Archive for the ‘San Francisco’ Category

Musings

July 17, 2022

From COVIDlandia.

And what I am hoping is my last day of quarantine.

The COVID test I took this morning showed the barest, faintest of lines.

I flirted with saying, I’m all good, and running out willy nilly.

But.

I figured one more day in quarantine and taking care to not infect others might be the ethical thing to do.

As opposed, to, oh, I don’t know, randomly licking people and running away saying, “I have COVID!”

I have these thoughts once in a while.

I did go outside briefly today, masked, of course, to go to my office and water my plants.

Oh.

Such sad plants.

I felt so bad.

Poor babies hadn’t been watered in nine days.

No one is at the office on the weekend, so I figured I was safe and I still wore my mask inside just in case and no one was there.

Just my sad little plants.

I gave them all a good watering and then shut the office back down.

Next week I will be doing all my sessions remotely, I figure, just be safe.

I don’t need to expose my suitemates to anything.

I do hope to test negative tomorrow.

I had a moment of thinking, ooh, I’ll go swimming tomorrow if I test negative.

Yeah.

I don’t know about that.

Sounds great, but considering the amount of congestion and aching lungs I have experienced over the past nine days, maybe swimming laps is not the course of action to take on my first day back into the world.

I’ll get up and stretch again and do minimalist yoga.

I’ll go for a walk.

I’ll prep food for the week.

I will dream about all things Burning Man.

Yeah.

That thing.

I am going.

I haven’t really written about it.

I’ve been tied up with all things FINISH YOUR FUCKING DISSERTATION.

I mean.

It’s finished, I mean, finish jumping through the hoops that your school forgot to tell you to do even though they approved you to graduate.

Oh.

You’re missing something and we forgot to tell you?

OOPS.

I mean.

The profound apology from the provost helped, but like, dude, I’ve not actually graduated yet.

Which is also why Burning Man is on my mind.

I “graduate” eye roll, at the end of summer.

That is when I will officially matriculate.

I returned the dissertation with the few edits that the writing center indicated needed to be done; for the pain in the ass y’all have been, you could have just fucking fixed them and moved it along, in 274 pages there were five things that needed to be attended to.

Anyway.

I’ll be connecting with the guy at the center who is the last gate keeper to getting it published on ProQuest on Monday.

Pending his final stamp of approval I will then upload it and that’s it.

It will get published and I will matriculate.

At the end of summer.

Which means.

I get to graduate.

Again.

And this time.

I’m going to do it my way.

At Burning Man.

Yeah.

Where my graduate school journey started back in 2014 when I had a dark night of the soul.

I left Burning Man that year distinctly altered.

I quit the job I had been working.

Got a different one.

And applied to graduate school to get my Master’s in Psychology.

I got in and started in the fall of 2015.

I managed to go to the event in 2015, 2016, and 2017–somehow figuring out how to balance full-time nanny job with full-time graduate school.

I graduate from my Master’s program in May of 2018 and went right into my PhD program in August of 2018.

I could not manage the event whilst doing my PhD program.

My first year missing the event since I started to go in 2007.

I mean.

I managed to go even when I moved to Paris.

I still do not know how that happened.

But my PhD program started each semester with a week long intensive and it was the same week as the event and the amount of work that I had to do to get ready for the intensive was too much for me to even think about going up pre-event.

The year I went in 2016 I didn’t even go for the event, I was up for in the desert for four days and left before the gates even opened.

The PhD work was too much.

Not to mention working full time, plus.

So, I missed 2018 and 2019.

And then the pandemic.

Knocking out 2020 and2021.

Although I had people who asked if I would consider going to “Plan B” the unofficial event last year, you know that one that was not sanctioned by the org, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

But.

I was too close to defending my dissertation, I had also just had the first of my two major surgeries, and it was too much.

This year I had been prepared to go months ago.

I was going to help run and manage a kitchen on playa for an art project a dear friend of mine is builidng.

But an unexpected tax bill, what the fuck accountant?!

And the looming paying back of student loans dissuaded me.

I hung up my apron and prepared to sadly not go.

Except.

Well.

There was this day three weeks ago, a month ago, I don’t know, time is wonky for me still, when it was hot out.

Like hot.

Like 93 F.

San Francisco rarely gets hot.

Even now, in the middle of July, I am wearing a hoodie, and it’s not because I have COVID, it’s because I live in San Francisco and fog.

But it got hot that day.

I remember a couple of last minute client cancellations led me to having a leisurely lunch and left enough time for me to go for a long walk.

Without a sweatshirt.

Without layers.

In a sundress.

And bare legs, I wasn’t even wearing leggings.

Oh my, my, my.

Speaking my fucking language.

Only thing about summers in Wisconsin I really miss–warm nights without having to wear layers, sundresses all day long, hair upswept in a messy bun, humid wind kissing your skin.

Sigh.

This day in SF wasn’t like that.

It was more like Burning Man.

Hot.

Dry.

Warm wind.

I was walking down Laguna crossing Fulton, and I was just drenched in sun and hot wind and I sighed, “oh, this feels o good.”

“Just like Burning Man,” a little voice in my heart whispered.

And like that.

Like that.

I decided to go.

I reached out to a bunch of folks.

I asked after tickets.

I received more than a few offers.

Some of which I couldn’t quite comply with the asks, pre-burn, build week, nannying, work duties, etc.

But one of them I could take and so I did.

And like that.

I had a ticket.

And plans began to brew and things began to fall into place.

Like fast.

Sometimes when I know that I’m supposed to do something, everything just falls into place.

If it’s meant to be you can’t fuck it up.

If it’s not meant to be you can’t manipulate it into happening.

This was definitely meant to be.

And although the loss of revenue missing a week of work being sick with COVID has definitely stung, it hasn’t made it impossible.

My ticket is paid for and my vehicle pass and I’m accruing all the gear that I need.

And maybe a few flowers to stick in my hair.

Like you do.

Or, ahem, like I do.

I got some boots, a new black out tent, a folding camp rocking chair, a new cooler, a new parasol, a new bicycle (I miss my old steed, I was looking at old phots of the event and I will miss that ride, but hopefully my new bike will be up to muster), a new queen size air mattress.

I’ve rented a cargo van with a friend that will be traveling in from Utah and I’ll be picking him up in Reno.

He’s got stuff in SF that I will bring up for him, so right now we are splitting costs on the rental.

I almost thought about stuffing my little Fiat with all my things, mounting a bicycle rack on the roof.

But.

Ahem.

A girl likes her clothes.

And also, unobstructed views whilst driving.

So.

I agreed to the van.

Which I think will actually come nicely in handy.

Provide some shade for my tent as well as be a place to hole up in if there is a dust storm.

And plenty of space for my friend’s gear, plus another if we wanted.

Originally a mutual friend from Marin was going to ride up with me, but he’s bailed.

In all the preparing and list writing and chatting with a good friend of mine who has graciously accepted to take care of my cats, I suddenly had an idea.

Perhaps it was a vestige of COVID fever, perhaps divine inspiration.

I realized, huh, if I matriculate at the end of summer, that means I’ll be “graduating” on playa.

HOLY SHIT.

I can have a graduation party.

At the best party in the whole fucking world.

With all the friends I couldn’t have come to my graduation.

Because I was only allowed three people at my weird ass hybrid zoom graduation reception at my school in May.

I contacted my dear friend with the art project and he’s going to help me plan a ceremony at his art piece!

I’m going to graduate on playa.

I am also going to walk in my full PhD regalia–robe, funny hat with the pom, and my hood.

Oh yeah.

Then I am going to burn it at the Temple and leave the institution behind and move into whatever next phase of life I am supposed to be having.

This year is special too as it marks my 20 year anniversary of moving from Madison, Wisconsin to San Francisco.

My best friend from Wisconsin rode shot gun with me in my little two door Honda Accord packed to the gills, rode I-80 all the way to the Bay back in 2002.

We were gassing up in Nevada getting ready to go through the Sierra’s and she said, looking at some dirty hippy with literally a cardboard sign, begging for a ride to Burning Man on the exit ramp to the gas station, “we should go.”

“Where?” I asked, toggling the nozzle of the gas pump to get every last precious drop into my tank.

“Burning Man,” she replied.

I looked at my car, stuffed full of my life and the soft pack of a super sized duffle strapped to the top and thought, no fucking way am I taking all that I own out to the desert in this car.

I laughed and got back in the car and we started to drive towards Tahoe.

My friend tried one more time to convince me, “this might be my last chance to go!”

______________ “I’m not going, it’s impossible, I can’t take my car out there with all my stuff, and I have to pick up the keys to my sublet in the Mission,” I replied.

And then I remember pausing and thinking, how do you know about Burning Man?

I had read about it in a 1995 issue of Spin magazine.

And yeah, I was definitely down with going, just not right then.

“What do you think Burning Man is?” I queried my friend.

“It’s a radical feminist movement where they BURN THE MAN!”

If I could have fallen out of my seat laughing I would have.

In some ways, my friend is actually right, Larry Harvey and all that he is and that they burn a man, yeah, but there is a very heavy lift that the women in the organization have done quietly behind the scenes for a long time.

Believe me.

I have seen some things.

Anyway.

We did not go that year.

But every since I started going, my friend gives me shit, that she missed her time.

She wasn’t wrong.

She got pregnant just after leaving San Francisco, literally that weekend, and then had three boys.

One who just graduated from highschool.

What the hell?

And here I am, almost 20 years later, all excited about going out to that thing in the desert again.

Where I will graduate into my next level of life.

Or just have a quiet spiritual experience while I ride my bike far out into the edges of the playa to look at the stars.

Who knows where this life is going to take me next.

But I’m down for it.

I’ll be there.

With flowers in my hair.

Seriously.

And maybe a glow stick.

Heh.

I’d Like to Buy a House

June 13, 2022

I would say, with some glee, as I forked over a spate of pastel colored pieces of Monopoly money. I liked to slowly developed my prime real estate, keeping a few dollars back in case I landed on someone else’s quick built up into hotels.

I preferred the green properties on the Monopoly board.

Not quite the same high end prices as Boardwalk, but nice places, chi chi.

“You’re just like San Francisco,” I was told once in passing, “you used to be hipster and now you’re bougie.”

Ahem.

I was both annoyed and flattered.

It’s kind of true.

I can’t tell you when the last time I went out for a ride on my flip flop one speed Mission Bicycle, although I could if I looked at my social a bit, I do tend to document when I go for rides now.

I call them “bike’ies” instead of “selfies”.

Just my bike leaned up against some cool street art.

I have a lot of those from when I lived in Paris in 2012 and 2013.

These days, not as many.

I tend to walk everywhere.

Yes, I do have a car, but, um, when you score a good spot in your hood and don’t have to move it for street parking until Friday, you, I mean, I, walk everywhere.

I did take the car out today, early this afternoon.

I went to an open house.

I guess this is when the bougie piece comes in.

Sort of.

I do actually want to buy a house.

I always have, but I never really thought that it would be possible.

Until recently.

I had a talk a few years back with a woman I know who is a realtor and helped a mutual friend buy a house.

I knew how much said mutual friend was making and thought, huh, I wonder, when I get into my private practice, I might be able to swing that.

So I had coffee with the realtor and told her my deal and that I was years out, but intrigued.

She told me to get a credit card.

Which I did not want to do, but build up your credit was the advice I was given.

Before I got sober I burned my credit to the ground and it was bad news bears getting out of that financial hole.

But I did.

And I swore, no more credit cards, ever.

NO.

But, the realtor was convincing, and I knew a few folks who used their cards wisely, paid them off immediately, and built credit whilst also getting airline miles.

Huh.

I could do that.

And, do that I did.

In fact, that’s how I flew to Hawaii in February.

Airline miles on a credit card.

I actually flew first class, I had a lot of miles accrued.

It was so worth it and my credit score has gone up significantly.

I don’t keep a balance, ever on my cards, yeah, cards, I now have two.

One is Alaska Airlines for flying to Hawaii and the other is Air France, for flying to Paris.

I’ll be able to fly free the next time I go to Paris, well, not the trip I have booked December, I already bought that, but the next time.

You know there will always be a next time I fly to Paris.

Anyway.

I have great credit.

My car is payed off, I have no credit card debt, and though, yes, I do have a ton of student loan debt, I have started paying it down.

So.

Yeah.

757 is my score and that’s considered “good” to “excellent.”

Rewind a few weeks back to hearing from a couple of people about their house buying adventures and I thought, huh, you know, I wonder.

I texted that realtor from a few years a go and we had coffee last Friday.

She thinks I can.

We started mapping things out.

I have done some research.

I have looked at a lot of things on Zillow and Bay Area Modern Homes.

A LOT.

My eyes are kind of bugged out from looking.

I’m awaiting a call back from a mortgage broker to discuss my situation and I talked with my accountant this past week.

I don’t make an enormous amount of money, but my business is doing well and as my accountant noted, my income is very stable.

I don’t personally make what my business makes, basically I take home about half of what I make.

But that’s enough.

And it’s also not a lot, by San Francisco standards, and as it turns out I make under the cut off for the Below Housing Market in the city.

I’m not interested in a ton of those homes, but I am interested in some of the first time buyer loan programs the city has.

So next Saturday I’m going to sit through a two hour Zoom workshop and take the next steps to move forward to do the work and paperwork for the city to help with a loan.

I’m excited.

Today I went to my first open house!

It was perfect.

And not quite.

The view made me super happy, but it didn’t have much closet space and it had some dingy ass carpet in the bedroom, not my style, carpet.

But oh, the view.

Stunning.

And lots and lots of light.

Which is what I really want.

Give me light!

I’m looking at industrial lofts in the city.

I like how they look.

I always have.

Polished cement floors, exposed beams, concrete, big warehouse windows.

Something Southern and/or Western facing, a corner unit please.

Which is what this loft was.

The view of Twin Peaks was fantastic.

I want to stay on “this side” of Twin Peaks.

I served my time out in the fog and I want to be on the “sunny side” of the city.

The loft was on Bryant Street in the Mission.

18th and Bryant.

A neighborhood I know very well.

I lived just a few blocks over when I first moved to San Francisco, at 20th and York.

I would day dream about a loft conversion that was happening down the block, not the one I saw today, but actually quite close, and imagine one day living there.

I told the realtor I’m working with, maybe it’s crazy.

But.

I’d love to move on Labor Day weekend.

It will mark my 20 year anniversary of moving from Madison, Wisconsin, to the Mission District in San Francisco.

When I had a two month sublet, no job lined up, about 2k in savings, and a used two door Honda Accord (that I donated two weeks later after accruing six parking tickets) with my life packed into it.

How smashingly cool would it be to land myself in a loft, in the Mission, 20 years later?

Pretty fucking cool.

I can’t know what’s going to happen.

I’m not sitting on a big nest egg–I spent that on my surgeries last year, thinking I was giving up on the idea of buying a house.

But, I do feel like it’s possible.

Anything’s possible.

Right?

I got a PhD, my own psycho-therapy business, a car, I mean.

Fuck.

I have come a long, long, long way from juggling three to four to five jobs, and riding all over the city on my one speed to get from one gig to the next.

Hey, Mister Banker Man, I want to buy a house.

This girl’s got a dream.

Let’s make it happen!

Seriously.

Music For Dancing Slow

March 13, 2022

Oh bunny.

All the feels.

I have been thinking about you a lot recently.

You’re just in the air.

In my dreams too.

My God. I really have had a lot of dreams about you recently.

I used to not dream so much about you.

I don’t know why now.

But there it is.

Maybe it’s because I was in Hawaii recently.

I wore the necklace that you gave to me, the little glass heart, the one that you handed to me that day we drove to Sonoma to have a picnic.

The day I gave you cuff links, out in the high grass while we picnicked and made out and I was shy about showing you the tattoo I had gotten for you.

You told me a story about having bought the glass heart with a little fold of yellow ribbon in the glass, from a jewelry vendor somewhere in Maui and how it pulled you to buy it and you didn’t know why you were buying it.

For someone you had not met yet.

I wear that heart a lot.

I wear the bracelet with the infinity sign on it, every day.

Every day.

I’m still in love with you, likely always will be, and that’s ok.

You in the ether, ephemeral and close and then far away.

In my dreams, in my thoughts.

I sometimes still think that I will end up back in your arms, years later, run into you and be once more with you.

Hopeless, die hard, romantic here.

I don’t cry as much over you as I used to and I try to date and I’m not always so upturned over you, I can say I’ve moved on, a little, but I “pray, every day, that you’ll be back in my arms once again.

That just spun out into the air from my speaker.

It’s from one of the songs on one of your playlists that you made for me.

I haven’t listened to it in a very long time.

But.

I have been thinking about it.

Because.

Analytics.

What does that mean exactly, you ask?

Well.

Lover.

I could be wrong, maybe I am, but I also wonder, could he, is he, “it was not so long ago that you broke my heart, tears on my pillow, pain in my heart, caused by you, if we could start anew, I would take you back and tempt the hand of fate” is he out there reading my blogs?

Also.

Side bar.

Wow.

This playlist seems a little too prescient.

You made this for me for our six month anniversary, I asked you to make me a playlist for slow dancing with you.

I wanted love songs to dance to and these are love songs, but they’re also predicting heart break.

Did you know, even back then, that we would cause each other so much heartbreak?

So, so, so much.

Someday, someway, you’ll realize that you’ve been blind, yes darling, you’re going to need me again, it’s just a matter of time.

Fuck.

You knew this was going to happen, didn’t you, we would bash our hearts out on each other and hurt each other and try again and again, so many times.

GAH.

Maybe I should stop playing this.

That was like a side bar to the side bar.

Back to the analytics.

So, my blog lets me know a few things on the back end of the platform that no one except me can see.

I can’t see who reads my blogs.

But I can see where in the world my readers are coming in from.

I can see how many reads a day I get.

I can see if someone is in the archives.

And.

I can see what particular blogs are being read.

And.

Well.

I’ve been seeing something recently that makes me think a lot about you darling.

And maybe it’s not you.

But someone, once a week, on Thursdays, which are actually Fridays for me I think (WordPress is on a different time zone so I don’t know if it’s actually Thursdays when the blogs are read), reads a bunch of my blogs.

And two of them constantly pop up.

“Love Songs and Nail Salons.”

And.

“Hello, Stranger.”

It feels like you’re out there, quietly waving to me.

You haven’t called me or texted me or emailed me.

You did connect with me briefly, oh so damn briefly back in October, just days before my dissertation defense, and we could have talked, you called after receiving a card from me, but when I had to go into a client session you left a voice mail and that was it, not another call or text.

Despite telling you I could talk, I sent you a text later after my session ended, but you said you were on “East Coast time” and going to bed and you never reached out again.

I got damn angry.

That riled me up for a while.

Then I had my surgery and had to finish my dissertation and then it’s the holidays and my birthday and that’s when I wrote Love Songs and Nail Salons.

You are intertwined with my birthday and you might always be.

I’m not sure how long this person, you or someone else, I like to pretend it’s you, I like to pretend you’re reading this now.

Fantasy.

Hope.

Idiocy.

You pick.

I don’t care if you don’t want me, I’m here right now, I put a spell on you, because you’re mine.

Boy howdy, you put together one hell of playlist darling.

Shoo bop, shoo bop,

Hello stranger, it seems so good to see you back again, how long has it been?

Seems like a mighty long time.

Oh fuck.

Wow.

That pulled some tears up.

Hmmm.

Yeah.

I still have all the feels.

I am grateful to be writing this though.

You’re not going to read it.

Someone will though.

And maybe that’s ok.

When the love is this strong it doesn’t go away, the grief, the pain, the sorrow, time doesn’t heal all the wounds, the arrows of love from Cupid’s bow, my container to hold it all just got bigger.

You know.

What I used to tell you to make the hurt less, um, hurt”y”.

Sometimes God breaks your heart to break it open and make it bigger, all the better to hold more love.

Can what you’re thinking bring happiness, or will it bring misery?

Honey bunny.

You knew.

You knew we were doomed.

You don’t have to tell me pretty baby, you want me to try and forget you, I’ll do the best I can.

I should have listened to this closer.

I think I was just so damn enamored with you at the time. So fucking in love with you.

I remember when I was told, people will tell you all the time who they are and what they can offer, believe them.

Yeah.

“I want to fuck you,” someone told me recently. He’s not available for anything else, and I heard it loud and clear and expect nothing else from him.

Should that come to pass.

Repeat to self.

When someone tells you who they are, believe them.

I wanted so bad to believe that you would get out of your situation.

But you told me all along, you couldn’t, that you wouldn’t.

And here I am, still, wondering, but maybe….

Ah.

Big, deep breath.

I had a revery once, last March, and I can’t even believe I am going to write this, but I am, because that’s what I do.

(“I could never write a blog,” an ex-lover once told me, “you wear your heart on your sleeve, you tell things about your life I never could.”)

While I was in Joshua Tree being all woo woo with a bunch of girls in the desert doing a guided mediation and a sound bath, how much more woo can you get?

But once I stopped having contempt prior to investigation.

Something happened.

I had a vision of the two of us.

I‘m a fool to want you, I’m a fool to want you, to want a love that can’t be true, a love that’s there, for others too. I’m a fool to hold you, such a fool to hold you, to seek a kiss that’s mine a lone, to share a kiss the devil has known. Time and time again, I said I’d leave you. Time and time again. I went away.

I had a vision of us in Hawaii, living together at the end of our lives, on a lanai, or a porch, you had me in your arms, I had long, long, long hair, threaded with gray and I was so frail, and I died in your arms while the moon set over the ocean.

I can’t get along without you.

Oh love.

Maybe that’s all there is to this love, this exquisite pain that lets me know I have loved and lived and still have so much life yet to go.

I don’t know who’s reading those blogs of mine so assiduously for the last stretch of time, but it’s put you in my mind.

If you ever go, darling, I’ll be oh so lonely, I’ll be sad and blue, crying over you, dear only.

By the way.

I had that vision far before I was even thinking about Hawaii or going to Hawaii, and now having been and knowing how much I resonated with the islands and how much you do too, oh Maui baby, I do wonder.

Maybe one day, some day, far away in the future, in another life, in some other dream, I will see you on a beach somewhere and be once more in your arms.

Unforgettable, that is what is what you are…like a song of love that clings to me, ooh, how the thought of you does things to me. Never before has someone been more unforgettable.

Until then, sweet heart.

Be kind to you.

Love yourself.

Take care of yourself.

And I will do the same.

Are you lonesome tonight, do you miss me tonight, are you sorry we drifted apart?

You gave me something no one else ever has and I will never forget it.

Even if I never see you again.

I will always have you in my heart.

Always.

Because.

Love is strange.

Do I Stay

March 6, 2022

Or do I go?

My upstairs neighbor has been playing horrid music all day.

All damn day.

Since 11a.m.

It is now 8:15p.m.

Non-stop, no rest, no break, hardcore electronic, thump, thump, thump bass music.

It is like living inside a headache.

How’s that meth treating you dude?

I’m pretty sure the kid is using, the hours he keeps, the loud music, the people in and out partying, banging the gate, the music that is non-stop.

He’s a DJ.

He’s actually a bagger at Whole Foods, not to disparage anyone in any service industry, but he’s a hobbyist.

Not a real DJ.

Or, not a DJ with any fucking talent.

Then again, even the best DJ on the planet might stress me out if I was listening to it non-stop without being able to turn it off for nine hours.

I’ll get a reprieve at 10p.m. when we play our nightly routine of chicken when I give him a few minutes to shut down the damn system, noise ordinance, and then go out and stridently ring the door bell.

He never answers, but the music does tend to stop.

Not always.

But a few complaints to the landlord–seven emails documenting time of day and levels of noise (anywhere from 12:30p.m. to once at 4:30a.m.) including me recording how loud it was with my phone and sending that in–a complaint filed with the city and calling the cops three times, has helped a bit to get him to comply with turning off the system.

Normally I’m not in my damn house all day, except when I’m in my home office seeing clients during the work week on video, and there are a few weekdays he obviously is not working–Tuesdays and Thursdays, when it’s going off all day long.

But today.

Ugh.

Today I was in the house all day long.

Not my happy place for a weekend day.

But I hurt my back a couple of days ago.

Fuck me.

I am getting old.

I pulled a muscle in my back and it has been a screaming nightmare.

I mean.

Ok.

I exaggerate a little but it has been really painful.

I got it, sigh, hopping around putting on a pair of leggings.

Ugh.

It just went out and I screamed and said, “no!” really loudly.

It was also, wait for it, the first day I was going back into office to see clients in person.

Fuck my life.

I hobbled to my office.

I have hurt my back in this same place before and know that the muscles there are not great.

The first time I injured it was back in 2005 and it was a dozy.

Like super fucking bad.

I didn’t pull a muscle then, I tore a muscle and it took so long to heal.

I couldn’t bend over, I couldn’t lift anything more than 5lbs for literally six or seven months.

I walked with a fucking cane for five months.

It was horrendous.

This was not that, but it spooked me, it was too close for comfort.

So I knew I had to take it easy the last few days and fortunately there has been some recovering, I certainly did not tear a muscle, I have been able to lift things and move around, although watching me put groceries away would have been a hoot if you had seen me trying to get things in the fridge.

Lift with your legs!

I got down too low at one point and just threw things in the fridge.

I also couldn’t load the bottom part of my dishwasher, so doing all the dishes by hand, luxury problem.

And let me not forget the agony of changing the cat box out.

Good grief.

Today I tried to go out for a walk and realized that I had been over compensating with other parts of my back and now the middle part and my shoulders are fucked up.

Gah.

So I just did a very slow mosey around a few blocks and came back home.

I got nestled on the couch with lunch, a heating pad, a book, a cup of tea and just stayed there the whole day.

Around 5p.m. I had had it with the music.

Remember the part about being inside a head ache?

Yeah.

I tried to nap and I couldn’t.

The music was just too much.

So.

I thought, well, hmm, maybe it is time to move.

All my requests about lowering the music have been pretty snubbed and I have kept telling myself, you’ll wait him out, he’s a kid, he’ll move soon, I have invested a lot in my home and it’s lovely and cozy and I don’t really want to move.

Although I could stand a little more natural light and a little less street noise to be honest and my utilities here are pretty high–it’s not really an energy efficient apartment.

But.

It’s a five minute walk to my office.

And I just started going back into my office.

And I like the location.

But.

Headache.

Pounding headache listening to this crap all day long.

So.

Craiglist.

And low and behold what is this?

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/apa/d/san-francisco-one-bedroom-gem-in-one-of/7450255496.html

Why look!

(UPDATED EDIT: I just went back to Craigslist after listening to more horrible music and thinking, yeah, maybe it is time to get the hell out of here and the ad changed! The ad fucking changed. It was listed for $2600, after I emailed my landlord the ad changed to $2750. I’m being gaslit, this happened to me when I saw my apartment when I moved in, I believe my landlord did a bait and switch putting an ad on Craigslist for $2750 which is what I had my filters set to on the site and when I came to see it, he showed me the ad for $2850, which is what my rent is, I was seriously confused but I also needed a place so I took it. And fuck, I should have taken a screen shot. GRRRR. I imagine there’s going to be a very interesting email tomorrow from my landlord.)

It’s the apartment across the way from me.

Which is literally the same size square footage as mine.

FOR $250 LESS!

Now it wasn’t always $250 less a month then my place.

No.

When it first went on the market they were asking pre-pandemic San Francisco rent: $3300/month.

They never got it.

The apartment has been empty now for about a year.

The rent dropped to $3100.

Then to $2950.

Then to $2850 about four, maybe five months ago.

How do I know this?

Because I have gone on Craigslist more than once in frustration around the noise of the music.

And the apartment always pops up in my search.

So when I saw it today I was livid.

What the fucking hell?

I furiously texted a friend, I perseverated on it, I pulled out my SF Tenant Handbook and I looked up negotiating a rent decrease. I Googled some articles.

I debated inside my head.

All the while listening to DJ Douche Bag.

My fond moniker for my upstairs neighbor–who fyi is not the master tenant, he moved in last May and has been a freaking nuisance since then.

I know he certainly doesn’t pay as much rent as I do.

And I decided.

Fuck it.

I’m writing the landlord.

I let him know that I needed a few maintenance things done at the apartment and then I made the request.

I let him know I wanted to renegotiate the rent (I had tried once last year in August and he shut me down but said he wouldn’t raise the rent this year).

I reminded him of the obvious, I’m quiet, amiable, pay my rent on time–actually early I literally pay the rent every month on the fifteenth for the upcoming month as this is when I get paid.

I’m a solid tenant.

I also said that it was unreasonable for me to be paying substantially higher rent than that which was being offered to a new tenant to the building and I asked for my rent to be lowered to reflect the rent being offered in the ad.

I also offered to sign a longer lease, 2-3 years, if that would help.

I actually don’t want to move, it’s a fucking hassle, but if the apartment across the way is being rented for way less then what I am paying and the noise upstairs continues.

I’m out.

Despite what I hear on the street about rents going up it doesn’t seem to be that way and the fact that a one bedroom in Hayes Valley in a rent controlled building has been on the market for over a year tells me all I need to know.

It’s time to lower the rent.

Right damn now.

I don’t believe the house party is going to stop upstairs, but if I was paying $250 a month less in rent I do believe I could tolerate it a little better.

And if my landlord isn’t amenable.

Cool.

I’ll be on the market for a new place.

Let me know if you know of anything.

Sans DJs.

Your graduation application

February 4, 2022

Has been successfully submitted.

Oh hell yeah it has.

The guy I’ve been seeing helped me double check that my transcripts showed the full credits for my program earlier this week.

Like, super fast, I’m all fumbling around on my phone, don’t know what I’m looking for, can’t find it.

“Here,” he said, “I’m good at stuff like this,” after he watched me bemusedly for a few minutes.

I handed him my phone.

30 seconds late, “here you go.”

And there it was.

My unofficial transcript.

Showing, oh quite clearly, that yes, I do have all the credits needed to graduate.

Fuck yes.

Good god damn.

I’m fucking going to graduate.

With my PhD.

I’m a doctor baby.

It’s still so surreal.

It’s been months since I defended my dissertation, and was named doctor at the defense, but because of the lateness in the semester and all things pandemic, the paperwork did not go through until the second week of January.

And then I was twiddling my thumbs.

What now?

What next?

Let’s go people.

Then I got an excited and gushing text from a former TA saying, hey it looks like school is going to do graduation in person!

“Are you going to be there?”

Um yes.

Hello.

But am I?

Because there were some wonky administration/tech issues with the website and I couldn’t use the graduation application portal.

It didn’t work.

Fucking technology.

So, I follow up with admin at the school and I’m told, go check and make sure that you have enough credits on your transcripts and then when you find out, email such and such person.

Which is what I was doing in the kitchen at the man’s house.

In fact.

It was he who encouraged me to check it via my phone.

I’m so phone adverse when it comes to certain things.

I have all my passwords on my laptop and sometimes I would just rather look at the larger screen and see the big words and images and not be scrolling my tiny phone screen.

Well.

It’s an Iphone, so not that tiny.

But still.

I like doing the computer.

But he was like, just do it now.

So I did, and I drop the transcript ball–why is the registrar page so challenging to navigate!? And then he gently intervened, and there it was. All the glorious credits with all the accompanying “A’s” and I saw I had enough and I emailed the tech person and then I did a happy dance around his kitchen.

And then he fed me steak.

Thank you.

Then.

I’ve waited all week to hear back.

And I thought tonight, well, what the fuck am I waiting for, go back into my student account and just check to see what’s happnening.

AND!

BOOM.

There it was.

The portal was blue.

The screen showed that I was allowed to apply to graduate!

Holy shit.

It is actually happening.

It also asked me to verify my name and how I want it to look on my diploma.

Bring that bitch to me.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans later, give me that damn piece of paper.

I have so fucking earned it.

I am over the moon.

My best friend from Wisconsin may even come out and watch me walk.

And my mom.

And my people in my recovery community.

Y’all come on by now.

I don’t yet know if it will be in person, pandemic fingers crossed please, but if it is I am also hoping that they do it at the same theater that they did my Master’s program graduation.

That would be hella swell.

Because, ha, it’s a ten minute walk from my house!

I won’t have to worry about parking.

heh.

Big sigh of relief.

It’s on.

I’m graduating.

Sunday, May 15th, 2022.

I’ll be a doctor for real.

New York State of Mind

November 7, 2021

It’s interesting what a little down time and sitting in my bed for, what now, twelve days?

What it will do to your mind.

I’ve been bed bound recovering from a surgery.

Third surgery this year.

Kind of crazy.

I have not had any surgeries in sobriety until this year.

I am no longer afraid of the pain pills or of becoming addicted to that shit.

I do not like them.

No.

I do not.

Ugh.

Gross, wonky thoughts, horrible nightmares, weird mind meanderings, drugged sleep.

Not for me.

When I was out there using and drinking and smoking and fucking around I liked the up all night kind of drugs.

Cocaine was my spirit animal.

This girl liked to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time.

I didn’t like the slow track.

Never have.

Likely never will.

I have a good girl friend who tells me I drive like her step mother.

Now in some vernacular circles that might come across as an insult, not in this case.

Her stepmother was a rally race car driver.

What my friend doesn’t know is that I slow down when I have folks in the car with me.

heh.

Anyway.

I will also add that pain killers, they do work you know.

I have found myself asking for them.

But only right after the surgery.

The first surgery this year happened in early February.

Burst appendix.

Well, it wasn’t burst until I was actually in the ER.

Then it burst.

Guess that’s a lucky place to be if you’re appendix is going to pop, might as well be where it will be taken care of.

I eschewed the pain meds, I said, no thanks, I’m sober, don’t want any, no way, no how.

Except.

Well fuck.

It was surgery.

And coming out of it was excruciating.

Apparently when I came out I still said no to the pain meds on offer, I have no memory of this.

However, after about twenty minutes or so, maybe more, maybe less, it’s hazy, I couldn’t take it.

The nurse who was typing up a note looked at me and said, “honey, you’re dying, let me give you something.”

Tear leaked down my face and I nodded yes.

Oh sweet God.

Was the relief immediate and welcome.

That was the only time I took anything.

I refused the rest.

But after having gone through that experience I realized I could handle surgery.

And not relapse.

Thank fucking God.

I also realized I was tired of my belly.

The loose skin from the weight loss.

Weight loss I’ve sustained for years and years and years now, twelve I think.

I was too old when I lost the weight for my skin to bounce back.

It just sagged.

I have always been self-conscious about it and it was disarming to lose all that weight and then be left with a body I still had to come to terms with.

I think that’s why a lot of folks actually gain the weight back.

The skin is depressing.

I did a lot of work.

I did a lot of praying.

I did a lot of acceptance.

And I had beautiful body experiences.

I have dated men who were stunning.

My ex for sure.

Gorgeous and hyper fit.

And I still felt self-conscious.

Not as much as I used to.

But it would happen.

No matter how many, “thank you God for this beautiful body” prayers I said, I still felt something.

Sometimes is was dismay, like if I hadn’t been messed with as a kid would I have drown myself in a sea of sugar to cope with the feelings that wouldn’t ever leave me.

Add weight to protect myself from the world, from the predatory gaze of men in my family or on the street on in school.

Would I have been just a normal size kid?

A beautiful body to match my beautiful face.

I used to wish that I could just cut off my head and put it on another body.

And yeah.

The work has worked and the acceptance has worked and I’m hella grateful for this body that I have been given to walk around in and ultimately, that it saved me, it took the brunt of the mental and emotional pain I was in and held it for me.

Thanks body.

And.

I also wanted something more.

Something transformative.

Like all my tattoos.

A new story for this body.

A new experience.

The appendectomy and the healing that happened and the focus on that part of my body pushed me to inquire about skin reduction surgery.

I have talked about it for years with my therapist.

I have dreamt about it, if I win the lotto type dreams.

So.

I talked to my GP.

And she agreed.

And she referred me to a plastic surgeon at Kaiser.

And I stood naked in front of a mirror and took 365 degree photos of my body and the sagging skin on my stomach and upper arms and sent a stranger photos.

My first naked selfies.

Probably my last.

And I met with the surgeon and he asked me why I wanted the surgery and I told him my reasons and I told him about all the work I have done and how long I’ve been abstinent and how much I wanted to do it, with tears on my face.

And he said.

“You’re the perfect candidate for this surgery, you really are, you deserve to have this surgery done.”

And he said.

“But your insurance won’t cover it, Kaiser won’t cover a dime of it, believe me, I have fought for this for many a patient.”

He asked me one other question, “does the skin on your belly prevent you from walking?”

Um, no.

And he said unless it was so much skin that it prevented my mobility my insurance wouldn’t cover it.

And he ended with, but I still think you should do it and I’m going to refer you some numbers of colleagues in the Bay, as Kaiser in San Francisco is not doing any cosmetic surgery at the moment due to the pandemic.

I took naked selfies for no good reason.

Ugh.

And for all the right reasons.

I called all the numbers and I got no after no because pandemic, because booked up, because on vacation, blah, blah, blah.

So.

I decided to go out of pocket.

I found my own surgeon.

Dr. Kenneth Bermudez.

And he is special.

He is fabulous.

He was amazing to meet and he’s been a dream to work with.

He was not cheap.

I blew all my savings.

I’ve been saving to buy a house.

But instead I decided to remodel the one I live in.

I also used student loans.

I ain’t gonna lie.

I figure I’ve become a great therapist, I have a full client load, I have a lovely business that I have built and worked on and put my heart into creating.

I can afford it.

I will make the money back.

So we set a date, July 16th, to do a brachioplasty, belt lipectomy, and butt lift.

There were some complications which meant that I had to derail the surgery a bit, turns out I was anemic and the surgeon wouldn’t due the full surgery.

But we compromised.

He did the brachioplasty.

And I’ve been recovering from that, pretty well, too I think.

It’s been rather extraordinary to not have the wings of skin hanging off my upper arms.

My arms are still healing and it was painful to go through the process, but man, it was worth it.

After a month and a half of healing I got an iron transfusion to accompany the plethora of iron supplements I had started taking in July.

And my surgeon set my date for the belt lipectomy for October 26th.

hahahahahahahaha.

Right after my PhD dissertation defense.

Can I just say that whole thing was stressful as fuck.

I successfully defended.

I am a doctor.

Huzzah!

And I pretty much turned right around and started getting myself prepped for the belt lipectomy.

Big ass surgery.

And in hindsight I am grateful that there were complications with the first surgery, I don’t think I could have dealt with both my trunk and my arms being inoperable.

It would have been too much.

So I went in 12 days ago and got it done.

He removed 7lbs.

7lbs!!

Of loose skin and tissue.

Fucking amazing.

I’m still too swollen to see much of a change, but I am excited for getting healed up enough to see the difference.

And wear clothes and buy new clothes.

And walk outside of my house.

I’ve been pretty bed bound for the last twelve days.

But.

I am happy to say.

That once again, I got off the pain meds really quick.

I was on Percocet, which is basically Oxycodone.

I hated it.

I mean.

In the beginning I took it without thought because I was in so much pain.

And I slept a lot, a lot, a lot.

But after my six day post-op follow up appointment I felt ready to titrate off the shit.

I went one more full day on the meds, going longer in between taking the pills.

And I had a plan to wean down and cut the pills in half and be off of them by this past Friday.

But.

Ack.

I remember one night, Tuesday it was, one week after the surgery, where I realized that I didn’t need them and that I didn’t want to continue taking them and I was afraid I would become bodily addicted.

So I stopped cold turkey.

And yeah, it wasn’t fabulous, the first night, Wednesday, was hard to sleep and I stayed up until 3 a.m. watching videos, but I got it out of my system and I haven’t had anything since this past Tuesday.

Four and a half days now.

Just Extra Strength Tylenol, lots of bubbly water, and videos.

Movies, series, cooking shows.

And for some reason.

An awful lot of what I have watched has been set in New York.

I have always wanted to live in New York.

And in some ways I sense it’s a good thing I didn’t when I was till actively drinking.

I think New York might have been the death of me, San Francisco nearly was.

So I never made it there.

I never moved there.

But I have thought of it often.

A brown stone in Brooklyn.

A therapy practice.

Seasons.

Granted.

I know winter there is not the bucolic cinematic scene that I watch cozied up with my fuzzy blankent.

Winters are brutal.

But spring, summer, fall.

Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?

I am nostalgic for a place I have never lived in, though I have visited three times.

And I fit in.

I fit in quite well.

I love the characters, and the character of the city.

I also know it can grind a person down and I know a lot of folks that have moved away.

But there is something about it.

Even now, on the cusp of turning 49 I think about moving to New York.

Though I sense you have to be young to make it in New York and really get established.

I am too old.

I have my one bedroom rent control apartment in Hayes Valley and my office is a five minute walk away.

I have the fog and the cable cars and the trolleys, the ocean, the multitude of beautiful hills and vistas, the Victorians.

Sure.

Yeah.

There’s homelessness and rampant drug use and shit on the sidewalk and some guy in the neighborhood who walks around with a super huge sound system strapped to a rolling cart, but there is still beauty.

So much beauty.

And just like I fit in New York.

I fit in San Francisco.

I’m in year twenty of living here.

So.

I don’t think I’m moving to New York anytime soon.

But there is something there.

A life maybe, running parallel to the one I am in now.

That once in a while I can just see out of the corner of my eye.

So when I’m ready and fully healed up I think it might be time for another trip back.

Which might be a bit yet, I do have to heal and I am going to Hawaii in February for a conference.

Maybe in the summer.

A four day weekend.

A stay at some swank hotel or a cute Air BnB in Brooklyn.

Until then.

I’ll keep watching videos.

I’m still on bed rest.

But I’ll keep the dream alive.

New York, you’re so often on my mind.

You Have My Thoughts

January 25, 2021

An old friend reached out to me yesterday.

We talked for a long time.

We have been friends for a bit over fifteen years.

He was so effusive about how my life has turned out and all of the challenges I have faced to get to where I am.

“I know what you did, it’s amazing, you pulled yourself up from literally nothing and worked harder with constraints that few people I know would have been able to get through,” he said.

He witnessed me in my first year of sobriety when I literally had nothing, could barely make the rent, even cheap, rent controlled rent, barely had money for food, let alone a bus pass or taxi cab.

He took me everywhere.

He had a scooter and a convertible Mercedes Benz.

I was either on the back of that scooter or I was in the passenger seat of that Benz all the time.

We were joined at the hip.

Everyone.

EVERYONE.

Thought we were dating.

But nope.

Nary a kiss, never a date, nothing.

Although we would do things that if I was witnessing others do, especially a man and a woman, I would think, oh yeah, they’re totally together.

He took me out to lunch and dinner all the time.

He bought me clothes.

I was so broke in my first couple of years of sobriety, so broke.

He took me out dancing.

We both loved to dance.

We saw djs all over the city.

Sometimes we would just drive around in his convertible with the top down and blast music and find spots to dance–Twin Peaks, the little cove down by the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, random parking lots in the SOMA, Treasure Island.

It was a night out at Treasure Island, with no fog and a warmer than usual temperature, the city across the bay sparkling and magic, that I asked him after we had been dancing in the headlights to music and had collapsed back into the car to drink water and catch our breaths.

“Why aren’t we dating?” I asked.

He paused.

He was quiet for a long time.

He said, “well, I mean, I guess I could see you giving me a blow job, but where would it go after that and we’re such good friends, I mean, it just doesn’t seem worth going there.”

I punched him in the arm, “you could see me giving you a blowjob?!”

“Well, yeah, I mean, you know, you’ve got a great mouth,” he replied and grinned at me.

“Yeah, good luck with that,” I said and looked back out over the water.

I never gave him a blow job.

We stayed friends.

Thick as thieves.

And life happened.

Life happens.

My best friend died, he know I had a crush of sorts on my friend, and would tease me once in a while about that, but also in a way that didn’t really razz me up.

When Shadrach died in General Hospital someone reached out to my friend and said, “come and get Carmen and take her out and feed her.”

I was shellacked.

I had been in that ICU by Shadrach’s side or with his family for seven days in a row, eight maybe. My friend had not been able to make it in to say good bye to Shadrach.

But.

He showed up that night in his Mercedes and took me to Chow on Church and Market and he told me to order a steak and eat it.

I did.

Then he took me out to Treasure Island and told me, “talk about it.”

I did.

I told him all the stories and the sadness and the horror of watching Shadrach die and he just held my hand and let me cry on his shoulder.

He was a good friend.

He always was.

Sometimes a bit intense, sometimes suddenly unavailable, but someone I could talk to for hours, someone who made me laugh, someone who always was up for having and adventure.

The time we went to see Gary Neuman at the Fillmore and then got out of the show with enough time to whip over to the Castro Theater and see Tron.

Or Goldfrapp at the Fillmore.

Or Sunshine Jones in so many different clubs.

Or Eric Sharp at some underground deep in the SOMA in a warehouse.

Or when he got a projector and we found a deserted parking lot in the SOMA next to a huge white painted wall and watched the Daft Punk Movie Interstella 5555.

Or sitting in front of Ritual in the Mission, before they had outside seating, on the sidewalk drinking lattes, with a boombox blasting Michael Jackson.

He taught me how to play dominoes, “bones,” and then would brutally beat me at it all the time.

I could name a lot more.

There were many, many, many adventures.

The weekend in Vegas.

And there were many, many, many girlfriends.

Some who liked me.

Some who absolutely couldn’t stand me.

My friend dated women I worked with, mutual friends, women I sponsored, (Shadrach joked once, “why doesn’t he just go right to the source,” meaning me), friends of other friends.

All sorts of ladies.

He got serious with one of them and I really liked her, hell I even lived with them for a couple of months when I had lost a job and my apartment in Nob Hill with seven years sober and ended up taking a huge pay cut and going to work at Mission Bicycle Company as a shop girl, she was sweet.

They opened a hair salon together.

One or the other of them was always doing my hair.

I was my friend’s hair model for a long time.

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I got to rock some ridiculously fabulous hair.

Most of the time.

Every once in a while he did something that I was like, “dude, no, cut it off.”

The time he gave me a tail.

That only lasted two days.

Maybe only half a day, now that I think about it.

He also went to school to learn make up and to this day I credit him with teaching me how to do makeup.

And to love glitter.

When he reached out to me recently I told him I had stopped dying my hair crazy colors, after he and his girlfriend moved away, I went to a mutual friend who took me blonde and then hot pink, to be a therapist and have a professional look.

I even toned down the make up for a bit.

But it snuck right back in.

I couldn’t give up the glitter.

He texted me, “NEVER give up the glitter.”

A lady likes a man who isn’t opposed to glitter.

He got engaged.

He bought a house.

They broke up.

He moved to L.A.

That’s where he’s at now, muddling through the pandemic as an essential worker.

I can’t even imagine, although a number of my therapy clients have indicated that they consider me an essential worker, I just can’t imagine being out in the public as much as my friend is.

We reconnected back around July or August, played a lot of phone tag, and didn’t actually get to talk until after Thanksgiving.

And it was like riding a bike.

We talked for hours.

Every week or so we’d text a little.

And we caught up after the holidays and.

And.

Well.

Ha.

He’s interested, all these years later, in dating.

I was surprised as hell.

Although, when I have had some time to think about it I realized he’d asked a few times what my dating situation was.

“Non-traditional,” I replied once.

And.

He sent me a song one day on Spotify, “I Adore You,” by Goldie.

I loved the song.

I looked up the lyric’s, well, huh, those are some interesting lyric’s.

This seems like a love song.

Is my friend sending me a love song?

Maybe.

When all is said is done
After the run we’ve had
Let me be the one
I’ll be there for you
Better to let, better to let you know I was a fool in love
Just enough to want you more I adore you
And I’ll never let you go I adore you When all is settled dust
After the storm has passed
Let me be the one to shine on you
Better to let, better to let you know I am a fool in love
Just enough to want you more I adore you
And I’ll never let you go After the run we’ve had
After the tears we’ve cried
On all those lonely nights
I still want you in my life I see you in my mind
And now the sun don’t shine
And I’m just getting by
So why can’t you be mine?

It sounds like a love song!

And then.

One night, it came out, he was texting me and he said, “would it be crazy if we went on a date?”

What?!

We texted back and forth for a while and decided, maybe it would not be.

We went a few weeks without talking about it and he did his thing and I did my thing.

But.

It’s come up again and we talked yesterday, for a long time, and we’re going to give it a shot.

Holy shit.

I mean.

I still can’t quite believe it.

He’s going to take some time off from work and come up over a weekend and stay at an old friends house and we’re just going to see what it feels like.

HOLY SHIT.

I’m excited, nervous, think I need to lose five pounds, happy, curious, all the things.

We both agreed that whatever happens, we’re just investigating and we won’t stop being friends.

It could be a hilarious wrong turn.

Or it could be a dance party.

I don’t know.

He doesn’t have a Mercedes anymore.

But he does have a Cadillac.

So I expect we will cruise around the city and revisit old haunts.

And maybe.

Make out?

We shall see.

More will be revealed.

It’s A Good Thing

January 18, 2021

To write.

I am making an effort to get my blogging back on.

This is not a New Year’s resolution, seems late in the month for that shit anyway.

I can’t remember the last time I made a resolution.

I like my life.

I don’t feel compelled to do some big self-improvement.

Granted.

There are some things I would like to do a bit more.

Definitely a little more exercise.

Being housebound with the pandemic and also not nannying and sitting my office chair for eight or nine hours a day has left me feeling a smidge out of shape.

So.

More outside time, more walks and more bicycle rides.

Especially since I took my trusty whip into Valencia Cyclery yesterday and got her nice and tuned up–adjusted the headset and got a new silver Izumi chain.

She rides like a dream.

I’m committing to at least two bicycle rides a week, maybe three, and more walks.

I have been walking, though I feel like I could just keep that up as much as possible.

My whip all dolled up with a new silver Izumi chain.

I’m alone a lot, who the fuck isn’t, with the pandemic and shelter in place.

At least getting outside I see people in real time, rather than Zoom time.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fuck out of Zoom, I get to meetings, I work with clients via video, I am grateful.

But it is not the same as seeing people in the flesh.

Even if they’re masked.

I recently had a friend move to the neighborhood–literally two blocks away! And I’m excited to connect and get some face to face, six feet away, and do some walk abouts in the hood.

I’ve recently ended the relationship, again, god, I am done with it.

Really.

Done with it.

No more.

Move on.

Move the fuck on.

Be available for something true and sustainable and transparent.

The holidays were tough and I realized I’d compartmentalized a lot of my feelings since reconnecting with my ex, mostly because I so desperately needed human connection, but after opening up Christmas gifts alone I really broke down.

Plus.

That night, Christmas night, an old friend reached out to me from L.A. and asked how crazy would it be if we went on a date.

Holy crap.

That was from left field.

He’s also had some experiences dating women coming out of bad marriages and/or divorces and he pretty much shared that he’d recently turned someone down due to that and how really unavailable they were and it resonated a bit too much.

I teared up.

I divulged some of the ups and downs of the past few years and we commiserated.

He also made a play for me and made it pretty clear he’d like to connect.

Granted we’ve not talked more than ten minutes on the phone since that time and scattered texts, AND, he’s in LA, so long distance and on fire with COVID right now, so not really anything coming of it.

Except.

How much my heart longs for an honest, out in the open, committed monogamous relationship.

It led me to have no contact with my ex for a week–also because I had to study, had to, for my LMFT exam.

That was some crazy.

I grinded for a good week on the studying.

I already had been studying for weeks, six at that time, put in a total of seven, but that last week prior to the test I probably put in about 40 hours of study.

On top of seeing my full client load.

I was bonked.

I turned off my phone.

I deleted Instagram off my phone.

I saw no news.

I had already deactivated Facebook.

It was just me and the study guide from The Therapist Development Center.

And.

It worked!

I passed!

I passed!

I passed!

So freaking grateful.

I took the exam on Wednesday, January 6th, the same time as the idiocy that was breaking out in D.C.

Not that I knew anything.

I was in a box on the fourteenth floor of 201 California Street downtown and had nary a clue what was going on.

Thank goodness.

I mean.

I found out soon thereafter, but I was so foggy brained after taking the four hour exam that not much registered until the next day.

I texted a bunch of folks my news, including my guy, and I thought, after a week of no contact I would get back more than, “Congratulations beautiful.”

But that’s what I got.

And I knew that we were going to end.

And that it was over, yet again.

And that’s ok.

I mean.

I have to forgive myself and accept my messiness and let go of the sadness.

I believe that some part of me thrives on that sadness, or is comforted by it, and all the old story lines of unrequited love and yada, yada, yada.

No more.

Free.

Out to the world.

Masked.

But out.

And writing again.

Not just because of the ending of the relationship, partly yes, but because God’s given me this time that I needed, desperately needed, to work on my PhD study.

I put it way on the back burner to teach Psychodynamic’s at CIIS this fall and then I had myself immersed in my studying for the LMFT exam.

Now that I have finished teaching and am “just” working as a psychotherapist, I am dropping deeply into doing the work necessary to catch up on the time I lost for my study.

Every day I have been doing a little bit.

I just keep telling myself that I have to do a little every day.

And today, I also recognized, as I was combing through some old blogs for data, that I also have to get my writing chops back on.

It’s been a while since I sustained a daily blog practice.

I don’t think that I can do that right now, but I can at least get back into it on a weekly basis.

So.

Pledging to at least sit here and write on Sundays, and any other day that feels sutainable.

Continue working on gathering the study data and keep doing the work to transition from my agency to my own private practice.

I still am 100% on board for defending my dissertation this year.

So.

I have to get the work done.

Have do.

And.

EEK.

I got asked to work at Burning Man.

Holy moly.

I mean, I don’t know if it will actually be able to happen with the pandemic, but that I was asked, also lit a fire under my ass.

I would love to go and be completely free to enjoy it.

So.

Again.

Show up.

Suit up.

And do the next action in front of me.

This is the final push.

I finish this and no more school.

I am so ready for that.

So ready.

Seriously.

Overwhelm

August 24, 2020

I got hit with it yesterday.

I was on a Zoom call.

When am I not on a Zoom call?

I was going over the lesson plan with the former professor of the Psychodynamic’s class that I am teaching this fall at CIIS.

The class that starts next weekend.

And.

I got panicked.

We had been on the call for a while, an hour and half maybe, she’s also my supervisor, so I was also doing client work, it wasn’t all class prep.

But, the last half hour of it was and I suddenly felt myself totally start to lose it.

Like a slow motion melt.

I should have known.

I was wearing cat eye makeup with black eye liner.

Guaranteed to have an emotional moment and cry, I mean, duh, I should know by this point.

But.

Yeah.

Anyway.

I teared up, I got blown up, and overwhelmed and sort of lost it.

I said, “wait, stop, I don’t understand what you just told me.”

It sounded something like, “PDF, blah, blah, blah, download, blah, blah, blah, upload to Canvas, blah, blah, blah, blah blah, just sent it to you, blah, then you blah, blah, blah, and that’s it!  You’re all set.”

I literally had zoned out.

I am not a great tech genius.

I am ok.

I mean, hey I publish this blog.

Although half the time I just think of it as turning on a light switch, I don’t understand how electricity works, just that when I flip the switch the light turns on.

Same here.

I sit down, I type some stuff, I edit it for spelling mistakes and then I hit the “publish” button.

I have no clue how it works.

You probably know this.

I don’t have some spiffy amazing page.

I don’t understand back end stuff.

My back end is what I am sitting on in my chair.

Basically what was happening was the back end stuff for the platform the school uses for online learning.

Also.

Let me reflect that when I agreed to teach this we were not in shelter in place, there was no pandemic (although there were some weird things going on out in the world.  I do remember telling my supervisor that I felt like something big was going to happen. I thought maybe there would be a dot.com bust not a pandemic), I was going to be teaching in person, lecturing in front of a class.

NOT ON A ZOOM CALL.

Fuck.

So figuring out how to handle the class and transition to online teaching and making PowerPoints (why God why?) and uploading this and creating that.

And fuck.

Vomit.

Shit.

I am the wrong person for doing this.

I am not going to lie.

I wish I wasn’t teaching.

I wish I could just quit.

Technically I could quit.

California is an “at will” state.

I could get fired at any time and I can quit at any time.

However.

I just don’t think I can quit five days before the class starts.

I can be an asshole, but I’m not that much of an asshole.

Also.

Jesus fuck am I glad I did not accept the core faculty position.

The thought of having to do more work like the work I have been doing to prepare for this class makes me want to throw up with anxiety.

I already have enough anxiety.

Which was pretty obvious to me yesterday.

I love my therapy clients, but everyone of them is stressed to the max, hello pandemic, the current political situation, riots, economy in the tank, and oh yeah, the fires.

The world is literally and figuratively on fire.

I have had a low grade constant headache for the last four days.

I hate even complaining about it.

I”m safe in San Francisco, but the smoke is bad, I don’t have to evacuate my home like so many people I know.

My supervisor had to evacuate her home three days ago.

I don’t have problems.

I do have a headache though.

Currently in California there are 560 wild fires happening.

There’s a lot of smoke.

I made myself go for a walk yesterday despite the smoke.

I could only handle being inside for so long.

And.

Yeah, the overwhelm thing and me crying on a Zoom call with my anxiety about getting all the tech crap set up for the class and I was kaput.

I had intended on working on my dissertation proposal defense yesterday and I just had no juice left.

I mean none.

I called a bunch of friends and left messages and tried to focus on listening to others instead of whining about my stuff.

And then.

Oh.

The loveliest thing.

I connected with a friend who also was out for a walk and we literally happened to be three blocks from each other.

I hadn’t seen him since right before shelter in place and it made me want to cry.

He’s housesitting in my neighborhood!

We walked, socially distant, in our masks, through the smoky streets of the Mission District and caught up and laughed and joked about hugging, but we did not.

I felt a lot better.

Not good enough to give my proposal any work, but better.

Truth.

I haven’t worked on it today either.

Except in my mind and in my heart and in my psyche.

That’s my soul.

My PhD work is around healing sexual abuse trauma.

Mine in particular.

And it’s a lot to hold.

I just have to acknowledge that.

When I’m strong and resourced and the world isn’t on fire or in a pandemic or a crazed political state, I am able to do the work.

Right now.

The work is letting myself off the hook.

Resourcing with friends.

Breathing deep (inside my sealed house).

Sleeping eight hours a night.

Watching silly light hearted tv (Glee).

Sitting with my cat.

Calling friends.

I’ll get the proposal done (another PowerPoint, ugh again).

I will teach the class next week.

I will be great in them both.

Because I am smart and strong and I am a good teacher and I will make mistakes and that’s ok too.

I will show the fuck up.

As I know from showing up in the past.

It really is 90% of the work.

The rest is non-judgmentally allowing myself to teach without expectations of perfection.

I’m perfectly imperfect just the way I am.

Recognizing that is the work.

So.

Yeah.

My proposal.

It will get done and I will be ok.

Everything is going to be ok.

It really is.

Hello Again

August 2, 2020

It feels like forever.

And it has been awhile.

But I am still here.

Still writing, though not so much on this platform

I have missed it, but I have also been too tired most days to log in and write.

I write in the mornings still, long hand, my three page a day habit, thank you The Artists Way, thirteen years and still going strong.

I have thought about this though, my blog, the thing that I would do religiously come rain or shine, good day, bad day, nothing really happened today day.

I sort of had a nothing happened today day, with highlights of, this is surreal, though I’m used to it.

Sort of.

We’re still deep in the pandemic and although it’s been five plus months now, there are times I’m still caught off guard with the strangeness of it.

Or that I am estranged from my friends, fellows, family, colleauges.

Oh the desire to hang out with friends at a coffee shop.

Although, truth, I did sort of last weekend.

I drove up to the Russian River area with a friend, one of the few people allowed in my bubble, and we did get coffee at a cafe in Guerneville.  There was no sitting inside, though, grab and go.

So many things are shut down, but when I get the chance to go to a cafe or a restaurant I have done so.

It happens quite infrequently.

I do better weathering things on my own.

I have been very safe and very cautious and kept pretty to myself since this has all been unfolding.

But yeah, a trip to the Russian River and being out in the sun felt extraordinary.

It’s not a big deal typically, but a bunch of months of quarantine and I felt like I was playing hooky, albeit wearing a mask, from the pandemic.

Also.

Just getting out into the sunshine was so good.

San Francisco, got to love her, has been having her typical “summer weather” which is cold, foggy, overcast and quite dreary.

Add that to the general malaise of the pandemic and it’s a bit depressing.

So when my friend suggested we head out of town and get some sun I hesitated, I have things to do (homework, prep for teaching, zoom meetings), but folded as soon as I googled the Russian River and saw the trees and sun and water.

I’m glad I did.

I am also grateful for getting out of the city.

I haven’t been outside of the Bay Area since before shelter in place.

I realized the last time I had gotten out it was Christmas when I went to Paris.

Now, that’s nothing to shake a stick at, but it also meant that I hadn’t left the city in over six months.

I don’t, fyi count Oakland, Berkeley, or Alameda, all places I have gone to, as getting outside the city…they just feel like continuations of it.

Though, San Francisco is definitely in transition, it is still the city, and once in a while to appreciate the city, I need to leave it.

I will go up one more time to the Russian River before summer ends.

Just a quick day trip to work on some teaching prep the weekend before I start teaching Psychodynamic’s.

I’m not exactly excited, truth be told, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much of a summer–my private practice therapy business has been full (and yes, I do know how lucky I am to have work to do) and I have been doing so much psychoanalytic theory reading, my brain feels about shot.

But.

I have finished, as of today all the books that are required reading for class.

I also, I haven’t shared much about this, turned down the core faculty position I was interviewing for.

I found out how much work was expected and how little money was being paid for it and I changed my mind about wanting to work for the school–I was making more money as a private professional nanny then what they were offering for a full time core faculty professor in a master’s program.

No thank you.

I kept thinking to myself that I did not work this hard to keep working harder for less money.

I felt bad, for a moment, when I told my individual supervisor who really wanted me to take on the teaching position, but I realized if I had taken it I would have been terribly resentful with myself for taking on so much work.

Especially since I am still working on my PhD.

It’s been a minute since I’ve been here, so I cannot recall if I have written about that the last time I was blogging.  But.  I have made some progress there.  I have my external third committee chair member and she has my dissertation proposal as does my internal second.

So.

I await their critiques and get to start working on a Power Point (ugh) to defend my proposal.

Once I defend the proposal I will move into PhD candidacy.

I am ready for that.

I am hoping that I will get to defend by the end of this month and then turn around and start doing the study part of my dissertation.

My hope is to do the study this fall and then do the writing for the dissertation in the spring.

I want to put in one more year and be done.

In fact.

That is my goal.

One more year at the school working on my PhD and teaching one master’s class, then I’m done.

I’ve been on this track for five years now.

I’m ready to finish it.

I have it in my sights and I am hopeful that I can put down my head and push through this last year.

I suspect things are going to be challenging with the pandemic continuing to rage and whatever weirdness is up and coming with the pending elections, but I shall keep busy, keep pushing and get through.

And.

When it’s all said and done and I have my doctorate.

I am going on a big fucking trip.

I’m thinking fly from San Francisco to London, train to Paris, then train to the South of France, rent a car there and tool around and then reverse the trip back.

Two, maybe three weeks.

That’s a carrot to work towards.

Seriously.


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