the phone, who probably got the number for the shop off the internet, off Google, asks me to get them information.

I usually say something like, “please hold while I Google that.”

Asshat, is what I say under my breath.

I like how ‘google’ is now a verb.

I also think, goggles, gawk, oggle when I say google.  Sometimes I say oogle instead of ogle, as it sound fun.

Then I did not send it in.  I said I was going to sit on my hands for a little while, that I was not going to drive myself nuts looking for work.  Instead, I am going to keep going to the shop and learning new things and honing my skills.

I am also letting the work come to me.  I have a friend who has asked me to do some free-lance editing on his blog.

What?

I just finished it.  I don’t know what to charge, I don’t know if I was actually of help, but it was cool to be asked to consult on some writing.

I am also going to advocate for a local artist and help her get some of her work in San Francisco stores and galleries.  I am excited about this.

She told me the same thing that Shannon basically told me yesterday–I am good with people and I can make those connections and do the face to face interactions that some people have difficulty doing.

It is a new adventure.  Although when I thought about it I have a passion for art and I love her work and it deserves to be available to more people, so it’s really a fun way to get out there and be of service to her and yet stand up for myself and learn some new things and perhaps try out something different.

She is also a good friend and knows that I have a tendency to jam pack my time off with projects and things and stuff and you know, busy work.

I had some of the same thoughts and realized that I can help her, and help myself, I am getting paid for my time, and still have some parameters on how much time I give to the project.

I’m just going to start out small and maybe do a couple of hours, three tops on Mondays during the early afternoon.  We met today and discussed her needs and we caught up too.  It also helps that her office is in the same space as the bike shop, I get to see her all the time and I am excited to do this.

John mentioned, more than once, I have grumbled about my job more than once, that I need not look at working at the shop as the end all be all of my career.  I am there for a reason.  I am going to hand some one my card one day and they are going to need me for what I do.

I just know it.

The shop is the next step in where ever.

Mrs. Fishkin also made a distinctly good point to me today, it’s nice to be able to have a relaxed look about at other jobs.  I am sustaining.  Granted it is a simple sustaining and I am not doing anything frivolous and I am not doing a bunch of traveling, but my basic needs are being well met.

Which means that I can look around with out the pressures of ‘I need a job!’ I have done this and it is not fun, it is not comfortable and it’s just a recipe for stress.

I can leave my work at work.  Even when I am out on my bike and I am riding what I do and I see our bikes out on the street and I want to holler at some one to lock up their wheel properly our it will get stolen, I can leave it at work.  I can go about the rest of my day, write, blog, get my recovery under my belt, do my thing without too much worry about work.

That is a relief.

I also like the location, duh, and I really like my co-workers.  I got the cutest text from one of the guys at work that he and his girl friend had secured tickets to Burning Man. It is really sweet to be able to have friendships with my co-workers and relationships with them outside the work world.

I can stand up for myself.  I don’t have to run away, I don’t have to flee.  I can let things come to me and I can go out there and live in the world.

That was the other thing that John told me, you want to write, you have got to go out and live.

So true.

I Want A Date!

March 26, 2012

Not too big a thing to ask now is it?

Actually, I want a date for a particular day, June 9th, 2012.

And, yes, I am more than willing to go on a date before than as well, hell people, it’s only March.  Granted, it feels like it’s the end of March already and how the hell did that happen so fast?

I have to go to the bank tomorrow and withdraw my rent money, just a note to self, while I am thinking on it.  I won’t have another opportunity to do so before rent is due.  I like paying cash too; partially because I think it must be fun to be the other person getting a wad of cash.

Who doesn’t like getting 7 crisp one hundred-dollar bills?

So, there’s time before June, is what I’m getting at, to find a date.   At least I hope the fuck so.

I was sorting through some things today as I was getting ready to swap out the laundry at the mat, it is handy that it is so close, in between I do chores at the casa–garbage, recycling (properly sorted per the landlady’s demands), sweep, sort, etc.  And I stumbled across Fred and Heather’s save the date magnet.

June 9th, 2012, they will be tying the knot.

I am so excited to see them get hitched and really excited to go to the wedding.  I put the magnet on my mini fridge and my brain said, hey, what are you going to wear?

Sweet Baby Jesus.

I responded, “probably not white, now shut up.”

Then, it added, and who the hell are you going to go with?

This may be the better question.  Who the hell indeed.  I mean, I bear you no evil, Calling in the One, but he ain’t nowhere to be seen.  I keep talking about it.  I keep writing down, “I believe my Beloved comes to me now”.  I keep saying, “I open my heart to give and receive love.”

Then the guy with the Colt 45 in a brown bag…

Wait, pause, Colt 45!

Ok.

Leers at me from the door way of the laundry mat and I’m like, fuck that shit.  Get out my way, I aint’ gonna open my heart to give and receive love with that mother fucker.

Then I try it again, come on, don’t be a sour puss, really, open up your heart to give… and the little Chinese lady pushing her cart smiles at me.  Well, Universe, that’s cute, but I’m not an aging Asian lesbian either.  Maybe she was just being friendly.

Bah.

I rather had given myself the impression that I would be well on my way to happily married at this point.  But alas, I am not even on my way to going out on a date with anyone.

I don’t blame the Universe and I don’t blame the book, I don’t even blame me any more.  Does not work.  But I would like to go out on a date, that’d be fun.  And although I had a really fun time at the last wedding I went to, Alex and Shannon’s, I don’t want to go stag again.

I really don’t.

Speaking of the newly weds, six month anniversary, what?! Congrats you old married couple!

I got to see Shannon today.  It was lovely.  She picked me up after I got done with my speaking engagement and we went to Nordie’s Rack and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Trader Joes.

Having had wet feet yesterday for a good long part of the day I was pretty set on finding some rain boots.  I was on ebay last night too checking out stuff, but I could not quite pull the trigger.  Something about ordering shoes that I can’t try on makes me a little nervous.

So, when Shannon suggested a trip to the market I leapt.  She went to Bed, Bath, and I dashed over to Nordies.

“Nice rain boots.”

Fuck.

Busted.

I laughed and slid my foot out of the Marni high-heeled platform, it was on sale!  Yes, I know, it was still $400, but it was on sale!

Sigh.

Ok, go look at the galoshes.

Oooh.  Those are cute.

I put it on my foot.  It was no longer cute.  Good lord, I love you, and I love my beautiful body, but what the hell.  Did you have to bless me with size eleven feet?  Come on dude.

Sometimes I believe that I know how the platypus feels.  Like God just played a big, pun intended, joke on me.  “You’re so cute, now let’s put clown feet on you!”

Rain boots in size eleven are not longer cute.  I think the threshold for feet looking cute in rain boots is about a size 9.  I tried them all on, they all made me cringe.  I went back to trying on really expensive platform heels.

You never know when I will need them to wear to work.

At the bike shop.

Ah Fuck.

“Let’s get out of here,” I said to Shannon, “before I do something stupid.”

We went to Trader Joes, which was its own form of stupid, on a late Sunday afternoon as everyone in the city was in trying to hunter/gather/forage food for dinner and to take to lunch tomorrow for work.  Good lord.

But, I was happy as a clam. I got a huge package of toilet paper!

Hey, shut it.  Getting a big bundle of toilet paper makes a person’s day, especially when I don’t have to try to get it strapped into my messenger bag and home on my bike.  It’s not that it’s heavy, it’s just awkward. But I did not have to worry about awkward.  I had a ride.

After depositing my groceries and said toilet paper (remember don’t actually flush it in the toilet kids!  Just because it says toilet on the packaging does not mean you should.), Shannon and I went for a walk around the block.

Has anyone mentioned that the tourist have fucking found 24th street?

Did it get written up in Zagat?

Christ on a stick.

I was telling Shannon about the Japanese tourists dressed up as hipsters outside of Haus, the coffee house, kitty corner to Philz on 24th and Folsom Street, taking pictures of each other and trying to figure out where Humphrey Slocombe’s was located.

Note to tourist.  You may have dressed up as a hipster, but you are not blending in.  A hipster would not ask a bum in the doorway for directions to an ice cream shop.

Silly rabbits!  Get out my way, can’t you see I am on my way to the nail salon?  I got a manicure today.  It was awesome, no one was in the shop!  I usually go on Saturdays and the place is jam-packed, another bonus of working Saturdays and having Sundays and Mondays off.

That and I get to catch up with Calvin, he doesn’t work on Mondays, we actually have a coffee date tomorrow.

Well, fuck me.

I mean, I guess I do have date.

But I mean, I want a romantic date.  I want to be asked out. Not a date with a friend.  Hell, Shannon and I had a date for that matter, and I will have dates with Stephi when she comes to visit and my friend Alex when he comes to the city.

But, people, they are all married.

Well, except for Calvin, but he and Diane have been together for a while now and I suspect that road is being traveled down any how, he’s pretty much said she’s the one. And I should know since I couched surfed there for a month.

Maybe that is what I need to do!  I need to be more specific.

Dear God, I have given up on the idea that I would get married at Burning Man this year, but would you mind setting me up with some one that I can go to Fred and Heather’s wedding with?  Thanks!

PS

I could use some practice before then.

Amen.

 

Are You A local Celebrity?

March 25, 2012

Huh?

I was in the check out at Whole Paycheck, grabbing some groceries after work tonight before heading to the place to do the thing, and the check out guy asked me that.

I did a double take.  I almost looked over my shoulder, is Robin Williams getting some prosciutto behind me?

Am I what?

“A local celebrity?”

Well, I am famous in my own mind.  I have no clue what this guy was referring to.

“I work at a bike shop,” is what I replied.  Truth be told, I do know a lot of people, but not because I am famous, I just happen to know a lot of people, ahem.  I realized I had been greeted by a few people in line, including another bagger, and a bunch of shoppers.  I guess I am known, but not how he suspects!

I have always wanted to be famous, but I have never really achieved anything other than a mild infamy.

I chuckled and got my groceries and headed back out into the rainy night.  My feet are still cold.  My fingers are cold and my shoulders are achy from being hunched over the space heater at work all day long today.

It was cold!  It was wet! and I still sold a bike.

Not bad for a wet days work.  I got keys made for the new workshop space across the street and down the block.  Set up payment plans for our insurance, paid bills, entered invoices into Quick Books, connected with vendors, answered questions about the new bike, rang up sales, drank a lot of hot tea and more coffee than normal, and made it through the day.

I am tired.  But it is the weekend.  My weekend.  I get my two days off.  I felt that there were things that needed to be addressed still as I was getting ready to leave the shop, but I just had to shut down the laptop, pull in the till, lock the door and get out.

I did my best.

I have lost track of how many bikes I have sold since I’ve been there.  I am not quite as excited to sell one bike, now I am ready to sell two or three at a go.  If it had been a normal weather kind of day it would have been cray cray.  As it was, I am rather grateful it was mellow.

The kinks are still getting worked out with our work shop and build space now being off premise.  The kinks will probably continue to get worked out for some time.

I could use some working out of the kinks in my shoulders.  Ack.  I am tired.  I am getting used to doing a lot of computer work, but sometimes when I sit down to write the blog at the end of the day I am over being at a computer screen.

I also went and looked over Scott’s proposal again as far as what he wants done with his writing and what kind of direction he wants to take things.  I don’t understand a lot of the technical stuff he is doing, but I do understand how he wants an “average” person to interpret his work.

I believe I can be of service here and help out.  At first glance I was rather overwhelmed by the whole thing.  Then I looked at it again, letting my brain digest a little more, then I looked again, then I got it.

I will probably start addressing what he needs for his website content either tomorrow afternoon or Monday.  I also have to finish my own submission to City Lights.  I thought I was going to have it taken care of today, but I stayed up “late” last night.

I got sucked into Zefrey’s daily photos on his website.  I had not been on it for a long, long time, and for some reason I remembered it and wanted to see what he had posted up.  The next thing I know it’s an hour later and I have looked at hundreds of photos.

It was like taking a little trip down memory lane and remembering so many faces, a lot of faces that I don’t see anymore and I wonder where they have gone.

Oh, I have an idea, and that idea is not the most pleasant.  I could lie to myself and say, oh they moved, or they got a job and now work opposite hours,  but I know the truth.  A lot of those faces are gone.

I am awfully lucky to still be here.  Sitting in a chair, bitching about having sore shoulders.  Wow.  That’s it, that’s my biggest problem today, I am tired and have sore shoulders and cold toes.

The tired will pass, sleeping helps.  The shoulders will relax, sleeping will help that too.  The toes will warm up, slippers are on and the space heater is cranking away.  My “problems”.

There was no chatter in my head today, there were no tears in my coffee.  And there was a lot of coffee.  I continue to confirm with myself that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I continue to get re-connected with the Mission and to soothe my eyes with the pretty flowers blossoming underneath all the rain fall, to the slick streets, and the wet pavement, to the smell of jasmine, it may be cold but there is something so engulfing when that cold, sweet, jasmine hits your nose, it hurts something in my heart when I smell it.

As I walked to work today, hence the wet feet and cold toes, I do need some galoshes, I fed my eyes with the houses–the Victorians and their paint jobs, the wooden shutters on this one, the cornices on that one, I get to inhabit them all on my way to the shop.

I don’t aspire to be a local celebrity at all, although I like the attention, really, who doesn’t?  I do, however, aspire to being a home owner.  It may seem silly and out dated and perhaps not fiscally wise, but walking through the rain I could see myself nestled in a Victorian, on a cozy wet rainy day.

Sigh.

I am rambling and this blog is inchoate and it’s time to put it to bed.

Tomorrow, drama, boys, dating, sex, excitement, drugs.  I promise.

Tonight, tea, cozy quilts, Project Runway, deep, deep, deep sleep.

Night night.

 

A Not So Subtle Reminder

March 24, 2012

I heard tonight that pain is the touch stone for all spiritual growth.

Well fuck my mother.

That explains it.  I am having a growth spurt.

I met with Carolyn before work today and yes, in case you were wondering that was me, the girl with the running makeup on the couch in the back of Ritual.  I guess I will know be adding Carolyn to the small group of people I sit down with without eye makeup on.

And damn, it had looked good before I left the house.  Of course, I wore the liquid liner that is not water proof.

Ugh.

Oh well, what do they say?

Save face or save your ass?

I saved my ass today.  I did a lot of work before work today.  I wrote a lot.  I did some inventory.  I got honest, as honest as I could without some one else giving me guidance.  Then I got that.  And then I got some tools.

Tools I did not want, suggestions I did not want, and I did them anyway.

Seriously, at one point I really had the urge to hit Carolyn, sock her really hard, and flee.  I just wanted to run, my brain said louder than I have heard it in some time, say, “fuck you, fuck this, it’s too much, I am done”.

“Get out.”

“Run”.

I swear it took just about everything in my body to sit the fuck still and just let what was happening happen.

And I only lost it two more times.

However, after some reading, some more writing, and some quiet, sane talk (not from my end of the couch) I got right with God and got on with my day.

You can take that anyway you want.

Today I got to practice laying aside prejudice and I got to work on getting some willingness.  I had not a clue, not a damn one, that I was so entrenched in my behavior and ideas about my way of life.

I found out.

The nice thing about this was the amount of time it took to see that there was an issue–9a.m. to addressing the issue-9:45 a.m., to accepting a solution-10a.m. to 10:35 a.m.-then actually realizing that it was working.

The relief.

I conceptions about how things “should” work.  I have ideas about how to figure it out.  I know about being right.  Dontcha know?

The turn around time was fast.  It was painful, I did not want to be in the mess, but instead of wallowing in the muck, I muddled my way out–I muddled my eye make up too, but what the hell.

I washed up to the best of my abilities and put on some really bright red lipstick to draw attention away from my messy eyes (the “my mouth screams blowjob” red lipstick) and breathed and hugged Carolyn and hustled off to work.

I was a bit besmirched and I felt spiritually rumpled, but I rallied.  I rallied a lot faster too, then I have in the past.

I took direction, is why.

Simple, but not easy.

Ugh.

Then I went to work, and guess what?  I messed it up.  I made mistakes.  I corrected them where I could, I helped where I could.  And actually, I relaxed a little.  Once I could embrace where I was and just get into the work in front of me, it all just fell into place.

By the end of the day, I had completely forgotten about how miserable I was at the start.

Pretty fantastic.

That kind of manufactured misery is something I used to toil underneath for months if not years.  I am seeing it faster and faster and the shifts seem small, but huge, seismic.

All sorts of things getting shaken up.

For this I am grateful.  I wrote a lot about gratitude today.  Here are some of the goofy, happy, wonky things that I wrote, not all of them, some of them ain’t your business (yeah, just because I write a blog, divulging my “secrets” does not mean that I don’t practice discretion as well, and frankly some things are better kept between me and a select few anyhow):

Willingness

My bike

Having a place to live

Getting to see Stephanie Sargent Fox

Being asked for help

Asking for help

John Ater

Burning Man

Jefferson getting to go to Paris

Letting go of my idea of who I am

Not having any credit card debt

My lap top

Having a grand in savings

Tears

My bed

My health

Good food

Jeff Genoni flirting with me at the bike shop (good lord he is cute)

Uni being taken care of

Sunshine

There were more, there are lots more.  It was brought to my attention that I need to place attention on what I do have versus what I think I should have.

Such a small subtle shift, yet huge, earth shattering, life changing.

I also have some old conceptions that I need to throw out, or expand my willingness to believe that it will work for me like it works for others.

I also got a writing assignment.

Ass.

I hate writing assignment.

But I like to write.

I get to embrace the paradoxical yet again.

It’s Friday.  But it’s not my Friday.  Tomorrow marks my first day, not my first Saturday, but my first day, nonetheless, of a new schedule, working Tuesday through Saturday.  I had to make sure I did not have any coffee late in the day today.  A habit I let myself occasionally indulge in on Fridays.

The coffee will come in handy late in the day tomorrow though.  Saturdays are out busiest day at the shop.  It’s me and Kristin.  We are going to kick ass.

I am grateful for my job too.

My real job, is to be of maximum service to others.

Even if it means getting messy in public places.

I did my real job really well today.

Allowing me to actually show up at the other place of employment and have some fun with bicycles.

I did have fun today too.

Despite the vale of tears, or perhaps because of them.

 

 

Bedraggled

March 23, 2012

Jesus lord.  My brain feels kaput.

I opened to the door to help a friend with a project and as soon as I opened his e-mail, my brain went, nope.

Then I opened an e-mail in regards to some plans for my friend Stephanie’s visit and my brain went, fuck, and then crashed.

Then I tried to put together an e-mail expressing my gratitude for the family that has been taking care of my cat Uni and my brain went, bah.

I can’t seem to put together a coherent thought or idea.  I want to crawl under the covers and hide.  I had to stay a little late a work and that seemed to push my brain to its last.

It has been truly busy at the shop.  We are in the middle of moving our workshop space to another place, across the street and one block down, and frantically trying to get it all done by the time we need to be out of the current sublet space.

Plus, add onto that the GM is about to leave for vacation and everything seems to be happening at once.

The day just got the hell away from me and it already feels like it’s time to get in bed and pull the covers over my head and hide.

I did get up early today and get a lot of editing work done on the short story that I want to submit next.  The good thing about posting that up as a blog was to give me a fresh perspective on how I look at the piece.  And there were edits all over the place that I caught.  I spent a good chunk of time this morning cleaning it up and polishing here and there.

I feel like I owe my readers a little apology for that!  I am not a fan of putting up pieces that don’t have a coherent flow and a nice read.  None the less, I’m glad I did it as it allowed me new eyes to look at it.

I would have it done tomorrow before work, but I’ll be meeting Carolyn for coffee at Ritual before I go to work, so no dice there.  It will be good to get grounded with her before I head off to the work place.  So many details that feel so frantic to get done.

That is just a feeling, and I don’t believe that frenzied feeling is serving me very well.  It feels hectic and crazed and not balanced at all.  I kept having to juggle tasks today and it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it felt like I was barely keeping everything in the air today.

And doing bike builds.  I sold a bike today and doing that takes a great deal of time, even when the person has a really good idea about what they want.  There are still a million and one little details that need to be ironed out.

Then add the phone calls about the new model on Kickstarter, the people who don’t comprehend that the frame is not even available yet, the launch party for the new line of clothes the store is going to carry, the keys that need copying, the rent that needs paying, justifying accounts and syncing invoices and making sure as many loose ends can be tied up before GM heads off into the sunset.

I will be running FOH while he is gone.  I don’t feel quite right saying I am the acting manager, that doesn’t quite ring true, but I do feel like I am going to have all the responsibilities of an active floor manager.  It will be an experience.

I stayed up beat and high energy at work.  I had to.  But once the light started to fade and the temperature dropped it was harder and harder to muster that enthusiasm.

I guess that means I am human.

I am already acknowledging that I will make mistakes while he is gone and there are going to be a lot of wonky little things that happen, I can just feel it, but I will also do my best.  And my best, although not as good as it’s going to get, hey, I’m just four months into a new job, is pretty damn good.

It may feel like a lot, but I usually find I am not given more than I can handle.

I just need a break from looking at a computer screen, from answering e-mails, and people that want an answer right now.  Now.

Breathing.

Then there is the pressure that I put on myself.

My friend Scott got a hold of me and wants some help with writing and I said of course.  Then I opened up the e-mail and my brain went frizzle.  I know what he wants, but I can’t quite picture how I am going to deliver it yet.

The cool thing about this, is that he wants to hire me.  I can’t imagine I am going to ask for a lot of money, it does not seem appropriate, but it is nice to be told that some one wants to pay you for your writing skills.

My fear is that my computer skills are still not quite up to par.  Scott’s a computer guy and was writing code before there were computers, is what it feels like to my brain.  I remember when he showed me something he had done and it was basically a precursor to flash.  He invented flash before their was flash.  I mean the guy is retardedly bright.

Yeah, I know, that’s an oxymoron.

I’m the moron in the equation, though.

It always feels like I am trying to catch up to people technology wise.  I checked out a blog recently that had an interesting article and I was just blown away by all the stuff going on.

Then I looked at my plain little blog and my gravatar, with my goofy ass side ways picture–which no matter how many times I try to adjust goes back to being sideways–and I despaired a bit.

However, people are reading the blog.

I don’t get it, but I aint’ going to argue.  Instead, thank you, you rock, and it is a privilege to have an audience.

Now, I have reached brain totally broke stage and I need to get away from my computer and have a cup of tea before I collapse on the key board.

Coherency tomorrow, top of my list.

I Met My Old Lover In The Street

March 22, 2012

Last night.

I met my old lover in the aisle at Rainbow Foods tonight.

He startled me, he was not in the aisle he normally is in.

He works at Rainbow.

I used to avoid days that he worked there.  I was embarrassed for breaking it off with him.  Some times I flirt with the idea of hooking up with him again.  We had fun.  He was great in bed, a good dancer, we liked the same music, and he could kiss like a maniac.

But…

You know there’s always a but…

It was not going anywhere and I decided I wanted children and marriage and all that implies.

How funny it is then to bump into some one and see that four years later you are not married and you don’t have children and he looks good.

But….

It would end the same and I don’t need to play that song again.

When I run into some one like that I reflect on what is different in my life and where it has gone and how funny some things change and some things just do not.

I also have had many a moment of retrospection and internal reorganization of my self.

Most of this has to do with the writing and the blogging and the getting up early and working on submissions and where do I go next with this.  I have been working on a proposal for City Lights and I realized at one point that I should dig up the letter of recommendation that Alan Kaufman wrote for me.

I stumbled upon a chapter of my book Baby Girl that I ended up cutting from the book as superfluous to the story.  I still feel that the material in the chapter, “Challenges,” is fairly pertinent information to my life story.  To my life in general, and to the period of time that I got to have in a relationship with a significant player in my early romantic life.

John, John Morgan.  He was probably my first real love and my first real relationship.  I ended up breaking up with him to follow Elliot, his room-mate, out of Madison to South Florida, where most of the action for my memoir Baby Girl takes place.

I think about John once in a while and I wonder whatever happened to him.  I think I owe him an apology and then realize nope, my motives are ass.  I just would like to see him and there is the old played out story in there as well, he was the one.

No he wasn’t.  He was just who he was.  He was, however, the first compassionate and truly kind man I dated.  He was always a gentleman and he was always sweet.  He helped me out of a lot of scraps, more than a few involving my crazy sister, her baby daddy, and numerous other hooligans in my life, my mom, my dad, the crazy room-mates I lived with.

God, the first time John met my mom she got us all stoned and we played Monopoly.

Welcome to my family.

I actually do owe John an amends, now that I think about it, and funny, haha, now I am not so interested in getting back in touch with him.  I owe him $500 for convincing him to give my sister’s boyfriend, said baby daddy, bail money.  And then I left him holding the bag while the baby daddy and my sister bounced.

I knew they were going to bounce and so I bounced too.  I left poor John in a dormitory room on the eighth floor of Ogg Hall wondering what the hell happened and fled Madison with Elliot in his two door Datsun Z.

Ah, memory lane, you are such good fun.

Never the less, I am also remembering something that Kaufman told me when I read aloud a chapter to the next piece that I worked on for the class, and ultimately for the book that was to become my second major work, The Iowa Waltz.

He said, “Carmen,” shaking his head in complete astonishment, “there are writers who would kill, kill, to have the material that you have been given”.

I was not in the mood to hear that.  I was both flattered and annoyed.  And more than a little scared.  Kaufman spoke so glowingly about my writing and my abilities, it freaked me out.

Hell, it still freaks me out, but I can’t sit in it any more.  I am using his words as fuel for the submissions fire.  There are more recommendations that he wrote for me that I have filed away and have not used more than once, perhaps twice.

Alan and I had a falling out.  Then we had a quiet cooling off period, then, well, I won’t say we are buddies, I barely see him anymore.  But when I do, a hug, a smile, a quiet acknowledgement.

I owe him a lot.  I owe myself a lot as well.  I owe the woman he invested time and energy into encouraging a talent.

One of the best pieces of advice that he gave me was to the effect of this: “Stop with the creative writing crap, so you can write pretty stuff, who cares?  Action and dialogue, action and dialogue, and then this happened and then this happened.  Fill in the details later, action and dialogue”.

I took that advice and I ran hard with it.  The majority of the work that I did was all action and dialogue.  It feels like I am watching a movie when I read it now.  It feels like a movie when I write sometimes too.

Terese Taylor just came on my stereo shuffle play list.  A song from off Good Luck Investigationship.  The Universe smiles on my writing.

Terese was my writing partner.  It was such a privilege to work with her.  I have not seen her in years, but I know she is playing her guitar some where, breaking hearts and cracking open souls.

Always looking for a reason to cry, blink and smile, water damn your eyes, be sure and whisper the anwser when you die

Ah Terese, you were good to me.

All that time spent in cafes, all those old lovers, always looking for a reason to cry.

Dirty hands mine, you’ve gone and given me a reason to cry

I have memory.  I have a place to utilize my experiences.  I have fodder for my grist writing mill.

Tomorrow I will arise and write and submit again.

I will forget the old lovers, I will forget the old wounds, I will forget the reasons why, and I will just watch the film and dictate what I see as it flows across the screen of my mind.  I am lucky.  I am blessed.  I have a fortune of inexhaustible stories and experiences to write about.

And write I shall.


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