Archive for July, 2013

And Like That

July 31, 2013

The week gets filled up.

I rather knew this would happen and I am grateful for it and also a little, let’s err on the caution side of things here, I don’t want to get too out of hand doing stuffs.

But fuck it.

I won’t always get down time and I don’t always allow myself to fill said down time with things I want to do.

I have a full week now.

Two extra shifts of work, including an unexpected seven hour pop tomorrow back in Cole Valley and a four-hour, it’s enough to get me over the bridge and I have plans on Saturday anyway, so yes to working a short shift in the city late Saturday morning.

I got a chill out with my friend Calvin hang out at the Brazilian restaurant in Hayes Valley nobody ever seems to go to but has really good food.

Food that works with my shit to.

Speaking of which…

30 days!

Yes.

Abstinence it is so nice to make your acquaintance again.

Thank God.

Never want to do that again and to insure such, will be meeting up with the folks that do the thing and then go to the other place and do some more things, you know, on Thursday.

Then Friday, time to get to playa bicycle–the saddle is in, the pennant is in, the basket should be in by the end of the week–because two weeks from Friday I am playa bound.

Holy crap man.

It’s actually happening.

Saturday the aforementioned nanny gig in Cole Valley from 9:30a.m. to 1:30p.m. then a bicycle ride through the park and a date with my friend Beth to go to the Academy of Sciences.

It’s not my first choice, but it is fun, and she has never been.

Plus, it’s so close to work that it’s not going to be a stretch to get there and it will be fun touring Beth around it.  I used to go there all the time with I was taking care of Reno and the Junebug.

Speaking of which!

Princess Bride in the park!

“Anybody got a peanut?”

I am going to meet up with Juni and her mama and watch the penultimate book to movie story ever told.  This has got to be the best adaptation of a book to film that I have ever seen.

The closest I can come to thinking any other film version of a book, “Out of Africa” based on Isaak Dinesen’s work, that works as well.

But The Princess Bride?

Oh, yeah.

Plus, it’s of my generation.  I saw it in a movie theater.  I fell in love Farm Boy.

Wesley why did you have to go get that horrid mustache?

I know, I know, the Dread Pirate Roberts needs to look fierce, but that opening scene with the hank of blonde hair over his face and those lips.

Swoon.

Plus all my friends from Wisconsin give me crap about it.

Friends from highschool.

Friends from the Angelic.

I was standing in the hot lunch line at DeForest High School when Mister Stewart, my forensics coach for four years, my debate coach of four years, and my teacher for two courses, strode up to me to ask me something about an upcoming event.

“Carmen MARTINEZ,” he said in a loud blustery voice.

I stomped my foot, really?

Come on now, four years.

Four fucking years as your student and still you cannot pronounce my name correctly?

I piped up, “My name is Carmen Regina Martines,”

And my friend Dana who happened to be sitting behind me at a table full of my girl friends including Stacey, Arlene, MaryEllen, (yeah I grew up in farm country Wisconsin) and Carrie, piped up in a piercing voice,

“You killed her father, prepare to die!”

Cue massive titters from behind me, Mister Stewart blushing brick-red, and me mumbling something about yes I can do switch sides for the debate tournament if I need to this weekend.

Ah.

Friends.

A few years later, I don’t know why or how or when or even if I had mentioned this story to my set of friends at the Angelic, but I must have.

I mean I can’t believe that I channel Inigo Montoya that well, but maybe.

I am about to go on break.

I have my sandwich, I can remember it distinctly, it was a Friday night and it was fish fry and I was having my Friday regular (and you wonder how it is possible that I hit 282 lbs at my heaviest weight, eh?) dinner:

A fried fish, beer battered, cod sandwich on a split bun with melted cheddar cheese over the top, lettuce, tomato, pickles, a cup of tartar sauce on the side to dip said monstrosity in, a pile of french fries, with a side of, oh yes, sour cream, to dunk them in, and my beverages, a pint glass of cold milk and a liter of Coca Cola–wash down the cigarette or two I was going to have after my meal.

Jesus I am surprised I am not dead just reading that sentence.

(And a very sick part of me wouldn’t mind going back there and tucking into that plate of food again.  I said I was a sick person, shut up.)

I liked a cold glass of milk with my meal.

Really washes it all down.

I had a kind of ritual to the whole thing and it was about the only time I wasn’t on my feet running the bar.

I was about to sit and an employee came and asked me to comp something on a ticket.

I sighed, pushed away from my meal, and went out to the back computer.

I came back and my milk was gone.

Some ass hat had drunk it.

What the fuck?

I am miffed, slightly wonder if maybe I hadn’t drunk it myself, and then shrugged, went back out, refilled glass of milk.

This happens three fucking times.

I sit down to eat and get called away to fix something, comp something, make change for a bar till, check an id, who the hell knows.

Every time I get back, empty glass of milk.

By the fourth time I am over the top and say something asinine, like “for the love of God, who is depraved enough to drink all my milk?”

Ron the bartender, who has been patiently waiting for me to check out his till loses it, snorts laughter, and in hindsight I am surprised he did not vomit it all out at that moment, out his nose.

Turns beet read and says, “for the love of humanity!?”

“That’s not what I said,” I say flustered.

Ron is in convulsions and can barely get it out of his mouth, “I did it.  I drank your milk.”

“Gah,” and starts heaving between his knees.

Beth, a cocktail waitress, and Ron’s then girlfriend, comes over and listens to the story and pipes up, “Hello!  My name is Carmen Regina Martines, you drank my milk, prepare to die!”

So yeah, I am going to see the Princess Bride in the park on Saturday.

I may still swoon for Wesley.

But I promise I won’t drink your milk.

 

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Where Did the Day Go?

July 30, 2013

I have felt perpetually three hours behind all day long.

I got locked out of the house this morning and my whole plan on the day was just like that, tossed out the window.

That’ll show you, don’t step outside without your keys to check the fig tree.

I had gotten up this morning, a little late, but I was up a little late, making plans with a friend to do some museum stuffs this afternoon.

I had suggested the MOMA.

And what do you know!

The museum is closed for the next two years.

Ack.

I had no clue.

Well, that makes me re-consider renewing my membership.

Heh.

There were a couple of shows he was interested in, and of course, it’s a Monday and the shows weren’t open.

Long and short of it, we decide to hit the Jewish Contemporary Museum for the photography show of Allen Ginsberg.  And because he’s a beat and we’re in San Francisco (so close I can taste the salty foggy air) we further decide to go wander the stacks in City Lights.

Jewish Contemporary Museum

Jewish Contemporary Museum

Mural

Mural

Photograph by Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg’s Grandmother

 

It’s a date.

I get up, shower, do the deal, start the coffee, get the oatmeal going, then, I think, “oh I should check the fig tree, I’ve been gone all weekend, maybe there’s a ripe fig on the tree.”

It’s a nice little treat, fresh, warm purple fig diced up on top of a hot bowl of oatmeal with a little ripe banana and cocoa and cinnamon.

Yum.

I have moment, why don’t I listen to these moments?

Why?

When I think, out of nowhere, go out the back door.

Now why, would I do that?

The fig tree is out front.

I almost do it anyhow, the cats are on the back porch and Fred looks like he needs some pets and then, I turn, go out the front door, and check the tree.

No ripe figs.

Oh well.

Back inside.

Or the attempt to go back inside happens.

The door handle is broke.

I actually bang on the door and say, “Hey!” really loudly, like there was someone in the house with me who turned the dead bolt.

Like the cats have suddenly gained opposable thumbs.

Nothing happens.

I am still locked out.

You know what the curse of modern technology is?

No one remembers a god damn phone number any more.

They are all programmed into my phone.

Not into my head.

I sit and jiggle the door handle and shake the door and think, well, what’s next?

There’s got to be a spare hidden on the property somewhere.

I am sure there is.

But I do not find it.

I check.

I check again.

I lift ceramic frogs, mats, planters, I look under pottery, beneath the back steps, I get dusty, cobwebby, dirty, slightly hot, and I marvel, not too annoyed, at how I am actually fairly serene through this entire process, although I am hungry.

That was breakfast in the microwave.

I can almost smell the warm banana wafting under the door.

The hot coffee I would really like to have a cup of right now.

I clamber around the yard, make a complete circumference, look at all the entry ways that could possibly let me in, say hi to Fred, the cat, give him some loves, hi to Buford, another cat, hi to the neighbors.

I peer through the thicket of plant life they have going on and wonder if they are home.

I bet they are.

Maybe they have a key.

No.

They do not, but they do have my room mates number and a call is placed and I am directed to the key safe.

But it is not there.

It has been moved.

Where?

No one knows.

The key fairy took it.

I sigh.

He says he’ll come back from the city.

I feel bad.

Why wasn’t I happy with the yummy oatmeal I had working, why did I have to pretty it up with figs?  I have strawberries, they would have been just fine.

Damn it.

The wife of the neighbor insists I take their card and call if I need help.

Um, lady, I know that the garden in back is for “personal use” but I think you should lay off the bong for a minute.

I don’t have a phone.

That’s why I, uh, don’t even bother to explain, take the card, pocket the card, continue on.

I walk around the house a few more times, holding the useless card in my hand and then just get into the moment.  I am going to have to settle down and just chill.

I turn the card over to look at it before I toss it in the recycling.

“Trash Hauling. Maintenance. Repairs. Locksmith.”

LOCKSMITH?!

Does that happen to include the really awesome way you jiggle the handle on the door and said, “ahyup, that’s broke.”

Dude, you seem like a really nice guy and you were sweet to let me use your phone, but maybe, take the locksmithing off the business card.

Suffice to say I got some meditative time on the back porch.

I sat and watched the birds rustle through the plum trees, fledgling robins with new wings, hummingbirds, pigeons, ravens, nuthatches, sparrows, the wind kept me company, the sounds of the neighborhood, the cats on the steps.

This is not so bad, I thought, and put my feet up on the ledge.

And eventually the room-mate came back, I slugged down a tepid cup of coffee, ate my oatmeal, which was congealed, but still tasty, and hit the road a few hours back from my schedule.

I was not too far off time for showing up for my friend, but I did not attend to any of the errands, writing, or other chores I had in mind.

Oh well.

That’s how it goes.

Sometimes we get locked out.

How did I accept it?

By accepting it.

And being very grateful I had just used the bathroom before going outside to check the fig tree.

 

Fun?

July 29, 2013

What the fuck is fun?

It was suggested to me yesterday that I get some more fun in my life.

Well, damn it, I was busy working on figuring it out, yeah, I know, figure it out is not a slogan, fuck off.

But really?

Fun?

What do I do for fun?

I was writing this morning and trying to not get too twisted in figuring out what I was going to do with my day.  I knew I had a commitment to attend to at 6:30 p.m. and that after that I was going to have dinner with a dear friend that just relocated back to San Francisco.

Welcome home!

So glad you are back.

That is fun, getting together with my friends, sharing memories, and stories, swapping tales over a meal.

But I digress, I am not to the fun yet.

First the litter boxes must be cleaned and the cats watered, fed, and let out to play in the back yard.  The bed needs to be stripped and the sheets tossed through the laundry and since I like to leave it better than I found it, take out  the recycling and tidy up the kitchen.

Done.

Fueled by a French press pot of Four Barrel, that was almost fun.

But not quite.

I could watch Netflix.

Damn you, who turned me onto the West WIng?

That is not fun, I mean, it sort of is, but it’s more like checking out than it is fun.

So I just continued on with my morning, tidying, straightening, doing laundry, et al.

Writing.

There is always the writing.

There is the blogging, the morning pages, and what ever comes next as far as the creative process goes (I have some ideas) and as I was scribbling away in my notebook I realized, hey, when was the last time I went on an artist date?

The DeYoung Museum is pretty close, just popped into my head.

I have no clue why, although when I poked my head into the cafeteria before I went through the museum I realized that hmm, I might have had some ulterior motives, the Mister works from the DeYoung on the occasion, I just went with it.

I finished up the clean up, made the bed, and scooted off on my bicycle for an afternoon of art amongst the tourists.

Lot of French people, of which I actually had a conversation with one in front of the museum as I was framing a shot of my bike.

DeYoung Musuem

My bike at the DeYoung

It reminded me of having taken a photograph of my bicycle in front of the Louvre and also at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

I like that, let me take photographs of my bike in front of all the museums I bicycle to.  Then I will post up a photo blog of them all.

In fact, I was thinking as I stood and got good and art high, why not go to all the museums I can over the next few weeks.

I have not been to the Legion of Honor in years, I have only gone once (I could have gotten in today with my ticket stub from the DeYoung, but I was too pooped after having made three rounds through the DeYoung to bike out to the Legion), I can ride my bike there for sure.

I have not been to the MOMA for a while, over nine months, almost ten.

I bet there’s a museum or two in Oakland I could go to.

I started getting ideas and liking them more and more.

Going to museums is fun.

For me.

I don’t think it is for everyone, I think it can be a bit of a chore.

But I go for the high and the high always happens.

I got it today in front of the Edward Hopper “Esso” painting which I had never seen before.  God damn I love his work.

I also got it when I walked into a gallery that was devoted to Chilully glass works, which were cool and distinctive and I found quite attractive, but they did not give the me high, rather the light and glass mobile installation hanging from the ceiling is what got me off.

Oh yes, that’s right, I got off.

I walked into the room, my eyes were drawn up and I said, out loud, “oh my god, that is amazing.”

I stood under the lights transfixed.

Segue–how glad am I to get to go to Burning Man?

Lights

Lights

This photograph does not do justice to the magic that is happening, the shadows, the luminosity of the glass, the way the light bends around the shape of the container and sprays a new shard of light off a round edge, the entire ceiling was amassed with bulbs off glass that looked like rain drops and then everything was over lit with white light.

The shadows on the walls were enough to transfix me for some time.

God damn I love art.

I also really love the observation deck at the DeYoung and as I stood on the looking out over the park and the neighborhoods I ruminated on getting one of the blow up posters of the aerial maps of San Francisco for my new studio.

Just something to think about.

I also debated getting a refrigerator magnet, but truth be told, the ones that they had were not appealing, I spent a bit of time raking through the gift stores too.

I can window shop like a motherfucker in a museum gift shop.

I saw one art book I was quite tempted to purchase and I think I shall go back for, but knowing that I have only so much room in my messenger bag and I was to be heading back to East Oakland this evening (fully ensconced back at Graceland as I type) I deigned to buy it.

I left the museum satisfied, satiated, filled up with light and colors and sculpture and hopped on my bicycle to enjoy the remainder of Sunday Streets in the Golden Gate Park.

A quick spin through the fog and back to my day.

That was fun.

Let’s see what I can come up with for tomorrow.

Oh, and, hey you!  Yes, you.

If you have any ideas, let me know, I’ve got two weeks of down time and I am up for seeing and doing more fun stuff.

Thanks!

Me, A Book, & A Bicycle

July 28, 2013

That was today’s story.

End of blog.

Well, ok, there may have been a little more to today than just that, but not a whole lot more.

I went grocery shopping in the Haight on a Saturday at Whole Foods.

That was exciting.

I was mistaken for a tourist, which was funny.

“Pretty cold, eh?” A store owner asked me as I peeked my nose into a corner store that I walk past frequently when I am pushing the stroller through Cole Valley and the Upper Haight neighborhood.

“Uh, yeah, typical weather, I guess, I’ve got my layers on,” I said politely.

“Oh, you’re a local, look at that!”  He grinned up from the paper he was reading, “I should have noticed you weren’t in flip flops and shorts.”

Yup.

Layers.

It might be hot, humid, and sunny most everywhere else, but here, on this side of town, it’s about 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, with a thick veil of fog and a chill breeze snaking up your sleeves and under your coat.

I just got back from a bike ride from 46th and Irving.

It took me about twenty minutes.

It is not flat like people have been telling me.

Uh, no.

It’s not horribly steep and I did not stand up on my pedals but once, but it is a steady climb and about ten minutes in, despite the nippy bite of ocean wind and the lowering fog bank, I was warm and breaking a sweat.

I am sure I could cut down that time by about five minutes once I am used to the route.

But that is what about how much time it took for me to get from 46th and Irving to Cole and Frederick.

Twenty minute commute to work.

Instead of a forty minute commute to work.

I will pass by fish markets and sushi restaurants, there’s an Andronico’s, a surf shop, all the little markets and cafes and restaurants on Irving in the inner Sunset.

Although I may not ride my bike through that part of the neighborhood frequently, there’s a lot of traffic coming and going and parking and not much using of turn signals.

But I did not see once prostitute.

Nor one drug deal.

Or hear a siren.

I did get a few cars that drove a little too close for comfort.

But that is going to happen where ever you bicycle.

Other places I rode my bike to today–the Mission and Bernal Hill.

Although I did not ride my bicycle all the way up Cortland, it’s a little too steep for a one speed.

I swung through the Mission, stopping by the bike shop to see about picking up my bicycle saddle, but they were swamped and I had a moment when I realized if I were to stay I would probably end up jumping in and helping them and I had a place to be and it was not at the shop.

I will go by tomorrow.

Sunday will be quieter and I will swing over to my friend’s house and grab the ride and see about getting it outfitted with the new saddle.

It does sparkle.

It will look pretty fabulous.

It will.

I shelved the saddle (having snuck in the back no one in the shop even registered I was there) and sorted out the mail for the design firm, recycled the junk mail, and stealthily left the way I came in without being seen or noticed.

I caught myself contemplating going back and working for them while I have these next two weeks of down time ahead of me.  But I could hear my friend’s voice in my head, “don’t go backwards,” and I knew he was right and I don’t want to be there and there are better things for me to do with my time.

Even if it is just to sit on my bum and read a book.

I picked up a used copy of  Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and headed to Martha’s to await my 4pm check in.

I got a cup of coffee, spiked it with cinnamon, settled down at a table, put my feet up and dissolved into a book.

To only dissolve into tears a little later when I did my check in.

What is it with the emotions man?

I mean they were not as bad or overwhelming as yesterday, but yeah, still there.

“It sounds like you feel like a newcomer,” she said to me, “really raw and vulnerable.”

Yup, that sounds about right.

Really raw and vulnerable.

But not checking out with a vat of ice cream or a bag of donuts.

Just a book and a cup of coffee.

I wondered as I sat there and talked and looked out the window at the sky, just far enough removed from the fog that it was not misty on Bernal, but still chill, the cirrus clouds, high, wispy, tattered, spun across the blue sky, I wondered, if maybe I need to go back on antidepressants.

“You sound depressed,” she said to me.

And that hit a little closer to home than I thought it would.

I will admit I have been feeling blue, but I have been chalking that up to the discomfort of being rootless and getting back to the bay and starting over.

“Hey Carmen,” an acquaintance said this evening, “missing Paris?”

Fuck off.

“A little,” I said and smiled wanly.

“Oh, I’ll bet,” he continued.

Dude.

We aren’t friends, now stop it.

“Do you have any girlfriends you can lean on right now,” she asked and sipped her tea as I pulled my eyes away from the high feathery clouds and back to her green searching gaze.

“I do.” I said and thought how I got to see Joan and Tami this week and that was really good.  How I got to see my lady Jennifer last night and how good that was.

I had also called another friend earlier today to ask what she was up to.

“Just got done with work…dinner?  coffee? are you still in town?….”

The text read when I wrapped up at Martha’s and just as I was putting down my phone and turning off the ringer, she walked in.

Saved by the friend.

We went to dinner.

I met her daughter.

We headed out to the ocean and I saw the room.

It’s looking good.

It’s all looking good.

“You are doing the work, I can see that, it sounds like you just need to be gentle to yourself and work on acceptance.” She said and I nodded.

Nothing in my world is a mistake.

Not myself.

Not where I live.

Not who I am.

A room by the ocean, a bicycle to ride, a book to read, time to accept the reality of my life and to honor the gifts therein.

And my friends.

Thank you for my friends.

Again and again and again.

Bearing the Unbearable

July 27, 2013

The discomfort of being uncomfortable has me wound up.

Until I let go a little steam, or a lot, and the pressure eases off and I go back to being crazy and kookoo and loud and don’t look now, ma, emotionally walled up again.

“Have you written about any of this?” John Ater asked me over dinner tonight.

Which one might have thought I was eating a vale of tears, not shedding them, as I stolidly ate through my brown rice and steamed veggies with shrimp (no sauce) and crumpled my face into my cloth napkin time and time and time again.

“Not really,” I admitted.

I don’t really write like that.

I don’t often take out the pressure valve.

I don’t often let out the steam.

I put on the face and everything, yeah, everything is alright baby.

“I am enamoured of your ability to be emotionally vulnerable,” he said to me tonight as his own face lost the control of being in control, and tears smoked out his words.

I am enamoured of you for saying that, thank you, my heart goes out to you-and-out to you some more (please let me hug you again that was worth the entire evening of tears, that moment, your face buried in my hair) and I am grateful that I could be emotionally out there so someone else felt free enough to go there too.

I showed up tonight and said a lot of shit I just did not feel like saying.

And for the life of me, I don’t remember what I said, but in some unknown, miracle of a way, the unburdening of the burden happened.

Somewhere between Red Jade restaurant, Our Lady of SafeWay and the Church Street Cafe, I lost the burden of the facade and just dropped into myself and who I am and allowing myself to be present.

I pause to look around, a cat meowing in the living room in the house I am staying at this weekend in San Francisco.

A house sitting gig in the city I said yes to and because I said yes to it I also said yes to put me on the guest list for the club tonight, I will show up and dance at your set.

I am not at Public Works.

I am in Cole Valley.

I will stay in Cole Valley.

I don’t want to get on my bicycle again and venture back out into the night.

It is wet out there.

I got doused twice riding my bicycle through the park, the sprinklers are going full blast, once in the face and once on my ass, and now being wet and cold and emotionally emptied, the last thing I want to do is get on my bike and go back to the Mission and got to the dancing at the place.

Although I would and I have debated taking a cab over and back.

Which would completely negate the cover I am not paying by being on guest list times two.

If I had a vehicle other than the bike I might, if I had discretionary money, I might, but the fact is, I am probably going to finish this blog and just drink some hot tea, watch a video and wind it down for the night.

I expended a vast amount of emotional energy tonight.

I believe I left most of it, my emotional baggage, in the crumpled maroon napkin at the restaurant, but just in case there is any wobbling about, the last place I want to be is in a night club tonight.

I don’t care if that makes me old, or un-hip, or whatever, it just is what it is.

There was a time when I was put on the guest list I felt so obligated to go that I would show up no matter what.

I do want to dance, I won’t deny that, but maybe I just want to dance around in the kitchen.

I had a hallucinatory memory or a deja vu or an episode.

A future forecast.

A moment of magic.

An I don’t know what, yesterday in the kitchen of the little girls house where I nanny at in North Oakland, a moment dancing with her in the kitchen of the house with the sun streaming in and for a moment it felt like I had never been happier in my life.

I was having some sort of memory of dancing with someone, someone special, holding me in his arms, in the sun and dancing, then my heart swelled, the music swelled, the little girl lay her head under my chin, I breathed in her warm little scent and I twirled around the room.

I realized after that I could not pin down the memory, or the person, or who was holding me, or what it reminded me of, but I wanted to.

Then I thought, this is a future moment.

This has not happened yet.

But it will.

“Are you saying that you’re broken,” John asked me tonight, an astute eyebrow raised, “because, that’s what I am hearing.”

“Fuck, I don’t know what I am saying, I don’t have any ideas, I can’t stop the loud in my head and, I, listen,” I said changing gears, “I saw this man tonight, barefoot, crazy, walking down the street in a hospital johnny talking loudly to himself.  He walked in front of the eyeglass frame store on the corner of Church & Market and right in front of the sign that said, ‘Summer Madness Sale’.  And I thought, he just went shopping!”

“That’s what this feels like, I bought some madness and I am pissed off and how can I return it?” I finished, sighed, cried some more.

To be honest I am not sure what all the fuss was about.

And it’s always about the same stuff, I am not where I am supposed to be.

What if right here is where I am supposed to be?

What if there was nowhere to go and no one I was supposed to be?

What if I am exactly where I am supposed to be?

Would that be ok?

I think it might.

I think I will let it.

I think I gave up tonight.

I let go.

I went to the summer Madness sale and said, “Yes! Give me some,” but the fact is, my kind of crazy is always for sale, there’s nothing special about it, it’s just a facet of who I am.

I am, however, not who I think, I am how I act.

I am the actions I take.

I am the vulnerability I put out there.

I am love.

Loved.

Lovable.

Worthy of love.

That is bearing the unbearable.

I am uncomfortable with it, but that does not matter, I want the reward.

I will continue to do the work.

 

And Like That

July 26, 2013

It’s the weekend and for the next two weeks I have two, count them two shifts.

That’s it.

My main nanny family is leaving for two weeks.

ACK.

I “ack” dramatically.

I am not actually all that upset or freaked out or disturbed.

Normally the thought of that much down time would freak me the fuck out.

Perhaps it’s just that I have been doing the daily deal and I got to see Joan last night and I got to see Tami tonight.

My two favorite East Bay ladies.

I met Tami at Burning Man six years ago this upcoming August.

“This will be my 7th year at Burning Man,” I told her this evening as we were saying our goodbyes, she to go have dinner with the hubbie, and I to ride my bike through crack infested waters back to Graceland.

“Holy crow, that is amazing, your commitment,” she replied.

It is amazing when I think about it.

I was thinking about it last night as I was going to bed.

Burning Man is like Christmas to me.

I look forward to it.

I make plans around it.

There is a distinct before, during, and after.

There is always a moment when I think what the hell is all the fuss about?

Then there is always a moment when I realize the magic and fall in love all over again with it and with whomever or whichever self I have brought out there with me.

There’s lots of gift giving.

I get to make gifts and give–time, experience, perspective, hand massage.

I get gifts.

I have gotten to go for airplane rides, have been given beautiful jewelry, I got a therapy session last year in a hammock followed by an awesome make out session (that is what I call doctor/client privilege!).  I have been given access to the inner circle to see the Man burn three times–three!  I have gotten to ride on amazing art cars, been given tremendous hugs, a small ceramic gnome–which I re-gifted a few years ago–upon request–I was given a gorgeous dress makeover last year and wore my party dress to dance like a maniac out in the shadow of the shipwreck ship.

I have been given invaluable life experience, friends, art, love.

Not too shabby.

I have yet to get jaded, although I have my moments, I still believe in playa magic and I am over the moon that I get to be a part of it again this year.

“I can’t wait to see your pictures,” my friend finished our conversation and we shared one last hug good night.

“I can’t wait to take them.” I thought to myself, hopped on my bike and started to the bicycle commute back to East Oakland.

In fact, I think I need to find a battery charger for my rechargeable batteries in my camera, they must be getting low on juice.

Note to self.

There are not many other things I need to pick up, aside from getting to go see my bicycle tomorrow and get the new seat and hopefully the bike basket.  I am super excited to get the saddle.  Maybe if they put it on for me I will just leave my one speed whip at the office on Valencia and ride my playa bike to the house sitting gig–they are my Burning Man family and I can just put my bike in their garage instead of keeping it in my friends garage, get it out of her hair.

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will sleep in, maybe, I always tell myself I will, then I wake up and am up and ready to tackle the day, write, pack my bag for a weekend in the city and take off.

I will inventory what I still need to get as far as stuff to take to playa–not much, really, it’s just about done (extra underwear and bras, if you must know, really that’s about it, I believe), perhaps a new chain for my bicycle as well, last year it fell off a few times and I believe that the master link might be shot.

But for the moment, it just feels like it’s a countdown and all I really need to do is show up for it.

Like everything else in my life, just say yes and show up for it.

Be nice and treat people well, and don’t swear at them and wave to the midget hooker (she was out again this morning! Black leather fringe jacket and the tiniest tightest pair of blue jeans leggings was today’s outfit) and go about my life.

My life.

I have been reflecting on that too, took me almost the entire post to get to this part.

I got a message from Shadrach’s mom today, I sent her a card, I was thinking about her, this was the time of year, I will always think about it as I go to prepare myself for the Burning Man adventure, which I would not have done without his prompting and then the necessity to bring his remains to the Temple.

She sounded good, bright, sweet, Maine accent sharp and peppery and I was going to call her back, but did not.

That is on the list of things to do, the list I don’t always want to do right away, but the list that sits heavy, a crow on a sagging telephone wire, croaking at me to remind me there are people in this world I need to stay connected to.

I could call it an obligation.

But it is not.

It’s just another facet of my life and sometimes I wish to not look back, I want to just look forward, but he’s there, and I still catch myself doing things because, well, you know I can, I am alive and he’s dead.

There is the obligation, if I chose to see it like that, but really there is the gift.

See, it really is like Christmas.

This gift, my friend’s life and times and his family that despite not having seen in a while, are my family too.

And you always go back to the ones you love at Christmas time.

 

Congratulations!

July 25, 2013

You have won crackhead bingo!

Yippee!

I saw my midget prostitute today.

I win.

I don’t know why seeing this woman puts a smile on my face, is it the cliché of it all?

She was dressed up more so than the last time I saw her, she looked like a miniature Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman.

Which fyi, was NOT filmed in East Oakland.

In case you were wondering.

She was dolled up in a platinum blonde wig, a very tight leopard print mini dress, and black boots.

Like you know, a three-year old might wear.

If she were a hooker.

I totally smiled, and I shit you not, I almost found myself waving.

“Hi!”

Just your friendly neighborhood crazy girl bicycle commuting through East Oakland in the late morning, oh yeah, it was morning.

I was not smiling or laughing or waving to anybody tonight on my ride home.

I just missed the magic hour of dusk and the end of the work day commute and got caught in the let’s get it on of after dark Oakland.

It was getting on.

I was just pedaling as fast as I could and doing my best to slow down and breathe, to not stay standing at any intersection, to always be in motion, to be seen, to not get hit, to not get harassed.

I made it back alive and not too scared to tell the tale.

The girls during the day are not the same girls that work the nights, from what I can tell.

I still would like to take my camera out and catch a few of them.

Not working, but you know, working.

I did take some surreptitious photographs at the park today.

I took out the camera to capture a man sitting nodding off on a park bench with ropes of drool coming out of his mouth.

Every once in a while he would come to, sit up, regal, raise a hand and softly point, almost wave, in a direction.  Like was directing slow motion traffic in his mind.

Then he would lean forward and nod back out.

I was busy watching my charge, but being on hyper nanny alert I was also, I always do, making sure he was not a threat.

He was harmless in a sad, old man, down on his luck sort of day.

I thought later, what if my perspective is skewed?

He was sitting on a park bench, nodding out, so he got his fix, in warm sunshine, children laughing and playing t-ball in the lot.  He was probably happy as a fucking clam.

Unlike the little girl whose mother pushed her down the big kid slide after getting impatient with her not having the immediate courage to do it (it is a steep ass slide, fuck, I went down it once and got nervous).

Pushed her the fuck down.

Congratulations bitch cakes, you just gave your child fear of heights in one stupid move.

I saw a beautiful three-year old, I know because she was introduced to me as such, go from being happy and joyful to scared, screaming, frightened.

Then it became hysterical crying.

And it was bordering on the tantrum crying that cannot be stopped.

I got up and left.

It was so uncomfortable.

I would rather watch a fucking junkie homeless man nod off on a bench then listen to the little girl wailing and I knew the crying was going to stop and it was going to stop when she got hit.

It was pretty obvious that was the route it was taking.

And the kid knew it too, which I think was adding to the hysterical crying.

“Home,” my charge said.

“I couldn’t agree more,” I said and picked her up and tucked her into my side and got the fuck out of there.

“Leaving before it catches,” a dad said with a wry chuckle.

“Something like that,” I said.

PTSD alarm bells ringing in my head.

GET OUT.

The crying broke with a desperate, abrupt wail about a half block out.

I am just glad my charge was not there to see it.

You can explain away the nodding out junkie, “he’s taking a nap in the sun,” you can’t explain away the parent that pushes their own child down a slide and then hits them later when the child does not respond well to your action.

No thank you.

“I have decided what your playa name should be,” my employer said to me this afternoon when I showed up for the gig, my charge already down for her nap.

The mom’s eyes gleamed with pleasure.

“Mary-Fucking-Poppins!”  She said, gleefully.

Oh my god.

Yes.

Please.

I am Mary Fucking Poppins, or MFP, for shorts, you know.

That will be my street name.

“No, sir, I am not working, I am just getting done with work, no sir I am in child care, no, not childish care, I am a nanny, yes you heard me, ass hole, my name is MARY FUCKING POPPINS.”

Then I would bean him with my umbrella and fly away on my magical bike.

Which might be a little E.T. but the image rather works for me.

And I did get a new parasol for the playa, yes I did.

Bright red.

In the shape, of a, wait for it.

Heart.

BAhahahahahahahahaha.

I love myself.

I crack myself the fuck up.

In other news, I will be house sitting this fine upcoming weekend, in San Francisco, in Cole Valley, in the Upper Haight, yo.

So, let’s do some hanging out and some coffee and or tea having.

And since I will be staying at my Burning Man families place, I will be bringing my playa bike over from my friend’s house on 19th and Valencia.

After a short pit stop at the bike shop to get my Fat Banana saddle.

Fingers crossed my bicycle basket with the daisies comes in this week as well.

Heh.

I am Mary Fucking Poppins.

Good lord.

Unsubscribe me Please

July 24, 2013

I took myself off the Burning Man early arrival board.

A. I have a ride.

B. I have better things to do with my time than pursue the odd configurations of how people get their stuff from where they live to where they will live for a few weeks.

It is good reading.

However, I get exhausted when I see an inbox full of e-mail.

I want that inbox spic and span.

Tidy like.

And I have a ticket.

Yup.

Got handed over the official “Cargo Cult” ticket today and my early arrival pass.

“Don’t lose that,” my employer said to me as I folded the two together and stuck them in a secret stash part of my wallet where I keep schedules on paper for places that can administer first aid to my aching head and all its attendant crazy.

“Also,” she said, half serious, half in jest, “please, don’t sell it.”

No way.

“What burn is this for you,” she asked me tonight as we headed from the Women’s Building on 17th and Valencia to the BART station on 16th and Mission.

Lucky number seven.

I still cannot believe that this will be seven.

Seven is spelled with style, yo.

I am going to be staying an Airstream.

I have food, water, transportation, ticket, early arrival.

“BANANA SEAT!”

The text read today.

What?

OH!

My new saddle showed up at the shop.

“Honey, you have to see this thing, it’s huge,” my friend from the shop said.

“Brian 3 did not even know what a banana seat was, he’d never heard of one, fuck me I am old.”

Me too.

“It really is huge,” he added.

Good, I am a size queen.

I can’t wait to get my paws on it.

I figure that will happen Friday.

I have a dinner date with John Ater then a speaking engagement at Our Lady of SafeWay.

Yes that reads correctly.

No, I don’t care to explain.

I meet with John at 6:30 p.m.

Plenty of time to come into the city, go to my friend’s place on 19th, scoop up my bike, and bring it over to the shop to have them install my huge saddle.

My great, big, triple thick, banana seat, I’m going to be riding a lot at Burning Man.

I do, actually believe that I will be riding my bike more than I have in years past.

I won’t be fluffing or working for folks who are doing the golf-cart thing.

I will have access to some sort of vehicle to take my charge to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or whatever meals I end up working with him, I am sure I won’t be pedaling across the playa with him in my bicycle basket.

Although that would be really cute.

My schedule is also a little nebulous at the moment, but it will all work out.

The one thing that I do believe I will do, aside from jump up and down and clap my hands when that seat goes on my cruiser bike (did I mention it is white and it has glitter?) is stop thinking that I have an idea of what money I am going to make at the event.

I have a number in my head, but I don’t know for certain how much I am going to work.

I will be there three weeks.

In my head that equals, five days on, two days off, three weeks in a row–15 shifts.

But it’s not the normal world.

There may be days when I work longer or shorter hours.

It’s the playa, and weird, wonderful, wacky shit happens out there.

So for me to sit, miniature accountant in my head and try to figure out how much I am going to make, is nuts.

Plain, old crazy making.

I am going to work and I am sure I shall work plenty.

But I cannot count my eggs this early in.

Suffice to say, I will be going, it will be splendid (and awful, and dusty, and there will be tears, there always are, and I will wonder, what the fuck am I doing and why is this important?  And then the magic will happen and I will fall in love with it all again, and this will happen over and over and over until I come home and collapse in a dusty heap to get all excited for the experience months later) and I will be taken care of.

The rest of this week I have nanny gigs, one tomorrow, one Thursday.

Then that’s it until Tuesday, one charge only, in Cole Valley.

Then nothing, until the following Tuesday, two charges, one day, Cole Valley.

Again, however, holding out for the miraculous.

The something awesome that is going to happen that I cannot predict or see or plan for, I can just show up for.

I am practising by saying yes.

In fact, I just made a commitment to show up somewhere late next Wednesday in Oakland.

It’ll be one of the few times I can.

I don’t really want to, but that’s besides the point, I get to, and I get to say yes.

I subscribe to the belief that I have to move forward open arms to this experience, rather than saying, I am going to freak because I don’t have work.

I have plenty of work, it just doesn’t always pay back the kind of dividends that can be found in a checking and savings account.

Sometimes the payoff is a fat ride and early arrival to Burning Man.

That is some heady coin.

Easing In

July 23, 2013

The week starts out with a three hour nap.

Thank you Jeebus.

That was amazing.

Now, I expect the other shoe to drop, no napping for the rest of the week, explosive diapers, teething atrocity, baby bedlam.

Not really.

There is no other shoe that is about to drop.

I have quietly, slowly, even at times, painfully, discovered this.

The anxiety about what may or may not happen in the future, anytime near or far, is just not worth holding onto.

Although John Ater has mentioned to me that perhaps I should worry more, because none of the things that I worry about actually happen.

I usually spend a few minutes after getting back from a Rockridge adventure after work, trying to force myself to wind down.

Must go to bed.

Must go to bed.

Must write.

Must write short, pithy blog that readers will appreciate reading and I will feel sense of accomplishment for having typed so fast my fingers are sore.

Speaking of sore fingers I may find myself reverting back to a bicycle riding prop that I have not used in years–gloves.

My hands and wrists are getting sore from the long commute.

I don’t mind the commute, although today, shocker, like every day, I did observe a few things.

“Queens not Hoes” was white washed over on the wall of the building it was splashed across.

Queens not garden rakes.

So sweet.

Instead of the sweet, albeit grammatically incorrect graffiti, the new artist had put up a splashy “Everyone is Trayvon” graffiti.

But it was not well done and it was not worth the stop in my bicycle commute to document with my camera.

I almost did not take out my camera on my way home either, although I expressly brought it with me after last nights spectacular moon rise.  I did not want to miss another opportunity to take that kind of photograph.

However, the banks of clouds were not parting to show off the rising moon, it stays hidden behind heavy purple clouds that look as though they might drop an unexpected summer torrent of rain.

Instead, when in the moment, I looked back to gauge my timing to turn left, I have to cross two lanes and then pop into the turn lane right after 50th, I saw the sky behind me on fire.

I swung over to the gutter, took my feet out of my Hold Fast straps (pedal retention like cages) and managed to pull out my camera and catch a few shots before seeing a perfect gap in the traffic to shoot over.

I took a few shot, bundled up the camera, and pedaled quick and fast across the road way before the next onslaught of trucks jacked up on huge rims, flashing silver and white.

I was thinking about pulling over by Talk of the Town and taking some photographs of the neon signage outside the bar, but there were too many gentlemen of the drunken variety and a posse of young men across the street obviously holding.

I did not stop.

Although, given the chance I will.

I did like the shots I got though.

Kelley Moore Paints

Kelley Moore Paints

Sunset

International Avenue

Sunset Reflections

Reflections

 

 

I had another moment today when I wanted to take some photographs, but only because I planned on being the nanny police and turning in a little riot of teenager drinkers and smokers in the park that I took my charge to.

Really?

Must you roll and light up that blunt right there?

Really?

And then smoke it too?

Come on.

The entire playground was rife with pot smoke.

Then I heard the smashing of a bottle on the ground, a flask had been passed around and dumped into the bottles of Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail in the quartet’s busy paws.

I am not surprised by underage drinking or drugging.

Not really.

I am not normally so nosy, either.

But I was pissed.

They were babies with babies.

The stroller was a trashed out single mom ghetto stroller that you might see a homeless man pushing.

However, I was quite aware that the fifth person in the group was napping and his/her legs were dangling out the bottom of the carriage while the two girls and two guys drank and passed around the blunt.

I just had to let it go.

What was I going to do?

Call CPS.

At least they weren’t smoking crack in the park.

At least the kid was napping.

I mean, who am I to judge?

I think I know better, but it’s not my kid and I can’t rescue them, I can hardly rescue me.

I just turned my attention to where it needed to be, on the tow-headed joy of a little girl I had right in front of me demanding to go down the swirly slide.

“Up, up, up, up,” she said, raising her arms and pleading with me with bright shiny eyes.

“All rewards, but none of the work, eh?” I asked her.

“PEASE!”

Ok, I am a sucker for a kid who uses please.

I lifted her up and tipped her over the side at the top of the swirly slide and watched her happy and content twirl down the green plastic slide.

She told me when it was time to go.

“Home.”

And walked me to the gate when it was time.

We walked back, picked jasmine, smelled the flowers, talked to a puppy, talked to a drive way, pointed out dad’s car, and showed up at home for “Na, nas”.

Food.

She ate half my apple today, half of an avocado, black beans, turkey, cheese, blueberries until the cows came home, and a few yogurt Puffs.

Baby crack.

But good for keeping the hands busy when you need to attend to something.

We played stickers, read about poop, and sang songs.

Not a bad way to start the week.

And I managed to get my camera out too.

Week has officially begun.

What’s next?

I am ready.

 

Something Else is Being Planned

July 22, 2013

Without your knowledge.

I am looking at next weekend and the following two weeks as a great big surprise party that the Universe is throwing me.

I was going to go help out one of the families next weekend at the What the Festival in Oregon, but their needs changed and my need was negated.

So, no music festival in Oregon for me.

Just means that something more spectacular and more up my alley are coming down the pipeline.

To horribly mix my metaphors.

If how I felt today was indicative of how I will react, which it isn’t, but for the moment I will say it is, I am going to be just fine.

I had no plans today except to be at Church and Market for one hour at 6:30 p.m. today.

I slept in, did laundry, got off–hey you got to make hay while the sunshines–both sets of roommates and girlfriends were out of the house and well, me being the only one in the house, I made use.

Showered.

Breakfast.

Wrote.

Read.

Wrote some more.

Worked on some stuff for the design firm for a little while and planned out what I would need to do for her for the remainder of the week.

And billed for the two weeks prior–not much man, but the experience is so worth it I have no complaints.

None.

Had some lunch.

Did my hair all sassy and set out for the city.

I ran into Sean.

HI SEAN!

On the street as I was crossing from 15th over Market.

He was on his bike and pulled over and gave me a big ol’ hug and we chatted about his new job and how much he loves it and the pop up restaurant and Burning Man.

I haven’t seen him since last year’s burn.  I thought I might catch him at the Media Mecca BBQ in Petaluma but that did not happen.

It was good to see him.

I love random friend spotting.

Not too long thereafter I ran into another friend I had not seen in a while.

For obvious reasons.

She looked horrible and I was so sad to see her that way and so happy to see her again the two feelings negated each other.

She looked like a shrunken, beaten, scrawnier version of Mick Jagger on a bad run.

But she was alive and I was grateful.

Both to see her again and to see that I don’t have to do that shit today.

No, no I do not.

My life.

I am so cotton picking grateful for my life.

I have a life in which I am free to travel about, to work, to eat well, to see friends, to drink hot spicy cinnamon tea (the Bengal Spice is in the house, yo), where I get to ride a bicycle that is really cool.

It is really cool.

That I am allowed to not be in bondage to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, sugar (21 days now!) and most of all from those bad habits I indulge–believing my thoughts about myself rather than reflecting that I am a result of my actions.

Little revelations that grow and change and change me.

Charge me.

Light me up like a battery.

Fly me to the moon.

Did you see the moon rise tonight?

It was heralded by ribbons of pink smoked clouds and indigo skies.

It rose heavy, white, creamy soft, full.

The juxtaposition of it, the beauty of it in comparison to some of the squalor I pass on my bicycle ride back to Graceland, transported me.

I felt like I was on an alien planet.

I felt like I was in a George Lucas sci-fi movie.

That may be all it is.

That welter of gratitude for the skyline and the press of the moon behind the criss cross of telephone wires across International Ave.

That could be it completely.

There is sustenance and beauty everywhere that I can let myself see.

I could not even find it in me to worry about my finances and what will happen when I get back from Burning Man and who will I nanny for where.

I just did not have it in me to not coast along the serene line that just taking the next action in front of me led my day down to.

Sometimes that really is it.

Hot shower.

Clean laundry.

Good food.

Hot coffee (Stumptown!).

Cuddle cats that chirp at you.

The line of the clouds beckoning me on, pulling my heart up and forward as it pulls my eyes, feet splayed on pedals, rollicking past the taco truck at high velocity, the tarnished Talk of the Town sign blinking out in burnt neon, the royal indigo and blushed peach sky, the moon.

La bella luna.

I salute you.

Simple, elegant, there, not needing explanation or definition.

Just there.

Beauty.

God.

Love.

You.


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