Posts Tagged ‘Absinthe’

Made It Through

May 21, 2018

The weekend.

I graduated!

Pretty spectacular.

Grateful for the pomp of it and also, well, grateful that it’s done too.

It was a lot of work getting ready for it and I could use a little break from all the hullaballoo.

Granted.

All the ceremony was lovely and I was glad that I attended even if the walk across stage happened so quickly, it was an important walk for me to make.

It was nice to have my mom there too, we haven’t seen each other in a few years and it was good to reconnect.

I’m ready to reconnect to my regular schedule though.

It was nice to have the time off to do the special things, and the not so special, the endoscopy and that damn wire test took up some time and mental space, I got a text from the doctor’s office today that my lab results are in and that I will discuss them with the doctor on Wednesday.

Note to self, make sure to tell the mom at work.

Back to work tomorrow.

Although since I don’t have supervision in the morning, it will be a late start for me.

So I get to gently wind down this weekend of festivities.

The graduation party was fabulous.

Though a bit breezy.

A lot of people didn’t come out to it due to weather being cold and windy, but those folks who did brave the conditions really had my heart.

And my best friend who set up the whole she-bang, man, I am so grateful for all that work.

Throwing parties is work, especially when it’s an offsite event on the beach.

Especially when it was freaking Bay to Breakers today!

They had the whole parking lot cordoned off for the event.

Bay to Breakers is a notorious drinking run that starts at the Bay and ends at the “breakers” at Ocean Beach.

Had I known that it was today I would never have done my party at the beach.

I had to park my car at SafeWay and walk a couple blocks, not horrible, but when the time came for breaking things down and getting things back, it was a bit daunting.

Fortunately I had some great helpers and the one good thing about Bay to Breakers having all their gear set up in the parking lot was that there were gigantic lights put up everywhere, the beach was bright as day.

I had some worry about having enough day light to break everything down, but the lights from the parking lot saved the day.

It was still a bit of a hassle getting things off the beach, but the crew that was left at the end of the party were great and helped me by sitting on my stuff and waiting until I had gotten my car and I was able to get everything in and back to my house.

And.

I am very proud of myself for this.

I unpacked everything and put it all away.

Including throwing all the beach blankets into the wash and putting away all the sodas and sparkling waters that did not get drank.

There were a lot of left overs.

As I said quite a few people didn’t show, but the sweet company of those that did kept me warm on the cold beach and I was happy to celebrate.

I even wore my cap and gown for a little while.

Until the wind blew off my cap and I got too cold.

But like a good San Franciscan, I had two back up layers, a sweatshirt and a jean jacket, plus fingerless gloves and an infinity scarf.

I just bundled right up.

Plus there was the fire and dancing to stay warm and a couple of times hopping into the tent that was good wind protection and actually felt warm.

The family I work for even came.

All the kids had hot dogs and s’mores and they were super sweet and the family gave me a crazy nice graduation gift.

I got some amazing gifts.

I am so grateful for the expressions of love and affection I received this weekend.

I really am.

It was also nice to be witnessed and seen.

To have the acknowledgement of all the work I have done in the last three years meant quite a lot.

There’s still plenty of work to go.

I suspect there will always be work to do.

But.

I am going to take this moment and really let it all soak in.

The flowers in vases all around my house, from my best friend, my mom, my boss, my mentor, help me to see how much I am loved and appreciated.

The beautiful gifts I got.

The sweet cards.

The drawings from my little five-year old charge.

The hugs.

Even the congratulations from strangers as I was walking down the street in my cap and gown with my arms full of flowers, felt really good to get.

Acknowledgement.

Hard work.

Achievement.

And a moment or two to bask in it.

I found parking really quickly when I got to Hayes Valley, there’s always one spot I check first, I used to park there almost all the time when I was going to solo supervision, and sure enough, it was open.

It’s tight, but my car’s small and I just barely fit.

Because I didn’t have to look for parking I had an extra twenty minutes before I had to be at the theater.

I stopped at Arlequin to get a latte.

I sat outside and sipped the hot coffee and really looked at the street and the people walking around and as I realized that I was sitting next door to Absinthe, Arlequin is their sister property, a more casual, but still upscale cafe, to Absinthe’s fancy French pedigree.

Sipping a latte, in my cap, about to walk the stage at the Nourse Theater, and get my Master’s Degree, quietly reflecting on how far I had come.

Absinthe was my first job in sobriety.

I got hired there 19 days after I got sober.

I sure have come a long fucking way since waiting tables there I though.

I smiled.

And as I sipped the last of my latte a busser from Absinthe came dashing over.

“Did you graduate today?”  He asked.

“I’m about to, I head over to the theater as soon as I finish my coffee,” I said and smiled.

“I’m so proud of you!” He said, he grinned.

I grinned.

It was a moment.

It surely was.

In a weekend filled with so many of them.

Of pure unremitting gratitude.

Luckiest girl in the world.

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If You Ever Need

December 30, 2015

A reminder.

Just call me.

I don’t normally need a reminder, but once in a while an old face, a friend who saved my ass when I didn’t even know how badly I needed to be saved, will resurface in my life and I am just amazed at how far I have come.

“I kept up with all your posts about Paris,” he said and gave me a great big hug.

That’s the thing about social media, I may not see a person for years, literally, but they have been keeping tabs on me.

“You were just glowing in all the photos, I mean, stunning.”

That was nice to hear.

It was nice to get the hug too and to remember how it was, not so long ago, but oh, how long ago, another life time ago, it was.

Almost eleven years now.

We met when I had 20 days.

I had gotten the job at Absinthe when I had 19 days sober.

19.

I remember telling my person how desperate I was for a job and I had gotten an interview at Absinthe and I was real nervous.

I needed to work.

I remember the interview and what cinched it with the GM was my description of the uni pasta at Hawthorne Lane where I had worked previously.

I was a bit worried that he might ask why I had left Hawthorne, um, yeah, I was fired, but it never came up.

Instead.

I was given a tour, a locker, a set of instructions to go out and get a pair of pants, white shirt, a tie, and a pair of black shoes.

I have no idea where the money came from that I purchased those things with.

Wait!

Oh hahahahaha.

Faintest little ring of a memory.

It was the last time I used a credit card.

I had a few in my wallet, none of which should have worked, and the first couple did in fact get turned down, but miraculously the third worked.

I haven’t used a card since that point.

Although it was a little while before I cut them up.

Not that they would have worked had I not.

I came back later that night to audition for the position and I ran circles around the dining room and cocktail area.

I got the job and was instructed to come back the next day for training.

My trainer that day was high on cocaine.

Fuck me.

It was an awful hard shift and I made a few phone calls.

I also discovered that I was allowed to smoke in the back garden and I could make myself any espresso drink I wanted free of charge.

Brilliant that.

I took a break with a great big bowl of caffeine and milk and sat in the back garden area with my feet in a chair and a cigarette dangling from my mouth.

I forget that I used to smoke, but those first few months, oh I smoked like a chimney.

Yes, yes I did.

I managed to get through the shift, but I had serious doubts about coming back to the job.

I was assigned the coke head a second day of training.

I said something to the manager, not that the person was high, but that I had already trained with him if there was someone else I should follow.

“Oh yeah, I need ____________ up front anyhow, go shadow _________”

And I did.

One of the first things said person said to me was, “oh, yeah and we serve six wines by the glass, make sure that you know what they taste like, at the end of your shift you can go and try them at the service bar.”

“I don’t drink,” I mumbled under my breath.

I didn’t like wine anyhow, I was a vodka, beer, cocaine, cigarette type of gal.

“Oh really,” he said, “how many days?”

What the fuck?

“19, no 20,” I said, more than a little spooked.

“Four years,” he responded.

I just about fell over with relief.

“The maitre d'” he continued “19 years.”

Oh wow.

“Are you going to ______?” He asked.

“Yes,” I said wide eyed and more than a little in awe of what was happening.

“Good, where?”

I told him.

“Do you have a __________?”

“Yes!”  I said, nodding my head emphatically.

“You’re going to be ok,” he said, “if you need anything, anything at all, you just ask me.”

I remember tearing up.

I remember he did, in fact, take care of me a couple of times.

It was good to see him tonight.

A lovely surprise.

And a great reminder that I have indeed come very far.

Very far.

I don’t suspect that the journey is anywhere near ended either and for that I have extraordinary gratitude.

“You’re in grad school now right?”  He asked me as we were walking out carrying chairs to be stacked in a corner of the room.

“Yes!  I just finished my first semester.”

“Creative writing?” He asked.

“No, Masters in Psychology, so I can be an MFT (marriage/family therapist).

He is not the first person to assume I am getting a masters in creative writing and truth be told, I would indeed like to get a masters in creative writing, but it would not seem that now is the time.

I told him the story, in short, about how the decision to pursue a psychology masters degree came about and we both chuckled.

It was good to catch up.

It was good to be seen.

It was good to have it acknowledged that I have shown up for so much of the work over this last decade.

I have nothing that matters more than this experience and it is a constant source of amazement for me that I get to keep, one day at a time, one moment at a time, one millisecond at time, showing up for this life.

It is a huge gift.

One that I sometimes question why I was given it.

But never, ever, ever.

A gift that I turn my nose up at .

No.

Never.

It is the gift that keeps on giving.

Good times and bad.

There are no bad times.

Sometimes hard times.

But no bad times.

Really.

And I am grateful.

Yes.

Grateful to be reminded from where I come.

Because I don’t want to ever forget how awful it was.

(It was really, really bad)

Like some I know who have.

This gift, this blessing, this life for which I am beyond grateful for, something that I hold onto, no matter what or who or circumstance–good, bad, they are the same–is something I cannot measure in words.

Only in love.

A depth of love that knows no end.

Infinity x ten.

And.

Then some.

Maybe eleven.

Ha.

At 51:55 You’re Giving Me A Hand

October 22, 2015

Massage.

Jesus, people, what do you think I was doing?

Ha.

I got the cutest message today from a friend I made at Burning Man, on top of all things–the Mayan Warrior.

An enormous art car with the most furious sound system ever.

It really is mind-blowing how much this art car rocks.

The stacks of speakers defy description.

I remember the first year it came out, must have been 2013, and it turned on its sound system while still in the city proper and the little boy I was nannying woke up from sleep screaming.

The power of the bass rattled the entire trailer, I am uncertain if it was the bass shaking me that woke me up or the screaming child or a combo of the two.

The Mayan was wrangled quickly, it was fortunately also pre-event, so the city wasn’t too built up yet, and they were told firmly to lower the volume while they were in the city proper.

And they did.

But.

When the car goes deep playa, it goes deep playa loud.

It also faces its stacks of speakers out toward the deeper desert, out past the trash fence where there is nothing but emptiness and black skies full of the swaths of starlight that you can only get that far out.

Swirls of brilliance on black velvet.

Not that I was looking at the stars that night.

I was deep into the music.

I wish I knew who was the dj prior that had been spinning, I loved Jennifer Cardini’s set, it was amazing, but the set before had absolutely blown my mind.

And.

The circumstances too, now that I think about it, I recall Wednesday night the reason why I was on the Mayan Warrior in the first place–I had just come from a wedding at Dream Land.

A wedding that I randomly got caught in the ceremony and helped to literally sing the service to the bride and groom.

And yes.

I caught the bridal bouquet.

I wonder if that means I will get married at Burning Man next year.

It would be year number 10.

That would be something fun to do.

So many fun things to do.

So much life to live.

So much soup to make.

My God.

The soup I made today.

I have to say it.

I am a pro.

I made a soup I have never made before, pureed cream of broccoli soup, and I slayed it.

I am so grateful I can cook.

And I am grateful that I get to for the family, it’s fun, I feel a sense of accomplishment with it and there is nothing like having a five-year old ask for more broccoli, now please!

Fuck yeah kid, let me feed you some more broccoli.

I am grateful for the gifts and abilities I have.

“She cooks for you too?” The mom from yesterday’s play date said in a hushed voice while I was putting together another plate for her daughter.

Yup.

I do.

Yesterday I made my home-made chili, ground chicken with black beans and red and yellow peppers, onions, garlic, mild chilis, I am cooking for kids, mind you.

I had a moment today when I was plating the boys dinner and I thought, I should take photos and do a nanny cook book.

All the ideas.

All the stuff.

All the things.

Poetry.

Cooking.

Writing.

I could say I am a Renaissance woman.

If anyone knew what that meant any longer.

“I didn’t know that!” The mom exclaimed yesterday when I was being questioned by the playdates mom about my back ground and how I came to be a nanny.

I had been working as a legal secretary in a small criminal law firm.

All the jobs that I have done in this city.

Waitress–Hawthorne Lane

Waitress–Absinthe

I also almost waited tables at Zuni, but the owner, the day I had my first day of training, put a hiring freeze on the restaurant and I was “let go” before I had really started.

Mortgage Broker associate.

Yeah.

Me.

I did that too.

Hahahahaha.

I was not good at it.

But I sold myself so well in the interview that I got the job and yup, hit my rock bottom there.

“Where did you come from!?” My boss asked with surprise, literally jumping back startled as I slipped out of the conference room.

I had been taking a nap.

Underneath the conference table.

On the carpet.

In the dark.

All day.

I quick before I got fired.

But that was a few weeks later.

I left the office that day with carpet imprint on my face and I probably left a small pool of drool underneath the table.

AH.

The good old days.

I have also house sat, dog sat, baby sat.

I did event managing for the first, and the only Mission Bicycle Festival, there would have been more, but the residents on Lapidge really balked at having a street festival there.  I also helped manage an investor party for a restaurant that was trying to open in the Mission.

I did costumer service in the Bayview produce markets.

I was a customer service representative for a specialty veterinary hospital here in the city, in the Mission–SFVS–for two years.

I almost worked at the SPCA for a while, but after a few months of volunteering doing kitten socializing I realized that the majority of the staff needed to do some human socializing and didn’t take a job there.

I worked as an assistant to a sex educator film director.

I got him coffee and ran errands while he directed the actress who taught people how to properly do BDSM bondage.

That was an interesting shoot.

I never knew there was so much involved with making the sheets look good for the shot.

I have been an English tutor in Paris.

I have been a nanny in Paris.

I have been a nanny here in San Francisco.

And of course.

“She nannied at Burning Man too!” My boss told her friend over dinner conversation while I watched bemused by the three-year old shoveling roasted cauliflower in his mouth.

Yes.

That’s right.

The three-year old likes roasted cauliflower.

I am that good.

I also think it’s like cauliflower chips, really, roasted cauliflower is stupid good, all crispy and crunchy and garlic salty.

“You nanny at Burning Man,” the second mom said incredulous.

Yup.

I have.

And I danced a little to.

A LOT.

Just check me out here.

21:53 and yes again at 51:55.

I’m the girl with the giant smile.

And.

The polka dot dress.

And.

Yes.

Of course.

The goggles on my head, it was a dusty year out there.

And.

Always.

The flower in my hair.

Hello.

It’s Burning Man people.

You can take the girl out of Burning Man.

But.

You can’t take the Burning Man out of her hair.

Or the love.

I definitely got my love on that night.

Grateful that I don’t mind looking silly on video.

Because I do.

And grateful that I have such a big full life.

I am a very lucky girl.

I am.

You Can Have Easy Does It

July 9, 2014

Or.

You can have easy does it, the hard way.

I have had a few friends admonish me, in sweet, loving ways, to go slow and ease back into work and to really let myself be ok with just hanging out at the house and be relaxed with the boys.

Of course I said, yes, I hear you.

And of course I will.

Then I get to work and all I want to do is leave.

The house where my primary nanny share is at is under construction, a big huge project that will be amazing once finished, but is no where near yet, in which the attic is being ripped out and replaced with a great big floor plan.

There are sky lights and a new dormer window and it’s going to be awesome, but right now it’s just awesome loud.

And despite the workers all being rather sweet and super affectionate with the boys, how could they not, they are the boys, it’s a hard juggling act at times.

One which would be a challenge without being hobbled by my ankle.

The front door is constantly opening and closing and today, I don’t know why, but my phone was ringing off the hook, I got more calls than I think I get in a week.

My texts were coming in fast and furious from a number of sources, three parental, thus from my three families, and a grouping of others that I was trying to schedule.

Friends checking in.

Just a cacophony of things happening.

A bed being delivered.

And two little boys.

I had to get them out of the house.

Had to.

Except.

WELL FUCK.

The double stroller got stuck between two parked vehicles in the garage and I could not get it out, I mean now way, no how.

Maybe if I had not the hobbled ankle I could have brought it up the back steps through the garage, out the back yard, up the steps to the kitchen and then through the house and out the front door and down the steps to the side-walk.

But uh.

No.

I found myself in tears trying to figure out how to manipulate the situation.

And there was no way around it.

None.

I did manage to get out.

I just had one of the boys walk and I had the other ride in the solo seated stroller that I could just barely squeeze out the garage door.

I was forced to slow down.

I was forced to not go too far.

There is only a certain distance two-year old legs can go before they are tired and need to stop.  We made many little pit stops on the way to the park in the Pan Handle–Kids Kingdom–had little snack breaks and sang songs and walked really, really, really slow.

We looked both ways when crossing the street, waving cars on by, as I still am not that perambulatory, although I noticed I feel better getting about today by a great deal more than I did yesterday.

I did have the thought, on the way back, when I was feeling the ankle’s presence a little more and starting to fret about how I was going to manage nap time at the noisy house (when I have the double stroller available I can have the boys nap out in it and figured that was what I was going to do with all the construction noise at the house–air compressors, nail guns, saws, hammering, you name it) that I was going to need to go into another career soon.

I recalled when I had returned from my hiatus at Absinthe where I waited tables oh, about nine years ago, and I was not fully recuperated, but had been cleared for work and upon return was in the galley folding linen napkins and caressing my still quite sore back and thinking, I just can’t do this any longer.

I just can’t.

It’s too hard on my body, I have been in the service industry for too long (age 13-33), and I did not want to be serving alcohol any longer, having gotten sober just a few months prior.

I started working there with 19 days sober.

At a restaurant called Absinthe of all things.

It was actually a really great job and I did well, I am a people person, and I was a great server and I did well in all aspects of the service industry when I was present to do my job.

But I was done.

That day in the lower kitchen folding the crisp, thick napkins, I was just done.

I remember praying hard and after my shift happened to see I had a message on my phone which I had not noticed prior to starting, but it must have been there.

It was a message for an interview with San Francisco Veterinary Specialists.

I had applied months back and never got a call back.

And then, that day, when I said, no more of this, I got the call.

I got the job too.

Though it in the end, turned out to not be the call for me.

But it got me out of the service industry and I have not gone back to it.

The thought was similar to that experience as I was walking up Cole Street to get to the house, navigate back through the construction, make the boys lunch, eat something myself, and figure out naps.

I am done with this?

Can I keep going on?

What am I doing with my life?

Ugh.

I can’t figure that out, not now, not ever, this is just what I am doing now and just do the next thing in front of you.

I took small little actions and got the boys lunch and myself lunch and made tea and kept them both up about a half hour past nap time.

Then I snuggled them into the double stroller and pushed it back and forth in place while they settled down and voila!

Nap time happened.

They slept through it all!

The sawing, hammering, air compressor noise, the up and down of the workers on the stairs, all of it.

The youngest slept his typical shorter nap, but it was still an hour and ten minutes and the oldest boy slept for three hours and fifteen minutes!

I made tea, elevated my ankle, returned texts and phone calls, talked to my mom who just had a knee replacement done this morning and forgot about trying to figure out a new career to move into.

I was just grateful to be at work.

Period.

I will take this feeling with me tomorrow and though I will try to make sure that I have access to the double stroller, I won’t try to force anything.

When change happens for me, it can be natural, organic, and right.

I don’t have to force a solution.

I don’t have to figure it out.

Figure it out is not a slogan that has ever worked for me.

Easy does it is.


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