Archive for January, 2014

Grounded!

January 31, 2014

But Mom!

I don’t want to take MUNI to work.

Not that.

Please, never that.

MUNI and a cab this morning to make it on time.

I left the house to discover my bicycle had a flat tire this morning.

Time for a new tire.

Two new tubes in less than two weeks equals new tire.

I did not have the time to dig out my gear and change the flat, I could, I have, I will, but this morning there was not enough wiggle room to change a flat and then get on my bike and get to work on time.

So, I hopped the N-Judah to 9th and Irving and then popped out, MUNI was not going to get me there on time if i took it all the way, I was going to  have to transfer at some point and it would have been another half hour, and caught a cab to work.

Cost me $15 to get to work today.

Could have been worse.

And as I have been writing about these last few weeks, it really does seem that I am to take a little time off my bicycle.

Tomorrow is likely going to be the same.

I probably will take MUNI all the way to work, I am in the Castro and I have a slightly later start.

I could get up, change out the flat and run the route.

But there stands a good chance that I would just blow out another tube.

This front tire is the original tire on the bicycle, which means it’s about two years old.  The tire has been ridden hard and long and well, through the mean streets of San Francisco, Paris, and East Oakland.

Time for a new one.

I will probably go in on Saturday when I have more wiggle room in my schedule.

Drop my bike off at the shop and buy a new tire.

Go to dance with my girl friend in the Mission and pick it up afterward.

I do have some places to get about to tomorrow, but I actually have enough time between when I get off work and when I need to get to 2900 24th Street in the Mission to be able to walk it comfortably.

Which is what I did tonight.

I finished with my nanny gig in the NOPA at 5 p.m. and took myself out to an early dinner at Herbivore, then over to a local nail salon and got a manicure.

I was due in the 7th and Geary neighborhood at 8:30 p.m. and just walked it.

I walked past places I rarely see.

I had memories of long ago and far away.

That one house on Spruce Street and Geary.

How the hell did I end up there?

Late night with the bartender at Hawthorne Lane, a pit stop at the house for some fueling up and then off to the after hours somewhere down the line.

I remember the cracked porcelain sink, the dying spider plant on top of the yellow fridge in the kitchen, the detritus of sloppy room mates all too young and too self involved to clean, the stash of toilet paper some one had stuck behind a ratty towel in the bathroom.

Yuck.

Then there was 4141 Geary, the Kaiser Permanente office I spent a lot of time at when I was going through a really difficult time in my life.

It was basically where I was officially diagnosed with clinical anxiety and clinical depression.  Where they told me that just because I could be so glib about my child hood abuses did not mean I had any healing around them.

The further admonition to find a good therapist to help with the PTSD and the ACA issues.

Jesus.

Then the psychiatrist who prescribed for me and finally the last visit I had over three years later when I went off the meds and was “released” back into my own recognizance.

Just kidding.

Cheap Pete’s Frame shop.

Where I bought the frame that houses my diploma from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Where it turns out I had not graduate in May of 2002 because a grade on a paper I turned in for missing a final was never reported.

Fiver years later I was directed to make some amends and get my diploma.

Boy was that a shock to find out when I spoke to the woman on the phone that I had actually not graduated.

I was missing one credit.

What?

I found out what class, contacted the department, the department notified the Bursar’s Office, and three weeks later, there she was, my diploma in the mail.

“I am going to suggest you frame it and hang it on your wall,” she said to me over coffee at Muddy Waters on Valencia and 16th.

Ok.

Cheap Pete’s.

Walked by Arguello, remembering my friends old apartment there and many nights hanging out and being stupid.

Drinking coffee way too late at night and then going dancing.

Riding around in his Mercedes-Benz convertible with the top down, the heat blasting, the music loud, the stars splattered over head and the city our oyster.

It is amazing to have a history of my own in this city.

I have lived here longer than I have lived anywhere else.

Now, we could split hairs, technically I lived longer in Wisconsin, but I am thinking the same city, not the same state.

Although it’s not much longer, when I do the math.

I was in Madison for ten years before I came to San Francisco.

Splitting hairs here.

San Francisco feels like home because this is where the most important thing that has ever happened to me happened.

Where I have grown up.

Where I have learned and re-learned and learned some more about myself, my needs, my faith, my spirituality, my sexuality, my friends, my love for myself and for others, where the majority of my closest friends reside, where I am most at home.

Geary is not my favorite stretch of San Francisco and I don’t plan on going and hanging my hat there any time soon, but it was a good re-acquaint with the neighborhood.

Sometimes I need to get grounded, slow down, see the scenery on foot and get really fucking grateful that I have the life I have been given.

Even when I have to take the MUNI it is a blessing.

Especially since I haven’t puked on the bus in over 9 years either.

See you on the train in the morning.

I’ll be the one all bright eyed and bushy tailed.

 

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Wet Day At The Office

January 30, 2014

Late day too.

It’s hard when it’s wet outside and so much of my routine is en route to play ground or pushing a stroller to the park for a nap underneath the trees.

It was a slow, wet commute, fog so heavy it felt like I was riding through a bathtub full of salt water.

It was also sensual at one point.

I can’t quite describe it.

It felt lush, the water in the air was so rich and dense and I had warmed up on my bicycle, I suddenly felt like I was in a spa.

But I was just on Lincoln Ave trying to not go too fast, slip between any cars, or run any red lights.

I did dash through a couple of stops early in the ride, there really aren’t too many cars coming up from behind me until I hit 25th Avenue.

Then it starts to get serious and when the weather is weird the traffic is weird, either folks are too cautious or they are not cautious enough.

There is something about wet weather driving that seems to magnify the intensity of traffic.

Being on a bike with wet brake pads is not fun and I could hear them slipping on the machined surface of my front bicycle rim trying to get traction.

Say what you will about riding fixed gear, I actually had better control of stopping and starting with my bike in fixed.

Since I put it back into free wheel I am totally dependent upon the hand brake and when it’s wet that makes me nervous.

Despite seeing some silly driving and some drivers that ran just a hair too close to me, or too fast, I got to work on time, just really damp.

The moisture from the ride beading in my hair.

I did feel good though, warmed up and salty.

Bicycle spa.

Welcome to San Francisco, would you like that with a side of sourdough?

The rest of the day was not bad at work, but the day went long and the teething was full on and by the end I was watching for the dad pick up with much longing.

I missed my normal after work event and headed home, slowly, again, though not raining, the roads were still wet.

Although not like this morning.

I got home, made some tea and went upstairs to check in with my housemates.

I paid rent and sat and had a cup of tea while they ate dinner.

Family.

It’s really nice to have that where I live.

I have some distance, I have my own space, but I can hop upstairs and join in the love for a little while and we were all like-minded, having had challenging days in our various ways.

It was good to decompress.

Then when it was time for homework, I departed.

I have my own homework.

Which I have been doing and I will be reporting in full when I do my check in on Friday.

I also booked solid full-time work through February.

Confirming Fridays for the month.

And, yes, I did agree to work a couple of weekend shifts.

However, I did this because not only do I want to fly back to Wisconsin to visit my best friend from home, I also need to sock some money away toward a new computer and I do want to explore getting a scooter or a motorcycle.

I am ready to finally make that jump.

I shall start small with taking the motorcycle class that the SF Police Department does.  I found out that they provide helmets as well as cycles and scooters.

So first invest in that then look toward getting a motorized vehicle.

I haven’t had one since I gave my car to Good Will when I moved to San Francisco over eleven years ago.

My little two door Honda Accord, five speed stick shift, in aqua.

Man, I loved that little car.

I bought it from my boss at the Angelic Brewing Company when he upsized to an SUV and I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and had gotten “custody” of the car.

Since I had paid for it and the title was in my name.

And then a month after we broke up, the damn thing died.

It is one thing to be without a vehicle in San Francisco.

It is quite another to be without one in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin when winter is coming and I was going to school full-time and working full-time.   I think I took the bus once and freaked the fuck out.

Then my boss told me I could buy his car.

Holy shit.

Saved.

I had to get rid of it though when I moved to San Francisco, the insurance, the tickets, the parking downtown, was not worth it.

Thus, a scooter or a cycle.

Easy to park.

Easier maintenance than a car.

Cheaper to fill up the gas tank.

Easier for me to transport my groceries.

I am getting by all right with the system as it is, but the wet weather really does make it more of a challenge for me.

“Do you have rain gear,” he asked me last night at 7th and Irving as I unlocked my bicycle and brushed the water off the saddle with my elbow.

“No,” I replied.

I did.

I just got rid of it when I moved to Paris.

Remember I only took one carry on with me and my messenger bag.

I winnowed out anything I thought was unnecessary and that was to me.

Might be time to suit back up for it.

Too late for this week, but I do have my detachable fender stuck out over the rear wheel to prevent that water off the street from hitting my back side while I am riding to and from work.

I have a lot of extra riding to do tomorrow, here, 46th and Irving to the NOPA in the morning for work–McAllister at Divisadero–for my Thursday girl.

NOPA to 7th and Irving.

7th and Irving to 8th and Geary.

8th and Geary to 46th and Irving.

That’s a lot of wet weather riding.

Of course, it may not rain as the forecast seems to be indicating, but I have been psyching myself up for it all week.

Anyway.

I am grateful I have work to ride my bicycle to.

This is a good thing.

Wet or dry.

Go Where the Resistance Is

January 29, 2014

Sheesh.

Why did I call you?

Oh yeah.

Perspective.

Ah.

Go through the difficult stuff, accept that there will be challenges, but I don’t have to allow myself to be hurt and I can get out of my own way.

“Darlin’ you’ve been resisting this for years,” he paused, “you crying yet?”

Affirmative.

I have to stop wearing eye makeup.

Or just surrender to the fact that on the occasion when I connect with certain people in my life I feel safe enough to cry around them.

I was not feeling so safe tonight in my normal spot on Tuesday evenings, there was some disturbances in the force, so to speak, and I felt for the first time what it meant to have some PTSD in my life.

Like I flippantly will acknowledge that I am most comfortable with my back to the wall.

I like to see what the fuck is coming my way.

I like to be prepared for all eventualities.

“Diapers, water, sunblock, sweatshirts, snacks, water bottle, wipes, sand shovel and bucket,” I patted myself down, “phone.”

“Oh yeah,” I said and smile, “babies.”

Or boys.

They are boys really.

I am a good nanny because of that but I forget that just because I am adept at my job that it is an easy job.

It’s not an easy job and I think that I am just some lazy person who has to work really hard to just get by, that struggle means I am doing a good job.

That is such bullshit.

I don’t have to work so hard and I bet if I wasn’t trying so much things would come easier.

I can advocate for myself and as I have been writing about I have some amazing people in my life who are urging me to do just that.

I am the one blocking my way.

Which is why it’s great to have some folks in my corner to give me suggestions and I am, defect of character that still works, a people pleaser.

I don’t want to let my friends down so I will take their suggestions.

Besides I know when I am balking that this is where it’s at.

“You only get hurt when you resist,” he concluded.

And then the tears really did overflow.

I looked up at the tops of the trees brushing the low hanging sky, the fog starting to rumble in like the wet wooly beast it is, weaving through the tops of the trees, obscuring Twin Peaks, a few dense, bright breaks of blue, then grey.

I think that my life is grey.

When that is me resisting.

I am resisting going over to that blue light, that clean, brightness scares me.

You know, I am most comfortable in the dark, hiding behind some clothes.

I used to have nightmares that would keep a therapists in caviar for decades and I remember often in them that I would hide in the closet to escape whatever was coming for me.

I would get in the back of the closet, beneath all the low hanging clothes and burrow under the dirty laundry scattered along the bottom and hope fervently that I just looked like a crumpled bit of laundry in the heap and not the scared child I was trying to still my breath to non-existent.

It wasn’t until recently that I began to wonder if those were really dreams or perhaps memories.

Just because I felt safe did not mean I was.

Hiding in that closet did not save me from being hurt.

It didn’t then and it won’t now.

So, here’s to traveling through the resistance and finding out what is on the other side.

“Honey, I have been doing this for 29 years, and I’m in my sixties, how old are you?  In your forties, you have 40, 50, maybe even 60 years to go, get the fuck out-of-the-way.”

Yes indeed.

Get to living.

“Go to Paris,” he said.

“Paris sucked,” I said, in a hot flash of tenderness that felt like I was poking a canker sore I thought has healed but is still there just below the skin healing slowly.

He laughed.

“No, your perspective sucked,” he said.

“Ah, yes,” I said, “Paris did not suck.”

Sigh.

I know this all sounds vague and nebulous but things are cooking and I am loath to take the cover off the pressure cooker until the meal is done.

Suffice to say I am walking through the resistance, taking the next action in front of me and listening with open ears and an open heart to my advisors, friends, and support network.

It takes a fucking village.

But fortunately I know that my walking through this and all other things that I have gone through, enhances my life and is of great service to others.

I mean I help a lot of people and I don’t do a lot of talking about it.

There’s just no point, it’s just what I do and it keeps me in the mix, in life, showing up, again, so that others will be pleased, but also, because, it saves my life and gives relief from the consistent wah, wah, wah in my brain.

Habits of a life time take some time to break, I have to wear some new grooves into my brain channels.

To that affect I am also going dancing, ecstatic, with one of my best girl friends on Saturday.

Can’t tell you how long I have told to go get my dance on.

Time to suit up and show up and I don’t know, dance, meet new people, spend time with my dear friend.

You know.

Rocking my life.

Because the real resistance is thinking that something needs to happen.

HAPPEN NOW.

To make me better.

I am better, for fuck’s sake, I am great.

I don’t have to always be on this improvement kick–let me stuff yoga, surfing, maybe re-pledge to do the AidsLifcycle ride in 2015, lose some more weight, finish a book, get published, go back to school, take a class in sign language, French, accounting, or make up–the list goes on.

I dont’ have to get up and do a thousand crunches.

Oh yeah, I did that once for about two months.

I was nuts.

Let me stop, pause, look at the resistance and say, go here, rather than go run a marathon, you don’t need to improve.

You just need to take a deep breath and go through.

Going through I am.

Here’s to seeing you on the other side.

Spoiled Silly

January 28, 2014

I got to see not one, but two of my favorite people today.

I ran into my darling friend as she had just sent me a text, whistling to me from my phone in my messenger bag, in The Beanery this evening.

Completely unexpected and wonderful.

We sat down over tea and had a good catch up.

Then a little while later I got to hang out with another dear friend at Tart to Tart and have some more tea and talk life and money and cops and tickets and not just getting by, but getting ahead.

I also only had one charge today and I got to take him to the carousel in Golden Gate Park and spend extra time snuggling with him and, oh, dreams do come true, he had a two-hour nap.

He never has two-hour naps.

But he has a little bit of a cold and was down and out this morning far sooner than I was expecting.

I got a two-hour block of time that I was totally not expecting.

Shoot.

I actually read through an entire magazine and cleaned the kitchen and prepped lunch and took care of it all before I delved into my own book I had brought with me.

I go back to having two tomorrow and that’s fine, but today was a treat to start the week with just one.

I got to walk around the neighborhood and run into friends also out and about.

I got to ride my bike to and from work and not get a ticket.

I got to see dear people I love so much.

I got to live and be alive in my space, my body, my life.

Pretty fucking tight.

I have some things cooking and was able to bounce off my two friends what their thoughts were and it felt really affirming to hear what they had to say and again, I just have to say I am over the moon again and again when I think about the quality of people I have in my life.

I get to cultivate these amazing friendships and it is a blessing.

I looked over my calendar for the week and was also grateful–full-time work this week–and getting to do some other service work as well.

A dance date Saturday afternoon with a darling friend that I don’t get to spend as much time with as I would like and there it is, this glorious work week book ended with my dear, darling, wonderful friends.

Just the solace I can take in some good company and a cup of tea is really amazing.

“You are like me, it’s not the accumulation of stuff,” he said to me over a steaming glass of lemon ginger tea, “it’s getting to have experiences.”

Yes.

Exactly.

Though granted, I wouldn’t mind accumulating a few other things.

I have not said it much, but the recent bicycle ticket and the constant running the gauntlet of doom on Irving and Lincoln Streets has really had me contemplate getting a scooter.

Or even a car.

Car is probably out of my reach right at the moment, but I don’t think it’s actually that far out there.

For the first time in a long while I am really getting serious about having some other mode of transportation besides my bicycle.

I don’t believe I can go back to riding MUNI, but I do want off my bicycle once in a while and I do think that a scooter could be a really nice stepping stone to that.

I recently talked to an old acquaintance about the motorcycle class that the police offer and I think that is something to really investigate.

It’s about $250 for the three-day course.

It’s also worth investigating whether or not a friend of mine who has a car and two scooters would be interested in parting with one of them.

He once offered to sell his older one to me, a black Vespa, but at the time I was in a transition which led to me eventually making the leap to Paris.

Maybe it’s time to call him up and ask if that scooter is still available or for sale.

Getting ahead of myself a little bit.

But not too much.

I am not obsessing about it either, it’s just hanging out on the back burner slowly gathering steam.

I want to have some more experiences too and I think being a touch more mobile will help with that.

There is too, the desire to not be schlepping groceries from all over on my bicycle.

I brought home $45 in groceries and if that won’t slow me down on my bike I don’t know what will.

Aside from the car that nearly collided with me on Irving at 34th on my way home from 7th and Irving tonight.

He totally ran the stop sign.

I mean did not even slow down.

I heard the car coming as I was entering the intersection.

“Stop sign,” I hollered at the top of my lungs, “there’s a stop sign there, stop!”

He squealed to a halt half way through the intersection.

“Thanks,” I said and skirted my bicycle, which I had come to a near complete stop, “thanks for not killing me,” and I rode off, heart in my throat and took a deep breath.

And home.

I mean.

I have been really lucky with my biking in the city, in Oakland, in Paris, yes, I have been hit, but mostly doored–three times, only once knocked off my bike–but without extensive injury.

I have had accidents, cracked my helmet falling off my bike when I overloaded a messenger bag with, yup, you guessed it, groceries, damn thing slid off my shoulder and pulled me over.

There was not traffic other wise I might have gotten run over.

I have had close calls.

But they seem to be happening with more frequency.

I am spoiled.

And I like my life.

But maybe the time is coming for some change.

Maybe the bike needs to be just for riding along the ocean and for quick jaunts to the Noriega Produce Market.

Too soon to tell.

But I do sense a change a coming.

I do believe.

I do.

A change that perhaps includes a motorcycle helmet.

I Don’t Know Why I Kissed You

January 27, 2014

But I just want to be friends.

He told me after coffee today.

Oh thank God.

Not that I wasn’t interested in more than just friends, I was, that was why I was there in the middle of my day in the middle of a neighborhood I don’t go to when I am not working, because it reminds me of work.

Kind of fun, actually to be in a coffee shop I normally only duck into to grab an Americano and hit their restroom before heading to the park.

Good people watching.

Ran into a guy I took a TS Eliot class with in Madison, at the University, taught by Professor Serena Pondrom.

I won’t ever forget her.

She said, “my tests will make you smarter and you will actually learn when you are taking them.”

Fuck my mother.

She was right.

It hurt taking those written exams, I remember how cramped my hand would be after filling a blue book, or two, I think my final I might have actually written so much that I started in on a second book.

I learned how much I knew when I was doing the writing and it astounded me.

It was also painful, I felt like my brain was being yanked out of my ear, but I was learning and I left that final realizing that I knew a great deal more about TS Eliot than I had believed and to this day that course remains one of the best classes I ever had at University.

That was James, the young gay guy, who still is gay, not quite so young, but still looking good.

Then I ran into my old Sifu from the Kung Fu academy I attended early in my living in San Francisco–Daniel at the Praying Mantis School of Kung Fu–and we chatted briefly as well, kung fu, Burning Man, work.

It was good to see my life unfolding in the golden sunlight pushing into the coffee shop, smell the good smells in the shop and hang out with my friend.

I know why you kissed me.

Duh.

I am irresistible.

Giggle.

I am attractive.

I look like I might kiss back pretty good.

And maybe if there had been more chemistry, the kiss was a bit of a surprise, there might have been more, but there was not the chance to really explore it and now, there won’t be.

“Just let me clarify,” I said, “the kiss was completely a non-sequitor, won’t be happening again, and you just want to be friends.”

“Yes,” he said, “are you ok with that?”

“Of course!” I said.

You know what?

I really am.

Oh, my friend’s great, smart, healthy, attractive, a dream boat, but not for me.

Thank God.

Get another one out-of-the-way, let go the fantasy, and direct my attention to the man you want me to be with, I don’t have time to waste on men who aren’t interested in being with me, the quicker I find out the better.

I mean I am willing to do the work, so let’s get to it.

I am willing to get hurt.

I am willing to try different things.

I am willing to date and fall down and kiss people and be kissed and thank you so much for your honesty.

“No, it really is ok,” I grinned at my friend and then said, “now I don’t feel so damn self-conscious about dancing in front of you,” and my feet broke out into a little dance jig.

Prince was playing on the stereo.

“I just want your extra time and your kiss.”

My God has a fucking funny sense of humour.

“You saved me so much time,” I added, “I really appreciate knowing.”

“I want to be your friend, I want relationships with people in San Francisco, I am going to be here for a while.” He concluded.

“You got it, I want to be your friend too,” I said and smiled.

That felt great.

We hugged.

It was special.

But not stupid special.

Just good.

Clear.

Then I hopped on my bike and headed off to my Sunday night commitment at Church and Market and I don’t know why and I don’t really care to figure it out, but I felt up lifted, elated, and really quite happy.

“What do you want to do right now?” I asked myself as I realized I had a spare half hour to kill before I needed to be where I needed to be.

“Books!”

I gleefully darted into Aardvark and cruised the aisles.

I picked up a copy of Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

I read IQ84 a couple of years ago and it really stuck with me.

I think I shall like this too.

What else shall I like?

Acceptance.

“You look amazing, your physical recovery is incredible,” he said to me outside of Our Lady of SafeWay this evening as we were winding up.

“I mean, I remember your beautiful face, but it’s been a while since I have seen you, and you look great.” He finished and gave me a big hug.

We were talking about a little incident that happened yesterday when I was hula hooping with my housemates daughter out on the sidewalk decorated with chalk hearts and candy skulls.

She had reached up and said, “what’s this?”

Pinching the excess skin underneath my upper arm.

Ha.

I was wearing a sleeveless shirt and it was all hanging out.

“This is what happens when you lose a lot of weight and your skin has stretched out from it,” I said, being calm and not grabbing her hand as she reached up to touch it again.

“Wierd,” she said and then went back to coloring hearts on the sidewalk.

“Hey,” she said suddenly, “betcha can’t hula hoop with all three of the hoops.”

“Let me try,” I said and slipped all three around my middle.

Turns out I can.

“You are amazing,” she said.

Extra arm skin completely forgotten.

How refreshing to see that, like I am just this person and I look this way and it’s all a gift, the body, the experiences, the evidence always with me that I showed up and continue to show up and do the work and I get to have some amazing physical recovery.

Fantastic.

And I am a great friend.

And eventually, sooner rather than later, I will be a great girlfriend.

Now.

Who’s next for a kiss?

 

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

January 26, 2014

It was.

It was.

Lovely.

Really.

I was up so early I sort of wanted to hit myself, but apparently this is what is happening.  My internal clock is up and going off at 7:30a.m. or 7:45 a.m. regardless that it’s the weekend and I can sleep in.

I am up.

The brain is what makes staying in bed tolerable or intolerable.

Is it a chatty Cathy?

Time to get up.

I can’t listen to it.

The talk, the voices, the thoughts, the should have done that should do that, shit, shut up, I don’t want to hear about it.

If I can’t get back to sleep pretty much right away, I am awake.

I used to be able to glide over those voices or entertain them, I guess is the better realization.  I would entertain them, I would lie around in bed and listen to them and converse with them and then, fuck away half the day on fantasy and supposition.

I don’t have it in me anymore to do that.

I get up.

I got up.

I did not even argue with the fact that it was before 8 a.m.

I just got up and got going.

By 9:30 a.m. I had a grip on the day and was already getting into a kind of isolation mood that made me jump at the offer to come upstairs and have coffee with my housemate and her daughter and boyfriend.

I finished my writing and went up.

Immediately feeling better for the company.

We sat about, I snuggled with her daughter, we sipped coffee, the cat lay by the fire, lucky lazy beast, we chatted about this, that, the other.

I was given some suggestions.

I made some calls.

I got out of my head.

Thank God.

Then outside, into the sunshine and an impromptu hang out with the family, the neighbors, another little boy, a family down the block, the bucket of chalk, four hula hoops, and spontaneous planting of wildflowers in the front square of dirt in front of the house.

I drew chalk hearts on the sidewalk.

Hula hooped.

Soaked up the sun.

And basically eased into my day.

So lovely.

Hearts

Hearts

Heck, I even pulled out my bicycle and washed all the dirt and road grime off the frame, polishing her glittery self all up.

I matched my bicycle today.

In addition to hooping and chalk art with the upstairs girl, she glittered me good when she was sitting on my lap this morning drawing out figures on some construction paper.

I was talking with her mom and the next thing you know glitter is being sprinkled in my hair.

I was bedazzled.

Stayed with me all day.

Even when I was teary, which is fine, tears happen, fears happen, you walk through them anyway.

Sometimes I make an ass out of myself, sometimes I forget to not wear eye liner on Saturdays, but there’s a person across the table to hand me a paper napkin and say, hey I do this too, even with all this time behind me, I do this too, don’t beat yourself up and don’t believe that you aren’t perfect exactly the way you are.

There is no improving to be done.

Man, though, do like that self-improvement.

It keeps me moving forward, pushing myself to do things, make things happen, go places, bigger, faster, more.

More.

That’s the thing, there’s nothing more that I have to prove.

Y’all been telling me this for a while, but I forget.

I forget so easily.

As though I must improve upon myself every day, every damn day, thank you, or there’s something wrong.

Well, fuck.

Sometimes the only thing that is wrong is that I get a little tired from all of that.

I just need to be.

I was reminded of that, and some surrender.

And I surrendered to the unexpected time this afternoon, when not one, but both people I was going to meet with after my time at Tart to Tart had come to an end, cancelled on me.

What to do?

I looked at the traffic on Irving and went to the cross walk and walked my bicycle across the street.  I stood and waited for the traffic to clear, then got on my steed and edged slowly into the traffic.

Mid-afternoon Saturday shopping, parking, crazy driving melee that is Irving Street and just took it slow, drifting along, no longer on a schedule.

Back down toward the Outer Sunset.

Where I found the house had moved to the back yard and there was a new set of friends drawing chalk art in the back yard and blowing bubbles.

I slipped off my messenger bag, filled up the electric kettle, made a spot of tea, turned up my music, left the door to my studio open and went and settled into one of the big Adirondack chairs in the back yard.

The sun splayed soft about.

The girls ran around blowing bubbles.

The adults talked and nattered, harmless gossip about the neighborhood.

The ravens flew low overhead, the rustle of their oily wings sifting through the air.

I made more tea.

This.

Community.

Home.

Serene and perfect, right in my back yard.

My beautiful neighborhood bustling with child energy and bubbles, like baubles thrown from the heavens just to secretly delight me.

Bubbles

Bubbles

“Have you seen my ticket,” the little three-year old said, her green Tinkerbell princess dress sliding off one brown shoulder.

“Is it in your ear?” I asked reaching into the pink cupped shell, poking a little strand of hair into it.

“No,” she giggled.

“Is it behind your knee?” I asked tickling her lightly behind the crease of skin.

“No!” She shrieked, dancing away and running around in a circle, poking at the bubbles falling out of the sky.

“I think I lost it,” she said, coming back into my orbit by the chair.

I pulled another from the thin air, brandishing it with a smile, “nope, there’s always another one, here you go.”

She clutched the imaginary ticket and ran off to the show.

Three years old and already running off.

It has only taken me 38 years to get back to the realization that I don’t have to run around in circles looking for that imaginary thing that will fix me.

I have it here, always have, I was just too busy running to see it.

I sat back in the chair, sun glazing my cheeks, sipped my tea and closed my eyes, listening to the love shimmering all around me.

Home.

Where my heart is.

Covered in pink chalk dust.

And love.

 

 

And God Laughs When I Make Plans

January 25, 2014

Damn it.

I had plans galore.

I did.

I was going to go here and go there and do this and do that and he is cute.

He sent me message that he was not going to be coming around.

Then the tattoo session ended and I abruptly decided to head to the Inner Sunset and do the deal there then where I was planning on going.

After which, slightly disgusted with myself, I annihilated a pair of blue jeans, making them into jean shorts, ripped the sleeves off a white button up shirt and pulled on some lace tights.

Fuck it.

I will go dancing.

But as I hemmed and hawed and checked my messages while waiting for the N-Judah I wound down.

What am I doing?

Yeah.

I know, I am running away from hanging out by myself on a Friday night, but I also did just sit for an hour having tattoo work done and I am stupid if I go get sweaty and dance with new ink.

I flipped down my phone, stepped off the platform and walked back to the house, past the neighborhood drunk with a twelve pack of Pabst, that’s where I am going, I thought, if I do stupid shit like fly off the handle because I can’t sit still and face up to some things that need to be done.

I need to do some work here at the house.

I was given a list of things to do today from a dear friend and I need to take these suggestions.

I did a little bit, just a moment ago, spending a few minutes looking online for some information.  I actually am going to keep this all under my hat for the time being.  I am not necessarily certain about writing about it until I have done the work suggested.

And I know that the work needs to be done because of the visceral response my body gave when she made the suggestions.

Ack.

If my response is fuck off, or any variant thereof, it’s time to take that into consideration.

It used to be I had to get into a lot more pain than an uncomfortable conversation over a meal with a darling friend.

That was also not planned.

I began the day with an attitude of get it done and get on with it.

But I was stopped at 850 Bryant, my agenda blown in minutes.

There was no line.

What?

I went right up to the clerk in Room 145 and showed her my ticket and my id.

The cop hadn’t even entered the ticket into the system yet, so the clerk had to do it, and she asked what it was for and was pissed, I mean, pissed that I was there.

“What a waste of time,” she said, and grabbed some paperwork, “hang on, I’ll be right back, I need to look up some things.”

She came back and showed me a schedule with some times and dates listed, “pick one and I’ll put you on the court calendar.”

“Wait, what,” I said, confused, “I have to go to court?  That’s why I came down here, so I wouldn’t have to go to court.”

“Honey, you are not paying that fine, it’s $197.  You are going to contest it,” the clerk said firmly, “now pick a date.”

Wow.

Ok.

So I did.

I have to return to 850 Bryant for another date, this time to go before a judge and see what happens.  I will tell the truth and I will show up and take whatever happens.

“It won’t be $197,” the clerk promised, “but don’t be late and don’t miss the date, otherwise the fine will go up.”

Eek.

No thanks.

Which means that Friday, March 7th at 3p.m. I will be back at 850 Bryant to contest the ticket.

Ok.

I got a copy of the paperwork, thanked the clerk and left the Hall of Justice twenty minutes after entering, and that includes a trip to the bathroom.

I hopped on the bicycle and headed to the Mission, going to my old nail salon and then messaging a friend in the neighborhood to see if she was available for lunch or coffee.

And she was!

We caught up and she inspired me to do some work and made some suggestions and she gave me some assignments to do.

“The measure of a person,” I heard tonight, “can be made by the people they surround themselves with.”

Oh.

Lovely.

It made me think of my friend, who is my advocate and how she wants to help me help myself and better my life.

How lucky I am to have the friends I have.

I really am.

I knew everything she was saying was also on point and as I grow up I find that I can take these suggestions with more and more aplomb and ease, not that I find walking through the fear any less uncomfortable, I just know that I can since I have so much already.

I want a better life for myself as well and basically what she was suggesting is going to lead me to that.

And faster than my own timeline.

“Set a calendar and stick to it, e-mail me the things you find, and let’s meet for coffee on a weekly basis,” she concluded.

I wrote the list down that she suggested and stared at it tonight.

Which might have led to me wishing to flee into the night in my new hot pants, lace tights, and ripped up shirt–I ain’t gonna drink–to go clubbing.

And there’s nothing wrong with dancing or clubbing or me going out, except that I have new ink, feel punked out, and was avoiding looking at the work.

I do not feel upset now that I have written this out.

I am allowed to change my mind and plans did change today, but that is just the Universe making room for me to make room.

“I am supposed to be fellowshipping,” vomited out of my mouth without meaning to, “what the fuck is that, oh yeah, something I suggested to other women I work with, fuck,” I finished shaking my head.

I just wanted to come home and drink tea and hide.

I am sort of doing that and sort of not.

Therefor, since I have taken off said lace and hot pants and washed off my tattoo, took the flower out of my hair, and put on my Hello Kitty pajamas, I am just going to make a resolution to do some of the fellowshipping thing tomorrow.

I can only do so much in one day.

I had some plans, I did.

And none of them happened at all like I thought.

But I got beautiful new ink (two stars added to my neck and the colors gone over and bumped way up, plus some unexpected liner work done on an older tattoo since he had me on the table) and I had lunch with a dear friend who wants more for me than I have.

That’s a nice day anyway you slice it.

And I did not have to pay $197 out-of-pocket to have it.

But it did set the ball rolling.

Or should I say the bicycle.

 

Nice, Like Nice With Cheese Butter On Top

January 24, 2014

“Say cheesebutter!”  I urge one of my charges when I take a photographs of him.

It’s a word he made up.

“Cheesebutter, it makes everything better,” I smile and take his picture.

I am going to 850 Bryant tomorrow after I get up and do my daily routine and make sure that I am all nice and calm and serene and in a good head space and spiritual and shit.

And I am going to be nice.

Nice.

Nice.

That was my decision tonight when I was talking to someone about the red light incident on Tuesday and how I did a lot of writing about it and began to not only have forgiveness for the cop but actual compassion, hey, how much fun can it be doing his job?

I mean, my job?

Loads of fun.

Today I went to two different parks, was told I love you by my charge, had my hand-held as we walked through the Pan Handle park, got hugs, had her request that I sing “Hush Little Baby” to her, had her fall asleep in my lap in her rocking chair, had an Americano at the Mill, walked all over NOPA, took fabulous photographs of street art by E. Claire Bandersnatch,

Bandsersnatch

Bandersnatch

Bandersnatch

Bandersnatch

Bandersnatch

Bandersnatch

 

went to Bi Rite for an apple and a bag of Holler Mountain Stumptown, had an amazing lunch with my lady, who slept two hours and twenty-five minutes, and then we capped off the day with a play date at Alamo Square Park and ran into a friend from Music Together class.

My job does not suck.

That cop, he has a job I would not want to have.

So, compassion for a person doing a job I don’t want to do and am really grateful that I don’t have to do.

Plus, as I was sharing with a woman who told me that the same night that I had my ticket incident, she hit a pedestrian in a cross walk, did not see him coming and he flew up over her windshield.

Now that makes one grateful for a ticket.

I did not get hit on my bike ride, in fact, I realized, I was slowed down, I was slowed down tonight riding that same route back home, slow, stopping not “running” any reds, and what do you know, I got to see three cops pulling over another person with a traffic infraction and listen to sirens wailing for another accident down the road.

None of these had anything to do with me except that I slowly, and cautiously rode past them.

So, tomorrow, grateful that I have a day off during the week, I  don’t normally, when I can actually go and spend time standing in line for room 145 at 850 Bryant.

Show up.

Suit up.

Let go of the results.

I know I was at fault and I am just going to go pay the fine.

I don’t have to be right.

I can just be happy.

And nice.

What if my only purpose was to go spread some good cheer at 850?

How many folks resolve to be nice when they go to 850?

I don’t believe all that many.

And I am not going to go and be nice because I think I am going to get off the ticket, I don’t think I can, I ran the red.

Granted, yes I was at a full stop and yes, I did look both ways, and yeah, the light was going to change, but was I in the wrong?

Yup.

So, be the adult and sack the fuck up.

Then I thought about my friend who had his bicycle stolen off the front of a MUNI bus.

I didn’t have my bike stolen.

I got to ride it to my awesome job today.

I did not get hit by a car in an intersection on foot.

I did not spend the last two days in the psyche ward at General.

Loads to be grateful for.

Oh, and like, hey, I have a three-day weekend!

I will pay my ticket then go on up to the Castro to see Barnaby, who just happened to have a cancellation in his schedule and will fit me in to touch up the stars on my neck and add two more for my anniversary.

Yes.

Afterward a manicure.

After that?

Well, I will be in and around the Castro neighborhood, then over to Our Lady of SafeWay to see some fellows.

Then if I have it in me, dancing at Public Works.

I’ll have it in me.

Unless something else awesome comes my way, which it might, you know, I have some special good feelings, like with cheese butter on top good, about tomorrow.

I will get to sleep in tomorrow.

I will take a leisurely hot shower, eat an awesome breakfast, drink really good coffee (I went to Bi-Rite!), write for a while, then take a sunny ride through the Pan Handle, then on down to 850 Bryant to see what happens when I show up and have accountability.

Life, I suppose.

A really good life.

A life built on responsibility, showing up, taking actions, letting go of the results, a faith-based life where I go despite the fear of financial insecurity, because I can afford it and ultimately, the money is not my money, it’s just this energy that I have been given to spread about me.

I shall spread it cheerfully.

Like a warm golden pool of cheese butter over grits.

I am going to love it up tomorrow at 850.

I might get obnoxious with it.

I will have fun with it.

I am actually, haha, kind of looking forward to going.

I will make sure I have a book to read and I will pay whatever I have to pay, and then you know what I will do?

I will fucking leave.

That’s the best part of it all.

I don’t have to stay.

I did not do anything to incur a real “visit” there and I haven’t in just a touch over 9 years.

That, that is what is really nice.

Like, cheese butter nice.

 

 

Open The Door To Opportunity

January 23, 2014

“I mean,” she said, with a pause and a knowing look, “you could meet people in your studio, but the odds are pretty slim.”

Ugh.

She’s right, but sometimes it is hard to get out of a routine to find ways to open that door and walk through it, to try something different, to make space for a new interest, be it person or thing.

“Why don’t you try the Moth.” She added, then, paused, “you know about the Moth don’t you?”

I do now.

I have been looking at the format on and off for a few weeks since she made that suggestion.

It’s a storytelling affair.

Started in New York, and has meandered its way across the USA to San Francisco.

Oh, I simplify, honestly, I don’t know jack about it.

However, I just signed up to go to the one that is at Public Works this upcoming Tuesday, January 28th.

There was a slam recently, the 13th of this month, at The Rickshaw Stop, but apparently it is no longer being hosted there.

I was just on Public Works website to find out what the deal was.

I really should go back to the site and buy a ticket as well.

I just signed up to go, I didn’t actually purchase the ticket.

Suddenly shy.

Suddenly at a loss for stories.

I have a million stories.

Jesus.

When did I get nerves?

If I can do spoken word in Paris I can show the hell up and tell a five-minute story at Public Works.

Excuse me, what?

They are not selling tickets for it on Public Works website, so I am uncertain if I just show up and throw my hat in the ring or what.

But I will find out.

I am actually going to Public Works on Friday evening.

A dear friend had a birthday a little while back and was unable to celebrate as she was down for the count with the awful flu that made its vicious rounds recently throughout the city.

She is making up for it by going dancing on Friday.

Plus, it’s a Heart Deco event, and I love me some Heart Deco–Burning Man–dancing.  There will be loads of friendly faces there and good music and I will get my groove the fuck on.

I will also find out what the deal is with the Moth.

I booked it into my calendar and although it’s on a school night, I figure, come on, you have to do it.

I have to continue expanding my creative base.

Not because I expect to get anything from it either.

I just want to the experience of doing it.

I also feel like I am a good story-teller.

Not the greatest, but not too bad, and I think I can handle my own for five minutes.

What I like about the format, although it makes a girl nervous, is that you don’t get any props, no notes, no cues, just you and a microphone.

And it has to be a true story and it has to be about you.

The theme for this show is “Beginnings”.

I have no clue what I will tell a story about.

I searched my blog archives with that term and turned up a few, all about Paris, and I suppose I could come up with something to tell about that.

I have until Tuesday to figure it out and practice.

I suppose I may even write a new piece.

I certainly would have to re-draft a blog if I used one, the blogs are not really written from the standpoint of being told as a story, although the narrative is all my, and only mine, I don’t write with the idea of performing my blog.

I am a performance all on my fucking own.

“Marco!”  I hollered out to a friend I saw standing on the corner of La Playa and Judah.

“Polo!” Some wise ass called out, as my friend looked around bewildered.

“Marco!”  I yelled and waved.

“Polo!” Three more people chimed in.

Oh, I give up, as my friend turned confused on his phone trying to pinpoint where I was hailing from.

It reminded me of being outside a cafe in Noe Valley with my friend Shadrach on the phone and he kept asking my email, which is my full name and thus sometimes a bit of a nuisance getting it to folks over the phone who tend to misspell my last name, and shouting, I mean shouting at the top of my lungs, my name.

“What was that, say it slower,” he chuckled abruptly.

“You fucker!” I said, turning bright red.

I had been shouting my full name, middle and all, for over three minutes in front of Martha’s Coffee and had many a person turn and stare at me.

“Gotcha.”

Yeah.

I can make a scene without even meaning to.

I can tell a story.

I can stand up in front of a room full of people and tell my story.

I have done that quite a few times.

Although, only infrequently in five minutes.

Though, I have done that as well.

I could wing the whole god damn thing too.

I just got an idea.

Oh.

I don’t know if I want to do it, but I do have an idea of a beginning.

Shit, I should, I just celebrate the 9th year of that said beginning.

I wonder how I could craft that into something without blowing my.

Well.

I can’t say, now can I?

Ha.

Anyway.

There’s fodder there.

There’s fodder everywhere.

“I don’t usually enjoy stream of conscious writing,” an old acquaintance said to me today as we met for coffee (hey, look at me, doing something outside of my schedule!  See I can take suggestions, pardon me while I preen over here), “but there’s something about the way you write, it’s really unaffected.”

Yup.

It’s just me.

And a lot of the time I just open up the blank page and go for it.

There it is too.

Every time I blog.

A new beginning.

A new way of shaping myself and my story.

A new way of seeing.

I guess I just gave myself something to work on while I stand in line at 850 Bryant on Friday waiting to contest my “traffic” infraction.

Maybe I will practise on the judge.

Baha.

Have A Safe Ride Home

January 22, 2014

He said somewhat sheepishly and stepped back toward the curb.

That’s right, you fucking shit bag, step the fuck back.

And why don’t you step the fuck up on the curb, you might see eye to eye with me at that point you short little douche bag ass hat.

FUCK YOU.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Hey, and you know what, sign here is not an admission of guilt fuck face, I will see you in court you short dick little pussy man.

And I will wear platform heels just to tower over you a little more.

Did your little dick get all hard writing me that ticket?

What the fuck.

There are fifteen people who I just avoided getting doored by in the last block, not to mention the three, yes, three illegal u-turns in the middle of the intersection looking for parking and you give me a ticket.

Oh, I know, I have to obey the rules of traffic you shit fuck.

But come the fuck on.

I was at a full stop.

Speed of vehicle at time of incident?

0 mph.

At least you were honest about that you ass hat.

I was at a full stop, foot completely on the ground, looked both ways, why, because its god damn Irving Street and I was already jacked up from avoiding the usual idiots trying to make the light.

That’s what bugs me the most.

Really bugs me.

I could have made the light.

But the car ahead of me was signalling to turn and then whipped a bitch the opposite way.

Here I was patting myself on the back for not getting killed and you fucking give me a ticket for running a red light.

Fuck you.

I say a little louder.

What a complete and utter fail.

My bicycle sense has been poking at me all week, I have been riding my brake, stopping at intersections, see full foot down (I call this the Marin School of riding-in Marin if you don’t put a full foot down, not just tapping your toes, but actually come to a full stop with the entire foot down at a stop sign or intersection you can get a ticket) in previous paragraph peppered with expletives, really being careful.

I have just had bad bicycle feeling in my bones.

I was not expecting it to be a ticket.

In fact, as I was riding home, riding my brake, I was thinking that this maybe part of the ongoing soreness in my shoulder–this riding so defensively for upwards of an hour a day every day.

My brake is on my front side and my right shoulder is dying right now.

I actually tell myself to hold my handle bars lightly when I am riding, to not full on throttle them.

I don’t need the stress of riding in my arms that much, I want it to rest in my legs, which can take it, and not in my arms or shoulders, which already get a full on work out all day long pushing the stroller, picking up the boys, heaving, lifting, going up and down stairs, pushing swings, picking up the constant detritus of the boys and their day.

Ugh.

I feel a little better for having said all the fuck you’s.

I know the guy was right.

And I would not have taken that red if I knew a cop was behind me.

I couldn’t decide who I was more mad at, him or me.

I mean, I think it’s a total bullshit move.

I acknowledge I ran a red.

But I didn’t.

I sort of meandered after sitting for ten seconds of the twelve second walk sign countdown and I looked both ways, I mean, turned my head, I really don’t want to get hit by a car and it was not motivated by there might be a cop behind me checking to see that I look both ways before crossing.

I think the dude was a little chagrined.

He certainly looked flustered when he asked where I was riding to and I said 46th and Irving, “Geez, that’s a really scary commute.”

Yeah, I said, one I take every day, and you know I had my foot down.  I was at a complete stop.

I dug my little hole and now I am going to have to go take care of it.

I was so livid when I walked in the house.

I can feel it getting angry in here as I write it out, but I screamed.

Not as loud as I wanted to.

I really wanted to belt one out.

That’s what I do when I get horribly angry.

I scream.

Don’t fucking teach me a lesson you fuck face.

I am so fucking careful when I ride.

The other thing that was funny was thinking, again, as I was riding, up to 19th, that hellacious inter section of doom, that I might want to get a car soon.

That the stress of the daily ride was actually a stress.

I say this as I got startled a couple of times by car’s parking and pulling out.

The feeling of nearly getting hit or narrowly avoiding it is unpleasant and intense.

I had it three times tonight.

Once slipping on gravel at an intersection where there is a lot of construction happening, my wheel slid a little and the feeling of free fall over took me for a minute before I straightened out.

Then again when the two folks pulled the illegal u-turns at 9th and Irving and the third at 18th and Irving.

Three times of yuck.

Then the cherry of my yuck sunday, a nice little citation and an order to appear in court or be fined.

Ass hat didn’t tell me what the fine is for the infraction and my friend who drives a cab and has protested some tickets said, show up and protest it, the cop likely won’t even show.

I have never been to traffic court.

I have never had points taken off my drivers licence.

Ain’t about to let it happen over a bicycle riding ticket.

Kiss my grits.

I probably wouldn’t even show if I knew what the fine is.

But since I don’t I will show up.

Get ready short stack.

I am coming.


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