Posts Tagged ‘bike shop’

You Get Around

May 5, 2015

I do.

“I follow you on Facebook and read your blogs, it’s good to see you in person, you really cram a lot of stuff into your day,” he told me as we were filing out of the room tonight.

I smiled.

I believe I thanked him for reading.

It’s nice to know that folks read these things I put out into the Universe, so often without much thought or effort, it would seem.

Although there is always much thought.

The effort really has to do with sitting down at the keyboard and figuring out a title.

Once I have a title, I don’t need anything.

I knew I was going to be writing “Inbound to Richmond District” the minute I saw it on the NextBus app.

There was something really musical about it to my ears.

And I do get around, but I suspect, many of us do, I just happen to document the getting around.

This brought to mind all the places I have lived in San Francisco as I enter my second year of residing in one spot.

It’s about a year and three-quarters, Labor Day weekend, just after Burning Man, will mark two years here in my little studio by the sea.

I can’t remember the last time I lived in one spot for two years.

It must have been when I was up in Nob Hill and technically I did move, albeit across the hall, but that was a move and challenging in its own ways.

I also may have resided at 23rd and Capp for two years, but I’m not certain I did, it feels like it was two years.

But as I explained to my charge today, “feelings are not facts,” I said with a smile and also relayed the message that “this too shall pass, the good news is you will have feelings, the bad news is you will have feelings.”

Then I tickled the grumpy out of him.

He is just such a sweet pie.

“Carmen! Carmen! Carmen! You have a star in your hair!” He excitedly reported to me.

“I do!” I replied, “what color is it?”



Close enough kid.

“Silver,” I said, “you like stars, don’t you.”

“Yes!” He said and picked up his stuffed cat, “Meow Meow really likes stars too,” then he began to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, replacing the twinkle twinkle part with meows.”

Oh my god.

The cute.


Wait, don’t stop.

“Stars are beautiful, you are beautiful,” he continued, “you must be a star.”

I just about fell out of the bed.

I was waking him up from his afternoon nap.

“You must be a star too,” I said and squeezed his little paw in mine, “Meow Meow is definitely a star as well.”

“Meow!” He said and kissed me.

My job might tire me the fuck out, but it is surely satisfying, yes, yes it is.

We had adventures to the park, both Dolores Park–in the morning, and Mission Playground in the afternoon, plus a trip to BiRite and to the market on the corner.

It made me remember when I discovered all these places when I first moved to San Francisco.

All the sites, the personal treasure map of love that San Francisco has imprinted on my heart.

The first time I went to Dolores Park was before I lived in the city, so that must have been in 2000 or possibly 2001.

Or The Elbow Room.



Kilo Watt.


The Roxie Theater.

When the New College was still the New College and I could still go to Osento and take a hot tub.

I still say I need to go to Osento sometime soon and then realize once again that it is gone.

It actually, or where it used to be, abuts the property of the people I work for.

I might have been naked on the roof of the spa soaking in the steam on a wood bench catching twinkling stars in between the clots of fog moving over the courtyard, the two wood barrel saunas, the outdoor shower, and the cold plunge–my current boss in her backyard hanging out on the other side of the fence.

I remember times when I was the only person there.

It was lovely.

You may have gathered that I lived a good portion of my time in the Mission.

My first residence in San Francisco–Labor Day weekend–it’s like my personal version of New Years, was a two month sublet at 20th and York.

I stayed past my two months and when another woman moved out of the room downstairs, I took it over.

I think I was paying $650 with everything included.

Granted there were five ladies living there, but we each had our own space carved out, technically the house was a three bedroom–all three upstairs–but one of the girls had carved out a weird little bedroom out of the kitchen pantry and then there was the studio/inlaw in the basement that I had.

It was great.

Until the house was sold and there was an owner move in and in less than two months we had to all get out.

I think it was actually 45 days, it happened so fast.

I found a room on craisglist, for less than I was actually paying at the house with all the girls, on 22nd and Alabama with a wild woman from Northern Italy who had been living in the house so long that she basically paid her rent by collecting from the two room mates and turning around and paying the landlord.

I could have cared less.

I was paying $500 a month for a huge room and access to the kitchen, bathroom, the gigantic glassed in back porch, where I spent three agonizing weeks drifting in a hammock, sleeping like the dead, out sick from work with Mono when I was 31.


At freaking 31.

And it was my second time having it.

I had it the first time when I was 17.

Good times.

While I was living at 22nd and Alabama I had a friend turn me on to cocaine and his dealers number.

After some months of battling a rapidly growing habit, I decided, like a truly rational addict, that I should move out because I had the opportunity to move into a big beautiful house on 25th and Potrero (you would have never guessed how lovely the house was from the facade on Potrero–wood floors, Italian marble, skylights, pocket doors, fireplaces in two rooms, an office, two bedrooms, one and a half baths, laundry in the basement and the prettiest garden in the back) for $1100 a month.

That’s what my problem was!

My rent was too cheap!

If I just moved somewhere that was more than double my rent then I wouldn’t spend as much money on blow.

That didn’t work out so well.

But I did subsequently hit my bottom.

And the rest.

Well is his (her) story.

And I got around a lot after that as well.

Living at the following places:

Kingston and 30th.

Potrero and 26th.

Palou and 3rd.

Capp and 23rd Street.

Washington and Taylor.

Not once, but twice–the infamous move across the hall.

Homeless for three months couch surfing when I quit my high paying nanny job and went to work at bike shop in the Mission (crashed in the attic of a former family I nannied for on 25th and New Hampshire, “housesat” for a month at a friend of friend’s house that I met only once at a wedding, where I did her make up for the ceremony on a tiny side street at the bottom of Bernal Hill, and then on the couch of my friend who lives in Nob Hill on Clay Street) making half the salary I had been used to.

Then a teeny tiny box of an in-law in the Mission on 22nd and Folsom.

My bathroom was my kitchen was my garage (I hung my bicycle on a rack above the toilet).

After that.

Graceland in East Oakland for two months.

Then Paris–Rue Bellefond–in the bobo (bohemian bourgeoise) arrondissement, the 9th, just between Square D’Anvers and Cadet Metro Station for six months.

Then back to East Oakland for two, maybe three (?) months.

Can you say culture shock?

And finally.


46th Avenue between Judah and Irving Street.

And yes.

I moved in right after Labor Day weekend.

Where the hipsters meet the sea and the surfers rule the coffee shops.

And one wild woman with curly hair (pink!) rides out each day (well five out of seven anyway) six and a half miles, right back to the Mission, on her sparkle-pony whip of a bicycle.

I may be living in the same spot for a little while.


I still get around.

Like a Hermit Crab

August 3, 2013

Carrying my life on my back.

I came into the city today to do a nanny gig this evening in the Castro–way up the hill, 19th between Noe and Sanchez.  No way this lady was able to ride all the way up, but the legs got a work out nonetheless.

I also came into the city to take care of my playa bike.

The saddle came in and I had an appointment at the bike shop to switch it out with the old uncomfortable (but quite stylish) saddle.

I would have pictures for you, but I don’t have the USB cable to transfer photographs.

Despite having had a number of weeks now where I go back and forth between the East Bay and all points San Francisco, I still forget some things to bring in the bag.

Or rather, I am trying to conserve as much room as possible and lessen the load by packing as intelligently as I can, which means, don’t bring it if the place you are going to be has it.

Like a towel.

Or a USB cord.

Well, I thought there would be one.

At least this time I had access to a power cord for a little while.  I knew I would not have to bring my laptop charger with me.  But I failed to bring the phone charger off my computer.

Nevertheless I did remember my toothbrush and my toothpaste.

Nothing says I don’t feel comfortable in a place like not having my toothpaste.

If it ain’t Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and Peroxide, well, my mouth just ain’t clean.


Fucking aside.

I just swatted a mosquito.

Where the hell did that come from?

I can’t remember the last time, yes, I can, it was when I lived on Alabama Street so many moons ago, like over 10 years back.


I forget stuff like mosquitos when you live in San Francisco.

They don’t do very well with the damp and cold foggy chilliness.

I am just now drying off as well, once again doused by the sprinkler system along the bike paths in the Panhandle.

I swear to God they are moved directly into the path’s to soak unknowing bicyclists.

At least I saw them coming tonight and I was able to pocket my glasses before getting the full on dousing.  I got hit more tonight then I have before, but made it through.

This blog is sort of bouncing all over, but then again, so has my brain.

I was tied to the shop neighborhood not knowing whether the guys would be able to take care of my bike this afternoon or it would have to wait until later this weekend.

The GM was very sweet and said that I could have the work done there despite it not being one of the shop’s own vehicles.  Along with giving me shop prices for the other things I needed for the bike.

The grips were shot to hell.

Two years on playa and a couple of rough rides too and from the event had eaten up the handgrips.  I swapped them out and since I was putting on a white (GLITTER) striped Fat Banana saddle I decided to keep the thematic along those lines.

New white Oury hand grips.

New white chain (again the playa dust obliterated the old chain).

New silver bell (ditto).

New pennant flag for back bracket (white pole with dark purple flag).

All told, with labor……


Thank you Jeebus.

Er, that’s code, for my old GM’s name.

Sort of.


I also felt like I was having a little carrot dangled in front of me when I had talked with him yesterday, it was mentioned that they were hiring full-time for front of house.

I did not bite.

I am holding out for better pay.

Not from the shop.

Just from the work a day world in general.

I don’t know what it will be.

I don’t know where it will come from.

I may nanny for a long time yet, who knows, but I will make more money.

I do however, always tell folks where I got my bike, I pass out their business cards, and I recommend them to everyone.

I still get stopped on the BART with my bicycle.

I may always.

I do love it.

I love both my bicycles!

I had packed up my bag today not knowing also whether I would have enough time to get the playa cruiser from my friend’s garage, to the bike shop, and then over to Cole Valley to my Burning Man family’s garage and then back to the nanny gig in the Castro.

The timing did not work.

So the bicycle is actually in the design office upstairs from the shop.

When I get done tomorrow afternoon with the nanny here in Cole Valley, I will take a bus over to the shop, leave my one speed here, pick up the playa cruiser (fat white wall tires freshly inflated and up to pressure) and ride it over.

I will drop the cruiser off and pick up my one speed.

It will be one hell of a work out.

But I will get it and it will be one last detail to deal with.


As today marks two weeks til lift off.

I mean count down.

I mean, all systems Burning Man.

I mean, well, you know what I mean.


I think.

I will be off to the great dust bowl in Nevada, my sparkle pony ride all ready to go.

I use “sparkle pony” with a little tongue in cheek.

I mean, I am a sparkle pony, I won’t deny it, but it was also a search engine term someone used in Australia this morning which led them to my blog.

That made me smile.

Almost as much as the new white glitter bomb saddle on my bicycle.

The smile will be at its height, however, when I safely navigate it back over here to Cole Valley.

And with that it’s almost time to hit it.

I have to go sneak upstairs and use the bathroom at the house, I am down in the guest room, and brush my teeth–the family’s asleep and I have been pecking away at the keyboard all clandestine like.

I may have forgotten the USB cord (photos of the fabulous bike tomorrow I promise) but I did not forget the toothpaste.

So fresh and so clean.


House Sitting Is NOT

June 15, 2013

A vacation.

In fact, I realized after last night, I really don’t like house sitting.

Oh, the house I am at is lovely and there is nothing wrong, I just did not and have not let myself see how much it is not the best fit for me.

I would rather be in my own place, in my own space and doing sustaining work.

Work that I got just another little more of a taste for today.

I went into the design firm and spoke with my boss, who so does not feel like a boss, which may be part of the reason I love it so much, I love my boss, she’s my friend.

But I also like how the learning is going and seeing myself trying to do new things, trying to learn new things and letting myself believe that new work stuff can be done.

We sat and talked about projects she has coming up and what I can do to be of help to said projects.

I am super excited to be any part of what is happening and despite being told that I don’t need to take out the trash and the recycling, when she left, I did just that.

There is something to be said for cleaning up the space that I will be working in.

The action of tidying it makes me feel good, I know that my friend will be happy to see it clean, and it is my sneaky way of getting into the space more.

When I was not certain what to do at the bike shop I would sweep the floor or re-organize the stock room, straighten the t-shirts, or dust.

The small actions of keeping the space neat not only grounded me into feeling that I was accomplishing something and keeping busy while being paid, it also allowed me to be making a sort of mental inventory of what was in the store.

I am doing the same when in office space.

I am seeing what she sees, I am organizing it in my own brain, I am putting myself in the middle of the space to see what there is to be seen.  I don’t know why this is helpful to me and I don’t need to know why, I just know that being around her and gleaning information from the design studio helps me somehow.

She will be out of the office for the next few weeks and I will be doing a lot of the work remotely.  Some of it, certainly, from here at the house sitting gig.

Some of it at the office.

I don’t need to go into the office to do the work, but I think it will be helpful for me to log some hours there, it will feel like going into a job and I believe that will make me more pro-active until I get used to the feel of working remotely.

I also like the area and I love the space.

I like being back in the same building as the bike shop and seeing the landscape from a different vantage.  I like being in the Mission and I like that I know my way around it.

I like that tomorrow I am going to meet up with another dear friend and go see her house and see the in-law she has.  See if it may be a better fit for me than the space I was offered in the Bay View.

I am leaning toward the beach offering more so than the Bay View offering.

Partially as I have never lived out by the beach.

I have lived in the Bay View.

It’s sunny.

It’s in San Francisco.

But it is still Bay View/Hunters Point.

Besides when your girl friend says, “there’s not a bath in the studio, but I am putting in a deck and a hot tub in the back yard that you can use,” well, that right there beckons like nobody’s business.

Cold foggy night?

Who cares.

Let’s hot tub!

The idea of being settled down is a nice one for me.  Really get myself planted and put and work on furthering what feels like a legitimate career for me.

I have a lot of work ahead of me, I don’t deny it, and I can stop the fantasizing around it.

I realize that, I heard it recently, ‘I want the reward without doing the work’.

I want to be in a career without having learned the ropes, here’s your opportunity.

I want to be fit and healthy without having to think about what I am eating.

Another problem with house sitting, “help yourself to the food.”


Not a good idea for me and yet, every time I go rifling through, neglecting to properly take care of myself and being ok with microwave popcorn for dinner instead of healthful food.

So today, to celebrate access to a car I made a run on Rainbow Grocery and spent nearly $100 on good wholesome (not all vegan) food.  I plundered the stone fruit–yellow nectarines, black plums, two different kinds of apples–organic Fuji’s and Pink Lady’s, Japanese sweet potatoes, organic raw carrots (great for snacking on with humus–man why did it take me so long to find humus, my tasty new friend), organic Roma tomatoes, Coconut and raw chocolate tea, Stump Town Holler Mountain coffee in the whole bean, Nancy”s low-fat cottage cheese, Judy’s extra-large brown organic eggs, Ezekiel sprouted grain English muffins, one yellow zucchini, one green zucchini, and bananas.


I am willing to keep house sitting here and there until I get into my own place.

But after that, I think I am going to pass on doing it.

Although, it really is nice to be trusted by your peers, your friends, your families.

I mean you should see all the keys on my key chain right now!

%d bloggers like this: