Archive for April, 2015

Feelings

April 30, 2015

They are just not facts, man.

But when I am in them, they will encompass my entire world view and said world view gets exceptionally small, ego-centric, and uncomfortable.

I saw it happening today at work and I stepped outside myself, took a minute, went to the bathroom, peed–it’s important to do that, take time to pee–sometimes I forget how my body functions as I will get caught up in my job.

“You make yourself indispensable,” she said, “but you have to set boundaries, because they are going to take until you have nothing left to give.”

My friend’s suggestions and thoughts and compassion as I was on the phone with her after work.

Frantic.

Over tired.

Exhausted.

And dwelling, not in the moment, oh no, that would be where there are no problems, that’s just too easy.

“You could take a sick day,” she suggested.

A mental health day.

I have not done that in years.

And I do have a legitimate mental health issue, in fact, more than one, but I am loath to do that.

However, she does have a point.

I do need to take some self-care.

I love my job.

But I can get exhausted.

And I reached that point today.

Not exactly because I was exhausted in the moment that the issue came up, but in dwelling on what the following day would look like and how I was going to manage it.

I can barely manage right now.

Let alone tomorrow.

I had to see that and I did and I let go, peed and prayed, you could say, and kept right on going with the day, which was a good day, a sunny day, a nice day, busy yes, work always is, but a sweet one with the boys.

Then it came back as I was leaving the mom mentioned tomorrow’s schedule and I got caught back up in the worrying about the tomorrow.

I am never good in tomorrow.

I awful in yesterday.

All I have is today.

I acknowledged to my friend that I had to set a boundary and I hate that, it means I am not super nanny and I have my limits and oh no.

“I remember, quite distinctly,” my friend said, not admonishing me, but showing me my own patterns, “this happening at Burning Man last year with your employer, you do too much, get exhausted, and break.”

Yup.

“Didn’t the mom tell you how important you are to the family and how they don’t want to burn you out?”  She injured further.

Yup.

The mom, did indeed say that.

So.

I have to come back with my piece and just let her know that I may not be at my highest performance at the end of the day for some of the schedule that she outlined with me.

In fact, it was so much to take in when it was brought up this morning I didn’t even register what she wanted.

I wasn’t able to process it.

It sort of went over my head and into the great blue yonder.

When she explained herself again I got it and I freaked out.

That’s so close to the end of my day and that’s a lot of extra work to add at the end of the day and oh, yeah, I leave early on Thursdays.

I come in early, not by a lot, it’s not the full extra hour of early I do on Monday’s, but a little early, so I may make a commitment at Church and Market by 6:30 p.m.

A commitment where I need to be and I can’t have food there.

The schedule the mom wants is to be out and about doing this and that during the time I am normally tucking the boys into their dinner.

And mine as well.

Despite having just eaten and being full, I was suddenly thrust into tomorrow where there’s not enough and I will have to wait until 8:30 p.m. to have dinner.

That’s not a big deal to some.

But I get angry when I miss a meal by that much time.

I have an eating disorder and though I allude to it here once in a while I haven’t really spoken about it to the parents.

It’s weird enough that they know I’m sober.

That’s been some interesting conversation.

They do know that I don’t eat sugar or flour for health reasons.

But I have not explained to them what those are.

I have left it in loose terms.

I have an allergy to sugar and flour and I get sick when I ingest them.

I don’t tell her that if I have some sugar I’m going to break out into a dozen donuts and two pints of ice-cream.

It’s not an allergy that a lot of people have.

I’m not special.

I just know what I have.

And what I have is a distinct desire to not be in the open family swim at UCSF Koret Center at 5:30 p.m. when I am typically eating dinner with the boys.

I am scared what I may say or do.

I am scared that I will be hungry and angry.

I know that I won’t be at my best.

And I don’t want to lose my job because I snap and have to shove food in my mouth.

I tried to work it out in my head, what can I make, bring to work, go grocery shopping for, do for myself that will allow me to deal.

And I just couldn’t figure it out.

Which exhausted me further.

So.

I came home.

Made some phone calls.

Cried.

Wrote an inventory.

Shared it.

Breathed.

Prayed.

And made a cup of tea.

A cuppa will fix me just about every time.

I sat and read a book.

I got quiet and stopped living in tomorrow.

I have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow.

But I can tell my employer that I am nervous about not performing at my best abilities at the end of the day.

That’s all.

I don’t have to explain.

I don’t have to rationalize.

I don’t have to manipulate through withholding my honest response.

I just have to communicate my needs.

Easy.

Hahahahaha.

Well.

Easier now than it used to be for me.

I have had some practice.

And with a little help from my friends.

I can do this too.

Thank God I am not alone.

No matter what my brain tells me.

I have a solution and I got to use it tonight.

And the feelings?

Well.

They too shall pass.

Especially after I get a good night sleep.

Sleep is such a cure-all.

And.

One more cup of tea before I retire.

I’ll worry about tomorrow.

Well.

Tomorrow.

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Submit A Story!

April 29, 2015

So I did.

And then I forgot that I had.

Then I got a nice little note saying, hey, we got your story and we’re interested, but so many projects!

But we like it.

We’ll keep in touch.

And what do you know.

He kept in touch.

I received the following missive this morning after I hopped off my bike and stretched out my legs before starting my very busy shift today at work (swimming lessons, t-ball practice, potty training, cooking–wild Alaskan Salmon anyone?) and let out a little whoop when I read it.

Hi Carmen. Your post is scheduled to go up a week from today on Tales From The Playa. Thanks again for writing.

)'(

Jon Mitchell | @ablaze

managing editor, Burning Man

So cool.

I’m going to be published on the Burning Man blog!

I’m excited.

I had sent the story in last June.

I was thinking about that and wondered, what the hell was I doing last June that out of nowhere I decided to send the Burning Man blog a story.

Oh.

Yeah.

Damn.

I had just had my severe ankle sprain.

The one that way laid me for weeks and still, yes still, hurts on the occasion.

Small aside.

I feel like I am rehabbing my entire body.

My knees hurt, my ankle hurts, my shoulder hurts, all injuries sustained while working or getting to and from work.

Even the spraining my ankle was in conjunction with work–I was anxious about having enough time to commute to work in the morning and I had a double scheduled that day and wanted to take my scooter in rather than ride my bicycle.

I decided to gas it up, feeling like since I was tight on time, might as well do it now before I need to worry about it in the morning and I got frustrated kick starting it, it was cold and didn’t want to start, and I went too fast (story of my life) and bam!

Sprained my ankle so severely that ten almost eleven months later, it’s still not completely healed.

I’ve been doing stretches, ankle strengthening exercises, hip strengthening exercises (damn they hurt), and rolling out my back and shoulder every night on the yoga roller when I get home from work.

My creaky old body needs a hot tub soak.

End aside.

I was laid up.

I was trying to keep busy.

I got a Jack Rabbit Speaks e-mail–the official newsletter of the Burning Man Organization–and I must have read one of the Tales from the Playa and I got a wild hair up my ass and decided to submit.

I think my exact thought was something like, I can write better than that!

And maybe I will.

And I put my money where my mouth was and submitted.

And then didn’t hear back until after the event sometime, mid-September of last year.

I had completely forgotten I had submitted.

Jon had sent me a very sweet message about how the story mattered to him and he wanted me to know that it was still in his bailiwick and forgive the tardiness in regards to it.

Sure thing!

Thanks for keeping me posted.

Then I forgot about it again.

I am sure the process of getting pieces in is far more arduous than I can imagine.

I am sure everyone has a great Burning Man story they just have to tell and then they decide to and well, maybe the story is great!

But.

Maybe, the writing, not so much.

I cannot imagine how many bad blog pieces the staff on the editorial team has to read.

I suspect it’s the same with every one who has anything to do with publishing.

There are few of them and many, many, many of us, with our stories and words and art and ideas, and hey, what about me?

Don’t you want to know about my story?

This one time at Burning Man.

I coasted a good bit of the day on the steam from the e-mail message.

It was really nice to think about.

I’m going to be published on a blog independent of mine.

I have a few other times and now I get to have another piece out there.

Then just as I got close to the end of my day at work, I did what I had been telling myself all day long not to do.

I started to read the submission.

“Oh shit!”

I thought.

This is ass.

Do I really swear that much?

Fuck.

Maybe I do.

Oh God.

I wrote what?

No.

That’s horrible.

ARGH.

Insert ego here.

Then smash it all to smithereens.

I put it out there and I let go of the results and when I actually got the results I wanted, to have a story on the website, I might have changed my tune.

Like.

Let me fine tune the sucker some more.

I had the same reaction when I got my first short story published in the Paris Journal of Spoken Word–The Bastille.

I was really happy about my submission.

Happier still when I found out they wanted it and they were going to publish it.

Not so happy when I finally read it in print.

Oh God.

I wrote that?

It sucks.

It is not good.

It could be so much better.

I am my own worst critic.

And yes, I stopped reading my story.

I just said, no.

I have better things to do than mentally masturbate about what I could have changed in the piece before submitting it.

I am not perfect.

Nor are my blogs or my stories or my poems or the books that I have written but not published.

Not a one of them holds up to my inner, fiercest, critic.

They all suck.

But.

I keep writing anyway.

I have to.

That’s just the way it goes.

“I’ve been an artist for the last 41 years,” he said to me last night as the cake was being passed around, small slivers of chocolate cake from Sweet Inspirations, I could smell how rich it was and had been a tiny bit nauseated when the cake was unveiled for the anniversary celebration.

He patted me arm.

“Good for you for doing what you’re doing with graduate school, you’re going to be a great therapist, but don’t forget your art, and don’t give up on it, it’ll happen when it’s suppose to happen.”

He smiled, gave me a hug, and walked out the door.

Who the hell was that?

I had never met him before and it was like God just sent a little angel to give me a hug.

Thanks man.

And then the e-mail today.

It was nice.

Affirming.

Lovely really.

And my defect of character–perfection–can just take a time out tonight.

The story is not the best, but it’s sweet and endearing, and true and I am grateful I get to share it.

Grateful it will be published.

Flaws and all.

Imperfectly.

Perfect.

Just like me.

I Still Read Your Blogs

April 28, 2015

Good to know.

Good to see you again, friend.

Really fucking good.

Although the time catching up over tea fucked my commute, it was well worth it.

When the fog comes in, it comes in with a vengeance.

By the time I was on the Wiggle it was already crazy, I got pushed so hard by the wind and the fog that I felt as though I was about to topple off my bike.

When I got to the Pan Handle it was like riding through soup.

I actually got splattered, big heavy wet drops of fog gathering on the leaves and falling on your head like fat ass raindrops.

It was worth it though.

My heart, oh, you messy thing you, was so happy to catch up.

Cautious.

Curious.

A touch afraid.

I mean we had not parted ways on the best of terms, nor had we acknowledged each other the last few times we had bumped into each other.

That’s the thing about this town.

It’s rather small.

And eventually you’re going to run into folks.

Whether you want to or not.

Or they want to or not.

It happens.

And it typically happens when it’s supposed to.

I can see that very clear.

Crystal like.

So, to run into my friend and acknowledge him and then get the nod on a hug.

Priceless.

Worth the glare downs and the stare downs and the weird and then even, a cup of tea.

A reunion of sorts.

Or, perhaps, a refreshing, a rebooting of the friendship and who knows what’s going to happen or where things are going to go.

I can only see so far ahead, the fog blocks my view, but it felt good to re-connect and get right with each other.

Life is too short to not have your good friends beside you.

I don’t have a lot of close friends.

Despite what Facebook may suggest.

“You are as much of a Facebook junkie as I am,” my ex-boyfriend said early on in the relationship.

Not really.

I thought to myself, sure, I have a lot of “friends” but that doesn’t mean they know me all that well.

Although I still get a kick out of having some one message me and let me know that they read a blog or two and how much they got out of it.

It’s a really nice by-product of doing the work, my insights helping another person.

Sometimes it’s family.

My sister, a cousin, or an aunt.

Most times it’s an acquaintance from around the block, a friend of a friend, if you know what I mean.

Occasionally I will have some one reach out and talk to me and relate their experience, especially when I was going through the initial break up with my ex, or when I was in Anchorage with my dad, or when I moved to Paris, or when I moved back, and I will get support, love, insight.

And that is lovely.

And delicious.

But most of the time.

I don’t know who reads my blogs, unless you’ve subscribed, then I have a list of folks who are following, although they may not necessarily read my blog, they get it sent directly to their inbox on the e-mail account they request.

I currently have 266 followers.

And as it read in my OkStupid profile, before I deleted it, there are people who read my blog who aren’t my friends.

There are people who follow it whom I have never met, yet they too, will once in a while reach out and it’s like getting a kind tap on the shoulder, a psst, hey, thanks for writing that, it helped.

And I feel grateful.

But I write with no one in mind.

I write with not particular audience.

Well.

Maybe God.

God’s always a good audience for me.

“Santa brought me my basketball hoop, what do you want from Santa?” My little charge said as I changed him out of his nap diaper (so close to being potty trained, not quite there, still has to wear a diaper at naps and at bedtime, but almost) to his big boy pants.

“A boyfriend,”  I said, smiling.

“Hey Santa, I mean God, I mean Santa,” I laughed out loud, but continued, “please bring me a boyfriend!”

“But don’t wait until Christmas ok?”

“Santa and God are sort of the same thing,” I told my charge, “they both have white beards and know your hearts desire.”

I continued with my theological discourse as I gathered him up in my arms to head down stairs and off to the park where it was glorious and warm and sunny (which is why the fog was so fierce tonight, the heat from today draws it into the city from the coast), “although I don’t really have a conception of God having a long white beard, God is just love, that’s how I see it.”

“I love you Carmen,” my charge said.

I teared up.

“I love you too, bug,” I said and kissed the top of his head.

“Meow loves you too,” he continued and then bestowed tiny kitten kisses from his stuffed cat on my face as I carried him downstairs.

Tell me I don’t have the best job in the world.

“I can’t decide,” she said to me one day as she watched me from the door of the nursery at the old Burning Man offices on 3rd and 16th (where the new UCSF Mission Bay Hospital is), “if you have the best job in the office or the worst.”

It can go either way.

And I have had my bad days.

But most of the time.

My job, and not just the one that I do to pay the bills, but my primary purpose, it is so fulfilling, that whatever the passing pain that may come from a growth spurt around a person, place, or thing, is well offset by the love I receive back when I am willing and accepting to receive it.

I got some of that tonight.

And though it was not the same sort of hug I received from my charge.

It was one of love and God and all the good stuff.

All the things.

My friend.

I wish for you all the things.

Always.

Clown Explosion

April 27, 2015

I jest.

Sort of.

This is what happens, I tell myself, this is always what happens and when you get used to it, it’s fabulous, but for the first day or so, you are uncomfortable.

I feel like a small car full of pink clowns exploded on my head.

I could only keep the hair straight for so long.

Once I hopped in the shower, I knew it was over and I prepared myself.

It’s actually really awesome.

In an over the top, oh my God, that’s pink, kind of way.

I’ve been messing with it for too long and finally just pulled it up in a big clip and now I have the bun of madness on my head.

I sort of want to stick a small rabbit in the mass of curls, just for fun.

I tried barrettes.

Too babyish.

I tired leaving it down.

Too much.

I am sure pig tails will do the trick, they usually do.

And give it a week and I won’t bat an eye and I’ll be yearning after the Manic Panic in the bathroom, sweet Cleo Rose, color me pink again please.

Because that’s how my brain works.

Always on to the next thing.

The next hair geographic.

I did feel stylish and sophisticated and pretty and polished for 24 hours.

That’s not bad.

And should I ever get it together to learn how to straighten out my hair on my own, I’m sure I could achieve that status again.

I even looked at curlers today when I popped into the SafeWay to grab some groceries.

I’ve spent enough on my hair, however, and I don’t feel like tossing anymore that way.  I have other things to spend my money on.

Graduate school tuition.

Student loans.

Groceries.

I don’t have graduate school tuition to worry about yet, but it is there, looming on the horizon.

I do know, however, that I have been given the green light on this so far and I don’t believe at all that I’m going to be dropped.

The money will be there, the tuition will get paid and if I’m paying off student loans for a while, so be it.  And stuff happens, miracles and magic and pink hair or no pink hair, curl explosion of glory, I’m always taken care of.

And in the mean time, I get to focus on the small tasks ahead of me.

Work.

Writing.

Blogging.

Living.

Reading.

I butted through about 190 pages of a book one of my cousins sent me a few months back.  He’s got quite the collection and he shipped me off a few of his favorites.

Although not what I would have chosen, story of my life, the books have been good and easy reading and I found myself lost in a book for a good long while today while I got used to the pink mania of my hair.

It is riotous.

It did inspire me to watch “Oh The Places You’ll Go at Burning Man” on YouTube, about well, duh, Dr. Seuss’s last book interpreted through the eyes of Burning Man attendees.

The first time I saw it, a co-worker of mine at Mission Bicycle Company showed it to me.

“Have you seen this?!” He asked me all excitedly.

I had not and it brought tears to my eyes.

“Damn it man,” I said, as I wiped my eyes, “we’re not even open yet and I’m smudging my eye makeup.”

“Gives you that smoky, sexy, just rolled out of bed look,” my friend assured me.

I don’t know about that.

I always just think it gives me the I’ve been crying look.

But.

I’m ok with that.

A few tears will not make or break me and it’s good to let them out, tears of happy or sad or joy or love.

The swell of salt in my body wishing to return back to the sea from whence they crawled.

The sea was beautiful today, but I did not take a walk down by the ocean.

It was too breezy.

And when it’s that breezy up around my neighborhood it means, it’s really blowing down by the beach and nothing says fun like getting sand stuck in your pink glitter lip gloss.

I suspect I’ll be wearing a lot of pink and black the next few weeks until the color dies down a little.

Today I shook it up and wore coral.

Oooh.

I also did ride my bike along the Great Highway and it was indeed windy.

In fact, the highway got closed down at the end of Lincoln and the gates were swung shut on the highway.

No through traffic was happening.

Which made a nice quick commute for me on my bicycle.

“I see you all the time on your bike, don’t stop riding ever,” the guy at the garage sale said to me today as I pursued the goods.

It was a good yard sale.

The group that rented was moving, back to Florida of all places.

I didn’t even ask why.

It’s hard making it in the big city and I am lucky that I am where I am at.

I hear so much about people unable to afford rent, getting squeezed out, or bought out, or any other egregious acts of rental roulette in the city.

Either that or no one is moving, even if they don’t like where they live, there’s not really anything to move to.

I suspect that things will change, they always do, but for this afternoon I was happy to walk around my neighborhood while dinner was simmering on the stove (Italian white beans with tomatoes and basil, sautéed ground turkey, onions, garlic, black olives and celery over brown rice) and relish my life here in San Francisco.

I make about half of what one is supposed to make to live here.

And I do alright.

But I work my ass off and when the fun needs a release valve.

Well.

I tend to go the route of hair geographic.

I’m ok with that too.

Even if it does look Insane Clown Posse has sprung full-blown from my brain.

Like Athena springing from he brain of Zeus.

Except.

Well.

REALLY.

Pink.

Pinky

Pretty in Pink

Color Me Happy

April 26, 2015

I got the best hugs today.

I caught up with some friends that I have not seen in a long time.

And.

I got my hair did.

So good.

Roller

Blow Out

Rollers

Rollers

Pink

Pink

Happy

Happy

Damn

Damn

Color me happy, joyous, and pink.

I was just going to go blonde.

But well, one thing, er, lead to another.

And I’m in the pink.

And I love it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, my dear friends at Solid Gold Salon, Sutter Street at Jones (shameless plug, they are just awesome and amazing, I mean, come on) in the Tender Nob of San Francisco.

Check them out.

I mean they have been doing my hair for a long, long, long time.

Calvin did my cut and his partner Diane did my color.

I could not have been in better hands.

It was not always this way.

“You look like a space hooker!” Calvin hooted in the living room of his apartment in Nob Hill proper.

“Dude.” I said, as I looked in something like horrified awe at what he had done to me.

Note to former self, never let anyone dye your eyebrows.

Ever.

Especially not someone who is still in beauty school.

“You are not allowed to post those photos up,” I said, “and excuse me while I go scrub my face off.”

Calvin was not just in school for hair (Aveda and Vidal Sassoon), he also did the program at Blush School of Makeup down on Market Street.

I too was living in Nob Hill, Taylor at Washington, and I would often make the two block, very uphill walk, to his place and we would shoot the shit, drink too many lattes, and he would cut my hair, color it, razor blade it off, once, oh God, once, he gave me a faux hawk and a tail.

How do you know when you love someone?

You let them give you a tail.

I saw a little boy at the park the other day with a tail and all I could think was, that is so not cool, cut it off.

Off man.

I made him cut that off pretty quick.

I never really gave a damn about the color or the weird cuts, he always figured it out, and it was fun to be his hair model and let him go to town on my head.

“I remember when you were rocking all those crazy colors and cuts, you were doing wild color before any one else,” she said to me last night when I told my friend I was going in to the salon today and I was going to do blonde, pretty blonde highlights, beachy, you know, sexy.

Well.

There was some blonde involved.

And the pink will fade, eventually to blonde.

Which is perfect.

That’s actually what I want.

I also left with a container of Manic Panic Cleo Rose.

When it fades too much.

Or.

When it’s just about time for Burning Man.

I will use the Manic Panic and bring back the pink.

I love the way it fades out though, I may wait a while to douse it with more color.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and they gave me a blow out, using the great big curlers, and I just love the being fussed over.

Perchance we are to date, and you are a man, identifying as heterosexual, not gay, not homeless, and not in a poly possible relationship, you will win me over by 1. Kissing my neck and 2. Washing my hair.

Oh goodness.

It is the best thing to have a person wash your hair.

I could just lie in that wash station all day and let that happen.

It still amazes me that I go to the salon and get my hair done.

Or that I go to the nail salon and get my nails done.

Or that I wear makeup.

All the things.

All the things I never used to do.

It’s like having the adolescence that I never had.

“My dad says I should be careful, you’re high maintenance, he says,” my boyfriend in my twenties told me.

I’m high maintenance?

What?

What the fuck do you know about high maintenance old man?

He was right.

Perhaps why I reacted so strongly to it.

If you spot it, you got it.

I love this part of myself though and I am doing my best to allow myself to embrace it, within reason, I’m not so high maintenance as you might think.

“I’m going to shame you when I tell you when the last time you came in for a cut was,” Calvin said as he looked it up in the computer.

“I know, I know,” I said, cringing.

I knew it had been almost a year.

“Almost a year,” he said, giving me the look.

They say every six weeks.

I say every twelve months.

“I wish you would teach me how you do that cat’s eye,” she said to me, “I just can’t do it.”

It takes me five minutes to do my make up in the morning.

Maybe six if I don’t have a steady hand, but it’s just doing the same thing every day since Calvin taught me how to do my makeup.

I got to be his model a few times for make up and when I went to Blush one of his head instructors also used me to do a demonstration and I learned a lot.

I could learn a lot more.

I don’t know contouring or really how to use blush properly or apply false eyelashes.

But you know.

I’m willing to learn.

I may be high maintenance, but I’m not time-consuming high maintenance.

And I know how happy I feel when I have pretty hair and makeup.

And how sexy I feel.

“Don’t hide your sexy under a barrel,” she told me, “God did not give you all that to waste it hiding in a corner.”

Yes ma’am.

“Where are you going tonight,” Diane asked as she finished the hair and smoothed down the last pieces, coaxing the full soft curl forward in a long sashay of bang framing my face.

“I don’t have plans,” I said.

“You look great! Are you going on a date?” My housemates friend asked as she popped over to check the mail and feed the cat.

Nope.

I do not.

But you know.

Every time Calvin has done my hair.

I do end up getting asked out on a date.

Here I am.

Let’s do it.

My hair looks amaze balls.

And.

I’ll put my make up on quick.

Real quick.

Promise.

Leap Of Faith

April 25, 2015

He leaned forward.

And jumped.

I was two steps below what I would have like to have been to make sure that it was not such a leap, but the boy was ready to not be napping and to get down stairs and be in the world.

His arms wrapped around me.

I caught him.

I always do.

His leaping lizard ways do cause my heart to lurch into my mouth at times, but the sweet and absolute trust in me he has, makes me feel always at the ready to catch him.

“I love you,” he said and buried his face in my shoulder.

“I love you too, bug,” I said and squished him close to my heart.

It never fails to amaze me.

This thing called love.

I felt love of all sorts tonight.

I met with a dear friend after work tonight and we hung out and had tea and talk all things girlfriend and life and the stuff of it.

I went where I always go on a Friday night, that bastion of crazy good and weird and wonky, Our Lady of Safeway.

I texted with a darling friend who just had a baby last week to check in on her and see how I could be of some service.

I’ll be heading over to her side of the bay next Saturday to spend time with her and the new little guy.

I rode home, slowly, in the thick of the night through shrouds of fog and wind and mist that slowly materialized into rain.

I did my stretches and strengthening exercise and though I did not want to do them, I did them anyway.

I have love of self too.

It doesn’t always manifest itself in the most logical of ways and that is why I also have a big community and fellowship that helps me discern when my feelings are having their way with me.

But love.

Well, love can have its way with me.

I may get hurt.

However, I will still have the experience.

I want to experience it all.

I have taken some leaps and leapt into some uncomfortable situations, painful, life affirming, and experiential all.

I don’t see myself sitting on the side lines with anything at the moment.

I am committed.

I sound like I am talking in circles and I am, but I know what I am talking about and as it winds itself out of my head and down into my heart I see where the wound is and how that it might sting, like, a lot.

Or not.

I don’t know.

So I took some action, reached out, and now, well, the results are not mine, the words, with a little help from my friend, thank god for friends, the timing so not mine, but the feelings, succinct and sure, are all mine.

I look forward to what ever happens next knowing that I have asked for what I need given the information I have been given.

And then life, well, it continues forward.

Through the rain and the gentle mist and the days and the nights, through the music and the poetry.

To the hair salon!

Yes.

Tomorrow I go in for a much-needed hair cut and color.

“I’m thinking of _____________,” I told a friend tonight as we were comparing schedules in regards to going out to Berkeley next Saturday.  “I don’t know that I want to do color, everybody is doing color now (meaning blue and green and purple and what have you), I was doing color before color was a thing, I think I’m going in a different direction.”

I will take photos.

Don’t worry.

It will be fun to have a ladies day at the salon too.

I’m going to do the deal and then meet with my person at Tart to Tart and do some reading and checking in and then some lunch and the salon.

I’ll be heading up to Solid Gold in the venerable Tender Nob.

That nice narrow strip of town nestled between the bourgeois in Nob Hill and the hoi poi in the Tenderloin.

It’s not quite the same as the tech smash-up of gentrification and the homeless drug addicts strolling around Mission Street, but it is a clash of worlds and I am grateful that I get to navigate it the way I do now instead of the way I used to.

I have come a long way, baby.

There’s a coffee shop that I used to score at just around the corner from where I get my hair done and it’s always a fond trip down memory lane for me to go past it and occasionally even go in for a fix before getting my hair done.

Caffeine, that is.

That’s a leap of faith too.

All the things I have done that I can forget about.

All the ways that love as aligned to get me where I am now and where I will go next.

As I sit and look around my home and everything that has happened here in the last year and a half and how much I have done and seen and grown since moving back from Paris with $10 in my pocket, I am truly amazed.

Awed really.

Look ma!

No hands.

I’m doing this life thing.

It’s not just fantasy in my head.

And I have been in some fantasy in my head over the last week.

I took some action and, well, I get to let go of those results too.

Surrender is an act of faith too.

“Shh, sweet darling,” I said as I gathered him up from the stroller, “Meow is right here.”

He hung his head down onto my chest, clutching his stuffed cat to his body and clung to me as we climbed the stairs into the house heading straight up into his room, where I tucked him in and turned on the sound machine and a little fan.

I brushed the hair of his face, tucked him in, and bent down to kiss his forehead.

“I love you,” I said and my heart grew a little more full.

“I love you too, Carmen Cat,” he said, finishing with a sleepy, “meow,” has he turned over onto his pillow and burrowed under the covers.

I almost fell over and tumbled down the stairs myself.

Love.

It will catch you unaware and bash into your heart.

And I find.

There is not protecting myself from it.

I am open to it all.

To know that.

Is to know.

Grace.

And.

I am graced.

It’s Just Wind In My Eye

April 24, 2015

I swear.

Those aren’t tears.

It was a close call, however, to know if the prickles of tears streaming down my face was actually caused by the wind, it was a brisk ride home, or by the fullness and sense of joy I had at riding home through the park at twilight.

The striations of color were like Easter eggs gone mad and I found myself almost stopping more than once to capture the sunset on my phone camera a few times as I rolled briskly along.

I did not, however, dinner was calling.

Loudly.

Normally I eat at work, but there were adventures and play dates and bicycle rides and stuff and things and I actually left the family, mom, dad, and both the boys at the slides in Dolores Park to scoot to my next commitment at 6:30p.m.

Dinner was not an option for me at the work site tonight.

I was alright with that, I pushed my lunch as late as I could and had a late coffee, which really isn’t always the best thing for me, but then again, I did have a play date rumpus with three little monkeys, so it felt like I was actually in need of the caffeine not for appetite suppressing, but to just get through the play date.

I made it though, and tomorrow, oh lovely of lovelies, is Friday.

I’m ready.

It has been a full week.

Then again, when aren’t they full?

I’m also excited to squeak in a tea with a good friend that despite being in the neighborhood of where I work, I don’t get to see all that much.

I’ve got a date with her tomorrow after work to catch up and have a spot of tea and I’m super excited.

There’s news.

There’s always news.

But sometimes you just got to tell a girl friend the stuff and I’m excited to get to do so without the boys I take care of in tow.

I love them I do.

“We are never letting her go!” The mom said today from the sandbox to her friend who is looking for help having just had a second baby a month ago.

I smiled.

That’s always something so nice to hear.

Job security.

I like having it.

I like that I have a place to park my bicycle indoor and hang it up on a rack.

I like that I got to work fifteen minutes early today too and did my stretching before starting the day.

I am sore.

I mean.

SORE.

The stretching I do before work is about a third of the exercises and stretches that the physical therapist wants me to be doing, but I’m not getting down on the ground in front of the house to do the clam shell stretch.

It’s a semi private street in the Mission that the house is located on, but it is still the Mission.

God only knows what is on the sidewalks.

Gentrification still smells like homeless guy pee.

It just looks a little tidier in the neighborhood.

Sidebar.

The Elbow Room lost its lease.

It’s closing in November, hopefully the establishment will find another place, but I shall be sad to see it leave.

I don’t drink there any longer–although I certainly did for a period of time and there are more than one set of smashed photos from the instant photo booth in the bar, but it was one of the first establishments that I hung out in, even before I moved to San Francisco.

I will never forget how hard I danced the first visit I made there and also how I found the neighborhood a little on the sketchy side and I was very happy to be with a tall guy friend on the way to the bar for the show.

It was upstairs and it was Vivendo de Pao–this amazing Afro-Brasillian fusion band.

I danced so hard.

That show alone could be why my knees hurt, and that was over twelve years ago.

They were amazing and I thought I was in love and who cares if he has a girl friend.

He’s the one.

He’s  so not the one.

He’s married somewhere in the South Bay with a couple of kids.

I haven’t seen him in over 10 years.

I fell in love with the venue though.

And have even gotten, in sobriety, to perform there with Sunshine Jones from Dubtribe, who did a song with me from a poem I wrote when I was in my first year of living in San Francisco, called While You Were Sleeping.

I performed that and another and it was a kind of full circle.

That was the last time I was at the Elbow Room.

It’s a great place to dance, though, and I will make a point of getting to the venue at least a few times before it leaves to be replaced by another condo.

Yeah.

That’s basically what is going in its place.

The owners of the building are not going to renew the lease for The Elbow Room and they just announced to the bar owners today that they would not be signing anew.

Ah, good old gentrification, you just keep happening.

“Don’t tell anyone you like living in the Mission,” my friend told me when I had settled into my first sublet on York and 20th.

“It’s already getting a little too gentrified.”

And that was in 2002.

It’s not over yet.

End aside.

I don’t know that I should end that aside, it got pretty long, and in its own way winds into my blog about San Francisco and beauty and how I am grateful, so very grateful, deeply, truly, madly, wildly grateful, to get to live here still.

I don’t intend on moving anywhere else.

I want all the things and I want them here, in SF.

It’s my home and it can slay me with its beauty without warning.

I wound through the park as the light shifted and the colors in the sunset became more glorious and deep, smote my heart, the velvet and dusk and soft light, filtered through the pines and the tops of the trees, the silhouette of a tall Eucalyptus winnowed with orange and umber and red and then violet and indigo, the crescent moon drifting over it all.

My heart swelled and the scene at Spreckels Lake was astounding, the mirror of the sunset on the flat surface was too glorious for words.

I smiled.

I rode around the corner and past the buffalo in the paddock and the green of the hills and the soft scent of the sea the wood fire burning in a fireplace, I swear, it was just the wind in my eyes.

I do cry for joy sometimes.

I might have tonight.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

In my life.

In my body.

In my home.

In my San Francisco.

Bless It

April 23, 2015

Or block it.

I heard this tonight and had to reflect that it was indeed true for me.

So much simplicity, so easy, it’s just rolling down the hill, being in God’s will.

It’s a nice thing.

Of course, rejection hurts.

But as another smart woman told me, “rejection is God’s protection.”

Either it will be blessed or it will be blocked.

I can try to maneuver around it, but there it is, being blocked.

Like my scooter.

I think it’s time to let her go.

I don’t seem to have the band width to deal with it.

Poor girl is just gathering dust in the front entry way of my housemates house, I’m sure she’s tired of seeing it there and for me, it’s become this odd symbol of something that I thought would work for me, but has not, not at all.

Ten and a half months since I sprained my ankle trying to start it and I haven’t fully healed.

I haven’t been on many rides since owning it, although I am super grateful I got to learn how to ride it, I keep thinking, man, a car would be nice.

I wouldn’t have to worry about kick starting it, that’s for sure.

I’m not dying for transportation, my bicycle gets me around just fine.

Although the body breakdown is quite in evidence as I did my physical therapy exercise tonight when I got home from work.

I rolled out a yoga mat and the foam back roller and got down on the floor and grunted and groaned and did hip lifts and IT band stretches and some core work, and hip stretches and turned on the music and just took the time to do the deal.

I have to do this every day?

I thought.

Shit.

This sucks.

Then I  thought, it’s just for today.

I just have to do it today.

Don’t worry about tomorrow or the day after that or the weekend or next month or I will go nuts.

It’s like most things in my life, I can think that it’s going to be unbearable, but if I break it down into small manageable chunks, then things get done and I am almost always surprised at how much does indeed get done.

And how serendipitous the Universe can be.

“It sounds like you should do restorative yoga,” my dear friend suggested to me this afternoon as I checked in with her and told  her what was happening with the physical therapy.

“Have you tried Yoga Punx?”

“I have not,” I replied.

I have not tried a lot of yoga even though it does continually get suggested to me.

Then I was riding my bike home and what the hell?

Where did the organic mattress store go?

I was crossing the intersection at 46th and Irving and saw a man putting up a sign in the emptied out store.

“BEACH YOGA”

Well.

Fuck me.

A half block from the house?

Really.

I mean, it couldn’t get much closer unless someone decides to throw a yoga studio in my back yard.

“You could find room in your schedule, one night a week, I bet you could,” my friend said encouragingly, “I think it would really help you.”

She should know, she’s a nurse.

I have to agree with her.

That would be a blessing.

And.

Here’s something funny.

I was able to get registered for classes last night after a day of struggling to figure out why I could not register–turns out there was a glitch in the system and I was not the only student affected, and one of the classes that I have to register for as part of my curriculum, you guessed it.

Yoga and meditation.

It would appear that I am being told something here.

My weekend schedule has changed and this may be just the thing for me.

Another thing I can do in my neighborhood and stay put.

Again, pointing out to me that I don’t currently need another form of transportation, the bicycle is great and letting go of the scooter and the thinking around it may be just what the doctor ordered.

That and some yoga.

I mean I will be taking a class in it for heaven’s sake, might as well pick up some practice before I even head off to the class.

When I think of other things in my life, as I look at a framed photograph of the event from the heavens, that are blessed, I have to smile.

Burning Man.

Heading into my 9th time out to playa and it just seems to be getting better and better.

I know the event has changed a lot, but I don’t think change is a bad thing and when I think about all the art, the yummy, scrumptous, beautiful art, I get excited.

When I think about what my favorite color is, indigo violet, and how it happens to be that mix of sunset at Burning Man that informs that choice, I get happy.

Circumstances have always conspired to get me there and back and as I prepare to go again I get happy, really happy that I get to be a part of the community, one very small part, but one very happy part.

And my happiness, I believe, anyway is infectious.

“You make me happy,” one of the boys told me today.

“You make me happy too,” I told him and gave him a big hug.

And earlier in the day before he had come home from pre-school and his brother was down for a nap, after the laundry had been folded and dinner prepped for the evening, the dishwasher going, the house tidy, I sat and ate my lunch in a big overstuffed chair and watched the light fall rich and golden through the garden into the kitchen and I thought.

“I love my job.”

And I do.

That would be another aspect of my life that is blessed–being a nanny.

Who knew that I would be doing this professionally for this long.

I certainly had not planned on it, but there it is and it’s been a wonderful career.

And the perfect stepping stone to the next part of my life.

So much seems blessed today.

I don’t have any time to even reflect on those things that have been blocked.

I understand why they didn’t work or can’t work or why they are not for me.

I don’t have to dwell on the blocked.

I get to live in the blessed.

And blessed I am indeed.

Perfection Is Not An Option

April 22, 2015

Well damn it.

Now you tell me.

I wanted to throw in the towel a few times today, and it had a lot to do with wanting perfection.

The great thing?

I wasn’t even aware that I was seeking perfection, that is how ingrained in my being seeing said state is.

I never was nor will I ever be perfect.

I can end up waiting for the day to come and before you know it I will be dead.

But at least I will know why my knees hurt so damn much.

I have Patello-femoral Syndrome.

Yippee!

Gah.

Irritation of the knee cap (my poor Patellas–both the suckers have it, although my left is slightly more out of whack then my right) and the surrounding tissue due to increased compression.  There can be pain around or under the kneecap and sometimes in back of the knee.

Check.

Check.

And check.

Painful activities may include:

Running.

Ayup. Hurts like a bitch to run.

Walking when it is flared up.

Yup again, which is why I finally made the appointment to see my primary doctor, despite visions of knee surgery dancing fearfully though my head.  When the walking got too painful I knew the gig was up.  I am a professional nanny, it’s bad enough when my shoulder flares up from pushing the stroller, not walking is out of the question.

Please.

What else hurts?

Going up and down flights of stairs.

Oh yeah.

Horribly so.

I don’t talk about it, but it sucks, and ironically, which the physical therapist that I worked with today told me, it’s actually worse going down stairs.  And yes, the family I work for has a two story house and steps leading up to the front door as well.  I go up and down those steps more often than I can count.

I did a stair test and she showed me where my knees are pulled out of alignment.

Driving hurts, after a while, but yes it does, and the best, since I live in San Francisco, walking  up or down hills.

Bahahahahaha.

Oh good grief.

What contributes to PFS?

Tight hip or knee muscles; weak hip or knee muscles; flat feet (oh man, have you seen my feet?  Flat as pancakes, thanks dad. Plus my arches fell in my early twenties from all the food service work I was doing waiting tables, catering, bartending, hostessing, cocktail waitressing, expediting food (my best friend and I met at the Essen Haus and amongst many of my “fond” memories of the establishment was her strapping an ice pack to my knee to get me through the night’s shift, with, yes duct tape); and lastly, repetitive or excessive amounts of activity.

Can anyone say bicycling in San Francisco (and Paris and Oakland) for the last 9 years, 5-6 time a week, an average of 12-15 miles per day.

And that’s not including the year I trained and rode the AidsLifeCycle Ride from San Francisco to LA.

I started the training for that November of 2009 and trained every weekend up until the week before the ride in June 2010.

So.

Um.

Yeah.

A LOT of repetitive activity.

And it’s not what you would think, or I would think, it’s not the movement of the knees that the problem.

It’s the sitting in the saddle, the excessive sitting is tightening my hips which have pulled my knees completely out of alignment.

It turns out that not only are my hips extremely tight, they are also excessively weak.

Great.

They’re wide too.

My sister used to joke that our family hips were meant to birth a 10 lb baby without breaking a sweat.

When the physical therapist asked to test my knee strength I was afraid what the pain was going to be like, and was a bit surprised that there wasn’t really pain.

My knees are strong–thank you bicycling.

But my hips, oh, man.

As soon as she started manipulating my hips, my knees started to hurt.

I was shocked.

But I could feel the IT Band (Iliotibial band, which is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh, the top part is attached to the glutes and the bottom to  the shin bone just below, yes, you guessed it, the knee) pulling my tight as she moved my hips and tested them for flexibility and strength.

“Your hips are so tight, your knees are going to hurt just from this,” she adjusted me on my back and then showed me a stretch and then had me roll over on my other side.

“Both hips are extraordinarily tight and weak, resist the pressure as I push down,” she said.

It was like a soft pat but I couldn’t hold my leg up as soon as she pushed down on a hip.

I was again shocked.

And also relieved.

There is something that I can do about it, I don’t have to have surgery and I don’t have to stop riding my bicycle.

“You may at some point down the line have to have surgery, but certainly not at this time, there’s a lot of strengthening and stretching to do before that even becomes an issue,” she reassured me as I relayed my mom’s double hip and double knee replacement surgeries.

I also spoke with my mom recently and found out that there is high cholesterol on her side of the family, both she and my grandmother and probably others in the family.

Great.

Well, at least I know it’s not from my diet, which is really quite impeccable, if I do say so myself, though not perfect, since I’m still taking iron supplements like they’re going out-of-town.

I’m wondering what else can fall apart on my body.

Please, hold on a little longer.

I want to have sex again.

I bet that will stretch my hips.

Ha.

The physical therapist gave me sheets of exercises and stretches to be done, not once, not twice, but three times a day, plus icing my knees (where are those frozen peas?) two to three times a day as well.

“When your charges nap, stretch, do the clam shell one especially,” she directed me.

Sure.

Let me just lie down on the floor and do the clam while the mom and dad walk around me on their way to their home office.

I negotiated doing them after work when I got home on my bike, which is not a negotiation, my knees hurt like whiny little bitches by the time the day was done and I knew I had to stretch and strength train.

Good thing no body was around to see me floundering and trying to not cry in frustration doing said clam strengthening exercise–two sets of ten twice a day; the bridge, 2 sets of ten, twice a day; top leg lifts, 2 sets of 10 reps, twice a day; standing squats, two sets of ten twice a day; and then a bunch of hip flexor stretches.

Ugh.

But I did them.

And though I am sore, it’s a good kind of sore and I am grateful to have a solution that is not surgery.

Despite not wanting to do the work, which is always the case, I get to do it anyway.

And if I follow her suggestions,which I am good at doing, following suggestions, I should have no knee pain in a bout a month.

Considering it’s been years now, I’m cool with that.

Stay Calm

April 21, 2015

I repeat.

Stay calm.

I really want to freak out though.

I don’t know what I’m doing.

I sounded like I knew what I was doing when I call the Registrar’s office at CIIS this morning while there was a brief pause in the work day.

“So I just go online, and register and I’m all set?” I said.

“Yes, anything else I can help you with?” The woman, Nikki, I think she said her name was.

“Nope, all good, thanks so much for your help.” I replied and got off the phone.

I don’t have any idea what I am doing, I thought as I got off the phone, further, I’m not even sure what the correct questions are to ask.

I received an e-mail a few days ago about the course schedule being up and I poked around on the website looking at things, but it was sort of gobbledy gook to my eyes and I got off it pretty quick.

I was unsure what I was looking at.

My assumption, ah assuming that wonderful thing that makes and ass out of “u” and “me,” was that because I was accepted into the Weekend Integral Counseling Psychology Masters Program, there would be a big sign saying, you do this now and go here now.

Push this button and you are all set.

I mean, maybe not literally, but I just thought, ok, there’s only one program set up, I’m accepted, I paid my deposit, I just show up for the first day of class and they tell me what to do.

Right?

Um.

Wrong.

I do have to register for classes.

Well, fuck.

What classes do I have to register for?

I’m confused.

How come the department head didn’t send out a message to the weekend program detailing which classes are to be registered for?

That’s not helping, self, when I think I know better how to do something and I have never been to graduate school and it’s been a long time since I have been in school period and when I was there was this thing you did where you looked up your classes in a paper book of schedules and then you were assigned a time to call on the phone.

Like a phone with that’s attached to the wall via a cord.

And then you registered by punching in the number of the class followed by the pound key and it would tell you if the class was full or not.

A lot depended on registering as soon as you could, at the exact time you were scheduled.

You snooze, you definitely lose.

Somebody else was going to get that class.

Occasionally the class I would want would be full and I learned that you kept trying, because somewhere someone on campus was trying to get into another class and might be dropping the one that you wanted and if you got it at the right moment, you might be able to snag that spot.

I remember pumping my fist in glee getting into a Comparative Literature Class that I had been trying to get into my class schedule for over a week, randomly calling at odd times of day or night, or whenever I had a spare moment to sit on the phone.

I swear I had that class number memorized for years.

Then there was the last resort, where you could show up for the class and hope that someone found the professor to be an asshole or a taskmaster or the class wasn’t exactly to their liking and they would drop and you could pick it up.

I remember walking out of a class my junior year thinking, no way I could listen to that professor drone on for an entire semester.  I hadn’t even waited until the end of the class, I got up and left after fifteen minutes and never once regretted that.

I believe the system hasn’t changed that much, it appears to be of the same general idea.

Except that I have to register online at 11:35 a.m.

Which is when I’m at work.

I also don’t want to have to do it on my phone.

Even though I have internet access on my phone it seems like it would be far easier to bring my laptop into work with me.

I’m sure the mom and dad won’t have an issue with me taking a few minutes to register.

I went online and logged into my student page and I figured out what I’m suppose to register for, the classes for the fall, 13 credits, my god.

I’m really doing this.

Aside.

I’m fucking going to graduate school.

Holy shit.

This is real.

I’m registering for the fall semester tomorrow at 11:35 a.m.

That just blows my mind.

That I’m going to be a child therapist blows my mind too.

“Breathe,” I told him as he threw an epic temper tantrum in front of the market at 21st and Valencia.

I’m already practicing, have been for some time, it would seem.

I took in a big deep breath and moved him a little further down the street, he was still apoplectic; however, it was going to fade and I knew if I could just get him to the store front of Casa Bonompak on Valencia Street, all would be well.

They have a huge display of pinatas in the window.

It was like a switch had been thrown.

The next thing you know the hurricane of tears and wails and no’s and screams were gone and we were talking about paper mache.

Incredible.

I suspect I was telling myself just as much to breathe as I was my little charge.

I suspect I will tell myself much the same when I get to work tomorrow and talk to the mom and dad and ask for a few minutes out of my schedule to register.

I’m nervous that I will fuck it up.

The truth, however, is, that even if I do make a mistake, it can be corrected.

And I will have another experience under my belt.

I will have registered for my first semester of graduate school.

That, I suspect, will feel pretty damn good.

It already does.


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