Archive for April, 2014

Let Me Just Spend Some Time

April 30, 2014

Working on myself.

By myself.

This is what the brain says to me, that I don’t need people, I certainly don’t, I got this handled, I can do it, go away.

I don’t even know what the hell it is that I have got handled.

But rest assured.

I have it.

My head was just a fright tonight on my way home from work. It was an off day, a day with a few scheduling surprises and I suddenly had a very topsy-turvy week happening, gathering all my things together, getting all the boys things together, preparing to not be nannying at my regular gig for a little bit.

One of the families had some unexpected travelling happen.

But it won’t happen until tomorrow.

I got the text when I got home from doing the deal in the in the Inner Sunset, that I was actually needed tomorrow.

I had to re-arrange my brain and my brain had just figured out what it was going to be doing and where and when, and you know my brain doesn’t like change, even when it’s good for me, it doesn’t like it and then I get the message.

Never mind.

I mean it’s not a total never mind, I will most likely not be nannying in Cole Valley for about a week, possibly a week and a half.

Which means that I will be in the Castro and that does affect my timing and my schedule and my get about and I will probably try to get my scooter out and going, I think it will be great practice for me and since I already made it up to the top of Castro Street, I should be able to make this one too.

But it won’t be tomorrow like I had thought.

It will be Friday.

And Thursday will be a regular day in the NOPA.

So, I am off kilter and the when I got home the only thing I wanted to do was dwell on my own shit and instead I sent my friend a text and said, I’m home, what do you need.

In seconds, a task, something to do, a way to get out of my head.

A trip to the 7-11.

A half-gallon of whole milk and a two-liter of Coca Cola.

Yes please.

Then, a walk through the last lingering lights of sunset to my friend’s place.

I dropped the milk and the soda in the fridge, fixed him a glass of Coke with some ice, washed his dishes and shot the shit for about an hour.

Boy howdy do I feel better.

It’s really simple.

And it’s always the same.

I can’t make myself feel better on my own.

I mean, yeah, there are things I can do in the privacy of my own time and place—like this blog—that do make me feel better.

But sometimes after a day of hanging out with a fifteen month old boy and a two-year-old boy, I need to engage with a friend who’s a little closer in age to me.

By the time I had finished my friends dishes I felt so much relief I cannot even explain it.

I really was glad he had dishes that needed doing.

Sometimes that small of a task can really help.

When I was at work earlier and I was not certain how things were going to suss them selves out and I felt a little crazy about the not knowing, I swept the floor.

It really helped.

Little stuff that I don’t typically talk about either.

Esteem able acts.

I did three today, and don’t you worry, I will be keeping them to myself, the fact that I even wrote that I did them takes a little of the satisfaction out of it, but suffice to say, I will sacrifice that to the blog.

My friend laughed at me after we had a minute to talk and catch up and see how the other was doing.

He’s only got two more weeks in the cast and I am really glad I have been able to do the few small things that I have.

I have gotten a better friendship out of the mix and a lot of relief from the crazy in my head.

Sometimes only a good friend is going to know the depth of that shit and some one who has been around the block a little longer than I and can give me some perspective on my crazy is a valuable asset.

I will happily wash your dishes again, my friend.

Although the next time we meet up we are going to the beach.

Saturday, a walk down to the ocean.

It will get him up and out and give me a little something to do on my Saturday that is social.

I have three commitments, but not always a lot of social things happening.

Then in a few weeks when he’s out of the cast and ready to do some exercising, I am going to tag along and go swimming with him out at Aquatic Park.

Yes, that’s right, I am going to go swimming in the Bay.

Looking forward to that.

I have never gone and I like the idea of going swimming at Aquatic Park before I attempt open ocean swimming.

Plus, there’s showers and lockers and buoys marking the course way.

“Can you do ¾ of a mile?” My friend asked.

That translates to about 1275 yards and though I haven’t been in a pool since I was in Paris, I can probably pull out a 1,000 yards without too much exertion.

What it will come down to is how long I can last in the water.

30 minutes without a wetsuit.

Longer if I decide to swim in my wet suit.

That’s all in the future, not here, not now, not something to worry about.

Thank God I have people in my life.

I can’t fix what’s broke with what broke it.

That is to say.

I can’t think my way into the solution.

But I can act my way there.

 Even if it’s by just doing the dishes.

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Let The Wild Rumpus Begin!

April 29, 2014

The mom who hosts the nanny share I do Monday through Wednesday asked me how it was today, how specifically the other little boy was.

I had already downloaded all the pertinent information–nap time, poop, feeding, outings, etc, about her son.

I think she knew what my answer was going to be.

He was a little wild thing and the wild rumpus was all day long.

The older boy, who just turned two last week was a peach and slept a long two and a half hour nap and had a great lunch and was awesome at the park and my other little charge was his normal self.

The dare-devil, as his mom called him.

He is just now getting his walking on and he is absolutely fearless.

As I mentioned he only napped once and that was for 45 minutes.

NOT ENOUGH NAP TIME KID.

I felt like a wild rumpus by the end of the day.

It could have also been that it was my first day back after a really chill, very mellow and low-key weekend.

Monday, you bit me in the butt today.

I did have some lovely time with the boys though and the weather fairly screamed be outside and outside I was a lot of the day.

We went to the Golden Gate Play ground in the early part of the day and later we went to the library, where I dropped off a book, checked out a book, and contemplated staying for the children’s story time, but it was too nice outside.

I opted instead for the Panhandle and went off to ramble through the grass and play with bubbles instead.

I really did have a moment when I was blowing bubbles into the air and the sun was warm on me and the grass smelled sweet, the scattered tiny white daisies plump and white and yellow shining in the green and the boys were eating bunnies.

Crackers.

Not rabbits.

And I was like, is this real?

I am on a blanket, in the park with two handsome boys and the sun is just shining and wow, I am even getting paid for this.

Which did, in the end, balance out my day, after the littlest one declined to settle down for his afternoon nap and the wild rumpus got turned up to 11.

Sometimes I can look down my own nose at my job, I am just a minder, but really, I am on, on, on, unless both the boys are sleeping and when it happens it is amazing, but I am typically present.

Present and alert and on the move.

“Out of your mouth,” I said, oh, I don’t know, about 100 times today.

The little guy is still orally fixated with floor fuzz, dust bunnies, cat fur, cat food, cat liter, sand, rocks, twigs, all detritus that falls to the floor and can be swept into his maw before I can sweep up the floor.

But he is a pumpkin and I love him and it was good to have my boys.

The week looks super sunny and I plan on being out in it as much as possible.

The weather says in the mid to upper 70s for the next three days, and Wednesday, it’s forecasting 80?

Holy crow.

There will be much sun blocking to be had for me.

And for the boys.

I never wore sunblock as a kid and I cringe now when I see little red faces or arms or cheeks, I get on my sunblock soap box and want to parse it out at the park, but it’s not my business how other people care for their children.

I am fortunate that I get to do this for a job and I know it.

Even when I am sore and the house needs picking up and didn’t I just put that toy away two minutes ago?

Even when the wild rumpus is rumpus’ing about, I know that I am lucky and I love that I get to do this for work.

Despite the negative thought that tried to suck its way in between me and the day when I was blowing bubbles in the park.

“When are you going to grow up and get a real job?”

Random ass thought pops into my job.

Last time I checked, negative thought, I have a job, it’s this job and it’s paying the rent, which is pretty grown up if you ask me.

Just because it doesn’t look traditional, or come with heavy-handed accolades, does not mean it’s not a real job.

It’s a real fucking job.

Ask anyone who’s had a good nanny versus a crappy nanny, they’ll let you know.

Anyway, not sure who I am convincing, not really myself, I know what I do is hard and rewarding and challenging and it forces me to be fit and capable and to love.

Not that loving is a hard thing to do, but it can be, to allow myself to be silly to sing or dance or get goofy, I am allowed to take joy in my job.

Yup.

Thanks.

And I will all week-long.

Besides there are some little known beauty secrets that are really the key to my youthful appearance.

Spit up is a great skin conditioner.

Constant washing of hands keeps me from catching sick.

Laughing makes me younger.

Smiling makes me younger.

Dancing like no one is looking, except a fifteen month year old and a two-year old, makes for a youthful appearance, and certainly a light-hearted person.

Truly.

I have found the fountain of youth.

I might need to take a dip in it if it really gets up to 80 degrees this week.

And I will definitely need to get my rest to keep up with the wild rumpus and his sidekick.

But, at the end of the day.

I have no complaints.

Come on.

I blew bubbles for pay today.

How could I complain?

 

 

Pump Up the Jams

April 28, 2014

Pump up the jam.

Pump it up.

While your feet are stompin’  and, uh the jam is pumpin’ ….

And um.

Heh.

I meant.

Pump up the tires, pump them up, don’t freak out, you can do it, yes you can.

Pump up your tires.

I got a little obsessive in my thinking this afternoon.

I knew I needed to inflate the tires on the Vespa, the front especially, it looked low and the Vespa felt like it was riding mushy last night.

Not a comfortable feeling on a scooter going 35 mph.

But I didn’t want to fuck it up, so I did a bunch of research, looked up proper PSI for scooters, for Vespa’s in particular.

Apparently, and once I thought about it, it made complete sense, the tire in the rear should be inflated at a higher PSI than the one in the rear.

Now, when my friend sold me the Vespa and I nervously asked about tire inflation he gleefully wielded the portable tire pump that was in the little side hubcap of the Vespa.

“This is it,” he said, “you pump it up with a bicycle pump.”

No freaking way.

Well.

I have one of those things.

I keep the little portable pump in the Vespa and I have my trusty Park Tool stand up bicycle pump with my one speed whip in the garage.

I have plenty of experience pumping up tires, changing flat tires, exploding inner tubes, once I popped a tube, while changing a flat, and screamed out as it sounded as loud as a gun shot.

Then giggled maniacally when the ensuing silence from the neighboring apartments became apparent to me.

“Blew my bicycle tube,” I hollered up the stair base, “no cause for alarm.”

The noise went back to normal.

I inserted another tube into the rim and made sure it fit.

I have experience.

But I was nervous anyhow.

I shot out a few texts to a good friend of mine who is a bit of a Vespa connoisseur.

In fact he told me that he loved riding his Vespa around San Francisco more than anything, more even maybe so than sex, and he likes sex a lot.

A lot.

So.

He was the first person this morning to get a text about inflating the tires.

I had already been hopping around on-line checking out this site and that and I discovered the old Vespa manual in a PDF file that was on Scooter Masters, it turns out this was the link my friend would send me not even five minutes later.

I flipped through the pages, flitting here and there and not seeing a whole lot of tips and tricks to doing it.

Yes, Carmen, it is just that simple, you don’t need to watch fourteen YouTube videos to figure it out.

Go out to the garage.

Get the bicycle pump.

Use the Presta valve not the Schroeder valve.

Pull up on the pump arm and compress.

And watch the air got directly into the tire and watch the tire inflate.

Now.

The only thing, and I went with my gut on this, was that the tire pressure was reading higher on the pump gauge than my friend had suggested I pump my tires too.

BEFORE I had put any air into the front tire.

But I knew just from looking at it that it was under inflated.

I trusted my instinct, pumped it up a bit more than did the rear wheel which did not really seem to need any air, but I figured I would feel it out and just squeeze a little in.

It rode so much better.

I was quite happy.

Oh.

Jah.

I still had to pray and psyche myself up to get on her and go for the ride, but the ride in was smooth, I rode up Lincoln to Oak and took that into the Haight then dropped down to Church and Market.

Nary a slip of the gear, smooth sailing all the way.

Same going home after I finished with my commitment.

It was a little more stop and start for me as the traffic was a little goofy.

I had one person in front of me that was either intoxicated or just not paying any attention what so ever and took a turn to the left while he had signalled a turn to the right.

I reacted and responded and zoomed by.

But it was a moment and I realized that now that I am more competent, having gone on a total now of nine scooter rides, that I can do this and I am getting to a point where I am having more fun with it.

I thought some time today about this upcoming week, work goes back to its normal five days, and that I will still ride my bicycle into work Monday through Thursday.

I want the exercise, it’s good for my brain.

I really need it.

I did go for a short ride today as well as getting out for a walk down to the beach with my friend who surprised me in my hood with a guest from out-of-town who wanted to go down to the beach and dip her toes in the surf.

That kind of exertion can sustain me for a day, but not for a week.

I will need a longer bit of exercise.

Plus, the morning commute to Cole Valley is only 20 minutes on my bicycle, less actually.

I give myself twenty minutes from walking out the door to the studio to walking into the garage at work.

I would probably be that much if not more time wise for me to ride the scooter, morning traffic, stopping, starting, I figure when I am working in Cole Valley I will still probably ride in.

Thursdays the same thing, I have a pretty quick commute on the bicycle and there’s not very good parking by the house where I work in the NOPA.

But Friday.

Friday, I believe I will ride my scooter to work.

Tackle that big hill at Noe and 19th.

If I can get up the hill on Castro I can make it up to this gig.

Plus, there will be parking there.

I am going to check with the mom tomorrow, but I should be able to park my scooter by the dad’s motorcycle alongside the garage on the sidewalk.

If so.

It’s on.

Though at times the Vespa learning curve has been more than I thought I could chew, I am finding it more and more palatable.

More fun.

More sexy.

More about the journey.

Less and less about the fear and the nerves.

At least I don’t feel like I am going to vomit before I get on the scooter.

Just a little nauseous.

And butterflies are good.

Nerves are good.

Just not when they stop me from getting on the ride.

The gift of riding, walking, bicycling through the fear.

Never thought I would be grateful for the discomfort.

But that I am.

And that I didn’t explode the inner tube on the front tire of the Vespa.

 

 

 

Nobody Likes Change

April 27, 2014

I told her as we sat up discussing this and that in the Starbucks up in Noe Valley.

Even good change.

Even change that is going to make my life better, is making my life better, even if it’s currently also making my life a bit uncomfortable.

Or a lot uncomfortable.

My Vespa is an incredible opportunity to lean into that and to walk through the discomfort.

I am learning.

It’s not comfortable.

It’s frightening and as it’s happening all I can do is lean in and do it, walk through it, or ride through it.

Or fucking ride up it.

I was not going to take Castro up and over the hill.

I really wasn’t, but I sort of ended up getting funnelled that way on my scooter headed into Noe Valley.

I had thought I would take it from the Mission side and go a little easier on my first big trip on the Vespa to Noe Valley.

But no, there was construction and traffic and it just was easier to go with the flow of traffic and then the flow of traffic was going up Castro and what the hell am I doing, this was not in the plan.

I just breathed and said, “one block at a time, you only have to do it one block at a time and if it gets overwhelming and you have to pull over and stop, then you can and one block at a time I made it up Castro to the top of the hill and started doing the same thing in my head.

One block at a time down the hill.

Jesus.

It’s a big ass hill.

I remembered that first time I went over that hill.

I was visiting a friend from Madison who had made the move to the Bay area before me, he lived in Berkeley with his girlfriend and we were doing daily excursions to the city–China Town, Nob Hill, the Castro, North Beach, we even did the wharf, albeit at night when it was deserted.

The evening I decided to tackle the hill on Castro Street was St. Patrick’s day.

My friend had to bartend in the city at his job on Fillmore and I had caught a ride in with him and I had decided I was going to walk the walk and talk the talk and take myself to Noe Valley and find an old co-worker of mine who was living in Noe.

She did not know I was coming that particular night, I think I might have called and left her a message, but I had her address and determined, I set out.

I walked Fillmore to Divisadero.

Divisadero to Castro.

Castro to 24th Street and I ran into her as she was turning onto her block with a group of friends headed to their place to regroup from the St. Patty’s day melee in Noe Valley.

I hollered her name.

She turned and did a double take.

I could not believe that it really was her and I just happened to be in the neighborhood.

It was Kismet.

Also, it was just damn lucky for my feet as I had made the trek, in yes, flip-flops.

Remember, at the time I was living in Wisconsin and San Francisco was warm in comparison to the frigid snowy tundra I had left.

My co-worker, who was really an employee from the Angelic, agreed to give me a ride back to the Fillmore so that she could also catch up with our mutual friend who was bartending.

Thinking to myself how far I have come in regards to walking that hill.

I have ridden up it once on a bicycle.

I thought I was going to throw up my lungs and it was painful to breathe the rest of the day.

I have ridden up the hill on the 24 line many a time.

I have driven up and over it a few times as well.

And today I took it on my scooter.

My life keeps getting richer and stranger and wilder and weirder.

I should not be on a Vespa, but there it is.

I should not have made it this long in San Francisco.

But there it is too.

I am supposed to be here and I am supposed to continue to change and to grow and to shed old skin like those poor flip-flops that did not last much past that spring break back in 2000.

Fourteen years later I got to tackle that hill again, one block at a time and realize that I will probably always have some sort of hill to go up and over.

The over part was just as terrifying as the up part, in case you were wondering.

Part of this change is to acknowledge that I am doing it.

That I am getting better, my progress seems to be on par with my usage and I have gotten better at riding the scooter every time I have gotten on it.

I am still at under ten rides and I took on Castro from Divisadero to Noe Valley.

That’s a pretty big leap when I see it from that vantage.

I took my bike out today too.

Just to get some exercise and enjoy a ride that was not a commute.

I rode down towards Sloat and then onto Lake Merced.

I did not actually go around the lake, I decided to head back to the house, the wind was blowing pretty fierce this morning, I actually dusted sand from the beach off my face this afternoon when I got back from the ride, but glad I had gone out and moved my knees a bit.

They were a bit stiff from last nights dance party.

That too, a change.

The first time I went to the End Up as compared to last night’s little dance party.

HUGE change.

It’s not comfortable, I repeat, all this change, but damn it is good.

My life, this constant flux.

I could not have predicted that I would be here, having just ridden my Vespa home from a commitment in Noe Valley, at this time last year.

I was days away from leaving Paris and had no clue what was going to happen.

Change happened.

And it was good.

Even when I cried about it.

It was good.

It still is.

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

April 26, 2014

I am feeling so exhilarated right now.

Partially because I came from a night of fantastic dancing with an awesome group of friends.

Partially because I am alive and made it home safe and sound on my Vespa.

Tonight marks the first time out past sunset solo riding for me.

I was really nervous about it and I wasn’t going to go out on the Vespa tonight.

The weather was lovely for waking up without my alarm, grey, rainy, the sound of the rain, the hush and thrum of the ocean, it said, shhh, curl up in bed and don’t worry about a thing.  Stay cozy.  Stay put.

Don’t do a thing.

I have to say it was frustrating for me to slow down that much today.

I got up and showered and wrote more morning pages then I typically do and then I did a long meditation, ok, long for me, fifteen minutes, and I had some coffee and I really wanted to go for a walk on the beach, but the rain which had been drizzly, became more steady and I was stuck at the house.

Stuck with not much to do and not much to read.

I finished my book yesterday and hadn’t had the chance to grab something else.

I debated working on some writing, I did some laundry, I contemplated taking the MUNI into the library at 19th and Irving or perhaps all the way into the main branch.

As my quandary increased I kept myself busy just taking care of the things that needed to be done at the house and as I was taking out the compost I ran into my house mate/landlord/friend.

We talked about some household stuff then she invited me up for lunch.

I tossed together a quick kale salad and grabbed my mug with a tea bag and went up to her place.

She turned on the fire-place and we had salads and caught up and drank tea and I snuggled her cat and warmed my toes by the fire.

Not a bad way to spend a day off from work.

Sitting by the fire with a friend, a cat, a mug of tea.

That got my through much of the afternoon and then around 3:30 p.m. the sun started to poke through the clouds and it cleared up.

I gathered myself and my camera and went for a walk on the beach.

It was amazing.

There was no one on the beach.

I was the first to arrive after the rain.

It was stunning.

I felt like I had been given this extraordinary gift.

The spacious ocean and the waves, the pelicans, ravens, the sand plovers, the gulls, and me.

The wind whipped my hair around and I headed into it to keep my face free of the distraction, snapping photographs with both my phone and my camera.

After the rain

After the rain

Blue Skies

Blue Skies

I did not get as much alone time with Ocean Beach as I might have wanted, maybe twenty minutes and the joggers and dog walkers and the tourists in the neighborhood beach motels started to come out.

But that I got to have any time at all on the beach all by myself really felt like the most amazing experience.

A gift.

I got back to the house, downloaded my photos, posted a few photographs to my other blog, here , and then made the decision to ride my scooter to Church and Market where I was going to be meeting up with my friends to get ourselves together for some dancing.

I ate a lovely meal, slightly distracted by my nerves and my decision to ride my scooter.

I had paid attention to the roads when I was walking back from the beach and they seemed pretty dry.

Dry enough that I was willing to take the Vespa out.

Especially since I was not interested in paying for a cab when I got done with the dancing and I wasn’t too psyched on riding my bike out there and back.

I ate a lovely bowl of the black-eyed peas I made yesterday and ate an apple and took lots of deep breaths and said, ok, only thing I need to do first is fill up the tank.

But I did not even need to do that.

It was 3/4s full from the last time I filled it.

I topped it off though.

$2.73.

Bwahahahahahaha.

Oh, I love my scooter.

Yes I do.

I took it easy riding it into the Castro, no lane splitting, I gave myself lots of time and I actually got to where I needed to be far earlier than I thought I was going to be.

Riding my scooter is quite a bit quicker than my bicycle.

It was daylight still when I hit Church and Market, but by the time I left, it was dark and I got on the scooter with a touch of trepidation, but not awful, just more deep breaths, and I rode from the Castro to the SOMA, Church and Market to 6th and Harrison.

I got there, parked, locked the handlebars, peeled off my gloves, dropped them into the little compartment on the rear wheel hub and went dancing.

It was spectacular.

We were the only folks there for about a half hour.

We acted like total tourists and took photos all over.

None of mine turned out, but I was happy to just be dancing and having the freedom to eat up the dance floor.

We were goofy and silly and laughed and hollered and screamed and made many a scene and waded through the smoke machine and just had a stupid good time.

Then when it was a bit after midnight a few folks had to go and me and two of my friend decided to stay just a little longer.

I got there at 10:15p.m. and stayed until 1:15 a.m.

Three good solid hours of shaking my ass.

Then out to the brisk air, exhilarated, goofed up, riding a wave of dance endorphins, hugs from my friends, one, off to the MUNI, another off to cab it home, and I, I to the gallant steed, my sweet lady Vespa.

I unlocked the helmet, put on my gloves, buttoned up my jacket, snugged the helmet on tight, pulled the choke, revved the engine, let her warm up and zoomed off into the night.

I did get a little turned around and overshot my turn off, but I made it back to Fell Street and took it all the way out until it merged with Lincoln Avenue.

I am not 100% certain, but I believe the ride was twenty minutes.

Amazing.

And I am home and my blog written one hour after leaving the club.

Not bad at all.

No, not at all.

Happy feet.

Happy Vespa.

Happy heart.

Happy!

Happy!

Joy!

Joy!

Vroom!

Vroom!

Nice Vespa!

April 25, 2014

What year is it?

1965.

Fucking awesome!

Thanks!

Then, kerchunk.

I killed it on the hill turning onto Fell Street.

Ha.

That’s what you get for flirting with the guy on the corner.

Well, I might have killed it anyway, it’s my newest challenge, going up a hill in gear, first mind you, while using the rear brake to stabilize me and then easing off said brake, letting out the clutch and giving it a little gas.

Not too much.

Not too little.

Just the right mix.

I have it down when I am in the flats and am getting proficient enough with it that I can smoothly slow down, down shift, stop, and ease it right back out after the stop and keep moving forward.

Most of the time.

I still have my moments.

Then, I have to think about the fact that today was time number seven, of being out on my Vespa riding, and three of those rides were short with someone else with me.

I took it up to Church and Market today to do a meet up at Crepevine and then head over to Our Lady of Safeway, except that I didn’t.

After my meeting at Crepevine it started to rain.

Not a lot.

But enough.

Enough that my companion urged me to skip where I was going and head home before it did start to really come down.

The rain wasn’t supposed to start until tomorrow, but that’s what happens in San Francisco.

The weather can be a little tricky and I did not want to push my luck with it.

As it happened, I made it back without getting more than just a little sprinkled on.

And I can say that I am getting the hang of it more and more.

I still have what I call my pre-game warm up.

I get nerves.

I get anxious.

I have to breathe through it, roll my shoulders a little, loosen up my body, say a word to the powers that be and give myself more than adequate time to get where ever I am going.

There is a ritual involved to rolling it out and starting it up and I am getting a small routine, but it’s going to be a little longer before I just hop on and cruise off.

Granted, it’s getting easier to will my way into riding.

I expressed tonight at the restaurant that I am more scared than I would like to let on, but then, I have had moments of unadulterated fun, the moving through the park, on John F. Kennedy, has really helped, the green, the lushness, the Chain of Lakes, the Bison in the paddock.

Even, yes, the frisbee golfer warming up tonight as I headed home in the dusk trying to beat out the rain fall.

There’s another thing I can get myself into, frisbee golf.

Free.

Yeah.

I like those sorts of activities.

It would require a small investment to buy a couple of discs and I could hop my scooter and be over to the course in ten or fifteen minutes.

My friend’s partner, said friend who sold me the scooter,  got really excited for me when she saw me last, giving me a big hug she said, “it’s going to open up the city to you in ways you cannot imagine.”

I knew she was right when she said it, but I think I am just starting to get an inkling of what that might look like.

I am a bit bummed that there’s rain forecasted for tomorrow, I know, I know, we need the rain, but I would have like to have ridden the Vespa into the Castro tomorrow, met with my friends, then headed over to the End Up for some dancing.

I am not willing to take her out yet in the rain.

I will, I am sure, at some point take a ride in the rain, but unless it’s absolutely necessary, I don’t see the point.  I can take MUNI, not worry about my burgeoning scooter skills, and stay dry.

I had visions of perhaps going to Kabuki before heading out, but perhaps I will save that for the weekend instead.

Dancing is the only thing on the menu, so far.

I had my half day.

It definitely threw me for a loop, getting out of my routine, going in early, leaving early.

I did not care for it and I did not know what to do with myself, but I just told myself, next little action in front of you and see where it leads.

Lead me home, but not quite to the house, I buzzed by, on my bicycle, earlier, I am still riding my bike into my nanny gigs, and hit the Noriega Produce Market for groceries and supplies to get me through the weekend.

I knew the forecast called for rain, so I figured, get the shopping for food out-of-the-way.  Then back to the house, chop up some raw veggies, eat some hummus, have a bowl of homemade soup and do my “morning” pages, which were clarifying and helped me resolve to continue taking next action, which, yes, led to me meditating.

I can stand that.

The quieting of my mind.

Getting into my body.

“You are so hard on yourself,” she said to me tonight, leaning over the table, “you really don’t have to be.”

I don’t even know it.

I don’t see it.

I don’t feel it.

Once in a while I can see I am learning to ease up.

But most times not.

It’s rather like learning to ride this vintage Vespa, it’s a practice, an easing up, a letting out the clutch and an easing off the throttle.

I am so used to going full throttle and riding the clutch with a death grip.

Ease up.

Slow down.

Mellow out.

Be nice to the scooter.

Fuck.

Be nice to me.

I may not have gotten as much done today as I would like (laundry, cooked food for the weekend–black-eyed peas with kale and broccoli, laced with browned organic ground pork and onions and garlic, pot of savory brown rice–turmeric, garlic, black pepper, ginger, adobo, wrote four pages long hand–I had the time, rode my scooter, met up for tea with someone who has a better perspective on my life than I do, worked a half day, finished my library book–Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon) but I did do a lot more than I let myself acknowledge.

For today, for at least this moment.

I acknowledge I do a good job.

The best I can.

And that is pretty damn good.

 

Early To Blog

April 24, 2014

Early to bed.

Not that I will.

Not that I want to.

Just that I should.

I am going to go into work tomorrow an hour early to help out my Thursday family get ready for a trip to visit the grandparents and I will be done early.

In fact, they alluded to me being done by 11:15 a.m.

I am not 100% sure that is going to happen, but it seems as though the family will have to leave by that time to get to the airport.

It was just sprung on me last week that they would be off on this Thursday and as I am their regular nanny on Thursday, they are compensating me for the full day.

Which is nice and as it’s supposed to be.

Now, add to that the family I normally work for on Fridays is also taking Friday off to go camping and I suddenly have a three and a half day weekend.

Sure, I will come in early tomorrow.

Not that I want to get up at 6:30 a.m. and not that I want to skip my morning pages, I always write in the morning before I go to work unless I can absolutely help it, but I am not going to get up at 6 a.m. to do it.  I figure I will hit the sack a bit early and then get up and go straight into the job right after I get up and get breakfast in me.

Breakfast and waking up and making the bed and doing my morning routine takes a little time anyway.  I don’t just instantly fly out the door even with not doing the writing, but skipping that will give me a little wiggle room.

And I figure I will do the writing when I get back from the gig.

Then it’s the weekend.

I have my commitments, I always do, but I will have some extra space in there to navigate.

One thing, fill up the tank on the Vespa, I am going to ride it to my Thursday commitment at Church and Market and I don’t want a repeat of this past Sunday.  After that commitment it’s the weekend for real.

And this weekend, Friday at least, I am going dancing.

A group of us will be meeting up Friday at Our Lady of Safeway, then grabbing burgers at Burger Meister, then, yes, fools, off to the End Up.

Where the dance floor will be empty and we will take over the club.

Until midnight or so and then I bounce.

I am not into being there when the party people show up and I don’t have the patience to deal with that scene any longer.  As well as knowing that after a few hours of dancing I am going to need to scoot back to my side of town.

Yes.

I said scoot.

That’s the plan anyhow.

Although, looking at the weather forecast I may not, it might rain.

I don’t like the idea of taking public transportation back from that neighborhood, it could take five years to get me back out to the Outer Sunset from the SOMA district, but I have a friend who gave me a free ride on Lyft and maybe I will use it.

Although, from knowing so many taxi cab drivers in my life I hesitate to use the service, but well, who knows, that is jumping the gun, that’s Friday.

Not that I don’t jump the gun constantly.

I had a highschool friend message me this morning on Facecrack for getting together for a cup of coffee when I go visit Wisconsin.

I said, sure, joking, if you’re in the neighborhood, why not, but I’m not going to be in Madison, I will be in Hudson, which is many miles north.

He said, shouldn’t be a problem, I’ll fly up.

Uh.

Ok.

He’s a pilot and he owns a small plane, so that doesn’t sound as far-fetched as it might, but outside of FaceCrack I haven’t seen this guy in years and I wonder, why the sudden interest to have coffee?

You’d really fly up to see me for a cup of coffee?

Really?

I didn’t question it or him or his motives, but I am curious.

I don’t have a lot of recollections of us being particularly close.

Though I will admit, he was more in my circle of acquaintances then a lot of folks in my grade.  And I do remember getting dropped off in his car at my house from some event or another at school, but I can’t remember and I wonder, did anything go down between us?

I don’t think so, but then, it was over twenty years ago.

I started thinking about those old friends from highschool, there are some I would love to see again, who I didn’t see at the reunion, or who I didn’t get to see enough of at the reunion.  Now that I think of it, this guy didn’t go.

Who know what his reasons are, I suppose I could ask.

I am not going to give it much more thought past these sentences, then I will be focusing on whatever else is taking up space in my brain pan.

Like.

Oh, will this guy that I have a some attraction for show up for the dancing on Friday?

I invited him, only to find out that he may already have something on the back burner.

Dang it.

I still want to flirt it out and dance, but I am not interested in someone’s honey pot if they already have someone dipping their fingers in it.

Then there’s also the recollection, which I jumped when I remembered today, I asked out a guy, sort of (my friend said, “did you ask him on a date?  Or did you say, let’s hang out?”) who returns to the city next week.

I do want to hang out, but date like.

All the stuff percolating in the brain.

So many things to ruminate on and so much silliness.

I looked at a tree in the Pan Handle today as I was walking back from the park pushing the stroller with two very boisterous little boys in it singing our silly songs and realized that the tree had been there longer than I have been alive and that it would be there long after I had gone.

So, if I want to know why dude from high school wants to see me, ask.

If I want to go on a date with this other guy, ask.

I know this much, I want to dance and getting to bed early tonight will be the start to that.

I believe a good start has been officially made.

Here’s to a long weekend.

See you on the dance floor soon.

Where I will be leaving all my inhibitions.

 

Sconnie Girl Makes Good

April 23, 2014

Or the prodigal daughter returns home.

Something like that.

Or nothing like that at all.

Suffice to say, from my title it may be hard to interpret, unless you have been to Wisconsin or are from Wisconsin, what that means.

It means that last night after I wrote my blog and caught up on the MadMen episode I missed on Sunday (saved Game of Thrones for tonight) that I went online and I bought a ticket to go back to Wisconsin and visit my best friend and her family.

They live in Hudson.

Which is just across the river, on the right side of the river, if you ask me, but I am biased, on the Wisconsin side of the river, if you prefer, from the Twin Cities.

I have been chatting back and forth with her for a bit, trying to suss out the best possible dates for the trip back, what will work for her schedule, my schedule, her families, the families I work for, and finally settled on a date.

I will be in Wisconsin the week of the 4th of July.

I will be in Hudson for Booster Days!

Huzzah.

Now, if you’re not from the Midwest or don’t know about living in a small town, the 4th of July is a big deal holiday.

There’s usually a fair, there’s usually a carnival, geez Louise, I hope so!

I imagine that I will be out on the midway, under the stars, in the warm night air (perhaps laced with more mosquitos than I should care for) without a layer or three, without my scarf (because July in San Francisco is scarf weather, don’t be fooled by it being in California) queuing up for a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl or a the ferris wheel.

I sure do hope so.

I may also be laying beside a lake, or paddling around one with my friend in one of the canoes at her families cabin by the lake.

Holy crow.

If you don’t have a definition of heaven, I offer you this, a cabin by a lake in Northern Wisconsin.  There will be swimming in the water, which is far different from swimming in the ocean, there will be canoeing, there will be, farmer’s markets with fresh sweet corn, ripe tomatoes, oh Wisconsin vine grown tomatoes, gimme, there will be bald eagles–they nest near by and fish the lake–there will be my best friend and walks in the woods and perhaps yes, berry picking.

There will be sitting on the porch in the morning, when it is still cool, drinking a big cup of coffee and watching the sun light up the lake and glow through the north woods like a beacon from God.

I can’t wait.

For summer vacation, I might actually have a summer vacation.

I don’t typically (unless you count Burning Man and considering how hard I work when I am there it’s a working holiday at best) take a vacation during the summer.

Shit, I don’t typically take a vacation at all.

But a friend pointed out that perhaps I should and then I started talking with my friend, and it’s been too long since I have seen her and then the seed was planted and it took root and I just couldn’t shake that it was time to go back for a visit.

Especially since the last time I went back it was January about five years ago.

Yah.

Not quite so nice.

Still lovely and awesome and sweet to see my best friend and her husband and their amazing boys, but damn, January in Wisconsin is cold, lest you’re a polar bear.

Actually, I just realized, the last time I went back, it was summer time, June, to be precise, I went back for my high school 20th reunion.

That was in Madison though and I didn’t have the time to go up to see my friend and her family in Hudson, it’s a good four-hour drive north of Madison, if not just a touch more, but I have a lead foot when I drive, so hard to be accurate.

And this will be in July, I need to remind myself.

The days will be warm.

No, scratch that, the days will probably be sweltering.

Humid.

Hot.

Sticky.

But, an admission, I don’t mind that so much.

I miss the Wisconsin winter right around Christmas, but I miss the summer the whole time of summer.

Summer in San Francisco is chilly, you may have heard a quip or two about his from Mark Twain, and there is always a day or thirteen so locked in fog and chill that I cannot really believe that it is July and wish mightily that I was in Wisconsin where it was warm.

Hell, I might even eat a brat.

Sans bun.

One not soaked in beer.

Hmm.

Maybe I won’t have a brat.

But I will have corn on the cob and thick sliced tomatoes.

Yes.

And big glasses of cold water and probably all the iced coffee I can get my hands on, iced coffee when it’s hot has to be my favorite beverage of all time.

But, it’s got to be hot.

Iced coffee when I am not hot through and through gives me the chills.

I rapidly become an old lady before your eyes wanting to nest in a crocheted afghan and sit in the sun in her rocker.

The smells of Wisconsin in July too, so good, cut grass, the aforementioned grilling of brats, hamburgers, chicken, all things that need to be grilled over hot charcoal, the smell of a lake, the lilacs, peonies heavy-headed and thick with luscious syrupy scent, the smell of hot pavement and the way the wind feels whipping over your arms and shoulders when you drive out in the car, rolling through the greenest green on Earth.

Can you tell I am looking forward to the visit?

Just to capture all the sensory magic of it.

To see fireflies.

Oh, I haven’t seen fireflies in years.

And to see my dear, sweet, wonderful friend who has known me for the last twenty years.

Twenty.

Whew.

I just realized that, this summer will mark our 20th year knowing each other.

‘Bout time I went home.

I have to continue to cultivate this relationship.

I am going to want her around for the next twenty.

And, selfishly so, I am going to want another invitation to come up during Booster Days and to go for a day or two to the cabin by Lake Number 26.

Yes, that is the name of the lake.

Mud Lake was already taken.

 

I’m Back!

April 22, 2014

Sort of.

The Internet connection is still shitastic.

And my landlord told me two days ago that she paid to have a faster service.

Not down here.

Nothing’s faster.

Get your money back.

Oh well.

Hopefully, at some point I will have access, there always does seem to be a magic moment when I do manage to sneak online then I will transfer the blog from here in my MAC Word documents to my WordPress site.

I have missed this!

Four days since I have last blogged.

Me no likey.

I had entertained the thought of writing my blogs long hand then taking photos of them and posting them via my Iphone, but I never got around to it.

I did read a lot.

Nearly finished Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue.

Now that I have my computer back, I don’t know that I will be kicking through the book quite as fast. I will certainly finish it, it’s good enough to be finished, though, and I have to say there are some bits of it that don’t quite sit well with me. Perhaps it’s because I worked around the neighborhood that the author is describing and I lived in a rather rough part of East Oakland. There’s something in the language of the characters that does not ring true.

Fiction is not supposed to be “real” per se, but it has to read true to me and there are times when it does not read true.

Then again, it’s a good enough read that I am going to finish it.

Not tonight, though.

Tonight is all about the blog, if I do manage to get it up online.

I am writing it anyhow.

As I was riding my bicycle home along Irving, flying into the wind, the salty smell of ocean, very fresh tonight, the breeze bracing, brisk, almost cold, but not quite, I kept thinking what am I going to write about?

What did I do over the last few days that is noteworthy.

I cried a little bit on the corner of Hyde and Grove outside the Burger King across from the main library.

And not because what you think.

That is, should you know what that neighborhood is like.

Crack head central.

It wasn’t cuz I was smoking it, scoring it, or looking to turn a trick.

But I got all sorts of propositioned.

I wasn’t crying either because I had lost my abstinence or gone off on a flame-broiled binge at the Burger King either.

It was because my scooter, out of the blue, stopped running.

Right at that particular corner.

It smells bad.

See aforementioned crack head reference.

Add to that the charred smell of carcinogens people were stuffing into their glazed 4/20 faces.

Oh, yeah, yesterday, on top of it being Easter, it was Easter on 4/20; everyone was baked out of his or her heads.

Wafts of pot smoke.

Ponderous billowing clouds of smoke drifting all over the city, but most especially from the Upper Haight.

A neighborhood I had the pleasure of riding my scooter through.

I took her out yesterday.

I was not thinking about Easter.

I did not know that Kezar was going to be closed.

I did not know that because of the massive construction project happening in Dolores Park that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were having their Hunky Jesus contest and Mary Magdalene Pageant in Golden Gate Park, as well as the traditional little kid fest Easter Egg Hunt that was happening.

And yes, oh wise city that you are, who decided to schedule Sunday Streets (the event where the city shuts down a length of street and leaves it open to bicyclists and pedestrians only) in the Upper Haight?

What the holy hell?

I was completely not ready for that.

I had thought that I would ride my scooter to my commitment at Church and Market around 5:30 pm’ish and have a nice late Sunday afternoon ride.

I was chilling in the back yard enjoying a big mug of chai tea after having had a delicious kale salad with all sorts of fresh veggies in it, a salad I had after a beautiful walk on the beach with very few people out (I should have cottoned to it then, that the city was crazy elsewhere. Whenever it’s nice at the beach and it’s empty, something else is happening.).

I knew it was weird for the beach to be so deserted; it was 70 degrees out yesterday, clear, sunny, gorgeous, light breeze, beach weather in San Francisco for sure.

I just figured it was because it was Easter Sunday.

I was not thinking about the melee just a few miles away from the quiet, sleepiness of the Outer Sunset.

Nope, I was thinking I would chill in the back yard for a bit, read my book, enjoy the sunshine and when the time was right, why, I might even take a nap.

Plans changed.

Quick like.

I got a text message from a friend asking me what I was up to and it became apparent quick that I needed to meet up with this person and grab some coffee and then go to an earlier showing of get my head on straight I done fucked up, with my friend.

He was not in a good place and I said meet me for coffee at three p.m. and we’ll hit the four o’clock at Our Lady of Safeway.

I got my stuff together, pulled on my gloves, popped on my helmet, pulled the choke out on the scooter; kick started her up and zoomed off into the Inner Sunset.

And right into the worst traffic I have ever seen in my life.

For all of two intersections I stayed behind the cars in front of me.

Then something in my head said, “Fuck this,” and I graduated to splitting the lane in Nano seconds.

I cut through traffic, I rolled up through the maze of crazy taking it really slow, there was no other way to do it, but getting through.

It was crazy pants.

I don’t ever want to do that again.

But I can say with no little pride, that I did not kill it once, that I glided through, carefully, but I did it, I got through.

It still took me 45 minutes to get to Church and Market.

But get there I did.

I stopped.

Got coffee.

Did the deal.

Hung with my friend.

Then afterward as he was leaving to hit a dinner commitment I got a message that my laptop, my baby, my blog-producing machine, was ready for pick up at the Apple Store downtown.

Woohoo!

I hopped on and headed out.

But I got to admit, something felt weird, I felt weird, things felt off, the scooter felt, well funny.

I had a hard time suddenly relaxing into the flow and I got uncomfortable.

Should have listened to that feeling.

Because as it turns out, nothing says good times like stalling out at Hyde and Grove.

Well, maybe having all the hairs on my neck stand up and whirling around as a huge man with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth comes up and tries to hug me.

“Yo, It’s cool, I know you from the meeting, you Cindy, right?”

“NO, I am not and I don’t know you, back off,” I said and put my arm up to fend off the incoming hug.

“Yo, my mistake, it’s cool,” he said and turned to jog down the stairs to the underground.

But that was it.

Last straw.

I could put up with the homeless dude trying to offer to help me kick it over, “no thanks, I got it,” I could handle the guy that tried to solicit me, “not hooking,” I handled the guy who spare changed me too close, “Nothing, I got nothing,” but that last dude did me in.

I fired off a bunch of texts and started making phone calls.

I got a number for a tow company that deals with motorcycles and I got a friend to come down and keep me company until the tow came.

And when the tow came, revelations.

“Didn’t the guy who sold this to you tell you about the reserve tank?” He asked.

“No,” I said.

And in all fairness, he might have, but I had no recollection, and I had checked the tank three times and each time I saw that it was half way full, even with all the stop and go traffic, it was half full.

“When it gets to about half way, you need to turn this little knob here below the choke to the reserve tank, otherwise it won’t feed gas to your engine,” he demonstrated, and then started my scooter right up.

Then what?

Only charged me $20 for the service call.

My hero.

“Bike Guy Motorcycle Tow—you never know when you’ll need a tow.”

Stephen Goodloe, you are my hero.

My friend made it down to me about the same time as Mr. Goodloe did and said he would follow me home as I rode out into the dusky twilight, headed, yes, back through the park, but by this time the roads had cleared and it was smooth sailing all the way home.

I didn’t get my computer.

But I did get to learn about the reserve tank!

It’s nice to be sitting at the keyboard again.

I look forward to heralding you further with more tales from the life of Auntie Bubba again real soon.

Like tomorrow.

If I can get online.

Where Does The Time Go

April 17, 2014

Wednesday’s Child?

I was talking to my employer today about how her little boy was dressed, very French, blue short pants, brown boots, a white shirt and a little red checked ascot/bib.

Tres chic.

Then I realized that I am just shy of two weeks of my return home from my Paris experiment.

I got two messages today from friends in Paris asking me when I was coming back.

Not yet.

Not today.

Not tomorrow.

But, I will be back.

Sometimes the ache that is in my heart is a hard one to describe, it is a mix of nostalgia, soft regret, and the dull lash of the discordant whip I thrash myself with on the occasion, because, I did not make it happen.  I the all powerful, all knowing, all important, I.

But as I was remembering, it was also with a kind of realization that the Paris I go back to will be the Paris of reality, should I choose to return.  Rather than the fantasy that I went in search of.

It will be one in which I make a much harder resolve to go legally, to go to school for real, if that’s how I am going to go, really do it.

I certainly have the connections now and the know how.

Much better than I did last time.

I will go also knowing that I take myself with me.

In my roll-on luggage, in my bike box, I come with.

My employer has had a house guest all week, a sweet woman on her own for the first time in San Francisco.  I have gotten to give her all sorts of suggestions and it was nice to be the go to person when she had a question about where to meander to next.

Yesterday she took the ferry across the bay, first stopping at the Ferry Building for the Farmer’s Market.  Today it was a trip to the DeYoung with a pit stop at a cafe, FlyWheel on Stanyan, that I had recommended.

I like that I get out and see things and pay attention and go places.

I like that I went to Paris.

Scratch that.

I love that I went.

I don’t like the pride, vanity, and lack of humility that I have beaten myself up with over the last year for not having done it perfectly.

The constant seeking for perfection, in this country and that country, so that I can prove to you, who?  Not really certain who this mythical “you” is, how wonderful and perfect and amazing I am, and now please love me unconditionally.

You know the only person who is capable of loving me unconditionally is myself.

So, I choose that today.

To let my process be what it is and be really ok with that.

I told my employer’s house guest about how the Parisian children don’t have school on Wednesday’s and so Wednesdays were always a day I could find work, in fact, they were the most sought after day and the day I made the most money.

It was the day I would take the train in from the 9th out to Corbevoie, which was just out past La Defense.  It was a long commute and sometimes, often times, in the beginning of the job, it was dark when I left and just becoming light when I got there.

But I always got there.

The little girl I took care of in Corbevoie was named Nenna and she was six.

I tutored her in English.

Mostly, though, we just played and watched videos and sang silly songs, we went to the park a year ago today, it was our last day together.

The next week I was going to be leaving for Rome and the week following I would be leaving for the U.S. again.

Our last day together was really pretty and warmer than it had been, last year the winter was long and dreary, cold, wet, it snowed a lot, and the Spring was so long in coming, but that day, it was sunny, and we went to that park near her house and she ran around while I watched the other children run about and kept to myself on a bench off to the side of the park.

I am a bit of an anomaly here in San Francisco as a nanny.

I was even more so over in Paris.

But I was good and Nenna loved me and I her.

I also had some sweet charges that I still recall fondly in the 7th–Adele and her brother Cole–who were both precocious and smart and fun.  I loved Adele, Cole was a handful and I got to be fond of him, but his sister had my heart the first time we met and it was difficult saying goodbye to her.

My last night with Adele she stayed cuddled in my lap the entire night I was there, until bed time when I tucked her and Cole into their bed–a bunk bed–and they both sat in my lap and we all read books together.

Their’s was the home that I made my forlorn phone calls home to, the parents had a carrier that allowed them free phone calls anywhere in the world, so whenever I was there at some point I made a phone call.

It made me realize, quite quickly the people who I was close to, the ones that I called more than once, the ones I reached out to.

I do long for a Spring in Paris, a summer too, although I know that’s just crazy talk, summer’s in Paris can be really unbearable, but so too are summer’s in Wisconsin, and the first time I ever did go to Paris it was August.

I won’t ever forget that trip either.

It started something.

I don’t know when I will be back, but as the days lengthen here and I look around my home I don’t know that I can imagine leaving.

Yet.

It may be that I have some things to accomplish here first.

It may be that I will get to be a traveller again.

On a different pay scale, I should hope.

I don’t want to experience the Paris of a starving artist again.

Once was more than enough.

“When did you get back?” An old acquaintance I had not seen in, well, almost a year, asked me this past Sunday at an anniversary party of a mutual friend.

“Oh, I’ve been back for a bit, lived in East Oakland, then landed out in the Sunset, out on 46th between Irving and Judah.” I replied.

“You look amazing, and I am sure it was a challenge, but you know, you are so loved here, you belong here.” He smiled and hugged me and said, “welcome back.”

It was a sweet reminder that I am wanted and accepted.

Here.

There.

And everywhere in between.

Knowing in my heart that I don’t have to commit to being anyone other than my flawed self is a relief, knowing that my community loves me is a gift.

Allowing that love in is the work of a lifetime.

Whether I am in Paris.

Or San Francisco.

Or anywhere else for that matter.

Wednesday’s child, though, I miss you, little one.

I hope your day out at the park was as lovely as mine.


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