Posts Tagged ‘46th Avenue’

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2018

I really haven’t any resolutions to share with you.

I prefer to just treat each day like it’s a new day instead of having expectations that I need to change or get better or perfect something.

I need to grow a little everyday and not try to cram a bunch of resolutions into my day and think that I’m going to change over night.

Little bits by little bits.

Baby steps, baby.

And I took some nice ones today.

I got out of bed.

I know.

Crazy.

I really wanted to stay in bed and in fact, did sleep past the point I would normally get up.

My brain was trying to hijack my body though and convince me that I didn’t need to go to yoga.

I needed to go to yoga.

It, my brain, almost won out, but I have smart feet and I also have inborn knowledge from having done enough yoga that I always feel better after a class, even if it’s with not my favorite instructor at the studio.

Which is the excuse that I used the day before to not go, but really, I assure you I had gotten plenty of exercise the previous twelve hours to not feel upset about missing a class and I think that I needed the extra sleep yesterday.

Today, not so much, and I knew that I would not be happy with myself if I skipped yoga two days in a row during a time that I could be going to yoga.

I can’t typically make it to classes during the week, work and my internship conflict, so I’m a weekend warrior.

To not go on both Saturday and Sunday would have been sacrilege.

So I got my happy ass out of bed and into my yoga clothes and I stayed in them for a long time.

It was a great class, I was really surprised, maybe not having any expectations that I would enjoy the class I actually did.

I came home thinking that I wanted to go on a bike ride too, the bike ride had been running around in my head for a few days now that I think on it, and I figured I could actually make it a nice physical day for myself, maybe even go back to the late yoga class.

It’s a restorative yoga class, so it wouldn’t have been like a big effort, although I didn’t end up going, something else came up.

But.

I did go on the bike ride!

It was great and in fact, I might let myself go on another tomorrow.

I was supposed to meet with a ladybug today, but she had to cancel, so after a good check in via phone, I pulled my bike out and pumped air into the tires, grabbed my messenger bag, a water bottle and my bike locks, in case I wanted to stop anywhere I could lock up my bike.

I rode out from the house down 46th to Sloat, then up to Great Highway, up past the zoo a bit, and then stopped right before the hill to gaze at the ocean for a while and snap a quick photo of my bicycle, she is a pretty, pretty thing, before I headed back down Great Highway, riding past my turn off to Fulton Ave, the up to 47th and around the park for awhile, around the soccer fields and the back side of the Beach Chalet, I went past the archery fields and eventually popped back out onto Lincoln Ave at Chain of Lakes, back down to 46th, then two blocks back to the house.

IMG_E0126

It was smashing.

I am so glad I did it.

Aside from the exercise it also felt really meditative and I reflected over and over again how amazing it is that I live somewhere so beautiful, that I literally am blocks away from Ocean Beach, that I get to ride my bicycle around a world-renowned park, that I get to live here in San Francisco.

It is a huge gift.

After the bike ride I had a late lunch and then made some chicken soup.

I’ll be visiting my person tomorrow, he just had a hip replacement surgery, and I wanted to bring him some more chicken soup, he’s gone through the two big Mason jars I gave him right before the surgery.

I’ll be heading is way by 1 p.m. and we’ll go for an easy walk around the block.

Like literally.

Just around the block.

And maybe a few minutes of hang out time.

I don’t think he’s got the energy for big visits, but he wants to see my face and I, his.

It will be good to see him.

I’m also going to hit up another yoga class tomorrow.

It’s nice to have a Monday off and the studio is open.

That will make three yoga classes over the weekend and a bike ride.

Not bad.

Especially for someone who is  loath to exercise.

I generally like it once I’m doing it and I know how important it is to move my body, but my brain is a sabotaging machine.

Anyway.

I signed up for the 10 a.m. yoga class and I’ll see my person at 1p.m.

Other than that I have no New Year’s Day plans.

Doing the deal somewhere and chilling out with my new book.

NEW BOOK!

That’s not a psychology book.

I know.

Crazy.

I went up to Blackbird Books, the new book store in my hood next to Trouble Coffee, and splurged on the new Jennifer Eagen book, Manhattan Beach, I’m going to indulge my literary self and not read any psychology for at least a week.

So freaking sexy.

I may just spend most of tomorrow lazing on the chaise lounge after I get back from helping out my person and just read.

Such luxury.

And that’s it, that’s my New Year’s Day plans.

To chill the fuck out.

The year is going to be full and amazing, hello, I’ll be graduating, going to Paris, and starting  PhD program, traveling to D.C., and who knows what else will happen, seeing many clients and nanny’ing up a storm.

Wishing you and yours the Happiest of New Years!

Big love from the city by the Bay.

May the year bring you so much love and joy.

So much.

Advertisements

Oops

March 13, 2017

I did it again.

And again.

And.

Yes.

Again.

Until I stopped.

It took about twenty minutes and then every once in a while I would do it again.

But.

It got better.

I went to a restorative yoga class tonight.

I did not know anything about restorative yoga, although I have had a friend recommend it to me.

Now I know why.

It took me a minute to get into it and while I was getting myself there I had the intruding thought come into my head about when I was going to do yoga again.

Fuck.

Martines.

Stop it.

I’m doing yoga and planning on when I am going to do yoga again.

My brain is not a good yoga partner.

There’s a part of me that recognizes, despite my resistance, or maybe because of it, to yoga in the first place, that maybe, especially since it’s been recommended to me by the people I do my recovery work with, that maybe it’s good for me.

And as person who enjoys feeling good I can see that I want to feel good more often.

But it’s hard juggling everything and as I walked back in the door to my house I had a sudden shift in perspective.

Hey, how about you give yourself some props.

You went to yoga.

You actually made it in on a day during your school weekend.

This is a first.

I have been doing yoga on and off for about a year now.

I had a three-month hiatus late-summer when I was going through a very rebellious stage of not wanting to do it and I got out of the practice.

But.

I came back to it in November and have been trying to establish a consistent routine.

That being said, I have never managed to get in a yoga class on the weekend that I am in school, it’s too busy, I’m at school for 29 hours over the three-day weekend and most of the time I just want to sleep if I’m not in class.

So, yeah.

Be happy that I went.

It was good.

Different.

Much slower.

I never broke a sweat.

But I did stretch and I did meditate and I did relax.

In fact.

Twice I nearly fell asleep.

It also felt sweet, spacious and generous to myself, to show up to Yoga Beach, my studio right down the block at 46th and Irving, and take an hour and fifteen minutes just for me.

Not for my job or my school or for family, not for anyone else but me.

I just went to the site to pull it up and whilst looking for a nice photo to connect y’all with and I came across one of me in class!

Heh.

Of course I bet I’m the only person who would know that was me.

I recognized my hand.

There is a certain way I often find myself holding my hand which comes from the years I spent training kung fu.

I also recognized my tattoos.

That feels nice, having connected to the studio enough that there’s a shot of me in a class.

I like that I have met some new people and I like that I am finding myself breathing better, better able to regulate my stretching and sleeping better.

When I go.

And I haven’t been going as often as I’d like.

But.

Yeah.

Fucking big props for getting myself there today.

Especially with one hour less of sleep at the end of a long weekend of classes.

And.

I got through the midterm weekend, got all my stuff handed in, showed up, participated and got the next set of actions for what I need to do to mover forward in my internship.

I’ll be meeting with my supervisor after work on Tuesday at 6:30p.m.

I’m going to interview him for a project I’m doing for my Community Mental Health class and get all the paperwork signed and filled out for the practicum.

I am also going to ask him to recommend a supervisor and I may also ask him for personal therapy recommendations.

I thought briefly of going back to my old therapist, but there were some things that she did that didn’t always sit right with me and though I gained a lot from the time I was working with her I feel like I would be better served with a new outlook and experience with a therapist.

Lots of stuff to do.

Monday tomorrow, back to work.

Meeting with some people, three, this week to do the deal, getting to my regular spots and getting re-connected, I always feel a little off as I don’t do the recovery work as much during the school weekend either, a 11 hour day in school is challenging to do and to then add in other things, I have found little success doing that.

I haven’t had a full nights sleep in four days.

And there is so much to do already.

So.

Pausing.

Breathing.

Soft, slow stretching.

Yeah.

I think that’s a win for my personal self-care.

The studio is not going anywhere, I remind myself and though I may not be able to get back until next Saturday, which will be my first day off in two weeks as per regular when I am in school, I am ok with that.

I went today.

All I have is today.

I am perfect how I am.

Flawed.

Imperfect.

Lovable.

And.

Enough.

 

 

 

I Saw Your Car

September 6, 2016

In the parking lot at the 7-Eleven on the corner.

It sounds like the start to a really bad country western song, doesn’t it?

I kept right on right on, moving on.

I did stop.

I did pause.

I did have a wave of something come over me.

I suspect that you were thinking of me, I had you sudden and random in my head as I switched out my glasses and put on the frames you liked to see me in before leaving my house this evening to walk up and do the deal at the place up the road.

I am tan and my hair is in braids.

Like you like.

Like that.

I conjured you to the parking lot, heir to Slurpees and candy bars, to hot dogs on a rolling tray, glistening under the heat lamps, oily and delicious, the crisp coated chicken wings, baking under another set of lights, waiting to be scooped up into thin white paper bags, that spot with grease upon contact.

God only knows the years people have lost consuming such junk.

Devious in it’s siren song.

Though not so delicious as the memory of the first time we kissed.

And then.

I realized.

What the fuck am I doing standing on this sidewalk?

Do I really need to replay that mess?

No.

I have had these odd moments.

Moments when I feel like I’m being given a chance to go back and repeat old behaviors.

Or.

Move forward.

I fished in my purse for my phone, as though I suddenly had some momentous phone call coming in and I had to answer it.

Why was I there, on the sidewalk, stopped in my tracks?

Skin a glow.

Warm.

Soft, skirt billowing about my knees.

Then.

I put the phone resolutely back in my bag, there was no incoming message, there was no sign from God.

Although, there was.

There it was.

Make the decision.

Stay and talk and get wrapped up in a man who is not available for me to get wrapped up in, fantasize about a nothingness that is there, scuttling like a Kit Kat wrapper discarded in the parking lot.

Or.

Jump the other direction.

I was reminded that I was not to chase.

Not to pursue.

To know what I want.

And to sit and wait for that.

That the desire to chase was going to come up and I could let it pass through me and let it go out the other way, run down to the beach, sink into the sand, softly paddle down to the waves lapping at the moon.

And disappear underneath that yellow buttercream frosted moon, a dusted crescent sugar cookie, a soft bitten kind of love sailing over the black velvet waves.

Buh bye.

Bye, my baby, good bye.

I walked up the sidewalk.

I thought about all ways that I took care of myself today.

From sleeping in, to washing my bed sheets and making a fresh bed.

The good food I cooked for myself.

The writing I did.

The quiet time I took.

The phone calls I made and the conversations I had.

The gift I gave myself of not leaving the neighborhood, not seeking to have an agenda, to do something, to make something happen.

No need.

There was no need.

No.

The need was to go slow.

To languish in the sun.

Languid, liquid, warm, soft, sluiced with the sunshine.

It was not foggy today.

It’s Indian Summer in San Francisco.

And thank God.

It finally came.

Granted I spent much of “Fogust” out of town, but the few days that I was here in August, it was surprisingly grey and foggy and cold.

To come back, to be out of the first weekend of my second year of grad school and to have a day where it was sunny, warm, and without fog, was a huge gift.

One that my brain was eager to sabotage by running around and “getting stuff done.”

I have no real idea what this stuff was that needed to get done.

I went grocery shopping yesterday and I really didn’t need to do anything.

I was directed to get my “mind of me” and to go outside, go to coffee, go walk on the beach, get out of myself.

So.

I did.

I took a few phones calls in the back yard, checked in with my people, then walked up to Trouble Coffee And Coconut Club and had a very hot, very wet, very expensive latte.

I sat out in the front parklet and watched the ocean from the wooden top beam of the fenced in space.

I let the sun splash down on me.

I tasted the espresso and milk and let it envelop me.

I went to The General Store and actually found a dress I just adored and even though it was much more expensive than I wanted to spend, I liked it too much to not get it.

I spent the majority of my clothing allowance on it and smiled with sweet happiness that I allowed myself the gift of getting it.

I’ll wear it tomorrow.

I thought about relationships and myself and friendships and remembered the admonishment to spend time with either myself or with girlfriends.

Guy friends I can get too wrapped up in and the fantasy of maybe they’re the guy I should be dating gets in the way of it.

I remembered what my friend said, let it happen, sit still, allow the work to take and don’t push it.

I walked down to the ocean and walked along the beach.

I watched dogs jump in and out of the surf.

I watched surfers drift in and out of the waves.

The sun shone.

The sand stuck to my toes and then washed off as the water lapped over my feet, surprising, cold, crisp, alerting my whole body to how alive I am.

I found a large drift wood log and sat.

I watched a game of frisbee.

I checked some messages and saw a man I had dated a few months back commented on something I posted on social media, I texted him, answered the question, but did not pursue it further.  I didn’t ask, hey, what are you doing?  Want to hang out?

That’s the hard part.

The not pursuing.

Yet.

As I sit with myself, leaning more and more into the strength there.

I know that I am worthy of love.

Of pursuit.

And I’m not too concerned about it.

The feelings come and go.

But I don’t have to treat them as though they are real or permanent.

Just a fleeting kiss of ghosted memory.

And gone.

Like my footsteps past the parking lot.

The neon glow of the sign behind me casting a shadow ahead of me.

Glimmers come shining off the dance floor that I chose to exit from.

Asphalt sparkles in the night.

And the caress of wood smoke hovering in the saline air.

Love.

Love.

Here.

There.

Everywhere.

God, in the details.

The swish of my skirt around my ankles.

The curl of hair, tucked behind my ear.

And.

The soothing whisper.

Soon.

Here.

At the still point of this Universe.

Love.

Will find me.

On the corner of 46th and Judah.

A whimpering croon, oh baby girl.

Just.

Come.

And.

Hold my hand.

And together.

We will walk.

Towards that unknown land.

Love.

Just there, over the dunes.

Under the cusp of the moon.

I am here.

I await.

Still.

And.

Strong.

For.

You.

In My Zone

February 27, 2016

On my bike.

Whipping along 46th avenue.

In my body.

Fog cool on my face.

Getting the ya yas the fuck out of my head.

I came home a little crazy.

A good girlfriend, thank you God for girl friends, talked me down off the ledge.

“Go eat some dinner, watch a movie, chill out, enjoy your Friday.”

I had gotten out of work early and the weather turned a bit toward the intense, heavy fog, so heavy it’s basically rain, and the visibility was decreasing rapidly.

I made the executive decision to scooter home instead of hitting the Church and Market scene to do grocery shopping, the nails, or the Our Lady of SafeWay crowd.

I was headed that way all day in my mind.

Some times the things I have in my head are completely fantasy.

When reality snuck up on me it was after a long day of cake making and crazy birthday party preparations.

One of my charges turns six tomorrow.

We made a birthday cake together.

Watching him and his younger brother lick icing off a spoon and run their fingers along the edge of the batter in the bowl, so sweet.

I also didn’t mind that they were having some sugar, I wasn’t going to have to put them to bed and I wasn’t responsible for dinner, and well, it’s a birthday and hey, you got to bend the rules some times.

I made a two layer banana vanilla spice cake with banana custard filling in between the layers, frosted with homemade buttercream icing and topped with a heavy hand of sprinkles, courtesy of the liberal shakes from the birthday boy.

I was very surprised that the mom wanted me to make a cake.

Last year they got a big chocolate six layer cake from Tartine.

It was a fun project to do and though it’s been a while since I have made a cake from scratch it was just like riding a bike.

It was a blast teaching the six year old how to separate egg whites from yolks, squeeze lemon juice, cream butter and sugar, and whip egg whites into peaks.

“Carmen, can you mix it for awhile, I’m tired,” he said leaning his sweet head against my hip.

“Of course,” I took the whisk and whipped the egg whites into peaks.

“Oof, this is hard,” I said, as my shoulder began to chatter with me, “I am going to need some love to keep going.”

He hugged my arm.

He hugged me a lot today.

He’s been such a sweet snuggle bunny with me.

Oh.

God.

Speaking of snuggle bunnies.

Fucking Rainbow and the barrel of overflowing Jelly Cat bunny rabbits.

(HA!  I just re-read that sentence above as I was editing and I thought, only someone who live in San Francisco knows that Rainbow is a high end hippie grocery store and Jelly Cat is a brand of stuffed animals that they sell in the kids aisle, but it makes a great visual if you don’t know the context!)

I almost threw myself in the vat of them while I was busy spending my paycheck on toiletries.

There was one mint one, like dinner mint green, those soft pastel melting mints that you get at the steak house after a big filet and sizzling plate of hash browns, the ones in a glass carafe at the hostess desk, yeah like that.

That bunny there, mint green with the softest little pink nose.

Dude.

I don’t know how the hell I restrained myself.

Give me all the bunnies.

I stood in the aisle for a good minute or so thinking about it, stroking the candy colored rabbit’s ears and then, with a last squeeze, I walked over to the produce area and got the apples I had come for.

Yeah.

So I got some good love on today with the boys.

“Carmen, I’m putting all my love in your heart,” the three year old told me as the mom was passing by, and then threw himself into my arms.

I just about burst into tears.

Yeah.

Still got the sads.

Slightly tempered by the pissed offs.

Why do I do the things that I do to myself?

Haven’t you learned yet?

Fuck.

I was beating myself up pretty bad.

Then the family left for a dinner at Rintaro as I finished up the laundry and tidied up the house for the weekend, birthday celebration.

I left my boy a small stack of presents and a hand made card on the kitchen counter and put his paper birthday crown from school on top of the domed cake in the kitchen.

I got him a bunch of model planes to fold out of paper and cardboard as well as a self-propelled rocket launcher that works on green energy.

It’ll shoot the rocket up to thirty feet.

Dude.

He’s going to be over the moon.

“Carmen, I used up all my love, I gave it all to you,” he said after licking the whisk reverently with half lidded eyes–banana custard, I mean really, I don’t eat sugar, but this was intoxicating to make and the smell, oh my, heaven.

“You know, I accept all your love, I always will, I love you heaps and bunches and to the moon and back infinity times infinity,” I said and stroked his soft face.

“That’s a lot!”

“Yes, it is, but you know the amazing thing about love?” I asked him.

“What’s that?”

“It’s an infinite resource, there is always more love to give, you can’t run out of it, whenever you breathe in the air, you breathe out love, it’s just natural, it’s just always there, I promise, you’ll never run out.”

“That’s a good thing,” he said and continued dreamily licking off the spoon.

“I agree.”

And I remind myself of the same thing.

Love.

Infinite love.

I have it always, deep down inside me where that small quiet voice presides.

So.

I locked down the scooter, ordered some take out from Thai Cottage, I ate an awesome pumpkin curry and then pumped up my bike tires and got my bicycle ready for a sprint over to Vicente and 41st, hang with the hoodlums in the Outer Sunset.

It was the best thing to do.

I heard everything I needed.

And I got my God on good.

Then.

The ride back, the soft fog still thick and wet, I was pretty soaked by the time I wheeled my whip into the garage, the air on my face, the smell of the sea, the crash of the waves on the beach, soul sluiced with sweetness.

Sometimes when you’re dreaming I see a light.

I walked into my safe, warm, glow globe room and said, “thank you,” and “hello house,” and “I love you.”

Because.

That’s how I roll.

Infinite love.

All the way deep down in my starlight soul.

All the way to the heavens and back.

A thousand times.

Giving myself the allowance.

The band width to be human.

With just a tiny bit.

Of.

(Infinite)

REVERENCE.

And.

God in the mix.

Not a bad way to start the weekend.

Hello you.

Let’s be friends.

 

 

While I’m Blogging

March 19, 2015

There’s an egg cooling off in a pan on the stove.

The new late night snack for me.

Protein.

Delicious.

Although I will miss my little apple and yogurt duo, it’s time to try something new.

It helped that I had it one last time last night and it was like saying goodbye to an old lover that just wasn’t treating me right any longer.

And I was checked out when I ate it.

So tonight I committed to try something different.

It will be what it will be.

I promise I won’t blog this entire post about a hard-boiled egg either, though it will be lovely, warm, creamy yolk, Judy’s Jumbo organic brown egg, with a sprinkle of pepper and sea salt.

Every time I eat a properly, for me boiled egg, I am always reminded of that movie about the woman who blogs all the Julia Child recipes after having made them and then eaten the results.

She, the character, grouses about eating a poached egg and then when she finally does eat it, all the richness and complexity of it, if it’s done right, a poached egg is heavenly, almost cheesy in its flavor and texture and really delicious.

A soft-boiled egg is the same for me.

And I should be able to eat it and not check out and it should be enough to tide me over until the morning breakfast comes.

I had lots of nice food today too, it was a busy day with the boys and the parents have friends visiting in town, so take out was ordered.

I had the burrito bowl from Papalote for dinner.

A burrito bowl, for those of you not in the know, is a burrito sans skin, meaning, no wrap.

“Will you get sick if you eat bread,” my five-year old charge asked me on the way back from the park, “can you touch it?”

“Of course I can touch it, I made you a sandwich yesterday with bread, I just can’t eat it, it makes me feel bad,” I said.

Which is far closer to the truth than most people can comprehend.

I am not a celiac, I am not gluten intolerant, I have an allergy to processed sugar and flour.

I break out into more.

And I want to eat it all.

It is no fun and I don’t like hiding pastry in my bag, so I don’t do it.

And I have a solution around it and active recovery.

Enough said.

Was it not a lovely sunset tonight?

It was glorious.

On Wednesdays I get done with work and instead of doing the deal in the Mission or the Castro, I rock my bike home and hang out in the Outer Sunset.

“You live out here?” He asked me as the lights came up in the candle light room.

“Yup, about a year and a half now,” I said, “right down the street, 46th and Judah.”

“Man, I want to live out here, it’s great,” he said, “I’m jealous.”

It’s not bad.

It’s pretty fucking good, who the hell am I kidding.

I love the ocean being so close and the sunset on my bike ride home through the park, then cresting down Lincoln Ave from Chain of Lakes, the air was bedazzled with burnt umber and gold and glowing with the sun floating into the sea.

I was blown away and smiled as I drifted down the last few blocks to the home front.

The only drawback is that I am riding my bicycle directly into the sun and it’s hard to see.

I don’t like riding without my glasses though and I don’t have prescription sunglasses.  Which I am starting to think I better get.

Especially for Burning Man this year.

I’m going to have to prepare myself for a lot more time outside.

A lot.

This means extra sunblock and some sunglasses.

Last year I went to the eye doctor and found out that my eyes have developed an astigmatism and I can’t wear contacts.

Which would have been perfect for the playa, but nope.

In the past few years, especially the last two, I have not done a lot of out and about during the day, I ended up being in the trailer of the family I worked for.  The little guy was super heat sensitive, so we spent a lot of time in the a/c.

I don’t foresee a/c in my next Burning Man adventure.

Although, who knows what’s going to happen.

I still don’t.

“You were a nanny at Burning Man?” The visiting mom and dad said with incredulity.  “Really?  Did you have any fun, did you have any time off to go and play?”

“No.” I said pretty succinctly.

“Oh tell them your playa name,” the mom I work for said, “it’s just awesome.”

I laughed.

“Mary F’ing Poppins,” I smiled.  “One of the mom’s I used to work for said I was like Mary Fucking Poppins with tattoos, and thus, my playa name was born.”

“Wow, I had no idea people do that,” the mom said, poking at the dad, maybe we could go…..”

I smiled and left the room to attend to the monkeys at the table, two visiting girls and my two guys.

And my burrito bowl.

I am going to be having a bit more of a conversation about Burning Man with the family come this Friday.

I realized that Friday is our six months anniversary working together and we should have done a performance evaluation at 90 days, which never happened.

Suffice to say I know that the family loves me and I love working for them and it’s a great fit, but I did think to myself it would be good to touch base about moving forward, especially since I know what my graduate school dates are for the retreat and the first weekend of classes.

And since I want to go to that thing in the desert where they burn the man, dude.

Both the mom and dad said we don’t have any criticism of what you’re doing, when I brought it up today, we don’t need to do an evaluation.

That was nice to hear.

But I made it clear that it was also about defining our goals moving forward and what they want from me and I from them and starting the communication process now instead of waiting until a month before the event and saying, uh, yeah, and I want to go to Burning Man too.

Mostly it’s because I want to take my vacation time separate from when the family does theirs.

Meaning I want to be paid for my time off.

And that may take some navigating, but I know that I can.

I feel really lucky right now.

Graced might be a better word for it.

I have a good job.

I have a good home.

I have a good life.

I am going to graduate school.

I am going to Atlanta.

I am going to San Diego.

I think I will be putting “I’m going to Burning Man,” onto that list soon.

And now.

It’s time for my egg.

I almost didn’t write my entire blog about my snack.

Almost.

Heh.

Death by Machete

October 6, 2014

And other adventures in bicycling.

It was a bit of a shit show out there tonight as I was heading in towards the Mission from the Outer Sunset and the calm environs thereof.

Well.

Not really calm.

Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass was all weekend and this morning it was shockingly loud.

I thought at one point that I was hearing Tom Waits and I realized it was just so loud, distorted, and warped from traveling through the last bit of trees to my ears, that it sounded like a loud, belligerent, drunken Tom Waits performance this morning in my house as I was writing.

I was amused.

And I was not going anywhere near it.

Yes.

I had a tiny touch of FOMO.

Fear of missing out.

However.

I also wanted to have a relaxing day and I had some projects and plans that needed attending to, its honestly much more important to me to have my food prepped and ready to go for the week then to battle out the drunken pot soaked crowds at the festival.

San Francisco does like a good festival.

Or street fair.

Castro Street Fair was also today and it seemed that the benevolent weather was going to charm its way into San Franciscan legend with the warm sunny sunshine.

Although.

Should one stand still enough.

Or.

Should one be a long time San Franciscan resident.

One knew.

Or at least I knew.

The fog was coming.

I could feel it on my skin as I head out to do some of my grocery shopping today.  I still get quite a little thrill that my bicycle commute to get groceries happens to be along Great Highway, right along the Pacific Ocean.

The beach was packed.

I hadn’t plans to attend to anything at the beach either.

Again, too many people.

But, so pretty to look at and as I said, really a scenic little route to do my errands.

The pleasure of living in San Francisco struck home again and again today and over this past weekend as well.  I am really lucky that I get to live here.  I work hard and my life is fairly simple and the trade-off is that I live in this gorgeous jewel of a city.

It’s not the same city I moved to twelve years ago, but then again, I never thought it should be.  I actually like a lot of the changes I have seen in the city since I have moved here.

Some things not so much, I think MUNI fares are too high and rents are totally ridiculous, but I have the option to live elsewhere and I don’t so I don’t reserve the right to bitch about the city.

It is what it is and I am just grateful to still get to be a part of it.

Even, when I almost get hacked to bits by a machete on my bicycle.

The bicycle commute up Lincoln was a little crazy.

When I normally ride, in the morning, I don’t have to be too concerned about the traffic being intoxicated, I mean for the most part, there have been a few times when I thought some one was out of their skull, but really commuter traffic is what I am used to and it can be uncomfortable, but there’s usually not a lot of foot traffic or pedestrians.

Not so today with the last day of the festival happening in the park.

Folks on foot galore.

Moms and dads and strollers full of kids.

Skateboarders.

Dirty hippy kids with dogs.

Man with machete.

I saw him popping around in between cars at 20th and Irving and I couldn’t quite see what was happening, but there was a large machete be wielded, a lot of lank brown hair in dudes eyes and a general look of not being entirely present to the world that made me extraordinarily cautious as I moved up the block.

It was a baby coconut stand that dude had put up on the corner of  20th and Irving by the pedestrian cross walk.

The light changed and dude walked out into traffic swinging his machete, picking up a coconut at the same time to hack into pieces.  Except he wasn’t paying attention to the traffic, and all this hair was in his eyes and god damn that’s a big knife.

The thought passed in my head.

“That would be a funny way to die.”

Uh.

No fucking thank you.

“BICYCLEBICYCLEBICYCLEBICYCLE!”

I hollered out.

I couldn’t swerve much to the left, there was traffic right next to me proceeding into the intersection.

He saw me at the last-minute and dropped his knife down.

“Thanks!”

I called out, my heart in my mouth and then I just laughed.

Only in San Francisco.

I made my way up Lincoln and then I actually took Oak Street all the way down to the Lower Haight.  I refused to go on the bike path through the Pan Handle.  There was a huge back log of bicycles waiting for the light to change at Stanyan and Oak and I decided to flit through on the road instead of the bike path.

Which was a veritable mess of bicycles, dogs, strollers, old people out for their after dinner constitutional, bikes coming and going both ways, joggers, and roller bladers.

I felt safer on Oak Street with the traffic zipping past then I would have on the bike path.

Then as the dusk was turning gloamy and purpled I spun through Church and Castro Street then dropped down to 17th hit the bicycle lane onward to the Mission and down to 24th and Florida Street.

At one point I was on 22nd and Alabama and I saw the old Bodega I used to buy six packs of Sierra Nevada from and it’s been renovated into an upscale craft beer and wine store.

I chuckled.

I avoided a few doors on cars popping open and made it to my destination.

A good hour of getting the deal and then a hop back on my bicycle and the ride in reverse.

Except this time.

I took the park and the fog was here and it was a carnival of breakdown happening from the festival as the last drunken dregs meandered out of the park.

I zipped a long.

The fog rich on my face, warm, wet, misty, thick with love and sea salt goodness.

My God I love San Francisco, I thought as I rounded the last turn on Lincoln at 46th Avenue and floated through the mist towards my little home.

Machete wielding madmen and all.

Back in the Saddle

September 16, 2014

And it was just like riding a bike.

Except.

Well.

YIPPEE!

It was my bike.

Yes.

That is correct.

I am back on my bicycle.

I mean, I did go for a brief ride last Sunday, Noriega Produce and back and also to the Safeway at Fulton and La Playa, but a real ride, nope.

Not until today.

I did the same ride.

However, first I had to change the flat tire from yesterday.  As I suspected the running out of coffee was the prompt needed to get me into motion.  I was determined after I ground up the last of my beans this morning to fix the flat and go hunter gather some more coffee beans up.

I had a meeting beforehand and some reading to do and that was done and plans were made for some more of that in the future.  It is really quite nice to be back in the routine of making time to see other people for an hour or so once a week and do some reading and gaining of perspective.

It really is the bright spot of my life.

I also did some writing and some meditation prior to the bicycle tire change out.

I finished those two things up after my guest left and decided the best thing to do was to make some lunch, because I know better than to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, and that it would be helpful to have food in me before doing anything mechanical.

Not that I haven’t changed a flat tire before, I have, it’s just that there’s something about it, that does make me want someone else to do the work.

There is often a part of me that wonders why in the hell do I bother?

How come I put in so much time?

Then I remember, oh yeah, my life was awful and the only way it got better was showing up and doing the work that other people had suggested I do.

And there’s only more work to be done.

I want to rest on my laurels and I want you, nebulous you, to change my flat tire.

Really, it’s not too hard, you can do it.

Um.

I mean.

I can do it.

And I did.

And there was a solid feeling of accomplishment about it.  This is a bike I have broken down and packed up and carried across the Pond, yeah, the big one, to Paris and back, I have reassembled it, changed other flat tires (sometimes putting said tires on backwards, oops, but still), yet there is a thought, false, that I cannot possibly do it again.

That it’s too hard and that it’s something to push-off and put aside for another day.

But.

Today is the day.

I felt it.

I wanted to be on my bike.

It did not hurt that the day was glorious September in San Francisco weather at its absolute finest–clear, high blue skies, no clouds, scant breeze, mid 70s–and it was just hollering to me to take advantage of it.

I opened up the door to the garage and the sun poured in.

I flipped over the bike and propped it against the wall in the garage and used my handy bicycle 15mm wrench and lever combo to unscrew the bolts on the front wheel.

I examined the valve closely and determined that it was indeed broken and I had to replace the entire tube.  I set down the bolts carefully to make sure I did not displace them and got the old dish towel out of my linen closet to use to wipe down my hands.  I used the lever and pulled the tire, a Gatorskin, off the rim.

Then I pulled out the old inner tube and tossed it in the trash.

I opened up the new tube, unscrewed the valve and put a little air in the tube to help it line up with the rim (rims which I still love but can see perhaps replacing with a new set up in about a year, maybe some Halo reflectors or a mirror rim from Velocity), then I slipped the Gatorskin back onto the rim.

Then the tricky part.

Getting the tire back into the rim.

I took a minute.

It took me a while longer than a minute, but not more than five or ten.

I kept rolling the tire between my hand and the rim and it just wouldn’t catch.

I was about to give up.

I thought, well, I can still take the tire over to Swell, the local bike shop at Irving and 42nd, but give it one more go.

And then it just caught.

I levered the tire onto the rim, rolled it through my hands to make sure that the inner tube was not pinched between the rim and the tire, and then I put it back on the front fork, screwed it tight, flipped it over, inflated it, and voila!

Good as new.

I did feel deeply satisfied.

It’s a small thing, but I like that I can change my own flat tire.

I washed up and headed out to the grocery stores.

It was beautiful, the sun shone down, the water on the ocean glittered, the breeze blew, my feet were connected and I felt surer on the bicycle than last week, and my ankle, though stiff, felt capable to do the job.

After my second trip, the most important one, the one to get coffee, I also realized that I was going to be able to ride my bike to the Inner Sunset.

I could feel it.

It was going to happen.

I think I was actually more nervous about how my quads would feel after not being on my bicycle for three and a half months and riding up the incline on Lincoln from 46th Avenue up to 9th Avenue.

The quads held.

My ankle held.

I did it!

Nothing hurts.

Well.

My ankle is stiff and my thighs are a little sore, but really, not bad at all.

Really quite happy.

“This month, dancing, no excuses, you can ride your bike, you can go dancing,” my friend said to me as we parted this evening.

I can see it.

Maybe not this week.

But if I can get back in the saddle.

I can get back on the dance floor.

It is good to be more myself than I have been in months.

Grateful for the healing.

And for the patience to let myself heal.

And for knowing that tomorrow I won’t be riding my bike.

I know to not push too hard as well.

One day on.

One day off.

Until I am fully back in the groove.

No need to kill myself.

Besides.

I will be picking up my playa bike from Cole Valley.

And that’s a ride of an entirely different sort.

Be on the lookout for my purple pennant.

As I ride again.

 

 

Practice Makes Perfect

April 7, 2014

Well, maybe not perfect.

But a whole lot better.

I took my Vespa out for her first solo ride.

Sans friends.

Just me and a scooter.

ME

Me

Scooter

And A Scooter

I am just a little excited in this photo, if you can’t tell.

Nervous too.

I was.

Unmindful?

A little bit.

I got so excited about my virgin voyage on my own that I forgot to lock up the house.

Oops.

I did all the checks that my friend told me to do, I made sure that the handle bars weren’t locked.

I put it in neutral and double checked that it was in neutral before I kickstarted it.

She was a little cold and did not want to start-up right away, so I pulled out the choke and then vroom!

It was on.

I walked around the scooter, stepped through, and rolled her down of the kickstand.

Then I just sat for a moment with my foot on the brake and let the breath come to me.

I wasn’t going to go far.

I figured I would just go up 46th from my house to Sloat and back.

Which is exactly what I did.

As I eased off the clutch I gave it a little too much throttle and it did a quick jump out.

But then I steadied myself, laughed a little, and tried again.

This time much better.

I rolled up to the stop sign at Judah.

I let everybody go, I mean everybody, just waved folks through, waited for the pedestrians, swiveled my head around to make sure no one was behind me, prayed, smiled, grinned, and breathed, eased off the clutch, rolled the throttle and I was off.

I got it to second gear.

I felt what my friend meant when he said that it would give a “ka-thunk” when it was in gear and I would know it.  Also that when I was putting it into gear to roll of the throttle and not give it gas and smoothly release the clutch.

Within four blocks I had it in third and was cruising right along.

I know enough about the neighborhood to know that despite it being quiet and residential, folks still do all sorts of wonky maneuvering to find parking and I kept my eyes out to watch for this and also intersections where cars are rolling through the stop not paying too much attention.

I gave myself plenty of space.

I grinned a lot.

I thought, I got this.

Then I killed it at a stop sign.

I tried to start it while straddling it and could not quite get the gumption to give it the strong kick it needed.

So, I settled into neutral, stepped out and pulled her up onto the kickstand.

“Need help?” A taxi driver leaned out the window of a Yellow Cab.

“Nope,” I said, “thanks!  Just practicing.”

I smiled.

He smiled.

The world smiled.

Or that’s what it felt like.

The cab moved off, I came around, kicked it started right off the bat and stepped back through, pulled it up off the stand and proceeded forward.

I got to Rivera and decided to not tackle going all the way to Sloat.

The street was right there, but so too is the MUNI turn around for the Taraval train and I did not want to navigate over and around the MUNI tracks.

I turned right and slipped down to 47th then headed back toward the house.

At Noriega I turned right and then left back onto 46th ave and headed to my house.

I felt really good and decided I would keep riding for a little bit.

I turned on Irving and headed up toward 43rd, then around the block, back to Judah, and back home.

The neighbors across the way hollered out to me as I got off the Vespa, “lookin’ good!”

I might have blushed.

There’s a bunch of guys and gals in their twenties across the way with surf boards galore and motorcycles and stuff and it felt kind of nice to be cheered on.

I secured the Vespa, locked the handlebars, locked my helmet on the seat, tucked my gloves into the little fender box built into the rear hub and went inside to celebrate.

Which looked like pulling up the e-mail from the insurance agent that a fellow scooter rider suggested and filling out the rest of the paperwork to get my insurance all in a row.

Then I wrote a check for this month’s scooter payment, a week early, but hey, that’s how I like to roll, and walked it to the mail box and dropped it in.

The day was gorgeous and I was drawn to the back yard.

But not before I made a coffee date with an old friend I haven’t seen in over a decade.

He is going to come out next Friday on his cycle and we’re going to meet at Trouble and have coffee and catch up and then go for a ride.

I told him I have only been out for three rides and he told me he could still kick my ass.

We used to study Shaolin together.

I am not sure how relevant it was to the conversation, but it made me laugh and I am looking forward to more practice on the Vespa and catching up with a friend from back home, Madison, Wisconsin.

He gave me props for still having my 608 area code too.

After our conversation I retired to the back yard, sat in the sun and read for a while, made some lunch, sat outside some more, took a nap, yes, I did, then yes, sat outside a little more, finished my book and had an early dinner.

Then off to Church and Market for an early evening commitment.

I rode my bicycle.

I am not ready to scoot that far.

Yet.

But I will be.

Soon.

Just a little more practice.

And it’s on.

 

Nothing Happened

December 12, 2013

Today was a good day.

Yup.

Pretty much nothing happened.

Nothing big and fancy and life changing.

Just life.

I got done with work a little early and spent the late afternoon hanging around the Inner Sunset at 7th and Irving only to find out that my intended place to be at 4:30p.m. was not happening.

Oh well.

I still got to sit in a cafe for an hour and do some writing.

I never got to my morning pages this morning.

I decided upon waking up that a shower was more needed then doing the writing.

I didn’t put that in my “sex or lack thereof blog” last night.

I wouldn’t have hooked up with my friend unless he was willing to wait for me to take a shower and shave my legs and wash my hair.

Heh.

I was a dirty monkey.

Normally my routine would have been to take one last night, but since my friend came over I skipped it to spend time catching up with him and drinking tea.

By the time I was done writing the blog it was just past my bedtime and it was time to just give up on the day and know that I would do the washing and scrubbing in the morning.

I sprang out of bed.

The alarm went off and I leapt.

I don’t know why, but I was awake and ready to take on the day.

“Joy of living, is my principle today,” I said to her on the phone as I crested the top of Parnassus at Frederick pushing the double stroller ahead of me to the park.

I don’t know why I picked that particular one and for a while I was a bit miffed at myself for doing so.

Then I realized that I had fallen for the Lucy again, good ol’ Charlie Brown kicking that football thinking something different was going to happen, and whomp!

Landing on his back again.

I set myself up with expectation so quick.

I hadn’t even meant to.

I was bordering on discontented when I was wandering around the Inner Sunset, what am I doing, what am I going to do with the rest of my day, what am I going to eat for dinner, my brain was all yackety yack at me.

I glanced up from my bike and realized I had time to catch the sunset and avoid the crazy rush hour commuter traffic on Irving if I got going and stopped lolly gaggging around.

Sometimes you just need to take an action.

I slipped my foot into the my sturdy purple Hold Fast straps and rocked my bicycle down Irving Street all the way out to the beach.

I stopped by the house threw a Japanese sweet potato in the oven, grabbed my camera and headed to the beach.

AH.

Thank God.

Just that, just going down to the edge of the ocean, climbing up the big dune and then the view, the heart stopping glory of the ocean at sunset to sustain me through the rest of what really has been and is a lovely day.

Sand Dune

Sand Dune

Sunset

Sunset

Ripples

Ripples

Birds

Birds

Judah @ 46th

Judah @ 46th

I skipped about the tides and watched the ripples glowing in the light, squatting down at the edge of the water to capture as much color in the sky and the water as I could.

My body opened, my breath deepened, and all of the day fell away.

I turned and walked back to the dunes and climbed the hill in reverse sending my housemate, who has been down with the wicked flu bug that has been making the rounds, a text asking if she needed anything from the store.

I got the request for a coconut from Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club and scampered over to the cafe to purchase a young coconut for her to sip on.

I turned for the last look back as the glow diffused across the avenues and I felt so lucky to be here and alive and just peaceful, exactly in the right place, no regrets on who I am, where I am, or where I am supposed to be.

I was just present.

“Incoming coconut,” I texted my house mate, ran up the stairs, dropped it off, asked if there was anything else I could do and got the fuck out of the contamination zone.

Love you honey, but I don’t want what you got.

Everybody seems to have gotten it.

I need to pass right now, if you don’t mind.

I ducked back into my house, plugged in the Christmas tree, such sweet simple joy, just in that act, and got my potato out of the oven, made up my dinner, downloaded my photographs, did some editing work on them, posted up to my photography blog, I drank a hot cup of tea after my meal and got back on the bicycle to whip over to Ulloa Avenue and 41st for an hour.

Just getting there felt great.

The air still crisp, but not nearly as cold as a few nights back, the heady scent of fires burning in the homes, the twinkling of Christmas lights on the houses, the last smudges of the sunset inking over the dark indigo of the ocean, I breathed in and smiled like an idiot.

My legs so connected to my bike, it felt like my body was this pure machine, and I was free to drift in the sensory sea of images and smells and rich tactile air gushing past me and rifling in my hair under the infinity scarf wrapped around my neck.

Alive.

Nothing grand, but so amazing to be here.

So awesome to get this opportunity to do it and do it well.

I have one week left of being 40 and I haven’t fret once about it.

I feel like my life is just deepening and getting richer and all these experiences are just prepping me for the next great thing.

Until that happens, it could just be having a cup of really hot heady tea, that is the next great thing, fyi, I will just keep moving forward not worried about what is happening and not happening.

I am breathing.

Today was a good day.

Nothing happened.

What A Day

August 12, 2013

What a day.

What a fucking day.

Whew.

I am tired thinking about it, exhilarated, and don’t even know where the hell to begin.

In no particular order.

Went to Outside Lands courtesy of my employers with my friend Radha.

We saw Hall & Oates, A-trak, Willie Nelson and Family, Vampire Weekend, and someone else who I am entirely forgetting, New Orleans funk brass band with guest Aaron Neville.

We sat and had Blue Bottle coffees in the VIP area and marvelled at the crowds.

We walked a lot.

I danced my butt off at A-trak.

And we left early.

I did not stay to see the Chili Peppers, I just was done in by the day, the dancing, the walking, the emotional excitement–although I heard them as I rode my bike from my place back into town, I had left my bicycle there and Radha and I walked from the house to the festival.

Yup.

I put the deposit down on my studio in-law in the Sunset.

Yes, folks, I am moving back to, not really sunny, San Francisco.

I will be living in the fog belt but I don’t care, I have Trouble Coffee, Judalicious (where I had lunch raw vegan “tacos” on collard green leaves with avocado, cashew sauce, shredded red cabbage and carrots, sunflower seed “pate” and for dessert a nectarine from the local organic co-op market), Java Beach Cafe (I am envisioning some Sunday paper action on the patio in the sunshine–it’s not always foggy by the beach kids), Golden Gate Park, and lest I forget, the ocean.

I am not really living in the City by the Bay, but in the city by the Ocean.

It is just a bit different out there, it feels like it’s own little quaint beach community and I am excited to explore it.

By bicycle.

Home

Home

By foot.

By slow meandering walk to the beach.

By bonfire.

By moon light.

By hold my hand and walk with me in the surf.

Heh.

I move in after I get back from the thing in the desert where they burn that guy for like being the man, dontcha know.

I don’t have an exact date pinpointed when I am back from playa, but I know that I probably won’t move in until that weekend following the end of the event–I am projecting a September 7th or 8th move in date.

The studio is gorgeous.

My friend really has done it right.

The bathroom (which I christened, yes that’s right, I peed on my turf) is all lovely tile and tidy silver and chrome with a lovely medicine cabinet, well-lit, and clean and bright painted.

The walls are fresh painted.

The lighting fixtures all brand new, including a ceiling fan and domed lights.

The floors still are in the process of being finished.

My friend was going to put in carpet and changed her mind.

Yay!

Hardwoods.

Oh.

So.

Loverly.

The closet needs finishing and the kitchen is not complete yet, those details will all come together in the next week or two and frankly there is not a rush, it’ll be done and ready for me when I get back from the burn.

And eventually there will be a new deck out the back door and a new window so the studio will be even brighter.

I was actually surprised by how much light it did capture just from the little glassed in door in the back that leads to the yard and current patio.

I am going to have access to a yard!

I can hear the ocean from the back porch.

I can open the door and hear the ocean.

So much nicer than the gun shots I heard last night and the relentless drag racing and side shows that were going on last night.

Some folks got shot last night over here.

It was intense.

The news reported that a man was hospitalized for a gunshot, but no name, nothing said, a single line on ABC 7’s website.

I heard the shots last night.

And I heard the rumour mill at the BART station when I was headed into town.

Rumor was more than one person was shot.

I can believe that, there was a lot of return fire.

I am breathing so much easier just realizing that I am not going to hear that anymore as I drift off to sleep.

Ocean waves here I come.

I made it home tonight unscathed and in wonderment that I made it from 46th and Irving to Rainbow before they closed, and then to the Civic Center, onto BART, and back to the Gracelandia without incident.

The ride back, this time I did all on Lincoln and it was actually much more manageable than I thought, was foggy and chilly, and spooky and ethereal.

The entire city is bundled up in fog.

Then back to Graceland for the stack of mail to open and my groceries to put away.

And what’s that in the mail?

Ah.

Yes.

My student loan bill which has come out of forbearance and I have to make payment on before I leave for playa.

All the big money decisions whomp!

But I have it.

It’ll go in the mail tomorrow and I won’t have to worry about it while I am out dancing in the dust or getting my nanny on or doing my writing.

Of which there will be more as I also got something else in the mail.

The Bastille.

I am published.

Right.

There.

In.

Print.

My name, spelled correctly, thank you very much, and my story, The Button Boy.

It is so cool (even though there’s a typo in the last paragraph) to see my work, my name, my words, printed on paper stock.

I was also quite impressed by the journal.

It is a much higher quality print then I thought it was going to be.

 

****And here is where my internet went down last night at Graceland.  I tried again this morning to post and have now finally gotten some connection here at the nanny gig in North Oakland.

Sigh.

I hate when that happens.

Oh well.

So it goes, here’s the story from yesterday and hopefully there will be internet connectivity when I get home tonight, home, funny thought that.

Graceland for a little while longer.

 


%d bloggers like this: