Archive for February, 2014

Respond, Damn It

February 28, 2014

Not react.

Oh, lord.

The price of perfection.

I responded to a work request this afternoon, ignoring the faint alarm bells of doom going off in my head, with an affirmative, I can do that and awesome, how great.

Except.

Well, uh.

I can’t actually do it.

When I realized, quickly, oh so quickly after I had sent off the text that I could not do what had been requested, in fact, I had to put in a request to be done early on the day in question, I was horrified.

I mean, horrified.

Then I saw it.

Perfection, rearing its ugly head.

It had a great hair day, but it was still perfection.

Followed closely on the heels of that cock tease, people pleasing.

God damn.

How long does this go on for?

The wiring in my brain is so off.

I am so good at taking care of everybody else.

Me, not so much.

Although, I can and do recognize, when I am not hyperventilating into a plate of salad and scrambled eggs at Crepevine, that I have made strides, tremendous strides really in my self-care.

But sometimes, well, I back slide.

I don’t listen to that quiet inner voice, the one that says, uh you have something else going on, perhaps a pause here is called for.

I ignore it, because I really want to be helpful and accommodating and I want to please my employers.

As though the awesome care I provide is not enough.

It’s not even that I wouldn’t have done what was asked for, I am happy to be of service in the way the mom requested, I just forgot about the court date for my bicycle ticket.

March 7th.

Which is next Friday.

How the hell is that possible?

It’s the 27th of February.

February.

You cold whore you.

You short month of doom.

Already filled with unexpected bills and now short notice on my time too.

Add Valentines Day to the mix and just combust the entire month.

Ah.

It’s not the bad, I just got caught short.  I had intended to tell my employer about the date as well too, but had not.  I am human.

I forgot.

I hate that I did.

I hate that I am human and not perfect and not on top of it all.

I mean, I could cut myself some slack here, I am on top of a lot of other things.

But sometimes the stress of juggling three different nanny gigs per week really gets to me.  The continuity that I develop in one home is completely tossed out the window after mid-week and I have to think of my schedule, their schedule, what home am I in, do I need to bring lunch, dinner, snacks, etc.

It gets overwhelming.

My solution?

I was going to get up early tomorrow and ride my bicycle in the forecasted rain to 850 Bryant and stand in line at Room 145 and beg for a forbearance on the case–to push it forward instead of having to attend court next Friday.

I was until I found out that it being so close to the day of the case I may not be able to do so unless it’s an emergency in nature.

I can miss two hours of work on a Friday.

It’s not an emergency, except in my head.

I mean, the thought of getting up early to ride 30-35 minutes downtown during rush hour traffic on my bicycle in the rain so that I would be able to cover two hours of work next week is idiotic.

I would be breaking traffic laws to get there on time.

Now, wouldn’t that be ironic?

Getting a another ticket on my way to arrange a postponement on my ticket.

No thanks.

Then I thought, I will take MUNI.

Oh, like, that’s a good guarantee I will get there and then to work on time.

Then I thought, well, I will just suck it up and take a cab.

That is even sillier.

The cost of taking a cab from my house in the Outer Sunset to 850 Bryant would be astronomical and would cancel out whatever small revenue I would bring in next Friday with the 2 and a half hours I need to leave early.

So the pain of people pleasing and perfection had to be negated and fast.

I sat and talked it out with someone and asked her for suggestions and how to let go of it and what to do and I got some suggestions.

None of which I wanted to hear.

But all of which rang true.

The difference between feeling good, hiding in bed watching 7 hours of Netflix House of Cards, and taking care of myself, are two entirely different things.

I really want to do the thing that feels good, not the thing that is good self-care.

Perfection, but at what cost?

Not a cost I am willing to pay anymore.

I have to admit it.

I am human, I make mistakes, I am allowed, further, to do so.

Despite what I tell myself, contrary to all the “training” I received when I was younger and did not know better than to question the sacrifices I was giving to take care of everybody other than myself.

I got home tonight, after talking it over with another and vowing to write the e-mail and say that I could not work more than a half day next Friday, and I wrote the e-mail.

I did not want to.

It did not feel good.

But I did it anyway.

Because I am allowed to care for myself.

No one else has this job but me.

And according to the memo I got from the big boss, I am ok to be human and fall down once in awhile.

Humanity is endearing.

Perfection is debilitiating.

Imperfectly, perfectly human.

Sigh.

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You Got Options Kid

February 27, 2014

I told him today as I discouraged him from trying to do another act of willful self-immolation.

I am sure he has absolutely no idea that all I want to do is keep him safe, but he is sure about this much, he has to go, try, find, do, and fall over, and then get up and try it again.

It was really awesome to have a rain day.

Though, that was not my first thought when heading out for work.

Work for me is so much easier when I can be outside.

The walking, the exercise of being out and about pushing the stroller, pushing the swings, lifting a toddler up to a slide, exploring, breathing the fresh air, it’s a balm to me.

However, once in a while the fates intervene and I am granted a day inside where the most amazing things happen.

First, my one year old signed “please” today when I was holding him.

His first please!

He has used other signs with me, pointing out what he wants, and the sign for “more” but this was the first time he used please to ask for something and that just made my morning.

That and he gave me my first mouth kiss.

That sounds weird, but the first baby kisses aren’t done with a closed mouth, they sort of form a little “o” with their mouths and lean in on your face or mouth.

I knew what he was doing and was so thrilled.

It is easy to misconstrue it with getting bitten, but it was a kiss.

He can blow kisses too, and wave hello and bye-bye.

He was just a peach today.

Even when he was trying to climb up everything he could get his hands on.

And my other charge was so sweet as well, I didn’t even have a thought in my head about the rain, other than it was nice to listen to some jazz with the boys while the rain pelted down.

I gave myself plenty of time to get to work, charged up my rechargeable bike lights, put my rain fender over my rear wheel, and wore layers and stowed my glasses in their case.

I find nothing more frustrating riding then foggy, wet, blurry glasses.

I went slow and am grateful for it.

Drivers be crazy when it’s wet.

I pulled in fairly soaked, but the nice thing about riding to a nanny gig verses an office gig, is that there’s a dryer where I work.

In fact, I washed all my outer layers and my messenger bag, it had gotten some road grime on it, before sending them off to dry.

I had enough layers on that I was quite content in the house without the ones that I had tossed to the laundry.

I made a cup of Earl Grey tea and got ready for the day.

There was lots of story time.

I think I must have read ten or eleven books to my eldest charge while the little one was busy pulling apart legos.

There is something so cheering about sitting in a rocking chair with a small, warm body in your lap, reading Tara Gomi and Little Hoot and Little Pea and the Sandra Boynton board books, while the rain falls outside the window and the sound of the cars driving through the rain sluices against my eardrums.

My main concern was how to navigate nap time, since the routine of late has been a walk to the park where the youngest sacks out for about 45 minutes and my older boy plays in the sand box or on the equipment.

Going for a walk was not an option today.

I had other options though, which were sweet and full of kind grace and a sort of magic that makes my job so amazing and fulfilling that I feel gifted to be able to do the work.

The little one went down with nary a peep and I put him into the crib in the older boys bedroom and went downstairs with my big boy and we had a little snack and talked about he cats and watched the buses and garbage trucks go by.

Wednesday’s in the neighborhood are great for the watching of garbage trucks.

I haven’t met a little boy yet that doesn’t adore the garbage truck and all the machinations thereof.

He wanted to sit in my lap and I just naturally sank into an arm-chair next to the window and snuggled him right up.  There was a throw blanket over the chair and I wrapped that over both our laps and though there were no children’s books to be had, there were catalogues.

He’s a big fan of William’s Sonoma.

We talked teapots and cups and spatulas, cake plates, and Easter bunny baskets, and throw pillows, we had a conversation about the Vitamix and his mama’s homemade smoothies, I pointed out to him the things that were a match for his own little tiny kitchen play area.

I was slowly flipping to the last page of the catalogue when I heard a little snort.

His eyelids were slowly closing and the long lashes drifted down the plump apples of his cheeks and he had started snoring softly.

Oh goodness.

I just sat for  a moment with that weight of toddler in my arms, in my lap, pressed against the panes of my heart and felt glad with all my being to be trusted to do something of this nature for my work.

I get to do this.

To have the complete trust of a child is an awesome and powerful thing.

Nothing says I trust you so much as falling asleep in another’s arms.

Or I love you.

I got a few of those today too.

And.

Oh.

Yes.

I got the other baby to go down for a second nap (which he normally does, but had not at all this week prior for me) when the eldest boys mama returned home to work out of the office and took over her son for the rest of the day I was there.

I swaddled him up in a Snugli (it’s like a Baby Bjorn, basically a carrier) and sang songs to him and then just rocked and hummed along my own little nanny tune.

Sometimes I hum this same little snatch of rhythm to myself if I am in need of a brief moment of comfort.

Hell, if it works to soothe a baby, it’s going to work for me.

He struggled for a minute or two, so much to see and do and go and climb, but I as I sang him another little snatch of melody, I reminded him that he had options.

Me or the crib.

Or no nap at all.

I forget that.

I have options too.

I may struggle and be distracted by the things in my periphery and I may not want to do that contrary action that is requested.

But oh, when I do.

The simple bliss of surrender.

He snuffled a sigh at me, settled his head on my shoulder, batted his eyelashes over the coco brown of his eyes and fell asleep.

I sat for a little while in the rocking chair.

Having nothing to say.

Nowhere to go.

Nothing to fix.

And fully aware that today I have options.

Surrendering has never looked so good.

 

 

Put Your Hair Up

February 26, 2014

It’s time to write.

I have the same routine when I get home.

I say, “hello house,” and set my messenger bag down on the table.

I turn on the heater, which is off all day and my little space it pretty cold, although after the conversation I just had with my best friend back in Wisconsin I feel that I have absolutely no right to complain.

Wisconsin has been experiencing the coldest winter in record for quite some time, tomorrow’s high?

-5 Fahrenheit, with the windchill making it feel like -21 Fahrenheit.

That’s the high.

And I am worried about whether or not it’s going to rain.

This is a legitimate concern, I feel, especially, since I commute on a bicycle and rain slick streets in the morning are no fun.

No fun at all.

After the heat goes on I turn on the little lamp by my bedside and the Ipod cube with its little color faded.

Tonight, jazz.

Some Chet Baker to get me going and in the mood.

Then, I light candles.

I like candles.

I buy them all the time and yes my house probably smells like a potpourri shop, but fuck off, I like it.

Actually it smells like this currently: dark Mexican chocolate and coconut.

I would hazard that I have the best smelling room on the block.

I like to have a cozy environment.

Then I strip down out of the jeans and put on some yoga pants, the watch comes off, as I don’t need to look at what time it is for naps anymore.

Not that it mattered today, oh lord, no afternoon naps at all and the morning naps were staggered so I had no down time again today.

I was pretty beaten by the end of the day.

Plus, both boys are in a transitional period, one of them is entering the twos and is experimenting with temper tantrums, the dramatic, throwing of self on the floor and banging it with hands and feet.

The other, is realizing at the ripe age of one, that he is an independent creature and wants to do whatever he wants to do.

Like navigate up and down the stairs.

I am all for learning, but hey kid, you’re giving me a heart attack.

You can’t walk yet, please don’t climb that.

I watched him push a toy fire truck up to an ottoman and climb up onto the fire truck, then onto the ottoman, then onto the chair and then attempt to scale it like Everest.

What do you think you can do up there, fly?

Please don’t try.

His mom told me today that they are calling him Evil Knevil.

He really has no fear.

Which is awesome and scary for me.

Oh well.

It’s just part of the territory.

So, the watch comes off, and the earrings come off and then I grab the foam back roller and while the room is warming up I roll out the kinks in the back and sigh with deep pleasure whenever there is a little popping noise that I can feel my spine getting re-aligned.

“Up, up,” he pleaded with me all day.

“Lap, lap, up, up,” he repeated all day.

All day.

Normally my little nearly two-year old boy is independent and all about doing it on his own and he is amazing with it, climbing stairs, coming down the stairs, opening and shutting things and he’s a great little helper, likes to help sweep and pick up and it’s great.

Today.

Nothing doing.

It was all about being held and all about me holding him.

Which made sense too, he’s just getting back from a vacation and getting back to being in the groove, and he’s also getting used to sharing his people again.

I almost feel like I could use another rolling of the foam roller just from writing that.

After the back gets rolled out, the kettle goes on and I get my tea-cup ready and then I do the last bit before I do this, the writing, the getting down and getting serious.

I always put up my hair.

I never do this with anything else.

I don’t always eve wear my hair up at work.

This can be fun or not fun, depending on how much the one year old wants to tug at my hair, less and less these days, but it still does happen.

Nope.

The hair goes up.

I wonder if it’s because I am all business when I sit down to blog or if it’s that I have this idea of what a writer looks like, hair in messy bun, glasses perched on end of nose.

Which would bug the fuck out of me if my glasses were perched at the tip of my nose.

I believe that it’s more the former than the latter, but that the latter does have a little weight behind it.

Yeah, that’s right, somewhere in the convoluted mechanism that I call my brain, I have an idea that I will be a better writer if I look like a writer.

Then again, it’s nice to have it out of my way, it’s become its own creature.

I can’t remember the last time I wore it this long.

I rather like it, but it is something else to contend with.

Then, with my tea made, my hair up, and my laptop open, I set out on the hunt for what I am going to write my blog about.

I drink my tea, after it’s had a chance to cool off, right around 450/500 words, then I proof it lightly, mainly for spelling errors, read it once, change anything that’s glaring, and send it out to the world.

That’s it.

That’s my night.

After which an apple, some yogurt, a cup of tea and a down loaded video.

I have some Walking Dead cued up, but you know, I am just not in the mood for the zombie apocalypse.

I have to tell you sometimes I put off watching the show because I want to enjoy my snack and I can’t when listening to the sound of zombies getting thwacked.

It just doesn’t do it for my appetite.

Tonight I will probably watch Glee instead.

That routine was thrown of a tiny bit, as I was sitting down my best friend from Wisconsin called.

And I don’t care what routine or how important the blog, I answer her calls.

We talked and it was like getting love blown straight into my heart.

I owe this woman my life, sometime I will tell you about it, suffice to say I made a really important phone call to her January 12th of 2005 that changed my life.

And the debt of gratitude is almost as big as the debt of friendship.

There are those in your life that won’t let you go, whether or not you have seen them in the last year or five, and you won’t let them go.

She is always going to be one of my keepers.

We talked and made plans.

I really am going to go see her and her family this summer.

I am.

I probably will wear my hair up then too.

Nothing says Wisconsin like extreme temperatures.

July is hot, humid, saturatingly warm.

The average temp is in the mid-to high 80s with humidity bringing the heat index up over 100 degrees.

Sexy.

But oh, the nights, the warm, delicious nights without having to wear layers, to have that for a weekend is well worth the heat of the day.

And that’s a wrap on my day.

Hair up and ready to decompress so I gets to do it all over again tomorrow.

Hair will be wearing itself in weather appropriate braids.

Yes, and shut up.

I know I just wrote an entire blog about my hair.

It’s fabulous.

You would too.

 

Wake Up!

February 25, 2014

I yawned as my friend said something, zoned out, tuned back in, laughed, drank some more tea, tried not to watch the clock.

Watched the clock anyway.

It’s challenging being social on a Monday evening.

I can do it.

I have done it.

I just turn into a pumpkin really fast.

I have my little routine, the things I do after work, the work that resumed today in full, a two little boys hand full, my goodness they are huge, it’s not like I haven’t seen them in months, just a few days, and they are huge, and energetic, and yup boys.

No break for me, not a nap that over lapped or a down moment.

Although there were sweet quiet moments.

Revel in this, I thought to myself, as the warm sun beamed down on me, one of the boys asleep in the stroller, the other making a big deal about figuring out how to zip up his sweatshirt.

It was just a moment of quiet, of not being engaged.

Yes, being present, that is what I am paid for when it really comes down to the nuts and bolts of it (although really, I feel I am paid because I have a gigantic capacity of love for children, which amazes me again and again, where does it come from and how deep is it?  Perhaps I won’t ever get to know the answers to those questions, better for me too, I suspect) my job is to watch and be alert and present.

To the ever-present dangers of little boys.

One little boy who is one, who I want to say is still a baby, but he is no baby, he is a boy and boy howdy is he all about letting me know his opinions about what he wants and when.

The other is nearly two and so smart and dear and precocious, and when he’s occupied with something, sand box shovel, or zipper, he can get really occupied.

So, I let him.

I just stood in the middle of the sidewalk and let the sun fall on me warmly, so much nicer than yesterday’s cold chilling fog I was riding around in for hours, listened to the birds wax in the trees, the quiet of the street with no cars, the smell of jasmine blooming in the planters in front of a house.

I looked at the way the tall palm tree on Beulah street feathered out its fronds against the sky and sighed deeply.

Stop sometimes and just be present.

It was a great day to get reunited with the boys, the day was sunny, warm, and the park was full, but not too full, no waiting in line for the swings, no struggles over sand box territory or shoving to go down the slides.

When my alarm woke me up this morning I made a snap decision to take a shower, which I would normally do  in the evening on a Monday (yeah, that’s right, I have a schedule for showering.  Shut up.  I just notice that some days work better than others timing wise, that’s all) and I got up and threw myself underneath the hot water, after raking the brush through my helmet head hair.

I was a bit disgruntled, looking back I could almost say I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, grumpy for no reasons.

I noticed it when I went to make my bed up and do my morning readings and such.

I paused and ask for some direction and said, help me show up today and just enjoy what is happening today, not worry about tomorrow, or wish I had done something differently yesterday, just show up for today and enjoy it.

Something, somewhere, God, call it what you will, I have my own secret code word for it, God, heard me, and I had a beautiful, balanced, day, being present and showing up for it.

In fact, it wasn’t until I was writing this blog that I recalled how grumpy I had awoken.

Nice, when that happens.

Nice when I am heard and I go out into the world to try to do my best to show up.

Nice.

Yeah, it’s a bit shabby as far as an adjective goes, but sometimes simple, is sweet, and it was a nice day.

It didn’t blow the socks of me or want me to radically change anything in my life, which is actually a radical thing for me, not wanting to change something RIGHT NOW, because I am uncomfortable.

Oh shit.

Ha.

I just realized that I walked through a bunch of discomfort and I came out the other side, mainly because I just showed up.

It is a constant awakening, I realize.

Always this coming to.

Nothing is wrong.

Nothing ever is.

It’s how I show up for it and what I do when I get there and not letting the getting there rule my brain, but to take basic, simple, tiny, really, god-awful slow steps, to grow.

And looky there, I grew some this past week.

I also had an epiphany, helped by the counsel of said friend I was having tea with this evening before heading home.

I am going to ask that my friend who is selling me his scooter keep the title to it until I pay it off.

Thereby having a secured loan.

He had offered to hand over the title already and the scooter and I had asked that he not until I have every thing all lined up, all my little ducks in a row, the safety course, the helmet, the insurance, my licence, that I be entirely above-board with it.

And here, is another place to practice that growth and honesty.

I don’t want to even think about screwing over my friend in regards to continuing to pay him for the scooter.  I can secure the loan by asking him to hold onto the title until it is all paid off.

And that is what I will do.

It’s getting easier, this whole living principled thing, it really is.

Just have to wake up to it and even when I do with my cranky pants on tight and high, I can start right over, even if it’s just minutes since the alarm went off.

I can always choose to be present.

Awake.

Alive.

How lovely.

How.

Ahem.

Nice.

Congratulations!

February 24, 2014

You passed!

My instructor handed me a small card with my name printed on it with the Bay Area Motorcycle Training course underneath it.

I passed.

Yay.

Now let me go pass out.

Or get huddled besides a heater ASAP.

Oh my god, it got cold again.

And this time I was prepared, but the fog came in even earlier then yesterday.

My instructor joked about the parking reservoir being its own weather microcosm.

It is.

It went from being sunny and warm with a little chill in the air, to being overcast, shrouded in fog, dark, and cold, in about twenty minutes.

I was expecting it to be like yesterday so I wore an extra sweatshirt underneath my normal hoodie and jean jacket layer up, as well as my infinity scarf.

I was still shaking in my boots by the end of the day and none of the cheerful posturing by either of the female instructors could get me warmed up.

We were all cold and tired and it was a long day, long too, as we were running behind the entire day.

The class started out fairly on time, but I don’t know what it was, I am loath to say it was the two women teaching the course, but I am leaning toward that, as one of the instructors had only been coaching for a little while, or if it was the number of folks in my class who were not as competent as the other side of the class.

Our group was split up and I cannot tell you how envious I and a few others in my little pod were, when we watched the other side of the parking lot finish 45 minutes ahead of us.

It was demoralizing to be taking so long.

I had a lot of fun early in the day, especially doing the weaves.

“You’re getting zippy on that, aren’t you,” one of the instructors grinned at me.

Yes, yes I am.

And I look forward to getting zippy on my own little scooter here soon.

I learned a lot and relaxed a bit more than yesterday.

Muscle memory from riding my bicycle served me really well, so to, the admonishment from the instructors to not think.

I can over think it in a heart beat.

Counter-steering.

What?

Exactly.

I listened in class, I answered the question correctly on the exam, I did it correctly in class, but the first few times I heard the expression and was told what to do it was like a bunch of gobbledygook in my ears.  I did not get it at all.

But when I was on the course, I just did it instinctively.

I did not realize until overhearing someone with little bicycle riding experience say that he almost had not taken the motorcycle safety course because he did not have that much experience riding a bicycle.

Uh yeah.

I can see that.

As I watched him go through the exercise a few more times.

I figured out quite fast whom to follow and made my way behind his cycle.

Which did not have a bad view either.

Nice legs, there, guy.

I was not attracted to him in any other way, just more that he was a good example of how to handle the motorcycle and what was expected of him to do.  I watched, paid attention, and followed his lead.

Thankful for that.

I mean really grateful.

As he ended up getting picked to start a lot of the exercises and was inevitably the lead cycle for the final evaluation.  I was two back from the front, ie, third, and this saved my butt at the end as I don’t know that I could have waited much longer to have gotten out of there.

I was shaking uncontrollably and also a little upset to be running so late.

I had the key to a facility and needed to be there by 6:30p.m.

I did not get there until 6:40p.m.

Grateful that I made it at all.

I considered just going home, but I knew I could not live with myself.

Glad I didn’t either.

Seeing the big group of people patiently waiting for me made me really happy to have gotten there and done the deal.

And now the majority of it is done.

I took the course.

I passed the skills test.

I passed the written exam.

I got a lot of time on a scooter over the last couple of days and feel ready to hop on my own.

I know it will take a little getting used to driving in traffic, but I feel like I have some very solid fundamentals under my belt and I feel competent to go get my licence.

I wait 7-10 days for the paperwork to come to me.

Then I go to the DMV on Fell Street and take the CA Motorcycle written exam, show them my paperwork from the safety course, and bypass having to take the skills test at the DMV.

I do the test, which should be comparable to what I have already done (although the instructor for the class room portion did say that the DMV test is slightly different and to brush up on their motorcycle booklet), grab me some insurance and get going.

I am wondering if I should get the insurance first.

If I need that to get the licence.

I will have to further investigate.

I probably do.

I have time.

I have a week before I get the paperwork back and some time to defrost and warm up.

Happy to have the big part taken care of.

Another learning experience under my belt.

So many more to come.

But I shall be riding forward to meet them in style.

Safely.

Oh yes, I will.

I Am Cold

February 23, 2014

Actually, the thought exactly was, “Jesus, God, I am cold.”

“Really cold, really fucking cold, god damn it, I am cold, when is this going to be done?”

I took the first part of the Motorcycle Safety Course skills class today at City College Phelan Campus in the huge parking lot behind the school.

I got there early.

I was ready to go.

I am glad I got there early too, although, a bit chagrined, I got there over an hour early, the MUNI was far quicker than I suspected it would be.  I am almost compelled to rethink it for tomorrow, though I won’t.

MUNI on a Sunday is notorious for being off schedule.

I will probably keep to exactly the time schedule that I gave myself for today, allowing for the longer transfer points to happen.

I took the N-Judah up to 9th and Irving, then caught the 43 Masonic out to City College.

I hopped off into unknown territory.

I really don’t get out to this neighborhood much and it does not feel at all like San Francisco to me.

The day was warm, bright, clear, and I could hear the motorcycles in the distance.

The morning class was in its final hours.

Imagine.

The morning class role call was for 6:45a.m.

No thank you.

I watched for a while from the top of the parking lot as the cycles wheeled in circles and weaved through the cones.

I am going to be doing that soon.

Really soon.

I am not going to freak out, just go down to the parking lot.

But it was sort of amazing to stand there and watch the cycles run through their paces, I have been contemplating taking this course since I moved to San Francisco and heard that such a course was available.

Eleven years ago.

Sometimes slowly.

Motorcycle Safety Class

Motorcycle Safety Class

I made my way over to storage container that was the field office and checked in with the woman dashing about with the clip board.

There were three other folks there already, turns out they were standby’s hoping to get into the class.

Still sort of amazed I was able to get in when I did, apparently my wait time for the class was nil.  Everyone I spoke with said they had to reserve out weeks or months in advance.

Lucky me.

It just really all has fallen together.

There were three standby’s already registered, waiting, and keeping their fingers crossed.  In the next half hour there were seven.  The woman with the clip board at first assumed I was one too, but when I told her I was an official enrolled class member with the paperwork and the class time done, she sighed with relief and told me to pick out a helmet.

It turns out that even with all the hair, my size is a small.

Helmet

Helmet

I got my helmet and sat in the shade, the day started out warm, watching the other class finish up their course, and trying to not show amazement at the amount of people who showed up with out the proper riding gear.

This person was in tennis shoes.

That person wasn’t wearing long sleeves.

Three different people either did not have gloves or had the wrong kind–fingerless bicycle gloves.

Do people pay any attention?

Five hours of class time previous to the outside skills and I cannot tell you how many times the instructor said what we would need to do the riding part.

Including numerous times it is mentioned in the course work book, the internet site, and the paperwork that you fill out in class.

The class provides you with the motorcycle or scooter and a helmet.

You have to wear denim jeans (or in the case of one young man a full on leather riding suit, he looked like he was from some movie still), boots that cover your ankles, and gloves, ones that were full fingered leather.

I watched a woman have a near cat fight about the gloves her boyfriend was trying to wear–fingerless bicycle gloves–with the instructor who was checking her in.

The woman deflected and said, “I hear you, however, this decision is not mine to make, the issue is the insurance for the class and there are no exceptions.”

Lucky for the boyfriend, someone had a spare set of gloves that he was able to wear.

The other folks though, turned away.

Opening up some room for the standbys.

In the end, there were also a few no shows, so all seven of the standbys actually got to ride.

And I got a scooter.

Oh, I know, I hear you already, you should have ridden a motorcycle.

But I didn’t have it in me.

I just didn’t and I wasn’t going to force myself to ride the motorcycle when I just wanted to learn on the scooter, since, I am getting a scooter.  I can always ask to be shown how to do the cycle, I suspect that after having been through today and whatever tomorrow will bring, I will have a great upper hand when the time, if it should arrive, comes for me to ride a motorcycle.

I mentioned that I had attempted to call in and reserve a scooter and wouldn’t you know it, they were all gone.

The instructor looked over the roll call sheet and said I was in luck, turns out two folks that had reserved the scooters had not checked in.

I was ready to learn on the cycle, I was there, if I needed to, but I am really glad I asked after the scooter.

It was more than enough for my left right up is down goofy brain to get the hang of the scooter.

I zoned out a few times listening to information that was not pertinent to my experience with riding and got to play follow the leader when ever I wasn’t sure what was happening.

And oh.

Yes.

I had fun.

“This is fun!” I shouted inside as I gleefully slid through the air with my feet up, the throttle open and I was flying along.

I had actually not expected it to be fun.

I think not having to stress about figuring out the shifting for a motorcycle was a big part of that, I relaxed and had fun.

Until the fog came in and smothered the sun.

Until the wind picked up and oh boy did it get cold fast.

I was shaking and shivering in moments.

And I was dressed for San Francisco weather, there were quite a few folks that were not as adequately attired.  I cannot imagine the last hour of class was any fun for them either.

I was freezing.

I realized as we finally wrapped up a little beyond the end time that class was promised, that I had been outside for nearly seven hours and that I was not moving like I do on my bike.

I was moving with the vehicle.

I was not generating any body heat through movement.

Aha.

I am going to have dress differently when I get my Vespa, more layers will be needed.

I am cool with that.

Because I can see myself getting on the Vespa now.

I can see getting my licence now as a reality, not just a fantasy.

I passed the written test.

I did all that was asked of me today and I know I will be able to pass the skills test tomorrow.

One more set of actions down.

One step closer to street legal.

 

 

Oh the pain

February 22, 2014

“I’m gonna work on your quads,” she said to me.

I could almost hear imaginary knuckles being popped.

Oh holy mother of god.

She worked on my quads.

I used the last gift certificate for massage today that I was given for the holidays—I received one for Thanksgiving, one for my birthday, and one for Christmas.

The one I used this early evening was for an hour and a half.

I can’t believe I am actually going to say this, but it was almost too much time.  I felt a little sick toward the end of it.  Like nauseous, sort of sick.

However, I am glad for the bodywork, loosened me up for tomorrow.

I am scared, excited, nervous, a little bit of it all.

The skills portion of the Motorcycle Safety Course is tomorrow and Sunday.  Five hours each day.  And I realized just few minutes ago that I was going to be taking the bus out there.

I keep thinking I am going to ride my bicycle.

Then I remembered that I need to be in boots and I don’t want to ride my bike in knee-high leather harness boots.

Gross.

I cannot even begin to imagine pedaling five and a half miles in leather harness boots.

So, I will be getting out the door quite a bit sooner than I had planned.

It’s not the worst thing in the world and too, I was thinking that maybe after five hours in the sun and riding around on a motorcycle (I tried to reserve a scooter, but they were already gone) that perhaps I won’t want to get on my bicycle and ride 5 and a half miles back to the house.

I might just be punked out from the day.

My normal Saturday night commitment was cancelled, so I am clear on my timing, but I realized, that I may not be able to get to my Sunday commitment and I am going to have to find someone to cover for that, especially since I have the key to the facility.

Yikes.

I kept hoping I would run into someone today.

I am going to have to make some phone calls and see if I can pass off the key Sunday morning.  I certainly won’t be able to make it to Church and Market by 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, unless the class finishes earlier than I was led to believe it would.

I don’t think that’s happening, though.

I get the impression from every one that I have spoken to about it, that it will be a full day.

And too, I want to make sure that I am comfortable doing all the skills.

I am moving forward.

Through the discomfort, doing the deal.

“Ugh,” I cried into the phone, earlier today, “does this ever go away?”

“Nope,” John Ater said to me, “but you’ll see it sooner and sooner and eventually you may stop acting on the thoughts and the feelings.”

“Fuck your feelings anyway, they are wrong.”  Ater continued with a dry chuckle, “anything else?”

God yes.

Of course.

There’s always something else.

I wouldn’t be whom I am, human, if there wasn’t anything else.

But as I sailed around on my bicycle today, during the nicest Friday afternoon weather, that I was totally fine exactly where I was, riding my bicycle to the Noriega Produce market, to stock up on fruits and veggies.

There won’t be a break to leave the facility and the instructor made that very clear on Wednesday, if we wanted food and beverages, we would have to bring them ourselves.

Check.

Check too, the leather gloves in my bag, full bottle of water in my Sig container, washing the jeans, full-length jacket, and helmet (though I may leave the helmet here since they provide ones at the class—one less thing to carry on the bus), and the paperwork from Wednesday’s class.

Not too certain I need it, but I will be reading over the handbook again just to refresh my memory on everything.

Ah.

A new adventure.

So many new adventures to be had.

I notice all the scooters scooting around and wonder where I will go first.

Probably around the block.

A drive along the ocean?

To the grocery store!

Up the great big hill at the Friday gig I do in the Castro.

I am not certain that I will always ride the scooter to work, but when I do Friday’s in the Castro, I just might.

That hill is a big one, up there, 19th between Noe and Sanchez.

Great view.

Steep as all get out.

I haven’t bothered to even try riding up it.

I just get off and push the bike up.

I could ride around it, head all the way up to 18th and Castro, swing left, and turn up 19th, the hill is more gradual, but I would still be doing a lot of work and probably still walking it up to a certain point.

Yeah, the scooter will be nice for that.

Or no more train rides late Saturday night.

Nope, no thank you, I won’t mind not having to do that.

Nerves are easing up a little more.

The excitement for the adventure is happening.

I was reflecting earlier today that there is a lot of change happening in my life and that there will continue to be a lot of change happening in my life and that most of it is good, in fact, all of it is good (that whole perspective thing really helps) and that my capacity to accept change is changing.

“Honey, I have been telling you this for years,” John finished with me on the phone.

It’s true, he has.

Some of it is actually starting to sink in.

At least I see myself walking through the discomfort a bit faster now then before.

Soon I will be, shall we say, scooting through it.

Here’s to change!

Chin chin.

Scoot, scoot.

Back to Work

February 21, 2014

Of course, back to work, early rising, after a late night getting in from the Motorcycle Safety Course.

Of course a 7 a.m. wake up.

That’s how it goes.

But it was good to be back to work and good to feel a little grounded and good to see my girl Thursday.

We had an awesome day and she threw herself at me when I showed up this morning.

Who doesn’t want to be greeted with an all out body hug on their way into the start of a long day at work?

I also picked up a half day tomorrow.

I had checked in earlier this week and it did not look like one of the families was going to be back in time to need me Friday, but they had a change of plans and asked if I could help out with a half day tomorrow.

Just 12:30p.m.-3:30p.m.

Perfect timing.

Not too early, so I can sleep in, I shall get back on my sleep schedule, I shall, but until then a little extra tomorrow will feel lovely.  I have had a low-grade head ache all day long and want to kill it before the skills portion of the motorcycle class this weekend.

I suspect it is a stress headache, and I really want to nip it before it becomes anything else.

I have a history of stress aggravated migraines.

I am pretty good with managing it, but not always, and the amount of information I had down loaded into my brain sort of hurt, like my brain was stretching.

Stress.

Learning new things can be stressful.

However, I realized today, in a brief moment of absolute clarity, that it does not matter if I fail the course.  As long as I show up for it there is no failing.  The whole point of taking the course is to learn.

I show up, I am going to learn.

Even if I fail I would be learning.

And if I fail it does not mean that I won’t be able to get my license.

Hell, there were two guys at the table last night who already had their permits and neither of them had even been on a scooter yet (nor I, truth be told, except for on the back of one riding around with various friends).  There was also a guy there who’s been riding for over 8 years without a licence, he just keeps renewing his permit.

I will be riding.

I will be learning.

And I don’t need to get stressed out about it.

I feel like I have also been a little stressed about the financials, the big utility bill i wasn’t expecting, taking on a new bill–$200 a month may not seem like much but it is an additional outlay of funds–for the scooter, as well as realizing that basically my rent went up about $100 for the month.

I am taking an average of what the bill’s supposed to look like over the course of the year.

I still need to sit down with my land lord and see how she came to the figures, I need to do so calmly and rationally, like an adult, but basically, in the brief interaction we have had since the utility bomb, it was pointed out that an average would be $102 for each month.

So, yeah, just more bills, more living, more expensive San Francisco.

Which also made me happy to be back at work.

If I am working I am not spending as much money and the income is coming in rather than flowing out.

That is not to say that it doesn’t need to flow out.

I had to put the down payment on the scooter.  My friend had other people interested and I would be a fool to not hook it up.  He cut me a way fair price and to be able to make monthly payments is really awesome.

If I was getting a scooter elsewhere I don’t know that it would have happened as fortuitously with my work and income.

I don’t want to be grasping onto the money I have coming in, I don’t want to be tight-fisted.

Smart yes.

Wise about my decisions.

But not penny-pinching.

I don’t want to deny myself a nice standard of living because I am in some sort of financial stress.

Good thing I have another back rub tomorrow.

I just booked it up immediately.

I did not want to wait another two months to get in.

Tomorrow’s session was the Christmas gift from my employers and it’s for an hour and a half long massage.

Yes please.

I might fall asleep on the table.

She’s that good.

Tough, hard-core pressure, deep tissue manipulation, I was sore in my shoulder for a couple of days, but also really good, and she promised to help with the tightness I experience in my hips from the constant bicycle riding and life in general.

She believes that it is part of the problem with the rhomboid strain.

The strain that is not yet fully healed.

It’s not a constant thought in my brain like it was when the injury occurred, but it’s still there, humming a long at a low vibration of pain and annoyance.

Maybe my shoulder is having a growth spurt.

Ha.

Easing back into the routine.

Knowing it will be ok.

Since there is nothing wrong, there is no perfection that I must seek, and I have a roof over my head,  a place to lay my head, and food to eat in the morning.  A job to go to, a lady to have coffee with and share my experience, strength, and hope, and yes, a lovely massage to end the day with.

I really can’t ask for better preparation then that for this weekends skills course.

It’s all going to be fine.

Because it already is.

If You’re Uncomfortable

February 20, 2014

Then you know you’re doing the right thing.

She told me this earlier this evening as I was gearing up to head out to the Motorcycle Saftey Course on Folsom and 18th at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club.

Discomfort means I am growing, she continued, you’re doing just fine.

Grr.

Well, there’s that then.

I guess that a nicer way to say discomfort is to say growth.

I grew a bit today then.

Actually, over the last week, a lot.

Asking for things that make me uncomfortable, growing toward a richer life, a more abundant and prosperous one in which I take care of myself and do the necessary, uncomfortable, holy shit, actions to do so.

Finding out that I don’t have work on Friday.

Which precipitated me asking to be paid for this week and also outlining that should I be asked to work Friday’s in the future I have to be compensated if I hold them and they are not used.

If I am going to really embrace being a professional, career nanny, if I am going to stop looking for the next wunderkind career that is going to make me (can anyone spell fantasy?) I need to act like a professional.

A therapist will charge for a cancelled appointment, so to a doctor, even restaurants ask for a credit card to hold a reservation.

I need to do the same.

And after some writing.

I did.

It was fine, of course, all the crap, just crap in my head.

Still uncomfortable with having Friday off, as I have been uncomfortable having most of this week off.

Of course, ironic, I am working tomorrow after having a late night out in the city.

“The class will go until 10 p.m. tonight, or there about, depending on how quickly we get through the material,” said the instructor this evening.

Shit.

I was expecting a few hours, but I was not expecting  four hours of class time.

Ugh.

It was all necessary, I can see that, and I learned a lot, I did, I did.

I also learned that I am more nervous about taking the class then I thought I was and that it too will be something to walk through, that is, the actual skills portion.

I know about street awareness from being on my bicycle, but all the other stuff about a motorcycle threw me into a little bit of a panic.

I like the idea of learning it, but I don’t like the idea of failing it.

Then I think.

What if I did?

So what?

I just go get the permit and I take the skills test at the DMV.

Passing the class will insure that I don’t have to take the riding test and completion of it will also allow me to skip getting a permit.

Seven to ten business days after I finish the skill class on Sunday, I will receive my certificate of completion.  At that point then I go to the DMV and take the written test.

I have to also get insurance and then I am on the road.

So, I am still looking at a bit of time on my bicycle.

Which, truth be told, thrilled me with its simplicity tonight.

Granted I was not thrilled to be riding from Folsom and 18th out to 46th and Irving, but I didn’t need to think about shifting and down shifting and clutch and brake and swerving and curves and…

I also realize that I did have to learn a lot of things on my bicycle and those things were not always comfortable to learn.

The first time getting on a bicycle in San Francisco.

The first time I rode clipless on a touring bike.

The first time I rode fixed gear.

I had to learn to get through the discomfort.

I never fell in my clipless, but I had more than a few close calls when I was almost unable to unclip my shoes from my pedals before dismounting.

I never fell from my bike riding in fixed gear, but I felt out of control for a while and I don’t believe I shall ever forget how scared I was the first time I went down a big hill in fixed gear, that was an experience.

But I showed up, walked, or as the case may be, rode, through the experience, learned, grew.

Discomfort=growth.

That is what I have to remind myself of again and again.

If I am uncomfortable I am having a growth spurt.

I will be a little uncomfortable getting up early tomorrow after all the days of sleeping in, but up I shall get, and it will be nice to have a day of work, to know where to show up and how.

I realized today that I really like routine, it makes me feel like I am in control.

But that is a false idea, I am aware more so than, I believe, I ever have been, that though routine provides comfort, in my experience, that comfort can lull me into a false sense of well-being.

I will get used to things being a certain way.

Being single.

Not earning enough to thrive, but just enough to survive.

Over packing my schedule so that I don’t have time to have feelings.

Or isolating through being busy.

If I am busy working I am too busy to see you.

Or you.

Or you.

It’s uncomfortable putting myself out there to date.

It’s uncomfortable asking for what I need.

Shit.

Most times I don’t even allow myself to see what I need, to let myself become aware of my needs as been a journey of discomfort.

See six months in Paris.

I was looking at the photograph of me and the Vespa from yesterday, which has not failed to thrill me every time I view it, and I realized, again, that my life is so much fuller and more realized than when I was in Paris.

That it can and will become even more so here.

I had to go to see what I can become here.

I allow myself to be uncomfortable.

I am teachable.

I am growing.

Thus allowing myself a more fully realized life.

Bringing joy to myself and others.

That’s the whole point of growth anyhow.

Uncomfortable or not.

I have to do it.

ALL THE TIME.

But hey, I’m not complaining.

Just pointing out the obvious need.

For me anyhow.

I don’t speak for anyone else.

I have enough on my plate with myself.

Thanks, I will have the growth with a side of humility, mashed discomfort, and change.

Got that?

Great!

Pass the salt please.

What?

Don’t tell me you didn’t know that?

Discomfort tastes so much better if lightly salted.

Everything does, really.

Vroom Vroom

February 19, 2014

Bitches.

Yes.

That’s right.

I wrote out the check for the down payment on my new ride.

My 1962 black Vespa!

Vespa

Vespa

Piaggio

Piaggio

Vespa!

White Helmet, Red Flower

I was not planning on this happening today.

Ha.

I was planning on meeting my friend for coffee and going to Free Gold Watch to play some pinball.

Unfortunately, the arcade was closed down pending a re-licensing court hearing at 5:45p.m. this evening.  I signed the petition encouraging their re-opening.

I was bummed, so was my friend, as he had never been, I had emptied my bunny bank of its quarters and was ready to rumble with The Machine.

However, I was more than happy to talk scooter with my friend.

And I put down earnest money on it to hold it.

I did not pay it all off, I don’t have that kind of money on me.

But I did put a payment down and we agreed to terms and I will pay it off within a year, perhaps sooner.

I would like sooner, but I won’t freak out if I don’t and I felt really good and excited to see it and to also tell my friend that I really was committed, as I opened up the window on my phone showing the e-mail confirmation of the Motorcycle Safety Course registration.

He was impressed that I had managed to get into a class for this month.

Frankly, so was I, but apparently, I am supposed to be doing this thing as the class fell into place, the helmet materialized, my friend said yes to selling me his scooter (he just bought a brand new Vespa) and I am looking at suddenly having a motorized vehicle for the first time in eleven and a half years.

I don’t believe the grin on my face could have been bigger.

Say "Vespa!"

Say “Vespa!”

In fact, I am still smiling now.

I have not taken over ownership of the vehicle yet.

I could have, my friend is eager to have the extra space in his tiny garage in Nob Hill, but I figured it would be better for me to not have it until I was fully done with the safety course, had my permit in hand, and was on the way to the DMV to get my motorcycle licence.

And I did not bring my helmet with me to see my friend not expecting that he would actually drive it over to meet up with me.

It was just a happy afternoon going over all the little things on it, the hook where I can hang a purse or a bag of groceries, the little side compartment where I can stash a raincoat, a pint of oil, and probably a few other odds and ends, the tail lights and the engine, the side panel got pulled off and my friend pointed out a few other things–things that pretty much went right over my head–and how to deal with them.

I will just take it to his current mechanic should the need arise.

And my friend had already had it serviced recently, so I was not and am not concerned with that.

It runs and it runs beautifully.

He even is going to toss in an extra helmet so that when I want to I can ride a passenger.

That feels way the hell out there, but I bet it will happen sooner than I suspect.

Even though the safety course is tomorrow, it feels so far away.

Everything really did fall into place so quickly that I have had barely any time to process exactly what is happening, but find that I am suddenly in possession of all the needed things.

Scooter.

Helmet.

Leather knee-high harness boots to take the safety course.

New jeans.

Black leather motorcycle gloves.

It feels like a little fairytale come true.

“You’re whole life is about to change!” A friend responded with much glee to the photos I posted up on Instagram.

Yes indeed.

I really cannot comprehend it yet and I don’t suppose I will until I actually have it in my possession and the licence to drive it in my wallet.

Tomorrow all I need to do is show up on time to the class, 5:45pm. in the Mission, Folsom Street @ 18th.  I shall bring a notebook, a pen, and my CA drivers license.

Then after that I spend all afternoon on Saturday and all afternoon on Sunday taking the skills part out at the Phelan campus of City College, out on Ocean Avenue.

Then I will take the paperwork after passing the class to the DMV on Fell Street and take the written test.

After those actions are taken I will contact my friend and invite him to hand me the keys and the title.

EEK.

Just taking little tiny steps forward.

Yet, it feels like I am flying into some strange new world.

Scooter Girl.

I think there’s even a club in the city that does rides.

In fact, I know there’s a club in the city that does rides, I went on one with this particular friend on his Aprilla scooter and met up with a bunch of fellow scooter enthusiasts in the Inner Sunset then we did a ride through the Presidio, eventually ending up at Japan Town.

Wow.

That was so many years ago, seven, almost eight.

I think I was living at 25th and Kansas when that happened.

I never imagined I would own one, but, I  always have had a hankering for a vintage Vespa.

“Wait, walk this way a moment,” I said to my friend, “I feel like you need to see this too, two of my ultimate dream rides within blocks of each other.”

I steered him to the corner and pointed out the vintage black Karmann Ghia parked on Waller Street.

“That’s next,” I said with a conspirators whisper.

Until then, though, I am going to enjoy the hell out of this process, learning a new skill, getting a new vehicle, going grocery shopping!

Oh grocery shopping.

And zipping all over San Francisco.

Zoom zip and I wake up.

Zoom zip.


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