Posts Tagged ‘Bernal Hill’


November 2, 2016

With the idea of moving.

You thought I was going somewhere else, didn’t you?


It’s come up a little recently.

First time was about two weeks ago when I met with my person up at Firewood Cafe in the Castro for dinner and some get right with God.

I had mentioned having a little anxiety about the commute to my new job that starts in January.

If I have to do MUNI it’s going to be screwy long.

It’s doable, two trains, but it feels so across town, and not across town in a direct line sort of way, that I do have some concern about it.

On my scooter I’m always faster than public transit, hands down, but still it’s further away than where I work now and I postulated what it would look like to move back to the Mission.

Or Noe Valley.

Or Bernal.

Or Glen Park.

I’d love a shorter commute.

And I would consider living with room mates for cheaper rent.

I would.

I mean.

I definitely would.

I’ve also thought that I man need more sunshine in my space.

Not having any windows in the in-law has always been a bit of a bummer for me, and yes, granted, I do always say the back door is a big glass door, so I get light, just well, I’d like more.

More light.

Less rent.

Closer to work and school.

That’s the hope.

I do like living alone and I do like my space and I do like my landlord and I do like living by the beach.

The fog this summer though was rough and yeah, it would be nice to be back in the thick of the city.


Like I said.

It’s a flirtation.

I have a month to month here and I have few things, really, my space is small and the only furnishing that is really mine is the bed.

The rest of my stuff belongs to my landlord.

I could pack it all up and move pretty quick.

I could probably do it in a day if I was organized.

And I’m pretty organized.

I’m not pursuing anything.

It’s, like I’ve said, a flirtation, but I am a flirt, so I’m putting it out there that I could move for the right situation.

And it’d have to be the right situation, as I’m not interested in working for it.

I’m not putting up an ad on Craigslist, I’m not giving notice to my landlord, I’m not actively looking.

It’s just out in the Universe, hey maybe it’s time to relocate some where more convenient to my new job and my school program.

Especially if I get my practicum internship where I am hoping to get it.

The location I’m vying for is actually only two blocks away from the new job.

It could be oh so handy to live closer.

It really could.


Speculation, flirtation, random thoughts and ideas.

No particular plan of action, no particular need to move.

Just the desire to find something that works better for me.

Sort of like when my current job stopped working for me.

Speaking of.

I got my last check today from my boss for health insurance.


It’s coming.

Seven more weeks.

Then I’m out.

The boys were quite sweet today and I could tell they missed me and they also weren’t as angry with me as they were the last couple of weeks, I think they are getting used to the idea that I am going to be heading on.

We mostly played at the house and did lots of drawings and coloring and making of altars.

They were both very enamoured with the Day of The Dead ancestral honoring and we put together a little altar in the back yard.

The oldest wanted so much to include me, asking me about my grandparents and great grandparents, and whether I had pictures of them that they could use.

I sweetly told him that though I was honored to be involved it was more for his family than for mine, but he was so firm in me participating he chose a fruit to symbolize me.

A persimmon.

I was so touched.

I don’t know why, but when someone notices you and loves you and does something for you in that they have paid attention to your likes, well, it’s mind-blowing.

It made me laugh, this little six and a half-year old knows me better than most of my ex-boyfriends.

I love persimmons.

My counter top in the kitchen looks like a persimmon harvest.

So, on his family altar I am represented with a persimmon; his mom with raw almonds; dad was a container of white sushi rice; his brother was a couple of pretzels; he was an apple.

We also put out a couple of mandarin oranges and a pear.

We put a cup of water on the altar and a candle, a birthday candle, it was too cute.

“Carmen!  We’re missing something,” he said to me.



Liquor and salt.

But I don’t think your mom wants us to break into the booze.

The water will be fine.

Also, incense is nice, but again, mom’s not so much into stuff like that.

“Flowers!” He said, jumping up, “we need flowers, what are those special orange flowers?”

“Marigolds,” I said and smiled, “I bet we could get some at the corner store.”

In fact, you could probably get them on every corner in the Mission, but I wasn’t going to break the spell of magic for him.

“Let’s go!” He said, grabbing his coat.

“Hey, I’m going to go get your brother from Rock Band Land,” his mom came into the kitchen, “want to go?”

“No!  I need to get marigolds for the altar, and mom, pictures get me pictures of your grandmother.”

It was so endearing.

“I’m going with Carmen to the market to get flowers, I’ll see you soon,” he concluded.

And there was something about the ritual of it.

The flowers in a glass jar.

The fruit on a white plate.

The boy arranging them just so.

I felt precious for getting to be a part of.







My persimmon.

Me, A Book, & A Bicycle

July 28, 2013

That was today’s story.

End of blog.

Well, ok, there may have been a little more to today than just that, but not a whole lot more.

I went grocery shopping in the Haight on a Saturday at Whole Foods.

That was exciting.

I was mistaken for a tourist, which was funny.

“Pretty cold, eh?” A store owner asked me as I peeked my nose into a corner store that I walk past frequently when I am pushing the stroller through Cole Valley and the Upper Haight neighborhood.

“Uh, yeah, typical weather, I guess, I’ve got my layers on,” I said politely.

“Oh, you’re a local, look at that!”  He grinned up from the paper he was reading, “I should have noticed you weren’t in flip flops and shorts.”



It might be hot, humid, and sunny most everywhere else, but here, on this side of town, it’s about 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, with a thick veil of fog and a chill breeze snaking up your sleeves and under your coat.

I just got back from a bike ride from 46th and Irving.

It took me about twenty minutes.

It is not flat like people have been telling me.

Uh, no.

It’s not horribly steep and I did not stand up on my pedals but once, but it is a steady climb and about ten minutes in, despite the nippy bite of ocean wind and the lowering fog bank, I was warm and breaking a sweat.

I am sure I could cut down that time by about five minutes once I am used to the route.

But that is what about how much time it took for me to get from 46th and Irving to Cole and Frederick.

Twenty minute commute to work.

Instead of a forty minute commute to work.

I will pass by fish markets and sushi restaurants, there’s an Andronico’s, a surf shop, all the little markets and cafes and restaurants on Irving in the inner Sunset.

Although I may not ride my bike through that part of the neighborhood frequently, there’s a lot of traffic coming and going and parking and not much using of turn signals.

But I did not see once prostitute.

Nor one drug deal.

Or hear a siren.

I did get a few cars that drove a little too close for comfort.

But that is going to happen where ever you bicycle.

Other places I rode my bike to today–the Mission and Bernal Hill.

Although I did not ride my bicycle all the way up Cortland, it’s a little too steep for a one speed.

I swung through the Mission, stopping by the bike shop to see about picking up my bicycle saddle, but they were swamped and I had a moment when I realized if I were to stay I would probably end up jumping in and helping them and I had a place to be and it was not at the shop.

I will go by tomorrow.

Sunday will be quieter and I will swing over to my friend’s house and grab the ride and see about getting it outfitted with the new saddle.

It does sparkle.

It will look pretty fabulous.

It will.

I shelved the saddle (having snuck in the back no one in the shop even registered I was there) and sorted out the mail for the design firm, recycled the junk mail, and stealthily left the way I came in without being seen or noticed.

I caught myself contemplating going back and working for them while I have these next two weeks of down time ahead of me.  But I could hear my friend’s voice in my head, “don’t go backwards,” and I knew he was right and I don’t want to be there and there are better things for me to do with my time.

Even if it is just to sit on my bum and read a book.

I picked up a used copy of  Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and headed to Martha’s to await my 4pm check in.

I got a cup of coffee, spiked it with cinnamon, settled down at a table, put my feet up and dissolved into a book.

To only dissolve into tears a little later when I did my check in.

What is it with the emotions man?

I mean they were not as bad or overwhelming as yesterday, but yeah, still there.

“It sounds like you feel like a newcomer,” she said to me, “really raw and vulnerable.”

Yup, that sounds about right.

Really raw and vulnerable.

But not checking out with a vat of ice cream or a bag of donuts.

Just a book and a cup of coffee.

I wondered as I sat there and talked and looked out the window at the sky, just far enough removed from the fog that it was not misty on Bernal, but still chill, the cirrus clouds, high, wispy, tattered, spun across the blue sky, I wondered, if maybe I need to go back on antidepressants.

“You sound depressed,” she said to me.

And that hit a little closer to home than I thought it would.

I will admit I have been feeling blue, but I have been chalking that up to the discomfort of being rootless and getting back to the bay and starting over.

“Hey Carmen,” an acquaintance said this evening, “missing Paris?”

Fuck off.

“A little,” I said and smiled wanly.

“Oh, I’ll bet,” he continued.


We aren’t friends, now stop it.

“Do you have any girlfriends you can lean on right now,” she asked and sipped her tea as I pulled my eyes away from the high feathery clouds and back to her green searching gaze.

“I do.” I said and thought how I got to see Joan and Tami this week and that was really good.  How I got to see my lady Jennifer last night and how good that was.

I had also called another friend earlier today to ask what she was up to.

“Just got done with work…dinner?  coffee? are you still in town?….”

The text read when I wrapped up at Martha’s and just as I was putting down my phone and turning off the ringer, she walked in.

Saved by the friend.

We went to dinner.

I met her daughter.

We headed out to the ocean and I saw the room.

It’s looking good.

It’s all looking good.

“You are doing the work, I can see that, it sounds like you just need to be gentle to yourself and work on acceptance.” She said and I nodded.

Nothing in my world is a mistake.

Not myself.

Not where I live.

Not who I am.

A room by the ocean, a bicycle to ride, a book to read, time to accept the reality of my life and to honor the gifts therein.

And my friends.

Thank you for my friends.

Again and again and again.


December 9, 2011

Here I am in my new digs over on Bessie St. in Bernal Heights, or lower Bernal, really I am nowhere near the top of the hill.  I got done with a very busy day at work–it was pretty much non-stop from the minute I walked in to the minute I walked out–then I moved.  I had actually debated staying late and finishing up a few things, but in my gut I knew where my priorities lay.

I knew, I always know, that I can’t put certain things ahead of other things, that the life I have has been given me because I take care of my responsibilities to my self and my recovery.

That being said, I also had to move.  I am now on my second move of the month.  It was a damn quick move when I think about it.  Reno’s folks left me the key to the Volvo wagon and I was loaded up and out the door about 20 minutes after I pulled up on my bicycle.  Again I marveled at the fact that I rode all the way there to the top of their hill without getting off my bike and walking any part of it.  It is still a unique feeling.

I had the foresight this morning to pack my bags and have it all arranged so that I would be able to just walk in the door, pick up my bags and walk back out.  I am almost getting used to being on the move.  And yes, it does feel a wee bit European.

Perhaps I am practising?  Now, there’s some perspective!

Plus, the house that I am “sitting” also has a little European flair.  The woman who is so kindly letting me occupy her space is a traveler and there are many little treasures about her house that remind me of travel and what that means.  I could be anywhere in the world.  And I get to be here.


I also got to see a view of San Francisco tonight from the top of Vermont Street that I had forgotten about.  And what a glorious view it is–it gave me such a thrill to see it again.  The Bay Bridge, spangled in lights, the Embarcadero building lit up with its holiday finest, downtown’s splendid sky line and the webs of light as the traffic flowed in and out of the city.  So gorgeous, made me sigh with pleasure.  Gave me some perspective, a true gift that.

I get to live here.  I have gotten to live here for nine years.  I have been a fuck up.  I have not known where I would be from one week to the next.  I have made housing errors and have my share of room-mate horror stories, but ultimately it boils down to this, I live in San Francisco and that is a fucking miracle.  I get to live here, I get to continue to live here and yeah, so I have to make some concessions, but over all, what an astounding place to get to be.

I am a very lucky girl.

Tonight my GM made me laugh and do a quick evaluation on my life as I was stepping into my SiDi shoes and getting ready to hop on my bike.  He said that moving five times has the stress equivalent of fleeing a burning house.


I am embarking on moving three times in one month, ending one job, starting another, and turning 39.

Is my house afire?

What house?


Funny thing is, big stresses are easy.  I can handle the big stuff.  It is the little things that get me.  What people think of me, like it’s any of my business, for example, that can make my head spin in a heart beat.  Or not understanding something that everyone else completely gets and they’re all talking about it and I am sitting there trying to load a Post-it Note dispenser and want to cry.

I got to go to lunch with Mrs. Fishkin today (god how nice is that?  I get to go to lunch with friends!  I love being in the Mission for work.) and we were talking about work and she interjected and said, that’s why they hired you.  Huh?  Oh yeah that’s right.  I was hired at my job for a specific reason, to help them stream line their systems and to help them be more efficient and to make it a smoother work environment and provide better service to our customers.

Arin pointed out to me that I had gone from the freak out stage of not understanding what was going on to being knowledgeable and discussing with detail and intelligence what was happening at the job.

Holy crow!  She was right.  I could see the problem and I was staying on top of it and I could see the solution.  Granted, it may be too late to address what I saw, but in the near future I will be able to navigate the problem and solve it before it actually becomes an issue.  I am not getting as knocked about by the environment and I am beginning to have a grasp on what the business is and how things move forward.

It is exciting.

And boy oh boy am I getting around on the computer, I can type a lot faster.  I am getting much more efficient on the MAC and I am still learning.  I feel like I am also not struggling as much with the learning process.  It’s like the analogy I heard tonight, I want to go to the gym already buffed and cut.  I don’t want to show up at the gym needing to work out.  I don’t want to do the work.  It’s uncomfortable and I am a perfectionist who has a difficult time letting people see that I don’t always have the answers.

I had a moment today with a client on the phone where I did not want to acquiesce to the request that she was making, then I realized that it was not actually my call to make, not yet anyway, and I backed up, slowed down, and said, you know what, I may be the wrong person to talk to, let me get some one else better equipped to help you.

Who said that?

And it all worked out.  I was able to help, I didn’t get snitty with the customer and she got what she needed.

Win, win.

I know that I will still make mistakes, and I still have so much to learn, but it is happening and I can see the results starting to come together and that feels good.  It feels good to show up at work and actually be of service there instead of walking around feeling like I am going to cry  because I can’t get it together to figure out what needs to be done.  I get to keep showing up.

I get to keep moving too.  I get to explore this little pocket of the city now.  I look forward to getting to know you Bessie Street.  You seem really sweet and cute and I think this is going to be the perfect place to spend the holidays.

Thank you for accommodating me while my house is on fire.


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