Archive for the ‘Moving’ Category

My Face Hurts

February 3, 2017

From smiling so much.

I got the job!

I can’t believe that I am this freaking excited to get a job that is not a paying gig.

I mean.


I’m over the fucking moon.

It’s not official, yet, but I got it.

My interviewer made it clear that I got it, he’s going to push through all the paperwork and have the offer for me by end of day on Monday.

I asked that it happen before the applications to CIIS for their practicum sites was due.

February 10th.

If I apply to the sites that the school runs and get into one of them it doesn’t matter if I got into another site, I have to go with theirs, their rules, their program, their hours.

Which are not a great match for me and my needs.

My needs, which include, keeping my full-time nanny job so that I can stay in San Francisco and go to school.

The interview went so well, it sort of astounds me.

We talked a lot, we had so much to say, I was a little nervous, but it all fell away and the words, I have no idea where they came from, they just fell out and I could see how excited my interviewer was and he pretty much said, this is it, you are perfect for us and I want you on board.

He and I went over the process, and the details and then we just talked and I felt inspired and I told him about wanting to proceed forward with a PhD through the East/West Psychology program and it turns out, he did the same thing!

He was so warm and inviting and I like the space and I like what the institution is doing and it’s a nonprofit, which it has to be for me to do my practicum hours.


Oh yes.

I can intern there too after I graduate, in fact he spoke to me about longevity and staying with them while I did do work on my PhD and that if I so chose I might be able to segue straight through with them the entire way of my degree, PhD, that is, I’ll finish my Master’s while I’m there.

I’m going to have my own office!

I’m going to get keys and the key code.


I’ll be seeing clients and accruing hours by this summer.

I can start this summer!

I don’t have to wait until fall.

Which is really huge.

It will give me more time to collect hours before I graduate.

The program requires that I do 235 hours to graduate.


I can garner up to 1300 of the 3,000 hours while I’m in the program.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to do all that and do my recovery and do my full-time nanny job, but every hour I can get is going to help.

Being able to start in the summer is a huge game changer for me.



I talked to him about doing my Community Mental Health project on the Institute.

He said absolutely, and so, two birds one stone.

Although that paper is less a concern for me than getting the placement, it’s like a nice little cherry on the top of my practicum Sunday.

I will be able to do my trainings and supervision while I work and I will be able to get what I need to graduate and also establish a client base and a practice for myself.

He talked to me about staying in the non-profit track for a while, that it was on the table, that if I worked in a non-profit for ten years I would get student loan forgiveness.

Ten years may seem like a long time.

But it’s not.

Especially if it cancels out my student loans.

Most especially if I go for my PhD.

Which I am.

That’s a lot of money forgiven.


I get ahead of myself.

I am just super happy and excited and relieved that I don’t have to go anywhere else, don’t have to do another open house, don’t have to do another interview, don’t have to fill out any more applications, or write another cover letter.

Or buy more interview clothes.



I have to say.

I love, love, love my new “interview shoes.”

I will be wearing them a lot.

Maybe, um, ha, absolutely, to my new job.

I’m going to have my own office!

I know I already said that, but, my own office.

God damn that sounds so nice.


While I’m on the topic of my new office, I should mention, it will be in the Mission.


Very happy about that too.

Now if I could just find a place to live in the Mission.

I’m serious.

The commute to and from work and school is enough that I would love to cut it down.

I’m going to be working 15-20 hours at the practicum site.

I’ll be working 35-40 hours at my nanny gig.

If I can find a place that is more central I’m going to jump on it.

So here’s it out to the Universe.

I’d really like to be back in the Mission.

Or Bernal/Noe/Castro.


SOMA could work too.

My nanny job is Glen Park.

School is Mission and 10th.

My practicum will be at 18th and Treat.

Somewhere in the middle of that.

A new home?

Yes, yes please.

Gently lifting that one up and I have no expectations and I love my home, I do, it’s so sweet and so cozy and pretty and I love the neighborhood and all the folks I have gotten to know in the last three years, but man, I could stand a shorter commute.

I’m a Mission girl at heart and though things have changed, and they probably will keep changing, I’ll probably always be a Mission girl.

It was the first place I lived in the city.

It is where I got into recovery.

It is where my heart is.



And so much happiness right now.

Just pure.

Unadulterated joy.

Funny that.

How service to community opens one up.

Happy, really happy to get to do my part.

And thank you to all my friends and family who sent me love and light today as I took another big step down this path.

I love you very much.





I do.





November 2, 2016

With the idea of moving.

You thought I was going somewhere else, didn’t you?


It’s come up a little recently.

First time was about two weeks ago when I met with my person up at Firewood Cafe in the Castro for dinner and some get right with God.

I had mentioned having a little anxiety about the commute to my new job that starts in January.

If I have to do MUNI it’s going to be screwy long.

It’s doable, two trains, but it feels so across town, and not across town in a direct line sort of way, that I do have some concern about it.

On my scooter I’m always faster than public transit, hands down, but still it’s further away than where I work now and I postulated what it would look like to move back to the Mission.

Or Noe Valley.

Or Bernal.

Or Glen Park.

I’d love a shorter commute.

And I would consider living with room mates for cheaper rent.

I would.

I mean.

I definitely would.

I’ve also thought that I man need more sunshine in my space.

Not having any windows in the in-law has always been a bit of a bummer for me, and yes, granted, I do always say the back door is a big glass door, so I get light, just well, I’d like more.

More light.

Less rent.

Closer to work and school.

That’s the hope.

I do like living alone and I do like my space and I do like my landlord and I do like living by the beach.

The fog this summer though was rough and yeah, it would be nice to be back in the thick of the city.


Like I said.

It’s a flirtation.

I have a month to month here and I have few things, really, my space is small and the only furnishing that is really mine is the bed.

The rest of my stuff belongs to my landlord.

I could pack it all up and move pretty quick.

I could probably do it in a day if I was organized.

And I’m pretty organized.

I’m not pursuing anything.

It’s, like I’ve said, a flirtation, but I am a flirt, so I’m putting it out there that I could move for the right situation.

And it’d have to be the right situation, as I’m not interested in working for it.

I’m not putting up an ad on Craigslist, I’m not giving notice to my landlord, I’m not actively looking.

It’s just out in the Universe, hey maybe it’s time to relocate some where more convenient to my new job and my school program.

Especially if I get my practicum internship where I am hoping to get it.

The location I’m vying for is actually only two blocks away from the new job.

It could be oh so handy to live closer.

It really could.


Speculation, flirtation, random thoughts and ideas.

No particular plan of action, no particular need to move.

Just the desire to find something that works better for me.

Sort of like when my current job stopped working for me.

Speaking of.

I got my last check today from my boss for health insurance.


It’s coming.

Seven more weeks.

Then I’m out.

The boys were quite sweet today and I could tell they missed me and they also weren’t as angry with me as they were the last couple of weeks, I think they are getting used to the idea that I am going to be heading on.

We mostly played at the house and did lots of drawings and coloring and making of altars.

They were both very enamoured with the Day of The Dead ancestral honoring and we put together a little altar in the back yard.

The oldest wanted so much to include me, asking me about my grandparents and great grandparents, and whether I had pictures of them that they could use.

I sweetly told him that though I was honored to be involved it was more for his family than for mine, but he was so firm in me participating he chose a fruit to symbolize me.

A persimmon.

I was so touched.

I don’t know why, but when someone notices you and loves you and does something for you in that they have paid attention to your likes, well, it’s mind-blowing.

It made me laugh, this little six and a half-year old knows me better than most of my ex-boyfriends.

I love persimmons.

My counter top in the kitchen looks like a persimmon harvest.

So, on his family altar I am represented with a persimmon; his mom with raw almonds; dad was a container of white sushi rice; his brother was a couple of pretzels; he was an apple.

We also put out a couple of mandarin oranges and a pear.

We put a cup of water on the altar and a candle, a birthday candle, it was too cute.

“Carmen!  We’re missing something,” he said to me.



Liquor and salt.

But I don’t think your mom wants us to break into the booze.

The water will be fine.

Also, incense is nice, but again, mom’s not so much into stuff like that.

“Flowers!” He said, jumping up, “we need flowers, what are those special orange flowers?”

“Marigolds,” I said and smiled, “I bet we could get some at the corner store.”

In fact, you could probably get them on every corner in the Mission, but I wasn’t going to break the spell of magic for him.

“Let’s go!” He said, grabbing his coat.

“Hey, I’m going to go get your brother from Rock Band Land,” his mom came into the kitchen, “want to go?”

“No!  I need to get marigolds for the altar, and mom, pictures get me pictures of your grandmother.”

It was so endearing.

“I’m going with Carmen to the market to get flowers, I’ll see you soon,” he concluded.

And there was something about the ritual of it.

The flowers in a glass jar.

The fruit on a white plate.

The boy arranging them just so.

I felt precious for getting to be a part of.







My persimmon.

Sorted, Satiated, Seduced

July 5, 2016

By my sweet foggy city.


It is such a nice place to be.

I am so grateful I put it all back in place to when I got home last night.

I unpacked and put away all my little treasures from the trip.

Some flower hair clips.

Two vintage cardigans.

A couple pairs of cheap earrings.

Some stickers.

Two pounds of locally roasted coffee, one from Mojo and other from Hey Cafe and Coffee.

Two pairs of new sandals.

And the little bit of swag from the conference.

I was a little wound up from getting home.

I got the butterflies and the happy sparklers of joy in my belly as the plane flew in over SFO International Airport.

It is this way every time I fly into the airport.

This feeling of happiness and glee.

This recurring knowing of being home, even before I called San Francisco home, it was home.

I still remember, sixteen years later, how it felt the first time I flew in over the city and how giddy I was with it.

Anticipatory joy and love and awe.

Awe that I was coming and getting to see the friend, a man I was in love with, romantically crushed out on, a man that though I did eventually get to have for one one night, was not the man for me.


I will always be grateful for that unrequited love song that yearned in my heart for it led me to this city, this amazing space and land and confluence of fog and love and flowers in my hair and self-discovery.


Of course.

No matter what.

No matter where.

It will always be home because it is where I got sober.

No other place can lay claim to that piece of my history.

So on top of the general body and soul and heart knowing, there is this deep pocket of grace that I am here.

I leave and return.

I tried to move to Paris.

That didn’t work.

I could see living in New York, it has it’s energy and allure and spark.



I am here.

And I continue to return and be soaked with gratitude every time.

I could live in New Orleans.

Oh, the hot humid sexy of it.

The big lushness of it, the flowers and trees, the moss in the trees, the drawl of the voices, the funky, bluesy, jazzy’ness of it, the art and the creative.

And also the underground dark scary spooky.

I suppose everywhere has pockets of wildness and dark.

But I could sense it closer to the surface there than a lot of places, maybe any other place I have been.

Death and sex and hot damp over abundant wildness.

It is there just skimming along below the pulse of warm air on your skin.

I can’t quite describe it, it is intense and dark and surreal and powerful and made my skin feel electric at times, the small hairs on the back of my neck rising in silent acknowledgement of the old the, wild, the barbaric yawp.

I feel it at times, in a different kind of way, but a dark wild way, in pockets of Golden Gate park when I would ride my bike through it at night.

Not always, but often, and though a different kind of energy then what I felt in New Orleans which was at once languid and violent, it too has a dark windy animal howl.

I am compelled by both those energies, softly drawn and also quite aware and wary that it is not my space to wander through.

I get to give it a wide berth.

The other thing about New Orleans was the architecture that was so heavily French influenced.

I do have a thing for all thing Francophile.

It is a definite and well defined influence that I really felt drawn too.

Plus, the colors.

Oh, so bright and many.

And that too, is something I find wonderful and compelling about San Francisco–the Victorians and the architecture here, gorgeous and bright and colorful as well.

I also recognized a kind of art and brightness that I normally associate with San Francisco and the Burning Man culture here.

In fact, at one point when I was in a little store on Magazine Street, I recall thinking to myself that I didn’t know New Orleans was such a Burner’s city.

Then I realized that it was Burning Man influenced, though, there may be some of that too–I know Burner’s Without Borders did a lot of work in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina–it was Mardi Gras.

The store was full of costumes and feather boas and masks and at first I thought it was a store like you might find in the Haight that specializes in festival gear and clothing.


Mardi Gras.

Either way, it’s dress up.

For me, though, although I flew my personal little self-expression flag high, I was not as comfortable with it in New Orleans as I am in San Francisco.

I felt at times, if I were to live there, I would tone it down a bit.


I realized.


I am not toning it down for anyone.

I am wild and free and wonderful and live a happy, joyous, compelling life.

And so far.

That life has been focused and centered around living in San Francisco.

Even when the fog, Karl, sweetheart I did miss you, is so thick you can’t see the fireworks display in the sky on the fourth of July.

Even when I needed to unearth the heavy sweatshirt today.

Even with the tech kids and the Millennials and the people getting pushed out and the high cost of living.

Even with the extra traffic and the gentrification.

I still love it so.

I still get feathering tickles in my body of joy co-mingled with electric blue sparkles of anticipation and awe, the wonder of it all.

I get to live in San Francisco.




The luckiest girl in the world.


4/20 Expect Delays

April 21, 2016

You are not shitting me.


San Francisco.

The amount of smoke over Golden Gate Park this evening as I was riding home was stupid.

I mean.

It can be foggy in the park, but this was something the fuck else.

It was already getting a little crazy out there when I was heading into work today at 12 noon.

Vendors setting up stands with water and ice.

Just chilling on the sidewalk waiting for the cotton mouth to commence.

I actually rolled through a smoke cloud at the Pan Handle.

I was grateful to get to work and not have to deal with it all too much, in fact, I had rather forgotten, I work in the Mission, people are always smoking up, not much different.

It was when I went home that it was messy.

All day love fest with the marijuana leaf and it was stupid on the roads.

I split lanes at one point as this car was not moving on the green light.

“GET OFF YOUR PHONE!” I hollered at the dazed and confused young woman driver who was texting and sitting through a green light.

Then I zipped by.

Thank you God for lane splitting.


I suspect pizza delivery drivers are making a lot of money tonight.

Grateful to have gotten home safe and sound, to lock up my scooter, shoot out a flirtatious text about a possible date and hustle up the street to the market to get some coffee before doing the deal.

And there’s the motorcycle

Hello ex-boyfriend.

Why you got to look so cute?


And I’m on my period, end days you know, but it does not seem to matter right now, I feel like I am just at the top of my game.

Not to be all ego and that, no rather my body is hormonally doing the dance of Saint Vitus trying to get some.

It did not help when he hugged me later.

Was that a “mmm” on my neck?

Maybe not, maybe it was just my imagination, like that hand at my waist lingering just a moment.


Watch out.

His room mate caught me watching him walk out the door and I blushed to beat the band.


He does look good in those jeans and that blue flannel, flattering.

And moving on.

I know better.

I am pretty certain he’s got a lady friend.

And it ain’t me.

And I’m pretty sure it’s serious.


I’m pretty sure we would have hit it by this point.

There’s still chemistry there.

That’s ok.

I think right now I have chemistry with a lot of men.

I’m not saying that to stroke myself off, I’m still single over here, going to bed alone, but not lonely, thank you, in my little studio by the sea.


There’s interest.

Oh yes there is.

This is fun, I thought earlier, intercepting  a few messages about “thinking about you” and well, yeah, me too, thinking about you.

I do sort of feel like I am on fire and it feels good.

I am a house on fire.

Burn me all down to the ground.

I’m not upset about this, I’m not looking to change it, I am completely accepting this heat and enjoying it.

Perhaps it is the apex of something.

“There is more to you than, that, that,”  he hesitated.

“That thing in the desert,” I interjected.

“Yes! You are so much more,” he beamed at me tender with sweet deep eyes, my friend patted my arm, “there is something that is going to happen in that time, you’ll see, it will be great.”

It will be.

I’m positive.

There is so much.


There is more time than I thought!

I got my weeks confused.

I still have two weekends before my next school weekend, I had this big idea that I had to have papers written this weekend.


I have another weekend before I go back in for my last round of classes before summer break.

I have never been more excited for summer break in my life.


So I can have some play time this weekend and not get my undies in a twist about having to write papers.

Thank God.

I’m still moving forward with reading and making sure that I am caught up with it, but I have some breathing space.

And as of yet.

A completely free Saturday.

I have thoughts of things I want to do.





Doing that deal.

Getting my nails done, a little mani/pedi will be a nice treat.

Sleeping in if I want.

Like I ever do.


I sort of did today, I decided to wait on the yoga before work until tomorrow.

Wednesday’s I go in a little early as I have an evening commitment that I am adamant about getting to, so I go in early and leave early, not the best day to squeeze yoga in as well.

But tomorrow.

Yoga it up I will.

And hopefully by the time I do head to work the 4/20 will have been cleaned up and swept away for another season.

Unlike my hormones and sex drive which just seems to be coming out of the closet.

“Oh my forties were insane, enjoy them!  It’s the best time, really, the sex was amazing,” she said and smiled.

I’m sort of understanding that on a very new level.

Maybe I’m just comfortable in my skin.

Maybe I’ve just been in one place long enough.

Easier to hook up with a sitting target than one constantly on the move.

Maybe, after all these years, I finally am embracing the sexy that I have been told I have.

“You are so fucking hot,” he messaged me.

Thanks man.

I appreciate hearing that.

It’s nice to be acknowledged and it’s really nice to just not give a fuck.

This is where I am at in my life.

I don’t have to ask for approval or permission.

Not from you.

Not from me.

I think God’s got me covered pretty good.

I’ll go with God.

And if you don’t think there’s a lot of God in sex.


You haven’t heard me in the throes.


It’s all about the love.

Or the loving.

But whatever it is.

More please.




You Get Around

May 5, 2015

I do.

“I follow you on Facebook and read your blogs, it’s good to see you in person, you really cram a lot of stuff into your day,” he told me as we were filing out of the room tonight.

I smiled.

I believe I thanked him for reading.

It’s nice to know that folks read these things I put out into the Universe, so often without much thought or effort, it would seem.

Although there is always much thought.

The effort really has to do with sitting down at the keyboard and figuring out a title.

Once I have a title, I don’t need anything.

I knew I was going to be writing “Inbound to Richmond District” the minute I saw it on the NextBus app.

There was something really musical about it to my ears.

And I do get around, but I suspect, many of us do, I just happen to document the getting around.

This brought to mind all the places I have lived in San Francisco as I enter my second year of residing in one spot.

It’s about a year and three-quarters, Labor Day weekend, just after Burning Man, will mark two years here in my little studio by the sea.

I can’t remember the last time I lived in one spot for two years.

It must have been when I was up in Nob Hill and technically I did move, albeit across the hall, but that was a move and challenging in its own ways.

I also may have resided at 23rd and Capp for two years, but I’m not certain I did, it feels like it was two years.

But as I explained to my charge today, “feelings are not facts,” I said with a smile and also relayed the message that “this too shall pass, the good news is you will have feelings, the bad news is you will have feelings.”

Then I tickled the grumpy out of him.

He is just such a sweet pie.

“Carmen! Carmen! Carmen! You have a star in your hair!” He excitedly reported to me.

“I do!” I replied, “what color is it?”



Close enough kid.

“Silver,” I said, “you like stars, don’t you.”

“Yes!” He said and picked up his stuffed cat, “Meow Meow really likes stars too,” then he began to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, replacing the twinkle twinkle part with meows.”

Oh my god.

The cute.


Wait, don’t stop.

“Stars are beautiful, you are beautiful,” he continued, “you must be a star.”

I just about fell out of the bed.

I was waking him up from his afternoon nap.

“You must be a star too,” I said and squeezed his little paw in mine, “Meow Meow is definitely a star as well.”

“Meow!” He said and kissed me.

My job might tire me the fuck out, but it is surely satisfying, yes, yes it is.

We had adventures to the park, both Dolores Park–in the morning, and Mission Playground in the afternoon, plus a trip to BiRite and to the market on the corner.

It made me remember when I discovered all these places when I first moved to San Francisco.

All the sites, the personal treasure map of love that San Francisco has imprinted on my heart.

The first time I went to Dolores Park was before I lived in the city, so that must have been in 2000 or possibly 2001.

Or The Elbow Room.



Kilo Watt.


The Roxie Theater.

When the New College was still the New College and I could still go to Osento and take a hot tub.

I still say I need to go to Osento sometime soon and then realize once again that it is gone.

It actually, or where it used to be, abuts the property of the people I work for.

I might have been naked on the roof of the spa soaking in the steam on a wood bench catching twinkling stars in between the clots of fog moving over the courtyard, the two wood barrel saunas, the outdoor shower, and the cold plunge–my current boss in her backyard hanging out on the other side of the fence.

I remember times when I was the only person there.

It was lovely.

You may have gathered that I lived a good portion of my time in the Mission.

My first residence in San Francisco–Labor Day weekend–it’s like my personal version of New Years, was a two month sublet at 20th and York.

I stayed past my two months and when another woman moved out of the room downstairs, I took it over.

I think I was paying $650 with everything included.

Granted there were five ladies living there, but we each had our own space carved out, technically the house was a three bedroom–all three upstairs–but one of the girls had carved out a weird little bedroom out of the kitchen pantry and then there was the studio/inlaw in the basement that I had.

It was great.

Until the house was sold and there was an owner move in and in less than two months we had to all get out.

I think it was actually 45 days, it happened so fast.

I found a room on craisglist, for less than I was actually paying at the house with all the girls, on 22nd and Alabama with a wild woman from Northern Italy who had been living in the house so long that she basically paid her rent by collecting from the two room mates and turning around and paying the landlord.

I could have cared less.

I was paying $500 a month for a huge room and access to the kitchen, bathroom, the gigantic glassed in back porch, where I spent three agonizing weeks drifting in a hammock, sleeping like the dead, out sick from work with Mono when I was 31.


At freaking 31.

And it was my second time having it.

I had it the first time when I was 17.

Good times.

While I was living at 22nd and Alabama I had a friend turn me on to cocaine and his dealers number.

After some months of battling a rapidly growing habit, I decided, like a truly rational addict, that I should move out because I had the opportunity to move into a big beautiful house on 25th and Potrero (you would have never guessed how lovely the house was from the facade on Potrero–wood floors, Italian marble, skylights, pocket doors, fireplaces in two rooms, an office, two bedrooms, one and a half baths, laundry in the basement and the prettiest garden in the back) for $1100 a month.

That’s what my problem was!

My rent was too cheap!

If I just moved somewhere that was more than double my rent then I wouldn’t spend as much money on blow.

That didn’t work out so well.

But I did subsequently hit my bottom.

And the rest.

Well is his (her) story.

And I got around a lot after that as well.

Living at the following places:

Kingston and 30th.

Potrero and 26th.

Palou and 3rd.

Capp and 23rd Street.

Washington and Taylor.

Not once, but twice–the infamous move across the hall.

Homeless for three months couch surfing when I quit my high paying nanny job and went to work at bike shop in the Mission (crashed in the attic of a former family I nannied for on 25th and New Hampshire, “housesat” for a month at a friend of friend’s house that I met only once at a wedding, where I did her make up for the ceremony on a tiny side street at the bottom of Bernal Hill, and then on the couch of my friend who lives in Nob Hill on Clay Street) making half the salary I had been used to.

Then a teeny tiny box of an in-law in the Mission on 22nd and Folsom.

My bathroom was my kitchen was my garage (I hung my bicycle on a rack above the toilet).

After that.

Graceland in East Oakland for two months.

Then Paris–Rue Bellefond–in the bobo (bohemian bourgeoise) arrondissement, the 9th, just between Square D’Anvers and Cadet Metro Station for six months.

Then back to East Oakland for two, maybe three (?) months.

Can you say culture shock?

And finally.


46th Avenue between Judah and Irving Street.

And yes.

I moved in right after Labor Day weekend.

Where the hipsters meet the sea and the surfers rule the coffee shops.

And one wild woman with curly hair (pink!) rides out each day (well five out of seven anyway) six and a half miles, right back to the Mission, on her sparkle-pony whip of a bicycle.

I may be living in the same spot for a little while.


I still get around.


November 28, 2014

Full of thanks.


On the back of a sporty Harley Davidson, motor rumbling under me, blue sky above me, scuttle of clouds, flash of sun, ocean off to my right, heading down Sunset Avenue, San Francisco.


This is my life?

This is my life.

Quite a bit different from last Thanksgiving when a friend wrangled me an invitation out to Marin to hang out with his buddies from school.

Not that I had a bad time last Thanksgiving, it was just a new time and an uneasy time for me, getting back into being in San Francisco, getting a new rooting in the soil, sandy soil that is.

“What has happened to you,” she said to me tonight as we hugged in the kitchen at a dear friends Thanksgiving celebration.

“I moved out to the Sunset, that’s what happened to me,” I smiled.

Lot’s has happened to me since I have moved to the Outer Sunset and so much of it is so different than what I expected.

I feel constantly and continually surprised by this little community at the edge of the world, the edge of the sea, the edge of San Francisco.

It may just be the best place for me to celebrate this Thanksgiving.

I have a boyfriend.

I have a job.

I have a writing practice.

I have a graduate school application I have to get my ass into gear about and finish up this weekend.

I have a four-day weekend.

Day one.

Well, so far so fucking good.

Go re-read that part about riding around on the back of a Harley Davidson with the sun warm on my back and the Pacific Ocean shimmering in the sun and ask me what don’t I have to be grateful for.

New experiences?



Check and double-check.

So many fine, amazing, and beautiful friends in my life.

Some of whom I got to see today.

And a community that I belong to that has seen me change and grow and evolve and for what may be the first time in a while, certainly in a year or so, Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving, I feel that I belong.

That I am in the right place, that I am in the spot, that I have a spot to come home to and people who want me for who I am and what I do.

I don’t do much, but I do it well and for that I am grateful.

I show up.

On time.

With helpful intentions.

I still think of myself an awful lot of the time, but I am able to be present for others, and for my life, which is one and the same, I think, sometimes, that showing up for my life is a reward and a risk, a dare.

A dare to live outside the box, and sometimes, yes, in the box too.

I felt a moment of gleeful exhilaration on the Harley today.

I was thinking random Thanksgiving thoughts for the past few years, comparing last year to this year and the year prior when I was in Paris and those darn French folks with their ways that don’t celebrate the pen-ultimate American holiday.

With the pen-ultimate American sport–football.

In France it is not football, but futball–soccer.

In French class, Thursday, November of 2012, crying, tears slipping down my maudlin face because what was everyone doing and why were the all in class, it’s a holiday for fucks sake, why are you not having some turkey?

I was crying over a soccer ball exercise in my French class.

I was homesick.


Was I homesick if I was homesick for football, which, in case you were wondering, I don’t watch.

I am a fair weather Packer fan, suppose I always will be since I did grow up in Wisconsin.

Twelve years of being, mostly in San Francisco, I am almost a Giants fan (sorry, Gigantes, though, the damn Milwaukee Brewers still have my heart–Cecil Cooper why did you have to give my third grade self that signed baseball?  Robin Yount, why did you have to be so cute? Gangly, yes, but hella cute, you know?), but nowhere near a 49ers fan.

Sorry folks.

But yet, football, a soccer exercise, French class, Paris, what was I doing, so far away from home?

How could I be homesick for something I never really liked?

Especially when I was in the city that I had been pining to be in for so long?


That’s the haps.

I was fantasizing.

It gets me every time.

I shot the Paris fantasy in the foot and I am good with that and don’t doubt that I will go back, I have friends there, fellowship, and I love Paris, it’s a beautiful town (a little too much dog poo, but you know, every city’s got to have their thing), but I don’t want to live there again.


I want to live here, in San Francisco, out by the beach, fog or sun, rain or shine, this is my place and it feels like my time.

The second thing that happened that Thanksgiving back in Paris that made me homesick?

Sons of Anarchy.


I had downloaded the episodes on my laptop, this self-same archaic, almost obsolete little machine, and cued one up to watch that rainy night in Paris after having an awkward ex-pat dinner at the Lizard Lounge in the Marais, I had gotten lost trying to find the pub and was still feeling a little sorry for myself if the truth were told.

My room-mate came in blustery from the rain and work and sat for a while then we took a cab back to the 9th arrondissement, to rue Bellefond, he dropped me and went to go hang out with friends in the 18th for another ex-pat dinner.

I stayed in, made a cup of tea, sliced up an apple and had it with some creme fromage and watched Sons of Anarchy.

You know you’re homesick when scenes of the motorcycle gang rolling through the dock yards in Oakland make you tear up.


I am not ashamed to admit it and today, remembering it, I chuckled.

Two years later, one year of living it out, making it work, not knowing what was going to happen or how, just living it to the best of my ability one day at a time, I’m here.

In the city I belong to on the back of a Harley driving down Sunset Avenue heading home to back an overnight bag to go over to my man’s place and enjoy the gifts of being a local.

I’m not a native San Franciscan.

But I am a local.

And I belong.

For that, and so much more I am utterly and completely grateful.

Now excuse me.

I have someone to go canoodle with.

Happy Thanksgiving!


I Didn’t Call That Many People

June 26, 2014

From Paris.

I told my friend with an arched eyebrow.

He was one of the few I did call.

There was the fantasy land man.

Who lived in my fantasy land world, saying goodbye to that fantasy was probably more difficult than saying good bye to the actual man himself.

But saying good bye to my friend then, as in tonight, was much harder.

I don’t know that I ever told him that.

He asked what was hardest about leaving for Paris, as he is about to embark on a five month long journey across the Universe.

Not perhaps the universe as it pertains to leaving a country to live in another country, but the unfolding multi-layered, land of the unknown, and that is a universe.

Vast in scope.

The last time I saw my friend, I will not lie, he was my lover, and so too there was another layer of experience to entertwine with it all.

And fantasy too of course.

He told me once after I had just gotten back from Paris that he had hoped I would never return.

Not in a mean way.

Not in that way of, I didn’t ever want to see you again, but in that, I was really rooting for you to make it there.

I left with all intentions of leaving.

He will be returning, he’s got a job to return to, a rent controlled pad in the Mission (which means he will never truly leave San Francisco), and a plethora of love for the city by the Bay.

Besides somebody who like food as much as he does just ain’t gonna be able to stay away.

That difference in our experience didn’t allow me to exactly be able to pin down for him the depth of feeling that  I was having as I said good bye to people and places San Francisco (like, why did I wait this long to do this thing, go to that place, and now it’s too late).

“You were pretty wrecked by the time I showed up for your going away party,” he mentioned to me.

I was.

It was abysmal.

I remember talking to another dear friend that morning and telling her how much I was struggling with just showing up for it.

I would have prefered to have slunk off in the night.

Sometimes, though, certain things stay with you.

I took an actual photograph on my friend as he lazed on my chaise in the corner sipping tea and ponitificating on the experience of the experience, because I wanted to remember.

I am sure I will, but sometimes memory fades and a good photo remains to remind me.

The last time I saw him before I left for Paris was not when he kissed me good bye on the corner of Valencia and 14th Street.

About to roar off in another man’s car after having my tryst with my lover the night before.


It was watching him walk into the gas station on Mission and 14th.

Maybe he was getting a soda.

Maybe a pack of cigarettes, though I don’t recall him smoking at the time.

I do recall driving the Audi convertible down 14th to hit the freeway heading back over to East Oakland where I had another night or two of getting what little I left to do done, and seeing him.

I wanted to holler.

I wanted to wave.

I wanted to freeze the moment in time.

And that is what I did instead of calling attention to him.

I was driving off, soon to be flying off, leaving on a jet plane, as the story goes.

He was turning the corner, shoulders hunched up just a bit, hands in the pockets of his sweatshirt, glasses on his face catching a splinter of sunlight, cabbie hat cocked sideways, brim pulled low.

I saw him as he reached for the door to the gas station across the street from the Armory, and then he as he stepped inside.

The light turned green.

“Goodbye lover,” I said out loud, not loud enough to be heard anywhere but inside my heart.

And then I drove off.

I remember hitting the on ramp and accelerating through the turn and whooping.

I felt so light.



I had leapt.

I had not yet landed, but I had leapt and there was no going home now.

No home to go home to.

Only the future to move forward into.



Go baby go.

Of course that fantasy was squelched, but I did go and I will keep doing things like that, perhaps not so uprooting, I don’t know that I am supposed to do that again, but more letting go, baby go, of those fantasies.

There was one in which, many years, maybe seven, ten, I would hear from him and we would reunite and things would get wild and wooly and right.

But that fantasy.

Well is just that.


What did happen is that I came back, the world moved on, he moved on, love happened then.

In the cusp between friendship and being lovers, something else grew, a knowing of the person and of myself.

I don’t expect anything else now from the relationship.


A postcard from the edge would be nice.

He’s got my address.

A story.

That’s what I would like, but that’s not a fantasy either, that’s getting to bear witness to someone elses experience and laugh or cry or commiserate with it and be tied to them in yet another way.

How fortunate I am to see my friend tonight before he embarks on his own life changing journey.

To say, “I love you,” and know it full in my heart and let it all go.

Not the love, not the friend, but the fantasy, the idea of the story that I tell myself.

My home.



In San Francisco at the edge of the city, the edge of the world, on the brink of the sea, is exactly where I am supposed to be.

The only geographic I will be pulling anytime soon is one with my hair.

I am here to stay.

If only to be here so I can say hello to my friend when he returns.

Bon Voyage my darling.

May your travels be safe.

But not too safe.

Go eat the world.


One Year Ago Today

May 2, 2014

I arrived in SFO and was picked up curbside by a family from my nanny past with their daughter and a good friend.

Burners all.

It was my welcome back to San Francisco.

Or to East Oakland as the case was for the next few months.

I realized today that it’s been a year since I returned from Paris and it’s taken nearly all that time to get myself settled in.

Funny how that happens.

John Ater told me it takes about two years to feel at home anywhere.

I was still a bit of an outsider in Paris, though rapidly gaining a foothold, despite my worst self, and had I made it a little longer, who knows, maybe I would still be there.

But that it neither here or there.

Or anywhere.

I know I will go back, whether for a visit or for something else, I don’t know.

I don’t have to know.

What I do know is that I have been in my current residence eight months now and it too is feeling like my home and my home for a while.

I hope.

I don’t feel the need to move anywhere and despite having lived in San Francisco all sorts of time, I haven’t made it two years in any one particular home.

I would like to be settled for a little while.

I think two years is a good run.

What got me thinking about it all is the May Spending Plan I did today.

I keep track of my expenditures, to the penny, and I add up the previous month and compare it to the spending plan I made the month prior to see where my expenses lay and if I need to set aside any money for something in particular.

When I was in Paris it was this week to week, day-to-day grind, whether I had money in my account, was going to eat, was going to buy a new pair of socks or have a cafe creme with my fellows.

It was tight, tight, tight.

Not so much now.

Of course, I am legal to work here, so that gives me a huge advantage over my Paris self.

Plus, I speak the language here fluently.

Small things.


When I got back from Paris I had $10 in my wallet.

The last of my Euro’s that I had exchanged at the Bureau de Change in the Berlin airport.

That’s it.

Nothing else.

My carry on suitcase, my bicycle, which could be considered an asset, although not a liquid one.

In a year I have, not without help, oh good heavens, not without a lot of help, managed to save up enough money to put myself in my own in-law studio–deposit and first months rent–furnish it, go travel down to Florida to see my sister and my mom, buy a scooter, and get a ticket to Wisconsin to see my best friend.  I also went to Burning Man, albeit, I was paid to go, but there are still costs, get a new tattoo, small, but still, pay my phone bill, my student loans, eat well, maintain my bicycle, ride MUNI, drink expensive coffee nearly every day, put money in the basket when it gets passed my way, buy new notebooks, books, magazines, eat out, got to music–Mike Doughty, the highlight of my music experience this past year, Outside Lands, go to movies, go dancing, bought a wetsuit and have gone surfing, go to museums, pay off the return ticket from Paris, and manage to sneak a few dollars into my savings account.

Plus buy some clothes and the toiletries that I really like to have for myself.

Get manicures, pedicures, and have my eyebrows waxed.

I mention these last two things because I wasn’t doing that in Paris, it was too expensive, I was literally living hand to mouth.

There were more than one occasion when I took the money I made and went immediately to buy groceries.  I was only spending my money on the barest of bare essentials.  I was buying the cheapest toothpaste and shampoo I could afford, same with laundry detergent.

The only extra that I spent money on was the Navigo pass.

Rent, groceries, the Metro pass, cheap toiletries, and there you go.

Today, I allow myself better and I am grateful for it.

I would like to continue to thrive, I don’t need to martyr myself for an experience.

The next time I go I am going first class.

I am allowed that.

I allow myself that, I rephrase.

I am grateful for the experience and the shame and guilt for not making it over there has dissipated as I have done a lot of work and inventory and forgiveness of myself and also got some perspective and humility around it.

And a sense of humor.

What the fuck was I complaining about?

I got to spend six months in Paris.

Who says that’s a failure.

That’s like someone’s dream.

Hell, I am sure that spending six days in Paris is someone’s life long dream, probably more than one persons dream, and I got to have six months.

By the time I was forty.

I have so many more dreams I get to live out.

I mean, I really live a charmed life.

I live in San Francisco, the Paris of the West, ahem, and I live in a beautiful space with access to a back yard and sun deck, I eat organic food, I drink nice tea, I have awesome toiletries, I get my nails done, I get to ride a vintage Vespa, I live by the beach, I have an amazing life.

And friends.

And yeah.


One year later.

I could not have predicted any of this, I did not know what was up, down, or around.

But I showed up, put one foot in front of the other, sometimes walking, sometimes pushing the pedals on my bicycle, and I got here.

I can’t wait to see what this next year brings.

It feels flat-out amazing where I am going to go from here.

My base has been built.

I am ready.

Who’s Reading About Me?

April 10, 2014

I got a bunch of hits to my “About Me” post that the server, Wordpress, uses to help you, the blogger encapsulate themselves and what the purpose of their blog is.

My purpose, is what?

I dunno.

To write.

I went in and re-read my about me post and did some editing.

I have re-edited a number of times.

When I realized that it was going to be more than just a device to publish my book (which is in here, dig around, you’ll find it, poorly edited in all its amateur glory) and began to take it serious.

Which is when I began to write a post every day.

Rain or shine.

In good health or bad.

Although, you may, one of my readers did, see on the occasion a night when I don’t post.

There are two reasons for this.

I am so sick I can’t type.

This does not happen that often.

Heck, I am sick now, though not bad enough to call in sick to work and not bad enough to not write.  No way, no how.

The other?

“Did you get laid last night?” My friend sent me a text after, yes a night of amour.

That does not happen that frequent either, just saying, oh you’ll know if I have, I tend to write about it, though in very vague terms, I am not interested in outing anyone here.

Although a former lover at the time we were trysting found it quite amusing to read of himself.

He sent me a text one day with a cartoon stick man and a cartoon stick woman in bed.

The man asks, “how was it?”

The stick woman replies, “read my blog.”


I am discrete though and there have been times I have had a little lovey dovey and not written about it either.

The point I am making is that I write and I write every day and that changed me as a person, as an artist, ie, I say I am an artist, I say I am a writer.  I pursue things to have something to write about, I take Artist Dates for myself, which reminds me, I need to do one of those soon.

I also pay attention to detail, any writer who wants to be good, in my opinion, needs to keep up a pool of images to draw upon.  I am always looking at people, at places, at the color of the newspaper stand and the mailing label graffiti on it.

I need that stuff.

I am an artist and I will beg, borrow, or steal that stuff from the world.

That’s expected.

This all means then, that the blog has become something else, a record of me, a personal diary, yes, to some extent there is that, but I also believe that it has become a way for me to work out what I need to work out and need to address in my life.

Whether it is challenges at work.

Or not having work.


Living abroad.

Hello Paris.

Not living abroad.

Good bye Paris.


Okstupid, in my community, the playa, the coffee shop.

Hell, even the street.

Tonight as I was waiting for the light to change, you get one bicycle ticket and you’ll stop at the light too, I had a man drive up to me and admire my person from the other lane.

“You just getting out of school?” He said and smiled.

“Nope, work,” I said, smiled and flashed across the intersection as the light changed to green.

Not exactly true, but true enough.

I was on my way home via a visit to my fellows in the Inner Sunset.

I was flattered, however, to be thought of as young enough to be in school.

Maybe he thought I was working on my Doctorate.

Still have to get my Masters, but you know, it was flattering.

So, the blog becomes a vehicle to express myself as an artist and to learn about myself as a person, loving, falling, dating, not dating, having sex, not having sex, taking a trip, not taking a trip.

And I get to see my own progress and I get to engage in all sorts of surprising ways with others.

I have gotten trips to Rome from writing about what was happening in my life, or Euro Paypal’ed to me in Paris when I was struggling and really in the dumps about how I was getting on, or not getting by, as was the case.

Job offers.

Friend offers.

Yes, sex offers too.


It’s like my own personal dating site.

Ps.  I am single and available for dating.


I changed a few other things in the “About Me” piece as well.

I had to update my age, now 41.

I had to update my location, no longer of the mean streets of Oakland or Paris.

I edited it a bit and shortened it and changed the e-mail to my Paypal account.

You can still contribute to helping me write the blog and or publish Baby Girl.

You want to donate: carmenreginamartines@gmail. com is my Paypal account.


I will happily go on an adventure and write about it too, if you should have a request.

Speaking of adventure.

I was going to go out and ride my scooter tonight after I got back, love me some Daylight Savings time, there was still light, but the fog was so thick that it would not have been a fun adventure.

I may need to go back and put that down too.

Scooter Girl.

“Girl on the Go” is the underlying thematic to my blog and that still works.

Just may not always be a “girl on the go” on a one speed sparkle whip.

I will be the “girl on the go” on a vintage 1965 Vespa.

Either way, hella cute.

See above note about motorist stopping me to flirt.

I am glad that some one checked my “About Me” out.

It gave me a chance to update and see how much progress I have done in the last year, how far I have come.

Not just geographically, though there is that, moving to and from Paris was a huge deal, but also emotionally, spiritually, mentally, seeing myself grow.

I like it.

I feel like I am blossoming.

And it’s a really pretty bloom.

My life.

It is.

It is.

Start Smaller

December 6, 2013

“Maybe it’s time to forgive yourself for that student loan.”



Who do you think you’re talking to?

Forgive my loan too.

First, it’s forgive myself for being single, which, truth be told seems to be working pretty god damn well, so what if I don’t feel like extrapolating that to another aspect of my life.

I like to beat myself up.

There’s some spooky ass comfort in it.

Creepy that I enjoy the self-pity, but it’s a party I have always RSVP’d to.

What if I said, not today, or, try me later.

Or what if I did forgive myself for that student loan?

What then?

Then, I suppose, if it falls out like other things in my life have, maybe I can make space for what is supposed to come next instead of focusing on that big gigantic number that I owe the student loan sharks and I could see what else there is to see.

I spin out-and-out and spend the time being spun not even realizing what I am doing, but man, it feels busy.

However, it’s not.

It’s just distraction from the real issue.

See, when I was seventeen years old, yes, we’re going back into the Wisconsin time machine, hop in, welcome to growing up in a unicorporated small town 25 minutes north-east of Madison (that’s the capital if you are wondering.  I was trying to explain where I grew up to someone in Paris and the closest I could get was “Chicago” north of Chicago), I received a huge gift.

A gift I was sort of expecting and a gift I really did not know what to do with.

I got a full ride to school.

I have friends that escaped home life by drinking or doing drugs, staying out late, running away from home, stealing, getting pregnant really young, or having promiscuous unsafe sex.

I on the other hand, escaped into school.

It was safer.

And I was smart.

“I’m the type of person that always did well in school,” I told her, “I would, well, I would write my fifteen page term paper on Henry the V the night before and get an A.”

School was not hard.

I repeat I am an intelligent person.

But I tell you what, there are some things I just never did learn and despite having some really solid book knowledge, I was bereft in a lot of other areas that have taken me decades to work out.

I have not worked through them all, but.

I have walked through a lot.

Done lots of work.


But there are still obstacles to move through and work to be done.

“Aren’t you grateful for that?!” She said, all excited, “that you have stuff to keep working on?”



I mean, yes.

I keep coming back and practising and doing the work and getting the results and that whole, “more will be revealed” bit, well, more got revealed.

It was so simple.

Forgive yourself for the student loan.

I haven’t.

Every time I make that payment I hate it.

I hate myself more, secretly, quietly, in the depths of my soul, I ultimately am not angry with anyone else but myself.

I fucked it up and boy howdy, apparently I am still going to beat myself down for the mistakes an 18-year-old girl made.

Damn it.

So, back in Wisconsin, back in the early bits of senior year when I was applying to schools (I started getting solicited by schools when I was  a junior in high school and the amount of mail that I got by the summer just before senior year was stupid) I made the decision that I was only going to apply to one school.

The one I knew I could get into and the one I thought I would get the most financial aid for, though I am not certain that my rationale was that exactly.

It was more like this.

I think I can get into Harvard, I am pretty sure I can get into Berkeley, but I don’t think I can get money together to move there.

That’s what stopped me from applying to any school that was out-of-state, basically any school that was out of the god damn county, I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the money to move out-of-state.

The family unit, me, mom, my sister, was barely making it as it was.

I was working full-time in the summers, full-time on the weekends, and going to school, well, in high school its “full time”.

I was pretty busy.

And the money just would not stay.

It was rapidly taken out of my hands just as fast as I could bring it in.

Which is another blog, another time, and well covered elsewhere.

Suffice to say, the family unit, which was barely intact, was not making it any easier for me to save money to move out West or out East.

I was going to have to stay put.

That meant UW Madison.

Here is the truth that I have never written about before, I have lied all my life about getting accepted into bigger name schools because I wanted so bad to get out but was ashamed that I didn’t even try.

I didn’t even try.

I was too busy making fear based decisions.

And I have never forgiven myself for that.

I have never forgiven the fact that I also blew my ride.

Here’s the correlation that I see now with clarity and perspective:

First time getting drunk: one month after starting college at the age of 18.

First time dropping out of school which led to me flunking all my classes except one, and that’s also another story that is funny, but not applicable here, and being put on academic probation which lead to me having my entire ride for four years revoked?

Two months later after my first drunk.

I fell the fuck apart that fast.

I should have gotten sober at fucking 19.

But I was tumbling fast, soon a drop out, supporting my younger pregnant sister and her older boyfriend as well as a plethora of other unsavory companions on bounced checks, started ironically with the first installments of said financial aid compensation.

I graduated highschool with honors, had a full ride to college, yeah it wasn’t my first pick, but it was a great school, and by the time I was 19, less than a year after I graduate highschool I was smoking crack homeless in southern Florida.

Fuck me.

Through a lot of odd twists and turns and circumstances (which if I ever get my head out of my ass around the story will comprise the full series of memoirs I have written in rough draft) I found myself back in Wisconsin, back in Madison, back in school.

I re-applied to the University of Wisconsin Madison when I was 25.

I had to take out student loans because they wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole.

I had no full ride.

I had no scholarships or grants.

I had me and a job running a brewing company.

I took out loans.

I made it work.

I got on deans list.

I was still drinking, but I was managing.

I was smart, remember.

I am smart.

I got my degree, I got my diploma, even in the end I won some awards and got some cash and “prizes” some acclaim for some writing and some of the nicest things said about me and my abilities by some of the most talented and smartest people I have ever had the honor of studying with.

But I also had $43,500 in student loans by the end of it all.

Today, 11 years after I graduated I still have $32,345 in outstanding student loans.

“Can you forgive yourself for that,” she said, “that’s where the work has to start.”

I think I am going to have to.

Because I am tired of living under the shadow of that mistake.

I am damn proud I went back and I got my degree and I did well.

I could have done better, the drinking was starting to take off by the time I was getting close to graduating, the cocaine use was only a few months past that and then less than two years later I was crawling around on the floor hoping to die.

I didn’t.

I am graced.

There are no mistakes.

I am not a mistake.

I am enough.

And I forgive myself for taking out those student loans.

I was doing the best I could with what I had.

Fuck, I still am.

Better than that, I live a life that I find full of integrity and that has no price tag.

So, yeah, time to forgive.

Not forget, I have no doubt that my experience will be of benefit to someone else, but definitely to forgive.

Because, well, see, I might want to go back to school.

If I can’t forgive that debt to myself then I won’t be able to get past this roadblock.

That’s how I see it.

And man, do I want to move past this block.

It’s time.

I am too smart to not be doing better.

It’s time.

One small step.

Today I forgive myself for my student loan debt.

One very small step toward something bigger.



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