Archive for June, 2013

This Is A Test

June 30, 2013

This is only a test.

This is a test to see how fast I can type, basically.

I just realized and am a little embarrassed to admit it, but I forgot my power cord for my laptop in the East Bay.

Damn it.

My juice is low.

I had not even realized and I did a quick hunt and peck through the house, the house of someone who happens to work for Apple and couldn’t find anything that would work.

Why?

Because it freaked me out to go snooping through their stuff.

Walking into the office almost gave me a heart attack.

I felt like I was in a different world, somewhere in the future, the not too far off future, but definitely the future.

I have never seen a lot of what these things are.

They are Apple products, they are computers, they are gorgeous,  and I was holding my breath looking for something and I realized I was going to have a panic attack.

Sorry, your nanny/housesitter/neophyte broke that gazzillion dollar thingamabob looking to charge up her old laptop.

You know, the one with the Burning Man stickers stuck too it and the House of Air (the trampoline park! God, I need to go back there, that was fun) sticker and the fan that sounds like a loud vibrator.

Yeah, that computer, the one I rely on daily.

Although as I get to know my Iphone more and more I don’t boot up quite as often, but I am on my laptop every night.

Every night.

“Wait, you write a blog every night,” he said to me at the juice bar on Fillmore.

“Yup, she’s a writer, she’s not just a nanny, and she’s a good writer, I’ll hook you up via FaceBook, you two should be friends anyhow,” my friend said to her guy.

Her guy who I happen to know but did not know how much I knew.

We know tons of the same people had overlapping stories about Burning Man and I made a new friend tonight, one who I will totally see on playa and one who told me that where I would be camping was going to be awesome.

For the first time in five years I will not be at Media Mecca.

I was a bit bummed about it.

I asked to be placed there and for a hot second it looked like it might pan out, then it did not.

So, I’ll be at the 9 o’clock key hole.

My address on playa will be 8:45 and C

“That’s a great place to camp!” He said slapping his leg.  “You’re right by Hokey Pokey!”

“Hokey Pokey!” I exclaimed, “awesome, I have always wanted to go hang out there and I have never gotten over to their camp.

Hokey Pokey is a sober camp.

Which means I will be next door to my people.

When I need to decompress I know where I can go.

Sigh, relief.

I am getting super excited about the burn, despite not having had the most comfortable of weekends, getting myself re-adjusted to another space, wanting to isolate, making myself go out tonight to meet with my friend and her guy.

I am so glad I did.

It always pleases me to make a new friend, especially someone who goes to Burning Man, speaks the same language I do, and hangs out with my girlfriend who I adore.

Who’s place I will be moving into soon.

I can feel my communities interconnections and it feels really good.

And I may not be in Oakland for the 4th!

I just got asked by another family, Burning Man folks, to house sit for them from Tuesday through Sunday.  Which would mean being in the city for the holiday, not having to do any commuting to East Oakland and staying out of the crazy for the fourth.

That would make me a very happy girl.

I just sent them an e-mail confirming my availability.

I wanted to make sure that I was ok with it.

I checked in with myself and I talked to my friend, who happened to point out to me that it would solve the being in East Oakland for the fun times show, and then I said yes after letting it deliberate for a few hours.

It felt right.

My battery is still alive!

Not for much longer, but I am actually quite impressed that I have gotten this much typed.

I will not have to go to the East Bay tomorrow to get a power cord, I happen to know that there is one in the design office on Valencia Street.  I will pop in there and borrow it for the week until I get back to Graceland.

This will also be a good time to go over to my friend’s house and get the specs on my bike, my playa bike.  I want to order a few things for it–a new seat being the main objective–I found a great seat called a “Fat Banana” which is a padded banana seat.

I almost ordered it, but then realized that I would be screwed if it didn’t fit the bike.

So I shall kill two birds with one stone tomorrow, pick up the power cord and check out the bike.

I also have a coffee date with a lady at Church and Market at 5pm.

And then, yes, folks, I am taking care of the I can’t stop eating sugar business at 6:30pm.

Thank God.

I am done with it.

It so does not serve.

Ugh.

At least I know where to go to get help.

And help I shall be getting.

Ok, that’s it, she’s about to die.

I am going to not even preview this, I’m just gonna post.

Hugs to my friends.

New ones as well as old.

XO

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Just Two Blocks Over

June 29, 2013

Maybe three.

And it’s a completely different neighborhood.

I suppose many places are like that, especially places where a lot of tourist go.

I don’t hang out much in the Haight, I don’t like tourists, and tonight was not much different.

I got to the house sitting gig after spending the day semi-checked out at Graceland.

There were small things I needed to attend to, laundry, a little shopping, taking care of the kittens, doing some writing, then I realized that I did not need to be in the city until 5pm and I wouldn’t need to be on a BART until 3:45/4pm and I had a lot of time to kill.

So I shot a few brain cells and watched some Netflix.

It is surreal to watch television during the day when you are not sick.

Although, technically, I am sick.

I have one of a few diseases that are self-diagnosible and I diagnosed one today.

I got the symptoms I do.

But I also have the cure and I reached out and checked in and did some crying and said yes I would be gentle with myself and that I did realize this, whatever this was, was only temporary.

I am not a big tough chick.

In case you were wondering, I am a fucking cream puff.

I get scared.

I just don’t show it.

And the strain of being scared has definitely been wearing me down.

The strain of not showing I am afraid is wearing me down just as quick.

I have been comfort eating, previously discussed ad nauseam so I am not going to go into it, comfort checking out, NetFlix you evil whore you, like I did not already have check out go to, but my room-mate has an astounding big wide-screen television with surround sound and a deep leather couch to stretch out on.

Check out central.

The road narrows they say.

“I can see it, I can see what is happening and I am getting spun out of it faster and faster and I can see how it does not work and I can’t stand that it does not work and that pisses me off, and, well, fuck.”

Yes, well fuck.

The things that once brought me fast acting relief stopped working–cocaine, beer, vodka, esctacy, mindless sex with strangers, speed, mushrooms, LSD, sugar, cigarettes, crack–and I can’t really go back to any of them.

“Look, I’d even let you stay on my couch for a week if you relapsed on crack,” one of my best friends told me last week, “I love you.”

That’s how we say I love you, I would let you stay on my couch a week.

“Then, well, I’d tell you to get the fuck out and get better,” he finished.

That is how we really say I love you and more than you know, I love you enough to support you until you can do it on your own, no free rides here sugar.

None of my check outs comes with a free ride, just to hell, just to a place of terror or confusion or disorientation, drama, adrenaline.

I realized last night riding my bike through the neighborhoods, good, bad, indifferent, really fucking bad (ok, what is up with this particular corner, just two blocks away is a fire department, which means, you know like people who are serious and have connection to the cops and such, just two blocks away from fire station and it is going off.  Off I say.  Yesterday on my way to work I saw a dwarf prostitute.

REALLY.

A fucking midget hooker.

Oakland, we got all your crazy crack needs right here.

Last night, it was just as wild, I got blown by an Escalade near off the road, blingety blinged out, and watched a pregnant hooker, that was not a distended belly from malnutrition, I think, work a corner, totter across the street to her john.

I also saw two cars lined up right in the middle of the intersection doing hand offs through the windows.

Just two blocks over.)  that maybe it was time to stop riding through the neighborhoods.

Maybe if I was that tense about it that it would just be a better idea to ride BART through Oakland, at least at night.  I am going to debate it.

Maybe that will relieve the scared little girl I forget I carry inside my brain who is clutching a very worn down stuffed bunny rabbit, poor thing as seen more than any child needs to see.

“You seem like a nice nanny,” she said to me at the park yesterday, “I like you, you got a lot of tattoos though, my uncle D, he got a lot of tattoos and he in prison.”

“NO he ain’t,” her little friend shot back, “D’Angelo just in jail, he aint’ in prison, he do got a lot of tattoos though, all up his back.”

“Oh, well, I don’t have any back pieces,” I smiled at the girls.

“Don’t get any more, you don’t want to wind up in prison,” the little girl concluded and scratched at her wrist where is disappeared under the dirty grey plaster cast that was up to her elbow.

“Ok,” I said, no need to tell her I always want more tattoos, I do want a back piece, but I don’t see a correlation to doing time, aside from the time it takes to lie still.

“How did you break your arm?” I asked.

“I fell,” she said, no more explanation.

“I broke my foot when I was your age, right during summer vacation, it sucks,” I said.

“You did?”

“Yup, I think I was about your age, you in second or third grade?” I asked.

“Gonna be in third!” She proudly exclaimed.

“I broke my foot summer between second and third grade, same timing,” I smiled, “it’s hard, but you don’t have to use crutches, so that’s good.”

“Yeah, I broke my other arm last year,” she said out of the blue.

I drew in a breath, oh baby, “how did you do that?”

“I fell.” Her eyes left mine and looked flat at the sky over my head.

I picked up my little girl a few things she likes today and said, listen this is it for the comfort, the adult me has got to get us back on track.  We can watch a few more shows then it’s back to reality time.

I walked back from Haight Street after going to the market and the temperature was dropping, the cool air from the ocean blowing in.

Just two and a half blocks from the tourist and the homeless kids trying to make the tourists, quiet, serene, peaceful, painted lady Victorians resplendent in their finery graciously curtsied up the street to where I am staying for the weekend.

I let myself in, turned on the television, said hello to the cats and settled in.

“I got a place,” I told my mom, “back in San Francisco I can’t wait, just two blocks from the beach and two blocks from Golden Gate Park.”

Just a few weeks left to go.

Hang on kiddo we can do this.

 

Itchy Scratchy

June 28, 2013

I am feeling like I could just crawl right out of my skin.

Part of it is the weather, which I am not used to, it’s cool, I mean, it’s not cool, it’s hot and muggy and sweaty and sticky and although I did not think I was overdressed, I was a little.

I am debating taking a cool shower tonight before settling in.

I can’t remember the last time I took a shower to cool off.

San Francisco is usually cool this time of year.

I wonder if the Bay will actually have a warm and sunny Pride weekend?

It certainly deserves one.

I recall, out of all the Prides I have been a witness to, at some point the pink triangle that gets spray painted on Twin Peaks for the event always blurred out by the fog.

Always.

I sort of think that it won’t this year.

Apropos.

I am feeling itchy and scratchy too as I am about to embark on a house sit and although I did ask for everything I need I do know that it can easily become a way for me to isolate.

“I feel really uncomfortable I said to my friend tonight,” as I unlocked my bike, “I feel neither here nor there.  Like what’s the point of getting known here when I’m just going back to San Francisco.”

“I know,” she said, “and it’s too funny that we just bought a house here.”

It is.

But wonderful too, especially when there was a moment when I thought she and her husband would be moving out of the Bay area completely.

She works in the City too, so I will still get to see lots of her.

Lots might be an exaggeration, she’s a doctor, a very, very, very busy doctor.

I don’t get to see a lot of her in general, but when I do, it is good.

My tongue felt stuck tonight though and I felt teary, and hot, and I declined an invitation to go out to dinner, I wanted to get back to my side of the crazy before it got really crazy.

Next thing I am uncomfortable with and I know it’s just going to get worse before it gets better is the fireworks are starting to go off.

Firecrackers, M-80s, little guys, big guys.

It makes an already uncomfortable ride home even more so.

I am debating not doing the commute for a few days.

And I just realized that I will be in the city for the weekend starting tomorrow night, so that will help.  Although I come back to Graceland Tuesday evening.  And the Fourth is Thursday night.

I have an odd work schedule due to the holiday and I don’t know exactly what is going to be happening with next week, but I will work Monday and Tuesday, possibly, although not 100% Wednesday, have Thursday off, and possibly work Friday.

Oh!

And my uncle Boy is coming to town!

I am super excited to see him, generally I just see him at Burning Man.

Yes, that’s right, my uncle goes to Burning Man, you thought the crazy was just with me?

I remember the first time that I saw him at the event, it sort of blew me away, mostly because I was flummoxed as to what my boss was trying to express.

“Your Uncle Marty came to see you,” she said, “he left a note on your tent.”

I stared at her.

“Uh, I don’t have an uncle Marty,” I said, “is that somebody’s weird playa name?”

“Are you sure?” My boss said, “he really looks like you.”

Then he came around the corner of the trailer and I saw him, “Uncle Boy!”  I shouted, “what are you doing here?”

What he was doing was the same thing I was doing, having our second burns on playa.  It turns out he had come the year before to grieve, as too did I.  He became so enamored with the event that he’s been coming back every year.

He has an art car he made, he started volunteering at Gate and with DPW (now this is my father’s older brother, Boy is the name the family moniker for the oldest son, I believe it is a Polynesian tradition, which means my father who just turned 64, would make Uncle Boy 66 or 67.  Yeah, that’s how my family rolls.) and a couple of years ago he bought an old 33 foot Blue Bird school bus and renovated it out to be his trailer.

This year he added a deck to the top.

He is a retired welder, so he knows what he is doing.

One day, I dream a little dream, I will get a Bambi Airstream and I want him to weld some things to it, make it into a flaming heart, and fingers crossed keep it stored at his place, of course I get way a head of myself.

Burning Man has a way of doing that to me.

Sidebar!  I finally, after six burns, invested in a utility belt and I ordered a new pair of boots on-line today, my two “splurges”.  I got a great deal on the belt, significantly cheaper than the majority of the ones I see being sold to the public–it’s made out of recycled bicycle tires!  And the boots, on sale too!  So, not a huge investment, but one that will make my life that much easier to deal with on playa.

Uncle Boy is also a Vietnam Veteran.

I just realized I have been proud of the fact for a long time, he did three tours, and he was a helicopter pilot.

Don’t mess with me, I’ll sic my uncle on you!

I should tell him that, he’s coming into San Francisco next week for a helicopter veteran convention and we are going to have lunch.

The last time we had lunch together it was at Burning Man in the commissary the day of the Man burn.

Funny, I don’t feel so itchy and scratchy anymore.

Looking forward to a nice weekend, a proud weekend, a Pride weekend, and the opportunity to tell one of my family members how much I love them.

All good things.

Wait a Second!

June 27, 2013

I am a professional.

As such, my time is valuable.

I don’t have to sit and hold time for you if you can’t confirm for me whether or not you’ll need me until you “suss” things out.

You want me, you pay me to hold that spot.

Well, for Pete’s sake.

It took my fucking long enough to figure this out.

I am learning, it does take some time, but I am learning.

Part of the learning curve for me was seeing a recognizable pattern and doing a quick mental inventory, a spot check inventory, if you will.

What was I resentful about?

What was I in fear of?

What was holding me back from saying what I need?

Oh yeah, and they cannot read your mind, so unless you tell them, they are going to continue to ask you last-minute to cover shifts.

I have a family, not my primary one(s) who change their plans around a lot and it drives me a little bonkers.  They have sent me some texts recently about possibly working some hours and they changed their minds a lot, we need you, we don’t need you, we’re coming, we’re not coming, wait, we are, and are you also available….

People.

Fuck.

I am a professional.

I am self-employed.

If you don’t have the hours to give, fine, I will find them somewhere else, but stop being wishy-washy.

Fuck.

Then, I heard a little voice, “if you’re a professional, start acting like one.”

Oh.

Well, what does that look like?

Number one, my time is valuable (god how many of my friends need to point this out to me before I see it for myself?) and I am worth my pay.

If you are a therapist or a hair dresser or a tattoo artist, a masseuse, or any number of folk who happens to provide a service (um, nanny anyone?) and your client cancels on you, they get charged for the cancellation if it happens to be too late for you to re-book that time.

Most folks have a 24 hour cancellation policy.

I can have one too!

I mean, this is a revelation, I just realized it today on my bike ride home as I was having an internal discussion with the family that sent me a text late in the day about not being sure how the evening was gong to go and they were needing to figure out the details and could they just get back to me in the morning?

“Xo”

What?

Xo my ass, you’re trying to manipulate me by being nice, keep me in limbo and, and, and, my brain was ramping up to get angry.

Wait a second.

I have to communicate my needs.

Jesus fuck, who is this person?

And can I keep her around?

So, I got back to the house after having a few more epiphanies on the ride (it’s seven miles, there’s time) and sent the mom a text saying I had to have 24 hours advance notice to have my time booked.  I was not going to be available.

I breathed in deep and let it fly into the air, carried through the wires by small electronic birds, and let go of the results.

“What if they get upset?” My brain was all curious.

“Who cares,” I replied.  They are not the last nanny gig on the block and I am assured, through faith, experience, and well, the fact that I am constantly being asked if I am available, that there will be others should they get upset about it.

The next thing I realized about being a professional, thing number two, if you will, is that I don’t have to justify my time, how I spend it and what I am working on.

I may just have some spiritual work to do.

I don’t get paid for it in dollars, but the pay off is extraordinary and I have to do it on a daily basis.

This is not to say that I don’t need the dollars, I do, but I don’t have to explain my outside commitments and the work is just as valid.

Or the work may might be writing my blog.

I had one of my room mates ask for a favor I was not comfortable with doing and I did not know how to respond.

So I did not and she came up with an alternative to her dilemma.

Not my problem to fix or solve.

But I had to have a conversation about it and I had to justify, all in my head of course, why I was not available and how I did not want to do that errand for her that late at night in West Oakland.

No thank you.

Especially after doing a 7 mile bike ride home after a full day of work.

Albeit glorious work, my little girl charge is back from vacation and it was such a love fest I am a little embarrassed by it, not really.

What I realized is that I could have just sent a text saying “let me get back to you,” or “no, I am not available.”

But I was too worried about what she would think and needing to justify myself, and wait a minute, my fucking time is important.

I do have a job to do, I have a blog to write and I have photographs to post and I have a life and it does not, tonight anyway, have extraneous time in it.

I don’t have to explain any of it.

Three!

Freedom–“willingness without action is fantasy”.

Fuck, I am finally getting it, if I don’t ask for it, it’s all in my head, ie, fantasy.

It takes some time and work and I still have loads of practice and repetition to get comfortable doing it.

But I still need to ask for what I need.

Which reminds me I have to touch base about the house sitting/cat sitting I am going to do in Cole Valley this weekend and get squared away on what I need to be paid–they can’t read my mind–and unless I tell them they will assume that it’s a vacation for me to stay in their lovely home and I will get mad at myself and eat their cookies.

Not going to do it.

My time is valuable.

I am allowed to be compensated well for it.

It only took me 40 years to figure that out.

Flattened, I Mean

June 26, 2013

Flattered.

I ran into an old friend of mine tonight down at the Women’s Building in the Mission of San Francisco, he had just gotten back from celebrating his 75th birthday.

In Paris.

He showed my his photographs and I knew where they all were taken, literally, all of them.

It was a day to be reminded of Paris, in lovely ways.

“I know you are probably not that happy about it,” a friend said to me this evening as I was preparing to head over to the 16th Street BART station, “but frankly, I am so fucking happy you are back.”

Me too, love, me too.

But I actually am happy about it, happy to be back, happy to be making some work and personal progress, happy to be just a little lighter and easier in my skin.

Also happy to be connecting and staying accountable to my life, my choices, and my actions.

“I just wanted to call and leave you a message about this upcoming weekend,” I told a friend’s voice mail, “despite my protestations to the opposite, I am going to house sit again.”

I promised to take care of myself, I promised to not isolate, and I promised to stay away from the sugar and their cupboards and from all things tempting.

I am ok with this house sitting gig, as well, as it feels really safe, it’s in Cole Valley in a gorgeous house and it happens to be the place where I do my nanny gig on Tuesdays, and it will be the spot I also get to pick up an extra gig for Monday.

I don’t have to commute anywhere, I get to just wake up and be in the spot.

This morning the commute was not bad, but getting back was a headache.

The rain pouring down was discouraging to me, the thought of showing up wet, as well as the need to leave early so that I could take extra precautions on the road–when it rains people do not drive as well, and I always have to be a defensive bicyclists.

I packed my messenger bag with my lunch and dinner, I had plans to meet up with a lady at the Dolores Park Cafe after work and knew I wouldn’t get home til late, and as it turns out, way late.

My room-mate offered me a ride to BART and I made the executive decision to leave the bike at the house, I would take the bus, or a cab.

Or the MUNI!

Totally forgot about that.

I had to leave the house faster than I was prepared for, breakfast left on the counter, half my lunch left on the counter, 1/2 a cup of coffee quickly ingested, but it was worth it to not be wet at work (although I am sure I could have tossed the wet items in the dryer) and once the BART pulled into Civic Center I realized I could take the NJudah to work.

I got there so fast I actually had 45 minutes to spare.

I went to Crepes on Cole and had an omelet and some fruit and a couple of cups of coffee, did some writing and prepared to meet the day.

The kids were great, but I am sore, yes I am.

Mostly just achy, not as flattened as normal.

Although every time I tried to do any sort of work remotely, I was unable to.  I kept checking in my e-mail and there were little things here and there to address and I could just keep on top of the babies.

Which is just how it’s going to go some time.

I was also intrigued by an e-mail I received from an organization that I had submitted some work to.  They had chosen one of my photographs to be in a gallery show in New York.

I got all excited, I clicked on the photo they had pulled from the portfolio.

Sidebar-fuck me!  I forgot to down load my photos, grrr.  It’s almost eleven pm.  I had made the decision to get my photography back up and going and said I would at least post a daily photo.  Where’s my camera, I took some shots today.

Yes!

The photograph they chose was one I was quite fond of and I was thrilled they wanted to use it.

Then something struck me as fishy, I read the fine print and sure as shit, I had to upgrade to a different platform with in the artist site to be eligible.

No thank you.

I will however use the money that I would have spent on printing off some of my photos, I would love to print off a couple of larger ones for my new in-law.

But it was nice for a moment to feel special.

What it reminded me to, was to my commitment to continue taking photographs, even if they’re just for me.

I love pictures.

I do.

So, as my friend was scrolling through his shots of Pont Neuf and Notre Dame and Hotel de Ville, the Seine, and one magic shot he got at sunset from Pont Alexandre of the Eiffel Tower, I was thrilled to see that my memories of the city were still firm in place.

“I asked about the magazine, you know,” he said to me, as the last picture floated by on his I-pad.  “Mo said it had not come out yet, and that you should be very pleased to have gotten them to publish you.”

“Really? That’s sweet,” I replied, “I was asked to read from the magazine as one of the contributors at the launch party, but well, I don’t plan on being in Paris on July 22nd, unless something crazy happens.”

“That’s when it comes out, July 22nd, I will be sent a copy,” I finished and gave him another hug, “it’s really good to see you.”

“You should know, Mo says you should be very flattered, they got 1,000s of submissions,” he said, “you should be very proud of yourself.”

I am.

Mostly for just getting through the day and not dropping any babies on their heads, but I am also flattered, I am.  It’s awesome to have a publishing credit.

Even an unpaid one.

I will take it.

Read & Write

June 25, 2013

And read some more.

I spent two hours working on reading and writing for a private project between me and a mentor, I got goosebumps a few times seeing patterns and behaviours that no matter how many times I have seen, acknowledged, and accepted, still have to have actions taken around.

The price I pay, the admission to a new life.

I am willing, today I certainly was, to do the work.

I started out the day doing my normal routine of writing–three pages long hand, then went on to the aforementioned work which took two hours, plus, I am not certain, it was three o’clock when I finished, then I hopped online, chatted with designer I am working with, did some work there, billed some hours, then hopped onto another project.

A project that I was informed last night by an advisor and friend, is called “spec work” and I should be getting paid for it.

Good information to know.

I certainly realized this when after an hour and a half of providing my insights, edits, and revisions of the work, that I should indeed be getting paid for the work done.

That being said, I am not too upset about it, I felt like I was being of service and I felt like what I had to have was valuable.  I also realized that it was sort of like a practice interview, a “try out” if you will.

Maybe the person who sent me the project doesn’t think so, but I do.

The try out may not even be for the organization she works for, it was a try out in my mind too, seeing if I have the chops to do this.

I do.

I saved the edits I made to my own computer and I will, of course, after seeing the finished work, be able to say I helped with that piece.  It can be another puzzle piece to a slowly growing work portfolio.

I was also asked to submit another blog, to be a contributor to the blog my friend started about turning 40 in American society.  She has the blog up and running, check it out here.

I do not believe that she has posted up the blog that I submitted yet, but I do know she intends to and she wants me to contribute more.

That feels nice, being asked to put more of my words out to the universe and to a different audience as well.

I have an idea and I am going to let it percolate a little.  It came to me this afternoon as I was sitting at the table flipping between various projects and I realized as I toggled back and forth, an old friend had turned 40 today.

She was one of the women that I ran with for a while in Madison.

There were four of us, we all met at the same restaurant, and we were all crazy and smart and best friends forever.  We had made a pact, I don’t know when, but I remember distinctly that we did, that as each of us approached 40 we would celebrate on a special trip.

No matter where we were, we would get together for that one ladies birthday, 40th, mind you, and take a trip to whatever city that woman wanted to visit.

Just the four of us, no husbands, no children.

Of course, none of us were married at the time or had children.

Although two of my friends were in the relationships that would bore out to marriage and eventual children.

In fact, three of the women got married.

All three of those same women have succesful careers–one is the VP of public relations firm, one is an extraordinary lawyer on track to partner, and the other is a busy practising nurse.

I’ll let you guess who the fourth is–unmarried, without career, without children, unless you count the ones I nanny.

Oops, I guess I just gave that away.

What I was thinking is that I would write about how relationships, especially friendships change.

I was also thinking that despite myself I am still fortunate to have an amazing relationship with one of those ladies to this day.

We moved, married, begat children (or did not), bought houses, travelled.

I burned my bridges pretty badly with one of my friends and I have had almost no contact with her in eight years.  There was a moment when I thought we would find our way back to some semblance of a relationship, even if it was just to say hello on the phone once in a while, but that never happened.

Sometimes you hurt people beyond reckoning, despite every desire and intention to not do so.  I love her very much and she is in my thoughts a lot, especially whenever the 24th of June rolls around.

She is 40 today.

Happy Birthday doll, I hope you get everything you ever wanted and more.

Sigh.

Bittersweet, but that is life, sometimes you got to let go.

And as I reflected today, on and off as the day went, the writing for this project and that project coming together, the e-mails flying, the chats happening, the instant messages, and the edits to this draft and that draft, I am lucky to have had so many talented women in my life.

Graced you could say.

There was once a time when I was losing a friend, another friend, a different friend, but a friend loved just as much, when someone I trusted said to me, “sometimes you just get to be grateful for the time you had with someone.  You don’t get to decide how long that time is going to be, but you get to relish whatever time you have been given.”

I see that quite clear today and I believe it.

I have as much love for my girlfriends, for all my friends, as I do possible combinations of words to these blogs, probably more, and that’s a lot of words and combinations.

An infinite amount of love.

Infinite.

Up & Down

June 24, 2013

I breathed deeply in the car and tried to stifle the tears.

They fucking slid off my face anyway.

I apologized to my friend, “I am super sensitive right now and feel like a raw nerve, I’m sorry.”

I’m going through withdrawal.

You don’t care, don’t believe, or think I bats, but there’s plenty of evidence, not my own, that sugar withdrawal is like drug withdrawal.

Alcohol is predominately sugar.

Studies link the dopamine receptors that cocaine stimulates to be the same ones that sugar hits.  I love me some alcohol, some cocaine, and some sugar.

Except for the come down.

I know this time around the detox will be easier, but I am moody and I am sensitive and I do feel frayed around the edges.

Yesterday I thought, Jesus I must be hormonal, I forgot that just a few days back I had 48 hours of sugar and processed white flour (ie sugar) in intense amounts, ie I had a big ole binge on that  shit.

I had forgotten that there was going to be a little time necessary to get my equilibrium back and I really feel like I walked through the worst of it today.

Not so much with physical or mental cravings, those actually passed relatively quick, but with my emotions.  I felt a bit depressed and a bit like withdrawing.  Add that to my already typical isolationist perfectionist I can do it on my own tendency and there she goes down the rabbit hole.

I was in some social situations today that I felt like I was on another planet.

I felt on the outside, unloved, unliked, and rather alone.

Now, this is not true, I was none of these, and I could finally after some service to the situation, tidy here, pick up there, step into the bathroom and breathe in deeply, I was able to actually let go and enjoy what was happening.

It was fun!

But it was hours in before I realized that I was actually enjoying myself when I was getting out-of-the-way.

Plus it was a clothing swap!

I only had a few things to put into the pile, but they went quick and I was happy to see the folks that took what I had brought to the party really liked them (two articles of clothing that I had been given in Paris that no matter how hard I tried were not a good fit for me) and were glowing when they wore them.

That felt wonderful.

Then I got into the mix and what do you know, I found some stuff.

Some of which I had hand-picked out for me, “Carmen, this is so you,” and what do you know, it was!  I got to get my clothing needs met, and got to be of service and get out of my emotional way.

Of course it came back.

When I was hungry.

Thank god my friend was able to ask me what I needed and we stopped at a little market in Glenn Park.

Sidebar–Glenn Park how cute are you?

I slammed a cup of coffee, grabbed a low-fat unsweetened one serving tub of Greek yogurt, a banana, and a sugar-free protein bar.

I ate, felt my body chemistry swing back to normal and drank some water.

Which is what I keep reminding myself to do, drink more water, you will feel better.

Pause for sip of tea followed by bubbly water.

Man I love me some bubbly water, can I just put that on tap please?

My friend and I headed out to Maxfield’s and got some tea and then I got to see more folks and check in with an old friend I had not seen in a while and my friend and I had just an amazing talk, compassionate, sweet, wise.

I have said it before, I will say it again, I am so blessed to have the women in my life that I do.

Seriously blessed.

“Carm, you got to own it,” my friend said to me, “look at that hair, you’re exotic, love it, be happy with you, you don’t have to become anything, you are ok.”

I always have this idea that when I get there I will be fine.

Except the there always is moving.

I am going to be fine just here.

Just now.

Just right.

I am in a flying blind part of my life, but I have support underpinning it all, and when I realized that I was just in a really tender, sensitive place, I was actually able to work through it.

With some guidance and sweet words and insights from my friend.

Who also said, “he is NOT married,” when I saw some one who smiled and waved from across the street.

“You’re back!” He hollered and waved.

I wasn’t sure if he meant my friend or myself, both of us have been outside of San Francisco on and off for a little while now.

But when he came up to me directly an hour later and gave me a big hug and shined at me, I thought, boy howdy, good to know you’re not married.

“Hey,” I said as he walked away, grabbing his hand with a squeeze and pressing a folded up piece of paper into it, “I always thought you were married.”

“Nope,” he smiled, “I’m not.”

“Well that’s good news,” I said and grinned back, “that’s my number, call me if you ever want to have a coffee and hang out.”

He smiled back and walked ahead to catch up with his friends.

Who knows what will come of that, but it felt nice to do.

With every down there is an up.

Thank God I can see what has been happening and thank god I have friends who tolerate my crazy.

Just got to walk through a few more days of sugar detox and I’ll go back to the regularly scheduled brand of crazy.

Thank you for putting up with me until then.

 

Back to Gracelandia

June 23, 2013

The house sitting is done.

Left it better than I found it.

Perhaps this should be my motto on my gravestone, Carmen Regina Martines, left it better than she found it.

Slightly pompous, but yes, I did clean up the house.  Made me feel better about eating the cookies out of the cookie jar and using their domicile to have my full fledge sugar white flour crazy girl isolation station binge.

I did some writing this morning before my meditation and realized that, and I have realized this before, but it’s always good to see it, I do so much better with a routine, with accountability.

If no one knows where I am or what I am doing it is super easy to listen to the crazy up in my brain and well, no one’s around to witness it.

“Tell me, I want to know,” my friend Cal leaned in eagerly, “whaddya have?”

Dude.

I rattled it off and it was intense just saying it and very indicative to me that once I start, oh no, I cannot stop.

My no can touch foods are sugar, flour, and popcorn.

For whatever reason, oh I know what the reason is, I cannot start in on the popcorn, it leads me down the rabbit hole.

“I have to say it,” he chatted me, “it’s POPCORN, not crack.”

Yeah, it is, but there something to that total check out where I am gone, gone, gone until the bowl is gone, gone, gone, and I like that kind of check out.

Listen I am not going to liken the two in true seriousness, but it’s like my version of heroin.  I ain’t never tried the smackety smack, smack, so I don’t have anything to really compare it too, but when I get going on a check out, it’s what calls.

I have some memories of eating popcorn that I allowed to scar me, one is going to see Lady & The Tramp with my mom and sister and she sent me to the concessions stand to get three large popcorns.

Well, we were not a family that often went to the movies and I didn’t know she meant the medium size.

Fuck.

Sorry.

I got the three large.

The guy at the stand even tried to talk me out of it, but I was all about following my mom’s instructions, woe to my ass if I didn’t, and I assured him, in my second grade serious demeanor, that my mom really wanted three large tubs of popcorn.

He acquiesced.

Note to self if I can talk a teenage boy into doing what I want when I am in second grade how come’s I ain’t got no date action happening right now?

Anyway.

Sidebar (forgive the ghetto patois, I swung into the Goodwill store on International and 29th Ave on the bike ride back to Graceland and there was a thrown down that happened in the store.  I am not kidding you, this black woman and this white woman got into it.  I actually believe, after moving away slowly and hiding in the dressing room–yes I did these bitches were fucking serious–that the white woman created the drama, I saw her do it again with a couple of black guys at the check out stand.  I really thought there was going to be a drive by at the Goodwill.  Which is maybe why it was such a fucking gold mine of clothes, I only got one thing, but there is some stuff there ladies, get your playa on, if you can handle the trip over it is worth it) end sidebar.

The tubs of popcorn were so big that I could not carry all three and the teenage boy helped me back to our seats.

My mom was wicked mad.

“What is this?  I said ‘large’ not extra-large?” My mom hissed loudly at me as I handed her the tub, then the other to my little sister, then I sat down and the concessions boy handed me mine.

“This is the large ma’am,” the boy sighed awkwardly.

“Well, goddamn, I meant medium then, don’t you know better?” My mom shrilled.

The boy shrugged, walked away, and left me there holding the largest vat of popcorn in the Universe, right next to the seething mother who adroitly monitored every bite I put into my mouth.

It was somewhere around the scene where the Tramp and Lady have their spaghetti dinner, I was happily zoned out, nibbling away at the popcorn, enthralled in the movie (it was my first time to the theater, but not my last, oh no.)

Sidebar number two: (I like to zone out in movie theaters, I probably owe the Metreon an amends for my behavior there, I would score some coke from my dealer and hide in the theater and snort up big bumps from the bag with an industrial size straw I had snaked from the Starfucks counter on the main floor.  I would get the largest Coke I could, no pun intended, my eight ball of cocaine and settle in for a double feature.  The only time this bit me on the ass was when I got tickets to see Briget Jones’s Diary and The Incredibles.  Little did I know that it was The Incredibles was in its opening weekend.  There were no seats left except right down front.  Can you say nothing kills a blowcaine buzz like trying to hooter up some happiness when there are righteous children and their minders all over the place.  I still can’t watch that movie.) end sidebar.

My mom reached over my sister and slapped my hand hard.

I mean hard.

“Stop it, put it down you little pig, enough with the popcorn,” my mother glared over my little sisters head, I remember the crown of her hair, and the glint of the movie shining in my mom’s eyes, I can still feel the sting of the slap on my left hand and see the way it sat helpless on top of a barely dented mound of theater popcorn in the gigantic tub.

“Give that to me, right now!”  My mother almost knocked it out of my lap as I stared at her stunned.

I was no longer in happy zone out mode, I was shrinking in my seat, I handed her the tub and she stashed it on the seat next to her, “and keep your fat grubbing hands out of your sister’s you’ve had enough.” She concluded than turned to face the screen again.

I don’t remember the rest of the movie.

But I do remember craving that popcorn.

I don’t know why but when I want to feel bad about myself that’s where I go, to the dark comfort of checking out with a vat of popcorn and a movie.  I know I am being bad and I am going to do it anyway.  Fuck you very much.

It makes me feel better, you know?

But it doesn’t.

So when I was putting away my groceries today in the fridge at Graceland I heard that little voice peep me from somewhere in the back of my head, “that would go really good with some popcorn.”

“Oh no you don’t,”  I said, out loud, actually.  Followed by, “nice try.”

I made a veggie burger instead and cut up some raw carrots and dipped them in humus.

I poured myself an organic sugar-free stevia sweetened Root beer soda and went out onto the back porch at Graceland and rejoiced that I don’t need to make myself feel bad today.

I did watch some West Wing, but I rode the stationary bike while doing it.

So there.

 

Last Night of House Sitting

June 22, 2013

And not nary a bite of sugar or processed flour in sight.

Motherfuckers I am back on the abstinence train.

Jesus christ on a fucking hockey stick that was nasty.

Aside from the severe sugar crash, the emotional and physical hangover, the literal, oh my god I weigh what when I got on the scale, and the ache of my joints, the gas and tummy upset have been enough to say no fucking thank you to that experiment again, it was not all that bad.

Ha.

The thing that I took away from my two and a half day sugar and white flour binge-o-ramma  was some very powerful information.

One–I am not perfect and I cannot do it alone.

Oh, I think I can, I sure as fuck want to.  You want to help me?  No, thanks, I got this.  Fact is, I don’t got this, I never had this, and I need help all the freaking time.

Two–I have some amazing, awesome, compassionate, kind, sweet as fuck friends.

I have friends that really care about my well-being, that reached out, that said, hey stop beating yourself up, we love you, you are going to be ok, you will get through this, what do you need?

Three–I am fond of classic isolation.

Oh, I don’t look it.

How many FaceBook friends do you have?  Twitter followers, LinkedIn friends, acquaintances, etc?  Me, well I got a lot, but most Friday nights I am at the house writing by myself.  I actually don’t get out and do things as much as I could or should.

(sidebar–a friend recently said, “it should be called anti-social media”.  Agreed.)

Four–house sitting is not a good gig for me.

Despite wanting it to be a good fit, it’s not.  I am a creature of habit and staying out at someone else’s place throws my routine.  Throws it hard and gives me the perfect excuse to, what, oh yes, isolate.

So here’s to not isolating, here’s to going to see some girlfriends tomorrow and Sunday, here’s to this being my last night at the gig and here’s to what I believe may be my last time doing this.

Unless I get paid a lot better and it makes sense to do it.

Nah.

It doesn’t compute.

I am not the girl for you anymore.

I am going to make a faith-based decision right here and right now and say that there is more money coming my way and I don’t need to hop from one place to another to scrimp on money for rent.

Besides it ends up being, generally a more expensive proposition for me.

I either break even or I eke out a tiny little extra.

I actually probably took a loss doing this gig.

But I learned a lot.

It was not the most pleasant learning experience, but god damn did it force me to reach for some tools that I had not reached for in a long while.  Forced me to get honest with myself and showed me that I have actually got a really great life happening right now.

“Sounds amazing, actually, everything that is happening for you,” my friend said to me over dinner tonight at The Saint Francis Fountain (two soft-boiled eggs, sliced tomatoes, a sausage patty, and some fried potatoes–the only meal I had today, I guess you could say I wasn’t really hungry after the last few days of indulgences).

“Yup,” I nodded in complete agreement.  “Life is really good and there are all these opportunities happening, and I think that is what scares me, I am trying to sabotage it.”

“Well, stop for pete’s sake,” she said and laughed.

Yes.

Stop.

Now.

Silly.

Let your life be big and beautiful, just like you.

“What if,” my friend Cal said to me today at South Park as we sat in the sun with iced coffees from Cafe Centro, “you stopped and just let yourself enjoy what is happening?”

“I mean, I see you do this all the time, you jump through hoops, you force yourself to go after something, you push yourself really hard and there’s no room for error, or for that matter enjoyment.”  He paused, sipped his iced coffee, “I was jogging this morning and realized, you know, there’s nothing wrong with right now.”

Ha.

There is nothing wrong with right now.

Exactly.

I was sitting in the sun at a park in San Francisco with one of my best friends enjoying an iced coffee, about to throw down with some frisbee, having just gotten off a turn on the swing set, alive, safe, loved.

Yeah, nothing wrong here.

He and I talked a lot.

That is a good friend to me, someone who sees me warts and all, tells me like it is and says I love you no matter what, no matter what weight or hair style or where I live or who I am dating or not dating.

“You know, lady, you got a lot of energy, go take  Muy Thai kick boxing class or some Ju Jitsu or mixed martial arts, go hit a heavy bag, you’ll feel better,” he also said.

Agreed.

Throw down some punches.

And throw down a party.

That’s right C&C Produktions are gonna be having a party.

Calvin has an amazing movie set up, projector, sound system, the whole works.  One night he and I found this great wall in the SOMA and sat outside and watched some old Star Trek movies.

That was some hot shit.

I think I even took some photographs somewhere and called it the AV Club.

Well, I told him I want to throw a party sometime in mid to late September.  After I have gotten moved into my place in the Sunset and have decompressed a little bit from Burning Man.

A party?

Yes, a party.

I want to celebrate posting my 1,000th blog.

This blog post is going to by 907, by mid-September I will be right around 1,000.

I want to celebrate my writing and all the changes in my life and all the amazing friends I have who have gotten to be a part of and a witness to the craziness of Carmen.

Find an alley or old warehouse building with a large wall, watch some old crazy movie, dj up some tunes, dance, post up some of the photographs I took in Paris, drink some iced coffee and celebrate.

Celebrate my friends and all the adventures thereof and therein.

I have got me a wonderful bunch.

Friends and experiences.

The Best Predictor of Future Behavior

June 21, 2013

Is past behavior.

I overheard this tonight at the party I was nannying at.

The mom, gorgeous, the dad handsome, the baby beyond adorable.

Seriously, when are they going to put him in print ads, this kid is a walking copy dream.

The house sweet and accommodating, the guests, handsome, articulate, beautiful.

I felt a little like an intruder.

But I was there to nanny and the baby knew it and I knew it and there was a moment when I looked at him and he looked at me from the arms of one of the mom’s friends, and I swear he said, “save me, I’m tired, let’s go cuddle.”

Ok.

He was down and out like a light.

I stayed for a bit to make sure the mom could enjoy her birthday celebration and that the baby was settled in.  I nibbled on a tossed salad with some corn chips and guacamole and did not make it out the door without having a piece of red velvet bundt birthday cake.

Yes, I ate sugar today.

Yes, I did not eat as well as I would like.

Yes, dear reader, you won’t have to read about this a whole lot longer.

I have somewhere to  be at noon tomorrow to address the situation.

I was remiss hearing that conversation, is there then no hope for me?  Will I always be on the outside looking in?

Nope.

I don’t believe that and I googled up the psychological saying and it turns out it is not a predictor of future behavior, that indeed much change can and does happen.

Just because I have been predominately single for the last decade does not mean that I will be predominately single for the next decade.

I lied, that number is false.

I have been mostly single now for 15 years.

1fucking5 years.

With a few small dalliances thrown in.

No serious relationships, although there were a few contenders, nothing came of them.  I broke it off before they went anywhere.

I realized that recently I have been on my own for a long time.

Actually a friend pointed it out to me, “sounds like you’re trying to be perfect and doing it all on your own isn’t working.”

She was talking about something else and I understood exactly what she meant, you could apply that to any area of my life.

I will say this, my track record with friends is pretty fucking spot on good, not perfect, but man the friends I have are so tight.

I got some good friends I do.

Even in the oasis of house sitting blues I have some good friends who reached out to me, asked me how I was, called, texted, messaged, and sent love.

I needed it.

I woke up crying this morning.

I can’t remember the last time that has happened.

I mean, for real.

I woke up with tears already falling on my face, it was if my tear ducts got an advance warning that it was going to be a challenging day.

It was and it wasn’t.

I was of service to my gig here at the house, took out the garbage and recycling, did the compost, watered the plants, fed the cats, cleaned, swept, tidied.

I am almost done.

Two more nights and I am out of here.

It feels like holding my breath when I am house sitting.

Like my real life is literally on hold and I cannot attend to it until I am done with the job.

I am not in a great place.

I am also not in a bad place.

I am in an uncomfortable place and I don’t like it.

I created this.

I think that’s the predictor, not past behavior, but recognizing it, then seeing what works, what does not work, and changing how I move forward from that information.

I am always going to be moving forward.

I am pretty tired and I have had a headache on and off all day.

FYI, hair of the dog that bit you, in my case sugar and white flour, does not cure you.

I avoided it for most of the day, but half way through succumbed.

It did not work and here I am again, albeit not nearly as incapacitated as last night, not feeling so hot, over indulged and ready to throw in the towel.

Sad too.

For what?

Not sure.

Grieving something.

Then I think there is a shred of truth in that little saying.

I did not want to write tonight, but the habit so ingrained, sticks with me, pokes me, says, come on you, get your writing on.

I wrote this morning too.

I also meditated.

These things help.

I like a routine.

Sad but true.

And maybe not so sad, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a routine.

It’s going to come in handy when I get out to Burning Man.  I found out this week the schedule that I will be needed for on playa and that felt a bit overwhelming and limiting.

My start time is going to be 7:15a.m.

Ugh.

I am tired thinking about it.

Mom and dad will be attending 7:30 a.m. meetings pretty much every day until the event starts.  Once it is up and going, my schedule will loosen up a bit, but I am going to be keeping a low profile on night-time activities and excursions.

I am also not going to be camped near where I have been for the last five burns.

I will be at 8:45 and C.

I jokingly called it the suburbs.

It’s not, it’s just quite a bit further away from the action I am used to.

I wrote about getting to have a new experience with the event this year.

This could be a good thing.

Just getting to go is a good thing.

Getting to go and stay in a trailer and be there for three weeks, pretty awesome.

Exhausting and hard, difficult, long, dirty, and at the end of the day, so rewarding.

That for me is the indicator that I have changed.

I used to just wish for the reward without bothering to do the work.

Now I know I can do the work and will do the work and I shall be rewarded.

Here and elsewhere.

That is my best indicator.


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