Posts Tagged ‘Cable car’

When Was I Happiest

January 6, 2018

Today?

I just asked myself that.

In a prompting kind of way, hey you, you need to write your blog, get your fingers moving on that keyboard, make some fucking magic happen.

Because all of the seven people who read my blog really want to know what I did today.

Meh.

I recently got an update from WordPress that I have once again celebrated an anniversary.

Eight years of blogging.

Eight.

What the fuck did I write about?

So many things, so many thoughts.

I have published over 2,400 blogs.

My average blog is somewhere between 1100-1300 words.

But for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say 1,000.

That means that I have written over 2,4000,000 words.

Over two million words!

Who the hell knew there were so many words in my head?

I never suspected that I would be where I am in now in my life when I started writing this blog.

I was living on Taylor and Washington in a large studio that was on a cable car line.

I was working as a nanny in China Basin.

I made really good money.

More than I actually make now, if you can believe that, because it was all under the table.

I had a very nice Felt 35 racing bike that I did my commute on.

I was horribly lonely.

I felt like all I did was grind at work, I worked at least 50 hours a week.

Which is funny, as I put in about fifty hours a week now and go to graduate school full-time.

But at that time I was going through a lot of weird stuff.

I was desperately trying to get abstinent with my food, which I did do in that apartment, but it took a hot ass second.

I was trying, oh so very hard, to get some head way on my book, said head way has come to naught in many ways, but you know, I started this blog by publishing each of the chapters one by one in the pages.

If you should want to read some really bad writing, well it’s there.

For sure.

I had a friend read the book in manuscript form about four years ago and he told me with no mincing of words that if he didn’t know better he would have never believed that the person who wrote this blog was the same person who had written that book.

My writing, suffice to say, has gotten much better.

That’s what happens when you practice.

You get better.

I have had eight years of practicing this blog.

Some days I am so inordinately pleased with what I have written that I may actually go back and re-read a blog.

But not very often.

I generally throw it down on the page, I”m just transcribing my thoughts, and really, thank god I have some fast typing skills, I’m just writing what I am thinking.

It’s a little like having a one-sided conversation with me.

Hey how was your day?

Let me tell you about mine, and then I’m unleashed upon you.

Or something like that.

I am reflecting as I did my Morning Pages this morning in the place where Morning Pages originated for me, about ten years ago.

Yeah.

If you thought writing a blog eight years in a row was something, check out my history with writing my Morning Pages.

Ten years, going on eleven.

I realized that this morning as I sat in Muddy Waters on Valencia and 24th.

I had a chiropractor appointment this morning and some time to kill before I had to be into work.

So instead of getting up stupid early, I let myself sleep in, packed my breakfast and brought it with me, planning to eat it at the cafe while having a cafe au lait before going into work.

The cafe is much the same as when I first started hanging out at it.

I had moved to a shared apartment in a rent controlled Victorian on Capp Street and 23rd and Muddy’s was the closest cafe to me and the one where I did a lot, and I do mean a lot, of sitting with another woman and reading out of a big blue book.

So many women in that cafe, before my regular Wednesday haunt, as well as my regular Saturday gig and many other times in between.

And it was also the scene of The Artist Way group that I was a part of for a year and a half.

It was an awesome group.

We met for an hour before rolling up the hill to a spot in Noe Valley on Wednesday nights.

We would grab the big round table towards the back of the cafe and anywhere from 6 to 10 of us would sit down for about an hour and share about the assignments we had done from the book.

We did one chapter a week, followed the instructions regarding the assignments, and talked about our experiences working the projects and doing the morning pages.

The book suggests that every morning you take time to write three pages long hand.

Emphasis on long hand.

No typewrite, keyboard, tablet, computer.

My blog does not count as morning pages and never has.

There is something so captivating about writing on paper with a good pen.

I was writing in one of my Claire Fontaine notebooks that I brought back from Paris this morning and I reflected on how it was in that group that I came to the realization that I wanted to go to Paris.

That I actually wanted to move to Paris.

It would take some years before I moved, but by participating in that group I realized how much I wanted to go to Paris and I took myself on a solo trip for ten days after doing the work in the book.

I took myself on artists dates, I went to museums, I bought myself nice paper, I sat and daydreamed in cafes and watched clouds roll by.

I looked out those same windows today and marveled.

Look how far I have come.

Look where I am now.

My best friend in Paris messaged me today about when I’ll be going back.

I have been to Paris five times since I made that decision, and yes, one of those times was to live there for six months.

I have re-written that book.

Although I still don’t think it’s at a publishable place.

I have written poems.

I have performed with djs in nightclubs reciting my poems.

One of them became a recording.

I have lectured on stage.

I have traveled.

I went to Burning Man, a lot.

I traveled to New York by myself as well as New Orleans to go see art.

I have taken 1,000s and 1,000s of photographs.

I have written millions of words.

I think I have a few million more.

I have done morning pages in Paris, London, Rome, New York, L.A., New Orleans, Madison, Wisconsin, Anchorage, Alaska, Burning Man, Reno, San Diego, Las Vegas, and probably a bunch of other places I can’t remember now.

But they all started one night in a Muddy Waters coffee shop on Valencia and 24th.

Opening a door that has led me down this meandering path of creation and love.

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.

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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.

 


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