Posts Tagged ‘Alamo Square Park’

Got My Cable Car On

January 5, 2015

“We want to do the trolley.”

My friend from college is visiting with his company on business.

“And the Painted Ladies, you know that place where they filmed Full House.”

Ugh, yes I do know.

“And the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Oh sweet jesus.

I just thought we were going to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on the past few years that we haven’t seen each other.

And how the fuck did he turn 40? Or for that matter, how am I 42?

I also don’t remember him being taller than me, but that could be because the guy I am dating is shorter than I am and I am automatically thinking that all men are shorter than me.

My friend is also losing his hair.

Mortality.

I gave him a little grief about the hair, I had to poke some fun, but I get it, he’s got a 13 month old baby boy, I’m sure the hair loss happened shortly after realizing that he wasn’t going to get any sleep for the first 8 months of his child’s life.

He always hollers “hola” at me because of my name and despite many years of persuading him that I do not, in fact, speak spanish, despite my spanish sounding name, the “hola” has continued.

It is like my family calling me Bubba.

Which is not a bad nickname when I acknowledge it, and I may have inadvertently gotten a new nickname from my boyfriend.

“Hey lip gloss,” he said to me the other night as I re-applied some lip balm.

“I just brushed my teeth,” I warded him off, “I need to re-up.”

Poor man.

He got more than he bargained for with this sparkle pony.

I joke that I am not going to prank him by mowing off an eyebrow while he sleeps or shaving some silly design on the side of his head; no, I’ll just dump loose glitter on his motorcycle jacket.

Or spray him down with aerosol adhesive and then dump loose glitter on him.

I have red, purple, and sky blue.

I bought them years ago for Burning Man and then never used them.

But he’s right, I do have a fondness for the lip gloss.

I like my mouth to feel a certain way and I hate dry lips.

I digress.

I basically played tourist today.

I took my friend and his boss on a little sightseeing of San Francisco.

I didn’t mind, although, truth be told, I was surprised at the number of things we crammed into a short amount of time.

They picked me up around 2:45 p.m. and dropped me off just before 6 p.m. having to give themselves enough time to get the rental car back to the airport and pick up another person from SFO for the rest of the business trip.

In that time we drove Great Highway, went up to Lands End, parked, walked around Seal Rock, Lands End, and took photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Then we hopped back into the car and I navigate us to the NOPA neighborhood so that we could do a quick spin around Alamo Square Park and see the Painted Ladies.

Which actually looked really lovely in the late afternoon light.

Plus the scaffolding that has been up on one of the girls finally has been pulled down.

I’m not always the biggest fan of the Painted Ladies, I think there are far prettier houses, but the view is gorgeous and my friend and his co-hort got to snap some photographs.

Before heading to the cable car.

At least I know my cable car lines.

I did not direct us to either the downtown turn around on Powell or the one at the end of Fisherman’s Wharf.

Nope.

We hopped on the California Van Ness line at California and Polk Street.

I pointed out things like a good host guide–“there’s the Masonic Temple, in case you wanted to see any Mason’s,” I chuckled when we passed the venue.

“On the left side of the car is Grace Cathedral, there’s Huntington Square Park, here’s the Fairmont Hotel with the Tonga Room, and on the other side is the Top of The Mark, where Vertigo was filmed.”

I told them about how the cable cars run and the difference between a cable car and a trolley.

I got to see some San Francisco I don’t normally see.

Then we hopped off at the end of the line in the Financial District and walked over to the Ferry Building.

They joked about hipsters and gluten-free diets and hippies and vegan donuts and I used the bathroom.

We grabbed a Boccalone sampler of salted pig parts and walked back to the Financial District and for the first time in so long I can’t remember when this actually happened, we went to a bar and watched the end of the Dallas Detroit Game.

My friend was determined to find a place to watch the last few minutes, and his compatriot seemed just as eager, I think they were on the spread (what does that mean anyway?).

So, that’s how it happened to be that at 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon I find myself in the hotel bar of the Hyatt Regency downtown sipping a Pellegrino and sending texts to my boyfriend who is away on business in Santa Clara while my friend drinks a pint and watches the football game.

I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

Twice in one weekend I find myself in social settings with bars.

I’m not interested in drinking, if anything it really grosses me out, the smell of it especially, I find myself more and more sensitive to it, but I did not like that I had ended up in a bar on my day off.

I was glad to see my friend.

But I was ready to go home.

We took an Uber from the hotel bar to the rental car after the game finished and I thought, my life, it really is so different from the everyday hustle bustle of the rest of the world.

Not just because I live and work in San Francisco, but also because I practice an actively spiritual way of life that does not include drinking.

I have been reminded at New Years and again today, how the rest of the world works and plays, oh, yeah, this is what “normal” people do.

I have to say.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I don’t mind playing tourist once in a while.

But that’s not a part of town I need to revisit again.

Literally and figuratively.

That being said, it was a gift to see my friend, it is nice to see people from Madison, from UW, from that part of my life.

If only to smash home how radically different a person I have become.

“Your place looks entirely Carmen,” my friend said as he used the bathroom and I gave him the “grand tour” of my in-law.

Although not exactly the person I was when I went to school back at UW Madison, I am apparently not too different either.

Just a bit more clear-eyed.

And present.

And now back to my regular programming.

My “normal.”

Living my own little slice of San Francisco.

Away, way, way, down by the sea.

In my little bungalow that looks like me.

 

I Am So Glad To See You!

March 28, 2014

The music teacher today exclaimed when she saw me and gave me a great big hug and smile.

It was day one of a new session of Music Together class.

My Thursday girl and I had been in another class, before rainy season, and despite not always being into it, I did get into the class.

That’s sort of the point.

You, the adult, get into something, sing, dance, get silly, exaggerate, and they, the child, learn from your example.

I forget that not every nanny is created equal.

I am a good nanny, sometimes a great nanny, and I get into things.

I dance.

I sing, off-key often, but I do sing.

And I get silly.

I also smile, which is really where it’s at.

Smiling.

There was a set of very precocious twin two-year old little girls–brown eyes, brown hair stacked into little doll house buns on their heads, straight bang cut, long eyelashes–running about the room who had not taken the music class before and they were shy with every one, except their mom.

And me.

I had them crawling around my lap and playing tickle and peek-a-boo and dancing.

I don’t really think about it, it’s just what I do.

After music class my charge and I went up to the front to get the prerequisite hand stamp–today’s was a kitty cat with cymbals–and the teacher repeated herself.

“Seriously, I am so relieved you are back, the class is so much more fun to teach with you and A_____ in class.”  She stamped both of my charge’s little paws and I showed her the video I shot of the little girl singing You Are My Sunshine, while playing the miniature guitar she got for her second birthday.

It’s nice to get acknowledged.

I got a lot of acknowledgement today, actually.

I was stopped last week on the side-walk with A______ coming back from the park and asked if I was a nanny, the mom had seen me with my set of boys the day prior in another neighborhood and wanted to hire me.

Then, today, another mom in the park, Alamo Square, came up to me.

Her little boy actually threw himself at my legs and hugged me as I chased A_____ around the grass and giggled like a mad hyena.

The best acknowledgement, however, came from my charge at lunch today.

“Carmen and A_______,” she said and swayed back and forth in her high chair, then she smiled at me and it just was the best little look.

“Are awesome together,” I said, “high-five,” and she smacked my paw with her wee small hand and tilted her head at me.

“I love you,” she said.

“I love you too, A______, very, very much,” I responded, “want more apple?”

Yup.

Then she napped for two hours.

Thank you God for little girls who take two-hour naps.

Really.

I read 79 pages in a new book, flipped through the latest Vanity Fair, drank three cups of tea, checked my e-mails, and meditated.

I actually dozed off a little at the end of my meditation.

“Naptation” is my word for it.

It’s unbelievable when it happens and really wonderful.

Nannying is not all sunshine and naps and music class, there’s a lot to navigate, but I am constantly being reminded that I do it really well and that I am sought after and I get to get paid to do something that makes my heart swell up.

As my charge and I were walking up to the park after her two-hour nap, holding hands, pulling crackers, magically, out of my pocket, singing songs, and looking for butterflies, I was amazed again to have this little life in my hands.

I always get protective at intersections and I lifted her up in my arms and she told me that she loved me again and I responded in turn and I don’t even think about how I haven’t worked more than one day a week with this little girl for the last five months, and she loves me and I her.

I fell for her months ago and I have gotten the I love you months back to, but it’s always so good to hear.

Especially when they say it when you are leaving.

Most of the time the focus is on the parent who has just gotten home, as well it should be, but to hear it as I close the door to their home and haul my bike up on my shoulder to ride off into the Sunset, literally, I ride to the Sunset from work, I carries me forward through the wild rush hour traffic and into the next phase of my day.

“Bye Carmen, I love you.”

Not a bad way to end a day of work, I must say.

Tomorrow I have one little guy up in the Castro, then the weekend.

A weekend I was hoping would include a snuggle fest and some movies, but the schedule is not permitting–his and mine.

I may be waiting until next week.

So it goes.

Things aren’t always on my schedule or time line, but when they are supposed to be, they work out and I don’t have to fuck around and manipulate them to get the results I want.

I did have a wild hair of a moment trying to figure out how I could make Saturday work, but there is absolutely no getting out of the three different women I am meeting, one at noon, another at six p.m., another at 7p.m. and then my 8:30p.m. commitment.

Nope.

I get love there too and I can’t let that go.

The snuggle fest will happen.

More love will happen.

More happy will happen.

I just have to show up for what’s happening today and know that love, well, it’s everywhere I look.

I don’t have to make it happen at all.

I just get to show up and be me.

Silly, off-key, giggly, colorful me.

Authentic me.

 

An Unremitting Gift

November 22, 2013

Grace.

I have been graced.

I was thinking as I held her little paw in mine, how lovely to walk these streets of San Francisco with my small charge in pigtails, crunching the leaves and feeling the sun on my face.

Grateful, too, that the rains eased off today.

I got to everywhere I needed to go dry.

That is a huge gift.

We walked around Alamo Square park, climbing the hill not once but twice.

Our first visit to the park was short as it was still quite wet after the last two days of wet weather.  But later, in the late afternoon, the park had dried and much sliding was to be had.

I admit I was walking a lot today partially to wear down my charge and guarantee a long nap.

Partially because the neighborhood is so lovely and I wanted to explore it, look upon the houses, see the colorful Victorian ladies marching up and down the hills with their gay frocks and bright ribbons of gold leaf and purple scrolls.

I actually think the Painted Ladies are way over rated and indulged myself walking about the other blocks that encircle the neighborhood gazing upon this one there and that one here, the glorious houses in along the streets.

I am going to own a house one day.

In San Francisco.

I hear you scoffing.

Scoff away, Scoffer McScofferson, scoff.

I will.

I don’t know how or where or why, I just know that this here is home.

I am lucky to call this home, this my city by the Bay, my lover, my secret fetching mistress who bestows windy kisses on me and gifts me with views I did not even know existed.

From one side of Alamo Square you get the spread of downtown, the Civic Center, the Bank of America Pyramid, the Bay Bridge.

Then walk around to the other side and gaze over to UCSF and its steeples and there off in the distance the Golden Gate Bridge, or to another side and there is the Haight and Cole Valley and Twin Peaks rising majestically in the near distance bestowing a knowing benevolence upon the city when not shrouded in fog.

In between the duo trips to the park we also walked around the NOPA neighborhood.

I popped us into BiRite and my charge nibbled on sample brioche bread and I bought a couple of Taylor Gold pears from Frog Hollow Farms, an heirloom varietal apple, organic of course, please, and some Stumptown Holler Mountain coffee, blessed again with good food, good coffee, good company.

We then swung into the Mill, scented with hot fresh backed loaves of bread and the alluring smell of caffeine.

I got an Americano from Four Barrel roasters and we walked some more.

I took pictures of her.

Handprint

Hand Print

Her little pigtails golden antennae of love sprouting from her head.

Her little smile a delight.

This could be our last week together.

I told her mom today I had to bring my rates up.

She completely understood, but has to discuss it with the husband and I may not have much work with them left.

They are the least well off of my clients and I said I understood, that I would of course continue at my normal rate for this week and please let me know by next week what you decide.

They may just keep me through the New Year as it stands.

Either way, it’s been a gift to hang out with their little girl.

Any child really, it is a gift, but I feel lucky to have had the interactions with her that I have gotten to have.

Poor doll has been getting over a cold and sounds like Sophia Loren has taken over her voice box after a long boozy night smoking cigarettes in after hours clubs.

Husky, sweet, and congested.

We read her teddy bear stories.

“ALL THE HIPPOS GO BERSERK!”

And had a great lunch together.

I felt at ease having said what I needed to say and having also let go of the results of the conversation.

The difference for them is one day a week they would pay an extra $16.

I don’t need to point that out to them.

If they are concerned, they are concerned.

Not my money, not my budget, not my business.

What a relief.

I thought that again as I sat in the Crepevine at 7th and Irving having a large salad as a family across the way had their dinner–a large “comfort food” platter of deep-fried goodies (fyi, the comfort food is not my wording, it is listed that way on the menu) with extra ranch and blue cheese dressing to dip it in.

Fried mushrooms.

Fried wings.

Fried onion rings.

Fried french fries.

You know, comfort food, rolled in flour and deep fat fried.

Mom had a couple of glasses of red wine, mom is also a mom in bloom again, six, seven months along I would hazard, and grandma chucked back a couple of glasses when the other mom was not paying attention, outside the restaurant on her phone while her child played choo choo train in the middle of the restaurant barefoot.

I don’t remember exactly when it dawned on me, but dawn it did, that I did not have any judgements about the scene in front of me.

It was none of my business, nor my place to judge.

I mean, I would not handle myself that way and I would do things a lot differently, but that is just my choice at this point in my life.

How lucky that child to have a mother, a grandmother, a large plate of food, a restaurant to run around in.

I sat, ate my salad and thought, holy shit, I might be growing up.

I was not involved, annoyed, or anything, other than present.

I enjoyed my salad and when it was done finished my water and got up to go next door to grab a cup of tea before going to further my connections with my fellows.

This whole day, this experience of being in San Francisco, the realization, again, that I am privileged to live here, really hit me.

I also was able to get in a long meditation while the napping helped and that certainly did not hurt my outlook on the day.

I could have sung with joy on my bicycle ride home.

The smell of the air.

The sea ahead of me.

Grace.

Pure and simple.

Grace.

My livf.

An unremitting gift.

One in which I have no intention of giving back.

Only playing it forward.

Saying thank you at the end of my night, crawling into my warm bed with soft sheets and big pillows, thank you for this life, this gift.

This grace.

Thank you.

Over and over and over agin.


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