Archive for the ‘Surfing’ Category

The Jig Is Up

February 7, 2016

This is not what I wanted to hear from my person.

In fact, there was a lot I wasn’t expecting to hear from my person today and boy howdy, was it affecting and effective.

She pointed some things out to me as I watched my toes curl and uncurl in the warm sand.

At least I was in a sunny place to hear the news.

We met at Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club and walked from 46th and Judah out to the beach.

Every once in a while I need to stop and remind myself how lucky I am that I get to live here, literally steps away from the ocean, from the sand, the sun, the surf.

It was beautiful.

I was surprised by the number of people out at the beach.

Which I shouldn’t be, when it’s nice, the city shows up.

I was rather expecting that it would be quiet, all folks hailing towards the great sport ball thing downtown.

That was not the case, however, there were lots of folks out at the beach and we took a moment to find the right spot, a bright vantage over the beach, the sun sparkling on the water, the surfers out past the break.

I had a moment, spoken out loud and quickly acknowledged as bullshit, of thinking, how come I’m not out there, in the surf, surfing?

I am just not good enough, strong enough, fast enough, I’m not doing enough.

I am not enough.

And.

I am fucking pissed off.

Angry.

I was surprised to have it named.

She named it, I recognized it, and yeah, there it is.

Fire.

Lighting my face.

I’m fucking mad.

Well.

Hello.

I had no fucking clue.

But once it was out of the bag, well, a lot more came out too.

“I noticed it the last time we met and I think it’s been going on for a while now,” she said.

Uh.

Yeah.

Fuck.

I mean I know I have been feeling uncomfortable and I know I push myself really hard.

“You need to lighten up,” she said.

Ugh.

Yes.

“It’s about happy, joyous, and free, you can’t bludgeon yourself into joy.”

Um.

Ok.

Fuck.

“Listen, these are good tears, these are not like the crying you were doing when we first started working together,” she added.

Yes.

This is very true.

I was in a painful spot then and this is more an uncomfortable place.

And I forget how I can get used to being uncomfortable, there’s a kind of, sick, yes, but known, comfort in it.

Except that I cannot sustain it like I used to and I don’t enjoy it and oh yeah.

It doesn’t fucking work.

EVER.

So.

We did some reading.

And man, I mean, come on, I have read this before, but it hit me so squarely, so right on target, like on a completely different level, I was blown wide open.

And yes, the woo woo, sunshine God shone down on me and I felt lifted.

My eyes raised and I watched a surfer catch a bomb and ride through a bright tunnel of water, the curve never quite catching up to him, it fell and he drifted over the top and into the valley, a trough of water, only to re-emerge and float over the next wave behind it.

It was a beautiful moment.

A pod of surfers out in the bright water.

The sun on my face.

My heart open.

My brain balking right and left at the suggestions I was hearing.

“You’re going to balk,” she said, “I know it, but I’m going to suggest it anyway.”

I thought, I’m not going to balk.

I balked.

Fuck.

I balked hard.

I’m still sort of balking.

Not really.

But I want to.

I don’t want to take the suggestion and the thing is, it’s a great suggestion and one that has been nibbling away at me for a while now, one that I know in my heart I need to do.

I need to.

It’s been suggested to me by my physical therapist, my therapist, my psychiatrist, my primary care doctor.

I could increase the list.

But basically what was suggested, what I know I should be doing, because what I am doing now is not quite cutting it, I need to exercise.

Ugh.

I so don’t even want to write that.

“You need to get some of the anger out,” she said, “get into your body, you push yourself so hard and you’re always thinking and you’re in your brain, you need to get into your body.”

This suggestion had been handed down from another woman, in my lineage, who had noted my antsy, angsty self a few weeks ago and she passed it along to my person, who passed it on to me, up in the dunes, down by the beach, girl get your exercise on.

I guess so.

“Swimming, dancing, yoga, take a class, three times a week, you’ve got two weeks to explore it and get back to me, and yes, I know you’re busy, but this is going to be really helpful for you,” she said and then added, “I was in the same place at the same time as you and it saved my ass.”

I know she’s right.

My shrink and my therapist had suggested it to me as a natural way to combat the depression and anxiety that I was suffering from, suffer from if I’m not careful about my diet and exercise.

And.

Yes.

I do ride my bicycle.

A lot.

But it’s not the same and I have known it’s not the same for a while now.

I’m not getting enough of it, it’s too easy, it’s infrequent, if ever, that I’m breaking a sweat or working, I’m just traveling, here to there, and often times, in my head, rather than in the present moment.

“That wall your friend was talking about, that will come down too,” she added.

Oh.

That would be nice.

I do want that wall to come down.

I do want to be approachable.

And I do want to lighten up.

I finished the reading with her, took my leave and met another lady at my house.

I shared what was happening and then made some suggestions, booking time down the road for our next meeting.

Then.

Lunch out side.

And a trip to the Haight where I bought some shoes.

Yes.

Yes, I did.

And I played pinball at Free Gold Watch.

And went to the Citrus Club for dinner–boiled edamame with sea salt, jasmine tea, and hot and sour shrimp soup with tofu instead of noodles.

So very good.

I then scooted up to Noe Valley and saw some folks I haven’t seen in a while.

I checked the fuck in.

I got accountable.

I shared my discomfort, in a general way, and I shared my solution.

And after I gave my number out to a few women I met.

It was a good day.

Even when the jig is up.

And it definitely is.

I am ok.

I am loved.

And I definitely took a giant step towards lightening up.

Hello joy.

It’s nice to see you again.

Let’s get reacquainted.

And.

Let’s get sweaty.

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Sunday Self Service

November 10, 2014

Down by the sea.

Yes.

That means what you think it means.

At least Mister Sexy has given me a head full of fantasy and as I was told yesterday, “maybe this is just an experience you get to have to see that you have that depth of passion within you.”

Maybe.

Passion needed outlet.

Done and done.

Then.

HOT shower.

There is just something about a hot shower.

So good.

This blog could also be called, Sunday Surfers, Sand Castles, and Shadows.

Sand Castles

Sand Castles

Surfer

Surf’s Up!

Sunset

Sunset

There were a lot of surfers out at the beach this afternoon, they all got the memo, the surf is great, the fog is lifting, get it before it’s gone.

The sets looked spectacular and I watched surfer after surfer scooting down to the shore with their wet suits draped in various stages of disarray as they hurried to catch the set before the sun was gone.

And the fog rolled back in.

LIfting Fog

LIfting Fog

Settling Fog

Settling Fog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I too was one of the locals making a mad dash for the waterfront.  I had been in a hazy foggy day almost all day, when the sun poked through I knew I had to get myself outside.

Bicycle rides to go grocery shopping, no matter how delirious the setting (which today was not so much, the fog was tightly socked into the shore and dense and grey, blocking out anything visible, except for the sound of the fog horns which seemed to shiver the clouds wafting inland), does not count as a getting outside situation.

Granted, it is really nice to have a couple of good markets close by and I got what I needed before my noon appointment at the house for tea and reading.

After the hour I spent the afternoon having a leisurely lunch and cooking up some food for the week.

“What is that smell, oh my God, it smells so good!”  My housemate exclaimed when she got home from work.

Italian white bean stew with black olives, onion, garlic, chicken, crushed tomatoes, spices.  Big pot of brown rice. Voila.

Food for the week.

And for dinner tonight.

Plus, of course, the  persimmon (currently riding the trend of raw cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt–sliced thinly and dredged through the spice mix with a hot cup of tea. YUM!) in stacks on the counter.

They won’t be in season much longer and I am stockpiling.

I could have a third title to my blog–Scooteria Sunday–all things alliterative please.

I saw a friend last night up in Noe Valley who recently got a scooter and he’s pretty handy with the tool box, he mentioned that he might be able to give me a hand with my scooter.

Last night was not a fun commuting night for me.

The scooter kept dying.

At one point it fizzled out on Diamond as I was coming up to a stop sign.

The hill was so steep where I was that I was afraid to let go the brake to give it gas to let out the clutch, to fuck me, I’m going to drop it, so I turned the handle bars and let it die, then pushed it over to the sidewalk and up the top of the hill.

Pushing a scooter up a hill is vastly different from a bicycle in case you were wondering.

It was frustrating.

Fortunate for me I was not that far from the top of the hill and I was able to restart and regroup and get back on.

But.

It happened again and again.

And again.

The Vespa probably died on me seven or eight times.

Possibly more, I really lost track.

My friend had a hypothesis that the idle needed to be set a little higher and I agreed with that summary.

I had some plans to get out and about on it today, but between how it was last night and the fog, I was against pulling it out and doing a thing.

Then, the late afternoon sun cut the fog and called me beachward.

I walked collecting seashells and talking to my mom on the phone about her recent hip replacement surgery and how her recovery was going.

I like calling mom from the beach, my toes in the surf, the sun flaming behind me, the surfers running into the water, the salt licking its way into my heart, I am a fire sign, perhaps that tempering once a week of salt water does it for me.

Heals me.

Sears my heart out a little.

It’s good stuff.

Self-portrait

Selfie by the Sea

I really do feel so much better with the sound of the surf in my ears, it drowns out the crap in my head and provides tender moments of blissful quiet that reinvigorate me like nothing else.

I have taken to calling my walks down there Sunday Service by the Sea.

I get right with God.

I take some photographs.

I see a friend.

Last week a friend joined me for a picnic and conversation on a blanket when the weather was sublime and it would have been a grave tragedy to not have taken my sacrament.

This Sunday I was walking blithely, watching the shore for shells, when I heard the little whistle of an incoming message.

Was I around?

Do I still want help with the scooter?

Yes!

Yes!

Yes please.

I scampered up the beach and exited at the end of Judah and Great Highway, he was across the street on his scooter hanging out in front of Java Beach.

We hugged, caught up and then hit it to my house.

He adjusted the idle and tightened the cable on the clutch.

It was like riding a new vehicle.

So pleased.

So taken care of.

The last title to my blog?

In the alliterative fashion I have composed–Sunday Surprise!

It’s been a weekend of gifts–clarity being the greatest one, then a surprise check from my little girl Thursday’s family for my services to them, a bottle of perfume from a friend today, so not expecting that, and a new book in the mail!  A surprise gift from another friend, who though we both live in San Francisco, at opposite ends of the city we don’t frequently get to hang out.  It was a darling thing to see a package for me in the foyer when I got home tonight.

Anne Lamott–Bird by Bird; Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

I could always use that.

Instructions, that is.

Sunday seems surplus with surprise, sunshine (unexpected), seashore, shells, surfers, self-care, soup, sublime splendor, and love.

Yeah.

I know love is not alliterative.

But when did it ever follow the rules?

Tumbled

December 30, 2013

I was in the washing machine.

And I stayed in it, I again, could not get out past the break.

I did not go to Sloat, too big, too sloppy, too scary, the waves were incredible this morning, slightly smaller this later afternoon when I went back out to the beach to sit and enjoy the sun.

When the temperature on your phone says it’s 72 degrees you get the fuck outside.

Because who knows how long that will last.

I also had laid down on my bed thinking I might actually take a nap after the morning surfing excursion, but when the sun flashed in through my back door I thought, I know better, I can take a nap on the beach.

Napping on the beach did not happen.

Such is my story.

Get up early, plan on napping, then never do it.

I was up at 6:30 a.m. and ready to go by 7 a.m. on the nose.

However, my ride slept beyond his alarm and I had some spare time.

Enough spare time that I considered throwing in the towel and skipping the entire endeavor completley.

Next time.

But my friend said, come on, let me get some coffee and I will be right over to get you.

So, after a later start than I was anticipating, but one which allowed me to write my morning pages and meditate before heading out, and with an extra cup of coffee under my belt, I loaded my borrowed board into my friends truck and climbed in the cab.

We headed down the highway to Pacifica.

The waves at Sloat did not terrify my companion, “those don’t look so bad,” he said, followed by, “look, there’s people surfing.”

Look I did and it looked too big for me.

He agreed to keep driving and we headed to Lindemar Beach, or Taco Bell Beach, as my friend called it.

There really is the fanciest looking fast food restaurant on the beach that I do believe I have ever seen.  It’s a Taco Bell, but it looks like a beach chalet.

The beach was packed, in fact for a moment we despaired of finding parking, but parking was found and we clambered into our wetsuits.

I pulled on my new booties and was quite happy to have them.

Later, as I walked the beach toward sunset and the water caught at my toes in the surf as I was shooting photographs, I thought it was a damn good thing I had gotten the booties.

The water was far colder than the last time I had gotten in.

Maybe not far colder, but it was definitely noticeable and I believe I would not have stayed in as long as I did at Pacifica if I had not had the booties on.

It was hard to stay in period.

Grateful I did not have anything else to think about.

I was smashed around in the water, but I rode in a few times on the white water, the sets were coming in so fast that I barely had time to catch them, the much more experienced riders paddled out past the break and I got to see a lot of great riding.

When I wasn’t busy getting tossed head over heels.

Yup.

I got slammed by a few waves.

One in which I actually ended up doing a complete somersault under the water, I got hit so hard.

As disconcerting as I would have thought it to be, I have to say, it was actually fun.

I just let my body tumble through the wash cycle.

I relaxed into it.

Control issues.

Ha.

I had no control today.

Not over my body, over the water, over my friends arrival, or his leaving of me in the water.

He just scooted out and surfed and I stayed back and floundered.

But I learned.

I learned to see when the wave sets were coming in and managed to paddle through a couple of them and actually turn my board around and ride a couple in.

No, I did not get up on the board.

But, hey, it was my third time out, with someone who has been out only about 20 times.  I had no expectations, I was just happy to get myself in the water.

I also felt the undertow for the first time, a really strong undertow, and it was unnerving.

I get it now.

I think I always had a conception of what that means, but until you actually feel it, there’s no comparison.

And if the undertow was strong in Pacifica I cannot imagine what it would have been like at Ocean Beach.

There were still surfers out when I was down at Ocean Beach this afternoon and I saw something that literally made me say, out loud, “Oh my god, did that just happen?”

It was a big wave and there was a surfer riding the top of the wave and he was riding it straight across, not coming down the face, but moving over the top and as the top began to smoke and smash and curl over, almost crumbling into itself, he lifted off the top of the wave and did a complete 360 in the air.

I gasped.

That was some amazing surfing.

I mean, I am sure I can YouTube something like what I saw and be impressed, but to actually see that from the shore as I was walking in the late afternoon sunshine was astounding.

I don’t foresee much surfing for me at Ocean Beach during the winter months, and most folks have said pretty much the same thing to me, go to Pacifica or Santa Cruz and leave OB for the experienced.

I will probably have another day out with my friend next Sunday, we’re definitely going to go again, especially since he just got his first surf board from Aqua Surf Shop yesterday.

Between his new board and my new booties, we are ready.

And I knew when I was done and I did not force myself to keep going.

I just got out.

My friend was out for at least another half hour, but when I was yelling in my head, “paddle, paddle, paddle” as a wave came up on me, and my arms just weren’t listening, I realized I was done.

I had run out of gas.

Sitting on the beach, watching the waves roll in their sets, the children in wetsuits zipping around on boogie boards, the dogs chasing balls, and the surfers lifting up and over the face of the waves to glide with elegant ease into the next wave it was hard to even imagine how difficult it is from just a few feet away from sure.

It looks so easy.

But it’s not, at least not for me, and though I thought, man maybe I should just boogie board, I knew (though I will do the boogie board thing too) that I was not about to toss in the towel on the whole experience.

Just on the morning.

No regrets.

I got in.

I suited up.

I showed up.

I even managed to get out of my wetsuit without pulling off any of my limbs with it.

 

 

 

Punked Out

December 29, 2013

But still going.

I had an emotionally draining day.

One I knew might be, but was not exactly what I expected.

I knew I would cry and I wore no eye liner.

And waterproof mascara.

Cry I did.

I also did not finish with my endeavor, which was unexpected, it took longer than I thought to go through the things that needed to be said and I was busy writing down things that I did not even realize I was doing.

Control.

God do I want it.

Control and victimhood.

Get thee gone, motherfucker.

Ack.

Nope after an hour and a half at Tart to Tart my time was up and I parted ways with the work, but was still being worked over, internally re-arranged, you might say.

I felt out of it and drained and tired, and it took me a bit once I got back to get into any sort of routine, to get any momentum underneath me.

But I did.

I had a late lunch, went grocery shopping, and managed to get over to Wise Surfboards to buy a pair of booties for surfing.

I just confirmed that I will be getting picked up, me, my wetsuit, the new booties, and a borrowed long board, to go surfing tomorrow morning at 7a.m.

Sigh.

It’s 11:33 p.m. at the moment and I won’t, even my speediest typing, won’t get to bed before one a.m.  I will finish my blog by midnight, but I had a little caffeine later in the day to pick me up from bailing on the rest of the day, and though my body feels tired, my brain is a little busy.

I do have some tea cooling off and a small snack to nibble and maybe I will finish Before Midnight, which I have down loaded and been watching bits of over the last few nights.

I will unwind, but it won’t leave me with the usual number of hours I like to sleep, especially on a day off.  Then again, a day off could me a nap, which would not happen if say I was up late before I was to work a shift.

So, the balance being I will get up early, surf, and probably take a nap in the late morning or very early afternoon, right about the time when I used to get up and ponder this thing that some call brunch, which is really just a vehicle to cater to those hung over from Saturday’s revelry and nurse a bloody mary or mimosa while coating the stomach with greasy eggs Benedict.

Or, that is my experience anyway.

“You’re going out surfing tomorrow?” My friend said to me as we were parting ways, “good for you!  Where at?”

“Sloat,” I said.  Although when I went to buy my booties at Wise Surfboards I did remember how wild the water looked, how big the waves looked and whether or not I would actually be getting into the water at that time seemed farfetched.

“No, you can’t do Sloat, the waves are going to be way too big, who are you going with?” He asked.

I told him.

No, that’s too dangerous, you guys don’t have enough experience to do Sloat, go down to Rockway or Pacifica or Santa Cruz if you’re going to go out, Sloat scares me right now, the waves are huge, its way too dangerous,” he repeated with emphasis, his eyebrows going up and down of their own volition.

That’s what I thought too, then his friend showed me the wave report for tomorrow and I got goosebumps looking, yeah, not surfing Sloat.

I have been told this numerous times now, the winter is here and the waves are big.

Too big for me, that’s for sure.

I sent my friend a text while I waited for the train, hoping to hear back from him, and wondering whether I would pussy out of going if he suggested we head to Pacifica.

The lure of a warm bed calling to me to stay in it is no small thing.

He texted me just as I was sitting down to write and said, “Pacifica, and if the waves are too big we’ll go out to breakfast.”

Sigh.

Ok.

I texted back.

I know I will be happy when I am in the water and my new booties are keeping my toes warm and even if I don’t get up on the board, I will have the satisfaction of knowing I got out into the water.

Half the battle, more really, is just showing up.

I know I will get up, begrudgingly perhaps, but I will get up.

I will suit up and show up.

I have been trained well.

Turn toward compassion and humility.

That was what I got today and that is what might be the hardest thing about surfing, as I go out for the third time, being so amateur at something, so lost, I have to surrender to what is happening and though frightening, the lack of control is also freeing.

Control.

That was pointed out to me again and again and again.

How I want to control others, their reactions, the way they live, what they do, as though by doing so I will avoid being hurt, I will protect myself from pain.

But life is pain.

And joy and love and all sorts of other things, but yes pain.

Pain is where I grow and learn and through going through the pain I learn.

I learn that I can let go of the control and what I think should happen and on what timeline.

It’s always been out of my hands.

Now, more so than ever.

Just like the waves, too big for me to control or swim past.

Surrender to the nature of my humanity and stop struggling for something that I never had in the first place.

No wonder I got so tired today.

It takes a lot to keep up that facade.

It blocks what I need though, that old sunlight of the spirit, so here’s to letting it go and seeing what takes its place.

Surfing for one.

Apparently.

Who knows what else.

Naps too perhaps.

Sprinkled with acceptance, forgiveness, and most of all.

“Compassion,” she said, “show yourself some compassion.”

Ok.

I acquiesce.

I give up.

Compassion sounds a lot better than control anyhow.

Integrity

December 28, 2013

I so did not want to spend the early evening hanging out around the Mission, and that is funny, because there have been many, many, many times when I did not.

However I was due to be of service at 8p.m. and with work done for the week at 4:30p.m. I had some down time.

I spun by the bike shop, got my brakes tightened, had a little oil slipped onto the chain, chatted up my friends there and then headed to Rainbow to get a few groceries.

So sad the groceries at Rainbow.

Which is not usually the case, normally the fruit and veggies look spectacular, but the after holiday pickings weren’t so great.  However, the main reason I was there was to get myself a bag of Stumptown Holler Mountain and that was achieved.

Then over to Herbivore for my “I play a vegan on tv” dinner.

I am not a vegan, but they do have a super tasty plate that just makes me all sorts of warm and fuzzy and I get my Mexican in the Mission fix without eating suspicious meat or a lot of grease.  I get the Mexican beans and rice with fresh salsa and guacamole and fake sour cream with a little side salad and fake chicken and it really hits the spot.

Don’t know why, don’t care to analyze it.

Then a manicure because that is my splurge and a cup of tea and then the doing the deal and thankfully, as it was late and my bag was full of groceries, I got offered a ride home to the beach, my bicycle nestled into the back of a truck and voila!

Home.

Home.

Home where the house is clean and smells like me and says, “hello! Glad you are here.”

Here for tonight and off to be a bit busy this weekend, but not too over scheduled or over booked, just enough to provide a bit of structure and a bit of wiggle room should something fun pop up for me to do.

“Want to go surfing on Sunday?” My friend asked me tonight as I greeted him in the Mission.

“Yes!” I said, followed by, “when?”

“Sunday.” He said.

“Perfect!” I said.  Keeping that Sunday open I am! And I was able to say yes.

“What time?” I asked.

“In the morning,” he said slyly.

“Ugh.  Yes, ok, how early?” I asked, I guess I am getting up to an alarm on my day off.

“Eight?” He said.

“Ok,” I said with a small sigh, “I can do that.”

He looked at me and smiled, then cocked his head to the right slightly and said almost too quietly for me to hear, “seven?”

“Jesus, I suppose I could, good thing you already offered be a ride home tonight or I would not have said yes to that,” I joked.

Although, I would have.

This will make surf trip number three for me.

I think I will have a little something extra to do tomorrow, now that I know I will be getting into the water in the morning, time to buy some booties.

I did not mind surfing without them the last time I went, it was getting out of the water and walking on the beach when I could not feel my feet that made me a bit nervous.

That and walking back to the car, it was nice to have some protection on my toes.

So, looks like I will be getting in one more surf session before the new year commences.

I confirmed my work for this upcoming week and gratefully found out that the family will not need me next Friday.  I get  a three-day weekend!

That will make up for the very intense work week I will have with the overnight happening on New Years Eve.  I work a double or triple shift depending on how I look at it.  New Years Eve day I work my normal hours 8:45a.m.-5:30p.m. then I will hop in the car with the mom of one of my charges, with my overnight bag, and head over to her friend’s place in the Mission and nanny for two little monkeys overnight.

My shift officially is listed at 7pm Tuesday night until 10a.m. Wednesday morning.

Then I will have the rest of the day off.

Which I will need.

Work a regular shift on Thursday with my charge in NOPA and then three-day weekend.

Excellent.

I can do it.

Especially with the next two days off to write, surf, do some inventory, almost done, which is good since it has to be by 12:25p.m. tomorrow.

Ha.

Coffee with someone in the early afternoon, tea with someone in the evening, head up to Noe Valley, do that thing there, then back out to the beach.

Squeeze in a trip to a sporting good store to get myself some booties.

Ah, yes, that works, thanks brain, sometimes you do come in handy, I will make a run over to Wise Surf Shop when I return from my noon get together at Tart to Tart.

That’s where I got my wetsuit and I believe their prices are a little more inline with my needs then Mollusk, which though adorable and half a block away is a little bit pricier.

I feel pretty good about that at the moment, the finances, being responsible girl I am.  I paid rent for January last night, paid my student loan, and just wrote a check out for Healthy San Francisco f0r the next three months.

Happy Holidays!

You’re financially sufficient!

Yes.

I also put money in the savings account and sent a message to Barnaby to figure out how to pay him the plane ticket money.  I want that out of my hot little hands before I decide to delay and get a new lap top.

I want the debt dealt with and done before the new year commences.

These things all mean that what ever money I make next week, it’s sort of bonus money.  Oh, there’ll be incidentals and groceries, there always is, but I don’t have to pay any bills with any of the money that I get the next week.

I can sock a good amount away toward the new laptop and I can get a pair of booties.

Good to know where I stand.

And soon to stand, on a surf board.

I don’t know that I will be able to get up on my third go out, but I am going to try to get up, even if it means just to fall off.

Showing up for it is the biggest battle.

Just showing up is 99% of my life right now.

Glad to do so, even if it means setting my alarm for 6 a.m. on a Sunday.

I shall.

My word means something today.

Today I have integrity.

Uncomfortable

December 2, 2013

REALLY uncomfortable

My shoulder is acting up with a vengeance.

It hurts mom.

Make it stop.

Ugh.

I went really easy today and that does not seem to matter.  I went to the beach.  I sat in the dunes.  I talked to my friend Joan on the phone and caught up while watching the surfers swim and slide along the waves, out past the break point and into the sun.

I over heard the chatter of the surfers coming out of the water, comparing differences in boards and rides, waves, and swells.

I did not understand everything that was said, but I am learning.

So much to learn.

Always the learning.

I mean I did not leave the neighborhood at all.

I did get on my bicycle and ride out to the Sloat Garden Center, I wanted to see what they had and just sort of explore and I was feeling a little restless on my last day of “staycation” feeling like I had to do something.

Apparently the had to do something was had to take it easy and gobble ibuprofen.

Grr.

It flares up too when I am at my laptop so I am sitting on the chaise with pillows behind my shoulder and my laptop propped up on top of my copy of Clockers.

I sat outside a lot today.

Sitting, if you can tell, being a major component of today.

I sat and meditated in the back yard, the neighbors very large black cat sunning itself next to me, the heavy almost oily rustle of ravens flapping over my head and the soft roar of the ocean my accompaniment.

I sat on the tree at Trouble and met new folks in the neighborhood.

One gentleman and his three-year old daughter, who was playing with my housemates daughter in front of Trouble Coffee, and I struck up a conversation about living in the area, Ocean Beach feeling like its own small town beach community rather than a big urban city.

Turns out he is an avid surfer and we talked surfing and getting in the water and what I can work on while I am get my connections together to go out with people.

“Just go out when it’s mellow,” he said, “like it was early in the week last Sunday and Monday, baby swells.”

I knew exactly what he was talking about, I was in that mild water.

“Next weekend is supposed to be quite similar,” he added, “just get in your wet suit and body surf, get used to being in the water, you don’t need to go far out, just go waist-high or chest high and get the feel of the water, then grab a boogie board.”

Thrilling.

This is what I want to hear.

He talked waves and swells and lost me a bit, but just watching his long arms and fingers transcribe the roll of a wave and when he turned his body as though he was falling into a trough I could suddenly see him in the water buoyant and long.

“Rubber floats,” he said, “you don’t have to worry about getting pushed down either, you’re just going to pop right back up, just keep yourself waist to chest high in the water and have fun.”

Yes.

Later, sitting in the dunes, then reclining in them, I did decide I was going to at least walk the beach a little, it’s pretty obvious that I can’t get into the water right now, it’s a challenge maneuvering my bicycle right now let alone a surf board, but I can walk for fuck sakes.

Not fast and not with my bag strapped full, but gentle, slow, a meander along the shore.

Sand Dune

Sand Dune

Blue Water

Blue Skies

Boogie Board Lesson

Father and daughter

I watched a father instruct his daughter how to watch the tide come in and he stood and pointed to where the sand bar was and how the waves broke around it.

He admonished her to pay attention and then finally stood back and let the water lap at his feet while she frisked about in the waves.

It was sweet to watch and to catch the overhead snatches of conversation.

I don’t have the benefit of starting this practise at a young age, getting into the water, swimming in the ocean, surfing, heck, I haven’t gotten in with the boogie board yet either, but I do have the perspective of allowing myself to learn.

Even where I not learning I am still getting to be a part of this community in a way that I find deeply satisfying.

Welcoming and slow, serene, sun saturated.

I am counting myself lucky too that the winter has so far not really been winter.

“I don’t even tell my friends back home what the weather is like here,” my friend said earlier as I was marvelling at the fact it is December 1st and I was down at the beach in my flip-flops, with my pants rolled up, sun beaming on my face, breeze cool but not cold.

I saw a photograph of my aunts on her facecrack page and it was basically an exclamation about how the ice is hard enough to fish from.

Jesus.

The ice on the lake is frozen through enough by December 1 to hold up ice shanties.

Eek.

And back to the beach.

Which I will be going to again and again, I hazard, I mean, its right there.

I can hear the ocean now, I have the door to the studio cracked open a bit.

As I am sitting here I am thinking that I am going to be investing in some sort of ergonomic set up for my work on my laptop.

And for my hand writing, those three pages have not been comfortable recently.

I suspect that another part of the problem is how I am sitting, I don’t think that the table I am at is a good height, it’s not a work desk and the chair is not a work chair, I am just working with what I have.  I need to do some investigating and perhaps get a different set up.

Pain is a good way to learn what works and doesn’t work for you.

“How you feeling about that?” She asked.

“A little hurt, but happy to know now, good information to have, you know, I can’t make anyone want to spend time with me, I am just glad I know and get to move forward.”

“Your life is so full too,” she said.

It is, sometimes uncomfortable, but always full.

Even with the six days off, even with a lot of down time, I still did attend to a lot of things and I got to the beach so often this week it did feel like I was on vacation.

December.

Hi there.

You snuck right on in when I was busy thinking about my back.

Hello there.

Let’s be friends.

Night & Day

November 30, 2013

I was down at the beach not once today, but twice.

Both times a surprise.

Both times smitten with the air, the waves, the sky, the sun, or the last streaks of it heading into the night.

During the day I went down with my housemate and her boyfriend after a quick trip to Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club for an Americano.

They went running on the beach.

I stayed behind with my hula hoop.

Hoop

Hoop

I hooped.

I watched the waves.

Grand beasts they were.

Few surfers out, but there were some very experienced riders making it out past the break point.

I saw amazing technique and not a few times a surfer go flying over a trough of water, the board flipping up into the air with the force of the wave moving through.

Despite the sun and the lack of fog, it is winter weather and the waves are already so big I don’t foresee doing much more surfing at Ocean Beach.

Fingers crossed I will get in another few sessions, but I think I will be heading to Pacifica or possibly Santa Cruz for a better break point.

It looked like a gigantic washing machine of froth.

I would have been overwhelmed in minutes.

But it made for great watching as I set myself up on the beach.

The hooping was lovely, worked off the turkey pretty quick, not that I over indulged, but you know, and when the hooping had gotten my body warmed up I did some stance work–kung fu–mainly horse stance and some basic front position.

Ah, kung fu, it was nice to meet with you again.

I was really happy to go over my blocking sequence, it actually happened from holding my arms up in front position while I was hooping as my arms started to get tired from how I was holding them.

I naturally just fell into it, the muscle memory coming to me unbidden and strong.

Eight hard block, eight soft blocks, and the corresponding throws and elbows.

Then I added in some kicks–front ball kick, back kick, side thrust kick–left and right sides alternating with a few combinations worked in.

I was happy to see that my form with some of the strikes was still really on.

And as would be obvious, I was quite rusty as well.

But once I warmed up I was doing some nice side thrust kicks, getting myself in stance and really going through the blocks and the strikes until I moved an elbow just a little too aggressively and oh, yeah, take it easy lady.

You are not 29 anymore.

The age when I got my black belt.

You are 40.

41 next month.

Which reminds me I am supposed to make plans to do something.

I tossed about a few things with my friend as we walked upon the shore this early evening as the last bits of the sunset were melting into the ocean.

Repeating almost exactly the routine I had this morning.

Go to Trouble.

Get Americano.

Go down to the beach.

However, I did not do any kung fu or hula hooping.

Just some walking and talking.

And some photographs.

Sunset

Sunset

Dusk

Dusk

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was nice to go out for a stroll under the stars and chat about this and that and holidays and birthdays and my friend suggested I definitely make plans and he book marked my birthday and that was sweet.

I don’t always care for making birthday plans.

My birthday is so close to Christmas that it feels an imposition to do so, everyone has their holiday plans tied up so quickly.

However, I know that I will want to do something and I thought about what I really want to do.

I want to go horseback riding on the beach and I want to do a bonfire.

Now, I realize the horseback riding is a little on the pricey side, it runs $40 to go out to the stables that are by Fort Funston.

So it may not be the event to invite a bunch of my friends too, but I will probably put it out there that it’s what I am thinking about doing.

I am not 100% sure, but I like the idea of doing it and then a little dinner close to home or thereabouts.

The bonfire would be awesome, except, well, I just realized after getting excited about it that I will be house sitting that night in the Mission and do I want to haul between the two places.

Something to think about.

I may just see about getting a table at Samovar and having friends drop by for evening tea and do something simple and easy.

Things to ponder.

Not going to worry too much about it right now.

My thoughts drift toward the conversation that occurred after the walk.

“I am really attracted to you as a person,” he started.

“But not romantically, and I want you to know that so you can be free to pursue other options,” he finished.

And then there was that.

Small pang.

But not bad.

Thank God we are friends, and honest, and it was sweetly said.

I was startled to feel a little welling up of tears, but breathed turned my face and it drifted off.  No need to cry here, there was not a relationship happening, just some recent history being cleared up and a deepening understanding of our friendship veering solidly into friendship land and out of romance land.

Good to know.

Thanks.

Free to whore about the city.

Haha.

Just kidding.

What I am grateful for is that stuff like this comes up and goes away so fast.

Clarity is lovely.

Oh, there is a little sadness there, I think it could have been fun, but you know, that’s my fantasy.

Reality stepped in and said, nope, just friends, but thanks for playing.

Heading into the holidays with no solid plans, birthday, romance, travel, or otherwise.

No anxiety either.

What I have discovered with this time off is that the things that need to happen, happen, the insights occur, the work coalesces, and I see where further work has to be delved into.

I see that I am capable of further intimacy and I was given some great information tonight.

I choose to take it, be grateful for it, accept it, forgive myself for being single, take care of myself in the meantime and when the morning comes I will be still with me.

In my cozy studio by the sea.

Building big castles way on high.

Or at least hula hooping in the sand.

At the edge of the ocean where everything is possible and I am complete.

 

 

 

One More Day

November 25, 2013

Then six days off.

I celebrated the near epoch holiday time off with an early morning surf session with my dear friend.

Who true to his word, texted me at 6:32 a.m.

Oof.

My alarm had gone off at 6:30a.m.

I went to bed around 12:30a.m.

Six hours.

Not horrible.

Oh, I could have easily slept longer and when I swiped off the alarm on my phone I thought, I will just lie here a second, just a moment.

Then the text.

His arrival time was due at 7a.m.

Trouble Coffee.

Ok.

Up, out, and moving.

I got washed, pulled out my wetsuit from the closet, grabbed a towel, pulled my hair up into a bun, slapped on some sunblock, and pulled on a swim suit, yoga pants, and a hoodie.

By the time my bed was made and I had done my morning routine and reading practise it was just shy of 7a.m.

I walked up to Trouble.

Which had this apt little sign in front of the cafe:

Shred

Shred

As I was taking the photo of the sign my friend pulled up in his car with the boards strapped on top.

“Just getting to Trouble,” he texted.

And I am already there.

We hugged, then ducked in the warm cinnamon toast scented cafe and hugged Julietta, the owner of the cafe.

We talked about open ocean swimming, she and I have been trying to get out schedules down so that we can go out together for a swim, sans wetsuit, at China Beach.

She introduced us to a woman who does a lot of swimming, has even gone so far as to go out swimming with a small group out around the Farallon Islands.

Which sounded like a horror movie to me.

I cannot imagine.

From the seasickness of boating out there to the shark infested waters.

The Great Whites feed out there, seals all fresh for the snatching.

After that enlightening conversation and my friend asking if I had checked out the Jaws video he shared with me I was more than ready for the shot of caffeine placed in front of me at the polished wood bar.

One Gibraltar later, two shots of espresso topped with gently warmed milk, I was ready to get the show on the road, or into the water, as the case may be.

We popped over to my place and I clambered into my wetsuit.

I think clamber is the proper adjective here.

That or shimmy.

But my clumsy self was clambering.

I did succesfully get in and realized I had lost a little wieght since I had bought it, which was something I suspected, but was not sure of.

Despite the slight roomier area in the tush, it was perfect across my shoulders and I just hitched the crotch up a bit and was in.

We got down to the beach, parked across from the Beach Chalet in between the two windmills and talked about surfing.

He pointed out the swells, which were small, about two foot, maybe three, and how to paddle in, turn, pop up, and turtling the board through a big wave.

I was nervous, excited, and eager.

So about 1/3 of what he was saying may have made it into my brain, probably less.

I stood surveying the ocean in front of me, my heart so full and my body so alive, I felt a sense of serenity that doesn’t always come to me that deeply.

I can see why people get addicted to it.

I can see it in myself.

Surf's Up

Surveying the Sea

My friend snapped this shot of me from behind as I inhaled the clean ocean breeze and felt the warm sun on my back rising behind me.

There were already quite a few folks out in the water and more pulling in.

The weather astoundingly clear, no fog, light breeze.

Yes, the swells were small, but that was just fine for me.

I got out past the break!

Last time I went out I was unable to get out of the rough and got smashed around a lot.

I took to it a lot better this time, as I said, the sea was far more gentle, but I also felt a little more secure in what was happening.

I paddled better.

I figured out where the spot on the board is that I need to keep my head aligned with to not pearl in the water.

My friend taught me how to sit on the board and turn around on it.

I could not do that the first time we went out.

I was so pleased.

I was pleased as punch.

The windmills, the sun, the other surfers quietly bobbing in the waves.

Snatches of conversations, “the swells are not coming in well here, let’s hop in the car and head down to Sloat.”

The paddle boarders out.

The water was cold, but I did not mind.

Even my bare feet were ok.

Yup.

I got in barefoot.

I may not always, but I was really ok with it.

Although by the time we got out I was feeling like I was walking on stiff wood blocks rather than feet.

My hands were colder than I realized as well, and yes my shoulder was a little sore, but not bad, I also took ibuprofen and I kept my strokes far shorter than before.

Which actually helped.

I realized I had to adjust my arm stroke for maximum efficacy and that the stroke I was used to using in the pool when I swim is far different then the stroke I need to use to maneuver a surf board.

I fell off.

I got wet.

I also dove straight through a wave.

I got over the swells, past the break point, sat on my board, and then my friend pointed out the dolphins.

Dolphins!

And they swam past me.

They were so close.

I was just astounded.

I was paying such attention to them that I didn’t even realize I was drifting.

“Carmelita!”  My friend shouted, “watch the beach, you’re drifting!”

Holy shit.

It wasn’t much, but I had not noticed and I was getting further out then I really needed to be.

I paddled in.

Grateful to be with a friend who could shake me out of my reverie.

But really.

Dolphins!

Right there.

“I wish I had a camera in the water,” he said later, “you looked so beautiful sitting out in the water on the board with the porpoises jumping around you.”

I felt beautiful.

How could I not?

Looking at the goofy photos I took when I was back on land I can see it shining out of every pore in my skin.

I was alive.

Cold.

Worn out.

But so exhilarated.

And with one day of work to go and my friends long board now in my housemates garage, I have some ideas what I might be doing in the very near future.

Until then a mellow night to unwind and have a little more hot tea, maybe another ibuprofen dose and some stretches.

My smile muscle, though, is the one that hurts the most.

Hurts so bad.

Yet it feels so good.

 

Surf’s Up

November 24, 2013

In less time then I would ideally like I will be getting into that cold, cold water, wearing my wet suit for its virgin run.

Yes, that’s right.

I am going surfing tomorrow morning.

“I will send you a message around 6:30a.m., that’s when I will leave the house,” he said to me tonight on the phone as I was walking my bike up one of the few hills in the city I have to walk my one speed up.

I had just gotten down with a full day at the Maker’s Mart down at the Old Mint building on 5th and Mission.

Come by tomorrow!

I will be there again from noon until 5:30p.m.

I am honored to help my amazing friend and artist Arin Fishkin sell her prints from her quintessential San Francisco Series.  They are a series that speaks more to the native San Franciscan, using iconography that someone who lives here would really appreciate.

I have my eye on a particular one that I want most bad, Baker Beach, it’s just gorgeous.

I rub my greedy paws together with glee.

Yes, it’s true, I will work for art.

Especially when it’s this good.

Plus, it’s nice to spend some time with a dear friend, check out some local art and have good coffee from Blue Bottle which is located just behind the Mint building.

So I had a full day when the offer was made and I have a full day tomorrow.

But.

“You make the time,” he said, “the swells have been perfect, I have a ton of stuff to do but I am going to make the time,” he paused, “and you can too.”

Yes sir, yes I can.

I will be up at 6:30 a.m.

That’s when the alarm is set.

I don’t think I will have breakfast, just some coffee.

I will make breakfast after the surfing.

I will still need to shower and change and haul my butt back over the hills and valleys to downtown but I won’t need to be there until noon.

The event opens at 11a.m. but since we were able to leave the gear all set up there won’t be much to do in the morning, so I have an extra hour.

I doubt we will be in the water more than two hours.

“I want to be in the water by 7:30 a.m.” he said and I agreed.

Oof.

The Dawn Patrol.

Making it happen, however, and saying yes to spending time with my friend.

Saying yes too because I know I will sleep when I am dead.

Ok.

I don’t necessarily mean that, but I will have six days off after I get done with work on Monday.

I feel I can push it a little tomorrow.

I will get to have my inaugural dip in my new wetsuit.

I will bring my boogie board too.

Might as well.

I am excited.

I don’t know that I will have much of a restful night.

I feel pretty jacked up after my bike ride home.

It is a blast to hit the long down hill stretch along Lincoln, but I find that after the steady up hill climb from the Mission, or the long drop into the Mission from Noe Valley, where I was at this evening, to the Castro, up the Wiggle, through the Pan Handle and onto Lincoln, that I have gotten all pumped up and warm and adrenalized.

It is a challenge to settle back down when I get home.

Plus I needed to take care of a few things before getting my blog started, it’s 11:15 p.m. and I am going to easily take another hour to an hour an a half to wind down.

Another hot cup of tea.

Some time to breathe.

Some time to kick out the last few words for this blog and to dwell on my life for a moment.

It’s a damn good life.

I got to see a lot of dear people tonight.

I got to ride my bicycle a lot.

I rode from my house at 46th Ave and Judah to Mission and 5th Street.  Then from Mission and 5th up to Diamond and 24th Street, back from there to home.

Round trip not sure how many miles that is exactly, but I clocked in over an hour today on my bicycle, probably closer to an hour and a half.

I have the thighs to prove it.

Strong, healthy, fast.

“You should have seen her,” he exclaimed to his friend around a mouthful of hand rolled cigarette as I was bidding my adieus this evening unlocking my bicycle and putting the lights on the handle bars and seat post.  “She turned that corner on Valencia and 16th like a bicycle messenger!”

“She’s fucking fast.”

I smiled.

Sometimes I am fast.

But I often get passed by other bicyclists, I think that what looks fast to another who is on foot feels quite slow to me.

Then again, I do take corners fairly quick, I lean into them and the connection to my bike is such that I take certain streets fast, nimble and without much thought.

My body becomes the bike and the bike my body.

It is just an extension of my thoughts.

When it is really good.

And often of late, it has been really good.

“I am getting OLD,” my friend complained to me.

“Old.”

I kicked him and smiled, I am older, although you wouldn’t always know it.

But I do know that feeling when your body is doing something that it is not used to.

You walk many miles after driving around in a car your body will be sore.

You ride a bike up and over hills you are going to be tired and you may feel old.

But I have gotten used to the commute and what used to horrify me now seems sort of second nature.

This is just the bike ride I do and it takes about this much time.

I can feel my body adapting to being in the saddle a little more and my legs getting stronger, my lungs pulling in air more efficiently.

Tomorrow, though, I am sure that I may feel, well, old, after some surfing.

But I am willing to have the experience.

Not just of getting up early when I could sleep in, but saying yes to spending time with a friend and making space for another new experience.

New experiences are pretty awesome even when I think they are not.

Spending time with friends is always worth the time.

Is what I am finding more and more and for that I promise to make the time.

And with that, time to get what little beauty rest I can wrest from the rest of the evening.

No rest for the wicked.

Or, perhaps I should say, the “old.”

 

Pretty, Soft, &

November 10, 2013

Bitter sweet.

“Call me when you want to hang out,” he said to me as I gathered my bag and my little canvas sack of groceries with the pink Gerber Daisies hanging their fat, cheery, pink heads out of the top of the bag.

“I will, Mister,” I said, opened the door and got out.

I caught him leaning in to kiss me out the corner of my eye as I exited the car and my heart softly beat a moment’s pause, then settled back down as I quietly shut the door on the fantasy.

No kiss was had.

I was not expecting to get a ride home from him, it rather just happened.

I was hoping to see someone else tonight.

And that did not happen.

Although I did get a text late in the day explaining why.

And that felt nice.

Nice to be acknowledged, told that they would be getting back to me, and when.

You see, Mister, that’s how it works.

I have tried to tell you when I would like to hang out.

I even bought a new dress for it, but you, well, you had to work.

I was going to tell it to you like it is last Saturday and you dropped me off at my house with a fellow passenger in the car, negating said conversation and you drove off not telling me when I would hear back or if I would hear back, just that we would hang out soon.

A week of no contact.

I forgot rather what I was going to say.

I don’t need to have conversations in my head with imaginary partners.

See I realize, that you, Mister, were an imaginary affair, safe and sound and intimate because you don’t have it to offer me right now.

Your intentions always so sweet and I would fall for them every time, every fucking time.

I was Charlie Brown and you were Lucy, and I was going to run up to that football and kick it good and hard and score the winning goal and then you would want me and we would all live happily ever after going to museums and travelling and eating at nice restaurants.

And the sex?

Why that would be the bomb, it would be amazing, it would put my vibrator to shame.

Which is hard to do when you own a Hitachi Magic Wand.

Why, I would be throwing it out because the satisfaction would be so amazing.

Would, could, should.

Words that don’t work so well in my vocabulary.

“We should hang out.”

“We should go there.”

“We should go for a walk on the beach.”

I could probably write a few more, but they all come down to the same things, some sweet words, some kind kisses, and lots of empty actions, cancellations, and lack of connection.

You can be willing to say it to me and I can be willing to hear it, spin it out as fantasy and I then can spend my time in a safe little bubble where I don’t get hurt and you and I hang out in imaginary perfection land.

I wasn’t able to say anything.

I don’t know if it was restraint of pen and tongue or what.

There were just no words to say.

How do you break up when there was never really a relationship?

How to say that I am not interested in pursuing it.

I have stopped texting.

I have stopped expecting.

I am in with people who want to spend time with me.

“Let’s meet up and have dinner,” my darling Beth texted me.

Yes.

Let’s.

I was on the way up to Noe Valley after a surprising interlude of hula hooping on the beach.

My housemate was headed out to the Ocean Beach with her daughter and her daughter’s friend from school, our new friend we met last week on the beach with her bright-colored hula hoops was also down the way and I happened to walk in at just the right moment to jump on the caravan.

“Come!” My house mate said with great enthusiasm.

Yes.

That is what I want in my life, enthusiasm, followed by action.

I ran into my studio and tossed up a kale salad and quickly heated up a veggie burger, a persimmon in my bag, my camera, some water, and off to the beach.

Beach Bum

Lunch on the beach

There was a great big sand castle building tournament going on and the beach was packed.

Outlying elementary schools competing in sand castle building.

They were so sweet, utterly delicious, totally amateur, and astoundingly perfect.

The castles were built with glee and joy and the whelps of laughter as the tide rose in to rush the moats was a balm on my soul.

Our new hooping friend had a nephew who was competing.

I am not sure what the outcome was, they were all so utterly sweet and endearing, how could there be just one winner?

The crowds were big, but we found a nice patch of beach and pulled out the hoops.

My house mate gifted me one this morning.

I had all sorts of ideas about what I was going to do today and how I was going to do it and it was completely thrown into a loop when I wasn’t able to address the laundry I thought I needed to do.

I wanted perfection.

Instead I got a day at the beach, a hula hoop, and spending time with wonderful girlfriends–new ones, with hula hoops, “old” ones who I have known for almost nine years of my time in San Francisco, dear ones who mean so much to me and I need to spend more time with, little ones who were amazed that I hooped as long as I did.

I got to be around a gaggle of girls and it was awesome.

When I got the call from the man I was already in Noe Valley and I did not answer.

I don’t have anything to say.

You are sweet.

You are endearing.

You are handsome.

You are a fantasy I am tired of having.

I am interested in being alive.

I am interested in not just saying I want to do something, I want to hang out with you, but I have to go do some other stuff first, no, I want to be available for the life and the wonderful surprises it throws me, hula hoops, surfing.

I bumped into a woman tonight I know scantily from friends of friends and I discovered she surfs.

We are going to go to Pacifica next Sunday.

That’s what I am talking about.

Let’s not just talk about it.

Let’s do it.

What ever it is.

Let’s do it.

I may fall back into the fantasy mode, it is easy, it is safe, but I know that I have to surrender to being vulnerable, intimate, present to be alive.

So, here I am.

Present and accounted for.


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